Showing posts with label thrifting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label thrifting. Show all posts

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Books You Jump Out of Bed For

 holiday is also good for getting thrifting in -- 75 cent hammered silver cup my latest find.

If you are the kind of reader to have several books on the go at the same time, you are likely the kind of writer to do the same with your novels in progress.

So even though I have a few books I really should finish, I had to jump out of bed and write out the newest that came to me in a big chunk while trying to fall asleep last night: title, plot, sub-plot, main character, and even cover design. Time off work is good for the creative soul.

What writing hot looks like this morning: one fourth of a chapter in 30 minutes. At that rate, it would take 1 work week to get to first draft. But given that most of my writing is done cold (making oneself sit down and get to fleshing out the next scene) it will likely occur within scheduled early morning sessions before my daily walk. Even at that optimistic production rate, this means 100 days until draft completion. I think I have my 2016 project before me.

If you have a writing question or want some feedback on your 2016 writing project, email me at

Friday, October 17, 2014

celebrating other people turning 30 and growing up

my little sister turned thirty this week (not the blond one, but the one who has always signed her cards, "your little twin") and my mom, my sisters, and I are heading to the city to celebrate. because it is my day off I started it with a Netflix documentary. it was surprisingly poignant and worth the watch,a definite tribute to sticking with marriage and family, one of the reasons I like career coach blogger Penelope trunk as well. Read her latest punch to the gut post here. today promises to be a pack the bags with new thrift store duds and get out of town kind of day. should make for some good material.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

bibi guns, plastic fruit, and your money

 in order to photograph my wine basket and new wall vase (which reminds me suspiciously of a beautiful version of an oversized shot glass on a string St Patrick's day revelers carry around) I had to shove into it the bibi gun and yellow safety glasses that were poking out the top. (normal I'm sure) thanks, boys
 the faux fruit basket at my house contains an equal amount of sunglasses (I stole the idea for plastic display nutrition from my sister when I noticed her house lacked the fruit flies that accompany the real thing -- now my fruit is safely in the crisper. Some wise guy has since put teeth marks in the plastic fruit. I left it, as they definitely look real now.)
I've been wrestling with gimp software for my new editorship. One successful project in, I am so thankful for the you-tubers that have gone before me (a saving grace for an impatient visual learner)

my home office is quiet for a few more hours. I'm off to take advantage of them.

to enter to win $100 to spend at your favorite restaurant click here
for today's writing prompt click here
And if you are looking for feedback on your manuscript, check out a chapter by chapter option at the bottom of the blog page (rh side)

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

Sunday, November 10, 2013

what a lack of sleep inspires

ahhh. the long weekend.
extra sleep and time with the family
except I drank an energy drink too close to bed and whacked my sleep all up.
so I'm doing another coat of paint in the laundry room (a room that has long plagued me with its super functional dingy-ness doubling with it being our main entrance) so now it's the kind of dark grey that looks great with gilded frames and looks amazing. pics to come when everything is back in its place.
my mom did the same haircut she's done on me since childhood yesterday. the best thing about your mom doing your hair is she will cut it when no one else is up on the weekend (7:45 am on a Saturday morning) a little bit of an impromptu decision that was niggling at the back of my brain and pushed over the edge by an upcoming great Gatsby themed party invite.
current writing: pieces of my stories are coming together well. looks like the short story collection might make its way to ebook a bit before the novel (for which new scenes are generating too quickly for prompt execution.)
current read: this one about a secondhand shop owner in NYC. thought it was appropriate as this month marks about a year of not doing a little second hand store. I missed 2 thrifty chicks when I ran across things I knew my shoppers would love while thrifting. (but did not miss the stacks and stacks of clothes to store) my new venture is pish posh: home d├ęcor for everyone. already dreaming up fun shopping events.
still not sleepy. will probably get that way when everyone else wakes up. wish me luck.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

