I am so freakin' pumped about this project! Seriously. Just thought I would warn you before jumping right into it. Me = overly excited.

Now that that's out of the way, let's talk about the project. As some of you know, I am working on a plate wall for my guest room. And one of the things I wanted to include was a typographic plate.

I found a plain white serving dish at Goodwill. I liked the size, heft, and subtle black rim. I liked that it was smooth right to the edges. It cost $2.

Using leftover stick-on vinyl phrases from the Dollarama (see this post and this post to learn more) I cut out individual letters of the alphabet and got sticking. Here's the end result:

Rad, right? AND SO EASY! I had to get creative with a few of the letters. The letter "P" is actually an upside down "d" in both instances.  "Q" "X" and "Z" I made with my mad creative cutting.

Of course, it's not food safe. But as a wall hanging? Not to toot my own horn TOO loudly, but... TOOOOOOOOOOOOT! I think it's pretty perfect.
It's been awhile since I posted about a good, old-fashioned craft, so today I bring you this piece about the necklace and scarf I made out of an old soft-cotton shirt/dress, inspired by A Pretty Penny and Threadbanger.

Here's the inspiration shot from A Pretty Penny:
Here's how you do it: get any old tee shirt in an appealing colour and cut it into strips with sharp scissors. Don't worry if the edges are jagged. Pull on the ends of each strip, stretching them out. Stretching the strips will cause the cotton to curl up into a kind of tube and will hide jagged edges. Tie the strips together (just make simple knots) and....

Ta-da! Awesomesauce necklace. Seriously. It's that simple.
I started with an old shirt that had a few small holes. I still liked it, but the holes have kept me from wearing it lately.

(For the record, this shirt was originally from H&M, but I got it from a clothing swap. I try not to support the sweat-shop brands. I suggest you get your tee second hand.)
I'm actually not a huge jewellery-wearer, so I didn't make a hugely chunky necklace. I wanted something a bit more understated. Here it is:
I didn't use the whole shirt and I didn't want to waste the fabric, so I trimmed the remnants and fashioned a pashmina-esque scarf from the leftovers.
This project is super simple, I swear. I wore my new necklace to the CityLine bloggers party last week (which you can catch airing today on CityTV Toronto).

*Edited to add: here's a shot of me with Shannon from What's Up Whimsy and Pam from Cherish Toronto at the CityLine Blogger's Tweetup. Note the necklace and pardon my bust. I'm kind of busting out. Oh well.
So yesterday, driving home from work, I got stuck behind a huge, obnoxious white Hummer.

Just seeing those things annoys me and I try not to focus too closely on them, lest my head explode.

But in this case, the driver was also an asshat who refused to signal and I was stuck behind him for ages. And you know what I noticed? This. (Or is it these?) Hanging from the the back of the truck:
A little research revealed that they're called "Truck Nutz" or "Bulls Balls" (there are various brand names available) And they're apparently a realtvely common truck accessory.


A search on Flickr revealed a few creative common's licensed images that will give you the full effect:
I don't really know what else to say about this. I thought those weird cartoons of Calvin and Hobbes peeing were bad enough.
So as some of you may know, I've been hankering to start my own little vintage shop for a long time now. Nothing big, just sort of an ongoing, online garage sale. (Sure, a brick and mortar shop would be a dream, but I don't think that's in the cards right now. But that's no reason not to start small, right?)


Anyway, the framework for the shop is in place. I've called it  Will & Bequeath. Weird? Maybe. But I liked the sound of it. Now I'm working on inventory and this past weekend, I came across a great find.
I nabbed six of these mint condition Noritake Crystal goblets in the discontinued (and often collected). "Perspective" pattern. Colour? Ruby red.

Neat, right?

The truth is, when I saw the goblets, I had no idea what I was buying. I just liked the look of them. (That's often the case with me.)  Eventually, I came across a pattern illustration (shown) and after copious amounts of Googling, I realized what I'd found. Still, good info on old Noritake is slim. All I really know is that the goblets were manufactured between 1970 and 1985.
I know they're a little grandma, but I think they could look pretty cool on the right sort of table. And they'd be perfect for a theme dinner (Valentine's Day, Christmas, A bloody Halloween, etc.).

