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nature

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

nature

table ideas to fall for

Posted by Cobi on Sunday October 09, 2011 at 07:00 AM
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If you’re hosting the turkey dinner tonight, have no fear - cute fall tabletop ideas are here! This image is stunning. The orange paper lanterns look like giant pumpkins overhead and I love the idea of bringing tartan to the table through napkins and blankeys. We should all have a collection of old wool tartan blankets to pull out in the fall!

cobi

Here’s another cute idea - pull out old family photos to use instead of place cards. What a great way to get people to the table!

cobi

And enjoy memories of family no longer with us.

cobi

If you have a box of price tags from the dollar store - create instant place cards by slipping them over the stem of a pear.

cobi

If you don’t; a little piece of twine works well with any kind of tag and fruit…

cobi

No tags at all? How about metallic pen on an apple or pomegranate? See - no excuses not to tart up the table!

cobi

If you’re more of a ‘professional arrangement kinda gal’ just make sure it’s gorgeous and bountiful like this…

cobi

Or buy a bunch of mixed flowers at the grocery store and cut them really short to create your own arrangement…

cobi

I love this skinny table set with old and new pieces. Classic and lovely.

cobi

Here’s a fun little craft if you own carving tools - these gourd vase and bowl ideas are sweet…

cobi

If warm tones aren’t you, don’t despair - purple looks amazing with fall colours…

cobi

As does crimson! It’s fabulous and unexpected alongside yellows and golds…

cobi

Try using unexpected items on your table or convert things, like candle holders, into props and pedestals.

cobi

Head out to the garden for some branches - understated elegance in a glass vase.

cobi

Or just lay one beautiful branch at each place - Bittersweet is perfect…

cobi

No branches? How about a simple piece of raffia and a wooden bead? See … no excuses…

cobi

Fall foliage also looks amazing in a glass vase - no fuss, no muss, no cost.

cobi

And here’s a perfect kids table anyone can do with kraft paper, crayons, a few pears and pots…

cobi

If you aren’t hosting this year, don’t miss out - do up your mantle and light a crackling fire …

cobi

And then take a moment to give thanks for all of your many blessings…

cobi

nature

a squirrel’s christmas

Posted by Cobi on Monday November 22, 2010 at 06:00 AM
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At this time of year I always get outside to gather some free supplies that Mother Nature offers up for Christmas decorating - branches, chestnuts, pine cones, boughs - just call me the frugal decorator, aka: crazy garden robber. Pine cones are the most versatile of finds. Here are a few inspiration shots to get you in the mood for an afternoon walk with a bag tucked into your pocket - just don’t tell them I sent you.

As the Barefoot Contessa would say…”how easy is that”….

cobi

But if you want to craft your heart out…spray paint is always a blast…

cobi

These are pretty and look easy, a nice addition to a tree or window…

cobi

This is beautiful but ambitious - a glue gunner’s dream…

cobi

We’ve all seen pine cone wreaths but this is a fresh, contemporary version…

cobi

I like the idea of giving new life to a homely mirror you find at the Sally Ann and then using it instead of a tray for candles…

cobi

Shiny painted cones hold their own with shiny holiday balls…

cobi

Brown paper packages tied up with string, just add a few of my favourite things…

cobi

A simple garland looks natural and modern at the same time…

cobi

Here’s a cute substitute for a wreath this year…

cobi

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And a sweet little door hanger makes a fun homemade hostess gift hung on a bottle of vino…

cobi

The sparkle of silver and snow is always a winner in winter…

cobi

Pine cones interspersed with candied fruit or simple citrus colours is a natural (literally)…

cobi

And I love this idea best, little trees made of big pine cones and placed on candle holder pedestals…

cobi

Now don’t you have somewhere to go?

nature

think thankful thoughts

Posted by Cobi on Monday October 11, 2010 at 07:00 AM
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Here are 10 cute ideas for quick and easy fall decorating - even after Thanksgiving has passed.

1. Use seasonal treats to create colourful eye candy.

cobi

2. Who needs a florist when you have beauty literally falling on your doorstep?

cobi

3. If you aren’t an orange and gold girl, don’t let that stop you from decorating for fall.

cobi

4. Apples aren’t just for chomping, put them to work while they wait.

cobi

5. Roses come in fall colours too!

cobi

6. Think of pumpkins as instant sculpture.

cobi

6. Gourds are gorgeous when showcased selectively.

cobi

7. Take moment to be crafty today - your guests will be very impressed!

cobi

8. Do “the squirrel” and go hunting and gathering in the garden for your table.

cobi

9. Rather than just look pretty, put pumpkins to use at your front door.

cobi

10. Don’t wait for Halloween - start carving out your own ideas any time this month.

cobi

And here’s a bonus idea: Take a quiet moment before your guests arrive to count your blessings. If you’re like me, you don’t do it enough.

cobi

nature

appreciate your good ol’ mum!

