Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!!

I went skating with the kids in Central Park yesterday. It was wonderful fun! Can't download the photos right now so here is a pic of Nathan Phillips square looking fabulously festive.

Happy New Year - I can't wait to see what 2010 has in store!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

holidays in New York!

Tomorrow night I will be singing along with Louis Armstrong’s “Christmas Night in Harlem”, because that’s where I’ll be!! My sister Ceciley and me, along with my friend handy-man Matt & his girlfriend are driving to NYC tomorrow to spend the holidays with these two darling children: Tomio & Julia.

Their mother Emi, is my best friend from college – we met in a Women’s Studies class at the University of Michigan in 1990 and have had many adventures together since. She is a born & bred Manhattanite, and I try to visit twice a year to spend time with the kids. I’ve watched these little babies grow up and at 9 years old Tomio is almost as tall as me!

I usually visit in the spring and fall, and the summer Julia was an infant I was there for almost a month, but we’ve never spent Christmas together and they don’t know I’m coming. I can’t wait to see their faces when I walk in the door!

I was just there in October and we had lots of silliness and pillow-fights. This is my job when I am there - having fun with my little goofballs!

So for Christmas I ordered them a vintage Chinese Checkers set on ebay (ahem), but I seriously need to look up the rules because I don’t remember how to play.

Tomio wants a baby brother for Christmas. That’s not in the cards but this was also on his wish list. I got him two of these, because I’m pretty sure I’m going to need to be able to defend myself once he opens it.

Julia wants to have a wedding and has decided that she will marry her cat Mackerel. I think this is an awesome and hilarious idea so of course I want to help.

Apparently she already has a dress! but she wants a few other things to have a “real” wedding, so I bought this for the cat:

and these for Julia:

I can’t wait to play wedding photographer at the “ceremony”!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

welcome to the living room

I love house tours and before & afters. I happen to have a friend finishing a reno, another in the middle of a reno, and yet another embarking on a reno – and I hope to have lots of tours and befores & afters of these fun things to post about in the new year. In the meantime, I thought I’d do a tour of my little house chronicling how it’s coming together.

Let’s start with the living room. It’s the first room you see when you walk in the door, it was the first room I worked on, and it is the only room that is “done” - perhaps because it required the least “help” as I had almost everything that went in this room when I moved in.

My good friend handy-man Matt took the door off the hinges so they could get the piano in, and it still only made it by a whisker! (I really should have at least moved the lint brush before I took these photos - oh well!)

I love books, but I’ve been trying to use the library more and only keep things that I will read again or loan out. This is the piano I learned to play when I was a child and my parents got it before they got me. I keep saying I'm going to re-learn how to play - cause I used to be good.

The only things that I did in this room (and by “I”, I mean Matt) was switch out the wall sconces – because the ones that were here were literally falling out of the wall - and replace the shelf over the radiator because it was completely warped.

Now the wall colour is not exactly something I would have chosen but I think it goes really well with my fabulous mid-century couch, chair & table which I scored last year off craigslist. I got a serious bargain because the seller couldn't get it in her front door and had it sitting on her porch, and it was starting to snow!

Also this wallpaper has a very heavy texture and is painstaking to paint as you have to use a brush to get into all the little nooks and crannies (as I discovered when I painted the kitchen).

The curtains I bought new and are from Umbra, and though they could be a bit longer I’m not going to mess with them - for obvious reasons. And because you can't really see the bottom edge. I got the zebra pillows at The Bay – surprisingly.

The special painting of Marcel & me is by my sister Ceciley. The shelf & brackets are from IKEA; the vases are from Pier 1 - on mega sale; and the clocks (I love clocks) are from Pottery Barn.

“Marcel’s chair” is from Urban Outfitters, but cosied up with a blanket from IKEA. I’ve had it for years and just keep changing what I cover it with – other than the kitchen table, the chair is Marcel's favourite spot.

These book shelves, believe it or not, are cheap chip-board from Home Depot. They were bought as a temporary solution when I moved to Toronto, but I experimented by staining them years ago and they've done a good job.

Behind the door I put up two coat racks for hats, scarves, bags, and coats since there really isn’t any storage in the house (yes that stuff is all mine).

And this little table which came from my mom holds the keys and other random stuff I seem to drop on the way in the door as well as the remotes for the tv & dvd.

