Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Why Sarah Richardson is Famous, and I Am Not

I have been religiously watching my fave designer, Sarah Richardson, for over eight years now. She has had several shows on HGTV, and has recently been airing shows on how to reno a home "Sarah-Style." ("Sarah-Style" translates loosely to "the best design you've ever seen-style") Essentially, Sarah is famous for her transcendent designs. That is, they transcend the realm of "amazing" into the realm of "perfect." I realize I am gushing, but really...she's the best.

Exhibit A: The Living Room

Exhibit B: The Dining Room

Exhibit C: The Master Bedroom

I really could go on and on, but you can clearly see where I am going with this. She makes neutrals look so bold with the use of pattern and texture, and her designs are very classic...you know they'll still be beautiful in 10 years (good thing too, cuz you'll have spent a mint on them!)

My design inspiration comes from her principles (she has a design column in the Globe and Mail), and of course from pictures of her exquisite work. I really hope that my apartment is even half as beautiful as any of the rooms she creates.

The best design advice I have gleaned from her show came as an off-handed comment she made in one of her episodes. She said that when she is envisioning a project, she actually creates the finish project in her mind, and works from that. As a non-designer, that was totally a novel idea to me...Until that point, I had just been adding random pieces to my decor and praying that they fit...Hopefully this time everything will turn out as a result.

Something Gorgeous!

I have officially found the most beautiful, June Cleaver-style aprons I have ever seen. I would wear one of these babies as a dress...and too bad for the people behind me! I am purchasing one ASAP...like next week...I'll show you:

You can have your own simply by clicking here ...I am too excited! I fully believe this apron could be the key to inspiring me to clean my house...VERY regularly!

Speaking of etsy, if you have never checked it out, you should. It is a whole community of artsy people who share their craft with others via the interweb. I love shopping around for vintage finds, and interesting haberdashery...The best part is you are usually supporting a young, up and coming artist of some medium...oh, and your purchase could potentially appreciate a whole lot, if you catch my drift.

On another happy note, I have an appointment with a potential buyer for my car tomorrow! I am keeping my fingers crossed!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

It's the Besta!

After two unsuccessful trips to Ikea to pick up our t.v. console...we finally got it right today! Here it is, ladies...the Besta Burs!

This gorgeous, new-ish little gem has oodles of storage space for all your hideous media-storing needs. It is going to look absolutely SMASHING in our new digs.

As the countdown continues, and we get closer to crunch time, I have been frantically researching moving tips. Enter: (as always) Martha. I printed off the mover checklist and about 12 labels. You can find the labels here. Now all I have to do is actually get down to packing...according to this checklist, I'm two weeks behind!

Friday, October 24, 2008

If I had a spare $4000...

Allow me to present to you the work of my favourite Canadian photographer, David Burdeny. Although I do not profess to have any technical knowledge of his medium, I find his pictures completely exquisite.
I stumbled upon his work roughly two years ago while perusing an interior design magazine, and I have been following him closely ever since. I had visions of plastering the walls of my perfectly-appointed downtown loft in his photos...until I realized that I do not have $4000, or a perfectly-appointed downtown loft for that matter. I am waiting to purchase his book, and will do so as soon as more copies come available. It will soon be available here.

Here are some of my favourite images...

Now, of course, ever the DIY-er, I won't let a stupid obstacle like money get in the way of something that I want. Enter flickr the photo sharing site. Steve and I found quite a few less-gorge, but similarly styled photos, and we will be having these custom matted instead. Wanna see 'em? Come over!

One week to go!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Terriffic Terrariums

My love of all things vintage has recently manifested as a mild obsession with terrariums. These adorable little plant domiciles are quite fascinating.
My interest was initially piqued by this photo, which I found on one of my fave blogs: decor8.
I was initially hoping for a pear, pumpkin, or apple terrarium, but alas, I found none...It was at that point I broadened my search to include the egg.

May I present to you the newest addition to my decor family, the egg terrarium!

I simply cannot wait until it is brimming with greenery. Until then, I will have to sate myself with flickr photos like this one:

Making Budgeting Pretty

I would certainly would not say that I enjoy budgeting, but I dislike the thought of going broke more. After watching Gail Vaz Oxlade's show "'Till Debt Do Us Part" for the past few years (which you can view here) I have decided that not going broke is simply a matter of employing a few simple strategies.

1) Make a tangible budget: You can create your own using Excel, or try this interactive version made by Gail herself.
2) Live on cash and save receipts
3) Save for a rainy day

Since I usually require something shiny or pretty to coax me into unpleasant tasks, I have created envelopes using a template by my fave blogger Jessica Jones at How About Orange. I used scraps of leftover scrapbooking paper and labelled them with sticker letters. The envelopes are designed to hold receipts, and they correspond with the categories of our variable expenses.

