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stitch in time

Posted by Cobi on Wednesday December 09, 2015 at 10:01 AM
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The first time I saw this Christmas tablecloth at our friend’s house, I was completely blown away.

full tablecloth from corner

Our friend Mark’s dear mom, Mary made it and when I saw it, I felt like the Grinch whose “heart grew three sizes that day”.

Mark pulled back

Every year at Christmas dinner, Mary would invite family to doodle on the tablecloth.

Santa pulled back

And then throughout the year she would embroider over the doodles in colourful thread. Mark gladly let me photograph it and we laughed about the years that she almost didn’t get her work done in time to lay it out on the table again.

pull back shot

Never have I seen so much love, talent, history, humour, sentiment, artistry and originality all wrapped up in one tactile family heirloom. She captured the years of her family’s Christmas’ in every stitch. What a treasure.

The marriages…

Deb and Mark

The babies…


The homecomings…


Special visitors…


Special family members…


other grandma

Family artists…


And budding family artists…

child drawing

Special talents…


And jokes…


What an heirloom. What a gift! What an incredible symbol of what Christmas is all about.

pull back

Dare any of us even try to duplicate the beauty in Mary’s creation?

kiss the cook

In my brave moments, I’d like to try. Is this the year to purchase a clean white linen cloth and a few bright bundles of embroidery thread? It doesn’t take any more than that and of course, a heart the size of Mary’s.

Mary Mom

Here’s to Family, Love and Inspiration and a Very Merry Christmas!


meet cobikids Frances and George

Posted by Cobi on Tuesday November 10, 2015 at 06:55 AM
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Two new cobikids patterns have been introduced at Sears Canada this fall.

The first is Frances :

cobikids Frances bedding @sears

And the second is George :

cobikids George bedding @sears

They both come as comforter and sham sets - either twin (regular price $99.00) or double/queen size (regular price $119.00).

Frances is definitely made for clever little ladies but George is very versatile and just as suitable for a guest room, cottage or teen room as it is for a boy’s room.

Both are youthful and fun - I hope you enjoy!


corner office

Posted by Cobi on Wednesday July 22, 2015 at 12:21 PM
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We’ve all said it - “All I really need is a corner!” - and sometimes it’s true! For example, one little corner in the hub of a busy household can make all the difference in avoiding missed soccer games and unpaid bills.

We tarted up a just such a corner in a busy family home - have a look…

cobistyle accessories in kitchen corner

The ghost chair is warmed up with a cobistyle velvet and silk-look reversible pillow (14” x 20”) $50.00. And basic white cabinetry was dressed up with some smartly chosen accessories.

cobistyle storage box with brass trim

cobistyle lidded storage boxes in faux leather and gold trim keep loose papers neat but within reach. ($120.00 for a set of 2)

cobistyle natural grass storage box

cobistyle natural grass storage boxes corral everything from rubber bands to house plants and bring some low-key, natural texture to the area. ($75.00 for set of 3 nesting)

cobistyle inlay decorative box and tray

The impact of grouped accessories in like colours is always more than the sum of their parts. This cobistyle resin inlay decorative box is the perfect colour match to the lamp and our eye picks that up immediately. (8” x 5” x 3” $80.00) The crisp white faux leather tray with gold trim looks polished and clean. (20” x 14” $120.00)

cobistyle yellow glass gourd lamp

This cobistyle glass gourd lamp is a beautiful shade of earthy yellow that’s highlighted by its fresh white shade and Lucite base. Definitely a statement piece. ($250)

cobistyle faux leather kleenex box cover with brass trim

Of course I love it when form meets function and what could be more-so than with a tissue box cover! Necessity meet Style. ($37.00)

corner dressed in cobistyle accessories

Command central - ready and dressed for action, sir!

cobistyle decorative accessories are available in the best boutiques across Canada. Let me know if you are looking for something in particular and we will try to find it in your city.


Sunbrella story

Posted by Cobi on Monday May 25, 2015 at 06:16 AM
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This is exciting! There’s a promotional story running in US magazines featuring one of our cobistyle Sunbrella fabrics!

