Before & After

One Room Challenge | Bedroom – Week Six - The Reveal

November 06, 2014

It’s finally here! Six weeks ago I decided to participate in the One Room Challenge which was started by Linda at Calling it Home. I hoped that participating would prod me into finally decorating my bedroom, and I’m happy to say that despite some hurdles which I thought might prevent me from finishing I’m ready to share what I’ve created. (If you missed any of the weekly posts for the challenge you can read them here: week 1, week 2, week3, week 4, and week 5)

When I started this challenge my room was pretty boring, but I hoped to be able to change that with some wallpaper, art, fabric and new bedside tables.

Here’s my bedroom before:
basic bedroom before
And here it is now:
One room challenge bedroom reveal
The walls were repaired and painted and then last week I had the Thibaut Etosha wallpaper installed on the wall behind the headboard. In all honesty I was a bit scared before the paper went up given the pattern is so bold, but now that it’s installed I absolutely love it.

I shared the before of the bedside tables a couple of weeks ago, and I’m very pleased with what I was able to do with them. They were painted in a high gloss using Para Paints Hybrid technology paint, and I love the look of them – almost like they were lacquered.
blue bedside table with white lamp and flowers

Blue bedside table with brass hardware
If you remember my inspiration board from week one I was inspired for the room by the Neo Toile fabric in navy from Tonic Living. I used it for a pillow on the bed along with a couple of fabrics from Designer Fabrics here in Toronto. They were my first ever attempt at sewing pillows with piping and a zipper (I used this tutorial) – there were some minor goofs, but overall I’m pleased with the result of my late night sewing adventures.
pillows piled on a bed with a blue headboard

pillows an a bed beside a blue side table
The wall that was bulging and cracked has been repaired and I don’t think anyone would know that a few short weeks ago there was a massive hole between where my dresser and where the Zoe Pawlak print I won now hangs. For a novice drywaller and plasterer I think I did a great job. That said I really don’t want to ever have to do it again.
Zoe Pawlak art hung on a wall
In addition to the Zoe Pawlak piece I’ve hung the antique Hearth and Home magazine which I had professionally framed, and a print by Mara Minuzzo on either side of the room.
framed vintage hearth and home magazine

Framed Mara Minuzzo print
I recovered my headboard in navy velvet, which unfortunately isn’t coming across well in the pictures given the lack of natural light (stupid daylight savings). I also applied brass nailhead detail around the edge to balance the brass of the pulls on the bedside tables.
Bedroom with Etosha wallpaper and blue velvet headboard

Blue velvet headboard with Etosha wallpaper

One room challenge bedroom reveal with Etosha wallpaper
There you have it – challenge completed, and I’m thrilled with the result. What do you think?

Want some more One Room Challenge final reveals? Make sure you check out the 20 bloggers doing the one room challenge, and the other One Room Challenge Linking Participants.

As a member of the Para Blog Crew I was provided paint for this project.

Before & After

One Room Challenge | Bedroom – Week Five

October 30, 2014

I can’t believe we’re in week number 5 of the one week challenge already – how is that possible? It seems like only a few days ago that I was sharing my inspiration board in week one of this six week challenge, and now here we are a scant 7 days from the finish and I am feeling more than overwhelmed with all the work that remains.

I’m writing this at 2:30 on Thursday morning as I literally wait for paint to dry so I can do another coat. This is a pretty good indication of how my week has gone. I left off last week feeling hopeful that I’d get this room finished on time – I had major plans for last weekend – I was going to paint and then work on my headboard, my bedside tables, and then maybe sew a pillow of two. Seven days later and I’m still painting. The other stuff on my list? Ha – they didn’t happen.

On Friday night I painted my walls and was pretty pleased, but the next morning I started to have doubts – was it too yellow? My apartment is tricky – it doesn’t get a whole lot of natural light, and what it does get is late in the afternoon. I thought that perhaps it was trick of the light, so I decided to revisit it later that day. Several hours later and the changing light hadn’t changed my opinion.

