Dec 312013
 

Today is New Years Eve!  Wow!  Another year has passed and so quickly. 

When I look back, I realize how blessed I am.  I have a loving patient husband and a beautiful 17 year old daughter who never ceases to amaze me.  She is bright, talented, kind and mature beyond her years.  This time next year, she will be away at university and this house will never be the same.  We have always treasured every moment with her but as she matures our moments are not always as frequent as they used to be.

Last year, I introduced a “Smile Jar” to our kitchen counter. 

It’s not much to look at. 

Just a boring old Mason Jar.

No label. No fancy lid. 

Just a jar.

It’s what’s inside the jar that is precious.

2013 Smile Jar

2013 Smile Jar

You see, the purpose of a smile jar is  to collect all the moments that made us smile throughout the year. 

To be honest, the jar should be much fuller because 2013 was a joyous year.

I guess that just shows us how much we take our happiness for granted. 

Tonight over dinner, we will open the jar and take out all the little moments and read them out.

I can’t wait!

Have a very happy and safe New Year’s Eve
and a
happy and healthy 2014.


Joan

 

Dec 292013
 

I have  been blogging for only FOUR months and I am loving it!  The writing aspect is a great creative outlet for me but in particular, I love sharing my projects with friends, family and well… the blog world! 

Sharing my projects on Linky Parties has been tremendously rewarding, not to mention flattering when I receive accolades from so many incredibly talented people.

In this post, I will share:

  • some of my 2013 “before and after” projects from my pre blogging days and
  • my 5 most popular posts since September!

Enjoy and I hope you will follow me into 2014 and share my journey!  I have a feeling it will be busy, exciting and fun!

xoxo

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Pre-Blog Projects

Paulia’s Dining Room Update

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Four very dark chairs for $2 each!

P.'s Dining Chair

Pretty chairs in cream and turquoise!

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Table mid-painting

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Delivered!

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Two ugly dark side chairs.
Ripped by a pesky cat!

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Saved from the dump with
the power of paint and fabric!

 

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The Green Monster

A green monster gets new caning and new paint.

A green monster gets new caning and new paint.

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Vintage Vanity Chair Update
with Homemade Chalk Paint
and new upholstery

Unique chair updated with HM Chalk Paint and paisley fabric.  SOLD

Unique chair updated with HM Chalk Paint and paisley fabric.
I did love the original bark cloth but it was in bad shape.

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Holy Cowboy!
What a change!

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Retro phone table goes Cowboy!
Loved this project!

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 Vintage Coffee Table
to
Tufted Bench

Coffee table to Bedroom Ottoman

Coffee table to Bedroom Ottoman

 

This was such a fun project!  I recently did another one. I will share soon!

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 Glamming-up a 
Boring Vintage Student Desk

Top now walnut stained with painted base and hardware.

Top now walnut stained with painted base and hardware.
I loved this transformation and so did the new owner!

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FIVE of my Most Popular Blog Posts

#5 Toronto Sunday Market Visit

 

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The things you can find at this market are wonderful!

 

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#4 Could I Be an Estate Sale Addict?

Sadly, my surprisingly spacious Rav4 just did not have any room left!

Sadly, my surprisingly spacious Rav4 just did not have any room left!

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#3 For the Love of Orange

desk and chair copy

Upcycled vintage student desk for a boy who loves orange!

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#2 Little Chair Big Numbers

Painted numbers

Pottery Barn Inspired Chair

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#1 Mid Century Makeover for $1.50!

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Someone else’s trash is now someone’s treasure!

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Well that’s it for 2013! 

I am so excited to get started, in earnest, in 2014. 

PLEASE follow me on my journey into the Blog Sphere! 
I love to hear from you and share all the wonderful projects we do.

Have a safe and happy new year and I will see you in 2014!

 Posted by at 5:36 pm
Oct 282013
 
Cody

My dog’s idea of keeping me company while I work!

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Okay, I admit it.  I pick up other people’s trash.
It started a year ago.
Now it’s an addiction.
When walking the dog or driving, I’m on the look out.
I make U-turns.  I scurry back to the site.
What can I say?

Last year, while walking my dog on trash day, I spotted a beat up but very solid wooden parson’s table.  It had apparently been used  as a play / colouring table for kids because it was a mess of paints, crayons and gouges.  But it was solid,  nothing sanding and paint would not fix.  I zoomed over later with my car and brought it home.

Sadly I don’t have a true before picture but let me say, this little table has become a very useful practice piece for me.

