And now, to our regularly scheduled life…

The holidays seem to eat time, don’t they?  No matter how streamlined you think you’ve got it, you blink and it’s all done.

Except for the cleanup – and the de-christmasifying.  That’s a real word, honest!

The Ogre and I like to leave Christmas in our home until after the 6th of January.  This year, we had to dismantle a bit early, due to the bi-weekly garbage pickup.  That saddens me, since I really hate to see the tree come down.  So, I left the little artificial tree and everything else up!

I’ll take things down the way I put them up – bit by bit, during the evenings.  I would imagine I’ll have it all nicely boxed away by next weekend.

Which, of course, brings me to a storage dilema.  Apparently, I have more Christmas stuff than I thought I did.  In order to keep it all together, I’ll first have to clean up the storage area in the basement.  That will happen next weekend as well.

But I did think of a way to cleary identify which boxes hold Christmas goods.  We have TONS of cards that we just didn’t get around to sending.  More than enough to use as box labels.  I’ll just glue the front of a card to each box and stack them.  That way, I’ll be able to see what’s what without opening things up.

Since the storage room will be getting a cleanup, and we’ve just re-arranged the basement entertainment/computer/family area, I think it safe to say that January and February of 2013 will be Basement months.  I’ve ordered paint through the landlord, have some yummy fabric set aside to make a couch throw, and just picked up a wonderful 5X5 cube Expedit on Kijiji.  Turning the space we spend most of our waking hours into a pretty refuge has now become goal number one.

Here’s a few shots of the new layout.  Nothing has been “prettified”, so  it’s a very good representation of where the starting point is.

from doormy sideclosettv

I’d really love to see your comments on the projects I do and the ideas I have.  I learn more from critiques than praise, but, honestly, I adore praise (and who doesn’t?).

Thanks for stopping by.


Decorating for the Season

This post is very photo laden.  You have been warned.

Today, I realized that I’ve been working so very hard on getting my pedestal table stripped and stained, that I had been neglecting the Christmas decorating!  Yes, I did have the Advent Wreath complete, and the hallway partially decorated, but I’ve been really slack on everything else!

So, here is my entry hallway, decorated for Christmas.  This is what it would look like if someone ran ahead of me and lit the candles before I opened the front door.

HallwaySanta’s writing out his “naughty/nice” list.  I’m choosing to believe I’m on the nice side of the page!

Here’s a look at what’s on that shelf…  Santa may welcome me home, but the Nativity prints certainly remind me what it’s really all about.

Nativity1This little hummingbird was a Christmas present from one of my work associates.  The gold stars were a gift from an elderly neighbour a few years ago.  Together with the icicles and a mixture of real cedar branches and a faux garland, the space fills up nicely!  4 votives in sherry glasses and two in the wall hung candle holders gives a very nice glow.HummingbirdThe wreath was made from cardstock.  “Joy” was printed at home on photo paper (as was Santa’s “Believe”)  The carollers and shoppers are from Canadian Tire and fit nicely into the jars that once held Dollarama Candles.  The red bottom of the jars are two Dollarama candle holders, spray painted red.joynativity2

Except for the “Baby, it’s cold outside” print on the back of the front door, that just about does it.  Next time, the living room.

There’s still the garland above the patio doors to decorate, the creche to put up, the tree to trim, stockings to make and the table and appropriate dishware to put out, but it really feels like Christmas here now.

I’d really love to see your comments on the projects I do and the ideas I have.  I learn more from critiques than praise, but, honestly, I adore praise (and who doesn’t?).

Thanks for stopping by.

Christmas starts here…

With this…


And this…

When I was a child, my family celebrated every aspect of Christmas, beginning with the Advent Wreath.  During Advent, we’d gather together in the living room after the dinner dishes were done, dim the lights and get on our knees for prayer.

Mom usually read the prayers from a sheet she got from the church.  Dad would lead the rosary, and the littlest one of us (with help) would light the candle of the week.

That little candle, and the ones that followed, brought light to the dark room, and a sense of connection and warmth to all of us.  Each week, the anticipation would build, until Christmas Eve finally arrived.

It’s been 30 years since I lived at home, but the warmth, joy and love of this season speaks to me even more loudly than it did then.

And it always started with a candle laden wreath.  Mom and Dad’s was always made of fresh fir branches Dad gathered.   Mine will not be.

To start, I used a defunct, wired, wrought iron “chandelier” light fixture that had been stored in the basement by the previous tenants.

I dismantled it totally, removed the wiring and gave it a good cleaning.

Then, the creative fun started.  I wanted this piece to be able to sit flat on a table, so I played with the pieces until I got a configuration that would work sitting on a tabletop or hung by ribbon.

I scavenged greenery from the Salvation Army wreath I purchased last year.

Using florists wire, I secured the greenery to  the chandelier.  A few ribbons and candles, and my Advent Wreath is ready!

chandelier top

At the moment, I’m keeping it on the table that will house the 3 ft tree I’ve got stashed somewhere.  It may migrate as I work on more decorating.  For now, though, it’s a touch of my family, my childhood and Christmas – front and center in the living room.

