Tag Archives: Home Décor

Barbecue Season Entertaining Designs that Make Gearing-up Easy

It’s officially barbecue season!

In the Northern Hemisphere, the darker months of the year are finally behind us, and we can look forward to enjoying warm, bright evenings spent outside. Spring and summer months are the time to take advantage of relaxed entertaining and outdoor grilling. With school holidays around the corner, the annual rituals of opening cabins and cottages for the summer involves heavy lifting. Before the relaxation can begin, there are chores to be done that include docks, deck chairs, gardens and boat trailers.

Make entertaining easy this season

 

Consider easy food preparation and presentation with a new wooden serving board. Hand carved from Canadian hardwood and finished with food-safe beeswax & mineral oil paste these boards are versatile serving platters. These Schooner Lane Designs boards transition effortlessly from a chopping surface to an elegant serving tray.

Arrange a tempting pre-dinner snack for your guests on a wooden backdrop. All you need is a selection of cheese, cold cuts and some mixed antipasto to get the evening started.

Choose from one of several board sizes, shapes and wood types. Kathy at Schooner Lane Designs works with maple, black walnut and cherry.

Choose the long, narrow baguette style board for bread and cheese.

Schooner Lane wooden serving boards

For a contemporary variation select this angular version.

walnut and maple serving boards

Show your guests you love them with the heart handle board.

Bonus: These serving and chopping boards are available in a variety of sizes, and can be engraved to personalise your selection.

Heart Handle Hardwood Boards

What about the table?

Chartreuse coloured leather napkin rings

Add a touch of colour with leather napkin rings. Summer entertaining may mean there is no need for a formal table and often “come and get it” is how it rolls. Dress-up the evening with a set bright leather napkin rings. Each piece of leather is cut by hand and cross-stitched with a strong, waxed cord. These napkin rings by Iron Art are available in several leather colour options: chartreuse, blue, red, white, purple, orange, grey and pink. Sold in sets of four (4) choose your preferred colour here.

White coloured leather napkin rings

Are you looking for natural leather? The napkin rings are also available in five leather hues – explore the options here.

Long warm evenings call for a bit of romance once the sun finally sets. Chandler Jill Smith has created a group of beautiful 100% beeswax candles. Beeswax provides a long-lasting, bright light. Read about the benefits of beeswax over paraffin here.

The Simple Fern will burn for over 50 hours.

Simple Fern Beeswax Candle

Expect the Vintage Bee to last up to 30 hours.

Vintage Bee Beeswax Candle

The smaller Key to My Heart should burn brightly for over 15 hours.

Key to my Heart Beeswax Candle

Make a house a home – the cosy touches

Alpine-themed fabric tea towels and aprons are whimsical touches for your kitchen and make for excellent hostess gifts. Anouk works with fine European linen as the base for their naturally inspired designs. Find out why they use this durable linen here.

Enjoy your BBQ season!

Barbecue Season Entertaining

Day 4 – 12 days of Designer Christmas Shop for Linens

What better place to launch a business idea than over an aprés-ski cocktail? The founders of Anouk Designs Rebecca Bizzarri (British interior designer) and Australian Victoria Guy (business professional) sipped on their mulled wine in front of a roaring fire and decided to move forward with a design company that embraces nature and alpine living.

Anouk home decor cushions linen fabric

The Anouk linen collection, available on Atelier, is inspired by alpine scenes and whimsical animals. Designer Rebecca Bizzarri sketches the patterns by hand, and the final versions are then printed on top quality European linen. Read the background on her inspiration from her time in the Swiss Alps in this post, “Why you should buy European linen for your home.”

Anouk aprons @Anouk

The linen cushions make for playful accents at your ski cabin or lakeside cottage. Or, give unique hostess gifts (hint: everyone brings wine) of Anouk tea towels and aprons.

Anouk Tea Towels Linen @Anouk

For your Pinterest home decor board:

Fine European Linens in Alpine Designs for hostess gifts

Day 1 – 12 Days of Designer Christmas Shopping Serving Boards

We thought we would create a little holiday fun around the “12 Days of Christmas.” Although our designers do not work with partridges in pear trees or leaping lords, they do handcraft beautiful products from quality materials.

Give the gift of natural wooden serving boards these are great for cheese and charcuterie

Kathy Clarke of Schooner Lane Designs creates her serving and cheese boards from three kinds of Canadian hardwood (walnut, maple and cherry), and in four different shapes. Just think of the possibilities! We hate to pick favourites, but love the “baguette” version – for your bread lover. Click here to see the full collection.

