Art: Anna Church

Take a closer look at Anna Church‘s photographs, and you may be surprised at what you find. From afar, you may see a beetle, a heart, or a row of feathers, but on closer inspection, you’ll find trophies, shoes, and teacups. Anna Church is a sculptographer – she takes photographs of the sculptures she creates with interesting, unusual, and everyday objects.

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Crowning Glory, from $795

Swan-Lake-Anna-ChurchSwan Lake, from $795

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My Heart’s Content, from $650

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Career Girl, (sold out)

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Taxonomy I – Stag Beetle, from $650

In addition to her own collections, she also offers bespoke commissions whereby you provide your bits and bobs, and Anna will create an incredible display of them for a beautiful, original photograph. In addition to this, she offers custom wedding insignias, like the one below, that brides and grooms will enjoy for years to come.

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Wedding Insignia

Learn more about Anna Church’s approach to art and business in this Design*Sponge feature.

 

The Friday Five: Faves from the One Room Challenge

If you’re in the design or blogging world, you’ve likely already heard of the One Room Challenge. The ORC, as it is also called, gives designers, bloggers, and design enthusiasts a challenge to make over a room in a 6-week period. Challenge is right. As an observer, I love to see the transformations. I think just about any before-and-after is dramatic, even if they don’t include professional photography sessions that sometimes happen with the ORC rooms.

There’s a select group of 20 designers/enthusiasts who are officially ORC participants, and then there are another 200 or so (I think) who are guest participants. It’s all very fascinating, if you ask me. People really get into it, and the participants are fairly open about sharing their design vision and process.

Here are five end products that really caught my attention, but I would encourage you to check out all the ORC featured designers and guest participants if you’re looking to be inspired by traditional/modern/interesting design!

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powder room, Wife in Progress (that floor!)

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sun porch, Worthwhile Domicile (those shelves! that ceiling height!)

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teen room, Vanessa Francis Design
(I love the addition of the trumpet and the story that goes with)

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bedroom, Love on Sunday (I love Amy’s use of textures in her white bedroom.)

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bathroom, Simplified Bee (such a luxurious shower space!)

A 6-week timeline for a room make-over…could you do it? Have you done it?

Hotel to Home: Stockholm, Sweden

I haven’t yet taken us to Scandinavia in this hotel-to-home series, have I? Let’s do it today, shall we? Grab your virtual passport and let’s head on over to the Görvälns Slott hotel 25km north of Stockholm, Sweden. It sits on the shores of Lake Mälaren at the heart of the Görväln Nature Reserve in Järfälla. Sounds pretty idyllic.

This bathroom is just about perfect, isn’t it?

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mirror, tiles, votives, sink, makeup mirror, candelabra, rug, towel, plant pot

Hotel-to-Home-Inspired by Gorvalns Slott-Sweden

I love the candelabra on the window sill. I hadn’t noticed it when I first pulled the photo. Isn’t it luxe?

Uptown: How I Bought a New Mattress

As some of you may know, I have declared that this year is the #YearOfMyBed.

I bought a gorgeous (really gorgeous) antique French bed a month or so ago and added a set of night stands soon after that (after some DIY attention, they’re looking just perfect with the bed if I do say so myself).

But, what’s a bed without a mattress?

Until recently, I’ve been sleeping on a double mattress inside a queen frame. It’s been fine, but it was obviously not the look (or sleep) I was going for.

To complete the #YearOfMyBed, there was obviously one thing that I really needed to do – buy a new queen mattress set. This purchase has been on my mind for a long while, but I’ve been putting it off because, frankly, I found it a bit daunting. So many mattresses, so little time? Yeah, something like that.

In the end, I headed to the sleep experts at Sleep Country Canada. I figured that it was a one-stop shop that would have helpful and knowledgeable staff who could guide me through the process. Thankfully, I figured right. (This is not a sponsored post, by the way.)

So how did I find a perfect-for-me mattress? Let me tell you!

First, I sang the Sleep Country Canada jingle.

Jokes. Jokes. I didn’t. Okay. I did. I mean, what Canadian doesn’t know Christine Magee or the Sleep Country jingle?

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Moving on…

After I headed to my local Sleep Country, I met with a sleep expert (Hi, ES!) who asked me how I sleep (side, mostly) and what type of mattress I like (more firm that soft). I told her that the brand wasn’t one of my concerns, but I did want a really good mattress that would be super comfortable (who doesn’t, right?). She narrowed the beds down for me, then told me to try everything out. What? Pretend sleep on the mattresses in the store? It felt a bit weird at the beginning, but she encouraged me to just go for it. I went back and forth between the narrowed down mattresses and “slept” on them. Feet up and everything!

