Thursday, October 24, 2013

Paris, Burgundy and Provence


It was a whirlwind trip but we have returned all in one piece (more or less).
Had some adventures with our standard car - not knowing where to find reverse - totally different from here. Luckily our guardian angels appeared from nowhere at just the right time. Like walking out of the woods as we were trying to find reverse.

We got lost on farm roads in Burgundy at 1:00 a.m. with very little gas - our GPS made many mistakes, we were stopped by a gendarme for stopping in an illegal space, we arrived just as workers were arriving for lunch at a country restaurant, sharing the bathroom with them. Lovely!

The French train system is great - but we didn't realize we'd have to schlepp our luggage around. Wonderful people helped up with that too!

We drank wine at lunch, dinner and in the evening. We ate baguettes and fabulous cheeses at breakfast, lunch and dinner. We met interesting people everywhere.

We saw beautiful sites in Paris and wonderful old, medevial towns in Burgundy. We toured the Pope's Palace in Avignon.

Unfortunately we didn't have enough time to see much of Provence. Saving that for next time. We will land in Marsaille and see more of the south of France.

Here are some pics that I took along the way. Hope you enjoy.

Eiffel Tower



Friday, September 13, 2013

Paris, Burgundy and Provence - here we come!

Jayne, Vivian and I leave for Paris on Monday, September 16th. It is so exciting!

It's been a lot of work planning and scheduling everything but we're almost there. I've spent this week confirming B & B's, apartments, car rentals and other details for our stay.

It's difficult to make definite plans - having never been to France - so we really don't know what to expect - we may have to wing it.

Our plan is to stay in Paris for three days - We've rented an apartment in Montemartre which, from what I've heard, is close to many interesting musea and sites. Need to find the best Flea Markets!

We have scheduled a three day Open bus tour where we can hop on and hop off at different sites -  Eiffel Tower, Arch de Triomphe, Louvre, etc. The bus tour includes a pass on the Batobus (boat cruise) on the Seine.

BTW, my birthday is on the 18th - we will celebrate at Harry's Bar in Paris! Can't wait!

Friday night we take the train to Nevers and from there hire a taxi to our home base in Montenoison. It is a 150 year old typical French farmhouse in the country. It is my husband's cousin's house that he is renting out while working in Vienna.

BTW, if anyone is interested in renting the house for a future vacation, please contact Laurence Caruana at

Here's the farmhouse in Montenoison where we will be staying. Thanks to Laurence and Florence Caruana (a.k.a. Flaurence).

The plan is to take day trips around Burgundy and Flaurence has kindly provided us with details of many sites in their area. Wine sampling is # 1 on our agenda, then cheese, then bread, more wine, followed by food and, of course, wine.

Our second week we will drive to Provence - passing through Lyon and many small villages. It is at least a five hour drive (maybe more), but we will leave early and stop along the way. We've rented a GPS which should help us find our way. Hopefully in English!

We've rented a B & B in Avignon called Chez Micaela for two nights. It is within ten minutes of Avignon centre. The house was built in 1850 and is in the heart of Provence. They provide Provincial cooking classes as well. A highlight for me is visiting the famous Provence Flea Markets.

Here is a pic of Chez Micaela.

We will return to Burgundy via an alternate route - so we see villages and sites that we didn't see on the way down. Our last two days will be spent relaxing in the village.

Then, it's back to Paris and the airport for our return home (boo hoo).

Stay tuned!


Saturday, August 24, 2013

French Country - Montmarte apartment

Yaaay! Our trip to France is getting closer - less than a month away.

We've rented a fabulous private apartment in Montmartre (4th arr). Everything is close by and we can walk, shop and eat all day. We are going to do the double-decker bus tour that includes a boat pass so that we can see Paris from the Siene, in a whirlwind tour. We are staying three days in Paris then travelling by train to Nevers where we pick up our car and drive to the farmhouse we are staying in for the rest of our visit. We're using the house as a base and go on day trips to different parts of France. I think our longest trek will be to Provence - we will probably have to layover in Lyon - but that's okay - another beautiful city for us to explore.

Here are some pictures of Montmartre:

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Rustic jute and hemp tassel for new backyard gazebo

Good afternoon on a rainy Burlington Saturday.

For my birthday (29th) my mom bought me a garden gazebo from Canadian Tire. It's 10 x 10 with mosquito netting and privacy curtains. The only problem with it is that it is brown. I dislike brown immensely. However, I'm making the best of it.

Here's a pic of the gazebo:

Now I'm thinking about how I can pretty it up.

This morning I made a rustic tassel of jute, hemp and beads. I purchased everything from the dollar store,  and paid probably .75 for the tassel. It took at the most five minutes to make.

Here it is:

I think it looks pretty cute. I'm going to hang it at the entrance or maybe make more and hang them from all four corners.

Next I am going to add little sparkly outdoor lights and maybe some gauzy curtains and will post a pic when I'm finished.

Take care and have a great day everyone!

Monday, July 15, 2013

French Country upholstered headboard - finished

I received a few comments that I didn't show the entire headboard, so here it is.
It works well in our bedroom. Next I'm painting a wall mirror to match.

