On Blogging, Life, and Vandalism

July 30, 2012

When I created this blog about a year and half ago I did it mainly to keep my parents (but really my mom) up to date with my attempts at decorating my first place. I admittedly thought it would be quite neat if I could get a few other people to come by and comment every so often, but that wasn’t my goal. As time has gone by I’ve fallen into a trap, one I’m sure other bloggers have experienced - the numbers trap. Over time, I’ve had a few posts appear on some major blogs (my Dollarstore bookends were listed on Babble, and my Craigslist dresser was featured on Apartment Therapy) and those generated quite a bit of traffic to my little spot in cyberspace. For those of you non-bloggers traffic is measured in various ways, but it boils down to numbers, and those numbers can get addictive. When your numbers are going up it’s a great feeling, but conversely when your numbers go down your emotions can too.

I didn’t write a post at all last week which can be attributed to a few things, including writers block, plummeting traffic numbers leaving me feeling like this blog is pointless, and a few other things, one of which I’ll get into below. I think since I started my blog, last week was one of the few weeks I’ve missed posting even a little something. It’s an odd feeling – strangely I feel like somehow I‘ve failed. I’m not quite sure who I’ve failed, but the emotion is there, and it’s interfering mightily with my desire to blog at all.

I’ve never shared on my blog that I’m a member of the Board of Directors at my Co-ownership. Normally it’s not a big responsibility – we meet about every two months to go over the finances and deal with any issues that may arise. That said, we’ve decided that it’s time that the building have its windows replaced – ours were installed in the 80’s and don’t fit the Spanish Colonial style of the building. I’m the board’s representative on the window committee, and as such have been attending meetings with vendors to try to determine what type and style of window is best. My brain is literally overflowing with information on wood-clad vs. vinyl vs. fiberglass, casements vs. double-hung, simulated divided lights with interior or exterior grills, and cottage vs. regular split windows.

Last week I had one regular board meeting and then met twice with the committee to listen to potential vendors. That’s a lot of hours in one week to dedicate to a building, but I have always believed that the efforts of those of us who serve on such boards don’t go unnoticed. And then this happened:
vandalism - stairway

vandalism in our stairway
I took these pictures with my cell phone so the quality isn’t great, but it’s what it looks like – someone in the building took a marker and drew two huge marks on the walls in our front stairway. What makes it worse – the board had just weeks before had all the interior common walls repainted at a cost of several thousand dollars. I know it shouldn’t, but this vandalism feels like a slap in the face. Our building is small – just 23 units. We know pretty much everyone (there are a few renters), so the fact that someone would deliberately do something like this wounds me. I and the other members of the board take the time out of our lives where we could be doing all the things we enjoy to help ensure all of our homes are well looked after. The vandal may as well have written ‘SCREW YOU’ in big black ugly letters (it actually feels like another word, but I try to keep this space PG).

Sigh. Alright. Enough venting. Sorry about that.

In other news I bought myself some lovely sunflowers yesterday.
sunflower close-up
Do sunflowers make you happy?
a bunch of sunflowers in a white vase
I’m not sure what it is about sunflowers, but they make me happy. I’ll be sure to look at them tomorrow after I get back from the emergency board meeting that was called in response to the lovely new art of our walls, and then maybe, if I feel up to it, I might draft a blog post about something that make me happy. Wish me luck.

Life Lately

A Glimpse of My Vacation Out West

July 19, 2012

Today I'm doing my first ever guest post for Brittany over on her wonderful blog - My. Daily. Randomness. You can check out my post here

Last week I was lucky enough to get to spend a little time with my parents in beautiful British Columbia. I had a great time relaxing and doing a few new things and I thought I'd share a few pictures from my week off.

My journey across the country started with a stop in a few airports where I discovered that the rumour about cops and Donut shops is true, and in Toronto Pearson the cops can drive their cute car to get some.
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I brought my golf clubs with me. This was during my first go with them since last fall. When golfing one MUST have cute head cover, they're even more important than your ability to swing a club.
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My mom and I visited a lavender farm while I was there. I'd never been to one before so it was neat. They were just starting to harvest, so the plants were in full bloom.
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Who said frogs can't golf? This guy might need custom mini-clubs though.
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There was a pretty impressive storm one evening - this was the sunset as the storm ended.
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My dad and I went cherry picking. I LOVE cherries, and they were just in season as I was there. I may have eaten a few more than I put in the bucket.
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When we went to the beach Bambi came down to have a snack. She seemed unconcerned about the strange, almost naked people gawking at her.

