What's in a name?

September 26, 2011

When I started writing my blog back in January I struggled to come up with a name for it. I didn't want something too simple like 'Michelle's Blog' (besides – this was taken), and wanted something that subtly indicated what my blog would be about. I read quite a few blogs and they all have great names that reference what they're about, and are usually something a little catchy and easy to remember like StyleNorth, The Art of Doing Stuff and Bye bye, Brooklyn
Hello, My name is sticker

After much trial and error I came up with Sweetsuite10, and here’s why:
  • I live in a condo, which could also be referred to as an apartment or suite.
  • I wanted a descriptive word in the name, and I love the way alliteration looks and sounds. Given I was working on my blog name late at night when I should have probably been sleeping some of the‘s’ adjectives on my list were stupendous and snazzy – luckily sanity returned and I decided on sweet. I also enjoy that both words sound the same but mean different things and are spelled differently (Yes, I’m aware I’m a bit of a nerd).
  • I would have left it at Sweetsuite, but someone else on the internet had already claimed it (Boo!), so I tacked on the number 10 to represent my unit number.
So, that’s the name I picked, and it’s great, but I’ve recently started having second thoughts as to the wisdom of my name choice. While the name sweetsuite10 is a good fit now, what happens in the future? What if down the road I move and no longer live in an apartment? Or my unit number is no longer 10?  If, for example, I was to move into a house that was number 59, would you think Sweetsuite10 was still a good fit for a blog where I’m basically write about my efforts to decorate it? (Before anyone freaks – no, I don’t have any plans to move in the near future – I’m thinking about down the road – like any good Girl Scout I’d like to be prepared).

Anyways, I though I’d put the question out there and see what everyone thinks – should I plan on keeping the name even if in future it no longer references where I’m living and decorating? Or, should I start moving towards a name change? If I do decide to change my blog name what should it be? I’m open to suggestions as given the difficulties I had coming up with my current name, any attempt to come up with another is bound to be even more arduous. So, please leave me a comment or send me an email at sweetsuite10(at)gmail(dot)com to let me know what you think – any input would be appreciated!


DIY - Dollarstore White Lion Bookends

September 22, 2011

Earlier this year I was exploring the aisles of my local Dollarama when I came across some rather interesting garden decorations in the form of lions. I liked the shape of them, but since I don't have a garden where they could sit proudly amongst the flowers I left them where they sat on the shelf. On my way home from the store I had what I consider a rather brilliant idea, and a day later returned and purchased two.

Pair of Lion garden statues
Dollarstore Garden Lions
For some time I'd been eying all those white ceramic animal book ends which seem to be everywhere recently, but hadn't yet managed to bite the bullet and buy some. In particular this owl set at Chapters had caught my eye.
Chapters Owl Bookends - $39.99
Chapters Owl bookends - $39.99

Anyway, my brilliant idea was to transform those somewhat regal dollar store garden decorations into a set of bookends.

My first step was to fill my garden statues with the river rock that I also got at Dollarama.
Filled with Dolalrstore river Rock

Once all the rock was inside I discovered that the rocks moved around a bit if I moved the lion, so I used paper towel to fill in some of the gaps and reduce movement. I sealed up the hole on the bottom of the lion with some thin cardboard from a box of frozen pizza.
Cover the holes with cardboard

Next up was painting. I decided that spray paint would be the easiest to apply. I mounted the lion on the painters pyramids I used during my first spray painting project. This allowed me to easily spray around the base of the lions. I did three coats of glossy white spray paint, letting it dry completely between coats.
Getting ready for spraypaint

The last step was to glue some white felt to the base of the bookends. This serves two purposes - it covers the unsightly cardboard, and it will also protect any surface I place the bookends on. I traced the base of the lions and then cut inside my pen mark to get pieces of felt that were slightly smaller than the base. I affixed it to the bottom of the lions with my glue gun.
Tracing the base on felt

I have to say that I'm quite pleased with the way that these turned out.
The finished lion Bookend
  • Two dollar store garden decorations: $4 at Dollarama
  • Two bags of dollar store river rock: $2 at Dollarama
  • White glossy spray paint: $5.49 at Home Depot
  • White felt: $1.02 at Fabricland - the location was closing, so it was 60% off $17/yd and I only bought 6.5".
For a total cost of $14.31 (tax. included) I think I made a really nice pair of DIY bookends.
Fred & George - the Lion bookends

I've decided to name them Fred and George - I'm sure you can guess why.


