Remember Sarah Richardson? She of the statement necklace? She of the white jeans? Well, she's back with another new show called Real Potential
Back in 2010, I was invited to a preview sort of thing about Sarah's then-new show, Sarah 101
. Sadly, I did not like the show much, and said so in my blog about it in early 2011. I haven't been invited to a Sarah Richardson event since. Haha. I can't say this bothers me much. So much of PR and Journalism is bullshit, and if I'm no longer in the loop, that must mean I'm not part of the bullshit, and that makes me happy.
Anyway, Sarah 101
wasn't good. It just wasn't. It wasn't horrible, but it was a disappointment. The show seemed to dumb down everything that had been appealing about Richardson's past shows. It was so banal. And it didn't last long. Whether by design or because someone or (many someones) on the team realized it was a bust, it seems to have ended after only two short seasons.
Now, however, Sarah is back. And I'm happy report that Real Potential
is a lot better than Sarah 101
. A LOT better.
The show is three quarters about real-estate shopping. Sarah helps a house-hunting couple shop for a place, gives them three options, they pick one and buy it, and then, finally, she helps improve the chosen home by renovating one room or area. The show is 22 minutes long and in my opinion, is a little light on the design and decorating side of things, but considering how much the masses seem to love real estate, the format was probably a smart choice. It debuted a couple of weeks ago and several episodes have already aired. I watched them online, though the HGTV website
The design work is a lot more aspirational than the work on Sarah 101. It's much more in-line with the stuff done on Design Inc., which I was happy to see. Sarah uses a lot more colour than she used to, and the rooms she's done on Real Potential reflect that. I'm not sure how I feel about this change. Colour is good, but sometimes, the blues Sarah highlights, in particular, feel a bit grating to me, but different strokes for different folks and all that. More colour is probably not a bad thing. (I just really hated these chairs, below.)
My final verdict is this: Real Potential is okay. Good, even. The real estate bit isn't that interesting to me, personally, but you might like it. And if you like Sarah, you will probably enjoy the show in general. So far, Tommy hasn't been seen, and I'm sure some fans will be bummed about that, but Richardson herself is there in all her statement-jewellery-wearing, sarcastic glory. Give it a try.
I know. I haven't posted in ages. The chic blog has been effectively dead all summer. It's not my fault. It's just that my apartment is small, and it's done. AND I don't really have the money or desire to redecorate over and over again. So, lately, I just haven't had much to say.
Then, the other night, I decided my office/guest room isn't working for me anymore. It's most often a trash-room, where we put things that we are hiding from guests. We sometimes have one person stay over, but rarely two, so the twin beds, while great in theory, haven't been all that useful. And finally, we need some more storage, and this room could easily house some if it was reconfigured.
Mostly, though, I want to change the colour. I want to paint the room green. Dark green. Maybe sage green. I'm not sure. Here's how it looks right now.
It's cute. Very white and serene and country-ish. But I want to go in a completely different direction. Here are some inspiration shots.
This one is apparently a room in a cottage in the Hamptons by Fox Nahem. Annoyingly, I was not able to find credit info on this photo. Found it here. Unfortunately, here's another with no credit. Found it here. If you know the origin, please comment.
Am I crazy? Green might not be an easy colour to work with. Have I lost my mind? Should I go for it? Is green the best idea anyone's ever had? Please comment. I need your help.
Alright you guys, I'm back. Back with a new craft project, just in time for easter.
It did not turn out well. (In other words, I think you'll like it!)
So, if you read the blog you know that I'm not big into religious holidays. But if, like me, you like crafting, then I'm sure you've noticed that a lot of the projects and ideas out there revolve around such holidays. Maybe because it's just too hard to justify this sort of thing without some spiritual stamp of approval. (Like if I said, "Hey you guys! I made this insane craft! It took a million hours and was a pain the ass! But isn't it cute? ISN'T IT CUTE?" you'd probably think I was weird, right? AND YOU WOULD BE RIGHT. A lot of crafting is pointless and strange and results in things that have no real purpose. But somehow, if you do a craft because it's a holiday, then God approves and everyone gets it. Right? Anyway. I digress.)
