Tuesday, April 14

Rummage Sale

Here's what I bought at a church rummage sale last weekend:
  • potato masher
  • two cutting boards
  • ladle
  • Kensuke Wakeshima* print "Sunrise Valley" 
  • (Russian?) countryside painting
What can I say, but: needed it, didn't need them but will use them, needed it, loved it and loved it! The print was $50. I already tossed out the frame and I will re-framed in white. The painting was $5. The biggest score was the potato masher - only twenty five cents, yo!!!

*Kensuke Wakeshima's art was part of the summer 2014 exhibition, titled: “Artists from Postwar Japan Days of Struggle in New York, 1960s–1970”  I came across very little biographical information online. 

ps. to the people in line, the ones who jeered at the CHURCH VOLUNTEERS when they didn't open the doors on time, I am judging you.

Friday, April 10

I would love to tell you about what I am reading!

Are you kidding, this is my favorite question of all time/these days.

Yesterday, I started reading two books, James Baldwin's "Go tell it on the Mountain" and Jonathan Safran Foer's "Eating Animals".

I am working my way through Kurt Vonnegut's works. I wanted to read them all back-to-back-to-back, until I realized he published three billion books. I've read twelve:
Cat's Cradle 
Breakfast of Champions 
The Sirens of Titan
Mother Night 
Welcome to the Monkey House 
God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater
Slapstick or Lonesome No More! 
Hocus Pocus
Deadeye Dick

I rated "Slaughthouse Five" (one of my favorite novels of all time), "Welcome to the Monkey House" and "Mother Night" five out of five stars (on Goodreads). The only book I didn't get into was "God Bless You, Mr Rosewater" (It was ok). I appreciate Vonnegut's wit. He sees through society's bull crap. Watch him express his opinions on Youtube - you will be hooked! BUT, I needed to step away for a while when his stories started to tangle together (overlapping characters and themes), and I developed my very own old-man-chip-on-my-shoulder. He is part of the reason I dropped the Internet. (Kids these days, jeesh!)  So, I read Douglas Adam's "Watership Down" to cleanse my palate - who doesn't love little bunny stories (five stars, fantastic book!).

After her Celine Ad came out, I read a few Joan Didion books. I started with "Blue Nights" (not for me), then "A Year of Magical Thinking" (Who is this b*tch?). Then I wanted to see for myself how she earned legend status and checked "Slouching Towards Bethlehem" out of the library. Ah, ok, I gave it four stars. I fell in love with her essay, "Goodbye to all that", and I am not surprised to hear they are making it into a movie. I read the "White Album" too, and then had my fill. 

Instead of reading Didion, I switched to her list of recommended books. I gave Hemingway's "A Farewell to Arms" a second reading (loved it again), and two days ago finished Orwell's "Down and Out in London and Paris". The James Baldwin I am currently reading is on that list.

Otherwise, you will find me reading about food, catching up on Time's List of Top 150 English Language novels of the Twentieth Century (I've read 76/150), reading books I should have read by now (Sherlock Holmes, for example), and reading what friends have recommended: "Paradise Elsewhere" by Kathy Page was haunting, and I put "Big Little Lies" by Liane Moriarty on hold at the library, I bought a used copy of "Rebecca's Tale" I am excited to read.

You can find me on Goodreads. I don't write up reviews of the books I've read, I only rate them.

Thanks for asking "Betty" (is that you, mom?!)

Monday, April 6


Moose blanket, $19.97 from Walmart.ca  I love it! The moose silhouette is very Charles Patcher, no? 

We are waiting for the contractor to let us know when they can start the cottage reno. The guys plan to stay for a week and do everything at once. They say maybe this spring, but I think the fall is more likely. We are ready when they are!

In the meantime, I loaded up the place with new things and vintage things and old things from home. I want it stuffed with blankets, art, beach towels, baskets, books and rugs. Originally, I dug a minimalist decor, since there would be less to take care of and clean. A year later, things are settling in boho and twee.

