Scenes From My Weekend

I got up to a couple of adventures over the weekend so I thought I’d share.

On Saturday morning D and I got up a earlier than normal for a weekend and drove to north Oshawa to pick up this little number (this is the sellers picture). Vintage Hutch - sellers pictureI’m crazy I know, buying yet another project before finishing (ahem – starting) so many other projects, but it’s an almost perfect match to my living room console, so I couldn’t not get it. Right? Plus it was only $40 (if you don’t count the gas I needed to drive an hour each way to get it). It does need quite a bit of work, and while I’m normally a ‘wood should look like wood’ purist, this is a piece that may need to be painted given the many chips in the veneer, and the damaged foot. I also need to source some more chopsticks as this piece has got damaged trim – just like the console did. The hutch will go in my dining room so I’m trying to figure out if I do have to paint it what colour might work with the kitchen’s dark blue floor, and the piece’s brass hardware. Once it’s finished will help add some needed storage to my dining room (and will replace my old dresser which is the next item to go into my January Cure outbox).

On Sunday I went to the Junction flea with a friend.  It’s normally a little outdoor flea market in the Junction neighbourhood of Toronto, but yesterday it was indoors at a space on Queen street. It was probably scheduled indoors because well, it’s January in Toronto, and it’s normally it’s well below zero at this time of year. Yesterday it was almost 15 degrees above zero. #crazyJunction Flea

Anyways, the Junction flea was pretty neat with a wide variety of vendors and items for sale. I did bring home two things that I thought were pretty.New Kaiser Porcelain vase and Janaury flowersNew glass bowl and clementine oranges

I bought both the vase and the bowl from the same vendor (wish I had remembered to get her name) for $40. I think the glass bowl looks a bit like an overturned iceberg. The white porcelain vase says ‘Kaiser – Germany’ on the bottom, but I couldn’t find a similar vase online to see if I got a good deal or not. It doesn’t really matter though as I’m happy with my purchases.

This weekends task for the January cure was to organise my kitchen, make myself a new recipe and buy myself flowers. I did buy myself flowers as you can see from the picture of my new vase above, but I completely failed at the other tasks. On a positive note I did continue with the outbox task and sold two furniture items on Kijiji, and made myself $80 which covered the cost of the hutch and the pretty flea market purchases. Kijiji Sales

How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun? Buy any furniture or something pretty? What do you think I should do with my new hutch – I need some ideas.

Arranging Flowers with Coriander Girl

Last evening I had the opportunity to go to the Anthropology store at the Shops of Don Mills for a little flower arranging demonstration. The event was hosted by Pure Green Mag, and they had Alison Westlake from the flower shop ‘Coriander Girl’ there to give us some quick tips and pointers. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know that I try to buy myself flowers once a month (although I missed the last few months), but I’m woefully untalented when it comes to making those flowers look pretty in a vase.

We were directed to bring some sort of vintage item to use as our vase for our flowers. Mason jars and teacups were suggested. I brought this:

My selection for the ‘vintage’ vessel we were told to bring

I’m not quite sure what it is – it might be an ice bucket? I bought it at a thrift store for $4, so I thought it qualified as vintage. I should have looked harder for a cute teacup because this thing was a bit difficult to arrange flowers in – too wide.

The flowers we would use for our arrangements

Alison set us all up around some tables, and then did a quick demonstration of how she makes her lovely arrangements. Nerd that I am, I took notes on my phone (I’m sure she thought I was being rude and texting, but I wanted to remember some of the things she said). Here are some of the things I learned:

  • Use room temperature water.
  • Remove all the greenery (leaves, etc) that will be below the waterline.
  • When trimming stems cut at a 45 degree angle – this gives more surface area for the flower to absorb water.
  • If you’re using a small shallow vase you can use clear tape to make a grid over the opening – this will help the flowers and greenery stay in place.
  • Start by adding your greenery, and once most of it’s arranged add you blooms. The greenery supports the flowers, and makes them stand out more. (I’m going to think of it like underwear – a really gorgeous outfit can look only so-so if you’re not wearing the right underwear – right?) You can add more greenery later to fill any spaces that remain after you’ve added the flowers.
  • If you need to force any blooms put them in warm water and then cover with a plastic bag.
  • In terms of scale – the height of an arrangement is very much personal preference, but as a rule of thumb the whole arrangement should be about twice the height of the vase alone.

