Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Snoop Dog

I will fully admit to being a bit of a snoop. Not into people's business, but definitely into their houses.  While I would never open a cupboard or drawer in someone else's house, I allow my eyes to freely roam and scan a room for every little detail. I take in everything on a mantle or table and feast on the titles on the bookshelves. I'm totally into looking at other peoples stuff. 

Here's a snoop into my bedroom at what I keep on my dresser. A very old jewelry box holds my more precious Bits, the rest being tossed into a tray or hung on the old wall sconces. It's a good way to keep the necklaces from getting tangles, and I like seeing them all together in a bunch. The other sconce is draped with pretty ribbons that I can't face throwing away, so I keep them and think they look pretty dangling down under the light. The bamboo Chippendale chair is a favorite of mine. I actually found it on the road on Junk Day. The seat was all broken and I had my upholsterer make a new one with a little padding and a yard of fabric. My neighbor who chucked it out kicks herself every time she sees this chair looking so fine in my house.  

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

On the mantle....

Anyone who enters my home will know that my mantle changes constantly. It's a constant source of clutter and Bits, birthday cards, sometimes flowers or candles, haphazardly tossed books, bits of wood, junk and found things, and right now, a large white plaster mirror. The Bits this week include my gorgeous carved African woman wearing a very old rosary, a tin angelic Frida piece from my trip to Mexico with Girl Child, and a little wooden basket of worry dolls. I stepped back this morning to look at the accidental assortment of Bits, and wondered if this was subconsciously because I've been very worried about a person dear to me, and her family.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Flowers in the House

I've acquired a bit of a thing for orchids lately. The one plant that seems to suit my lack of nurturing and haphazard watering schedule. When I do remember to water them, I gather them together in a sink of cool water, and let them drink their fill before I dot them back around the house to brighten spots with their quiet elegance. They forgive my incompetence as an indoor gardener and produce beautifully.

I am joining Jane today for her Monday Flowers in the House get together...pop by over HERE

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I am Canadian!

I had the good fortune of becoming a Canadian Citizen this week. Now I officially hold two Citizenships (British and Canadian) so I'm feeling pretty lucky. At the swearing in ceremony we were asked to think back to the day we arrived in Canada. I was 12. My father had gone bankrupt in the UK and an uncle "arranged" a job for him, as well as passage and immigration for our family of 6. When we arrived 6 months after my father, we were taken to a very pokey little cottage, on loan to us until my father could secure a rental house. Although it was on Lake Huron, it was a damp and dark little place. We were left there with no car all week while my father went to his job in the city and had to wait until the weekend to get groceries etc. I hated everything about this move, especially leaving my grandparents behind in the UK. It was like we were thrown into strange waters without a life vest and it was sink or swim. Eventually we moved to the suburbs and muddled together a life of a transplant in a new country. I can't imagine what it was like for many of my fellow citizens at the ceremony, some who have come without the English language, some as refugees. 

I was telling my story of my arrival 40 years ago to my adopted pet family, so they could understand their roots. They could barely keep their eyes open. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012


I know this photo is dark and murky, but if you look closely you can see the bear I spotted at 6:30 am. I was walking Balto this morning and as he stopped to pee, something caught his attention. I looked to where he was looking and saw the bear. I rushed him back to the cottage and got my camera and went back to get a shot. I opened the car door and stayed near the car, so I couldn't get closer to him, nor could I take my eye off him to adjust my ISO settings, so the photo was dark. But.... I was close enough to smell him. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Faffing Around

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am on a kick to get rid of stuff. I am trying to scale back my belongings and keep only what I love, and generate more space in my house, drawers and even my car. I've been faffing around in every room in the house. Moving things from here to there, and sometimes back again. The Raz Man has a rule.....he'll only move things once so I have to decide exactly where I want it, if it is to heavy to me to move alone. Or I wait a few days when he's forgotten that we moved it already.

I eliminated a chair in the bedroom, and a large and crappy white bedside table in favor of this lovely old English Pine drop leaf table that a good friend gave me. She used to feed her family of 6 around this little table back in the UK. I am so pleased to have it and it works well as a night table. 

If you look closely, you will see I've switched out the curtains. These white linen curtains were in the living room, and now the gray, block printed ones are in the living room, which is going to have a makeover in the next few weeks.