Sunbrella cobistyle book

You’ve seen the fabrics before when we covered some furniture pieces to show that outdoor fabric is really just ‘high performance’ fabric and can be used indoors as well:

fabric on chair

Plus, it now comes in amazing colours, patterns and textures!

fabric close up

I noticed our striped fabric called SURF in the advertisement and then found the online story - The Beach House

Sunbrella double window seat in beach house

Sunbrella asked a designer to decorate an east coast beach house with Sunbrella fabrics:

Sunbrella beach house sitting area

She chose our SURF fabric for the kids headboards:

Sunbrella cobistyle striped headboard

It’s such a great idea to use high performance fabrics for kid-friendly zones:

cobistyle Sunbrella covered headboards

I love this little reading nook…

Sunbrella beach house reading nook

Next time you’re decorating a kids room or cottage, consider high-performance fabrics - they may cost a little more but the worry-free feeling will be worth it.

Sunbrella beach house window seat

If you’re interested in purchasing Surf stripe or any of the cobistyle Sunbrella fabrics for your own project, contact: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). It comes in 10 colour ways!


introducing cobikids!

Posted by Cobi on Monday March 17, 2014 at 12:32 PM
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I’m excited to introduce our latest collection of cobistyle bedding at SEARS!

Charlotte bedding ~ Charlotte ~

It’s designed with kids in mind but I’m personally thinking kids of all ages.

Emily bedding ~ Emily ~

These are bright and happy top-of-bed patterns (meaning comforters, quilts and shams) that will work just as well in a child’s room…

Mary bedding ~ Mary ~

As a teen’s room….

Jane bedding ~ Jane ~

As a young adult’s room…

Charles bedding ~ Charles ~

As the cottage or chalet!

Virginia ~ Virginia ~

Available in two sizes - twin and double/queen - these nine lively patterns will set the tone in an otherwise simple room, making decorating a snap.

Lucy ~ Lucy ~

And all of them come packaged with fun coordinates like throws, towels and decorative pillows.

Elizabeth ~ Elizabeth ~

There are 9 patterns in total - 6 are currently featured at SEARS.CA

James ~ James ~

And the rest are now in SEARS stores across Canada.
Finally something to put a Spring in our step!


family art wall

Posted by Cobi on Wednesday January 08, 2014 at 03:22 PM
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I’ve always been inspired by family photo and art walls.

pink pagoda wall cropped

The sense of a collage is more visually exciting to the eye than the usual placement of one or two pictures.

bedroom art wall

These are some of my favourites.

tumbler wall

photos up stairs

heidi wall

art wall

When we redecorated our master bedroom last year, I had a large blank wall to fill between our two windows and decided it would be a great place to showcase some of my favourite family photos and art.

photowall 42

photowall 45

Rather than deal with the commitment of hanging things directly on the wall, I splurged on 3 IKEA pictures rails ($16.99 ea.) and hung them staggered on the wall.

photo wall 36

photo wall

Then I went to work framing some pictures and pieces that were lingering around our house.

photowall 46

I thought I’d want all matching frames originally but quickly realized the variety creates interest.

picture wall

I’m really happy with the result and the fact that as the kids change I can add new shots.

photo wall 49

Now I just wish I had more room!


gumdrops and lollipops for a cause

Posted by Cobi on Monday November 25, 2013 at 06:00 AM
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I am thrilled to participate again in Toronto’s Gardiner Museum’s 12 Trees of Christmas Charity Gala. The theme this year is “Things starting with the letter G” as the Gardiner is celebrating its 25th Anniversary. Assuming that Gold, Glitter, Giving and Grinch were all quickly spoken for, I decided to go with the visions of sugar plums dancing in my head, and chose Gumdrops and Lollipops as my theme.

The first step was to select an artificial tree. It was a stretch for me not to choose the most realistic green tree I could find, but I liked the idea of one appearing to be sugar-coated and so I looked for a flocked or glittery tree. Instead I found a pink one! I knew as soon as I saw it, it was perfect because it reminded me of candy floss!! A pink, flocked tree with pink lights ~ yum!

undecorated tree

I lucked out with ornaments too - can you imagine my delight when I found these gumdrop garlands?

gumdrop garland

And over-sized lollipops?

blue lolli

I knew from past experience that it helps to have something large on the tree (to fill in space and give it oomph). I found wonderful felt stockings in the same candy-coloured palette and ordered 12.

felt stockings

Isn’t it amazing how realistic these foam cupcakes look?


Truly scrumptious!


