Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Another Woman's Treasure Swap Meet!!!

Maybe it was due to me cleaning out my kitchen in prep for the reno...

Maybe it was due to the One World One Heart blogging event...

Maybe it's because I really look forward to spring (and the spring cleaning....

Or maybe it's just an Ellen thing...

But whatever the reason, I've been thinking of doing a virtual swap meet with all of you.

If you're like me, you have old stuff you'd like to get rid of, but can't bear to throw away. It ends up gettiing stored in the basement, in the garage or in the trunk of the car. Or, in my case, all three. Well, in the sport of slimming down our lives, let's swap it!

Post a comment saying you are interested. Then send me an email (ellen@aboutabride.ca) with a photo and description of what you will swap. AND the more you give, the more items you get to choose! On Feb 18th, I will post all items and their descriptions. Then based on the order you sent your items, you will get to VIP "shop".

For shopping, I will:
* divide you into groups, again based on order of initial entry
* send you an email as to when the store is open only for you

You will then send me your top choices of purchase. And I will then sort them out and give you and your item's previous owner each other's info for mailing.

Please note that there may be international guests to our party, so be prepared to send out accordingly.

Okay, let the fun begin! Remember to send me your item(s) and description asap for better choosing on your part by Feb 17th. The shop opens feb 18th.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Motivated Mondays Linky Party: Getting Hutched...

I am really excited about this linky party...and this piece I worked on.

Just a background story..(there's always a story with me). I've wanted a hutch and a white dining table for a while now. I really dig the country/cottage/farmhouse look, the white furniture etc, and so I set up an alert on Kijiji.ca (Canadian equivalent of cragislist). Well I found someone who was selling BOTH of these items for a very good deal. Thing was, the pieces were about 30 mins away and was only for pickup and would definitely not fit in our little jetta....I had to settle with the lady that I WOULD get someone to pick up, begging please hold these items....Anyhow, she did and the day before I said I would get there, I found out that my aunt recently bought a Chevy Uplander and agreed to help me out. My husband had something come up that evening of pickup and therefore it was just me who drove out to my aunt's house (oh yeah, which was about 2 mins from the pickup location....) and she saw just me get out of the car and was like, um who else is here to move the stuff, for I don't lift furniture. So we had to drag her son to do the work --- who reluctantly did it, all of a sudden spouting the importance of him needing to do homework!

We arrive at the house and all the lights are off. Determined, I knock on the door and it opens a crack and an eyeball peeps out at me. Yes?, it says. Speaking to the eyeball, I say, "I'm here for the table and hutch". Hold on, the eyeball says to me and closes the door. I'm assuming a hand and arm and fingers helped out in the process. I just turned, looked at my aunt and shrugged. The door opens a brief moment later and out steps a boy about 18 yrs old. "Well, my parents are out, but they left the hutch on the porch". My cousin and this boy attempt to start putting the 2pc hutch in the SUV, but in the trunk/loading area, there is a bulge in which gets in the way of the hutch fitting.....So there they are, using only the light coming from the car as their main source of light and keep switching, rotating, turning, pushing, pulling, heaving. My aunt keeps saying "don't scratch the inside of the car" and I am grimacing....They finally get it in and it really barely fits. They go to put the top part in and have to do the same thing, this time with 3 panes of glass to be wary of. They get that piece in too and the boy is like "k, there you go". And I am all "there's a table too!". The look on the boy and my cousin's face was priceless. Here was the ensuing conversation:
boy: it's probably in the garage and I don't have a key to it. And my parents are out. As if to remind me and to say in other words, can you leave now?

Me: Well, don't you have their number?
Boy: They probably don't have their cell phone with them.
Me: Can you try?
Boy: And if they do, it's probably not on.
Me: When are you expecting them back?
Boy: I don't know.
Me: Is there a backdoor to the garage?
Boy: Yeah, I guess I can just check that.

So he goes to check it and in between the silent knowing glances between my aunt and I, creeeak, goes the garage door. Yes!, I think.

There's the table, says the boy, pointing on one of the beams. And there's the legs, pointing behind a sitdown lawn mower, garbage bins and a massive amount of storage boxes.

When did you say your parents should be back,
I ask?

And blessings, here they come around the corner and pulling into the driveaway. And out of the car comes a man, I am assuming, the father.

And if anything sheds more light on the weirdness of the whole situation, especially the conversation, here is how the conversation between them go:
Boy: Where's mom?
Man: Dunno. I thought she was with you.
Boy: Oh okay.

