White and Gold Christmas Ornaments

December 20, 2013

Finishing school for the semester left me with a lot of free time that had previously been occupied with homework, so since I had so much fun making my Nutcracker ornaments I decided to do a bit more Christmas crafting. I again made something really easy, but I’m quite pleased with the way they turned out.
glass balls, gold sharpie and white paint
I started with some plain glass ball ornaments I bought at Michaels, some plain white paint, and a fine gold sharpie paint pen. The first step is to add some paint to the inside of the ball and swirl it around to make sure the inside is evenly coated. I used a teaspoon to spoon in the paint, but that was rather messy. I might use a turkey baster or something similar if I do this again. Thankfully the dripped paint cleaned off the glass really easily with a damp rag.
glass balls with the metal hangers removed
I then used an empty egg carton to hold the balls upside down to drain out the extra paint. Once your balls are painted leave them for at least 24 hrs to allow them to dry.
turn glass balls upside down to drain paint
Reattach the balls cap/hanger thingy and you’re ready for the final step. I set up my supplies in front of the TV and did this while watching the Holiday - one of my favourite Christmas movies. All you need to do is draw a pattern on the outside of your glass balls with the paint pen and then wait for the paint to dry. The pen I used was oil based so it took a few minutes to completely dry - be careful when you handle it – you don’t want to smudge your masterpiece.
use gold sharpie to decorate a glass ball
I decided to use an art-deco inspired scalloped pattern on my balls, but you could draw anything you want. You could also use a couple of different coloured pens to change it up. I debated also using a silver pen, but in the end I liked the gold and white combo, and they worked well with my other white and gold Christmas ornaments from past years.
art deco patterned Christmas ball

Art deco pattern on a white Christmas ornament

white Christmas ornament

DIY Christmas ornament

My Christmas tree for 2013. I replaced some of my painted nutcrackers with the new glass balls.
My Christmas tree for 2013. I replaced some of my painted nutcrackers with the new glass balls.
What do you think? I quite like them, and I'm now imagining all sorts of other pattern and colour combinations to do for next year.

I'm a member of Para Paints blog crew, however this paint was received when I attended Blogpodium. the other supplies were purchased.


Painted Nutcracker Christmas Ornaments

December 19, 2013

For the past two years I’ve made my Christmas ornaments - in 2011 my tree was a simple bare branch with some mirrors and home-made felt doves, and in 2012 I pulled out my mini tree and strung a pompom garland and added some white snowflakes. This year I decided to again use my mini tree (although I seriously considered getting myself an adult sized tree – maybe I can find one for a huge discount after Christmas?) and rummaged around my storage locker for my ornament collection which has been steadily growing over the years. I was going to take the easy route and skip the DIYing this year and simply use what I had, but where's the fun in that? All I needed was some inspiration.

One day I was roaming the aisles of my favourite craft store (aka Dollarama) when I spotted some plain wood nutcrackers in a couple of sizes and I knew what I was going to do. I bought a few packages in two sizes as well as a picture hanging kit and brought them home.
Plain wood nutcrackers and a can of paint
My first task was to attach hangers to the top of my nutcrackers. I used the eye screws from the picture hanging kit and screwed them into the top of each nutcracker after first drilling a pilot hole. That was honestly the hardest part of this project.
wood nutcrackers being dipped in paint
After adding some temporary string I took my nutcrackers for a swim. Doesn’t the Para Paints Furby Fuzz (PF63) look a little like the Caribbean sea? I could have used a small paintbrush to paint the nutcrackers, but it seemed easier to simply dunk them, and then use the brush to remove the extra paint. Once they were thoroughly coated I hung them up to dry using some chopsticks wedged under some cookbooks which I think was a rather ingenious solution to figuring out how to dry them without the nutcrackers touching anything and ruining the paint.
painted nutcrackers hanging to dry
Once the nutcrackers were dry it was simply a matter of adding some silver string and then hanging them on my tree.
blue nutcracker ornament

Painted nutcrackers hanging as Christmas ornaments

painted nutcrackers with mirror ornaments

close-up or a blue nutcracker
It turns out I rather massively overestimated the number of nutcrackers that could fit on my wee little tree – while I put them all on for this shot I think the tree is better suited to about half as many. I guess I should take that as a sign I really need to get a ‘grown-up’ tree for next Christmas. 
My decorated tree
As a member of Para Paints Blog Crew I was supplied the paint in this project free of charge.


Tuesday Morning Love - Christmas Movies

December 17, 2013

I know I normally post my love post on Monday’s but I was a little distracted over the weekend so it got delayed by a day. I wish I could say I was distracted by something good, but I pretty much spend a lot of it marooned on my couch.

