31 October 2010

Before and After: Jeanette's Midnight Blue Dresser

Happy Halloween everyone!  I hope you're having a great day.  Are you dressing up your kiddies for some trick or treating?  Planning a quiet evening at home.  We're going to have a pretty low key day around here.  J is planning to carve a pumpkin and we'll be handing out treats to the kids in the neighborhood.  I did a bit of painting yesterday but I paid the price with another back flare up, so it's plenty of down time and relaxing for me. 

A while ago I finished a commission for my return client Jeanette.  Remember her Crisp White Table?  Well she brought me a low dresser a few weeks back, which she picked up yesterday.  It's a gorgeous, sturdy piece that was just begging for a Lather Creations spruce up!

Jeanette loved the colour scheme from the Blue Blossoms Table, so I replicated the colour and paper details on her dresser.  The rich cobalt blue (a Benjamin Moore mistint) is very dramatic and the blossom paper detailing (from Paper Source) and crystal knobs (from Lee Valley) add sparkle and charm!  I have a PIY Pointers prepared for you for the next day or so that takes you through the steps of adding the paper to the drawers.  Watch for it soon!

Have a lovely Sunday my friends and don't forget to tell me what kind of spooky things you're up to this Halloween!

29 October 2010

Found - the perfect hat!

Happy Friday!  For the past month or so, I've been on the lookout for a new fall/winter hat.  Is it cold enough where you are to need to add a cozy hat to your wardrobe?  It is here my friends!

My criteria was pretty specific, I love chunky oversized knit berets.  But not the ones that are really tight around your head!  My winning hat needed to be stretchy and comfortable.  Of course I love the blues and greens, so I was looking in that colour family. My coats are mainly brown and black so they both go with pretty much any colour.  Well...I popped into Old Navy on a whim and found my perfect hat for only $14.50!  Score!

It's soft and chunky and the most gorgeous dark teal colour.  It fits perfectly and I couldn't wait for snow so I wore it yesterday when it was 2 degrees.  Cold enough!  I don't usually post a lot of pics of myself but I've been wanting to update my profile so I thought I would snap a few pics.  Here's my perfect hat in action!

See how I sneaked Gus into the pic...I just think he makes every shot look better!

How are you keeping your head warm this winter?  Do you love the classic toque, pompom and all?  Or do you go for more of a chic newboy or bucket style?  If it's hot where you are and you're wearing a sun hat...I don't want to hear it!  Just kidding, brag away!

Have  a great day friends!

28 October 2010

What would you do?

Good morning to you, I hope you are well!  Thanks for all your encouraging comments yesterday, you guys really do inspire me.  Sooo, two more days to the weekend! Now that my back is starting to feel better, I'm starting to think about starting on a few pieces of furniture.  The hard part is deciding what to work on!

A while back, I picked up 4 pressed back chairs from an older gentleman looking to rid his overflowing garage.  They're all different but they're all over 100 years old with floral patterns pressed into the backs.  They're quite beautiful and sturdy, but definitely show signs of wear and tear from the years of use.

They've been sitting in my studio waiting for inspiration to hit.  But I'm really on the fence with these.  Do I coat them in bright, modern colours? Do I distress them since they're already so aged?  Wax finish over poly?  I don't know why I've been holding back on these, but I'd love your input.

What do you think I should do with these chairs? I'd love to hear your thoughts my friends!

27 October 2010

Building a Biz: The highs and lows of social media, relisting and commissions

Hey all!  It's Wednesday and the weather is doing a massive shift here in Winnipeg.  My mood tends to flow with the weather patterns so I'm definitely feeling more reflective as we move into hibernation season.  Yes, our winters are that fierce!  I'm already a homebody, so add bad weather and you'll find me at home almost all the time. Which is okay, I just have to be careful not to avoid too many social outings.  That's part of keeping my spirits up during cold weather.

To make matters worse, my truck heater has stopped blowing hot air on the eve of our big snowstorm.  Can you believe it??  One of life's little curveballs I guess.

For now, I'm thinking about the business.  Things have slowed down a bit as we've come out of summer.  So I'm using this opportunity to do a check, a state of the union if you will!  Here's what's on my mind this week...

