Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pretty bits

Thought you may like some more pictures of "the shop".  April 1st is our official day to have everything ready.  We have been polishing, photographing and madly entering things into the computer and most of all having fun.

 April 1st will also be the start of our "Sparkle and Pink" Giveaway, and we have been trying to decide on our lovely gift. (we like to add some little extras).  So please check back on Thursday April 1st, and we should have things sorted.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Blogger Award

I am really thrilled to have been give a Beautiful Blogger Award by Carrie over here at
 The Vintage Wren . Carrie has a lovely blog where she writes from the heart and is a treat to visit, so if you have not already been there...go now.  Thank you Carrie.

I have to now share 7 things about myself, and because I have trouble narrowing things down I have condensed a bunch of them into one x 7.  So here they are.  ( I recently had an award so I kinda re-used this list)  Is that allowed? 

1. I was born in Nairobi Kenya, left when I was 6. In Kenya we lived in a railway car for a month. A snake killed my cat, the African kids threw stones at me on the way to school, I almost drowned swimming in the Indian ocean when I was 5, my grandmother owned a donkey called Semolina and a shot gun, monkeys ate our tea, we slept under mosquito nets, we had a "houseboy", elephants would block the road, a pole snatcher stole my blankets. And that's all I remember of Kenya before we took a long boat ride to England.

2. I lived in England for 6 years. My relatives are all English. My mum managed on her own with the 4 of us while my dad worked in Saudi Arabia. We never knew my dad's family although they lived in Nottingham, we were not allowed contact. It was one of my lifes goals to find them. I found them all via the Internet in 2008(10 siblings) almost 60 years after he left home at 17. They are mostly in the UK and Australia. They are lovely. I wish I had had them growing up.

3. I moved to Canada when I was 12. I was a big nerd and teased a lot about my British accent which I promptly lost. I met my husband in high school at 16 and married him and had kids in my early 20's. My son is 24 and is in commercial real estate and lives in Montreal. He has a wonderful GF who I adore. My daughter is 22, a makeup artist and hairdresser and she lives 10 minutes away. I don't feel British, Kenyan or Canadian really.

4. I used to be a Medical Office Administrator which is the new name for Secretary. I worked for a family physician who got arrested for billing fraud and the police raided the office and I had to go to court. I then went to work for, as my kids used to say "the bum doctor" and worked for a rectal surgeon. Rectal surgery was not at all what it was cracked up to be, so I made a move to Orthopaedic Oncology where I worked for the most incredible but somewhat crazy (I mean that in the nicest way) surgeon who performed limb salvage surgery (adults and kids). Sadly he died tragically at 48. I went back to college at 45 and got my diploma in Interior Decorating. I got straight A's in college after being a pittiful student all my life.

5. I am a self employed Interior Decorator about to open an online shop of vintage housewares and home goods, a collector but not a hoarder. I have about 30 collections (keep checking the blog, I am sure you will eventually see them all). I challenged myself to read a book a week for 2010, but have only read 4 so far. I try to read Canadian Authors as I believe in supporting the Canadian arts. I like to shop at flea markets, not malls. If you were to buy me a bithday gift, it should be old, worn ,tarnished and battered.

6. I love my Gracie dog, Hannah cat and miss my Mooch boy who died of leukemia. I love, love, love to cook and bake and love Ina Garten and wish I had met Julia Child. For a treat for my daughters 8th birthday she asked for a store bought cake!

If I didn't decorate I would open a cafe. With vintage cups and flowery dishes with homemade buttertarts and organic tomato soup. I set my table with vintage linens and old dishes. I am organized but not tidy. If I was vacuuming and found a Smartie under the sofa, I would so eat it.

7. I am a late bloomer. I didn't get my hair right until last year, struggle with my weight, my mind jumps from here to there and I have so many things on the go but not completed. I do fiber art making hand made felt, would love to learn to paint, love my little cottage and my garden. I found my confidence last year and myself too. Oh... and I was named after a waterfall in Nairobi called Chania Falls. It is pronounced Chania like Taunya, but with a ch.