And that was the end of the conversation! Oh okay....
I decided then to just get my goods and get out of there.

Me: I'm here to get that table, that is well, hanging on that single beam up there on your ceiling.

So the man pulls out a ladder and gets it and then like just shoves it into the car.

Anyhow, this is what it looked like before:

It was originally a dark wood color and the previous owner just dry-brushed white paint on it, so it looked like it was bathed in smoke. The handles needed to be updated and replaced and though I kind of liked the glass with the swirly gold thing, it looked like chicken wire done wrong. Really wrong.

And some more pictures of the after.

decided to keep the doors off as I think it made it look bigger. (Guess the same thing in my kitchen, eh?)

Going with my cheap paper theme, I attached this blue floral paper to the backside after painting. It's not yet organized/decorated it as I'd like, but I was so excited to show you! And the cost was about $60 for the actual furniture, $15 in oil paint, $1.50 per knob and about $1 in wrapping paper. Not too shabby...Now I get to start on the table and chairs....

What was a creative highlight for you this week??

The Girl Creative
Sumo's Sweet StuffDIY Day @ ASPTL


One World One Heart -- Brooch Giveaway and Housewarming!

As promised, I am participating in the 4th Annual One World One Heart Global Blog Event at A Whimsical Bohemian. It's a way of opening up our doors to all other bloggers....think of it as a major international housewarming! So on that note, welcome! So come on in, get comfortable and enjoy looking around here at my little house on Blog Street. You'll get to know me as a SAHM with a lot of energy, creativity and always with multiple projects going on at the same time.

And with any event or party, there is a door prize. To one lucky visitor, I am giving away a handcrafted brooch that I have just recently started making and sell online and at Etsy. This is an example of one, but I just got some new fun fabric that I would love to work with. The fabric is mid-pastel colors (blue, pink, green and orange) with mini white polka dots. The winner gets to choose which color s/he would like. The brooch is about 3 inches big and comes with a pin to attach to your lapel, blazer, hat or purse!

To enter: Just leave a comment below. And my door (and this event) is open starting Monday, January 25th until Feb 15th which I will then post the name of the winner and email the winner at the email address left in the comment box. (The winner will be chosen at random).

Comments are now closed and I will be posting about the giveaway winner!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My Oops Cake....

Thought I would share this funny story....

So a couple of weeks ago, it was my husband's 30th birthday and I was throwing him a surprise party. So the night before, I was going to make the cake. I saw blogs that had this pretty cool looking cake, called a Rainbow cake, that I thought would be fun to do. And just like every.other.time.there.is.an.event, the night before I am up late preparing for it. I thought I was doing well by getting the ingredients the day before but, when I actually was ready to do the cake, which was about midnight, I realized that I didn't have enough baking pans for all the individual layers. Blessings, there is a 24 hour grocery store in the neighborhood.

There I am, following the directions and it's going well. You know the feeling --- when the item in front of you is looking like the item in the picture. I had the instructions printed out and was referring to them often. Mind you, I am a crafter, a dancer, a decorator and a cook -- but a baker, well, I seemed to have dozed off in the class. So now it's about 3am in the morning --- a smaller stove with only one baking rack and 4 layers to cook (25 mins each, maybe I added a bit much icing color dye....) and they have cooled and I am ready for the fun part -- layering and icing.

I'm doing my thing, feeling like baking isn't too bad and wouldn't it be awesome to do this wonderfully colorful rainbow cake for all my children's birthdays....(yeah yeah, I know, right now, I just have one...but I can hear the wonderful praises and accolades: "mom makes the best rainbow cakes, I love the birthday parties she throws, we love mom, she's the best..."). I'm feeling good. I think I may even be doing a small jig while icing away. I don't even worry when little specks of cake come off in my icing. I feel like I am in the know, I am one of the elite, for bashaw, doesn't everyone know that it's a baker's technique to ice lightly the first time, put it in the fridge to harden and then ice again a second time. It's not like I read that or anything in the blog post.....so all is well and I stand back to admire my cake. Actually it looks like chia pet, the clown version. And as I am standing there, staring at the cake, I zone in on something. No, can't be. K, stare harder. If my husband came downstairs, it would have been an odd site for my face was a few inches from the cake and I am glaring at the thing. And I would have said, "your cake is moving". Why is it moving? How is it moving? How do I get it to stop moving? I grabbed a spatula (happen to be the closest thing) and tried to just push the reverse way. But that wasn't working....

