Friday, August 28, 2015

Before and After: the chairs everyone had at some point

It seems once I took on this project for a wonderful couple that these chairs were all the rage a "few" years ago. I have had at least 6 different people tell me that they had chairs exactly like this. It's continually interesting I suppose how furniture goes in phases. Everyone has something, it works for awhile and then we let it go.

Will our Ikea ektorp chairs be the same? or the grey wicker chairs that everyone had to own. I myself have both and see them as staples of the middle class living on a relatable budget but who knows maybe one day we'll be looking back at them thinking we were crazy.

These chairs came to me with the standard wood stain that was literally on everything in the 70's and 80's and the multi coloured fabric slipcovers on the cushions.

The chairs were a family set that the couple wanted to give a new life to suit their home and young family. 
After a house call and some back and forth we landed on darker very washable fabric for the cushion and white for the wood.

I love white painted furniture but when I see rungs on chairs it makes me cringe because it is always so much more work than you anticipate. One day I just may get myself a paint sprayer if I can con my usually easy going husband to make me an area to use it.

I sanded these chairs pretty heavily prior to starting anything as sometimes that topcoat from many years ago can be a serious pain with adhesion. I then spray primed them with white paint to get more coverage. When you are painting furniture like this and don't have a big sprayer. Spray can white primer can work just as well with the handle attachment. It goes on in nice light coats and won't start gunking up. When you hand paint on too many coats around rungs you start to see paint buildup and that doesn't lead to a quality finish.

I then painted them in my favourite trusty #generalfinishes milk paint in antique white. With subtle distressing and going back and forth with antiquing and liming wax to get just the right amount of distressing with the chairs still remaining white.

I removed the covers and made new box cushions with piping in a light grey tone in a poly canvas. Perfect for washing around little hands and fingers.

The first cushion I made last week on the crazy hot 34 degree 90% humidity day. Trevor came home with his partner from work at the end of the day (not for me) and he came in while I had the 2 sewing machines hammering away with fabric scraps everywhere and started making fun of my "sweat shop"

This is the second set of cushions I have had to redo in the last couple weeks and getting the original covers off the foam is always a feat. It takes me somewhere around 20 minutes and I am sweating like an idiot. Although there were zippers in them, they did not make these with removal in mind. Good grief.

I paired the chairs with my Fresh American pillow from Annie Selke. I am seriously debating carrying some of her stuff in the shop but getting it here isn't as easy as slicing bread.
We'll see.

Well have a great weekend my friends.

The weather has been a bit cooler here this week but it sounds like it's going to be summer heat again next week. Great to enjoy before the return of routine for many in a few short weeks.


Friday, August 21, 2015

Creative Mantra

I found this quote awhile ago and I have to admit I saved it and don't remember from where so I sorry if I swiped from you.
It can be the belief that things come easy to those creative people in your lives. There is a lot of the try again and their devil's advocate saying "well the problem is....."

Keep trying and success will come from your ideas and you will feel better at following it through.
Hit up that Pinterest board, that magazine article, that idea from your best girlfriend and make it yours and fabulous.

Have a fantastic weekend 


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Nothing like sunflowers and contemplating the new seasons

Well good rainy afternoon.
I am pa-pa pooped today and drowning my eyes in coffee. 

I spent the last few days fighting humidity to finish up some custom work and sewing my little fingers off. As I finish up more and more of my pillow stock I get more and more excited to rip my store and home apart for the next season. This happens to me every year at home. By the end of summer I am ready for a change. More so even than the Christmas season switch over or the quest for light and bright in the spring after a long winter. There is something about fall the just inspires me. I guess it's all the natural earthy colours that come with it. As I chat with you today we'll stroll through some photos of the shop over the last week. 

Our new smelling station for our #pfcandleco line. They have screw on lids which look fantastic but in the shop with so many choices, the lids inhibit people from really getting a good sniff of each of these beauties. 
I have turned into more of a candle monster since the shop opened and find myself hoarding more than usual in my giant candle cupboard. Yes 
I have one of those. So sue me. You've seen that giant wood cupboard in our living room, yup candle hoarding heaven. All my holders, votives, tealights, tapers, you name it, it lives in there. 
Trevor thinks it's a joke, my mom rolls her eyes (although she created that monster) and everyone else I shamelessly keep the cupboard closed from. It's neat inside just, WOW kind of when you open the door.

Speaking of wow, what says late summer like a sunflower. These beauties are brightening up my day when I come in every morning.

