Hudson Bay Stripe Throw Cushions

I planned this project a while ago and got motivated to finish in time for our ex-pat Canada Day party.

While it was fun going a bit over-the-top with Canadiana for the party, I appreciate classic Hudson Bay stripes for providing a more sophisticated touch of Canadian culture. This iconic pattern has a great retro homey feel.

I used cloth napkins with Hudson Bay stripes for the front of the pillows and denim for the back. You can find my favorite throw pillow pattern back in this post.

Happy Canada Day, eh!


(Ex-pat) Canada Day Party

Canada Day is coming up this Friday, July 1. My ex-pat friends and I had the pleasure of celebrating a little early today. “What is a Canada Day party?” some of our American friends asked. Well, a regular Canada Day party is a nice summer picnic or barbecue, but when you are an ex-pat, you have to go over-the-top to assert your Canadian-ness, and today was a good example.

Setting the scene:

Red-and-white everywhere!

And some more subtle elements like these Hudson Bay striped pillows:


So much good music comes out of Canada. You will have no problem putting together a playlist with artists like Bare Naked Ladies, Sarah Mclachlan, Bryan Adams, Tragically Hip, Avril Lavigne, Alanis Morisette, and so many more!

Food and drink:

You can find Canadian beers, wines, and soft drinks at specialty stores like BevMo. We also enjoyed Nanaimo bars, smoked salmon, “Timbits” (donut holes), and other treats.

Be sure to add these adorable igloo ice cubes!


Falling in July, Canada Day is not typically celebrated with snowball fights, but that didn’t stop us from having a ball with Snowtime Anytime.

Happy Canada Day to my friends at home and all over the world!


Book Review: The Design Cookbook

I love books. Not just the stories in them, but the feel of hefty printed pages in your hands. I especially love looking at used books stores and book sales. There’s something about the combination of a good deal on a newer book mixed in with the curiosities of vintage books that makes for such an enjoyable browsing.

I was recently in Chicago, where I met up with some friends from high school to do the Avon 39 Walk to End Breast Cancer. On our last day, having walked 39 miles through the beautiful city and shopped our hearts out at the fashion outlets, a friend and I hunted down a big used bookstore: after-words in River North.

I found some fun books for souvenirs for the boys, and my personal pick was The Design Cookbook by Kelly Edwards. Even in this day of Pinterest, I find there is something special about browsing glossy images in a book or magazine.

Kelly Edwards really captures my style goals in this book – the rooms all have an eclectic combination of classic, modern, and whimsical elements. This can be a hard look to pull off, because the room is much more than a sum of the parts, so the “cook book” format is especially helpful. Kelly shows a series of rooms and then breaks them down into a list of features, like a painted lamp and dark walls. I like how this step-by-step approach to decorating can help you with recreating any room you see. The book also includes a handful of DIY projects.

Here are a few of my favorite vignettes from the book.

I am definitely feeling inspired, and I hope you are too!  For the “recipes” for these rooms and more, check out The Design Cookbook by Kelly Edwards.


Chinoiserie Chic Living Room

Our living room has evolved over the years. Here’s a look at some of our latest additions, including the color block drapes and these pretty turquoise chairs from Article (formerly Bryght). I have to admit I was pretty nervous when the intense color showed up in my living room, but I am so glad I took a risk!

Over on the other side of the room, I have a little bar set up next to the dining area:

I recently moved this painted Chinese screen over the bar area when I was rearranging our art. I really like how it brings the eye up and emphasizes the tall ceilings.

And here are two paintings by my mom that I recently added to the living room. These remind me of De Gournay wallpapers and add an authentic bit of Chinoiserie to our home.

Hope you enjoyed the details in our living room!