And in an instant emergency decision, I decided to perform surgery on my cake. I slid my fingers under the sliding layer and tried to lift and replace it back to its starting position....but instead, the procedure resulted in 10 fingers lifting up individual finger-slices, which after getting ticked off about what.just.happened I thought, ooh, yummy, I have to eat these.

So after downing 10 fingers of cake and washing my hands (I know you all were wondering), I had to remove all traces of that rebellious layer. I looked at the instructions again and saw (highlighted, in fact) the idea that you are to cut the tops of the cake to even them out. I read that. I had acknowledged that. But when I took the cakes out of their baking pans, I thought, looked even enough to me and those parts that are not so even, I will just even them out with the icing. Yeah, not such a smart idea. So now my original 4 layer rainbow cake is a boring three layer cake with little peaks here and there from cake parts that didn't separate properly when I lifted it. I even it out as much as possible and do a job on trying to cover up all the hills and valleys. Well, in one spot, where my right hand was a bit too enthusiastic, it wasn't a peaceful valley. There was a crater about the size of an egg. So I did what I thought was a good idea. Just put extra icing to fill the hole. Don't tell me you wouldn't have done that. I put the cake in the fridge, consoled myself with eating bits of the fallout piece and went to relax for a couple of hours so my cake can harden a bit.

I check back in a few hours, open the fridge door and see that the crater has collapsed even more -- with the weight of the icing. So now, I have to put more icing in that spot and go around the cake with the remaining icing. Um, and just for you to know, I am on my second container of icing --- it was initially a 4 layer cake with icing in between, on top and on the sides and then my coverups.

I decide that this cake should be fine, go to bed about 5am and wake up at 8am. I check the fridge and see that the cake has collapsed again, pulling layers out and down from the cake. And of course, it's the green side, so it looks like a mold is growing on this cake. Yeah, what a way to say happy birthday honey I love you. So I tell my husband I have to go to the grocery store again. There, I must have looked ridiculous, I still had pajama pants on, it was obvious I just woke up on very little sleep and I was buying icing. I felt obligated to tell the counter lady and the man behind me why I was buying a load of sugar at this time of morning.

So anyhow, I rush home, slather on even more icing and just say whatever. Hopefully, he will enjoy the day I have planned for him and won't even notice his lopsided cake. I'd call this a volcano cake....

Once cut, the cake looked nice -- blue, red and green layer. And lots and lots and LOTS of icing...

I've learned my lesson: flatten out the layers because it's in the instructions to do so, for a reason.

And the reason why I am telling you this story....I read some other funny mishaps and follies at Frugal Follies and My Blessed Life.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Well-Read Mind....

It's a fact. I love books and reading. Always have. My mother raised me as such. Every Saturday, we would go to the library. And both of us, would always check out at least 3-4 books each. We were Library VIP's, on a first name basis. We had extended book renewal privileges unheard of! My mother also encouraged me to read every night before going to bed. And I guess one time I took this too far, for seriously, one night, because I chose to read until about 3am, she took my books away the next morning and banned me from reading that week. Banned me, people. I was like Cuba in my house. She said something about me not putting importance on sleep and being ready and alert for school the next day. Pfssshaw! *hehe, I type this and silently laugh to myself to see how I am still a night owl, always up late anyhow til 3am, doing something.....can't ban me now, mom! :)

Anyhow, this one is easy to figure out. I love books and reading. I love to-do lists. So naturally, I love book lists. I recently just joined a Facebook Jane Austen Book Club and there the admin of that list said she read somewhere that the average person reads at least 5 books a year. Last year, (yes, I actually kept track) I read 10 and so I want to up it this year. I am aiming for 21 this year, about 2 a month or about 3 weeks each. (Though I know me, I will be working on a number of books simultaneously....oops, mental reminder from my Intentional Living list: finish a project before starting another....ok ok..)

My 2010 Book List: (in no particular order...)

1. Pride and Prejudice
2. Raising Boys
3. Sense and Sensibility
4. Emma
5. A Life that says Welcome
6. The Mom I Want to Be
7. Life of PI
8. Sacred Marriage
9. Persuasion
10. The Kite Runner
11. Northanger Abbey
12. Practicing Hospitality
13. Slow & Steady Get me Ready
14. My Sister's keeper
15. Mansfield Park
16. The Jungle Book, the Second Jungle Book and Just so Stories
17. A common life
18. In this mountain
19. Light from heaven
20. Shephards Abiding
21. Heaven

What's on your reading list?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Tassel Giveaway!

