leaning to lanterns…

One of my favorite things to do when the weather gets warmer is to hang some lanterns. I have large metal lanterns on my front porch all year long, but when it’s warm, I love to hang smaller ones from the roof on my verandah and on my clematis-covered trellis which covers a seating area in my back yard. They are so cheerful and inviting and I love spending time outside when they’re lit. It’s no wonder that I love Kim Mitchel’s song Patio Lanterns–if you’re Canadian of a certain vintage like me, you’ll recognize that classic.

photo by Carla Coulson via French Essence

courtesy Martha Stewart

photo courtesy Martha Stewart

photo courtesy Martha Stewart

A couple of years ago, I watched an amazing lantern festival at Lightening Lake, which is a provincial campground in Southwest B.C. It was simply fascinating to see masses of handmade paper lanterns of all shapes and sizes lit and sent adrift on the lake. If you ever get a chance to see a lantern festival on water, go for it!

photo courtesy flikr

mother's day giveaway…

I’m giving away the cutest matching April Cornell mother & daughter aprons for Mother’s Day. This time, I’m asking participants to Direct Message (DM) me on Twitter. If you’ve never been on Twitter, there’s no better time–it’s incredible to share your thoughts, news, interests, business with Tweets all over the world–it’s fun and inspiring.

Follow me @nicolejanehome on Twitter and direct message me “Mothers Rock!”. I’ll be making a draw for the winner on Mother’s Day–Sunday May 9, 2010.

we have a winner…

Lucky Donna won the $150 gift card from Nicole Jane Home. I’d like to thank everyone who entered to win.

I will definitely be doing more gift card giveaways so stay tuned. In the meantime, don’t forget to comment on any one of my blog posts between April 20, 2010 and April 27, 2010 to win a lovely cast iron pigeon on finial. The more times you comment, the better your chances.

very vignette…

I love a good story and I guess that’s why I love decor vignettes. They’re a glimpse into the homeowner’s  joy–what makes their toes curl and their hearts swell (okay…perhaps a bit dramatic, but you get my drift). What books do they love? Where did they pick up that seashell? Where did they find that exquisite vase? Where was that photo taken?

photo courtesy This is Glamorous

It gives me a lot of pleasure to arrange and rearrange little vignettes all over my house. I’m constantly sprucing up my arrangements with fresh flowers, forgotten treasures I find in my storage closet, old paintings, favourite decorating books, beach rocks, my latest purchase from a favourite store, photos… They’re all precious and I love to see them every day.

photo courtesy House Beautiful via One Simple Addition

My styles constantly change (hey, I’m a Gemini…I’m allowed to flip flop) and vignettes are an inexpensive way for me to express myself, without having to make the major renovations!

I just love old phones, and this sweet little orange one is featured on Habitually Chic. There’s even a source for vintage phones listed, if you’re on the lookout for one: oldphone.com.

photo courtesy Habitually Chic

There’s a happy trend well on its course of using typeface decorating. It’s all about words in different typefaces, and I love it (notice the framed “LOVE” above and the gold “D” peaking out from the phone–at least I thinks it’s a “D”). It really tickles my fancy if it’s an vintage factory or store sign–they’re fabulous!

photo courtesy House Beautiful via Belle Maison

I predict a huge comeback for clogs. I saw a pair on a TV show last week, and now I’m seeing this pair. You mark my words–everybody is going to have a pair of colorful wooden clogs on a table somewhere in their house!

photo courtesy i l'aria's photostream via Decor8

This definitely qualifies as a beautiful vignette. One of my best friends did something very similar in her entrance and it’s absolutely stunning. If you get a chance, check out Jon Jensen‘s website of gorgeous photography. Uh huh! I see a typeface “3” and “x” on that shelf! I should really be posting a blog about typeface decor!!! Maybe tomorrow.

photo courtesy Jon Jensen Photography

don't forget…

In case I haven’t pestered you enough, just wanted to remind you about the BIG giveaway tomorrow. If you haven’t signed up for the $150 gift card giveaway, you only have today and tomorrow until 5 p.m. pacific standard time.

photo by Reinier deSmit for Nicole Jane Home

Just visit the Nicole Jane Home website and sign up for the newsletter. Don’t worry, we do not send out a lot of junkie emails. It’s only for special promotions, sales and new products.

The giveaway is open to U.S. & Canadian residents 18 years and older.

guests welcome…

My sister is the hostess-with-the-mostess. She always fixes up her guest bedroom as if the Queen herself was coming for the visit (hmmm…I just realized that she thinks I’m as fussy as a queen). I love to check out the basket of goodies she leaves on the cedar chest at the end of my bed. It’s usually filled with hand cream, chocolates, bottled water and the piece de resistance–new magazines!

photo courtesy Restoration Hardware

If you want to show your guests how much  you look forward to their visit, put some extra care into setting up the guest room. Or, if you really don’t want them to ever come back, or even stay at all, tell them there’s a super-sized spider living in the room that might hiss and rear up on its back legs if they go near it or even look at it sideways (actually happened to my best friend who was visiting relatives in Australia).

