Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Vintage finds

I was able to visit a Village des Valeurs on Sunday on my way to my in-laws. It's always a treat for me to be able to visit a thrift store I don't usually go to. I feel like there are so many things just waiting for me to find them. This time was no exception. I found some really nice children's books again.

These books are from a set of kids encyclopedia. As tempted as I was to get them all, I realized that 4 should be sufficient for now.

I also found these two little treasures. Farmyard animals from the 60s and Where the wild things are. Very excited about these finds. And, as always, more updates on what these will become later!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Striving to be less perfect

This might sound like an odd sentiment, but it's something I'm trying really hard to achieve. I wrote about my new years resolutions in my last post of 2011 and as we're closing to the end of January, it might be a good idea to look back on them. Just to make sure I'm making some progress...

In that post, it's the points 3 and 5 that are the tough ones for me. 3. Less thinking, more creating and 5. Stress less.

I've always been hard pressed for perfection. It's a good quality to have and I do realize that, but it does hinder me on occasion as well. This is especially hard when trying to be creative. Now, anything I sell in my shop has to be the best. I make sure that they are, in effect, perfect. Everything should be perfect in a sense of construction, no fraying edges, no wrinkles and no smudges. That is a given to me and nothing less than perfect in that sense will ever make it to the shop.

However, when you are crafting, you should allow room for things that are less than perfect. Otherwise, all your time goes into trying to achieve the unattainable. And this is exactly where I run into problems. As much as I strive for perfection with my business, I need to allow some room for error and creativity.

So, I'm taking on additional projects that will hopefully allow me to try out things, without worrying about the results so much. The first one: mail art.

This is a topic I will come back to with some more concrete examples as I get things done. This is my goal of the week, create something fun and random without a plan ahead of time.

I'll report back with the results.

How do you manage being creative and not worry about the result?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Another wonderful week

Bored of the positiveness yet? Well, I'm not! As those who know me personally can attest, I'm not necessarily the most positive person in the world (I like to say realistic, but that differs depending who you ask), but I am also a firm believer that positive thinking yields positive results. So, once again, I want to keep that attitude going and think about all the great things that happened this week!

I started the week at the "cabin" we rented. (still in quotation marks, should be a mansion) It was a lot of fun spending that time with friends, regardless of my feelings about cross country skiing. I started working on the pocket sized notebooks and absolutely love them! I took one to immediate use myself.

I had dinner and a few pints at McKibbin's Irish Pub on Friday with former co-workers, who I now consider friends. It was a fun evening of catching up. New plans were made to make sure we meet up more often. Saturday night we attended a birthday party and ended up at the Burgundy Lion, an English Pub. (See a pattern here? If I could choose, I'd only go to pubs) It was another wonderful night.

Besides all this, I've worked on my Etsy shops, found some wonderful ideas and inspiring photos online. I also got some custom orders from my wonderful clients and once again felt extremely lucky to be able to work on something I truly love, crafting! All the wonderful inspiration I found will show up here in my blog in one way or another. More on those later!

To top the week off, we're soon heading out to my in-laws to enjoy, what I know will be, an incredible amount of food in celebration for Chinese new year. I also get to drop by Ikea (that craft space organizing project is still going on) and check out my favourite thrift stores close to my in-laws place. Keeping my fingers crossed for some awesome finds.

All in all, another successful week. And (as overtly positive this sounds to me), I'm looking forward to next week!

So, how has your week been?

Saturday, January 28, 2012


I love notebooks. I have a ton at home and I still can't help myself when I see a nice one. I just have to bring it home. I carry one with me at all times. I have a small one for crafting ideas (they can sneak up on you when you least expect it) in my purse and at least two on my desk.

The idea I was referring earlier was of course notebooks. I've found 4.5 x 3.5 inches (roughly 11.5 x 8 cm) a great size to carry around with you. It's basically small enough to fit in your pocket. So, all of a sudden I realized I need to cover small notebooks in vintage book pages. And that's what I've been working on... The first ones are already available in my shop.