Saturday night found me frantically looking through my paint deck trying to find another off-white that wasn’t too yellow, or too blue, or too pink. I honestly didn’t realise how hard it was to pick an off-white - they're all so similar yet so different. On Sunday morning I made the hour long trek via transit to Lowes for some tester pots of paint. After the trip back home to test them out I made a decision and had to take myself back to Lowes to buy a gallon. If you’ve been keeping track that’s 4 hours on the bus for a gallon of paint. Fun times.
Off white wall paint options
My options: (all paints Para) P5211-14 - Shape Shifter, P5213-14 - Posture & Poise, P5215-14 - French Manicure, and P5219-14 - Every Girls Dream
Anyways, a coat of the new colour went up late Sunday night and I was much happier with it. I was apparently overly enthusiastic though when I tried to do a second coat the next evening because I broke the roller. Who knew that was even possible? Anyways, after purchasing a new roller the next day on my lunch break I was able to finally get the second coat up, and tonight I’m taking care of the trim.
Broken paint roller
Why the late night painting session? I’ve got the wallpaperer coming today (Thursday) and all the painting has to be finished before he can get started. I’m really hoping that after the paper is installed I’ll feel a little less stressed out about getting this room completed.
Painting wall trim using painters tape
That said, with only one week left I think it’s time for a to-do list:
  • Install wallpaper
  • re-upholster headboard
  • Bedside tables
  • Sew pretty pillows
  • Move my furniture back into my bedroom
  • Figure out what to do for bedside lamps (What I was going to go is failing miserably so I need a second option)
  • Pick up my vintage magazine from the framers, and decide where to hang it.
  • Iron and rehang my curtains
  • Find accessories and prettiness to dress the bedside tables
  • Pull everything together
  • Take photos
Yikes! There’s still so much to do. I honestly don’t know if I can do it – keep our fingers crossed for me.

Want some more One Room Challenge inspiration and craziness? Make sure you check out the 20 bloggers doing the one room challenge, and the other One Room Challenge Linking Participants.

Before & After

One Room Challenge | Bedroom - Week Four

October 22, 2014

After the slow progress I’d made after the first three weeks (see the posts here: 1, 2, 3) of this one room challenge, I’m happy to say that I think I’ve made quite a bit of progress this week.

You may remember that when I started this challenge I decided to do a little wall repair, and that it snowballed into a major problem. After a weekend of alternately mixing drywall plaster and being covered in drywall dust I’ve officially declared the repair portion of this project over. Hallelujah! It’s by no means perfect, but I’m exceptionally pleased with my handiwork. I honestly think nobody will be able to tell the wall was patched unless they look really closely.
Patched bedroom wall
After I installed the drywall came many, many layers of drywall compound
Primed Bedroom wall
This is (again) a bad nighttime picture, but I promise the wall looks really good in person
After the wall was finished I did two coats of primer, and I’ve started the actual painting part of this project. Sadly I thought I might be able to get away with just one coat on the ceiling, but given I was painting at night with what turned out to be inadequate lighting I will need to do a second coat (there’s nothing more disappointing than lying in bed looking at your freshly painted ceiling and realizing you did a crap job). Once that’s done though I think the most difficult part will be over until it’s time to paint the radiator – I hate painting rads.

This week I also made some decisions about art. In my original post I mentioned maybe buying some new art, but I decided to make use of some of the things I already own. I found this 85 year old magazine at The Elegant Garage Sale (a Toronto furniture consignment store) a couple of years ago for $2. Given it’s age I decided to splurge and have it professionally framed. I hope I get it back in time for the room reveal.
Hearth and Home Magazine March 1929
A copy of Hearth & Home magazine from Mach 1929
I’ve also started to work on my bedside tables. I’ve had them for a while, but they were stacked in the corner of my room while I decided what to do with them.
Beside table before
They were in rather bad shape, but given their cost (FREE!!) that was to be expected. I’ve been trying to figure out if they might be vintage Ikea, but I haven’t been able find out for sure – anyone recognize them? Anyways, I’m both excited and scared about what I’m planning for them – here’s hoping my idea works.