Relisting - Because I sell my furniture on Kijiji (free local online classifieds), I often list an item only to have it get lost after a few days of other listings being added.  Items are shown in chronological order of listing and because my pieces can take a while to sell, I regularly relist them.  This means they pop back up to the top of the searches and get more visibility.  Relisting is an emotional process - there's a high when I list, as I imagine my perfect buyer stumbling over my piece.  This is followed by a low after several days of no nibbles.  But after everything I've sold, I've had buyers tell me that they just found it and they love it.  So I have to remember that some items will sell quickly and some will sit for a while, but the more I relist - the better the odds of reaching that perfect buyer!

Social Media - I'm definitely finding it hard to keep up with all the different social mediums.  The blog gets priority, but now that I'm building a following on Facebook - I have to get better about updating my photo galleries and keeping my 'for sale' links up to date.  One thing that's fairly new to me is embracing Twitter.  I read an article about how to better utilize Twitter for small business and I'm taking their advice.  In the last few weeks, I've sought out women in Winnipeg to follow, in an attempt to broaden my local audience who don't shop on Kijiji.  I'm also trying to connect with the local crafting community in hopes of meeting some kindred spirits and becoming a part of that network.  I'm definitely starting to see Twitter's value as a place to get info quickly and reach those who wouldn't necessarily take the time to follow a blog or read long posts. 

Commissions - The word of mouth is spreading about commissions and I'm feeling grateful for that.  I'm finishing up a second piece for a client, which means she was happy with the first one.  I'm also starting a project for an old friend I used to work  and have had an inquiry from another friend. It gives me joy to know my friends would invest in me.  At first I was intimidated by commissions, could I make my clients happy?  But they've made it so easy that I'm really liking the blend of working on my own designs and creating for someone else. Word is also spreading that I love to collect free, solid wood furniture, so I'm happy to have had some offers to take furniture off people's hands! 

Business expenses - Okay, this one's eating away at me a bit.  I track all my projects and sales, but I have yet to enter my business expenses into the computer.  Yep, three and a half months later my receipts are still sitting stuffed in an envelope. This kind of thing is so not my strong suit but I know if I don't buckle down and do it I will have a big mess on my hands come tax time.  Please give me a guilt trip so I will finally do it!

So that's what's swirling around in my head these days.  Any words of wisdom to help me along?  What's on your mind when it comes to business these days? 

I'd love to hear your thoughts my friends.  Because you are the ones that keep me going, just knowing you're out there reading feels wonderful!

26 October 2010

Furniture Cheat Sheet: The Windsor Chair

It's pouring rain here and the forecast is that it will turn into snow over the next day or two.  Blech! I always get a sense of anxiety with the first snowfall, more because of driving on the icy roads in traffic.  But I'm trying to stay upbeat and not let it get me down.

For now, I will head over to my happy place - talking about furniture!  Today's cheat sheet is all about the Windsor chair.  If you're not already familiar with this one, you will be when you see the pic. 
{Image via}

They're a very popular dining room set chair, my mom has an oak set.  But of course, knowing me - I see potential for a classic style in a beautiful bright colour...like these gorgeous modern interpretations of the traditional Windsor.  These were designed by Chris Specce for Matter and I love the pared down design and chic blue and black colours.

{Image via}

Don't you think these are a charming nod to the original design? Are you a fan of the traditional Windsor chair?  Or do you think it's too country?

For those of you nearby, stay dry!  For the rest of you, I'm jealous! Yes, I'm talking to you gals in Vegas and Florida...

25 October 2010

Inspired by...Alice Supply Co.

I have a secret confession on this Monday afternoon.  I don't love to clean.  I do what I have to in order to keep our home in good order, but I would get a mere 'satisfactory' if graded on it.  No A++ for this gal in that area.  Luckily J is my partner in crime when it comes to house upkeep and general maintenance.

But I wonder if I would like it better if I had some girly-designed tools and cleaning supplies to use?  How delightful are these by the Alice Supply Company?  I stumbled on them over at The Neotraditionalist and I just couldn't resist sharing.  So the big question is...do you think the work would go quicker if my tools were cuter?

 {All images via Alice Supply Co.}

Do you care what your tools look like or are you a 'just get the job done' kind of person?

Have a lovely rest of your day my friends!