Sunday, March 29

His and hers

In the master bedroom, his & hers dressers, instead of one long dresser.

When we transferred the furniture into the new room, we placed our existing dresser on this wall. It looked too small. I was nervous to try twin tall dressers because I couldn't find examples online. Well, here you go, Pinterest*. It works! Maybe I will pin this to kick things off.

*now worth $11billion? What!?

ps. I IG'd the dressers ages and ages ago, wanted to get it up on the blog
pps. My big idea over the bed is done! but I just can't share it online. I don't have a thick enough skin. I might change my mind.

Wednesday, March 25

New Prints

I bought two new prints from "...Of Things Past" consignment store. I bought the tiny tree first, and went back for the fish. I had to have the fish.

"Pasaje" (?), numbered 45/50, by Elizabeth Schippert (the tiny tree).
What I love? The itty bitty tree (4cm high) and the pen strokes. The minty colour is very Blogger 2014 (or was that 2013*?). I hung it high on the closet door in the office, leaving space for more.

"Shipwreck Dreaming/Approach", numbered 12/20, by Wendy Cain (the fish).
Wendy Cain is a teacher of printmaking and papermaking at OCAD university. You can find her work for sale at Open Studio in Toronto. I love the layered black on grey; the texture of the grey net; the thick creamy paper; the fine, evenly spaced lines of the comb shape at the bottom; the fish going up. I like the wacky creativity. I hung it in the hallway for now.

*I haven't been online over the last few months, I wanted to put the time into reading books and drawing. Everything is well!  I am feeling out of touch with the trends (are there still trends? If you don't know about them, do they still matter?)

Saturday, December 20

Recycling fun

A few months ago, I saw something like this online*.

We tried hotwheels, squinkies, those disney cars drifter things and trash wheels. Marbles or squinkie balls work the best (of course).

*I like to google image search for cardboard box race track to keep up with the latest! 

Tuesday, December 9

New Print: Far & Wide Collective

**Sponsored post**

Far & Wide Collective sent me this beautiful Limited Edition Miniature print by Tamim Sahib Zader.

I love the rich inky blue, the movement, the crispy delicate lines and the shape against the white background. The print is numbered 72/100.

**Keep reading to learn about a great company**

Far & Wide Collective is a Canadian company that connects artisans from developing economies with consumers in North America. In a short video on the Far & Wide Collective website, the founder,  Hedvig Alexander, says "As a development person, I think people should feel much more comfortable buying from us, than investing in charity; I think it is more efficient." This is a strong statement, one that they stand proudly behind. They believe that supporting artisans through trade is the most sustainable way to improve people's lives.
We believe that supporting individual craft producers and small businesses through trade is the most effective and sustainable way of improving people’s lives - See more at: http://www.farandwidecollective.com/pages/our-story#sthash.oMcQRjvQ.dpuf

The company pays the going market rate to craftspeople for their goods. In most cases, about 30% of the retail price goes to the artisans. The markup reflects shipping, logistics, and developing the market costs. Far & Wide Collective is currently reinvesting profits back into the business, to the benefit of more small businesses. They provide artisans with support, including help to get ready for the market. Currently, they are raising funds to empower Afghan artists, the "Afghan Small Business Fund

 What I love about Far & Wide Collective: Hand crafted, fair-trade, authentic, free shipping over $100, Canadian, beautiful, traditional, feeling good about spending, every item has a story.

**See who else is talking about Far & Wide**
  • Lainey Gossip (Sasha's Into it)  -"a stunted gift givers dream"
  • Toronto Life  - Get the Eyeball clutch, "you’ll be able to prove you’re not a fast-fashion follower. $199" (SOLD OUT! Others, here)
  • Toronto Star "What she has done with this noble commercial experiment is to connect the dots between the makers, who need a way to sell their creations more than they need well-intentioned yet ultimately unsustainable aid dollars."
  • Macleans - "she decided to go after the buyers interested in museum-quality pieces rather than souvenir trinkets"
  •  ...and more, here
ps. First sponsored post in some time. They provided me with a gift card of $100, and I was immediately drawn to the Tamim Sahib Zader print. It is beautiful! Subsequently, after becoming familiar with their goals, I donated $100 to their Afghan Small Business Fund. 

pss. Note that most of their artisans would not be able to sell on Etsy. Whether it's the ability to upload the content (literacy/English), having paypal or a credit card, or shipping products off one at a time. These conditions would leave many artisans in the developing world out

psss. Thanks for reading, guys. and check out the baskets from Kenya!!!

