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.
Lamps and pillows (and chairs) are some of my very favourite things. My basement is full of extras at the moment, mostly because I often can't help myself. And shops like Toronto's own Mod Pieces
are no help at all.
It's local, it's filled with awesome restyled vintage lamps, amazing and unique lampshades, and now, throw pillows. There are so many things in stock that I want. Like, RIGHT now.
NOWNOWNOWNOWNOW. I am full of covetous feelings, in particular for this pair of lamps that I just realized have already sold, sadly.
But fear not! My favourite lamps have already been scooped up, but there are plenty of beautiful things left. Here are some photos from the shop's recent Summer 2013 look book. (Cropped to fit. They look better in all their glory here
Happily for you guys, shop owner Lia tells me that Mod Pieces is having their annual "Shop Like a Designer" sale this very weekend. All weekend long, the store is extending their trade discount of 25% off to the general public. It applies to all items in the online store.
There are some SUPER deals in the sale section at the moment, so I suggest you look there first.
According to Lia, "The sale begins this Friday, June 28th and ends at midnight on Monday, July 1st. All buyers have to do is enter coupon code "OHCANADA" at checkout to save 25% on their entire order."
Anyway, guys, I just wanted to let you know. I have not been doing a lot of blogging lately, but I hope to get back into the swing of things soon.
So, 'tis the season and all of that. I've been trying to decorate my apartment for Christmas, since those who worship Martha do that sort of thing and we're already five days into the month. (20 days to go, santa-lovers!)
Anyway, there are several issues to contend with at my house when it comes to holiday decorating:
1. Neither Nate nor I feels all that comfortable with religiously-themed holiday decor. (In other words, I'm into Santa, not so much the Baby Jesus. Sorry, mom.)
2. I'm cheap! I hate spending too much money on seasonal stuff and prefer things I can use year after year. But even then, I don't really want to spend/invest too much.
3. I am bored easily and like to mix things up a bit, but (as per #2) I don't want to have to spend money on new decor every year.
4. Space is an issue. We don't have a lot of free surfaces, spaces or walls.
Enter Dollarama! My not-so-secret shame. It feels like their xmas stuff gets better every year and when you go with little pieces, you can place them and style them in different ways if you get bored. Here's some of the stuff I snagged last week:
The clear plastic trees and the clear plastic reindeer are my favourite pieces so far. The trees LOOK cheap on the store shelf, but clustered in a bunch at home, they're surprisingly elegant. The reindeer are plastic, but look like high end glass or lucite. They work as ornaments, or as table top figurines. I bought eight - you know, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, etc. No Rudolph. I'm a purist.
I'm playing around now with placement. Where should these babies live? On the buffet? The coffee table? Should I surround them with fake snow? It's all up in the air.
Another thing I'm doing that falls under the category of "super cheap" is building a little holiday village of white buildings. This is an ongoing mini DIY project. Basically, every time I see one of those little hideous collectable houses for sale at Goodwill or the like, I snap it up. I never pay more than a buck or so per house. Then, I paint the houses with white primer. I've collected several over the last year, and have more still that I need to paint, but haven't gotten around to. Maybe one of these nights while I watch TV...
Anyway, folks. Those are the cheapo holiday things going on at my house at the moment. Got any cheapo ideas of your own?
For once, I feel like I'm on top of the holiday season. It's not even December, and already I'm decorating, getting into the spirit, listening to annoying carols. This is both slightly shameful and something of a victory.
Anyway, I thought I'd do a quickie post to ease y'all into all the holiday goodness I've been planning. It's about some of the stuff I've be seeing in magazines lately. Personally, my holiday decorating is dominated by Goodwill and Dollarama finds (more on that in a later post), but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate what's going on in the world of mainstream retail. And frankly, a few of the things I've seen this year -- particularly from Restoration Hardware -- have been pretty darn nice. If I wasn't so cheap, I might actually splurge on some of this stuff. For example:
Are these light-up holiday "trees" - or rather, bare branches - not particularly gorgeous? I'm so into them. They're called "Winter Wonderland" trees
and they come in three sizes. Right now, the littest one (4') is on sale for $65.
And what about these Antler wreaths
? So spare and understated. They're not natural, but rather, made of resin and they come in various sizes. However, I think the smallest, cheapest one is over $150 on sale, and that's just too pricey for me.
Finally, I think these "Victorian Glass Snowflake
" ornaments are very pretty. Then again, when you consider what you can get in plastic that looks basically as good, I don't think they're worth the price. A single ornament goes for about $15.
Anyway, like I said, mainstream retail doesn't often float my boat, but I still find these images and offerings inspiring. My next post will be about some of my more budget-friendly finds and ideas for the holiday season, so stay tuned for that if, like me, you have a cheapskate heart.
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.
So, remember I posted a little while back about the oyster shells I took home
with me after a recent dinner at Biff's
? Well, I was inspired by my web-friend Fiona Richards
(of Cartolina Cards) who mentioned having seen a mirror made with oyster shells that looked pretty good. I had the supplies on hand (a glue gun, a wood embroidery hoop, a little round mirror from the Dollarama), and I decided to give it a go. Here's how it turned out:
Don't you love how you can see me reflected in the mirror, taking the photo? (I do.)
Anyway, it's not my best effort, but I'm happy with how it turned out. I used a series of small, mismatched sea snail shells to fill in the gaps between the oyster shells. (Nate and I favour beachy vacations and I tend to pick up at least a few shells each time we go away, so I had some tucked away, but you can buy shells at craft stores and sometimes even dollar stores if you want to make shell crafts, but don't feel like gathering straight from nature.)
