Mar 302015
 

In my very first post on this blog nearly 2 years ago, I shared my dining room update.  I had become tired of the “granny” look of dark wood Duncan Fyfe style and was hoping to replace the look with something more fresh and contemporary.  However, when I tried to sell the set together or individual pieces, I was offered very little.  We were also installing dark hardwood so the dark wood had to go.

Looking at that very first post, I am a bit embarassed at the layout and photos etc.  But what it does tell me is just how much I have learned and grown in these many months.  

In that first post, the dining room was still a work in progress,.  So today, I would like to share the dining room in its now more finished state.

Before:  Dark and Granny-like

dining room update granny fresh paint furniture

I couldn’t sell the pieces for much so why not paint!

 

After:  Bright and Fresh

dining room update granny fresh paint furniture

How it looks from the doorway

I just love the fresh look.  I was worried it might be a bit feminine for my husband but he loves it too.

Note:  This post contains NO affiliated links.  Just the facts.

I love turquoise.  In the original post, the buffet and china cabinet were painted BM Buxton Blue but once they were in the room, we felt there was not enough contrast with the walls so I added one more coat of a darker BM Province Blue.  Sadly, I don’t remember the grey colour’s name.

I not only painted the furniture, I also painted the shiny brass fixtures with Antique Brass from Rustoleum and the valance over the drapes.

All the fabric for drapes and upholstery,  was purchased at Tonic Living, a Toronto based online fabric store.  I made the drapes and had someone upholster the chairs but since then, I have learned a bit more about upholstering and would most likely do it myself.

I picked up the two chairs with the knot fabric on Kijiji for $15 each.  Not bad!

The Eiffel Tower poster started out as a photo I took on our visit in 2011.  I saw a very expensive print on Etsy or somewhere and I decided to try doing something myself.  I uploaded my photo to Photoshop Elements, added a layer with words describing the history of the tower, a layer or two of textures and then just played with it.  I think it is fantastic in this room!

The Roman Numeral clock was in our family room and was purchased at Homesense, the Canadian version of the US Home Goods.

IMG_5277

I love my apple green bird! He brightens up any room

We received the 3 prints over the buffet as a wedding gift.  They all depict skiing scenes and were so appropriate for us because we met in a ski club!  We still love them after nearly 28 years!  They were in the living room but look so great in here.

IMG_5270

The bar cart with crystal and tulips

I still haven’t painted the bar cart I picked up at an estate auction.  I shared it with you in this post where I asked for colour advise.  It is still too cold here in Toronto to do spray painting outside.  But when I do finish it I will be sure to share.

IMG_5289

The china cabinet and my wood “runner”

Originally I thought I wanted to get rid of the china cabinet because I had a mini buffet and mirror on this angled wall.  But once I saw how these pieces looked painted, I knew I wanted to keep it.   The mini buffet and mirror were perfect in the foyer!  See it’s transformation here.

We love the white table because we no longer feel the need to protect the wood with a table clothe.  But we still need to protect it from hot dishes.  One day, I stumbled over an unfinished pine shelf board and decided to stain it with my favourite walnut stain and plop it on the table.  We love it as it ties into the hardwood floors the knotted fabric and it withstands hot plates!

I picked up those cute lotus flower candle holders at one of my rare trips to Target.

IMG_5268

I love the large art piece on the right!

We have a very large family room with a full sized snooker table and I had purchased the large art piece above for that space.  I was looking for something to fill this wall when I had a brilliant moment and brought this huge piece from the family room to this room and was so pleased with how it looked.  To fill the wall again in the family room, I created a “Carry On” poster you can see here.

The other change we made which made a BIG impact is we removed the french doors to the room.  They were awkward and hit the cabinet.  When complaining to my neighbour she looked at me and said “Why don’t you remove them”.  Like why in tarnation did I not think of that.  It was brilliant.  Not only can you see the loveliness of the room, we actually go in there more!

IMG_5283

A colourful vignette lovely dried hydrangeas, citrus and my favourite apple green bird!

IMG_5262

My sweet Chester

My Labradoodle doesn’t photo-bomb, he just hangs out.  But this picture is not just about him, it really shows the lovely detail of the legs in this set.  Personally I think it really makes them pop, much better than natural wood.

Pinnable copy

What a change!

 I am so happy I couldn’t sell these pieces! I L-O-V-E this room.  And I saved us a ton of money!  I also like the fact I was able to “shop my home” for items to decorate in here.

