Showing posts with label this old house. Show all posts
Showing posts with label this old house. Show all posts

Sunday, June 08, 2014

in praise of the three Rs

 as much as I enjoy pinterest, nothing says lazy Saturday mornings like a stack of magazines, some lists on the back of receipts, (which land up being a mish mash of to do's, storylines, and trends to watch for) and a quick lavender French manicure. (easy DIY tip: run all over the end of your fingers with the polish and take it off after with a Qtip dipped in polish remover -- it allows you to make a smooth quick line)
 planned dinner party outfit -- (landed up switching out the earrings for something dangly) The thing I notice about thrifting is that nearly every trend I want to wear that shows up in magazines is probably something I already have in the closet or something that is waiting to be discovered at the thrift store. which either means people are buying trends and then not wearing them or there really is nothing new under the sun.
 missing button from this thrifted dress i love is fixed by rearranging buttons and pinning a jewelled pin I found at a flea market in Harrison in 2004 in the new missing spot. The thing I love about secondhand shopping is that it creates opportunity for each vendor along the way so the more reincarnations a piece has the better (many secondhand vendors are selling for humanitarian projects). I also love how it saves things from waste.
 even when clothing is done, it can still be recycled into something new: this frame waiting for the glue gun is covered with trim from a discarded blouse and an old postcard. (the rest of the shirt is waiting in my fabric stash)
thanks to a pocket door, our 1 and only farmhouse bathroom also doubles as a faux-ensuite. (thrilled to find the local dollar store was selling this vinyl wall sticker for a dollar and a quarter)

writing this week is piecing together the next project in the wings. I land up writing on a lot of scrap paper and many digital files and the throwing it all together and fleshing it out feels not unlike taking an interview and making it into an article or research into a paper.

if you're looking for a writing prompt, find one here

Friday, December 09, 2011

advent midway through

a little break in the day job in which i am wrapping up the rest of the boys' advent mailbox gifts (we started late so just numbered the gifts from now until Christmas Eve -- when the family chain of gift opening commences) last year i connected activities to the opening which was tricky (i need the visual reminder on my calendar of happenings which would ruin the surprise) so this year i decided to separate gifts from activities. the mailbox presentation was inspired by lizzy, but mine is tweaked for boys. (more whoopie cushion, less fabulously chic wrapping ;)
i also shamelessly nabbed this exact execution of Christmas carol lyrics from a blogger online and now cannot remember where to credit. they were on to something. white and black paint and a canvas. 1 stop dollar store shop. and easily whipped up while chinese takeout-ing.
i'm writing and reno-ing powered by coffee + eggnog + Christmas tunes in the downtime.

hope your day is seasonally pleasant too.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

to do list in cork and black bean soup

(two of my favorite colors)
traded a gym visit for a laundry room redo today -- touched up the missing bits on the wall and cupboards, treated the floor to a paint treatment, and hacked up a rug in basement storage into a motley of throw rugs. the only thing missing is a DIY version of this. but i put the rest of my creative energy into journal pages of novel scenes while watching the tail end of a sappy movie.
it'll have to wait until next time.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

the home stretch of the upstairs library

d and i have dreams of wall to wall bookshelves with a library ladder, but it won't be in this house. but we do have a lot of books. so i have moved a bunch into the tourquoise cabinet (they look super cool behind the wineglasses -- love all the colors going on) and decided to make the top of the stairs a bigger deal than it was. it used to be a large closet (aka as the gift closet and my "thrifty chicks" (online store) storage) but when i pulled the front of the closet off (thankfully one of the few things that wasn't plaster in this old house) and started wildly painting (this is my third color attempt in the space) and topped it off with an antique plate shelf (found it in the basement) held up with brackets from creekside. (thanks, installer dad :)

when i'm not reading (one of mel's picks) or writing (today's character is attempting group therapy) you know i will be painting

Thursday, August 18, 2011

those crazy girls who swear off shopping

i've become one of them

a long time ago i borrowed the book animal, vegetable, miracle (about a family who goes a year without shopping) from my soccer friend anne. and it resonated with me (not so much that i was willing to forgo buying everything, including growing all my own food, but still there was something appealing about it -- for the interesting and more everyday aware life it provided) add to that all the bloggers who were tracking their month without spending and i started giving it more thought. so i did it. here's how it went:

