Thursday, January 27, 2011

Inspire Me Thursdays: First Edition

I travel the inter-web far and wide in search of inspiration beyond my office window... 

Here are my findings:

Oh how I adore scarves...

Hmmmm....bread, it's one of my favourite things

I love everything about this picture.

I would be happy here.

Words to live by...


Purdy little set up...

Such a pretty little garden house.

My collection of vintage tea cups begins now!

The little girl in me really wants this.

What a great idea...especially for people like me who love flowers but have a really shady backyard.

For my next milestone birthday, I want this...

I heart china.

This one's for my mom...

Mothers day brunch perhaps?

Cool kitchen...

Parisian style...

Pretty lady...great colour scheme

Pretty great bookmark...


More inspirations to come next week....

Love Desiree
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Monday, January 24, 2011

Home Grown Designs: January Creations


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They Can't All Be Winners - Chalkboard Fail

I had the best intentions this weekend to start my first ever DIY Sunday project and it was gonna be great…or so I thought.  I documented my efforts so I could post a how to, but in the end I was actually documenting a total fail.  I didn’t want the whole thing to be a loss, so instead of starting a DIY Sunday thread, I’ve started a ‘They Can’t All Be Winners’ thread where I will document my failed attempts and the lessons I learn from them.

Without further ado…here is my first (documented) fail:

The Chalkboard Platter
I had a stack of metal platters from the Dollarama and a can of chalkboard paint…and thought it would look awesome to make a chalkboard sign to hang on the bathroom door.  I could write ‘Powder Room’ or 'Salle de Bain'…or something like that…  In the end I have no sign, no platter, and a house that smells like paint.

This is what happened…

It was a lazy you can see by the looks of my kitchen table.  We ordered Pizza, I drank a half bottle of wine and got to work...

When taping in a circle, I cut slits in the tape to make it shape easier in the round.  Clever aren't I?

The first coat looked good, nothing suggested this paint wasn't going to stick...

BUT... When I giddily started to remove the tape the next day to unveil my beautiful creation, the reality of the situation sunk in.  It didn't work!  The paint was peeling off!  NOOOOO.  It's -25  outside, it's still January, I have to work in the morning, and now I have no new post for my huge audience of readers!  I went to the couch and sunk in.  Tear. 

What did we learn from this?

Chalkboard paint will only stick to porous surfaces, so I should have sanded it down, and then painted it!  At least that's what google said.  I have another platter at home, so I’m going to try this again..… maybe tonight.  We’ll see what happens…it may work, or maybe we’ll have another lesson learned.

Stay tuned...

Love Desiree
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Monday, January 17, 2011

Blue Monday : Operation – Cheer Up!

I woke up today and thought, holy F$*%, I don’t think I can go on, I need to stay in this bed for the rest of the winter, maybe even the rest of my life.  Instead, shedding a tear, I got in the shower, threw some makeup on my disgruntled face, told James to f%$# off and headed out the door.  I now sit here starring at my computer screen losing my will to live. 

This is not a healthy attitude.  I think it’s safe to say that I am officially suffering from S.A.D.  I wasn’t surprised to find out that today, by common concensus, is the most depressing day of the year, so I figured I’m not the only one needing mental help today and decided to share my yearly strategy with you.

1. Go to the goddam gym!
I know I’ll feel good about it once I go, but every fiber of my being at this moment wants to take a cab home, plug in my heating pad and order in.  Not going to happen.  Instead I’m going to walk home, and then go to the gym for an hour.  When I come out I’m going to feel like a million bucks, and all this S.A.D. isn’t going to be consuming me for the evening.  

Note: I pre-make dinners on Sunday so I’m not eating at 10pm, it's the only way I can manage it.

I do a half hour of cardio and a half hour on the weight circuit.   My goal is to go 3 days a week and do a Yoga Booty Ballet tape 2 days a week.  I’ll eat right, and walk to and from work everyday.  On the weekends, I’ll eat what I want, and be lazy because I deserve it.  This is my plan and I’m sticking to it.  

Note: If you’re doing cardio, you need some cheesy beats to get you going, so be sure to load up your i-pod.
Right now what really gets me moving is:

Sexy Bitch – Akon
D.A.N.C.E - Justice/Mstrkrft
Your Easy Lovin' Aint Pleasin' Nothin' - Mayer Hawthorne
Blue Monday - New Order
Dog Days Are Over - Florence + The Machine
Black and Blue - Miike Snow
Long Cool Woman - The Hollies

2. Make Something, this is supposed to be a craft blog!
I’m including a project ‘how to' that I think will cheer anyone up.  It’s the magazine bowl!  If you make one, I want to see it, so send me a pic.  I made these ones last winter and it brightened a few chilly afternoons…

Note: For step 7, I use podgy and a paint brush, not varnish.  I just cover the thing with lots of podgy, and it will be hard and shiny in a few hours.

Here are my magazine bowls...

I also made these no-sew leather hair bows the other day.  Crushed velvet would also work really well cos it doesn't fray.  

Make something on a lazy afternoon and you’ll feel productive instead of stir crazy, and you'll impress your friends.  More how-to's to come!

3. Feel-good TV? Yes Please!
I watch cheesy feel-good TV.  Don’t judge me.
My top two are:

Both are available online for your viewing pleasure.  After one of these episodes I’m just as pleased as punch!  I really hope they don't get cancelled, or I don't know where I'll be!

4. Warm and Cozy isn’t such a bad thing!
I don’t hate everything about winter…and I need to remind myself of the good things about this season, and enjoy the little things cos before we know it, if we're lucky, it'lll be spring!

I love:
My ear muffs and my homemade scarf!

