Princess Margaret Lottery Showhome 2014: Brunch with Brian

Good Morning!

A few weeks ago I had a great opportunity to attend a great event on the opening day of the Princess Margaret Lottery showhome.  Brian Gluckstein, the man behind the design of the home, hosted a lovely blogger event called Brunch with Brian.  We were given an exclusive first look at the showhome guided by Brian himself, and got some great insights into how it all came together.

The house is located in a pretty neighbourhood in Oakville, Ontario, and this is what it looks like from the outside.

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We started with food (great way to start!), and the spread for the brunch was fabulous and beautifully displayed outside on the back patio.  Thankfully it was a beautiful day.

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Then we started the tour in the beautiful kitchen.  Sadly with all the food, drinks and people I didn’t get any great shots of it but it was amazing.  Lots of mixed metals, an island with a waterfall counter top, and giant oven.

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Below I’ll be sharing some of the highlights of the tour, not every room, but you can see the entire space over at the PM Lotto Site.  So, we started on the main floor and the first room to catch my eye was the 2-storey sun-room.  It has floor to ceiling windows and has a REAL tree planted in the corner. They had to install special heat in the cooling functions so the room isn’t constantly fogged up due to the condensation in winter.  A very cool feature space.

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The living room is one of the most calming spaces in the house.  I loved the colour palette of muted greens and creamy whites.  And the white marble fireplace mantel is gorgeous.

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Then we came to one of my favourite rooms in the house.  At first glace you might think, “Sure, it’s niiiice but what is so special about it?”  For that you have to look more closely at the wallpaper by Fromental, behind the table.  It is hand painted and hand-stitched! You just don’t see this kind of intricate handiwork anymore and I was is total awe of the skill and time it would take to create something like this.  You can see in the pictures below the kind of detail that went into this one panel.  Although it is extremely expensive (and so it should be considering the work that goes into it!), it is nice to know that there is still a market for the craftspeople who do this beautiful work.

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The first thing we came to when we went upstairs was the hallway. This area was originally slightly more narrow and would have just been an open space which was somewhat wasted.  But instead they added just a few inches on either side and were able to create a much more functional and usable  small office/library.  A great example of smart design.

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Another example of maximizing space was in this kids bedroom.   This bunkbed nook above the bed looks great and adds more sleeping space.  Very cool

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The nursery was really sweet and I loved the idea of the crib being located in the middle of the room.

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Brian always designs great bathrooms.  And the master bathroom is NO exception.  The vanity and mirrors in front of the mirror were an interesting change from the typical bathroom but make a huge amount of sense given that it’s where all the natural light is.  And the tub is to die for.

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Here is Brian explaining how the mirrors are mounted using a pair of curtain rods cut to size and mounted using shower curtain rod hardware to the ceiling and vanity and then the mirrors were mounted to the rods.  A pretty clever and inexpensive way to mount a mirror in a difficult location.

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In the basement the large family room boasted a huge gallery wall, simple modern lines and a cool travel & escape vibe.

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And for all of us creative blogger types, the addition of a craft room to this years show home was a BIG hit.

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As was the case last year, all the artwork was provided by Art Interiors, my favourite place to get art in the city.  You can read more about their philosophy in my post about their Festival of Smalls here.  I particularly loved the elephant in the nursery ensuite bathroom.

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Another thing I loved about this year’s house is that they made a point to design the new house around the old trees on the property rather than knocking them out to build bigger.  Sure, the new landscaping was beautiful, but there is just something about mature trees, don’t you think?

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Perhaps it was the guided tour, but think I liked this show house even more than last years’, and I really liked that one!  It had a much cozier feel to it.  You can see more photos of the rooms I didn’t take pictures of here, and see the source guide, here.

Ok, brace yourself.  While at the brunch, they organizers took video of some of us talking about our favourite room in the house.  And I did it.  Yes friends, I am officially making my Vlogging debut today on the blog.  I  loved lots of rooms in the house but the wallpaper in the living room was a standout feature for me, putting it over the edge.

