Monday, May 27, 2013

Wonderful Whites

White flowers from Mother's Day, sized for desktop wallpaper use (except the fifth one unless you rotate it 90 degrees). Please help yourself if you'd like to copy them for your own use. Click to biggify and then save the largest version (1280 x 800).

White blossoms in the yard. Apple:

and plum:

Speaking of which, what is it about white cards that I like so much?

Maybe it's just the simple elegance... like white flowers.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

My "New" Old Buffet

A few weeks ago I declared to hubby

"I want to find an old wooden cabinet to put the aquarium on."

He couldn't deny it was time, actually it was way PAST time.

For in the 70's (yes, you read that right) when we were dating, we each purchased matching aquariums; one a 25 gallon tank and the other a 30 gallon tank on a black metal stand (to be honest, I can't recall if it was his or mine). Believe it or not, 35 years later the larger tank and stand are still in use in our living room - presently a home for my two huge angelfish. I've been wanting to replace that stand for a long time and since we've been incorporating more antiques into our living room decor, the time was right to finally get a nice old solid wooden piece for that corner.

When daughter and I attended an Antique Mall garage sale a few weeks back, we arrived just as it was getting underway and the vendors were still pulling items out into the parking lot. Of course I had to check out the tables, cabinets and shelves. I went up and down the row of furniture; mostly art-deco or newer offerings - when I came upon a rather sorry looking item that had seen better days a very long time ago... the top was cracked, the drawers were missing hardware but it called out to "Buy me!"

And for a mere $20, I did. I could see that with some much-needed TLC it would be perfect.  A vendor helped me carry it to my car where it rolled in easily as it had metal casters I didn't even realize were there!

To avoid having to haul it up and down stairs, I simply kept the buffet in my dining room until I had time to work on it... and of course it didn't take long for Tawnee to claim it as her brand new perch from which to survey her catdom. Good thing the door had a latch; otherwise she would have been INSIDE it.

Finally, last weekend I got out the Circa 1850 stripper, some sandpaper, a deep walnut stain and got to work removing the brown paint and uncovering the wonderful wood grain below.  We pondered removing the metal casters, wondering if they would hold up to the weight of the aquarium, but they were on so well there was no fear that they could hold the tank. So the squeaky wheels stayed and I am glad - I didn't want to change this too much; only clean it up and keep its old charm. 

I have no idea exactly how old, but from the style, the hardware and dove-tailed drawers, I would guess it could be from the early 1900's.

The latch of the door on the right is a simple heavy pin that turns by the metal knob into a hollow slit carved into the wooden frame.

The two handles on the top drawer have rusty screws / nuts on the back (in fact one was upside down when I got it).

I wanted to put a similar type handle on the two drawers to the left, however, they are smaller than the standard size and two knobs had to be used instead. I used what I had on hand; I may replace these with glass knobs one day.

I am so pleased at how this turned out; the tank fits perfectly (a miracle really, since I never measured either one) and now I have a lot of storage space to use! The colour is deep and rich and really looks so much better than that ugly aquarium stand.

The only downside? Poor Tawnee has lost her new perch to the angelfish (who can been seen on the left if you click the image to biggify).

Yep. Cat - 0, Fish - 1

She's not as impressed as I am.

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Monday, May 20, 2013

What Would They Think?

As I spent the majority of this Victoria Day long weekend performing the DIY'er 3S's (Stripping, Sanding and Staining) my thoughts began to wander. I will admit that during tedious tasks, they tend to venture far and away. This time as I worked on a new-to-me antique piece (which will be revealed later once it's in situ), I began to ponder:

'What would people from 100 years ago think of our modern love of all things old, tarnished, rusty, crazed and chippy?'

I could just imagine the spirited conversations I'd have with two of my favorite Victorian / Edwardian characters if I could travel back in time and try to explain...

Me: "Detective William Murdoch! What a pleasure to finally make your acquaintance."

Det. Murdock (graciously tipping his hat): "I'm sorry, have we met?"

Me:  "Well, no, not really - but I have been a huge fan of your work for many years."

Det. Murdoch: "Well, that's very kind. Can I be of assistance?"

Me:  "Why yes, you may.  I've traveled from the future, you see..."

Det. Murdoch's big, beautiful, er *ahem* brown eyes light up: "The FUTURE! How exciting! Then time travel really does become possible! Do you have flying automobiles, computing machines, spartan homes, cinematographs and silver suits that resemble steam automatons?"

Me: "Erm, no ... other than the computing machines, that is. We use them to help us hunt down old junk to decorate our homes with -- like rusty farm tools and chipped wooden furniture."

Det. Murdoch:

Me, realizing his skeptisim: "No honestly! We covet anything vintage and antique! We use the computing machines to communicate with other 'junk lovers' and to outbid people from all over the world for the very best junk!"

Det. Murdoch:  

Me: "I guess this all sounds rather odd..."