1 month no spending. conciousness experiment, savings booster. (allowed -- groceries, gas, necessities and experiences but not STUFF)
day 1: started on the middleschooler's 14th bday, already had his gifts but nothing to wrap them in. settled on sketched on lined paper, turned out cuter than store bought wrap.
day2: finding the hardest expenditures to give up are the little ones -- no mini reno supplies, magazines (even thrift store ones), dollar store makeup
day3: dreamed that i had gone out shopping -- panicked upon waking up (clearly this is deeper seated than i thought ;)
day6:forgot and invited a friend to go thrifting, she couldn't so i avoided trying to get out of it after the mis-invite, having a writing and home renovating surge of creativity (glazed the kitchen cupboards using stain and rags i already had on hand) tackling my magazine obession by reading DIY blogs
day7: surprisingly, the absence of the shopping distraction has spilled over into constructive long term planning and short term bill cutting (brainstormed and reconfigured hundreds of dollars of budget room in only a couple of days) everything from banking fees to digital cable holiday pause. sent e-cards to friends when i thought of them, bartered to get what i wanted.
day8: i've never been a fan of telling the kids when payday is -- like setting them up for a paycheque to paycheque mentality -- so we never have. so they still haven't clued in that we're through week 1 of no spending
day9: yesterday i feigned errands and went to the library by myself and read an hour's worth of new magazines. i also keep having book buying urges so i have pulled out the books i have bought in the past for their acclaim or interesting covers that didn't grab me from first read and am attempting them again with fairly good results
day10: a friend asked what i plan to do without my regular thrifty chicks sourcing. i said i have a bit of a stockpile to rotate through and plan to purge my personal stock as well. started doing some of that for today's listings.
day11: looking through catalogues and magazines usually enables me to write long lists of things that i want to acquire, a third of the way through this experiment, i'm finding i'm less interested in doing the lists. also, delaying gratification has been better for life planning across the board (less impulsive decisions and better thought out ones that are more efficient)
day12: i'm finding the spending i am doing is lifestyle based -- the kind i usually try and cut back. the truth is stuff can be acquired by recycling (today's project was a wreath using supplies i already had on hand, in this month i also tweaked the closet with an old shower rod, and made a new valance out of old curtains)what i have and tweaking hand-me-downs, but spending on doing things and entertaining -- that's where memories are made and abundance is felt.
day14: when talking to friends about books (and keeping in mind my dwindling pile of reads), i thought of joining the quality paperback book club. if i wasn't on the 30day plan, it would be an impulse even though it doesn't line up with my plan to cut down monthly spending committments (lower bills etc). but i usually wouldn't put the two together. on the plus side, i am having a way easier time not throwing in doo-dads, makeup, or magazines into the shopping cart when grocery shopping so the pantry pickings are that much better.
day15: cut flowers on the table beats another knick knack for feel good factor
day16: good for my magazine compulsion, i inherited a few stacks of decor magazines from my aunt. while reading the color for my upstairs library occured to me (a light lemonade) so i painted test strips with blended acrylic and wrote the "buy the paint" date on the calendar. lesson: delaying gratification hones the look you really want. i always pass on the magazines when i am done and my girlfriends do the same.
day18: a friend with a newly reno-ed house gave me her discard can of paint, (she didn't like the way it turned out) a few shades darker than the yellow i had first conceptualized for the library. as i was painting it (not shopping makes more time for house fixing), i realized that same space has been painted with others' discard paint by me two times already -- both times the results were less than i had hoped. third time's the charm.
day19: there are many items i put on my list that i researched with the intent of buying them at month's end, that i land up crossing off. had it not been "no spending month" this month, they probably would have been impulse purchases. lesson: delayed gratification means having a better picture of what i wanted. often that meant something more specific to me or an experience i could treasure longer than the thrill of new stuff.
day20: resurrecting an old promotion for the online store (enter a coffee gift card draw with your donation) means a steady stream of new stock for thrilled customers. also, my reorganizing stock (i had to move it out of the library area in order to paint) and relisting meant older stock un-noticed the first go round also sold.
day24: my book wishlist is growing, (specific ones i've read reviews on) but i haven't run out of reads like i'd feared i would -- friends have lent me good ones and i found ones i have previously bought but not read (i am not a library checker-outer -- i always accrue the giantest of fines that would have been better spent funding the dream library d and i want -- the kind with the tall ladders and too many books to count)
day26: not buying stuff meant filling my time in other ways -- i took the kids to the ocean, a new waterpark, hosted girlfriends and playdates and sleepovers. i also have worn more of my jewelry i had already but had not worn and found new ways to wear outfits i already had but consistently wore the same way.
day30: organized the boys' backpacks, shoes, in house school supplies, and found out where we still have to fill in the blanks. love that we don't have a big shopping tradition as a family -- more time for memories that don't take place in a mall ;)
post script: loved this experience more than i thought i would. more for the efficiency realization (using what i have, saving the shopping time), shopping purposefully, and for spending on experiences a bit more of the time.