I made a craft. For easter. Dyed eggs. No big deal. Kind of a classic. Martha approved. Before today, I hadn't dyed an egg since about third grade, but what could possibly go wrong?
Sigh. Anyway, I used this project for inspiration: Marbled Eggs. Looked easy. Food colouring and oil. That's it. I was sure I could do it.
Things started to go wrong right off the bat. First off, I only had brown eggs. (So what? I thought. The colours might not look the same, but I don't mind brown. It'll be fine. It was NOT fine, but more on that later.)
Knowing my eggs would be beautiful and worth keeping for generations to come, I decided to blow them out rather than boil them. No big. All you need to do to blow out an egg is to make a little hole on either end, poke something inside said hole to break up the membrane/yolk, then blow through one of the holes to expel the egg from inside the shell. Alas, somehow I couldn't manage to make a smooth, round hole. I used an awl, then a nail, then a pin. Not one egg came out perfectly. I don't know if brown eggs have tougher shells or what, but it didn't work well and the results were annoying.
Gaze upon the ugly holes I made, friends. GAZE.
But whatever, right? Plenty of egg remained intact and while the holes were less than perfect, I decided to continue. I rinsed and dried the blown out shells and set about mixing my dyes. I followed the food colouring instructions. The water was hot. I didn't forget the vinegar. The mixtures LOOKED good. I figured I'd start with yellow to amplify the brown base, then marble with the blue. And blue and yellow makes green, so if they went a bit greenish that would be fine. Green is pretty. Emerald, dudes. Colour of the year and whatnot.
Didn't work. The yellow dye had no effect on the shells at all. I tried the blue as well, pre-marbling, but it just made the eggs look dirty. CURSES.
Not wanting to waste my efforts, I mixed the dyes together (to form a green) then I added a bunch more dark green food colouring to deepen it. MORE DYE, I thought. This will solve all my problems. I popped the eggs in the new mixture and... they floated. Of course they floated. Hollow, they were. So I devised a really silly weight made of stacked, inverted pot lids to hold the eggs down under the water. It looked like this:
After 20 minutes, the dye was taking, but it didn't look great. I decided to move on to the marbling stage anyway. You put olive oil in a different batch of dye and mix the eggs in that. IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE EASY.
Again, it didn't really work. Well, no, that's not fair. It sorta worked, but the green on brown was 'effing ugly and I hated it, but I didn't want to abandon the project, so this is where things got messy. I took the eggs out of the oily water and just started dripping straight, undiluted dye all over them. I made a mess.
Red dye dripped on green egg. Actually, they don't look too bad at this stage. They got worse.
In addition to the mess that now covers my kitchen, my fingers ended up dyed too.
Look at those fingers! AND THIS WAS AFTER 12 WASHINGS. My digits might look this way forever, you guys. I just don't know.
But in the end, I guess the eggs aren't HORRIBLE. Are they? Are they sorta ugly/beautiful? Or just ugly? I don't know.
So, I was invited to the media breakfast/preview of the One Of A Kind Christmas Show
which kicked off down at the Ex this morning. (I don't know why I get invited to this sort of thing, because I am a big nobody. And let me tell you, watching the vendors get excited by my media pass and fancy camera kind of broke my heart, but I digress.) Invited I was, and went I did. I mean, the show costs $12/$14 (online/in-person) to get in, and as press, I could get in for free. Between that and the offer of a free doughnut, I wasn't going to say no.
And for once, I did the show right. I went up and down EVERY AISLE IN THE PLACE. My feet are currently incredibly sore and I'm a little grumpy, but I feel like I saw everything and took note of everything that really caught my eye. And I took photos of all of it, which I will now share with you, but first, a bit of a caveat:
As huge as this post is, it features only a small fraction of what's on display. (I believe there are more than 800 OOAK booths/vendors this year.) My personality means I'm drawn to decorative objects, fine art, and that sort of thing. Things I generally avoid, and that you won't likely see here, but that are in abundance at the show: kids' stuff, woollens and knits, clothing, most wood and leather goods, art glass and most pottery, food and edibles. I also steered clear of most of the cutesy stuff (felted creatures, owls, bunnies, and the like), most of the jewellery, most of the furniture, and all of the body/beauty products. All of that stuff is amazing in its own right, but I only stopped to photograph the things that really jumped out at me
, which may not be what will jump out at you. So... there. End caveat.Now, some pro tips:
- Work methodically. I saw every booth, starting at the east end of the centre (end of the alphabet) and moving west, winding up and down every aisle along the way. I know it seems a little anal, but making a plan for the path you want to take (and sticking to it) is a smart move. The show is overwhelming otherwise.