Anyone else seeing a huge emergence of fame of the tassel.....? I'm feeling like I too, need one in my house...somewhere! It's almost a decorating necessity. :) Actually, tassels are quite the coolest bit of creativity in my book --- they are "artistically messy" and yet so refined and classy. Like when you work hard at making it look like you haven't tried at all. Except, these tassels don't try too hard, they are just hands-down gorgeous!

And you can win one...at Between Naps on the Porch's giveaway. You can get up to 3 entries to win...!

and then there was light....

well, actually, there was always a light fixture there...but this is where this little light of mine got herself some bling and accessories....

Introducing my ceiling medallion!

You might have noticed that there was already a medallion there --- can you see it? I know it's so tiny. But we put that in when we got this particular light fixture. There was always a little gap between the medallion and the ceiling. It needed to be filled with the love of a medallion. But for a little while, we prevented this little light from receiving the love that was rightfully hers....not because we were meanies, but because the cost of a medallion was ridiculous. I think that little one cost about 10 bucks and the really big (sigh, beautiful) ones were around the $100 mark. Um no! My husband went to Home Depot to get this little one because we were trying to sell the house. And yeah, as I said, I think he got it for around $10. I don't know, I didn't go with him. I was having a tantrum, rebelling against the cost of medallions.

So, anyhow, for a while I was thinking that I wanted to add to the look ---- without taking away from my wallet. So, during Christmas time, when there were so many beautiful wrapping paper (yes, I said wrapping paper!), I saw this gold, gilded flower one and thought of my ceiling.

I kept this particular roll of wrapping paper OFF-LIMITS for gifts. Husband was confused, but I just smiled my all-knowing, all-crafting smile and said "it's reserved for something else". It being Christmas wrapping paper made this not a bit clearer to my husband. I tried to enlighten a little more: "It's for the ceiling. A ceiling medallion". Oops, too far. I confused the poor man. Wait, what was that? Do I hear some wheels turning....? Oh but for just a sec. The wheel jammed again: "...the ceiling?", he said.

We put this up last night. And I got to do math, people. The math that you learn in school and say "when will I EVER use this...". But yes, I had to grab an actual HB pencil, some string, a sewing needle and some caramels. With pencil in mouth (don't ever do this, Eliel), I had to figure out what the diameter of the original ceiling medallion was, divide that in half to get the radius and cut a piece of string that size. Then, I had to find the middle of the paper, poke my pin there with the other end tied to my HB pencil (now out of my mouth) and holding steady, pull and then draw a circle. (You can go the distance and actually find the circumference of your circle, using that fabulous math....).

Then in the middle of the circle, cut a straight line about half way through. Now using your math again, the knowledge of the relationship between radius and circumference and using the same technique about, draw another circle in the middle (which actually would look like the size of the original medallion) and then cut that little circle out. You should have something looking like a donut.

Put some wallpaper glue on the ceiling and slide and roll the paper onto the ceiling. Finally, smooth out the paper.

Instant glamour! And my ceiling looks taller somehow.

*I didn't take any pictures of this while doing it, so if you have questions, just ask away!

Oh, by the way, the caramels were a reward for a job well done! :) And in case you are wondering, the radius of my new ceiling medallion is 15, making the circumference 706.5.

And last thing --- this medallion, in total, probably cost about $1. The wrapping paper was $5 and I used only a small piece of it!! :)


Get your craft on Thurs.


The Shabby Chic Cottage

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Color Dilemma aka. the Kitchen Project...

I'm so excited (and I just can't hide it...hehe)

After 2 years of living in our home, my husband has given the okay for us to do the kitchen! I was ready to take on this project, seriously, the morning after move-in, but for both financial reasons and that other house things needed our attention instead, we postponed this particular project.
and postponed...
and postponed...

K, I'm really not complaining, we did other projects instead, started a business and started a family...but Amen, the kitchen is on!

This is what the kitchen looked like when we moved in -- leaf green walls, (very greasy and dusty) California drop ceiling, oak cabinets and a pink (fine, mom, terracotta!) ceramic tile.

kind of dark and depressing eh? yeah, that's my point.

About a year after we moved in, my husband and I painted it a heather grey. And just last week, in attempt to get this project going, we took the ceiling down and the doors to the top cabinets off. It's amazing how big the kitchen now looked. Totally, not done, but a definite 100& difference.