It wasn’t all bad though – it gave me the opportunity to catch up on my Christmas movie watching which, along with baking Christmas cookies, turkey and decorating trees, is an integral part of any Christmas in my humble opinion. Here are a few of my favourites:
My favourite Christmas movies
Clockwise from top left: ElfThe HolidayHow the Grinch Stole ChristmasHome AloneLove Actually, and The Muppet Christmas Carol
If I had to pick my top movie it would have to be ‘The Holiday’ – I love the story, and I can’t decide if I like Amanda’s or Iris’ house better. They’re both gorgeous in their own way.

Do you have any favourite Christmas movies? Do you watch them all December long, or do you save them for the days just before and after the big day?

Before & After

Getting Plastered in my Dining Room

December 12, 2013

Remember back in July when I confessed that my dining room a had a small problem? That problem included globs of wallpaper glue, cracks, and a badly patched ceiling.

Dining room corner

dining room ceiling
For my birthday my mom and dad gifted me a repaired dining room, so in late August operation #letsgetplastered begun (yes, this was finished in August and I’m just blogging about it now. I’m a bad blogger). My mom and dad are 'the' original DIYers so they decided that they’d try to fix it themselves first, and if that didn't work we’d call in some hired guns for the job. Those hired guns weren't needed.

First up my mom and I took a trip to Rona to pick up supplies. While there she introduced me to this amazing sanding block she’d seen while shopping in her hometown, and it was so helpful as we started my dining room rehabilitation by hand sanding the walls and ceiling the remove the old wallpaper glue, and try to even our some of the imperfections.

After the sanding was done it was on to a coat of primer, and then onto applying coats of spackling compound in layers to try to even out the walls. Once the last layer of spackle had been sanded it was time for another coat of primer, and then some plain white paint. The whole operation took about a week, and it was a huge success. There are still some imperfections, but it's a thousand times better than it was, and honestly in an almost 100 year old building there isn't a single wall that doesn't have some character.
newly repaired dining room
The After - My newly repaired wall and ceiling
New string light fixture
A new dining room deserves a new light fixture
spring light casting shadows on the walls
For an unplanned bonus when lit the string light casts a neat shadow on the walls which makes any small imperfection even harder to see.
I owe a HUGE thanks to my parents for my birthday present - I was going to pay someone a lot of money to fix the problem, but they've reminded me (again) that if you put your mind to it, have a willingness to try something new, some patience and a bit of help, there are a lot of things you can do yourself.
My newly repaired dining room
PS - My apologies - an all white room is hard to photograph for a relative novice.
PPS - RONA doesn't know I'm posting about the sanding blocks - I just loved them.


Monday Morning Love - Christina D'Ornato

December 09, 2013

It's late as I type this on Sunday night (which is technically Monday morning). I've spent all weekend working on my final project for class, and I'm still not done. I expect to see the early hours again tomorrow night.

Before I head off to bed for some much needed shut eye I thought I'd post this image, which by all accounts has flown around the internet many times, but somehow I only discovered it this past weekend.
The home of Christine D'Ornano
Isn't it stunning? It's from the London home of Christina D'Ornano, who, along with her family owns and runs the luxury cosmetics brand Sisley. I'm in love with the upholstered doors, the tile floor and the chandelier, but I think my favourite part is the painting of her mother over the mantel

Her home has been featured a number of times in print, including in Elle Decor and Elle Decor Espana, but I found this image on the website of photographer Joanna Henderson.  Had you seen Christine's home featured somewhere before? What do you think?

Life Lately

What I've Been up to

December 06, 2013

Sorry for again going radio silent. Things have been pretty busy chez moi so unfortunately this wee little blog has gotten the short end of the stick of late. I thought I'd do a quick post to update you on some things that I've been doing (and yes, these photos are all from Instagram, so if you follow me there, you've already seen them).

