30 June 2010

Fresh new Lather. Write. Repeat.

I am so excited to welcome you to my new blog design!  I thought I would fill you in on some of the background behind how it came to be...

Working in marketing and advertising for an agency, it's been a really unique process to be 'The Client'.  I'm so lucky to be working with a designer that I know well, and whose designs and personal aesthetic I truly admire (thanks B!).  I'm dying for her to get her own website so I can promote her like crazy to all of you.  I also can't wait until she starts letterpressing her own paper products so I can buy them all!

One of the really important steps in coming up with my new design was thinking about what I wanted to say - visually.  A blog is unique because it really is a representation of who you are, so in turn, the blog design is really a representation of me.  B asked me lots of questions that forced me to think about what Lather. Write. Repeat. is all about.  To me, it means approaching each day with a fresh new perspective, approaching each day open to creative possibilities and approaching each day writing from the heart.  It also means you'll do it all over again tomorrow, so take what you will, learn what you can and always go easy on yourself.  I hope you see the design and feel like you know me a little bit better.

Thank you for all your feedback on my secondary copy line!  I appreciated all your votes.  To be honest, I didn't expect such a split in the preferences, which made me even more confused!  I was also just getting started on Lather Creations as the time, so I decided to go with a very simple 'A Creative Blog'.  I think it sums everything up, from the personal to the DIY to showcasing pretty things I love.  So thanks again!

I started this blog on March 29th after seeing an inspiring presentation on the importance of social media.  It's been a daily creative challenge that has been both exciting and frustrating, but always fulfilling.  Now, through my blogging, I've started to move forward with my dreams of owning my own side business 'upcycling' old furniture - Lather Creations.  Without the creative outlet and blog audience, I don't think I would have taken these chances.

Today is a big milestone for me and I'm  overjoyed to have you here.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading and I hope you continue to do so!


29 June 2010

Tuesday Round-up and New Home Mag

So tomorrow's the big day - I'm unveiling the brand new blog design!  I'm super excited and I can't wait to share it with you so please come by and check it out.

As for today, I'm confessing to being a magazine addict.  I love to browse magazines looking for inspiration and to just plain pass the time blissfully.  But sadly, many of the home magazines I used to love have been slowly dying off the shelves (Wish, Domino, The Nest, even Canadian Home and Country was a fave).  Not that there aren't good ones out there (Elle Decor, Dwell, Style at Home), but all the ones that felt 'accessible'  to me are shut down.  The rest are either too country traditional or too out of my league.

Well - I stopped at the grocery store after work to pick up some grated parmesan (because really, what's pasta without parmesan??) and I found myself wandering over the mag displays, as I often do, in hopes of finding something new on the shelves.  Well I did!

Fresh Home says it's all about 'Easy Ideas for Hands On People'.  Hey that's me!  I'd never seen this quarterly pub before, have you?  Am I super out of the loop?  It's from the makers of Reader's Digest.  They have a good track record so here's hoping this mag sticks around - I only had a quick browse but it looks promising!  I'm saving it for a cup of coffee and my sunporch.

Here in Canada, Thursday is a holiday (Happy Canada Day!) so I'm off work for four whole days!  We have tons of family time planned but a little quiet time to relax and work on projects.  I'm super excited to finish off a couple that I am working on for as inventory for Lather Creations.  Here's a sneak peek of one of the 'before's'...watch for the after in the next few days!

How is your Tuesday going?


Inspiring Pieces

These gorgeously upcycled furniture pieces are some of my inspiration for my own work with Lather Creations.

They come from the lovely and talented Jelena over at Poppyseed Creative Living.  Jelena has been an amazing mentor to me over the last few weeks, answering all my questions about getting into this business.  I love checking out her colourful creations!  Check out her Etsy shop here.

 {All images via Poppyseed Creative Living}

It's all in the details isn't it?  Gorgeous colours with tons of personality, hidden details in drawers, unique vintage knobs...

I hope to be able to present you with furniture of this quality one day.  Thanks for all your help with Lather Creations Jelena!

Written with love,

28 June 2010

Things that make you go hmmm...

Do you believe in fate?