Cuddling with my luva
Tea (specifically Forever Nuts from David's Tea)
Baths (at other people's houses or hotels if I'm lucky, cos my tub is more like a shallow warm puddle.)
Comfort Food - like this delicious recipe from my friend and fellow blogger Tracey Nolan!  I could eat the whole dish myself...
Ugly Sweaters - here's my favorite...I got it from Public Butter on Queen St. W.

I hope this post has helped your current state.  Just writing it has helped me, plus now that I'm finally posting this, Blue Monday is almost over AND it was light out on my walk home from work tonight, things are looking up folks!  Thanks for reading.


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Friday, January 7, 2011

Treasure Hunting: One Man's Trash is This Women's Treasure

When I was an overly sensitive tween going to school in the rich suburb of Fonthill, we had a thing called ‘Special Pick Up Day’ where you could leave anything at the end of your driveway and the city would pick it up.  Furniture, washers and dryers, pretty much anything that wouldn't fit in the garbage.  My mom LOVED special pick up day.   Rich people threw away good stuff, and my mom was always on the look out. We’d be driving home in the evening from somewhere, I’d be listening to the Spice Girls on my Walkman in the back seat, when all of sudden we'd stop, I’d look out the window… and there, to my horror was my mother, rooting through someone else’s garbage - sometimes someone I knew!  I. WAS. MORTIFIED! It’s not like this was a large community, and everyone knew our van! (Our embarrassingly huge burgundy van, to house our embarrassingly large family!) O.M.G, how could she do that to me!?  "My reputation!" I would scream, begging for her to get back in the van.  Usually she would just laugh hysterically at my suffering and beep her horn as she pulled away.  

I’m glad I am not that girl anymore.  And I KNOW my parents are relieved I’m not that girl anymore either. So as I’m dragging home another mirror from someone’s garbage, or searching through a box of my neighbour's discarded crap, I chuckle to think of what my 12 year old self would say.

I'm a lot like my mother these days, I find a lot of stuff on the street, and often she's even jealous of my finds. Who knew people in the city people threw away such good stuff! Here’s a pictorial of some of my favourites…

We found this door on the balcony of our old apartment and made into 'art'.  I hope it was garbage, cos otherwise we stole their door.
A cool mirror...

Found lamp, and mirror...
 I love my pillar...
I love this shelf!  It was in a 'free' bin at The Trinity Bellwoods yearly garage sale.
This mirror weighs A TON, I only found it a 5 minute walk from our house, but after all the breaks I had to take getting it home, it was more like a half hour.  Totally worth it.
The Legs!  This was once a full mannequin that we got from vintage clothing store that was shutting down.  My brother in-law, Will took the upper half.  It's proudly displayed in his living room in full military gear.  Always a conversation starter but sometimes both halves make people uncomfortable, but... if you don't like our legs, than I don't know if I like you!
The centre mirror is a recent find from someones garbage on Shaw St.  I find a lot of mirrors.  Do people get tired of looking at themselves?
The Avocado Lamp.  One of my favorite sources of light.
Ah yes, The Stuffed Pheasant.  How could you just throw this away???
 This piece was found in two parts.  I grabbed the bottom half across the street as soon as they put it on the road.  It must have been funny to watch me scurry over there and drag this thing to my front porch from directly across the street.  The mirror I grabbed from another neighbor who was doing some renovations.(they saw a lot of me that week.)  My father in-law built a base for the cabinet part, and a frame for the mirror and now it looks like a serious piece of furniture!  Definitely a top two.
Ummm, what??  Did you say FREE?
That's right, someone was throwing this away!  Don't worry, I cleaned this thing for 2 days before bringing it inside.
The typewriter for the 'writing room'.  James is a writer, and a great one.  The vintage playboys I found in my grandmothers basement of stuff being thrown away after a flood.  These were my Papa's.  Kind of weird I guess to have my grandfathers nudy mags, but I think they're pretty cool.
The book shelf was a street find as well as the green lamp.  The globe lamp, well...I did find it at swanky party, and I was told it was going to be thrown away at the end of the night and that I was welcome to it...but later... the person who told me that confessed that they were lying.  So I guess I stole that lamp.  Oops!  
These were picked out of the garbage for me by my brother Dane, another sibling who has, no doubt inherited the skill for treasure hunting.  He found them outside of an old lady's room in the nursing home he works at.  No, the ring was not inside, but I'm sure there was something similar to it inside at one time.
 Another mirror...and this time there were two!  Pretty sweet I thought...  The table the mirror is on was also a street find, and I painted it with a sample jar of paint.
I found this gem on Crawford and Dundas when 'Clandestino' was closing up shop.  It works perfectly for my metal findings and new earrings.
 Almost everything in this picture was garbage at one time.  The window frame, I found and painted.  I'll eventually put lace behind it so I can use it to showcase accessories.  The Styrofoam head I found at work and I use it when I'm making veils.  Both baskets were found somewhere, and the shelf everything sits on, James dragged home for me (bless his heart) so that I had someplace to store my fabrics and yarns.
Another mirror, and this one looks like it's from an old ship or something.  I love it.  Someone obviously didn't lucky for me!
Nice one eh?  I've been taking all the credit here for these treasures, but I really should tell you that my husband James has picked up my love for garbage picking and he's way stronger than me so he can carry more, PLUS he jogs a lot, so he hits parts of town I wouldn't normally venture.  We make a good team.

Those are my top finds, but don't you worry, when I get a new treasure, I'll be sure to show it off to my vast group of readers... : )  Up-cycling is the way to go folks, so get out there, you can always wash your hands when you get home.  

Love, Desiree
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