Since the shells were glued down with the concave side in, I didn't have to attach a hanging mechanism to the back of the mirror. The curved shells themselves hang perfectly over the end of a nail in the wall. I know because this wee shells starburst has joined the rest of my round mirrors on the wall of Nate's office, which are currently looking like this:
The new shell mirror is in the lower left corner. Look how wee it is! Adorable.
Successful crafting? Yes indeedy.
Hey friends. I had a Halloween decorating brainwave last night and had to share it with you.
You know those Jeeves and Wooster pendant lights by London-based Jake Phipps? You probably noticed them make the rounds shelter mag and blog rounds awhile back, but I'll refresh your memory:
I don't know if I could commit to something like this full time, but don't you think there's something vaguely unsettling, almost-creepy about the look? And with that in mind, wouldn't it be perfect for Halloween? Dollarama has black bowler hats (not wool or felt, but not bad quality either, for a Halloween costume item) in stock right now. They're $2 a piece. I already have one, which is currently just sitting (creepily) on my coffee table, but I was thinking of getting a few more and hanging them from fishing line or thread from the ceiling for a sort of unusual Halloween display, leaving out the dark black wire/stems (for more of a "floating" effect).
It's would be very Magritte, no? Surrealist.
Magritte's The Son of Man, 1964.
As I said, the hats currently at Dollarama are just cheapo felt (all the better for stringing up, in my opinion). I'd like about $10, which would make this a $20 project, not including the labour involved in attaching the strings and such to the ceiling.
Cheapo bowler, available from Dollarama or just Google for "felt party bowler hat" for options online.
Worth it? Good idea? Yea or nay?
Hey dudes. So you know how I posted about wanting to do a rodent pumpkin a-la Martha Stewart
as one of my Halloween decor items this year? Well, I finally got around to doing test run with a small pumpkin from the corner store and a bunch of mice from Dollarama.
Having tried the craft once, I now have some tips for you. Here's how my first attempt went.
It's OKAY, but not great, right? Here are some of the problems:
1. Not enough holes, not enough mice.
I hesitated to cut too many holes to begin with, because my test pumpkin was so small, but now that I see how it looks with too few, I will know better next time. More holes. More holes, my friends.
2. There's not enough variation in hole size.
I made my holes using a regular paring knife. I cut out diamond shapes first (which was easy) then rounded them out with more careful shaving. Doing it this way meant going to a pretty large hole size each time in order to get a uniform circle. I think this project would look better with some smaller holes mixed in. Small enough for just a mouse snout or nail, you know? So next time, more holes, and more variation in hole diameter.
3. The mice wouldn't stay in place very well.
This was annoying, but easy enough to fix. I resorted to pinning them down. You can clearly see the black round pearl head of one of the pins I used in the first shot (centre mouse). It's what I had handy. I'll have to hunt around for more subtle-looking pins in my sewing kit, but regardless, pins are, I think, a necessity. That's just a pro-tip for y'all.
Anyhoooooo. I just wanted to update you. Halloween is still a couple of weeks away, so I know I have plenty of time to get this right.
You know, this is the first year I ever tested out a pumpkin decoration before Halloween night. It's nice to have some breathing room. Most years, I find myself rushing home from work, swinging by the grocery store on the way, grabbing whatever mangled pumpkin is left and hurriedly carving it as fast as possible, into whatever stupid face I can manage in 30 minutes or less. Next thing you know, kids are at the door and I have a bunch of cuts on my hands, and pumpkin guts everywhere, giving me a rash on my forearms. It always so rushed and unpleasant. This feels much better. I mean, I still messed up and burned the pumpkin seeds, but that's just me. Spaz to the end.
I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, buuuuuuut ... I'm kinda into Halloween. And when I say "kinda into" what I mean is "completely obsessed." And yet, I never seem to get myself organized in time to decorate in the way I really want to. But this year, THIS YEAR is going to be different.
As mentioned in my earlier post today (about decorating with rubber and plastic rodents
), I've been trolling my local Dollarama lately, and have found myself inspired to try things I've been MEANING to try for years. The rodents were first. Second up is this craft, sometimes referred to as "creepy candles."
I saw this candle project
in Martha Stewart Living back in 2007. They look pretty cool, right? And they're so easy to make!
All you've got to do to is drip red wax onto the white wax of a traditional taper or pillar candle. I bought my supplies at the Dollarama. First, a couple of boxes of super cheap-o white candles.
Next, a single red candle. No red tapers or traditional long candles were in stock, but I found this nice, deep red candle in a jar. It's scented -- apple cinnamon, which is a nice fall scent, so I didn't let it bother me.
The process for the project is simple. Just set the white candles upright in a stable place. (Anchor them in sand or something. Or, if you don't mind cleaning up wax drips, put them in a candle stick and then just clean it off later - that's what I did.) Next, light the red candle and tip it, dripping the melted red wax carefully over the white tapers. Don't worry if it's a bit messy. The candles are supposed to be bleeding, and blood is nothing if not messy, right?
Anyway, here's how mine turned out:
The drips are a sort of chunky, mostly because I was impatient and heavy-handed, and my cheap-o candles don't give the same elegant effect as Martha's tapers, but these are small, easy-to-correct issues.
Here's a DIYer's tip: you want to apply the red wax in small, controlled drips. It is easy to "pour" when melted, and you want to avoid that because the loose wax will just flow right to the base of your candle and pool there, leaving a red streak that isn't raised and doesn't look bloody (as opposed to drying/congealing in raised lumps and bumps, which is what you want and what will happen if you apply in drips).
What do you think? Successful project? It only took 15 minutes! And it cost me a total of $3. SUCCESS, I say!
Are you doing any fun decorating for the holiday? Spooky (not too gross, not to cheap-looking) ideas would be welcome in the comments, yo!