That's it. 7 things you didn't know before.
And now I have to pass onto 7 people, so here are some wonderful blogs that I read daily.
1.  Cranberry Cottage with Melissa over here
2. Lulu at Dusty Lu here
3. A perfect Gray who has an interesting call for posts here
4. The lovely Beach Vintage here
5.  Pebbledash from the UK here
6.  Pretty Far West. (hilarious) here
7. Mamas Without Borders here
If I have left out one of my favorites, it is because I had to nominate 7 people recently and I did not want to award you twice so quickly but I wanted to, you deserve it.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Giveaways all over the place! Including MATTHEW MEAD!

There are so many great giveaways right now on some of my favourite blogs.  Just so you can keep up with them all, I am listing them for you to make your life easier.

1. Maria at Dreamy Whites has a gorgeous giveway of a Queen size duvet from Annette Tatum here
2. Joni at Cote de Texas is having a Doxa pillow or gift card draw here
3. The lovely Tina at Rubies Place has 3 pairs of beautiful earings.  Take a look here
4. Her friend Anna has a hand knit mug cosy at Lola de Anna right here
5. Over at Donatella Style there is a copy of Rachell Ashwell's new book.  You can see this here
6.  Nellie at McCarthy Designs is holding her first giveaway over here.  She is giving away some gorgeous paper products and cool wall tattoos.
7.  And Ness at Marley and Lockyer still has her lovely pillow giveaway here
8.  Matthew Mead Giveaway- This one os a good one. see below:

Head over to Holiday with Matthew Mead to find out how you can win the opportunity to have your blog or online shop mentioned in the magazine. Holiday with Matthew Mead is a "book-azine" celebrating and offering inspiration for the Christmas holiday season. To be released in October 2010, Holiday is offered via online orders only - in limited quantities - and will not be sold on newsstands. But, by simply following the BUY HOLIDAY MAGAZINE link below their banner, you can reserve your own copy of this beautiful magazine, with guaranteed delivery of the magazine straight to your mailbox! Holiday with Matthew Mead is144 pages of holiday inspiration with well-known and admired designers, bloggers and top-notch features, printed on beautiful paper and not drowning in ads!
Now, head on over Here for your chance to win!

And Just in Case you are wondering who is giving away those pink vintage hotel cups in the photo...Razmataz...right here starting Thursday.  April 1st is our official opening day of our online shop and to celebrate, we are going to hold a giveway starting Thursday  April 1.  We are calling it the "Sparkle and Pink" giveaway.  The winner will be receving those cups, plus something sparkly...a surprise right now.  Check back this Thursday and we'll fill you in on the details and the rest of the prize. 

Friday, March 26, 2010

From old and drab to Modern Vintage

When I spotted this china cabinet in a consignment store recently, I knew immedaitely it could be interesting and certainly more current if it had a facelift.
Made out of walnut, it was solid and well crafted, but heavy and dark and really quite typical of so many cabinets of its era.
To make it fresh, I removed the Chippendale mullions, sanded the whole piece, and gave it two coats of Farrow and Ball's Pointing.
I added vintage glass knobs.  I then broke the glass before it was reinstalled, so more is on order
I think it looks much fresher now...
Especially filled with monocromatic white ironstone and creamware.
PS.  A blog reader suggested I use chicken wire instead of glass, and that reminded me I have some industril stainless steel rectangular grid mesh that would look great and keep it more modern looking.

Don't miss our Sparkle and Pink Giveaway here to win 4 vintage pink cups and a gorgeous silver tray.
I am participating in Friday Furniture Feature at Miss Mustard Seed . (This was from last Friday, but Miss Mustard was away, so I am including it for this friday.  

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Girls Night Out - A Place with Pink and Sparkle

Hopefully the women in my monthly girls night out group will not read this post today because I am trying to keep this a surprise.  Instead of hosting at my house, when they arrive I am whisking them off to a surprise location......my new shop. 

 Some of you will remember my recent post about finding this great piece at a junk shop.  I wanted to use this gorgeous scrubby table when I host the girls. 

Over the past few weeks, business partner Lorraine and I have been so busy setting up the shop and photographing all of the bits, that we have had no time to relax.  But it is almost done, and to celebrate, tomorrow night we are having our monthly Girls Night at the shop.
Using vintage dishes from the shop, I arranged the place settings with pale pink napkins with silver and horn napkin rings.
I'll use the available silverware.......

