These Things.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

It's been a while since I've done an instagram update, hasn't it?  Well, then let's get to it!

Top left. I die, seriously.  This console!  I found it at a local antique shop.  Would you believe that there is gold leafing peeking through the spots where the paint is chipping? Yes, seriously.  Utter perfection and a steal of a deal.

My current favourite scents.  Loving Poppy by Coach.

Stopped by Homesense the other day and couldn't leave behind this lovely vase.

Le sigh.  That poor gold mirror, still waiting to be hung.

Cinnamon rolls.  Need I say more? Mmmm

Ottoman in our entry.  More importantly, the fabric.  Thinking of buying some to make drapes for the kitchen (patio door) and the family room which is off of the kitchen.  Not open concept, but pretty darn close.  Thoughts? Opinions? I'm having one heck of a time picking fabric (speaking of which, I've added a new board on Pinterest called Fabric Crush).  I want something pretty, something with "wow factor" nothing too feminine.  Help!

Tomorrow I will be talking about my recent decision to take a good look at my spending habits (yes, right after I post pictures of things I recently purchased, I know, I know).  Be sure to check it out!


Thrifting, Antiquing and Refinishing. What I've learned So far.

Monday, January 28, 2013

It's no secret that I've given refinishing furniture a try.  Though I'm an extreme beginner and the projects I tackled were on the smaller side, it was still really fun to do and a great way to breathe new life into pieces that we already had.

For us beginners, the internet is full of inspiration and tips (thankfully).  There are several bloggers who have generously taken the time to teach us newbies tricks and methods to help us achieve the perfect finish.
I heavily relied on Kate's tips.  She guides you through the process from start to finish including what products and supplies to use.  I bought nearly everything she's listed to finish the two projects I did.

Natalie  the talented gal behind Natty by Design has also taken refinishing pieces to a whole new level.  You can see (and purchase) some of her finished pieces here.

Remember, mistakes are bound to happen but most of the time, they can be corrected with a little sanding and you will still achieve a beautiful end result.  A perfect example can be seen over on Pam's blog.  So keep at it!

Finding the perfect piece to refinish can be as simple as looking in your basement storage room.  If you don't have any pieces around the house, kijiji, your local thrift store, craigslist and antique shops are just a few of the places where you can look around.  If searching online take the time to use different keywords and do simple searches.  Too many keywords will really narrow down the search results, which you don't want.

I'm not a pro thrifter or antique shopper, definitely learning as I go and I heavily rely on my taste to guide me (and no, I'm not licking pieces as I go...the other kind of taste, ha!).  I only go looking when I know what I'm looking for or need to find that perfect piece for a specific place in the house.

Here are a few tips that I do have to share:

follow the lines:
lines are everything! looking past the current finish of a piece can be hard, but it's oh so important.  if it has good lines, then you can definitely make something out of nothing, nearly any finish can either be painted or spray painted.  the table in this post is a good example of great lines

check to see if it's sturdy:
the last thing you want is to invest in a piece and to get it home to only find that it's one touch away from falling apart. that being said, some pieces can be easily glued or screwed back together, but make sure you know how to fix it before you buy it!

you want your drawers and cupboards to open with relative ease

veneer isn't something new, it's been around for a while, a fact that I didn't know.  so even if the piece is an antique or vintage, take a close look to see if it has a veneer top. the difference is that veneer from earlier on is a tad thicker, which is good a good thing. reason being: veneer is tricky to sand because it's so thin, you can easily sand right through it.  I have yet to attempt it myself, but through reading and asking around, I have learned that it's doable, but not as simple as refinishing wood. you really need to take your time to ensure that you don't sand through the veneer.  so if you're thinking of staining vs repainting, this is something to consider

the more intricate, the more work:
usually. longer to sand, longer to paint. trickier to sand and trickier to paint.  just something to keep in mind (for someone like me, who is a tad impatient, not the best styles to attempt to refinish) 

mistakes will most likely happen:
especially when you're first starting off. globbing paint, uneven finishes, I've done it.  don't sweat it! 1- you probably won't notice in the end and 2- again, most mistakes can be corrected with a little tlc and patience

take a step back:
chances are, most people (including yourself) won't be looking at your finished piece as close up as you are when painting it.  so, take a step back and assess the finished project and test it out in it's new home before tossing it to the curb (no, not speaking from experience, ha!)

