Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Frame That Almost Was...

For Christmas 2010, my brother bought me an Ork poster of Toronto. I love maps and these ones are especially cool because they section off your city by neighbourhoods. My one looks exactly like this:

I went to Michael's a couple weeks after my brother gave it to me with a 40% coupon and BALKED when the salesperson told me how much it would cost to frame. I thought, "That poster will never see the light of day..."  

Fast forward to my mat cutter purchase!

My friend, Gary, and I went to Value Village in an attempt to find a frame big enough for my sweet Toronto poster and stumbled across this shelf of huge posters! Score! 

Unfortunately, the poster I wanted was located above a rack of used bras (ewwwwww...) and I couldn't reach the frame properly (too short!), so Gary chivalrously offered to get it for me :-) What a good friend!

The "Can't Beat The Feeling" poster looked perfect and was only $14! Literally less than 10% what I was quoted at Michael's with the 40% off coupon! I asked the cashier for a tape measure so I could ensure it was big enough to hold the Ork poster, which is 24x30 inches. I can't remember exactly how big the frame was, but it was something like 24x32..... 


It looked so HUGE on the shelf! I thought for SURE it would be big enough. There were no other frames bigger than this one and I'm not even sure that standard frames come any bigger than this... Does anyone know? I can play the waiting game forever if I know (heck, even if I think) it's going to save me at least $200! 

In other news, we saw these cute puppies that looked like they were being purchased hehe. They were pretty much crazy (like their owner lol) and they wouldn't stay still for a photo, but then as soon as they were still, I took a blurry shot. 

Anyone have any good Canada Day/long weekend plans?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Canadian Design Bloggers Meetup 2011

On Saturday I went to Brassaii for the Canadian Design Bloggers Meetup. Before Saturday, I'd never been here before, but I'd heard good things about it. Brassaii is located in a beautiful building on King St W in Toronto - outside is a charming cobblestone patio and beautiful tomato coloured doors greeted me as I entered. Inside, there was some great lighting and brick walls - my weakness!

The lovely Daniella (from Dress, Design & Decor) and Vie (from Verdigris Vie) were the power duo behind this beautifully organized event.

They snagged Tommy Smythe (!) as the key speaker for the event and he quickly dubbed us "Bitches Who Blog" and he called me beautiful...well technically, he called he audience beautiful, but I was in the audience, so that counts...right??
He shared with us a slide show of photos from his (and Sarah Richardson's and Scott McGillivray's) recent trip to Scandinavia, where they visited the Ikea Museum. Tommy has an amazing eye for design (obviously!) and his commentary was hilarious, to say the least. He talked about the timelessness of good design at any price point, and gave the Lack table (shown below) as an example. He also showed us a uniquely shaped building front and said it was an inspiring shape for a headboard. The most hilarious part for me was when he discussed the pros and cons of obelisks versus ball-shaped objects... If you don't know what an obelisk is, look it up and you'll get why it was funny.

I couldn't believe the giveaways! A huuuge Ikea gift card, several Delta faucets, a Rowenta steamer, an iPad, books, some Crate and Barrel pillows, a few magazine subscriptions to Canadian House and Home....... wooh!

The swag bags that were given out at the end of the night were great as well. We got one copy of Style at Home, 2 copies of Canadian House & Home, a travel mug by CIL and a cool lamp from Ikea. 

The best part of the night for me was meeting all my fellow bloggers in person! It was so great! Admittedly, it felt a little creeper-like to walk up to someone and say, "Hey (insert blogger's name)! I love your blog. Your bathroom/kitchen/garden/kids/wedding looked so great" lol but I guess that's what blogging's all about - putting yourself out there. These ladies below are Brittany (My Daily Randomness), her sister Amanda (Amanda Cromwell Designs), and Janice (Life Begins at Thirty, Right?)... then me!

Some other women I met, who I didn't get pics with, were Kerry from First Time Fancy, Sarah, from Redesigning Sarah (who won the iPad2....lucky girl!), Lindsay from Buy Borrow and Style, Michele from Mod Missy, Susan from Saf Affect, Jennifer from Rambling Renovators, and Andrea from Ikea, who very kindly explained to me how Twitter works.

I couldn't get enough of the hors d'oeuvres! I wasn't hungry when I got there, but I sure worked up an appetite once I saw the beautifully presented food being served.  Yummy spring rolls, gourmet grilled cheeses, individual sized fish and chips, crab cakes.

I thought I tried everything, but then I saw the photos on the CDB site and somehow I managed to miss these delectable bites! Me oh my they look gooood.

**All photos, except where noted, are from Canadian Design Bloggers Meetup and were taken by Leah Kirin from Forever Moments.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Little Secret...

Last summer, Kevin and I bought a condo :-) 

Phew, I've wanted to write that for a while now.

