Jul 072014
 

I have been having a lot of fun sprucing up our upper terrace and in particular the very boring brick wall.  The outdoor mirror has been a real hit with us and our guests.  I just love the added dimension it gives to this outdoor space. So I decided to create an outdoor vignette.

composite copy

Most years, I add a couple pots of flowers and put them more in the centre of the railing where there is an angle to the shape of the deck.  But this year, with the added mirror, I decided to sort of “decorate” around the mirror.  This way, not only could the person sitting in the “non-view” chair see what is behind him or her, they could also look at a display of flowers and nature.

As I previously mentioned, this upper terrace gets a great deal of shade from the crappy maple tree next to it.  I say crappy because there is ALWAYS some debris falling off on to the deck.  Over the years, I have fell in love with the BEST SHADE FLOWER EVER:  Tuberous Begonias!!  Their flower looks like a rose in full bloom and they bloom well into our cool autumns here in Toronto.

So I started my vignette with a big pot with these gorgeous flowers in them.

Outdoor Vignette

Tuberous Begonias

Nice, clean look but displays are better with an odd number of items…

So how about my owl on its freshened up  plant stand.  Super!

For the third element I have used some of the birch tree branches I collected after the winter ice storm.  

pinnable miror 2 copy

I rather like this look!  It was an incredibly boring brick wall and now, it has reflection, colour and more nature!

AND for me with my fractured tibia, it is a GORGEOUS place to sit, read , contemplate while all the time my foot is up and being iced!

This is a real first time I have REALLY tried to “decorate” outdoors
but for me it makes one of my most favourite features of our home really inviting!

Do you “decorate” your outdoor spaces? 
Please share!

I absolutely LOVE comments and read each and every one of them!

Joan

May 262014
 

Twenty years ago, Mr. Nice and I moved into what we were certain would be a forever home.  We were a couple of DINKs at the time (Double Income No Kids) and wanted a special home with character, entertainment space and perhaps a ravine lot.  When we walked through this house with the realtor, we were not impressed with the decor but we sure were impressed with the lot, the layout and of course the full sized snooker table in the large family room on the lower walkout level.  I often joke,”We bought a snooker table and the house came with it!”  LOL. 

Move ahead a few years and my company down-sized, I took a severence package and took some time to re-think my life.  During this time, although we were in our late thirties, we decided to have a baby.  In 1996, we were blessed with a beautiful and tiny baby girl.  Here comes the fun part.  One of my neighbours announced she too was pregnant and a few months later, a new family moved in and they too were expecting a baby.  So in the summer of 1996, on a court of only 7 houses, THREE babies were born, our daughter and two boys.   The other families also had daughters a couple years older than the babies so we had 5 young children.   Needless to say, we all became great friends.  We used to pull up our lawn chairs in the street and watch the kids on their trikes and wagons and bikes and roller blades.

Tredvalley_gang_May97 2

Our motley crew in May 1997.
( I never said all the pictures were “good”)

 All three girls ended up dancing at the same dance studio. Car-pooling was a breeze!   The girls continued with dance for many years and the boys moved on to hockey. 

I have always enjoyed photography and have dozens of photo albums to prove it.  So it just seemed natural that I became the Memory Keeper.  I always had my camera or our video camera on hand for every get-togther.  The everyday stuff and the special day stuff too.    The little dancers were always putting on “shows” for us which sometimes involved lipstick and tutus on everyone…. including the boys.  My photos and footage have been useful in marking more recent events like significant birthdays and graduation.

Interestingly, the three 1996 babies never went to the same school. For elementary one Roman Catholic, one public and one French Immersion.  The same happened when they entered high school. 

Roll ahead to 2014… as a result of invitations by local friends, they ALL went to the same prom!  I think the families were more excited about this fact than the kids were!   And of course there had to be a photo session and in front of our fireplace was the spot.  You see EVERY year on Halloween, prior to the dads taking them Trick or Treating, we met in our home and took their picture in front of our fireplace.

This was one of the "dark" years.  2002

This was one of the “dark” years. 2002

Now back to Prom Night…

THAT WAS THEN

FB_1997
And
THIS IS NOW

FB_all3

WHAT A GOOD LOOKING GROUP!

IMG_1746

…and Miss Nice still thinks they’re crazy!

I fear in the age of digital photography with phones, the role of “Memory Keeper” will be lost. 
I wish more people would take the time to sort and store and PRINT!

So many people snap and share and then move on. 

Mr. Nice and I and the other two sets of parents treasure all the pictures we have taken and shared. 

Those five kids believe they grew up on the best street ever!
And now they love to sit and watch the crazy videos we took of them. 
Many are hysterical!

Do you have a Memory Keeper in your life?

“Beautiful hours move so quickly.”
― Irene Hunt, Up a Road Slowly  

Time is so fleeting!

