Project Shower Curtain, Round 3

This one is, I admit it, my favourite idea for my sister-in-law’s shower curtain. I recognize that it is a bit of risk to go with a suggestion of giant moths and dahlias, but I just love this curtain and I think it would be one of those, “I thought that was a crazy idea, but it turns out to be perfect!” kinda suggestions. 🙂 I also love that it brings a bit of nature and some softness into the bathroom, a room which tends to be all about the hard surfaces. Imagine a seagrass hamper (seagrass smells so amazing!) and a cheeky little ceramic trunk to store your bits and bobs. Add some sparkle with stacking glass containers.

Once again, everything is from West Elm.


Project Shower Curtain, Round 2

Here is another set of ideas, all courtesy of West Elm, for my sister-in-law’s bathroom.
She liked the first round, but was worried that the first shower curtain would not work with her paint colour. I found a swatch of her paint online, and I know what she means:  the white curtain with the subtle pattern would not really add any “zing!” to the room.

Benjamin Moore’s “Balboa Mist.”

How about a wide, modern, horizontal stripe and a geometric take on a floral for the accessories?  This colour palette is still neutral and soothing, but packs a bit more punch. Monogrammed hand towels are cute, too, don’t you think?

Stay tuned for the final (and my favourite!) round of suggestions in Project Shower Curtain on Monday!

Shower Me With Ideas

One of my sisters-in-law is in the process of renovating her master bathroom. The room is big and worked just fine, but the style and finishes were dated. She is a young mum with a modern sensibility and good taste– her house is gorgeous, thanks to her good eye and sense of style.

But, when we got together recently for a family Thanksgiving celebration, she told me that she is flummoxed over having to choose…. a shower curtain! Yes, it’s true: after all the hard work and the gazillions of pleading/bossy/begging phone calls to contractors, homeowners can feel just plain overwhelmed when the time comes to choose the finishing touches. It’s as if all the energy has gone into to making the BIG choices– tiles, vanity, countertop, faucets…. And then there is nothing left over for the final decorative choices.

So, she asked for some help. Since I LOVE this part of decorating the best (Fabric? Accessories? Yes, please!), I was only too happy to have a little think on her behalf and to put together a couple of inspiration boards for her.

Here is the first one. Everything is from West Elm, which I love for it’s sensible price points and high style. I love that West Elm understands that decor is a big investment for most of us and that most of us need to live with our decisions for a long time. But they manage to make very useful, stylish stuff that also stands the test of time without being boring– their designers have a sense of humour, of whimsy. (How cute is that tissue box, shaped like a little ceramic house?)

Here is my first recommendation for A’s shower curtain and a few little accessories to tie in with the circle/geometric motif.

One Woman’s Junk…

…is this woman’s treasure!

At our house, we do fall cleaning, not spring cleaning. Spring is time to GET OUTSIDE into the sunshine, but fall is the time to get ready to hunker down and enjoy the coziness of home. I really enjoy getting tidied and organized in the fall so that I can have a warm and homey winter. To that end, we have been cleaning out our garage and the basement and that, Interwebs, means trips to the dump. Well, okay, it’s the big city, so we don’t have a dump, we have a transfer station.

This time, on our way out, we drove past a full set of the MOST AMAZING Granny furniture! It was perfect! It was screaming out for a coat or three of paint! “Stop the car!” I hollered at M, to his total horror.  To his credit, he did stop the car, despite his (very valid) argument that going to the dump was about getting rid of stuff, not accumulating more…

I had to beg the city employee to let me salvage something— “No,” she said. “No taking stuff that’s been dumped.”  “But,” I practically sobbed, “It’s PERFECT. It’s in utterly perfect shape and it is so heartbreaking that someone has dumped it here. In the name of recycling, pleeeeeeease can’t we just pretend that I am the one who dumped it and that I have just changed my mind?!” The woman looked at me like I had two heads, but I could also see that she was as horrified as I was at the waste of just having this furniture crunched up by giant machines and put into landfill.

“Fine,” she said. “Just go. Take it, do it fast, and go!”

It was all I could do not to kiss her.

Sadly, I could not get all four pieces, but I snagged the little wall-mounted curio and saved it from certain destruction. When I got it home, I saw that it still had circles in the dust on each shelf where the tchotchkes had been. How sad.

But now, I have a project, one of my favourite things ever to have.
And I will love my little curio cabinet, giving it a new life. I hope its former owner would be glad if she knew.

Above, you can see how this crafty lady worked some magic on the identical cabinet.

I’ve decided to paint it (surprise) in dark grey (surprise) on the outside, with palest “ballet slipper pink” on the inside. Stay tuned over the next few weeks to see how it all turns out!

Seasonal Switch, Big Finish!

Okay, perhaps I am overselling a bit. In fact, I am willing to bet that the only people who notice much difference from Version 1 of the mantel to Version 3 of the mantel are me and a few equally finicky folk out there. 🙂

For this (final?) version, I added the candlesticks back in– I felt that the vignette needed the height they bring.
I like the way the lights drape across the mantel– looks sort of casual and brings the light down to the larger owl.

So, that’s that. I may or may not change it up at Christmas…

Seasonal Switch, Part II

So, the frosted bulbs that looked so great in my dreams (and, admittedly, in the photos!), proved to be just a bit “too much” in real life. The mantel-scape just looked far too busy and the room looked confused and overly full.