I watched it once and that was enough.  Thank god for editing.

If you haven’t already got your PM Lottery ticket yet, you should!  Aside from this house there are a TON of other amazing prizes.  And it’s for a great cause!

Have a great day!

XO,

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A Feminine New Orleans Home

Good Morning!

I have a tendency to decorate with a feminine flair.  I like pinks and mauves, pastels and the occasional floral. And as a single gal, I just can. No need to compromise by adding some masculine pieces, unless I want to. Now, I suppose this means I’ll have to add to my list of dating requirements “can tolerate pink”. And with the success I’m having in the dating department, I really don’t need to be adding MORE things to that list. However, when you see this feminine New Orleans home designed by Hal Williamson, which is full of gorgeous girly details, you will understand what I mean.

via House Beautiful photos by John Kernick

Every room is a beautiful calming space.  You can see more from this lovely space over at House Beautiful website.

On a side note, I hope that all my Canadian friends and family had a great Thanksgiving weekend! I certainly did.  Even though we should be thinking about how grateful we are everyday, it’s nice to have a holiday set aside just for thankfulness.

XO,

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Fashion Friday: High-Low Draped Fall Coat

Good Afternoon!

It’s a beautiful fall day in Toronto, and we’re on the verge of the Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend and there is lots to be thankful for.  For today’s Fashion Friday I’m looking at draped fall coats.  I need a fall coat and, for a long time I was set on investing in a trench coat. But I have changed my mind for 2 reasons: my boobs.  It seems that no matter what brand I try on, the trenches are too tight across my chest, but if I go up a size the rest of the coat is swimming on me.  I have decided it’s just not the best coat for me and I’m moving on….to, you guessed it, draped front coats.  I’ve sharing some very expensive (and super gorgeous) versions as well as some excellent affordable (under $250) options for you today.

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Investment: Draped Fall Coat

 

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Affordable Draped Fall Coat

 

In the high category, I’m in love with the burgundy Burberry blanket coat in the bottom left.  But I have to say there are some fab options in the low category.  My personal faves are the grey-blue ombre one from BB Dakota and the mauve-pink one from ASOS.  Click on the photos above to see the details and prices for all of these coats from my Polyvore sets.
Have a great weekend!
XO,

Le Diner En Blanc Toronto 2014

Good Morning!

Today I’m exited to share with you an amazing event I attended about 3 weeks ago called Le Diner En Blanc®.  The concept is a chic all-white picnic held in a public space in the city. A congregation of people, food and fashion creating a magical atmosphere which is neutral in both decor (all-white) and space (public place).

Le Diner en Blanc Toronto

Participants only find out the location of the event about 2 hours before it starts. You have to wear all white, bring your own food, white dishware and table linens, and depending on the location, your own table and white chairs.  Given that this event is held in a public space, there are many “rules” of the evening which allow for it to come together quickly and efficiently. Here they are (from the Diner En Blanc Toronto website):

  • In order to participate, one must be invited by a participant from the previous year or get on the official website’s waiting list.
  • Once confirmed, the presence of each guest thus becomes mandatory, regardless of weather conditions, as the event is held regardless of weather conditions.
  • Seats are allotted on-site in a very specific manner.
  • Table seating is symmetrical with men seated on one side and women on the other.
  • Participants arrive and depart at the same time by chartered bus or organized public transportation.
  • Depart with one’s belongings, leftovers and trash, leaving the place as clean as it was upon arrival.

Sounds like a lot of work, I know, but let me tell you that a little bit of work from everyone results in something which is truly a visual masterpiece, as you will see.

But first a little history. This event originated 25 years ago in (no big surprise) Paris, France, when François Pasquier assembled just a few of his friends for an all-white picnic. It has grown rapidly over the years and today Paris’ Dîner en Blanc draws nearly 15,000 people.  It doesn’t hurt that Le Diner En Blanc® in Paris has been held in some of the most magical places like Versailles and under the Eiffel Tower.  The event has since expanded to dozens of other cities worldwide.  You can learn more about the event at Le Diner En Blanc® website.