(also realized i love the 30 day format and all it's applications -- organization, increased writing, exercise... it gets addicting)

Thursday, June 02, 2011

where i'm at right now

in the midst of painting my kitchen cupboards a dove grey

needing to do last night dinner's dishes

craving coffee

i keep going to look at the class pictures that just came home so cute

a big stack of post workshop homemade cards in my purse prettier than what i come up with on my own ;)

in the middle of reading shop class as soul craft except that i've temporarily misplaced it which probably means i should de-wardrobe my bedroom floor ;)

off to pack lunches and do the day's to do's

and after that

writing a scene about a mother daughter arguement

(i don't have current life material, but i was enough of a teenage twit to my mom to not run out of past material for quite some time ;)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

a few stripes, some flowers, and a little sun

me spying on d and little c while pretending to do laundry. they're so cute

these sunny days are definitely making me add some outside to-do's to my list. if only to nab some vitamin D while it's around. (am so looking forward to a whole bunch of summerish days in a row!)

on the inside to do list, i scratched off some mismatched DIY roman blinds (made from dinner napkins. stitch two together on one side, hang and fold and pin, attach another to the back for opaqueness and use the remaining one from the set for the other side -- have to make room for the cat to sit ;) for the kitchen and hanging a cross-stitch from my grandma in the hallway. (reminds me of cath kidston)

off to garden and day job and to write a smidge too.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

...and we're back

i've conquered the long weekend camping laundry mountain (great family trip with friends of ours and their kids out of cell phone range -- so nice when you're married to someone who has a crackberry ;) even got some novel scenes into the on the go notebook and built some rustic garden beds out of a free side of the road wood pile the middlest and i picked up a while back for just this sort of thing (imagine them untaped and filled with soil and herbs and surrounded by gravel to get the future picture) now i'm roaming the house to find space for all the kids' camping souvenirs (heart shaped rock gifts to me, found fishing do0-dads, and sticks shaped like backscratchers) did i mention how i loved the technology break? ;) but you guessed it, i'm only too happy to tuck the kids in and watch a movie with d tonight.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

a few pink lace flowers and some kid made pottery

it's the weekend. the house isn't ready for any kind of company. we're all in our pjs and i'm working on the project du jour. a maxi dress. love them but being a short girl, it's best if i tailor my own to me so it's not too swimmy. i've decided against a tutorial as my steps so far have included destroying 2 cotton shifts and 1 skirt and piecing them together multiple ways, and sewing on embellishments before the actual piecing together. it's all a bit random, but i plan to keep at it until it's wearable. maybe to wear here in the coming weeks.

before the boys vacate the living area to their respective bedrooms, (enter hand stitching dress time + movie with d) i'll be puttering around the house arranging things like the new gr 8 art class pottery mother's day gift on the mantel and my mini plant with the cocktail swinging inn sign. i've already broke the news that dinner tonight is cheerios. (i'm good at rest day) ;)

12 hours til the next writing session...

if you're looking for something honest and helpful on marriage click this blogger's post

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

scenes from an ordinary wednesday made better with the anticipation of cupcakes to follow

top: d's opa gave me a baby from his striped cactus -- thought a suitable home for it would be by the family wall -- it is strong enough to endure my lack of indoor gardening skills. (you know the only surviving kitchen plants are the fake ones i was smart enough to buy ;) middle: little's c art from the library pj story time, bottom: months ago little c took over our family bejewelled accounts (which makes for the best brainteaser coffee breaks) and made us a mis-spelled koala family. no one bothered to change it back

i've been waiting a week to give my mom her mother's day loot. we're finally celebrating tonight with the family and i'm making this talented foodie blogger's cupcakes to serve. and i can't wait to try her spin on sushi this weekend.

some writing, some day job, and some work on the library to follow.