Trevor and I had to get our butts up to Toronto on Monday to pick up a huge pillow insert order. Usually we ship them but this was a huge order ( I made 30 covers just this week so far). The building was in a good area but it looked as Trevor said like it should be condemned. You can always tell when business' are purely for wholesale, appearances don't always matter. The older woman who runs the place was trying to sell me on other sizes while we were there. Really? I got 115 inserts, you think I need more lol.
Good grief. 

We also braved the world of ikea which quite frankly is just a nut house. Monday afternoon and there is no parking to be found. Our area is lucky with 3 ideas in a 2 hour distance but the next closest one in the USA is in Cincinnati so our "local" Ikea sees people from everywhere and it is busy no matter what day or time of the day. We knew what we needed (more candles lol tealights for the store and home because seriously who can beat the price and quality of those) and shelving brackets for a project I am working on to clean up a corner of the store.
Before moving on, don't those white pots above just look handmade and wonderful. Imagine them with a mossy plant or fern spilling over the ridges.

Our cart of vintage pots was starting to look so picked over after a heavy spring and summer season so it got a refresher. Like toned planters, vintage and new, tiny medium and large to make planting up your favourite plants a cinch.

I also attacked my counter. This counter gets so much attention and every time I put a new demijohn inside it sold. Awesome but I have to take the top out of the counter when that happens, so smaller items that fit through the back doors were in order. Kind of a pre autumn, gardening with bottle theme.

Happiness inside the cabinet. 

Well have a good day everyone


Friday, August 14, 2015

Junking, picking, sorting through the gifties and just too much talking.

So I'm sitting here today in between customers staring at the pile of paperwork that needs to get done and it's making my brain hurt just looking at it.

It's one of those things you know, like going to the gym. I want to do it, I know I will feel better when it's done but baby I am going to procrastinate the shit out of this thing until I start feeling guilty and then just do it. So I came to visit and be chatty with you all instead today.

The beginning of this week started with the new stuff for the store. I was gift showing it in the big city of Toronto. I meandered around for a good 6 hours and then gave in to my screaming headache and drove home. Gift shows can be a lot of inspiration overload, sensory overload and too much lighting. They need to do this I understand but my head can't handle it. There were a few super stupendous items I found for the shop and a lot of been there let Homesense have it kind of items.
I sniffed a few too many candles and that probably didn't help my head but I am a picky smell person and only want candles I love in the shop.
Your joy with products always comes out to the customers when you truly love something.
I probably could have just put VINTAGE-PILLOWS-CANDLES-GARDEN on the sign as that seems to be what I gravitate towards and my customers as well.

I kind of feel like the odd duck at these things as there are crowds of people in certain booths and you can just hear the cha-chining of sales as piles of retailers buy their loads of stock. Some even into next spring already and I, end up loving the little booths with just a few products.
One of my little wholesalers even remembered my name as I was standing in their booth without seeing my name tag. That just makes me happy when I can love their product and share it with you guys.

There's also the inevitable pushy rep who wants to sell you anything, give you terms, get it to your door and ends up driving ME right out the door.

That's how I get with vintage sellers as well.
Right after the gift show Monday I came home, hopped in the other car and we headed out on another antiquing picking road trip that my darling man and I have become so fond of.
We drove hours away from home and about the 8th or 9th booth we walked into we ran into a pushy seller we avoid at another market. He has a very distinctive voice and as soon as we heard him both of us just looked at each other and smirked.
Now this may sound mean, don't put your judgy pants on but we have had a lot of run in's with this nice man but terrible salesperson.
Trevor and I both believe that saying hi and/or good morning to a seller, being courteous, not insulting their product no matter how beat up goes a long way to making good sales and we all end up being happy with the result.

This particular man picks on me ( I can handle it) by what I wear that I live in Taw-ron-to and I'm just going to mark his items up and make all the money. Keep in mind he is making an assumption that I am a retailer. I could be a hoarder.
Nothing he has is priced (not uncommon) and when you ask about a price he says "Well they tell me that is worth 85.00 and I could sell it on eBay for more"
Who are THEY? mythical people.
So even though I am complaining about this man here today, we now just don't bother as it is frustrating and being chased around when we walk away is irritating.
but it does give us something to laugh about afterwards.

Moving onwards we found some great stuff for the shop for now, fall and even the Christmas season.

See. pretty good pile right?

Now before we get too far down the junking trail. I have a question for you all. I am a lover like HUGE size of Chipotle Mexican Grill. I could turn into a burrito. I've mentioned this before. I love them so much I would like to own a franchise lol.
We went to the one in Buffalo before getting going and where the heck are these stools from? Anyone know? They are metal base, carmel leather and just perfect.
Me want!!!!

One of my 2 personal picks from our junking was this massive flower frog. You saw part of my collection yesterday and this baby just got added. Compared to my foot, holy hanna.

