My First Ever Visit To West Elm Did Not Dissapoint. Why You Need To Visit.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

While in Toronto for Blogpodium, I had the pleasure of meeting up with Neil at his West Elm store.  Neil is the super fabulous manager at Atlantic Ave location, who I've been wanting to meet in person ever since we connected via twitter (gotta love twitter).

Despite being swamped with work, Neil took the time to give me a tour of the store and filled me in on all of the happenings.  Honestly you guys, I'm so glad I had a chance to visit & now more than ever, I'm a huge fan of this company.

I absolutely love how West Elm supports artists by incorporating their work into the West Elm line of products.  I love that they are eager to work with Etsy & bloggers in various ways.  It is such a unique company, one that really loves to engage with the public and the creative in a way that sets them apart from the rest.

I have to admit that this was my very first time ever stepping foot in a West Elm store and boy, oh boy, was I ever impressed.

The styling was perfect:

The merchandise looked even better in person than it does online.  To finally see many of the pieces in person was such a treat.  Their popular hive & fin vases were beautiful.

And I couldn't help but notice the gorgeous inlay on this table:

These marble pillows were stunning, to the point that I think I even said so out loud in a not so subtle way (thanks for not kicking me out, Neil! ha!).

I adored this artwork:

and you'll be happy to know their couches not only look superb but they are comfortable too

There's a lot going on at this location, so many great pieces.  If you have a chance to visit a West Elm store, I say go for it. You will not be disappointed!


My New Workspace & A Like Would Be Mighty Fine!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Okay, I have to tell you that good things are happening over here and I'm so so so excited and so very thankful! I can't wait to share everything with you.

I'm keeping a lot of the goings-on close to me for now, sorry, I know, so not fair, but I promise to fill you in soon.

I am going to give you a sneak peek of one of them.  My workspace.  Giddy up, friends!  I'm super happy with how it's looking so far.

I ended up buying this table from Ikea for a couple of reasons.  Two of them being affordability and looks.  I looove the legs.  I really wanted something simple and "light" in terms of looks.  I have to give kudos to Ikea.  The shipping was super fast (ordered and arrived in a week) and well priced (under $20, shipped via FedEx).  Thank you Ikea.

I didn't order a chair because I wasn't able to find anything that I loved.  Thank goodness, because look:

Yes, that's Grandma's chair that I reupholstered. It.fits.perfectly.  How about that and how about those desk legs?!

And honestly, how cute are these elephant bookends that I picked up from Homesense?

They were glossy black, but I really wanted them to be white.  So I just gave them a quick coat of spray paint. Voila!

Second thing that I can share.  Elliven Studio is now on facebook.  About time huh?!

Now I know going around asking for "likes" isn't very fashionable, but sorry I am going to do it just this once.  If you wouldn't mind giving my page a like, I'd very much appreciate it.  I will be sharing photos, links, inspiration and such.  Likety, like, like. Pretty please.  xo thanks!

Also happening....I'm transitioning from "elliven" to "elliven studio" which explains the blog header.  I have plans to get a logo and to do some branding here, but that's on the back burner for now.  Another change, look up at the address bar. That's right...bye bye you're now at  Big time!  It's taking me a little bit of time to get things sorted as I'm learning as I go, so I apologize if there are any issues.

Phew. Have a wonderful week!


New Handmade Pillow Covers & A Little Change of Plans.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Last week I shared a "what's happening around here" post and in it there was a pic of a swatch of fabric that I had found at Fabricland.  Well, I went back to the store and bought a metre and a half to make some new pillow covers for the living room.

You guys, I am so excited about the results:

They really have taken the room to a whole new level.  As much as I loved the pillows that were there before, I loooooove these ones!  I'm hoping to photograph the room this week.

Also, there's been a bit of a change of plans for the upstairs reading nook.  Oh yes.

You see, I'm currently blogging & working from the dining room table, which isn't all that bad, but I would really love to have a dedicated space.  There's the office in the basement, but I have absolutely no desire to work down there, just not a fan of being in the basement.  I thought of working from the work center in the kitchen (which has yet to be installed...still waiting on the builder for that one), but that wouldn't be ideal either.

Then there's the reading nook.  

And you know what?  It's perfect.

A little spot, tucked away upstairs, but with a beautiful window. So I've switched up the furniture layout, have ordered a desk and am planning away.  I'm SO excited, friends!

I still want this to act as a reading nook, so the chairs & table will stay.  The desk is supposed to arrive next week, more sneak peeks coming soon.  Be sure to follow along via instagram for the first peeks!

Also, I've ordered this gorgeous print by Clare Elsaesser for the master bedroom makeover. Can not wait to see it in person!

Reading Nook. Creating A Cozy Space With Charm

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

So apparently this is the week of updates. I'm game.

