What can I say? I’m a sucker for Christmas. I spotted this sweet little nest tucked into a white Christmas tree at my favourite home decor boutique, Romancing the Home. Shhhhhhhh…don’t tell my husband that I was shopping in a home decor boutique! I used to have an online home decor boutique and I kept more stuff than I sold, so my house is bursting at the seams with DECOR!!!!
‘Tis the season for awards! Yay. I was nominated for the Sunshine Blog Award, which is given to bloggers who are inspirational or positively creative. Wow! I’ll take it 🙂 Sending lots of love to Diary of a House Elf for the nomination. She’s an original thinker and hilarious story teller. Keep your words flowing sister blogger girl!!!
So now it’s my turn to spread a little Sunshine, which is laughable given the wet, grey state of affairs on the weather front here in Ocean Park, BC. Let’s just say, it ain’t no Mexico around here…sigh.
To accept this award, I get to:
- Blog a post linking back to the person/blog who nominated you.
- Answer the questions below, and
- Nominate 10 bloggers and notify them of the award.
So here goes…
- Who is your favourite philosopher?…………Jalaluddin Rumi, who was a persian poet and mystic the 13th Century. He was a follower of the Sufi philosophy and his words are meant to help us live a meaningful life.
- What is your favourite number?………….I think it’s kinda silly to play number favourites.
- What is your favourite animal?………….I used to dislike dogs (I was scared), but now I love them. I also love the little birds who live in my back yard. I adore horses. I’m afraid of cows–don’t ask. Snakes are just not necessary AT ALL. Who doesn’t smile when they see a bunny?!
- What are your Facebook and Twitter links?………in another life I was Nicole Jane Home. Now I’m CoffeeandCouch……@coffeeandcouch
- What is your favourite time of day?………..late afternoon…especially on Saturdays with a vodka martini in hand.
- What is your favourite holiday?………..I’m ridiculously addicted to the spirit of Christmas….I can hear the bell ring….I still believe
- What is your favourite physical activity?…………I get such a high from the freedom that skiing gives me.
- What is your favourite non-alcoholic drink?…………Skinny eggnog lattes….hands-down….’cause they make me feel Christmasy.
- What is your favourite flower?………..White orchids and white lillies.
- What is your passion?…………..My lovely husband and children, my extended family, my friends. Then there’s photography, painting, cooking, decorating, talking…and on and on. I can tell you what my passion is not….IRONING anything.
Now comes the really fun part…I get to nominate 10 other blogs that I love, for their inspiration and creativity. I encourage you to visit their sites too.
1. Colored Brush….a gifted painter, who always makes me want to paint more. Definitely inspirational.
2. Grillfusion….Heather & Al’s blog is a wonderful ecclectic mix of photography, design, art, BBQ, wine…all the good things in life.
2. Oh Happy Day….If you love to hold parties and get misty-eyed just thinking of spending time on pretty lifestyle blogs, then you’ll LOVE Jordan’s blog. It’s full of DIY party ideas, photography, design, lifestyle…good stuff.
4. Geninne’s Art Blog…a gorgeous collection of arts and crafts. It makes me want to get out my pencil crayons and paper!
5. Click It Up A Notch…a great resource for photography lovers. Definitely inspirational for my photography.
6. Birch & Bird…a wonderland of creative and beautiful vintagey wonderfulness.
7. Tracey Ayton Photography…I LOVE Tracey’s photographs. She is a really talented local photographer who is regularly featured in shelter magazines. I often look at her photos for inspiration to help make mine better.
8. The Design Pages…an endless source of creativity and inspiration. She always has new DIY projects on the go…I don’t know where on earth she gets her energy, but she’s got loads of it!
9. Moth Design….Erica is a talented Canadian design blogger. I had so much fun chatting with her at an event for the Canadian Design & Lifestyle Bloggers West last year in Vancouver. Her blog is full of design gorgeousness.
10. Hodge:podge…..Barbara’s blog is a Canadian design afficionado’s paradise. She puts the spotlight on the Canadian design scene through her prolific interviews with Canadian designers.