I hope you enjoyed seeing this transformation.
I would love to hear what you think.
Have you ever been this daring?

For me, it is all so much
Nicer Than New!

 

 

Joan

Mar 072015
 

I recently wrote a post describing my unintentional blogging hiatus.  The puzzling thing about the break in blogging was that I was still busy and had lots to share!  Regardless, today I want to share some etched glass Christmas gifts I made for family.  I had a couple of failures which I will also share.
(NO affiliate links … just the story)

I only see my one brother, his wife and their grown kids at Christmas and we only give little gifts.  All my gifts were around $10 per person.  I decided on a personalized casserole for my SIL, beer glasses for my brother and one of his sons and stemless wine glasses for my other nephew and his wife.

Double walled glass

These are great! They keep the beverage cold and don’t sweat!

 I picked up everything at a great Canadian store called Kitchen Stuff Plus.  They sell all kinds of dinnerware, gadgets, etc. There, I was able to buy all the glassware for my projects.  For the beer glasses, I found these great double walled pilsner glasses.  I did check to ensure they were glass and they were and made in Italy.  I also picked up a Pyrex brand casserole for my SIL and stemless wine glasses.

I used the Martha Stewart etching cream I picked up a Michael’s with a 40% off coupon.  Thank goodness because, although it goes a long way, the creams are expensive!

I purchased the images I wanted to use from the Silhouette Design Store.  After I created the design, I used my Silhouette Cameo to create the stencils on basic dollar store contact paper.  I also used clear contact paper to transfer the stencil to the glassware.  I wanted the monogram to be clear with a etched box around it.

glassetch06

Yup! I am of Irish descent through and through!

glassetch11

Martha’s etching cream is brown…. The little bowls are to stop it rolling.

glassetch03

My SIL’s casserole. The stencil is in reverse and on the OUTSIDE of the bottom.

glassetch14
Etching cream on the OUTSIDE of the casserole.

Fail:  Etching Creams Do Not Work on All Glass

Both of the above attemps FAILED!

I later found the creams do not work on PYREX brand.  Not sure what happened with the other glasses.  It was glass.  When I removed the cream, I was so disappointed…

glassetch19

FAIL! It didn’t make a single mark on the glass.

Successes!

I went back to Kitchen Stuff Plus and picked up some basic glass beer mugs and they worked perfectly!  This time, I decided to have the monogram etched without a frame.  My brother and my nephew loved them!

glassetch32

LOVE THEM!

 

My nephew has a “thing” for owls.  Always has.  He collects owl art so I knew the wine glasses for him and his wife would have owls.  I purchased these images from the Silhouette store as well.  I just love how they turned out!

glassetch27

Aren’t these cute??

glassetch29

Who needs wine glass charms when you have your own owl!?

I think my family were a bit stunned to receive such personalized gifts.  They all seemed to love them but I think they may have thought I put a lot of time and money into them but to be honest, glass etching is SO EASY!  When you have the right type of glass!

You know, after I finished these, I posted pictures on my personal Facebook page and since have created at least 10 other gifts for my friends to give!  Maybe I should keep my “talents” a secret!  LOL

Have you used glass etching cream?

Any failures other than PYREX?

Love to here from you!


Joan

Feb 242015
 
Nicer Than New
source
source

It would appear I have taken an unintentional blogging hiatus which sadly lasted THREE months.

I am calling it a hiatus or break but it was really a bit of a blogging block.  If I had been asked “What’s in your way?”  I really did not have an answer.  Not a really good one such as “work got in the way” or ” I was terribly ill”.  I don’t have any really good answer.

I have been doing lots of projects and photographing them but I just didn’t blog about it.

I have a few inklings to the cause of my gap none of which should have caused a THREE month gap.  Perhaps the combination of them all just made me hit a wall. 

Here are a few samples:

  • I have been really wanting to grow my blog.  So why stop writing you ask?  Good question.  It was not meant to be so long.  I just wanted to ponder on the direction I want to go in.
  • I wanted to “spruce up” my web design.  I actually spent a great deal of time on this aspect.  But is was mostly in researching and in the end I have only made a few changes:  header, background and fonts.
  • My office is a disaster.  My office is in a very large room in our lower level walkout.  My desk faces a lovely patio door with a view of the ravine behind our house.  That is all lovely but behind me is an absolute mess ABYSS of projects waiting to happen.  Everything from sewing to  upholstery to painting.  You name it and it is most likely somewhere in that jumble.
  • Too many projects in the wings resulting in a lack of focus. My friends and family praise me for my talent and great organization skills but for some reason, between the state of my office and the number of projects, I just lost focus.  Plus, I need to sell more of my painted and upcylced furniture pieces.