I think I might be starting to believe I may be able to get my room finished in time. Maybe. Perhaps. Cross your fingers for me.

Want some more One Room Challenge inspiration and craziness? Make sure you check out the 20 bloggers doing the one room challenge, and the other One Room Challenge Linking Participants.

Before & After

One Room Challenge | Bedroom - Week Three

October 15, 2014

How are we on week three already? This wee fact scares me more than a little bit - especially since I didn't really accomplish anything in my room this week. I have a good excuse though - you see, it was my grandma's 94th birthday on the weekend so my mom and I went to Ireland on Friday to help her celebrate. Since I only returned yesterday evening I didn't really have a chance to do much work on the One Room Challenge, but if I don't finish my bedroom in time I'm okay with that - celebrating my grandma's birthday is way more important to me than decorating a room.
94th birthday candles
That said, one of the first things I did when I returned last evening was put yet another coat of plaster on my wall. That's right - the hole still isn't fixed. It is looking a lot better, but my attempts to repair it are being hindered a bit by the lack of heat in my building. Mud that should only take 8 hours or so to dry is taking over 24 which is massively slowing my repair progress, and I can't really do anything else in the room until I have the wall fully repaired. Here's hoping I have a bit of luck over the weekend.

I mentioned briefly in last weeks post that I had done a bit of fabric sourcing and I've been trying to figure out what to do. There are a few options that I'm considering - I know the walls will be the Etosha paper and the headboard will be navy velvet. I'll be sticking with white for the sheets and duvet cover so I want to add some colour with pillows - I'll likely have a lumbar pillow in the Neo Toile that inspired my bedroom design, but other than that I'm unsure.
Bedroom fabric options
{Sorry for the cellphone pics - taking photos with no daylight is a skill I haven't yet mastered}
The fabric was soured from Designer Fabrics on Queen street which means there will likely be a few more contenders found when I return this selection. Oh well - I'm still not entirely positive my sewing skills will extend to sewing decorative pillows so perhaps indecision is a good thing? Then again I need something to occupy my time while I'm waiting for plaster to dry and sewing pillows might be just the thing! Any thoughts on what I should choose? Have any other suggestions?

Want some more One Room Challenge inspiration and craziness? Make sure you check out the 20 bloggers doing the one room challenge, and the other One Room Challenge Linking Participants.

Before & After

One Room Challenge | Bedroom - Week Two

October 09, 2014

If you read my One Room Challenge post last week you may recall that I finished it hoping that my little wall problem would get better, and it did. And then it got a whole lot worse. After I posted I managed to get a bit of mud on my walls and it started to look a whole lot better. I was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and was hoping to be painting by the end of last weekend.

That didn’t happen. Once I fixed the moving plaster and the random bulges it became very apparent that I had another problem. Right in the middle of the wall was a large bulge that protruded almost two inches into the room. I always knew it was there, but it really didn’t start to bother me until I’d sort of fixed the other section. I realise that yes, I could continue to pretend it wasn’t there and start adding paint and wallpaper, and fun and pretty things to the room, but I knew that it would then drive me absolutely bonkers to look at it every day and I’d eventually have to fix it. There’s no point in ruining a room after it’s finished to fix something I should have done earlier is there?

Anyways, I thought it would just be a matter of continuing the method of plaster buttons I used to fix my previous problem. No such luck. I’d heard drilling holes in plaster and injecting construction adhesive between the lathe and plaster and then applying pressure could work - it didn’t. I was beyond frustrated and I had a wall full of random drill holes and dried adhesive. Eventually I got smart and realised that on the other side of the bulge was my bathroom medicine cabinet. Once that was out I could really visualize the problem.
missing medicine cabinet
Walls made of fiberboard with no structural support, and a patch of drywall that a previous owner had made
Problem #1 – the wall (at east in that section) is not made of lathe and plaster like I thought, but plaster over what I can only describe as fiberboard.

Problem #2 - there is no structure to anchor the wall to in order to remove the bulge.

