The Sweetest Thing: Cara Carmina – OOAK Artist Profile

Art

I was smitten with the bubbly, sweet personality and equally adorable artwork of Norma Andreu – the creator of Cara Carmina. I was first pulled in by her beautiful greeting cards, which featured illustrations that were vivid, imaginative and cute, with just the right amount of strangeness.

As the Cara Carmina website (http://www.caracarmina.com/#!portfolio) describes in the artist’s statement, the influences of Mexico’s culture and art, as well as a background in children’s illustration really bring together a playful set of circumstances in the work – and the results are just magical. Check out the website for pages and pages of portfolio proof – and you’ll fall for her work, too, I dare you not to.

I would love a set of the Frida dolls for my little one’s room (or my own, let’s be honest). They are so much cooler than the plastic, cookie cutter dolls mass-marketed to our young folks.

If dolls aren’t your thing, clothing, dioramas, cards, textiles and paper dolls are also on offer and available in her online shop, as well as on Etsy (https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/Caracarmina).

Cell phone cases (definitely something I am planning to get for myself!)

Cell phone cases (definitely something I am planning to get for myself!)

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Textiles in full effect: cushion covers with a sense of humour.

Sweet wall decals.

Sweet wall decals.

Dress to impress.

Dress to impress.

I heart this.

I heart this.

Norma was absolutely lovely in person and so humble about her talents. More and more people seem to be clued in to the fact that her work is a hot commodity. According to her Etsy page, she has back orders and a waiting list for some of her designs, so … get on it! Supporting artists by taking a piece of their imagination and heart home with you is the perfect way to breathe life into your own little nest. Definitely check out her work and look for her at future One Of A Kind Shows.

Cara Carmina’s Blog: http://caracarmina-atelier.blogspot.ca/

All images culled from the web, or taken at the show.

High Seas and Summertime Style

Home Sweet

Taking a style cue from the textures and smell of summer, I got myself a new fragrance: Vent Du Sud, by Lise Watier. This Canadian-made fragrance is the smell of my vacation, distilled and prettily packaged. I went into the pharmacy with a few sheets torn out of a magazine, ready to treat myself a little (it’s been two years since I got a new fragrance). The scent is layered with jasmine and vanilla, with a definite island or beach vibe. It will live, coolly, in the fridge to mist myself on my way out the door.

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It seems like everyone has the heat, seashore and breeziness of the season on the brain (despite hearing from my friend that she is currently shooting winter and Christmas spreads for her magazine). I am happy to stay firmly in the now. So here’s to summer and the ways we can keep it around us, all year long.

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Summer cook out tea towels. Campy and wonderful, from Anthropologie.

A vignette inspired by coral and sea side iconography. Found on nauticalcottageblog.com

A vignette inspired by coral and sea side iconography. Found on nauticalcottageblog.com

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A white bed spread, textured pillows and a wall hanging of twine-wrapped stones. If I felt up to it, I’d haul some home from the beach and build myself a similar art piece. No mobiles, please.

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More texture and beading and faux fur, oh my! With an ornately carved headboard, reminiscent (or literally) from travels abroad.

A very literal interpretation of the theme.

A very literal interpretation of the theme.

Sea shell knobs and hooks. Found on Anthropologie.com

Sea shell knobs and hooks. Found on Anthropologie.com

I love the textural quality of the ropes in different gauges, and little creatures from the deep.

I love the textural quality of the ropes in different gauges, and little creatures from the deep.

Found art.

Found art.

A quiet retreat; calming, cool and collected.

A quiet retreat; calming, cool and collected.

15 shades of blue; a great mash up of beachy items.  Found on beachblissliving.com

15 shades of blue; a great mash up of beachy items. Found on beachblissliving.com

The right kind of whale tale. Perfect with ropes and soft accents.

The right kind of whale tale. Perfect with ropes and soft accents. Found on Houzz.com

Anchors away! I'm hooked on this anchor accessory. Pun intended.

Anchors away! I’m hooked on this anchor accessory. Pun intended. Found on Anthropologie.com

What summer inspired touches are warming up your days?

Muska: Boutique Profile – Santorini, Greece

style

On vacation in Greece, my friend (the bride) found a beautiful boutique in the maze of Thira’s streets where she purchased gorgeous jewellery and a tunic. I was smitten and she literally drew me a map of how to track down the shop. Belted, or loose, the tunic she found was on my must-have list the second I saw it.

The day after the wedding; the bride, Lindsay, was ready to relax on the beach.  Tunic/beach coverup from Muska - Thira, Santorini.

The day after the wedding; the bride, Lindsay, was ready to relax on the beach. Tunic/beach coverup from Muska – Thira, Santorini.

Muska has jewellery, textiles and two items of clothing. But the two items were both pretty amazing. Keeping it small and doing it right were exactly the right choice for this boutique. The tunic they offered had interesting details and beautiful fabric. This would definitely be my travel souvenir, plus my wife was equally excited to share this piece. We don’t see the bride enough in Toronto life to worry about bumping into each other in the same outfit, and she was more than happy to share her find!