And I love the scale of these big glittery gingerbread boys…

gingerbread boys

And girls! The chocolate colour is a nice addition to all the syrupy pink.

gingerbread girls

We filled in the spaces with lots of perfect candy picks…

candy picks

And I couldn’t help but tie on a few real sweet treats in hopes of adding to the sugar-high of little ones viewing the tree over the holidays.

Gumdrops of course…

gumdrops in celo

And Lollipops!

lollipops in celobags

All done up in cellophane cones which I found online through an amazing Ontario company - Crystal Clear Bags Canada- a great find!

We topped the tree with lollipop fairy wings from the Party Market (apologies for the bad shot!).


And then skirted it with children’s books (sweet-themed of course) and cobistyle pillows in assorted silk-look colours of fuchsia, turquoise, lime and orange.

pillows and books

There’s no doubt this tree is suffering from sugar-overload and will crash after December 25th.

tree close up

But I’m so happy to report that very kind donors have purchased the tree (thank you Frank Bowman and Aaron Milrad!) and it will be brightening up the Princess Margaret Hospital Cancer Centre over the holidays. What a sweet treat for us all to share indeed!

final overall


rooms with views ~ finally

Posted by Cobi on Monday July 22, 2013 at 06:59 AM
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Almost exactly one year ago, we arrived home from our annual summer holiday in the Maritimes, and is what my son Aidan’s room looked like:

Aidan's room demolished

And this is what my daughter Charlotte’s room looked like:

Charlotte's room demolished

We were launching into a major renovation of our second floor and decided to get some of the loud, messy demolition done while we were out of the house.

If I’m to give full disclosure, you must see what our dining room looked like for 6 months. It acted as both kids closet and storage area:

dining room during reno

dining room during reno

No dinner parties here last fall!

The reno took a number of nasty turns that I am choosing to forget, but I’ll always remember that it was late fall (around the time of the torrential rain storms you may remember?) …

guys with holes cut in roof

…when we finally had two holes cut in our roof for the dormers that were being added to each of the kids rooms:

house with tarps

Funny I never noticed how lovely the leaves were last fall. I must have been distracted by the flapping of tarps in the hurricane.

With a lot of faith, hope and even more patience and rope, eventually, this…

roof tarped

turned into this…

dormers getting built

turned into this…

house in snow

And inside - Aidan’s room turned into this…

Aidan's dormer

Aidan's dormer wall

And Charlotte’s into this…

charlotte's dormer wall

Charlotte's dormer

Both kids enjoy their private spaces and bird’s eye view of the world…

Aidan 3 quarter

Aidan - short

Charlotte's dormer 3/4

Charlotte's dormer short

We talked about adding those damned dormers for almost 10 years. They do everything I knew they would - add character, light and space to rooms that felt dark and isolated, but I’m not the type of person to say I told you so.

The neighbours seems thrilled with our renovation as it stands out against all the new-builds in our area. The guys get a good chuckle out of complimenting me on my “great dormers” and the women make it all feel worthwhile when when they tell me it looks like they were always there. That’s exactly what we’d hoped - a new lease on life for a lovely older home - she’s got a few good years left in her yet.

Paint colours for anyone interested:

Boy’s room: Benjamin Moore Navajo White OC-95

Girl’s room: Benjamin Moore Cloud White OC-40 and Baby Boy Blue 2056-50


soft sell on high performance

Posted by Cobi on Monday January 28, 2013 at 06:00 AM
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As you may have seen before, I have a corner banquet in my kitchen for family meals.


The shot above was done for H&H magazine in 2005 and you can see by the number of pillows, it was styled more for the camera than family dinners. After a few years of use, and more spilled milk than we’d care to remember, the fabric on the seat cushion was looking a little worse for wear. No, I will not subject you to a ketchup-stained “before shot”….but I will show you the latest “after” as we’ve recovered the seat cushion and toss pillows with fabric from the cobistyle Sunbrella fabric book. Forgive my poor photography skills.

People think of Sunbrella fabric as outdoor canvas - which it is. But now, because of new technologies, it’s also soft chenille (as is my green pillow), dreamy sheer, interesting textures and lots more.

kitchen banquet -1

That’s why Sunbrella is trying to change the perception of their fabric to be as much about its performance inside the house, as on the deck, dock, boat, etc.

kitchen banquet - 2

The wear and tear of a family home can be as damaging to fabric as wind and weather. Sunbrella upholstery fabrics are softer and more comfortable than their outdoor cousins, yet with the same qualities of fade resistance, durability and easy-clean (even with bleach).

kitchen banquet 5

I like the idea of Sunbrella fabrics in high traffic areas of the home (family, kitchen, dining, mudrooms and kids rooms) because the website features very thorough care and cleaning instructions as well as an amazing stain chart. I’m sure I’ll be using these for our kitchen sooner rather than later.