Det. Murdoch, smiling sweetly: "Not at all... but there is a friend I'd like to introduce you to. Her name is Julia and I think you'd benefit from staying with her for awhile."

Me, knowing full well the good Dr. Julia Ogden heads the Toronto Women's Lunatic Asylum: "Some other time perhaps, I must be off!"

And with that, I depart 1900 Toronto to next drop in on some of my British ancestors across the pond. However, my coordinates seem to be off and I have landed just outside the small town of Ripon, North Yorkshire.

Me: "Oh my! It's Downton Abbey! I see that Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham is paying a visit today as well. What luck!"

The Countess turned with a start and shot me one of her trademark stares. "Excuse me, but all servants must use the entrance at the rear."

Me: "Oh, but I am not a servant. I just dropped in from the future for a visit."

The Countess, sitting upon a bench and motioning me to do the same, shook her head sadly: "Sounds like someone has read one too many an H.G. Wells novels."

Me: "I've come to ask you about antiques."

The Countess: "Antiques? Like that dreadful vase dear Matthew thankfully smashed to bits?"

Me: "Well, yes, I guess so. For you see, in the future, it's all the rage to collect old things, and..."

The Countess: "Why? Do they not manufacture new things anymore?"

Me, beginning to squirm from her sharp gaze and even sharper tongue: "Well, of course, but we treasure items like old tarnished silver and ..."

The Countess: "Do you not have housemaids to polish it for you?"

Me, now sweating: "Ummmm... no... but I wanted to know if..."

The Countess, with a pound of her cane:  "My dear, you must get to the point or I shall have to insist you take your leave immediately."

Me: "Yes, well, er, I... well, I, um I collect things from your era like my prized 1906 candlestick telephone."

The Countess: "You are referring to that instrument of torture I was forced to use once? Oh my, I had hoped that monstrosity wouldn't have caught on."

Me, finally getting my thoughts together:  "Oh yes, it caught on alright... almost TOO well. Anyway, I was wondering if your generation collected antiques too. You know, treasures from the past."

The Countess: "My dear. We do not 'collect'. We INHERIT."

And with a tone of finality that left no question the discussion was ended, she stood and made her way to the grandiose Abbey.

Sigh. THAT didn't go very well.

Oh well, if I can barely explain this hobby to friends and family, how the heck did I expect to do so with these two?

It's inexplicable, I guess.

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Boogieboard Cottage

Rooted In Thyme

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Two New Techniques

This past week I was learning and crafting -- because I wanted to create a couple of special cards for some special birthdays this weekend, I found great card-making videos to inspire and educate me in two new techniques.

The first was a "flip card", for my Dad.

Using Spellbinders dies and my Cuttlebug, I learned how to create this cut-out style thanks to the delightful Christina from

The back of the card, showing the half-cut but fully-embossed flip:

Dakotah made sure I was following the directions properly... and mischievously ran away with the green and silver button for Dad's card when I wasn't looking. Luckily I found a second identical one in my button jar! (And I did find her "prize" later - after stepping on it in bare feet, natch).

The second card was for my daughter and is called a "Double Slider" card, a cool effect taught to me by the oh-so talented Darlene DeVries at

Since I one of her gifts was an antique birdcage I convinced the Antique Mall to sell to me (it was a display piece that wasn't for sale), I thought the birdcage motif was appropriate.

When you pull on the right tab, the left one automatically pulls out at the same time. Push it in, they both slide inside... a pretty cool trick created with a strip of plastic bag! This was mounted on a regular card, so I could write a message and sign the inside.

I was quite proud of myself that it actually worked!

If you're a card maker, I would highly recommend these two ladies' YouTube channels - they are a pleasure to watch and learn from!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mother's Day Fun!

What a wonderful Mother's Day weekend I had! Daughter and I spent all day Saturday together; first she surprised me with beautiful gifts and flowers:

And then she presented me with a homemade banana / chocolate / coffee slushie in a mason jar and she baked healthy snacks of oatmeal & raspberry bars with yogurt topping - packaged up so we could nosh in the car on our way to a local Antique Mall garage sale at 9 am! What a wonderful idea!

We got to the Mall just as it was opening... the vendors had taken over the parking lot with items that were price-slashed. I won't show you my big purchase of the day quite yet - that will be another separate post... but here are some "smalls" I snatched up for a dollar each!

Yep, my egg cups are officially a collection now... these are so cute; many are stamped "Japan" on the bottom.

After spending hours at that four-level Antique Mall, we hit a few more antique shops around the city. Then we dropped in on my Mom and Dad. Here is the card I made for her... Dad's birthday was that day too, but he has to wait until this weekend when we are celebrating his and my daughter's birthdays together. I'll post their cards after that (cause I don't want them peeking!)

What a great day we had; and it was wonderful to have a peaceful Sunday to relax.

I am one lucky Mom, that's for sure!

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