Lindsay, the bride, rocked this entire outfit the day after her wedding. Looking so perfectly relaxed and stylish.

Lindsay, the bride, rocked this entire outfit the day after her wedding. Looking so perfectly relaxed and stylish. The other item on offer was also a tunic, in rust and cream. This blue variation summed up the colours we’d been seeing in Santorini, so the choice was a no-brainer. 

Each piece of jewellery was distinctive and the colours were exactly as you’d expect from the Greek islands. Statement pieces, indeed.

Gems set in ornate teardrop settings, in a rainbow of colours. I love the turquoise and coral with gold.

Gems in ornate teardrop settings, combined in a rainbow of colours. I love the turquoise stones with coral and gold.

Variations on a theme.

Variations on a theme.

My favourite earrings. The Butterfly. The colour was just amazing.

My favourite earrings. The Butterfly. The colour was just amazing.

My wife and I got matching bracelets.

My wife and I got matching bracelets.

Rings - too many to choose!

Rings – too many to choose!

We could have happily bought out the entire stock, but reasonably decided to leave with a tunic (to share), a pair of bracelets and a gorgeous handwoven, organic cotton hand towel for our guest bath. Now we will think of our travels every time we see it.

Hand-woven organic cotton towel.

Hand-woven organic cotton towel.

Muska‘s owner/operator was friendly and lovely to speak with; he even sent us to a delicious restaurant for our final night in Thira. All they need to do now is to get themselves onto Google Maps and to set up a web store. Good bye, Santorini! And Thank you – Efkharisto!

Old is New

Home Sweet

Old is often seen as synonymous with tired and passé, but in home decor (as should more often be the case in our own lives) old can be beautiful, historied and glorious in its uniqueness.

Antiques and heirlooms are long celebrated, but even in modern homes – pieces of the past can breathe new life into our spaces and create personal touches. Some of my very favourite pieces in my home are hand-me-downs, and pieces that remind me of my childhood. I’m writing from my office, that doubles as a guest room, where a white-painted iron frame bed (gifted after long-use from my aunt and uncle) is piled high with white linens. In my living room, my grandfather’s World War cargo trunk is my coffee table, still bearing his name and the designation Flight Lieutenant, with international travel stickers, scuffs and dents adding to its rich history.

Some aspects of old-time decor are more substantial, and worth every penny of the investment.

A sleek curved faucet is modern and clean against the backdrop of painted tin. What a beautiful way to add texture to a kitchen. I've always wanted a gilded tin ceiling, or one with peeling, distressed paint.

A sleek curved faucet is modern and clean against the backdrop of painted tin. What a beautiful way to add texture to a kitchen. I’ve always wanted a gilded tin ceiling, or one with peeling, distressed paint. Photo: Kitchen by Auhaus Architecture

H&M knows this trend is alive and well, and recently featured a velvet daybed, quaint cushions, chandeliers and waintscotting in its (not yet available in Canada) home line.

H&M knows this trend is alive and well, and recently featured a velvet daybed, quaint cushions, chandeliers and waintscotting in its (not yet available in Canada) home line.

I grew up in a century home, in tiny Waterdown, Ontario, in a colonial center hall stone house. Our tiny second floor bathroom had a claw-foot tub. The beautiful tub, pictured here, perfectly balances old with new and the splash of graphic wallpaper makes it quite modern. Photo: Industrial Bathroom by Oliver Burns

I grew up in a century home, in tiny Waterdown, Ontario, in a colonial center hall stone house. Our tiny second floor bathroom had a claw-foot tub. The beautiful tub, pictured here, perfectly balances old with new and the splash of graphic wallpaper makes it quite modern. Photo: Industrial Bathroom by Oliver Burns

This luxe w/c includes floor to ceiling touches of vintage style, but manages to look thoroughly 'now.' From the crown moulding, heavy drapes, brick and lighting, to the gorgeous tub and old step ladder, this is a perfect marriage of old combined in a new way. Photo: Tour London's Most Lust-Worthy New Boutique Hotel via @Domaine

This luxe w/c includes floor to ceiling touches of vintage style, but manages to look thoroughly ‘now.’ From the crown moulding, heavy drapes, brick and lighting, to the gorgeous tub and old step ladder, this is a perfect marriage of old combined in a new way. And, I’m guessing those are original floors. Photo: Tour London’s Most Lust-Worthy New Boutique Hotel via @Domaine

Check out more like this on my Pinterest Page, under “Home Sweet” https://www.pinterest.com/alisonjc/home-sweet/

and let me know,

What vintage touches are classing up your modern digs?

Moving Furniture is Genetic

Home Sweet, Indulge, style

Re-arranging, specifically furniture, runs in my family. On my mother’s side. I can’t go more than a few months without moving things around. People visiting are routinely treated to a double-take when things are reversed, separated, painted, flipped, and after a while, you can hardly imagine it wasn’t like this all along.