Yesterday it was all about the master bedroom, living room and entry.  Today it's all about the reading nook.

I'm honestly pretty happy about this space.  My ideas seem to be coming together and well, that's something to be pretty excited about.

First off, there has only been a little bit of money put towards this space (bonus!).  The chairs are vintage, we inherited them from hubs Grandparents.  The chairs originally had some mustard yellow velvet which I immediately replaced, they honestly look like completely different chairs.  The table was made by hubs Dad back in his high school shop days, I just took a little spray paint to it for a new look.  The artwork is from here and I printed it at home.  So really, all I bought were the frames (Ribba frames from Ikea. get yours here), the spray paint to revamp the table with and fabric for the chairs (bought it from Tonic Living, you can find it here).  The lamp we already had.

I'm so so thrilled with how this space is coming along.  Next is buying a pouf to be used as extra seating or an ottoman (versatility, yo!), moving the rug that is currently in the entry up here and adding a few more pieces to the walls and perhaps some type of shelving system, blankets too, one always needs a cozy blanket when reading.

And that's that!


What's Happening Around Here. Decorating, Sneak Peeks & Instagram Update.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Oh boy, the ball is a rolling people.  It's amazing how much can happen when you make the decision to get things done.

The master bedroom, I'm SO excited about this you guys.  The headboard has been sprayed, the fabrics for the pillows have been ordered & I'm searching for art. I can not wait to see it all together.  I know I said that the plan was to not make it feminine but I couldn't help may be a tad bit on the feminine side.  Hubs is aok with the plan (I'm so lucky that he's so easy going).  I am making an effort to balance it all so that it's not overly feminine.

Anyhow, there won't be many sneak peeks as I really want to show you a true before & after once it's all done.  Hopefully by the end of the month (fabric will take some time to arrive).

I will however share this gorgeous painting by Jen Ramos, it's one of the inspirations for the room:

I know, I know, fabulous!

And I am considering this amazingness by Adriane Duckworth to hang above the bed:

With touches of blue, white and black, it would fit in beautifully.  If you haven't seen Adriane's work, I highly recommend that you take a look at her site and shops here and here.  The girl is talented.

On to the living room. Ohhh, the living room. Seriously, the room that is taking forever to finish.  I'm finding msyelf debating the furniture layout and I'm not quite sure what I want to put on the walls.  Because of this, I've been hesitant about hanging the infamous gold mirror because I really don't want to have to move it once it's up.

I think the furniture layout that we have now will work but I found that there was way too much wall space to the left of the mirror, so I've been trying to find a solution.  I'm planning on hanging two square frames on either side of the mirror, but there was still room to fill. So I moved the palm (which desperately needs to be re-potted) from the dining room into the living room and it's filling the space nicely.  Problem solved (I think).

What did happen was this:

Yes, lady in the fancy dress (that's what little J calls her) is up on the wall.  Can you believe that I bought this over 10 years ago? I saw it in a store in the mall and just had to have it. I didn't even have a place of my own at the time. Just loved her so.

Also happening, new pillow covers in the living room.  I stumbled upon this gorgeous ikatish-animal print at our local fabric store (on clearance) and it goes perfectly with the living room scheme. Inexpensive way to freshen things up!

And then there are these chairs that I found at a local antique store. I see them being repainted and getting new fabric and looking absolutely perfect in the dining room.

And last but not least is the entry, well, the landing just off of the entry.  It's been causing me grief, serious grief.  We need a rug there, there's no option.  The problem is the size of the landing is too small for a 5x8 and too big for a 4x6 and I'm not finding much in between that I like.  I've decided that 5x5 is the perfect fit.  There are quite a few options online, but being as indecisive as I am, I don't really want to go that route, not being able to easily return the rug if it doesn't look right.

So, I headed to a local carpet store to see if they could make me a sisal rug with black banding just to tide me over until I find something that I absolutely love, or maybe this is just what we need?!

They said that it wouldn't be a problem.  I just need to give them the go ahead.

So that my friends is what's happening around here.  I'm really looking forward to sharing photos of the master bedroom once it's all done!


Thrifted Thursday & A Not To Be Missed Interview!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Hello, hello!

Just a quick post to let you know that you can find me over at Amy's wonderful blog, Love On Sunday, sharing my favourite thrifted find! Here's a hint:

Also, Christine has just launched a fab new series on her blog and is kicking it off with an interview with the amazing Charlie Ford ladies.  You definitely want to read it!  You can find that interview here.

Have an awesome Thursday, friends!


Oh, Ontario. You're So Pretty. The Beauty Of Fall.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

I think one of the best things about being back in Ontario is being able to witness the change of season from summer to fall first hand.

Honestly, this province is gorgeous during the transition.  We specifically chose the maple in our front yard because of it's beautiful red-orange leaves in the fall.