Tamim Sahib Zader

Thursday, November 27

Master Bathroom

Master bathroom. I like it a lot.

The sconces are vintage from France (via Ebay). The chrome plates on the back (back plates?) are a duller finish than the fixture because the original slim boxes that came with the sconces would not cover the giant holes in the mirror. I am happy that the lights are installed and I figure future generations might come up with a prettier solution. A problem for another day. (No one is gonna notice.)

The vanity pulls are from Dayvan in Toronto. I insisted on this style. Everyday, I lay down with my youngest son at nap time until he falls asleep...one day, I heard my contractor on his cell talking to the cabinet maker about pulls. I was in a bit of a dream state when I heard this....you know, when you aren't fully conscious and snuggled into a warm bundle of little boy. Well, I ran out all bushy eyed and yelled: "STOP! NO HANDLES! NO HOLES! DON'T MAKE ANY HOLES!" How the hell does anyone renovate a house when they go to a real job*? Anyways, I think these pulls are 80's? (Yes, I'm making that up)... I don't know where I saw them before, or where the idea came from (online, of course). If it's not a thing, I would like to make it a thing. The handles were in the $5-$8 range, with contractor discount.
The hooks are from Restoration Hardware. No towel bar. I hate sharing towels. His and her hooks. Solved.

We need a shower curtain. The shower bar is one of those adjustable/tension bars, so it can be moved a smidgen higher. I need to get the height straight before curtains.

The wall between the vanity/toilet and the three way mirrors make my life. Who doesn't want to see the back of their head sometimes (all the time? never enough mirrors!!)

*This brings up the topic of how contractors decide when to make the call themselves, and when to ask the client. Whatever logic they use is beyond me. Also, when you 've waited months for something, and then they need a decision within 24hrs - that gets me too. Ahhh good old renos...definitely worth the trouble. 

Tuesday, November 4

Curb Appeal: Before and After

Here's the front of the house today, and a few years ago. We've done it all: windows, trees, paint, porch, bushes, shutters, light...

I wanted to go dark...once I settled on a window colour, the rest of the woodwork was done up to match. I hesitated over the door colour. It had a fresh coat of black for a heartbeat, before I decided to paint it out the same as the rest. 

The brick porch was rebuilt and new limestone caps replaced the concrete caps. We still need to get the it power washed. 

Originally, the house had louvered shutters. They were tossed out before we bought the place so I was free to try something new. I sketched these out and my contractor made them.  

The peak was rebuilt, and the original detail was scrapped in favour of  wide straight boards. I know the new clean lines will not please everyone, but I felt the original was dinky and oddball. I didn't want to be the one to destroy (change) something that has been around for 80 plus years, yet who's to say they were right? We are looking at faux tudor style here...and this embellishment was a bit much.   
The dirty white aluminum fascia board was removed to reveal the original dental molding. An awesome surprise! We had it stripped and restored. Also, the portico was stripped and restored.   

What do you think!??

Sunday, November 2

Boys Bedroom at the Cottage

Piling on layers in the boys bedroom at the cottage.

Do you spot my DIY rug pillow (looking small)?
My mom made the yellow/fuchsia afghans;
The star quilts are from pottery barn kids;
The pirate sheets are from Target;
The truck sheets were previously owned;
The ABC duvet covers and quilts are from IKEA;
The art is from Craigslist;
The wicker basket is from salvation army;
The green woolen basket is from winners;
The rainbow rag rug is from Urban Outfitters.

I need drapes next - that window is drafty!

ps. these beds are sturdy! no creaking!