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 132013
 

Mr. Nice is coming home from England today after a week long stay with his elderly parents.  Yes, my hubbie is an ex-pat Brit who came here to work in his twenties and soon made Canada his home.   Some of his more British loves are table tennis, soccer (football) and snooker!  So 20 years ago when we were house hunting and we toured this house, he could barely contain himself when he discovered it came with a full sized snooker table.  Full size meaning 6 ft x 12 ft!  Yes, it is big.  So there are also some big bare walls around it.

(When guests see the snooker table and comment on its size, I always reply “Yes, we bought a snooker table and the house came with it!”)

Back in October when I FINALLY unpacked my Silhouette Cameo and used it to create a stencil for my Pottery Barn inspired Chair, I also shared the photo below of the bare wall behind Mr. Nice’s big ass snooker table.  This wall  used to have a very large knock off painting I picked up at HomeSense.  However, the painting has since found a better home in our dining room. 

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Instead of buying something for this wall, I decided I would create something…. perhaps something British.

And this is what I came up with:

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The background is BURGUNDY… not black or rust or whatever it appears like in the picture!

I had picked up a couple big canvasses at Michael’s (using coupons of course). 

I created the stencil using my Silhouette Cameo and cheapo dollar store Con-tact paper..  Before sticking on the stencil I painted the centre area ivory.  Now I am not sure if it was because I painted it first or the fact that is canvas and bumpy, the cheapo Con-Tact paper did not stick very well.  I decided to persevere and try to be very careful when I painted.  I even did the important step of painting over the stencil in the background colour to create a seal.  This step may have helped a little but in the end, I needed to spend an hour touching up the lettering.  If you stand close you can see imperfections but across the table, I think it looks great!

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In case you are wondering about the long wall, to the left of the view above, it has the scoreboard, the rules of snooker and a big picture of Tiger Woods. 

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 So when you’re lining up your snooker shot, you are faced with
Tiger lining up a putt!

I wonder what Mr. Nice will say about our new piece of “art”? 
A good thing about this piece is, if we get tired of it, we can just paint something else over it!

What do you think? 
Are you a fan of the “Carry On” posters or
do you think they are over done?

Love to hear from you! 

Joan

Nov 042013
 

Mr. Nice and I have a time-share through Club Intrawast but sadly, for the last couple of years we have not been able to use all our time allotment.   This year as our deadline approached, we offered up our time to our friends but in the end, we were still going to lose a few days.  At the last minute, I TOLD Mr. Nice who is also Mr. Busy, we were going to spend 5 days at the Club Intrawest property in Sandestin, Florida … so get packing!

We hadn’t been to Florida in years and when we did go, we were visiting Disney World with our daughter.  We didn’t know much about this part of Florida.  All we needed to know was there was GOLF!  and we hoped the weather would be warm enough for sitting by the pool and or the beach.

We were so pleasantly surprised!  We LOVED this area and hope to go back many more times!

First of all, the end of October is between busy seasons so it was not crowded at all.

Secondly, we were blessed with PERFECT weather!

Lastly and best of all, we could not get over the WHITE SAND on the beaches!
To us Canadians, it looked like snow!

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When I say it wasn’t busy, I wasn’t kidding!
This is the beach near Seaside.

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These darling little sandpipers kept us company and amused.
They’re so quick and cute!

The golf courses were also not busy and by shopping around on the net, we found fabulous deals on green fees.  BONUS!
We played  four rounds in total and usually around 7:45 and each time, we were the first or one of the first groups to go out.
So these beautiful courses were essentially EMPTY!
I felt like Donald Trump!

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Beautiful, graceful egrets;

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The Raven Golf club was one of our favourites and we played it twice.
There were beautiful ornamental grasses with reddish plumes. Gorgeous.
This egret seemed to be showing off for us.

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The view of the bay and Choctawhatchee Mid-Bay Bridge from Emerald Bay Golf Club in Destin.
The Bridge is a 141-span, 3.6 mile (5.8 km) bridge connecting the mainland to the Destin beaches.

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All the Golf courses had beautiful homes surrounding them. Imagine living on a golf course and a bay like this!

