Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Speaking of Bees

This bee post brings us slightly below the hairline… to the ears.  I read a little while ago that a study out of India correlated the decline in bees with the increase of cell phone usage.  It’s not to difficult to believe that the radio waves coming from mobile phones are disrupting bees’ navigational abilities. 

If more studies support this theory, I will have to think twice before making a call on my mobile.  I can’t imagine a world without bees (well, I don’t think there would be much of a living world!)

On a positive note, there is a chance that we can change the frequency of the radio waves so that they don’t impede the worker bees’ ability to find the hive. 


Via Flickr - Wolfpix

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Style forward, comb back

So on several of my periodic scans of the online NY Times Global edition, the right column kept on bombarding me with the new hairstyle…. the Beehive!  I couldn’t be happier, I have longed for the days when I could create ridiculous volume and still have it back and away from my face!  Besides I really loved the 50s and 60s.  Now if only I could learn how to make one that doesn’t look like Amy Winehouse!


Jennifer Lopez rocks it.

Katherine Heigl_

So does Katherine Heigl


And of course so does the NY Times Model

I seriously think I am going to go home and try this tonight… I’ll let you know how it goes, it will either be Mad Men here I come, or conditioner here I purchase…

Monday, September 20, 2010

Burlap Ready!

Did I mention that I am going to be a bridesmaid?  Well I am!  Now that I am back in the city, I’m really excited for the prep and planning, although it is less than a month away!  Today the bride to be and I went to go pick up the burlap we are going to use for the table centers, 42 yards!  I love the use of burlap in fall weddings, the material is so rustic and natural, and brings in a wonderful texture.  Together they will make the wedding venue a much more comfortable and homey feel!

 burlap-table-runner-diy_Photo by Carrie Patterson

Via Style me Pretty

 ruffleblog_com_Karen Moderchai

Via Ruffle Blog

Sabine Scherer


I have never been to a burlap ‘factory’ before and it smelt very farm like.  I wish I took pictures but it was great!  Burlap fluff everywhere and piles and piles of  wonderful burlap!  You also know that burlap is popular when Apple was considering using it :)


PS – if you are looking for Burlap in the Vancouver area Burnaby Bag and Burlap was very helpful and friendly!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Oldie but Goodie

It seems like I like my original blog template is the best.  Despite spending most of the morning trying to find another one, I have decided to return to my initial set up.  It is slightly different then before but the feeling is still the same.  Hopefully with my template back to normal and my newly downloaded windows live writer, I will actually blog more frequently.  I realized over dinner with my girlfriends on Sunday night, that I didn’t stop blogging because I didn’t have anything to write about, however I didn’t have the time or patience to spend hours editing the posts, and well that is just not a good enough reason to stop blogging!

So I have decided to give blogging one last try.  It’s not going to be a daily blog, but I will try and post weekly.  Post topics will be whatever my heart desires, and unfortunately not only discuss design, there will be more personal content and probably a lot more random thoughts!  I’m excited to have this new found freedom.  I hope that inspiration will flow more freely then it has in the past 6 months!!

So, welcome to the new Free Form. I hope you enjoy.

Sunrise in the Canadian North

Monday, September 13, 2010

Recipes to remember

So I might have spent most of the day watching cooking shows... And there were a lot of great recipes that I don't want to forget!! So here they are:

English Onion Soup - Jamie Oliver

· A good knob of butter
· Olive oil
· A good handful of fresh sage leaves, 8 leaves reserved for serving
· 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
· 5 red onions, peeled and sliced
· 3 large white onions, peeled and sliced
· 3 banana shallots, peeled and sliced
· 300g of leeks, trimmed, washed and sliced
· Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
· 2 litres of good-quality hot beef, chicken or vegetable stock
· 8 slices of good-quality stale bread, 2cm thick
· 200g freshly grated cheddar cheese
· Worcestershire sauce
Put the butter, 2 glugs of olive oil, the sage and garlic into a thick-bottomed, non-stick pan. Stir everything round and add the onions, shallots and leeks. Season with salt and pepper. Place a lid on the pan, leaving it slightly ajar, and cook slowly for 50 minutes, without colouring the vegetables too much. Remove the lid for the last 20 minutes - your onions will become soft and golden. Stir occasionally so that nothing catches on the bottom. Having the patience to cook the onions slowly, slowly, gives you an incredible sweetness and an awesome flavour, so don't be tempted to speed this bit up.

When your onions and leeks are lovely and silky, add the stock. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. You can skim any fat off the surface if you like, but I prefer to leave it because it adds good flavour.

