Saturday, February 28, 2009

Trim Reflections

Whilst out and about on our travels in search of vintage treasures for the website, we come across so many wonderful and fascinating finds that it is often hard to resist their appeal, and this in turn, leads us into different areas of vintage and collecting. One such area which holds a great fascination for me is vanity, grooming and beauty. This covers a vast and diverse range of pretty items, so there is plenty of scope for building collections and displays.

When I came across this beautiful Victorian Y & N Corset advertising mirror at a recent antiques fair I couldn't resist its rarity and simple beauty...

...with its delicately etched glass lettering and original heavy wooden frame. Women today have a significantly different life from those in Victorian days and one of those contrasts is in the way we dress. My research on the Y & N corset revealed it was really rather innovative in its day, being heralded as 'the most comfortable corset ever made'.

But I have to wonder just how comfortable it was. History has documented the terrible damage to women's organs, which was attributed to the long-term wearing of the restrictive corsets and ladies would often faint because they were unable to breathe properly!

The Y & N corset was revolutionary in its day and its 'diagonal seam' gave the corset extra strength and created a more pronounced hourglass figure. It featured a heart-shaped bust and was popular for evening wear and cleavage enhancement! I don't doubt it was still highly restrictive for women and having never worn a corset (honestly!) I can only imagine how it must have felt to wear one.

So, given the emancipation of today's Western women, many vintage vanity and grooming items are not only desirable and decorative objects, they are also a reminder that things were very different for our female ancestors.

A Special Thank You!

We would like to express our sincere thanks to everyone who has emailed us or left a comment with regard to our new-look website. We were overwhelmed with the response and consequently have been working very hard packing and posting for the last couple of weeks! We are continuing to add new stock and are delighted to reveal that we have also been lucky enough to obtain some real beauties for the textiles section - these will be finding their way onto the website in the coming weeks. Thank you all once again and don't forget you still have time to enter the prize draw (see post below.)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Served On A Siver Platter

Super Easy Project Ahead!

Simply print a monogram from your computer,
on regular paper (no need for card stock).
Then cut it out being sure to stay inside the black
so the white of the paper doesn't show.
Using a regular ol' glue stick, adhere the monogram
to a silver platter or china serving plate.
Of course, this is FOR DISPLAY USE ONLY.
When you're tired of the display,
just remove it by soaking it in water.
How's that for a quick and easy project?

Me, me, and more me.

photo source:

I have been asked to write six interesting things about me by the talented (and fellow Canadian) Design Ties ladies. You know me, I always fail miserably with the whole blog awards and tag thingies... I have never been one to be great with rules. However, something about their request/command that I take part has prodded me into action. Fear not - after this one, I will go back to my lazy ways! Because really, there is very little that is interesting about me. I kind of wear myself on my sleeve, you know?

~Sigh~ Here goes (now is your chance to click on out of here):
1. I cannot physically dance in public unless I've had a few...and because I rarely have more than a glass of wine or two, dancing and me rarely partner up. But when we do, I can dance!!

(photo credit: Anne Taintor)

The rhythm, normally suppressed within me unleashes in a fury of Eighties and Nineties glory! Now, I'm not a geek -I won't moonwalk (although I know how) or do any dances that you see groups of drunken wedding guests doing in a circle or line. No, I pull out my Madonna and C&C Music Factory moves and squeal if the DJ puts on a 80's New Wave song by Depeche Mode or the like. Am I embarrassed the next day? Heck no! I am not that girl on the dance floor who thinks she's a Pussycat Doll!!! My next dance gig? My brother's wedding in July! Get your tickets now!!

2. As much as I love babies, I have to say I am really loving the early teenage years my sons are in. Their humour and insights make them so interesting to talk to (when they are up for talking). A few weeks ago, my sons and I stayed up till midnight discussing so many topics - dating, drugs, poverty, discrimination, school, their futures...I counsel and try to advise (and impart moral lessons, of course) and I love to hear their opinions on such matters. I pray the lines of communication will remain open and that they take the best paths for them.

But not leave me. I'm kidding. I think...

