Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Nightly Musings...

photo: Square America.com

I love evenings. I always have. I love the process of readying my home for the evening - closing blinds, turning down my children's beds (which, yes, I still do!), putting that last load of clothes in the dryer, and pouring myself a cup of tea...my version of a nightcap. I also enjoy turning on the "night lights" scattered throughout my home - the star light that hangs in my foyer and subtly illuminates through the window of my porch, the simple candle lights in my living room window, and Sophie's chandelier, that hangs above her window seat in her bedroom. I love the coziness of such lighting, and resent bright lights intruding upon the relaxation which I so covet by the end of each day.

The only thing I will miss about the winter and its shorter, colder evenings is the way it draws our family together by default. We gather in front of the fire - the boys stretched out before it like cats - watch a bit of television and wind down as a unit...coming together after a busy day spent juggling our collective pursuits and responsibilities. The summer, in comparison, sees us scatter after dinner, and we have to drag the kids inside and ourselves away from outside jobs. The days are longer in every way, and you can always find me watering flowers, tidying up the yard, winding up hoses, basically all of the things that my kids should also be doing. It seems that they take the carefree days of summer literally and tidying the exterior is not high on their list of priorities. I am the family "crazy lady" who needs to relax and let sleeping bikes lie. Guilty as charged...

Hectic evenings or not, I am so looking forward to flopping onto my porch swing, glass of wine in hand (to replace my cup of tea!), and watching my kids squeeze every last minute of daylight from a summer's day. Flickering lanterns and dancing flames from our copper fire bowl become my new nightlights, and gazing at the stars replaces our favourite television shows...because we all know there is no good t.v. in the summertime.

And so I am ready...ready for a new kind of nightlife. Bring it on!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Do Something That Makes You Smile

I am a firm believer that every day you should do a little something that makes you smile. If I am happy there is more of me to give to my family and others. But, sometimes, in an effort to do things that make me smile I fall into a rut. Am I the only person who does this? Let me give you a personal example. I find it very easy to decorate the more public areas of my home. That makes me smile. But, every morning I wake up in a bland and cluttered bedroom. In my rut I think nothing of this---my thoughts are, "I spend most of my time in that room with my eyes closed, so it doesn't matter." But in reality it DOES matter. This is something in my life that isn't consistent with what I desire for myself and my family. And because of that, my life feels out of balance. So, this weekend I tackled the task of finding balance, as well as doing something that makes me smile. In the midst of organizing my office closet, I began another task (can you say, "Attention Deficit"?). I decided to take one corner of my bedroom and do just a little something that would make me smile. I didn't run out and buy a lot of stuff. I used what I had. I used my trusty black spray paint to update the two shelves. And I treated myself and my hubby to some inexpensive fresh flowers. Now I have something that makes me smile every time I walk by.What little thing can you do today to get you out of a rut and make you smile? It doesn't have to be decorating your house, maybe it's just adding a little something extra to your recipe for dinner tonight. Or lighting that beautiful candle you've been saving all these months. Or how about wearing fancy earrings while you're cleaning the toilet? Go ahead! Do something that makes you smile!

OH! another thing that makes me smile....reading all the comments you left on my giveaway post. You are all so sweet!
And now I'm really smiling because I get to announce the winners....
PRIZE A- the burlap monogram goes to Tammy at Tinsel & Co.
PRIZE B- the chalkboard was won by Carlie at The Bird Nest
PRIZE C- CJ's Mommy*Kimberly gets her choice of two prizes
Ladies, send me an email at joysofhome@gmail.com. I need your color choices and addresses.

I really wish I could have made a prize for each and every one of you! My hubby says that's because I'm Obsessive Compulsive. Oh my! I'm ADD and OCD---no wonder I have to find something to make me smile every day!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Easterly Winds Blowing Through...

