Mar 31 2011

thriftday: pt. 2: Sweet retro furniture!

Dave and I LOVE mid-century modern furniture. LOVE it. But, unfortunately it can get a bit pricey. Thankfully, if you scour the thrift stores long enough, you can find some pretty cool things. We’ve been searching for a while for a coffee table and side table for our living room. We had a huge ikea table (the LACK series). It was espresso black and looked too harsh with our white airy furniture. It also took up a ton of space. When we originally bought it we envisioned playing boardgames around it with friends (since it was so huge). However, the kitchen table seems to be just fine for that.
This week we were in the MCC Furniture store (looking for bookshelves for my office) and happed upon this sweet coffee table. I was stoked! It looked just like some of the coffee tables I had seen in the mid-century modern furniture stores in Vancouver…and here it was waiting for us to buy it in Abbotsford. We also had been wanting to buy one of those sweet tiered side tables that everyone had in their homes in the 60′s (and thus, they litter every thrift store). But we didn’t want to buy one if we couldn’t get a matching coffee table. Just our luck though, since the side table and the coffee table we found matched perfectly!
Here’s our new tables:

My vintage Life Magazines look awesome on our new coffee table. Yay!

PS: We are selling our coffee table and side table. Email me if you are interested.


Mar 31 2011

thriftday! pt 1: Chalkboard Calendar

I have been pretty thrifty this week. Therefore, there will be two thrifty posts!
Lately, Dave and I have been talking about planning out the upcoming week on Monday, and writing it all down for both of us to see. We’ve had those ugly magnetized fridge whiteboards, but I hate how they look after a while (actually, I hate how they look all the while). So I decided to make a little chalkboard week calendar to hang up in our new place (right now there’s no place for it.)
I started by using an old picture frame that was missing it’s glass. I painted the backing of the frame with chalkboard paint and I spray painted the frame white.
Next I masked out thin strips where I painted the lines to separate the days. I did eight boxes: one title box and then 7 days of the week.
After I finished painting that I hand painted the days of the week in each box (making sure to do it in pencil first!)

Et voila! The finished product. I have a chalk pencil that I use to write in the schedule. It’s much nicer that way. I can sharpen it when it gets dull, and it writes nice and clear. I also don’t get my hands all chalky when I write in the board. :S


Mar 26 2011

project restyle: 60′s inspired baby-doll dress

Today for my project restyle (that I’m contributing to “A Beautiful Mess”), I’m doing something that for the most part, is a super quick and easy restyle. I went shopping this afternoon for fabric for Chatty Budgies. Often times when I look for fabric to reuse, I also look for stuff that I can utilize everything. For example, this dress that I found today: I knew that I could do something with the dress, and still have a TON of fabric left over to make bows and headbands and so on. The first thing that I thought when I saw this dress was that the general shape reminded me of 60′s baby-doll dresses. Of course, it was a early 90′s sack dress, but that didn’t deter me.
The first thing I needed to do was figure out how short I wanted it to be. I tried it on, measured where I wanted it to hit on the leg and cut off the excess fabric. After I cut off the fabric, I ironed up the hem to where I wanted it to be. Recently I have discovered fusible hem. Now, I absolutely HATE hemming dresses, and since my sewing machine has been acting a little funny lately the fusible hem has become the best way of creating a clean looking quick hem. (I don’t recommend this for everything, but for lightweight fabrics it has worked great for me). I usually iron it on in about 5″-8″ pieces. These next few steps are optional. The only reason I needed to do them was because this dress was about 4 sizes too big!
The dress needed to be taken in drastically, however, since it had no zipper or buttons I had to be clever about how it was cinched at the waist. I still needed to be able to pull it over my head!
I decided that the best way to do this was to put elastic at the back of the dress. This way it could still be stretched over my head, but would cinch around my waist when it was on.
I started by measuring how much needed to be taken in. I determined that I needed a piece of elastic that was 6″ (to be stretched over 12″). I pinned it in the center of the back of the dress, then pulled it as far as it went to the left and right and pinned it there as well. I continued to stretch it and pin it into place so that when I sewed it, it wouldn’t move too much. I sewed the elastic with the tension set as low as possible so the thread wouldn’t tear if it was stretched far.
In the end, I also put two small pleats in the front (because I wanted it to be a little more fitted than I originally thought). They ended up looking quite cute anyway. :)
Here’s the end result:


Mar 24 2011

we are moving!

I can finally say for certainty…
We are moving.
I have many mixed feelings about it. Overall, this is a very good thing. The property that we have been living on for the last (almost) 2 years has been up for sale for a while, and finally sold about 3 weeks ago. This is a very good thing for everyone who has been involved in the property. The new owners take possession at the end of June, and they *sigh* don’t want us as renters. I must admit, there is a part of me that is slightly offended by this. I mean really…we’re the reason this place looks as good as it does. We completely renovated it before we moved in it in Sept. 09 I painstakingly painted aaalllll the trim in the house to look as nice and even as it does. We redid the bathroom. The floors. Everything.
Oh…I could go on about how much work I’ve put into this place.
But…alas. It doesn’t matter anymore. We are moving, and that’s that. Just yesterday Dave and I found the place that we will be moving into at the end of April. There are a lot of positive things about that place, but I have a feeling after we move I might still drive past our current place and sigh.
I decided to put together a little pros & cons list to convince myself that moving is a fabulous idea.
#1 Pro about current house: My kitchen/eating area. It’s such a huge kitchen for us, and I love the big windows in the eating nook.
I LOVE having breakfast here. Especially now in spring when the weather is getting nicer and you can eat breakfast watching the sun rise. Fab.

