Happy New Year!

December 31, 2011

It's hard to believe it's 2012 already - where has the year gone?

I hope your New Year is filled with health and happiness, and it doesn't take you too long to remember to write 2012 instead of 2011 ;)


Some Favorites from 2011

December 28, 2011

With the end of the year fast approaching, I thought I'd reminisce about a few of my favorite projects from this year (in no particular order).

My bathroom mini makeover took me a while to get finished, but I'm rather pleased with the end result.
Bathroom after
The Bridal Shower favours I made were a bit of a departure for me, but I like the project as they were done for a good friend.
Bridal shower mason jar cookies
The dining chair project was one that seemed to take FOREVER, but I'm happy with the end result. Next time I paint furniture though - I'll think twice before using a paintbrush. 
Black shaker-style chairs around a MCM teak table
Rewiring my bedside lamps is a favorite project because I was incredibly intimidated to try it, and in the end it was very simple to do.
Illuminated lightbulb
My dollar store bookend project is a favorite because it was the first time I'd really made something new instead of just modifying it.
White Lion bookends
It's was fun to go back and take a look at some of the things I've accomplished this year around my home. I wonder what projects will be my favorites in 2012?


Merry Christmas

December 25, 2011

Christmas Tree by Andrea Ihlefeld via Etsy
Christmas Tree by Andrea Ihlefeld via Etsy
On this marvelous Christmas morning I thought I'd share with you one of my favorite Christmas quotes.

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?  It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes and bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What is Christmas, perhaps means a little bit more. ~ Dr.Seuss

I wish you and your family a day filled with love and laughter as you gather to enjoy all that the season brings.

Before & After

I'm Finally Pinteresting

December 20, 2011

I have a bit of a problem. I currently get two magazines delivered to my home every month - Style at Home, and Canadian House & Home. I like to flip through them to see what wonderful (and sometimes odd) things people are doing inside their homes. Now, some of you may have many more subscriptions than I, but my problem isn't the number of magazines I get, it's the number I keep. That's right, I keep them all.
an over-full bookcase
My embarrassing overflowing bookcase
Behold my bookcase - that bottom shelf is pretty much all magazines that I've kept on the off-chance that someday I may feel the need to flip though one that's two years old (or more) for decor inspiration.

As I've recently been plotting a project that will require my bookcase to be emptied, I decided to start shifting through the 3 years of decor magazines collecting dust on the bottom shelf. But, what was I going to do with them? I couldn't just recycle them - what about all the great stuff contained within their glossy pages? I could tear out the pages that I liked, but then I'd have to figure out where to store the random pages.

For the past few months I've been silently stalking Pinterest. I'd login occasionally, take a look at some things people had 'pinned', maybe save a few, and then log out. I didn't do much with it, until I decided to sort through my stack of magazines.

For those of you who aren't aware of Pinterest it's described as 'a virtual pinboard' - a way to store and save all those things you find on the web, that you might need one day. I prefer to think of it as a more visual way to store all those bookmarks you have in your internet browser, but instead of folders you have boards.

Here is what Pinterest looks like:
Main Pinterest page
Main Pinterest page
Pinterest Pin-it button
To make saving images from the internet easy you install a small 'Pin-it' button to your bookmarks bar, and then whenever you see something you'd like to save you click on the button. A little pop-up window appears and you select the image you'd like to save, and then decide which of your boards you will save the image to. You can also add a comment to each Pin to describe what it is.

Pinterest starts you with a few default boards, but you can rename them, and add more depending on the items you're going to be saving.
Pinterest board page
My 'For the Home' board
You can also search Pinterest for images that appeal to you, and if you find something you can re-pin it to your board. I don't particularly like this function - If I find an image I like, I'd rather go to the originating website and pin-it directly, but that's simply a personal preference.

Pinterest also allows you to follow people, or you can follow individual boards, so if there's someone who's taste is similar to yours you can see what they've pinned. Here's my profile if you'd like to see what I'm pinning.

If you have a blog or website you can also see what images people have pinned from your site -  type this into your browser with your site's full url (without the www.): http://pinterest.com/source/insertyourwebsite'surlhere/
Bookcase shelf
My slightly more organized bookcase shelf
Anyways, after several hours of magazine flipping I now have a Pinterest page with 14 boards and 149 pins. I also have a bookcase that is slightly less crammed with magazines. Hopefully I'll be good and periodically purge my magazine collection. Next up is sorting all my books, and deciding which I really want to keep, and which can go to a new home.