weekend snapshots

I enjoy shopping for girl birthdays so the middlest had to bring ruffles and sparkles to his friend's bday today. good thing he is confident enough to pull it off.
I have been reading The Book of Awesome ( see pic #3 for sourcing) . I knew it was going to be great because Gretchen Rubin was going on about it on the cover -- a ninth of the way in and it has already made a mind shift impression (plus is hysterically funny in the vein of works like the three martini playdate, Bobos in Paradise, and Stuff White People Like)
it focuses on hyper focused gratitude -- celebrating awesomeness in the everyday. example : pg. 17
Title: Seeing a cop on the side of the road and realizing you're going the speed limit anyway
rationale: stress level goes up. stress level goes down.
you know I love the profundity ;)

 My blurbs of awesome for today: garage saling with my sister (see planning meeting above). in looking for one hard to spot garage sale, we came across a free dresser -- the kind with a missing drawer I can put some baskets in. thrilled! AWESOME!
realizing my penchant for 25 cent loot means that today's finds(including that dresser, a fascinator from a red hat club lady, some great reads and some vintage Christmas wrap among other knick knacks) came to a single fiver. AWESOME!
stumbling upon an unexpected sweet spot in my day (just dropped oldest off at work, middlest off at a birthday party, and picked up some pizza doritos for some cucumber chip sandwiches (fave food compulsion) when the youngest decided his oldest cousin's graduation ceremonies last night had caught up with him and fell asleep an hour before d was due home. vegging in peace. AWESOME!
spent four days this week in ISW and one morning found little c eating breakfast and watching my videoed teaching footage (the best trick to quickly lowering the amount of times you drop "um" into presentation is to watch yourself do it. horrifying!) Because it is all about process, I got to spend time with brilliant peeps from a variety of disciplines and participate in amusing classes like "how to wrap a cat". loved every inspiring minute of it. AWESOME!
perhaps because I am hyper-aware of all the gestating all around me (my sister M and my sister in law T are expecting their 1st and 5th respectively on the very same day in October) I am very drawn to little ones and birth stories. if you want to read a great one from one of my favorite bloggers go here

Friday, May 17, 2013

Discovering Purpose over a Platter of the Good Stuff

I've been thinking a lot about purpose. And it keeps coming up. (Ok, part of that is which books I keep buying) But even when I'm having it float around in my subconscious, other people bring it up. Because it's not just me thinking about it. We all are. Like last weekend when I was having a girls night in with my friend Jen (the sort of foodie you'd be lucky to know so that you can expect a charcuterie & cheese plate when you stop by at the last minute), talk floated from fluff (where admittedly it stayed for a long time -- this is weekend decompressing after all ;) to the big stuff like searching out your purpose in life. It makes sense that having purpose (which boils down to finding people to serve and help and seeing this life in terms of big picture living -- ie. most things are not worth sweating. people before things, etc. ) makes you happy. Go ahead -- look around you -- the most positive people have a good sense of this. And the good thing about delving into this during the busy seasons of life means it can be an organic shift in how you live your life and you won't land up in a quieter season feeling like "what was the point of all this?" Because you'll know. And you'll know your place in it.
recommended reading: this, and this and for parents this
I'd love to hear other about other great books on intentionally living. Feel free to share them in the comments.

It's my day off so I am digging into Good Books, hitting at least one thrift store, puttering around the house, and planning this summer's publications (it looks like my collection of short stories and a book on working motherhood will both be hitting e-book format). Happy long weekend to you, fellow Canadians.

