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+.

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