Okay so enough whining!!! 

There is NOTHING IN MY WAY!  Well nothing a little scheduling and organizing will not handle.

Please welcome me back to the
Blogging World

AND

Wish me LUCK!


Joan

Oct 102014
 

It has been a few weeks since I attended my very first bloggers’ conference, BlogPodium, here in Toronto.   My mind is still mulling over all I learned and I would like to share my experiences.

As many of you know, I have been blogging for just over a year. It has been a great journey of learning, experimenting and growing as a blogger and a DIYer.

In spring 2014, when the dates and registration information was announced for the Toronto bloggers’ conference, BlogPodium, I swear I must have been one of the first to register. At the time, I was in a bit of slump and knew I REALLY needed to attend the conference.

Age Demographic

At the same time I was very apprehensive. Why? To be honest: my age.  Let’s face it, on average there appears to be more bloggers out there under the age of 50 than over 50. I fall into the latter group. Looking at the pictures of the attendees from the previous BlogPodium and other conferences, it seems everyone is young, pretty and “hip”. I was worried I would be out of place. However, this is an apprehension I have ignored many times before. You see, having my first and only child at 40 sure helped. I kept me young even though I was often the oldest of the dance moms, the oldest of her classmates’ parents, etc.
Having said that:

  • I was the one who took them to Canada’s Wonderland,  a big Toronto area amusement park,  AND rode all the roller coasters with them… and I still would if they would let me go too!
  • I was the one who finished two university degrees after the age of 40.
  • And I was the one who started a blog after the age of 50.

The BlogPodium conference was held right downtown Toronto at the beautiful and historic, Royal York Hotel which happens to be linked underground to the subway and commuter train (GO Train) station.

The schedule for the GO that morning meant I either arrived very early or quite late. I chose arriving early. Wandering around the hotel lobby and the reception area for the conference, I thought “Yep, look all these “young” ladies.”

Regardless, I grabbed a coffee, found a table in the main ballroom and hung out. As the room began to fill, two ladies sat down at a table near me and they looked over 50!!! so I joined them! Perfect! My apprehension, like so many times before, was totally dispelled.

Keynote Speaker

After following Donna from Funky Junk Interiors for some time, I was aware of her journey and it was exciting to hear her share it with the audience. She was so inspiring and made me feel a bit silly for my “age” apprehension.

I came away with this message:

Be authentic.

Write out your mantra. Then stay authentic to it.

Session Highlights

Reviewing the schedule, I realized I must have signed up for nearly every breakout session by some misunderstanding of the process. Or perhaps it is just they all sounded so great! Regardless, it did give me some choice.

I also had a chance to say hello to a few bloggers I follow on Bloglovin who came from a considerable distance:  Donna from Funky Junk Interiors came from British Columbia and Danielle from Finding Silver Pennies came all the way from Massachusetts!  I also met some great new people including Jordana from White Cabana and the lovely Jennylyn, president of Homestead House Paint Company which manufactures and distributes a number of great products including Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint and the new mineral paint Fusion which I am dying to try soon.

What I Took Away

My head is still hurting with all the info and ideas I picked up at this conference.  Other than what I learned, I came away with a few things:

  • I wish I was two people so I could have attended more of the breakout sessions
  • Jennifer Flores and her team sure know how  to run a great conference
  • The Royal York caters great food!
  • Don’t leave your business cards a home!!!

and lastly, as I have discovered in so many situations in my life “

You CAN teach an old dog blogger new tricks!

 

Did you attend this conference? 

What was your experience? 

Have you implemented what you learned?

Love to hear from you!

Joan

Sep 032014
 

I am declaring September 1st as my New Year’s Day!

September 2013 is when I began to blog in earnest meaning it is now my one year anniversary of blogging.  However, I must admit, I am not celebrating.  I am actually very disappointed in myself.  In reality I blogged, “in earnest”, up until April.  Then I fell into a slump and my entries became very sporadic to the point where this is the first entry since mid-July!  A mere 48 days!  How can I call myself a blogger and create a following if I don’t post anything???