So, what do you think? Is this something you might buy? Am I fooling myself with my granny-esque ways?

Now the only problem is that I sort of want to keep 'em for myself...

Have you guys seen the April 2011 issue of House & Home yet?

I was excited when it arrived because I really love seeing the winning rooms from the mag's annual design contest.

But this year, I found the winning spaces to be a bit... blah.

Don't get me wrong, the transformations are impressive, and all the spaces that won are really nice, but nonetheless, I felt like something was missing.

None of the winning rooms jumped out at me or made me want to start a project or change a space in my own house.

By comparison, last year I was blown away. If you're a House and Home reader, I hope you'll take a look at the current issue. Check out the winner in the Kitchen category in particular. Then, compare the space to last year's winning kitchen. The 2009 winners - Tim Romanow and Gaétan Gariépy of Quebec City - did such an unbelievable restoration/reno of their kitchen. And it was so beautifully styled. And they rescued a seemingly hideous old light fixture and made it fabulous. And the jadite accents made me swoon. It was just a really, really lovely French kitchen.

By comparison, this year's wining kitchen was really tame and not-at-all unique.

Bust out your current issue and compare it to last year (as shown below). Am I wrong? Wasn't last year's kitchen lovely? Tell me what you think.

All kitchen images from the H&H website, April 2010 issue, photography by Louise Bilodeau.
In honour of St. Patrick's Day. (I'm like, 1/16th Irish, you know.)
Creative commons licensed image by Brian Russell from Flickr.
Creative commons licensed image by Ari Moore from Flickr.
Creative commons licensed image by Abbey Hendrickson from Flickr.
Creative commons licensed image by Kman99 from Flickr.
You know what else annoys me about my parents?

(Wait... I kinda started in medias res there, didn't I. Better start again.)

My parents. Sigh. I have posted about them before (specifically, about their refusal to appreciate their beautiful teak bed frame). But when it comes to style, decorating and furniture placement, they drive. me. crazy.

Seriously. Crazy.

Batshit crazy.

I bring this up because the warm weather is approaching and my parents own a cottage. A BEAUTIFUL cottage. And they absolutely refuse to decorate it in anything other than mismatched hand-me-downs, which wouldn't even be so bad if the space planning wasn't... how can I put this...


I wish I could do a drawing that does the cottage living room justice. This rendering (created with floorplanner.com) isn't exact and doesn't speak fully to the hideous lack of functionality of the cottage's living room and main space, but it gives you a vague idea.
Note in particular how there's no coffee table. Note how there are no functional conversation areas. Note how one love seat butts into the next. Note how only one seat in the entire room takes advantage of the view out the sliding doors (to a gorgeous beach). Note these things and weep.

And before you say "it's not that bad" I want to point out that the two seater sofa (which is red in the rendering) is an old twin recliner, not unlike this:
Except, it's a pastel/taupe floral with a hideous wood insert in the centre.

It's depressing.

Now, before you flame me (and before the 'rents explode in a fit of rage) I should say a few things:

1) I'm kidding. This post is meant to be funny (or at least funny-ish).
2) I'm really lucky. Don't think me ungrateful. My parents own a great place, on a great beach, and I get to go up there pretty much whenever I want and I don't even have to take my own food.
3) When you're at the cottage, it doesn't really make sense to spend a lot of time inside, so ultimately, the decor doesn't really matter.

But still. STILL. The place has so much potential and I'd love to redo it.

First and most importantly, I'd focus on the floor plan. Don't you think something like this would be SO much better?
I'd max out the seating, pull the pieces away from the walls, put in a substantial coffee table (for drinks, games, books, etc.) and use the wall space for storage (books, dishes, etc.)

I'd leave my dad's reading rocker in the corner, though, because he really likes to do his thing by his lonesome.

What really galls me most is that I think I could do this whole room for less than $1,500. A bit of thrifting, two IKEA Ektorp sofas (in neutral slipcovers), a couple of arm chairs. Done.

Basic and beachy. And comfortable. That's all I want.

Mom and Dad? Are you listening?
They're not. Trust me. They're probably mad now. Oh well.