Shine a light

September 14, 2011

As part of my ongoing quest to turn my condo into a home, I've embarked on the most thrilling of tasks - to rid my home of the overhead lights that were here when I moved in (I need to get out more).

The light in my bedroom was a dreaded 'Boob light', and I quickly replaced it with the halogen lamp that I removed from my dining room (it was removed during phase one of the dining room redecoration which occurred 6 months ago - I have yet to move on to phase two). While the halogen light was better than the boob light, it didn't really convey 'bedroom' - more kitchen. Even though I'm still unsure of the ultimate direction of the decor in my bedroom, I know that making it feel like a kitchen isn't quite what I'm going for.
Old Bedroom overhead light
My Old Bedroom Light
Over the past few months I've noticed a pendant light which had a shape I liked at the HomeSense stores in my area, but they only ever had grey or black shades. This colour selection annoyed me to no end because I could see clearly on the box that it was also manufactured with white shade.  As with most things when it comes to my home, I've realised that if something is meant to be it will be, or something better will come along. Two weeks ago, I finally found the pendant light with the right colour shade, and brought it home.

I have to be honest here. When I initially brought it home and tested it by holding up the shade I though it was too big. I then realised that while it might be a smidge on the large side, it was an excellent price, and more importantly, returning it would require schlepping it back to the store on the bus. The lamp stayed.

After a couple of false starts I managed to install the light without getting electrocuted (or burning down the building - yay me!!), and I think it looks pretty good.
New Bedroom drum shade overhead light
My new bedroom light
I think the light is reminiscent of the Two-tier round shade pendant from Restoration Hardware which sells from $450 and up.
2-Tier Round linen shade light by Restoration Hardware
Restoration Hardware Two-tier Light

The best part - my new light was only $50!
Bedroom with new drum shade overhead light

What do you think? Hopefully it's a little more 'bedroom' than it's predecessor.


Framing a Memory

September 06, 2011

For my birthday last March my aunt J sent me a small antique Limoges mirror that had belonged to my Great Aunt Margaret. I really liked it, but for the life of me I couldn't figure out what to do with it - I'm not the type of girl who carries a mirror in her purse, and it was too pretty to be just tossed into my purse where it would disappear to the bottom and probably get damaged. That said - I also didn't want to store it away somewhere where nobody could admire it. 
Antique Limoges mirror
My birthday present - an antique Limoges mirror
It took me a while to figure out to do with the mirror, and once that was figured out, it took even longer to find a key component for my idea to work. The plan was to frame the mirror in a shadow-box type frame. Unfortunately I couldn't find exactly the type of frame I was looking for - I was looking for one where the glass was spaced about 1/2" away from the back of the frame - all the frames I found had no space, or they were true shadow boxes for mementos and the glass was a couple of inches from the back of the frame.