- Wear comfy shoes. SERIOUSLY. I was wearing Toms and my feet are still killing. (I saw a couple over-zealous young "journalists" in 4-5 inch heels, and I bet they want to kill themselves right now.)
- Give yourself a good three hours for your visit. Or even a full 1/2 day. It's better not to be rushed and if you want to see the whole thing, it's going to take you a long time. (Note: if you're bringing babies or little kids with you, as I noticed many did... well, you're crazy. What can I say? The rules don't apply. You may need 12 hours. Who knows?)
- Eat, hydrate and let yourself rest from time to time.
- CHECK YOUR COAT. It's hot as heck in the Direct Energy Centre. I have no idea why. Coat Check costs $2, but it's worth it.
Okay, enough with the tips. Are you ready to see what I saw? HERE GOES!
Stewart Jones: Booth R-57
These fine art paintings by local artist Stewart Jones were the very first thing that caught my eye. I stopped to snap this pic as I made my way along the back wall (before even making it to the first official aisle). Jones does "urban landscapes" and I'm sure his work doesn't come cheap, but I like the realness of his subject matter. Very Toronto.
Daniel Pollak Accessories: Booth T-54
I know I said I steered clear of most of the jewellery, but this booth was so glittery, it caught my eye immediately. So decadent, so sparkly, so over-the-top. It's fashion/costume jewellery, rather than fine jewellery, but I enjoyed it.
Kat Kaland: Booth Y-62
Artist Kat Kaland makes toys, illustrations, accessories, etc. She told me when I popped by that she's moving away from the toys and focussing more on art, and having seen the art -- paintings incorporating doll parts -- just my kind of creepy -- I think she's making a good decision. The pieces shown here, with the hands and the little 3D girl figures, go for about $200.
Moon Rox: Booth Y-20
Again, jewellery is hardly my thing, but it was early in the day and this gold-toned costume statement necklace caught my eye. Moon Rox is owned/designed by a woman named Monique V. Chan.
Noelle Hamlyn: Booth W-43
Hamlyn has been at the OOAK show before, showing off her repurposed art/purses made from books and magazines, but she's also doing framed artworks now, using the insides of the books (paper, illustration, etc.) as opposed to the outsides. Now, in general, I'm a "READ BOOKS, DON'T CUT THEM UP" sort of person, but I like what Noelle does nonetheless. Her bigger art pieces are about $165, while the smaller ones are about $90.
iDENTITY: Booth W-09
I stopped at this booth because of the hipster-factor. Megan Irish makes these pillows from recycled blankets (vintage Pendletons, The Bay/HSBC classics, army blankets, etc.) hipsterified with prints on top. Her company makes tees and other apparel as well, I think. The pillows are $48 to $108. (The HSBC ones are more pricey than the others.)
Heyday Design: Booth V-09
Hailing from Vancouver, Claire Madill makes these neat ceramic mason jars. You could achieve the same effect by painting a glass mason jar with flat paint, but nonetheless, these are nice as far a ceramics/porcelain go.
C Comme Ca: Booth V-43
Artist Cindy Cantin makes these bags and wallets from leather and wool felt and I thought they were super chic.
Dapila: Booth T-15
This stuff looks like ceramic, but it's mostly made of cement, which is sort of neat. I know body-parts and surrealist stuff isn't everyone's bag, but I sort of love it. I like the idea of using some of the finger sculptures to hold everyday objects like makeup brushes or razors.
Eric Seguin: Booth S-53
This is not a booth I'd usually stop at, filled as it was with knives and such, but I a few natural skulls caught my eye. These are otter, fox and mink, respectively. I have no idea why I like 'em, but I do.
