Midsummer

Hello, Interweb!

I’ve been on a bit of a blog sabbatical lately. Yes, there is a project or two under my belt, but not many decent photos to share. So, here’s hoping you are having a lovely summer, whether you are in the midst of a heatwave or enjoying the cooler, wetter days and nights we are having here lately.

Here’s some prettiness for you.

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xo

Winter Wonderland

And by “wonder,”  I mean, “I wonder if winter will ever END?”

I see on my Instagram feed that the folks I follow in places like the UK, California, France and even NYC are all posting lovely shots of sunshine and trees in blossom. Meanwhile, take a look at what is going on outside my window as I type this post:

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So, though other folks are busy pinning Easter crafts and doing their spring decor freshening up, I am going to talk about a problem to which those of us who live in northern climes are no strangers. It is, Gentle Reader, the problem of how to keep all the necessary GEAR required by 5-6 months of wintry weather under control.

I love our house, but it is not huge and it is nearly 90 years old. As a result, storage is at a premium. Our front hall closet is very tiny and the upper shelf of that closet is always a seething morass of tangled scarves, toques, gloves and mittens. It used to stress me out just thinking about having to find a hat and a matching pair of mitts every morning.
So, this year I FINALLY got serious about getting things organized.

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I was able to find three not-very-inspiring fabric-covered bins at Winners. The key was to find some that would actually fit in our tiny hall closet, but still be large enough to hold all the STUFF that normally spilled down onto our heads every time we opened the closet door. Given their utilitarian appearance, I decided they needed a little jeuje, so I trotted out my trusty alphabet stamps and washi tape and made some labels.* I tied them on with some twine and, ta-da!
Organized, handy, useful and, best of all, I find I am wearing a greater variety of my winter gear, as I can actually find it all.

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*Also, my dearest love is not what you’d call “naturally organized,” so I thought the labels might help prevent him from just tossing his gloves and toques into any old bin.

You Say You Want A Revolution?

Well, you know, we’d all love to change the world.

And it seems that, just maybe, we can, dear Interwebs.

One of my colleagues, a creative and crafty type who shares my love of all things vintage, furry friends and just all-around general prettiness, found herself inspired by my desk space decor. (Yay!) Out she went and, basing her palette around a pretty stripe she had at home and some fancily-wrapped prezzies from her mum, she transformed her dark and dingy spot into a cheerful slice of brightness.
It looks lovely, doesn’t it?

She chose the same file holder from Ikea that I used; it’s called Kvissle and I love that the drawers pull out so that I can actually see what I’ve shoved onto each shelf. She also couldn’t resist the darling little bum for hanging her keys — it makes me smile every time I think of those two jaunty little bums in our office!

With results like these, can world domination be far behind?! 😉

Rainbow Bright

So, further to my post about my dear friend who is going back to school, it turns out that my love of school supplies presented me with a bit of conundrum: when picking them out, I had to CHOOSE.  And it was hard. Really, really hard. 

In the end, rather than choose, I went with two themes in the colour schemes: one was grown up (with a hearty dose of the silly–see: hipster pencils), and one was all about neon brights.

Here is a peek at some of the loud, cheerful, bright bits I sent out to my chum to keep her days on the cloudy west coast a bit sunnier.

Of course, I could not resist some Portlandia-style laptop decals. (Ask yourself: could you?)

Make Homework Fun

Last week I told you about my amazing BFF from university. She is starting back to school this month, over 20 years after we graduated with our undergrad degrees! After a career in teaching, travelling the world, becoming a triathlete and a myriad of other accomplishments, she is going to become a speech pathologist. This means she had to go back and upgrade her HIGH SCHOOL science and math credits– can you imagine doing that?!!
The woman is a force, I tell you.

Her return to school also involves a move to a new town in a new country and, thus, new office space, all set up for her by her wonderful fella, who has transformed their spare room into a study zone for her. He’s a true darling, I must say.

I am (surprise!) a sucker for school supplies. In my opinion, they are the best part of having to return to school in the fall. Since my pal is returning to the student lifestyle, I knew she would not have too much disposable income to treat herself to fancy-schmancy school supplies.  I figured that would simply never do, so I treated myself to a shopping trip or two to stock up some stylish supplies to keep her feeling inspired if (when?) school becomes a slog. I also included a Voluspa candle in yummy Goji Tarocco Orange to soothe frazzled nerves after a long study session.

Here is some of what was inside the “care package” I sent her last week:

How cute are the little cat tags below? They have their own names!

The slang cue cards will help her keep up with the young’uns. They promise hipness in “mere days.”  Hee!

Send a Surprise

I can’t post about what, exactly, is inside these pretty pink packages, as the contents are to be a back-to-school surprise for my BFF from university and they are winging their way to her as I type this. I want them to have reached her before I post about them– I don’t want to spoil the surprise by having her see here on the interweb what I’ve sent her before she sees it all in person!

