Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tis the Season .......

It's always fun for me decorating at this time of year. Here are a few photos of the store all decked out for Xmas. The color scheme this year is mainly white, silver and gold. Although I have done a small section of the store and a table setting in the traditional red and green but with a twist. I used lime green this year along with the darker green which I love.

Monday, November 10, 2008

"Whimsey Whites" /Eva Mundy's Beautiful Home

Now that I have my own store, I have been so fortunate to meet some really talented people. Eva Mundy is no exception. She is a local artist who does Mosaic work as well as other vintage inspired items such as Chandelier's, Candle Holders, Wall Plaques, Decorative Hooks and much more exclusively for resale in my store. But Eva is also an accomplished designer and decorator. She and her husband moved to Vancouver Island from Calgary, Alberta five years ago and settled in Duncan, B.C. a small city (about 1.5 hrs drive from Victoria). They purchased an old farm house which was in need of some real T.L.C.. This has been their passion for the past 5 years and what a fabulous job they have done (and are still doing). The last time I visited Eva I took some pictures as I wanted to post them on my blog so my readers could also see this beautiful inspirational home that really is the definition of (I hesitate to use the term "Shabby Chic" as I think this term is so over used) so I'm going to say "Elegant Chic". Enjoy!!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

My Maison....My Home

My customers are often asking me what my home looks like after seeing my store. So I thought I would post a few pictures of my home and style of decorating which is French Country. I love color but not on the walls. I keep my walls pretty neutral, except in the dining room which is a bright yellow and then add punches of color here and there by way of furnishings and accessories. I love the French Country style which to me is rustic elegance. It's casual, cozy and warm! Living Room...... Kitchen and Dining Room...
and some favorite accessories...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Canadian Thanksgiving!

In Canada Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in October. This year it will be celebrated on October 13th/08. Unlike the American tradition of remembering Pilgrims and settling in the New World, Canadians give thanks for a successful harvest. The harvest season falls earlier in Canada compared to the United States due to the simple fact that Canada is further north. During the American Revolution, Americans who remained loyal to England moved to Canada where they brought the customs and practices of the American Thanksgiving to Canada. There are many similarities between the two Thanksgivings such as the cornucopia and the pumpkin pie. Over the years many dates were used for Thanksgiving, the most popular was the 3rd Monday in October. After World War I, both Armistice Day and Thanksgiving were celebrated on the Monday of the week in which November 11th occurred. Ten years later, in 1931, the two days became separate holidays and Armistice Day was renamed Remembrance Day.Finally, on January 31st, 1957, Parliament proclaimed..."A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed ... to be observed on the 2nd Monday in October.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Vintage Inspired Seasonal Decorations

I love fall.....the crisp air and beautiful fall colors that nature has to offer. I always look forward to decorating at this time of the year. My sister got me hooked on Vintage Inspired Folk Art decorations. Especially the ones made from paper mache with just a touch of fine glass glitter. Artists such as Dee Foust, Wendy Addison and Teena Flanner are among my favorites. Decorating for Halloween has never been more fun! To add a touch of whimsy to your home this Halloween look for these wonderful decorations in store beginning of October. I know you too will become a fan when you see these wonderful collectible original works of art!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Making a Lavender Wand...

I love lavender and as I love to make things I am always trying new crafts. This year my Lavender was beautiful mainly due to the wonderful warm weather we have been having here on the West Coast. So I decided to try and make a 'Lavender Wand". Something a little different from the usual lavender sachets. I found great instructions on the web and gave it a try. It isn't as hard as it looks. After just a couple of test wands I was happy with the results. They make great little gifts for family and friends. Here are the instructions for those of you that may want to give it a try:

Gather the lavender stems (approx. 16 or 18) together in a bundle (keep the stems fairly long). Make sure your lavender is not too dry when picking as you want the stems to be supple. You can even let your lavender welt a bit before using. Remove all the leaves so your stems are clean and tie the bundle together with a long piece of ribbon (1/4"wide) right under the flower heads. Your ribbon should have one end longer than the other. You are going to use the long end to wrap your wand and the short end can be tucked in to the lavender flowers. Now hold the lavender in one hand so the stems are up and the flower heads are pointing down. At the spot just above where you tied the ribbon you gently bend down each stem over the flower heads keeping them evenly spaced around the flower head. Keep doing this until all of the stems are bent down(it looks like a little cage with the flower heads inside). Still holding your lavender in one hand take the long ribbon end and at the point where you bent the stems over the flower heads start to weave the ribbon in and out. Put the ribbon over 2 stems then under 2 stems, over 2 and under 2. The stems that were over the ribbon before will be under the ribbon on the next row (just like a basket weave). Keep your ribbon really tight, pulling in as you weave your rows. Make sure you weave close to the row above so there's no gap. As the lavender dries the ribbon will loosen a bit and you don't want to have any gaps as the lavender buds can fall out. Keep doing this until the flower heads are completely encased within the ribbon and stems. To finish your wand off, wrap the ribbon tightly 3 or 4 times around the stems and tie it off with a bow. Cut the ends of the stems evenly to the desired length.....and voilà you're done!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

French at Heart...

Because I have a "French Country" store my customers often ask me if I'm French? My response is "no I'm actually of Welsh and English heritage". What is it about "old world charm" when it comes to decorating? I love the French Country look. To me it's romantic, casual yet elegant with just a touch of rustic flair thrown in. I love the warm colors of Provence... yellows, orange reds, greens, periwinkle blue. I always paint my furniture cream (not in to the dark wood tones other than on my floor) then distress and antique it a little. And of course you must have a touch of black or dark brown thrown in to ground the space like a wrought iron chandelier with crystals hanging down. And no Country French home would be complete without flowers. Any kind of flowers will work, but don’t forget to include a bunch of lavender here and there to really get the feel of the French countryside. Yes, I may have been born in Canada but I really am "French at Heart".

Hello Bonjour....

Well this is my first attempt at blogging! It's been quite a year and a half for me. I retired from the Federal Government after 34 years and in October 2006, I started a new retail store called "French Vanilla Home and Garden". In July 2007 I launched my store's e-commerce website and now this....blogging! Who would have thought! Has it been challenging?....a bit, stressful?.... some days, rewarding?....most definitely! I love owning my own retail store, filling it with things I love and helping my customers find that perfect item or gift! I am enjoying this new phase of my life and look forward to learning new things, having new adventures and making new friends along the way!

(established July/2008)