After a phone call to my Dad I decided the only option was to remove the bulge completely which necessitated another trip to Home Depot, the purchase of more supplies including drywall, and then hauling it all home on the bus since I don’t have a car (Note to self: Win the lottery and buy a car).
drywall waiting for a bus
Two pieces of drywall are pretty heavy, especially when you're also carrying drywall saw, screws, work gloves, duct tape, a plastic sheet and various other DIY supplies
Eventually, with a lot of effort, a huge amount of mess, and a lot of noise (sorry neighbours) I accomplished this:
Bedroom wall with a window into the bathroom
Hello there bathroom. If I got Ryan Reynolds to move in I think this could be called a feature wall - don't you think?
And eventually this:
Wall patched with drywall
Drywall installed. You can see my earlier patch on the left
It wasn’t all dust and noise this week. I did a little sourcing for fabric for pillows and lamps (and ran into Vanessa of Décor Happy at HomeSense). No decisions made there yet, but I did pick up some fabric for my headboard at Designer Fabrics – did you know they have a whole section of off-cut velvet for $7/yd? I wasn’t going to miss that deal. And on Tuesday I found myself back in class for the first time in a couple of months.
Velvet fabric off cuts at Designer Fabric
Hopefully next week I’ll be able to report that my bedroom is looking much better. I still have a long way to go, but I’m a little more confident now than I was this past weekend that I can get the room completed by the end of the challenge. Fingers crossed.

Check out some of the other bloggers progress this week on Calling it Home.

Before & After

One Room Challenge | Bedroom – Week One

October 02, 2014

If you’ve read this blog for a while you may have noticed I have a bit of project ADD. I have piles of great (in my opinion) ideas on how to decorate my space, but I rarely follow through on them, or worse, I get started and then never finish. This isn’t really a good thing since I don’t have a single space in my home I’m really happy with, and well, I write this blog which is supposed to be all about my attempts at decorating – it’s a little silly that I haven’t really decorated anything isn’t it?

For the past few years I’ve followed the One Room challenge that was started by Linda at Calling it Home – twice a year a group of pretty amazing design bloggers completely redo a room in 6 weeks. It’s that time of year again and this time I’ve decided I’m going to participate in the link-up challenge in an effort to get a room done. I’m rather hoping a 6 week deadline will kick me in the butt and help me get ONE ROOM finished (or close to it).

I’ll be trying to finish my bedroom, which in all honesty is probably the room that I’ve completed the most projects for – my dresser, my headboard and the pinch-pleated drapes. They’ll all be staying, but may be modified a bit.

Here’s pretty much what I’m starting with:
Boring bedroom
My Bedroom (sorry for the awful picture)
And here’s the tentative plan:
One room challenge bedroom inspiration
WallpaperLampBedside tableHeadboard, Pillows: 123
You may recall I won the Thibaut Etosha wallpaper from Meredith Heron a number of months ago – I chose the grey. I’ll only be doing an accent wall behind the bed (which incidentally I don’t think Meredith would approve of, but it’s a really bold pattern, and I don’t yet have the designer guts that she does to do a whole room).

The rest of the room will be inspired by the Neo Toile fabric from Tonic Living. If I get my act together I’m hoping I can sew some cushions for the bed (note to self: find some good tutorials). I also need some bedside tables, because the mismatched ones are an eye-sore, and some new bedside lamps since my current white and green ones won’t go with my new colour scheme. Unfortunately I won't be getting the 1st Dibs tables pictured above since they cost many mortgage payments.

I also want to add some personality to the room with some art. I’ll be using the Zoe Pawlak art I won from Christine Dovey, but I’ll need some other pieces. I might order something from some of the art I love on Etsy, but I’m not yet sure what I want. The room also needs a rug, but given my budget (miniscule) that likely won’t happen. We’ll see - maybe I’ll find the deal of the century.

In the interest of full disclosure I should tell you I’ve already started this project, and I’ve already run into a huge problem. I noticed a small crack on the wall behind my dresser and when I moved it to do a quick patch I discovered the plaster had pulled away from the lath and was bulging and moving rather alarmingly. It’s never a good thing when your wall moves. I’ve started the repair which I’m crossing my fingers will work and won’t look too nasty once I’m done. At the moment it looks like this which I’m very much hoping is a case of ‘it has to get worse before it gets better’.