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Looking the opposite way from the bridge.

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Enough touristy stuff! Get back to playing! Mr. Nice teeing off.

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The Links Golf Club has water on almost every hole making it very pretty and not mention, difficult!

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I wonder how long it will take this guy to cross the fairway and reach the water?

Our golf games were finished in two hours so we were home for lunch and had the rest of the days ahead of us.  We checked out the beaches, hung out at the pool, browsed some funky shops in nearby Seaside and of course hit the outlet mall like all good Canadian tourists!

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How inviting is this? Nap anyone?

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Don’t you just hate it when all the lounge chairs are taken?

The nearby town of Seaside had a number of fun shops to browse around.  Sadly, the items I liked were a bit to big and bulky to take home on the plane. The little town is very funky and artsy and it was obvious it must be packed in high season.  There were so many places right on the Gulf.  All that white sand.  Heaven!

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Cute little post office on the main street.
(Why is that pole right in the middle of my picture??)

In the heart of the town are a line of small Vintage Airstream trailers lined up, side by side.  In Seaside’s early days, many of the owners building homes stayed in Airstream trailers—“land yachts”—awaiting completion.  Now, they house independent food vendors.  The  food aromas were enticing!

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Airstream food vendors.

There were so many cute shops and art galleries to browse through.  I particularly liked Amore By The Sea which offered a collection of funky art, unique home accent treasures from around the world, reclaimed wood furniture, jewelry and more.  I snapped a few pics but if you want to see more items, I’ve added the link to their website above.

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I loved these unusual glass and wood / root sculptures. Sadly too bulky to take home on the plane.

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Fabulous carved bowls and unique sculptures.

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Isn’t he a cutey?

On our last full day, just as we were finishing our golf game a the Links, it started to pour.  PERFECT!  Off to the Outlet Mall!  Mr. Nice went a bit crazy and came home with 3 pairs of shoes, 4 golf shirts, 4 sports shirts, 1 dress shirt, 2 pairs of shorts, 2 caps, and God knows what else.  Needless to say, it was not a shopping day for me!

I wish I had more pictures to share!  Maybe that’s a sign I was having a REALLY GOOD TIME!

We can’t wait to visit the Florida Panhandle again!

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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”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

RRbutton125 Heavens Garden Three Mango Seeds DIY Show Off GiveMeTheGoodsMondaynewbutton
Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home
party   Monday Funday at TWCS  
Metamorphis Monday
Inspire Me
Tuesday @
A Stroll
Thru Life
A Bowl Full of Lemons
Photobucket
Tuesday
Inspiration
Exchange
Linky Party
The DIY Dreamer MamaBuzz
  Ivy and Elephants

frog tiny

startathome
  photo grabbutton2_zps7d635a69.png
birdsonawirebutton
The Thrifty Groove Tickled Pink at 504 Main The Shabby Nest  
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating jenrizzo DIY Vintage Chic Craft Dictator Photobucket  
Furniture Feature Fridays
  vintage inspiration Be Inspired 300
nestwegg2
DIY It's Overflowing     TDC Before and After  

Oct 232013
 

The prospect of becoming a Grandmother is many years off in my future.  However, I have had the privilege of being a Great-Aunt many times over.  Of late, I seem to have an urge to practice the grandmother role and my niece’s adorable little boys have been my target.  There are THREE of them ages 7 and under!  I love reading her Facebook posts of a life with boys.  Having had only one child, a daughter, I can only imagine her life with three boys.

One of my current painting projects is a cool little something for the  little guys.  I’m loving how it is coming along but it’s not quite done.  In the meantime, I thought I would share the bedroom furniture I finished last summer for Xander, the 7 year old.

In the spring,  I scored a free vintage children’s desk and dresser.  It’s just too difficult to turn down decent FREE furniture…even when you have absolutely no use for it!  So I offered to paint them for Xander’s room.   He happens to LOVE ORANGE.  To tame the orange theme, my niece also selected a grey and blue.  Perhaps I need to qualify the last sentence … My niece and her certified interior designer sister selected the colours.  They are all from all Benjamin Moore:

My nieces live in another city so we used Pinterest to gather and share ideas on a shared board.  Pinterest was the perfect tool for collaborating on this project.  However, there were so many options and super creative ideas out there, I just couldn’t decide for the longest time.  In the end, I chose to paint stripes and I am happy I did!

