Sewing a Silver Lining!

In my Junior High years (grade 7 and 8) my school principal decided to try out a new method of teaching/learning and used my class for the experiment.  We were his lab rats!

Needless to say I did not learn much in those 2 very crucial years.  (The principal was fired soon after!)

But for all negatives there is a positive and the silver lining here was that my school thought it would be useful for us teens to learn some life skills.

So we were bused one afternoon a week to another school that had facilities to teach us in ‘home ec’ and woodworking.

Home ec (as in home economics) taught us how to cook and sew.

And the woodworking class taught us how to use tools and build things.

I eventually learned what an adjective was and how to do fractions, finished high school and went on to higher learning but those life skills I was taught in grade 7 and 8 have been invaluable.

And well used.

Cooking is something I do on a daily basis with rave reviews from the family.

And I always have a sewing project on the go.

My sewing projects are usually quite basic but I do turn out some good results.  I have sewn a million cushion covers over the years and if you’ve ever been to a fabric store you may understand how fabulous fabrics have a way of following you out the store and inspiring sewing projects.  I recently fell in love with this colourful ‘mod’ fabric,   Retro Wavy Fabric

and thought the fabric would be the perfect accompaniment to my retro bedside lamps.

Wavy Pillows

Apparently everyone at university is ‘Irish’ and celebrates St Patrick’s Day in a big way so this past March my son requested a pair of ‘celebratory’ pants to be sewn by his obliging Mother.

Three yards of this,                   3 leaf clover fabric

Produced these,                      St Patricks Day Pants

A big hit with all the St Patty’s Day revellers.

I even got orders for next year!  NOT!

My woodworking skills have been used much less.  Although I did produce my initials in woodworking class and have kept them all these years as a reminder that I can indeed build things,                Modmissy Woodworking

Instead I married a man whose building skills far outweigh mine and we decided early in the relationship that I was a better cook/sewer and he was a better builder.

That’s fine by me.

Cheers!

All images via Modmissy

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Sofas of My Past

Are we products of our youth or formed by our surroundings?

Do past memories influence decisions in our lives today?

My case in point – the sofa.

I can still vividly recall the sofas of my youth and the impact their design had on me.

For real!

My first childhood friend was a child of parents newly emigrated from Italy.  They barely spoke English but their hard work and commitment to success in this new country was strong.  They took pride in ownership of their home and its contents.  I remember their sofa.  We would sit on it while we watched cartoons, drinking Brio cola and eating Nutella® sandwiches.  It was soft beige in colour but I could not tell you what the fabric content was as I actually never felt it – the sofa was covered in plastic.  The entire sofa was actually upholstered with clear plastic shielding the decorative fabric.  So no matter if we spilled our Brio colas or dropped our Nutella sandwiches the plastic protected that sofa! Plastic upholstered sofa

My next childhood friend had a green sofa that we sat on hour after hour while listening to records on the family Hi-Fi record player (my friend loved music).  But for the life of me I could not figure out how to sit on that sofa without falling off.  Truly!  The fabric on this sofa was polyester – 1st generation polyester and slippery as hell.  If you sat on the sofa the seat cushions would slip forward and soon you would find yourself sitting on the floor.  Or at least I would, my friend’s family had somehow figured out the secret behind keeping the cushions from sliding.                     1970 sofa

My teenage friend was a child of parents newly emigrated from Germany.  Now they had a very different sofa.  Or at least different from what I had at home.  Their living room was all decorated in teak.  Teak sofa, teak chairs.  My friend’s living room was the essence of Danish design; very ‘Mid-Century Modern’ as it is called today.  I admired it then and I just had the opportunity to once again admire it after a recent visit to my friend’s parents’ home and it still looks wonderful.               Danishteakclassics

So in retrospect, I have never had a sofa covered in plastic although I do occasionally in summer throw a sheet over my leather sofa to prevent sticking.  I avoid synthetic fabrics on my sofas and prefer natural fabrics – linens, cottons, leather and wool.  And I am smitten with all things Mid-Century!

Images: 1. www.multiplemayhemmamma.com 2. www.ancientpoint.com
3. ww.danishteakclassics.com

      

Not Your Grandmother’s Wallpaper

On a recent visit to my favourite paint store (everyone should have a ‘favourite’ paint store with knowledgeable staff, great products and lots of inspiration) to have some custom tinted paint for an outdoor project (details to follow) I noticed that there were some new wallpaper sample books.

And I mean new, as in edgy, sexy wallpaper samples.  Definitely not your Grandma’s kind of wallpaper!

I know that fashion is cyclical and although these wallpaper samples may have been similar in some ways to styles of the past, these newest wallpapers are ‘pumped up’ about a 100 notches.

So what was hip and bold for the 1970’s as seen in this wallpaper sample from a client’s home (before renovation),              Wallpaper 1970s

And the norm for the wallpaper of the 1950’s as found in my home under old wallboard,  Wallpaper 1950s

The newest wallpapers are taking walls by storm     Wallpaper striped

No longer being seen in only traditional or classic-style rooms; wallpaper presents a modern visage in a contemporary space.    Wallpaper Chevron

Wallpaper modernAnd it’s about marketing – these contemporary wallpapers are presented in books akin to glossy design magazines with fashion-forward photography.

