June 30, 2009

Celebrating Canada Day Ben & Jerry’s style!!


In honour of Canada Day, I’ve got a double celebration going on!! Head over to Paul’s blog, Kitchen and Residential Design, and learn all kinds of fun and interesting facts about Canada. But check out some serious Canadian ice cream nirvana before you go…

odie3[3] nir·va·na (n.)

An ideal condition of rest, harmony, stability, or joy.

Wowsers!! I’m drooling. All over my keyboard and onto the floor. Because Ben & Jerry’s has a new fantabulous ice cream flavour. Sorry to all our US and worldwide blog buddies, but it’s a Canadian exclusive. How cool is that, to have an official Canadian ice cream?? :-) YAY CANADA!!

millionflavours-sm[4] The new ice cream flavour is called If I Had 1,000,000 Flavours. It’s named after the Barenaked Ladies’ song, If I Had 1,000,000 Dollars. Just feel your mouth water and your taste buds go into contortions as you read what’s in it…

Chocolate & vanilla ice cream

White chocolate chunks

Chocolate-covered almonds

Toffee bits

Peanut butter cups

OH MY GOD. Can ice cream get any better than that?!?!??! I think not. I mean, this is perfect. This is the epitome of ice cream. This is all the yummiest things to eat all rolled into one. This is packed with a bazillion calories and absolutely no nutritional value whatsoever!! And I went to the grocery store TODAY and picked up a couple of pints!! Hmmmm… it’s called If I Had 1,000,000 Flavours — I should have picked up one pint per flavour?! :-D

And to make this ice cream even sweeter — if that’s actually possible!! — BNL are donating their share of proceeds from sales of the ice cream to the ABC CANADA Literacy Foundation. Which TOTALLY takes the guilt out of eating too much ice cream!! :-)

BNL BNL’s Endorsement: We support ABC CANADA because we like ice cream with lots of crap in it.

I’ll let you know how it tastes later today. Somebody will have to pry the spoon out of my hand so I can type. Although on second thought, who needs two hands to type!?

canada flag map[7] OK, so while I’m busy eating ice cream, here are some all-Canadian posts from our archives that you really should check out :-)

And while you’re here visiting Canada, keep these laws in mind — we don’t want our blogger buddies getting into trouble with the Mounties!!

Moose, Mounties & Muskeg - Images of Canada

Unless, of course, Paul Gross as Benton Fraser on Due South is the one doing the arresting… he can handcuff me any day!! ;-)

Paul-Gross images art

Where was I… oh, yeah, try not to get arrested!!

1. You may not pay for a fifty-cent item with only pennies.

pennies the offside
2. Citizens may not publicly remove bandages. (Ewwwwww!!!!)
3. Section 331 of the Canadian Criminal Code states that it is illegal to send a telegram or letter threatening a bird.

4. Businesses must provide rails for tying up horses.
5. Wooden logs may not be painted.
6. You may never use dice to play craps. (Ummmm…..)

dice-illusion foundshit

7. If you are released from prison, it is required that you are given a handgun with bullets and a horse, so you can ride out of town. (And then get yourself sent right back to jail. So this is why businesses must provide rails for tying up horses…)

8. It is illegal to kill a sasquatch.

sasquatch nftech
9. The best place in Canada to be imprisoned if you’re a bankrupt drunk is B.C. A law there requires jailers to bring convicted debtors a pint of beer on demand.

10. Driving on the roads is not allowed.

no driving

11. When raining, a person may not water his/her lawn.

12. All business signs in the province of Quebec must be in French. If the business operator wishes to have English on the sign, the French must be at least twice as large as the English is. There are no laws governing the usage of other languages on signs. Bill 101 (Passed 1976)

Getting on my soapbox here… having lived in Quebec till I was 30, I have some strong opinions about the language police. Yes, that’s what they’re called. They look for signs and anything else that they deem too English and slap a fine down. This one takes the cake… A pet store owner was threatened with fines because a parrot in the store spoke to customers in English only. Wonder what would have happened if the language police had been confronted by Barney the foul-mouthed parrot

parrot daily mail

13. Bylaw states that no more than 3.5 inches of water is allowed in a bathtub.

14. If you have a water trough in your front yard it must be filled by 5:00 a.m.

15. The city is classified as a no-pee zone.

peeing wishkoski

16. The color of house and garage doors is regulated by city bylaws (a purple door get you a fine). It is also illegal to have a clothes line in your backyard. (Seriously, how stupid is this?!?!?)

