BEL’OCCHIO is Italian for “the beautiful eye”. BEL’OCCHIO reminds us to see beauty in the simple things … a collection of stones, some drift wood, old tattered books.
We live in the country, south of Vancouver. The quiet country surrounds us. The mountains to the North and East of us create an impressive horizon. Yet a short drive away we have the energy and excitement of a big city.
My family and my friends help define my life You’ll find them slipping in and out of my blogs. My woman friends are so supportive of me. I am fortunate that even as I have grown older new friends have come into my life and continue to play an important part of it. Many of my new friends are several decades younger than me. They keep me young, and I hope in exchange I share some wisdom with them
My past professional background is reflected in my continuing interests. For over twenty years I worked as a television and radio writer, writer of documentary films and my own television show. The love of the written words is an integral part of me.
My daughter Roxanne was two years old when she appeared on a Christmas television show I co-hosted with Jimmy Scarrow (now the mayor of Prince Albert Sask
For the love of food
I am besotted with food. It is my life. My father was a chef . The first thing he taught me was pastry making. A strange choice but reflecting back I believe he felt it was a simple recipe… flour, butter, salt and water. I was seven years old. It was no surprise to my family when Chef husband and I opened the first of several restaurants. We were very proud of our French restaurant, Roxy’s Bistro. Where To Eat In Canada listed it in the Top One Hundred Canadian Restaurants.
For the love of books
You can never have too many books! Books are everywhere in our home. Stacked three feet high beside my bed. Turning the dinging room table into a library table. In baskets by the door. in case one wants to grab a book and read in the sun. There’s shelter books by the dozen. Hundreds of cookbooks. A multitude of novels and reference books, travel books and history books. Books by the bathtub for luxurious soaks and reads. Y0u simply can not have too many books.
For the love of food – cooking for family and friends
Indeed my kitchen is the heart of our home. It’s part of the generous family room, and definitely the center of all the entertaining and visiting with family and friends. I collect jugs and pitchers, iron stone platters, old copper, soup tureens. I love dishes and bowls in white and blue, in the shape of fruit, flowers and vegetables, and anything French.
When we retired from the restaurant business we continued to share our love of food with others. for several years we taught cooking classes. Some of the students who came to learn more about cooking became close friends.
The saying “when one door closes another opens” is certainly true. We created a second blog, a food blog called MRS. BUTTERFINGERS. Now I share my love of all things food in my new persona of MRS. BUTTERFINGERS.
For the love of art
The Good Husband and I mark birthdays, anniversaries and special occasions (the first snowfall??) with art. We especially search out new, young artists. We feel honoured to own a part of them.
I sew anything and everything; my daughter-in-law’s wedding dressing, slip covers, Chanel inspired couture suits . I collect beautiful fabrics and textiles. Some have sat quietly in the cupboard for years awaiting transformation to a beautiful jacket or one-of-a kind decorative pillow or tablecloth.
For the love of decorative painting
If it doesn’t move I paint it, or marble it, or gold leaf it, or cover it with roses. I’m very fond of anything French. This table tells the story of a woman who has received a letter from a long ago lover. Should she answer it?
For the love of altered books
The move from altering furniture to altering books was logical. There’s only so much furniture you can fit into your home. I take discarded, unwanted old books and alter them with paint, ephemera, stamps, fabric anything I can glue down to tell a story.
For the love of music
And always in our home – music. Everything from my favorite opera Gounod’s Faust to Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline to Cecilia Bartoli and Fado from Portugal.
I like to watch movies that make me smile. The Wizard of Oz, a movie of my childhood, is my most favorite.. There’s the wonderful black and white films of Humphrey Bogart , the lush Merchant-Ivory film. I am a major fan of Hell Boy. A bit of an usual choice, but then he is an unusual hero.
For the love of flea markets and thrift shops
The best place to clean silver is outside in the sunshine.
Ah… the thrill of the hunt. The discovery of treasure you didn’t know you wanted. I haunt flea markets, second-hand stores and Thrift Shops. I collect old silver and china, vintage fashions and anything else that calls my name. I collect books on art, decorating, cooking, fashion, gardening, anything under the sun. I drag home unwanted furniture, faded sofas, and restore them to a new life.
For the love of home and garden
My grandfather was an avid gardener. He regularly won silver cups for his dahlias and sweet-peas at our Prince Albert Fair. I take inspiration from him and his love of gardening. My garden is a cottage style garden filled with old-fashioned flowers, blowing hither and yon in the wind. Dancing to their own tune.
For the love of Paris
If I could live in any city in the world it would be Paris. I discovered in Paris a sensibility unlike any I have ever encountered. A Paris made-up of moments stolen from passing time. A Paris where one can find fragments of Proust,Simone de Beauvoir, Jean Paul Sartre, and Coco Chanel. I will always have Paris in my heart.
For the love of home and husband
Our home is “a work in progress”. And when I run out of things to do at home I help my friends with their decorating challenges. I am always bringing home old mirrors, pictures and furniture. There’s a charm to things once owned by others. They bring mystery into our home and intrigue into our lives. I don’t shop furniture stores. I recycle, reuse, reinvent, remodel and remake things. I call my style “humble elegance”.
Ours is a home of fairy tales and whimsey, love and romance. It brings me much joy and happiness to share it with all who read my blog.