Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Chiyogami: Japanese Paper and a New Year's Resolution

Well, as for most people, it is the time of year I like to reflect. 2008 was a good year for me...a new profession, new job, new city, new experiences...overall I'd give it a B+ (but then I'm a teacher...I couldn't give it an "A" unless it was REALLY amazing...like I won the lottery or something). As I look forward to 2009, I see another good year coming. I have thought long and hard about my resolutions this year. Initially I planned on pulling the "I'm not doing resolutions this year" cop-out, however I have thought of some aspects of myself that I could improve...Ergo, I give you my resolutions 2009:

1) Lose 10 pounds (ha! carried over from LAST year!)
2) Work out 5 days per week (I joined The Yorkville Club for incentive.
3) Read at LEAST two books a month (see later in this post for my inspiration to keep this one)
4) Post to my blog more regularly
5) Finish one scrapbook page per month...and make sure my life is interesting enough to warrant a scrapbook page a month...I'm covered until March as of now)

There they are...On to more interesting things!

Chiyogami! What is it? Allow me to give you a brief history:

It is Japanese in origin, dating back to the late 18th century. It is a technique that involves wood-block printing patterns on paper in gorgeous colours...the pattern repeats, resulting in paper that is very similar to a piece of patterned fabric. Chiyogami gained popularity as an inexpensive alternative to washi paper, spreading from Kyoto to Edo (Tokyo today), and Osaka. It is used today for a variety of crafts, including decoupage, origami, and scrapbooking. It is available in most specialty paper and scrapbooking stores online and around Toronto. My favourite source for chiyogami is The Paper Source...and my other favourite source is my mom...who picked me up some while on layover in Japan.

Here are some of my favourites:



...and the larger pieces:



I have become quite fond of making these little bookmarks, as I HATE to fold my page over when I am reading...but I can never find pretty enough bookmarks to keep my interest.





I found this idea on one of my fave blogs, How About Orange? , and you can find the Better Than Others tutorial (an amazing site for origami projects) here .

I am also thinking about making little coasters with some of the papers I have with those little photo coasters you can buy at Kitchen Stuff Plus..and framing some. But I think that can all wait...until next year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Stay Safe!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Just Another Tuesday Night...And My Kitchen!

I have finally decided to bite the bullet and clean up my kitchen for a "photo op." My kitchen is usually quite clean, but it has to be at another level altogether to be blog-worthy...see what I do for the two people who read my ramblings?
Anywho, I decided to make some healthy Bolognese Pasta...and take some pictures in the interim while it cooked. Overall, it was a lovely dinner, if a little rushed (the Leafs are playing tonight, which means everything has to be done by 7:00). I am also procrastinating, because it's about -100 degrees c outside and I have a fifteen minute walk ahead of me. That means I need two things; 1)a beer jacket, and 2)Alpaca socks, scarf, and yellow mittens. I am working on #1 and I have my mom to thank for #2.

Without further ado, here is my makeshift table:



S and I have decided not to get a dining table as of yet...although you KNOW we have at least one in mind. The dishware is vintage, found at a little shop by my house that was owned by the devil...I mean a nice lady...who screwed me out of my Christmas present by "accidentally" selling it to someone else. But I am not bitter...seriously. The shop closed down now. I call that "karma." I made the placemats. I posted about them earlier.



The little white bowls from Pier One have a spicy oil blend that we learned to make from our new favourite Italian restaurant, Grazie (sorry Cafe Amore...). It is a must for bread-dipping.

The view from the front hall. The art is by my very talented grandpa:



My Terrarium in its rightful resting spot:





The Kitchen Aid enamel cast-iron pot on my stove was on sale from $100 to $29 right before we moved. The only thing I regret about that purchase was not buying 10 more. Seriously, it is the only pot I ever want to use. The larger one was on sale earlier this month for a similarly ridiculous price, but now I have to pay rent. Blast this "adulthood."

My sassy microwave, knife rack, and wine rack...fully stocked...I love that one of my best girls is a viticulturist.



I really should go meet my peeps at McMurphy's...they probably think I was held up by terrorists or something.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Terrarium, Mon Coeur!

OK, so...I have finally arranged my terrarium (the vessel previously housed a candle...) You may recall this photo from my fave blog decor8 .


Well, thanks to my mom (and my long dead Aunt Santa) I have created something that I think is truly beautiful, and a little bit enchanted...





Here it is in action...although this is NOT its permanent home...that will be by the sink, but my kitchen looks like a bomb hit it right now...



The plant is a mystery...but I adore it. I think it is a cactus or succulent of some kind. I put some shells and river rocks in for visual interest, and some drainage gravel.

I know it's a bit untimely, but I thought that I would add a photo of my Christmas tree for good measure. Note the black scalloped tree skirt (oh wait, it's not visible)...I made it. I really ought to post tutorials someday, but I simply don't have the patients.



I hope you all got what you wanted this Christmas...I sure did...*hint*



Now...where to put it...

It is almost resolution time (two more days!) in addition to my usual resolution to lose 1olbs, I will be adding "redecorate bedroom." I will definitely keep you posted.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I'm Back, and This is My Living Room

Hi all...

I am finally ready to resume my regular postings. I have been living in the city for almost two months, and I feel quite settled in now. Our space is still a work in progress, but our vintage-modern vision is coming along. When we first moved in we had a TON of cleaning to do (of course), as well as painting and...wallpaper...*shudder

It actually went relatively smoothly, and despite some interesting paint antics in the bathroom, everything came together quickly...That's what months of pre-planning will do for ya.

Without further ado...here is the "before" pic of my living room:



After a lot of consideration, here is how our living room looks today:



I know, right? I am an AWESOME photographer...and there are more photos to come.

The gray chairs are vintage, which we had reupholstered. The couch, which is not clearly visible, was made for us by our reupholsterer. My best advice when designing a new space is not to rule out custom furniture as an option. The couch we had made cost less than the Ikea version we wanted, and we got the dimensions and the fabric we wanted. My point is, you CAN afford custom, and it will last longer, and look more original than the mass-produced versions. Just shop around. You'll be pleasantly surprised.