After the stop/start of our spring this year, I have been less than inspired to decorate for spring this year. While the softer colours throughout my home supports the pastels of Easter, I have found myself to be quite resistant to bringing out my decorations when snow still carpets the landscape around me. In fact, it feels a bit silly to think flowers and chicks when nothing is there to support their survival...
Enter my eight year old daughter. She cares not about my seasonal reservations; in fact, she fairly insists on scattering eggs and displaying bunnies throughout the corners of our home. Who am I to argue? So, on Friday I half-heartedly decorated for Easter, and I must admit - a little Easter goes a long way to inspire feelings of spring. Now, let's hope it is enough good karma to keep the persistent snow at bay...!!!

What about you? Do you decorate for Easter??

A Winner!!

It turns out a whole lot of you love a good chandelier! Without further adieu (because it is a seriously beautiful day here and I'm going out in it!).............. the winner of the chandelier decal is......Gina, from An Unpink Life.

Don't forget: if anyone else wants a chandelier decal, check out Wilson Graphics and treat yourself to one!!

Hope everyone's having a great weekend!!!!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Four Seasons Condo For A Great Price $1,175,000

Four Seasons Condo at 1425 Brickell Ave. For Sale
Four Seasons Condo at 1425 Brickell Ave. For Sale $1,175,000

There is a great deal on a 2 bedrooms condo in the Four Seasons, one of Miami’s finest residences, and the tallest residential tower south of New York City. Standing 70 stories high, the Four Seasons Millennium Towers caters to those who demand the highest quality, as well as a luxury lifestyle.

The wonderful 2 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms apartment (
see virtual tour), features floor to ceiling high impact glass, hurricane proof windows, and absolutely amazing views of the city and bay. Located on the 48th floor, unit 48C is on the market for sale, for an asking price of $1,175,000, after just being reduced from $1,300,000.

The sought after corner unit is equipped with top of the line appliances, such as a Miele stove top and oven, and a Sub-Zero refrigerator. The luxury condo is finished with marble floors.

Nest Eggs

This year I'm on a quest to change up my existing decorations for little to no money. I've had these little egg candle holders for years. They're sweet, but I thought with the help of some styrofoam, moss and a hot glue gun they could become spectacular.I just glued the moss around the foam to make it look like a little nest.Then I took it one step further and plopped them on top of a candle holder.My little nested eggs now get the attention they deserve among my other Easter decor.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Treasured Storage

I am elbow deep in a storage overhaul. Our office/computer room was originally a bedroom. It had a closet with one shelf and a rod---not the ideal set-up for storing office and craft supplies. Up until last week we used this make-shift system of metal shelves and plastic bins (currently sitting in the hall). The shelves are so far apart that we (okay, I) would pile things one on top of another. It was hazardous to come near the closet, let alone open the doors and search for something. You think I'm kidding? When I asked one son to clean the room, he backed a chair up to the closet in effort to barricade anyone from getting close to opening the doors.
Finally I'd had enough and this closet moved to priority status on the to-do list. Here's what it looks like now.
I've been organizing the big supplies using my grocery boxes.For the little things, I've decided to nix the plastic bins and use some of the treasures I've gathered while thrifting.
My office tags look pretty in this wire basket.
The school teacher in me HAD to buy this this vintage school tote when I saw it. Now my scissors look so pretty and organized. My husband rolled his eyes when I brought home this restaurant condiment tray. But, it's perfect for organizing all those little office supplies.I still have some work to do, but it's a lot more fun to organize with my thrift store treasures.

Chandelier Anyone?

It sure has been a long time since my last give-away...

Because I have the BEST readers and blogging friends EVER, I figured it was about time I did another. Remember the post I did about Wilson Graphics? Well, they sent me a chandelier decal which I am offering as a give-away prize. You know the rules: leave a comment to enter, and for a second entry, mention this give-away on your blog. It's that easy.
Who doesn't love a chandelier??

Spring is Sprung!

Thank you for your wonderful comments and emails regarding our feature in the magazine. It has been such an amazing month and so many lovely things have been happening. Also, for the most part, the weather has been glorious (let's not count this week!) and I thought I would share these beautiful images with you.
A host of golden daffodils...

