Mossy Obsession

Moss green is my latest colour obsession.

I’m not sure if I’m already anticipating spring, which is not a good sign because it’s mid-January in Canada, or simply just in love with this colour.

Either way, I just want to paint everything in various shades of this lovely green.

So I am.

I was attracted to this vintage dresser because of its waterfall front, detailed wood carving and lovely handles.


 I knew it would be amazing in moss. I wasn’t wrong.

To keep interest in the piece and add depth to the colour, I distressed it with sand paper then I very, very, very lightly painted what I purposely over-sanded.

But I did run into a problem: I have no room for it in my house!

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Shabby Chic Dresser

I was so pleased when I came across this dresser. It was in perfect condition.

There were no funky smells to get rid of, no wonky drawers to realign, no knobs to replace and no parts to repair.

With its dovetail joints, beautiful lines and amazing vintage handle pulls, it certainly was a dream piece to bring back to life.

Did it need to be redone?

It certainly did.

The pattern in the wood killed me.

IMG_1010“What exactly am I looking at here?”

Maybe I have a vivid imagination, maybe not.

But I certainly don’t think I’m alone in thinking that this dresser has the oddest wood pattern I can ever recall seeing on the front of a dresser.

So I painted right over top of it in a lovely antique white.

The first coat almost always ends with me seriously regretting my paint colour choice. There’s something ugly in a first coat of paint. With this project, I even seriously regretted it after the second coat.

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But by the time the third coat went on, I was so pleased with my decision to go with antique white that taking the paint off to distress it in a vintage shabby chic style was a tad painful.

But I did it anyways and I love the way it turned out.

And so does the lovely lady who gave it a new home in a place I had never thought to put a dresser: an office!

She said that she was surrounded by ugly office furniture and “needed something beautiful to look at all day”.

So this vintage dresser is now fulfilling the role of a filing cabinet and probably gets more attention that it ever would in a bedroom.

After

 

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Is Your Christmas Tree Still Around?

Ours certainly is.

But it’s not too late to do fun and beneficial things with the yet-to-be-disposed-of trees.

Check out some of these ideas:

Some local farms appreciate donated trees. Turns out that goats love them! So find a local goat farm and see if it wants your tree.

Tree trimmings make excellent wreaths so try your hand at making a winter-y themed wreath.

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Make a natural potpourri. Just grab a bunch of clippings, a quarter of an orange, a cinnamon stick and a few whole cloves and mix with water. Turn the stove on low and enjoy the seeping aroma. Do keep an eye on the water level though.

Put it in the backyard and load it up with bird friendly food. It’ll act as a sanctuary for small birds.

Have a bonfire.

I’ll be making another wreath and some potpourri before it’ll go in the backyard laden with treats for the birds.

We’ll bird watch until the snow melts away in the spring, then we’ll have a bonfire.

Happy New Year!

Jill

 

 

Jewelry Box Makeover

I found this very dated jewelry box at a second hand store in the summer and bought it with the intention of giving it a makeover and gifting it to my three year old for Christmas.


Naturally, I didn’t hide if very well and she found it (more than once). Every time she played with it, she told me how much she liked it. It was destined to be a hit.

I thought about reconstructing it to really make it unique but reason won. She’s three and a half and her little sister’s current nickname is “The Destroyer”.

I’ll be happy if the jewelry box makes it through to the end of January.

They will eventually each get an heirloom box but that can wait until they can appreciate, and not tear apart, pretty things.

For those reasons, I kept this makeover simple.

Luckily the itty bitty handle pulls are quite lovely and complement the colour I chose, “sovereign”, quite well.

I used four different but equally pretty pretty crafting paper I had kicking around. I applied Modge Podge to both glue and seal the paper to the glass.



On Christmas morning, it was a hit.

She loved the box and the bracelets I hid inside.

We bonded on a busy Christmas morning when I explained that was a special gift just for me to her. She understood.

Every time someone comes over, she brings them to show them her “special” jewelry box.

Awwww.

This was such a fun project to work on that I can’t wait to work on more custom jewelry boxes.

 

Green Giving 

My husband came up with the best Christmas gifts for his colleagues.

He cut off nearly a dozen baby offshoots from our large and happy spider plant and potted them in some old, unused and chipped mugs.

Since I can’t throw anything out, I’m so pleased that the mugs have been repurposed. 

I also love that our spider plant is going to improve the air quality while brightening up his stuffy workplace.

And, for bonus points, no waste was produced. 

I’m certain his colleagues will appreciate such a sweet and thoughtful gift.

Bravo!! 

Wreath making fun

We bought our Christmas Fraser fir from a local Kiwanis Club chapter. I had three feel good moments about the interaction: 1) all proceeds go to charity 2) the volunteers are a group of local older gentlemen that spent way too much time entertaining us and 3) I got two big bundles of boughs, for free.

And since I really wanted to put my own decorations together at minimal cost, free works for me.

Keeping with a natural theme, my plan was to make the wreath form with vine like branches, rather than plastic or metal.

I took my three year out for a stroll by the overgrown wooded area bordering our property. I found quite a few supple branches that would do just nicely for this project.

I ask my dear little sweetheart to put the branches in a large box for me. (She really loves to help.) I turned around to keep collecting branches and when I looked back, she was breaking each branch into tiny three inch sections, “so they could fit better in the box.”

Suddenly I had a lot more branches to find.

But it’s amazing what you can find when you’re looking.

Before long, we were warming ourselves inside and I had a wealth of branches to choose from.

I cut the boughs into manageable pieces and covered my twig wreath round with fir.

