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!

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.   

Before:
 

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.

ps. BEST NAPS EVER!
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!

BEFORE:

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

Junk


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.