Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Secret Bench, Lost Paradise

I lumber up the steps to the grand stone home of books & records dozens of times each year, past the Bench. One day, I had technology at my fingertips and snapped a moment in time, a moment of art imitating life & life imitating art. I love that.

Photo of Lea Vivot's Secret Bench, Lost Paradise, Ottawa, 2011.

 Have you witnessed life imitating art anywhere? Share it with me in the comments!

♥  leel

ps. be sure to check out yesterday's Design Sponge at Home Book Review & Giveaway! Don't miss out!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Design Sponge at Home -> a book review & giveaway!

Are you feeling it? That involuntary whole body yawn? Your compass pointing you in any direction that holds warmth and comfort and retreat? The need to come indoors and settle your weary ass down with a good book? Something with pictures to absorb and skim while drinking a warm beverage under a heavy blanket? Well I'm feeling it. Around here I refer to as November. If you are also crawling under the collective blanket of November, I might just have the perfect thing for you! 

You might remember a small little announcement of epic proportion I made in April regarding a certain project of mine being included in the Before & After section of Grace Bonney's bookchild, Design Sponge at Home. Well, guess what?! Yes, it's out! Yes, I have a copy in my hands! And no, I have not stopped flipping through, flagging projects to try, searching the reference section for suppliers and just oogling and absorbing all the amazing design finds. I carry it with me around the house. Not even kidding. 
Page 351!

 Where to even start?  If you have been to Grace's brainchild website, Design*Sponge online, you will have an idea of what to expect: a book full of creative finds, spaces and projects. (If not, well let me be the one to send you over. Go ahead. Check it out. Back? Ok.) First of all, the book itself serves as an accessory for any room. The perfect pop of colour for any side table or shelf. As you flip through it's easy to see that one thing is for certain, a designer clearly designed this book! The layout from cover to cover is so well thought out and enhanced with great side-tips in the margins (i love that!) as well as amazing photos and illustrations. It's timeless and organized and easy to navigate. It has a great flow from the photo driven Sneak Peeks at the beginning, where the inspiration lies, through to the meat of DIY Projects, Basics, Flower Workshop and Before & Afters and then onto my personal fave, the amazing Resource Guide section at the back.

Inspiration leaps off of virtually EVERY page. It's great to see how artists and designers have personalized their own spaces in meaningful ways that don't cost an arm and a leg. It's refreshing to see how others style their books, paint out trim, add a few pictures in an entrance way and make their spaces look unique and feel like a home. Not imaginary showrooms. Real homes real people live in. The book then provides project ideas and methods on how to actually personalize your own space. It never ends, people! Regardless of what design idea or project you are looking to take on, you can find inspiration and simple instruction for it in this book, which I really see as my new manual.

I'm pretty sure anyone would love this book. Guess what?! It just so happens the lovely people at Thomas Allen & Son, a Canadian Distributor and Publishing company, contacted me offering a free copy of the book as well as two more copies for my lucky Canadian readers! How fun is this? A great way to hibernate this winter and get your inspiration engines fired up? Yes and Yes.

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post by midnight (EST) Friday November 11! I will use a random number generator to pick winners, I'll e-mail the winners for shipping addresses and your book will be on the way. 

One comment per person please. Also, please make sure I can easily find an e-mail address to contact you!

Best of luck!

ps. If you missed Grace on The Nate Berkus show, check it out here!


Nov. 16th Update: Random.org generated #2 & #5. Both winners have been contacted and their books are on the way!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

an update.

i've thought over dozens of posts in the months since i last posted. sporadic moments i envisioned in word form. none of those blips led me to actually writing anything down. it seems i've taken on the attitiude that my memory will serve me well, and that those moments will be there when i'm ready to sit down and write.  living them out and having time to reflect on the full picture - summer -  was my priority this year. just be-ing.
now, we're well into the end of summer. i'm slowing down. i'm wanting to write. that's weird for me. so, here we go. let's start with a general outline of my life this summer.
  • Work: I had the opportunity to work a few different jobs this summer. It has suited my lifestyle and love of being involved in the arts, being outside and being creative perfectly. I have continued working with a national film organization that programs and hosts film festivals throughout the year. I have been working with them since 2008 and continue to work part-time during the film festivals. It's a joy to work with this bunch. Arts and culture are my home. Yay!  In addition to the festivals, which primarily run during the evenings, I have been working with a gardener again this spring, summer and fall. I have loved learning and executing amazing results with the team I was with. Having my hands in the dirt all day works for me, as it turns out. The satisfaction and creative fulfillment I took with me from each job well done and clients' reactions fueled me daily. So that's what I've been up to work-wise this summer and fall. 
  • Fun: I've taken on a project this summer organizing some art and collectibles from around the globe spanning over 90 years. These collectables are things a friend's family are ready to part with. This family originated in England, came to Canada and the dad/grandfather traveled globally with a major shoe company as the main shop designer and creative merchandiser. You can only imagine what I have seen, held, photographed, catalogued and googled. Amazing pieces of history, culture. It's a dream project that I am actually very behind on. I'm currently in the research phase; 175 objects is a lot of googling. My next step is to find out some additional info from the family on origin, the stories behind the objects. (Look at me using my university degree! Yahoo!) I'll be visiting some local dealers all Storage Wars style to authenticate and market to buyers.Very fun indeed. I'll be sure to share some of the objects and their stories as I get further into the research.
  • Vacation: We went to Portugal in August for 20 days. It was amazing, in so many ways. Being in Europe in the summer is fantastic. Getting to know my husband's family, and in turn my husband, was nothing but fulfilling and full of love. The days along the coast are long, hot and cool at night. The food fresh and prepared with love.The breezes off the water cool the tiled and shuttered cities down. No rain for 20 days. Days at the beach? 10 or 12? Days in the mountains, 3. Amazing, all of it. I have 900 pictures to go through. Once I have an edited version I will for sure be posting a slideshow here. So many stories. Stay tuned.
  • Pets: we have a new one. I know. The Bub went to the pet store for pet food (on my birthday) and came home with a girl kitten. That brings the grand total to 2 (old) dogs and 3 (young) cats, pushing us very close to 'Those People" status. The new kidden is already going outside and killing anything cute within a 1 house radius. Her total so far? This week? 1 mouse, 2 birds, a chipmunk and a this morning? a HUMMINGBIRD. The embodiment of beauty and wonderment in nature, left on my doorstep, chest open wide, eyes pinched shut, pointy beak bent back. I have dubbed May the devil kitten and she's not allowed out until the snow flies. I can't handle it. I don't even kill spiders. There we go. Pets. 
  • Creativity: my focus has been outside, on my gardens. I've been learning to prune and loving every second of it. Working on expanding and cleaning out my own gardens is a huge chore but I find the reward of seeing the final product so worth it.  I recently took a client's overgrown evergreen shrub that was going to be pulled out due to its overpowering state on the patio and made it a focal point by removing the overgrowth and pruning it back into a bonsai shape. It was like sculpting. I'm addicted. That being said, all the furniture fun, painting fun, DIY upcycle goodtime fun has been literally thrown to the side. My studio has become the storage room for a few months and OMG it's making me twitch. I'm looking forward to getting at reorganizing and purging a lot in there once the snow flies. For now, I might aim to get a few pieces I've promised people done and hopefully that will get me back on track creativity wise. I'm such an ebb and flow person. All or nothing. 
So that's a small glimpse into what i have been up to. I feel like I can now start to share some of the individual images and stories from my summer as I go forward into fall. That might be fun.

hope you are well,


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