I just had to take a break from typing to have a giggle fit! Australia is now crossed off my bucket list! Who am I kidding? I took it off the list 20 years ago when my husband described a hiking trip when he stumbled upon a rather large snake going across his path–he couldn’t see its head or its tail…that’s how big it was!!! This blog post has gone crazy!

Ahem…I’ve  composed myself and we shall carry on. Here are some rather dignified ideas for hosting your guests. I’d just like to qualify myself by saying that this is a wish list, not necessarily what I will achieve every time someone comes to stay (just sayin’…don’t get your heart set on it).

I have a nasty little secret. I love using other people’s shampoo when I go for a visit. So my first choice for spoiling guests would be a nice little bottle of shampoo.  I’m madly in love with anything by Lollia.

photo courtesy Lollia

Where there’s shampoo, there has to be fresh towels. It’s handy that I have a warehouse full of them at Nicole Jane Home!

When your guests just can’t tolerate one more minute of your company, they can retreat to their retreat and forget their troubles by immersing themselves in some great magazines.

My other dark secret is that I generally sleep really well at someone else’s house. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I like to experience different bedding. If you can afford it, and you like your guests, I’d recommend really lovely sheets.

photo courtesy Restoration Hardware

I’m a fresh flower fanatic, so I would definitely, if nothing else, make sure my guest had a bouquet to enjoy!

photo courtesy Country Living Magazine

Make sure they have some wickedly good snacks to munch on, or I …er…they…won’t come back!

photo courtesy Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut

Once your guest has eaten all that chocolate, I’m pretty sure they’ll need some fluids. I just love bedside water carafes and glasses–they’re just so refined.

photo courtesy Apartment Therapy

When I have guests, they have usually traveled a long distance and made a very special effort to come here, so I like to go the extra mile and thank them. I love to send them home with a little something to remember the trip. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, just something that took a little thought.

photo via A Gift-Wrapped Life

If you ever want gift-wrapping inspiration, visit A Gift Wrapped Life. It’s full of gorgeous ideas!

victorian dove giveaway…

Yippeee! I love giveaways. This time it’s this dashing black iron dove statue. It’s one of my favorite accent pieces that looks great no matter where you put it.

So…down to the nitty gritty…how do you get your mitts on this sucker. All you need to do is leave comments on any of the blog posts I do over the next week. I’ll draw a random winner on April 27.

And don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter on Nicole Jane Home.  I’m giving away a $150 gift card on April 29 to one of my newsletter subscribers—could be you!!!

photo by Janis Nicolay for Nicole Jane Home

cocktail table love…

How’s your relationship with your coffee table…er….cocktail table (pssst…that’s what they’re being called now)? Love it? Sick of it?

There’s nothing like an interesting table to set the tone for an entire room.  I’ve learned a few things about cocktail tables: (1) Make sure the table isn’t much higher than your seating, otherwise it will look odd and out of sync with everything else. (2) A mirrored-top table can’t be beat, in my humble opinion. They’re just so fabulous for reflecting candlelight, flowers and decorative pieces (and you’ll spot that spinach in your teeth lickity-split).  (3) keep the scale of your furniture and the structural elements in the room in mind when you choose a table. Don’t fall for that precious little number with waif-thin legs if your sofa is huge and you’ve got cathedral ceilings and  a gothic fireplace–like the Bat Cave.

Here are a few that I think stand on their own (wow…now that’s one four-legged pun)! Maybe I’ll get one for Mother’s Day…doubt it!

photo by Jean Randazzo for Kishani Perera

Forget the table…I want the ENTIRE room. I love Kishani Perera‘s designs. You should take a look at her fabulous portfolio and DROOOOOL!!!!

photo by Jean Randazzo for Kishani Perera

The wall treatment and chairs aren’t my cup of tea, but I think the tables are fabulous. I can see them working in lots of designs.

photo by Usona via Houzz

I think this table is tres chic n’est-ce pas? It’s a coffee table with built-in gas fireplace. I love it. Is that a pool? I’m in! Packing my bags right now…gotta go!

photo courtesyPlanika Fires

This is such a great cocktail table. It can be dressed up or down according to your lifestyle. A friend of mine has one like this, and she always uses a massive reclaimed wood tray to serve cocktails and appetizers. It’s always so inviting. I’m lovin’ the quilted lacquer side table by the chair too.

photo courtesy Elle Decor

Love it or hate it, you can’t deny it sets the tone in the room. I personally love it ’cause it speaks volumes about the homeowners–they’re not afraid to be different, they don’t take themselves too seriously, they’re creative and bold. Oh…yeah…and it PINK!!!!! Swooooon.

photo courtesy House & Home

Remember: If you want to visit any of the sites, just click on the pictures 🙂

tongue in chic

If you read my posts regularly, you know that I think I’m pretty funny (Jen, Jen, Jen…head shake…sigh). I love to laugh until my mascara runs down my beet-red cheeks (I’ve got some great people in my life who elicit this kind of laughter). I go through each day looking for the humor in everything, even when I’m cheesed off (like the other day when I found two hole punchers not 24 hours after desperately searching for one so my daughter could hand in her homework–stupid universe).