I can certainly come up with a number of excuses…all very lame!  Sure, it was a busy summer.  Breaking my ankle and saying good bye to our lovely dog did not help.  Then a week vacation.  Preparing for Miss Nice to go off to University also occupied my mind and my energies.  Not to mention the arrival of a new fur baby, Chester.  More about him in another post.

Like I said LAME excuses.
If I were honest, I just got LAZY!

However, I did THINK about my blog often.  I’ve been thinking about:

  • the design: fonts and backgrounds.  I changed it up a few months ago but I am not completely happy
  • developing a series or two: a topic or theme I can post once a week allowing me to plan ahead
  • hosting a link party or becoming a co-host with some other bloggers.
  • but most of all, I thought about how to motivate myself to finish the b-zillion projects I have been ignoring for MONTHS!!!  After all, that was why I started the blog!  To share my passion for updating furniture, sewing, cooking and other crafty stuff.

Three days ago, we dropped Miss Nice off at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario to begin the next exciting phase in her life. 

Throughout my life, I always felt September 1st should be New Year’s Day because unlike January, so many new things happen in September.  Not just back to school but the end of the summer routine and more time indoors.  In January, it is just the same ole same ole.

So I am declaring September 1st to be is my New Year’s Day
and
my New Year’s resolution
is to get off my butt and
DO THE THINGS I LOVE! 

  • start writing posts.  I love writing and sharing!
  • finish painting the 7 pieces I have partially completed … for other people!  (My friends and family have far too much patience for me!)
  • work through the other pieces I have in the garage including some upholstery projects I was once so eager to get at.
  • organize my office! I have a wonderful, large space but it is by no means pretty.  It is a disaster.  You guessed it… a disaster of unfinished projects!
  • workout more.  My ankle is healed and getting stronger so why am I not visiting the gym.

I could go on but I will not for now.

I hope by the official New Year, I will be well on my way with these few resolutions.  Check back  in four months…

Do you agree September 1st should be New Year’s Day? 

resolution

…and a better blogger!

Happy New Year

Joan

Jun 282014
 

When someone one says “Give me a Break!”  I don’t think this is what they mean..

I posted back in May, for some reason, I was in a funk I could not seem to get out of. I was not able to get at the oh so many paint and upholstery projects I have lined up.  I felt  distracted and shall I say a bit lazy!  Not sure what it was; perhaps that brutally long winter.  At the time, I had been blogging about 8 months and my page views and visitors were up significantly.  But my “followers” were not growing  at the same pace.  Much of the traffic to my blog was coming from my participation in linky parties.   It was becoming clear I was not exploring and taking advantages of other, more productive options available for bloggers. 

So I took a break and did some research, reading and thinking.  Still in a bit of a funk on the work front but was very busy  planning my daughter’s prom / graduation party.

Then, on Friday the 13th,
I got a REAL BREAK!
and not a nice one!

I slipped on a wet floor and went down like a ton of bricks.

I thought I had a sprained ankle because I could put some weight on it but NO… a fractured tibia  (shinbone).

This sucked in so many ways but it could have been worse.  It was my left leg so I can still drive!

Air Cast

This boot is made for walking…

In the two weeks that followed, we had a number of special occasions planned.

We were hosting our last Book Club meeting of the season,  the day after the big break.  Luckily I had set up the dining room for a formal “Great Gatsby” meal before the fall and the meal is “pot luck” and my group is so familiar with my kitchen I had no concerns and was waited on by all 😉 

Then on June 20th, we were hosting a pre- and post- prom party for my daughter and her friends and their families.  You know 45 people mingling around taking photos, eating nibbles and sipping on champagne cocktails.  I could hobble and the week leading up to this, I prepared so many cool things, decor and food, to make it special. 

I was smart though.  I called in a favour from  my bestest friend Gay,  a real estate agent, and asked her if she could be free on Friday to help me.  I do a lot of PhotoShop work for her promotional plan so it was difficult to turn me down. 

OMG without her, I would never have survived the day.  As it turned out the day was PERFECT!!!   Perfect weather.  Perfect food and drinks.  Perfect decor. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect.

IMG_2111

All the lovely ladies!
(and my peonies in full bloom!)

IMG_2128

This bench by our front door is the location of nearly every “First Day of School” picture for the past 13 years!

IMG_2133

Miss Nice and her Romeo!