That said, I am also trying to brace myself for the scary stuff.
3. I measure my success as a parent by how my children treat others. I teach acceptance, not tolerance, as tolerance suggests the individual is doing something we must tolerate. I love that my eldest calls people out for discrimination and for treating others badly. He is like everyone else, flawed, but he is someone who gets the message...truly gets it. Sometimes I think he is more mature than me. His dad and I always say: he got the best bits of both of us and cast off the rest. He guides his younger, care-free brother and scolds him as needed. It is funny to watch sometimes. Other times, not so much!!!

And they face the wrath of me if they don't hold the door for others. Seriously, it makes my blood boil when anyone does that! The next worse thing is if you don't thank the person holding it for you. Adults do it all the time.

4. I think, think, think, and worry even more. Sometimes I wish I could silence my thought processes. Ideas pop into my head constantly and I seem to look at things lately and wonder how to improve, alter, recreate them, instead of just enjoying the view. I thought that a return to writing would quiet my creative yearnings, but instead they have just intensified. Conversely, I worry more than ever. I worry about the economy, war, pandemics, terrorism, family, financial security, people. When I read that back, I guess that is not so strange at all. I am sure most of you fret over the very same things...

5. Simplicity and simple things make me happy. Going for a drive with my husband, Tim Horton's coffee in hand; watching my boys play basketball, sitting down to Sunday dinner; playing Scrabble; walking and talking with a friend; spending time with my girlie; and shopping with the women in my family (shopping with anyone, really). I love the thrill of a great bargain, making things myself, and planning birthday parties for my kids. I don't wish for millions, someone to clean my house, or fancy cars. I dislike pretention, and would rather be heard than seen. I root for the underdog and admire people but never worship them. I give compliments honestly and can spot transparency from a mile away. I am intimidated by those with tons of self-esteem, and recognize it as my problem, not theirs. Big egos repel me, and I won't stroke them for all the tea in China. I care about others' problems, but lose respect when they don't wish others well. I am the fiercest of Mother Lions, and take no prisoners if my children are threatened.

6. I am embarrassed by how much talking I just did about myself, and I have just written my final me-me (is that what they are called?). I look forward to reading others', but the pot is empty for me. We are all interesting; but it is so much more fun to draw people out with questions, don't you think?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

You Asked, I Delivered

***Edited to Add***
I feel so humbled that Kari and Kjisa
are featuring this post on their
"Psst...Your Creativity is Showing" segment.

Thank you so much Ladies!!!

Several of you wonderful ladies requested a how-to of the grain sack reproduction. You asked, I delivered.
First, decide how big you want your project. Next, use any computer program to make a pattern (I use Print Shop), or draw one by hand using a permanent marker.
Then cut the burlap just a bit larger than the finished project. This makes it easier to manage, as well as giving you an idea of where to place your pattern. Place the burlap on top of the pattern, and then lay both onto a light box (one of my favorite tools EVER). If you don't own a light box, then secure the burlap onto the pattern using straight pins and tape the two pieces onto a sunny window.
Using acrylic craft paint, simply paint on top of the pattern.
You can also use a store bought stencil, as I did to achieve this design.Be sure to remove your pattern while the paint is still wet so the paper doesn't stick to the dried paint. Once the paint is thoroughly dry, if you want a more aged look, you can lightly sand over the painted surface. It's just that easy to make your own personalized grain sack.
If these directions seem familiar to you, it's because I used a similar technique here and here

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Another final bow...

I am stunned.


I just discovered (while attempting to renew my subscription) that Canadian Home and Country is closing its doors.

What's next? Country Living? Martha Stewart Living? House and Home?

My mouth hung open when I received word that Country Home was no more. I didn't see it coming, nor this one.

Is this the end of all great magazines?

Unofficial Holiday

Can you see what's wrong with this picture?Yes, the door and trim are not the same pretty white
as the crown molding.

I'm embarrassed to admit that this has been the case for a while now. I don't even remember why I didn't paint it when everything else was painted. and because it's the back of the door, I only see it first thing in the morning when I'm running to do a dozen other things, and late at night when I'm ready for bed.
Please tell me that I am not the only person that leaves a little something to do on a project and then forgets to go back and finish the job.
Occasionally my husband will ask, "When are we going to paint that door?" (He says "we" even though he never does the painting.) I usually respond with, "I'll get to it."
Well, I am officially declaring today

It will be called "Why Not Wednesday!"
Today is the day I am going to get to
painting that door----FINALLY!
You can join me in celebrating today.
What project have you been neglecting?
When are you going to do it?
Why Not Wednesday!