I've cover a few with maps from a 1953 travel book, some with animal drawings from a book published in 1951, I've also used pages from the book about British flora and I have some really cool advertisements from a book about the Halley's comet. The last one was printed in the early 80s but the advertisements are from 1910.  I have a lot of awesome books to add to the library later.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Inspiration

I love old furniture. It's a dream of my to one day learn how to restore old pieces. I would love to find some beautiful storage units and fix them up for every day use. I currently have two old dressers that I've painted black. They went well with our old bedroom set, but they are getting worn out again.

In Pinterest, originally from Ihan Oma

When I was still in Finland, I got two dish cabinets from my grandmother. The cabinets had drawers at the bottom and shelves on top. I needed some storage units, so she gave them to me and I painted them light blue. I love the contrast of clearly old pieces of furniture and more modern colour. They turned out great, in fact, my sister still has them in her place. She even got the third piece of the set.

In Pinterest, Originally from Heather Bailey

Currently at home I have the two dressers, two small tables and a jewelry cabinet that I've painted and fixed up. I really like them all, but I've recently been feeling it's time for change in our condo. I'm constantly keeping an eye out for something interesting. Hopefully I'll find something good eventually.

In Pinterest, originally by French by Design

Have you rescued old furniture and fixed them up? If so, what? And if not, do you have plans for doing something like that?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

On the crafting table

Sometimes the ideas just come randomly. This was definitely one of those, all of a sudden it's like "why did it take me so long to come up with this?". I've been cutting up book pages, measuring, then cutting and more measuring and more cutting... There's paper snippets all over the place, but things are finally coming together. Here's a sneak peek:

More details to come once I get more items finished. This idea came to me last night and I could hardly wait until the morning to start making things. I love that feeling!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Weekend of winter sports

We spent last weekend at Blueberry Lake, just north of Tremblant. It's about a 2 hour drive from Montreal. I haven't really done any kind of winter sports in a long time, so it was definitely time to try it out. We rented a cabin for 3 nights. It was meant for 8 people, there were 7 of us for most of the weekend, but for one night we fit 11 in it with relative comfort.

The cabin was very nice and fully furnished. We didn't need to bring anything except for food. There were some issues we had to figure out before settling in, like a fire alarm that wouldn't stop beeping and a fridge that turned off once we got all the food in there. The staff was helpful and came by to fix the problems and we were good to go.

The cabin had three floors, three bathrooms, four bedrooms, a pool table and a hot tub (very important). Equipment rental was included in the rental fee, so we didn't need to bring those with us. (Not that I actually own any equipment) We tried all the free activities, cross country skiing, skating and snowshoeing. It was nice to try them out, but I can now say with relative confidence that I don't think I'll do cross country skiing for another 15 years... That was the hardest one for me! I used to ski all the time in elementary school but stopped soon after, once no one made me go any more. The tracks weren't on flat surface and we were climbing hills in the woods, definitely not my kind of thing. Had it been on a flat surface, perhaps I would've had more success in it. All said and done though, it was still fun (in hindsight). I can fondly reminisce the time when I fell and my husband came to my rescue. Before he reached me though, he fell too. The only one who stayed upright was our friend who had to come help us both.

Snowshoeing was actually fun, but it's a lot of hard work. We all went together, all 7 of us and then still decided to go skiing after. Perhaps that wasn't the smartest idea... I was pretty sore afterwards.

On Sunday most people still wanted to go skiing, so I opted for snowshoes again and went around the beginner's track with a friend who had only tried skiing once before. That pace worked perfectly for both of us and it was a good leisurely ski/snowshoe walk around the lake. And to make sure there would be no part in my body that wasn't sore, we still went skating. There was a fantastic 3 on 3 hockey game, where only two of us (I definitely was not one of them) knew what they were doing. Turns out skating came back to me a bit better than skiing did. It was actually so much fun I might be willing to try that again (no promises though). I am pretty sore everywhere, my feet and calves feel like lead and I have trouble raising my arms (morning yoga was painful today).

