Needing the barkcloth

>> Friday, September 28, 2007

I've been hoping for years to have lots of things made and be able to rent a table at a Fall/Christmas crafts sale. I've decided this year I'm finally going to do it. I've even ordered "needle book" fabric labels to put in my things. I was inspired recently by Practically necessary's barkcloth bags. I finally won a little bit of barkcloth on ebay and made some messenger bags. I love how they turned out, the hard part will be parting with them.I've also been making granny bags after creating a pattern for myself. A bit tricky but I think anyone could do it. Mine are all one-of-a-kind, depending on how big I want to make them, the amount of fabric I have and where I feel like putting the pleats. I make coordinating lined pockets to go inside and of course attach those before assembling the bag.

I like this one, from a wool tweed:

This ones is from my Cath Kidston circus fabric with olive green straps:
And I've made a bunch of pouches:
My favourite pouch is made from Liberty fabric:My favourite fabric these days is still the scenic barkcloth and I'm trying to buy more on ebay, but I keep getting snipered with 5 seconds to go! One auction went from $75 to $225 in the last 5 seconds. My maximum bid was $220 for 10 yards of barkcloth which I already thought was high. But I loved the pattern and I was very disappointed. It was part of my new plan to think big, and invest in my craft business a bit more so I could make enough things to have a proper table.

It may be for the best though because my dining table is still covered with stacks of fabric...but that's another story.


Wedding anniversary

>> Monday, September 17, 2007

Today is our wedding anniversary, I can't believe it, the year has flown by! These flowers just arrived from my parents and they were so gorgeous I just had to show them off. They smell wonderful too, mainly of tiger lilies which we had on the tables at our wedding. Mmmmmm.

I even cleared off the big piles of fabric that were all over our dining table and gave it a polish in their honour.

We're going to meet up for dinner tonight after a very busy weekend working on the house. Bradley (my hero) was in the crawlspace clearing out a huge pile of lumber, a giant old water tank that would have made a great tin man, an old trunk that resembled some kind of mangy old pirate treasure chest and other miscellaneous junk. Everything went out to the front of our house along with shelves and other junk we've been clearing out of the house for the past few weeks.
Yesterday we listed the lumber for free on craigslist and someone came to pick up a bunch of it this morning. We also left out some odds and ends at the curb which got scooped up. I'm always thrilled when people can use something we're getting rid of and it doesn't go to waste. Then this morning we finally had some junk haulers come and clear everything else away. (They told me the lumber gets recycled so that was good to know.) Finally that giant chore is done. Phew!

At the same time that Bradley was in the crawlspace I was painting a 2nd coat in the living room and then starting on priming the new bifold doors we got for the hallway. It took forever, I managed to watch The Princess Bride, Ella Enchanted and Mean Girls while priming the four doors. I used a regular paint brush for most of them, then a small artist brush to fill in the awkward corners at the end of each slat. I'm still not done priming all the corners, but it already looks better than the bare wood and it will be worth it in the end.

And finally, to end on a romantic note, I give you "Otters holding hands".


I re-love IKEA

>> Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Thank you for the nice comments about the house posts, I've hardly had time to do crafts but I did make a little bird bag I will show soon. I'm glad people are also interested in our renovations and decorating because it's definitely what I'm thinking about these days!

I have been swamped recently, though, with a big illustration contract so I've had less time to do things. But working at home means I'm looking around at everything that needs to be done and it can be very distracting. So I take little breaks in the day to do house things, and then work late into the evening on my sketches. Luckily this is one of the benefits of freelancing, you can pick your own hours as long as you meet the deadlines.

One of the things I couldn't wait to do was replace our bookshelves. In our old place we had a long row of short billy's on one wall and it gave us enough book storage and I think it looked nice. But we don't have a wall like that here, and we really needed something else. As you may have noticed I've become all about finding vintage furniture on craigslist, all "good old-fashioned workmanship - no more crummy flatpack!" recently. But I just could not find the perfect bookcases.So finally I gave IKEA another chance and was smitten by the Liatorp bookcases. They seemed perfect for our space, two fit the wall I was planning to use perfectly, with lots of height, they have seven shelves (so more than two short billy's), and hidden storage at the bottom. You can join them together to give the feel of custom bookcases, and I like the details, moulding at the top, supports under the shelves (not just those metal pegs) and the edges of the shelves has a nice row of grooves. And you know how I feel about glass doors. Now that they're assembled I absolutely love them, and I really think they're the bookcases I've always wanted.
Incidentally, here's a detail of the vase which I found at Pier 1 (thanks to my friend Sandra who gave us the gift certificate!) I'm planning to use the vase colours throughout the room, pale blue, white and dark brown with cream - so it was the perfect addition. I also found a cd wall cabinet in the same style. This item is new, and I think I was the first person at the store to buy it as I called in the morning and it was out of stock, but when I got there I double checked and they said it had just arrived. It's perfect because it fits all of our cds exactly and now they're no longer awkwardly crammed into a small bookshelf taking up floor space. Plus we're doing matching which seems very grown up.