Monday, May 09, 2011

labor love balance

scenes from a weekend: roses from a lovely secret pal, art installation little c called his tree house, message from the counter while doing dishes -- the water spots made this exact configuration when i lifted up the crockpot, lego building -- this set from Christmas was finally built

i spent the bulk of this weekend with my mom at one of those spiritual retreats where you do a lot of crying and hone the vision of how you really want to live your life out. (more big picture, less fleeting stuff) it was great. (once i clued in not to wear mascara the second day ;)

also part of the weekend was appys and wine with good friends, mother's day celebrating with family, lunch made by d, those made at school mother's day cards from the boys. working more on the library upstairs. love all that stuff.

as enamored with working from home as i am (and how it fits with the above) you know i am also intrigued by pre-retirement living (which is not what it first sounds like -- to sit on one's laurels early -- but to get the balance right and work to live, not live to work) one of the featured profiled guys had this to say:

What does Pretirement mean to you?

To “work on living not living to work”

How are you living Pretirement?
It’s definitely all about lifestyle. I have a very flexible work schedule, with only a few months in the winter when I am really busy. The great thing is that what I call “work” most people would consider recreation. I work for a small boutique style heliskiing company doing all the sales, marketing, advertising, branding and media. To me it’s not work. My heart is so far into it that I get excited everyday about something that is going on in the business. If we skied all year round I would probably become a work-a-holic but even in the busy season I still have breakfast with my kids, pick them up for lunch and take a day off each week to ski in the winter or dirtbike in the summer. I make my own hours and pretty much come and go as I please, but I still “make it happen!”. I was Mica’s first employee hired by the owner the first year he started the business. Now Mica Heliskiing is the leader in boutique small group heliskiing, known world over as the best skiing on the planet. SKIING Magazine awarded Mica “Best heliskiing” in their annual ‘best of’ resort guide for 2011. This is a big accolade for a small company who is only 2.5% marketshare. (toot toot, plug LOL).

What was your life like before Pretirement?
Stressful! Busy busy busy, never home always traveling, all work and little play. Not much time for the family and a lot of stress trying to pay bills, get the nicer car and the better house..high pressure jobs, never comfortable…it was a rat race and I was sick of being a rat. Too much uncertainty when you work for companies, the only security, financially and mentally for me is to be my own boss.

What are your Pretirement plans for 2011?
More of the same! A lot of family time, camping, traveling, dirtbiking, friends, food wine & living the dream!

What is your key piece of advice to anyone considering Pretirement?
Go for it! Just do it…take a chance! Don’t be fooled by this materialistic world we live in, you can work less and live more, simplify, downsize and create your own priorities. Get a life now, why wait until its almost over to retire?

if you're looking for kitchen inspiration this week, this may be my favorite over-haul i've read about to date

Monday, May 02, 2011

sometimes 4-6 hours drying time is code for 46 hours of drying time

mid saturday i finally addressed the kitchen floor that was killing me. our 70 year old house has all original hardwood flooring -- which is one of the things that made me beg d to also fall in love with it (which was marketing itself as so dirty inside and pink on the outside -- he did it out of blind love for yours truly and tried not to hate it ;) so we could buy it.

so when i moved in and found out that the flooring on top of the kitchen wood floor (three layers of industrially glued 40s, 50s, and 70s lino) wouldn't rip out in an hour like the carpet did, i panicked on the inside while pretending to love ripping up inch squares of floor with a butter knife on saturday afternoons. i will do anything to not have to hear "i told you so" in desperation, i did have a guy come in to do a quote once (he worked on getting up one of those square inch parts of the floor & immediately quoted me $1200 for the one room! so it was clear i wasn't the only one who didn't want to do it ;) so you know that when i finally got the last bit removed on saturday (may or may not have been crying in joy and thinking about cake to celebrate) i was so pysched to stain it and complete the rustic farmhouse floor i'd been mini stepping to completion (multi layer floor removal, rough sanding, painting with benjamin moore's black bean, sanding again, then staining with black walnut) it said 4-6 hours drying time, but i think someone at the factory meant 46 hours drying time. so i may have to write the experience into the novel so i can consider it worthwhile experience.