And when I'm done painting,
I'll start working on the tutorial
you asked for.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Girl in me...

I played in this on Sunday:

I wasn't exaggerating when I told you that the play house is as much mine as my daughter's! I decided to poke my nose into it to make sure it was wintering well (and it was) and when Sophie caught wind of what I was doing she duly followed me inside. Although it was fairly cold, we had a lovely little meal of (plastic) spaghetti and meat sauce, replete with crusty bread and smoothies. She tossed in some plastic strawberries and cherries into her toy blender, and within seconds we were (pretend) sipping on a seriously delicious drink. I held her baby while she cooked and the sun coming in the peak's window warmed me as I pretended to eat and care for my toy grandchild. I didn't feel at all silly, as the joy she got from rediscovering her playhouse was contagious. She had forgotten this, and had wondered where that had been...she was in her element.
And I was in mine.

Twenty cold toes later (we took off our boots to protect her hardwood floors - like every good Canadian does), and we headed inside for some real hot chocolate.
The next day, when the sky was dropping snow and freezing rain upon us, she asked if we could do it all over again...
The grown-up in me declined.
I don't particularly like frozen toes...
So I "ate" this instead:

If you want to see the rest of Sophie's playhouse, go here!

It's Been Sacked

Antique grain sacks are so popular right now.
I decided to make my own version
using burlap and paint.
I personalized it to my family.
2 parents+5 kids=No.7
(Name has been covered to protect the innocent)
Our last name has Swiss origins,
so the word "family" is spelled the Swiss way.
I used spray adhesive to stick it
right on top of the old painting.

How's that for a change of scenery?
It looks much better than it did here.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Fill In

Remember when I added an extra frame around my foyer mirror? Well, that left an empty spot in my decor where that frame had previously been. There was only one thing to do. Find a fill in. This is what I found.Of course, the frame was a little too gold for my taste, so I brought out the Rub 'n Buff to grunge it up.

After applying R 'n B, I gave it a good rubbing which revealed a little of the original gold. This gave the finish more depth and dimension. I think it now has the appearance of an old piece that's been found in an attic. I like it much better now.
I'm sure you're wondering if
I plan on keeping that nice painting.

I am not.

I have other plans.
But that will be another post.

How's that for a tease?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Dreaming of Slipcovers...

above photo: Country

My living room is still in need of two things: an area rug (which I refuse to buy until I can find one that I both love and can afford) and a new slipcover for the comfy armchair in the corner of the room. While it is not offensive in any way, it doesn't reflect my style. I bought it because it was the nicest one in the furniture store at the time, and it fit the requirements of what I was looking for in a chair.
As I search for the perfect fabric (again, one that I love and can afford), I find myself browsing beautiful sites online where the slipcovers leave me longing for something equally lovely. Patience is not my virtue, but it seems I will have to master it anyway...
Now, for your viewing pleasure:
Above photo source:
above two photos: Country

I think I am leaning towards a powdery blue fabric, with a piping in a fun, retro fabric. I'll see what I can find...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Miami Beach Homes For Sale

Homes for sale - Miami BeachLots and lots of properties are for sale on Miami Beach, and that is neither a play on words, nor an exaggeration. The marketplace is flooded with properties that remain unsold month after month, as more and more homes become available for sale. An examination of the luxury market in Miami Beach tells a dire tale.

As of today, there are 40 listed waterfront properties for sale on the Venetian Islands, with 11 homes for sale on Rivo Alto Island, 13 homes for sale on Dilido Island, 3 homes for sale on San Marino Island, and another 13 properties for sale on San Marco and Biscayne Islands. The 5 islands mentioned, along with Belle Isle, comprise the Venetian Islands.

Palm Island and Hibiscus Island, which lie just south of the Venetian Islands, are also part of Miami Beach. On those 2 islands, a total of 31 waterfront properties are listed for sale, with 16 available waterfront homes on Palm Island and 15 on Hibiscus Island. The 4 Sunset Islands lie just northeast of the Venetian Islands, and 14 waterfront properties are listed on the Sunset Islands, with 7 listed homes on Sunset Island I and II, and 7 on Sunset Island III and IV.