Schooner Lane Designs cherry board Baguette style

One of Kathy’s serving boards would make a beautiful gift on its own, or add a linen apron or tea towel from Anouk. A perfect gift for the foodie on your list.

Anouk Linen aprons @Anouk

Tis the Season Five Reasons to Buy a Beeswax Candle

At this time of year, careless flip-flop days and intense summer skies seem hopelessly far away… At least, December’s twinkling holiday lights have replaced the gloomy darkness of November evenings.

Impossibly short days are the perfect time to gather friends around a dinner table for long conversations fuelled by hearty red wine and slow cooked savoury meals.

#Beeswax #Candles @Beeswaxworks blog post

However, table setting is part of establishing the mood. Wine does not taste the same from a plastic glass, and an overly lit table can feel like a cafeteria. We turned to artisan creator Jill Smith at Bees Wax Works to share her five reasons to buy a beeswax candle for the holidays.

  1. Dark days bring the need for warm light.  Beeswax burns in the light spectrum of the sun. If summer seems far away, the light aura from these artisan candles will remind you of those days.
  2. The natural smell of beeswax – a reminder of the heavenly smell of warmer days spent outside – in the comfort of your living room.
  3. Innocent times with the tradition of beeswax candles at holiday times. The aroma is a trigger for many.  Especially for my European customers, the smell evokes childhood memories of a time when candles were hand-dipped by mums and grandmas.
  4. Beauty and simplicity in an effortless gift.
  5. Warmth: Brisk outdoor activities and quieter nights – beeswax candles bring an authentic heating to our indoor season.

Jill’s beeswax candles are handcrafted in her Salt Spring Island workshop, a place that she describes as “The best smelling garage on Salt Spring Island, with lovely windows and views of the Salish Sea.” The candles are made from blocks of 45-pound blocks of 100% Canadian beeswax (sourced in Alberta).

Beeswax Works candles are crafted following traditional methodologies (read about the art of chandlery). Jill describes the steps as easy enough, however, after wax patience is a critical ingredient in the process.

Warm up your winter days with one of these candles from the Beeswax Works custom collection:

Key to My Heart:

The Key to My Heart #Beeswax #Candles @Beeswaxworks

Simple Fern:

Simple Fern #Beeswax #Candles @Beeswaxworks

Vintage Bee:

Vintage Bee #Beeswax #Candles @Beeswaxworks

Image credits: Candle photos provided by and published with the permission of Jill Smith @ Bees Wax Works

Settling a Purple Question What is the Difference Between Lavender and Lavandin

To the untrained eye, and certainly the uneducated nose it would be a challenge to know the difference between lavender and lavandin. What is lavandin?  Don’t worry you are not alone! We turned to our friend based in the “land of lavender” (Provence) and asked  Girl Gone Gallic  for her expertise in settling our slightly purple haze (not the Jimi Hendrix kind).

What is the difference?

There are actually 39 different varieties of Lavender.  Lavender has always grown wild in Provence, and maybe you’ve been lucky to discover the wondrous sensory experience that are the lavender fields in bloom. Cultivation has been around even in ancient times, and was one of the holy herbs used in biblical times to prepare holy essence. During the Roman period, the price for one pound of lavender equaled a full month’s farmers wages.  But can you tell the difference between Lavender vs Lavandin ?

Keep reading here… for the rest of Girl Gone Gallic’s post here to find out what the difference are and why real lavender products are worth the price.

Shop here! For 100% pure French lavender “wands” – shaped like a baby’s rattle – these are beautiful keepsakes, gifts and they will keep your clothes smelling of sweet Provence.

Lavender Fuseaux #Lavender #Provence #Handmade @atelier_boutiq

 

Why You Should Consider Buying European Linen for your Home

Recently, we caught up with Interior Designer Rebecca Bizzarri to ask her about her design philosophy and to understand the inspiration behind Anouk. The designer brand that she launched with her partner Victoria Guy.

Anouk has a line of whimsical fabric designs for home décor. Digitally printed onto the finest European linen these designs are intended for light upholstery. The Anouk fabric is also available in tea towels and aprons, perfect for gifts (or for yourself) and available on Atelier.

European Linen Anouk Designs Aprons

 

Creating linen is labour intensive. It is spun from the coarse fibres of flax plants and coveted for its durability and absorption qualities. There should be no surprise why linen is well-suited to tropical climates. You can read more about linen here.