Ultimately, though, it was a great experience! We ate really well as we all cooked one meal for the group, we did destroyed an impressive amount of beer and got to hang out together for an entire long weekend, which in itself made the whole weekend a success. Extra bonus points for the hot tub!

Thanks for an amazing weekend guys!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Materials - 70s cookbook

The New World Encyclopedia of Cooking. Edited by the staff of Culinary Arts Institute. This large cookbook was published in 1979. It's the "new edition" so includes cutting edge culinary techniques, like 'microwave cookery' and 'the food processor'.

Condition: although this book is fully intact, there were a few rips on some of the pages as well as some staining.

What I loved about this book was the pictures. Most pages have two-tone illustrations, in either black and brown or black and green. The topics range from cooking utensils, to ingredients and completely random, yet awesome pictures. There are some 50s housewives as well as a lobster reading the newspaper and everything in between... The book also has 8 colour pages, one of which was unfortunately torn.

I made larger envelopes of the colour pages and used the pages with the two-tone illustrations for small note cards.

Dancing tigers

While I put together some photos from the weekend trip, here's a video that made me smile this morning. I think it's appropriate for the first day of the year of the Dragon (it has tigers, but that's not the point).


Monday, January 23, 2012

Year of the dragon

Happy Chinese New Year!

Beautiful Chinese paper cut-outs I got from my friend from her trip to China

Today marks the start of the year of the Dragon. The exact time is at 3:40 PM local time (not sure which timezone to be honest as I understood China expands over five of them...).

We're only celebrating next weekend due to some scheduling issues, but I am very much looking forward to it. As always there will be plenty of food.

Wishing you a happy and prosperous new year!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Food - le Hachoir

After getting the final things together for our long weekend at Blueberry Lake (like buying snow pants, go figure), we decided to go out for dinner at Le Hachoir. We've tried to get a table there before, but since we rarely make reservations and just decide last minute where we'll have dinner, it hasn't worked out so far. The restaurant is pretty small and has been full every time we've tried to go there. This time we got lucky, probably because it was Thursday and it was snowing out. The restaurant was still full, but we got a table after only a few minutes of waiting.

The staff was friendly and welcoming. I always appreciate the little extras, like the maitre'd who told us he'll go clear a table for us, but we could have a seat at a booth by the window while we waited. He also bought us a glass of water (little things, like I said, make all the difference). Ultimately he asked if we just wanted to sit by the window even though it wasn't set up for diners.

Le Hachoir is known for burgers, tartares and vin (or so the tagline goes). My husband and I both ended up ordering a tartare, he got the bison and I the beef. The bison tartare sounded a tad odd to be honest. Tartare with barbecue sauce? Our server, Cynthia, mentioned it is sweet, but we ended up trying it out anyway.

The tartares (as mains) come with salad and fries. Both were good, but the salad trumps the fries. The salad seemed super simple, basically lettuce and olives, but the dressing/marinade was great, tangy and fresh. Nothing wrong with the fries, but the salad was better. The tartares were great! I asked mine extra spicy, which was perfect for my taste. I always enjoy it when restaurants actually make them extra spicy, not just say so. The texture was creamy and even though I prefer my tartares chopped a bit finer, this had larger pieces of beef in it as well, I definitely enjoyed my meal. And as for bison and barbecue tartare? Surprisingly good! It had a hint of barbecue flavor, but it wasn't overwhelming, I preferred the texture of that one, but only slightly.

Pictures from the le Hachoir website

As a dessert we shared a "ice cream burger". The cookies and the butterscotch sauce it came with were fantastic, the only tiny minus was that the ice cream took a backseat with the rest. It could've used a bit creamier ice cream, you know, the really old school thick vanilla. That was a very minor point though (and perhaps I was just too eager to eat it, a few minutes to melt might have made all the difference).

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my meal. Only improvements in my opinion would've been the ice cream and I would've liked to see a bit more variety in the wine list when it comes to single glasses.