North Bay Road is located on the west side of Miami Beach, and is well known for its exclusivity. It has been home to the Bee Gees, Jennifer Lopez, Thalia, Shakira, and a number of other well-known personalities. There are 16 waterfront homes listed on North Bay Road.

Who is going to buy all of these homes? Are the buyers out there? The answer is, yes. However, the resistance to purchasing a property is greater than ever, as buyers sit on the sidelines, afraid to buy a home that might not appreciate for some time to come. An additional problem is that the banks are still not lending money, so even when a buyer is ready, willing, and financially able, the banks won’t close the loans.

What does it all mean? Buyers must be savvier than ever before, and sellers must realize that by lowering the asking prices on their homes, they are not giving their properties away, as many sellers have expressed. Sellers who really want their properties sold, are going to necessarily have to become much more realistic, and realize the market is no longer what it was a few years ago; and there is no evidence whatsoever that indicates an appreciating housing market in the near future.

When properties on small lots are being listed on the Venetian Islands for up to almost 8 million dollars, and other properties on North Bay Road, on larger lots, are listed for less than 4 million dollars, something is amiss. North Bay Road homes have generally had substantially more value than Venetian Island homes.

The news is not all bad, however, because there has been a slight increase in activity, with more buyers appearing in the marketplace. When the banks start lending, things will improve, and when sellers become more realistic, more homes will be sold.

Hang It Up

My daughter has a HUGE collection of jewelry. She's already filled up the jewelry frame I made. For Christmas she received so many necklaces that I told her that I would make her a necklace holder. Almost two months later, I finally decided to cross that project off my list. Here's how I made it.
First, I found some pretty fabric.
I took out the mod podge and picked out some drawer knobs while hubby cut a board to size and drilled holes to fit the screws for the knobs.I painted the board black. When it was dry I placed it on top of the upside-down fabric and traced around the board. I cut out the fabric. I brushed mod podge onto the board and applied the fabric piece.Then I brushed a layer of mod podge on top of the fabric in one direction. When dry, I brushed on another layer in the opposite direction.Lastly, I poked holes in the fabric to screw on the drawer knobs, then added the hanging hardware.And there you have it! A pretty necklace holder, or towel holder, or apron holder, or whatever-you-choose holder.

No, (gulp)...that's not mine.

I love order.
I'm hooked on it, in fact.
I love hitting the aisles at Homesense where they have all of the great storage solutions like beautiful baskets, boxes, hooks and more. I am not a cluttery girl at all. I find it torturous to sit down and have my cup of tea until the kitchen is tidied; and orderly spaces send a feeling of calm through every cell of my body until I am completely relaxed. I clean my "junk drawer" once a week.

So how did this happen to me?

I snapped this photo after Christmas and thought about making it a screen saver to shame myself for letting things get this bad. However, simply taking the photo and admitting my messiness spurred me into action. I plunked myself down on the floor and began the organization process from the bottom up. Out went the toys that had somehow landed in there, the Christmas wrap I didn't even know I had, picture frames that I could put to use, and extra linens, that I finally admitted I didn't need, were packaged up and put in a pile to donate.

Table linens were reorganized into a neat stack, bed linens were folded as best I can (I refuse to try to fold bottom sheets like Martha instructs), pillow cases wrapped around them (which is such a neat trick), and all of my fabric remnants were neatly folded and placed in a zippered plastic case that some new curtains came in. Curtains are also a problem for me: I keep buying them!
So a good hour later, and here is my new and improved linen closet. Not as pretty as some (certainly no cedar lined shelving!), but it gives me that calm feeling every time I reach in to retrieve what I need.

I can't believe I showed you that! Gives new meaning to "cleaning out my closet," doesn't it?


Head on over to see Julia at Hooked on Houses. She is hosting a round-up of what everyone is hooked on. I can't say I liked showing what I did, but don't worry...everyone else is showing something pretty!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Great After

A Wasted SpaceAFTER:
A Pretty Place

I'm so happy that I was able to transform
this dead end closet
using things I already had.

I'm hoping that you wonderful readers can help Katie. She e-mailed me trying to find a certain post in blogland: "It was a tutorial on how to make your own hand painted signs-I think the lady used receipt paper to trace the sayings onto painted wood pieces?....does this ring a bell? I have a toddler and I really wanted to make him a sign for his b-day"
***Edited to add: Thanks for your help! Katie found what she was after and more!