Sep 142014

Back in July I shared my sadness at the loss our beloved Golden Doodle, Cody.  I dealt with his sudden down turn in health and vet visits alone, while my family was in the UK visiting my in-laws.  It was very heart wrenching but at the same time, I had time to come to grips with what Cody was going through.   I still miss the big goof.  And he was a goof… a lovable goof.


Our sweet Cody

Cody was also “bad” and destroyed many expensive items (and rolls of toilet paper)  with his sneaky chewing.  For years, we have said Cody would be our last dog.  When I say “we”,  I definitely include myself. 

But then he was gone. 

He was a tall, lanky, noisy Doodle and hard to ignore.  He loved to be pet by anyone and everyone.  We so loved the doofus. 

He made us smile.
He got us outside.
He helped us make new “dog” friends in the surrounding neighbourhood. 

Those are positive reasons for having a dog.  Not to mention the company. 

Someone to talk to … just because. 
Someone to keep your feet warm. 
Someone to remind us we only need simple pleasures to make us happy: a stick, a swim in the lake, a walk.  
And then there is that unconditional love dogs offer so easily.

Only a few weeks after we said goodbye to Cody,  I was asked by a reputable Doodle breeder if we would like to be a “guardian” for a dog she wants in her breeder program.  Basically, breeders cannot always keep all their dogs at their facility or home.  So many breeders, offer puppies to experienced dog owners.  The pups are raised by the guardian, called in “to service”  and eventually the breeder neuters them and the guardian keeps them.  I was so interested!  However, I needed to convince Mr. Nice.  There were so many reasons not to accept.

  • too soon after Cody
  • another long term commitment
  • we said we were not getting another dog
  • we travel

But in the end, I called on my proven sales skills and I basically said we were getting a new dog.  Why?

  • I am “retired” and am at home most of the time
  • Miss Nice was leaving for university August 31
  • Mr. Nice has no plans of retiring for 10 years
  • the dog will truly be “the pick of the litter”. Meaning, the breeder has picked this pup to be part of her breeding program.

But it was SO SOON after Cody?
Have we grieved enough?
Have we given the dog-less life a chance?
Do we really want to house train a puppy?
What about all that chewing business?

Since I would be the “primary care giver”, I was willing to take another plunge. 

I won.

In the middle of August, Miss Nice and I took a 2 hour drive outside Toronto to pick up the puppy.  The entire way  18 year old Miss Nice alternated between asking me “Why are we getting another dog??” AND picking out a name for him. 

She continued to chastise me until she saw him.  Love at first sight. Cuter than Cute!  She was sold. 

On the way home we decided to call him “CHESTER”, a name not our our extensive list of names.  He is the colour of butterscotch pudding but “Butterscotch” is long and silly.  Chester came to mind because he is a pale chestnut colour.   The name is so perfect!

Chester day one

Chester the Labra-Doodle on day one.

He is beyond cute.  Extremely bright.  Loveable. Gentle.  Submissive and fun.

Before leaving for university, Miss Nice was so possessive of him!  From university, she asks about him often.  Meanwhile I can still hear her asking “MOM! Why are we getting another dog?  Are you crazy?” 

Mr. Nice is totally smitten.  He’s always been a softy and Chester has captured his heart.  Chester follows me everywhere.  I think Mr. Nice is a bit jealous Chester is so smitten with me.  LOL

Chester VERY smart and so willing to please.  He is acing puppy school.  (Even after having trained dogs, puppy school is still a great idea.  A chance to brush up on skills and socialize the dog.)

Too soon?? 
NO.  I knew in my heart my family (me!) needed a dog in our lives.  We have had a dog in our home for 22 years!

Have we diminished Cody’ memory? 
NO.  I think of Cody often.  I miss his size and his presence.  Chester is still a little fellow and since he never leaves my side, I trip over him on a regular basis. Cody was kind of hard to miss.

The title of this post refers to “replacing a pet”.   Chester is not a “replacement”.  Chester is a new individual pup.  So far he is not much like Cody except for their mutual love of sticks and the tendency to sleep on his back…paws up!

I would love to hear your thoughts on how soon a new pet should be acquired?

Have you jumped in fast or waited?

Stay tuned!  I am sure there will be many “Chester” adventures in the future!


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.



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!


 Posted by at 2:54 pm
Mar 262014

So many famous comedians originated from Canada… Mike Myers, Jim Carrey, John Candy, Dan Aykroyd and Martin Short, just to name a few.  One of my favourites is Rick Mercer who is widely known in Canada as a comedian, author and most of all a political satirist.  He has a weekly show on the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) where he demonstrates his hilarious satirical ability with interviews, skits and rants. 

