I’m Finally Pinteresting

I have a bit of a problem. I currently get two magazines delivered to my home every month – Style at Home, and Canadian House & Home. I like to flip through them to see what wonderful (and sometimes odd) things people are doing inside their homes. Now, some of you may have many more subscriptions than I, but my problem isn’t the number of magazines I get, it’s the number I keep. That’s right, I keep them all.

My Embarrassing Overflowing Bookcase

Behold my bookcase – that bottom shelf is pretty much all magazines that I’ve kept on the off-chance that someday I may feel the need to flip though one that’s two years old (or more) for decor inspiration.

As I’ve recently been plotting a project that will require my bookcase to be emptied, I decided to start shifting through the 3 years of decor magazines collecting dust on the bottom shelf. But, what was I going to do with them? I couldn’t just recycle them – what about all the great stuff contained within their glossy pages? I could tear out the pages that I liked, but then I’d have to figure out where to store the random pages.

For the past few months I’ve been silently stalking Pinterest. I’d login occasionally, take a look at some things people had ‘pinned’, maybe save a few, and then log out. I didn’t do much with it, until I decided to sort through my stack of magazines.

For those of you who aren’t aware of Pinterest it’s described as ‘a virtual pinboard’ – a way to store and save all those things you find on the web, that you might need one day. I prefer to think of it as a more visual way to store all those bookmarks you have in your internet browser, but instead of folders you have boards.

Here is what Pinterest looks like:

Main Pinterest page

To make saving images from the internet easy you install a small ‘Pin-it’ button to your bookmarks bar, and then whenever you see something you’d like to save you click on the button. A little pop-up window appears and you select the image you’d like to save, and then decide which of your boards you will save the image to. You can also add a comment to each Pin to describe what it is.

Pinterest starts you with a few default boards, but you can rename them, and add more depending on the items you’re going to be saving.

My ‘For the Home’ Page

You can also search Pinterest for images that appeal to you, and if you find something you can re-pin it to your board. I don’t particularly like this function – If I find an image I like, I’d rather go to the originating website and pin-it directly, but that’s simply a personal preference.

Pinterest also allows you to follow people, or you can follow individual boards, so if there’s someone who’s taste is similar to yours you can see what they’ve pinned. Here’s my profile if you’d like to see what I’m pinning.

If you have a blog or website you can also see what images people have pinned from your site –  type this into your browser with your site’s full url (without the www.): http://pinterest.com/source/insertyourwebsite’surlhere/

My Slightly More Organised Bottom Shelf

Anyways, after several hours of magazine flipping I now have a Pinterest page with 14 boards and 149 pins. I also have a bookcase that is slightly less crammed with magazines. Hopefully I’ll be good and periodically purge my magazine collection. Next up is sorting all my books, and deciding which I really want to keep, and which can go to a new home.

Progress, and a Little Canadian Retail History

It’s taken me a while, but I’ve finally managed to finish stripping my Craigslist dresser. It’s funny, when you watch those decorating shows on TV, they always make this type of thing look so easy. Let me tell you, it’s not. And the smell – Wowzers – it’s a good thing I invested in a respirator. On a positive note, I emerged from this experience relatively unscathed – I only suffered one chemical burn, and it was a small one ;)

Anyways, I thought I’ve give you a quick peek at where I am on this project.

Stripped Dresser

Stripped Drawers

(You can take a peek at what I started with here). Next up will be sanding, and at some point I have to figure out how to fix the missing veneer.

Simpson’s Logo

Anyways, while working on the dresser, I spotted something that indicated where it came from originally. This mark is a little hard to read, but it says Simpson’s which was a department store here in Canada that is no longer in business.

Simpson’s was started in Newmarket, ON by Robert Simpson in 1858. It thrived until 1870 when a fire completely destroyed the building.  Robert Simpson restarted his store in Toronto in 1872 as the city was rapidly increasing in size. The original Toronto store was on Yonge street, just north of Queen.

By the 1890’s, Simpson’s had over 200 employees and in late 1894 they moved to a new store on the south-west corned of Yonge and Queen Streets. Three months later the Simpson’s store was again destroyed by fire. Undeterred, Robert Simpson reopened his store 6 days later in a rented building. He proceeded to rebuild on the same corner, and the bigger and better building was completed just 10 months later. It’s still standing today.

The Corner of Yonge and Queen St (source:city-of-toronto.blogspot.com)

Simpson’s underwent many changes over the years, expanding across Canada, partnering with Sears, and then in 1978 being purchased by the Hudson’s Bay Company. The two companies brands operated separately across Canada until 1991, when the Simpson’s locations were closed or re-branded as Bay stores. The last Simpson’s store to be converted to a Bay store was the original on the corner of Yonge and Queen Streets. (More info can be found here)

On a side note – does anyone remember a 80’s children’s TV show called ‘Today’s Special’? Well, it was partially filmed inside the Simpson’s building.