But I can post the wrapped packets! I wrote out a little tease on each tag, hinting at what’s inside.
I thought it would add a little fun to the unwrapping by making her guess at what each package contains.

Unplugged

My mother has a friend who makes her teenaged & twenty-something grandchildren unplug completely when they come to her house. She has a basket inside her front door and the grandkids are required to leave their phones in it when they come in. You know what? They DO it! And they don’t complain! The rule is, when you are at Nana and Poppa’s house, you are visiting and visitors do not text or talk on the phone. Visitors visit.

There is something to this idea, I think. I find that I am obsessively drawn to check my phone if it is within reach (what if someone in Japan posts a photo of a cat on the internet or one of my friends Instagrams a photo of her lunch and I miss it???!!!!). Deliberately putting your phone into a cone of silence is not a bad idea from time to time; in fact, it’s probably good for the soul.

If you have kids or grandkids, give it a whirl. I got some paper boxes at the dollar store, wrote up labels on pretty notecards and used my candy-striped washi tape to attach the labels. Make one to go with your decor!

Take a Seat!

When my parents got married– heck, even as recently as when my friends got married–  the way you figured out which table you’d be at for dinner was by finding your name on a board and going to the numbered table to which you’d been assigned. As you know, that system is no longer the norm. I love checking out wedding blogs to see some of the fun and creative ways couples choose to indicate the seating plan to their guests.

My brother and his bride chose to use origami. My brother made all the origami sculptures twice– once in miniature to go on the board with the lists of guests, and once in a larger size to mark the table and be part of the centrepiece. He was up until 3:30 a.m. the night before the wedding, folding paper like a madman, but it was worth it. After all, it was pretty fun to be able to say you were sitting
“at the sign of the prawn”!

(Though I think the X-Wing fighter might have been my very favourite!)

The origami looked so pretty tucked in amongst the lovely mismatched vases full of flowers and the tealights sparkling in beribboned mason jars.
A crack commando team of amateur florists (a.k.a. family and friends!) worked very hard to get the flowers looking just right and to set up the centrepieces.

Once again, photo credits to Lucas Jarvis.

Eliza Doolittle…

has got nothing on these ladies!

In the true DIY spirit of my brother’s wedding, my mum and my “other mother,” her next-door neighbour of 40 years, did all the flowers for the bouquets and corsages and boutonnieres.

 And didn’t they do a great job?

The bride’s bouquet was adorned with a treasured family heirloom.

The brief for flowers for the wedding was “bright colours.” The bridesmaids’ bouquets looked great against their jewel-coloured dresses; the hot pink & white really popped.

As you can imagine, the flower girls stole the show & a whole lotta hearts
( a deliberate ploy on the part of a bride who did not want to be the centre of attention!)
in their fluffy tutus and their Chucks, carrying their bright yellow bouquets.

All but the first two photos were taken by Lucas Jarvis.

Desk Space Rejuvenation

Here it is!

I am so pleased with the result; every time I see my “new” desk space, I feel calm and serene and better able to cope with the stress of my workplace. I have even inspired a colleague or two to do the same to their desk areas!

This is a “before” shot– I borrowed my colleague’s space for the photo, but my desk space looked kinda similar before the transformation. (Mine was a bit neater, but not by much.. )

These photos were taken with ALL the lights on in the office– you can see why a desk lamp is a necessity: the place is black as pitch.

Because of the darkness issue, I chose light, bright, fresh colours.

1. Despite studies that say women who post personal photos in their offices do not advance in their careers, I need the reminders of my life outside work. Also, I am as high up the food chain as I ever hope to be! I tarted up the frames with a bit of washi tape and some awesome glitter tape.

2. Cute little storage containers are there with the goal of inspiring me to stay organized. They are measuring cups and coffee/espresso cups, but I like the idea of using them to corral office supplies.

3. A clear blotter with a pretty piece of Lily Ashbury Tradewinds fabric underneath brightens up the desk surface. So much nicer than my old black blotter and easy to switch up  if I want a new colour scheme.

4. My Poketo day timer is cute on the inside, but needed some zhuszh on the outside– enter the glitter tape!

5. I covered my bulletin board with more Lily Ashbury Tradewinds fabric; this one is called Jaipur. You could just as easily use wallpaper or any kind of pretty paper. I attached it with thumbtacks, so it is also easily switched.

6. A couple of whimsical touches– the ubiquitous “Keep Calm” and a little cat bum and tail to hang my keys. I have a cheeky sense of humour, so why shouldn’t my work space?

7. Pretty notepads and washi tape, along with some cute ink stamps will bring me cheer all year long and also add a personal touch.

8. A white file stack replaces the old black one and lightens up the space. It also serves as a handy surface to keep memos with some custom made magnets.

9. A modern desk lamp sheds crucial light and contrasts with the busy prints and bright colours, to keep the whole look modern and crisp.

Washi tape– it’s everywhere, and for good reason. It looks so pretty and is so darned easy to use and so inspiring; I just want to cover everything in it!