Felt Factory: Booth R-19
These felt, mounted animal head pieces by artist Sabine Alpers are very well done. I love natural animal stuff (vintage, generally) but these might please the vegan in you if the real deal creeps you out.
Laurie Sponagle: Booth Q-31
These AH-MAZING charcoal drawings look like photographs. No kidding. That's how amazing they are. Artist Laurie Sponagle really stands out. Bigger pieces are priced at $1600, but there's a nice range of sizes available and the smaller pieces start at $250.
Tammy Shane: Booth Q-24
Tammy Shane is another stand-out fine artist exhibiting at the OOAK show. I would have bought one of her pieces in a heart beat if I could have. Gorgeous. Truly. I mean, look at those owls! Those birds! That sky! Love.
Yves' Drop: Booth N-06
Vintage neckties made awesome? Just my sort of thing. I kind of wish my husband would wear a tie every day. (And if he did, I get him a few of these babies.)
Tat Chao Design: Booth N-34
These glass candlesticks were pretty fabulous - substantial, yet delicate at the same time. Very unique. Tat Chao is a nice new addition to this year's show.
Sarah Tacoma: Booth L-23
Photography artist Sarah Tacoma caught my eye. I love how she captures stark branches and winter trees. And her pieces have rustic wood frames/mounts that I liked.
Sarah Hillock: Booth K-24
Sarah Hillock's huge paintings of farm animals (mostly cows, from what I saw) done on mylar, were maybe the most striking, unique thing at the entire OOAK show. I've never seen anything like Hillock's work in person before, and I have to say, I've never wanted a huge painting of a cow more. I mean... they're cows. And I'm a city girl. Yet I want one. Immediately.
Pepper Mills: Booth G-03
The name Pepper Mills kind of speaks for itself. These handmade, OOAK wood objects by Cam Lavers Designs Inc. aren't new to the show, but I've always liked them.
Him by Shima Itabashi: Booth D-5
I know I said I was going to stay away from cutie-pie felted things, but this booth's wee decorations spoke to me more than the works of other felt artists doing similar things. There's something really authentic and adorable about Him pieces and designer Shima Itabashi seems like a sweetheart. Her English isn't perfect, but that just adds to the charm.
Ateliers des Cent-ans: Booth C-36
This booth was a bit spare, but what I saw of the porcelain and wood pieces inside definitely left an impression. The stuff I loved most was delicate and white, with slim blue nautical patterning. Very chic.
Grace Eunmie Lee: Booth C-44
Some of Grace Eunmie Lee's wee white ceramics are highlighted with bits of shiny metallic and colour, but her monochrome pieces are my favourites. I love their small stature and weird, offbeat cuteness. Some of these wee works are merely decorative, while others are functional (salt and pepper shakers, for example).
Evelyne Rivest Savignac: Booth I-37
Interestingly, while I initially passed this booth during my official "go down every aisle" run, I didn't stop at it the first time around. I'm not sure why. Maybe the crowds were too thick and I didn't get a good look. Happily, I needed to hit a bank machine before leaving which took me on a second trip down row "i" and that's when I noticed Evelyne Rivest Savignac's pretty ceramics. The artist told me she's been a vendor at the show for the last eight years, so if you've been in the past, you may remember her. I was especially charmed by her little leafy bowls. They have the vibe of something sold at Anthropologie (but are much more authentic, of course).
And that's IT.
Honestly, I saw some other stuff I liked (bow-ties by Genuine Article
, for example.) but I just can't write about any more. This is already the most unwieldy blog post I've ever written.
Go to the show. Enjoy. Support your indie artists and crafty friends. And remember, wear comfy shoes. And if you're not too exhausted afterwards, tell me what you got!
P.S. Sorry about the lighting in some of these shots. I'm no photographer and since artists provide their own light at each booth, dimness is an issue.
P.P.S. Shout-outs to my web friends Jen @ Rambling Renovators
and Staci @ Switch Studio
for letting me talk their ears off at breakfast, Pam @ Cherish Toronto
for being my favourite person to run into at these things, and House & Home magazine staffer/editor Margot Austin
(who I may or may not have terrified when I declared "I'm obsessed with you!" - because I'm the sort of weirdo who says things like that, apparently). Sigh.