having the friends over that inspired this bbq back for more this weekend.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

shots of september

lately when i've been talking to other moms, i've felt like most of us took nearly all of september to hit our stride again combining life with the kids' school routine with work. it could be i'm only running into the affirming ones and that's ok too ;)

 went on a local aboriginal tour with some work peeps -- beautiful fascinating day
 we've been board-gaming up a storm -- the favorites: scrabble, guess who, and hangman
 summer is refusing to pack it in. i'm ok with it. family swims on the weekend didn't hurt anyone
 kitchsy kitchen cross-stitch -- you know it -- thrifting
 on another thrifting excursion -- found the mini oil that i'm sure someone else picked up on their travels for me -- love it
 heart warming fridge art
 found this picnic basket while thrifting -- plan to incorporate it into our Christmas pics if it works
loved this book. found it at the exchanging bookshelf at this holiday -- canadian experience, canadian content. -- yeah, i'm a fan
now if only i could only get my house managing down to a science... i've done the 30 day no spending before and now am knee deep in a 30 day organization bid. you have faith. i know you do ;)

maybe if i reward myself with writing time...

Saturday, May 12, 2012

celebrating motherhood with tea and convos

it's mother's day weekend and i feel blessed. not because my family will buy me something mom themed to celebrate (they don't -- except for my sweet sister who bought a miniature orchid for my new office) but because it is about the sharing of the meaning of family and motherhood (i am eagerly awaiting all those homemade cards -- especially d's -- the man who says the things he wants to say in cards a few times a year -- you know i treasure them by the way my last birthday one is tucked into my lingerie drawer and is pulled out most mornings for a quick read) I spent the mid morning tea-ing with my parents and grandma and sister and middleschooler who definitely inherited the family's talking genes (in fact he and my dad were booking time into their phones to get together to finish their conversation later ;)
the little two were at weekly gymnastic class while we were tea swilling -- they were showing off their new moves at free play time at the end when i arrived for pick-up (a lot of impressive if cringe inducing flips and jumps) and the middlest doing a series of GI joe chin-ups. (not sure who it was meant to impress but it worked on his mom ;)
later in the day a drive to the hospital to see my brother and SIL and their month old and early arriving little one who is on the cusp of being allowed to go home was great. i banked a little cuddle time on arrival and on the way there had a sweet talk about working motherhood with my mom (who did a superb job of juggling work to be done and family to be raised without the benefit of my flexy schedule & who asked enough questions on the boys' adjustment to the new schedule to keep me on my toes) they have done well. and i am hyper aware of the need to not burn out. (and turn into mean snappy mommy) when i told d how tired i was initially, he pointed out that i might not need to go out a trillion times a week ;) thank goodness for clubs when i can see multi friends at once. i can't go cold turkey.
if not for friends, how else to share the authentic and often entertwining beauty and misery of motherhood?
happy mother's day to you &/or the woman who birthed you into this world &/or the one who raised you through it.
it's a tough job, but we're thrilled to be the ones to do it.

for sweet and inspiring mother's day reading check out nie nie's story of rising above circumstance to see the big picture and fern and feather's ongoing discussion on parenting counter culturally

love this pic of little c at play on his recent field trip.  today he begged to stop at a "giant garage sale" sign -- he has good finder instincts -- it turned out to be a 10 cent find extravaganza -- where he stocked up on all sorts of things for his in room office -- not the least of which was his own rolodex that now contains his friends' digits.

Friday, May 04, 2012

friday rolling stop

this week my left hand ring finger was jammed at soccer. mild swelling so i am wearing my wedding band on my pinkie like a middle aged man trying to to change up his get-up. charming, i know ;)
thankfully, on the less ridiculously looking front, i have scored some cutie thrifty duds for weekend wear. to go with them, my belt from this dress is getting more wear than it bargained for (goes with everything... love that)
partook in my first at work potluck. the theme was food from around the world. because i like safe and easy when it comes to bringing potluck items, i went with new york waldorf salad (for foodie cheaters like me use kraft's poppy seed dressing instead of mixing up mayo and lemon juice + spices) it was popular which made me feel less bad about enjoying everyone else's slaved over creations. there were some amazing dishes.