IMG_2143

Their school is a dedicated Arts-Only school and this picture shows most of these kids are in the DRAMA program

IMG_2159

That was some limo! A stretch Hummer!

 What was not perfect was I did not get pictures of the decor, the food or the drinks.  I so wanted to do a blog post on it.  You know, get out of my funk.  But NO!  Jusy no time to spare to take photos.  This is definitely a blog issue I will work on… allow WAY more time for things I want to blog about.

Then June 23rd was Miss Nice’s eighteenth birthday and on June 25th was her high school graduation!  Talk about packing it in!

IMG_2256

A grad picture on the bench was a must!

It has now been two weeks since my big break and the pain has subsided quite a bit.  I quite like the feel of the air-cast when I put it on.   It nice and snug and makes me feel more stable. 

Mr. Nice and I leased a golf membership for the summer at a private club, making this break VERY untimely and expensive.  However, I plan to go to the range this week and see how much it puts me off balance.  We can always take a cart!

Today, I am going to tackle some paint projects because the weather here in Toronto is magnificent!  And I want to go outside!

Similar to my post back in the winter,  Make Like Nike and “Just Do It”   I plan on getting off my butt, out of my funk and be productive regardless of my leg.

In the meantime, I have one more decision to make: 
In the first week of July, do I really want to fly to England to see my in-laws while sporting a cast? or should I go in the fall when Mr. Nice usually goes alone? 

Have you taken a long flight with a cast on?

Have you ever had a bad Friday the 13th? 

Stay tuned for more projects and posts because I believe I am back!

Joan

 

Be sure to follow me on Bloglovin! 
and comments just make my day!
(And I could use a break!  LOL)

Apr 302014
 

I cannot believe I have not posted in 20 days!  What’s up with that?  Well lots….

I began this blog to share my love for updating vintage furniture with paint and upholstery.  But I do so many other thingsMy mind is always whirling.  I try to post at least 2 times a week with something concrete, like a finished project.  However, recently my projects have been in the realm of areas, I did not plan to blog about.  I recently spent HOURS creating a photo collage in PhotoShop for a dancer mom, whose daughter (like mine soon to be) was turning 18.  it involved scanning, editing, and creating.  I had created a collage for the older sister so, well, a mom must be consistent.  It took me hours but it is a labour of love because her daughter and my baby were dance partners, in a competitive dance program  from age 5 to age 15.  They both became a couple of the most amazing tappers in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area).  Just how adorable are they?

s&mcomposite title


I am also the President of the Board of Directors of a charitable foundation, established to raise funds for the arts based school my daughter attends.  We are a small board who have taken on the challenge of re-inventing our mandate.  As such, I struggle with the apathy of parents who believe “someone else will do it”, be it to donate or volunteer.  I have put in hours upon hours creating a website and other social media outlets as well as design mailers and other deliverables.  My mantra for this work is “baby steps”.  Things will not happen overnight but they will happen!  Last week good karma was on my side.  An amazing alumni couple came forward with a willingness to volunteer and get involved.  My heart soared!  But there is so much more to do. 

Back to blogging.  I have a garage full of “projects”  and a mind full of ideas but a heart full of fatigue. 

Is this blogger’s block or just a BLIP? Tell me!!

I have trouble getting myself organized!  There are SO MANY THINGS TO DO!

And of course, like all moms… I worry!  It is also a time of university selection decisions and my darling daughter has so many options.  Besides being beautiful, talented and very hard working she is incredibly bright.  She has been accepted at ALL her university choices.  I know, woe is us! (sarcasm!)  This is not something to complain about but it is difficult … this decision decides the direction of her life… AND it is not OUR decision, it is hers.

Back to my blogging dilemma, I did paint some kittens! Not real ones of course!  Vintage bookends!   Even though my high school grad daughter is most likely beyond kitten bookends,   I still love them!  They were cute in gold but I gave them a clean update in a silvery white.

kittens6

IMG_1640

Silvery white kittens

 

Having moaned on about my lack of creativity and output.  I do have the cutest desk waiting to be painted along with a chair needing paint and upholstery. I want it done in a week!  I also have a rattan patio set of my nephew and his wife and  so many other things!!   Can I get out our my “funk”?  I sure hope so! 

Life just seems to be moving fast and I seem to be on “pause” for the moment. 

I will catch up.  I promise!  There is more to me than kittens!

Stay tuned!

Joan

 Posted by at 2:54 pm
Facebook Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com