24 October 2010

Before and After: Green with Whimsy 3-Drawer Chest

I finally have a project to reveal to you after a long week nursing my sore back.  This one was almost done last weekend so some last minute finishing and it's ready to go!  This 3-drawer chest was in excellent condition with it's solid wood construction and intricate drawer sliders.  But talk about outdated!  That honey wood with the hunter green stain?  Yikes!

I knew this was a great opportunity to create something soft and whimsical, yet still sophisticated.  Remember the great pewter cup pulls I found a while back?  I filled in all the original hardware holes and redrilled to accommodate these smaller vintage-style pulls.

The piece is pine, which always means lots of knicks and dents that look awful after you paint, so I spent a lot of time filling them in with wood filler then resanding for an almost new surface.  A tutorial on that to come in the near future of course!  After sanding and priming, I painted her in a soft pale greenish grey colour to compliment the gorgeously detailed accent paper - a chic combination of citrus green birds on a bright teal background.  I love how it turned out with it's charming mix of calm, whimsy and elegance!

This piece is so multi-functional, you could use it as a bedside table or even a small dresser.  I think it would be so cute in a little girl's room!

If you live in the Winnipeg area and would like to take home the Green with Whimsy 3-Drawer Chest from Lather Creations, you can do so here.

Have a lovely rest of your Sunday friends!

The Little Things

When was the last time you got a gift for no reason? 

Yesterday I had lunch with my very old friend A - we used to roommates in the late 90's up in Churchill, the polar bear capital of the world. A now lives in Calgary and I'm here in Winnipeg so it's only been recently that we've reconnected.  Sweet girl brought me a present for no reason and it was so touching!  It really made me think about how nice it is to surprise something with an unexepected gift, whether it's a small token or a treated meal or doing something nice for someone.  It made me feel so good that I'm going to try to do more of that in my life for others.  Hopefully they enjoy it as much as I did!

Now the gift - I'm not really a candle girl but A has converted me with this amazing scented candle from Paddywax.  This one's from their Library collection, which features a literary legend and a quote.  I got Jane Austen of course - it couldn't be more perfect!

The pretty packaging is a lovely linen box with this absolutely charming label...

The candle comes in a glass holder and it smells of lilacs - which reminds me of the annual Lilac Festival in Calgary I used to attend when I lived there.  Heavenly!

Hope you all enjoy your Sunday!  Mine will be lazy, how about you?

22 October 2010

Furniture Cheat Sheet: The Bentwood Chair

Happy Friday friends!  Thanks a bunch for all your words of encouragement regarding my back pain.  Gawd I feel like an old lady saying that!  But really, just knowing you're sending me good thoughts makes me feel better.

For today's furniture cheat sheet, we're talking about the bentwood chair.  It's on my mind because I picked one up at the Red Barn Sale I attended a month or so back.  Mine is made of wood with an old red leather seat.  It's sitting in my studio, waiting to be transformed but I'm daunted by the idea of recovering a round seat...  

In the meantime, here's your cheat sheet!

 {Image via}

Obviously with a classic design that's been around for so long, there's all different kinds of reproductions to choose from. Here's just a few other bentwood chairs you can find in the market today...

 {Image via

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They make me think of sitting in a little cafe mid-morning as the sunlight streams through the windows, sipping a frothy latte...you with me?  Too much?  

Hope you have a fantastic Friday!  Any fun plans for the weekend?  I have girl's night out tonight at Splurge and J has guy's night out tomorrrow.  Plus I'm meeting a very old friend for brunch.  Should be fun!

21 October 2010

Etsy Love: JJEvensen Art

Sorry for being MIA the last few days.  It was one of those cases where your body reminds who's in control and puts their foot down.  I have an ongoing low back issue that I manage, but for some reason my entire upper back froze up in a spasm.  So. not. cool.  So I've been drugged up with muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatories in attempts to find relief.  I'm feeling a bit better so back to work today, but I probably won't be doing any painting for a few days!  In the meantime, I leave you with some Etsy love...

It never ceases to amaze me what crafty people can do!  Like Etsy shop JJEvensen Art...they handcraft items using recycled materials like old cutlery.  Who doesn't have a bunch of old spoons and forks loading up their utensil drawer?  I love what they've come up with...

Who knew forks made perfect fingers?

Can you believe this one is a business card holder...

The end of a piece of silverware makes a beautiful barrette!

{All images via JJEvensen Art}

Hope you all have a lovely day friends!