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Larkspur

larkspur revised 1

Hey guys! Just a quick note to anyone who still follows this blog….I’ve paired up with my lovely friend Alex to start Larkspur, an online vintage blog and Etsy store, which we’re really excited about!

Keep up with our blog to find out about the opening of our Etsy shop (January 3rd, 2013!!) and see what else we’re up to!

Thanks for reading Fern & Rolland!

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I have been meaning to visit Casa Loma since the first time I came to Toronto (as an adult) about six years ago, but somehow only got around to it for the first time this weekend! My Mum came to visit me for the weekend, and we didn’t waste a single minute – our days were filled with delicious meals, exploring the city, long dog walks and a ton of other good stuff! One of the first things we did though was visit the castle – which didn’t disappoint!

When we were waiting in line to get in, the two ladies ahead of us were talking about their visit to Hearst Castle in California, and I was shamelessly listening in, and letting my expectations soar way out of proportion as they compared the two…I was hardly disappointed by Casa Loma, but I can hardly let myself believe that it compares to Hearst, even though I’ve yet to see it for myself…(someday!).

The story goes that Sir Henry Pellatt was a mega-rich financier who took over his family brokerage firm and made millions and decided to have the estate built for his wife – Lady Mary Pellatt – in 1911. They lived in it  for a while until the taxes on the property went up about 2000% right as he was dealing with some bad investments and the depression starting. The couple auctioned off millions of dollars worth of furniture and art to try to keep afloat, but it didn’t work and they were forced to give up the estate. We took the audio tour that was packed with really interesting history, and details about the things Pellatt was into, but to be completely honest the part of the tour that interested me most was when they mentioned, in passing, that the castle was open to the public as a night club for a really short period in the late 1920’s. After hearing that I couldn’t help walking around imagining the castle as something out of a Fitzgerald novel, and kind of ignoring the audio guide for a while…

At one point we saw on the map that there was a swimming pool in the basement, and my Mom and I got really excited to see a big, ornate, fancy old-fashioned marble swimming pool….but as it turned out it was never completed and it just looked like a big cement hole in the ground. (I definitely need to get myself to Hearst Castle soon and see those swimming pools!)…

But Casa Loma was wonderful and totally lived up to most of my expectations. The gardens were dreamy, and the castle had hidden doorways in the wall next to the fireplace that led to secret stairways, and the library had giant old oak bookcases that could hold up to 10 000 books – although the tour guide told us that the Pellatt’s didn’t do much reading. It always feels harder to imagine what a place must have been like in its prime when there are hundreds of tourists taking photos and milling about – my favourite was visiting Versailles off-season when we were free to roam around and sometimes we wouldn’t come across another visitor for almost an hour! – Casa Loma wasn’t like that, but the place is beautiful, and right in the middle of the city! If you’re ever in Toronto, it’s worth a visit for sure!

The rest of the weekend was equally wonderful, spent eating delicious meals, sipping iced coffees, watching old Katherine Hepburn movies in the air conditioning, and even an afternoon at a spa! It’s hard for me sometimes being far from my family for the first time, but it just makes me appreciate weekends like these all the more!

April and May are not busy flying seasons, so I’ve mostly been staying close to home since they put us on call during slower times. I would complain about being bored, except to be honest I’m grateful for the opportunity to walk around and get to know my city. I recently came across both the Flickr and Facebook pages devoted to pictures of Toronto in years past, and became kind of obsessed with imagining what it would have been like for my Grandparents when they first moved here in the late 1940’s. I remember my Grandmother telling me they used to spend Sundays – their only day off – at Sunnyside when the weather was nice, so my favourite pictures tend to be the ones of the beach and amusement park that used to be there before they built the Expressway. It looked like such a fun place, with crowds of people and old rickety-probably-unsafe looking roller coasters (and all those people wearing boater hats!). There is still a beach, and a pool there, and the building still stands. Last Summer when my Sister visited we took a picture in front of it and gave it to her and I think it made her really happy.

It’s probably overly nostalgic of me, but sometimes it makes me so sad that everything in this city gets taken over by newer, shinier, taller versions of buildings and signs and buses….Something about the way the streets look sort of unadorned even when the buildings are all so detailed and ornate just makes me like them so much more.

 

 

So I realize I pulled another internet disappearing act, I promised you pictures from the East Coast trip I took, but to be honest it was bitter cold and snowing the whole time and I didn’t pack for the weather whatsoever, and was too much of a wimp to go out at all! My coworkers and I took a taxi to a pub though and saw a local band and got a little bit tipsy on gin drinks and it was loads of fun! Only there weren’t really any pictures taken of the beautiful rocky coast line!! I’ll just have to go again someday when the weather is warmer!

In the meantime, I couldn’t resist posting about all the amazing things that have been happening online recently! In the past year or so a bunch of my absolute favourite bloggers/ladies (and in some cases real life great friends!) have taken their Etsy seller talents to a new level and released handmade collections, all of which are amazing!

