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!

Saturday, October 25

Trinity College Book Sale

Oops! A duplicate copy.

New books from the Trinity College book sale: novels, writing guides and a duplicate copy of "Open Secrets" (inevitable, I should keep better track).

ps. "Master of Middle Earth". I read and reread (times four) the Lord of the Rings in my teens and early twenties. This isn't a bio on Tolkien, it "examines the sources that Tolkien drew upon in fashioning Middle-earth and its inhabitants—and provides valuable insights into the author's aims and methods."  Awesome, right?
pps. The writing guides: it's about time!

Cedar garage

Check it out!

Here is the old aluminum garage door, fully clad in cedar. The rest of the front was finished in cedar so that all horizontal boards lined up. The back and fence side of the garage were repaired, plastered and painted. And I think you know about the light wall on the pea gravel side? Those translucent panels light up at night.

Apparently, the garage door motor and spring work together to pull up the door. The spring needs to be adjusted to handle the extra weight, and that's it! We are still waiting for the guy to come make the adjustment, in the meantime, the door opens and closes very very slowly.  

and that's a $20 black cylinder light from Lowes (we moved the electrical box down about a foot).

I think this might be a do-able DIY. I'm not sure, since it is way beyond our skills, and the guys had giant power tools. It seemed like it was a cinch. They removed the manual key lock and reattached it using a longer wire. The key pad was also taken apart temporarily. 

We are getting to the end of our home improvements around here. It seems endless, I know.   


Thursday, October 23

Blue Montauk Sofa

We found this montauk sofa on Clist and exchanged it for some beer. The sofa was beige and dirty. Now it is blue and beautiful!

The pictures kinda say everything, but here's a little more:

-We went over 10-12 different fabric samples of dark blues. We chose a 100% polyester with 50,000 rubs, approximately $39 a yard or meter (I forgot, and didn't write it down, sorry dudes!)
-I wanted smooth, not tweedy. I thought I wanted cotton, but the cotton sample seemed to pick up lint. This poly was super shiny on one side - what you see is the reverse side.
-I expected the couch to be darker navy (it shows a bit brighter in photos than in life).
-The upholsterer is a connection through our contractor. I never met her, and I don't have her details to share (don't have them myself, big secret!!!). She pulled fabrics and my contractor brought them to us (and he delivered the sofa there and back again).
-All in $1900.

We will move the sofa to the cottage after renos.

pps. do you see the lego minifigure costume in the background? Hopefully, we can paint the lego body today or tomorrow and show and tell soon!


Friday, October 10

Cedar Garage Door

This is happening in our backyard right now!

- Existing aluminum garage door
- Plywood panels
- Tight-knot cedar boards screwed to the plywood, every fourth board is ripped by 3/4 inch to fit the panel
- 300 screws in the panels, 90 screws in the back of the door
- Back of garage door predrilled, then wood panel screwed to the door from reverse side

Try not to get too excited!!! 

Wednesday, October 8


I picked up stacks of dishes today at Goodwill and Salvation Army. 12 Steelite oval pie platters (or bread plates), 1 Duraline Grindley Hotelware platter, 1 Red Pyrex platter, 2 Johnstone brothers platters in Snowhite.

The "Beit Hayoster" vase was $10.01. I wasn't sure if I should cough up the dough, but I love it! 

The enamel bowl will go into the play kitchen. Perfectly blue!

Monday, October 6

Art wall

It took a while to complete the art wall, because, you see that giant truck painting in the middle, at the bottom, blue truck? Well, I lost it. Yes - missing! I looked where I thought it should be, then I looked in a million places it might be, looked where it should be at least ten more times (in case it suddenly appeared) and then looked in a ton of places it couldn't possibly fit, but at that point I was going crazy. How could a large framed picture go missing?  Finally, I gave up, thinking it would appear, and a few weeks went by before it did. Where? Behind the large mirror in my living room - the mirror that leans against the wall. Oh, I am sooo organized! Ha!

Anyways, I love this group of prints and pictures! It took me a while to get a layout I liked.

My dear Natalie has asked me to do a post about art stuff, here's what I know:

Q. Where do you get your art?
A. Most of our stuff is from second hand shops (Goodwill, rummage sales, Craigslist, Kijiji, ebay, consignment store). A few pieces on the main floor are from galleries and two are directly from the artist. I also frame homemade art.

Q. How do you find art?
A. If I am at a thrift store, and my heart starts beating a little faster, I find myself a little paranoid - giving other shoppers the side eye if they come too close: that's when I know I love it! Or it is super cheap...whatever! Same rules apply online. I get this overwhelming urge to own something...then I weigh the price (including framing costs!) and think about space. 

Q. Any advice?  
A. Everyone has their own taste in art. Figure out what you are in love with and listen to you! Sky is the limit in terms of spending money on pictures. You will love something that is $5,000 but I guarantee there are things under $50 that you will equally cherish. Stay firm to your budget, always bargain. Don't rush it.

