Tag Archives: New Westminster

Breeding Discontent

One of my greatest guilty pleasures (after watching stupid teen shows like “Vampire Diaries”) is looking at real estate. Specifically, I like to look at charming old houses which are outside our financial scope at this time but may be within it in ten years or so. I love to go through the pictures admiring the craftsmanship and planning renovations which enhance the original charm of the homes (what a travesty when over zealous renovators strip these lovelies of their detail!).

Right now I am drooling over this 3 bedroom heritage home in New Westminster’s West End:

English Garden, Sloped roof, front porch. Oh yah.

English Garden, Sloped roof, front porch. *Drool*. Picture via.

And rooms like the following with molding and arches:

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I look at this room and my mind moves a mile a minute in excitement. I imagine new tile floors, built in banquette seating with gorgeous throw pillows surrounding a round pedestal table, whimsical wallpaper above the wainscoting and a gorgeous light fixture.

All fun and games until I start to indulge these fancies for too long, hence it being a “guilty” pleasure. I start to want the houses, really, really want them. I feel so frustrated that this dream is out of my grasp that discontent starts to grow in my heart. When it gets to this point I have to give myself a mental slap in the face in order to remember how much I already have.

Three years ago we would never have even imagined being able to own a three bedroom townhouse. Not only do we have the space we need for our family but also added pleasures like an en-suite, large closets, nine foot ceilings, and neighbors we adore. There is so much to enjoy and be thankful for in my current circumstances.

And not just in terms of housing. I have two beautiful children who have actually started playing together (between episodes of Sofia pushing Charlie over and him biting her in retaliation), as well as a healthfully growing baby who no longer makes me want to vomit every minute of every day.

Yesterday Sofia and Charlie spent like and hour "reading" together on our dismantled chaise.

Yesterday Sofia and Charlie spent like and hour “reading” together on our dismantled chaise.

I’ll keep these blessings close to my heart and mind as Steve and I enjoy being looky loos at the open house this weekend.

 

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Filed under At home, Eye Candy, From the Heart: Thoughts on Life and Family, In the Royal City, Uncategorized

By Falling Down

Those who know me might be surprised to know that my husband and I practised martial arts for a while. If you lived next door to us during our first year of marriage you may have caught site of us in full combat gear, throwing punches and kicks at one another in the backyard, or walking down the street to the dojang carrying our bags of weaponry.

Why do I bring this up? Because my martial arts teacher had a saying, one which I can never remember correctly, but one which I think back to time and time again. It was something along the lines of “by falling down, we learn to get back up again”. I have thought about this saying during various trials in my life, both great and small. By falling (or failing) I learn to get back up again (rise above challenges) and each time I fall, it gets a bit easier to get up. Rising above does not necessarily mean I eventually succeed, though sometimes a new approach can lead to success. For me, rising above most often means letting go of the negative thoughts which failure so easily leads me to. I struggle with this. When I fail I tend to be a nasty wretch to myself. I say “you suck”, “you can’t do anything right”, “you should just give up” etc.

This is the trap I am in right now. I am writing this post as a tool to help me get back on my feet mentally. I took part in another Artisan Market and the honest truth is that in five hours I did not sell a single pillow. Right away my mind turns ugly on itself. I feel discouraged. I feel like I wasted my time and that I didn’t sell anything because my pillows are terrible. Let me claim some truth now. It was not a waste of time. I bought some gorgeous presents from other vendors. I met some really nice people and had enjoyable conversations. I got to treat myself to delicious meals that I didn’t have to lift a finger to make. I got to show off my beautiful pillows. This is the truth.

See for yourself. Here are some of my favourites that I recently made for the fair. They should be up on my etsy shop by the end of the month.

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The silk floral fabric is Armani

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This pillow is made out of left over fabric from a shower curtain I made.

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This pillow is reversible (see other side below)

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I love how unique and beautiful the “wrong” side of a fabric can be.

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Filed under DIY Projects, From the Heart: Thoughts on Life and Family, In the Royal City, Mental Health

Local Artisans Deck the Halls

I realized recently that I’m not great at following up on events I mention in blog posts. For instance, the chair I created for Chairs for Charity got auctioned off like two months ago, and it did well on the auction block.

And so, for the sake of keeping a bit more up-t0-date, I wanted to talk a bit about the Artisan Market I participated in last weekend. Due to the fact that is was the weekend following “black Friday” it wasn’t a very busy day for the vendors but it was an excellent time to meet new people and catch glimpses of students from the Vancouver Circus School flying through the air (really, there is a circus school on the second floor of the River Market. I’m totally signing Sofia up when she turns 4.)