Pre-haircut selfie
On Nov 22 I looked like this. Yes, this is a selfie taken at work. Don't judge
New pixie-cut hairdo
The After. #operationsnipsnip was a success. I chopped off and donated about 14" of hair to help make a wig for a cancer patient. This was my second donation, and sadly my last. The family curse of premature gray means I won't be able to do it again :(
Brunch with eggs benedict
I met some lovely fellow bloggers from Toronto for Brunch on November 23rd. It was nice to chat, share and learn from fellow bloggers. I hope we do it again soon.
DIY marquee s
I've been working on school work for two courses. This is the light I created fro my design class. (Hopefully I'll blog about it soon). Only one more class to go until I'm done until January!
how to be a godparent pamplet
 On December 1st I became a Godmother to the daughter of a really good friend. It's an honour, and I hope I'm a good one.
Para paints decorator kit
As you know I've been selected as a member of the Para Paints Blog Crew. On Wednesday I came home to this at my door - the Architecture kit from Para Paints. It contains every Para Paint colour and is huge. I think there may be too many colours to choose from.
one of kind show coat check sign
Yesterday I went to the One of a Kind Show for the second time, and I bought a bunch of stuff for the people on my Christmas list, however I can't show you what I got - it would ruin the surprise on the big day. The Christmas One of a Kind Show runs through Sunday, December 8th - if you're in Toronto you should go.
I can't believe we're at the end of the first week of December already - where has the year gone?


Monday Morning Love - Christmas Cards By Minted

November 18, 2013

The big C word is coming up, and it’s coming up sooner than I’d really like. Every year I promise myself that this is the year that I’m going to get it together and be one of those crazily organised people who has everything done by December 1st. Today is the 18th of November, and with work and school I haven’t really had time to think about what to get anyone for the big C word let alone brave the malls and pick it out.
Bright Season by Chloe and Fanny
Bright Season by Chloe and Fanny
One thing I try to do every year is mail out Christmas cards – in this world of email and text messaging I know the only thing I find in my mailbox on any regular day is bills or a new takeout menu, so I like the idea of an actual physical card arriving in my friends and family’s mailboxes to let them know I’m thinking of them. Buying this years cards have been on my mind for the past couple of weeks, but I just hadn’t gotten up the courage to brave the mall. Then the most magical thing happened – I remembered I could just buy them online (cue embarrassing happy dance).
Yeti or Not by Genna Cowsert
 Yeti or Not by Genna Cowsert
I’d heard of Minted.com in the past, but usually for invitations for wedding and kids birthday parties. When I realised they had Christmas cards I assumed they were those cute ones that people send with pictures of their kids. I don’t have any kids, and I couldn’t really fathom the idea of sending a Christmas card with my face on it so I kinda figured I wouldn’t find anything I liked. I was wrong.
Vintage Bulbs by Stacey Meacham
Vintage Bulbs by Stacey Meacham
Minted has almost 600 holiday cards to choose from, and while they do offer a lot that can incorporate your favourite photo from the past year, they have a magic search filter, and when you click ‘no photo’ you’re left with 373 different cards to choose from.  A much better selection than the local department store where I usually get my boxed cards.
Retro Whimsical Poster by Gakemi Art+Design
Retro Whimsical Poster by Gakemi Art+Design
I was a bit overwhelmed at first, but once I realized I could favourite the ones I liked as I scrolled through the available cards it made easier. My first pass left me with 43 favourites and I whittled it down from there. Once I saw all the cards I had ‘favourited’ in one place it was easy to see that I gravitated to a certain ‘look’, however there were a few different styles that also caught my eye. Some of the cards were easy to eliminate, but some were hard.
Merry Glitter Holiday by Lehan Veenker
Merry Glitter Holiday by Lehan Veenker
I figured that in order for these card to be personalized I’d be able to modify the ‘from’ field.What I didn’t realize was that not only could I change the colour of the card and who it was from, but I could also modify all the text, and even the fonts on the cards. How cool is that?
Polar Bear Wishes by Carolyn MacLaren
Polar Bear Wishes by Carolyn MacLaren
Anyways,  As you can see I’ve whittled my original 43 favourites to just the six in this post, and they’re a rather eclectic bunch. I’ll take a look at them again in a day or so and make my final pick (although feel free to let me know which ones you like). What about you? Do you send Christmas cards? Have you ever bought personalized cards online, or do you buy the boxed ones like I normally do?
*I have been offered a credit on Minted.com, however all opinions shared in this post are mine.


DIY Boot Inserts

November 14, 2013

With fall here and winter rapidly approaching I’ve finally switched out my summer shoes and clothes for my cold weather ones. This means I just moved it all to the middle – I’m not fancy enough or have a big enough home to have separate closets for different seasons. If you’re one of those lucky people to have separate closets then I’m rather jealous. Moving on.

When I pulled out my leather riding style boots I noticed a small problem – they hadn’t fared too well over the long summer months being shoved in the back of the closet and looked a bit forlorn, and well, wilted. I started looking for something easy to DIY to combat the droop but I could only find ones made of rolled up newspapers and magazines or cut up pool noodles – I wanted something a little prettier.
My boots didn't do so well in the back of my closet
At BlogPodium Tonic Living had given all the attendees two yards of fabric and asked us to create something with it and any other fabric we had on hand for an Instagram contest. I decided I’d use my new fabric to make pretty DIY boot inserts. The contest is finished, but I'm rather pleased with my creation so I thought I'd share.