Here are my assembly tips (for all IKEA flatpack furnishings):
1. pretend you are a surgeon and lay out all the screws and pegs and tools and things on a tray so you are organized
2. use a tea towel under all those things so they don't roll around and drive you crazy
3. don't knock over the tray because you will have to crawl around looking under your furniture for all the little bits and it is VERY VEXING.
4. actually count them so you don't wonder later if something is missing or if you used the wrong thing
5. experienced assemblers will already know this, but each screw has a little number beside it at the beginning of the manual and next to the step where you use it so you can double check it's the right one
6. use the box your furniture came in as a mat to protect the pieces while assembling
7. when the instructions have a little "!" pay attention, or you will regret it
8. don't start assembling at 11pm at night if you are already tired and cranky
9. keep any extra bits for later - and the instructions!


Eastern bluebird

>> Monday, September 03, 2007

*click on the image to see it larger*

This weekend I finished a commission for an original watercolour painting of an eastern bluebird. I decided to try a square format for this one and I like how it turned out. As before, I use sepia pen & ink first before painting.

The original painting will be a gift for a 1-year old, which I think is a really lovely idea.


Four things I wanted to tell you

>> Saturday, September 01, 2007

Lotta Anderson featured in Blueprint

First of all Bradley's reaction to my living room "reveal" was very good, I think he said "holy smokes!" and loved it. The place is feeling much homier these days with just a bit of sorting, cleaning and lots and lots of painting.

The second thing that I wanted to tell you is that I picked up the September/October Blueprint and found an article about Lotta Anderson (of Lotta Jansdotter). I'm a big fan, as I'm sure many of you are as well so I thought you might like to know. I scooped up a copy and am so inspired by the stylish and artistic decor in her home and her work space in particular. The pendant lamp in her living room is exactly what I had in mind for our living room:
Lotta's living room featured in Blueprint

Now I just have to find it. If anyone knows somewhere in Toronto that stocks them please let me know!

Thirdly, I was surprised yesterday to find some clothes at Gap Body made with Liberty fabric! They also had some headbands and hair elastics with flowers also from Liberty fabric. I bought a nightie made with the gorgeous (poorly photographed) pattern above.

And finally our bathroom is not ready for a "reveal" but is dramatically improved so I'll give you some glimpses. First of all, here are some snaps of the "before". There was a bulky melamine cabinet over the toilet, bright yellow walls and matching shower curtain, with peeling paint revealing a Pepto-Bismol pink layer of paint underneath. There was a caramel colour shelf along one wall, and we put up a plain mirror temporarily. There is also an old washing machine and very old clawfoot tub. I love the clawfoot tub but it will need a bit of work - more on that in a later post.First of all we replace the box flourescent fixture with a simple round flushmount. Then we painted the walls cil's "wedding white" which I think is the perfect white, not too creamy/yellow and not too cool/stark. Very similar (I can't tell the difference from the chip) to Benjamin Moore's "swiss coffee". We removed the extra shelving on the walls throughout and lots of odd hooks that were stuck on the walls to hold clothes drying lines, etc. The shower curtain and red rug are from IKEA. We also installed a nice new chrome towel bar and toilet roll holder.
After a surprising amount of effort we finally found a medicine cabinet we liked, this one is from Home Sense. I'd like to add a glass handle to it later, but it has a nickle one now that is perfectly fine. And finally, the nice plain wall over the toilet (that's right I'm showing you a picture of our toilet). We may add artwork here later but for now it's nice to have an uncluttered wall. The cabinet that was there seemed to kind of be looming if you know what I mean. For storage there's a linen closet in the hallway - a new luxury for us! So I can pretend I'm a minimalist...Still to do: window curtains, new plumbing for the tub (it leaks and has old wonky brass piping), including a new tub faucet (the old one is chrome laminate and a bit peely) a new showerhead, and a new pedestal sink/faucet to replace a melamine vanity. Also we'd like to do new flooring and install a new washer/dryer (there isn't really another place in the house to put them.) Finally if possible I love the look of beadboard wainscotting and light sconces - but we'll have to see how we do with the budget!


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