Saturday, July 28, 2012

Say Bonjour Balto

Bonjour Blog Readers

Ce'st Balto

I'm an hour away from a house full of guests to celebrate the Raz Man's Birthday. It's a gorgeous night and we shall be dining outside. I've decorated the massive table with flowers and mismatched bits as it is a very casual dinner. Sausages and chicken on the BBQ, baked potatoes and corn on the cob, followed by vanilla cake with strawberries. And I'm going to introduce Balto to my friends. The good thing is 6 out of 10 of my dinner guests are from Montreal and are French speaking, so he will feel right at home. His English?  Not so good. We have agreed to speak Fringlish.

I picked him up on Thursday, doing the "pass off" from the foster family to me at the back of a school parking lot at 7 am. I am sure it looked like a drug run at first, passing bags of stuff from one car to the other. It was love at first sight. He's adorable, gentle and sweet and moved in like he had always been here. I am so thrilled with him. He may not have long with us because he is already 12, but I can guarantee that his twilight years will be filled with love. And Birthday cake!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Shacking up with an Old French Boy

Meet Balto.....a 12 year old black lab who only speaks French. He has quite a story to tell. He lived with an older man in Quebec. About a month ago, his owner died at home and Balto was trapped in the house with him for 4 days without food or water. He was taken by rescuers to a shelter. A kindly neighbor took him from the shelter and fostered him while looking for a home. They came across and drove all the way from Montreal (6 hours) to Toronto to surrender him to Lab Rescue, knowing that they would find him a home. He has cataracts, he hasn't been walked in a couple of years, but he is loving and friendly and ready to find a new family. He's currently in an temporary foster home with 4 cats, 2 dogs and a few kids. He is stressed by all the commotion after living with an old man for so long. I am in Montreal for a few days but when I come back on Thursday, he's coming here....we will see if he likes my cat. He may not have a long time left as he is already 12, a ripe old age for a lab. After his ordeal, and after the angelic neighbor had the biggest heart to pull him from the dog pound and drive for 12 hours to find him a home, I figured he deserves a HUGE break. SO.......if he seems like a good fit, and the cat likes him enough....


Thursday, July 19, 2012


Soft peach was the color theme for the shower

This cake was lovely with a cream cheese frosting and apricot filling

Details....wrapped napkins, balloons and lanterns

Spoiled with 2 cakes

The garden party

Pretty cookie......

Flowers and punch....

It's been a crazy couple of weeks. I've been working on the biggest design project of my career and feel like I have been on the phone for two weeks straight, co-ordinating deliveries, chasing missing packages, tradesmen, drapery installers etc. Thrown in the mix are 2 funerals, a birthday party and a bridal shower, and girl child trying to find accommodation for August 1st after finding out her flooded condo is still not repaired . The sadness of the passing of friends has dampened my spirits some, especially knowing that people I love are really hurting right now. I have been trying to muster some joy at attending the happy events and trying to support and send love to those in need at this time.

Our good friend's daughter Lori is to be married in August and despite crazy high temperatures and threats of rain that never materialized, her mother held a fabulous bridal shower with all the key ladies in her life. Me included. I like to sit back at these events and observe...photograph and keep a low profile. It didn't go unnoticed to me the fragility of the cycle of life.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Given that I will only buy a roll of brown paper to wrap my presents, when one attends a festive event such as a bridal shower, it is deemed necessary to tart it up a bit. I embellished this shower gift with a wedding cake stamp, and tied a couple of lengths of delightful peachy/pink and brown crinkled seam binding around it, for a casual but frilly look. I topped it off with 3 little clay tags that I had left over from my Wedding Jam making days last year. For the card.......a rubber stamped blank card stock and a  sprinkling of peachy glitter.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Bridal Shower Cake

I need that Cake Boss guy. You know the one from that show where they make cakes in the shape of the Startrek Enterprise or barbie doll? I'm a little stressed right now because I am making the cake for a bridal shower this afternoon. Usually my cakes and plain old fashioned vanilla or chocolate with a good smearing of buttercream icing and a swoosh on the top made with a butter knife. Not today. I ventured into the land of pale peach cabbage roses. First they looked lovely with a soft flower on the creamy cake background. Then, I was looking on the Internet and saw a suggestion to fill in the "gaps" with a swoosh of icing. Which I did, and hated it. I scraped it off leaving what looked like finger swirls around the roses. I whipped up another batch of icing and made a fresh swirl around existing roses and now it's looking like too much....(see last photo). Oh dear! What to do? It's 100F here today, and we all know that butter cream melts faster than a menopausal woman on a hot day, so I'm going to leave it well enough alone. Inside is 4 layers of alternating peach and cream colored cake. I'm hoping the inside looks better than the's also drizzling now, the shower is to be held outside. A song keeps coming into my head...that old Richard Harris song......Someone left the cake out in the rain....I don't think that I can take took so long to make it...................................... 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Tree Houses and Nuisance Bears

I mentioned in my last post that we climb up to the tree house at night to watch the sunset. You may have visions of a weensy, rickety little box, built by a couple of kids. But no, this one is about 100 sq feet with a second story loft, cedar shingles, 10 old windows (2 of them dormers) and a wrap around deck overlooking the lake. The owner of the cottage, once he had gutted the old 1934 cottage and rebuilt it, needed another project, and upon the request of his 5 children built them a tree house. So fine it is, it once got a mention in Cottage Life magazine.

