Saturday, December 25, 2010


This Christmas will always be memorable, for many reasons. It's the very first Christmas that we spent as a family in our new home. Words can't express how happy I felt when my mother arrived today. She's 89 and very frail, and there have been a few times within this past year, where she took a turn for the worse, and we feared we might not have her with us this Christmas.

It was a wonderful Christmas day, and we were even graced with a beautiful sunset! I however missed experiencing it with everyone, since I was driving back to the farm to get the carving board I'd forgotten.

It's been a little like camping here at Hillwood, and not everything was perfect, or even went smoothly. A few vegetables were a little on the burned side, and my gravy boiled over; because I answered the phone and forgot about the fact I was in the midst of cooking. In spite of all the things that went wrong, it turned out all right! Both Bob, and Sam said this is the best Christmas in years.
I couldn't agree more. Well, maybe I could, if my husband hadn't refused to even taste one of the gifts I put in his Christmas stocking. It was a small packet of Kopi Luwak coffee, and I thought he'd get a kick out of it. He didn't. My brother and I did though, thoroughly enjoyed it, and crossed it off our 'bucket list.'

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!


Saturday, December 4, 2010


  Lately  I've noticed a number of blogs regarding the polishing of silver, and I'm compelled to throw in my two cents.

I've polished generations of silver, and I can't recall a single Christmas that didn't involve me polishing every last piece of it.

Over the years, I've used many brands, and forms of polish; but with Hagerty Silver Foam,  the former time consuming, twelve days of Christmas polishing,  now leaves me wondering how to fill my idle hands the remaining eleven. Yeah right.

In my opinion, Hagerty Silver Foam, is simply the best.     It's the only polish that I use on my sterling, gold and silver rimmed china, and even jewellery.
It's very gentle, and doesn't smell too strong.
Using it is as easy, as washing dishes, and I think it's much more economical. I seem to remember going through bottles of the liquid polish in no time.

Below are some photos of my various china and silver. I'm having a difficult time adding photos, and inserting a description. Adding to my frustration is my husbands camera battery keeps needing to be changed.
I haven't yet found time to buy myself another charger.

All sterling, and sterling vermeil is Wallace, and my china includes, Minton, Royal Doulton, Versace (Rosenthal),Lenox,and Mikasa.

Pictured above is undated porcelain, that belonged to my fathers  grandmother.  That's all I can recall being mentioned about it; so this service is at least over 150 years old.  

 As far as I can find researching online; it's french in origin.      My fathers family was originally from France, and emigrated to Scotland.

While certainly not the prettiest pattern, it's sentimental value is priceless.    Two years ago, I viewed Napoleons apartments in the Louvre, and saw porcelain of similar properties, and body colour.     I suddenly saw this service in a different light.           There were inexpensive copies of Sevres porcelain even way back then, and I would love to find some clue as to who produced this china.

                                                       Minton china above

                                                   Versace china that I like to mix, and match
Royal Albert,  Royal Doulton, Wallace Sterling,  Wallace Sterling Vermeil

                                     Raynaud and Versace china

I have a fair amount of china and silver; some fine, some everyday.    My everyday sterling, just gets tossed in the dishwasher, and it never really needs polishing.   I don't have photos of it to post at the moment; but believe me, if you use Cascade powder, it's fine to put your silver in the dishwasher. Even my Minton china paperwork from the 60's states you can put their china in the dishwasher.

I have put  my good sterling, vermeil, and china in the dishwasher without damage; but I much prefer to hand wash them.

Versace, Mikasa china below.

With the hours I save polishing my silver, you'd think I'd have time to shop for a battery charger.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I've been very preoccupied starting up a new business.  The timing is not ideal, as far as this house is concerned; but as far as I'm concerned, this construction should have been put to bed long ago.    
My focus has to be on this new venture, and I'm finding it very difficult to concentrate on the house.

Our bedroom floors; at long last, are finished, sealed, and polished.     Hard to believe that the job was started the first week of August,when we went on our cruise;  and it took until November 7th, to get it completed?????        I've flipped out, nit picked, and criticised the whole time, but it is, what it is.    And what it is; is done.    Finally.      My $5.50 a square foot marble, ended up not being such a bargain, once I decided to have it grouted in epoxy.          If I could do this all again?    I would have used regular grout, and saved a pile of money, and as it turned out, time.

Epoxy is great; in that it doesn't absorb dirt, stain, or change colour.    You can achieve a smooth, seamless profile, without the lipped edge you get from regular grout.
 In the past, I've used epoxy grout on a very white  marble, and although it doesn't stain, the grout still looks dirty.  It doesn't stay white unless you scrub every inch of it, manually.
I prefer to use a dark grout, picking up the darkest colour in a tile.    Unless you clean like Joan Crawford, light coloured grout is going to collect dirt on the surface,cracks and crevasses, and show it.    At least with dark grout, it better hides the inevitable dirt.
White, and light coloured grout, advances, so you notice it first.    Who wants to feature their grimy grout?     Not me, that's for sure.    Although with what we paid for this grout job......?

