Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The One That Got Away

Last night the hubs and I took our monthly trip down to the good ol U. S. of A. Man I love that place. I bought FOUR containers of fat-free feta cheese. Four BIG containers. Why? Because a) we don't have fat-free feta up here, and b)what costs me $10 in Canadaland costs $2.50 in Americaland. Blows me away. I will never buy feta in Canada again. Ever. I also scored some suuuuper cheap 2 buck chuck wine from Trader Joe's. It's not the best in the world, but it's tasty enough for "wine o'clock" emergencies. And again, considering most wine in BC starts at $10 a bottle, you can't beat a 75% savings! Other things my American friends should be thankful for? Cheese in general (we buy cheddar and parm down there at again, 75% less), milk (50% less), tzatziki (75% less), chicken (50% less) and butter (60% less). And did I mention the discount stores! TJMaxx, Ross, Marshalls, etc etc. I want to be a little angry and jealous inside, but I must say that not having them here makes it a huge treat when we do get to visit them in down there.

Now onto the real reason of this post. I have a minor light fixture obsession. At the designer warehouse sale I attended last fall (still have to do a post on that sale!) I came home with 4 fixtures, 2 shades and 3 table lamps. For a small townhouse, that's a lot of light. Since moving in, we have added a pendant above the sink, a chandelier above the dining room, changed out 1 flush mount, and added chandeliers in all 3 bedrooms. The only place without a real fixture to call it's own is our small entry way. So when I saw this baby at TJ's my heart started pumping real fast.

OH. EM. GEE. Ain't she beautiful? I don't even know what it's called, but I'll call it a chrome pentagon pendant (although it looks to have more sides than that) or maybe a honeycomb? Any ideas let me know!

Anyways, I fell in love with her the instant I saw her. And when I looked at her price tag I loved her more. $38.99. The "compare at" price was $499. EEEEKS!!! How could I say no? I tried to stuff it in my cart, but it was already overloaded with other things. I put it back down. And I thought long and hard. And then I walked away. Well, first I had to show the hubby what I was walking away from so he would be proud, and then I walked away.

How could I? Well, I did self impose a spending restriction this month. My Already Own April is supposed to help tame the spender in me, and cultivate the user of things already owned in me. Plus, it was pretty big. And it had a really long bar (so it would hang really really low) which might have been able to be cut down to make it a flush mount, but I didn't want to take the chance. Also, the fact that it was so steeply marked down made me worry it might not work. And we don't have a TJMaxx around the corner to return it to, so big potential hassle.

Should I have just gone for it? I'm starting to regret not buying it. If you live near Bellingham, Washington, hop in your car right now and go buy it! She deserves a good home. Here's a fixture I found online that looks VERY similar.

Super cute, right? You can buy it here for $1040. YIKESABEE! Now I'm really wishing I had bought it.

Another thing we walked away from? This adorable shirt. We are a touch obsessed with our wiener dog, so it was a big deal not to buy this. But it was too small for hubby and too large for me, so at TJ's it stayed. I am slowly starting to realize I don't need to buy EVERYTHING that has a wiener on it. Although I really want to.

Anything big you've walked away from and regretted? And am I certifiably insane for leaving that pendant behind?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Look What I found at the Dolla Store | Part One

I seriously questioned whether or not I should do this post. I mean, I don't want people thinking I'm a bag lady who only shops at the dollar store! I don't really mind what everyone thinks of me out there in bloggyland, but when I find out that people I know are dropping by to read my poorly composed dollar-store-centric posts, well, then I care a bit. Full disclaimer here: I am not a dollar store diva. I like to buy my pantry jars and other organizational items at the dollar store, but I do not and would not ever buy grocery items or clothes, or gifts for people at the dollar store. There's a time and a place people, and Dollorama aint the place!

That being said, I was surprised by all the pretty awesome things at the dollar store during my last visit. Sometimes, that same thing you'll buy at the mall, or on ebay, can be found at your dollar store for a fraction of the price. Everything is made in China by the same factories, right? Time we get our heads out of the sand. I recently bought an iPhone car charger there, and guess what? It works!

