Christmas Greetings

I love being home for Christmas.  Yes, spending time with loved ones is special, but there's also the time you get to spend by yourself - if you're lucky.  This is the time I get to do the things I might never do on any given day.  Once I get the initial "Ugh, I'm so bored!" out of my system, I get the notion to do the things I really want to be doing.  Out of boredom comes creativity.  And in my case, my second 'annual' Christmas scene in a mason jar creation. 

Isn't it cute?  I picked up an antique Crown mason jar from a flea market for $2.  The white sisal tree, snow and faux pearl beads come from Michaels, and the little deer is by Schleich Toys.  I cut up some antique Christmas cards for the banner and the little birdy, and voila.  I love the look of a vintage inspired Christmas decoration. 

And if you're really bored, you can take your little creation on a sleigh ride photo shoot...

...or take a drive and snap beautiful winter scenes around town...

...or take a billion pictures of your dog in the snow because he's so darn cute...

...or if you're really feeling up to it - build a snowman!

Merry, Merry Christmas!

J xx


Year After Year

Two Trees

Christmas to me is about that glorious feeling of nostalgia that intensifies year after year. I love that Christmas means more to me as I get older; the more Christmases, the more fond memories I collect. All contributing to the warm fuzzies that overwhelm me at this time of year. It's no wonder I like my ornaments and decorations to look handcrafted and old with a dash of glitter. After all, what could be more dazzling at Christmas than the traditions that manifest, the prevalence of good wishes, and the decorations that sparkle.



Gold Bauble

J xx



I'm all about a good experience, and if you throw in a delicious, freshly brewed coffee - life is good.  Such has been my experience at Balzac's in the Distillery District; the loveliest café in Toronto! I've also visited Balzac's in Stratford which is also highly delightful.  But the Distillery location is the most beautiful with its grey brick walls, haunting chandelier and vintage coffee paraphernalia.    This skull poster is 1 of 7 prints commemorating each of the Balzac's café locations in Ontario. The illustrator is Alayna Paquette of Rhode Island - check out her website, idrawdogs.com.  It only took seeing her skull poster a handful of times until I caved and purchased a 10"x14" print for my kitchen. Edgy? Yes, but more clever than anything as a dedication to Stratford's internationally-recognized Shakespeare Festival.  If you're a Hamlet fan, then you can appreciate this little nod to Act 1, Scene 5 of the play. Brilliant!  

Beautiful Chandelier

Vintage Coffee Paraphernalia

Yummy Pastries

Alas, it is mine!

J xx


Blackbird Vintage

It's official. I'm in love with a boutique called Blackbird Vintage located in the Distillery District.  It showcases everything that vintage is loved for:  character and nostalgia.  I was in heaven perusing through the Christmas baubles, vintage vignettes and strategically placed antiques.  Everything in this shop is a vision - you'll want it all.  It was vintage with an edge.  L.O.V.E.  For more on Blackbird Vintage, click here

J xx


The Man of the House

Majestic Antlers

Vintage Christmas Tree Toppers

Vintage Vignette


Christmas Time in the City

It's Christmas time!  Things couldn't get any more festive than a cold, snowy night at the Toronto Christmas Market in the historic Distillery District.   I went on Friday, the opening night of the market, and I was enthralled by its old world European charm.  From Christmas treats and decorations by local crafters, carollers and a carousel, to food huts, warming huts and a 45 foot sparkling spruce tree - it was beginning to look a lot like Christmas!  Despite what felt like minus 10 degree weather - the Holiday spirit kept me warm enough to last the night.  The Christmas Market is on until December 16th, so be sure to stop by (it's free!).  And as if it wasn't beautiful enough, the Distillery District dressed in Christmas will set your spirit in overdrive.

J xx

The Market

Beautiful White Lights Strung Overhead 

I'm Bundled (Brr!)

This way to Santa's Lane

Yummy poutine! Oh so Canadiana.

Ferris Wheel and Merry-Go-Round

Holiday Carousel 

45 Foot White Spruce Tree donated by Trees Ontario.  So pretty!

Ruby Red Bauble

An Old Fashioned Christmas


One of a Kind Show

Sarah Tacoma

I checked out the One of a Kind Christmas Show & Sale recently, and found lovely, unique creations by some talented Canadian artisans. For many Torontonians, the One of a Kind Show marks the official start of the holiday shopping season.  Here you'll find works from 800 artisans; the perfect place to find that special gift for your someone special.  Let me introduce you to some of my fav artisans from the show...