During the fall months, it's absolutely worth your while to throw on your comfiest sweater & drive the country roads just to see the beautiful landscape.

We love to go to the Gatineau's, though we haven't been in years, but the view is absolutely spectacular!  Kilometres of orange, red, yellow hues as far as the eye can see, Mother Nature at her best!

So be sure to get out there and enjoy what nature's got to offer before the leaves begin their decent to the ground, prepping for the colder months.


Fall Tablescape. Taking What You Have To Create A Festive Table.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Okay, I have to tell you something. When it comes to entertaining, I'm no pro, not even close.  We very rarely have people over for holiday dinners, even though I absolutely love the idea of it! I mean, we've had family over, but even still, I cook the feast then I simply throw a runner on the table and that's that for the tabletop.  I'm definitely not known for my Martha Stewart like presentation when it comes to table settings.

But!  The good news is that there is always time to change the way things are and that my friends, is what I'm planning on doing this Thanksgiving.  I'm going to!

cinnamon sticks everywhere!!! they are inexpensive and smell delicious!

I thought it would be fun to share my tablescape with you here on the blog in the off chance that you too were thinking of decorating the table this holiday aka Thanksgiving.

So first things first, I picked a theme.  I figured I'd focus on two things that come to mind when I think of fall.  Texture (think cozy wool sweaters) and sense of smell (can you smell the apple pie baking?? Or maybe pumpkin pie).

With that in mind, I went through our cupboards to see what we had that would work with my theme and then made a list for what I needed to go shopping for.  I wanted to spend as little money as possible, so I really had to put my thinking cap on for this one.

a little jute wrapped around the base of this tealight holder (that was in the living room) placed on a cupcake holder & it fit right in

I wanted the centrepiece to be the focal point.  I found this gorgeous bowl at Homesense for less than $20. I loved that the curved edges gave it character and that it had a base which gave it height. Perfect.

I bought a bag of apples from the supermarket and some cinnamon sticks.  I also added in a bit of sheet moss to add some texture and to fill in the gaps.

For the place settings, I went through my fabric stash and decided to use this gorgeous blue polka dot fabric that I bought for some pillows from Tonic Living for napkins.  It goes perfectly with the orange berries and I love the contrast against the white plates. For texture I went with corduroy place-mats and some jute that I wrapped around the decorative pieces on the place settings.  I also added a couple of cinnamon sticks to each arrangement.

Don't use it for what it's meant for.  Like this tea set for example, it won't be holding any tea, instead, I'm using it as a filler because it's beautiful and takes up space, so it's simply sitting pretty until the meal is served.  Here's a tip: if anyone ever offers you silver take it. I promise you will not regret it.  Silver is worth keeping in your precious storage space, trust me.  My mum gave me this set and I love it.

Other tips to help you create a beautiful and inexpensive tablescape:
  • go vintage & thrift shopping. honestly. you can find inexpensive and absolutely perfect pieces. just be sure stick to your theme. vintage pieces usually have a lot of charm, you can never go wrong with charm
  • candles. cheap and take up space. do it.
  • choose items that can be reused after the fact.  we absolutely love apples, so it made perfect sense to use apples as the centrepiece.
  • don't use it for what it's meant for. what I mean is, just because it's meant to hold cream for tea or coffee, doesn't mean that that's what you have to use it for. I placed some paper flowers in the ones on my table. and I'm pretty sure that the white ceramic dish wasn't meant to hold cinnamon sticks & maple leaves, maybe salt & pepper, but whatevs, it works
  • fruit, use fruit as part of your display. an assortment of shapes, colours & sizes and inexpensive. plus you can eat it after the fact!
  • have a bowl that would be perfect as a centrepiece but it doesn't have a base? why not place it on a few slices of wood?
  • create a focal point and perhaps use it as your jumping off point for colour and theme
  • if you don't entertain on a regular basis (comme moi) then you'll most likely have to buy a few pieces to get started. try to keep it simple, buy items that you could use for any holiday/occassion, so don't reach for the pumpkin orange bowl, go for the white or silver one instead. look for pieces that have detail, it's an added bonus (the bowl for example with it's rippled edges)
  • say "yes" to second hand or hand-me-downs! the silver cutlery & crystal glasses used to be hubs Grandmother's. I was so thrilled when she offered it to us
  • the tiniest details can have a big impact. the straws for example, a great way to add colour (you can get yours from Omiyage here)
  • sense of smell is powerful, so add hints of deliciousness, which is why I really wanted to incorporate the cinnamon sticks! have some yummy flavoured tea bags? try hiding them beneath a display for a scent your guests will love!

So this is what our dining room will look like for Thanksgiving.  If you have a go to tablescape, please do share!

Good luck and have fun!


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