Hey dudes... guess what!?
We're getting close to Apartment Therapy day! Apparently, my house tour is set to be posted next week. (Woo woo!)
In the meantime, I have one sneak peek photo to show you, taken by the lovely Abby Cook (who shot our place for the feature). AND, it's a great picture to share because it really highlights one of my recent projects: bright door edging.
I was inspired to paint the edge of every door in our apartment after I saw the September 2001 issue of Martha Stewart Living. The mag featured this project among other easy ways to jazz up your doors and it seemed so simple, I couldn't wait to try it.
I did a different, complimentary or contrasting colour on every door. The guest room (shown above) has green accents, so I chose a bright acid green edge for that room. Our bathroom is dark chocolate brown, and I used a hot pink in there. In our dark blue bedroom, the door edge is now pumpkin orange, and in the dining room, it's teal. You could use any acrylic paint for this project, and I would recommend you apply it with a plain old artist paint brush. Don't bother taping. The door itself will guide you, and if you slip up, just wipe away your mistake with a wet rag. Acrylic is very easy to work with.In order to get a REALLY bright look, I went with
some of the new colours/paints from the Mantegna line, purchased at Woolfit's
in Toronto. (Any art store will have good paints. I went to Woolfit's because it's around the corner from my office.) You only need a little tube of any one colour to do each door, and you'll have paint left over.
This is an EXTREMELY fast and easy project. I highly recommend you try it. When your doors are closed, you won't notice the change at all, but when they're open, you get that pop of colour and it's fun and happy. Think about it.
See the "Luminous Green" shown on the right of the top-most line of colours? That's what you see in the first picture above.
Okay. I know I've dawdled on this, but it's finally time to reveal my new(ish) dark bedroom. If you remember, I was hesitant to go dark at first
, but it's now been several weeks since I completed the painting and I have to say... I love it.
Special thanks to everyone who encouraged me to go for it, especially Amy at ABCD Designs.I know you want to see it, but let's not dive right in. Let's start with my inspiration: the peacock feather. I woke up one morning thinking of peacock feathers and that's where this whole thing started. At first, I wanted to paint the room green. But that seemed impractical, or less livable, so I decided on a deep blue, like the very centre of the feather's eye.
Feather photo by Neza Èerin from SXC.
I chose Behr's "Night Shade" #740F-7. On the chip, it looks near-black, but on the walls, it's a lovely, deep blue with a forest green undertone. It looks different in different lights and at different hours of the day, so I feel like it's a living colour. Like it can breathe.
My walls are textured - very old and bumpy plaster - so I chose matte/flat 'paint+primer in one' for coverage that would hide imperfections.
Here's the before shot. (We lived with the room this way for about two years.)
When I committed to this makeover, the first thing I did was reorient the furniture. I moved the bed from the back wall to under the window. Now, when you walk into the room, you see the bed on your left and a straight path to the back wall on your right. Here is the reoriented furniture, before I started laying on the new paint:
Next, I got painting.
Working with a dark colour is emotionally daunting because initially, it looks like... crap. I was terrified after my first (patchy) pass, but after three solid coats, I felt a lot better. Next, I had to consider If I would paint the doors and trim.
I decided to paint everything (except the ceiling) because I wanted the finished room to feel calm. The dark colour made the white doors, baseboards and moldings pop, but I didn't want pop. Pop was the opposite of what I wanted. So on went the paint. (I even painted the light switch and electrical plates.) The result is a completely uniform envelope. Very serene.
So... are you ready for the reveal? I'm not much of a photographer (as you know) so it was hard to get a shot that does the room justice, but here goes. This is a shot from the doorway:
Next, take a look at the view looking straight in from the hall (which you can compare with the similar before shot, above). You can see the painted doors and frames on the right. Don't mind the cables. Still haven't sorted those out. You can also see the way the sunlight on the wall makes the paint look brighter.
I love how the dark walls make everything feel special. Every piece of art, every object, stands out like a bright spot in a dark sea.