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White-Cabana-Sleep-Country-3 White-Cabana-Sleep-Country-1 I was a bit resistant at first – Would I actually be able to tell the difference between mattresses? What’s the big deal about the pillow top? – but I got into it. I did actually notice a difference between mattresses, and some were easy to take out of the running (e.g., too soft, too hard).White-Cabana-Sleep-Country-9

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I narrowed down my options to two – a Kingsdown and a Serta. In the end, I opted for the Serta (shown in the two photos above), and I was hoping that it would be just right! (As I’m writing this, it seems that I’ve turned into Goldilocks.) I honestly think I would have been happy with either the Kingsdown or the Serta, but the Serta was slightly more firm, which I liked.

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here I am learning about the coils (coils, coils, coils) and the details of the Serta mattress set; it’s a pillow top mattress, by the way

Still a bit nervous, I was told about Sleep Country’s amazing sleep country guarantee. If I don’t like the mattress, I can actually exchange it for another one. Isn’t that amazing? It’s a win-win situation if you ask me!

White-Cabana-Sleep-Country-7 My mattress arrived this past Saturday, and I’m sleeping soundly so far. It did take a couple of nights to adjust to it, which I think is completely normal. I think I’m happy with it, but it’s also comforting to know about the comfort guarantee.

Tell me, dear readers, have you bought a mattress recently? How’d you do it? What features did you look for?

Thanks, ES, for your help!

Two for Tuesday: Happy Birthday, Dad!

Today’s two for Tuesday is extra special because it’s my dad’s birthday! This styling man…

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has gone from hiking in suits in Italy as a teenager to…

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hanging out in baseball-style tees in Toronto and texting local and international family and friends on his iPhone.

And he’s the most photogenic out of anyone in our family.

Seriously.

My Dad continues to have bursts of energy (in between resting, of course) and has helped me with countless reno projects at my home…you’ve surely seen shout-outs in these posts! Soon we’ll be off to Italy on our father-daughter trip of 2016. Bring on the gelato (you’re paying, right, Dad?)!

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Photography: The Leica M 60 Edition

One of my favourite car brands is Audi. I grew up with my dad driving an Audi 5000 that he shipped over from Germany when we were a young family of travelers. That car took us to Florida every summer, and I learned to drive standard on that car. When I grow up (if ever?), I’d love to have an Audi. After my obsession with the Fiat 500 came to an end a few years ago, I began to develop an interest in the Audi Q7 (and the Q5, too).

I’m totally not a car girl. I could live a life without a car and be perfectly happy (as long as I could walk everywhere that I needed to…I don’t love the lengthy commutes of public transit). But the Audi Q5 (it’s a better size for me) – oh, I just love it!

Anyway – so when I heard that the classic camera-brand, Leica, partnered with Audi for a special edition, I had to investigate.

The Leica M Edition “Leica 60” is a beautiful piece. It celebrates 60 years of the Leica M and was created in collaboration with Audi Design.

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Leica M 60

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photo via DesignBoom

Isn’t it lovely? It combines old-school style and the photography needs of the future. I just love it.

The Friday Five: Bicycles

It’s bicycle season!

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cyclist in Vienna, Austria, photo by Design Maze Tim

Yet another reason why I enjoying living in Waterloo is that it has quite a good trail system. I can get from my place in Waterloo to Victoria Park in Kitchener via the Iron Horse Trail (with only minimal road riding). Last year, I rode (slow but steady) from Cambridge to Paris, Ontario on a trail beside the Grand River. It was beautiful (and mostly flat).

While I have a decent mountain bike that functions well (although it is heavy), I have my eye on a few of the retro bikes that have been on the market for a few years now (also known as The Miss Piggy Bike in my family). Maybe once my bank account recovers from a few upcoming trips and my bedroom makeover, I may invest in one of these beauts.

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Real step-through bicycle, $1200, Martone Cycling (why oh why is this out of my budget?!)

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Kent 700c hybrid bike, $189, Walmart

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Huffy Arlington, $248, Walmart

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Schwinn signature series cruiser, $849, Canadian Tire

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Schwinn hybrid bike, $199, Target

Do you have a bicycle? What kind? For what purposes? Do tell!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Hotel to Home: Cobblers Cove, Barbados

I’ve only been to the Caribbean once on a cruise a few years ago. It was a glorious week-long vacation where my hardest decision was about what bikini I should wear. The trip was wonderful, and I’d definitely be open to cruisin’ again. Our itinerary on that trip led us to various places in the Caribbean – St. Lucia, Aruba, St. Kitts, and Curacao – which gave me a glimpse into the Caribbean way of island life.

Thinking about that part of the world, I have decided to take us to Cobblers Cove, which is a Relais & Chateaux hotel on the island of Barbados.