Preheat the oven or grill to maximum. Toast your bread on both sides. Correct the seasoning of the soup. When it's perfect, ladle it into individual heatproof serving bowls and place them on a baking tray. Tear toasted bread over each bowl to fit it like a lid. Feel free to push and dunk the bread into the soup a bit. Sprinkle with some grated Cheddar and drizzle over a little Worcestershire sauce.

Dress your reserved sage leaves with some olive oil and place one on top of each slice of bread. Put the baking tray into the preheated oven or under the grill to melt the cheese until bubbling and golden. Keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn't burn! When the cheese is bubbling, very carefully lift out the tray and carry it to the table. Enjoy.
Balsamic Roasted Potatoes and Onions - Jamie Oliver

1.5kg medium-size waxy potatoes (such as Charlotte), peeled and quartered lengthways
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
200g butter, cubed
a bunch of fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
1 whole bulb of garlic, quartered or smashed
5 medium red onions, peeled and quartered
350ml cheap balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Put the potatoes into a pan of boiling, salted water and cook for about eight minutes, then drain and return to the pan. Chuff them up a bit by shaking the pan.
Get a roasting tray, into which you can fit the potatoes in one layer, and heat it on the hob. When hot, pour a glug of olive oil into it and add the butter, rosemary and garlic. Add the potatoes and toss them in all the flavours. Add the onions and all the balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Cook for five minutes on the hob to reduce the balsamic vinegar a little. Place the tray on the top shelf and cook for about 50 minutes, until the potatoes and onions are dark, sticky and crispy - removing the tray to toss the onions and potatoes halfway through. After an hour, the meat should be cooked. Prick it with a sharp knife - if the juices run clear, it's done; if not, pop it back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes, keeping the potatoes warm.

Salmon Cakes - Giada De Laurentiis
1 pound skinless salmon fillet (see Cook's Note)
Olive oil, for drizzling
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
large egg, beaten
1/3 cup (1/2-ounce) chopped fresh chives
26 saltine crackers, crushed, divided
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons mayonnaise, plus more, as needed
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup full-fat plain Greek yogurt
1 1/2 tablespoons capers, rinsed, drained and chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Salmon: Put a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Drizzle the salmon with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Grill until the flesh is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork, about 6 to 8 minutes on each side. Set aside to cool for 20 minutes.
Patties: Using a fork, flake the salmon into 1/2-inch pieces and put into a medium bowl. Add the egg, chives, 1/2 of the crushed crackers, the corn, mustard, mayonnaise, capers, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Mix gently until just combined. Form the mixture into 2 1/2-inch diameter patties, about 3/4 inches thick. (If the mixture is too dry to form into patties, add extra mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon at a time,) Carefully coat the patties in the remaining crushed crackers and refrigerate for 1 hour. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil and butter over medium heat. Add the patties and cook until golden and crispy, about 7 to 8 minutes each side. Drain on paper towels.
Sauce: In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, capers, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Arrange the salmon cakes on a platter and serve alongside the sauce.

Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Penne - Giada De Laurentiis

· Vegetable oil cooking spray
· 1 (2-pound) butternut or kombucha squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
· 1 onion, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
· Olive oil, for drizzling
· Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
· 1 pound penne pasta
· 1 cup (8 ounces) goat cheese, crumbled
· 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted (see Cook's Note)
· 1 packed cup chopped fresh basil leaves
· 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan

Put an oven rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet, liberally, with vegetable oil cooking spray. Set aside.
Mix the squash and onion together and arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bake for to 40 to 45 minutes until the vegetables are golden and cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
While the squash mixture is cooling, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 2 cups of the pasta water. Put the pasta, goat cheese and 1 cup of pasta water in a large serving bowl. Toss until the cheese has melted and forms a creamy sauce. Add the squash and onion mixture, the walnuts and the basil. Toss well and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with Parmesan and serve.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Photo a day for 2921 days

I've heard of the 365 project, where you take a photo each day... and I think it is great. My friend is doing it right now and I must say it is quite impressive, but to take a photo of yourself each day for 8 years. That takes dedication! Check it out!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Template Search

Over the next little while I'll be changing my blogger template... Going to try some new ones out and see how they fit. Please bare with me... Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

Today's is sail away.... What do you think?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Beauty I had to share

I have been on a complete hiatus from blogging. Very odd, especially after asking everyone how they blog everyday.... But for some reason I feel compelled to post at the moment. I have a long list of topics and thoughts that I would love to share with you, but am still at work and really need to get out of here... So I'll leave you with this beautiful image that, despite this hectic week, just stopped me in my tracks.

Morgan, in the Doorway, Facing Out by Lou O' Bedlam.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I heart Jamie Oliver

He had me at episode one. I didn't even search him out, he automatically came on after the show I was watching online was over. I was immediately drawn to the him and quickly emotionally invested.... In a TV show! His passion for fresh food and his desire to make a change is so inspirational. I'm currently inthralled in the 3rd episode as I write...

