Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wild Target

I watched the film Wild Target this weekend. Have you seen it? Not all the reviews were glowing, but I must admit I enjoyed it. Maybe I was too distracted by Emily Blunt's wardrobe to notice much fault with it. The preoccupation extended not just to the clothes but to what I believe might have been a cream coloured Pashley bicycle in the early part of the movie.

Then there was this:

A rather familiar looking silver cuff that appeared over and over again. I bought that very bracelet a few weeks ago before I had to go in for a minor surgical procedure. Minor or not, general anesthetic still makes me nervous. I call this cuff my armour. I feel strangely protected in it.


Pandora Cuff - Sergio Gutierrez ~ Viola Blouse - Noa Noa


This liquid metal bracelet is designed by Sergio Gutierrez. The way this cuff drapes reminds me of some slinky thing a flapper would have worn in the '20s. More of his gorgeous work can be found here.



xoxox,

K

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

O Spring

It feels like spring today! It's the first day I've been out jacketless in months. I spent a few moments in the garden before my work began for the day. Grass has over taken every flowerbed. I know it needs serious weeding so that it doesn't become a dire mess by the summer, but right now... right now it looks so meadowy and green.





These are the most diminutive daffodils I've ever seen. The art nouveau jug that they sit in is itself quite tiny. I had to bring a little spring indoors to cheer up my dressing table.



Are things in bloom where you are? I'd love to hear from you so please leave me a comment.

xoxox,

K

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Neighbourhood Music

Posting the videos yesterday of music being played acoustically out of doors has made me reflect on the music in my own neighbourhood.

It was warm enough yesterday evening to throw open the french doors while making dinner. Stepping outside, I could hear others had done the same. Sounds of plates scraping sinks, utensils stirring, the happy chatter of mealtime. My neighbourhood sounded very much like a content little settlement.

This is not the only music my neighbourhood makes. In the warmer months you can hear music of the traditional sort - live music - being played in open-windowed homes. If you're lucky someone may even drag an instrument or two out to the porch and serenade you while you're working in the garden.

At a distance you can sometimes hear the low bass of drumming from the Sikh temple up the street. Other times, bagpipes float in from the armoury not too far away. One of my fondest memories of last summer was doing the weeding to the melodies of an opera singer who had rented a nearby garret suite. Her roommate seems to be a flamenco guitarist. I love the afternoons he plays his guitar in the sunshine. It's not uncommon to hear cello and piano being practiced by children as you stroll by; their dads drag out their harmonicas and accordions on occasion. There is a wonderful violinist a few doors down... I love walking by when she's practicing.

My next door neighbour has an evening ritual at her piano. Her music room is yellow and is often the only room lit up at night. You can see her through the lace at the tall windows. She plays the softest, sweetest old melodies. It's said that her son was a pianist too but died young. His piano sits in the room beside hers.

Last year the piano tuner who has his workshop across from us left an old piano on the side of the street for a few days. People stopped by in a steady stream to play the little tunes they knew. There were a lot of renditions of 'chopsticks'. I do recall someone playing some rather fantastic ragtime tunes. Eventually the piano rolled down the hill and on to some other fate.

(I always fancied it ended up at the bus stop. Wouldn't playing or listening to a piano at a bus stop make the wait considerably better?)




We try to contribute to this community of sound. One of our neighbours plays double bass in the symphony here. On the nights we get together to play gypsy jazz we open our windows too. Often when we play these jazz standards I get the sense the old houses recognize the tunes of their day. I think it pleases them.

xoxox,

K

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Burberry Acoustic

I came across a video on a blog I love a while back that was filmed as part of a series for the British label Burberry. Adorable musicians in lovely clothes singing their original tunes in outdoor settings meaningful to them for one reason or another.

I like this. When I was a fair bit younger and pursuing a music career I would have loved an opportunity like this one. But truthfully, I suspect I was too angsty back then to have ever been considered for such a project. Were I to do it over again, I'd pick up a ukulele.








Listen for birds in the background... they make the songs all the more sweet.

xoxox,

K

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Tweed Ride Victoria

Let's see... seven Saturdays from today I'll be participating in Victoria's first Tweed Ride. I'm so charmed by the idea! As someone with a love of traditional clothing who owns a bike with a bell and a basket, it seems the perfect event for me.

Just this winter I was poking around online to find out if a tweed ride had ever happened here as I knew such a thing had been held in many cities. I really didn't know if Victoria had ever had one and I had just missed in the past. My timing couldn't be better as someone had the brilliant idea of organizing the first such ride for this spring.

Dressing up and riding around may be in my blood. As evidence I present to you a photo of my great-grandfather Pietro Merlo, all suited up with his daughter (my grandmother) on the handlebars.