broaden your search area:
if you are in a small town (like me) and capable of driving to neighbouring cities, check their listings out too! I wouldn't have found our dining room set had I not done this

new "old" items are popping up all of the time. the key is the be consistent & persistent with your search and to stay positive. it's easy to get down when after several days or weeks of searching you don't find what you're looking for but with time, it will usually pop up. remember, stay positive!

and lastly,

pick your shopping buddy wisely:
I will not bring my husband with me as he can not see the potential in pieces. I wouldn't say that I have a professionals eye, but I can definitely see potential in pieces and so I'd be more willing to pick something up than he would.  so it's best to shop with someone who can see the piece past it's current state

I don't only search for items to refinish, I also search for items that I can use "as is".  I like the character, I love combining new pieces with old and I love how well older pieces are made.  To be honest, as much as I enjoyed refinishing pieces on my own, it's not something that I can see myself getting into as a hobby.  It will be more of something that I do when I have to, if I find a stellar piece, etc.  I'd much prefer to find a great piece that I don't have to do much to, that I can use just the way it is.

These are just a few things that I have learned so far.  Perhaps I will do a part 2 in the near future.  Now, go on...get to searching and good luck!  And if you have any lessons learned, please do share!


Pretty Friday.

Friday, January 25, 2013

You can read the entire post and see the rest of the photos of this space here.  Isn't it just gorgeous?  And ever so lovely with the gold frame.

Well, I have to say that I'm thrilled that the weekend is practically here.  Colds and unbelievably ridiculously cold temps aren't fun. Ever.

I think it's safe to say that we will be spending most of the weekend at home, recouping and just relaxing.  I'm also thinking that I need to follow in Rhi's footsteps and attempt a social media free weekend. I've done this before, but for maybe an afternoon or does pay off and I can only imagine what a full weekend would do for ones soul.  Must try.

I will leave you with a few links:
  • if you like spectacularness (spellcheck says that's not a word, but I'm going with it) then check this out
  • loving this new-to-me shop on etsy
  • diggin' this perfectly casual yet fashionable outfit
  • must test this recipe out and soon
And with that, happy Friday and have one awesome weekend!


Cold Fighting Necessities.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

If you're following along on twitter, then you know that I've been fighting a cold, maybe even the flu for the better part of the week.  I can usually do a pretty good job of handling colds, but seriously, this one is bringing me to my knees!  Like whimpering baby bad.  I know, shameful.

I even sent my mum a text asking if she could knit me a cozy cardigan, because I was craving one so badly (note to self, purchase a cozy knitted cardigan asap...and note to self, see below).  To cuddle up in a cozy sweater.....sigh. I know, right?!

Please forgive the non-imaginative use of photoshop...I tried, but alas, my brain isn't allowing me to use too many cells today.

As you can probably tell from the listed items above, this cold has left me wanting to do no more than sit on the couch with all of the above watching some type of terrible tv marathon.  Guilty pleasure indeed.

Oh, I also have to say that I'm totally jealous of every single one of you who is at Alt Summit.  I want to be there, although I suppose I wouldn't have been able to go since I'm sick.  Oh, who am I kidding.  No cold could have held me back from that fabulosity!  I'm thinking of taking advantage of one or two of their free online courses if there is still space.


For The Love Of It.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Our high school was lucky enough to have a pretty strong volleyball team for several years.  Honestly, it's probably the one reason I was totally excited to go to school.  I loved volleyball, everything about it.  The warm ups, the practices, the games and tournaments.  I lived and breathed volleyball.

I have a vivid memory of one of the tryouts for the senior girls team.  There was a girl who tried out every year.  Unfortunately, she never made the team, but that didn't stop her.  She kept coming back year after year.  During one of the tryouts, she went to pass the ball and somehow it flew up to the ceiling and hit one of the lights, shattering it to pieces and bringing the tryout to a halt.  At the time, it wasn't more than a simple equation.  This girl was trying out and it wasn't looking so good for her, which was unfortunate.

