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family drama

May 26, 2022

It’s a strange feeling when a television show you’ve watched for years, that you’ve connected with deeply, and that’s carried you through many highs and lows comes to an end. Dawson’s Creek, Friends, Sex and the City –– all these shows left me with that feeling. It was always Pacey. Of course Rachel got off the plane. And that scene of Miranda bathing Steve’s Mum will forever be printed in my mind. It wasn’t until many years later with Schitt’s Creek that I felt this way about a television show. Its characters are drawn with such beautiful hamanity and nuance, that anyone watching feels absolved of their own foibles and failings. Which brings me to This is Us, a multi-generational family drama that has doubled as a warm blanket, hot water bottle, and cup of honey tea since 2016 when I first started watching. What I realized last night, as I watched the final episode, is that what I’ve clung to, and what has kept me going, (and watching) all these years, is the hope that everything will be okay in the end. Same goes for my friends on the Creek, at the coffee shop, and at the Rosebud Motel. Enter that strange feeling; we’ve been living with them, and through them for so long, and now that we know that everything is ok for them, we have nowhere else to look but to our own realities. And hope that we too get our full circle moments, our second chances, our one true loves. It’s naive, I know, to think this way. After all, it’s just t.v. But done well, the people and stories transcend the four corners of your screen and enter your home like they are your family. They aren’t, we know they aren’t, but the experiences –– the struggles and the triumphs –- they’re universal.

the real deal

May 12, 2022

Rugs, pillows, wallpapers, and a fabulous fabric vanity skirt on the bathroom sink, this house on the Deal seafront is a feast for the eyes with rich colours and whimsical textiles galore. I’m a sucker for red and white stripes –– they conjure seaside and circus –– so that fabulous sofa beckons me in. Those kitchen cabinets painted in Little Greene’s ‘Woodland’, are terrific and I love the contrast with the delicate pink of the Farrow & Ball walls. It all feels so bright and cozy and warm, and the mismatch of print, pattern and colour, although very deliberate, adds to the laissez-faire-ness of it all. It’s such an art, creating a mish mash aesthetic that feels as considered as it does spontaneous, and that delights and surprises at every turn.

orange tree (part deux)

May 3, 2022

It was a rookie mistake to put my orange tree on the deck last June. I’d been caring for it all year, and I was eager to see it flourish under spring showers and sunshine. It seems so stupid now that I didn’t do it gradually. Of course the intensity of midday sun would bleach its verdant leaves acid yellow. And all that rainwater must have choked the poor thing. What was I thinking? I quickly brought it back in and crossed my fingers that it would convalesce in its original spot and bare fruit again in the coming months. No such luck. One by one its yellow leaves started to fall, despite my continued commitment. Then came the familiar quandary that all plant owners face, and why so many of us avoid buying them in the first place; do I ditch the plant and replace it with another one, or do I carry on taking care of an unhealthy one that may or may not thrive again in a year? “Pull it out of its pot, wash the roots and plant it in new soil with a helping or two of fertilizer,” was the advise of my green thumbed neighbour. “And then watch it for a year.” Gosh. On the day of the transplant, I walked past a beautiful orange tree potted in an amber planter in the window of a flower shop on Bloor Street that I’m sure the universe put there to tease me. “Take me home, forget the other one,” I heard it whisper. I nearly caved. I’m giving my little tree six months. I’ll need to see progress, even a tiny bit. Isn’t that what anyone needs to stay hopeful?

crockery

February 8, 2022

I stumbled upon Sophie Wilson’s ceramics today, handmade at home, and fired in a kiln in her laundry room. With so many makers painting, pinching, rolling and weaving at their kitchen tables these days, I’m always delighted to see what’s being made. Wilson’s work is really charming. It has a vintage feel, and could just as well have graced the tables of a 19th century mercato delle pulci. Inspired by “Matisse and the quickness in the way he painted”, Wilson’s surface decoration is light and whimsical. Have a scroll through her Instagram page; you’ll see what I mean.

eclecticism

December 16, 2021

With a loo dating back 700 years, and diamond encrusted insects pinned to stone walls, Roberto Baciocchi’s Tuscan home is popping with wonder and whimsy. Gio Ponti chairs, vintage velvet sofas and graphic 80’s rugs all set within a beautifully restored 18th century house make for a surreal experience, indeed. It’s the wall colours –– ochre, terracotta and sage green –– that I love most. The painted art (below, and throughout) is so clever and unique.

in transit

November 18, 2021

I rode the subway yesterday for the first time in two years. I handed over my token at Spadina station, as I have a million times before, and walked down the escalator to catch my northbound train. I didn’t sit, but then again, I rarely do. My mum says that many Londoners on public transit defy mask rules. My train was filled with them. Surgical ones, cloth ones, butterflies, flowers and gingham. I never knew the trains were built in Thunder Bay. I noticed long, high-gloss acrylic nails on at least three other riders. And more people were reading books than staring into their phones. As we neared Davisville station, I thought about what lovely respite above ground corridors are, and how much I enjoy train travel. Today my daughter rides the subway on her own for the first time. Seven stops, three changes. I’m inside out at the thought. I’m excited for her, too. Oh, the places she’ll go.

around and around

November 9, 2021

Tea sandwiches are the best sandwiches.

Richard Avedon and Sophia Loren, 1966.

Found nature in origami boxes made from old books.

Menno Aden’s aerial room shots.

Maids of honour at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II photographed by Cecil Beaton in 1953.

around and around

October 12, 2021

The colour rich world of Indigenous Australian artist, Sally Gabori.

A beautiful smocked dress from earth conscious brand, A Piece Apart.

Train travel on the Venice Simplon Orient Express.

The transformative effect of hardware.

Nomad wedding in the Hindu Kush mountains, Afghanistan, 1969.

 

school’s in

September 10, 2021

It’s been a big week, Toronto. My heart swelled as I watched kids making their way to school on bikes and skateboards. Parents gathered with coffee cups and backpacks to breath a collective sigh of relief. Hope and gratitude filled the crisp September air. It’s been a big week, Toronto. Let’s keep this spirit alive.

around and around

August 17, 2021

The surrealist paintings of Gertrude Abercrombie.

Crip and colourful porcelain pottery from The Granite.

“Be faithful to your own taste, because nothing you really like is ever out of style.” The work of Interior decorator, Billy Baldwin.

Pistachio, apricot and orange blossom cake.

Victor M. Alonso’s seascapes.

Sarolta Gyoker’s trees.

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