Really though, my mom, left unattended at my house, had rearranged all the kitchen and linen drawers, texting that she’d stopped herself short at moving large furniture items, only because she couldn’t do so without scratching the floor… or possibly because she felt it might be overstepping. My aunt, recently relocated to Niagara-on-the-lake, deliberately replaced all her previous furniture (heavy, solidly made pieces) with new, light Swedish farmhouse style pieces, for the express purpose of being able to move them on a whim.

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The open concept living area, with mirror (a pre-existing feature from the past owner) and lots of light.

After having all our ducts, dryer vent, etc., cleaned, the urge hit me to rid the whole main floor of dust. The vent guys paid us a wonderful compliment, saying that it was obvious that ‘cool’ (‘hip’ I think he said) people live here, and that he loved all our art. So, the newest incarnation of our living space involved separating the sectional and replacing a rich, woven tapestry with a lighter spring one, as well as flipping the vertical Ikea shelving units onto their sides.

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Felix loves the newly upholstered leather cushion for the ‘zen couch,’ which replaced the velvet cushions (major cat hair attraction). Hand-sewn fabric cushions are easily changed-up for a fresh look.

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I created large-scale art to brighten the space, featuring the lyrics from “Sugar Sugar” (one of our favourite songs). The shelving is home to records, ceramics, an “A” made from all the wine corks of our courtship, and the paper bouquets from our wedding.

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Felix loves a spot to stretch out, in front of the Urban Outfitters tapestry that makes its way from tablecloth, to bedspread to wall-hanging.

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Brutus, the controversial (to my mother) long-horn skull adds some macabre irony to our very feminine space. We like to imagine that he dialogues with Betsey (who now lives as an area rug). What I like, however, is that the skull was sourced from a friends farm where all parts of the animal are utilized and animals roam free in large pastures.

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A tagine hides the remotes, and colourful coasters protect the surface of Granddad’s WWII trunk.

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Separating the sectional gave us a nice new arrangement for hosting, or t.v. viewing.

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All lit-up: our custom ampersand and ‘A’ marquis lights help to illuminate the space in the evenings, and make the vintage cut crystal decanters sparkle. Mirrors make it possible for art to be seen from every angle.

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Chester, our girl-cat, isn’t quite sure about this arrangement.

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The dining table, and make-shift marking area, is warm and colourful, with art done, by request, by my mother.

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Looking back into the space from the dining room, the living areas are divided, but open.

At the very least, the benefit of all this moving around is a solid calorie burn, and thoroughly cleaned … everything. Plus, it reminds me that my wife loves me very much when she puts up no fuss at all as she comes home from work, only to find me requiring her help to put the finishing touches on our space.

What inspires you to move furniture?

Spring Fever Dreams

Home Sweet, Indulge

When the weather gets teasingly beautiful, I start to fantasize about throwing open the windows and getting the yard ready to move life outdoors. After a Friday night dinner party, and the end of last week hitting 8 degrees Celsius (which, in Canada, means that people were out on patios) I start to dream; one day, when I grow up (because phrases like that still make sense at 33), I will have an outdoor space that makes me feel like I’m on vacation. A girl can fantasize, right? What landscaping or outdoor living spaces make you salivate? Here’s a peek into my house-porn collection (courtesy of Houzz.com)

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A spot to swing, lazily, under the shelter of trees

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Lunch and hangouts, ironic signage, and plenty of seating for friends

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Whimsical and eclectic with statement indoor features brought outdoors

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Covered seating, casual landscaping and lanterns to light the way.

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Does it get more luxurious than custom lighting, turquoise water and a swanky area to chill, in your own backyard?

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Cozy, and practically a Canadian pre-requisite, a fire pit, lots of greenery and comfortable seating

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With a view from indoors, this courtyard keeps luxury front and center, recliners inviting you to take a moment for yourself, perhaps to contemplate ‘how did I get to be so lucky?’

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Hip, casual and cool, but cheeky in its effortlessness, this bright spot is just begging for foodie guests and an al-fresco lunch

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Again, with the lights, the overhanging architecture and comfy seating. Trying too hard? Hardly.

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Truly the space of my dreams. Fair skin protected by custom shade panels and lighting for evening, … perfect view of the pool

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This space has the best of all things. Hammock. Fire pit. Seating. Dining area. Greenery. I’m in love.

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Sensing a theme? The sitting and dining areas with shade-cover, romantic lighting and water views. I’m pretty sure the cabana has room for guests.

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If I, for some reason, found myself in an arid climate, this mod-zen look would keep me house happy.

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Vacation vibe? Check. What’s behind curtain number one?

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Obviously, every dream home has its own bocci court.

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Sigh.

Sweet dreams, folks. Houzz.com is a Pinterest users wet dream.