Now, years later...with high school far behind me I revisit this tryout and see it in a completely different light.  This fellow student had so much courage, heart, determination and absolute love for the sport.  This drove her to pursue her passion by trying out every year, because you never know, this year may just be the year.  She didn't worry about being judged.  It was really quite simple, she loved the sport, so she tried out.

She loved something so much, that despite not being the strongest player, she continued to play...

for the love of it. 
plain and simple.

This brings me to painting. Yes, volleyball and painting, not at all a random! ha!

When I thought of the idea of making a gallery wall above the couch in the living room I brainstormed what I would put in the frames.  One of the ideas was to attempt a few paintings myself.  My first attempt at painting was a complete fail.  Complete fail.  But since these ones would be of a much smaller scale, maybe I'd be able to do a better job?  I gave it a try.  After testing out a few different designs I realized that I most enjoyed painting random circles and I was really happy with how they looked.  So that will be what we frame.

That brought me to thinking of doing something similar on the large canvas I bought and that had been tucked away in a dark corner of the basement in hopes that no one would ever find it!  I knew I liked to paint but truth be told, I'm far from being a painter.  But perhaps the first attempt was a complete fail because I was just going about it wrong, not doing what came naturally to me (painting in a circular motion).
I'm pretty stoked about how the large canvas turned out and I'm glad that I gave it another try.  It's no masterpiece, but it was just so much fun to do!  I really enjoyed myself and the time I spent making it.

This brings me back to the volleyball story.  Just because you aren't as strong as others at something, doesn't mean you shouldn't be doing it or that you're not good at it.  If you love to do something and it makes you happy, then go do it!  If you want to try something, then go try it!  Don't worry about what others may think, just think about how it makes you feel.  Simply do it for the love of it.


When Less is More

Friday, January 18, 2013

-my own photo, fake florals-

Good day peeps.  How is everyone? How has this week been treating you?

As I mentioned here, I'm focusing on cutting back my spending.  I could say ours, but in reality, it's mainly me who does all of the shopping in our home, from getting groceries to clothes for the kids, etc.  I have a good knack for buying things, especially if they are on sale.  I'm pretty darn frugal so it's not that I'm buying expensive items, I just buy a lot of items and several times a week.  An extra $10, another $15 all adds up and quickly!

A funny thing happens when you're in your thirties.  You learn so much about yourself.  You kind of find "you".  You also grow up a lot and see things in a different light.  In all honesty, I don't get what I was buying so much "stuff" for in the first place because really, we didn't need half of it.

Want and need, two totally different things

We have so very much to be thankful for and "need" so very little to be happy.  It's easy to want stuff when everything is so easily accessible and businesses are doing such a great job at luring you in with their mega sales.  I can't even begin to tell you how bad I am when I see something on sale, terrible.

Anyhow, long story short.  I found that if I unplug every once in a while and just sit back and watch, I'll be reminded of just how lucky I am and in turn, I need and want less.

It made me wonder what was the point of buying so much?!

The answer....I didn't have one.

I've gained a new perspective of what my priorities should be and though it may be very obvious to others, it wasn't so much to me.

I've gotten more done around the house in one week than I have in 6 months.  I no longer have that nagging feeling of all I have to do and I'm much more relaxed.  And all of this by just staying home.  It's been a huge eye opener in SUCH an amazing way.

I'm still focusing on decorating our house, that is still a goal for this year.  And heck, I'm still shopping, I'm just not using it as a time filler or something to do.  That's when it gets dangerous.

Deep thoughts, I know...but just wanted to fill you in on where I'm at.

With that, a few things I wanted to share:

Anna's fantastic DIY Gemstone bracelet

Meg's brand spankin new fashion line

Rhi's lessons from a social media free weekend

Meredith's vision for 2013

Paloma's blog continues to be on fire!


Pillow Machine

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

No, I didn't buy one...I think I may have turned into one! Seriously, oh goodness.

