Thrifty Thursday – Memories

Anyone who likes thrifting knows that you really can’t go looking for anything specific as you’ll never find it – you need to be ready to spot the possibilities in anything – from how you can completely makeover an item, or simply what it means to you and the memories it invokes.

My dad is from Winnipeg, and growing up in Toronto I didn’t get to see that side of my family very frequently – maybe once or twice a year (Don’t get me wrong – I know I was super lucky to get to see them as often as I did – I know there are plenty of families who live apart who don’t have the same opportunity). When we visited Winnipeg when I was quite young we always used to stay at my Gran’s house which was also my dad’s childhood home. My dad’s room was the way it was when he left from university so I remember it being a bit like being in ‘Back to the Future’ (I could be wrong, but I seem to remember there being cowboy wallpaper in my dad’s room).  My Gran’s been gone for a number of years now, but every so often I’ll see something that reminds me of her – certain upholstery fabrics make me think of her white sofa, and Royal Crown Derby china in the Imari pattern makes me think of her corner hutch and the china she kept on display there.

One thing I spot quite frequently while thrifting is Blue Mountain pottery. I remember my Gran having a number of pieces, and while I always think of her when I spot the distinctive blue-green pottery, I’ve never bought a piece since I’ve only ever seen it in figurines of cats and ducks which are not my thing. A couple of months ago I spotted this little pot for $2 and while it’s not Blue Mountain Pottery it’s colour made me think of Gran so I brought it home.Green flower pot with handles

It sat on my windowsill for a few weeks until I eventually decided I should put something in it. The next time I was at Home Depot I explored their plants and tried to figure out what would look best. The problem was that most of the small plants they had in stock were simple with leaves in various shades of green and I wanted something with a bit more colour since the pot itself was green. Happily I found the perfect plant one row over – an African Violet.African Violet in a green flower potOne of the other things I remember about my Gran is she always had several African violet plants. I can still picture several on her drum table in front of a big picture window. Whether she had them because they were a favourite, or they were given to her as gifts I’m not quite sure, but they will always make me think of her.

A green flower pot and an African Violet may not mean much to most people, but to me they are a perfect pair just for the small things they make me remember.

Look Up

Have you seen this video yet? It showed up a couple of times on my Facebook feed today and it struck a chord with me – it made me wonder how much time I spend sitting in front of a screen everyday instead or interacting with real people. The answer is easy – too much (and no, the irony of learning about this video via Facebook does not escape me).

On Sunday I was up WAY too early, so I did something I haven’t done in ages – I went for a walk. Not just a small walk – I was out for hours. Yes I took my phone, and yes I took pictures of the interesting things I saw as I went and shared them via social media, but here’s the thing – the only reason I was able to see different/interesting/beautiful things was I was looking up – I didn’t have my head down as I madly tweeted about whatever random thing that just popped into my head. And I liked it.

I did a sort of meandering loop from my place, and in all I probably walked about 10km. In that time I saw some things I likely wouldn’t have seen in my everyday life, and I know I never would have seen if I’d been looking down. What I did find really interesting however is that when I tried to make eye contact with some of the people I passed and say ‘hi’ more often than not I was ignored or given a strange look.

Are we so used to communicating electronically that simple face to face interaction between strangers is completely foreign? We think nothing of interacting with complete strangers over social media – is doing the same thing in person really all that different?

Maybe it’s a Toronto thing? My mom says that she finds a huge difference when she comes to visit – but she lives in a town that’s significantly smaller. Is it the pace of life in the ‘Big City’ that makes us all slaves to technology?

No matter the reason I’m going to set myself a bit of a 30 day social challenge (if you’re on social media of any sort these days you’ll know that 30 (or 100) day challenges are all the rage – there’s the 30×30 nature challenge or the 100 Happy Days challenge, and any number of fitness and diet related challenges, so really I’m just following the trend). Anyways, starting tomorrow (May 6) I’m going to look up and try to say ‘Hello’ or ‘good morning’ or something similar to at least one stranger a day, and maybe, if I’m very lucky, they’ll also be looking up and will say hello back.