Do you have a beautiful cottage? Wanna send me inspiration photos?
Well, I'm working away on the plate wall I posted about last week. It's tougher than I thought it would be. I thought I had enough plates, but I think I need more. I also think the colours aren't bright or diverse enough.

I'm actually not sure what's wrong, exactly. I just know it's not working for me yet.
I've got the plates laid out on one of the guest beds and I've been shifting them around, adding new ones, removing others, but I'm still not in love. I'm also working with vinyl decals in an effort to dress up some of the plainer plates (and the ones with nice borders but bare middles).

Here's the work in progress:
The other problem that the hanging brackets are $2.50 each at my local hardware store. That's going to add up fast. I'm hesitant to buy, lest I find a better deal.

Sigh. I don't usually blog on Saturdays, but I'm frustrated and I thought I'd put my feelers out. What am I doing wrong? What's missing? What do you think?
This post is inspired by my parents. They're nice people, but when it comes to style and design... they drive me kinda crazy.

Case in point: their bed. They have a beautiful, vintage, danish, teak, mid-century modern platform bed, complete with floating nightstands.

It's EXACTLY like this:
* Teak platform bed image from The Mid-Century Modernist
Exactly. And it's in perfect condition. They've been sleeping on the thing for my entire life, replacting the mattress only once. It's been 30 years, yo! Even if it wasn't wonderfully vintage when they got it, it sure is now.

And they don't appreciate it AT ALL.

Not at all! They think it's ugly!

Sigh. This seriously depresses me, guys.

It's just so frustrating to see such a beautiful piece living unappreciated and in obscurity.

The worst part is that they refuse to show it off. My parents insist on dressing this awesome bed in hideous mid-1990s polyester linens that flop over the sides, obscuring the lines. None of their accessories or other furnishings are in keeping with the mid-century modern aesthetic. And they absolutely refuse to tuck.

To tuck in the coverlet.

I know tucking is annoying and kind of time consuming for real life, but it makes such a difference, don't you think?

And it's not like it's a novel concept. Hello! Tucking's been around for awhile...
Tucking image by John Ellis, Metropolitan Home
Vintage tucking, 1954 American Home
If I had a bed like this (and maybe someday I will,  since I'm the only member of the family who appreciates the thing)... I would tuck. Oh, how I would tuck.

Parents are impossible aren't they? And for the record, just in case you think I'm being unfair, they're retired, okay? They've got nothing but time.

Time that would be well-spent on tucking.

There. I said it.
cc licensed photo by ooh_food from Flickr.

Life's been pretty busy lately. I haven't been able to blog as much as I'd like, and I haven't been able to complete many (or any) of the projects I've had in mind. Blog content's been a bit light of late as a result. Sorry about that.

Still, I have manged to get a few things done. Last night, I gathered up nearly all the clothing that lives on the floor between the bathroom and the bedroom, for example. The "pile" I like to call it. It's kind of a constant in my life. My ever-faithful pile. It's always with me. One of my many secret shames. And last night, I banished it. Or, most of it, anyway. This may be an omen of good, productive things to come.

(I sort of miss it, actually. Pile and me, we've been though a lot. Sigh.)

Anyway. In the absence of anything better, I thought I'd tell you about a project I've been thinking about for awhile now: my plate wall. You know me and my Goodwill addiction, right? This leads me to buy plates. Plates I don't need and won't use, in part because I'm also a bit OCD, and I prefer matching sets for actual use. So what happens is, I buy pretty one-off plates, don't use them, and end up hiding them in the basement. Another secret shame.

Solution? Plate wall.

I've got about 10 dishes currently laid out in preparation, but no hanging hardware. And I'm not sure yet about the display pattern. I think, for one thing, that I need more plates. I also think some of my favourites (a serving platter shaped like a rusty-brown maple leaf, for example) might have to be removed from the mix for it to work.

It's a more complicated process than expected, really.

I shall now post a number of inspirational plate wall photos. And eventually, I'll finish the darn thing and I'll post about that too. Cross your fingers for me, friends.
cc licensed photo by iwishmynamewasmarsha from Flickr.
cc licensed photo by Julia Manzerova from Flickr.

cc licensed image by lizziecow from Flickr.

cc licensed photo by shareski from Flickr.