I am quite obsessed with all things Art Nouveau and I got both of the large posters in this room at Alternative Arts.

The kitchen is down the hall. It was red when I moved in …

Monday, December 21, 2009

crazy weekend

My sister Ceciley (the famous actress) missed her flight from LAX to YYZ; I sent her money by western union so she could fix it; showed the spare room to a prospective roommate (who is going to become my new roommate!); sold the carpet I've been trying to get rid of for months to a lovely person!; and my current German roommate and her brother who is visiting from Germany packed up and moved out - all of this took place in about 2 hours on Saturday.

I thought the best way to recuperate from all of this activity was to go around the corner to Hibiscus and buy some of their amazing wheat-free, dairy-free brownies!!

Marcel will be so happy when Ceciley arrives today – he really does love her the most.

my friend mccoy

this pretty little number arrived today!! would it be crazy to keep toothbrushes in it?

Friday, December 18, 2009

chair cover

Have I mentioned that I love fabric? Oh yeah, right here. And that cute chair I snagged from the curb is giving me an excuse to see if I can rustle up a little chair cover from Heather Bailey's new fabric line. It's so up my alley!

"The collection tells the story of a small-town girl, Nicey Jane. Nicey heads to the city on Friday nights to swing dance with her beau - but not before hanging the laundry to dry & enjoying an afternoon picnic on the farm."

Clearly not because I live on a farm, but have I mentioned that I'm a swing dancing teacher? (Ok, not yet, but it's a long story.)

I also can't get this bit of loveliness from Amy Butler's new line out of my head. It called to me when I was at The Workroom over the weekend.

Maybe it's a bit too much?

What about something from Laura Gunn's Lantern Bloom?

Well it's a lot easier than sewing curtains!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

free stuff

The fun did not end with Honest Ed's last night. On my walk home with my bargooons, what did I spy on the curb? This baby:

I agree with Marcel, the cover smelled ... but it only lasted in the house long enough for me to snap the photo - underneath was this:

and this is the original vinyl:

It is now gone also. I think it's very cute. It's got a metal frame and the wood in the centre is actually plastic with wood grain!

It will work nicely in the spare room - perhaps spray painted white with a new fabric seat cover? That I can do! I covered my kitchen chairs at my old place in some Amy Butler fabric, and that was pretty easy.

Say hello to my brother Seth - Marcel loves him - me too!

Honest Ed's

I love Honest Ed's! I feel like I've been coming here my whole life and I think I was drawn to this neighbourhood by all these lights when I moved back to Toronto. I remember trips on the subway with mom when I was little to buy anything from milk to towels.

I most remember wanting a pair of clogs that had roller skates that popped out of the bottom - ah, the 70's.

I know this place like the back of my hand, so although other people may think they'll never find their way out, I always do, triumphantly, with bargain in hand.

I went in last night needing some hangers but had to make my way through the aisles of kitchen stuff first when I spied something interesting.

Yes, that says $5.99 for two mugs "in porcellana" - very fancy! and what's on the next table?

Yellow and green bowls for $2.99 each - sold!

Oh, how I love a good bargain.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

self control where are you?

but at $ 4.99 how could I resist?

Holiday Jam

A lovely friend invited me to go and see the Holiday Jam at the Phoenix with her last night. The line up was full of Canada's best "roots rockers" and they each sang 2 of their favourite songs. The night began with Gord Downie's atonal thing which really just makes me want to put my fingers in my ears (oh sacrilege I know!).

But you can't go wrong with Sarah Harmer, Kathleen Edwards, Jim Cuddy & The Skydiggers! Highlights were Sam Roberts (yum!) doing a version of Traveling Wilburys "Handle me with Care" with about 6 guys all playing acoustic guitars on stage. Then there was an acoustic version of "Bohemian Rhapsody" which the crowd sang all the lyrics to (and was way more in tune than good ol' Gord), and Dallas Green did some amazing soul songs. I always forget what a great voice he has.

The total standout of the night was a guy from Kingston who's name I didn't even hear. He did a number on the piano that gave me the shivers - in a good way - and I thought he blew everyone else out of the water. Seems no one has reviewed the show yet - I want to know who he is!

This quote from one of the performers kinda sums up the night - "there's enough plaid backstage to make Red Green cry" - oh Canada!
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