The construction started this spring and the anticipated occupancy date is slated for some time next summer. They gave us an exact date, but we all know these things are never finished on time… Toronto is so expensive, so we never thought we'd be able to get something in the city. Turns out, if you buy early enough, prices aren't too bad! I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm sure we could buy a huge house outside of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) with the price we're paying to live in Toronto, but then we'd have to get cars and communicating time would increase and I'm total wuss about driving on the highway in the snow/rain/dark, etc. 

At our last condo meeting, we were told that we should start researching what kind of finishes we'd in interested in for our units. EEEEEEEK!!! I feel like I’ve been preparing my whole life for this lol!! It makes me sound like a super dork, but I'm excited to pick out finishes!! Every time I see big box store flyers I can't wait to open them and look flooring, counter, sinks, lighting, appliances, etc. When I was in Home Depot with my dad on Father’s Day, I lollygagged through the cabinets, sinks, and appliances. It’s insane how wide the spectrum is for finishes…

I don't love this sink, but it looks pretty cool. Although I don't do any dishes, I think double sinks are a lot more practical. But this sink can hold a full sized cookie sheet, which is pretty awesome. 

I know someone probably loves this sink, but that someone just ain't me. It looks like a trough. I just don't understand what it would be used for. Hand-washing, and that's about it... Even then I'm sure I'd get water all over the counter.  

On my way home from work on Thursday, I ran into a fellow condo buyer. He said this isn't his first condo and he's excited, but dreading picking out finishes because it's hard to visualize how everything's going to look... and it's expensive. He said it sure does help you prioritize what's important when you get dinged at least $500 per upgrade. He asked me what my must-haves were. I listed off some things, such as under mounted sinks, wood cabinets, granite counter tops, and at least engineered hardwood floors...I've mentally and financially prepared myself for several thousand dollars in upgrades, but whether or not I'll be able to part with that money is another story. I also want to make sure I'm not investing in upgrades that are trendy. I'm such a sucker for advertisements and marketing. If enough people told me that trough sink was the $h!t, I'd probably...who am I kidding?.. I would want it. I'm a sucker for good marketing!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day Dad!

It was a lot of work trying to find a picture of me and dad standing side by side... In our family, we always end up standing oldest to youngest (dad, mom, brother, me, sister) so I've usually got 2 people in between me and my dad in photos. Plus I'm the picture taker in my family, so I'm usually behind the camera instead of in front of it. 

I went to my parents' house today and when I got there my Dad was doing his favourite activity: Napping! Or as he calls it, "resting his eyes" lol

Then I went with him to his favourite store: Home Depot! He looked around for a new screwdriver, some 2x4 wood and he helped me pick out some caulk.

Too many to choose from! Good thing my dad was there to help me pick one out :-)

Making sure the 2x4 planks he picked are straight...

On the way back to his truck

Hopefully you got the chance to hang out with your dad today! Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there! 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Weekend To-Do List

I'm an earlier riser - always have been, probably always will be. I love getting up early on a Saturday (ie: I got up at 6:30am today) and getting errands and projects done before noon. I'm usually back before Kevin even gets out of bed.

My To-Do List for this Weekend:

  • Drop off empty spray paint and regular paint cans at the hazardous waste depot. 
  • Get groceries - We live within 1 km of 4 grocery stores, so I check the flyers and shop accordingly.
  • Buy a Father's Day card for my dad.
  • Bake him something (cupcakes, cake, brownies - he's not picky lol)
  • Bring said baked good and said card to him on Sunday
  • Spray paint my cabinet -allllllmost done spray painting. The sides still look a little streaky
  • Clean the windows (inside and out - ambitious, but it needs to get done)
  • Get some work done (non negotiable!) 

To-Do lists stress me out a bit, but I think it's good to have (realistic) goals. I need to at least think about what I'd like to accomplish on my time off, otherwise I wouldn't even do half of things I'd like to do.

What are you up to this weekend?

Side note: Kevin brought me home a bike the other day and I'm LOVING it! I bought a $20 detachable basket from Canadian Tire last week for the front of the bike and it was a very practical purchase. That's how I'll be bringing my paint cans to the hazardous waste depot today. 

Here's a pic:

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Plant Killer on the Loose

I love plants and flowers and I've loved them as long as I can remember - in any form... potted, cut, hanging, terrariums, dried, silk...all good. I imagine myself having a beautiful garden in the front and back of my house one day - similar to what my mom has going on, but with less grass and more garden. 

But here's the problem:    I can't seem to keep them alive.

I know it sounds pathetic, but it really upsets every time I kill a plant. And trust me, it happens way too often! When my mom comes to visit, she (not so subtly) eyes all my plants and graciously takes the dying one(s) home with her and nurses them back to life. 

I've always been called a tree hugger and I'm a Virgo (apparently we loooove nature) and I come from a line of women (my grandmother and mother) who can pluck a sprig from a plant and grow a whole new freakin' plant!! Why didn't I inherent this green thumb?? It's embarrassing how fast plants wilt in my care. My defense is I just love them too much. Does this happen to other people??

My total plant collection includes 2 bamboo plants, a potted Gerber daisy, and 2 potted 4" Osteospermums in my living room, and an unidentified plant from Ikea that resides in my bathroom. I also have one currently in my mom's care - it's a vine of some sort...