i'm off to tidy the house. don't want our weekend guests to feel like they have stepped into a play about a whirlwind week. the middlest's class fundraiser on the saturday horizon, i am going to steal reading and writing minutes when i can find them.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

excuse me while i jump up and down in celebration

i never get sick of this wake-up bedroomscape

the boys finally captured two days into the routine

it turns out staples is right
this is the most wonderful time of the year ;)
we have found our rhythm as a family this september.

of course, it could be the end of the summer where everyone starts feeling on top of one another and antsy for change.

that is making this seem smoother flowing.

not to mention, i keep checking if it's ok to be this relaxed while doing errands, not having to break head locks mid transaction or anything.

i spy writing time

and it excites me

one of my latest thrift store jaunts (have to keep the online store stocked, you know...) found this adorable hostess apron which matches so well with my clearance rack cardi that i am tempted to wear them together for the everyday (maybe good foodie stories would result? ;)

and while taking in the lives of the queens and kings of england with history enthusiast d, i have been working on this kitschy little kitchen art (i'm working on a more polished version to give my friend jen, of fellow food and drink enthusiasm, for her beautiful housebuild in progress)

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)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

on the home front

the writing is happening this pm because the day was taken up by the to-do list (but it had some fun stuff on it too like am coffee that drifted into lunch with a friend (insta-playdate for the kids), a shopping trip to the thrift store to try and find art for the laundry room (instead i found this adorable dog painting for little c's room), and then a flurry of home project activity (sanding and staining the harvest table and chairs, glazing the kitchen cupboards -- the recent grey made a great base, and doing up the mini bulletin board to match my front door which also matches little c's dresser -- when i have paint on hand in colors i like i use them everywhere ;)

now to not make all this evening's characters DIYers...

Monday, June 27, 2011

never underestimate the power of a well placed ruffle

it's officially summer holidays which means i am notebook writing. today that happened beside a pool while my kids swam. the stories (of which there are several intertwining) are collecting in several notebooks that also contain lists of projects to do and groceries to get and freelance bills to send off.

of those projects, the latest was executed this previous saturday (i get tired of other projects i start -- currently kitchen cupboard painting -- and do mini crafts between so as to not lose my head) the ruffled lampshade. this $2 crystal working lampstick has been the latest find i love sitting in the bright blue hutch i love. as soon as i spotted this ruffled do it yourself lampshade online, i knew it would be a perfect fit to girlie up my kitchen harvest table. the blogger who did it first used a sewing machine and glue gun, but not wanting to pull either out, i did it up with handstitching.

steps for the interested:

1. locate a lampshade (if you find an ugly paper one with tassels attached like mine it will likely set you back as mine did, 50 cents)

2. cut 1-2 inch wide lengths of fabric to make ruffles out of. (i used vintage tablecloth i also plan to make matching dishtowels out of)

3. do a simple in/out stitch the length of, pull to gather.

4. stitch or glue to lamp starting with the bottom layer.

5. when the bottom layer is full, lay the next ruffle a layer up, making sure to overlap for ruffle effect.

6. complete layers

7. enjoy

tommorow will likely bring more of today, feeding the kids easy summer stuff like salad, corn on the cob, and grilled cheese so as to maximize the writing time.

Monday, May 16, 2011

more maiming of clothes followed by freshly baked cookies

there are lots of times i'm glad i don't pay retail. if i hadn't only shelled out a loonie and 2 quarters for this shirt, i probably wouldn't have cut the collar off the polo shirt at little c's request to try it. it worked and now is one he will actually wear instead of one that will look cute sitting in his overstuffed drawer. (off to school today paired with his cute wearable monkey he made while i was coffee-ing with my blond sister this weekend-- she finds the best distractions for him ;)

it was one of those 7 am cookie baking for lunches days (my go to recipe -- gourmet mag's 4 ingredient PB cookies -- 1 c PB, 1 c sugar, 1 egg, 1 tsp baking soda. 350 for 10 min)

i'm folding clothes for thrifty chicks, playdoh-ing it up with a little house guest, and putting some scene on page. hope the characters do something interesting.