Life #1:  It was  sanded down and spray painted with a metallic paint.  Sadly, the top was not sanded smooth enough to look good.

Life #2: The top was  re-sanded, removing the paint.  I decided I didn’t want it to be metallic so I just left it and used it as a low work table.

Life #3:  It became a test piece for transferring graphics with Citra-Solve and Mod Podge

So here it is in it’s hodge podge state of metallic paint, a bit of primer and graphics transfer samples.

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Life #4  for this table was inspired by Beckie at Infarrantly Creative.
Using an 80’s style coffee table., Beckie created an ingenious LEGO TABLE for her kids.
Her table is GORGEOUS!  She really had a great vision!  I think she should patent those plans!

My idea for this table was to NOT make it cute or perfect.  This little table is my second Great Aunt project and will be used by three little boys.  Repeat: THREE boys!  So as a play table, it should be capable of taking some abuse.

Using left over ivory homemade chalk paint, I painted the frame with one coat then lightly distressed it, allowing the grey metallic paint to show through.  I reversed printed a CONSTRUCTION COMPANY SIGN using their last name on two sides and a shorted version on the other two sides.  I applied the words using the Modge Podge method I used here.

Since the Mod Podge needs to thoroughly dry, I moved on to a chair I was painting black.  Every time I looked over at the little table I thought it just looked too…

CLEAN and WHITE.

Especially for a “construction crew”.

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On my way to wash the black paint out of my brush, I took a chance and

DRY BRUSHED the table with BLACK.
YES!!! A grunge look!

Grunge! That’s more like it!

 

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The Mod Podge transfer worked very well.
Now for the Lego Plates.

I used a carpenter square to make sure the Lego Building Plates were level with each other and Weldbond glue.  I placed a large heavy book and a weight on them and waited for them to dry.

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A large Rubbermaid bin fits under it!
(NO they do not have that much Lego! LOL)

I love how it turned out.   It definitely has a “masculine” look about it.
I am not going to wax or apply Varathane either.
I would say it’s rough and ready for building!

I’d say it’s definitely

“Nicer Than New”

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You may find me linking at these great parties.
Not every week and not all of them. Be sure to watch for me!

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Oct 082013
 
Isn't she beautiful?

Isn’t she lovely?

Up here in Ontario, Canada there is a company called Max-Sold which is an on-line auction usually selling household items for people who want to down-size.  I liken it to an mega on-line  garage sale.  Personally, I find it pretty neat.  There can be some real bargains to be had.  Especially, if you have a truck and can pick up and move LARGE items like big china cabinets.  You are in for some incredible bargains… like $1!   Much to my husband’s chagrin, I REALLY like checking out the auctions  happening in the Toronto area.

A few weeks ago, I picked up this really lovely pressback rocker.  In reality, I should have asked myself: “Do YOU need a rocker??”  And the definitive answer would have been “NO!”  But why let that stop you when you see the curvy spindles, the carved back and the gorgeous profile!  Needless to say, at the end of the auction, she was MINE!

I’m going to call her “Rita“.  (I’m not sure why I  have this urge to name my pieces, but bear with me…).  When I picked up Rita, I flipped her over and noticed a very dark, stained and worn out label on her bottom.  She is a Heywood Brothers – Wakefield piece.

Heywood03

Lovely Rita!

Now do you get it??  “Rita Heywood”.
Okay maybe I’m just weird.

Thank you Google!  Because of you I was able to waste spend time doing a bit of research.  My findings are not conclusive but it would appear the Heywood Brothers joined up with Mr. Wakefield  in 1897 and used a similar label at the Baltimore plant between 1897 and 1921.  So Rita could be an antique and then maybe not.

Rita will definitely get a new caned seat BUT my question is:

DO I REFINISH HER OR DO I PaINT HER???

I know my answer already.

What’s yours??

 Posted by at 3:45 pm
Sep 302013
 

St_L_49 Today, I would like to share photos from my visit to the Sunday Antique Market at the St.  Lawrence Market in downtown Toronto.   Saturday is the big food day in the  main historical building.  On Sunday, this building is closed but the North Building, a not so impressive structure, is busy with Antique and Collectible dealers.

Friends and I often attend events at the  St. Lawrence Market  and our favourite has to be the Executive Chef Series in the Miele Gallery in the Market Kitchen.  To be honest, any foodie event in this historical building is fabulous.  I am proud to say, National Geographic names the St. Lawrence Market the #1 Food Market in the WORLD!

I had never been to this antique market and was excited to check it out.
Perhaps it could be a venue for my business.
We’ll see.