Wow, now I just want to spend the rest of the day reading all these wonderful blogs!!! Think I will…where’s my martini?
I just came across this very cool website called Tagxedo where you can create the coolest artwork using words, poems, wedding vows, etc. I just fooled around with my business name and came up with this sweet little bird, but there is about a bazillion different things you can do on it.
I’m thinking this might be a great Christmas present. You can get t-shirts, coffee mugs, posters made up. I’m rubbing my hands together coming up with evil plots!!!!!
This one’s awesome. It’s a Design In A Box custom designed for you by Nyla herself. I won last year, and I’ve already bragged about it on this blog many times 🙂 I’m sure you’re all sick and tired of hearing me rave about the colours she picked for my living room, and the drapery, and the furniture, and the layout, and the accessories…oh…and the artwork!
Pop over to her blog and checkout the contest details…just click on the picture and it will deliver you right to it, lickity split! Good luck 🙂
Today’s going down as one of the best in the history of the Findlay household. I just about giggled like a school girl when I saw the postal lady walk up my sidewalk with a box and a roll of carpet samples in her hands.
It came in the prettiest grey box with yellow trim & ribbon!! I’m a wrapping kinda gal! It’s full of fabric samples for upholstery and drapes, design layout options, source guides and carpet samples!!!
It’s just like Christmas around here! I was so excited that I tore everything open in a frenzy (as you can see), called Nyla to blabber on about what a huge fan I am, and now I need to go back to bed ’cause my brain blew up!
I’m suddenly craving turkey and gravy…mmmmmmm!
I’m so excited to launch Nicole Jane Home’s Bespoke Cushion collection. With the help of my besties Sharon and Yvonne at Layers & Layers, I was able to choose to-the-trade designer fabrics that mix and match beautifully with so many styles.
When I worked in a busy home decor shop, people would regularly ask about whether or not we sold cushion covers separately. It was never an option, because wholesalers generally sell cushions as a set, including the filler.
So I’m really excited about the fact that I’ll be offering my customers the option of buying the covers and fillers together OR separately! It’s definitely an affordable way to decorate with high-end designer cushions. I’m hoping to add collections with each season.
There is a buzz working up around the combination of corals and greens, which totally works for me ’cause they’re both power colors for redheads!
And even though there isn’t technically any green in the photo below, I believe that “Joan” can speak volumes for ALL redheads…we know how to wear our corporate coral…and our broaches…oh yeah…and don’t mess with us!
Knees shaking…dry throat…and the ever-present threat of two ill-behaved dogs on the verge of hysterical barking…
You guessed it! That was me dialing the phone to call my design idol–Sophie Conran–who kindly agreed to be interviewed. When I heard her cheerful, “Hello”, I was instantly at ease–she’s even more personable and interesting than I imagined.
Sophie’s accomplishments are vast in the world of design and good taste, including work as the entertaining editor for In Style, writing entertainment and recipe features for Living Etc., and writing for House Beautiful about what makes a house a home. Not to mention all of her cookbooks and designs in tableware, glassware and wallpaper.
Sophie also turned a 15th century manor into a retreat–Sophie Conran for Temple Guiting–for country weekends in the Cotswolds. It’s looks and sounds absolutely idyllic–I can just imagine how beautiful it would be for a wedding! (Mark…if you’re reading this…take it as a huge HINT for our 25th Wedding Anniversary…no point being subtle anymore!!!!!)
Before I go any further, may I offer my advice for the best way to read this interview? Make yourself a pot of tea, sit in a comfy chair, and drink out of one of Sophie’s irresistible cups. Or feel free to fill it with jelly beans and munch away, like I did during a photo shoot a few weeks ago!
Jennifer: Sophie, your tableware is wildly popular in Canada and the U.S. What was your inspiration for the beautiful organic shapes and colours?
Sophie: One source of inspiration came from my childhood. My family used to drive from England to our little house in France and stop off in Limoges on the way. My mom would visit the ceramic factories to buy seconds of their porcelain, which were always plain white and wobbly and each piece was individual. Another inspiration came from the Japanese, who have amazing potters. I really love the way they hand-make such delicate pieces. They have a saying that if something is perfect, then it’s not beautiful.