J xx

S a r a h  T a c o m a
photo-encaustic works on wood

Sarah took this photo somewhere in B.C., and let me tell you it's my favourite!  It's really cool what she does with her photos - she mounts them on wood and uses them as backdrops for paint and beeswax application, so her creations end up looking like a rare snapshot of a dream wave.  They have a distinct vintage aesthetic which to no one's surprise, I love!  I regret not buying this piece - the photo looks so honest and makes me feel humble when I look at it.  I love the green trees against the rustic white wood panelling.  Love, want, adore. 

How cute is this pic of Sarah?  Come on, who doesn't love a set of antlers?!  Sarah lives with her painter husband in the small enclave of Cannington, Ontario, where she works from her store front studio & gallery.  Two artists in one household... you gotta figure their house is decked out in lovely.  For more on Sarah's work, visit sarahtacoma.ca.

A v r i l  L o r e t i
table runners

Who doesn't love an excuse to be bold?!  Avril Loreti's collection of home decor and accessories is the perfect excuse to incorporate lively colors and patterns into your existing decor.  I've been a fan of Avril's work since 2010 when I came across her coveted 'Birkin Bag' Cocktail Napkins.  I chatted with Avril at the show and we got to talking about how those napkins really catapulted her to success.  So much so, that Hermès put a stop to production of those napkins themselves.  We laughed after I suggested she frame that cease and desist letter if she hadn't already.  And after being featured on NBC's The Today Show this year, it seems that business is booming.  Congrats, Avril!

triangles tea towel

home decor & accessories

H e y d a y  D e s i g n
porcelain crown jars

Crown mason jars are a shabby chic gal's dream.  So naturally, I almost fainted when I spotted these cast porcelain jars.  Love how Claire Madill describes her collection as 'modern porcelain with a vintage beat.'  Her jars come in both creamy white and black for a super chic, slightly edgy look.  I need one of everything.  Visit heydaydesign.ca to shop Claire's creations. 

K e l l y  G r a c e
pigment transfer collage, acrylic paint and gel medium on wood

Kelly Grace's mixed-media pieces are just the right amount of quirky.  I could see these hanging on the walls of a retro boutique or apothecary store.  These scene stealers appear to be getting along with their everyday mirror-primping routine, making them easy to identify with. The brunette at bottom left is straightening her hair in the mirror - pretty much exactly how you'll find me from 8:00 - 8:10am Monday through Friday!

L' A t e l i e r   d u   P r e s b y t è r e

I appreciate when a boutique sticks to what they know and sells themselves accordingly.  L'Atelier du Presbytère sets up shop at the show every year, and just like the first time - I'm drawn to how they merchandise their booth with vintage finds and recycled French linens. You really feel like you just stepped into the French countryside.  And well, I love French anything, so I fell for L'Atelier hook line and sinker! 

French linen Christmas stockings

French linen pillows


Lunares Ornaments

Crown Peace

I love these Christmas ornaments by Lunares Home via ShopBop. Gold, white and/or silver is a super fresh combo and would look fab on any tree. My favs are the Crown Peace and Wishbone ornaments. These would make great hostess gifts! And from $15 - $26 you can't go wrong!

J xx

Wish Star




Smitten with Deb

Last night I met Deb Perelman - the cutest cook and author of the world famous Smitten Kitchen blog and now - cookbook!  The Cookbook Store hosted a book signing last night to celebrate the launch of Deb's long awaited book.  I'm happy to report that Deb is the most adorable person!  It was fun to hear her speak about her success as a blogger, her hits and misses along the way, and her experiences in creating her first cookbook.  She was so real and witty, and confessed to not being the biggest fan of eating fish.  I love that Deb is a self-proclaimed picky eater and yet, is respected as a first-rate cook and admired by her 5 million monthly blog readers for her delicious and unique recipes.  

During the Q&A, Deb was asked how she comes up with so many new recipes, and her answer was amusing. She said she often thinks of recipe ideas while running errands, like the other day when she was in her car and suddenly thought about how much she loves eating rye bread with her eggs, and wondered why English muffins weren't made of rye.  Such a simple idea, but proof that sometimes the simple ideas can be the best ones.  For the record - I also prefer rye bread with my eggs!

All that said, I'm happy to own a hardbound collection of Deb's unique (easy!) recipes.  I'm excited to try her cheddar swirl breakfast buns, tomato scallion shortcakes with whipped goat cheese, and her popcorn cookies, to name just a few.  And despite her success as a famous blogger and author, wife and mom - all pale in comparison to perhaps her greatest accomplishment yet - getting me to cook!  Well done, Deb. Well done.

J xx

At long last!

My friend Jenn and I - happy campers to meet Deb!

Isn't she the cutest?!

Deb, signing my book!

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