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summer whites

Posted by Cobi on Tuesday June 23, 2015 at 06:22 AM
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Last summer we threw a party in our backyard for some neighbours who were moving away. It was a casual get-together but I wanted it to look nice.


I decided to go with a white theme and put my rather extensive milk glass collection to work.

Cobi Ladner's milk glass collection

To keep the flower budget down, I bought a few bunches of white blossoms at the grocery store and then cut mint, fern, oregano, hosta and various leaves from our garden to fill in the rest.

Greenery and flowers for Cobi's backyard party

We set up folding tables, end to end, for one long communal table and lined them with white cloths. Neighbours loaned us chairs.

Cobi Ladner's summer table

I tucked, blossoms and greenery into some of the vases and votive candles into others.

Cobi Ladner's milkglass collection

The blossoms lasted so well, we hosted a family dinner at the table the following night.

Cobi Ladner's milk glass collection

To carry the white theme further, I added some cobistyle white lanterns.

Cobi Ladner's backyard with cobistyle lantern

And mixed them with some dollar-store battery-lit ones to line the pool.

dollar store lanterns line Cobi Ladner's pool

Our patio table served as the bar.

Bar in Cobi Ladner's backyard

Garden flowers and leaves in Cobi Ladner's backyard

And an antique French baby-bath I own stood in as the cooler.

Cobi Ladner's antique french baby bath cooler

Even the white plastic cutlery looked in place with the all white theme.

Cobi Ladner's white summer party

The only colour in the backyard were some flowers dotted around the yard.

Flowers in Cobi Ladner's backyard

Who says you have to spend a fortune to throw a nice party? I don’t mean to white-wash it, but it really was as easy as a summer breeze.

Cobi Ladner's backyard


cottage around the corner

Posted by Cobi on Monday January 14, 2013 at 06:00 AM
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One of the privileges of being a magazine editor (as I was for many years) is that the odd time, you get to feature something of your own personal experience.

This home sits around the corner from my own and I have always admired it - as most people in our neighbourhood do.

wreath on gate

A few winters ago we captured it on film for Gardening Life magazine.

door to house

The use of red against the winter snow is fantastic and looks great well beyond the holidays.

front gate

chair detail

Our neighbours make the most of their little cottage in the city and really know how to create charm without fuss.


Even the big city blogs agree as it was featured in Habitually Chic this past December. Who says the suburbs aren’t chic?


the last hooray!

Posted by Cobi on Monday August 27, 2012 at 07:00 AM
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Summer decorating is special.

pretty porch

There’s a simple ease about it that makes us all say “ahhhh”….

beach hats in hall

I tend to think ‘country’ when I think summer…

summer picked flowers

But not everyone does. Some think ‘exotic’…

summer terrace

And far off places…

summer patio

Even if they live in a downtown apartment.

pink fabric in apt.

But that’s the beauty of summer.

summer pots in garden

It is what you make it.

And hey - there’s still enough time to make this - one of the cutest, cheapest ideas I’ve seen in a long time!

bandana table runner

Enjoy the last unofficial week of summer 2012!


the root of beauty

Posted by Cobi on Monday July 30, 2012 at 07:00 AM
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Sometimes we take things for granted that are cheap and plentiful.

bunch of radishes

And to be honest I didn’t start out writing this blog about radishes - but then I found this image…

radishes on fabric

And I was amazed at their beauty!

radish at place setting

And how creative people are with them!

radish 2

Even Martha has taken a stab at radishes…

radish mice

So cute! As are these ~

radish mushrooms

They make me want to grow radishes again like when I was a kid.

radishes in garden

Although I must admit, mine never looked like this…

handful of radishes

But whether we grow them or just buy them, we don’t have to do much to create this beauty in our kitchen…

gorgeous radishes

Maybe a little more effort to do this…

pickled radishes

But we could all do this…

radish salad

Or this…

radish and ricotta

So reconsider the humble radish on your way to the arugula ~ who knows how they’ll inspire you?

painting of radishes


cobistyle comes to the backyard

Posted by Cobi on Monday July 04, 2011 at 06:59 AM
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We spent a day in my friend, Laurie’s backyard playing with some of my favourite cobistyle accessories…have a look!

I’ve decided these fabric lanterns are my ‘signature’ piece. Although they aren’t weather-proof, they’ve got such great character - and look as good on the patio as they do on the dining table. Look at how they turn a plain-jane ledge into a thing of beauty. They’ll look even prettier lit in the evening.


The smaller size lantern is perfect to hang on those garden shepard hooks many of us have for flowers or solar lights. They’ll mark your walk, day or night…


You know I’m devoted to the colour combo, blue and white (I’ve preached about it’s classic quality forever). The beauty is that it looks great anytime, anyplace, including the garden!


And look at it here with the addition of a few hits of orange… gorgeous!