What do you think? Can I get the room done in 6 weeks? Does anyone in Toronto have the name of a great wallpaperer? Any great artists or art sources to share? Let me know!

Life Lately

Scenes from my Weekend - EdgeWalk

September 30, 2014

A few weeks ago a friend messaged me and asked if I'd be interested in doing the EdgeWalk atop the CN tower here in Toronto in celebration of her husband's birthday. Without hesitating I said yes despite it never having been on my bucket list of things I must do. In fact, I'm fairly certain that when the EdgeWalk opened in 2011 I said it was something I would never do.

For weeks every time I thought about what I had agreed to do I got butterflies in my stomach the size of pterodactyls, but this past Saturday I rode an elevator up 116 stories and stepped outside 356m (1,168ft) above Toronto and took a little stroll.

I can say now that it was fun, but while I was up there I have no problem admitting I was a bit scared. Heck - you can see it in the video - at points I wasn't sure I'd be able to do the 'activities'. I'm not generally afraid of heights, but there's something about peering over the edge at that altitude with just a couple of ropes to hold you up that's a bit terrifying.
Michelle doing Edgewalk
Now that I've done it I can honestly say it's an adventure I'd recommend. Walking around on the outside of a building at that height is completely crazy and totally nuts, so therefor it's something you should try if you can ;)
EdgeWalk group shot
I did learn one thing from this adventure - I'll never go bungee jumping. It's one thing to peer over the edge at that height - it's another thing completely to leap off. Never going to happen.


A Few Favourites from The Penny Paper Co. & a Giveaway!

September 26, 2014

One of the first blogs I started reading regularly was “Little House Blog’ by Lindsay Stephenson. At the time I think she and her husband were working on their dining room, but since then they’ve renovated their kitchen, finished their basement bathroom, redone their main bathroom and a slew of other projects around their home which are equally gorgeous. If I ever renovate either my kitchen or bath I'm honestly going to be heavily referencing her projects.

In addition to being a blogger and mom, Lindsay is the owner of The Penny Paper Co. – a wonderful online shop that sells art prints for adults and kids alike, amazing jewelry, and even rubber stamps and cute accessories to make sitting at your desk more fun. Lindsay has also had her artwork sold in HomeSense and Chapters/Indigo stores across Canada which is beyond neat.

The Penny Paper Co. has so many wonderful things, but here are a few of my current favourites.:
Favourites from Penny Paper Co.
1. Don't Grow Up 2. Druzy Necklace 3. I'm a Big Deal 4. Box of Donuts 5. Initial Notepad 6. Heart of Gold
What do you think? Anything you’d love to have? I hope so, because in celebration of Penny Paper Co.’s 10th Anniversary Lindsay has offered a $50 gift certificate for anything in the store! Can you believe it? I’m rather jealous of whoever is going to win.

To enter visit The Penny Paper and Co. and then leave a comment here letting me know what you’d pick if you won. Would it be something for yourself, or maybe something as a gift? There are so many great things to choose from.

Want some more chances to win? Like Eamonn & Jack on Facebook or tweet about this giveaway for additional entries.

This giveaway is open to readers in Canada and the USA, and closes at 12:01am EST on Friday, October 3.

The Penny Paper Co. Giveaway


Thrifting in BC

September 22, 2014

It’s no secret that I love thrifting – I love the thrill of finding something amazing (or something ugly that could be amazing) in a pile of what can often sometimes be described as junk. I find however that in Toronto it’s hard to find that amazing score – I don’t know if it’s because there are just so many others in town that have the same affinity for the hunt that I do or, if it’s just a case of luck not being on my side whenever I head to the local stores (which aren’t that local when you don’t have a car).

In August I visited my parents in BC and on a couple of occasions my mom and I went out to explore the local second-hand stores. They live in a small-ish town that has what seems to be a larger number of thrift stores in comparison to Toronto. It may be the demographics are different – there is a large retiree population, but they also have a number of stores which are run in benefit of local charities like the Hospital Auxiliary and the Woman’s shelter which I haven’t seen here (I’m sure they exist – I just haven’t found them).