Q. How do you make sure you don't pay too much?
A. If I am at a thrift store, the price is usually under $20, no sweat! Craigslist and Kijiji sellers are willing to negotiate, and I do. Before I contact them, I look for similar items by the same artist online. I ask the seller when and where they bought it. I ask them how much they paid. I ask them why they are pricing it for $$. I am not shy. I am always willing to walk away if it is over my budget (arbitrary number - my budget doesn't relate to the art's value)  because there will be another picture. I don't care how perfect you think it is for your house, trust me when I say there will be another picture that fits your budget! Also, if the print is in a beautiful frame, that is 'saving' you $100 (approx) so keep that in mind when you are talking yourself into something!!

Here are the stories:

 1. I won this water colour in a giveaway on Designwali. I had it framed at a local framer.
 2. This print came framed, from Goodwill. The frame was blue and I painted it white. It used to hang in the boys nursery, on their bookshelves.
3. This paper collage was part of several pieces of art I bought from a collector I met through Craigslist. It was thrown in as a sweetener to the deal.
4. I brought this print home from London, UK. I found it at a thrift store. It fit in a ribba frame.
5. My oldest son painted this at a birthday party.
6. This print was going around the blogs in 2009 or 2010 when I first started paying attention to blogs. Early on I was swept up in the whole, "I want everything they have!" feeling. I still love this NYC poster. It used to hang in the boys nursery.
7. A small painting, my older son's first (I think), framed at a local framer.
8. I sent my parents out to St. Catherine's to pick up this print. I found it on Kijiji. It came framed.  It was from an older gentleman. It was a wedding present.
9. A small bunny bum (bunny jumping into the bushes) in a professional frame. I bought it as is, from Goodwill.
10. Naked Chickens!! This is a pencil crayon drawing I made in highschool. Still makes me so happy! Professionally framed.
11. Dinos...came as is, from Goodwill.
12. Someone's highschool art project, picked up at a church rummage sale.
13. Flashy, chunky painting. From 400 market in Barrie
14. My older son painted this a year or so ago.
15. City scene, from Goodwill. Off the shelf frame.
16. A page from an abstract art book, in a ribba frame.
17. DIY, potato stamping. Back when forest friends where a thing. Twee!

ps. Wouldn't the Barker Fairley print (previous post) fit into this room?
pps. I would like to add a cozy spot to curl up reading. Floor cushions, or a love seat, or comfy chair...
ppps. If I've done a similar post before, please forgive me. I know I have thought about writing something similar many times! My memory is pretty much wiped out. I started sprinkling lavender on my linens to maybe get to that deeper sleep.

Friday, October 3

Pretty Litho - Barker Fairley

I was on hold with Crate and Barrel, ordering a gorgeous brass curtain rod for my bedroom, and I ran across this pretty litho on Kijiji. I don't know Barker Fairly, but I did a google search and I LOVE HIS WORK! This is fantastic!!

For a print it might be pricey, listed at $199 (but only $179 on the seller's website)...I don't know, I didn't pull any comps to see what his work goes for. I've only found good deals (after negotiating) buying art second hand.* 

Link to Kijiji Ad, here.  Go for it! and let me know!

*In other words, I would buy this, if I didn't, at the exact same time I laid eyes on it, spend $100 on a stinking curtain rod from Crate and Barrel.

ps. Listed Oct 1

From Google images:

Thursday, September 4

Big Idea

After walking through Moma, I want large art!

Take a look at Cy Twombly's Academy (1955).  It's massive, crazy, beautiful. I was hit smack in the face when the electronic guide said he took a cheap drop cloth and house paint and pencils to create ART. He called it Academy because it went against what he learned at Art School. Cheeky.

I have an idea.

It could be horrible, but I see it in my mind and I want to take a shot at creating it. The first step will be to buy some canvas (from Deserres). Then build a stretcher...then go for it.

Ohhhh butterflies. I see it. I see this thing in my head. It's not scribbles - so I am convinced I'm not copying... it will be a throw back to a tapestry I created in high school, and for all I know is still hanging in the chapel (but not even that and maybe I am bringing up high school art class to convince myself that I can be original?!! That was a long time ago!)

I will use the same medium, paint and pencils....what does it mean to be inspired, or to C-O-P-Y?

"For Twombly and for every other modern artist, what mattered was to come up with something original that did not look like all the painting that came before it."  Right??!!!! RIGHT?  

Thought I'd share. Because now I have to do it! Who am I to create art? Let's see what happens. It's just for my room so as long as I like it, right? It's not even groundbreaking or anything guys...maybe a little campy...but I can see it, and it has meaning to me already!!

What do you think of this scale?

ps. poor poor shabby bedding, your day is coming too!
pps. I don't want to build it up too much...you will probably roll your eyes at it when it's done...so simple