Advent Wreath


I’d really love to see your comments on the projects I do and the ideas I have.  I learn more from critiques than praise, but, honestly, I adore praise (and who doesn’t?).

Thanks for stopping by.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, American friends!  May you enjoy your families, good food and all that you have to be thankful for.

It’s been a very long time since I’ve written a post here.  This fall, I just had no drive or push to work on the house.  I didn’t even decorate for Halloween or Canadian Thanksgiving!  I’ve been focusing on sewing a work wardrobe, teaching dance, and working!  All in all, the house got put on a back burner for the last few months.

I’m not quite ready to start any major projects, but decorating for the Christmas Season is a very different thing.

I’m hoping to start with the season on December 1st.  It’s the earliest I’ve ever even thought of decorating, but I feel the need to DO something festive… even if it’s just a tiny bit.

I have a few things in mind, starting with the pinecones I gathered up after work today!  They’ve finished baking (200 degrees F for 3 hours) and are now in ziploc bags, soaking up some yummy scented vanilla/sandalwood oil.  I’ll leave them until the first of December, to make sure they’ve absorbed all of the scent they can!  They’ll be the start of my lovely, scented, festive home!

Photo from Pinterest

I’d really love to see your comments on the projects I do and the ideas I have.  I learn more from critiques than praise, but, honestly, I adore praise (and who doesn’t?).

Thanks for stopping by.

Dining Decision

For months, literally, I’ve treated our dining area as nothing more than a hallway.

On one side, a glass topped table…  On the other, a brown paper bag console table.

That’s it.

No art.  In fact, the only ornamentation was the fruit bowl I put together.  The console has exactly three candles and a mirror.

I’ve managed to get the rest of the room almost in shape.  I even managed to get new curtains from the local Salvation Army (for $9.99!).  The room does need artwork and some tweaking, but that will come in time.

Back to the dining area….

The glass-topped table and modern chairs just aren’t working in sync with the rest of the room.  They’re just too modern and cold, while the rest of the room is comfy and traditional(ish).   It left me uninspired… to say the least.

I had a breakthrough today!  My local Salvation Army had a solid wood, round, pedestal table!  One that needs work – but you can’t expect perfection for $24.99!  Right now, it’s in two pieces in my living room, waiting for me to decide what to do with it!

And there is the dilema.

I’m thinking a white base, dark stained top and a compass rose overlay.

The Ogre?  Well, he’s not on board with the white base, although he is very approving of the compass rose.  I suggested black…. he doesn’t think that will work, either.

This decision could be a while in making.

I’ll keep you posted as to who wins!

I’d really love to see your comments on the projects I do and the ideas I have.  I learn more from critiques than praise, but, honestly, I adore praise (and who doesn’t?).

Thanks for stopping by.

She Sews Studio

June, July and August have been eventful and dramatic months here at our home.

First, I had surgery – which went very well, and resolved issues that had been impeding the mobility in my left arm and hand.

Then, whilst I was in the midst of recovering, my mom came 900ish miles to visit my sister and I for 10 days!  The first day she arrived, my sister was moving into her new apartment, so I drove the truck, and Mom helped lift and tote.  (Mom may be reaching 70, but that does not seem to have slowed her down in any way, shape or form!)

Once my sister was ensconced in her new home, I continued with the recovery process, and my mom helped my sister paint, hang curtains and generally make her new space much more homey.

After she worked there, she came back to my house and decided it was time to paint my studio.

I did ask if she was doing this to do something nice for me (she’s been known to do that on occasion!)  She replied that she was doing it because she loved to paint.  (I come by my desire for pretties I make myself honestly!)

The entire room was painted Stone White (Ben Moore).  Walls, trim, you name it.  A nice crisp white that bounces light around and lets my fabric show its true colors.

Mom finished the room just before she went back home.  It took me several weeks to actually get the room finished because life got interesting again … but not in a good way.

My Dad-in-law died at the age of 68, just a few months after his cancer had gone into remission.  It was a tough time for all of us.  The Ogre is the oldest of three and the only boy.  Watching his mother, sisters and him try to go through this really was a hard thing for me.

I stepped away from blogging, DIY’ing and generally the majority of the things I filled my free time with.  It was time to hunker down and be with family.

Difficult things sometimes lead us to places that we don’t know we want to visit.  We visited a lot of those places in the last little while.  Some of them caused us to laugh, and some to cry, but all of them encouraged us to grow.

It wasn’t where we wanted to be, but we needed to be there.

Out of those places came some new growth for me.  Some realizations about myself, my relationships and new interests came into being.

When the Ogre and I were back home and mostly on an even keel, I was determined to finish the room – to create an oasis for myself where I could go to create, plan or just think.

There’s nothing fancy in this room – no artwork or special decorations.  It’s a room for a particular function.  I find it soothing and enervating at the same time.

I’ve been spending a lot of time in this room over the last three weeks.  I’ve been self-drafting patterns and sewing clothing for work.  It’s amazing how much can happen in an hour when all your tools are in the right place!

There’s going to be more sewing in my life from now on.  It’s a very tactile and rewarding experience for me and the fact that it increases my wardrobe is a bonus.