Okay, here's the deal.  In an effort to stop spending money, I'm staying home.  I don't know how, but I can go to the grocery store with five things on my list and leave with a cart full of miscellaneous items. Happens, every time.  It's so darn easy to justify buying "stuff".  So I'm determined to only go to the stores when we need something vs going to look around or to see what's new.  I just really want to spend more wisely from now on and I'm determined to make this happen.

So, to keep me from twiddling my thumbs when little J isn't too interested in hanging out with me, I've been taking care of household chores and organizing around here, but that can get kinda boring.  This is probably why I finally finished the roman shade, twas something to do other than twiddling thy thumbs.  To be honest, I'm quite glad I finally got around to completing it because I truly forgot just how much I love to sew.

Well, I was left with some leftover fabric from roman shade, a fair amount...enough to make some pillows I thought, so I did just that.  Made pillows.  Two.  First time I've done this, it was fun.

one of two

So then I thought to myself "self, you have four more pillows that you aren't using and lots of fabric leftover from the shop, perhaps you could make new slipcovers for them too".  Self was right.  So I made four more.

one of the four

two of the four  

Seriously. Send help......nothing is safe.  The last pillow I made (which is now on our bed), I used an old sweater that I no longer wear.  Just cut it up and voila!  What's next?!  I don't know.

I need to go shopping ;)


It Only Took Four Months

Monday, January 14, 2013

To finish the roman shade. Yeah, seriously.  I ordered the fabric from Tonic Living shortly after we moved into the house.  I think I finally cut it to size in October, sewed the lining and main fabric together in November and then I spent most of Saturday finishing it up.  All in all, it wasn't difficult at all.  I lack confidence when it comes to sewing something new, so I tend to take my sweet time finishing it up.

I learned a few lessons along the way, the most frustrating part for me was sewing on the sleeves for the dowels.  They are not straight at all, and that really bothers me.  I think next time I'll baste stitch them into place before sewing them on with the machine or press the fabric, something to ensure I'm sewing them on straight.

I have to say, that I forgot just how much I love to sew.  I'm not sure when I last used my machine, maybe a year ago?  Pretty crazy.

Anyhow, here are some pics of the finished piece!  I currently have the shade propped into place with the help of a couple of dowels.  I really want to see how it would look before fastening it to the window.

I used two tutorials to make this.  The first is by Barbara, found here.  She did such a great job and has included photos.  The second one can be found here, on Martha Stewart's website.


Pretty Fancy!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Happy weekend, friends!

I honestly think that all of the snow will be gone by the end of the weekend.  The climate is so very different here than in Winnipeg, it's kind of nice, but feels so "off".  We lived in the prairies for 7 years and one gets used to the prairie winters and blizzards and frigid temps in that time.  To be able to see the grass, to no longer have to wear the heaviest of heavy layers is nice, but just feels so weird!

Anyhow, how are you all doing? Big plans for the weekend?  Last week we focused on getting the house organized and tidying up a bit.  I really need to get that roman shade finished (the one for the kitchen window).  I think I'm going to make curtains for the patio doors which are off of the kitchen eating area, with the same fabric.  Why do I procrastinate so very much? I mean, I have a slew of things that need to get done around the house yet I'm focusing on everything but them! ha!

With that, I wanted to share a picture of a cocktail table that has taken my breath away.  I love, love, love it!  I believe it's due to be in stores sometime in April.  I'm guessing it will cost more than I can afford, but we'll see.

Isn't she lovely? I think she would be absolutely perfect for the living room, no?

I also went to what I thought was an antique shop, but turned out to be a thrift shop last week to look at a table.  The table was a total score at $29!  I had two places that I thought I could use it in the house, beside the couch in the living room or in the family room as a tv stand.  It's ended up in the family room and is the perfect addition to the space:

I love the lines, that it's wood and how versatile it is.  Total score and oh so pretty.

Speaking of pretty things, I also picked up this crystal ice jar (maybe from the 40s or 50s?) from the same thrift store (along with some milk glass vases, I die, gorgeous).  I'm no pro, I could be totally wrong, but it's stunning and is perfect for holding these lovely flowers.

We were also lucky enough to inherit some of hubs Grandmother's gorgeous china.  I enjoyed a delicious cup of tea in one of them yesterday, fancy is so much more fun.