I suddenly found myself re-thinking my sentiments on wallpaper.  When we moved into our home 15 years ago about 90% of the walls and ceilings were covered in wallpaper.  I couldn’t get rid of the stuff fast enough!

But now…..who knows, maybe a feature wall in striking contemporary wallpaper might just be the detail I’m looking for.

‘Hang’ here for details to follow!

All images via Modmissy

Image 3, 4, 5:  Metropolis by Michalsky Living

Curbside Treasures – A Nod to Earth Day

Yesterday marked the 44th anniversary of Earth Day celebrated worldwide by over a billion people.

Hopefully this day makes us pause and reflect on our precious planet and in its honour do something thoughtful towards sustaining this orb of ours

Keeping the 3 R’s – reduce, reuse and recycle in mind, my nod to Earth Day (and every day) is to always being on the lookout for curbside treasures.

What say is a curbside treasure?  An item that is no longer useful to one person is walked to the curb and discovered by another person.

This ‘sharing’ of treasures results in keeping unnecessary stuff out of landfill sites.  All good.

These are some of the curbside treasures I have found over the years.

A very recent find is an Eileen Gray side table.  Amazing!               Eileen Gray End Table

The MR Chair by Mies Van Der Rohe.  I had to replace the leather but there it was – curbside                                      MR Chair

I also found a Wassily Chair which will be heading to university with my son next year.  Lucky guy.                                                       Wassily Chair

I have written many posts on my previous curbside treasures.  My purple stool.  A coveted paintingMy antique spool bed.

It always saddens me when I see something like this.  As a rule I never pick up upholstered items but a perfectly good white slipcovered chair (IKEA – Ektorp Armchair) I’m sure could have been given to someone (family/friend/student) before it was ruined curbside and destined for a landfill site.                    IKEA Ektorp Chair

My sister and brother-in-law just built a gorgeous new kitchen and were undecided about the style of new stools for their island.  While walking the dog one evening they found this curved plywood/chrome stool curbside which was a very nice stand-in until they made their final decision.                                                  Curved plywood stool

Another evening walk found this piece of art curbside by a friend of mine.  Turns out (after a long forgotten stint in his garage) the painting is worth $$$.  My friend had it professionally cleaned and re-framed and this curbside treasure now has a new life hanging on his wall.                                          Curbside Art

Have a fabulous Earth Day and please…….recycle responsibly!

All images via Modmissy

St Patrick’s Day

Happy St Patrick’s Day!

A day to eat, drink and wear green.

I have made green mousse for dessert,

Green Mousse

 

I will wear the only piece of green clothing I own, Green Coat

 

And I’m thinking green beer just might be on tap for this evening!

As for my décor, I have no green.  Nothing.  Not a piece of green in my décor.

But I used to….

My livingroom walls in the 1980’s were painted Mayan Green, Benjamin Moore.

Benjamin Moore Mayan Green

In the early 1990’s my bedroom walls were painted Deep Green, Benjamin Moore.

Benjamin Moore Deep Green

My living/dining/kitchen walls a few years ago were painted a soft green – Saybrook Sage, Benjamin Moore.

Benjamin Moore Saybrook Sage

I have lived with my fair share of green and thank you very much but I am done with green!

But who knows, style is cyclical.

Have a great St Paddy’s Day.

Cheers!

 

 

 

I Dream in Design

I am working with a client right now remodelling their kitchen/family room.

What was to be a small change (new flooring and wall colour) evolved into a large renovation.

The island was ripped out and a more functional one was designed.  There was a structural repair to the foundation.  The kitchen cabinetry was all factory spray painted.  New hardwood.  New tile in the kitchen area with in-floor heating.  New pot lights in the ceiling.  New fireplace mantel.  The powder room was gutted.  And of course the walls were all painted a new colour.

Lots of changes occurred and lots of decisions have been made.

But the biggest challenge to date has been choosing the backsplash tile – the ‘jewellery’ of the kitchen.

It’s the final piece to the kitchen similar to the choosing of the perfect necklace for that beautiful outfit.

And so last night I dreamt of backsplash.

Carrara marble or Calacatta marble, glass or stone, random strip or herringbone……?

dreaming of design

 

Is dreaming successful in decision making?  I wonder?

Growing up I shared a bedroom with my sister who used to dream (and talk out loud) of math equations.  Fittingly she became an Engineer.

dreaming in math

 

My son when he was little dreamt he played with wild animals.  He is studying business at university??

 

Are dreams indicative of what is or is to become?  Do they help us overcome challenges?

What do you dream of…..?

All images designed by Modmissy

Feathering the Nest

This summer above our garage door a nest was built and three birds were born.   Baby bird

For weeks the parents flew in and out feeding and caring for their precious offspring.  These young birds had insatiable appetites and the parents never seemed to stop working.   Hungry Birds.

Then one day I noticed the young birds had ventured outside the nest.  Leaving the Nest.