Jennifer: I’m most impressed by the fact that your tableware is strong and delicate at the same time. How were you able to achieve that balance?
Sophie: It has to do with the material it’s made with. It’s pure porcelain, which is fired at really high temperatures, making it incredibly hard and durable. All the pieces can go in the oven, dishwasher, and microwave. When we were making the samples, I kept on asking, “Can we make it thinner? Can we make it thinner?” because I wanted that delicacy. When you drink a cup of tea, and you have a very thin cup, somehow the tea tastes better.
Jennifer: Your cups are the ones I drink my coffee with every morning.
Sophie: That’s lovely. I’m delighted that my website has a picture of Mrs. Obama drinking out of one of my cups during a visit to England.
Jennifer: One of the best things about your tableware and glassware is that they are truly multi-purpose. I frequently reach for one of your teapots or glass jugs to hold bouquets of flowers. Do you have any suggestions for unique ways to use any of the other pieces?
Sophie: All of the pieces can be used in the oven, so I’ve made berry crumbles in little tea cups and everyone gets their own personal serving. I also use lots of tumblers filled with tea lights and flowers on my table during dinner parties.
Jennifer: You’re a member of a highly creative and accomplished family. How did your parents foster creativity and encourage you and your siblings in your creative pursuits?
Sophie: My parents were always showing us things, getting us involved, and asking us our opinions. The business very much revolved around our home with my dad’s design studios based there. We moved to an old school when I was little, and the old classroom blocks became the design studios and workshops. The carpenters who made all samples would come over for a drink and dinner and stay the night. It was our playground and we were all involved in the photo shoots for my father’s catalogues. It was a huge deal when a new design or new piece of furniture came in–very exciting.
Jennifer: Did you appreciate it when you were a child? That it was something very special?
Sophie: I don’t think so. I didn’t do well at school, but home was fun for me. My mom was always cooking and writing recipes for books and magazines. When we moved into the school, it was pretty derelict, so we lived in a “building site” for a pretty long time. There were old walled gardens, which had been a Christmas tree farm. They were all cleared out and we built a huge vegetable garden and remodeled all of the greenhouses. It was pretty amazing actually. There was always lots of creativity around us.
Jennifer: It sounds wonderful, but it also sounds like a lot of work.
Sophie: I really enjoy work. I’m happiest when I’m working.
Jennifer: As a mother and businesswoman, you are an inspiration to women all over the world. What advice would you give to someone just starting out in a career or building a business?
Sophie: I always put my kids first. Be patient, always be true to yourself and don’t be scared of making mistakes. And always work with great people—make sure that you interact with reputable companies, it’s very important.
Jennifer: Do you get to travel very much for your work?
Sophie: I don’t travel very often. I’m a bit of a homebody. I’m in my office right now, but it’s attached to my home.
Jennifer: Whenever I visit England, I’m always so impressed by the bold British design aesthetic—particularly the exquisite paint colours and wallpapers. In Canada and the U.S., we’re seeing a strong resurgence of wallpapers, and I’m excited to see your new collection. What inspired your designs?
Sophie: I absolutely love nature. The wallpaper hanging in my office at the moment is based on a Japanese kimono book. It’s full of beautiful irises, which were inspired by the exquisite floral designs and embroidery on the kimonos.
The inspiration for another collection that I designed was from a childhood stay at a chateau in France. It was completely falling apart. Each of the rooms had incredible paintings, fabrics, and such fabulous fading wallpapers.
Colour is also a really big inspiration for me. Contrasting colours always get my creative juices flowing.
Jennifer: [The interview with Sophie took place two weeks prior to the royal wedding] Will & Kate‘s wedding is just around the corner and we’re getting very excited about it in Canada. My 77-year-old mother is even planning to wake up at 1 a.m. to watch the ceremony on TV. How will you be celebrating the royal wedding?