What there won’t be is a lot of DIY in my home for the next little while.  The landlord is having all of our windows replaced, and I don’t think its wise to invest time and money into something I have to redo in a few months.

I’ll be posting on Sundays and Thursdays from here on out.  These posts will be mostly about small decorating efforts – not large full room redos.  I hope you decide to stick around.  If you’re interested in sewing, you can read about my projects and the things I’m learning over at She Sews Seams.  I’ll be posting there on Mondays and Fridays.

I’d really love to see your comments on the projects I do and the ideas I have.  I learn more from critiques than praise, but, honestly, I adore praise (and who doesn’t?).

Thanks for stopping by.

An Empty Guest Room Reveal

I had BARELY gotten the guest room in order when my Mom came to visit.  She’s spending the weekend with my sister before heading back home to Dad, so the room is empty and ready for photos.

You know what?  I’d gladly skip the photos and still have her here.  Really.  After all, what use is a pretty room if it doesn’t have anyone to enjoy it?

That’s where sharing with you comes in!  I hope you like it as much as she did.  Mind you, I didn’t manage to get photos of the really cute little basket of toiletries or the two new copies of her favorite books, so you’ll just have to imagine those!

When you first open the door, you’re greeted with a doorless closet.  It was the perfect size to slide in the dresser with mirror.  There’s even room on each side of the dresser to hang a few articles of clothing from the rod.  As you can tell, I haven’t staged much yet… but I’m working on it!

The dresser is topped with cut-outs from plastic overlays I purchased at the Dollarama and painted with Benjamin Moore’s Turquoise Powder.  I glued them in place, but haven’t yet gotten a sealer on there!

Here’s a shot of what you see when looking into the mirror from the doorway.  The window treatment is simply lace mesh curtains with a roller blind.  Simple, light and airy – but the roller blind does allow the room to be sufficiently dark at night time.  (There is a stop light just a quarter block outside of this window, and the light can be distracting!)

The mirror was a Salvation Army find.  I removed the mirror from the ornate resin frame it had been in and beaded the  edge with a peyote stitch.  I used plastic pearls and turquise sequins to create a “frame”, then hung it centered with the dresser.  Here’s a closer shot of the trim.

If you turn your head slightly, while still standing in the doorway, you’ll see the rattan chair I found curbside!  I just had to do a few repairs, then paint it white for it to be perfect here.

The hanging lamp came from a local yard sale and, after I painted over the turned oak beads on it, it fit in perfectly!  It’s a hit of color that isn’t found ANYWHERE else in the house and casts such a nice warm glow when lit.

I hung the Keep Calm sign higher than I normally would for placement beside a chair, but I’m planning on putting a table in here and didn’t want the sign to be obstructed!

If you stand with your back to the chair, you get to see the Chinese Silk Embroidery artwork that my friend, Laura, gave me.  It’s PERFECT here!  I didn’t do a thing to it other than hang it.

Now that we’ve come through the “foyer” of the room, let’s have a look at the rest, shall we?

The lamp bases also came from the local yard sale.  They were originally black wrought iron that a previous owner had painted white.  A few coats of red and I was very happy with them!  Simple white shades from the Salvation Army finish them off.  The little red dish is perfect for putting your jewelery in or for setting down a glass of water.

The ornamental frame I removed from the oval mirror became the basis to the “Thompson 1987” artwork I made.  With the white, yellow and turquoise, it has exactly the cottagey feel I like for this room.

I used the overlays on the night stand I refurbished as well.  This time, though, I placed them on the front of the piece.  It was a bit challenging to work around the handles, so I ended up simply painting in a portion of the design to keep it relatively seamless.

I made the headboard and the table topper out of fabric my friend Roxane downsized.  The bed skirt fabric came from the same source!

Another oval!  This mirror came from Laura, and didn’t need a thing.  It brings a nice touch of wood to the room.  The oval table was made by my grandfather about 40 years ago.  I’ll be re-doing the top of it, and you’ll get to see more of it then!

This framed English cottage print was given to me by a friend several years ago.  It seems to have found it’s home.

With your back to the framed print and the window, this is your view.

Now you’ve had the grand tour!  I hope you enjoyed it.

There are still some projects to be done in this room.  I’m working on a cushion for the chair, and I definitely need some decorative pillows for the bed.  The dresser and night stand both need sealer.  My grandfather’s table needs a bit of work and I definitely need to figure out how to decorate that closet shelf!

Nonetheless, it was pretty and ready for my Mom.  I really like this room.  It’s sunny and feminine, but not so girly that a male guest will cringe.  In fact, when the Ogre is working bizarre shifts, I may even find myself sleeping here – and it won’t be a hardship at all!

If you have any suggestions for the closet shelf, I’d love to hear them!  That really has me stumped.

Sharing this here…

UndertheTableandDreamingBecolorful DIY Show Off
52 Mantels In The Old Road

I’d really love to see your comments on the projects I do and the ideas I have.  I learn more from critiques than praise, but, honestly, I adore praise (and who doesn’t?).

Thanks for stopping by.