In any case, my plants underwent some care this weekend: I cleaned all of their pots/vases, pot saucers, and wiped down their leaves. I'd like to think they "feel" a little better about being in clean pots and looking all nice with their lustery leaves, so maybe they'll live a bit longer now.

Obviously these aren't the same leaf, but after I wiped them all, I couldn't remember which one I used for the before photo...

 I emptied out the water, rocks, and marbles from the vase into the bathtub. I collected the rocks into a colander then sprayed them off with hot water to get rid of the residue. I refilled the vase halfway with water then put the rocks back in (large to small) a few at a time.

 Kevin gave me this plant for my desk at work when I first got hired, but the air circulation isn't great and I have a north facing window, so I brought it home with me. It used to be a bright green container, but I spray painted it white.

I cleaned off the stems and rocks 
The after shot of the bamboo shoots is making me crave asparagus...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Dark and Scary Place - Under the Kitchen Sink

Everyone has a place in their house that they'd rather people didn't see. For me, it's under the kitchen sink. It's pretty horrifying down there... There's a mix of the compost bin, cleaning products, foil, parchment paper, plastic wrap, lunch containers, a bunch of different cooking oils, garbage bags, etc.... On top of that, it's just plain dirty and stinky with crumbs and the smell of the compost bin. When we have people over for dinner and they ask where our compost bin is so they can scrape their scraps in there, I hurriedly tell them to just leave their plates on the counter and I'll deal with it later. Oh the shame!

Here's what I was working with:

Here's the horrifying part... All of the gross old contact paper was mostly covered up by my blue storage containers - thank goodness! It was like a crumb city down there...

I pulled up the old contact paper, which came up very easily. Then I spent about 10 minutes trying to get rid of the adhesive so I could work with a clean surface, but it didn't come off. Oh well. New contact paper was going to shortly be covering up that adhesive, so I guess it didn't really matter much...

This is the paper I chose. I bought it for $3.99 from Canadian Tire. I guess I could have looked around elsewhere for a better price (this stuff is probably sold at Dollarama), but I was already at Canadian Tire and I figured super cheap stuff will probably just un-stick in a couple of weeks

It was super easy to apply! The top left corner is lifted a bit because there's foam insultation popping up in that corner from under the bottom of the cabinet.

Here's the after shot! It's a lot cleaner, brighter, and better organized. Now my dinner guests can scrape away their own scraps!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

St Lawrence Market

Every other month or so, my friend Gary and I will take an early Saturday morning trip to St Lawrence Market together. We went there this past Saturday to grab (a very unhealthy) breakfast and to pick up some meat and cheese. I try to get at least one month's worth of meat from the butcher in one trip. The one I go to, White House Meats, freezer packs any meats you want, so it's super convenient. 

Here are some pictures from our trip:

This is a pasta-cutting machine - you can see the fusilli on the board.

I don't wanna say Gary ran to get a peameal bacon sandwich... but he pretty much ran. He had blinders on for that place! He's the one standing just to the left of the stand that says "Breakfast on a Bun"

Here was his sandwich. I don't eat bacon, but if I did I think I would've had to try a piece. The whole market smelled uh-mazing! I wish I could make the next pictures scratch-n-sniff 

My "breakfast" consisted of this olive, feta cheese and spinach bureka (to the left).... and 1/2 of this strawberry and cheese danish. I twisted Gary's rubber arm and he ate the other half. 

We passed by this cute little stand, called Lemon Tree. The woman was selling macarons and cupcakes. I'd never had a macaron before so Gary bought me one

 They were all so delicious looking, but Gary and I both settled on... 

 Pistachio! SO DELICIOUS!

 Cheese and Pate


 Gary and me as we headed on home :-)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Birdie on a Wire

For my birthday last year, my friend bought me a water colour painting from Kerry Ainger. She lives in British Columbia, Canada and has a shop on Etsy, named This Tinder. She'll be away on vacation for the next couple weeks, but check out her Etsy shop in July when she gets back. She also has a blog, named This Tinder where she displays her beautiful art and blogs about her life and other creative outlets.

So, this painting had been sitting in my pile of things-to-frame for long enough, so I went to Value Village to see if I could find a suitable frame for it. Now that I have the mat cutter I feel like the world is my oyster :-) I have all these frames to choose from!

I found this nice frame at Value Village - originally from C. Gutenburg Gallery Limited in Toronto according to the sticker on the back. I also stopped back into Deserres to get another mat. The two stores are only about 100 metres apart so it was very convenient.

Here's the after shot once I cut the mat and put in Kerry's painting. I think it looks great!

Here's a close up of the cute little birdie. He's got a top hat! 

The total cost of this project was $8.54 before taxes! Seriously, where have mat cutters been all my life??

I hung the newly frame art above the towel rack in the bathroom. The silver trim looks a lot better than the old frame and the white really brightens the place up, especially now that we have all white trim in there - a reveal I'll show you soon :-)

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