To find out more about the cobistyle selection of fabrics designed for Sunbrella, check out your local upholstery shop, furniture store or designer showroom. If you have any trouble, contact Joanne Fabrics for more information.


music to my livingroom

Posted by Cobi on Monday May 07, 2012 at 07:00 AM
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My daughter became a teenager over the weekend. She loves anything to do with the arts but particularly music. Her main birthday gift is a piano (her little keyboard just ain’t cuttin’ it any more).
As I’ve been trying to figure out where to fit a piano into our home - I started to look online for inspiration. Of course the best inspiration comes from a grand…

grand piano in living room

And although our living room housed a ‘grand’ when we purchased the house.

grand piano in living room

I managed to fill up the room with furnishings so that the only realistic option is an upright upright (for the pocketbook too).

grand piano in living room

I expected most pianos to be black… piano black

Or dark wood… piano wood

But on a quick search, I found every colour of the rainbow.

Yellow… piano yellow

Turquoise… piano turquoise

Red… piano red

Pale blue… piano pale blue with silouettes piano pale blue

Green… piano green

Cream… piano cream with bookshelves

So many ideas, my ears are ringing. I will post a picture of our purchase once we have it and hope that you will all say, “Bravo!”


hard-working heirlooms

Posted by Cobi on Monday February 28, 2011 at 06:00 AM
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It’s wonderful to be given something that has sentimental family meaning. It’s a beautiful way to remember and honour people who have passed and to make your home unique and your decorating meaningful. However, we all know that many heirlooms don’t suit our current day interiors and often create clutter and well, ok, I hate to say it but simply collect dust and we find ourselves including them in our rooms out of feelings of obligation and sentiment while not enjoying the objects themselves.

Here are a few ideas on how to incorporate heirlooms into your interiors while creating beautiful rooms at the same time.

Use the heirloom as a jumping off point for decorating. Here, a few old pieces of red transfer-ware are made into a focal point by building on the look further with toile wallpaper in a pretty hutch. Clearly these pieces are treasured and enjoyed every day this way.


Photos go from average to amazing when massed together and framed in a collective way. They command attention when placed together and make a great conversation point for guests.


One heirloom can spark an entire collection and why not? If you love something you’ve been given, it may just be a collection in the waiting. Just don’t forget which one has the sentimental story behind it.



Don’t be a snob about pedigree - your home isn’t a museum - mingle special family pieces with new reproductions. They will be more apt to be used and enjoyed.


Turn something old into something new. Make a few adjustments with paint or in this case, hardware, and suddenly an old piece has a new lease on life. A solution that’s easy on the pocketbook too.



If you don’t have the room or desire to display something all the time, bring out heirlooms at holidays - they will make holiday decorating all the more special.


Decorate around an heirloom. If you love it - let it set the tone for an entire room. No decor theme could mean more than family history.


Change the function of an heirloom to suit your lifestyle. This silver tea service is allowed to tarnish without apologies - many people love the time-worn patina of tarnished silver - and it’s used to hold flowers rather than afternoon tea.


And these candy dishes hold shell collections and other natural finds.


Let family pieces work for you rather than just sit on display. Your tabletops and rooms will look much more unique for it.


I will be on Steven & Chris on the CBC this Friday at 2:00pm talking more about this very thing. Be sure to tune in!


checkers alfresco

Posted by Cobi on Monday August 16, 2010 at 07:00 AM
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I thought I would show you the painting project my kids did with me this summer holiday in PEI.


We did it in an hour or two not including the walk on the beach to collect pebbles for one player and scallop shells for the other. Of course anything local and plentiful would do.


I had a little box left over from something else and it worked perfectly to keep the loose pieces in (don’t forget you need extras to make Kings!). We screwed it down so it stays in place and no doubt it will turn silver like the table by the end of the summer.

When I got home from the cottage I went on google to search for other versions of our table but found very little ~ amazing! I had no idea we were so original wink .