I also got a real metal Wilton cake stand not pictured. They are so hard to find and I will admit at the moment I am not parting with it.

I audibly gasped walking up to this booth. Trevor thought I stubbed my toe or something. Look at the indigo. Non textile people may have just kept walking by but, if you follow blogs, pinterest, magazines you know what this is, how expensive it can be and how hard it is to come by. Pillows, why yes I think so.

The one that got away. Trevor and I have been hunting for a jeep grill in just the right colour for our basement. Of course since our flood we aren't really at the hanging stuff on the wall stage still in the replacing the walls stage but we can dream. We have found a few over the years but never the right colour. This one was perfect but the seller was NOT really ready to part with it. He had a very high price which converted into Canadian was very very high and he already had plans for it if it didn't sell.

Oh well, you can't win them all

So that's it for today everyone. I chatted you out. Imagine what a real conversation with me is like. Tiring lol.

Have a great weekend,


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Better late than never, collecting and living art

Good morning my friends.
If you're following along on social media you know that Trevor and I just did a whirlwind speed picking trip for the store. We got home last night and unpacked cleaned and repacked a bunch of the stuff to bring into the shop. I'll show some details and stories maybe tomorrow., maybe Monday.....

For today it's the better late than never. I didn't pull through so well with this whole blogging summer tour stuff this year and haven't shown the living room yet either. It's coming, before the pumpkins come out. The light was good the other day when I was home so I snapped some photos of the front hall.

The buddha fountain remains dismantled for the time being and the haworthia succulents are living it up by the door sidelight.
I made myself one of the stag horn ferns before taking the others to the shop. The green on the wall makes me happy. I take it down about every 5 days to water it and shoot it with some mist every other.

A portion of my flower flog collection is sitting out on the island. The rest is in the living room. I got a great huge addition to this collection on Tuesday and I'll show you in my next post.

I haven't done too many changes to our hallway crate shelves. Too many collections right? too bad I love them. The crates find themselves housing antique cameras and my weirdest collection, the urn-like table lighters. See that copper one in the back near the gold tray? It apparently came home with a collector from Havana Cuba. Neat!

Weird or not, I really think that if you love something you will find a place for it in your home. Collections generally have more oomph when they are grouped together and when you collect a lot of different things it makes it tricky to not look cluttery. To a minimalist your stuff will always be clutter, knick knacks or just obscene and there is always that person in the crowd that will ask how you have time for anything when you spend it all dusting.
Ignore the naysayers, keep it under control but display your treasured and hunted items proudly.

Enjoy your day everyone,


Friday, August 7, 2015

Random and Things I'm Loving

Holy TGIF right?
Friday doesn't really signify the same thing for me anymore as it does many of you as that day for me is now Sunday but I made it through Thursday and that's what counts.

Another butt kicker of a week, I feel as though I could float on cloud 9 as long as they'd let me sleep there too.

A lovely customer of mine that also has a business has completely revamped her garage workspace and it is stellar as I think I mentioned last week sometime but, anyways it took Trev and I 4 days of moving, organizing, going back to Canadian Tire for yet another shelf or cabinet until we got it just right. We sold a few things that we no longer needed and couldn't foresee needing again in the future instead of constantly moving shit around and I think I dare say we may just have hit the sweet spot of organization out there.

We have one more hurdle with his business equipment but I think we are going to get there soon.

I picked up new orchids for the shop on Wednesday before going in to my hygiene office. They are of course in the traditional white and a bunch already walked out the door yesterday but picking up plants has become one of my favourite things to do for my shop. I love picking which ones I want, what I think people are having a hard time finding along with that not too killable gene.

Then yesterday happened.

Whoa is what I think. or all I could think by the end of the day.


We were just a hopping all afternoon and it was fabulous. The word of mouth is circulating like wildfire and I couldn't be happier.

As we were shuffling orders coming in, land mines of cardboard along with ladders, getting things down for customers I managed to snap a few photos at the end of the day of some cool things that have me excited and trying not to slip things in my purse to take home constantly. The above candleholders are a thick light brass metal with handblown glass making no 2 the same. The look a little bit travelled and a lot a bit elegant.

I didn't see these candleholders in person prior to ordering them but I was super happy with them once they came in. They are actual pieces of wood with texture and chrome tops. The spike can be removed depending if you want a pillar or a vessel. A great blend of rustic and modern.