17. It's illegal to climb trees.

tree pixelated geek

18. It is illegal to eat ice-cream on Bank Street on a Sunday. (That’s fine, I’ll be eating my Ben & Jerry’s in my backyard!!)

sharing-ice-cream-cone found shit

19. You can't drag a dead horse down Yonge St. on a Sunday. (Is it OK to do it other days?!)

20. Residents are not allowed to have an Internet connection faster than 56k.

slow internet broadband forum

21. It is considered an offense to have more than two colors of paint on your house.

colorful house flickr
22. You may not own a log cabin.

23. The Queen Elizabeth Hotel must feed your horse freely when you rent a room.

QE hotel flickr
24. You may not swear in French. (Colin de bin!!)
25. Citizens may not relieve themselves or spit on the street. Punishable by a fine of over 100 Canadian dollars.

100 bill all nations stamp and coin

26. All exterior painting jobs require a permit for colour.

Don’t forget to keep the Canada Day party going by visiting Kitchen & Residential Design… I think you'll find it educational, and fun too :-)

Have a safe and crime-free Canada Day!!!

fireworks cbc

sig purple

P.S. Next Wednesday, we’ll be starting our summer feature, Rewind Wednesdays. We’ll be re-posting some our favourite older posts while we’re outdoors enjoying the summer weather :-) We’d love to have you participate… we’ll have Mr. Linky up next Tuesday around 9:00PM for everyone who wants to spend more time being beach bums and less time being bloggers :-)

And, don’t forget to enter our giveaway to win a custom-made tassel from Angela at Angela’s Peony Patch :-) You have till late Thursday afternoon to enter!!

You Don’t Want to Miss… Thing One and Thing Two!!

Two things to share with you on this lovely Tuesday… one just feels good and the other is an idea that we’re trying out here on DesignTies that we hope you’ll try “at home”!

Thing One:

Angela from Angela’s Peony Patch HEARTS our blog… it’s such a wonderful feeling to be loved!! :-)

Thank you so much for this award, Angela… we heart your blog too!!


And speaking of Angela… you should see the beautiful tassels she makes! I definitely recommend that you make your way over to her blog to check out her lovelies!! Of course – right here on DesignTies - you could WIN a FABULOUS made-by-Angela, custom-designed, one-of-a-kind tassel that Kelly and I have dubbed “Fleur de Glam”… simply visit Angela’s Etsy shop The Tassel House, and then come back to Kelly’s Fun & Funky post to leave a comment telling us which one of Angela’s tassels is your favourite!! Good luck!!


Thing Two:


Starting next Wednesday (July 8th) ~ and continuing throughout the summer ~ Kelly and I are going to be re-publishing some of our favourite DesignTies posts.

We’re calling it Rewind Wednesdays… and we’re inviting each of you to join in on the fun and re-play with us!!

Here’s the thing… summers are busy times filled with fun, sun, friends, families, activities… you know, all the kinds of things that keep us away from our computers and our blogs. So why not rewind? Why not pull forward some of those great posts that have been buried deep in your archives?! That’s what we’re going to do!!

I ask you again… hit re-play button with us!! :-)

Next Tuesday evening, July 7th at 9pm eastern time, we’ll publish our Rewind Wednesdays post along with a Mr. Linky.

All you have to do is copy and paste our Rewind Wednesdays logo in your post to let others know that you’re participating in our blog party ~ quickly edit, mention and link back to your blog party host = us :-) DesignTies, then re-publish your TERRIFIC, previously archived post ~ and sign in with Mr. Linky (be sure to use your post’s URL address, not your blog’s address… that way when people come visiting they’ll go straight to your Rewind Wednesdays post, even weeks later).

So… will you come and REWIND with us?!

We hope so!!

Feel free to ask questions of Kelly & I about how this works…

And make sure you enter into our draw to win Angela’s beautiful Fleur de Glam tassel!!


Victoria from Edin Interiors

June 29, 2009

Can you see beyond the ugly?!


For this week’s Metamorphosis Monday Blog Party I’m sharing the beginning of a transformation… and a plan for a  major metamorphosis… but the major question is: Can you see beyond the ugly… all the way to the lovely? Can you imagine how wonderful it’ll look when it’s all done?? Thanks to Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for hosting the blogsphere gathering!


Boy do we have a BIG project on our hands!! And even though it’s BIG and it’ll be HARD WORK, I’m excited!!

What is it?

Over the summer Brian and I are hard & landscaping our front yard!

Our poor little house and yard… this is what the place looked like when we purchased the house close to 2 years ago:

[16Feb08] Exterior 1 You can also see my pup, Simon… as usual, he’s hogging the limelight in all my photos! Gesh! :-)

Pretty damned ugly, hey?