Images from Jamie Oliver website
I am going to head out and pick up one of Jamie's books... because in Jamie's words "fresh food, that's what it's all about, brotha"

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Saturdays are for....Spring Bulbs

A little spring cleaning this weekend.... and some spring planting planning. This book might just give me some ideas! If only I lived in the country and had a large garden... ha ha!

3-21-08 garden1.jpg

Friday, March 26, 2010

How do you do it?

Browsing my regular blogs I am constantly inspired by the continual creative posting and writing displayed. I always want to ask - how do you post everyday? How do you find inspiration? Despite every single one of the authors having active, lively and busy lives, they constantly coming up with new ideas, writing such beautiful verses, producing posts which I am certain takes a significant amount of time to compose. So I am looking for advice as to how you go about posting. Is it the first thing you do in the morning? Do you write several posts at once and then time them to come up every morning? Are you a night owl that ends their day with a bit of writing and self reflection before heading to bed? More importantly, do you ever sleep!?

As I am sure it is noticed, I am not a very consistent blogger, and I would like to improve on my less than sporadic posting tendencies. So I am looking for advice.


All of these images are from the series "Where we blog from" on Jane Flanagan's Blog I'll Seen, I'll Said. Jane, I must say, your words and images day after day are truly an inspiration. I am always blown away by how many splendid ideas you so eloquently discuss on your blog on a weekly basis.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Literature Display

Bookcases have been on my mind lately. It is probably because a) Ever since January I have been collecting books to fulfill my new years resolution to read more, b) currently my bookcase looks like a bomb went off, (I hope to spring clean it this weekend), and c) country has been on the mind lately and whenever I go to the country, I read... Coincidentally, some spectacular bookshelves have popped up online lately as well.... I am attracted to these four full wall bookshelves.

Airy and very fresh, from Design*Sponge's sneak a peak of Lyndsay Caleo and Fitzhugh Karol via Cup of Jo (I also love the wood beams on the ceiling)

Cozy and vintage from William Waldron via Desire to Inspire

Books at all heights designed by Bernstein & Audriulli via Desire to Inspire

Bright rustic shelves via skona hem and via coco & kelley

Dearest Kristin

A little pic for my cousin who just turned a whooping.... 2_ years old! (We don't look a day out of university!) xox Happy Birthday Kristin!
Professional photography by Kevin Long!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Relish the Rural

I've been itching for the country... farms, barns, cottages, you name it. Wide open spaces. Rooms that are weathered, worn, rustic, surrounded with wool, flannel, and denim. And when I stumbled over these images, I was quickly transported out of the noise and hustle of town into my peaceful country paradise. I'm sure I'll be revisiting this post often...

All images are from the lovely Desire to Inspire

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Concentrate on Kindness

I tend to get easily wrapped up in planning and organizing and making sure everything 'works out'. My brain is full of logistical maneuvers, checked boxes and timing alignments.... and sometimes in the wake of my planning torrent, people's emotions get bruised. I don't realize that I have hurt people until too late, leaving my heart strangled by remorse and with no actions left to change the damage I have done. When this happens (such as now) I am physically disabled by a tightness in my chest and pressure in my ears which stops me dead in my tracks. Try as I might to make excuses, it becomes painfully apparent that my haste to create action, or solicit decisions neglects the goal of all my planning and organizing: Creating times to enjoy and appreciate the people I love and cherish. Something that shouldn't really take too much planning and organization....

With the Olympics coming two days away, I, like many Vancouverites, need forget about the logistics of the games and embrace the spirit - that warm feeling right above my spleen that brings a tingle to my nose and extra fluid to my eyes. I need to remember that what you see and do during the games is just as important as who you see it with and your attitude towards the moment. I'm sure there are going to be many lineups, missed events and agitated people, but it will all will be better if we can remember to act with kindness and appreciation for who we are with what we are going to be a part of.

Via the Herald
(Go Canada Go.)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Not what it seems

I love the idea of masking appearances. When I say that I feel as if I am admitting to a horrible vice because masking appearances seems to hold such negative connotations. But deep down I don't think it is all that bad. Moreover, I believe that being honest about having layers of disguise is more honest than saying that one doesn't have any, because, let's be honest, we all have little secrets!
This week, on Design*Sponge, I saw two (here and here) wonderfully crafted masks, which I immediately feel in love with. Both are items that have been on the top of my brain as of recent and it seemed quite timely that I should stumble upon them now...
The first one is the BookBook sleeve from Twelve South. This computer sleeve looks like a vintage piece of literature, not an expensive laptop and is a lovely commentary on the evolution of visual communication. It's quite ironic that the definition of social status, source of all knowledge and highly regarded hard cover books of yesteryear, which were so carefully stored and revered are now being used as a disguise for today's truly sought after item, source of information, definition of social status, the MacBook. The suggestion that an 'old piece of literature' is a deterrent for thieves is probably making Shakespeare roll over in his grave and Steve Jobs break out in song. Needless to say, these merge old and new words quite perfectly in my mind and lend to a perfect masking of appearances, not to mention that they are beautifully crafted one of a kind items that I'm sure will spur many random discussions!