So while I was there picking up, yes, some more jars, I gave myself a little challenge. Why not see what awesome and cool things I could find at the dollar store that I wouldn't normally buy. And why not share them with you? I was shocked by the number of people who saw my pantry post and let me know that they rarely step foot in the dollar store. Well, people, you don't know what you're missing! And well, now you will know because I will show you.

So here it is, the first part to my series Look What I Found at the Dolla Store.

Again, I have never ever bought accessories at the dollar store, but this was a challenge so I had to, right?

This aqua scarf is actually my favourite thing I found. The colour is delicious in real life and I love the metallic sparkle in it. It isn't that long, but I've been thinking of sewing it end to end to make a spring infinity scarf. As is the case with most items I buy, wash it first to get rid of any heebeejeebees. Oh, and the scarf was only $1.50. Yesiree.

These gold bangles and cuffs I found amongst loads of other pretty hideous jewelry. Great for little girls I'm sure, but beyond that, yuck. I decided to give a little dig, and this is what I came up with. I don't wear a lot of gold jewelry. Don't get me wrong, I lurve the look of gold jewelry, especially in the spring/summer accented with pops of colour, or even just plain white. I just haven't made the transition yet. I haven't committed myself to it to splurge and spend a pretty penny on enough gold accessories to make it worth my while. Spending $4 to test out the golden look to see if it's somewhere I want to go? Done. I love that the set of bangles included a black and white twine bangle as well. Really helps break it up. The cuff is fantastic as well. I'm already thinking of a DIY I can do with it. Ribbon? Gimp? Rope? Not sure yet, but Pinterest will lead the way.

And despite my reservations, I can actually see myself wearing these now. At first, I was a bit "Ewww it's from the DOLLAR STORE, gasp!" but after much self talk, I realized the cheap costume jewelry I buy for fun at accessory stores in the mall, well, they do come from the same place. Don't fool yourself.  They do. Will this replace quality statement pieces in my jewelry box? Heck no! But hopefully will help beef up my arm party a bit! Call them "fillers" if you like.

My next vignette centered around this $2 frame. It's white. It's plastic. It has some nice modern lines to it. And if you don' t want to use it as a frame, throw some craft paper or a piece of fabric in there to make an adorbs little tray.

Perfect for accessories, throw it in your closet for some cheap and easy decor. Annnnd (I'm dying a little bit in side as I type this) I accessorized with some (gasp!) faux flowers. Eeeeek! I know it's spring. I know fresh flowers are incomparable. You're preaching to the choir right now. I get it. As a wedding planner I hammered the importance of real flowers into every bride's noggin. BUT, and I really mean BUT, sometimes they are ok. Example: you buy fresh flowers, you put them throughout your main floor, maybe a small bunch in your room, but mostly throughout your main living spaces. Now your guest room could use a pop of colour. Or maybe your closet. But you're not going to spend $ on fresh flowers that will be gone in a week for a room that barely gets used or seen, are you? Probs not. I don't, anyways. So this is the case in which FAUX flowers are better than NO flowers. Remember that little ditty. The multi strand bracelet is also from the $ store. I have some DIY plans for it that involve removing some strands and replacing with my own.

What are your thoughts? Am I crazy?

And stay tuned for the rest of this series! I will also be covering: home decor, tech gadgets and crafting. Have something else to add? Would love to hear it!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Trashy Treasures

Humour me for a moment and don't scroll too far down. Just take in this summery photo and think of juicy coloured strapless dresses and sunshine. Ahhhh. Mojitos. And barbecues. Okay, now that your senses are tingling, scroll down a bit.


Ewwwwwwww. Sorry for that, but it had to be done. If you kind of want to gag, you are not alone. Let's just say the hubs thought I was ca-ray-zy (or kray kray for you, Cait! :) when I brought these pillows home. I even questioned my own sanity for a few moments.

I just couldn't bare the thought of throwing away 2 Pottery Barn pillows (cough...hoarder alert...  cough cough). They were facing a certain death. They spent the winter out in the elements, and these indoor Pottery Barn pillows were not happy. I don't blame them though, we do live on the Wet West Coast after all!

Once upon a time these pillows looked like this:

 Cute, hey?