It was a PERFECT Ontario fall day with warm seasonable temperatures and lots of sun.  The Sunday antique market opens at 5:00 a.m.  but I arrived around 10 and some vendors were just finishing setting up.  The tables and booths are both inside and out.  The outside area is in front of the building and there is a lovely courtyard beside the building with trees and benches.  There  was  a HUGE variety of items for sale.  Some typical.  Some interesting.  Some down right weird, as you will see in  my photos.

Come along and enjoy a piece of my beautiful city, Toronto!

Let’s start Outside of the Historic Market building

Front view, looking east. Note the construction cones. There's always construction everywhere.  Paddington's Pump on the right is open for breakfast. They are famous for their Reuben sandwiches.

Front view, looking east. Note the construction cones. There’s always construction everywhere. Paddington’s Pump on the right is open for breakfast. They are famous for their Reuben sandwiches.

Looking west: old meets new. The  curved building is called the "L Tower" and will be 57 stories and 600 luxurious condo suites.

Looking west: old meets new. The curved building is called the “L Tower” and will be 57 stories and 600 luxurious condo suites.

Front Facade. The large second floor windows on the right is the location of the Market Kitchen.

Front Facade. The large second floor windows on the right is the location of the Market Kitchen.

East side of the Main Market. The building runs a city block.

East side of the Main Market. The building runs a city block.

West side of Main building has outdoor restaurant seating for Paddington's Pump.

West side of Main building has outdoor restaurant seating for Paddington’s Pump.

These red banners are everywhere and WHY NOT?

These red banners are everywhere and WHY NOT?

Now, Let’s have a look at the North Building
where the Sunday Market takes place.

The not so historically beautiful North Building.  Front Street entrance

The not so historically beautiful North Building. Front Street entrance

Vendor stalls in front of the North Building and trucks unloading

Vendor stalls in front of the North Building and trucks unloading

Farmer / Food Vendor carts waiting for next week.

Farmer / Food Vendor carts waiting for next week.

Antique and collectible vendor stalls in the outdoor courtyard.

Antique and collectible vendor stalls in the outdoor courtyard.

Antique and collectible vendor stalls in the outdoor courtyard. Great place to sip coffee and people watch

Antique and collectible vendor stalls in the outdoor courtyard. Great place to sip coffee and people watch

Shall we go inside now?

Love the vintage signs. The North Building is also used for the farmers' market on Saturdays.

Love the vintage signs. The North Building is also used for the farmers’ market on Saturdays.

Hundreds of vendors, tables and people and it's only 10:15 a.m

Hundreds of vendors, tables and people and it’s only 10:15 a.m

Okay!  Let’s have a look around!

The following photos are from stalls both inside and outside.  There was just so many cool items and artisan’s work, I could have taken photos all day.

Beware, the photo list is LONG!

I was a good girl and only bought one thing I will show you later and it was a gift.  Here we go!

Sweet cherubs

Sweet cherubs

Blue themed display.  I think I want that dog!

Blue themed display. I think I want that dog!

Vintage china.  So beautiful!

Vintage china. So beautiful!

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I fell in love with this Norwegian made wool blanket. But at $150, I had to give it a pass.

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In this display we have an antique cradle and an axe and a cleaver. Is it just me or is this a bit creepy?

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Like I said earlier… some weird stuff.

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I am not entirely sure what these are. I am thinking music box or piano but they are usually in a cylinder.  Maybe it’s weaving ?? I should have asked!

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Antique Spice rack. A place for your cookbook and drawers that are really jars! Clever and so sweet!

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Something here for the Betty Boop lover in all of us!

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I didn’t know there was a paper called the Toronto Telegram. Closed long before I came here.

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Probably the weirdest and most creepiest display! That head looked so real! I think they were selling vintage hats among other things.

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More typical and less scary merchandise.

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Back to weird!

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Even bicycles for sale!

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Eclectic display.

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One of the few vintage furniture dealers.

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Same booth as the yellow tables. The French provincial set had very large handles you don’t often see.

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I could have browsed and rummaged all day!

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Vintage quilts. I have one of these ironing boards somewhere…

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Ahhhhh… the cherubs again

I lOve jewelry made from silverware.  It was here I bought my one item.  A key chain for $5 for my newly licensed driver daughter!

I LOVE jewelry made from silverware. It was here I bought my one item. A key chain for $5 for my newly licensed driver daughter!

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This is so politically incorrect!

