Saturday, September 15, 2012

Random musings and bit more of Paris for you

What a lovely day it is today, just a bit cool, perfect for being outside. Tomorrow, we're going to spend the day with our daughters who are at university about an hour and a half away from here. Can't wait, I miss them so much! It's been so strange and lonely having both of them gone.

Thankfully I'm keeping busy by painting furniture and I also took on a new Mama cat to foster for our local animal shelter. Her name is Kisses and she had three beautiful kittens on Monday. I saw two of them being born. What a special treat. I so enjoy watching them grow.

Unfortunately, one of them took sick yesterday. She wasn't thriving, she was dehydrated and her breathing was laboured, so I called the shelter and we made the decision to take her to the vet. She is now in an incubator being treated and I'm keeping my fingers crossed. She is seemingly feisty so this is giving me hope.


I thought I'd share a few more pictures of Paris with you. I took way too many, because I wanted to remember every sight, every bit of the beauty I witnessed. Paris has such a rich history, there are visual treasures recounting it everywhere you look. I wonder if Parisians, in fact all Europeans, get blasé with it all or if they appreciate the wealth of culture and history that surround them. I'd like to think they do. I know I would.

A window display at the famous pastry shop "La Durée", a feast for the eyes as well as for the palate.

The famous gargoyles at Notre-Dame

A beautiful door handle gracing someone's home

Details of the Alexander the III bridge, probably one of the most beautiful bridges in the world. The bullrushes light up at night.

A ballerina posing in front of the Eiffel Tower. I wanted to have the focus on the shoe and the Eiffel Tower blurry in the back, but the ballerina moved right after this shot. (I have a fascination with pointe shoes, so this was a delightful photo op for me, combining two amazing elements!)

The vault that runs around Place des Vosges

 A pigeon sunning himself on the edge of the patio at the musée d'Orsay, with Paris as the background. You can see the white Sacré-Coeur church way back on the top of the hill, in the Montmartre area.

Beautiful marble detail on the floor of the Pantheon.

 Metro entrance designed by Hector Guimard, master of the Art Nouveau style. (Similar to a metro entrance in Montreal donated by Paris, in the same design. I blogged about it here.) I absolutely love Art Nouveau.

Mosaic details of a church in Montmartre

Close up of the entrance to the Palais de Versailles, honouring the King Sun.

Details of a door at the Palais. I just love the colours! 
I will have to paint some furniture in these colours.

 Marie-Antoinette's intertwined initials on the stairs at the Petit Trianon. Such history!

Swans just enjoying the pleasant weather in one of the fountain pools at the Palais. Not a bad life.

 The ceiling and chandelier at the Opéra Garnier. The ceiling was painted by Chagall. The chandelier weighs several tonnes. This is the opera house that inspired The Phantom of the Opera. There is actually a subterranean manmade lake under the Opera! We didn't know what to expect when we visited the opera, but we were wowed by it all! Quite an amazing place. Next time I would love to see a ballet there. The theatre is so spectacular, it's just as much a part of the show I think!

A gelato ice cream cone, but no, they don't just serve you a scoop plopped on a cone, they make it look like a rose! How civilized!

Young people spotted on our nighttime Seine cruise enjoying a meal and some wine, and raising a cheerful toast to us. There is quite the night life along the Seine!

So much to see, so much to do! There was never a dull moment. I'd go back in a heartbeat!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Life Well Lived

Ray Staples

November 12, 1919 – July 16, 2012

Ray Staples was a designer extraordinaire, a force of nature, a broad in the best and true sense of the word. She lived the type of life I would like to live, filled with humour, honesty, love, style and adventure. And she had quite the life and career.

I knew her from her many appearances on the Toronto TV show "Cityline". She always had the best quotes for the viewers and audience members who would ask her questions. Here are just a few:

"Peach is nothing more than pukey pink."

"Decorating rules are like dieting. If it's working for you, then okay. If it doesn't, then drop the damn thing and have a booze!"

"I bully my clients to use the colour that I think is right. I've been there, done that. For God's sake, ask for my advice, then take it. Don't give me a hard time."

And whenever someone would ask if they should worry about the wood finishes not matching in a room, she would always reply: "All the trees in the forest don't match, do they? Then don't worry about it."

I remember someone asking her once on the show if a busy wallpaper in a small powder room would make the room feel smaller, she replied: "If you like the paper, then go ahead. The room is still going to be the same size no matter what."

And she was good at her job. The fact that she told it like it is only made her more endearing. I adored her and would always watch the show when she was on. I learned to have more confidence in my own tastes and intuitions thanks to her. I learned to listen to my heart.

If you want to read more about her fabulous life (and you should): please go to this website for her obituary:

You can also read more of her quotes in this post written by Margot Austin, magazine editor and stylist:

Hopefully reading about Ray will leave you with just a tad more insight about how you should live and decorate, just like she did, by taking the same approach to decorating as to life, with full force and unbridled enthusiasm, all while staying true to yourself.