Let there be light…

While we are on the topic of home…our new home is lovely vintage find in and of itself.  Some of you have asked for more pictures.  I can’t simply post a bunch of pics that take you on a boring traditional tour of the place now can I?  Certainly not in this day and age what with who-knows-who reading this and pictures of entrances and exits etc…so we can explore in other ways.  First, the lighting.

This lovely hangs in the master bedroom.

Isn’t it something?  I looks just like the sun…the girls call it the Rapunzel light (watch the movie and you’ll know why)…

And yes, you heard correctly…I said “hangs in the master bedroom”.  Because it does.  Hang I mean.  By three of the little metal bead string thingies.  I’ve never seen anything like it before.

Now this next one is in the upstairs bathroom and may go a bit beyond my love of vintage…what do you think?

Kind of “so-out-there-it-is-cool” eh?  It may cross the line.  But it stays.  For budget reasons mainly but also until I decide if I like it.

The craziest part about it is the plug-in on the base…can you see it?  It is right there.  That black thing on the top of the metal bit, close to the wall.  It used to be pointed down towards the mirror…and the sink.  It now points (safely) up thanks to my super-duper electrician Caroline who put in a real (read grounded) three-pronged plug-in in the wall.

Ah yes, the hallway light…wouldn’t be a vintage house without grapevines somewhere now would it?

I swear I’ve seen the kitchen light in every decorating magazine put out in 2011…

But probably my most favourite is the one that hangs in Lil’S’ room.

I LOVE IT!  Art Nouveau or 1920s or 1930s glamour light…er, or something…

You may have noticed that I featured only a few lights and that is because the light in the addition is an awful “from my 1980s childhood” nightmare light, same for the downstairs bathroom and there is no way I’m sharing the dining room light we inherited.  No way.  I’m gonna change that one.  But not now due to those pesky budget concerns.

Maybe I’ll get to a post about the dining room soon and then I can pick your brain for lighting ideas…for now I’ll browse pinterest for ideas while I save my pennies.

A room of her own…

Lil’S and Mrs. Iverson share a room.  Up until now they have loved it.  Once we announced that we were moving, Lil’S decided that this would be a great time for her to have a room of her own.  Her room was probably the first room to feel complete (if you don’t count the quilt I’ve been working on for two years heh, heh…ahem).

This my favourite corner…a little reading nook.  The shelf was a freebie and needs some (chalk) paint and I have plans for some bean bags or over-sized pillows (like these) for getting comfy while reading.

The number cards were a gift from Auntie Patty and were purchased from Kol Kids in Toronto.  I adore them.

The bed.  Ah, the bed.  Probably my best thrifty find yet in that I found it on the side of the road.  I sanded it and painted it and I think it looks great.  I did have to search around for some bed rails because one of the originals was broken.  I found some at Balleycanoe that fit (thanks John, I know I said to bring you a Timmies next time I was out but would a shout out on my blog do until you’re open again?)…the only draw back was they were shorter than the original rails.  This means that there is no extra space for the comforter.  There are solutions to this.  One is to bring the original rails to be recast. (= expensive) or special order a matress and boxspring to size (also expensive).  For now, I just squish the comforter in.  Not ideal but for a side of the road find, I don’t mind.  It works.  And it is beautiful don’t you think?

I think the details are amazing.  They certainly don’t make beds like this any more.

I think what makes this room feel finished is that we have put up pictures and put out the requiste “knick-knacks”.  The painting above was acquired at the Women’s Art Festival a few years ago.  I still love it.  Kitties, purple colour…but a different kind of “girlie”.  As I was putting it up I noticed on the back it had the artists website written in pencil.  I don’t know if she is doing more recent work but it is worth checking out.

And then, her space wouldn’t be complete without a quote from Henry David Thoreau now would it?

I’ll have to update this post once the quilt is done, and maybe the bean bags, and maybe a shot of the girl herself playing her pink guitar on her bed as she is known to do quite a lot lately….there is quite a lot of room to grow in here after all.

****updated to add…guess who came to visit?*****

It’s beginning to look a lot like Winter!