Posted by Cobi on Monday September 27, 2010 at 07:00 AM
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Poor Mums - they get no respect.
Maybe it’s because they’re available year round - you can always find them at the supermarket. They aren’t expensive, heck, they’re even penny-wise! They’re basically always there for you - rain or shine - but whenever anybody imagines a Mum, they just think ‘same old, same old’…

cobi

But that’s not true!! You just have to take a little closer look to see that Mum’s are beautiful!!

cobi cobi cobi

They come in many shapes, sizes and colours….

cobi

And sometimes it’s just how you put them together that makes the difference…

cobi

Mum’s love weddings. And even if we don’t have a wedding in the plans, we can often steal ideas from them…

cobi cobi cobi cobi cobi

How cute is this, young and old, boys always love their Mums…

cobi

So when you’re doing your fall decorating, don’t forget to include Mum.

cobi

She’s easy to work with…

cobi

And ask any pumpkin, Mums are not pansies, they’re sure to look good for a long time.

cobi

nature

easter eggs

Posted by Cobi on Monday April 05, 2010 at 07:00 AM
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Happy Easter Monday.

I think I’ve talked before about how I have a thing for birds, bird eggs and nests - some sunny day I’ll take some pictures and show them to you.
I put some of them away over the winter but when Easter arrives, I let them hatch all over the house again.

If you have a particular motif that you like, it’s a great way to personalize your home. And one of the best places to search for fun and interesting art and accessories is a site called Etsy. I’m sure many of you know it, but for those who don’t, it’s an amazing site, kind of like Ebay (without the bidding) but it focuses on one-of-a-kind, handmade objects. Etsy’s mission statement is: “to enable people to make a living making things, and to reconnect makers with buyers”. Pretty cool.

Here’s a selection of things I found when I searched my beloved bird eggs….

This is a lovely little print of an original acrylic painting on canvas. It measures 7” x 7” and is for sale by the artist for $12.50 US (unframed) plus shipping.

cobi

If you don’t like the idea of a print, here’s an original oil for sale with the sides of the canvas painted black so you can hang it without framing. It’s 16” x 20”, signed by the artist, and for sale for $135 US.

cobi

I love this print….it only measures 5.5” x 7.5” but it comes with a white border so you could frame it a little larger and it’s only $15 US plus shipping of course.

cobi

Or how about a beautiful little hand-felted nest to put on your window ledge for $20 US.

cobi

And of course, who could resist the jewellery…there’s tons of it. Check out this ring for $34 US.

cobi

And I love this necklace that says “little bird” for $16 US.

cobi

Or this one for $39 US….

cobi

It isn’t too late for the Easter bunny to bring mom some eggs - do you think? All in the name of supporting Art!!

nature

good to be green

Posted by Cobi on Monday March 15, 2010 at 07:00 AM
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It doesn’t take the luck of the Irish to create a beautiful room. As I’ve said before, one of the easiest and most impactful ways to decorate is with a single colour palette. In other words one colour with lots of white or neutral. I love the freshness of a green and white with a earthy gray or brown thrown in. Even Mother Nature agrees….

cobi

If you have an all neutral room - white, beige, earth tones, try a big bunch of fresh leaves (even from the garden) and see how the crisp, cool of the green, wakes everything up like a spring morning. It’s a good way to test out what green would look like in that room.

cobi

Another way to test green in your rooms is to fool around with it at Christmas time. No commitment but a good amount of time to see how it feels.

cobi

Or even try some green veggies in your all white kitchen…

cobi

I love apple green and white with wood and naturals ~ it’s so fresh and happy, like new leaves popping out of the forest floor.

cobi

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cobi

If you’re more bold, you can try brilliant emerald or grass green which looks great with white and black …

cobi

cobi

But if that just feels like too much for you, try your luck outside, green and white is a classic.

cobi

cobi

Or, if you really aren’t sure, you could just decorate your son, like I do every year at this time on his birthday (14 today! wink) .
That will give you a good sense of how lucky it feels to live with a little green!

cobi

nature

winterscapes

Posted by Cobi on Monday January 11, 2010 at 06:00 AM
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One of my favourite things in the world is a winter afternoon sunset. So many people complain about winter and travel far and wide to feel the glow of a sunset, but all I need is a sunny afternoon and a drive in the country, when the shadows are long, and sky is rosy and I’m lulled into submission.
I envy those who live in rural farming areas and get to feel that sense of quiet, open, sparkling, white space on a regular basis.

I guess that’s why I love paintings of ‘winterscapes’, even ones that are done with an amateur’s hand. I have a few in my home and at the cottage and I love them all…

cobi

I often take another little painting down somewhere in the house and put one of these up for the winter.

cobi

This one stays up all the time at the cottage. It was painted by an older man we knew and makes me happy whenever I look at it.

cobi

When I go to flea markets, I keep an eye out for others. It’s that old thrill of the hunt….

I hope you get a drive out to farm country on a sunny afternoon this winter. And if it doesn’t come naturally, just steal away with a friend. It won’t be a waste of time. Things like that are food for the soul and we all need something to warm our hearts in January.

nature

all set for thanksgiving

Posted by Cobi on Monday October 12, 2009 at 07:00 AM
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I wanted to show you my dishes this week because they work so well for the Thanksgiving table, they always make me happy.

cobi

They’re called “Woodland” by Spode.

