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Friday, May 31, 2013

Thursday, May 23, 2013

bringing the inside out.

as i mentioned recently, i have kind of become effing obsessed with pulling together the outdoor space of my dreams. ok, maybe not my dreams, because that shit's somewhere in monaco or tuscany and certainly not welland, but something that looks and feels close was what i was going for. it started with a pair of chairs my parents offered when they purchased a new patio set this season that really got the ball rolling on pulling our back porch together, and one lovely super productive afternoon with my girlie neena later, we created what is now my favourite "room" in the house. for less than $250 we ended up with a lush, romantic, cozy summer retreat, with that 
bohemian tropical-feel i was hoping for.
 i'm hoping to find a turkish style mosaic lantern to hang from the ceiling, and a sculpted wood framed mirror to hang on the bare brick wall. and yes, that's a hand carved penis ashtray straight from bali sitting on the bistro table.
we found crisp white linen panels and cafe curtain rods from walmart for less than $50 to drape all three sides. they create privacy and make the space feel intimate without totally blocking out the backyard. walmart also pulled through with the perfect outdoor carpet and throw pillows. bold flower choices and a few pashminas i had kicking around help brighten everything up and add to the bohemian theme i was running with, and they're nice to cozy up in when evenings are cool and the wine i'm suckin' back isn't keeping me warm. however my favourite addition is hands down the pair of weaved rattan stools we scored at the antique shop in our hood for $30 cash money. i honestly felt like i hit the fucking jackpot when i threw these babies in the back seat and floored it home to spend half an hour arranging and then re-arranging every.thing. doubling as a foot stool, they are functional, fit the space and are the last piece i needed to finally feel like the whole kit and caboodle had come together. for now.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

tomato planting with the world's cutest nonno.

the decision to include planting a garden with my nonno on my 30 by 30 list (near the top might i add) was one i didn't have to dwell much on. growing up spending every day of my summer at nonno & nonna's house while my parents worked is a huge part of who i am today; i literally spent a third of my childhood in their kitchen eating, and the back yard playing (and eating for that matter). same goes for the living room, family room, the kitchen downstairs and in bed, because nonna was cool like that. each morning, my nonno would wake up at the crack of dawn to spend his whole day outside, and not much has changed since. from about february when he moves into the greenhouse full time, until the very last head of radicchio in the fall, this man eats, sleeps and loves his garden.
a sheppard living in italy or the "old country" as he likes to call it, nonno worked long days to provide for his family. they grew vegetables, raised animals, and lived simply in the mountains of italy, until my mom was born and my nonno and nonna made the decision to move to canada with family to live a better life. with a six month old in tow, they took the two week journey across the atlantic ocean all the way to the ever-so-charming town of thorold -- i know, i don't get it either. long story short, they have proudly called canada home since 1960, and have never been back to italy. nowadays nonno continues to spend his time in the backyard of his own little italy, and when he mentioned planting tomatoes this past weekend, i told him i would be there bright and early to give him a hand. 
not that he needs it, the man's a machine, like a boss.
the garden had already been staked more precisely freehand than if he had used a ruler, tape measure, meter stick, compass, protractor, pencil sharpener, eraser or any other item one could find in a geometry set. i handed him the tomato plants as he dug, planted and watered all 30 of them -- each one placed at the exact same depth, packed in with the exact same amount of pressure and watered just the same. there was no sense in offering to do his part, as he has a system that works for him, so naturally, it works for me. nonna brought us croissants and coffee, and before we knew it, there was a beautiful crop ready to grow and yield big, fat, juicy tomatoes. come july, i'll be in that garden picking sun-warmed tomatoes and eating them straight from the vine. it was the perfect little morning, and i'm so thankful for it.
 *please note: in the first image, the 'espalier' of apple trees he's got growing along the length of the back fence. each spring they burst into a row of lovely white blossoms, followed by a summer of lush green foliage and a fall of harvesting delicious green apples.
*please also note: nonno gardens in a dress shirt, dress pants, dress shoes (specifically worn in the garden) and a belt without breaking a damn sweat even once.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

bohemian dreamin'.