Well, I wanted winter, I hoped for winter, I longed for winter, I demanded winter…and winter came.

It came with little snow and an inch of ice that encased our cars and coated the branches of trees.  Two friends had their windshields crack while trying to chip their way into their cars. The weight of the ice on the tree branches was too much for some trees to bear and whole limbs came down bringing power lines with them.  Really this kind of winter weather entreats us all to go back inside and cozy up with loved ones or a good book…but I couldn’t resist going out for a closer look.  The park was beautiful!

Poor trees!  Look how heavy those branches are!

I was glad for a chance to enjoy being outside in something akin to a winter wonderland finally but it was getting late.  It was so nice to head back inside and snuggle with the kiddies.  I’m crossing my fingers snow won’t be far behind.

Happy Winter!

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:  it is the time for home.  ~Edith Sitwell

My experience of never having been to Squam.

I did it!  On January 9th I submitted my registration to Squam Art Workshopsagain.

I had first read about this amazing art retreat on Amanda Soule’s blog, Soulemama about a year and a half ago (you must click here and here to read all about her own unique experience of this event and the community created there).  I read her first post and I explored the Squam website…and I knew it offered something that I needed.

The deadline for submissions was fast approaching and I had to make a few decisions like, if no one will go with me, dare I go alone?  Yes.  I dared!

Which classes to take?  Travel by car, train or air?  How exactly to find the money…

It all feel into place.  I was going to attend the Fall 2011 session!  Exciting and terrifying – such an intoxicating mix!

But then life threw me a curve ball.  It was not meant to be.  I made the difficult decision not to go to Squam.  At the time I was consumed with the issue at hand and my disappointment was overshadowed by more important matters.

And so you’d think that my post about Squam would end there.  I didn’t go.  I don’t have a personal Squam story to tell do I?

But this is the MAGIC of Squam.

I’ve been touched by it.  I didn’t have to attend Squam to feel it or know it.  Squam begins before you’ve ever set foot on the grounds…and I’ve heard it lasts long after you leave…

I contacted Elizabeth to let her know I could no longer attend and to enquire as to how to proceed.  I felt so awful taking up her time knowing full well that a month before a huge event like is NOT the time to bother the woman planning it!!  I expected an efficient reply with my options regarding what to do and that was about it.  What I received was so much more…I felt like I had contacted an old friend.  Elizabeth offered caring, concern and never once did she ask why I had cancelled.  No hint of resentment or impatience or judgement.  Through email she exuded a kindness, an incredible sense of calm (through email people!  THAT is hard to do!!).  I was immensely grateful.

At Elizabeth’s direction I put the word out to the other Squam-hopefuls on the Squam Yahoo group.  I asked if any one would take my spot to help recoup the cost.  Within hours I received 6 messages.  Two were to enquire about taking my spot.  Four were messages expressing concern, offerings of prayers, telling me they hoped it would all work out.  The next day there were more messages with the same incredible mix of sorting out my immediate problem and offering me words of encouragement and wishing me well.

You see?  I didn’t have to go to Squam to be touched by this wonderful community.

And so it worked out.  Someone (a wonderful person named Brittany Soucy) did me the favour of exchanging my registration for hers.  In an email I asked her to “promise to have an extra-good time”.  She promised.

And so once again, you’d think the story would end there.  But it didn’t.  Brittany sent me a card in the mail.  A handmade card.  On the front it read:  It will be okay.

…and it was.

Squam June 2012 or BUST!!!!!!!

Serendipity

serendipity |ˌserənˈdipitē|noun:  the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

Has this ever happened to you?  Have things ever come together in just the right way at just the right moment?  To say the events of the last few days were serendipitous seems a bit of an understatement….

Having recently moved into our new home we have learned that storage solutions that worked in the old place didn’t necessarily work in the new one.  Bathroom storage has been particularly tricky.  Book storage has been a nightmare…since, well, we don’t have any bookcases (they were “built-in” in the old house).