thank goodness, i can craft to relax. current on the go project is a family picture stitched onto canvas. you can do it too.

steps for the interested:

1. black and white photocopy a family picture -- enlarge if need be. (15 cents at the local library)

2. buy a 8x10 wood framed canvas (a loonie + a quarter at the local dollar store)

3. thumbtack the paper picture onto the canvas and poke stitching spaced holes around all the detail you want to include. (it's a bit finicky -- eyes nose, etc)

4. take the picture off and backstitch the detail to create a one of a kind portrait. (best fuelled by easter chocolate stash -- thanks secret pal)

i'm doing my writing later today. voting comes first!

Friday, April 29, 2011

when your mind empties at week end to make room for the next one

yesterday i had a discussion with some women at my thursday morning group about knowing when to slow things down, take something off the schedule, have a nap, read something worthwhile, have that put-off discussion with a loved one. i'm finally getting better at it. part of the to-do list/life balance is lining it up with the priorities which make sense for your own life -- not someone else's. so even if i really respect someone and have the same core priorities, but we're in different places in life or have different challenges, our day to day life should reflect that. it's all those zen words you hear thrown about -- being intentional and the like -- the truth is when they are put into practice they are something authentically yours.

currently reading the backwoods of canada between fashion mags and notebook story scribbling. you know i love hearing how they did life back when.

also finally watched born into brothels. it broke my heart and made me want to adopt a whole gaggle of kids.

someone asked how my week went at the end of it. not sure what it means that i had to refer to my calendar for what happened (day job, middle schooler social life chauffering, introducing a girlfriend to thrifting, hosting friends and being hosted, movie and wine night with d, kitchen floor refinishing and the like) ;)

Monday, April 18, 2011

you know it was a fun weekend when you'd like to wear bonus bling on monday too

whirlwind weekend (this funny bridesmaid of mine got married in a gorgeous Indian way)

recouped yesterday thanks to bonus sleep + church + coffee with my blond sister + cooking via D. in time to do some early morning freelance editing this morning and now one of my favorite days of the week awaits...

maybe i'll read some of my stories in progress to the budding window sill herbs to encourage growth impressive one was purchased like that and you know i'm a sad little gardener when buying faux herb pots appeals to me ;) and source some more canvases for little c who is painting up a storm when he is not hanging up his collection of spiderman posters (he may need the repair work of a master plasterer when he is done destructing decorating his room ;)

happy monday (and in the case of two of my SILs (one via d's real brother, one via d's best friendship that lives out like brotherhood ;) happy bday) to you

Sunday, April 10, 2011

the spring of my concoctions

when i was a kid, concoctions meant my mom was making dinner. she was brilliant at doing her work day and then coming home to throw together whatever was in the fridge. it was always delicious (minus that advent of the cooking season with those newfangled waterless pots which shall remain untalked about ;)

my concoctions are sometimes those sort, but of late have been much more assorted

for example

my current go to starbucks: grande cafe misto + 2 splenda packets + a few shakes of vanilla (like a $2 pseudo vanilla latte)

my current go to mid-day snack: cucumber slices + creamy natural PB -- the kind you have to keep in the fridge (like celery & PB kicked up a crunchy notch)

my current daily makeup: assorted bottles of near empty foundations found in my makeup bag + my moisturizing sunscreen blended into something custom (and you know this type of use it all makes me tres happy -- there are few things that make me more ill than throwing away useful things -- also why i ♥ reading pioneer and depression era stories as they had such clever ideas for this sort of thing)

this week will find me doing some day job, co-planning a sprinkle (like a shower only smaller -- a glorified girlfriends coffee/baby meet and greet) for a few recently baby-gifted friends, fuelled by coffee, working on word count, and throwing my hands up and conceeding defeat to little c's decor ideas which are definitely messy and list making oriented. (update: art wall has spread to a multi-media gallery installation on our second floor)