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Vintage typewriters

This display was so bright and shiny, I had trouble getting a good picture

This display was so bright and shiny, I had trouble getting a good picture

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There were many vendors selling vintage furs. Again, they are no longer accepted in our society but man they are warm in our Canadian climate!

There were lots of jewelry vendors of all types. I liked how this vendor used a vintage sewing basket to display her vintage jewelry.

There were lots of jewelry vendors of all types. I liked how this vendor used a vintage sewing basket to display her vintage jewelry.

his woman from Guatemala was demonstrating how to "Back Strap" weave.

This woman from Guatemala was demonstrating how to “Back Strap” weave.

This woman from Guatemala was demonstrating how to "Back Strap" weave.

Note the strap across her back which anchors the loom at one end while the other end is tied to something secure.

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The sale of these woven items support Guatemalan women’s guilds.

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The owner of this cutie was setting up his booth selling vintage shearling bomber jackets. Lots of Starbucks was being consumed since it is just down the street

Speaking of Starbucks, it’s time for another coffee!

But one last picture!

A block from the St Lawrence Market is my FAVORITE building in Toronto,
the GOODERMAN BUILDING,
often referred to as the “Flatiron Building”.

Facing the front of the building, the downtown core soars behind it.  One way to track the growth of towers in Toronto is to review the thousands of photos and paintings of this building since it’s completion in 1892.

Here it is captured on September 29th, 2013.

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I hope you enjoyed your visit to a little corner of historical Toronto.

What was your favourite part?

Sep 182013
 

Did you see the musical Rock of Ages?

Did you love it?

It was in Toronto a few years ago and the whole family went to a matinee
and we “rocked on” as they say!

So today when I was taking photos of some upcoming projects I couldn’t help but see the tie-in…

Rock of Ages 1

Look at these beauties!
All rockers and from all different time periods!
ROCKERS OF AGES!

They are DYING to join the 21st century!

What paint and upholstery transformation
would make YOU want to park your butt in one of these lovelies?

I have my own ideas but help me out here!
Not only will I give you credit, I think we can all benefit from shared ideas!

Hey kid, rock and roll
Rock on, ooh, my soul
Hey kid, boogey too, did ya
Hey shout, summertime blues
Jump up and down in my blue suede shoes
Hey kid, rock and roll, rock on
And where do we go from here
Which is the way that’s clear
Still looking for that blue jean, baby queen
Prettiest girl I ever seen
See her shake on the movie screen, Jimmy Dean
(Jimmy Dean)
….
Sep 072013
 

Today’s a rainy day which is perfect for the projects I have in mind.

In this post I’d like to introduce another of my past times: reading and our book club.  For me personally, painting furniture and books are a perfect combo.  You see, I really love to paint and I really love to read.  But often, reading makes me feel restless and guilty that I should be doing other things… like painting.  This is where audio books come in!

Listening to a good book and painting is a perfect marriage! 

Hours can slip away!  I can be busy and my mind is still working.  If is is a book club selection, we always have the physical book so we can make notes and references in the books.  (Yes, we write in our books!)

Tonight is our book club meeting which my hubbie and I will be hosting.  This meeting’s book is Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell.  It is  incredibly well written with intricately crafted threads.  I am sure the discussion will be very stimulating.

cloud atlas

Book Store

To the left, is a photo of the book cover most of the book club members will have tonight. To the right is our copy of the book. Tonight, no one will have a cover like ours.  Because no one less has this guy living with them!

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Cody: He devours books!

my cloud atlas

My copy & the SECOND replacement cover! 

 

 

In addition to our great conversations regarding the book, it is also an opportunity to be with some of the most amazing people I have had the fortune of befriending.  We’re a very eclectic group who were initially pulled together through our daughters’ participation in competitive dance.  Over the four plus years, the membership has been organic, losing some and adding others from other friendship circles.

We even allow husbands! 
and wow are they keen!

In addition to loving books, we love FOOD!  Not just any old food:  good foodie food!  Being a potluck affair, we often try to develop a menu in theme with the book.  For example, for tonight someone suggested “SOAP”… a food a futuristic character was forced to eat or steak tartar since cannibals are featured.  These were mostly jokes but we’ll see.  The best example of having a theme had to be Eat Pray Love.  Dishes from each of the countries were featured: India, Italy and Indonesia.  The best part was I brought in a yogi friend and we had a class in our family room!  So fun!

As I continue to develop the blog I will include posts about our book club and our crazy, wine-infested meetings.  But right now, I have a ton of stuff to do including reviewing my notes for tonight’s meeting.

If you’ve read Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, I’d love to hear your comments!

 Posted by at 10:23 am
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