Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Year? Bring it!

OKee Schmokee... It's calendar time!

Yes folks, you know you need one and I just found out that my sweetheart of a pal Marnie has done up a few with her adorable bears plastered all over it. Truth be told, I fell in love with Marnie's first bear before her... this is technically how we met. I saw her bear on a Christmas card she had at a show and immediately wanted him. Fast forward a wee bit to visiting my friend Kelly at her studio and lo and behold, there the bear is again with his lovely mistress Marnie... who was such a doll that I simply fell for her too. My friend said "Ohhhh... you have to watch out for Marnie! One minute she is baking you cookies... and the next... she's baking you cookies!" Well, we haven't connected on the cookie front yet, but 'tis true that she is a veritable ray of sunshine and every time I see her she is inviting me to a new show or shindig and some of them I even get to go to! I happen to know that I am now the proud owner of one of these babies, it's in the mail from Santa apparently. I know exactly where it's going and I can't wait to put it there...

Get one (or three) and check out the brilliantly cool re-engineered duds here!

Hey, did you all know that you can now get a tab for your Facebook account that showcases your etsy site? Sellers and favourites so even if you don't have a shop, you can still post for the benefit of others. I think this just may be the coolest thing Facebook has done. Almost makes up for them plastering our accounts all over the web a few weeks ago. Almost. Anyhoo, try clicking here to get that ap... I can't guarantee anything though, I have never tried to link to one of those pages before. Let me know if it works!

So speaking of Santa (yes we were,) something nice happened to me this Christmas. I finally had my computerless streak broken and am now the proud owner of a new laptop. I might even be able to figure it out before it gets thrown out the window! Wouldn't that be nice. Suffice it to say though, that I will be back to regular posting. I try to stay away, but I know I can't...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Razzle Dazzle Your Walls!

I am building shelving. Weeeellll... I am conceptualizing shelving. I have this huge storage closet in my apartment that is seriously underutilized and I want to organize it so I figure a simple shelving system is the ticket. So I jumped to the online shopping deities to help me find some contact paper (to cover the plywood that will be used) in nifty patterns. You know that stuff your mom used to line the cupboards with called Mac-Tac? Came in all sorts of hideous patterns and colours and stuck to everything? Well, this is my official plea to all contact paper manufacturers to get with the program and create a few graphic-ly progressive patterns? Please? We are breaking out into a DIY era of handmade and re-loved, and contact paper was created to be a part of this! Enough of the wood grain and bad florals already!

Every lemon leads to lemonade if you wait long enough, however. This is technically not contact paper but I am willing to redo my foyer if need be to get some of this into my space.


The sparkle is from oodles of teeny glass beads that make a sort of glittery layer over the paper design. The pics above use the glass layer on only certain areas of the design. These below are just completely one whole layer of glass. I can only imagine how decadent it would be to do up a wall from one of these! So yummy!

Talk about living in a jewel box! They don't cost an arm and a leg, just a wee bit of your pinky finger. Hardly noticable for what you get!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

It's Beginning to Smell A Lot Like Christmas...

I can't help it... as soon as the halloween willies jump back into the closet on November first, I start planning the Yule season. I adore Christmas and everything that comes with it. Even the family "together time" and the things like gifting that generally seem to stress everyone out. I am not a shopper, and loathe stores any other time of the year, but I find that I get so caught up in the entire feeling of magic that comes over me that it all seems good. I am the single mom of two high maintenance boys that definitely falls into the "on a budget" category, but I find that the smells and sights and sounds bring me right back to that sparkley feeling I used to have as a child and I spend much energy trying to help my kids find their own holiday twinkle.

It helps immensley that my entire family and I absolutely abhor malls and the like, are extremely casual and above all, have NO expectations. Each and every Christmas has been entirely different and that is the way we like it. I am the only one with a Martha streak and they pretty much let me have my way with decorating, provided they don't have to do anything other than "oooh" and "aaah". Truth be told, they all get into it a bit, even if they refuse to admit it. One year my sister took the ATV up into the woods and retrieved a seriously decrepid Charlie Brown tree that someone had cut down and tossed in favour of a new find. She hauled it down the hill and she and my stepdad drilled holes into it to insert random branches. One of the best Christmases in recorded history happened around that tree!

I am sure that most of this won't make it to my table this year, but one can dream. I have a thing for glass and although I am pretending to try to rid myself of my addiction, I will at some point add these to my collection. And I am definitely coveting the cutlery...

All of these are from Anthropologie (of course) and whilst looking up the (ridiculously low) price of the silverware online, I got to browse this year's adorable selection of ornaments for the holidays. I love what this store does and while I will most likely make most of these for fun, the prices are decent enough that you might want to think of adding a few to your collection. I have always given my boys the chance to pick a new treasured piece of their own every year, and when my cousins were young, my mother and I put together a picnic basket for each with a small selection of ornaments that we made with the intent that they could add one to it every year. I am all sentimental like that, what with the whole handmade thing, but you could definitely cheat with these. ;)

Just for fun, who has seen these? At $250 bucks a pop, they are not cheap, but they are so unique and well... artsy! How fun would it be to set up a table with a few of these! They are called "Captured Silverware"


Monday, August 24, 2009

Like a Rough Diamond

I was looking for something to use as a punch bowl for my sister's surprise birthday party last weekend and thought I would check out one of our thrift stores. I am an AVID thrift store shopper, in fact, I very rarely shop anywhere else. I do think that it takes a good eye to find what you are looking for there, but while people think that means you must have a talent for and understanding of the principles of good design, I think it is actually more a matter of being able to sort the junk out in your head and see past it to the good stuff. The sheer amount of stuff is generally more of an issue than seeing good shape. I hear people say all the time things like they loooooove that sofa, but would rather have it in another colour. Well, this is sort of the same thing, no?