Next, take a look at our bedside tables. They are symmetrical, but not perfectly symmetrical. The paintings are from the late 1970s, and were originally sold by a local artist at the Canadian National Exhibition. The blue velvet drapes are from Value Village. The lamp is IKEA. The birds are a DIY makeover project I posted about recently, and the brass plant pots were inherited from my grandparents.
On Nate's side, you can see one of my Budai figures (Goodwill), a vintage marble elephant (probably a former book-end), a bit of my midcentury orange floor lamp ($5 at a UofT prof's estate sale) and Nate's weird little nose thingy that holds his glasses.
The back wall, which used to house the bed, now features my clothes-storage wardrobes.
On the smaller wardrobe, I've displayed my collection of hand-thrown pottery and unusual vessels. (Plus weird bits and bobs like ceramic birds and marble eggs.)
I've included hits of green (in the throw at the foot of the bed, for example, shown below), and in the plants, as well as some teal notes (in the Birk's boxes on top of the wardrobes) to stay with the peacock theme. As for the orange and rusty accents... that's just what I had on hand.
The best part is that both Nate and I are sleeping better. A cozy bedroom is good for that.Anyway, there you have it.
I went to the dark place and it welcomed me with open arms. The rest of our apartment (with the exception of our tiny bathroom, which I made over in chocolate
) is near-white. And this is cliched, but the bedroom now feels, in contrast, like a little jewel. It's currently my favourite place in the house.
So if you're considering going dark, I say: do it. Be bold. It's so worth it.
I have decided to paint my bedroom dark. You weighed in
and I listened and I decide to go for it. I have the colour all picked out. I'm going with Behr's "Night Shade" which, in practice looks like this:
No, not the colour on the left! The colour on the right! The DARK colour. (So dark.) (The image is from the Hostetler's blog
.) Oh man. I'm terrified.Just to give you an idea of what it's going to look like, I'll show you a couple of things I've got already, like my IKEA furniture (from the Engen line - now defunct):
And here's a before shot of my bedding (or at least, some of my bedding) and accessories:
If all goes well, and I can get the room finished and dressed, I'll have a reveal for you next week. Cross fingers!
I'm no nationalist, but Happy Canada Day, nonetheless. Enjoy the long weekend, dudes and dudettes.
Creative commons chilli image by Bengal*Foam from Flickr. Red chinoiserie chairs. Room by Jennifer Dengel. Photo credit unknown. Do you own this image? Please email me.
Anyone who knows me knows I'm into gold. Just look at all the gold spray painting I do. Gold coffee table
, gold birds
... GOLD! I love it.
I've never been a silver girl. For one thing, it makes me look sickly. My skin tone just works a lot better with warmer shades.So woe was me during my
formative years, when silver was all the rage and gold was considered tacky and disgusting. Some people still think it's tacky and disgusting. (Check out the comments on this post
, for example. Gold-hater in attendance.)
But I don't care! Not only do I love gold, but so does the design world. Gold is BACK, yo. And I am vindicated.Sooooo with that in mind, here's some gold stuff that I love.
If this gold shell light fixture from Galerie De France wasn't $3,900, I'd buy it in a heartbeat. Available here
This $15 gold objet will be available at Chapters/Indigo in the fall. As seen on Seema Persaud
's House and Home blog
This forest park table (gold tone, but actually iron) is in magazines all the time. I want one so much.
The "sheaf of wheat" table is a classic, in my opinion. My grandparents had some stuff like it. But alas, other relatives got there first. (Curse you, Dad!)
Finally, I've long-admired this gold standing lamp by Masiero. So curvy!
Anyway. In case you haven't noticed, this post is about gold.
Gold! I'm into it.
I know you guys don't really like these colour posts (you never comment!) but I'm doing a new one anyway.
I'm a busy lady, okay? I can't be writing a whole bunch of new stuff every day, can I?
(Oh wait... that's blogging.)
Nevermind. Here are some pretty pictures.
Pomegranate fruit by konikaori from Stock Xchng. Pomegranate bowl by Etsy potter Alina Hayes. Pomegranate suede moc by Tory Birch. Pomegranate textile from Fabric.com
Bedroom shot from House to Home UK.