 

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.

DSCN2048

I love the VIBRANT colours in this triptych painting!

DSCN2047

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!

Greens

So Many Beautiful Greens!

 I stumbled across a very cool website (http://colors.findthedata.org) which describes colours, provides the hex value and even gives you specific matching paint colours from Sherwin Williams and Pantone!

Apple

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.

greenbird

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!

squirrel

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!

Joan

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

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
GiveMeTheGoodsMondaynewbutton
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
MamaBuzz
   photo 1001954_10101065966207063_96074138_n_zpsa41e371a.jpg
  Before and After Wednesday Image.jpg Photobucket vintage inspiration Be Inspired 300
Nancherrow
startathome
 photo grabbutton2_zps7d635a69.png
Creativity Unleashed Link Party
jenrizzo  
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 302014
 

There is no doubt I love paintings with trees and in particular, birch trees.  I have 4 paintings in my home featuring birch trees!

The original oil painting in my foyer was the inspiration for the paint colour of my recently painted foyer table.  It is by a local Canadian Artist, Lena Karpinsky

DSCN2048

I love the next original painting! It is 24″ x 48″ and is in the foyer, directly opposite the door to the dining room. Sadly, I cannot find this American  artist’s info.  It was purchased from e-Bay several years ago.

tall

I cannot locate the name of the artist.

The next original painting is in my living room.  It was painted by a Montreal based artist  Tatiana Iliina Gooden. I have 2 of her paintings both of which I purchased on e-bay several years ago.

Lilianna

This next painting is in my office and it  is a reproduction of a painting by another Canadian artist Lisa Audit.

lisa Audit copy

Yes, I appear to have a thing for birch trees!

Just before Christmas, Toronto was hit with a terrible ice storm that left in it’s wake,  much damage to the trees.  Our end of the city seemed to have been particularly hit.  Even now, after a month of clean up by the city, there are still piles of tree debris waiting to be picked up.  The pictures below are a fair representation of the streets in my neighbourhood.

tree pile2

tree pile1

It’s unsightly but you can just imagine what a huge clean up job this is for the city workers.

My Golden Doodle, Cody, loves to carry sticks.  BIG STICKS!  So for the past month, on our walks, if I spotted a nice straight piece of birch in a pile, I would let him carry it home.  (That guy will carry a 4 foot branch of an hour if I let him!)  We’ve ended up with quite a collection!  But there were so many very nice, large, untrimmed pieces that were  straight and white but we could not carry.  Like a dumpster diver, I took my Rav4 and my SAW! and salvaged some great branches. 

DSCN2091

Handy Dandy Saw

I wonder what the my neighbours  thought about the crazy woman and her saw, cutting up branches in sub-zero temperatures.  I am sorry to say, I have no pictures of my efforts but it must have been humourous!

So here is part of my collection.

DSCN2074 Don’t  you just love birch?

Now, the question is what will I do with them?

So far, I have added a small display in my foyer, next to my favourite painting.

foyer

In foyer and in view from front door and on path from kitchen and dining room.

foyer2

I may need to relocate. They seem small in the large foyer.

I am not sure about the container but it has been moved from somewhere else.
I also wish I could get some longer ones like the ones below

Tall-glass-vases-with-birch-branches-that-blend-beautifully-with-the-wooden-flooring Source

I would really like to find some fun things to do with birch branches that do not reflect winter or Christmas.

I did a quick search and came up with a few.

simple display

A simple small display in a glass vase on  a table
Source

birch-tree-table

Cute little side table.
Source

cardholdersite1

Picture or business card holders.
Source

Birch branches decor 3

shelf supports
Source

Birch branches decor 3

Hang pictures or a Curtain rod
Source

Centre pieces
Source

All of these are great ideas but I would LOVE to get your input.

Sadly none of the branches are more than 3 or 4 ft. long but I still believe there are lots of creative decorative pieces that could be made with my stash. (Hmmmm… maybe I should go on another field trip with my trusty saw!?)

I do like the idea of cutting some branches into disks and attaching them together to make some abstract wall art.

Do you love birch trees as much as I do?

Have you seen or created a really clever birch branch craft or art? 

I would love to hear from you! Comments just make my day!

So many creations can be “Nicer Than New!”

Joan

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

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
GiveMeTheGoodsMondaynewbutton
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
 
The DIY Dreamer
 
MamaBuzz
 photo 1001954_10101065966207063_96074138_n_zpsa41e371a.jpg
Ivy and Elephants
 
Before and After Wednesday Image.jpg  
 

Photobucket vintage inspiration Be Inspired 300 Nancherrow
   photo grabbutton2_zps7d635a69.png  startathome
Creativity Unleashed Link Party
jenrizzo  
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  

 

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

 

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.

Jul 252013
 
Facebook Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com