Today’s Special

I loved that show growing up – and for nostalgia’s sake, here’s a video ;)

linked to: Savvy southern style, DIY by design, Mod Vintage Life, The Shabby Nest

Uh Oh . . . What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

For quite a while I’ve been looking for a new dresser for my bedroom. I currently use a white Ikea dresser that I’ve had since, well, I think I was in middle school when it was purchased. Most of you don’t know my age, but trust me when I say – I’ve owned it a LONG TIME!

My old Ikea dresser (Sorry for the badly lit night shot)

I trolled Craigslist and thrift stores for months looking for something not too expensive, but with a little character, and eventually I found this:

My Craigslist dresser

The dresser was $25, and since I don’t have a vehicle I negotiated, and the sellers delivered it for an additional $25. I’m pretty pleased with my purchase, but it’s been sitting in my living room for months as I debated what to do with it.

You see, the dresser is a little damaged – it’s got some missing veneer along the top edge, and it’s got some other scratches and marks. Other than its surface defects it’s a nice dresser – it’s got a great shape and the drawers have dovetailed joints. I know it’s really popular right now to take old damaged furniture and paint it a great colour, but I love the look of the old wood, and I’d rather like to try to save it.

The damaged veneer along the top of my new dresser

My conundrum is I’ve never done anything remotely like this before and I’m honestly terrified to try. In my head I know if things don’t turn out well I can always paint it (I even know I’ll probably paint it Kelly green if worse come to worst), but I want it to be a successful makeover so badly I keep second guessing myself and my ability to pull something like this off.

So, what should I do? Should I try to repair the damaged veneer on the front, and then strip the old varnish off before re-varnishing? Or should I just peel off the rest of the damaged veneer strip, sand it down and cover it in green paint? Either way, does anyone have any tips or suggestions?

Linked to: The Shabby Nest, Miss Mustard Seed

DIY – Dollarstore White Lion Bookends

Earlier this year I was exploring the aisles of my local Dollarama when I came across some rather interesting garden decorations in the form of lions. I liked the shape of them, but since I don’t have a garden where they could sit proudly amongst the flowers I left them where they sat on the shelf. On my way home from the store I had what I consider a rather brilliant idea, and a day later returned and purchased two.

Dollar Store Garden Lions

For some time I’d been eying all those white ceramic animal book ends which seem to be everywhere recently, but hadn’t yet managed to bite the bullet and buy some. In particular this owl set at Chapters had caught my eye.

Chapters Owl Bookends – $39.99

Anyway, my brilliant idea was to transform those somewhat regal dollar store garden decorations into a set of bookends.

My first step was to fill my garden statues with the river rock that I also got at Dollarama.

Filled with Dollar Store River Rock

Once all the rock was inside I discovered that the rocks moved around a bit if I moved the lion, so I used paper towel to fill in some of the gaps and reduce movement. I sealed up the hole on the bottom of the lion with some thin cardboard from a box of frozen pizza.

Cover the holes with cardboard

Next up was painting. I decided that spray paint would be the easiest to apply. I mounted the lion on the painters pyramids I used during my first spray painting project. This allowed me to easily spray around the base of the lions. I did three coats of glossy white spray paint, letting it dry completely between coats.

Getting Ready to Spraypaint

The last step was to glue some white felt to the base of the bookends. This serves two purposes – it covers the unsightly cardboard, and it will also protect any surface I place the bookends on. I traced the base of the lions and then cut inside my pen mark to get pieces of felt that were slightly smaller than the base. I affixed it to the bottom of the lions with my glue gun.

Tracing the base on felt

I have to say that I’m quite pleased with the way that these turned out.

The Finished Bookend

Here’s what this project cost:

  • Two dollar store garden decorations: $4 at Dollarama
  • Two bags of dollar store river rock: $2 at Dollarama
  • White glossy spray paint: $5.49 at Home Depot
  • White felt: $1.02 at Fabricland – the location was closing, so it was 60% off $17/yd and I only bought 6.5″.

For a total cost of $14.31 (tax. included) I think I made a really nice pair of DIY bookends.

Fred and George – the Lion BooKends

I’ve decided to name them Fred and George – I’m sure you can guess why.

linked to: The Shabby Nest, At the Picket Fence, Remodelaholic, Addicted 2 Decorating, Making the world cuter, Coastal Charm, Polish the stars, Home Stories A2Z, The Kurtz Corner, DIY by Design, Savvy Southern Style, Decor to Adore, Beyond the picket fence, Chic on a shoestring, Addicted 2 Decorating, The CSI Project