Sunday
Dec152013

downtonstagrams

Officially Season 4 of Downton hasn't started yet on PBS Masterpiece, but I must confess I've seen the whole darn thing already. I'm so excited for the Christmas special! Hopefully no deadly car crashed this year. And hopefully lots of fabulous outfits and sets and jewelry.

But what I'm really here to tell you about is that you should follow the official Downton Instagram feed here

There aren't too many posts up yet, but it's pretty yummy!

Like many I marvel at the dinner scenes, which obviously take quite a whiile to film. I just die for the stemware. How amazing to get a close-up peak at a table setting. 

...and of course the stunning teacups and saucers and spoons.

The caption doesn't say, but I wonder if this tea setting might be at Crawley House or the Dowager Countess's home, since the china pattern is different from above. I might have to rewatch to see if I can spot this set. #nerdalert.

It's full-on 1920s style in the costumes for Season 4 and the colours and beading are magnificent. I especially love how the beaded dresses catch the light. And Lady Mary dons a couple of stunning purple velvet frocks. It's fascinating to see how her wardrobe evolves as she comes out of her all-black morning. Keep an eye for it.

Another favourite part of Season 4 is how Lady Edith really blossoms. Watch for her in some truly stunning — and even sexy — ensembles. This olive green colour is so interesting and it looks fantastic on her. Love the hair ornament and her waves are perfection.

Here's another closeup vignette. No idea where this is but that painting is the bomb, as is the brass box!

And speaking of hair ornaments — hello incredible headband! And look at the mastery of her makeup: blushy cheeks and stained lips and those brows, and little else. Happy Birthday Michelle Dockery! She and her perfect eyebrows are celebrating a birthday today. In honour, I shall post my first gif -- look for the most subtle raise of the brow. Remember this: "I wouldn't want to push in."

And you can see a few more here.

And lastly, also speaking of that scene. Here's a screen cap of a wide shot:

Check out that pretty little piece of furniture, which I crushed on since first laying eyes on it. 

Mr. A just go this look-a-like in over at his shop. Check it out at the Vintage Fine Objects blog. 

Sunday
Dec082013

gone dotty

My new digital addiction is Dots. Here's a screen cap above. Isn't it pretty? I'm not much of a gamer, but this thing I love. It's on the iPad and my phone, and whenever I have a few minutes I dive into a few games. Mr. A and I of course have a healthy competition going. The aim is simple -- connect as many like-coloured dots as you can in 60 seconds. That's it. People wiat in lines overnight for the latest version of Halo or the newest console. Me, I'll take Dots anyday. No guns, no blood, no rape, no killing. Just connect the pretty dots. I particularly like that it's like an interactive Damien Hirst painting.

Here's a real-deal Hirst from the ELLE Decor site but by the watermark, once published in Metropolitan Home (RIP). Killer artwork. Designers of this space are Regan Bice and Andrew Fischer. I love those Danish chairs, and the styling of the dining table (a trick I use often too). The rest? Meh, looks a little cold and uninviting to me.

One can create one's own Dots masterpiece thanks to these Blik Sweet 16 wall decals. These have been around for a while and I dig them a lot. 

Here's the man himself and his dotty Vipp trash can. This limited edition was created for the opening of Oslo's Astrup Fearnly Museet in Sept. 2012. They sold for the equivalent to $590 Canadian. Sheesh, that's some trash bin. But I will say this -- have never seen a trash bin that made me smile so much. Maybe that's worth close to $600.

But this Damien Hirst Spotted Mini is the pièce de résistance. This little number was on display at the opening of the exhibit "Piston Head: Artists Engage the Automobile" at Art Basel Miami. I. Would. Die. to own this. Or even just take it for a spin. Although, if I owned a car like this I think I would feel quite a bit of pressure to come up with an outfit that would work with it every day. Not match it, just go with it. Have I mentioned before my belief in the fact that the world is rightly ordered when one's clothing suits one's vehicle? No? Well, I'm freaky that way. Let's just say that since I started driving my black Jetta I've been wearing my long black trench coat a lot more ;-) I feel very secret agenty and I may or may not have experimented with a Franka Potente accent exclaiming "Scheiße!" to people who cut me off. Come to think of it, Franka may be German like my Jetta but she drove a Mini in The Bourne Identity...so there you go. And also, please note that this isn't a Mini Cooper...it's a vintage Austin Mini...boom!

 

Saturday
Nov022013

barbara barry on beauty

photo: Mark Edward Harris for Traditional Home

I had the great good fortune to be among a small group of people to hear Barbara Barry speak about design recently at the Kravet showroom in Toronto. It is a pleasure I have had a few times before and one I will never miss if given the opportunity. Barbara is a gem. She has a voice like silk velvet. It's refined and soft and luxurious. She could read the dictionary and make it sound chic. In fact, I'd love to hear her read the dictionary. That night she was plucking from the stories compiled in her recent book Around Beauty. I had just rushed to the event after wrapping work on the high-stress all-hands-on-deck Trends issue of House & Home. So I was very amused when Barbara shared this pearl:

PEOPLE ASK ME 'BARBARA WHAT'S IN, WHAT'S OUT?' I TELL THEM I HAVE NO IDEA. BEAUTY IS ALWAYS IN. SUBTLETY IS ALWAYS IN.

Beauty is always in. Ain't it the truth! An old tree, a peeling onion, a peony, pond scum (yes!) - these are some of the things Barbara finds beautiful. The evening inspired me to look back at my photo library to see those times when I have felt compelled to document a beautiful little moment with my iPhone.

This is a pile of coiled rope on the warf at Covehead, Prince Edward Island. That aqua colour is so pretty but I also love the mezmerizing pattern of swirls the rope makes. Layers and layers and layers.

Ferns ferns ferns. Always and forwever. I am so captivated by ferns. I snapped this pic on a bike ride between Morell and St. Peter's, also in PEI.

I couldn't believe my eyes when I spotted this guy while golfing last month at the course near our place in Tweed. He was pretty big - about 6inches long! Just look at that muddy green colour of his shell and the bits of red at the edges and some pale yellow too. And that pattern. Wow.

These are some stunning candycane beets I bought last week at St. Lawrence Market in Toronto. Can you believe how pretty!? My only disappointment with them is that the colour gets much more subtle when you cook them. But as Barbara says "Subtlety is always in."

This is a detail of an old fishing shack at Red Head harbour warf in PEI. I could stare for hours. I know, I'm weird.

Here's a little peek at one of my favourite secret spots. This is the wooded path behind our place in Tweed. It's where we walk the dog on Sunday mornings and I love watching the seasons change here. The colours and patterns and textures are magnificent: moss on rocks and a carpet fallen leaves (oak are my favourite) and pine needles. It's so peaceful here. Beautiful.