Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Lucky Stop!

The Gods were on my side today! I made a quick stop and look what I found!
I've being keeping my eyes open for cases like these for a while and I just never see them.
So I asked "How much?"
$10 each!!!

Start the car!!!

The brown one is staying with me and has found it's home already.
Wasn't I just saying that I need a stack of old suitcases?
My sister has claimed the blue one.
It will be hard to part with
but I love her so I'll give it up for her .

Don't you just love old suit cases?
Oh the dreams the owner must have had! There are several tags and labels still intact, they add such soul and such charm.

Remind me to tell my kids not to pick these tags off!
I'm sure they would love to "HELP" mommy out.

Olympic Fever Has Begun

I took at drive into downtown Vancouver yesterday and snapped a few photos of the cities transformation for you. It was great to see some of the buildings decorated for the games. There are tents, and banners everywhere you look. Here are a few of the photos I took.

The Hudson's Bay Company Building - The Official Olympic Store

The Georgia Hotel - I think this is reserved for Media, but I am not 100% sure about that.

The Hotel Vancouver with the RBC Tower in behind.

Robson Square Outdoor Skating Rink
They were installing a zip track right above this while I was there.

If any of you have tried to get tickets you will know that it is not an easy task. The tickets were distributed by a lottery system and there were no gaurantees that you would get any tickets at all. In fact, many people I know were quite dissapointed when no tickets were awarded to them. My cousins in Holland also had their Olympic speedskating dreams squashed (temporarily) when their lottery system failed them as well. After hearing all the stories I simply didn't even bother trying. Finally I thought I have to at least try. Years from now I will be kicking myself big-time if I don't at least attempt to get tickets. So on the last round of sales I finally got on the 2010 site set up an account and gave it a go.

Here is a play by play of my Olympic Ticket Buying Event!

First I patiently sit in the virtual waiting room
Faithfully refreshing my screen for three hours!!!!
I finally get in,
Kids don't bug me now
I only have twelve minutes to shop for tickets and then check out.....
I get my tickets and the system seems a bit slow
Lots of people must be on this site I guess
Man, this is really taking a long time
All I have to do now is click on "checkout"
I get the dreaded message, "Internet connection lost"
I scream
Did this really just happen to me!
I guess it was not meant to be!
I can not give up with out a fight!
I get on again,
This time the wait is only 40mins, not bad!!
Miraculously all the tickets I want are still there,
I put them in my virtual cart.
Then I get cocky
I only have a few minutes left and I call my good friends
Do you want any tickets, Yes! Yes!
I throw their tickets into the cart.
Minutes to go,
I click on "check out"
Can you believe it!!!!
I get on to the site again
and buy tickets for me
and my friends!!!
Yay me!!!!

It really is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I really wanted to take my kids to something.
We are all getting really excited! The Olympic mascots have been to their school and we are following the torch as well. It will be traveling through our little town on February 11th and we are for sure going to go see it pass through.
We can't wait and I will keep you posted!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bravery at the Woolworth's Lunch Counter

When I mentioned bravery I'm not talking about finding the strength to put away a Shopper's Delight Salad (look at how gross these salads look) I'm talking about bravery, the kind of bravery they make bronze statues about! Read on!

My hubby and I went to the fabulous Fremont Sunday Market in Seattle a few years back and while we were there I found these old paper placemats from Woolworth's. A lady was selling them for .25 cents a piece! I'm a sucker for anything that takes me back to simpler times - so I quickly snapped up a few and then tucked them away.
I recently came across them while cleaning, and yes Donna, purging also! I finally brought them to a local business store and had them laminated. These little placemats are so fun, so practical, and totally appeal to my nostalgic side.

My mom would take me to Woolworth's when I was a kid for a special day of birthday or back -to-school shopping. I have fond memories of that little store, and the little lunch counter that you could walk right up to. You could almost reach out and touch the clothing from the stool where you sat. A friendly waitress would soon come over and place one of these paper placemats in front of us. My mom would get a coffee and they would bring it in a plastic cone that sat inside a golden coloured plastic holder. Does anyone else remember this? I decided to try to find a photo of this on-line because I'm sure you're all saying "HUH!" So I googled it to find ya photo but found this super cool and interesting history about the Woolworth's lunch counter instead.

I had absolutely no idea but on Feb. 1st 1960, four African American teens went to a Woolworth's lunch counter and waited for service. They were refused service. They sat there until the store closed. This sit-in sparked sit-ins at Woolworth lunch counters all across America.