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This was the start of my journey home. I flew a little plane over the Rockies before hopping into a bigger plane for my trip back east.
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So there you go - a few snapshots of what I got up to on vacation. Have you gone away anywhere so far this summer? Did you have as much fun as I did?

All the pictures about were taken with my phone. I'm a little late to the party, but I've recently joined Instagram. I'm Sweetsuite10 if you'd like to follow me, but I can't promise that any of my 'regular life' pictures will be as fun as the ones above.


How is it July Already?

July 13, 2012

It's July already? Oh No! Calvin and Hobbes
Calvin and Hobbes - image source: jpegy
Here we are in July already - can you believe it? I'm having trouble. It seems like only a few weeks ago it was Christmas, and then New Years, and now it's summer with all that it brings - trips to the cottage or beach, sweltering weather, eating an ice cream cone while sitting on a park bench, visiting relatives, going to camp, and epic road trips. It also brings kids snowsuits for sale at Costco, and Christmas decorations for sale at Michael's, but that's another story.

With the year being more than half over (it's scary when I put it like that isn't it?) I though it was time for a check-up on the my list of to-dos that I posted back at the start of 2012.

Stuff to finish

  1. Repair (or have repaired) the ceiling in the dining room. (I got a quote on this - it was $1000 - ouch)
  2. Paint the walls in the dining room (this will happen after I get the walls repaired - see #1)
  3. Spruce up the kitchen (so far I've only replaced my door handles)
  4. Get some additional storage for the dining room
  5. Come up with a better furniture layout for the living room (yup, this was done, although I still have to choose between the six)
  6. Finish my dresser project (This is complete, with wonderful (in my opinion) results)
  7. Paint the living room a colour other than white.
  8. Get actual window coverings for the bedroom, living room and dining room
  9. Get or make some art for the walls (My collection is growing)
  10. Actually hang the art on the walls!
  11. Get a rug for the foyer that can fit under the door when it opens.
  12. Get bedside tables that are not two different sizes.
  13. Get a prettier TV console (it's purchased, and being worked on)
  14. Add some more storage to living room
  15. Purge my bookcase
  16. Paint my bedroom
  17. Get a rug for my bedroom.
  18. Refinish those chairs I bought last spring . . . (yeah, no. Sigh)
  19. Install my dining room light
  20. Remove doors into dining room and living room.
  21. Get more lighting for the living room
I'm also going to share some goals I'd like to reach when it comes to this blog:
  1. Consider a move from to (Done)
  2. Learn to take better photographs (I bought a better camera - does that count?)
  3. Increase average posts a week from 1 to 2.
  4. Reach 100,000 views (On January 2nd I had 22,000. It's just over 50,000 now)
Okay, maybe I'll toss in some personal ones too.
  1. Start taking my lunch to work EVERY DAY (okay, 4 out of 5 days)
  2. Get back into running, and do at least one 10K race in 2012
  3. Buy myself flowers every so often 'just-because' (I switched this to buying myself monthly flowers - I've actually done this every month, although admittedly most months the flowers are purchased on the last day - you can see them here: February, March, April, May, June)
Alright then. Not a very successful start to the year (at least when it comes to getting some of these completed). Looks like I'm going to have a very busy second half of 2012.

What about you? Did you make a resolution/to-do list for 2012? How are you making out?


Aberfoyle Antique Fair

July 05, 2012

This past Sunday (which happened to be Canada Day) D and I did something a little different - we went to an antique market. While it's true we did go to the Christie Antique show last year, antiquing is by no means something we do on a regular basis - this was only our second such adventure, and this time we went to the Aberfoyle antique market.