Anyways, I washed them hoping to get rid of some of those mildew (mold?) stains. Which did absolutely nothing. Well, except for ruin one of them. The mildew must have started to disintegrate the fabric, so one of them tore up quite a bit in the wash. Sad face. But one survived, and I was determined to give it new life. Ew, not indoors. Never. But outside? Just for looks and not for rubbing my face all over? Sure. And I've been meaning to upgrade my outdoor pillow situation, so why not make hay when the mildew grows? That doesn't make sense...

What did I have to lose? A couple bucks worth of paint and few hours of my time? I'm a gambler. So I whipped out my $1 Martha Stewart paint samples, craft paint, and Martha Stewart fabric medium paint and went to work. If it didn't turn out, I was well prepared to trash them, because that is where they were headed anyways.

Because I'm a graphics nerd, I decided to plan out my pillow attack in a rendering. Unfortunately  my second coral design will have to wait until I rescue some other pillow from the trash.

 To start my makeover, I gave the pillow a good base coat on one side only. I was pretty sure it was going to be a total flop, so why waste any more time than I had to? So I painted just one side and let 'er dry. Plus, I didn't want to spend any more time looking at this disgusting piece of fabric than I had to.

Then I printed out this stencil (sized smaller for the look I was going for) and started stencilling. It wasn't nearly as tedious as I thought. In fact, it was almost relaxing. And I really really heart that it was free. There are some GREAT stencils out there, but I'm just too practical to buy them. Print and cut and stencil is where it's at for me! Sure, it takes a bit longer, but worth it. After I stencilled with a light coloured sharpie, I whipped up some more paint and fabric medium in white and used a small angled brush to paint. To stencil and paint the lines only took me about an hour and half. Not too shabby. (Bonus- this "experiment" has made me much more willing to tackle to wall stencils in the future.)

On the back side I decided to just do a solid and went for a sort of ombre effect. After I sew the button back on, I'll take some pictures of the backside.

Verdict? I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. I might have to bite the bullet and buy some orange or coral outdoor fabric to make it a partner in grime. Har har.

Moral of the story. Don't put good indoor pillows outdoors. And don't throw things away just because they give you the heebeejeebees.

Things to note:

  • Make sure to put parchment paper in the pillow case before painting so it doesn't bleed through and stick to the other side. 
  • Let the paint dry for 24 hours before stencilling, and another 24 hours before you iron to make washable!
  • Realize that this method will not replicate beautiful textiles. It's a great cheap and easy project, but if you look up close, it's pretty clear it's paint and not patterned fabric. But it's a great "interim" solution while you save for the real deal!

Any other stories about barf to beauty makeovers ?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Master Bedroom Before and Plans

I was a little weary of posting my bedroom pictures because they're just so.... awful. My taste has changed so much in the last two years, so combine that with an only partially finished bedroom, and you have a grumpy pants on your hands. It is funny that the master is usually the last room to get decorated. I understand, of course, because it's the room people see the least often, but it is also such an important room. I mean, you fall asleep and wake up in there. You might do other things in there too that don't involve sleeping. Whatever that may be. But I think what ties us to our bedrooms so emotionally, is that for a good chunk of our lives, probably at least 18 years of it, our bedroom was all we had. The bedroom in your childhood home was YOUR space. It was the only part of your home that belonged to you in some sorts, and I think that carries over into adulthood. Even now that I have a whole home to decorate and call my own, the cornerstone of this home is our bedroom.

The long and short of our bedroom story is that we moved into our townhouse mid-Feb of 2010. Mid-April I hosted our housewarming party. We had two months to move our stuff, unpack and get decorated. Two months is not a lot of time to start decorating a home, let alone finish it. When I look back at photos from that time, our house was BARELY done. Not a wall painted. Not a curtain hung. Barely any wall art (most of it laid on the floor in our guest room). But, I was so excited just to have a home, and I knew if I waited for it to be "finished" that I would never have the chance to host a housewarming party, and I was really really excited about it. So, I let go of my undecorated fears and threw it all to the wind. I figured I would try to get as much done as I could, but what I couldn't do, well, I couldn't do.

