Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Year 2012 in Review

This year, like most years and for most people, had its shares of ups and downs in store for me. Allow me to share the highlights with you.

The world of blogging has been a revelation for me. I have "met" many a kindred spirit, people who share the same likes, one of them being furniture repainting and refinishing. I thought I was the only one in the world to pick up discarded items to make over so that they can be reloved. Also through blogging, I discovered the wonders of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. It's been so much fun getting to discover this wonderful product!

Here are my most viewed makeover posts:

Discarded Jewel Becomes Tiffany Star
(This was repinned many times on Pinterest!)

Antoinette Shelf
(Also repinned several times)

Little Paris Table in Versailles, although I had some challenges with it, I love the way it turned out.)

And in my personal life:

My youngest daughter graduated high school in June and went away to university in september. We are now empty nesters during the school year. Where did the time go?

In June, we celebrated 25 wonderful years of wedded bliss. My best friend from Montreal, who was also our maid of honour, surprised us with a visit and some champagne to help us celebrate. 

To celebrate this major milestone, we went to Paris in August, a long time dream of mine.

I had high expectations for Paris and not only were they met, they were greatly surpassed! I fell in love with the city of lights. So much beauty and history! I'll be back!

 And this was by far the lowest point of my year:

My dad passed away in september after a long battle with cancer. 


Life has many yins and yangs. Shortly after my dad's passing, I found a store who accepted my furniture and jewelry on consignment. I was thrilled! Here is the first item I sold:

I have great plans and hopes for 2013 that I'm just not sharing yet, because it's all in a very preliminary stage and also, I just don't want to jinx anything, lol!

I hope you also have great plans and hopes for the coming year and I wish you all much happiness, health and wealth. You have no idea how much your visits and your comments mean to me and I'm looking forward to more for 2013!



Thursday, December 27, 2012

Family Time and on Frozen Pond

Here and below, some new bulbs this year in the tree from the Brian Gluckstein Collection acquired
 at a great price on last year's Boxing Day!

Hi all, hope you all had a marvellous Christmas. Ours was quiet and stress free, just hubby, the girls and I for the first time in our lives, the reason being my sister-in-law was flying in from Vancouver yesterday (the 26th), so we are doing the big family dinner tonight. It makes Christmas last longer, don't you think?

We went to early mass on Christmas eve, then we drove around town to see the Christmas lights, one of our traditions. We then picked up Chinese food to eat while watching what else, A Christmas Story of course! This is not a tradition, but it was so much fun I think it might become one.

Christmas morning, we opened gifts. We kept it low key this year, it was less about consumerism and more about things we really needed. (Far be it for me to be sanctimonious, God knows we've had our shares of generous Christmases. This year, we just felt we needed to cut back.) Then we had a lovely brunch of eggs, sausages, hash browns, english muffins and some fruit thrown in for good measure to pretend it was all healthy!

Later we had a swim and a sauna, which was extremely relaxing and soothing for my old bones. We later all got dressed and went to see The Life of Pi.  What a fabulous, extraordinary movie, so well done. Do go see it if you have a chance. It really honours the book. (I couldn't believe how busy the movie theatre was on Christmas day!)

Blue glittered pinecone in a cloche. The wooden plate was made by one of my great-grandfathers.
We then came home and enjoyed a pre-dinner drink. I had a pomegranate martini which was out of this world! We had a Christmas sing-along with my youngest daughter accompanying us on the piano. It must have looked like a storybook picture for the passers-by, however they would have cringed if they had heard us singing "Baby It's Cold Outside", because my husband joined in, and while he has many qualities and talents, the poor man cannot carry a tune to save his life, but it made it even more fun.

One of my favourite ornaments at Christmas
Dinner followed with a French Canadian Christmas theme: tourtière, gravy, mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts and sugar pie to finish.

The mantel is slightly different this year. I bought this trio of trees at the thrift. They were painted a ghastly dark green and were wrapped with an ugly gold garland. Took off the garland and repainted them in Annie Sloan Provence, with the base Old White. Love them!

Tonight will be a turkey dinner at our house with hubby's family. On the week-end, we'll be getting together with our best friends to go out for dinner and see Les Misérables, which I cannot, cannot wait to see!

Sideboard in the dining room
So there hasn't been much for me to post about as far as painting furniture etc., I have been so busy painting at the store, but after the holiday hustle and bustle simmers down, I will be back with more. I am really enjoying having both girls at home and spending time with everyone.

My oldest daughter, who is studying web design in university, surprised me with a new header for my blog as one of my presents. We are going to be redesigning the look of my blog based on her concept and I'm hoping to have the big reveal in the New Year.


Today we woke up to a blanket of white. Here are a few pics I took of "our" backyard and pond, a.k.a. the golf course, so beautiful and quiet this time of year. (I like to pretend it's all ours.)