The setting for Le Diner En Blanc Toronto this year was Echo Beach at Ontario Place, which was a fabulous location because it has such a stunning view of the City.

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Now, I was lucky enough to get media tickets from a blog who wasn’t able to attend (thank you Girls on Bloor!) which meant that I didn’t have to bring all my own food and wine. As mentioned above, all attendees arrive and depart together, but because media could  arrive a little earlier than the crowd I was able to take this awesome photo of the city with just a few of the organizers/volunteers dressed in white in the foreground.

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Being there early also meant I got to take some great photos of the 1500 people arriving and setting up. Yes I said 1500.  And considering the numbers it took very little time to get everyone in place!!

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Adding to the beauty of the setting were ballerinas dancing near the entrance for the attendees to enjoy on their way in.

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The dinner is officially started with the waving of white napkins. And then people get down to eating, drinking and generally having a good time. There was a band that kept everyone entertained white they ate by candlelight, and a dance floor for post-Diner fun.

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I will apologize now for the quality of my pictures after this point.  I only had my iPhone with me for the event (still deciding which camera to invest in since I lost my mine) so the night-time pictures are less than stellar. But even had I had an amazing camera with me, I think it would be hard to really comprehend the beauty of this event just looking at pictures, without experiencing it in person.

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At the end of the evening everyone was given a large sparkler and the sea of white around me slowly turned into a sea of white and fire.  Another ridiculously cool sight to behold.

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And as you can imagine, the fashion is to die for.  So many gorgeous ensembles.  And there were prizes for best dressed, so people had a vested interest in looking fabulous. When the woman in the picture below walked in I said to myself, she is soo the winner for best-dressed.

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But as it turned out, she was actually the JUDGE for best dressed contest so she wasn’t eligible.  But she most certainly looked the part. I loved the fur, fascinator and her dress was absolutely gorgeous.

The woman below MADE her fabulous mask she is wearing….the detail is just amazing.

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But ultimately best dressed went to this woman, with her classic sophisticated look and beautiful fascinator.  You can see both the male and female best-dressed and other Diner en Blanc style on the Got-Style blog. 

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This is the only picture I have showing what I wore, taken unbeknownst to me by my friend Monisa who was my +1 for the festivities.  And given the weird things I do with my face when I know I’m being photographed, it’s probably better I didn’t know.

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It was really amazing to part of this event and was for sure one of the many highlights for 2014.  You can see more reviews and photos of the event at Best of Toronto, Toronto Life and Got Style blogs.  I’m definitely getting myself on the waiting list for the next one…..I’ve already started planning about my outfit!

XO,

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Convert It: The Darling Foundry, Montreal

Good Morning!

As some of you know I spent the Labour day long weekend with some of my girlfriends in Montreal.  Lots of food, wine and fun in a great city. Such a great city especially the beautiful Old Montreal. In today’s Convert It post, I’m highlighting an adaptive reuse project in…you guessed it….Montreal! It’s the Darling Foundry buildings.

The Darling Foundry buildings were constructed between 1880 and 1909 by the Darling Brothers for their large metal works operations in Griffintown.  At one time, this foundry was the second most important foundry of Montreal, with more than more than 100,000 ft2 of space. The Darling got its nickname, “the snake,” from the elaborate rooftop ventilation system visible to passersby. The Darling Foundry continued to prosper until 1971, when it was sold to Pumps and Softerner.  The building remained in operation until 1991 and was then was abandoned for 10 years.  The group Quartier Ephémère, which was founded in the early 1990’s, stepped in and raised funds to create a compound of art galleries, artist studio’s and workshops in the old foundry.

Photo by Lori Zimmer via Inhabitat

The first phase which included Quartier Éphémère’s offices, and the two public exhibition galleries opened in 2002 and was designed by 02, and was conceived by the architects In Situ (www.insitu.qc.ca). Phase 2, which houses artists  studios and workshops was designed by  the environmental architectural firm, “L’Œuf.