What you’ll need

Fabric – 4 circles and two rectangles
Fiberfill, or stuffing of your choice
Dried Beans (optional)
I used a yard of Varenna in coral, and a sample of Cameron in storm - both from Tonic Living
First you’ll need to measure your boots. For tall boots you’ll want the inserts to be tall enough to support the ankle but still reach the top of the boot. Mine were 14” tall. You’ll also want to decide how wide you’ll want them to be. I decided mine should have a 3” diameter, however once finished I found that a little big – 2 ½” would probably be better.
Cut your shapes. I used a ramekin to trace my circle
Cut out your shapes. Cut four circles to form the top and bottom of your inserts - remember to make your circle a bit bigger for the seam allowance. You’ll then cut out two rectangles.  The rectangles will be the height you’ve decided on for your insert plus about an inch for the seam allowances at the top and bottom. The width of the rectangle will be the circumference of your circle plus the allowance. This is where that high school math you were sure would never use in real life is useful (circumference = diameter times 3.14. In my case it was 3” x 3.14= 9.42” which I rounded up to 9 ½”).
Pin your fabric together to make two tubes
Pin your fabric rectangles right side in to make tubes. You’ll want to sew along the short side leaving your seam allowance. Once those are done you’ll pin one circle to each end of the tube – again, fabric right side in. You may have to fiddle with this a bit, but  I found pinning inwards worked best. You’ll then sew your rounds to the top and bottom of the tube. Take your time – this was my first time attempting to sew anything other than a straight line, and it worked for me with a little patience.
Pin the circles to the tubes of fabric to make the top and bottom of your inserts
Leave an opening at one end of each tube so you can turn it inside out, and then stuff it. I wanted to have a little weight at the bottom of my inserts so I used a cup of dried garbanzo beans, but this isn’t required.
Once you've sewn your inserts turn them right side out, and insert the dried beans
Stuff your inserts well - use a wooden spoon to push the stuffing firmly into the bottom.
I then stuffed my inserts using a pillow I sacrificed as I didn’t have any regular fiberfill. To help get the stuffing to the bottom of my tube I used a long wooden spoon. You’ll want the insert to be stuffed firmly – remember the purpose of the insert is to support your boots. Once they were filled I hand stitched the holes closed.
Stitch the openings closed and then add your finishing touches
To finish the inserts I attached a length of ribbon to the tops using a simple whip stitch, and then added a small bow to the tops. The ribbon in optional, however I wanted to be able to hang my inserts up out of the way when they weren’t in use.
I attached a length of ribbon to the top of each insert
A length of ribbon attached at the top makes your boot inserts easy to hang out of the way when not in use
These were easy to make, requiring limited sewing skills and a bit of patience, and they’d make a great Christmas gift. What do you think? Would you make yourself or someone else some of these?
DIY boot inserts


Monday Morning Love - Chick-A-Dee Smoke Alarm

November 11, 2013

Hi Everyone! Sorry for the radio silence of late - I've been busy, busy with school and work, so finding some time to dedicate to writting has been a little difficult.

Remember that wee video I put together for Para Paints? Well, I'm rather shocked to say that I was selected as one of the 5 new members of the Para Paints Blog Crew!!! How neat is that? The other members are Sarina at Pink Little Notebook, Sara at Saige Wisdom, Meredith and Susan at Newberry Sykes, and Kes and Tash at The Dreamhouse Project. I need to start planning what I'm going to add colour to.

Two weekends ago I had to the opportunity to see the Ai Weiwei 'According to What' exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario, and it was stunning. If the show comes to a city near you I encourage you to check it out (I believe it's now moved on to Washington D.C). Once I had seen the show I went to do a bit of browsing in the gift shop. The AGO's shop is always rather impressive, and while some of the items are a bit pricey, they always seem to have a few neat things I wouldn't mind bringing home with me.

One item that stood out to me was the Chick-A-Dee Smoke alarm.
Chick-A-Dee Smoke Alarm (image via)
Now, before you think I've gone completely off my rocker consider that the design idea comes from the birds miners used to bring with them to work to detect deadly gas, and more importantly, smoke detectors have got to be one of the more unattractive but necessary things in our homes. I love how this adds a bit of whimsy to a normally unimpressive safety device.

Most of the marketing images I found had it placed in a kids room, but I think it would be fun wherever you would put a smoke alarm. What do you think? Would you buy one for you house?

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