I was looking at some old photos of our Florida house and I love the marble, but wish we had gone with a darker grout.  It looks good from a distance; but close up your eye is drawn to any surface dirt.
I love the hand painted sinks I found, and wish I could remember who made them?

I had no idea that my blog was inaccessible, until my former housekeeper emailed me because she couldn't find it.     I didn't intend to put my settings on private, and I never would have noticed, so thank you E.   Won't you please come home for Christmas?  I miss you!

Sunday, October 31, 2010


I usually don't find myself giving in to whimsical seasonal decoration; but when I saw these little mice, in Provincetown this summer, something about them appealed to me.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 29, 2010


I went over to the house tonight to see how the staircase handrail turned out.    It was covered back up with plastic, so I won't be able to see it as a whole until after the walls are painted.      What  little I could  see, looked good.  Oleg is still going to add some branches for me, and we still have to put on the crystal; but it doesn't affect the inspection.        The stair treads are almost all in place, and not the least bit slippery.   Good thing, since I would really hate to fall down them, or up them for that matter.   It would be pretty painful, if I managed to survive it.

The remainder of the glass should go up next week.   We decided to also mirror the wall above the cupboards, up to the crease, where it meets the ceiling.     The plumber installed the Kohler Crevasse sink in the island.    I have to say it's fantastic.   It's the  perfect prep sink, complete with a food disposal.   It has three settings, and has plenty of water pressure, that moves the water from side to side.

The floors in the dining, and living rooms had their final coat of protection applied, and next week these rooms will be ready to be painted.

The electrician has been installing temporary lightbulb type fixtures in places where we don't want to put  any until after we move in, and finish painting.   They look terrible, but we can't get our CO without them.  We're into the eleventh hour of this build, and there's no time to complete everything.  

I lose all track of time, when I'm at the house alone at night.   I like to envision how we'll use each room and try to figure out the furniture placement.      It was kind of a shock when the lights started to dim;  then I remembered  the electrician put them on a timer to turn off at midnight.   Fortunately he set it with a five minute warning.     I scrambled to gather my shoes, set the alarm, and make it out the door, before the clock struck twelve.    

Friday, October 15, 2010


The mirror is being installed in the closet cabinetry, and I'm pleased with it, so far.   Our painter is very superstitious, and he's unnerved by so much mirror.    I told him, he must be happy he's not married to me; because in my world, theres no such thing as too much mirror.  

Obviously this isn't everyones cup of tea, but it is mine;  and I couldn't be happier.  Well I suppose I could, if it were double the size?

My scarf display won't be finished until the counter surface is installed.    I decided to do the counter in....surprise;  mirror!     I can't wait to see how an Hermes scarf will look reflected around this space.

Cleaning the smudges from all of this mirror will be a breeze;  although time consuming.   Windex has no place in my house,  I use distilled water, mixed with cornstarch.   It makes cleaning glass, and mirror easy.   It doesn't streak, and works better  than  cleaners, such as Sprayway, the brand most glass places use.   Cornstarch is cheap, and 'green'; but better than that, it works!       The fellow who installed my mirror is going to go home and try it for himself.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Good thing I didn't have a crystal ball to tell me that it would take this long to build a house.     Huge skyscrapers have been built in less time.

I'm putting Swarovski crystal balls in the newell, and support posts on the staircase.   They screw into the posts, so I can always change them if they break, or I grow tired of them.      It's a rainy day, so it's hard to say how they will look when the sun hits them.    We're still waiting on the polished nickel handrail.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Our move in date has been moved so many times, it's become a bad joke.  The current target is the end of October.     I have a hard time believing this, as there is still so much to do, before I can actually move furniture, or even set up my kitchen.         I'm very unhappy that yet another Thanksgiving is upon us, and we won't be enjoying it here.   I know I have much to be thankful for; but our choice of builders, sure isn't one of them.     We are thankful that at least we have a few people on the team, that actually care, and try their best to make things right.

The kitchen counters, are not complete, and the island has presented many challenges.   The glass has broken three times, it's just too large to install in one piece.   The only solution is to seam it in the middle; which is not the best look; but it's way too expensive to keep doing over, and over again.
The family room is being painted, Farrow & Ball, Dix Blue.   Mirror will be inset above the door, where I had it trimmed out to balance the profile of the kitchen window, and bounce some extra light around.   I really like this colour; especially when the sun is setting.   The October sky has a very moody look, here in Ontario, and the sunsets look spectacular against the vivid hues of the fall foliage.
The front door, was sanded as smooth as a baby's bottom, then painted Sherwin Williams, Basque Green.
I checked the colour before it was adjusted, and decided to stop, when it reached the shade I wanted.

We had the staircase and railings, painted using the electrostatic method, and I'm pleased with the results.
Now we can have the polished nickel handrail installed.
The glass block shower is finished, and the cabinetry is due to be installed.

My closet cabinets have been installed, but we're still waiting for the 'antiqued' mirror to arrive.    All of the doors, drawers, and trim will have mirror set into it.    I plan to mirror the back of the shelves also. My cabinet hardware has a little bling, and the square crystal, references the glass block.