“Courte-Pointe” the visually bold installation at the entrance to the Foundry is by Philippe Allard and Justin Duchesneau, and is made from milk crates.

You can also rent out some of the space including the main hall shown below.  What a cool space for an event!

They also have an artist’s in residence program so artists from all over the world can come and create beautiful art at the Foundry.

 

Except where specified, all photos via Darling Foundry Page

On top of this being a really cool reuse of old buildings and preservation of the industrial history of Montreal, Quartier Éphémère’s vision for this place as a way to support and promote art in Montreal is pretty awesome.

XO,

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Weekend: Etsy, Imaginary Boyfriends, my Bro & the Blue Jays

Good Morning!

Although I had hoped to get this posted yesterday, this morning I’ve got a little summary of my weekend which was unexpectedly busy, but in a good way. My brother Blake ended up being here for the weekend as he is attending a course in the GTA this week, so we got a little impromptu sibling time which was great! Although he has been to Toronto many times, he hasn’t been since he was a kid, and this is actually his first visit to Toronto since I’ve lived here, so kind of a big deal.

On Saturday, we did lots of walking around and, although it’s not exactly his thing, my bro was nice enough to go with me to the Etsy Made in Canada pop-up Market at the Mars building.  It was packed, so it was a little hard to see everything but I did get to see my friend (and hair colourist!) Lauren at her booth with her stunning jewelry line called Her Pretty Bird.  Her Etsy shop is undergoing a revamp at the moment but if you want to check out some of her work head to this giveaway post I did last year. I’m loving all the brass and pyrite pieces she has right now…..

Her Pretty Bird Etsy Pop-up

I also purchased this little cloth container from Kempton Jones.  Sure, it’s a cute container with a cool graphic but the amazing part is that this is a digital print of an ACTUAL sound wave! This one is the sound of someone drinking (slurping) coffee, but she had tons of others, like the sound waves of purring cats, cooking bacon and popping popcorn.  I so love innovative ideas. She has various fabric items to choose from like small makeup pouches, tea towels as well as containers like mine below.  You should check our her shop Kempton Jones, here.

Kempton Jones Etsy Market

Then my (imaginary) boyfriend, Seth Meyers (former of SNL and most recently his late night gig), was in town for Just for Laughs, so I obviously had to go see his show. So. Freakin’. Funny. I mean I knew he’d be funny but I was literally laughing for the entire time he was on.  The only weird part of the night was that my so-called boyfriend didn’t get me complimentary front row tickets.  I think he might be seeing (marrying) other people.  Le Sigh.

3517876246_31406a3bf0_b Photo by: Jeremiah Wong via Flickr Creative Common,   Licence here

Then on Sunday my brother and I hit up the last Blue Jays game of the season.  Sadly they lost, but it was a gorgeous day at the Rogers Centre.  A perfect day to take in a ballgame.

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All in all a pretty great time.  How did you enjoy the lovely weekend we had?

XO,

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Fall Outfits in Aubergine & Cream

Good Morning!

The temperatures here in Toronto are dropping and it’s really beginning to feel like fall.  And I’m actually OK with it. Sure, I miss the hazy days of summer, but I enjoy being outside with a couple of extra layers and a nip in the air. I’m just hoping this doesn’t mean an early winter. Today I’ve put together fall outfits in aubergine and cream.  I’m definitely not 100% ready for the deep and dark palettes of winter, but I love all the deep purples and reds that come out in the fall.  So, to keep it fresh and light I paired the aubergine with cream.  And I’ve put together both a casual and dressy look in this lovely colour palette.

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 Of course, my favourite item is the Burberry cape. My mother has always said I have a knack for picking the most expensive thing in a store.  Sadly, this one is not in my budget.  But perhaps someday! You can find info on all the items and where to buy them here.
Do you have some favourite fall outfits or colour combinations?
XO,

Blogpodium 2014 Recap: 4 years later

Good Morning!