DIY - Upholstered Headboard With Nailhead Trim

December 14, 2011

Way back in another lifetime I built my headboard out of MDF and 2"x2" pieces of wood and then covered it with a couple of layers of cotton batting, and a piece of inexpensive white fabric. Fast forward quite a few years, and I was no longer thrilled with my headboard. The fabric had gotten rather dull looking, and I wished every time I saw it that I had something just a little more sophisticated.
My Headbord before
My headbord before
You may recall that I have a serious love for the Collete Bed at Crate&Barrel. A while ago when I was at King Textiles looking for some velvet for my mirror framing project, I spotted some fabric in their clearance section that sparked an idea. After quickly Googling on my phone the dimensions of a double bed I purchased several yards.
the back of my headboard
The back of my headboard
I put off this project for a couple of weeks as I was a little worried about pulling out all the staples that attached the original fabric to the headboard. Even though it was years ago, I still remember how cramped my hand got from using the staple gun, and I had visions of pulling staples for days. I needn't have worried - the staples came out quite easily with a pair of needle-nosed pliers.
Removing the staples
High-tech tools for removing staples
As I wasn't going to replace the batting, my next step was to lay out the new fabric, and make the necessary cuts to remove the extra. Next I started stapling.  My method was simple - a couple of staples in the top in the middle, and then pulled the fabric tight and stapled at the bottom in the middle. I then did the middle on each side. This ensured that fabric was tight in both directions before I stapled the rest of the top, bottom and sides. The top corners gave me a little trouble as I wanted to make them as smooth as possible. After some trial and error I ended up cutting out a triangle of fabric at each corner before folding it over and stapling. This would probably have been easier if my fabric wasn't so thick, but as it's a woven wool it got quite bulky in the corners.

Once the stapling was complete I flipped the headboard over, and started on the next phase of the project.

I had seen individual nail head tacks at Home Depot on several occasions, but the thought of having to nail in several hundred tacks kept me from recovering my headboard a long time ago. While perusing the Lee Valley Tools website one day I saw these nail head strips, and they were what I used. The beauty of this product is you only have to nail in every 5th nail - the rest are fake.
Laying out the nail strips
Laying out the nail strips
The next part required a bit of math as I wanted to ensure the nailhead trim detail was equally spaced across the top (to ensure that a real nail ended up at each end), but once I had that figured out the rest was fairly easy.

Here's the finished product:
Recovered headboard
close up of nail head detail
Newly recovered headboard
The finished product
Here's what this project cost:
For a total cost of $45.43 (tax. incl.) I'm quite pleased with the transformation.
Newly refinished headboard next to vintage lamp
Don't my rewired lamps look great next to it?
Mine doesn't have the fancy curved detail that the one at Crate&Barrel does, but given how much it cost to make I can overlook that little detail. What do you think? Is it almost as nice as the original?


Pantone Colour of the Year 2012: Tangerine Tango 17-1463

December 10, 2011

Pantone - Tangerine Tango - 17-1463
With the end of the year fast approaching, on Thursday PANTONE announced their  colour of the year for 2012. Their choice is Tangerine Tango (17-1463) which according to their press release, is 'a vivacious, enticing hue' that will 'provide the energy boost we need to recharge and move forward'. As with their Colour of the Year choices of Mimosa (a yellow) in 2009, Turquoise in 2010, and Honeysuckle (pink) in 2011, we can expect to start seeing a lot of orange in fashion and interior design in the new year.

If you'd like to inject some of that vivaciousness into your world right away, here are a few items you might consider: 
Pantone 2012 colour of the year items
Clockwise from top left: Le Creuset French oven in Flame, Small rectangular Lacquer Tray from West Elm, Boca Persimmon Table Lamp by Crate&Barrel, Design*Sponge at Home by Grace Bonney from Amazon, Small Diamond Bowl in Felt from Branch, Mod Dot Place Setting by Jonathan Adler, Clambake nail polish by Essie, American Modern Pitcher by Russel Wright, Bazaar Hand Towel Set by Thomas Paul
So, what do you think? Will you be adding any Tangerine Tango to your surroundings this year?


Art Interiors: a Long Delayed Visit

December 05, 2011

I heard about Art Interiors years ago, and have always wanted to visit, but for whatever reason never managed to despite it not being too far from my house.
Art interiors - photo of inside the store
Last week I got their newsletter via email announcing that their 'Festival of Smalls' was happening again, so I committed to finally paying them a visit.

Art Interiors was started in 1993 by two women in Toronto as a place where people could buy original pieces of art at affordable prices (starting from about $35). A lot of the art they carry is that of young up-and-coming artists, but they carry the work of more established artists as well.
Stacks of art at Art Interiors
Once a year, in the month before Christmas, Art Interiors has what it calls its 'Festival of Smalls'. The pieces of art aren't any bigger than 16"x20" and are less than $250 each, so it might be a neat place to look for that perfect gift for that person on your list who already has everything.
Art at Art Interiors

Here are some of the pieces I admired:
Title: Living Room Chair by Erin Vincent
Title: Living Room Chair by Erin Vincent

This might be neat on a wall near a similar chair if you have one, or maybe close to a modern one for a little contrast. I've always thought these chairs look a little like thrones, so it might be amusing in another room in your home . . .