Not that you guys need me to tell you, I’m sure anyone who reads my silly old blog is already big fans of all these girls, but I felt like I wanted to give them extra kudos on how talented and amazing they all are! A real inspiration to non-sewing-talented gals like myself.

 

THE VELVET BIRD

Vanessa’s has been a longtime favourite blog of mine, she’s one of the most creative ladies, always posting nifty craft ideas and delicious treats she’s making. The felted critters she was making a little while back were the absolute best, but she’s truly outdone herself recently with her handmade collection of dresses and skirts (and even a little capelet!!). I’ve already got one from each of her collections and it was hard to pick just one!! Check out her shop here, and if you don’t already follow her blog, do so!!

 

 

BLOOMING LEOPOLD

I had the pleasure of meeting Lauren a couple of years back (wow I can’t believe it’s been almost three years since that trip!!) when I road tripped around the South, and she’s one of the absolute sweetest most wonderful ladies! There’s no end to the things this girl is good at, she has one of my favourite vintage Etsy stores and also started her own handmade collection recently enough, and I love it so much!! Her Sewing Saturday posts on her blog are like crack for me, and her and her husband Neil are just a dream team when it comes to her outfit posts! I guess it doesn’t hurt that they live in beautiful Tennessee (so jealous!)!!!! Anyhow, her collection can be found in her Etsy shop, and her blog is always worth reading, though I’m gonna assume most of you already know all about it!

 

Q’S DAYDREAM

Quincy and I forged a funny little online friendship a few years ago when I was a way more active blogger and Etsy seller (I’m horrible at it now!). When I was lucky enough to meet up with her and her husband Jonny in Baltimore a few years back, it was like we were long lost friends, and we quickly planned another visit, this time for a whole week at their house in Delaware! They were the most fun and the most wonderful hosts and I think about that week all the time and wish I could make a trip out to see her at her new home in Tennessee (jealous again!). Soon I hope! Well, aside from being a super successful full time vintage seller on Etsy, Quincy has outdone herself yet again, revealing her amazing 1950’s inspired Summer handmade collection complete with anchors on sundresses and gingham print playsuits and so much more! Her shop is a dream and you can check it out here, and if you love reading about Elvis and seeing beautiful pictures of vintage fashion inspiration, check out her blog here!

 

FRANCES BAKER

Josie is another lady I’ve had the honor of meeting a couple of years ago when she was on an amazing cross-American road trip! She was as lovely as anything, and we had a great time walking around Boston together and seeing the sights, and took a bunch of pictures together in old cemeteries!! She lives all the way across the world in Australia but her blog is my favourite to read while I am drinking tea in bed in the evening!! She put together the most amazing handmade collection not too long ago and all the items have made their way into my “coveted” folder for sure! It’s getting a ton of (well deserved) buzz and I’m so excited for her!! Check out her shop here, and make sure to add her blog to your reader if you aren’t already a huge fan like I am!!!

1. Bless Winter Cardigan … 2. Rachel Comey Platform Shoe … 3. Nadinoo Shorts & Blouse … 4. Madewell Tote Bag … 5. Hansel from Basel knee high Socks … 

This week, work has got me travelling to the East coast of Canada! I’m actually really excited about seeing Newfoundland for the first time, with all it’s pretty cliffs and lighthouses. I get the feeling it’s going to remind me of being in Ireland, only much, much colder since I’m going in Winter (I wish it were Spring already!). I also have a couple of days off in Halifax, and aside from getting to see my lovely friend, Rose, I’m also looking forward to visiting some Canadian Historical sites, since that’s something I don’t do nearly enough of.

I’ll try extra had to be good at taking pictures so I can put together a decent blogpost or two on my visit. In the meantime, I figured I’d tie in all the online fantasy shopping I’ve been doing by putting together some imaginary outfits that I’d love to wear on this trip if I had the money (and if the weather were even remotely permitting).

1. Peter Jensen Cardigan … 2. Karen Walker Helter Skelter Sunglasses … 3. Rachel Comey Black Dress … 4. Steven Alan Maryjane Sandals … 5. Madewell Tote Bag

1. Steven Allen Turner Dress … 2. Steven Allen Juliet Wrap Sweater … 3. Steven Alan Loafers … 4. Steven Allan Carla Hat … 5. Forest Bound Tote Bag 

1. Secret Squirrel Pallette Silk Dress … 2. Rag & Bone Cardigan …3.  Hansel from Basel Knee High Socks … 4. Madewell Leather Tote Bag … 5. Rachel Comey Platform Shoes

My Aunt recently sent me an e-mail with scans from a 1934 Montgomery Ward’s “WishBook”, and I have to admit the items listed in it are pretty spectacular! For one thing those Cotton Gabardine Twill shorts are too good, and for another those Punched! Rough Suede-Like Kiltie Oxfords on the last page are exactly what I’ve been searching for for this Spring!  Not to mention that those Mesh Brassieres fit right into my underwear post from a couple of days ago!

Besides all that, how badly do I wish that a pair of perfect shoes still cost $1.98!?

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