Oh, and here is a photo of the new valance I made to go with my curtains. Apologies about the quality of the photo - I'm not an expert in photography.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

French Country Upholstered Headboard using Annie Sloan Chalk paints and Waverley Fabric

On Monday I decided I would finally paint and re-cover my king size 60's French Provincial headboard. I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, waxes and gold wax for the headboard to give it a distressed French finish. And I used Waverley Fabric - yellow and blue toile - for the padded portions of the headboard. I found a fabulous deal on more than 15 yards of Waverley La Petite Ferme toile fabric for $55 at a consignment shop.

When I first saw the headboard it had tufted white brocade inserts which I hated because it gave it a sort of Hollywood-glam look, but I saw that the headboard had potential and I kind of had an idea as to how I wanted it to look.

Enter Charles Faudree

Another great purchase I made last Christmas was for five amazing Charles Faudree French Country decorating books:

In Canada, each book sells for more than $45. I bought all five for $14 each on eBay! I use them for reference and found the beautiful headboard on page 48 of Charles Faudree Interiors (see below) which is where I got the inspiration for my headboard design.

I photographed as I went along - so here are some pictures of the painting and re-covering project. Hope you enjoy looking at them. It is so easy to do and the whole project took less than 12 hours.

Painting the headboard

Here's a photo of the original headboard. It had a dull walnut finish.

After the first coat of Annie Sloan Old White Chalk paint, it wasn't looking too good.


After three coats of paint and the lavender Martha Stewart paint applied.
Please excuse the unmade bed - when I'm on a roll, nothing else around the house gets done!


Here's some photos of the finished headboard, after paint, gold leaf and wax have been applied.

Gold wax has been rubbed on.

And some pictures of the final headboard - with the new padded inserts added. To make the inserts, I just glued the Waverley La Petite Ferme fabric onto the old padded inserts and applied piping.

Yet another shot:

And the final - this time the bed is made (sort of):

So that's the end of this project. I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. It matches the lined curtains that I made last week. Apologies for my bad photos .

I'm still working on our bedroom. I have blinds to make, throw pillows and a bench yet to cover. I'll start that today and post more pictures.

As usual, your comments are appreciated.

Monday, July 8, 2013

French Country painted bed using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint - Courtesy of Charles Faudree

I purchased a mid-60's French Provincial bedroom set a couple of years ago with the intention of painting it using Annie Sloan paints. The wood is so good that I am hesitating, although I've decided to paint the king headboard based on a photo from Charles Faudree's French Country Designer books. Here's a picture of the bed. I am starting today - if I am ambitious enough - and I hope that it will turn out as nice as this one. I will post a pic when it's completed. Thanks for looking. As usual, if you have any comments, please let me know.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

French Country Style done cheap!!

I'm usually pretty thrifty when it comes to buying stuff for the house. I search for good deals on Kijiji, Craigslist and items on sale at HomeSense and other decorating shops.

Here's a photo of my latest creation - wanted something to put on our plain white slab master bathroom door. Went to Dollarama and found a little lavender bouquet for $1.25. I wrapped some beautiful yellow wired ribbon around it and tied a bow - cost about $.05, so for $1.30 I have this great door décor. The pic below shows it on the door. Took less than five minutes to put together. Let me know if you like it.

Provence Mon Amour

Provence Mon Amour Facebook page has some of the most beautiful photographs of the French country living and lifestyle that I have ever seen! Check it out here:
Provence Mon Amour

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My new personal fan!

Found him at the Christmas Tree Shop in Amherst, NY.
His name is Pinkie!
Have a great Tuesday!
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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Yet another fabulous day here in Burlington! I love living in Canada. We have four amazing seasons. Spring is my favorite! Everything is starting to come up - hostas, peonies, Eastern Redbud, iris and more. I can't wait until everything blooms!

I'm working in the front garden today, planting hostas and rearranging stuff. I have a staging soon but it's close to home, so hope to be back at it later this afternoon.

My hummingbirds are due to arrive today (May 7th) and they are always on time. This morning my mother-in-law called to say that she has seen one today. She only lives a few kms away, so mine should be making their way over soon! Yaaay!! Hummingbirds are a sure sign of summer!

I need to find out from all of you guys what kind of camera is the best to take the gorgeous photos that I see on everyone's blog - got to get me one of those!

Have a fabulous day!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Another fabulous day! Had lunch with Toni then went to Home Depot and bought mulch and plants for the front gardens. Haven't done the mulching yet, but hope to get it finished tomorrow. Here's a pic of last year's front door. I hope that it will look better this year. 

The House Wrens keep trying to nest in my mail basket. I hate kicking them out, but need to get the mail! I hung some nesting baskets on the back of the house but they haven't figured it out yet.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Finally, a nice day!

Good morning,

I think that today is going to be a beautiful one. I am planning on getting outside to do some work in the garden. Lots of clean up to do before I can start planting new stuff.

In the fall I purchased a beautifully made, old french provincial desk (Bassett) on Kijiji. I paid $75 for it, but felt it was worth it. My plan was to paint and distress it with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. Here are a few before pics of the desk:
 Here are some pics of the completed desk. I used |Annie Sloan Chalk Paint - Old White and light and dark waxes for the distressing.

Please excuse the quality of the pictures. I haven't quite got the knack of it yet. I took these pics in my laundry/work room - and it hasn't been redecorated yet.

Finally, I found a cute desk chair on Kijiji for $35. It was cute it it's original state (see below);

and painted it to match.

Now I have a very nice, French Country antique-looking desk and chair set. It' something that I've always wanted!