I spotted this one on the way out the door:
Title: I Lost Them All III by Lori Doody
Title: I Lost Them All III by Lori Doody (sorry for the blurry picture)
I think this one would be perfect in an entrance way or laundry room.

Their website has a quite extensive selection of available art, and you can purchase online, but there is more available at the bricks-and-mortar location. If there is an artist whose work they carry and you admire, they can also email you as new pieces arrive.

I spotted this on their website when I got home:
Title: Training by Elizabeth Lennie
Title: Training by Elizabeth Lennie
I think I like this piece because I spent so much of my childhood doing just this - laps in a pool. I've admired Elizabeth Lennie's work for a while, so it was neat to see her work on Art Interiors website.

Art Interiors is located at 446 Spadina Rd, Suite 206 in Toronto, ON. The Festival of Smalls is running until December 24th, 2011. Shipping can also be arranged for those who can't visit their Toronto location.

Please note: I did ask permission first before I took the pictures above (except the last). Please click on the pictures above to link to the artist page on the Art Interiors website.


DIY Dove Christmas Ornaments

December 01, 2011

I'm going to let you in on a little secret - I'm having a little trouble getting into the holiday spirit this year. I'm not sure what it is, but I just can't seem to get really excited about the holiday that is fast approaching. I own a little fake Christmas tree and a selection of ornaments and I fully intended to leave them in my storage locker for the holiday season until last week.

I was flipping through the November issue of Style At Home Magazine when I spotted this:
Style at Home - November 2011 - pg 108
Style at Home - November 2011 - pg 108
I loved one little aspect of the shot, and my plan to not decorate this year went flying out the window. Can you guess what part of the picture above inspired me? Since it's a little hard to tell from my scan here it is again:
Style at Home - Nov 2011 - White Dove
Style at Home - Nov 2011 - White Dove
Can you see it? It's the white felt dove Christmas ornament on the top right.

Once I spotted it, I knew I could make something similar, and all thoughts of being a complete Scrooge this Christmas went out the window. While they were a little time-consuming, they are very easy to make.

Here's what I used:
  • White felt
  • Pearl beads
  • Silver tulle
  • White craft feathers
  • Silver string
Craft supplies to make felt doves
What you'll need to make the doves

My first step was to find a pattern for a dove. that was easy enough using Google, and with it on my screen I free-handed the shape I wanted. There are three parts to the dove - the body, the wings, and the bottom.
My Dove Template
My Dove Template
I cut out my pattern, and then pinned it to my fabric. I cut out two body shapes, two wing shapes and one bottom shape in the felt, and two wings in the tulle.

Once the pieces were cut out I sewed the body together using a blanket stitch and then I stuffed the dove a little with some off cuts from the felt I was using to make my dove more three-dimensional.
Felt Dove sewn together

Once the bodies were put together I added the wings. I decided to add the piece of tulle over my felt wing to dress it up a little, but you could do it without. The wings are attached to the body with a couple of stitches at the top - this allows them to stand out from the body which I think looks more natural.
dove with wings added
I sewed on two pearl beads to make eyes, but I'm sure you could just use a little dab of glue.
Dove ornament with eyes added
Next, I took the craft feathers and decided on what length I wanted the tail to be. Once that was done I cut them, and then removed a little of the down from the quill to allow me to insert it easily into the dove. I used a little dab of glue to hold the feather in place.
making the feather tail for a dove ornament
My last step was to add the silver string. It turned out my string was too fat for my regular needle, but luckily I happened to have an upholstery needle with a big enough eye. All I did was use the needle to pull the string thought the top of the dove's body, and then tie a knot in the sting.

Here is the finished product:
My finished dove ornament
My finished dove ornament
Here is what this project cost (everything came from dollar stores):
  • White felt: $0 (I had it on hand from my bookend project)
  • Silver tulle: $1
  • Silver sting: $1
  • Craft Feathers: $1
  • Pearl beads: $1
  • Total Cost: $4 for 6 dove ornaments
I was going to just hang the doves, but I thought there should be something else on my tree, so I came up with what was the easiest project ever - it took about 5 minutes to make 15 ornaments.

What you'll need:
  • Small mirrors (I used round ones, but they also had squares and ovals)
  • some ribbon or string
  • some glue - I used a glue gun
    Small round mirrors
All I did was add a little dab of glue on the back of one mirror, stick in both ends of the small piece of string and lastly stick on the second piece of mirror.