Let me know if you’ve painted a checkerboard on anything and how it worked out. After we did this, I was thinking we could have painted the entire surface of the table in a checkerboard pattern and then participants could have set up a game on whichever squares they chose ~ one end of the table or the middle. it might even look a bit like a tablecloth. I know, I know…never satisfied.

Here’s the christening game on the table…’check’ it out…



a map to good decorating

Posted by Cobi on Monday July 12, 2010 at 07:00 AM
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One of the easiest and best things we did when we decorated our cottage in PEI, was to frame a few maps of both the Provence and the city of Charlottetown.


It quickly created a couple of decorative vignette’s, but not only that, practical ones that can be used by ourselves and visitors to plan day trips and become more familiar with the island.


Local maps are an easy way to decorate your home - seasonal or otherwise. We have a huge school map of Ontario hanging on the large stairwell wall in our home and often look to it to find places we’re discussing.


Here are some other pictures of maps used in homes:


They are a great way to anchor a vignette:


Or decorate a large blank wall. Especially when you can get up close to examine them.




Here’s a more decorative idea. Wallpapering in maps. New ones are very affordable…


and the colours are often nice…



This summer, get your directions right and hang a local map at the cottage. You’ll be on the road to success!


pick a pocket

Posted by Cobi on Monday July 05, 2010 at 07:00 AM
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I was just looking at this cute pocket board we have in our cottage, here in PEI.


It hangs over a bed and guests use it to keep the odd cd, ipod, novel, jewellery, a watch, sunscreen…it’s surprisingly handy.


And it got me thinking that everyone has a few old pairs of jeans in their closet, if not a stack! And if they don’t, every thrift shop has denim just waiting to be bought for nothing.


If you’re at a cottage this summer, it might be a fun project to make something out of old bluejeans. Here are some ideas….

If you’re up for a big project, you could try a quilt. The pockets are a fun addition:


Or here’s a small project that you could make up fast for stocking stuffers later in the year:


Here’s a fun idea, add a pocket to existing pillows you have at the cottage.


For a young friend, these purses are cute:

cobi cobi cobi

I’d like to make these cutlery/napkin holders - what a fun idea to take 10 or 12 to someone’s cottage for a hostess gift:


Or if that sounds too ambitious, how about two pot holders? The pockets are the perfect size for hands of course:


And here’ a summery look, you’ll be smashing serving lemonade in this:


Forever in Bluejeans Babe!


it’s the little things that count

Posted by Cobi on Monday June 14, 2010 at 07:00 AM
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I love weddings, and we’ve been lucky enough to be invited to a few this year. I’m always interested to see how the bride makes the event ‘her own’. The little personal touches that you know were discussed, rehearsed, researched and no doubt worried about ad nauseum.

When I appeared on the Steven & Chris show this past spring, I brought with me a little memento of my parents wedding.

At their 50th Wedding Anniversary party a few years ago, we opened my mother’s wedding gown that had been stored in a brown box with green garbage bags covering it for 50 years. It had been moved from house to house and was covered in dust and so we were interested to get it out and see what shape it was in. I decided to make ‘the opening’ a part of the party and so with all of her bridesmaids around we opened the box…. And guess what? It was perfect! Makes you wonder about all of those expensive ‘preserving boxes’ doesn’t it? And it was so wonderful to see the women plumping and primping it just like they would have 50 years earlier.

Anyway, when we got the dress out a few other things fell out of the box that I found fascinating…have a look….


There was a miniature version of the wedding party (unfortunately one man is missing) that an older woman my mother knew, had carefully made out of scraps of the wedding party dresses. What a beautiful memento and really something special to see 50 years later. I am so glad I have them and keep them in a box in my dining room.

I know that kind of creative work is time consuming and intricate for today’s busy life, but it got me thinking how lovely the idea, if you are closely involved in a wedding, to do something with the extra material of the girl’s dresses. Even something very simple. No doubt the dresses will make their way to the recycling over time, but something small and sweet can be tucked in a box or drawer for years and years.

Maybe a little sachet….





Or a pretty drawstring purse. If you aren’t a sewer yourself, this would be an easy job to pay someone to make up.


These eye pillows would be a fun gift for each bridesmaid…


As would a jewellery pouch …


Or cosmetic bag…


It’s just one of those little personal ideas that makes a wedding meaningful. And how many things can you do nowadays that will be even more precious 50 years later? Think of a new generation - daughters, granddaughters - many years down the road, finding your little surprise and imagining a special day that happened 50 years ago…

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