Sophie: They’re such a sweet couple—always smiling. We’ll be attending a big party that a friend is throwing at his home in the Cotswolds. Lots of people are organizing street parties, and I think that 10 million visitors are expected to be in London for the wedding. People are baking and decorating—it’s really, really nice actually.
Jennifer: If you had a day all to yourself, what would you absolutely love to do?
Sophie: We have a home in the country, and I love to be down there with my family. I spend time gardening, and visiting the gardening centre–just doing nice stuff around the house with my kids and husband. I really enjoy cooking, and friends often come over with their children and we’ll have a big meal together.
Jennifer: Imagine that it’s Monday afternoon at 2:43 p.m., and you’ve been hard at work. Do you reach for one of your delectable Whoopie Pies and a piping hot cup of coffee? Or is it an apple muffin and iced tea calling your name?
Sophie: I don’t really like a lot of sweet things. If I was busy, it might be a little piece of avocado on toast with a squeeze of lemon. Or it might be some humous and carrot sticks, or a smoothie.. I normally have something already prepared in the refrigerator, like lentil salad, so I might have a bit of that. Those are the kinds of snacky things I like to eat.
I’d like to thank Sophie for taking time to chat with me. She’s such a dynamic person, and I look forward to seeing many more amazing things from her in the future.
CONGRATULATIONS, Anita T: You won the Sophie Conran giveaway. You were lucky #9.
SOPHIE CONRAN GIVEAWAY!!!
I’m such a huge fan of Sophie’s products (we use her tableware every day in my home) and I want to celebrate her interview by hosting a GIVEAWAY. One lucky winner will receive one of her gorgeous white cake plates, a set of 4 white dessert plates, and a white teapot!!! Everything you need for tea time!
All you need to do is:
* Visit Nicole Jane Home and sign up for my newsletter (don’t worry, I NEVER send spam. If you’re already on my newsletter subscribers’ list, you’re automatically entered.
* Leave a comment below to let me know you signed up.
Here’s the small print: You need to be a resident of the U.S. or Canada (we’re not allowed to run contests for residents of Quebec), 18 years or older. Good luck everyone!
Draw Date: May 25, 2011
My mother the nurse used to say that we crave what we’re missing in our bodies, so I must be missing some Vitamin C in my decor, ’cause I’m craving the colour orange. This time last year, I did the same thing (see my Hooray for Orange post). I was fixated on orange and yet, there’s still not a speck of it in my home (except of course my hair…which is orange, not red. Why do we call orange hair, red?)…tsk, tsk, tsk.
Jonathan Adler has a wonderful way of combining seemingly disparate patterns and colours in such pleasing combinations. The blue, orange and coral really balance the intensity of the chocolate brown walls.
I can’t help staring at the rug in this room. It’s so beautiful and just the right degree of orange. This room was done by Cristi Holcombe of Charm Home Design.
Here’s another vignette by Cristi. Just look at those beautiful drapes….sigh
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know I adore Designer’s Guild. I dream of having DG window coverings flowing in summer breezes throughout my mansion some day!
Quick…where does your eye go first? Uh huh…the orange pillow…whether you like it or not.
This could work. An orange phone would be the perfect little pop of orange in my kitchen. Love the vintage chic vibe too! Oldphones.com has lots of great phones.
Enough about me. What’s your favourite colour? The one that your eye is always drawn to? The colour that just makes you feel good?
Have you ever wanted a childhood do-over?
As a child, I spent much of my time dreaming in my playhouse, and I would love to recapture that feeling of pure freedom. Only this time, I’d do it up in GRAND style!!! (I shouldn’t complain ’cause my dad built me a really amazing playhouse on stilts with windows, a shake shingled roof, and a grand staircase leading to the front door.)
There would be some serious whitewashing and it would be completely over-the-top frilly and girlie–a sight to behold, let me tell ya! My guest roster would extremely selective…only friends bearing lavish gifts and bottles of wine! Gossip would not only be encouraged, but expected!
Above: This is a garage that was converted into an outdoor room (featured on Hooray Design). Below: The interior
Above: The inspiration for this blog post. An outdoor room by Moth Design. Below: The interior