We even had a little helper!

Some of our recent purchases:

But the biggest concern is this. My kitchen has oak cabinets (which in some form will be saying sayonara) and when I could only afford to paint the kitchen, I painted it a heather grey. We are definitely painting the cabinets, but I am going to do a two-tone kitchen. And I am not sure what color to do the bottom --- I would love a blue from the coastal family, but I am not sure if it will look like our kitchen is permanently taking residence in a cloud.

What do you think? I am going to coastal-cottage-y-farmhouse country. You understand that? :) Also, I love the look of open shelving and you can either do this by taking just the doors off or by taking cabinets down and adding shelving. It's definite more work with taking the cabinets down and repainting, but I am just not sure yet. Last night, no kidding, I was up until 2am reorganizing the shelves - to make them that fine line of artistically messy but still practical, organized and user-friendly. Again, what do you think? Should we just go the whole way and take the cabinets down? I worry about the new shelves actually not being enough space for all of my stuff. (oh and btw, the most recent picture of the kitchen does not reflect my organizing attempts at 2am...this was before. At around 11:30pm, I was thinking that I might need to have actually organized the cabinets to see if I want the shelves or not....novel idea, eh?)

So why now are we doing our kitchen?? Funny side note, about 4 months ago, our house was on the market so we can move and downsize. As I toured through other potentials, I would repeatedly fall in love with the kitchens I found ---- and since you usually look at houses that are close to your own personal style, I always found white country kitchens with beaming wood floors, the apron front sink etc etc. Long story short, even with us finding three other houses (at separate times) that we loooved and put offers on, our house didn't sell. We were sitting in my husband's office, dumbfounded, "why won't this house sell? God help us to know what your will is -- do you want us to move or to stay put? No kidding, the words were barely finished and out of my house when I looked to my right and saw an IKEA magazine on the floor.
Front cover said, Love your home...

So when the last offer didn't go through (and that's another story completely in itself), we decided to take Ikea/God's advice and love our home. Make it ours. Make it something that we want to be here. (A side side note: we do love our home. We were trying to be frugal and spend our money wisely by getting a smaller house. We don't need the three tier deck. Or the pool. Or the family room AND the living room. But God knows our heart and our intentions to be wise, but still wants to bless us with this big, beautiful home. There is a reason for us being here. A purpose. His plan.)

Oh and HAPPY 30th BIRTHDAY to my husband!
Thanks honey for being my kitchen-hero! :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Motivated Monday -- been MIStreating....

So you can either treat your curtains or make them them work for you and MIStreat them.

(Btw, I've completely got the term mistreat from The Nester and her fabulous window treatments....).

This idea came along because I have been trying to find the "perfect" curtain for this dining room window, which going along with the character of the home, of course makes it a little more challenging to find the right curtain! Anyhow, I made the valance from a table runner, added a little trim and was set.

For about 5 months.

Everytime I walked through the dining room, I always got that somewhat unsettled feeling about the curtain and wanted something more....so the other day, while going through the basement, putting Christmas stuff away, I came across a bin that had odds and ends of stuff that I owned but didn't know where to put or what to do...including these gold curtains...and then the idea struck. :)

I immediately wanted to put them up up under the valance, but it was about 11:30 at night and I couldn't get to any store to get a curtain rod. And feeling that this would hold up my project...and my moment of inspiration, I brainstormed...what can I put this up with....string! no. tape! no. Ah ha! I'm gonna staple gun them to the wall! Feeling oddly sneaky but not a bit guilty, I got the staple gun and fired away....dreading the noise of each staple. Not for it penetrating the wood, but that it might wake my easy sleeper 9 month old. But blessings no, he remained asleep and I mistreated the half hour away.

I was so excited to announce to my husband: "I've been mistreating", see the confusion on his face and then the pleased look when I showed him what I did. Granted, he was a little numb on the fact that I just staple gunned something into the wood, but I think it was brilliant! Besides, no one should be looking under my curtains in the first place anyhow! :)

And I was obviously sooo excited to use my man tool, that I forgot to iron the curtain before apparently attaching it to the wall!

oh well, maybe with the money I saved in not having to buy a curtain rod, I can get a hand steamer.
It's a definite trade off in my book!

*pretend you are so taken with the curtains that you don't see the mess on the sideboard....

So join in on the Linky party -- what did you create over the weekend??? Oh and btw, this Linky party will stay open for a couple of days...

Check out some other great creations at: