June 30, 2010

Party time!!

I wrote this post for Paul at Kitchen & Residential Design last summer and thought I’d give it a replay in case you missed it…Happy canada day wonderclipartsJuly 1st is Canada Day here in the Great White North. So in honour of Canada’s 143rd birthday, and because I’m a proud Canadian, I’d like to take this opportunity to help you get to know us Crazy Canucks a bit better.

Silly Canadian facts…

1. The province named Newfoundland is named Newfoundland because Canada lost it in the 1960s then found it again only a few months ago. Before that, it was called Land.

2. When in Montreal, make friends by asking every passerby "Hey, Frenchy, where's the Eiffel Tower?"

Eiffel_Tower northern edu[2]

3. Canadians do NOT pronounce "about" as if it were "aboot". In fact, the Canadian language does not have the word "about". If a Canadian says "aboot," he or she probably means "a large shoe."

4. It is illegal in Canada to use the letter "O" without putting a "U" after it. As in "Colour" or "Poutine" or "Filthy Whoure".

5. Every fact Americans know about Canada was learned on the back of cereal boxes. All American cereal boxes are required to include facts about Canada. So if a Canadian asks you "What do you know about Canada?", an acceptable response is "You contain 190mg of sodium."trix amazon

No, no, not true!! But I bet you laughed at least once!!

Here are some REAL facts about Canada…

6. We’re the second largest country in the world (after Russia) and make up almost 7% of the total surface of the Earth.


7. The total length of the Canada-US border is 8,890 kms (5,334 miles).

8. Some of the names considered for Canada before we officially became a country in 1867 are Cabotia, Urslalia, Laurentia, Columbia, and Efisga. Huh?! It’s derived from the first letters of England, France, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, and Aboriginal lands.

9. O Canada was composed in 1880 with music by Calixa Lavallée and words by Judge Adolphe-Basile Routhier. In 1908, Robert Stanley Weir wrote the translation on which the present English lyrics are based. O Canada was officially named our National Anthem in 1980.


10. The red & white on Canada’s national flag were designated Canada’s official colours in 1921 by King George V.

canada_flag_sunset stand up for america[5]

11. Canada’s largest island is Baffin Island. At 507,451 square kilometers (184,000 square miles), it’s big enough to hold Ireland, the United Kingdom, Hungary, and Austria combined, with some room to spare.

baffin-island-sun-national geographic

12. The world’s longest designated street is in Toronto, Ontario. Yonge Street is 1,900kms (1,140 miles) long. Never-ending bumper-to-bumper Toronto traffic has been around forever…

yonge_street 1901 archives gov on[6]

13. Newfoundland was officially set to become a Canadian province on April 1st, 1949. Premier Joey Smallwood got the date pushed back a day to March 31st, to avoid any possible jokes about Newfoundland joining Canada on April Fool’s Day.

14. Newfoundland has its own time zone.

15. Our football field is longer and wider than a US football field. No idea why.

Canadian_football wikimedia[2]

15a. Our landmass is longer and wider than the US landmass too :-P And Alaska should be ours!!

north america

16. Our money comes in lots of pretty colours :-)

canadian-money angie tarasoff blog[3]

16a. Not to be confused with colourful Canadian Tire money…

canadian-tire-money smart canucks[6]

16b. And we have denominations called a Loonie and a Toonie. Seriously.

LooneyTunesWallpaper sugarcraft

17. If you have a torn half of a $20 bill, it’s still worth $10. According to the Bank of Canada, bills that have 3/5s or more of their original size remaining are worth their full value. Bills that are split in half are worth half their amount. So the half of a $5 bill that our Lab Squirt ate and then pooped out is worth $2.50!!

18. The beaver attained official status as an emblem of Canada when an “act to provide for the recognition of the beaver as a symbol of the sovereignty of Canada” received royal assent on March 24, 1975.

beaver-picture discovery[2]

18a. Some other animals that are representative of Canada…

Bison — The largest native land animal in Canada. A mature male can be 3.8 metres long, 1.8 metres tall at the shoulder, and weigh up to 720 kilograms. That’s bigger than my smart car!!

bison-headshot NG


moose zach oneill blog[2]


common-loon national geographic

Canada Goose

canada-goose uvm edu

Mosquito (it’s either snow season or bug season here!!)

mosquito-researcher the the running tally

19. The first people to drive across Canada were Thomas Wilby and F.V. Haney on 1912. Some parts of the country didn’t even have roads yet, and it took them 52 days to make the trip. My smart car goes faster than that!!

20. Montreal’s Olympic Stadium built for the 1976 Olympics was supposed to cost $120 million. By the time it was paid off, the price tag had ballooned to $3 BILLION. Large chunks of concrete have been known to fall off of it.

o stadium britannica[2]

21. There have been more dinosaur bones found in Canada than in any other country.

Invented by Canadians…

22. Horse race starting gate in the early 1900s by Philip McGinnis of Huntingdon, Quebec.

23. Air conditioning on trains in 1858 by Henry Ruttan of Cobourg, Ontario.

train flickr[2]

24. Java (universal computer programming language) by Dr. James Gosling.


25. The first human cannonball act, folding theater seats, and the modern parachute by The Great Farini of Port Hope, Ontario.

cannonball wikimedia[4]

26. Sir Sandford Fleming proposed the present system of standard time, by which the world is divided into 24 equal time zones.

27. The original McIntosh apple tree was discovered in 1812 at Dundela, Ontario by farmer John McIntosh. It bore fruit till 1908 and died in 1910 shortly after being burnt in a fire.

mcintosh wills orchards[2]

28. The term Beatlemania was coined by Ottawa journalist Sandy Gardiner.

29. Superman was co-created by Toronto-born artist Joe Shuster and his American friend, writer Jerry Siegal in the 1930s.

Superman wiki[2]

30. The first game show on May 15, 1935 was hosted by Roy Ward Dickson. His radio program was Professor Dick and his Question Box.

31. Winnie the Pooh was created by author A.A. Milne and named for Winnipeg, Manitoba.

winnie-the-pooh listen to leon[2]

32. The first light bulb was invented by Henry Woodward and Matthew Evans of Toronto. They had been unsuccessful in exploiting their invention because potential investors believed the idea would be too costly, so they sold their patent so a dude named Thomas Edison.

light-bulb-idea-hand nireblog[2]

33. The snowmobile by Armand Bombardier in 1959. He meant to call it a Ski-Dog, but a typo in the printed literature changed the name to Ski-Doo.

34. Although technically basketball was invented in the US — in 1898 in Springfield, Massachusetts — it was invented by Canadian James A. Naismith. 9 of the 18 players in the first basketball game were Canadian too.

naismith britannica[3]

35. Students from McGill University in Montreal introduced the game of rugby—played with an oblong ball—to their Harvard counterparts in 1874. They were so taken by the game, they adopted it and it eventually evolved into football.

Canadian foods you have to try…

36. If you like greasy French fries, melted curds, and gooey gravy, you’ll LOVE poutine!! It’s a heart attack in a bowl, and a trademark food in Quebec. If you order it, make sure you pronounce it right (pooh-teen). If you ask for a poo-ten, you’ll get something completely different…



Poutin (as played by Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman):

pretty woman boxwish[3]

37. Quebec also does the BEST French fries and all dressed hot dogs steamé. The buns are so soft and tender, and the dogs are slathered with mustard, relish, onions, and coleslaw. Mmmmm…

hot dogs albertakingofsubs[5]

38. And the ultimate Canadian food found right here in Ottawa… BEAVERTAILS!!! SOOOOOOO yummy!!! A beavertail is a long, thin, oval-shaped piece of pastry that’s deep fried and then covered with a variety of toppings. My favourite is the Killaloe Sunrise — lemon juice, cinnamon, and sugar.


If you come to Ottawa, you HAVE to try a beavertail. Preferably from a shack on the canal in the middle of winter to get the full beavertail-eating experience. But really, they’re good in the summertime too :-)

So there you go, now you know more about Canada!! And if that’s not enough Canada for you — and really, can a person ever have enough Canada?? ;-) — you can check out this tribute to our nice little country that I wrote last year. Yes, more recycling — we’re all about being green here at DesignTies :-)

sig purple

June 29, 2010

What’s Your Style in One Picture Challenge

Ally at From The Right Bank is holding her third What’s Your Style in One Picture Challenge. The name says it all — post one picture that sums up your design style.

I’m a bit all over the place when it comes to interior design — I like so many styles, it’s hard to narrow the choice down to just one. But in the end, the one room that sums up my style better than any other is fashion designer Monique Lhuillier’s living room:

monique lhuillier

Seriously, what’s not to love about this gorgeous room?! The grey colour scheme, the luxurious fabrics on the sofa & chairs and the drapery, the organic wood side table, the zebra print, the patterned rug, the mirrored coffee table, the hits of colour from the purple orchids and the vase of hydrangeas… love, love, LOVE it all!!

If you’d like to see more of Monique’s beautiful living room, her home was featured in the January/February 2008 issue of Elle Decor. You can see the slide show of her home here.

Are you going to take the What’s Your Style in One Room Challenge?? Let me know if you do, and I’ll be sure to drop by your blog and check it out :-)

sig purple

June 26, 2010

Mirror Mirror: Keeping it Simple

Dining RoomI had so much fun staging Bonnie’s condo… and the results were, without doubt, terrific! Forgive me for tooting my own horn ;-)
When I first assessed the dining room I knew that the perfect addition would be a large mirror – not only would it fill a long wall, it would reflect the fantastic south-facing view from this 21st floor condo when people walked into the Mirrorroom (photographer didn’t take this photo from eye-level).
I sourced out the ideal mirror from Ikea – the wood was a good match to Bonnie’s dining set, and it had a clean contemporary line that worked really well with their overall style.
After the job though, the mirror came home with me to be stored in the attic. What an unhappy place to be!
Then Thursday my daughter Ashley told me that her friend Nicci was in desperate need of a full length mirror. She said that when ever they’re getting ready to go out clubbing, she and Nicci can’t fully check out their beautiful selves to ensure that they’re ultimately gorgeous! HaHa!! So as you can see, “desperate need” is an excellent assessment of the situation! :-)
As soon as I learned that Nicci needed a mirror I thought of the one in our attic. But while it was perfect for Bonnie’s dining room, it wasn’t ideal for Nicci’s place. We only had the evening to fix it up… so what could we do?
Ashley chose the colour (a sage/olivey green, the accent colour in Nicci’s apartment) and I set to work.
DSCF0717I started by lightly sanding the frame…
Next came the painter’s tape… and then… the paint brush!
Of course we can’t complete ANY project around our home without our supervisor, Scotty!!
As I was painting I found myself thinking that something was missing. Sure I was taking a simple wood frame and giving it some simple colour, but how could I add something special when I only had an hour?!
Out came the painter’s tape again… a stripe was needed around the frame!
A simple detail for a simple frame, but it really jazzed things up!!
DSCF0725Now I was worried about how Nicci was going to clean her mirror without removing the painted stripe… so the next morning, before Ashley and her Dad took the mirror over to DSCF0724Nicci’s place, I pulled out some clear faux-stain glass stuff and I sealed the stripe. At least I hope I did!! HaHa!!
The results are great. Clean, simple lines yet a fresh look for a young woman’s apartment.
I was told that Brian would be helping the girls hang the mirror, and that I’d be able to join them to take photos… but the girls were getting ready for a night on the town to celebrate Nicci’s birthday so they were in a hurry so told us “another time!”.
But Ashley took a few photos of the mirror in it’s new home… not quite how I’d showcase the final results, but it’ll do! Besides… you get to see my beautiful girls, too!! :-)
Nicci tells us she loves her new mirror!
And you KNOW those lovely girls will be posing in front of this mirror on their way out the door to celebrate… a perfect mirror transformation for 2 perfectly beautiful images!
Happy Birthday Chickie!!
Butterfly It’s that time again… time for Metamorphosis Monday! Thanks to our host Susan from Between Naps on the Porch for 76 weeks of blog-party fun!! Be sure to make check out the transformations shared by other party-participants… and thanks for dropping by DesignTies!