Via Design*Sponge and Hither and Thither

The second item is a DIY and expands on one of my most performed DIYs (this or something like it!). It's a hidden jewelry box which is perfect for me, with my adverse reaction to clutter, yet my desire to own more jewelry is a perfect merge. I think with this solution I can now have one of these in my room! Now to find the perfect frame and piece of art!

Via Design*Sponge

A quick follow up on my comment on loving masked appearances, what I really love the most about them is the slow unraveling of the truth, and the wonderful surprise once you find out what's below the mask! It's really that element of surprise that gets me every time! (I'm not a master of deception!)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Paper Bag It

Initially I didn't make any New Year's resolutions. I am pretty happy with things and didn't think I needed to change anything drastically. Since then, I realize I was on drugs and there is always room for improvement!

I have made two resolutions. To read more, and to pack a lunch.

Lunches require a bit of planning. I know that if I don't make a delicious lunch, it will be hard to motivate me to not go buy a wonderful freshly made sandwich. I have been looking around the office and taking notes of any trends from people who regularly bring their lunch, and this is what I have come up with.
  1. Left overs - this is by far the most popular lunch. Most of which are a one bowl type meals such as stirfrys, and pastas or rice.
  2. Assembling lunch at work - Especially with salads and sandwiches, people bring the ingredients but assemble them at lunch. This is great for me since I love tomatoes in my sandwiches, but can't handle soggy bread!
  3. Toasting the bread in your sandwich. I love this idea! BLT here I come!

I'll start the year off with a great recipe that I learned from James, and which is sure to make great lunch leftovers! (I just tried this last night and it was a smash hit! It wasn't as good as James' but it was a great start, and sitting in my lunch bag as we speak!)

Via Goodlife.Eats

Roasted Vegetable Pasta

Roast at 400 degrees F for 40 minutes:
Red, green and yellow peppers
Sun dried tomatoes in oil
Generous splash of oil from sun dried tomatoes

Cook pasta

With 10 minutes left add:
Artichoke Hearts

When vegetables are done, mix pasta and vegetables.
Add fresh basil, and some white (or red or balsamic) vinegar.
Optional: add capers, Parmesan cheese and other fresh herbs (I used oregano)
Season with pepper (you probably won’t need salt because of the oil from the sun dried tomatoes.)

Via Fresh from the Oven

(I planned to take pictures of the miracle that is me cooking, but a- I was concentrating on the cooking too much and forgot and b- it really didn't look half as good as these ones I found here and here !)

Friday, January 22, 2010

2010 has begun?

Wow, where have the past few months gone? My monthly to-dos, ten loves, easy eco Mondays and any resemblance to a post have completely gone by the wayside... My apologies for anyone who checks here on a somewhat regular basis.

I can't even tell you what I have been up to for the past little while. I would like to say that work has consumed my life, but that is really not a valid response since everyone is super busy with work, and its not like I have been working 80 hour weeks! So what has taken up my time? Well, I have pretty much gone activity wild, going skiing, and hiking and cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing and and biking and swimming whenever I've had a free moment. The weather this winter has been so nice (warm) and sunny (!!) that I couldn't bare to say no!

It all caught up with me in January when I feel ill with a nasty little cold that wouldn't go away. I am just now recovering from it, feeling my energy levels rebound ever so slowly!

Anyway, enough with the excuses, onto better, more exciting topics! The first one of 2010? New Years Resolution. To read more. I came across this list of 100 great books from the BBC. Apparently most people have only read 6 of the 100 books. I don't think I am much above that, so if I were to try and tackle this list, are there any book suggestions? (I've place an x next to the books I have read)

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling x (1/2)
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible –
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell x
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19. The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger x
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis x
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini x
38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres x
39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden x
40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown x
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery xxxx
47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding x
50. Atonement - Ian McEwan x
51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel x
52. Dune - Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night - Mark Haddon x
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett x (I think I have...)
74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses - James Joyce
76. The Inferno - Dante
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession - AS Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker x
84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87. Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom x
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94. Watership Down - Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare x
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl x
100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

I've only read 18 (or possibly 16 and 1/2). I do have 4-5 books on my shelf from this list. I think I will start with those!

New Year's Resolution # 2 will come tomorrow!