Do you see the itty bitty red dot in the middle? It's a beautiful cardinal.
Everything is so still.

I just love this view.



Friday, December 14, 2012

Today's post is black

Today's post is not about furniture or decorating or paint or anything lighthearted like that. Today's post is about trying to understand. It's about sending our prayers and our thoughts to the families in Connecticut. It's about hugging our loved ones tonight, and remembering what is important.

My heart is sad and heavy, I cannot comprehend this. I could live a million years and never get it. So many of us work so hard to do so much good in the world and to love and care for our families, and then we hear about tragedies like this and we fail to find the words to express how we feel. We can only pray and support each other.

Go home. Go home and hug your loved ones tight tonight.

My Christmas tree is staying dark tonight in memory of the victims. I know, it's a small gesture, perhaps without much impact, but it's how I feel.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Country Grey and City Grey meet in Florence

Hi everyone,

Is everybody in the US still in a turkey induced stupor or are you out in full force doing Black Friday shopping? Either way, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

I bought this small table (or bench?) at a garage sale. It was an expensive garage sale. They had many gorgeous antiques, but they were asking as much as a store would. It was an "new" older couple, two widowed people merging households, and I was thinking, good luck with getting rid of stuff at this rate.

Nevertheless, I was able to negotiate a deal on two items. On of them was the table I showed here. The other was this:

I'm not quite sure actually if it's a table of a bench, but I loved all the detailing on it.

These are the after pictures. It sat in my family room for at least three weeks, in other words, plenty of time for me to take a before picture, but do you think I did? Noooooooooo! 

Just imagine a dark wood table. Go ahead, close your eyes and picture it. I'll wait.

And then, tada!!
When came time to paint it, I couldn't think of what to do with it, until I saw a chevron pattern somewhere, I forget where. Now, I know what you're thinking, what is she talking about, that's no chevron pattern? Well, it wasn't the chevron pattern that inspired me, but its colours: a beautiful bluey green and a putty grey. Very trendy. Florence from Annie Sloan Chalk Paint was the perfect match. However, for the putty grey, not so easy. Paris grey was too blue and Country Grey was too green. Solution? Mix them both together in equal parts. It was exactly the colour I had in mind. The blue of Paris Grey and the green of Country grey were perfect partners to Florence's bluey green.

And then came the fun part: stencilling. I found this beautiful silkscreening stencil from Martha Stewart. These are pricey, but they are beautifully detailed and make seamless patterns. The finished result does not look stencilled at all. It comes in several pieces which you can place any way you want, which allows for varied designs. I'm thinking of investing in a few more, they're that beautiful.

The woodwork is so lovely and lacey!

I did minimal distressing on it and just a touch of dark wax.

This is by far one of my favourite pieces. It's at the store now and I'm almost hoping it doesn't sell!

So, what do you think, bench or table?

Linking up to:


A Diamond in the Stuff

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint and 10,000 views!

It is a foggy morning here as I write this. It happens when the seasons are in transition. Cold air meeting warm air and all that.

When I looked at my stats today, my blog had hit 10,000 views! It might not seem like a lot of views for some bloggers, in fact some of them get that many in in a day probably, lol, but for for me, this is a big milestone and worth mentioning.

Speaking of blogs with a lot of views, most of you are probably familiar with Miss Mustard Seed's blog, but if you're not, you should pay her a visit. She is a great inspiration to me when it comes to painting furniture and decorating, etc. She has evolved from mere blogger to authoring her own book and creating her own line of milk paint. (And all this while raising two little boys!)

A while back, she was approached by Homestead House Paint Company, a milk paint company located right here in Toronto, Canada. They asked her to create her own line with her own colours. It has been interesting to watch her progress, hard work and finally, success in creating this line.

I have used milk paint from this company many years ago on a couple of furniture pieces. Milk paint applied to raw wood is virtually unchippable. It's the best paint adherence there is. On varnished and painted furniture, you have to use a bonding agent to make it adhere, otherwise the paint chips in places, but this can be highly desirable for a wonderful distressed look. Milk paint is an old paint formula, it is organic, biodegradable and has zero VOC.

Yesterday, I stopped at a Home Hardware, a Canadian chain of hardware stores, and I was surprised and thrilled to find Miss Mustard Seed's paints!

 The colour I bought is called "typewriter", a wonderful black with slight brown undertones. I have a music sheet cabinet that I envisioned painting in black, this will be perfect to test it.

I also picked up a free colour chart:
The colours Marian (Miss Mustard Seed) chose were inspired by favourite objects. You'll find posts about what inspired each colour.

I bought the bonding agent as for the piece I want to paint, I don't want too much chippiness, but rather just a bit of wear.

Can't wait to use it! 

If you want to learn more about milk paint and how to use it, visit Marian's blog to view her tutorials.