Despite by recurrent nightmare that I would not sell any pillows, I was able to sell a grand total of six (I had made like 30…a bit over-zealous). It might not seem like much but it was a very affirming experience for me to sell that many on a slow day. As well, I was invited to sell some of my pillows at the New Westminster Christmas Treasury, located in Queen’s Park, where they display and sell locally crafted items from December 1-23rd.

I had a hard time setting up my display because I had made so many. Less than half of my inventory is up on that table.

I had a hard time setting up my display because I had made so many. Less than half of my inventory is up on that table.

The pillow with the funky blue and green floral is one of my favorite new patterns from Robert Allen.

The pillow with the funky blue and green floral is one of my favorite new patterns from Robert Allen.

I was also selling a small variety of craft and sewing books.

I was also selling a small variety of craft and sewing books.

In addition to selling, the slowness of the day allowed me to do a significant amount of browsing and buying. Some old favorites from the Curious Flea were there including sketcher Won Kang who has branched out and is now selling some tote bags and funky wrapping paper with his sketches on them.

Sketch by Won Kang of Sinclair Centre in Vancouver

Sketch by Won Kang of Sinclair Centre in Vancouver

Wrapping paper by Won Kang. But who would want to rip it?

Wrapping paper by Won Kang. But who would want to rip it?

Tote bag commemorating Copps Shoes in New Westminster which recently burnt to the ground.

Tote bag commemorating Copp’s Shoes in New Westminster which recently burnt to the ground.

Some new favorite vendors I was introduced to at this Artisan Market include “Get Thee to the Nunnery” where I bought some precious and inexpensive fabric wreaths. They also sell beautiful earrings and stationary (shown below).

Christmas Stationary by artist Krista Gibbard.

Christmas Stationary by artist Krista Gibbard.

There were  also many vendors selling impressive jewelry.  I directed my mom and mother-in-law to Bead for Life for beautiful beaded jewelry, handmade by women in Africa, and to Kathy Hart’s stand where she sells stunning bracelets made from vintage silver spoons (not shown).

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Examples of some beautiful beaded necklaces.

If you are beginning to feel like you missed out, you will be happy to know that there is another artisan market being held at the River market on December 14th and 15th from 12-5pm. I will be participating on the 15th and look forward to seeing what it is like when the artisans take over both floors of the market.

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Filed under In the Royal City

Pillow Talk

Tomorrow, weeks of hard work, messy house, and poor meals are about to come to a conclusion (and henceforth I shall be relaxed, have a pristine house, and cook five star meals. Ha. Ha. Ha.) Saturday, November 30, 2013, from 12 noon until 5pm I will be participating in my first artisan market at the New Westminster River Market. I have been sewing up a storm working with gorgeous designer fabrics to create beautiful pillows, or “couch art”, as I like to think of them, to sell at the market.

I expected to feel nervous about tomorrow: it’s in my nature to be anxious when committing to new ventures, however, I can’t wait! Whether I sell much or not (my dear mom has promised to buy a couple of pillows), I am looking forward to the experience of meeting new people, both shoppers and other artisans.

My sister is a talented photographer and was gracious enough to do a bit of a “photo shoot” with some of my pillows. This is a small sampling of what I have made but it shows you a bit of the variety:

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The pillows all come with inserts and range from $20-$40 depending on the fabric used. I also picked up some sweet DIY and sewing books to sell at my table which I will be selling for less than suggested retail value.

Whether or not you need some new pillows or other hand-crafted items, stop by and have a gander. I’d love to chat and it is a great way to show your love for local artisans, even if only with your interest. If nothing else, the cinnamon buns sold at the river market bakery will make it worth your trip!
Hope to see you there!

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Filed under DIY Projects, In the Royal City

Catching Fleas

Every month my husband and I get out cash for “fun” money. This is money we spend on things like coffees, movies, fabric, etc- the things that are wants rather than needs.

I had a lot of “fun” at the Curious Flea, held at New Westminster’s River Market, over the past weekend. So much “fun” that I’m going to be making my own coffee for the rest of the month.

My first temptation came in the form of sketches done by Won Kang. For the past three years he has been trying to do a sketch a day of sites mostly around East Vancouver. Having spent the first year and a half of my marriage living in that hood I was especially drawn to his work. The colours he has chosen to enhance his images with are stunning. I would love it if he would start going around Queensborough next and capturing our unique neighborhood! Do visit his site, it’s a delight! Here is one of the pics I picked up:

coffeeshop

My second temptation came in the unassuming form of a small family run stand called Time of Origin which specializes in up-cycled jewelery as well as vintage home decor items. I picked up some birthday presents here as well as a few goodies for my own home.

The pictures on these lockets are from old children's books.

The pictures on these lockets are from old children’s books.

I love this little bird I bought.

I love this little bird I bought.

I plan on painting this brass candelabra a bright high gloss colour.

I plan on painting this brass candelabra a bright high gloss colour.

Next came Brick and Mortar. They have a store front in downtown New Westminster (see link for details), but I was lucky enough to catch them at the Curious Flea. They sell all sorts of locally made home goods including divine smelling bee’s wax candles, funky mason jar lights, and coasters made from old maps, magazines, and dictionaries.

Check out the cutting board in the background. It is in the shape of British Columbia (sideways).

Check out the cutting board in the background. It is in the shape of British Columbia (sideways).

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My last great temptation came at The Vintage Sisters stand. Their eye for style was evident in the artful way they set up their display of goods. Had I not already spent all the money I could I would have been hard pressed not to buy some of their beautiful vintage goods and creatively re-purposed items.

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I love this creative way of hanging pictures: a frame, chicken wire, and paper clips.

I love this creative way of hanging pictures: a frame, chicken wire, and clothes pins.

All in all a good (child-free) morning was had. These four vendors were my favorites but there was plenty more to see at the Curious Flea. If you wish you had been there but couldn’t be, don’t fear. The Curious Flea is coming back in November, just in time do do some Christmas shopping.

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Filed under Eye Candy

Brushing Up on FAT Paint

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When driving down Front Street in New Westminster, which I do on a weekly basis, I have a hard time keeping my eyes on the road. I’m always keen to check out which antique stores are open and what I can see of their merchandise while I drive.  In the last few months a new distraction caught my eye. A stunning storefront with gorgeous vintage lights hanging in front of the windows, and old chairs, painted and re-purposed as plant holders, set outside the door, beckoning walkers (and drivers) to enter.

Last weekend I finally had the pleasure to enter this mystery store and speak with the owner. Contrary to my belief, it was not just a cool store selling re-purposed vintage furniture, but the flagship store for FAT Paint.

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FAT Paint opened their location on Front Street in March and their paint is now for sale in 18 stores across North America (lucky for my readers from out of town).

Maybe you are wondering like I was…why “FAT” Paint? There happens to be a whole story behind the name, which Victoria, who co-owns the store with her brother, can relay to you when you visit. The simplest answer she gave me though, was that is refers to the viscosity of the paint.

FAT Paint is a new (might I say improved?) brand of chalk paint, which the owners make themselves. At this time in my DIY life, I know about chalk paint more in theory than in practice. It is used by vintage furniture enthusiasts for painting old furniture and is specially useful when seeking a shabby chic look. However, if your preference is more chic and less shabby, FAT Paint can still meet your needs, it just requires a different method. FAT paint is not for furniture alone, it works great on many different surfaces including wood, iron, glass, metal, etc.

The store has stunning architectural detail. The exposed is throughout the store and is stunning.

The store has stunning architectural detail. The exposed brick throughout the store is stunning.

The store not only sells their paint but has a variety of furniture and accessories for sale that they have re-done with FAT Paint. You can only tell so much from looking at a coin sized sample so it is great to check out their variety of colours on these pieces. If you aren’t into DIY, the furniture and home accessories are all for sale at reasonable prices.

This stool was painted with Fat Paint's "Pumpkin".

This stool was painted with Fat Paint’s “Pumpkin”.

They use the upstairs loft space as a gallery for art (also for sale).

They use the upstairs loft space as a gallery for art (also for sale).

This retro side table had a matching iron head and footboard but my pic didn't turn out.

This retro side table had a matching iron head and footboard but my pic didn’t turn out.

Expect to hear more from me about FAT Paint. I just bought two vintage frames and I’m eagerly waiting for the store to re-open on Thursday so I can get to some DIY. I have two chairs I plan on doing as well but I’m going to wait for one the workshops that FAT Paint offers before I attempt that.

For more information on FAT Paint or their workshops visit their facebook page or stop by, 623 Front Street, New Westminster, BC.

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