.......and accessorized the table with bits from my recent trip

The whole table is very girly....

They have all been so wonderfully supportive and full of great ideas for us, I want to create a special evening.

...and transport them away for a little while to a place with pink and sparkle.
I am participating today at Tabletop Thursdays over here at Between Naps on the Porch Blog.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sunshine Award

Nellie over at McCarthy Design gave me this sunshine award yesterday.  If you have never looked at Nellie's blog, you really must pop over there it is really unique and fulls of interesting bits. You can visit Nellie here.
I have to nominate some other blogs, so here are some of my favourites.  Some are new and you may not have found them yet, so pop over to visit and you will see why I love them.

If you were given this award and you feel like passing it along.
1. copy the picture to your blog.
2. Pass it on to your favourite blogs
3. Notify them that they have been awarded.

Thanks so much Nellie, I appreciate you reading my blog and giving me this sunshiney award.

Scrumptious Ruffles

Yesterday I posted on the talented Li from A Creamy White whose scrumptious ruffled pillows I had been admiring.  While Flea marketing this weekend, I came across a very non-vintage find.  This beautiful ruffled pillow cover pictured above was buried in a pile of nasty old bits.  I may have passed it by previously, but after seeing how gorgeous these ruffles look in Li's house, my eye went right to it.
After a good washing it came out fresh and bright.
I rather like it with my wacky floral pillow I picked up last week.
It looks fresh and Spring-y on my white sofa.  And it was only $8....
There is a tag sewn in.  It says Elena Brunelli.  I have never heard of this designer/manufacturer, but it is very well made.
I am thinking how pretty this would be in pale, pale pink......
I added a feather insert to give it the right amount of Squish.

I am linking to White Wednesday at Faded Charm Cottage

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


A few weeks ago I came across the blog A Creamy White owned by the sweet and creative Li.  I was first captivated by this woman as she sews ruffles.  Ruffled pillows, ruffles on her shower curtain.  I poured over the pictures and was so envious of someone who could sew so patiently and beautifully.
This is her shower curtain.  See how many ruffles!  That yards and yards of fabric.
All images with permission from Li at A Creamy White
Look how lovely they are on her bed.  She even posted a how-to, but, for me it was more of a "oh, how I really can't do that".  Then out of the blue mixed in with a random bunch of old vintage bits, I found a gorgeous ruffled pillow slip on the weekend.  I will post a picture tomorrow as I am washing it and I wanted you to have a look at the real handmade thing (mine is mass produced I think) and take a look t Li's other gorgeous things she makes and her blog.  You can go here to meet Li if you haven't done so yet. 

A bit of my art

Hand felted and hand embellished beads

To call myself a fiber artist is perhaps a little self indulgent.  I have sold a few pieces and gifted a few more, but it is not something I persue as anything more than a hobby at the moment.  I have always loved textiles, especially wool, and particularly raw wool.  I love the differences in sheeps wool. Felting occurs when you add soap and aggitation to raw wool.  No stiches, no glue.  It is the oldest form of fabric, first occurring when tribal peoples placed raw wool on horses backs. 
"This piece titled "Porridge" is #2 in my series of “white on white” felt art. Hand felted, using wet felting techniques, it is constructed of 100% pure Corriedale and Alpaca wools. I love working within the confines of simple white wool as it has a raw earthy-ness, and demands that I interpret it with relief, dimension and texture. Using felted “tiles” allows me to explore scale, balance and rhythm in composing the final piece. The wool is basic, naturally colored, warm, wholesome, un-processed, earthy, raw, old fashioned, comforting and organic-hence the name Porridge." 

 Wow did that sound a bit like an infomercial?  Sorry!  It was actually the blurb that accompanied this piece when it was shown in the Greenwood Gallery in Guelph.  I had three pieces accepted into this juried show. 

Two years ago, I decided "why cook dinner and clean my house?" in my non working hours, when I could sew thousands of tiny glass beads onto hand made felt beads and trade them with other fiber art fanatics around the world (Fiber Art Traders)  I did a few trades, and these were 3 sets that I traded.  The 3sets I got in return are all hanging on my crazy capezi shell light fixture at the cottage, so I will have to photograph those another day when the cottage opens up.