We were determined to find used bookshelves.  We were not interested in big box MDF board shelves for cheap(er) nor were we inclined to spend the kind of cash needed to acquire new solid wood bookcases (Gah!).  Used book shelves were kinder to the environment and much kinder still to our pocketbooks (which are still recovering from the move).  No worries.  Kijiji, freecycle, Thrift Stores…surely we would find something right?  Wrong.  In a university town there is a healthy appetite for such things.

I do not admit defeat easily.  So one evening when we were setting out to visit family east of the city, I decided we should go visit one of my favourite thrift stores “just to see”.  What did we have to lose?  We were headed in that direction anyways right?  Well, we were late for dinner but we did find ourselves a bookcase!!!!!!!!  Yay!

More happy spontaneity than serendipity at this point but stay with me.  We purchased our new, three unit, metal bookcase for all of $16.  It was rough but it had potential.  Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of it empty so the comparisons to later photos will not show the amazing transformation as well.

You see I am not the most patient person and I needed to see what the shelf looked like immediately.  I also had a pressing need to get those books out of those boxes and onto shelves.  I was pleased.  Especially so when Josh ran to the garage to find a piece of wood from the rafters.  Placed on top it looked perfect.  Well not quite, there was the issue of the faux wood metal shelves.  Some paint was in order.

I wasn’t quite sure what was involved in painting metal and a quick google search gave one option:  spray paint.  Not so earth friendly.  But I was recycling right?  I convinced myself that at the very least the two cancelled each other out and were likely carbon neutral.

Head to store.  Look at colour selection.  Sigh heavily.  It will have to do there are books to free from boxes…and friends coming for dinner and a party to plan.  Just buy it already.

I had doubts.  So I spray painted some bristol board and used fridge magnets to hold the strips on.  Did we like the colour?  Kind of Miami Beach House…less Scandinavian Cottage than I was hoping.  More sighing.  It would have to do.

We pressed on.

Toxic paint was conundrum number one.  Spray painting in winter was conundrum number two.  Acquire heaters.  Put in garage.  Would this work?  We shall see.

The answer is yes.  And no.  And oh, the no was miserable!  It looked like this:

The first misery is spray painting. It is smelly.  It hurts your hand and forearm.  As the spray bottles of primer and then colour stacked up beside me I started to wonder if this was ever a good idea…$16 down the drain.  Killing Mother Earth.  When I got back into the house I took down my face mask, looked in the mirror and realized I looked like a performer from Cirque du Soleil.  More evidence this was not a good idea.  But I had finished priming the whole thing and had two coats on the top part and one on the bottom.  It would work out.  It was going to be fine.

The second misery was waking up the next day ready to finish the bottom half, put up the shelves and have it ready for the dinner party only to start spraying and *shock*, *horror*….the paint began to, to, lift? scrunch together? I don’t know what was happening, but anywhere I had sprayed developed this.  It was horrific.  A true shelf painting disaster.  I then realized why there is so much fodder for those DYI reality shows.  Laughing to myself in the most maniacal of ways, I started to scrape off the mess I had made…cue the heavy sighing.  And some swearing.  Head shaking.  All of it.  Just look at the picture.  I bet you are shaking your head too.  Apparently I had two options with spray paint.  Apply the second coat within one hour OR after 48 hours.  The first half was done with the hour and looked like this:

I know.  It closely resembled my high school locker.  You’ve already seen what the second half looked like.  That I spray painted after 24 hours.  Crap.  I couldn’t face spray painting the disastrous bottom shelves.  This would never work.  So I picked up my copy of Canadian House and Home (Feb 2012) that had arrived that morning.  I sat down.  I sipped tea.  I flipped pages and landed on page 34.  Top right hand corner.  Go look if you have a copy.  It changed my life.  It saved my shelves.  Which looked like this at that very moment:

Enter this amazing product:  Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint.