And the next moment the nest was on the ground and all the birds had flown.   Birds Nest.

Hatched, raised and flown.  Gone.

In my last post I mentioned that my son is now living away at university – born, raised and flown the nest.  Gone.

So, where did 18 years go?

It was only yesterday that he was born.  And what felt like a mere 5 minutes ago that he was learning to walk, talk and then heading off to Kindergarten.  Time flies doesn’t it!?

I have to believe that my years of parenting have given him wings and the ability to soar.  Made him want to venture beyond his very comfortable nest.

But I miss him big time!!

And now there is a void in the house with empty rooms and spaces where my son once occupied.

But instead of feeling sad every time I walk past these ‘gaps’………I decided to re-decorate.

I ‘feathered the nest’ for me!

High atop on the 3rd floor of my home I turned my son’s study into my space of relaxation and comfort.   Feathering the Nest.

Let me tell you there is nothing better than lying on a comfy chaise with a view out the window, my favourite books, pictures of loved ones and the remote in my hand.

Heaven!

All images via Modmissy

Christmas in July

Aaaaaaaaarrgh!

It’s August!  One month closer to autumn.  sob..sob..sob

For me, July epitomizes summer and I am not ready to say goodbye so I advocate that July should be 60 days long.

Makes perfect sense.  Let’s keep summer around longer.  Right?

Funny thing though, yesterday I attended a ‘Christmas in July’ event.  I celebrated the holiday with Home Depot® at their 2013 Holiday Preview.

The event was held in the beautiful shop of Bobbette & Belle, Artisanal Pastries – a must visit bakery in the heart of Leslieville, Toronto.

Here is a sneak peek as to what’s hot (no pun intended!) in holiday décor for 2013.

The Winterberry Collection – red, gold and brown.  Very classic.  Winter Berry Collection

The Metallic Woodland Collection – gold and browns.  Very organic.  Metallic Woodland Collection..

The Arctic Holiday Collection – silver and blue.  Iconic colours with new shapes and designs.  Perfect for Hanukkah too.   Arctic Holiday Collection

The Midnight Holiday Collection – chartreuse, charcoal, turquoise and midnight blue.  Midnight Holiday Collection

Oh…..I loved the wallpaper behind the white cabinet in the above photo.  Thinking of it for a feature wall in my own home but that’s for another blog!

Of course no holiday is complete without a gift so Home Depot® and Bobbette & Belle sent me home with a goodie.  Thank you.  Christmas in July - Home Depot

So happy holidays and bring on more summer!!!

A Focus on Space

Yesterday I attended a focus group for the Brother® Business Smart™ all-in-one printer; the MFC-J4510DW. 

Brother MFC-J4510DW

 

With the ultimate combination of printer, scanner, copier, fax and wireless networking this piece of technology has it all.  Including great looks!

But while attending yesterday’s very informative event it occurred to me that I have not been using my Brother® Business Smart™ to its best capabilities.  Although it occupies valuable real estate on my desk I have been ‘under’ using this all-in-one printer.  I have since changed that.  And love it now even more!

This got me thinking about our homes.  Do we use them to their best or are there rooms/spaces that we ‘under’ use? 

I often say that space is highly overrated.  What good is having a lot of it when we don’t use it??

I like having my formal dining room but how often do I use it?  My TV is in my media room so I don’t really ‘hang’ in my living room.  The guest room is for guests.  I seem to never leave my kitchen as it is the hub of the house which means that I don’t use my other rooms. 

So I have started to re-think some of my space.

Stay tuned!    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

All images via Modmissy

Baby it’s Cold Outside!

Brrrrrrrrrrr!  It’s cold outside.

Mother Nature seems to be confused offering 12 degree temps (54 degree Fahrenheit) in June.

So I thought it would be OK to talk about fur – mostly fun faux fur.

I have had this photo in my inspiration folder for some time, a tear-out from Style at Home magazine.  The magazine made mention of statement pieces like the well-styled bookcases, the hide rug, table and vase – which are all very lovely.  But who could ignore that outstanding/amazing flokati-covered chair.  Not Me!!!!  flokati covered chair

Another chair that caught my attention is The Cutie Chair by Munna Design of Portugal whose mission is to ‘transform emotion into products’.  The Cutie Chair with its faux fur and gold leaf legs certainly fills me with emotions of happiness!  Cutie Armchair by Munna Design

The Ciprio designed by Fernando e Humberto Campana for Edra is a wonderfully playful iconic piece.  The settee has 9 cushions fixed to an invisible metal tube frame, stuffed with Gellyfoam® and covered in ‘ecological fur ‘available in different fur lengths.  Fun, fun, fun!  Cipria for Edra.

This chair seen on houzz.com is a Mid Century Modern classic piece covered in faux fur.  Serious but not too serious.   houzz.com

So I decided to do my own version of a faux fur covered chair.  I went with yellow to give a pop of colour in a very white guest room plus it matched one of The Hudson Bay stripes in the Point Blanket.  My family have coined it the ‘Big Bird Chair’ (à la Sesame Street).

Oh well….it makes me smile!   Yellow faux fur