This project was pre-blogging but I always tried to take pictures of my projects.  (Perhaps I foresaw my blogging future?)
I LOVE how the pieces turned out.  The stripes remind me of race cars!

Xander chair copy

Cleaning and prepping in the sun

desk and chair copy

I love the orange and grey combo!

Done cropped copy

If I were a 7 year old boy, I think I would love it!

I spray painted the knobs in Rustoleum’s Brushed Nickel and replaced the more ornate pulls with simple ones from Home Depot, so to not distract from the clean lines.

The chair in the pictures was a Goodwill find and the local Fabricland had the perfect orange upholstery fabric in the remnants bin.

These may not be to my personal taste but I love how it all came together
and  Xander now has a very cool big boy room!

These pieces are so unique and much

“Nicer Than New”!

Be sure to come back and see my next Great Aunt project.

Oct 122013
 
Haunt-2013_HDR

Canada’s Wonderland Halloween Haunt 2013

“Canada’s Wonderland Halloween Haunt sets the stage for everything that the worst nightmares are made of with 10 horrific mazes, 3 mind-bending scare zones, 3 live shows, hair-raising rides, and over 700 undead spirits and monsters lurking in the shadows preying on the innocent.”

Canada’s Wonderland is an amazing amusement park just north of Toronto and for 13 days in October, it not only operates the zooming and looming roller coasters, it provides an additional shot of adrenaline in the form of creepy, scary pure terror!  Or so I am told.

And my 17 year old daughter is one of the “undead spirits”.   Her official job description is “Maze Monster” but her actual role is a madam of an opium den in the Terror of London maze.

Now how is that for your first real paying job?

The monsters and clowns arrive at 5:00 p.m. to get their makeup done by professionally trained make-up artists and they are good!  Then my baby spends her evenings jumping out of dark shadows, whispering creepy things in people’s ears, getting up into people’s faces and generally acting very scary.

Here she is at age 7.

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We should have seen it coming!

Sep 222013
 

Today, I want to write about how creative people use their talents to help others.

The Drawing Hope Project is the brainchild of a talented photographer living in Guelph, Ontario, Canada.  His photographic creations for this project are so unique they are difficult to describe with mere words.  However, I feel  Shawn Van Daele summarizes it best on his website:

“I take drawings done by children born or living with health conditions, and turn them into magical photographs – starring themselves – for a storybook series filled with HOPE.”

Click on the links above or the photo below to see Shawn’s creations, read his story and be inspired.
On the Drawing Hope Project Contact page, find out how a child, suffering from a debilitating health problem can request be part of his initiative.

 "We can only appreciate the miracle of a sunrise if we have waited in the darkness”


“We can only appreciate the miracle of a sunrise if we have waited in the darkness”

Although I have never met Shawn, I became aware of his endeavors through one of his long time friends, a very talented quilter who just happens to be my  lovely niece Sheilagh.  Recently, Sheilagh helped bring happiness and assistance to the family of Marco, the subject of the photo above.  Sheilagh designed and created an “I Spy” themed quilt with over 400 squares.  She solicited donors to sponsor each square and the proceeds were given to the family last weekend.
Click on the photo below to read her very touching account of her  visit to Marco and his family.

Marco's Quilt

Marco’s Quilt

Sheilagh is a full time Interior Designer by day and in her “spare” time, the creative owner of Lay It On Me Baby   (Isn’t that a great name for a quilting business?!) Although she creates quilts of all types, I especially like her baby quilts and crib sets.  Each one is very unique with a theme and design meticulously planned and tailored to the client’s decor and colour palette.   They are so adorable!

Samples
Be sure to visit her blog and website to see her creations.
Contact her to discuss ordering a custom made gift for someone!
Christmas is just around the corner!

I have been so inspired and humbled by these artists and their endeavors to bring happiness to others.

Visit their websites and be inspired too.

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