Making these envelopes was seriously fun, and it brought me right back to my glory days in JK, when my teacher had me demonstrate for the class how to make the little envelopes I folded incessantly as a child. I really do love to make useful things.

Case in point #2
My magnetic spice rack, which I made using watchmaker tins from Lee Valley, and some self-adhering magnets from the dollar store. I think the total cost of this project was about $20, and I can add to my collection at any time relatively easily. These would have cost me easily $70 at Home Outfitters. Note: They are not all filled yet, but soon!

Yay for DIY!

Friday, October 17, 2008

My New-Old Table

So, Steve and I were rummaging around the house searching for materials with which to make our own version of this coffee table, when we stumbled across his hideous old coffee table from uni. He joked that we could just use it instead expending all of the extra effort to make a new one. My initial instinct was to barf, but then I took a closer look. The table had nice clean lines, it WAS vintage (70's but, hey...old is old), and it would probably look stunningly modern painted a high-gloss white.
The next day, we tripped-it into Ajax to pick up some spray paint and bulls eye primer (no sanding or stripping required= good) at Home Depot. Upon wood-filling, priming, and gloss coating, this is what we had:

Spray painting is FUN!

Turns out, it was a great idea after all.

On a side note, I finished the place mats recently, but I will not be posting about those, as my top stitching skills did not improve as I had stipulated.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Coasters and Such

As promised, I am posting some photos of my work. I do not claim to be a seamstress, but I am quite proud of these double-sided coasters. They were a total snap to make...
All I did was:
1) Measure a coaster I already had, and added 1/4 inch on all sides for seam allowances.
2) Cut out one square in each of my coordinating patterns (two squares per coaster).
3) Fold seams under according to my 1/4 inch seam allowance and press. I did this for all squares.
4) Clipped all four corners on a diagonal on each square.
5) Applied Heat and Bond interfacing according to package instructions, and fused the top and bottom pieces together.
6) Topstitched around the perimeter of my coaster. (Note to self: improve topstitching)
7) Enjoyed my coaster!

If you have coordinating fabric in different colours, you may want to have one colour thread on the top, and one on the bottom. The solution is to simply thread the top spool with the thread you want on top, and your bobbin with the thread you want showing on the bottom.

Tomorrow's projects: Matching placemats, and pot holders. I also have an awesome felt pillow project that I found here in my cue. I am definitely going to need to improve my topstitching for that project!

Here are the photos...unprofessional as advertised:

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Wallpaper: Done!

I purchased the wallpaper for our feature wall today at the local Home Depot. The manufacturer is a Canadian company called Sanitas. This wallpaper is absolutely perfect because it picks up on all of the chrome elements we will have throughout the apt. I also love the fact that it has a vintage feel, with a modern twist. So many of the pieces we have been amassing have that feel (and the ones we've been repurposing as well) that it really just ties everything together. It's a totally unsafe decision, but I think it's going to be perfect.

Here is a picture of the print:

I'll post a photo of it when we've finished pasting it...and possibly a video of the process, if I'm feeling ambitious.

With regards to paint options, the designer from Benjamin Moore helped me pick the perfect gray called Coventry Gray, which will be the primary wall colour throughout the living space, and Escarpment, which will be another accent of sorts in the den, which can be seen from the living room.

I think the window coverings will be kept simple (we don't need too much going on with the wallpaper, etc). I am thinking white wood blinds.


Friday, October 3, 2008

Hello Out There!

...she says as though anyone will be reading this blog...

Steve and I are busily stock-piling everything we will need in the new apartment...I am going nuts counting down the days. Obviously since there are 30-something, I need something to occupy my time. This is where sewing comes into play. I have made several small projects, and have several more on the go...just small household items...coasters, placemats, pillows...etc. I will post some photos at a later date, but I warn you I am a terrible photographer...as in, I can't even tell a good picture from a bad one unless it is glaringly obvious....but I try.

I would like to share the loveliest of my purchases with you...my Glamour Clock from EQ3.

Essentially this clock is the most beautiful specimen I have ever seen. It is also very labour-intensive to create...I know...I tried. I created a modified version of this clock. What a disaster. For the price...I should have just bought it. That being said, this clock is a STEAL! We saw (and loved) the same clock at an NYC boutiqe, Apt New York in Soho for $250! I loooove EQ3! My next purchase is the Cast floor lamp: Exhibit B
Tomorrow I pick paint to coordinate with the wallpaper! I shall keep posting!