By the way - here are some of the interesting things I spotted on my walk while I was looking up:

Street Art

Happy street art

Summerhill Tin Man

If you look up while wandering through Summerhill you’ll spot this Tin Man and his family

Eaton Family Crypt - Mount Pleasant Cemetary

The Eaton family crypt in Mount Pleasant Cemetery

Spring buds on trees

Spring is Finally here!

Life Lately

Wow – it’s been over two months since I took pen to paper (fingers to keyboard?) and wrote a post here. My apologies in advance for this post – it’s a bit of a mishmash of topics and thoughts, but it is a reflection of my life lately.

The past two-plus months have been a bit of a rollercoaster ride – speeding along on a straightaway before suddenly plummeting to earth, only to be jerked sideways right before hitting the ground. The ride continues for a bit with many ups and downs, and then you suddenly come to a stop only to realize you’re pretty much back where you started but some of the people around you have changed, and you’re wondering where to go next.

This winter has been a rough one. I’m not a winter person by any stretch of the imagination, but I know most Torontonians will agree that this was one of the coldest, longest winters in quite some time. I’m not ashamed to admit the cold and the grey got to me, and the joy I once felt when composing something for this blog disappeared, leaving me uninspired and frankly unwilling to put in the time necessary to write a post when there was serious hibernating to be done.

Adding to my winter blues, the past two months also saw the end of my four year relationship. It’s so odd that something you were once so sure of can become something you can no longer see continuing. How does that happen? How do you go from having things mapped out, to floundering in a sea of uncertainty – unsure of what direction is the best one to go? I wonder have I changed that much, or has what I want to achieve and accomplish with my life changed so drastically that what I thought was a clear path has suddenly become a foggy road full of twists and turns?

A year ago I don’t think I ever thought I’d be here – 35(yup – I hit this milestone in the past two months as well), single, and strangely back at school. Those who’ve known me for years know that I’ve never been that academically inclined. I coasted through grade school with barely a thought and (let’s be honest) minimal effort. My first go-round at post-secondary schooling was a rather dismal failure (seriously – whose genius idea was it to major in Political Science?), and I’m quite determined that this time will be a different story.

The part-time Interior Decorating program I’m enrolled in comprises of 14 courses which are meant to be completed within 3 years. I’m so determined to get this done I’ve decided (wisely or not) to fast track – taking 3 courses at a time. Hopefully this means I’ll be finished them all by next Christmas – just 1.5 years after I started. At times it’s overwhelming. I figured it out the other day – I’m in class on average 12hrs a week on top of my 40hr work week. Did you know that full-time post-secondary schooling is considered 12 or more hours a week? Neither did I, but apparently I’ve been working full time while attending class full time for the past 12 weeks. No wonder I’m tired.

This blog has been shoved to the back burner of my very over-filled stove for the last little bit – a lot of that was due to my workload (did I mention the hours of homework, as well as the duties associated with being President of my condo Board?), but a portion was due to a general feeling of apathy towards it. The self-imposed expectation of a minimum of one home décor post a week is rather stifling – some weeks I just don’t have anything home décor related that I’m excited to share. Is there a rule somewhere that says since I’ve delared this to be a home decorating blog I should only share décor related things? While I love Interior decorating, that’s not all that I’m interested in – I love food, and travel, and humour, and wine, and current events, and all sorts of other things – why have I been restricting myself to sharing only one part of the things that interest me?

Don’t worry, this blog isn’t going to suddenly turn into a political commentary on the current status of Toronto’s City Hall (although, if Rob Ford is elected Mayor again I may have to move) but going forward I’m hoping to be able to unapologetically share some of the other things that catch my interest.

I’m working on some other changes to the blog (a new look, a name change perhaps?) which I hope to share in the next little bit (as well as a Para Paint Crew project next week) – but in the meantime I hope you’ll stick around as I strive to find my feet again after this latest rollercoaster ride and as I continue to muddle through this wonderful thing called life.