For some reason, the only rooms I actually did do were the master bedroom and ensuite. Must have had something to do with those nostalgic emotions I talked about earlier. Must be. Anyways, the day before our housewarming I decided it was a good plan to wallpaper. By myself. With unpasted wallpaper. For the first time. Not so smart. I scored this lovely teal and gold damask wallpaper on ebay for $7 a roll. Incredible, I know. I figured since I had this gorgeous stuff in my house, it needed to go somewhere, so feature wall it was! The task was tedious and since I was wallpapering by myself until 4:30 in the morning, it's also not a very well done job. It looks okay from afar, but it is HORRENDOUS up close.

It's not just the poorly hung wallpaper that is the problem. We also left the builders bege paint on the other walls of the room which I absolutely hate. My bedframe does not match the headboard. My craigslist free dresser which I painted (and subsequently ended up breaking my puppy's leg with a drawer that fell over during the painting process which cost $500 in vet bills making this dresser the FURTHEST thing from free) is not nearly as pretty as I had imagined. My mirrored side tables are too dinky and lack storage. My side lamps are not to scale with the room. We don't have window treatments. My ottoman at the foot of the bed is mocha and espresso (the worst- for me).

About the only things I love about our room are: our incredible comfy mattress (wedding gift from in-laws) and my painted chandelier. The chandelier belonged to my great grandmother, which then ended up in the hands of my grandparents.  A year before he died, my incredible, wonderful, most amazing in the world grandfather gifted it to me for a housewarming gift. He even took it out of its' box, installed it and hung all the crystals on it in his home in Ontario to see if it worked and to take photographs to send to me to see if I would like it. Well, I loved it and he boxed it up and shipped it across the country. It was a combo of brass and silver, so I sprayed her white, and I will never, ever let go of this thing. If we ever get transferred to some remote island in Indonesia without electricity, I will still bring this chandy with me.

So now that you've seen the photos, and heard my vent on everything I do not love about this room, perhaps you can see where I am going. This baby is getting a makeover, and she's getting it fast. What do I have in store? Well, Mrs. Listy Listerson will start a list, of course!

  1. Strip wallpaper and prep walls for painting.
  2. Paint bedroom walls a light shade of grey.
  3. Paint ottoman legs white and reupholster.
  4. Decide which headboard/bedframe to use (either guest room set or master set). If I go with the current one, I must paint and makeover both headboard and frame. Possibly a fun colour?
  5. Move painted danish modern side tables from guest room to master. Switch out for mirrored side tables.
  6. Hang plain white Ikea curtains on either sides of windows.
  7. Paint mirror above bed (white perhaps).
  8. Repaint $500* dresser (*see above explanation) a brighter white or bright colour
  9. Rearrange dressers. Maybe add in a chair.
  10. New side lamps? Move ones from guest room after covering the shades?
  11. NEW bedding. Most likely white again, with some more interesting pillows.
I have yet to settle on a fully finished mood board for this room. I think it may end up being a lot of trial and error. I do have these photos in mind for my inspiration. Yes, they are definitely different from one another but they both have the same kind of set up as our bedroom, so I can see how they would both work. 

As much as I love the colourful eclecticism of the photo above, I do think something along the lines of Centsational Girl's bedroom will be the way I go. I guess we'll just wait and see!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Jonathan Adler Cupboard Makeover

I'm not going to consider this an Already Own April project, but I did not buy a thing for this cupboard organizing project. That's right. I just happen to have fabulous in-laws who come to visit and bring us things! They are so amazing and usually come with new pillows, towels, and packs upon packs of toilet paper and paper towel. Seriously, how awesome is that? This time, to accompany our usual paper towel and TP loot, they brought some extra goodies that literally caused me to convulse on the couch. First off, they bought us TWO rain shower heads for both bathrooms to replace our dinky, no-water pressure ones that came with our home. Holy. Cow. I don't know how I lived without them before. I die! And to top it off, they brought down these a-freaking-mazing Jonathan Adler toilet roll covers. Apparently they've been all over TV commercials and the interwebs, but somehow I missed them.

I'm not much of a toilet roll cover girl (nor do the bright colours and patterns really jive with my subdued bathroom schemes of the moment), but who says you have to use these for toilet paper? They are a fantastic size for holding a host of other things within your cupboard, and best of all, cheap! If you deduct the value of the toilet paper roll that comes inside, you're looking at about $1.50 per container, which is a great deal for a container from the dollar store, but a complete steal for something with Jonathan Adler's stamp of approval.