Why European Linen?

There is a tradition of linen manufacturing in Europe that has existed for centuries, probably because the climate is suitable for growing flax. Poland and Lithuania have historically had linen industries with high-quality production. In fact, when I was doing research to source linen for Anouk, I discovered that Lithuania has some of the oldest, premium linen fabric production in the world. We decided to use this linen for our products.

European Linen Anouk Tea towels

 

Linen is Durable

We specifically chose mid-weight linen (230g) as it is meant for light upholstery, ideal for drapery and cushions. This gauge is perfectly suited for residential use, and our designs bring a touch of charm, a bit of frivolity, to the sometimes stark look of contemporary interiors.

European Linen Anouk Designs Pillows

 

Design Inspiration

After studying interior design in Italy, I ended up spending four years in the Swiss Alps, in the high alpine, near St Moritz. This was a wonderful time in my life. I was attracted to the Swiss landscape and natural environment and the beautiful scenery that surrounded me daily, and on my countless alpine hikes. I would have to say that the Engadin Valley generated the right environment for my sketching and plenty of inspirational ideas.

What is the Design Process?

Sketching takes a long time, as I wanted the designs to reflect what I saw in the Alps. Determining the final colour palette is important. Muted  Anouk colours compliment many interior design concepts. Once the design and colours are defined, the rest of the process is pretty straightforward. The high-resolution images are scanned and then the file is sent for digital printing on the linen cloth.

European Linen Anouk Designs Pillows

Dream Job in the Alps

With a degree in Fine Art and Italian, from the United Kingdom, I headed to Milan to study interior design. My first job was with an interior design team working on high-end resort properties. After, six years, I found myself working for a residential design firm that specialized in chalet interiors. Hence the magical Swiss sojourn, in the Engadin Valley.

European Linen Anouk Designs

 

Anouk for Home and Gifts

Frustrated by the fact that Swiss-made yard goods that are both glorious and expensive, I began designing these fabrics. Limited edition designs, Anouk textiles are purposely mid-range in price with a high-grade feel.  Buying artisan, handcrafted products supports local economies. It is my belief that the creator’s positive energy gets passed along the chain to the end user. There is joy in the process chain that does not come from a factory.

What is up next for Anouk?

Look for Hawaiian-inspired designs shortly…

5 Reasons Why to Choose Beeswax Candles over Paraffin

Most of us would admit that Ikea furniture shared a place in our homes at one stage. Whether it was for your first apartment or outfitting kids rooms the renowned Swedish brand with the DIY, feel still is an affordable option. Ikea’s tea lights – sold in bags of 100 – are strategically placed on your way to the checkout. An impulse buy? Maybe.

Beeswax versus paraffin

Recently, we finished our last bag of tea lights and have yet to make the trek to the furniture warehouse. The thought of battling the parking lot and crowds to pick up some cheap paraffin candles started us thinking about the ecological impacts of these little light sources.

#Beeswax #Candles @Beeswaxworks blog post

What we discovered was the benefits of beeswax candles far outweigh mass produced paraffin versions.

6 Reasons to choose beeswax candles

  1. Beeswax is a natural product. Produced from the wax glands of honey bees (females) it is a natural, renewable product. Although, it is hard work for the bees who must fly long distances collecting nectar for honey. From 6 to 30 pounds (estimates vary) of honey is formed to produce a single pound of wax. Regardless of the number, you begin to understand why the wax is expensive.
  2. The expense equation. Beeswax candles may be costly to purchase, but due to a high melting point, the wax is slow burning and lasts much longer than paraffin versions.
  3. A clean, smokeless burn. Now, that we understand the impacts of second-hand cigarette smoke on our health. What about the toxic fumes from paraffin candles? Paraffin is a refined petroleum by-product. The black crude sludge is bleached, then acrolyn and stearic acid are added to provide texture and hardening properties. You can read more here.
  4. Light quality. Beeswax candles produce a brighter light than paraffin candles.
  5. Reinforcing traditions. For centuries, versatile beeswax has been used as a sealant, a lubricant, for artwork (think batik), in cosmetics and candles. Archeologists have identified traces of beeswax in Roman ruins and Egyptian tombs.

The Key to My Heart #Beeswax #Candles @Beeswaxworks

Check out Salt Spring Island’s Bees Wax Works story on our creator’s page here and the beautiful candles made with 100% Canadian beeswax, to enjoy the benefits of this natural wax.

Image credits: with permission from Bees Wax Works