Two very cool things happened today in the learn-as-you-go world of Lather Creations.  One - in my search for fellow Winnipeg upcyclers, I came across a blog and Etsy store run by a lady named Rebecca. 

It just so happens that today Rebecca posted about the fact that she had joined an eco-creative collective that is opening a store in the empty space I drive by every day to work.  The space that previously held the Ken Segal Gallery and I blogged about how sad I was a local business was closing.  In fact, this morning I was wondering what would come of that space...

Two - I walked over the Old House Revival Company on my lunch break to pick up some vintage glass knobs for a piece of furniture I'm working on (more on that later this week!).   I started talking to the gal working at the front and asked about how they commission their vendors (I had seen upcycled vintage chandeliers in the shop).  She was very helpful and passed along the names of the owner and the accountant and advised they rent 5 x 5 spaces for under $100 a month.  Granted, this is not feasible for me at this intro stage but a great contact nonetheless!  She also mentioned that when they are lookign to get rid of older pieces that aren't selling, it's good to have contacts willing to buy them and upcycle them.

All in all, not bad for a Monday lunch break!  I love it when you wave out into the universe and it waves back at you...

How is your Monday going?  Do you believe in fate?

Written with love,

PS:  The blog redesign is just about ready to go so be sure to get your peek on Wednesday!

27 June 2010

Building a Biz: Excuse Busting

With only one night to ourselves (J had to work all day Sunday), we decided to head out to the lake for the night.  With the sole purpose of just relaxing!

I spent my 'relax time' finishing this book that I picked up a couple weeks back.  Every since I decided to move forward with my furniture upcycling business, I've had tons on my mind and this book helped ground some of my thoughts.  I've decided to call the biz Lather Creations., and I thought I would bring you along for the ride as I figure it all out with my new Building a Biz series.  Hope you enjoy!

I thought long and hard about what was holding me back from doing this thing and how I could start to shut down my excuses and move forward.

Excuse #1 - I don't have a big enough work space.

I have an office, half a spare room, a kitchen table, a closed front porch, half a root cellar, a deck and a backyard.  Surely I can find room to work somewhere!  Sure, it's a pain to move supplies around weather permitting, work in confined spaces and constantly have to clean up.  But as Jelena from Poppyseed Creative Living reminded me "Martha Stewart started out baking cookies in her mother's basement!".  You have to just start somewhere.

Excuse #2 - It's too complicated.

Everything's complicated before you learn how to do it.  And everyone starts out from that place of not knowing.  There's no rush, one step at a time.  So I'm reading a book about it.  And I opened my own Etsy shop.  I'm preparing my shop profile, checking out my competition and getting the lay of the land.  I don't have enough stock to start selling but each little step I take towards my goal keeps me going forward.

Excuse #3 - I'm not good enough.

Says who?  My inner voice of course!  But if I'm interested in beautifying old furniture, saving money and owning one of a kind pieces, who's to say someone else won't as well?  As the saying goes, no risk - no reward.  Things won't be perfect right away, but I'll get better as I go.  This will happen by starting RIGHT NOW.  I'm buying supplies and working on my craft. I'm reading books about different painting and upholstery techniques. Today I've been working on three different pieces and I'm excited about getting better with each one.  I'm following the blogs of people I think are good enough, to learn as much as I can.  And I'm creating.  Yay!

Do you have any experience starting with something new?  How did you stay motivated?  What holds you back from doing what you love?

Written with love,

26 June 2010

Before and After: Anja's front door

Today's before and after comes from the lovely Anja.  She and her hubby bought this gorgeous old house a few years back and Anja has been painstakingly putting her stamp on it over time.  Her latest project has been transforming the front door.

Here's a view of Anja's home before...

As an artist, Anja is creative AND meticulous.  For her front door makeover, she decided to add some character back into the front by sourcing a vintage door that could be refreshed.  She looked around and scored this solid door with vintage mail blox slot and raised wood detailing at the Old House Revival Company

It wasn't in perfect shape so she took time to clean it up, fix it up and paint it the happiest colour in the spectrum!  She added super modern hardware to give it a unique look.