I don’t know what it was on this trip, but I found a number of great pieces. So many I had to get creative when packing to get them back to Toronto.

I finally found some milk bottles – these are originally from The Dutchmen Dairy in Sicamous, BC, which is, according to my mom, a mandatory stop when traveling on the Trans-Canada highway. I’m not entirely sure if these are ‘vintage’ as apparently this dairy still sells milk in bottles, but they were just $2 each.
Dutchman Dairy Milk bottles
I’m sure this coffee can isn’t vintage, but for only $.50 I figured why not? It has the look and now I just need to figure out what to plant in it.
vintage Maxwell house coffee can
This little Scheurich ‘onion’ vase caught my eye for the vibrant colour and the MCM pattern. It was $8.
blue Scheurich onion vase
Ever since I purchased my large Kaiser vase from the Junction flea a couple of years ago I've been on the lookout for more pieces. I did find one more small vase at the Aberfoyle antique market (I never shared it here, but it looks like this), but other than that I haven’t had any luck. I love the matte white look of the pottery which I think is timeless (I love it so much I've even started a whole collection of MCM white vases on Etsy in case anyone wants to buy me one  - ha!).

Anyways, I was lucky enough to find two Kaiser vases in BC, so I've got the start of a little collection. The first round vase was $7 and the second, slightly larger vase, was an incredible $2.
Kaiser vase

round Kaiser vase
Hopefully over time I’ll be able to find some more Kaiser vases and eventually be able to showcase them like this. If anyone happens to find one while out thrifting please let me know ;)

Does anyone else find a difference when thrifting in small towns vs. big cities? Or was I perhaps just lucky enough to be visiting when there was many great things for sale?

Before & After

The China Cabinet Beautification Project

September 08, 2014

For as long as I’ve lived in my apartment I’ve wanted a little china cabinet to go in my dining room. My kitchen isn’t huge and I loved the idea of being able to display pretty dishes and other things in the top of a cabinet with glass doors, but hide less-attractive-but-needed items like napkins and place mats in the lower half.

I looked for months on Kijiji and Craigslist – there were lots of cabinets available, but I needed one with a small footprint and one that was within my tiny budget. It was quite some time before I found anything that would suit, but eventually I did. As luck would have it, my new cabinet had some very familiar details – it’s the same style as the console/sideboard I have in my living room.
China Cabinet before
The before
When I first saw the cabinet I had visions I stripping and refinishing it just like its mate – however I was soon thwarted by something that I didn't notice until I tipped the cabinet over to start working on it. I knew that the cabinet hadn’t been treated too kindly and was filthy, however there was one small detail I hadn’t noticed when I bought it - one of the feet (for lack of a better word) was irreversibly damaged - the wood base was missing a rather large chunk. This immediately took the wind out of my ‘woo-hoo, new project! ‘ sails, and left me completely stumped on how I was going to fix it. I could strip the veneer easily enough, but as the missing chunk was at the front corner of the base, even if I could repair the structural wood underneath I would have to re-veneer two sides. While I repaired the veneer on the base of my console, the repair there was on the side and isn’t easily seen. The front of the cabinet would always be on display, and I wasn’t confident that I’d be able to do a good enough job with the veneer replacement. Compounding the issue, I didn’t have the tools, space or skills for any woodworking, so repairing the base myself was impossible.
broken china cabinet base
Needless to say I was completely stumped as to what to do so the project came to a screeching halt. Eventually I got tired of the cabinet sitting there empty and ugly and I decided to just Google local woodworkers and email them asking if they might be able to replicate the entire base of my cabinet. Eventually I found one who was willing to work on such a small project and I schlepped the damaged base cross town on public transit so he could copy it. Skilled trades aren’t cheap, and his expert work cost me nearly 3 times what the cabinet did.
brass hardware before and after polishing
My china cabinet was quite dirty when I got it - the hardware before and after a prolonged polish
Once my cabinet had a sturdy base it was time to turn my attention to its beautification. The new base was natural wood and I could have attempted to veneer it, but I opted for paint instead. I’m normally firmly in the ‘wood should not be painted' camp but the veneer on the entire piece was in really rough shape, cracking and splitting, so painting it was the only option. After using wood filler to fix the worst of the blemishes I primed it, and then did two coats of colour.
painted china cabinet
I debated painting the interior of the cabinet a fun hue, but in the end I decided that I wanted the items I displayed behind the glass to be the focus so I chose a warm white – Coconut Sugar (PF 60). For the exterior I wanted something that would highlight the brass hardware I spent so long polishing, but I didn’t want anything too dark. I chose Fort Beauséjour (P2144-02) which is a lovely blue-grey. Both colours are from Para Paints.
painted china cabinet
I think my china cabinet is a million times better than when I got it and, in the end, I’m glad I persevered.