Each plate has a different duck or bird in the centre which makes them fun to collect and keeps my daughter Charlotte amused when setting the table wink . I think she’ll have memories of family dinners with them and since I plan to give them to her one day I think of them as ‘future heirlooms’.

There’s something about the brown transfer pattern and scene in the middle that’s elegant and earthy at the same time. They’ve been a joy to add to my other patterns and work so well with hearty fall and winter fare. It’s also great that they’re dishwasher and microwave proof.

cobi

Charlotte and I always collect leaves for place cards (just use permanent marker), impromptu coasters and general scattering about on tables and mantles. So pretty and easy to do while the turkey’s cooking.

Here’s a nice picture of some pieces in the Horchow mailorder catalogue in the states…

cobi

Spode is available at lots of independant china and dinnerware stores across Canada including Ashley’s in Toronto.

Anyway, must run and join the fun ~ Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

nature

Beautiful Robin’s Egg Blue!

Posted by Cobi on Monday August 10, 2009 at 07:00 AM
colourdecoratingnaturespringComments (7) Bookmark and Share

cobi

I had a lucky find on one of my morning dog walks this spring. A perfect (empty) robin’s egg was lying in a ditch - the colour is truly glorious! I gingerly carried it home admiring the colour and telling Hito how unusual and exciting it was to find one. (If anyone knows why robin’s eggs are coloured this way, please e-mail and tell us - I’m curious).

Anyway, as I lay it in a lovely little bird’s nest I found on a previous walk I had an idea… Many of us have a romantic notion to paint something ‘robins egg blue’ at some point - but who has an egg laying around when you need one? So why not use this egg as a sample to match paint colours so that we can all have a list tucked away for the time when we need it, and so that’s what I’ve done. Keep this list in your ‘decorating’ folder on your computer (you do have one, right?) for when you need it in future.

I took the delicate egg with me to Home Depot, Canadian Tire, independent paint stores and did an initial gathering of colour samples - unfortunately it got crushed a little at a stop light (long story). Anyway, I then weeded out the colours in better light at home and came up with a list of matches. Two lists really - light versions of the colour, and intense, deeper versions. When it’s time to do your project, think about how you envision it: light and airy or rich and saturated. This colour looks amazing either way, it just depends on what look you’re trying to achieve.

I suppose different robin’s eggs would be different colours, this egg is an intense, deep colour that’s more green than blue and very complex (trust mother nature to make something too beautiful to duplicate). It’s almost ‘dirty’ in its complexity and no, it isn’t the mud from the ditch wink but at least this will give us a guide in future for the gorgeous blue/green colour that’s so perfect in many applications: baby’s rooms, children’s rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, porch ceilings, cottage floors, country furniture…I even have it on my kitchen ceiling and love it.

Cobi’s True Robin’s Egg Blue - Light and Airy:

Sico

Saltspring Grey 6161-31 (pretty, soft, light green)
Movie Star 6148-31 (clear, light, bright, quite green)

Sherwin Williams

Aquatint SW 6936 (nice, light blue with hint of green)
Waterfall SW 6750 (lovely fresh, light colour)
Refresh SW 6751 (medium, green version, nice)
Aquaduct SW 6758 (medium, more blue version, also nice)

CIL/ICI/Glidden
Vivid Lake 70GG 74/120 (nice and light, a bit minty)
Island Aqua 70GG 67/184 (medium tone, clear, maybe too bright)

Behr
Balmy Seas 490C-3 (pretty, light soft, version)

Para
It’s a Steal P5021-24 (clear, very light, nice tone)
Splurged Again P5021-34 (a very close match to egg but more clear)
Tea Cups P5108-24 (gorgeous, light colour, love this one)
Drop Zone P5108-34 (seriously gorgeous medium colour, bright but not too)

Benjamin Moore
Soft mint 2041-60 (pretty, soft and light, but yes, minty)
Sea mist green 2041-50 (beautiful soft medium tone)

Cobi’s True Robin’s Egg Blue - Rich and Intense:

Sico
Baffin Island Grey 6161-52 (beautiful, dark, greyed out shade)
Antibes Blue 6148-42 (clear, dark, nice green)

CIL/ICI/Glidden
Duck Egg Blue 70GG 59/225 (very clear, bright colour but nice)

Behr
Jamaica Bay 500D-4 (very nice colour, soft medium blue)

Sherwin Williams
Cooled Blue SW 6759 (clear, rich, more green than blue)

Para
Splash Mountain P5108-52 (dark, gorgeous colour)

Ralph Lauren
Island Brights Aged Mint IB77 (beautiful deep bluey grey)
Sunwashed Blue IB82 (intense bright green/blue)

Benjamin Moore
Historical colours Covington blue HC-138 (Stunning greyed blue)

Winner of the ‘Overall Best Match’ to this little Egg of Wonder:

Sico
Anticosti Grey 6161-41 (Perfect!!)

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