Yesterday I dumped 3 bags of rubbish (old cosmetics, shoes, clothes, old cleaning supplies, papers, broken items etc, and 4 enormous bags to the Salvation Army. If I had to add up the $ value of all those clothes I don't wear, shoes that don't fit right, cosmetics barely used and all sorts of cleaning supplies and unnecessary things, I think I would cry. It's not just enough to purge, I need to actually get a feel for the loss of $, not to mention the trash I've made, to really my this worthwhile.

Heading up to a cottage for the weekend with the Raz Man and Frenchie. Balto (dog) had his staples out of his leg today and is allowed to swim tomorrow. He's such a sweet boy, we just love him.

Adopt a dog this weekend.!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Customizing an Ikea Sofa.

With the addition of feather cushions, replacing the back cushions.

Ektorp as you buy it

Squishy feather backs make it WAY more comfortable
Let's talk about Ektorp...the classic Ikea slip covered sofa that really is the best slipped sofa in it's class. It come in a sectional, a love seat and a 3 seater, as well as the sofa bed. All of these sit quite nicely, except the sofa bed. Girl Child bought the sofa bed as it was a wee bit longer than the love seat, but not as long as the 3 seater. A demi- sofa in Designers terms.

The problem with this sofa, is the back pillows. They are quite poufy with very little squish, making it feel more like you are sitting on the sofa, rather than sinking into it. While fine for chatting with guests, it is just plain NOT GOOD to sit and watch telly on, or curl your legs and read a book. The depth of the seat is just not deep enough to house those big poly filled seat backs. It's not just me. Daughters butt was complaining too!

When I sell a sofa to a client, I always recommend feather wrapped seats and backs if the budget allows. It sits differently and more comfortably. If you can't do both, do feather backs. This sofa was however in a sale bin, the price was right, the look was right, but the comfort was really lacking. I decided to give it a quick fix. I purchased from IKEA 3, 26" feather pillow forms ($12.00 each) and three 26" cream nubby linen pillow covers also from Ikea. They were a wee bit more cream than the sofa, so I washed them in the machine with a bit of bleach. They came out super soft and gorgeous and the exact colour of the sofa. I took them to the condo yesterday and Girl Child was thrilled with the look, and the overall look of the sofa. The linen made a nice contrast and made it a little more upscale.

I am happy to report that all behinds are now quite pleased with the little Ektorp upgrade.

Monday, August 13, 2012

500 Square Foot Condo

I spray painted the little rattan swivel stool. There is no eating area, so this little island is a spot to eat and also gives her a little bit of storage underneath and a place to serve food if she has a guest or two. That's Fort York in the background. On Sundays, they shoot canons and fire rifles while in their War of 1812 dress.
The bargain Ektorp sofa bed. I made the leopard pillow from a designer sample.
The Bed of Roses rug from Dash and Albert (available from my shop It was a house warming gift 5 months ago. The original got flooded but insurance paid for a new one. Table from Ikea AS IS bin.
Her view is over the Toronto Island Airport and Lake Ontario. Yesterday we watched a Tall Ship sailing in and out of the harbour.
The City of Toronto facing West.

You can see roof top pools on the top of 

The petite dining area

Five months ago I promised you photos of Girl Child's 450 square foot condo. But then it flooded (see that post HERE) and all her stuff went off to storage while she was ensconced in a very flashy condo in a very good location, courtesy of the insurance company. She loved the area and once she graduated, she found a job right around the corner. Once she realized that the flooded condo was NEVER going to be ready, she gave up that lease and searched for new digs closer to work, so no subway or streetcar anymore. After quite a battle to find a condo, she found one 3 days before she was to officially have not fixed address, and moved in last week. She's moved up in the world. She's now got 500 square feet, and is on the 49th floor. 

She was missing her things, and beginning to think that contents of her storage locker would show up on an episode of Storage Wars, so she more more than thrilled to see movers pull up last week with her displaced "contents" Although missing a few things damaged in the flood, mostly it was all there.

It's a teeny place, but well laid out. Her original sofa didn't fit, so she bought an Ektorp sofa bed from Ikea (before the flood), which allows for overnight guests, and she lucked out and found it on clearance, as was the square coffee table which was in the AS IS bin, missing the bottom glass piece. She had bookshelves from her childhood bedroom which made a nice wall unit and gave her lots of storage. 