I seldom felt now.  I do miss it (not the barn like smell that comes with the raw wool) and will do some more pieces, but I a waiting for both the time and inspiration.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Make no mistake.......I would have fought you for this!

I was out Saturday with my business partner Lorraine to a warehouse full of old toilets, discarded kitchens and smelly old sofa's. Not really my thing, but Lorraine loves salvage, so off we went. Part way through the warehouse while I was feigning interest, Lorraine gets that look...the one she gets when she finds something exciting...wide eyes, mad grin...non verbal gestures so no-one else will catch on that we found a treasure. And treasure it was.

 Not one, but 2, massive 10 foot long work tables. They have the metal fold down legs, but the juxtaposition with those steel legs and scrubbly tops makes them very Modern Vintage.
How fabulous is that worn peely paint and exposed wood

Anyway, we immediately summoned a sales person and staked our claim. But we made a big mistake.  We took our eyes off the tables and continued shopping. 
 When we finally made it to the cash, we were just in the nick of time.  A gentleman (hmnn, maybe not) who was right by us (and listening to us when we were telling the sales lady to hold them for us), was at the cash desk trying to buy them.  We had the tags in our hands, and it was only because the cashier was calling overhead for a price check that we realised what he was trying to buy!
The other one is red and scrubby and equally lovable.

Well, as proper scrappy table lovers will do, we rushed right to the front of the lineup and loudly( and a little forcefully) pronounced ourselves as the rightful owners and called upon the original sales clerk for backup.
It ended well. He made a quiet and rapid retreat.
But...just in case you, that gentleman, are reading this....make no mistake....
.........I would have fought you for these ....

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Pretty in Pink

I have always had a love for hotelware because it is so rugged and a lot chunkier than most china.  Vitresol or hotel/restaurant china has been specially glazed to withstand the harsh environment of the service industry.
Very occasionally I have come across it in pink.  The palest pink like these cups from J. Meakin and Sons.  I found them in such an old shop, the staircase was leaning literally 20 degrees to the right!
This huge pink pitcher and tiny pink creamer were really unusual finds too.
I have a thing for pale pink and silver.

Giveaway at Marley and Lockyer

If you haven't already discovered the blog of Ness Lockyer here is a quick link.  Ness has a great etsy shop too with some gorgeous vintage inspired goods such as these clay gift tags.  Ness is holding a giveaway of 2 of her pillow covers and a set of these gift tags.  Worth checking out her blog, and not just for the giveaway... it's a great blog.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Fresh, Modern Vintage.

I am so excited about the shop, I just had to give you all one more peek.  Lorraine and  I spent 6 hours today sorting through our bits and pieces.  As certain areas came together, we started to elininate items we felt weren't in keeping with the feel we want to create, or the products we want to stock.  We kept asking the same questions.  Is it Fresh, Clean, Simple or Modern Vintage? We don't want a Granny attic.  Although our shop will be primarily an online shop, we plan have 4 "markets" a year, so we have been painstakenly styling the shop. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Rhubarb- It's a color

Today I was fabric shopping in a showroom and a color kept popping out at me.  Rhubarb.  Not pink, not red.  Somewhere in between.  Perfectly in between.
Robert Allen has a whole colorway called Rhubarb.  See how pretty it is with cream.
Rosie Daykin used it here in her daughter India's bedroom in a leopard print.
I reupholstered this old chair in Robert Allen Rhubarb Paisley from Italy for my son's girlfriend.
Being a neutral girl around my house, I suddenly wanted a bit of this Spring like color in my home.  I found this big down filled pillow with a rhubarb colored floral print.
And then I found this milky glass lamp with a rhubarb damask shade...
...and I thought it would work well on my scrubby old table in my living room.
I noticed the color elsewhere in my house.....
.......and had my coffee in a vintage rhubarb and white cup....

I am participating in Friday Furniture over at http://www.missmustardseed.blogspot.com/
and Show and Tell Friday at http://www.romantichome.blogspot.com/