If you're on the Island (or will be on May 7th) and are interested in attending such an event I encourage you to check out Tweed Ride Victoria's website. There are some videos there from the original Tweed Run London to give you an idea of what the experience should be like. You can also register online.

Registering not only allows you to participate in the ride, take tea on the grounds of Government House and gives entrance to the fabulous contests they have planned, but 100% of the very small registration fee goes toward fundraising for Bikes Without Borders.

I look forward to seeing you in your finest tweeds there!

xoxox,

K

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Another Opportunity to Help


xoxox,

K

Vintage Green - The Prince's House

I came across some photos and a little video of a sustainable home designed by the Prince of Wales and currently on view at the Ideal Home Show in London that I wanted to share with you. Sometimes 'green' design leaves me a bit cold. I tend to be drawn to places with a little bit of history... time-worn homes that are not exactly efficient and modern.

So to come across a new build that is pretty and cottage-y and cozy looking is quite the thrill. I really like the traditional look filled with vintage items. (Antiques are green, you know.) I would love to see this show home in person. I'd also love to embed the video of this house, but that feature seems to be disabled on youtube, so you'll have to settle for a link!


Photos above and below courtesy of the lovely blog Flowerona



photo courtesy of All About You

More information on this and other eco houses can be found at The Prince's Foundation website.

xoxox,

K


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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

On Being a Victorian

Ah, the weighty quiet. There may not have been much posting going on here, but that's not for lack of a very busy mind. I'm feeling pretty consumed by world events, truth be told, and wondering what the future holds. I try to keep things fairly light here, but I think these thoughts are worth expressing in the space outside my own head.

I'm going to let you in on my biggest phobia. Since I was a child there has been nothing that could send me into a panic quicker than a news report of an earthquake somewhere in the world. The tragic news of New Zealand so quickly followed by all Japan has been facing has sent me reeling.

I'm the girl who at 10 years old packed away all my belongings for fear that an earthquake would hit. I removed pictures from the walls of my room and tucked all my precious play things away. My unicorn figurines were carefully wrapped so nothing could break them.

This fear is not soothed by living on the west coast of Canada. We live along the same Pacific Ring of Fire that Japan sits on and every time a major earthquake takes place we get news reports warning British Columbians of the havoc we'll face once 'the big one' hits. I've experienced lots of little ones... some bearing diving under my desk, other tremors so minor they're over before I figure out where to find cover.




Five years ago, my beloved and I moved here to the Island from the mainland. Somehow it felt a little safer on the mainland, but we now live in a place where a tsunami would pose a real threat. I face my biggest fear by living here, but I'm not prepared to move. I adore Victoria and being a Victorian (still so amused that I get to call myself a Victorian!) and have a sense of belonging here I've never experienced anywhere else.


I'm no longer worried about my things getting broken but rather losing my loved ones. And my loved ones include this little city. My drafty old house is full of little cracks in the plaster from the seismic shifts it has gone through over the course of 80 years. We wake sometimes to crooked paintings on the walls. We keep a small closet full of emergency supplies. We are aware of our vulnerability here but, as with all forms of love, we remain with open hearts even though we may someday get hurt.


xoxox,

K

P.S. If you have not done so already, please consider making a donation to help relief efforts.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sweet Tooth

Dinner with friends and welcoming my parents home from vacation was cause for dessert making around here. I'm still in a experimental stage of making gluten-free sweet things, but both of these recipes went well.

I substituted the sugar in both recipes with the lower glycemic index xylitol (you can find this in most health food stores). I did find it didn't caramelize nicely when I used it to top the creme brulee, so I opted for a bit of organic sugar for that.

The chocolate cake was made with quinoa! I cooked it a little longer than I should have as it didn't seem to be setting in the centre. The edges were a bit dry, but the whole thing over all was very nice. Worth another try.



Creme Brulee recipe



Chocolate Quinoa Cake recipe


xoxox,

K

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Warmest of Places

Brrr... this unexpected return to chilly weather has me seeking out cozy places. Let me introduce you to one of them. This is my favourite pub in Victoria called the Bard and Banker. Not only is it a beautiful space filled with enough chandeliers and bevelled glass to keep a magpie like me well entertained, they also (very thoughtfully) have a designated gluten-free menu... and gluten-free beer too!







I gave up the gluten a few months ago in order to manage an auto-immune condition that showed up unexpectedly in my life. What a thing. At first I felt quite blue, thinking how hard it would be to dine out with friends. I shouldn't have worried much about it at all as I've found the restaurants in this town not only accomodating, but actively supportive.

How's that for a warm thought on a cold night?

xoxox,

K

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