As a member of the Para Paints Blog Crew I was supplied with the paint used for this project.


Meet Eamonn & Jack

September 05, 2014

When I started blogging in 2011 I did it mostly on impulse, and while I understood that my new blog needed a name I didn’t really understand what the implications of that name choice would be. When I chose the name Sweetsuite10 I thought it was cute, and it fit the subject on which I intended to blog about – namely my small apartment that happens to be suite #10. What I didn’t realise on that very early morning was that the scope of what I planned to blog about might change over time, and that a name that referenced an apartment unit was not a great long-term choice (while I love my apartment I really hope I don’t live here forever).

Here we are in 2014 and, as you can see, deciding on a new name for my blog literally took me years – either because the names I came up with were already in use by some other smart blogger, the URLs were unavailable, or, as in a couple of cases, after buying the domain I realised a few weeks later that it wasn’t the 'right' name. 

The name Eamonn & Jack wasn’t decided on a whim – I first thought of it last fall and let it sit and simmer before making the final decision. What I think is special about the name is that there is only one other person in the world who shares the same relationship with the men who inspired it – my brother. Eamonn and Jack were my grandfathers.

Eamonn was born in Dublin, Ireland as the 2nd of 6 children. He and my grandmother met at a tennis club where they both loved to play. After my grandparents married they had 9 children – 5 girls and 4 boys over a span of 16 years. My great grandfather was a well-known builder/developer at the time, but instead of joining the family business my grandfather started his own, making wood furniture for schools and churches. One of my grandmothers prized possessions is the lovely dining room set my grandfather made for her. Sadly he passed away at the age of 46 before I had the opportunity to meet him.

Jack was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and, after the loss of his father at the age of two was an only child until his mother remarried and gave him a younger sister. He was a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force and was stationed in England during World War II. When he returned from war he worked in Insurance and raised three children. In an era where major home improvements weren’t normally a DIY project, he and my dad did undertake a basic renovation of their basement to create a rec room for my dad and his sisters to use with their friends. Jack was an avid golfer and he and my grandmother loved to travel. They visited England several times, and even traveled though Russia before the fall of the Soviet Union. He passed away shortly before my second birthday.

These are the two men who this site is named after. It’s hard to put into a couple of short sentences who they were especially since I didn’t have the chance to really know either one. Even in these short descriptions I see facets of them - of what they did, and what they liked, that are strikingly similar to some things that I too like and enjoy. I can’t think of a more fitting name for my new site, and I hope they don’t mind that I’m using their names to share some of the things that I love with you.


Welcome to my New Blog

September 04, 2014

After piles of work, and more than a few setbacks I’m pleased to present my new site - Eamonn & Jack. A huge thanks to Brittany Douglas for the beautiful logo she created for me – I couldn’t be more pleased with it.
Eamonn & Jack Logo
Eamonn & Jack will be my new space for sharing design inspirations, DIY projects, the occasional recipe, and whatever else catches my eye or imagination. Along with a new name, address and look, I’ve rewritten my about page, rejiggered my project gallery, and even added new Facebook and Google+ pages to make it easier for you to follow along. As always, I can also be found on twitter sharing random thoughts and on Instagram sharing the odd and beautiful things I come across.