I was going to take pictures of my bucket as I went, but I got distracted by the fun and forgot. Bad blogger. Anyways about 40 minutes after I started I ended up with this:

My flower arrangement at home. Before it got home I took it on the bus – I got some weird looks.

Some of the other participants arrangement were stunning so I’m going to have to practice. Such a hardship – playing with flowers.

Do you have any other tips for arranging flowers?

On Blogging, Life, and Vandalism

When I created this blog about a year and half ago I did it mainly to keep my parents (but really my mom) up to date with my attempts at decorating my first place. I admittedly thought it would be quite neat if I could get a few other people to come by and comment every so often, but that wasn’t my goal. As time has gone by I’ve fallen into a trap, one I’m sure other bloggers have experienced – the numbers trap. Over time, I’ve had a few posts appear on some major blogs (my Dollarstore bookends were listed on Babble, and my Craigslist dresser was featured on Apartment Therapy) and those generated quite a bit of traffic to my little spot in cyberspace. For those of you non-bloggers traffic is measured in various ways, but it boils down to numbers, and those numbers can get addictive. When your numbers are going up it’s a great feeling, but conversely when your numbers go down your emotions can too.

I didn’t write a post at all last week which can be attributed to a few things, including writers block, plummeting traffic numbers leaving me feeling like this blog is pointless, and a few other things, one of which I’ll get into below. I think since I started my blog, last week was one of the few weeks I’ve missed posting even a little something. It’s an odd feeling – strangely I feel like somehow I‘ve failed. I’m not quite sure who I’ve failed, but the emotion is there, and it’s interfering mightily with my desire to blog at all.

I’ve never shared on my blog that I’m a member of the Board of Directors at my Co-ownership. Normally it’s not a big responsibility – we meet about every two months to go over the finances and deal with any issues that may arise. That said, we’ve decided that it’s time that the building have its windows replaced – ours were installed in the 80’s and don’t fit the Spanish Colonial style of the building. I’m the board’s representative on the window committee, and as such have been attending meetings with vendors to try to determine what type and style of window is best. My brain is literally overflowing with information on wood-clad vs. vinyl vs. fiberglass, casements vs. double-hung, simulated divided lights with interior or exterior grills, and cottage vs. regular split windows.

Last week I had one regular board meeting and then met twice with the committee to listen to potential vendors. That’s a lot of hours in one week to dedicate to a building, but I have always believed that the efforts of those of us who serve on such boards don’t go unnoticed. And then this happened:

I took these pictures with my cell phone so the quality isn’t great, but it’s what it looks like – someone in the building took a marker and drew two huge marks on the walls in our front stairway. What makes it worse – the board had just weeks before had all the interior common walls repainted at a cost of several thousand dollars. I know it shouldn’t, but this vandalism feels like a slap in the face. Our building is small – just 23 units. We know pretty much everyone (there are a few renters), so the fact that someone would deliberately do something like this wounds me. I and the other members of the board take the time out of our lives where we could be doing all the things we enjoy to help ensure all of our homes are well looked after. The vandal may as well have written ‘SCREW YOU’ in big black ugly letters (it actually feels like another word, but I try to keep this space PG).

Sigh. Alright. Enough venting. Sorry about that.

In other news I bought myself some lovely sunflowers yesterday.

Do sunflowers make you happy?

I’m not sure what it is about sunflowers, but they make me happy. I’ll be sure to look at them tomorrow after I get back from the emergency board meeting that was called in response to the lovely new art of our walls, and then maybe, if I feel up to it, I might draft a blog post about something that make me happy. Wish me luck.