6 years. 6 fucking years. that's how long it has taken for me to get the fire lit under my ass to pull together an outdoor space worthy of enjoying. i guess a combination of not wanting to sit where my neighbours trashy backyards were in plain view, or putting the time and effort into a space i couldn't enjoy more than 5 months out of the year was enough for me to spend countless summer nights on my couch in front of a tv, but not this year! i have happily began the process of collecting and designing a space on our small back porch, but when the idea of fencing in our backyard and creating a second patio area crept into my mind i couldn't shake it. pinterest has me in a frenzied search for bits & tits of creativity: hanging mosaic lanterns, vintage rattan furniture, coloured rag rugs, brightly patterned pillows, bamboo ottomans, paneled curtains and lush, fresh foliage i am feasting my eyes in all the bohemian/moroccan/eclectic outdoor living design i can get my filthy hands on. shit's so good.
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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

a thirty year love.

today my parents celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary; a thirty year love.

thirty years of learning how to be a couple without giving up who they are as individuals, learning hard lessons of what works and the harder lessons of what doesn't, understanding the importance of choosing which battles are worth fighting, and which ones are better off letting go of, building a family, creating a home, making memories that they will carry with them throughout the rest of their lives 
-- thirty years of that good, good love.

while writing my wedding speech, i found myself thinking of the most influential, constant relationship i had in my life up until then, which of course lead me to look back on what it was like growing up in my parents home and being surrounded by their love. it made me think of all that we went through as a family, and how it must have tested their relationship beyond my childhood comprehension -- both of them losing their long-time careers within years of each other and having to start all over again or having parents experience illness and the process of getting them well or having to say goodbye. it also made me appreciate the fact that there was always enough love to see them through -- there was enough love to make it worth each and every fight, to push forward and make it to the other side where they could stand hand-in-hand, and look at all they made through, together.

(a wee bit from my speech)
"i remember when i was a little girl i asked each of you separately who your best friend was. without hesitation, and hardly any thought, you both responded: each other. i now know what you meant all those years ago. your spouse has to be someone you want to spend every day with, fall more in love with, and always have your back when you need them. your spouse has to be your best friend, and i can tell you now, with my whole heart, that i have found my best friend."

when i think of my mom and dad and the love they have for each other, i am overjoyed, inspired and filled with pride, they are more in love now than i can ever remember them being, and i can see what they have and how it's similar to the kind of love in my own relationship. it reminds me that being with someone i can't live without isn't my right -- it's not something i deserve to have without working for, without giving my all to and being thankful for it each and every day, each and every year. and, if we're lucky enough, we'll have thirty of them too.

Monday, May 13, 2013

bringing the outside in.

as spring reaches full bloom, i find myself 'edward scissor hands-ing' my way around the gardens. there isn't much in the way of flowers growing on our property yet, but i have big plans in the works for every square inch of modest landscaping we have in the front, back and sides of the property. for now, i will enjoy the lilacs, solomon's seal and hostas abode both inside & out -- it's amazing what a little here and a little there can do for you and your home.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

you are the most beautiful thing i've ever seen.

i am the mushiest thing these last few days --there simply are not enough 
poems, love notes or words to satisfy me,
and i'm in love with the challenge.
{image via}

i am not the first person you loved.
you are not the first person i looked at with a mouthful of forevers. 
we have both known loss like the sharp edges of a knife. 
we have both lived with lips more scar tissue than skin. 
our love came unannounced in the middle of the night.
our love came when we’d given up on asking love to come. 
i think that has to be part of its miracle.
this is how we heal.

i will kiss you like forgiveness. 
you will hold me like i’m hope.
our arms will bandage and we will press promises between us like flowers in a book.
i will write sonnets to the salt of sweat on your skin. 
i will write novels to the scar of your nose. 
i will write a dictionary of all the words i have used trying to describe the way it feels to have finally, finally found you.

and i will not be afraid
of your scars.

i know sometimes it’s still hard to let me see you in all your cracked perfection,
but please know: whether it’s the days you burn more brilliant than the sun
or the nights you collapse into my lap 
your body broken into a thousand questions,
you are the most beautiful thing i've ever seen.
i will love you when you are a still day.
i will love you when you are a hurricane.

--clementine von radics.

Friday, May 03, 2013

city in bloom.

i don't know if it's because winter felt extra long this year, 
and the grey that sprawled across the landscape became all consuming for a season on end,
or because i forgot how good it feels to have the warmth of the sun hit your face in that way,
but the sight of every bloom at any moment in everywhere you look seems more beautiful than i remember. 
smells evermore sweet. satisfies every longing and need and desire for the beauty that is summer and all it brings with it.
i forgive you winter. i get you, i really do.
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