And what would summer be without our favourite tastes from the garden? You simply can’t get a better appetizer than Tiny Tim tomotoes and basil from the garden with a little bocconcini cheese. Our bamboo skewers are perfect for party bites and reusable if you like. 50 skewers come in a clear branded box making them a great little hostess gift along with your contribution to the buffet table. (The bowls and tray are cobistyle too)


The cobistyle multi-coloured cotton napkins are a natural to brighten up classic white plates at a garden party. Guests will enjoy getting their favourite colour and won’t even notice if your flower bed isn’t blooming.


Setting up a summer table is so much fun and such a great excuse to play with colour. Who wouldn’t be happy to sit down to this table?


Or move things around to colour-block the place settings using a throw, lantern, napkin and chopsticks of similar colours…


The little cobistyle mini white ceramic bird vases are just right for holding sprigs from the garden (no need to spend money on flowers!).


I love the idea of throws ready in the garden for when the cool of evening comes. The juicy colours of our super-soft throws (and their washability) make them them perfect for the job. (I wish I could say this garden stool was mine too but it isn’t unfortunately.)


There’s just something about the idea of putting out lanterns and throws for an evening party in the summer - it’s so romantic…or, as my friends are now starting to tease me, so… cobistyle! ; )



backyard oasis

Posted by Cobi on Monday May 23, 2011 at 07:00 AM
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In 2007 we did a major overhaul of our backyard. You may remember it from the pages of H&H. My dear friend and very talented photographer, Virginia MacDonald captured it beautifully. You’ll notice how my daughter (then 8 yrs old) wanted into every picture, and you won’t notice my son because he wouldn’t come near the camera!

Here’s the porch that we added on to the house. It’s our favourite room 3 seasons of the year (we added an electric fireplace and put plexi sheets on over the screens from late fall to early spring to extend the season).


Here’s Hito, our pearl gray Porty, weighing the consequences of sneaking some of the popcorn prop…


And there goes Charlotte…


Here’s Charlotte at the bbq which is under a retractable awning - no more holding an umbrella while flipping patties…


And here’s Charlotte at the pool’s edge - we painted it grey so the water is a little deeper shade of blue…


Our furniture is from Hauser and I love the black and white theme but plan to have some fun mixing in colourful cobistyle pillows and accessories this year.


I love this shot that Virginia snapped of Charlotte. I’d like to blow it up poster size for her room some day…


Can you imagine the size of the house this oval window came out of? We converted it to a mirror to create some interest on the pool shed/sauna wall.


This furniture isn’t special but light was so pretty we had to grab it…


These floating candle holders are for the pool - I found them at Lee Valley.


Here they are at nighttime…


Although the backyard cost ten times what I thought it would (landscaping seems to be like that) we love our backyard and use it day and night.


Looking at these pictures again makes me want to get out there and set it up for another summer of fun - we just need the sun!



light and bright!

Posted by Cobi on Monday September 21, 2009 at 07:00 AM
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Last weekend we threw a little engagement party in our backyard for my nephew Michael and his lovely fiance Wing. I wanted to give the party a fun and happy feeling since they are such a fun and happy young couple.

The solution was so easy and affordable, I had to share it with you…


Paper lanterns from Chinatown are one of my favourite things ~ you can probably tell from my website! Just brilliant balls of colour.


I put little ones down the table and scattered others with groups of votive candles….


We placed the large ones randomly around the yard and if they looked like they might blow into the pool and we just weighted them inside with a rock. They would also look great hanging from the trees with fishing line.


Besides the instant colour impact, the best thing about them is they fold flat for storage and so we can keep them on a shelf in the basement for the next birthday party, shower, New Years eve or any other celebration that calls for colourful balls of fun. The other good thing is that the dogs can’t burst them.


This is my mom’s dog Lucy.

If you don’t live close to a Chinatown, I found them easily online. Try or

No matter how much life weighs you down, don’t let it stop you from celebrating the good things when they come around…and they always do come around. You’ll feel lighter and brighter for it.


pool decor

Posted by Cobi on Monday August 31, 2009 at 07:00 AM
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Just to prove that those of us who love to decorate, can do it just about anywhere…

One of the cutest things I did this summer to satiate the decorating bug that looms inside of me was to put a seldom used (ok, I admit it, never used) silver exercise ball in the pool. Yup. That’s it. Just put it in and let it do the work. My kind of exercise! It floats around and gives my eye great delight each time I look out, creating different views and pictures.


I guess it’s the scale of the ball and the colour - which blends with the stone - that makes it so pleasing.


Anyway, I know it’s a bit of a goofy idea but that’s what I love about blogs - you can be goofy! So it you have a big rubber ball hanging around your basement, try floating it around in your pool instead. At least you can say it’s being used!!

ps. This idea doesn’t work if your pool has a bunch of noodles and water guns hanging around the edge - they ruin the aesthetic. You’ll have to clean them up first for this idea to work(good motivation). Enjoy the last week of summer!! arg.