Here is Anja's amazing front door transformation (with little Luna enjoying her new lounging spot)...

Love it!  You can check out Anja's blog for details on this project and info on her artwork, photography, jewellery and other many talents.

Hope you're all having a lovely weekend!

Written with love,

25 June 2010

Before and After: Living Room Window Treatments

When J and I moved into our house in October, we were pleasantly surprised to discover the existing window coverings were a complimentary match to our living/dining room paint colour.  Changing them up was simply not in the budget at that time!

But as we settled into winter, it quickly became apparent how much these darker, heavy drapes really cast a shadow over the whole room.  So we added this to our ever-growing list of things we wanted to change/update.  Well we finally splurged and I couldn't be happier!  Our new blinds have lightened up the entire space tenfold.

Here's our dark drapes before...

We stuck with our old favourite, the economical 'wood look' horizontal blinds from Home Depot.  The two sets ran us about $180.00 but they really do have a custom look to them.  We posted the drapes on Kijiji in hopes of recouping some of our $$.  The new look is light, bright and really shows off the architectural details of the windows (of of the selling features of the house for us!).

Don't you love making small changes that have big impact?

Written with love,

24 June 2010

The Bicycle Muse

I love to ride my cruiser bike and now I'm totally smitten with this gorgeous attachable bike bag that B sent me from the Bicycle Muse (she sent me the link, not the bag!).

This lovely woven 'pannier' clips onto your back bike rack and keeps all your goodies dry. Imagine riding along the streets, stopping in to pick up groceries or do a bit of shopping, then tucking it all into your lovely bike bag. Here are a few more of their fab styles...

I love it when something is stylish AND practical!  Thanks B!

Written with love,

Thursday Blog Share

 Remember how I was telling you about my Mod Podge adventures?  Well I got a comment on my post from Amy - who happens to have her own blog that's ALL ABOUT Mod Podge!

It's called Mod Podge Rocks and she gathers DIY MP projects from all over the place (on top of her own) and shares them with her readers.  I found a wealth of great ideas, from jewellery to furniture to home accessories.   I've already stocked up on all the supplies I need to make the cool coasters that I found on her site.

So if you love the Podge or you just want to try out some new projects of your own - go check it out!  She also has frequent MP giveaways if you want to give this crazy craft concoction a try.

Happy Thursday to you all!

Written with love,

23 June 2010

Bag some eco style!

How amazing are these gorgeous bags?  Designer Ashley Watson constructs bags, wallets and other accessories using the recycled leather from old vintage leather jackets that she finds in thrift stores.  What a chic green idea!

 {All images from Ashley Watson}

 I especially love the emerald suede messenger-style bag!  I may have to put it on my wish list.

What's your favourite?

Written with love,

New Editions to the DIY Pile

Keeping on the theme of treasure hunting, that is one of the things I love about sprucing up old furniture.  I love visiting Value Village and searching Kijiji for the next great find!  I've recently added craigslist and Used Winnipeg to my search as well.  I'm often inspired just by coming across a piece I think has potential.  Upholstery is one of the areas that I'm a complete newbie so armed with one of my new books, I picked up a few practice pieces this week.

This black stool was a great find on Used Winnipeg for $15.  I plan to paint the legs white and recover the fabric in a bright, cheery fabric. Because it's a more modern construction, the upholstering was done with staples as opposed to more traditional upholstery tacking.  I think it's going to be a great place to start.

This chair was another great Kijiji find for $15.  The wood is gorgeous but it's pretty squeaky, so J may have to take it apart and tighten up the joints.  My ambitious plan is to strip and refinish the wood and recover the seat.  It's been recovered in the past but it could use more padding and a tighter recovering job.  This one could take a while but I'll keep you posted!

Another thing I plan to do - is put the word out for potential clients who have an old piece of furniture they would like freshening up.  I will assess the piece and made some recommendations on how I could fix it up to match their current home style.  Just planting the bug in your ear...more on that as I get going!

Happy Wednesday to you all and thanks for reading.

Written with love,

22 June 2010

Before and After: Breakfast Tray

Remember Mod Podge?  My earliest memories are of my scottish dance instructor's house and how it was decorated with completed puzzles forever immortalized in Mod Podge.  Yes, I had a scottish dance instructor.  Moving right along.