his grandpa artist's painting (copy of renoir's "chestnut tree in bloom" with the addition of me and d and the two oldest boys and grandpa's dog in mini) looks great by the living room's shot of color. perhaps that's part of what is inspiring little c ;)

if you're looking for a sunday read, laura from piece of cake is a frequently brilliant blogger and this post does not disappoint.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


who knew a girl with tomato in her name would be instrumental in getting the novel worked on over the kids' spring break? ;) yesterday, the mailwoman delivered the cutest package including a handmade notebook (and a party banner which is on my kitchen bulletin board and an owl keychain little c claimed for his summer birthday so it's lying in wait in the gift stash) which is already holding a few scenes. so much more fun than writing story on receipts lying around. so you know i'm grateful to her because my old house has been distracting me. (i added some tourquoise to my living room and started painting the bottom half of my kitchen cupboards grey for that unfitted look i adore)

i'll be switch-hitting between paintbrush and pen today. wish me luck

easiest tapanade recipe i made and jarred yesterday: 1 can black pitted olives, garlic & herbs pressed, 1 tbsp canned kale chopped with blender and stirred in with oil and served with rice crackers

Thursday, March 24, 2011

what's a little strategy among friends?

i love working from home, but i miss my 9-5 girlfriends when they're at work. (of my girlfriends a healthy proportion are relatives so either means my family rocks or i'm a little weird; -- my sisters, my cousins, d's cousins -- the combination of girlfriend and relative makes for a lot of shared experience and feel like bonus sisters) so it will not surprise you when i tell you that one of my BFs -- my teacher sister is nearly done her spring break and i am already missing the little holiday we have had -- jaunting about in the middle of the day, hitting the gym during workhours, and meeting up for coffee and when we don't feel like making the effort -- just talking on the phone. will have to make her a sappy card to commemorate.

speaking of sisters, my splurge ones were the usual laugh so hard your cheeks hurt special last night. nothing like going home to your regular drives you crazy sometimes life after dishing about it with girlfriends who understand.

the sun keeps shining all cooperatively which i love and the boys new ♥ of the martial arts is making us all happy campers. except for little c who keeps pointing out the shrimp ring has not yet been produced. he's making such a big deal of it i think i may have to tablecloth up the table for the presentation ;)
writing today will be on the down low. i can barely type emails without fellow house members being in my face ;) but if i am wandering the house with a notepad no one's interested in me. crazy how that works.

Monday, March 21, 2011

where i am

the kids are on spring break so i might be hiding in my closet reading magazines. good news is i'm up on spring trends. bad news is little c's room is getting more and more destroyed by his creative genius (he is hammering into the plaster as we speak -- his latest installation called "art wall"-- i'm a bit worried what two weeks of spring break will mean for it. (of course, it does buy a lot of time in which i might be able to write a short novella)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

lovey paper pieces on hastily refinished furniture

i am in love with the new whiskas commercial because smokey is our family's baby like that. it's ok. you can laugh. we will not be shamed ;)

i am debating throwing a collage on a new novel contributing notebook so the creative juice doesn't solely flow into the kiddie's scrapbooks and the furniture redoing i can't seem to get enough of. (you know i like efficiency so the scrapbook pages are likely whipped up with pictures inserted later -- you think it won't work but it does -- see snowboarding page for example -- free yourself from the alignment of pictures prints and supplies and time handy -- just do it out of order and be done with it)
note: "the wanted-- high scores" layout uses my junk mail letter sourcing technique -- a rant against the dangers of type II diabetes has never looked so good ;)

and the drybrushed to antique table and it's color matched but solid glossy sister (because i'm not a fan of matchy-matchy) were done with a custom acrylic paint blend -- basically black and brown, but blend sounds better, don't you think? ;) super fast paint jobs hurried up by the realization that my blond sister and i both had the day off and my kids were in school so we had time for a costco run and a gym visit before glossing the tables with a varathane and setting out the after school snacks (or letting the kids forage for food whatever the case actually was ;)
middlest is still writing poems which means i haven't yet run out of snacks

looking forward to another movie night, a day of rest, and then one of the mondays i love to follow that. it may be predictable, but it's our predictable.