We’ve taken to calling these bushes “hedges” but truth be told, they’re just overgrown wild cedar trees. Who in their right mind would plant them and let them grow to such behemoth ugly monstrosities?! The worst… these horrible trees block so much sunshine from the yard.

[16Feb08] Exterior 5 [16Feb08] Exterior 6


As soon as we could, we had the front cedars removed. Unfortunately, though, the side cedars you’re looking at above are sitting on our neighbour’s property… and for some crazy reason he doesn’t want them removed. Argh!

Anyway… we have a solution that I’ll share in a minute… first, here’s what the yard looks like right now:


And looking from the house down to the street:


Still not the lovely yard I want, but so much better!

BUT… There’s the tree you see in each photo above, and spliced together below…

Whole Tree

I might get in trouble with some of our readers ~ believe me when I say that this tree – a mega-huge (Brian says it’s over 70’ high!) cedar riddled with and being choked by ivy - has seen much better days. I’ve had an arborist by for a consult and she agrees… this tree has GOT to go. In fact, the tree remover guys are coming by tomorrow to take it down!

I promise… we’ll be planting another tree a little further up the yard!!

While I have many of you shaking your heads and wondering if I’ve gone totally bonkers, I’d better show you what we’ve done with our side of the neighbour’s “hedge”!!


DSC02186 I guess I’d better tell you the plan now… and yes, there IS a plan! :-)

Let’s start with the trees above… a simple solution… we’re putting up a fence. Our side of the hedge was so horrible! Can you see the dead earth that extends out about 5 feet from the tree trunks? That’s how far the trees extended into our yard! And practically all the branches were dead. We’ve reclaimed our 5 feet of yard by removing the dead branches – and our neighbour has his somewhat better-looking side (he get’s the sun over there). We’ll have a 6’ high fence, stained in a charcoal grey… and in front of that fence, and down this side of the yard, we’ll have a garden filled with plants that do well in the shade. I think it’ll look FAB!!

Another look at the yard from the street:

DSC01605 DSC01606

The most obvious thing is that tree… once it’s removed you’ll finally be able to see the house! Of course, that means that we’ll have to finish painting the darn thing! Haha! Can you see my big test patch?!

But the BIG job I mentioned?? We’re going to be labouring away over a series of retaining walls! Three of them, in fact… including stairs and a new walkway!

Speaking of walkway… Brian got started this weekend:


I’ve found some photos of retaining walls to give you an idea of what we’re going to be doing…


We’ll be building two tiers like this (above) lower down in the yard… the lower wall will be about 3’ high the upper wall will be about 2’ high.

We’ll be using an Allan Block Jumbo Junior (a smaller brick) in “natural” (a light grey) with a charcoal top cap. The photo below is the Jumbo Junior in light grey… although a much taller application then our walls.


The stairs will look great… something like this… 0nly we’ll have 4 steps ~ a 6’ landing/walkway ~ then another 3 steps up to the yard.


More bricks in grey (although larger then the ones we’ll use)

dan_001 illinois_5-06_041

Finally… a photo of what I want our walkway to look like (colour and pavers)… except I’m planning on framing the walk with darker charcoal pavers. I think it’ll look fantastic!!

JT pic012 (H) Allegro Limestone Pavers

If all goes to plan, we should be starting on this project later this week. I’ll be sure to post updates when I can!!

Wish us luck!! I think we’ll need it!

Now… make your way back to Between Naps on the Porch where you’ll find transformations that don’t ask you to imagine… they already look great!!

Victoria from Edin Interiors

June 28, 2009

We have a WestCoast Giveaway Winner!

DSC02163I know you’ve been waiting impatiently to find out who won my WestCoast Giveaway… well wait no longer!! :-)

Okay… wait one moment longer, please.


First, some photos of wonderful Ucluelet, BC – the location of the mini-holiday I took with my husband a couple of weekends ago. We had such a fantastic time and can’t wait to return!!

Specifically, I’m sharing some photos of Brian and I wearing a hat that we purchased in Coombs, a small community we discovered on our way to Ucluelet.


Vic DSC02118


Why am I sharing pics of us with Brian’s new hat?

Because we used it to make the draw!!


And the winner is…


Nancy profile shot


Nancy from the blog Porch Days!!

Congratulations, Nancy!! I hope you enjoy this little gift I purchased for a DesignTies reader – you, as it happens(!!) – while my honey and I were in beautiful Ucluelet!!