...and blossom in the lane.

We also had a winner of our prize draw,

such a lovely lady who I know will enjoy sharing the hamper with her family.

Thank you to everyone who has waited patiently for their mugs and mouse mats - you'll be pleased to hear that stocks of these have now been fully replenished! Due to our recent, successful buying trips we have masses of gorgeous vintage stock which we are adding to the website as fast as we can! In particular, we have a huge amount of exceptional textiles which I must admit I will find it difficult to part with!

This bedspread is a riot of fifties florals and one of my favourites - oh those gorgeous roses, poppies and peonies!

Hope you all enjoy the photos - back soon...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Read All About It

Oh My, Oh My!
There were Four Hundred and Seventy comments
on the giveaway!

Thanks so much for entering!
I'm going to find the three lucky winners the old fashioned way---
I'll be pulling them out of a hat.
The winners will be announced on Monday.

I have some exciting news!
I was interviewed by
Decor-Medley Blog.
I was asked some really
great questions.
Go here to read the interview.

How 'bout a round of applause?

If you haven't visited the Moggit girls before, you are seriously missing out. I woke up on the grumpy side of the bed, but I'm grumpy no more! Check out this insanely funny series of posts, entitled, Diva Speak, and be prepared to laugh, chuckle, hoot, whoop, snort, guffaw, and giggle in delight, agreement, and disbelief. And while you're there, check out the rest of their site. Puts the decorating world in a great perspective, in my opinion...I just hope I never see my home on there!!

Very Entertaining.

Go on and take a bow, ladies...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

From spring to snow...

When life hands you snow...
...make snow cones!!!!!!!

Made with (ahem) all natural, freshly-fallen snow. And yes, I have been known to eat a little snow myself.

Because I'm wild like that...
I guess that's what I get for ushering in spring too heartily!

Miami Luxury Homes - Why Don't They Sell?

Miami home for sale Luxury homes in the hundreds, line the greater Miami Beach community, which stretches from South Beach (1st and Ocean Drive) all the way through Bal Harbour (96th through 102nd St.), and is one of the nicest areas in all of South Florida; the real estate in this area is very desirable. So why aren’t luxury homes selling? Is it the economy? It is partially the economy, but homeowners, as well as realtors, are also somewhat responsible.

Miami Beach is an area with some of the most desirable luxury homes in Florida, and although the economy is in a big mess, with so very many foreclosures, luxury homeowners have not been as hard hit as many others, whose homes are valued at far lower prices. Nevertheless, sellers continue to list their homes with realtors, at inflated prices, which they cannot possibly hope to obtain. Many realtors, in their zest to secure a listing on a luxury property, will often list at almost any price that the seller dictates.

These actions hurt everyone. Sellers truly believe that the realtor they have chosen to work with would not be willing to take on a property, which they will not be able to sell, but agents don’t want to lose the listing to other agents who will market the property at a higher price, so they take the listing. The unfortunate result is that luxury homes have flooded the Miami market place at inflated prices, and sales are few and far between.

Most people prefer fact to fiction. There are some facts that sellers of residential real estate in Miami should know. For example, according to the Southeast Florida multiple listing service, there are presently 266 residential waterfront properties listed for sale in the greater Miami Beach area. Since January 1st of this year, there have been only 6 closings of listed waterfront homes, and 9 waterfront homes are presently listed as pending sales.

Homeowners, who hope to sell their property, are going to have to come to grips with the reality of the present, something that can sometimes be very difficult to accept. They must be either willing to market their homes at prices that will bring in buyers, or they really ought to take their homes off of the market altogether. Realtors, too, have to be a lot more determined, and must educate homeowners, and make them aware of actual market value, without fear of losing their client.