After removing the TP roll inside, I used goof off to get all the adhesive off the containers left by manufacturers stickers, and then washed them with warm soapy water. They seem clean and kosher to me, but since I already have food stored in my Dollorama containers, these will not be used for food. The dog cupboard has been a thorn in my side for sometime, and despite organizing all the treat packages into a basket, we still couldn't manage to keep the treats looking organized. This distaster of a cupboard was the perfect candidate for a JA overhaul!

Hard to believe I used EIGHT of these to decant dog food and dog treats considering our furbaby is just 10 pounds! Let's just say we won't be buying treats for a while. The two in back hold "backup dog food" (we give her a holistic brand of dog food called Innova, but when we've run out we've had to buy it from the grocery store, so we keep it in the back in case of dog-food emergencies), the two in the middle have "mini milk bones" and "mini dog treats", and the front two are for "milk bones" and "dog treats". The two on the left side have doggie meds and other health related items for her.

And of course, what would a cupboard makeover be without labels!

And here's a "during" shot showing my pretty containers neatly stacked deep into the cupboard (this cupboard is under our island for those wondering.

I'm really happy with how it turned out, especially since it used to look like THIS:

Not bad for a cheapo makeover, hey? And soooo in love with JA that it makes me smile even more. Jonathan Adler is one of the only actual collections I have given myself the go ahead to curate. My first JA acquisition was the Kensington duvet, followed by 4 matching accent pillow and the sheet set. I got all but the sheet set on sale, so my $600 worth of bedding only ended up costing about $150. After that, I've been gifted with or bought the following: a vase trio, two sets of salt and pepper shakers, my favourite white ceramic cat, ceramic animal christmas ornaments, dog scarf, dog placemat, magnetic note board, two chrome ceramic bird figurines and two chrome ceramic vases.

Love love love! Anyways, hop on over to Walmart and snatch up some JA toilet roll covers before their gone! They are the perfect way to bring a little spring into your kitchen or bathroom (and on the cheap, of course!)

And, because this cupboard makeover was done just for her, here's a cutie shot of Sadie chilling on top of our pillows and soaking up the sunshine.

 Linking up with: A Thoughtful Place

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Hammered Metal Tray Makeover

Well, AOA (Already Own April) is already off to a running start! I did a couple fun and easy projects yesterday with things on hand, which was very satisfying in the home department.

First things first, I decided to raid our paint closet and see what I could come up with. I found a quart of this fabulous hammered silver paint that was used for some pipe and drape back in my wedding planning days, and there's still a good chunk of it left.

This stuff STANKS and is not at all good for your lungs, but it's a fantastic product. It dries quickly, and best of all, it dries with a a hammered surface, so you can be a messy painter and it doesn't really matter. This stuff even developed a nasty thick skin in the last year since I've used it and I was still able to use the paint underneath!

But what to paint with it? Hmmm. I'm sure somewhere in your house there is something that you only sort of like. You might like the shape or the lines, but don't prefer the colour. Well, that's what I went for. I bought this little tray for $10 on sale last year.

It's just a wee tray but from a designer store, so the price tag was a steal compared to it's original price. This was a case of me buying something I don't really need nor like the colour of, but just HAD to get it because it was on sale (this whole already own April is probably making a lot more sense to you now, hey?). Anyways, it's been in our bathroom on the hubby's side holding his small selection of man toiletries, but the colour has always bugged me. I didn't quite know how the lacquered surface would react to the paint, but sure enough this paint is Hercules and sticks to anything. Literally.

I gave it ONE quick coat and other than stinking up my kitchen, it did a great job doing everything it was supposed to do. My favourite favourite thing about this product is that when it dries it is superbly durable. It's almost like a mix between a laquer and a metal coating. It really is great. I used it last summer to paint two lamp bases I have and they turned out really nice (well, except for the shades- that will be another AOA project). I am definitely going to use it to paint other things around the house that could use a little hammered lovin.

After my tray was painted, I decided it was just too pretty to go back to hubby's sink and get covered with razors, cologne and toothpaste, so out popped my lil dollar store apothecary jars, cute as ever. Since I have 3 in the kitchen holding salts and peppers, these ones made their way upstairs and under the sink until I could figure out what to do with them. I know it's rather shocking that I haven't labeled these yet, but I like the clean look of them as they are. Maybe in the future they'll get a pretty vintage label, but for now, I will just longingly look at my free baby of makeover!

