Friday, December 7, 2012

Birds of a Feather

Last week, a winter cold reduced me to napping and watching daytime television. To keep busy and to get in the holiday mood, I made some felt ornaments. Here is how you can make some festive decoctions of your own:

To make your own holiday bird ornaments you will need:

* Squares of felt in assorted colors
* Seed beads for the bird's eyes
* Embroidery floss in a range of colors ( I used 3 strands of the floss)
* Sewing needles and straight pins
* Scissors
Fluffy, brightly colored feathers
* Bristol board to mount your templates
* Glue
* Permeant marker
* Cotton swabs for stuffing the little birds
* Christmas ornament hangers

As my husband demonstrates, trace each template onto the wrong side of your felt.


1. Print your template from the book and mount it on Bristol board using a glue stick or craft glue.
2. Cut out your wing and bird body templates with scissors. 
3. Take the bird body template and trace its outline with a permanent marker on the wrong side of your felt. Flip the templates over and trace the reverse side to create the other side of the bird. 
4. Cut out the two sides of the bird.
5. Follow the same procedure to create the wings. 

6. Turn the felt to the right side and attach the wing with a straight pin.

7. Using a running stitch, sew on the bird's wings. Follow the same procedure for the opposite side of the bird.
8. Sew a seed bead on each side of the body to create the bird's eyes.
9. Put the completed wrong sides of the bird together and fasten them hold them in place with a straight pin.
10. Sew three-quaters of the way around the exterior of the two bird body pieces using a basic blanket stitch.

11. Pause three quarters of the way around in sewing the two pieces of the body together to stuff the bird with cotton swabs. Once the bird is stuffed, sew it closed.
12. Poke feathers in between the blanket stitch seam to create the tail feathers. Insert a single small feather into the seam on the head to create a plume.
13. Catch an ornament hook into the blanket stitch to hang your bird. 

More Information and Links:

You can find the bird template along with many other fun felt project ideas in the book Fa La La La Felt by Amanda Carestio.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Princess Margaret Showhome 2012

The front hall and staircase

How do you make a grand home seem more intimate? Try crowding in a few hundred eager decor enthusiasts poking into every corner and opening every cupboard door!

Sunday was beautiful, warm and sunny day here. Several hundred people and I decided to take advantage of the fine weather to drive to Oakville to see the Princess Margaret Hospital's showhome for 2012.  

The 6500 sq.ft. home in Oakville, Ontario was designed by Linda Reeves and a team of designers at Canadian House and Home Magazine. The house is among several properties, vacations, and luxury vehicles that can be won in an annual lottery in support of the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation.

Love these striped curtains in the living room!

The house was wonderfully light and airy with its cream colored walls, oiled-oak wood floors and tall glass doors with black metal frames. Artwork on the walls was kept to a minimum. With a few exceptions, the showhouse's overall color palette was quiet: creams, neutrals, grey, and black with a jolt of a greenish-yellow color as an accent.

It was tasteful, so very tasteful in fact, it maybe even lacked a bit of character.


The kitchen was very untraditional with a layout that incorporated black lower cabinets and no uppers along the main wall. Opposite the island was the freestanding modular unit (see above) that was painted charcoal to match the kitchen's lower cabinets. Noticeably absent, the kitchen fridge was hidden in drawers in the island. The only full-height fridge to be found was in the servery linking the kitchen and the dining room.

The guest bedroom

Guest Bathroom with slate-grey tiles in a herringbone pattern.

The principal bedroom 

The home's exterior was as restrained and spare as the interior spaces. This is the pathway leading to the two-car garage and the back garden.

The plantings were well-ordered and minimal: a variety of ornamental grasses, veronica, hydrangea, box and periwinkle to name, but a few.

At the back of the home there was a large patio area and deck with table and chairs right off the kitchen. It would be a wonderful spot for family dinners and parties in the summer months.

So what do you think? Could this be your dream home?

More Information and Links:

The Princess Margaret Showhome is located on 220 Pinehurst Drive in Oakville, Ontario. Hours: Weekdays: 4 pm to 8 pm. Weekends & Holidays: Noon to 5pm. Order tickets to help fight cancer and for a chance to win the showhome here.
You can see much better pictures than mine in the October issue of Canadian House & Home. Tour the home in a series of videos here.