The Aberfoyle antique market takes place every Sunday from the end of April, to the end of October and the vendors all seem to have regular booths. I have to say that it was a lot bigger than I expected, so we were there for several hours. Once we arrived we went our separate ways - D went off to take great pictures of all the neat things, and I went off to shop. One of us was successful  - it wasn't me :( Oh - there were piles of things I wanted to take home with me, but I live in a one bedroom condo with minimal storage - the things I bring into my home have to be useful now - I can't put them away in a garage or basement for that day when 'I'll find the perfect spot' for it. If I had a basement there would have been a few things coming home with me.

While D was off taking pretty arty pictures I was shopping. I took some pictures so you could see what's available should you wish to go to the market, but they are nowhere near as nice as his (Note to self - work on photo composition)

If you're looking for an old mirror, this may be the place for you - this was just at the back of one stall.
a large collection of antique mirrors
Old mine carts are rather popular - this vendor had several so you can pick the one that will make the best coffee table in your space.
a selection of old mine carts re-purposed as coffee tables
I'm not a collector, but I know lots of people love to collect Jadite. I was tempted by the mixing bowls, but I know I wouldn't use them (I'd be scared of breaking it) so it stayed on the table for someone else to take home.
a large and varies collection of Jadeite
I was actually a little bit excited when I spotted the following as I recognised them. My Mom's Irish, so we had these Waterford crystal glasses when I was growing up (for special occasions only - when I was little I drank Welch's grape juice out of them, and pretended I was grown up and drinking wine). The pattern is called 'Colleen', and they were $40 each.
Waterford crystal goblets in the 'Colleen' Pattern
I recognised the next characters as well from my childhood, but they were on TV. I wonder where Wilma and Barney are?
Do you need any Antique door hardware? There are lots to be had
There are also lots of wood letterpress type letters.
I know brass animals are a little popular right now - these two tempted me - especially after I realised both were hinged and you could hide things inside. I believe the turtle was $20 and the crab was $18.
brass turtle and crag figurines
Have an extra $650 burning a hole in your pocket? I have just the thing for you. This fiberglass shark can be mounted on a wall, and come complete with real shark teeth.
Old Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books were plentiful, and made me regret even more selling my collection of Nancy Drew books in a garage sale when I was about 12.
a bookcase full of vintage Nancy drew books
Street signs were everywhere, but I'm curious where they came from. Do towns replace street signs, and sell off the old ones, or were these lifted off sign posts somewhere causing some poor traveler to become hopelessly lost?
old green street signs leaning on a red barn
There was all sorts of things I didn't take pictures off - furniture, glassware, vintage clothing, lovely old mason jars, old coins, toys and cameras, and pretty much anything else you can think of. Have you ever been to Aberfoyle? Did you bring anything home with you?


Alt Channel – Classes for Bloggers

July 02, 2012

I first head about Altitude Design Summit last January. Alt is a conference for bloggers that takes place yearly in Salt Lake City. When I heard about it I was so jealous of all the bloggers that got to go and learn all sorts of wonderful things about how to be a better and more successful blogger.

I was more than a little excited a few months later when I heard that Alt was bringing their classes to everyone throughout the year – not just in January to those lucky enough to attend the conference. Enter Alt Channel – a source for online classes about blogging. The classes are live, and hour long, and cost just $15.

So far I’ve taken two courses: ‘Understanding Analytics’ by Nicole Balch of Making it Lovely (and the amazing speaker at BlogPodium), and last Thursday I took The Organised Blogger: Tips and Tricks for Blogging Success’ by Victoria Hudgins of A Subtle Revelry. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around all the things I learned in my latest class, and I’m really hoping I’ll be able to implement some of the neat things she shared.
The Organized Blogger by Victoria Hudgins
In the next little while I’m hoping to take advantage of some of the other classes they offer: Growing your Readership, Graphic Design for Bloggers, DSLR 101, Pinterest 101, and Photoshop for Bloggers. The courses they offer are generally repeated every month or so, so if you can’t make one scheduled class don’t worry – it’s bound to be offered again.

Have you taken any classes? Do you want to? Right now Alt (in partnership with Bing) is giving bloggers the opportunity to attend up to 4 ALT classes for FREE in the month of July. Yup – Free. If you’d like more info on how to attend click here.

So, what classes will you going to sign up for?

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