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I wrapped floral wire around the wreath after I’d finished laying the boughs.

After hot gluing a few pine cones we found on a nature walk and two sprigs of fake berries that a toddler can’t eat, I made a quick bow with Christmas ribbon I had.

IMG_1135IMG_1134I think it turned out quite nicely but the best part of all was turning my wreath making venture into a great couple of hours with my pre-schooler. With her own wreath to decorate, hot chocolate in hand and carols over the speaker, we made lovely holiday memories.

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Toile-d

I picked up this chest of drawers at a mid-summer garage sale.

Finally in the fall, I painted it antique white.


And it sat for another few weeks.

All the while, I attempted to remove the green dragon – a thick green velvety material stuck to the inside of the drawer with an industrial strength adhesive.

I had to get it off. I used scrappers, scissors, adhesive removers, pliers, box cutters and straight razors. They all helped chip away at the green dragon but nothing was very effective.

I took out my orbital sander and sanded some of it off. Green bits went flying everywhere. It was joyous.

Yet, the green dragon still remained.

It was a shell of its former self, but it was still torturing that drawer.

And I just couldn’t get it off.

This dragon had to be slayed and the white paint needed a lift.

Where was inspiration when I needed her?

Well, wouldn’t you know, she was hiding in my fabric stash.

Luckily I’m a bit of a fabric hoarder and I happen to have two yards of a lovely blue and white toile de Jouy, the classic French textile.


It inspired me to refinish this piece in two tones. I kept the drawers antique white but repainted the rest of the body in intellectual gray.

Antique and intellectual. They complement each other nicely.

What I love about this piece is it’s history. It’s got bumps and bruises that make me wonder where it’s been and how it found its way to me. I did some minor repairs but left the character building flaws intact.

I applied some distressing techniques to give it an aged French provincial mood.

As for the dragon, well, I had no fight left so I decide to take the high road: I painted it.

Then I cut my beautiful toile and modge podged it the drawer. (I made sure to use something that is easy to remove.)


Before & After

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Bye bye green dragon, hello French beauty.

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Look at those curves! She’s stunning indeed.

Where would you put her if she lived at your house?

 

But Sometimes You Need to Buy Things

I’m tired of being told by advertisers and retailers when to shop, what to buy and what I need.

Stores filled with St-Valentine’s hearts in December, St-Patrick’s Day paraphernalia and plastic Easter baskets in mid-February, orange Halloween decorations in the summer, Christmas in September and mega-sales on bonafide holidays have driven me to spend my money elsewhere.

There’s nothing of quality in most the aforementioned holiday stuff. It’s all junk, made overseas, brought here by exhaust producing transport trucks and packaged in plastic. Once broken or used a couple of times, the garbage truck will bring the items to the dump where they won’t decompose or degrade for decades.

That’s a pretty grim reality for most things were buy.

The anti-consumerism movements that have taken off in recent years are amazing. And some are even retailer supported.

Patagonia, the California based outdoor clothing company, is encouraging people who own their clothing to repair and trade amongst themselves rather than buy new. There aren’t many retailers who support and encourage consumers to extend the life of their products.

And the Canadian who started Buy Nothing Day is a prince among thieves, in my opinion.

As a consumer who is aware of my carbon footprint, I buy a lot of pre-loved clothing, toys and wares, I upcycle furniture while maintaining a minimal impact, I don’t buy throw away goods and I reuse as much as I can.

The last few pieces of new clothing I can remember buying were maternity or pre-maternity. Since I only go to playgroups and paint stores now, I’ve mostly gotten away with it.

But when I realized that most of my clothing is ill-fitting, off season or paint stained, I decided it was time to shop for myself. I can’t wear my tight paint stained shorts during a Canadian January.

So we packed up for an outing to the mall today.

And, ouch.

I stood in front of the only retailer that I knew would have a few things that would fit, that I’d like, that would be reasonably price and that would get my kids home in time for lunch: The Gap.

Then I saw the sign: “50% Black Friday Sale”.

Sigh.

I went in anyways because outings with two young children in tow are difficult to manage. I went in because I desperately needed clothing, for myself. I went in because I didn’t go there expecting a sale. I went in because it was the Wednesday before Black Friday.

I bought a few things because I know my track record. I’ll repair them when they rip and the buttons fall off and, once I can’t repair them anymore, I’ll cut them into rags and use them to buff wax from my latest piece of furniture.

Because sometimes we need to buy things.

 

 

 

 

If a Three Year Old Can Do It…..

I had a proud crunchy mama moment the other day.

My three year old was sweeping the remains of her younger sister’s meal from off the floor and putting them in the dustpan.

She starting picking items out and making two piles.

“One is for the outside compost, the other is for the compost under the sink,” she said.

And sure enough, the fruit and vegetables bits were in one pile while the meat and bread with other.

(We compost vegetable, fruit and leaves for the garden but send all the other compostables to municipal composting heaven.)

The next time someone tells me composting is too complicated, I’ll have my daughter explain how it works.

 

Paper Cup Chaos

The media seems obsessed with the Starbucks paper cup controversy and causing people to rethink the meaning of Christams and the colour red.

What a crock.

The whole debated is trivial and cause for distraction.

If anyone honestly thinks that Starbucks has the power to insult Christmas, it’s time to get their head out of corporate asses

What’s offensive are the paper cups themselves.

They’re a burden on our environment, a waste of precious resources and a prime example of how lazy and wasteful we’ve become. It’s time to shift away from our throw away culture and invest in long(er) term goods and services.

Ditch the paper cups. Get a mug. A pretty red one 🙂