Finally on July 25th of that same year they tried again and were serve food at that very same lunch counter.

A piece of this lunch counter now sits at the Smithsonian.

And these brave men were honored with a bronze statue - they have done so much for mankind. Thank you for changing the way we think! Look how far we have come because of you!

If you are interested in reading more clicking on the following link.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


I think the biggest surprise upon getting married is that my husband actually had an opinion about what we put into our place! I don't really know why this was a surprise to me but somehow I hadn't thought he'd care all that much. Maybe it was the fact that he only had a futon, a computer desk and his beloved rattan sofa.
For the most part things have worked out but I have to tell you there have been some compromises along the way.

Big Compromise #1

Does anyone else have one of these in their living room that they have to work around? Pretty sure this is a 32" and believe me he would have been a lot happier with a 50+++, and yes I would have been happier with a 20" or none at all.

Compromise #2

It had to be leather!
This photo doesn't really do this beast justice. I do actually like this sofa, but I wouldn't have chosen it for this space. Having a leather sofa was the most important item on my husband's wish list. We discussed and discussed and it was clear that this was really important to him, so if I had to have a leather sofa I wanted to add a few requirements of my own.

Requirement # 1 - No pouffy attached pillows on the back or arm rests.
You know the ones, right?

Requirement #2 - No shiny leather - must have more of a distressed feel.

Requirement #3 - No colored leather, must be blackish-brownish, sort of aviator-ish.

This is what we came up with.
It looked a lot better when we first got it, but now the pillows are starting to droop in the center and the dye seems to be wearing on the cushions more than the rest of the sofa- not so sure what can be done about that.

Marriage is full of compromise and in the big scheme of things this is nothin'!

I bet your wondering what happened to the rattan sofa!
About a week before our wedding day we were moving his stuff into our first place and on the way down the elevator with this sofa some guy asked,
"What are you gonna do with that? It is really nice!"
I think my husband was so proud that someone appreciated it
that he gave it to the guy on the spot!
Sayounara! Adios! Good-bye!

Time For Some Changes

Each January once the tree is down, I find that the bare spot where the tree once stood makes me question my space, and somehow makes me look at it a little differently. I realized that when we moved in to this place (3 years ago) we plopped the furnishings down and then never really thought about it again. So this January I began to question my placement, moved some things around, and have now come up with a few changes I am happy with. I feel like I am now finally beginning to finish things off a bit around here.

I've had this great braided wool rug for years but have never really put it to good use, it has now found a home in a cozy little corner beneath this chair and ottoman. I purchased the chair and ottoman at Sears of all places - they were sitting in an opposite corner of the room and now they look way more inviting in their new home. I recently found an old burlap sack and stretched it over a canvas, then added it plus a couple family photos to the wall above. Although this corner is not perfect, it is an improvement and feels a bit more finished than the blank walls we have had since we moved in.

I love little spots just for one - the perfect little place to sit quietly and read a book or flip through a new magazine.
I saw the burlap sack art idea at Junk Sophisticate if you haven't been there yet you should really check her out!

You can barely see our phone sitting on an old suitcase, I need a little table, or a stack of suitcases to lift it off the floor. Maybe I'll build a little bench. Ana at Knock of Wood has inspired me! If you haven't been to her blog yet you should.

Now I had to fill the bare spot where the chair above stood - so I brought out the chair below which was a roadside find and is actually super comfortable. It has been begging for new upholstery ever since I brought it home, and I'm happy to say that this will be happening soon. I found this ugly little ottoman at the local thrift store the other day and it will be joining the chair in the make over. I've ordered some new turned wood legs off of Ebay and will soon shop for some new fabrics to freshen this pair up.

Is this ottoman crying out for some new legs or what?

The PB lamp is a gift from my very generous mother-in-law.
My Hubby works in the film industry and is big into movies, so this piece suits us quite well.

I bought this old vintage movie reel off of ebay for my him this Christmas,
but still haven't found the right spot for it. Soon!

Then there is my curtain dilemma. We inherited these drapes with the house and although they go well enough they are perhaps not what I would have picked, but I think I can work with them. Notice the ugly standard drapery rod, and what do you do with patio doors anyways.
This patio door is ridiculously close to the fireplace and I have no choice but to have all this heavy drapery mashed right into the side of the fireplace. Talk about a focal point!