I just had to share this short Youtube video where he pokes fun at the weather forecasters and all of us who have been suffering through a very long and cold winter.

I hope you enjoy it!

(Note:  In Canada, we think in Celsius so 0’C = 32’F )

I sure hope spring is around the corner.  After all, I saw a whole flock of Robins 2 weeks ago… and then it snowed again.

Has this been a long and cold winter for you?


Mar 162014

Earlier this week, I shared my “Clamping Adventure” where I used elastic bands to clamp the legs for a tri-legged pedestal table.  As silly as it sounds, it worked! IMG_1593   IMG_1604

I didn’t really have a plan for the tables until last week. While drooling over items on the Joss and Main website, I spotted this cute table and thought AHA!


Jessa Side Table Regular Price $152

My little pedestal tables would look amazing in ALUMINUM!

I also found this steel table at Overstock

Bailey from Overstock 72

Bailey Table

If you follow me, you may recall last December, I experimented with brush on metallic paint on a mirror frame.  I used a rust inhibitor paint in an aluminum  shade and I still had 3/4 of a can left.

Rust Paint in Aluminum

Rust Paint in Aluminum

One coat was all that was needed!

One coat was all that was needed!

I have been waiting for a project to come along so I could try this paint again!

To prepare the tables, the tops needed to be smoothed out.  The finish was bubbling and peeling so I used a stripper on the tops and then gave the tops a good sanding.  For the base, I did some light sanding and applied a de-glosser.

This paint is very thin compared to latex and a little bit of this paint goes a long way!  For the mirror, it went on so smooth, covered well and left no brush strokes but that piece was carved.

However, unlike the mirror frame, the surfaces of the table are smooth.  I found the paint ran easily on the vertical surfaces so I applied a very light coat.  Surprising it still covered well.

After First Coat
IMG_1621    IMG_1622

For the next coat, I developed a technique where I brushed the paint on with one sponge brush and then dry brushed over the paint with another sponge brush.  This really helped to smooth the finish and pick up any extra paint before it dripped.  I ended up doing 3 coats.

The final result was gorgeous!  However, I did note the pieces needed a topcoat because the finish was easily scuffed. 


This was taken before the topcoat and shows the light scuffs.

The final results are AMAZING!!!



Soft and subtle finish


The wood grain is still slightly visible.



The pedestal detail pops






Have you used metallic paint on wood?  Was it successful? 

I’d love to hear about your experience or your feedback on my little project.

To recap,  I had the glue, paint and topcoat products and the tables were $20 each! 

Lovely and unique tables for $40!

And So Much Nicer Than New


Feb 202014

It seems as though all of North America is having particularly cold winter.  We in Toronto have not been without our fair share of ice and snow.  I could gripe on but do you know what?  Let’s just get on with it!  My husband and I were avid skiers and embraced living in a colder climate long ago.  All you need to do is dress for it and winter can be the most amazing time of year.  Note I said “amazing” NOT “favourite”!

So when lst Saturday proved to be a beautiful and sunny day with near freezing temperatures, I took my work outside.  The back and south facing side of our home overlooks a ravine and it quite lovely.  So I dragged my work table (which is actually a dog grooming table 🙂 ) and stripped and sanded a couple of pieces I have been DYING to get to!  The north facing, unheated garage just doesn’t do it for me so there I was stripping and sanding … IN THE SNOW!

Here is the first table.  I found this last summer on the FREE section of Craigslist.  I was a bit disappointed to find it was not actually a “quality made” table.  In fact, I think it was originally from Walmart.  But what can I say?  It was FREE!  The finish on the top was thick so I needed to strip it. Did you know chemical strippers are not affected by temperature?  Actually, I think it was easier since it did not dry out!    I only stripped the horizontal parts because I was going to paint the vertical parts.  The oak veneer was quite lovely.


Oak veneer with solid frame… Walmart special!


Yep! We read the conservative Globe and Mail and yes! there is a report about Putin and the Olympics. GO TEAM CANADA!

I also started working on the Mid-Century Modern table my designer niece is coveting.  This too will have a stain and paint treatment.  Stay tuned!  t reminds me of the Jetson’s … man that must date me!


Solid Birch. Canadian Made. Mid Century Modern! LOVE!


Top is a mess but no fear!


There is grain under the mess!


WOW! I cannot wait to see this finished!!!!

The moral of this post is:  JUST DO IT!!!! Get  outside and love it when the sun is shining!

(Not recommended when the sun is not shining.  Then it kind of feels like WORK!  LOL!

 Stay Tuned!

These pieces will soon be

Nicer Than NEW!