There's a Nuisance Bear roaming the area. He was spotted at 1 in the afternoon, and last night I was awakened to the sound of him turning over the trash bins. This morning it looked like drunken teenagers had overturned all the bins along the dirt road, minus the empty beer bottles. There are stories of bears breaking through screens to get food inside cottages, and I know if this bad boy comes anywhere near, I'll be the first one hiding up in that tree house.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Red Bay

I am sure you can tell why they call this Red Bay. We were gifted the use of a fabulous cottage in Red Bay on Lake Huron (one of Ontario's Great Lakes) for a week. We've been coming here for over 10 years, and have come to love this area, and bought a cottage on the other side of the peninsula a few years ago. After selling our cottage (you can see that HERE) last year, I have missed coming up to The Bruce Peninsula so much. I loved the drive up through the countryside stopping at Dars Delights for Cornish Pasties and the Williamsford Pie Company for rhubarb pies, and the many, many stops along the way to photograph cows. So when we were offered this cottage for the week, we leaped at the chance. The lake in this bay is warm and shallow and it is quite a hike out to get past your knees. At night we climb up to the tree house and watch the sun set from the balcony. Every night it's pretty well the same and pretty well different too. It's a tradition up here to gather outside at sunset with wine or coffee and watch it plunge into the milky lake.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Fashion Item of the Week - Moccasins

The slouchy, hippie side of me would like to wear moccasins all day long. Should you be traveling in Canada, picking up a pair of these handmade shoes is a must, either for yourself or as a gift to return home with. Your friends will love you if you bring them a pair of these buttery soft mocs, made from moose and caribou leathers (hunted in the wild for food) that are hand crafted and beaded in Northern Quebec. I've been waiting an entire year to come north, to a little outpost on the way to Tobormory, to pick myself out a pair. I've been parading around in them ever since.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Montreal Apartment Day 2

They rescued this plaster mantle from another room...not an easy job to remove but it was carefully chiseled off the wall and re-homed here in the dining room. The dining table is a hand me down, as are the chairs which were part of a set..we cut the round table down to make the coffee table. 

This lovely dresser belonged to DIL's grandmother and was a keeper. We bought a mirror and painted it white. A simple glass lamp and wicker tray for liquor bottles gave it a French parlour look.

Our work is done here in Montreal and our visit over. I hate saying goodbye to the kids, but I really feel this visit was worthwhile, both as time well spent with our lovely newlyweds, and also to help them get their flat sorted out. Since they started construction, doing most of the work on their own, they have had to deal with a couple of crisis with people they love and have spent most their spare time, along with the other sisters, assisting on that front. As a result they never caught up on that post construction phase of getting their home back to orderly and livable. Luckily, they don't mind me interfering and helping them to get their home arranged so that they can at least come home to a pretty apartment with things they love and can un-wind without the chaos of construction tools and dust. Since there is still work to do, the tools have been relegated to the hallway and the living, dining, kitchen and bedroom are good to go. We moved things from one room to another (and back again) and cleared out all the stuff they longer need to other family members or the Salvation Army. 

Other than a new slipcover for the found sofa, a few baskets and a lamp and mirror, the budget has not gone over $1100.00. Every other piece is used and recycled which I think is fantastic. It shows that you can have a stylish place without spending lots of money. I'm leaving happy that they have a good base to be happy and comfy and they can start evolving their own style and adding personal touches. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Ed Passed away July 4th 2012.

Our good friend Ed died this morning after a lengthy battle with lung disease due to asbestos.
We loved having him as a guest in our home...he loved good food, wine, conversation and people in general. He was the one who helped Boy Child find a job in Montreal so he could be near his sweetheart.

We're sure going to miss you Ed.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Montreal Apartment

The purge and decorating continues over at Boy Child and DIL's, here in their beautiful old apartment in Montreal. The flat reminds me of an old Paris apartment with it's 10' ceilings and lovely cornices and old plaster walls. They just installed these gorgeous dark floors and have moved several walls in order to create a dining room and spare bedroom. They are both careful with their money, never spending what they don't have and over the years they have lived with hand me down furniture and pieces that did not reflect their style. Tracy told me she wanted lots of white and a bit of animal print, hence these 2 recycled chairs I had recovered in a modern icat linen in an animal print. The sofa was a real find. It is made by Biltmore here in Montreal and is equivalent in comfort and quality to a Montauk. With it's feather pillows, it's worth around $4000.00. The beauty is, Tracy's client was throwing it out. She rescued it and called Biltmore and next week they are making her a lovely white slip cover for it. Now it is the sofa she has dreamed of. The coffee table was an old 1980's made in China dark oak pedestal baby, that was also a hand me down. We convinced the Raz Man and Boy child to cut it down and then we gave it a quick coat of paint. And it's perfect for the room. Easy to walk around and to put your feet on.

Today we are heading out to pick up some small bits and to add a little colour to it. I think it looks really good so far.