Hey friends.

I know I haven't been blogging as much lately. I've been focusing my attention on Will & Bequeath and it's kind of hard to keep switching gears to write about so many different things. Also, the shop is taking up a lot of my free time, leaving little room for crafting, etc. I wonder if I'll be able to find a balance and ultimately keep doing both, or if I'll eventually have to choose...?

But I digress.

I'm writing today to talk about the shop, actually. Or at least, to talk about some of my thoughts about the shop, and about trying to learn to navigate that kind of creative business.

Here's my issue: I want my shop to be beautiful. And I can't help but be inspired by other vintage shops out there, but I don't want to rip off anyone else's ideas/style.

With writing, it's easy. A solid career and a couple of English degrees have made plagiarism easy to avoid, but when it comes to "style" I'm finding myself worrying constantly about being a copycat.

Let me explain in a bit more detail, using the example of Eddie Ross.

I've long been a fan of Ross and have been following his blog and his Etsy store since each of them launched.

Ross uses a grey background and a natural tabletop cover (burlap?) as a backdrop for his shop wares. Look:
Now, I've been wanting to create a NEW set for my own shop wares -- something that will allow me to shoot consistent photographs of my stock all year long. (Right now, I shoot outside, in the grass, but come winter, that will no longer be possible. And besides, I'd like my wares to look a little more professional.)

I've been experimenting with different backgrounds and tabletops and the combo I like best so far is ... a dark grey background with a burlap-covered tabletop.

Sure, the grey is darker (and it's paint, not fabric) and the burlap is a different weave/texture/tone, but still... it's basically the same background. So...

Am I ripping Ross off?

In the age of Pinterest, etc. when we're constantly bombarded with visuals that are meant both to impress and inspire us, how do we come up with original ideas? I can't unsee what I've already seen and I can't say that I haven't been inspired by other people's beautiful work, but when is inspiration a good thing and when it is just copycatting?

Anyway, this is what's on my mind. Weigh in if you have any insights.
I have to confess, that sometimes, I buy things just because I like the packaging. Foodstuffs, I mean. 

And it doesn't MATTER. No one sees inside my cabinets. But nonetheless, I like them to be pretty, which is why I buy this stuff.
I am the only person who does this? Come on now, confess. I don't like feeling l like a lone weirdo. 
Okay, friends. I need your help.

See, I have this sofa. It's deco-era yellow vinyl number that I bought for only $100 (plus $30 in shipping) off Craigslist back in 2007. It has served me well and fits perfectly in our small living room.
It's a great little sofa. Solidly structured with foam and innards in good condition. Problem is, the vinyl is going. You can't tell in the pictures, but on the seat cushions, it's cracked and peeling like a mofo. It doesn't look good.

Now, here is my dilemma: I would love to keep the sofa. I've looked into having it reupholstered, and I estimate it will cost about $1200 to do so. Considering our personal finances, this is a LOT of money. For between $300 and $400, we could reupholster just the seat cushions and leave the rest of the frame as is, but again, it's a pretty pricey prospect.

I'm torn. I'm torn because I spent so little on the sofa to begin with, so perhaps spending a lot now isn't such a big deal. Then again, I could get a new sofa for less than reupholstering, and a new/old Craigslist model for WAY less. Financially speaking, a different sofa makes more sense. But I don't want to send this perfectly good piece to a landfill either, not when it can easily be rehabilitated to last another 20 years, in any fabric I want...

Speaking of which, here are a couple of the fabrics I've been considering were we to reupholster:

Trina Turk's Peacock, (which I think may be too much):
Dwell's IKAT Citrine:
I just don't know what to do.

1. Nothing. Live with the tears until we feel comfortable spending on redoing the sofa right.
2. Reupholster: spend the money and get the sofa we want and the pleasure of knowing we saved something from landfill death. Try not to be so fussy about money.
3. Reupholster just the cushions.
4. Ditch this sofa and get something affordable new/old from Craigslist or similar.

You guys are stylish and smart. Weigh in, would you? And if you have fabric ideas, I'd love to hear them. If we reupholster, we're going to have the lovely Staci at Switch Studio do the work... which means we also will have to haul the piece to and from Oakville from Toronto...

Sigh. I am paralysed. Help!
So, I'm thinking about getting a vintage table fan.
There are a whole bunch in stock right now at Hot Hunt - the Drake General Store's little off-shoot vintage boutique (located on Queen West, near Dovercourt). (Side note on Hot Hunt: For awhile, they stocked half vintage oddities and half new clothes and accessories and it was called 50/50, but they've gone all vintage and changed the name.)

Anyway, what do you think of the fans?
I know old fans with limited grills can be dangerous, but I don't have kids and am not planning on sticking my appendages between the bars. So safety aside, what do you think? Are reproductions better? New fans that just LOOK retro? Or are these true vintage babies cooler somehow?

(Cooler... get it?)
So, this past Monday, I was zooming home from work in my car when I saw a couple of chairs out of the corner of my eye.

They didn't look particularly good, but they were chairs and they were free, and I have a bit of a problem when it comes to collecting old/garbage/ridiculous chairs. 

So I screeched to a halt and shoved them into my trunk. I felt a little shame, but not enough to keep me from taking the chairs. Such is the nature of my addiction.

Anyway, I brought the chairs home and took a closer look. They were grody, but I liked their lines. The seats were covered in a HIDEOUS, smelly, cigarette-stained brownish velour, that was (luckily) just stapled down.  I removed the seats from the frames with a drill (but a screwdriver would have worked fine), and tore off the gross old fabric. 
My entire basement was already beginning to smell like stale cigarettes, but I was determined.

Once I got rid of the old fabric, the smell dispersed and it turned out that the foam underneath was in great shape.

Enter a piece of black and white fabric that I bought over a year ago and have been dying to use ever since, add to that a little elbow grease, plenty of Pledge and ... voila! 
Good, right? Here's a detail shot of the fabric: 
Super easy makeover, super fabulous results. And remember, all it took was one little piece of upholstery and I scored the chairs from curb!

I just listed them on Craigslist. We'll see what happens.

You like?

Update: They sold! Hurray!