The rug was a housewarming gift from me to her. It's called Bed of Roses and by Dash and Albert and available from my store Since the kitchen is a mere row of cupboards with no eating area, we bought her a 24 x 18" island from IKEA ($59.00) which gives her room for a basket for tea towels and a little wine rack. The bar stool swivels and was a $5.00 find and a can of spray paint made it a little more interesting. Now I can picture her sitting at her wee island having coffee in the morning.

I managed to get rid of a few more of my purged items which are scattered around and in the hallway and a TV stand. She can't fit another thing in here, but I think it looks very lovely. A perfect little pad for a 20 something girl.

Linking up with Mod Mix Monday over HERE

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Simply .Knackered

I'm in a mood lately. One of feeling knackered. Tired of my things. Fed up with my bits and stuff. Craving a plainer look and a simpler decor. Where once a blind with nice curtain panels felt right on the window, now just the blind seems to suffice. An arrangement of flowers and books and odd bits on the coffee table, seems busy and annoying.  It's a "less is more attitude". Which surprises me because I've always been a collector of old things and enjoyed a layered look. So, I've been purging. Keeping only what I love, or need. The kids are the beneficiaries of my mood, carting home odd carpets, curtains etc. with delight. "One mans junk...." as the saying goes. I'm sitting here with odd tables around, pictures down off walls, and pillows moved around trying to pare down to the minimum of what I want and need. The massive dog bed, and the new addition of my newly adopted boy, Balto, seems to juxtapose my intentions somewhat, but they pull at my heartstrings, so they are on the "KEEP" side of my list.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

1950's Scarf

Girl Child has a collection of scarfs from the 1950's and 60's. My favorite is this classic Yosemite National Park Scarf. Doesn't it make you want to tie it into a headscarf Jackie O style, and drive up the California coast in a convertible, wearing your Ray Bans, with a bright picnic basket in the back seat?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Poor Bubbie......

Monsieur Balto had to have a little surgery last Friday. We've been experimenting with various socks with the toes cut off, to cover the wound and stop him picking out the stitches, but the little Houdini managed to removed them all and made a bit of a mess of it all. I was assisted by various family members, who held the squirming boy still, and administered bits of cheese and other treats, while I applied several layers of dressings to his leg. He initially hobbled like a wounded soldier, but then forgot about his limp once he saw our supper being served. I am happy to say, the patient is resting comfortably and despite a few sorrowful whimpers the first night (Girl Child lay down with him on his pillow on the kitchen floor until he fell asleep), he is soaking up the extra loving and recuperating nicely.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Raz Man's Office

The Raz Man prefers anonymity....he's a rather elusive creature that shuns Facebook, blogs, and pretty well all social media. He will however tolerate a mention on the blog, on the condition that he's not mentioned by name, and never a photo. So...he may or may not be chuffed to discover that he home office is featured today.

This room is right next to the kitchen and used to be a laundry room and a washroom. Not one to waste precious square footage on the main floor for a laundry room, we moved the plumbing to the basement, which freed up some prime real estate for a bright, spacious office with both North and West windows. It has however, been a catchall for all the odd bits of furniture that don't work anywhere else in the house. Until yesterday, it had a dog friendly rug (purchased when we had old dogs) (which we do again) an old dresser without a home, 2 mismatched chairs, the cat scratching post, and a MULTITUDE of junk that got dumped on the bookshelves.

I am on an ELIMINATION MISSION. I am trying to have the bare minimum number or items needed to function. I pulled the rug from another room, took my non functioning kitchen table (it has stretchers on both ends, so no chair can pull in or be tucked under) and made it the desk. A lamp, a good tidy up of the books, a wooden caddie with sections for holding desk junk like USB keys and stamps etc, and my potted orchids to add a little color. In an effort to minimize, the drapes have been donated to Boy Child as well as the former rug. The bowls of food and water are not for the Raz Man, but rather for the cat who needs her food elevated to stop Monsieur Balto from eating it.

And for those of you with really good eyes may be frowning at the little "trading card" naked lady on the window ledge. It's one of those cards the street "vendors" in Vegas hand out so you can call up a girl for the evening. I picked it off the sidewalk in Vegas and have kept it. It surfaced yesterday when cleaning up the shelves. I put it on the window ledge to see how long it takes him to notice it.