What do you think of my new site?


The Big Announcement: My Blog has Moved–please visit Eamonn & Jack

September 04, 2014

After the teaser in my last post I’m beyond excited (and a little relieved) to let you know that my new site - is now live and it looks like this:
Eamonn & Jack Homepage
After so much work behind the scenes it’s exciting to have it ready for inspection. I hope you’ll pop by my new site and let me know what you think, and later today I’ll be sharing the inspiration for the name Eamonn & Jack.

Make sure you subscribe to Eamonn & Jack via email or by RSS, or like Eamonn & Jack on Facebook or Google+.


Update and a Big Change

August 31, 2014

In the month+ since I last posted I've been busy. Classes finally finished mid-august and I will admit to being completely burnt out. I see now that I took on way too much, and it's time to scale back a bit. I'm going to continue with my Interior decorating courses, but I think I might do just one this semester - three while working full time was just nutty.

Anyways, In order to recover a bit from my rather hectic spring/summer I took a bit of time off from blogging to visit my parents, work on a couple of small projects around my place, catch up on some sleep, and work on a big change that's been on my 'must-do-list' forever.
august 2014 collage
My August: relaxing, picking 14lbs of blueberries, magical sunsets, visiting the Mascot Mine, and a couple of DIY projects that ensured my manicure was always ruined
If you've read this blog for a while you may recall this post from a few months after I started where I explained how I came up with Sweetsute10 and also talked about the doubts I had even then about my choice. Well, it's taken 3 years (and more domain name purchases than I'd care to admit), but I'm finally re-branding.

Re-branding is something I've wanted to do for a long time, but I wanted to make sure I was sure about the new name I chose - I didn't want to have to make the change a second time. It's been a lot of work and, since I'm attempting to do it myself, a lot of time googleing, watching YouTube videos, and making mistakes.

I'm hoping to have my new site up and ready sometime this week (keep your fingers crossed for me - this was supposed to happen in July but I had some technical problems , and there was a some procrastination). There's still piles to do - hopefully the major stuff will be sorted out and I can get this launched - some stuff, like re-watermarking my 789 photos might take a while, but can be done after my new site is live.

Oh, my new blog name? It's Eamonn & Jack. I'll share the origin of the name one it's launched - I hope you'll continue to visit once it's up and running.
Eamonn & Jack logo

Before & After

DIY Gold Stripe Tray

July 18, 2014

When I was considering adding the tulip table to my foyer I wanted to have a little spot to corral the mail, my keys and other things when I come in the door. I knew a small tray would be ideal for that purpose, so I set out to find one that met my criteria – it needed to be rectangular, not too expensive, and it needed to have some colour given the table and the walls in my foyer are white.

To be honest I had absolutely no plans on DIYing anything, and I actually did find a lovely contender for the spot at HomeSense that was just $13. Then of course I went to the thrift store and found a tray for $1.99 and my plans changed.  Given its thrift store provenance the tray was predictably ugly, but it was the right size and shape and I knew that making it prettier would be easy. 
Thrift store tray before
I’ve been in LOVE with this tray forever, and if it had been the right size I may have been tempted to buy it for my foyer (but only if it also went on sale). Since the original wasn’t to be I decided to make my own version using my thrift store tray and spray paint I already had on hand.
Thrift store tray painted white with tape to make stripes
(Apologies for the bad cell phone picture)
After spraying the tray white I set out to mark off the pattern on the top of the tray using masking tape. I eyeballed the pattern and used a small piece of tape to help with the spacing between the lines.  I did have painters tape on hand, but it was too wide for the scale of my tray so I ended up using the regular masking tape (I use it in class to tape my drawings to the drafting table).
thrift store tray painted gold
Once the pattern was complete I sprayed the tray top and bottom with gold spray paint, and when it was dry I peeled off the tape and voilà – a gold stripe tray.
DIY gold stripe tray
There was some bleeding under the tape that more than likely wouldn't have occurred if I’d used painters tape, but I’m honestly not too concerned.
DIY gold stripe tray on a white table
Not bad for $2 right?

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