Plum it is!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Hello, hello! How is everyone? Anyone else sluggish and having a tough time getting back into the swing of things?  I'm so very thankful for coffee, that's all I can say. ha!

Well, Mrs. Indecisive here has finally chosen a colour palette for the living room.  If you're following me on pinterest, then you probably already know this.  We're going to go with muted plums, purples, greys, I may try to throw a touch of aqua since there is some in the rug (love and love)...we'll see.

Now that I have finally made a decision, the ball seems to be rolling.  I'm sourcing fabrics to make some pillows with and am trying to find some fabulous curtains.  For the curtains, I'm planning on going with dupioni silk, plums...two shades, lighter on the top and then a darker shade for the 1/4 of the bottom.  I was kind of hoping I could cheat by buying pre-made curtains and then sewing the bottom colour on myself, but it looks as though I may just have to make them entirely on my own.

A few photos from my sourcing:

top left: are pre-made drapes, would have worked perfectly but they didn't have enough of them, darn.  bottom left: potential fabric for bottom portion of drapes.  right: potential fabric for pillows 

In other news, I finally hung up the three prints I purchased a while back in the entry.  Oh-my-goodness!  What an unbelievable difference.  Love them all!

I haven't lost my itch to check out Kijiji every now and then.  I saw this little table and immediately went to check it out (it was at a small, local thrift shop).  For $29 I figured I couldn't go wrong.  The legs are so gorgeous.

Also pretty excited about this newness from Gap.  Plaid and ruffles, so awesome!  Also awesome, short lengths of my hair are finally a good length, thank heavens!  Get yours here.

Keep on smiling, friends.


Happy, Happy!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Well, look at that!  Not a post in a couple of weeks.  I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful holiday and a fantastic New Years!  Happy, happy New Years, friends!  2013, unreal.  There is something to be said about the new year.  A fresh start, a new beginning, a clean slate in some ways.  2012 was a busy year for us.  There were a lot of changes, some good, some bad.  I'm very much looking forward to 2013, I've been anxiously awaiting for it to arrive to be honest.

We very much enjoyed our first Christmas in our new home.  One of the most exciting events was the purchase and delivery of the anitqu-ish dining set I had mentioned in my last post.  You guys, I'm so excited about it and can't believe I almost left it behind.  It has filled the space perfectly and is in much better shape than I thought (do you do that, pick things apart when you're contemplating purchasing and then you make the decision to buy and you can't remember what was so wrong with it in the first place?!).  The leaves will eventually need refinishing and the buffet and hutch need new hardware, but nothing needs to be done immediately, which is nice.

Pictures, they are:

We're going to try switching the position of the hutch and the china cabinet.

I also picked up my newly framed Cozamia print, ah-mazing!

You guys, be sure to check Costco for framing, so affordable and they did a fabulous job.  We are using our old dining room chairs.  I need to recover the ones that came with the set, so they are in the basement until that gets done.  I'm also hoping to find a gorgeous off white rug that I had spotted a while back at Homesense and loved, but didn't know where I'd use it.  Now I do, hope they get another.

We ate Christmas dinner at our new-to-us dining table.  So much space, totally exciting.

Christmas morning brought lots of loveliness, we are thankful.  Two of my favourite gifts were these comfy slippers and this cozy blanket.  I like to get cozy. ha!

We then headed to Ottawa for New Years.  Spent NYE tobogganing at an awesome hill by our parents place.  We used to go here when we were our kids ages, so it was pretty cool to bring our own kids there.  We all had a blast, but truth be told, my butt is still killing me!  I'm getting old, ha!

And now here we are, back home, enjoying the last few days of our winter vacation.  Christmas decor is coming down, organizing the house is our number one task.  The New Year is here and it's a great feeling.  It seems as though many people are taking 2013 by the reigns and making it about doing what's right for them.  Lots of organization, no more holding back, just going for it.  For me, it's going to be about appreciating the little things.  Limiting my wants and taking joy in what I have.  I have so much to be thankful for.

Happy New Year, friends.  Let's make 2013 amazing!


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