Cobblers Cove’s ocean-front suites look to be rich without being stuffy. As the hotel website announces, Cobblers Cove is where “cool colonial style meets gracious Caribbean living”. I mean, doesn’t that sound ideal? You wouldn’t have to twist my arm to have me stay in any of the rooms, but the Colleton at the Great House is my preferred suite, design-wise.

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Colleton suite, Cobblers Cove, Barbados

Using the Colleton suite as inspiration, here’s the room that I’ve put together for today’s hotel-to-home.

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bed, chaise, lamp, mirror, desk, chair, pineapple pillow, pineapple pillow, green pillow, plant, pineapple, rug, art, bed linens

Putting this room together has reminded me that I think I need a pineapple somewhere in my home.

Travel: Booking with Expedia.ca

Okay, dear readers, I have majorly fun news! Major! Ready? Are you sitting down? Okay. Here it is…

I’m going to Italy! In. One. Month.

For a traveler like me, this is really really really exciting. Italy is my jam. My people. My food. My fashion. I haven’t been in 5 or 6 years, so you can imagine how thrilled I am. In fact, there are even more reasons for my enthusiasm. I’m heading over with my dad who is going to reunite with his highschool friends once again (remember how he reconnected with them via Facebook after 50 years?). Now I get to reunite with them, too. It’s wild. Meeting people who knew my dad when he was 16? That’s nuts! Right?

And on top of all of this, the incredibly generous folks at Expedia.ca are sponsoring my trip! Yes! Yes! Yes! As in the Expedia.ca. The same Expedia.ca that I have been using for years to book my trips. The same Expedia.ca that finds me the best possible prices for flights, hotels, and cars. Yes, it’s that Expedia.ca!

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Me? Excited? Yeah, excited is an understatement. Going on this trip with my dad means so much, and the fact that Expedia.ca and I are collaborating is just the bees knees!

I’ll have many posts to share, so I hope you’re eager to follow along. I’ll share with you news of my trip planning, my packing list, my hotel stays, my city explorations, and, of course, I’ll give you the low down on what it’s like to go on a father-daughter trip (not our first, in fact)!

For now, I bet you’re curious about where I’ll actually be going.

Soon after I had learned about Expedia.ca‘s sponsorship, I got to work planning the vacation. My dad (let’s just call him Dad) had already booked his flight and sort of finalized his travel route with his friends, so I had to touch base with him to learn more about his itinerary.

First off, I researched flights, and I was able to get on the same flight as Dad had already booked. As anyone who has used Expedia.ca knows, the search function is pretty darn awesome, and you can limit your flight searching options in so many ways – by departure/arrival time, number of stops, and airlines, to name a few.

Normally, I search flights by number of stops and price. In this case, however, since I had my dad’s flight information, I searched by departure time and airline. I wanted to see if it was feasible to get on the same flight to Bologna that he was on. It was. Easy. Done. At the same time, I debated a few return options and saved them using the “My Scratchpad” feature while I thought about how long I could stay in Europe.

I find the “My Scratchpad” quite a handy addition to Expedia.ca. It basically houses a record of your searches, and when prices change, you can request to be notified. I think that’s pretty darn magical. I think you have to be logged in so that things are saved, so be sure to do that first.

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You can see that I took this screenshot after I had booked my flight because of the extra ticker line advertising up to 51% off hotels in Bologna!

You can also see up my the Expedia.ca logo that I’m currently sitting at “blue” status in terms of the Expedia loyalty program. As a blue member, I am eligible for things like member-only pricing, extended price-match guarantee, and earning 2 points for ever $1 spent. I have a few sleeps in hotels to go before I reach the next status level (silver). Read more about Expedia.ca rewards if you’re interested.

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Are you waiting to learn more about our travel itinerary? Well, let me tell you, it’s a good one!

Dad and I have arranged our trip so that he can visit with his highschool friends in various parts of the country. We will fly into Bologna, then we train it to the beach town of Rimini for a couple of nights, attend his yearly highschool reunion lunch (I’ll have to brush up on my Italian between now and then), drive to Bologna for a few nights, drive to Florence for a few nights, and then visit my relatives for a few nights in a small town near Milan. After this, Dad will travel back to Toronto, and I’ll be heading for a little weekend getaway in Copenhagen. #IFeelSoDarnLucky

Seems like a pretty good route, doesn’t it? Dad is pretty excited, too, since he’ll get to introduce me to his highschool friends, and he’ll get to treat me to gelato (many, many times!).

If you have any recommendations or post requests, let me know!

Many thanks to Expedia.ca for sponsoring this trip. I am thrilled to be working with such a well-respected company. That said, all opinions are my own, and I am committed to writing honest reviews.