So I had this old breakfast tray.  And a desire to try my hand at Mod Podge.  So I packed up my 40% off one item coupon at Michaels and splurged on a jar of the 'matte' style.  This was news to me, as I thought glossy was the only way to go!  But they even have a stronger version for furniture.  I picked up some inexpensive scrapbook paper (.99 a sheet) and gave it a whirl...

Voila!  My new tray.  Not bad I think.  A good learning project.  A few lessons learned include - use a thicker scrapbook paper or wallpaper to avoid ripping during the layers of podge.  Also, cut the pages flush to meet at the seam, rather than layering which caused an unsightly bump.  But other than that, I am pleased.  It was a good intro to the shelves I want to line with decorative paper.

Have you ever dived into the land of Mod Podge?  What were the results?

Written with love,

21 June 2010

Turning passion into something more

I'm a book learnin' kind of gal. 

When I want to know about something, I read about it.  I've always been that way.  J jumps right in with both hands.  Me - I say 'hold on a minute', let me read a book about it first!  I've mentioned this a few times, but I really love giving new life to old furniture.  I've dabbled in it over the years and I would really love to one day make it a side business for myself.

I've always loved creative, visual design but it's not something I explored in depth other than the occasional side project (knitting - check, needlepoint - check, watercolour painting - check, calligraphy - check).  I've dabbled in them all but never seriously, because writing was my thing.  Plus when you work with creative and inspiring designers all day (as I do at Fusion), it can be intimidating to think that you have something to offer.  But the older I get, the more I realize how important it is to my soul to be creative as much as possible.  Whether it's blogging, cooking, working on my house or freshening up old furniture, I'm going to try to fill my days with creativity.  So I'm going to put that dream out there, and start figuring out how to make it happen.  I will have a part time business creating new looks for old furniture.  There...I said it.

Of course, I'm going to figure it out by reading books.  Then trying.  And trying again!

Don't tell J but I filled my basket at Chapters today on all kinds of reading inspiration for my furniture projects.  They're having a buy 3, get the 4th for free sale so that helped reduce my guilt!  Here's a sneak peek... 

What gets your creative juices flowing?  What's your longtime dream?

Written with love,

Beauty and the Beach

Blogging is like treasure hunting.  Every day I poke around the web, rummage through my home projects and scan the great outdoors with my camera...looking for treasures I can capture and share with all of you.

Continuing on with the pretty pulls search, I stumbed across an Etsy shop called Beachy Rustica.  It's like it was made for me and my love of all things beachy!  Each item is created using sea beach glass.  How beautiful are these?

{Images all via Beachy Rustica}

What do you love to treasure hunt for?

Hope you are having a lovely Monday!  Thanks for all your amazing feedback on my blog design copy line.  If you haven't already, please take a moment to let me know your vote...thanks so much!

Written with love,

20 June 2010

Need your help with my blog description!

I finalizing all the elements for this blog with my designer and I'm hung up on my secondary copy line.  The blog title is staying the same - "Lather. Write.  Repeat.", but I'm struggling with the second line that sums up what the blog is all about. 

I've narrowed it down to a few options and I was hoping that you, my lovely readers, would be so kind as to weigh in on your favourite.  You read the blog, so you can give me that outside perspective I need!  I'm looking for the description that best sums up what you read and feel when you come visit me here.

Here are your choices...and if I've missed something you think would suit me better, please let me know!

Lather. Write. Repeat.

1 - A writer's blog about life and lovely things


2. A writer's blog about the daily persuit of happiness


3 - A collection of thoughts, pretty things and projects


4 - A nest of creative ideas, thoughts and things

I can't wait to hear your thoughts!  Please share them with me...
Written with love,

19 June 2010

A River Point of View

Today I saw Winnipeg from a whole different point of view.  J and Gus and I took the boat on the river and cruised through the city.  It's a beautiful Saturday and well deserved after weeks of rain.

Here's what Winnipeg looks like from the winding rivers!

Hope you are having a fabulous weekend!  What have you been up to?

Written with love,