Tuesday, November 30, 2010

{bake & blog: spiced toffee chippers}

I am excited to be participating in Kelly's fabulous Bake-N-Blog party over at Jax does design today! I'm sharing a recipe that I have been wanting to try for the longest time ... this was a good kick in the pants to finally get to it :) I came across this recipe in a magazine and thought they sounded like the perfect autumn/winter treat. I had no idea if they would turn out, I just knew the pic in the magazine looked amazing and the ingredient list sounded delightful! Well, I am happy to report that the recipe was easy and the cookies turned out fab!! Here are all the details:

Spiced Toffee Chippers

Prep time: 30 min  Bake time: 12-14 min  Makes: 48 cookies  Freezing: excellent

1/2  cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4  tsp ground ginger
1/4  tsp cinnamon

1  cup all vegetable shortening
1  cup dark brown sugar, packed
1  egg
1  tsp vanilla extract
2  cups Robin Hood Nutri-flour blend
1  tsp baking soda
1  tsp cinnamon
1  tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1  pkg Chipits Skor Toffee Bits

It's all of those lovely spices that first got me salivating!! What a perfect blend for the holidays. I used the Robin Hood brand Nutri-blend flour that the recipe called for {I think they were going for a remotely healthy ingredient here} but I am sure that this could have been replaced with regular flour.

1. Preheat oven to 350 F and line baking sheets with parchment paper {I found the paper helpful as the toffee bits get a little sticky when baked}.
2. Topping. Combine ingredients for topping in a shallow dish and set aside.
3. Cookies. Beat shortening and brown sugar until well combined. Add egg and vanilla. Beat well. Add next 5 ingredients, mixing until incorporated. Mix in toffee bits.
4. Roll dough into 1 inch balls, don't flatten. Roll in topping. Place on prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart {they'll look just like tim-bits from Tim Hortons at this point, same size and all coated in lovely sugar & spice}.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 12-14 min. Serve at room temperature.

I have to admit while these cookies were baking, I kept thinking ... THIS is the recipe you wanna be making if you are trying to sell your home and have an open house!! The smell was incredible!

I hope some of you will be tempted to try this simple recipe. I thought the cookies tasted so good and they would make the perfect holiday treat! And because they are excellent to freeze this would be the perfect recipe to do earlier in the season and pull out a batch to take with you to Christmas parties and friends home's all season long.

Be sure to head over to the Bake-N-Blog party over at Jax does design for tons of lovely holiday recipes posted by others! Thanks for popping by :)

{house tour: bijou and boheme}

Ever since I laid eyes on Christine's beautiful blog, bijou and boheme, I had to keep coming back for more! I first discovered it when my good friend Barbara featured her over on her lovely blog hodge:podge. Christine has a real eye for all things fabulous, and her own home is drool-worthy. I love her style! If you aren't following along, you must hop over and pay her a visit, you won't regret it! Let's take  peek inside:

When I emailed to ask Christine if I could feature her home here, she was kind enough to pass along a few brand new photos of her space that she has recently taken! Thank you for sharing this eye-candy with us Christine, you are a doll!

Here's a sneak peak at the gorgeous wallpaper Christine used in her entry way, I love it so much because it reminds me of one of my favorite vignette's from Lonny:

Ooh! How timely... you may remember I posted on arranging books by color last week. Here's Christine take on the rainbow bookshelf trend. Yummy!

Still swooning? I know, me too! I just love seeing inside other bloggers homes, there is so much talent in the blogosphere!! What a lovely home you have Christine, it needs to be featured in a magazine, thank you for sharing it with us :) Be sure to check out more from Christine on her blog here. Happy Tuesday everyone!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

{my entryway dressed for the holidays}

I've finished dolling up my foyer for Christmas and I've been enjoying coming home to all the glittery festive-ness every day! This space got a simple and pretty palette:

I repeated the feathery look of the bird ornaments {from Liberty} by adding a few black feathers to my pint-size white tree. The tree was a steal of a deal {on ebay} and I glammed it up by placing it in a glossy black vase {from Homesense}:

I love the idea of adding sparkle in unexpected places; I hung strands of crystals from the sconce by the front door, a subtle but pretty touch!

Have you begun dressing your home for the holidays? I'm guessing now that Thanksgiving is done, there will be some serious decking of the halls :) Well it's pretty chilly here in Vancouver, so needless to say it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! If you are visiting from the blog parties over at Southern Hospitality and Hooked on Houses, welcome and thank you for popping by!! Be sure to pop by the party at Southern Hospitality and at Hooked on Houses and check out other beautiful vignette's from so many talented bloggers :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

{the cross decor & design}

Vancouver hot-spot The Cross Decor & Design is one beautiful shop! Located in the heart of Yaletown, this fabulous place boasts 5,000 square feet of pure decorating goodness :)

Co-owners Darci Ilich and Stephanie Vogler offer such lovely items and their style is youthful and fun while remaining elegant and luxurious all the while.

I mentioned earlier this fall that The Cross had a fabulous Media Lounge this year at the IDSwest show, you can see more photos of the booth on their blog here. {all images via The Cross Decor & Design}.

 As the name suggests, The Cross Decor & Design offers design services as well, here are a couple of interiors that I couldn't get out of my head when I first saw them, the first is fun and full of bold color while the second is a grey-and-tufted-loving girl's {like me} heaven.