Thanks to everyone who played along with the giveaway rules and posted comments on archived DesignTies posts!!

If you’d like a chance to win another great DesignTies give away, be sure to check out Kelly’s “Fun and Funky Tassels” post where she showcases the creative and crafty talents of Angela from Angela’s Peony Patch… and where she introduces everyone to one very special tassel that we’ve named Fleur de Glam. Follow Kelly’s giveaway rules and you could be our next winner!! Good luck!!

Victoria from Edin Interiors

June 25, 2009

Fun & funky tassels… and you can win one!!

Embrasse-Houles-Ebony It’s Friday, and that means it’s time for Julia’s Hooked on Fridays blog party!! :-) It also means the weekend is here… WEEEHOOO!!!

I have a blogger buddy, Angela. She has a blog called Angela’s Peony Patch. A few months ago at the start of the NCAA basketball tournament, I discovered that Angela was cheering for the North Carolina Tar Heels. Oh no… this wasn’t good. I’ve been a Duke fan since the early ‘90s, and NC and Duke fans just can’t be friends. It’s a rule of the Universe. Bad things will happen. Stars will fall out of the sky and planets will spin in the wrong direction and freaky stuff like that. But luckily, we both love Tostitos with a Hint of Lime, so that balances things out and all is still right with the Universe :-)

Angela has a fun and interesting hobby — she creates tassels. Before I “met” Angela, I thought a tassel was just something you used to dress up your curtains or cushions, or that flop around on a loafer. But no, tassels are much more fun and creative than that!! And that’s why this week, I’m hooked on fun & funky tassels :-) And there’s one tassel in particular that I’m really hooked on… and you can win it!!

But first, some Tassel 101

The word tassel comes from the Latin tassau, meaning a clasp. A tassel is defined as “a finishing feature in fabric decoration”.

The three parts of a tassel are:

  • Suspending cord
  • Body, usually made up of one or more moulds
  • A skirt of fringe or other ornaments

Tassels were originally created when the end of a cord was tied into a knot to prevent unraveling. As time went by, people came up with variations on this idea.

In the 16th century, the first Guild of Passementiers was created in France. A seven-year apprenticeship was required in order to become a master of one of the subdivisions of the guild. The guild made tassels primarily, but also fringes, ornamental cords, galloons, pompoms, rosettes, and gimps. (I have no idea what a galloon is — if you don’t either, you can find out what it is at Wikipedia.)

Tassels and their associated forms changed style throughout the years, from the small and casual designs during the Renaissance, through the medium-sized and more staid designs of the Empire period, to the Victorian Era with the largest and most elaborate tassels. Today, tassels come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and styles, and are used as ornaments all around the world…

tassel_souk jane thornley

Declercq is a French company that makes elegant & beautiful tassels and trim…

declercq aziyade 1 declercq aziyade 2 declercq il palio

 declercq corail declercq leo declercq metrolpolis

 declercq opium declercq palazzo ducale declercq diademe

 declercq gran canal declercq palais dhiver declercq vienna

Traditional tassels…

tassels touch of class

Tassel trim

tassels trim by design

Beaded tassels…

tassel decorating studio tassel gray cat ornaments tassel home and we

 tassel lartisana tassel turtle soup beads

 tassel jewellery to love

A heart-shaped sachet tassel…

tassel salt spring lavender

Beachy tassels (the first one was made by Sarah at A Beach Cottage)…

tassel a beach cottage tassel trade india tassels shells kaccents

Tassels can dress up a purse

tassel migdale-purple

tassel purse splendicity

…and an Arabian horse

tassels horse arabian horses legacy

A tassel dress jewelry stand

tasseldress dynamic jewelry stands

And Spanish dancer tassel…

Blossom Tassel Spanish dancer

There’s even a flower that looks like a tassel, the Tassel Hyacinth

And I have to include boob tassels!!

tassel boobs my delilah burlesque

Check out Elvira Mistress of the Dark doing some seriously impressive boob tassel twirling… (is it just me, or is she missing a bellybutton??)

Whew!! And on THAT note…. here are Angela’s tassels!!

angela rainbow of color tassel 2As you can see from the pictures, Angela’s tassels are colourful and fun and funky and unique :-) Angela took some time out from her tassel-making to answer my questions about her tassels…

How did you first get interested in making tassels?

I first got interested in tassels when I purchased one about a year ago. It wasn't until my mom saw my excitement over my new purchase and exclaimed that I was quite capable of making them myself that my wheels started turning.