Feb 162014

I live in Canada: aka “The Great White North”.  By no stretch of the imagination is Toronto a place where we are buried in snow for 6 months.  But every so often we get a particularly nasty winter.  This is one of them! It started with early snow, then a Christmas ice storm, followed by cold, snow, cold, snow, and more cold and snow! It is in winters like this when February can be the most debilitating month of all!

A few weeks ago I shared my post “MISSION: Colour” where I pulled a gorgeous colour out of a painting and used the colour, “Maxi Teal,” to paint my foyer table.


I love the VIBRANT colours in this triptych painting!


I selected SW “Maxi Teal” for the foyer table from some brush strokes  in the lower area of the painting,

Another predominant colour in the painting is GREEN!  There are so many shades but I seem to be particularly drawn to shades of APPLE GREEN!


So Many Beautiful Greens!

 I stumbled across a very cool website ( which describes colours, provides the hex value and even gives you specific matching paint colours from Sherwin Williams and Pantone!


Apple Green!

Here’s what it had to say about Apple Green:

‘Apple Green’ is a shade of Green that is 100% saturated and 71% bright.  For reference purposes, Apple Green has the hex value #8DB600.  Searching for paints similar to Apple Green?   Sherwin Williams® carries a paint called ‘Electric Lime‘, which is 95% similar to Apple Green.   Additionally, Pantone’s® color #376 is a 95% match.

 Isn’t that cool!  But it makes me wonder, “Who wrote up all this information?” 

The previous post was titled “MISSION: Colour” and as it suggests, it is just the beginning!  I have since begun adding colour in my living room.  We updated our living room in 2012 with new flooring and furniture.  Being forever “safe” we chose  cream coloured sofa and chairs so it is easy to accessorize.  However, at the time, I played it safe with golds and greys and a bit of pale turquoise.  That was the case until I picked up this little birdie last summer at HomeSense (the Canadian version of  HomeGoods).  He has been adding a perfect pop of colour to the coffee table or the mantle.


I love this little guy!  Doesn’t he make you smile?

As part of MISSION: Colour, I decided the easiest way to add colour to my living room would be to change up the pillows.  I have been sewing for decades so whipping up pillows is no challenge to me so I will not provide any “how to”  instructions.  But basically, you cut the fabric, add the zipper and sew up the sides!  (I imagine all my the non sewing readers are thinking “Easy for her to say!”).   I headed to my local  FabricLand where I found the most vibrant “jewel” coloured upholstery fabric in a soft chenille finish.  AND of course it was on sale so I bought a variety of colours.  I plan on making new covers for most of the cushions in  both the living and family room (which also has a “safe” palette).

Today, I would like to share the Apple Green lumbar pillows for the chairs.

Here is a look at the living room in December 2012.  This was taken shortly after new flooring and furniture, before drapes, before hanging any pictures and before the Apple Green Bird.  🙂

living room progress

A very safe colour palette.

I loved the look and still do but lately I need COLOUR!

Here’s a sneak peak on what I have done so far! But stay tuned because there are lots more colours to come!

green pillow

I am loving the change already!

The drapes in the picture are from FabricLand and were less than $90!  They look so posh and custom made!  The table in between the chairs is my Paris Table updated using chalk paint and the Mod Podge graphic transfer method.  It has not sold yet (.. and maybe won’t be!)  Check out post here.

In the fall, my husband visited his elderly parents in England.  His mom has always been a bit of a hoarder which sometimes can be good when you are the recipient of some old books from the early 1900s (not the bottom 2).  Titles from Victor Hugo, Thomas Hardy and Dickens! 

Doesn’t Apple Green look amazing with Crimson Red?  I love this combo! 

bird books

Sneak peak of my Green Apple Bird and a couple of his friends on the mantle.

The little white birds are part of a set of 4 napkin rings given to me several years ago.  They are so adorable!

That little green bird makes me smile and has been a wonderful source of fresh colour in the living room.  So on a recent trip to HomeSense, I spotted this adorable matching squirrel in my other favourite and inspiring colour TEAL!  Time the Apple Green bird had a friend!


I also love TEAL so I picked up a friend for the bird!

Stay tuned for more splashes of colour as I continue on to the next phase of MISSION: Colour!

Do you have a colour that makes you smile and feel happy the way Apple Green does for me?

If you do, please share!  Just like Apple Green, reading comments also make me smile and feel happy!



You may find me linking at these great parties.

Not every week and not all of them. Be sure to watch for me!