I also redid the front tool bench last night. These large terrarium cloches came in with detachable bottoms and the fantastic green oxygen glass vases. 
(i did slip one of these in my bag..... i mean look at the colour, it's like they made them for me)
I had no sooner set this table up when one of the cloches had already walked away with a customer leaving a hole for these green vases. 

and mercury glass. we got loads. i have been testing the waters with these candleholders and ordering little bits at a time but keep getting wiped out so now i piled them on and i really love the sparkle in the display as well. 
it won't be long before people are starting to nest again.

i hauled this shelf in this morning before anyone came in and set it up. good thing no one saw me. it was an awkward move by myself and i was sweating like crazy. TMI?

it's right in front of the window so it was hard to get a great shot with just my iPhone but you get the idea.

speaking of my iPhone. i recently (a month ago) upgraded to the 6 from the 4s and love the size and speed but damn is this thing flimsy. i am not rough on things at all. it was sitting beside me outside not in direct sunlight the first few weeks and the screen just spontaneously cracked and then for it's final manoeuvre did a spiderweb crawl all over the place last night when i bumped into a chair.

i don't want to hear "you should have got an android" i know the woes of apple people but i do love their products. just irritating that i have to replace my stupid screen already.
**rant over**

these planters actually came in last week but i haven't had a chance to really do anything with them.  They are made of recycled pieces of wood from a furniture factory and recycled paper. They look and feel soft but are completely waterproof for plants. They are made by mothers in Sri Lanka supporting their families. Beyond the fact that they look amazing with plants in them I love that they are also a planter doing some good.

Have a great weekend everyone,

What are you all up to this weekend?


Monday, August 3, 2015

Theory of green and representing a few lines of paint for the indecisive.

Good morning everyone.
What a great weekend we just had, right? Saturday was a lovely day in the shop and I almost got my first thunderstorm while being there. We've been there at night with thunder but never while the shop is open. I like thunderstorms, not necessarily the wind part, in fact I hate medium to high winds but thunder and rain I love.

Sunday, the picking gods were with Trevor and I and we had a whole jeep full to the roof of vintage gold. Some days when we set out I get worried as finding good things is not only just fun anymore. It is fun yes, but laced with a bit of stress inducing as our livelihoods depend on it. People are very excited about the goodies we bring in the store and I love that but the expectation is much higher when we are there daily hoping to help you find that piece of "gold" for your house.
We got into organizing those goodies in our garage in the afternoon and into the night because  that has gotten a bit run over as of late and become a thrifty dumping ground. More on that to come. The other side of retail.......

Today is for all of you green lovers out there. I am skipping over the blue people and hopping right on my favourite train to green-ville.

I started this dresser 2 months ago. I sold a piece in the store, had a giant hole came home, panicked and started working on this guy.

This dresser is a solid little number with cute casters but it came with loads of layers of paint. I knee jerk purchased it at a sale and when we got it home realized my hopes to strip this one and leave it natural unfinished wood wasn't going to happen. 
In order to replace the hardware there needed to be some wood filling as there were big grooves from a previous old set of knobs. 
My second vision for this piece was an antique white with neutral knobs. After heavy sanding and 3 coats of white paint later. 


Plan C

There was a great base coat on this from the white paint and I knew the knobs I wanted to use. I haven't done a green in awhile and had a great time breaking out the chalk paint again with the not so black dresser. While waiting for other custom work to dry I broke out a clean brush.

Presenting Annie Sloan Chateau Grey coated in Miss Mustard Seed hemp oil for depth and added Annie Sloan dark wax and General Finishes liquid wax.
They're all represented here lol.

I used the hemp oil as I wanted the paint to appear darker and deeper. I use a rag to apply it around and let it dry for a day making sure to not leave any drips anywhere.
When using oil and wax make sure you do the oil step first.

I then used small amounts of dark wax offset with regular wax to add age.

I also watered plants prior to taking these photos so a little leaking on the ground makes it feel right at home lol.

The distressing allowed the wood and the white paint to come through. It gives the piece more of a comfortable cottage feel. When you are trying to keep seeing the layers of paint underneath and not just the wood you need to distress slow and steady.

The hardware is lovely flower type knobs in bone. The handles have a natural variation of white to off white and look great with the green colour. Bone knobs are made of natural by products of the food industry at least not going to waste.

The Vignette for all you lovers out there. Clear glass, white and green. I used Joe Pye weed, hydrangea leaves, queen anne's lace and an ironstone mug planted with haworthia albert. (this mug usually lives in our front hall on my buddha)

the layers.

the before
TERRIBLE before, makes the after look that much better.

This dresser is currently for sale as the first piece I have completed in quite some time that wasn't custom for someone else.
Size: 33"h x 34"w x 18"d

Email me if interested for anyone local only please. I will mark as sold once it has been.

Have a great day everyone,