Did you take a class to learn how to make tassels, or did you learn on your own?

angela ooo la la tassel 2

I laid in bed for a few weeks coming up with ideas of how to create a beautiful yet sturdy and affordable way to make a tassel. Those original thought processes have definitely taken several turns since I started!

On average, how long does it take you to make a tassel?

On average, a tassel takes me almost an hour to make. This is from point A of picking out the materials to point B - the finished product.

Where do you get ideas/inspiration for your tassel designs?

My imagination goes into overdrive when I am shopping and find very pretty fringes, ribbons, and/or 'toppers'. Any one of these items can be the inspiration for my next tassel!

Can you give a brief description of the tassel-making process.

angela pink n green tasselWhen I start the tassel making process, I must first decide what kind of tassel I am in the mood to create - fun, colorful, whimsical, elegant, rustic, country, etc. Once I decide on this, I pick something that inspires me (either ribbons, fringes, and/or topper). I pick out all of the materials that I think coordinate best, and then I start creating. I never know what a finished tassel is going to look like when I start it. The tassel evolves on its own as I create it. Once I finish a tassel, I make sure to show it off to my husband, and he knows to say it's the most beautiful I've created so far! ;)

Great Brewster What's your favourite tassel that you've made?

My very most favorite tassel is Great Brewster Tassel. I love the ocean, and this tassel fits in perfectly with beach decor. I put it for sale in my Etsy shop for one day before I realized that I truly did not want to part with it.

What's the most unique tassel you've made?

I'd like to think that each of my tassels is the most unique, but I know that's not exactly the case. I'll have to think about this!

Where are some places people can hang tassels?

Goodness, tassels can hang anywhere!! Lamp switches, knobs of ANY kind - china cabinets, doors, armoires, etc., candlesticks, keyholes, chair backs, curtain rods, drawer pulls, anywhere! A tassel can truly hang around any item that you want to give a special touch!

angela fun with colorWhat appeals to you most about tassels?

Crazy yet beautiful color combinations. Creating tassels has completely broaden my horizons of pairing colors, textures, fabrics, and designs together!

Do you make custom tassels?

Absolutely! Custom tassels make up about 25% of my sales. Sometimes, people have a specific spot where they want to put something special, but they can't seem to find that "something" in a store. That's where I come in. I use pictures of your room, color specifications, fabrics, and/or your ideas to create a tassel will look just perfect in your space!

Thank you, Angela!!

How cute would this tassel that Angela made be for a dog lover…

angela beagle tassel

And this bright & cheery one for a frog lover!!

angela im a goodlookin frog tassel

But if you’re more into purple & silver & sparkly & glam, then we’ve got the perfect tassel for you!! Angela graciously offered to make a custom-designed, one-of-a-kind DesignTies tassel to give away to one of our blog guests :-) She used beautiful purple and gray shimmery ribbons, an antiqued silver topper, and a few purple jewels. Victoria has dubbed it Fleur de Glam

hangingfrom below 1

A close-up of the topper & jewels

jewels close

And a couple of close-ups of the beautiful shimmery ribbons… the gray ribbon even has silver beading

ribbons closeclose 1

How can you win??

Just visit Angela’s Etsy shop The Tassel House, and then come back here and leave a comment telling us which one of Angela’s tassels is your favourite. Can’t get much easier than that!! Anyone can enter no matter where you live. You have until next Thursday to enter (July 2nd), and we’ll announce the winner in next week’s Hooked on Fridays post.

Good luck!!

soap Speaking of giveaways (we do a lot of that around here!!), the winner of the handmade soap from Ucluelet is… still a mystery because Victoria hasn’t given me the name of the winner yet!! V, get your butt in gear and pick a name!!

And… Tiaa at Exclusively Yours Interiors is giving away a rug. You have until June 30th to enter. Go now!! And then go back to Hooked on Houses and keep the blog party rolling!! :-)

Oh, and incidentally — North Carolina won the NCAA tournament. Duke choked, as usual. That’s it, I’m cheering for North Carolina now — GO ‘HEELS!!


A Note from Victoria

I’ve just returned from class and I’m zonked!

My plan is to make the draw later tomorrow (Friday), notifying the winner right away via e-mail… then I’ll feature the draw winner in a post I’ll publish on Sunday. I know… everyone is waiting with baited breath to find out who the winner of the unique handmade soap is!! BUT ~~ I figure that if waiting a few days to post the good news means that Kelly’s fantastic tassel post (her posts are always FAB!) and, of course, Angela’s beautiful tassels get all the attention they deserve… than it’s worth the wait!! :-)

Come back to DesignTies on Sunday for a visit!!