#1 CON of our current house:
I’d have to say the noise is the biggest issue. It’s loud. We can’t watch movies with the furnace going. It’s that loud. Our fridge (since the brownouts last fall) makes this terrible groaning noise every half hour or so (that lasts for about 10 minutes). Our neighbours are a mushroom farm, and their truck drivers are careless. They drive down their driveway SO fast that our house shakes. My dad (who’s the owner of the property) has complained to them several times. There’s a sign that says “Drive slow”. But they don’t care. This goes well into the night.
#1 PRO of our new place:
The rent! It’s WAY cheaper than what we are used to. Huzzah! We will be saving truckloads of money. Er…I hope.
#1 CON of our new place:
*Sigh* The kitchen is nowhere near as cool as our current kitchen. There’s not really a designated eating area in it. We’re still not sure where we will be putting our table. It’s quite large, and has lots of cupboard space…but it just isn’t as nice as are current one.

The rest of the pros & cons:

- My office is ginormous. Seriously. It’s almost 300 sq. feet. Ah! I love it. I use half of it as a studio, and it’s been so great.
- The front deck! It’s AMAZING! It’s huge and covered and we have these two beautiful old maple trees right in front of it. It’s so nice in summer. I also spent 3 weeks clearing out a 20 year old ivy plant that was eating the entire front porch. (read about it here and here)
(the view from our deck. A vineyard, and Mt. Baker. Yes please.)
– I have a garden of my at our current house. And lots of big pots of flowers on our fantastic deck.
- We have so much space, we didn’t know what to do with it when we first moved in. I have my huge office. Dave has an office. Dave also has a den. Plus a mudroom/storage area. And a shed. It was all quickly filled with stuff…and now we have to downsize. (See my craigslist ad for my favourite blue couch that’s in my studio. Sad. It won’t fit in our new place.)

- Acres of lawn mowing. This is Dave’s least favourite thing to do. The new place has a small lawn that seems like child play next to the yard we have to keep up now.
- We are so far from everything. It takes an hour to walk to the nearest grocery store. And I am certainly not going to walk back home for an hour with arms full of grocery bags.
- One of the big cons for us about this house is that it’s not a house…it’s a trailer. Not that living in a trailer is a huge deal to us, but there are things like (for example) the drywall in trailers is way thinner than in regular houses (I guess to make it easier to move). This means hanging things on the wall is a pain. It can’t be too heavy, otherwise it will just pull out of the wall. We’ve definitely noticed build quality is a lot different from living in a house.

- It’s a 10 minute walk from a grocery store and coffee shop! There’s a park right down the road! Finally I won’t feel isolated!! Huzzah!
- Um. The bathroom is the biggest bathroom I have ever seen. It has a soaker tub. Rainwater shower nozzle. COUNTER SPACE! The owners had expanded it by knocking out the wall between the old bathroom and the bedroom next to it. Seriously. It’s the size of a bedroom & bathroom combined. Whoa.
- Hardwood floors in the living room and bedrooms. Real hardwood floor. I love wood floors. LOVE.
- We will be getting a walk-in closet in the bedroom. AH! Yes! A walk-in closet! Dream come true!!
- The living room is big enough that I can have my piano in it! Yay!

- Well, this isn’t really about the new house, but more about moving away from our old house. There are these outdoor cats that I have kind of sort of befriended. One of them is preggos right now. I am very sad to be moving when Cali-cat is to be having kittens. I would very much like to take a kitten…but I don’t think we will be here when it happens. Sad.

Umm…other than the kitchen, there are really no cons that I can think of with the new house. We will have enough space. The living room has a HUGE window that gives lots of natural light (that’s a big PRO for me.) And we will be able to do gardening as well. This is most exciting.

Well, it seems as though the pros outweigh the cons for our new place. I’m excited to move. I really think this new place is going to be great.


Mar 15 2011

eating my veggies

My husband was not home for dinner. Whenever that happens, I usually end up having a cappuccino or something for dinner. Today all I wanted to eat was just some cashews. I sucked it up, however, and actually made myself dinner. Carrots, radishes, snap peas, celery and roasted chicken on a bed of spinach topped with coarse salt, fresh ground pepper and fresh thyme (still from the garden!). So this post is partially to prove to my husband that I did eat something worthwhile while he was gone.
I have been on a diet of sorts for the last month. It’s a bit of a bet with my brother, because he insists that if I do this, I’ll lose weight. I say “not a chance.” (not because I don’t want to lose weight, but because nothing ever works for me.) Basically I have been eating veggies and meat for 6 out of 7 days of the week. Any kind of carbohydrate like bread, pasta, rice, etc. is not allowed. Most fruit is too high in sugar, although I can have tomatoes, avocados and bananas. On the 7th day of the week (which is thursdays for me) I can eat whatever I want. Apparently it’s tricking your body into having a higher metabolism. I don’t know. I’m just following my brothers instructions. He read a book on it or something…
Some people have said they have noticed a difference. I think they are just being nice. Although our scales batteries just died, so I have no way of telling…

PS: (Below) This is sitting on my counter right now. Leftover carrot cake layered with cream cheese icing and topped with pecans and coconut. I made it for a birthday celebration the other day, and it’s taunting me. I really want to eat it. All. (It’s got carrots in it…that’s alright, right?) Hopefully there’s some left on Thursday…