So I didn't find a punch bowl, but I did find a fabulous sofa that I hope goes to a really good home. I have a thing for shoes, dishes and chairs /sofas, the latter being a bit of a problem as I live in a teeny small space. I think with a few alterations though, this could be a very nifty piece. The colour is very off in the last photo, and the lighting was atrocious (they don't put much effort or funding into the store's decor,)

Just a thought.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Alert: Mostest Fabulous Tag Sale!

Oh, for my Jetsetting people (Pauline, Katrina, Eve... this means you! Do me proud...) this is a must see! I have seen a few of these posted as of late and I think the idea for having designers and/or artists collaborate like this is brilliant. What a way to get a peek into the lives of those who are sometimes untouchable and see the 'people' side of them. Who doesn't like to play voyeur... isn't this why we are blogging? :) The IMPOSSIBLY FABULOUS bonus here is that the items up for perusal are to be had for actual tag sale prices! Starting at five bucks and nothing over $200! I am willing to bet there will be more than a few good deals to be had... please send me photos. If I could figure out how to wiggle my nose to get myself there and back within 24 hours... oh well. August 8th for those who can!

... Up Where the Air is Clear

So today I casually brought up the idea of planning a treehouse for next year at my parents new property. I have always wanted to build a tree folly and I believe every child should grow up with one but until now we simply did not have a place to put one. While my boys would most likely be happy with a ladder and a platform (and a coat of turquoise paint as my six year old is intent on adding as much colour to the world as possible...) I have always come at a project with the "go big or go home" mentality.

A few years ago I became obsessed with the Duchess of Northumberland's tree castle at the Alnwick Gardens. The project was a collaboration with the Prince of Whales to create what was to become the largest public gardens in Europe and the creativity and talent that went into them is nothing less than astounding. I followed their progress until the website changed over to basic tourist information. Many of the photos were unfortunately removed, but if you are ever able to put this on the itinerary for an excursion, I believe it would be more than worthwhile!

Not so long ago, the spherical treehouses from Free Spirit Spheres that originated on Saltspring Island (a place I once lived) made the rounds on sites such as Inhabitat and other design oriented blogs.

These are funky... still not my style though.

But these! Now this is something I could spend a great deal of time in... hell, this is something I could throw a great deal of martini socials in! I'm sold. They are prefabricated in Germany and I may have to sell a kidney just to cover the shipping, but there are some things in life that you just have to sacrifice for...

Baumraum has created dwellings that sit amongst the treetops in countries all over Europe and as far as the U.S. and Brazil. Just a trip through the galleries on their site has me dreaming of what fantastic things can be done thinking outside, and in this case, waaaaaay above, the box.

What do you suppose the chances of hoisting a retrofitted Airstream into a tree are? Fabulous, me thinks.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

...and the Livin' Is Easy

I have been twisting my brain into a pretzel trying to figure out what to blog about for the last little while because I have barely been around a computer and can't seem to find a thread of commonality amongst what I have running about my noggin. It just now occurs to me (my lovely friend just pointed out on the phone) that perhaps it would just be best to put a few things out there and 'empty the folder' so to speak. If this is a lifestyle blog, then perhaps a peek into how life is lived around these parts would be appropriate.
This is my summer so far.
So to begin with, my parents bought a beautiful piece of property way back in spring that backs right onto the river and although that means a healthy dose of mosquitos, it also means spending many many weekends coming out to sit about barefoot eating watermelon. Life could definitely be worse.

This is the boys' new playhouse...

The backyard

Early in June my sister and I made the nine plus hour treck to Vancouver, which is where we both grew up. She bought a new car and phoned one day to say that she wanted to drive it so she was taking my boys and I down to play tourist. If there were a way for me to describe how much of a stretch it is to imagine my sister stuck in a vehicle with a two and a six year old for over nine hours... well, let's just say I am impressed that we ALL made it home together. Eventually.

... looking for creatures

We took Rowan to the Vancouver Aquarium as we happened to be there on his sixth birthday (and it just so happened that that day is now the birthday of a certain beluga whale who was birthed while we were in attendance). We did the Stanley Park thing and snapped this pic from across the water of Vancouver's new LEED convention center with it's green living roof. In fact, we noticed that Vancouver is showing a much greener side these days, even moreso than when we lived there a decade ago. Even the info booth at the park is sporting a wildflower roof. Perhaps a bit of a facelift for the coming Olympics?

This year we made it to the Strawberry Festival at the Ashram. This amazing property is only open to the public for this one day of the year and I have always wanted to go. The building itself is built entirely for acoustics and it really is the most amazing experience to be inside. Every single whisper or footstep becomes a statement and being that it is meant to be a place of silence most of the time, it is very profound to be inside. Profound is not the word I would use to describe entering the Ashram with a two and a six year old... "enlightening" may be in there someplace however. We spent the day walking the grounds and heard people saying "even the rocks on the beach are beautiful!... do you think they were imported?" So funny.

The Factory had the Grand Opening of their new store and celebrated their second annual Day to Night Fashion Show and I did take my camera to take photos of the behind the scenes hooplah, but was too busy to actually shoot anything. These photos are random shots from others who attended...

... and in true Nelson fashion (no pun intended) there were many painted bodies in attendence...

My lovely friend Kelly's artshow...

A few more bits and pieces here and there...
and then some more relaxation in the great outdoors. It's been rough folks...

The End.