Believe it or not the stunning space below was once the Hudson Bay department store building in Victoria BC. This display suite shows an example of the newly transformed, magnificently modern suites in the historic building. How neat is that?

Isn't their style swoon-worthy? If you don't live in Vancouver, you can shop online {free shipping in Canada!} and if you want to stay in the loop, follow along on The Cross' facebook page. They always have fabulous giveaways. And this Thursday they are hosting their 7th anniversary party, which means 20% off everything! Oh the temptations!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

{q & a with colleen mcgill}

Today I am excited and honored to share a little conversation with the talented Canadian designer Colleen McGill. As an aspiring decorator, her work has been an immense source of inspiration to me. It's no secret that I love so many things about her design aesthetic and personal style, so featuring Colleen in a designer profile is such a treat!

Colleen McGill is an award winning interior designer who is principal of the Toronto-based architectural and interior design firm McGill Design Group. Her work has been featured in countless design publications; most recently her designs were featured in House & Home's November issue, Style at Home's December issue, and on the television show HGTV's Top 10. McGill was even named one of the Top 80 Interior Designers of the last Decade by Canadian House & Home!

I must say that Colleen's design aesthetic really resonates with my own, her work incorporates so many of the elements that would be must-haves on my 'dream-house' wish list: sconces everywhere {especially embedded in mirrors, and in tufted banquettes}, gorgeous herringbone floors with inlaid borders, millwork, mouldings, and built-ins galore! To me, that kind of attention to detail is what truly makes a space.

Nancy Marcus: When did you know you wanted to become a designer and how did you begin your business venture?

Colleen McGill: While completing my degree in Economics at The University of Western Ontario, I realized that my passion truly lay in a more creative field where I could help make an impact on people’s lives.  I had always been very artistic and very interested in how interior environments impacted my sense of wellbeing.  I explored Architecture schools and in my travels discovered the field of Interior Design.

I registered McGill Design Group in 1996 and began taking on clients while I was completing my degree in Interior Design at Ryerson University.

Nancy Marcus: What was your one big break?

Colleen McGill: I would say that I had a few breaks that have shaped my career.  The first was working for Joe Brennan at JF Brennan Design Build early in my career. He is a very talented man with a passion for classical architecture and I benefited tremendously from that experience.   It was a great to be a part of the design process and see the work come to life through building.  It taught me a great deal about the true impact of my design decisions.  The staff at JF Brennan were all very talented and I learned a great deal about Architecture and Planning.  Most of all, I adopted Joe’s optimistic philosophy that “nothing is impossible,” an empowering attitude that stays with me today.

My second break was a full redesign and renovation on a house in Forest Hill in Toronto early in my career.  I was lucky to have a client who gave me full reign to redesign the house, manage the renovation and decorate it top to bottom.  Not only did I manage to complete the renovation in 3 months and keep on budget but the house was featured in Canadian House & Home magazine that year and really got me noticed.

Nancy Marcus: Which designers do you admire most?

Colleen McGill: I love the work of the late architect John Russell Pope. His classical architecture is sublime. I adore Kelly Wearstler’s bold and decadent interiors – Bergdorf Goodman’s Tea Room is wonderful. Christian Liaigre’s Mercer Hotel in New York is still gorgeous and timelessly on trend. I also love Oscar de La Renta for his seemingly effortless designs that are at once timeless, graceful and youthful.  I am inspired by his personal grace and continued ability to reinvent his design while still keeping his signature elegance over such a long career.

Nancy Marcus: Your use of paneling within your projects is stunning, would you say this is a key element to achieving a luxe and classic look?

Colleen McGill: Yes I do love paneling! It gives a room a detailed layer of elegance which allows me to overlay either a classic look in the furnishings or a contrast of more contemporary pieces.  It gives my spaces a language of timelessness and naturally enhances the perceived and real value of a home.  I believe in true recessed paneling rather than just applying panel mould onto drywall which doesn’t offer the full affect.

Nancy Marcus: Fabulous! The effect is truly sensational, and I must agree that this takes an already stunning space to the next level.

Nancy Marcus: What project are you most proud of?

Colleen McGill: One of my favorite projects is a house in downtown Calgary that we did for a wonderful couple.  The Exterior Architecture of the house is modern but the clients asked for the interior to be classical.   The home has wonderful detail and an incredibly inviting kitchen/ family room with views of the Rocky Mountains.

I am working on a very small but incredibly important space right now that I am very proud of – it’s the redesign of the Mount Sinai Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit waiting room that I am redesigning on behalf of Project Sunshine – a charity organization that I support.  The space will give families of the babies in the NICU a place to rest, to wait, to hope and to feel a sense of optimism as their little ones are being cared for.

I am most proud when my clients tell me my designs have changed the way they live for the better.  I love hearing they spend more time with their family in a newly designed kitchen or that they love entertaining in their new home. We endeavor to enrich people's lives and there is nothing better than coming home to a beautiful, elegant, serene, and functional relaxing space filled with light and character.

Nancy Marcus: What an inspiration, I am sure the families spending countless hours in the NICU will find comfort in a space designed specifically with their wellbeing in mind. Thank you for sharing this important project with us!

A huge thank you to Colleen for being gracious with your time, it's always a thrill to learn more about the person being the fabulous designs!

If you aren't already following the uber talented McGill Design Group on facebook, hurry on over cause you are missing out!

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