Here is what they look like:
round mirror ornaments
Mirror Ornaments
  • 2 packages of 15 mirrors: $2
  • Small spool of silver ribbon: $1
  • Total cost: $3 for 15 ornaments
I was going to put all my new ornaments on my regular tree, but on the way home from work today I found a tree branch, so decided to try to replicate my inspiration image a little more.
My twig Christmas tree
And here's a close up of my dove:
White Dove Christmas Ornament

I feel I have to apologize for the pictures in this post - I'm battling two difficulties - It's now dark here when I leave for work, and when I get home, so there's no opportunity to take pictures in natural light, and probably more importantly I have no photographic ability. Maybe Santa will be good to me and get me lessons;)


Progress, and a Little Canadian Retail History

November 22, 2011

It's taken me a while, but I've finally managed to finish stripping my Craigslist dresser. It's funny, when you watch those decorating shows on TV, they always make this type of thing look so easy. Let me tell you, it's not. And the smell - Wowzers - it's a good thing I invested in a respirator. On a positive note, I emerged from this experience relatively unscathed - I only suffered one chemical burn, and it was a small one ;)

Anyways, I thought I've give you a quick peek at where I am on this project.
Stripped dresser
Stripped dresser drawers
(You can take a peek at what I started with here). Next up will be sanding, and at some point I have to figure out how to fix the missing veneer.
Simpson's logo on a dresser
Simpson's Logo
Anyways, while working on the dresser, I spotted something that indicated where it came from originally. This mark is a little hard to read, but it says Simpson's which was a department store here in Canada that is no longer in business.

Simpson's was started in Newmarket, ON by Robert Simpson in 1858. It thrived until 1870 when a fire completely destroyed the building.  Robert Simpson restarted his store in Toronto in 1872 as the city was rapidly increasing in size. The original Toronto store was on Yonge street, just north of Queen.

By the 1890's, Simpson's had over 200 employees and in late 1894 they moved to a new store on the south-west corned of Yonge and Queen Streets. Three months later the Simpson's store was again destroyed by fire. Undeterred, Robert Simpson reopened his store 6 days later in a rented building. He proceeded to rebuild on the same corner, and the bigger and better building was completed just 10 months later. It's still standing today.
The Corner of Yonge and Queen St - Toronto, ON
The Corner of Yonge and Queen St (source:city-of-toronto.blogspot.com)
Simpson's underwent many changes over the years, expanding across Canada, partnering with Sears, and then in 1978 being purchased by the Hudson's Bay Company. The two companies brands operated separately across Canada until 1991, when the Simpson's locations were closed or re-branded as Bay stores. The last Simpson's store to be converted to a Bay store was the original on the corner of Yonge and Queen Streets. (More info can be found here)

On a side note - does anyone remember a 80's children's TV show called 'Today's Special'? Well, it was partially filmed inside the Simpson's building.
The Characters from 'Today's Special' children's TV show
Today's Special
I loved that show growing up - and for nostalgia's sake, here's a video ;)


I've Become a Stripper!!

November 11, 2011

That caught your attention didn't it?

No, I haven't decided that the only way to fund my home decor habit is by removing my clothing - I've started work on my Craigslist dresser.

I have to say, I think the outfit required for the type of stripping I'm doing is unbelievably attractive!
Stripping paint in respirator
Aren't I Sexy?
What do you think? ;)


Thrift Store Find: Silver Vase (and cleaning tip)

November 02, 2011

Whenever I visit a thrift store I head first to the furniture section in the faint hope of finding something fabulous that needs a little TLC. I don't seem to have the best of luck thrifting for furniture, but every so often I spot something small that I know could be really pretty with a little elbow grease. A few weeks ago I spotted such an item.Behold my $5 thrift store vase - it's nothing much to look at is it?
Behold my $5 thrift store vase – it’s nothing much to look at is it?
Behold my $5 thrift store vase – it’s nothing much to look at is it?
I used some Silvo silver cleaner (purchased a while back when I had some crazy plan to actually clean my jewelry) to tidy it up, but I ran into a little problem. The directions on the can say to apply the cleaner, let it dry, and then rub it off with a soft cloth. This method worked a little (just enough to give me hope that my $5 was well spent), but it was quite frustrating as I had to use quite a bit of pressure to get any of the tarnish off, and then there was still plenty left on the vase after all the effort. Out of frustration I dabbed a little cleaner on the soft cloth and just started rubbing the vase - hallelujah! the tarnish came off easily. I'm going to have to remember not to follow directions more often.
 My New Silver Vase
 My New Silver Vase
I think it was worth a little elbow grease, and I think it looks great beside my bed.
Something Pretty to Open my Eyes to in the Morning
Something Pretty to Open my Eyes to in the Morning

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