Heavens Garden
DIY Show Off
  Three Mango Seeds party
Monday Funday at TWCS
Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home Metamorphis Monday  
The DIY'ers
The Gunny Sack
cozy little house button  
A Stroll Thru Life
House on the Way A Bowl Full of Lemons
Kammy's Korner SoMe2
Ivy and Elephants
The DIY Dreamer
frog tiny
   photo 1001954_10101065966207063_96074138_n_zpsa41e371a.jpg
  Before and After Wednesday Image.jpg Photobucket vintage inspiration Be Inspired 300
 photo grabbutton2_zps7d635a69.png
Creativity Unleashed Link Party
birdsonawirebutton The Thrifty Groove DIY Vintage Chic Craft Dictator The Shabby Nest
  Tickled Pink at 504 Main Chic on a Shoestring Decorating Furniture Feature Fridays  
  nestwegg2 nestwegg2
Too Much Time On My Hands DIY It's Overflowing Live Love Create  
RRbutton125 TDC Before and After  

Jan 222014

We have had a glass topped rattan table in our kitchen for 20 years and the current chairs for 15 years.  Wow!  I didn’t realize it was that long! 

Because of the smallish size of our kitchen eating area and the amazing view out the window, we really like having a glass top table.  I purchased the rattan chairs back in the day from Pier One, again because of the slim lines and profile they work well in the space.  However, brownish rattan table base is quite dated and dull and the rattan on the chairs was getting very worn, chipped and faded.  About a year ago I thought about replacing them with something.   This however was after I had starting updating vintage furniture for others and buying old pieces and selling them.  So it was pretty hard to justify purchasing NEW. 

I thought about painting the chair rattan but nearly everyone told me I would regret it.  Finally, I came up with a plan and I am so happy with the outcome! 

Sadly, I don’t have the before pictures.

First I decided to paint the base of the table BLACK.  The colour is Behr’s “Black Suede” and I felt it adequately describes the look.  I choose black because the chair arms and legs are black. 

Sorry for the bad picture... I took it with my old phone.

Sorry for the bad picture… I took it with my old phone.

The finish almost looks like leather!

The finish almost looks like leather!


Since everyone told me to NOT paint the chairs I decided I would stain and varnish the chair rattan.  I sampled some stain I had on hand but it was too dark.  On my trip to Home Depot I spotted the Minwax Poly Shades display and BINGO!  I knew the solution: a stain and poly combo!

I have used this product before with success.  I selected Pecan and it was PERFECT!!


The chairs were very faded and the colour uneven from sitting by the sunny window and from wear.  What the PolyShades did was even out the colour and add a richness to the rattan as well as a nice satin gloss.

I could not have been happier! 
The change was subtle but so much nicer! 
Plus the Polyurathane should protect the rattan from further wear.

(Sorry no good before pics)

The PolyShades brightened the colour and evened out the colour differences caused by wear.

The PolyShades brightened the colour and evened out the colour differences caused by wear.


Where you see a darker brown now was previously nearly ivory.
The PolyShades really evened it out and of course sealed the rattan.

rattan chair 1

Front of the Chair


The chair backs which had very little wear look like new!


We face south and winter’s afternoon sun floods my kitchen!


Originally the table base was the colour of the chairs.
Black is such an improvement.


Today’s view is not exceptional.
It is beautiful when the snow clings to the trees.
Note the willow trees on the left: they are HUGE!
Also note the large fallen branch in the middle.
Damage from December’s ice storm.

I still think these pieces are great for this space and with these simple changes, I don’t think the set looks as tired and faded.

And of course they are

Nicer Than New !!
(and CHEAPER!)

Have you use painted or stained rattan? 
How did yours turn out? 

And have you ever tried these stain and varnish in one products? 
Were you happy with the outcome?

I’d love to here from you!



You may find me linking at these great parties.

Not every week and not all of them. Be sure to watch for me!


Heavens Garden
DIY Show Off
  Three Mango Seeds party
Monday Funday at TWCS
Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home Metamorphis Monday  
The DIY'ers
The Gunny Sack
cozy little house button
A Stroll Thru Life
House on the Way A Bowl Full of Lemons
Photobucket SoMe2
Ivy and Elephants
The DIY Dreamer
frog tiny
 photo 1001954_10101065966207063_96074138_n_zpsa41e371a.jpg Before and After Wednesday Image.jpg vintage inspiration Be Inspired 300  
 photo grabbutton2_zps7d635a69.png
Creativity Unleashed Link Party
birdsonawirebutton The Thrifty Groove DIY Vintage Chic Craft Dictator The Shabby Nest
  Tickled Pink at 504 Main Chic on a Shoestring Decorating Furniture Feature Fridays
  nestwegg2 nestwegg2
Too Much Time On My Hands DIY It's Overflowing Live Love Create  
RRbutton125 TDC Before and After  

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