Another random thing I did yesterday was upgrade our dish soap pump. We just bought a new bottle of dish soap in a very pretty blue color, and I felt like it deserved a place above the counter this time. I used an old pump I had (it's a Starbucks syrup pump cut down to size) and an old fashioned soda bottle form a friends wedding, and tada! I know Pinterest would have you believe that this is super easy and all of your jars and bottles will magically fit all of your pumps, and well, it's just not true. I've tried a number of Pinterest inspired projects and have yet to actually find a perfect fit. For now this fit will do although it's not tightly screwed on. I may just have to pull out my glue gun and attach it that way?

Any AOA projects you guys have completed yet? Would love to see them!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Already Own April: Flaunt What You Got

Back in August I challenged myself to a no-spend month of living and decorating. I dubbed it "Already Own August" to give myself some motivation to work with what I had, thus achieving two things - saving moolah, and actually checking off my to do list. Well, here we are, at another "A" month, so it's only fitting to implement an "Already Own April". Granted, I did get rid of a lot of my "projects in the making" junk that I was hoarding in my garage last month, but I still kept a few things that will certainly keep me busy during my shopping draught (I hid them from the hubby in random crevices all over the house. He thinks we fully purged; we did not.... mwah ha ha ha ha!)

The best projects I have coming up are not inspired by Pinterest picks, so I don't have any inspiration photos to tease you with. Let's just say that almost everything involves a can of spray paint and many custom labels.... we all know that labels make my world go round, right?

Anyways, I'm not savvy enough to figure out a link party, but I wanted to invite you to link back to projects using things you already own in the comments section. It doesn't have to be on this post; it can be on any "AOA" post, and can be whatever you feel like sharing.

My self-imposed rules for my own AOA are as follows:

  • Must use things I already own except for the occasional small thing I may need to complete the project (certain supplies I don't have on hand etc.)
  • Must be something functional and that can be used in my home and not just a makeover for the sake of a makeover.
  • Must complete at least one project a week, for a total of at least 4 free projects.

Alright, let's go create with things we have on hand! Fun fun fun!

And, a little off topic, you may be surprised to see a blog without a stitch of Easter decorating. I appreciate all the fun Easter mantles and tablescapes out there to a certain point, but despite what my close friends and family would assume, I'm not much of a holiday decorator. I know, I know, tisk tisk. I do love decorating for Christmas, but that's about it. I just find other holidays too short lived to be worth the money and effort to decorate them. Plus, I just find a lot of the heavily themed stuff a little, dare I say it, tacky (not to mention you need to store all that seasonal decor the rest of the year). Eeeek, somewhere I am pissing someone off, and I'm truly sorry! I guarantee you when I have kids, I will totally be decorating up an Easter storm, but for now I prefer to channel my decorating dollars and energy into things I can enjoy all year long. Now spring flowers, well, that I can handle!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Winner Winner iPhone Dinner!

Well, it is April 1st today, which means April Fools Day and my contest winners announcement. Winners, do not worry, this is NOT an April Fools joke- you actually did win!

The 5 randomly selected winners who have won a customized iPhone insert design (I customize it for you and then email you the PDF file to print and put in your own iPhone 4 case) are:

  • Adriana from Sunny California
  • LovingLiveinGR, Grand Rapids Michigan
  • Nancy from Kitchener, ON
  • Julie Gunn from Surrey, BC
  • Katie Reynolds from Aurora, IL

And our GRAND prize winner who gets a full hard case for their iPhone complete with a custom insert mailed to them is:
 ....... Crystal B from Winnipeg, MB!

Congrats everyone! Thank you for making my first blog giveaway a total blast! It was fun getting to know where everyone was from, and what kind of styles you have (will definitely incorporate some more chevron into my designs thanks to you guys!).

If you are a winner, please email me at so we can discuss details, like what you want on your design etc! Some of you have private blogger profiles so this will be the only way for us to touch base.

And, hope you all have a fantastic April Fools! I am off to create a devious plan to completely prank the hubby before he wakes! If you want to share your April fools day pranks, please do- I need some inspiration! :)