I finally got my Blogpodium 2014 recap written! Yea, me!  First of all, I had a great time at Blogpodium , I always do.  I was using my iPhone for photos that day, and the venue was a bit dark, so needless to say this post is going to be Texty McTexterson so bear with me.  After this Blogpodium was all said and done, I definitely had lots of thoughts about blogging in general, which I will get to later, but first I want to share some of my highlights.

I loved the keynote speech by Donna from Funky Junk Interiors.  It had humour, passion, and grit.  She drew us in with her story, which really showed us how she got where she is today.  She did give us some tips and hints but it was her story of perseverance that made us all relate to her and it really set a great tone for the day.  I loved the picture she posted talking about people’s reactions when you tell them you are a blogger….

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Now, I have been blogging for over four years and generally haven’t really paid much attention to the numbers.  Recently, I have been trying to figure out traffic, the best ways to improved my google rank, and other techie things, and well, it been frustrating.  So this year, I decided to nerd it up and focus on the technical sessions. I went to 2 sessions.  One by Nicki Lamont on Essential SEO and one by Avery Swartz from Camp Tech on Google Analytics.  Both were really, really helpful and I left with a much better of a grasp on all those crazy blogging metrics.  And can I tell you how much I love Camp Tech?  Seriously.  They had a nerd station at Blogpodium where bloggers could ask questions and get specific help for their own blogs.  As you can see from the photo below, they were pretty busy all day!  Also they have the best tag line ever.

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And I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the panel discussion with Jen Flores, Scott McGillivray and Monika Hibbs.  I knew Jen would be great….obviously she has the finger on the pulse of bloggers.  But I’ll be honest, although I enjoy both Scott’s shows and Monika’s blog, I went into the session wondering what exactly they would bring to the table that would be applicable to the average blogger.  Well, I will tell you I was really impressed with both of them.  They told their stories which were very interesting in their own ways and also they provided good advice on career paths. And they both had a huge amount of drive, which resonated with me.  What I took from that discussion was be true to yourself, make a plan and then go get what you want.

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Another great thing that I always love about Blogpodium is seeing all the bloggers I don’t see in real life often enough.  This year I was so happy to have my friend Sarah of More than Denim, staying with me for her first blog conference.  Sarah is a Canadian blogger over at More than Denim, who just recently moved back to Halifax from the US and is excited to get tapped into the Canadian blogging scene. Check it out for some fabulous fashion and food posts.

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Now on to the more introspective stuff. I have been attending blog conference since before I had an probably had any right to do so. I’ve been to all four Blogpodiums and I also attended Alt Summit in Salt Lake City in 2012.  Looking back, I will say that for the first 2 Blogpodiums and Alt, I KNEW NOTHING. I learned a lot but maybe not a lot that applied to me directly since my blog was so small and newer at the time.  Now, that being said, my blog isn’t much bigger now than it was then, but I would like to think it’s slightly more sophisticated. I certainly would say that the last 2 Blogpodiums were the most rewarding. but also very different. Last year, I left feeling super inspired and motivated. For me it was about the relationships and connections, but looking back I didn’t leave with a huge amount of tangible information to actually apply on my blog.  This year, however, while I didn’t leave with a sense of euphoric blog bliss, I learned a ton and left with so much information that I could put into action right away.  It wasn’t better or worse than last year, just different.  But I think maybe that is the evolution of attending blog conferences.  Every experience is unique and speaks to you differently.

Now, it’s no secret that the word on the street is that that blogging as we know is dying. Readership is down, comments are down, major publications in the US are shutting down blogs.  And for sure, all that may indicate a significant change to blogging.  The next big thing may take blogging in a whole new direction.  Big changes. But just because something is changing it doesn’t mean it’s dying.

And I think something is missing from this conversation and that is that people don’t ever get tired from hearing stories. About a month ago I read great post written by by Erin Loechner over at Design for Mankind titled Blogging, Now  that was posted back in August and talked about the state of blogging.  I think Erin’s take on the topic is bang on.  I would encourage you all to take a read of the entire thing but I want to share with you a quote from the end of that post…..