The magazine said I could “use it to paint out floors and furniture for that timeless Scandinavian style”.  Yes.  YES!  That is what I want.  I know it is a tall order for $16 dollar metal thrift store shelves from the 1960s but it was possible.  The magazine also said it was available from retailers across Canada.  I went online.  I got “chalkboard paint”.  Thawuzit. Darn.  I went back to the magazine.  I read “Annie Sloan”.  I typed that in.  I found her lovely website.  This was what I needed.  She lives in England.  Cue the sigh etc, etc.  I was tired.  I almost turned off the computer.  Then I spied “Canadian Stocklists” in small print in the bottom left hand side of the screen.  Could the dream stay alive?  I clicked.  I almost fainted (remember I had been breathing paint fumes for days).  This is what came up on my screen:

The Melon Patch

357 Main St Bath Ontario

www.themelonpatch.com

No way.  NO WAY!  After all I had been through it was this easy.  357 Main St Bath was 30 minutes from my door.  I stood up.  I found the phone and I called Elizabeth.  She owns The Melon Patch.  She might be my new best friend.  My mind was working fast, hopped up on paint fumes as it was.  I think my mouth was working even faster.  I think I may have scared Elizabeth.  “Is it true you carry Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint?”  “Yes” she answered.  I grilled her “Is it true this paint can be used on metal and wood and that it requires no prep or sanding?”  “Yes” she answered.  Oh my.  She commented that the feature in Style at Home Magazine had her phone ringing off the hook.  Style at Home?  Didn’t she mean Canadian House and Home?  Paint fumes.  “Where are you calling from?” she asked having received phone calls from all over Canada (she had indeed been featured in Style at Home).  “Kingston” I replied.  “You should come on over” she suggested.  So I did.

I got off the phone. I took a shower and a few deep breaths.  I was seriously excited about this paint.  On the drive I tried to collect myself not wanting to scare Elizabeth with my enthusiasm.  Such a lovely drive.  And oh what a lovely store (but that is a post for another day).  I was greeted by the very friendly Elizabeth and I did my best to act normal.  I will tell you more about the store and how The Melon Patch came to carry this paint.  But I must get back to the shelves.  I showed Elizabeth some photos taken on my camera.  She very politely nodded when she saw the disaster shelves (I didn’t perceive even a hint of a head shake…thank you Elizabeth).  I also showed her some of the other furniture pieces I had picked up at the various thrift stores I had visited and we spent a lovely half an hour or so discussing colours, eco-friendly properties of chalk paint, Scandinavian vs Shabby Chic, her daughter’s studies in Sweden and my daughter’s upcoming birthday.  I felt more like myself than I had in days.  The fresh breeze off the shores of Lake Ontario must have cleared the fumes from my head.

I left with my paint.  One pint of Duck Egg blue and a sampler of Paris Grey (for the end tables).  The pint was $40.  But maybe the best $40 dollars I’ve ever spent.  But I was also given a warning, “That paint is addictive” Elizabeth said.  “Don’t start until after your daughter’s birthday party.  Once you start, you will want to paint everything in your house”.  “Okay thanks” I said.  There was no waiting.  I had to paint.  Now.

What she told me about this paint was true.  No prep.  No sanding.  It was idiot proof. I love idiot proof.  And I did indeed have an intense urge to paint everything in sight.

See?  Look at me painting right over the hideousness.  Easy as pie.  And look at this pic.  The faux wood grain.  You agree don’t you.  It needed to be done.

That night Josh and I shared a paint brush and a bottle of wine.  The shelves were painted in a matter of hours, not days.  My hand didn’t ache.  We did two coats.  We went to bed.  We woke up to this:

Just fantastic.  My books have a home.  A $16 dollar bookshelf looks amazing (IMHO).  And I have found a fantastic local store to boot.  Serendipity indeed.

**A caution:  Elizabeth was right about everything, the colour choice, how easy it was to paint with Chalk paint etc.  I did absolutely want to paint everything…the end tables, the coffee table, the walls, the floor, the play furniture…oh my.  You’ve been warned.***

AND AN UPDATE:

Here are some details you’ve been asking about:

First we cut the wood to size.  Then we sanded it and by “we” I mean Josh.  Then we got out the drill (I stepped in at this point, not one to miss out on power action).  Holes were drilled into the four corners of the wood.  There were already some holes in the metal.  Josh took over again for the screwing of the L-brackets onto the wood and into the metal.  Thanks honey.  Here are some pics:

Ahhhh.  I love it.  I should also mention for safety reasons we secured it to the wall.