After some fruitless searching at all the big box stores (and some little box ones as well), I finally found what I was looking for in a thrift store. My new frame cost $6 which, let's be honest is a little steep for a thrift store, but it was just what I was looking for.
thrift store picture frame
I decided that I was going to hang my mirror in the bathroom, so one of the first steps after completely dismantling the frame, cleaning, and then re-assembling it was to spray paint it silver to match the chrome accents in my bathroom. This was my first experience with spray paint, and quite a bit easier than I had thought.
Frame taped off before spray painting

I taped off the glass on the front a back, and set the frame on some 'Painter's pyramids' I had bought for another project but not used. I set the entire thing in a big cardboard box to spray as I was doing it inside (I don't have a garage or outside space that's solely mine).
A square frame spray painted silver

I decided that I would back the mirror with black velvet, but I needed to figure out a way to mount the mirror on the velvet. Two sided tape was out as it could potentially damage the mirror, but luckily the mirror was framed with a rope pattern that was constructed in such a way to leave tiny holes around the mirror. Using a beading needle and some clear thread I sewed the mirror onto the velvet using the tiny holes in the rope pattern to secure the mirror to the fabric.
mirror sewed on to black velvet
I then mounted the velvet on some thin cardboard (from a frozen pizza) using spray adhesive and placed it in the frame. I then added a piece of thicker cardboard to ensure the mirror was positioned securely in the frame and anchored it all in place using the original nails. Using spray adhesive I glued a piece of brown paper to the back of the frame to neaten up the back, and also to help keep out any dust. My last step was to add a small label identifying the mirror.
Dedication lable on back of picture frame

Here's the finished product:
Newly frames Limoges mirror

Here is the cost breakdown of the project:
  • Thrift store frame: $6
  • Velvet fabric: $6 - King Textiles - $14.00/yd. and it was 20% off
  • Needles and thread: $2.01  - Fabricland - the location was closing so it was 50% off
  • Spray paint: $7.19
  • Painter's pyramids: $6.80 (I bought mine at Lee Valley, but Amazon has them too)
For a total cost of about $30 (tax. included) I think I got a pretty good result.


Visiting Fallingwater, a Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece

September 02, 2011

Last weekend, my boyfriend D and I embarked at what we called our 'Epic East coast road trip'. Little did we know how that a small storm by the name of Irene would change our plans. Our original plan was to spend a day in Philadelphia, PA, two days in Virginia Beach, VA, one day in Washington, DC and one in Pittsburgh,PA before heading for home. Obviously given the storm's path our jaunt to the beach was out, so we ended up spending an extra day each in Philadelphia and Washington.

By the time we made it to Pittsburgh, we didn't quite feel like wandering around another city, especially since it didn't have the same famous history as our other two stops. Luckily I had discovered in my searches for things to see on our trip that Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright's iconic masterpiece is only about 1.5hrs from Pittsburgh, and completely worth the trip.
Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright
The cantilevered structure of Fallingwater
Fallingwater was built by the Kaufmann family of Pittsburgh (owners of Kaufmann's department store) in 1937 as a weekend retreat. The main house has 4 bedrooms - one for the Mr, one for the Mrs, one for their son, and one for a guest. The guest cottage which was completed two years later, has one guest room, and also the servant quarters.
Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright - Livingroom
Most of the furniture in the living room at Fallingwater was also designed by Wright

Fallingwater was built by local laborers, and almost immediately upon its completion was hailed as a masterpiece. Time Magazine put the home on the cover of its magazine, and in their Jan 17, 1938 issue called it Wright's 'most beautiful work'. More recently it's made Smithsonian Magazine's Life list: '43 places to see before you die'. (As an aside, I've seen 7 of the places  on the list - 6 in the past 8 years).
Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright
The windows in this corner wopen outward for an unobstructed view

Fallingwater is built over the waterfall on Bear Run stream, and mimics the land on which it sits. The building consists of concrete cantilevers that appear to be almost natural extensions of the landscape that surrounds the falls and the building. Wright's use of cantilevers meant that floor and ceiling were independently supported and didn't need any extra structural support (usually found surrounding windows) around the exteriors of the building. This allowed him to design corner windows that could be opened outwards giving an uninterrupted view of the natural environment surrounding the house.
Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright

There are several different tours available at Fallingwater - a grounds tour, and regular tour where interior photo's are not allowed, and the in-depth tour where you can take interior pictures as long as they remain for personal use.
Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright

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