After a lot of looking and considering, I realized that these pinch pleat drapes actually extend far beyond the windows they are meant to cover, and once shut they turn that wall into an entire wall of drapes. So my plan is to hack off a bunch of curtain, chop the patio door drape right down the center so that half can hang on either side of the patio door, thus reducing the huge amount of bulk that has been butted right up to my fireplace. Then I'll pick up some nice little oil rubbed bronze rods with some rings and hopefully that should improve this nasty situation.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Extremely Behind the Times!

Ok I admit I'm a little behind the times. I only got the tree down a week ago and I still have christmas stuff sitting at the top of my stairs just waiting to be put in the attic. I did manage to find spots for a few christmas gifts though. Christmas is not about the gifts, and it truly is more than that for me and always has been - but it seems ridiculous for me to share these gifts with you next year. So bare with me for a few highlights!

A set of four Jadeite mugs from my hubby,
they have found a nice spot next to my retro teapot.

This sweet little rusty, cast iron Mr. Peanut piggy bank.

My kids got these Jones Sodas with their pictures on the label from their Uncle.
They rarely get pop so they loved this.

And my Husband got acquainted with Etsy, and picked out this sweet little necklace that has rarely left my neck since I received it. I love it!

There now I can officially put Christmas behind me!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

My First Design Job! Before and Almost After!

I haven't mentioned this yet, but a while back my sister bought a sweet little rancher with a fabulous lay out. My sis knew she wanted to do some renovations and she wanted it done and over with as soon as possible. She agonized about which direction to take the renos, how to complete it while working full-time, and then she became a bit overwhelmed by all the decisions and the scheduling. She's pretty savy, but needed a little help with the details - talking out decisions and being able to visualize the big picture. There are so many decision and if you don't trust your own ability to put things together tastefully it is very hard to commit to anything at all. Since she knew I absolutely loved this stuff and she trusted my taste she decided to hire me as her designer, which was a big load off her mind and such fun for me. Spending other peoples money is way more fun! Don't you think?


We worked on the whole house.
We picked out paint colours that flowed from room to room, then had the whole place painted. She put in beautiful wide plank hand scraped oak flooring throughout.
We picked out new lighting throughout the house (the sunshine ceiling had to go),
as well as all new baseboards and door trim,
complete with new door hardware.
Both fireplace have also been redone with the exception of a few finishing touches.
Next we are working on furnishing and decorating her house on a shoestring.

It truly is the little things that make the difference, and knowing what is worth the splurge is also important - such as a fantastic faucet, great lighting and quality hardware.

This is the yummy faucet we chose.........

and check out this fabulous pendant light.
Two of these hang above the island in an oil rubbed bronze finish.
I love the glass on these babies and we made sure to pick out a glass with imperfections
for the glass in the cabinet doors as well.
(it's not too matchy-matchy but they definitely go well together.)
The picture you are about to see was e-mailed to me by my sis,
it is hard to see the details but I will post better pictures when I get them.

And now for the big reveal.

The Almost After Shot

While there is still a lot to be done, such as the tile backsplash and window treatments, my lucky sis has a beautiful kitchen and this house has now become her home.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Special Handmade Gift for Meg

We are a lucky family!
When the cousin my husband didn't know he had came looking for his biological family
the story had an extremely happy ending.
Not only did my husband get his very first cousin, but we also acquired his mom Meg,
the gracious lady who not only adopted him, raised him, and then later helped him find his missing links.
They are both every bit a part of this family as anyone else,
and have been for twenty years now.
We don't usually give handmade gifts at Christmas,
but Meg is someone who you just don't head to the mall for.
She appreciates the time and thought of handmade gifts,
and anything that won't damage the planet.
Meg has been a reduce, reuse, and recycler for as long as I can remember.
I believe she is a pioneer of sorts.

While the rest of the family heads to the mall to shop for our gifts, Meg brings a big box labeled "Meg's Book Box" filled with books that she has collected from garage sales through out the year. She carefully chooses books with each of our interests in mind, and then gives us a handmade Christmas card that says,
"Please pick out a book from my pre-loved book box."
A highlight every year!

So my daughter and I went to work and made these little reusable produce bags.
They are made from old linen pieces I had hanging around,
some string and a little fabric paint.
My nine year old did the stenciling
and I did the sewing.
Hopefully Meg thinks these are as sweet as we intended them to be
and if nothing else appeciates the thought that went into them.

I'm linking up to Cindy's party come join the fun!

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