Time for Plan B. Swap out the frosted bulbs (sob!) for the clear ones. Try the larger sized bulbs b/c there are fewer on a string and that might solve the “too busy” problem.

Try it without the candlesticks– one of the problems with the first version was that the candlesticks were competing with the frosted bulbs, but without them, things looked wrong somehow… I love my little owls from West Elm, and all the vintage books from my childhood (some were my dad’s and some my grandmother’s when they were little)
so I wanted to keep them in the vignette.

Still not happy with this version, I knew I’d have to try a third version.


Seasonal Switch, Part I

Do you have “summer” and “winter” looks for your home? I do.* I started doing the seasonal decor switch-up (in our living room) when we bought our house. The summer look is lighter, more neutral; the winter look includes pops of ruby red. While both include a few of my favourite things, there are a few differences between the two. The summer look includes shells, jute twine, beach glass and white pebbles. The winter look includes pine-cones, old books, mercury glass.

In a classic case of the shoemakers’ children, the living room’s summer decor ended up looking a bit mish-mashy and messy this year — one day, I just shoved all the mason jars I’d been using as candle holders for a dinner party onto the mantel– too lazy to put them away properly. I couldn’t get the garland on the picture frame right; there are usually two, one made of beach glass, and they usually look quite pretty. This year, I put up a fabric one I’d made from Liberty prints and antique chandelier crystals; I usually love it, but this summer, it just left me cold. Meh.

I just never really got this look together.

But then the seasons changed and I began to fantasize about using my sweet little café lights….. It took several tries over the course of a few days, but I ended up with something I like.

Here is Version #1. Looks pretty good in photos, but looked too “busy” in real life.

Stay tuned for the rest of the process!

*I am pretty sure this practice was invented by decor junkies as an excuse for us to “redecorate” twice a year. Don’t even get me started on holiday decor! 😉

Fluffy Pom-Poms

I have had a little collection of snowball-like pom-poms in my stash for a few years. I got them in one of the infamous grab-bags put together at Mokuba*. The grab bags contain bits and bobs of leftover trims and ribbons and are a stitchin’ lady’s dream; the prices at Mokuba can run to three digits per meter, so getting leftover snippets can be a real score!

With the onset of shoe-clip mania inside my head, I could hardly wait to work my precious snowballs into some clips. Sadly, though there were four poms, there were two teeny-tiny ones (too small to be useful individually), a mid-sized one and a jumbo– I’d need two the same size in order for my plan to work. The mid-sized one, with some pretty dark red felt leaves I cut out and stitched together, made a divine shoe accessory! Yay!
But then I had to go with an asymmetrical approach, using either the jumbo pom or the two teensy ones. I opted for the latter and worked in a few little dark red mini-poms that remind me of berries. So, the two clips are different, though in the same family. I am pretty happy with them, but will be heading down to Mokuba to splash out on another mid-sized snowball so that I can have a matching pair.

I think they will be sweet to add a bit of festive whimsy to an outfit over the holidays, don’t you?

*When I lived in France, while all my friends went on trips to Brugge and Amsterdam to take in the sights, I made pilgrimages to Paris to go to Mokuba. I still have the ribbon I bought then– guess what I’m gonna make with it? Shoe clips!


Last week I was commissioned to make my former (now retired– lucky girl!) boss some shoe clips to tart up her Louboutins so that they would go with a new outfit she plans to wear to a wedding.

These were our inspiration:


Here is what I came up with. It was so much fun and not at all difficult– why not try it out? Shoe clips are tiny, so you can make them with scraps you have on-hand. I am excited to whip up some more over the next few weeks.

I got my clips at Sussman’s, but they are readily available online (for less!) if you can’t find a local supplier.

I both stitched and glued the clips I made– I wanted them to be sturdy, so a tiny bit of hot glue under the clip itself just added a bit of security to my hand-stitching.

The next step was to wrap them up nicely and send them on their way to adorn a pair of shoes much fancier than my cheapies! 😉 Here’s to dancing the night away in pretty shoes!


The final installment in my little retrospective of my crafty wares stall of last weekend is a look at both the most and least successful of my products.

So, the memo boards? HUGE, ENORMOUS success. First of all, I priced them (low) to make them affordable to students. And they went nuts for them. It started with the boarding school girls, all of whom hang white boards on their bedroom doors (remember doing that in residence at university?). They LOVED the memo boards. They spread the word. Which then took hold like wildfire. Of 40 memo boards, I have 3 left. Will definitely do them again.

Not a hit? The MAGNETS! What? Hello? I have no idea why not– little bits of sweetness, I thought they’d sell out. I suspect that a weird psychological thing (yes, that is the medical term…) happened: I priced them too low and, thus, instead of thinking, “Hey! What a deal! Those’d be great stocking stuffers/look awesome on my fridge/locker, etc.”, people thought, “Those are so cheap they must not be any good.” Either that or they thought, “Ew. Those are hideous.” But they were rhapsodizing over how cute they were, so I just don’t get why they didn’t really buy them…. Guess what everyone I know is getting for Christmas?! 🙂

A few people bought my sweet little gift tags, but not many. I love these– I loved the ones I made with 1920s slang sayings on them, in particular (after they failed to sell last year, I have been using them on gifts I’ve given over the past year).

What the market wants– it’s a mystery. Go figure. 🙂

Have a great weekend; Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canucks!