Hoppy Hoilday

Don't you just love holiday decorating? It's so exciting to unpack items that you haven't seen for a year. As I pull out each decoration I try to think of a new way to display it. I want my home to look different than it did the previous year. I like the challenge of changing, improving, and doing something new using the same old decorations. There's no need to buy new things every year when you can make the old items appear new.
Here's a picture of my mantle at Easter last year.This year I challenged myself to use pairs of items
in an asymmetrical
This is my Easter mantle decor today.
Today is the LAST day to enter the giveaway.
Scroll down to Friday's post.
Remember Only One Comment and Only One Choice.

Sea of White...

White, cream, vanilla, bone, custard...layering shades of white in a space can be one of the most difficult things to get right. I should know. I am in the process of a kitchen project that has evolved into a bit of a "white room". Possessing a tiny footprint, I want the room to feel as though the walls are easing back to make more space for all that needs to fill it. I initially thought I wanted a soft butter shade one the wall, but decided I had painted enough yellow kitchens in my lifetime; so I settled instead on a shade called Slipcover (from the Canadian Home and Country series, made by Beauti-Tone paint, a Canadian company). It still has a hint of yellow making its presence known, but I think I'm okay with that.

The issue I am having with the Slipcover shade, is whether or not it is a non-colour. Non-colours (my word for them) are different than neutrals. Neutral shades are like the quietly supportive spouse of their flashier partners. They look good, but take nothing away from the other components of the room. They complement, rather than distract. Non-colours, on the other hand, add nothing - and are potentially boring, while draining valuable energy from a room. I am still undecided if I have saddled myself with such a colour...

The kitchen cabinets are also a shade of white called Nearly White (same company), which offers up a hint of warmth and is a great alternative to painting cabinetry a bright white. The appliances are also white, and I have selected a faux tin backsplash that is also in a bright, creamy shade of, you guessed it, white. The counter-top has not yet been selected, but it will definitely have to work well in this sea of white. The floors will be offer a nice balance, as they will be a dark wood laminate. Accessories will be how I will introduce some fun and colour, but this experiment with white and all its shades, is turning out to be both a fun and hand-wringing experience. Luckily, the client is me (but not my kitchen...I will explain more, later) and the photographic evidence will have to wait until everything comes together.

Enjoy these all-white kitchens (all from House to Home.com), and let me know if you have pulled together all-white spaces, and the challenges you encountered in doing so.


Meanwhile, here is a quick list of some designers' and decorators' favourite white shades:

Pointing (2003), Farrow and Ball House White (2012), Farrow and Ball
Cloud White, Benjamin Moore
Atrium White I-79, Benjamin Moore
Natural Wicker, Benjamin Moore
White Dove, Benjamin Moore
Soaker's Tub (P5223-24), Para Paints
Decorator White (ND039), Beauti-Tone (Canadian)
Nearly White, Beauti-Tone
Dover White (SW6385), Sherwin Williams
Crumb Cookie (217-1), Pittsburgh Paints

*What is your favourite shade of white?*

Monday, March 23, 2009

Toting A Design

Look at the beauty that
I've been enjoying all weekend!

A local grocery store sells these wonderful cardboard totes. It's their effort to reduce the use of plastic grocery bags. When I saw them I knew they would be coming home with me. I planned to use them for something other than my groceries. I thought they would make fabulous organizing/storage containers. I've always loved a good cardboard box! There was only one problem, how to hide the store's logo.A little bit of pretty wrapping paper and some spray adhesive and now they look like a designer tote with a price tag of less than $1.50 each!
I must tell you a funny, yet humbling story. After taking the picture of this stack of totes, I left them sitting in my living room. You've read my blog so you have a good idea of what my living room looks like. I have layers of decorations! Yesterday my son had some friends from Russia come to visit. They sat there in a room filled with totes stacked neatly and collections and displays galore. After a while one of them asked my son, "Do you live in a store?" He chuckled and said, "No, my mom just likes to collect a lot of stuff."
Needless to say, I took time to appreciate and reflect upon my abundance, of not just decorations, but of home, freedom, and blessings.