I love to see humor in design too. If a room takes itself too serious, I’m outta here! Whether it’s subtle, or in-your-face, I like to be able to guage a person’s sense of humor when I walk into their home (I take pride in the knowledge that people are probably laughing their asses off when they walk in to my “disheveled” home, and not for the right reasons!).

When I buy products for Nicole Jane Home, I try to find things that are unusual–something that’s going to make people smile. Hopefully that cheerful little silver bird will bring a smile to their face every time they see it sparkling on top of a stack of books. The pin-up girl matchbox will elicit titters (giggle) every time someone lights a candle. The silver stag head is a playful twist on a rather stuffy design icon. It makes readers do a double-take in a Canadian House & Home article (and you thought it was the cutie-patootie designer, Yanic Simard).

photo courtesy Canadian House & Home via Toronto Interior Design Group

I love a good design twist. Those are the things that I look for when I pour over my catalogues and meet with my sales reps. This British crown candleholder caught my eye because it’s unusual and it’s a nod at funky British style (Hey ‘Liz…bet ya never thought about using yours to hold a candle. Snap!)

SIDE BAR: Mark snuck up and accused me of being too “talky” in my posts…hmph…imagine that! It’s the evil eye for him for the REST OF HIS LIFE!!!!

You get an “A” if you guess which piece  tones down the ladder and the chairs. Betcha I could reach the top shelf!

photo courtesy Susanne Dimma's House & Home blog

Can you spot the chuckle in this room? How come I can never find a “J”? Isn’t anyone else called Jennifer? I can never find “Jane” on souvenir mugs and keychain racks either!

photo courtesy House & Home

nautical know-how…

Know how I know it’s almost Summer? Nautical-themed designs start popping up! I’m not a huge fan of theme designs, ’cause they can be WAY over done and look matchy-matchy. Just one too many lighthouses or (gulp) seagulls , and nautical becomes “no, no, please no”. Designers who can take a tricky theme and give it a subtle treatment get my stamp of approval.

I love the simplicity of this DIY rope treatment for a table lamp that was demonstrated on House & Home’s online TV show. I also love the retro wallpaper pictures–easy peasy to make and just the right degree of campy nautical. As for the pillow–very cute, but too fussy to make. I’d just go out and buy one.

(remember: if you click on the photos you’ll go right to the URL for the source).


photo courtesy House & Home online TV

This room doesn’t actually have anything overtly nautical. Instead, it suggests the theme with the standing lamp, the dark navy, light blue and off-white color treatment. The stripes and the dots also give it that cruise liner feel. I could do without the birds on the wall, but hey…if sea birds are your thang, go for it.

photo via Houzz by Celia James

If anything says nautical, it’s a room by Ralph Lauren Home. It’s that wonderful mix of navy blue, white, wicker and reclaimed timber! Makes you think of the old tall ships with rakish men wearing blowsy sleeves and looking toward the horizon with furled brows. Of virtuous women with long curly auburn hair blowing in the sea breeze with unfurled corset laces ….I should write a Harlequin romance! Wow!

Notice how there’s only one sailboat reference, not fifteen?

photo courtesy Ralph Lauren Home

Restoration Hardware is no slouch when it comes to nautical either. Although it’s not really subtle, the theme isn’t garish, so they pass muster (get it?). (I can hear their designers shaking their heads and sighing at my complete lack of insight! I get it, you’re trying to sell gorgeous products. I’m a retailer too…we should do coffee!)

Their nautical lighting is over-the-top beautiful, and I love the combination of “reclaimed” wood and shuddered doors on the cabinet. I must have that desk!!! Anyone got about $20K I can have? Huh? Come on.

photo courtesy Restoration Hardwar

Country Living and nautical seems to like an oxymoron to me, but it works. Perhaps a titch overboard (Get it? See how easy it is to get carried away and just become annoying?), but I like elements in the room. The zebra print footstool keeps it from getting kitchy, but I’d lose the framed poster and the lifebouy pillow. I’d probably substitute with the DIY wallpaper prints (see above) and anchor pillow. I’d also add some silver sea life from my own store, Nicole Jane Home .

photo courtesy Country LIving

photo courtesy Nicole Jane Home

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