“Blogging won’t die, because it was never truly alive. The stories, the voices – that’s where the heart beats. And storytelling, friends, is forever.” – Erin Loechner, Design for Mankind

Truth. Look at my Blogpodium highlights above. Do Donna and I have the same aesthetic?  No. Do I love every single project she does?  Not necessarily.  But I still loved her keynote and love how she writes on her blog. Why? Because she is genuine, tells a story and I connect with that in some way.  And then, Scott and Monika, two people that I didn’t anticipate taking much away from who really surprised me, and why?  Because they told their stories before they launched into the advice. I understood where they were coming from.  Genuine stories make all the difference. Isn’t that how blogging started?  It doesn’t matter what a post is about or how short it might be, if you there is a reflection of you and your story weaved in there in even the smallest way, someone is likely to enjoy it.

And I’m off my officially getting down off my soapbox. (*Drop Mic)

XO,

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Last Week’s Loves: September 15th to 21st, 2014

Good Morning!

The last 2 weeks have been busy. There was Blogpodium, the Upcycle Challenge at the Fall Home Show, a blogger brunch with Brian Gluckstein at the Princess Margaret showhouse in Oakville, Diner en Blanc and the Habitat for Humanity Women’s build!  Hectic, but fun.  I eventually am going to get a chance to blog about some of these events but for today I am sharing my Last Week’s Loves.

Did you know you can rent Kirsten Dunst’s apartment in New York?  I learned this from this post from Escapade.  And what a lovely apartment it is.  It better be for $12,000 per month.

Over at Camille Styles, Tara Thompson Rasmus shares some easy fall makeup updates.  Like swapping out powder blush for cheek stain…

Design Sponge did a round-up of cool DIY stair runner ideas……like these super cool ombre stairs.  A great way to add interest to your stairwell.

This is glamourous featured the Oscar de la Renta Spring 2015 ready to wear collection.  It is gorgeous. Do head over and check out the rest of the amazing pieces.

And that is all I have for today. Haven’t had a much time to get caught up on my blog reading over the past couple of weeks but I hope to have a bit more time this coming week.  Have a great week!

XO,

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DIY Lighting Round-up and Giveaway Results

Good Morning!

Before I get to the DIY lighting round-up, I would like to apologize for not announcing the giveaway results yesterday as planned. Sadly,  my computer was on the fritz which I hope doesn’t mean I have to replace it!  It seems to running alright now so here are the results!  There was only one entry so there was no need to use Random.org…..and that lucky entry is Stephanie!  Congrats!  I’ll be sending you an email to let you know how to get your tickets!

And while we are on the topic of the home show, I urge you take a minute to check out the amazing lineup of Fall Home Show Upcycle Challenge entries (including my lighting project ) here and of course I would love it if you could cast vote for lamp (blog post about it here) .  And if you are at the show you can actually take one of these amazing pieces home, as they are going to be up for auction with ALL proceeds going to Habitat for Humanity GTA.  Love that organization, and equally love that I can be a part of helping them do their good work!

Now, back to today’s topic.  Ever since I completed my upcycle challenge project, I have been kind of obsessed with DIY lighting.  I am definitely going to tackle another point at some point, and wow, there is a ton of inspiration about there.  Today I’ve rounded up some great DIY lighting projects from around the web to share with you.

Love this golden light bulb number from Brit & Co!

For a more industrial look you can go with this rustic chandelier DIY from Black Oak Studios.

Although perhaps not ideal for a room where you need bright clear lighting, this gorgeous pendant DIY from Emmmy Lizzzy made from doilies is beautiful and gives off a lovely glow.

I love this DIY pendant lamp from The Hunted Interior made from a thrifted brass bowl.

Although this DIY beaded chandelier from Gus and Lulu would be time-consuming, similar lamps can cost $500 or more in a store!  And this one looks pretty damn close to the real thing.

And how about this super cool Copper Pipe Wall Sconce created by Claire Zinnecker which she shared on Camille Styles!

Pretty damn cool, right?  People are just so creative!  Another DIY lighting project is definitely in my future.  Have you ever tackled a lighting project?

XO,

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