The experience was definitely positive! Really great food, the tartares were worth it. The burgers looked great, I'll have to try one next time. I definitely recommend this restaurant and will absolutely return! Extra props for the nice staff!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Library

As you might have noticed, I've been making a lot of changes here in my blog. Among them, the library. I've finally added links to the books I've already documented here and I will keep doing so as I find more beautiful books to use for my craft.

 Take a look at the library HERE or click on the library tab at the top of the page.

Any comments are always welcome!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Inspiration

I tend to collect souvenirs from our travels and always have trouble figuring out ways to display them without creating extra clutter in my home. I've yet to bring home a travel-themed dishtowel, but after seeing this, I might just consider it.

Photo found HERE and also on Pinterest

These are so quirky and fun! I think they would work so well and add some flair (Office space anyone?) to the home.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

An early start to the weekend

I'm heading off to Blueberry lake tomorrow morning. It's close to Tremblant (a ski village) just north from us. There's a few of us going and we rented a "cabin" (cabin in quotation marks as it's apparently a 4 bedroom house with a hot tub).

It should be a lot of fun, they have all sorts of winter outdoor activities like skating, tubing and cross country skiing. Now, I've probably gone skating a handful of times since elementary school (which, I might add, has been a few years...) so, we'll see how that goes. There's also a spa, which I assume is where I will be spending more time than out skiing.

I've never really got into winter sports, I think it's a combination of doing enough of that when I was in school and that my family was never big on it when I was growing up. I understand that it might sound odd being Finnish and all, but what can you do.

So, due to this unexpected turn of events, today's schedule includes trying to find the most winter outdoor activity appropriate clothing and going to look for snow pants. Realizing that the pants I do have won't be appropriate for any kind of outdoor activity, let alone in the winter, has lead me to consider this drastic measure. (sounds a tad dramatic, I know, but I really don't have anything I can wear, pants-wise. It's been really cold here) I also thought that showing up wearing dress pants would significantly undermine what little outdoorsy credibility I have.

I have some posts scheduled for when I'm away. I will also come by with some updates from Blueberry lake if I get a chance!

Have a marvellous weekend and see you soon!

P.S. I actually took time to find some topic-appropriate photos. I had none. I think winter activities are long overdue...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Blog maintenance

Please be patient with me, I'm trying to make some changes to the blog. I'm adjusting colours, adding images and generally trying to improve it. This is definitely a work in progress, so any comments are welcome!


Yesterday's finds

Like I already mentioned, yesterday was a good day with some amazing finds from my local charity shop.

I found these incredible rolls of wall paper. Two of them are white with subtle shades of cream and tan and two are floral. They are just beautiful! I can't wait to start using these. I have so many ideas what I can make out of these, I'll need to try a few things out first. I'll definitely post some of the results here as I get them finished.

Besides the wall paper I also found two used board games. One of them is Boggle Jr. and the other... well... it's called 'booty'. Got a good chuckle out of that one and needless to say, my husband kept coming up with comments all evening... Something about secondhand booty, I'll leave the rest for your imagination.

I bought the games mainly for the cool pieces they came with, but the boxes are a good size too... I'll see what I can use them for. Another great find from the Boggle game was the game stand. The idea of the game seems to be that the player picks a card with a picture on it. Then they need to spell the word correctly using the alphabet blocks. It's actually a cute piece, so after looking at it for a moment, I realized I can use it too!

The next time I'll go to a craft fair, I can use it as a business card holder. It'll definitely be a little different. So, a good find all around!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Thrifting karma

Looks like my recent burst of positivity is really paying off! Not only am I happier, but I found some incredible finds at a charity store today. Not one, not two, but four rolls of vintage wallpaper! And they are all different. I'm just squee-ing with happiness right now.

I also find some really nice games that were missing a few pieces, but the ones that were left are just amazing. Perfect for the picky crafter! I'll definitely get some photos taken soon, the light is unfortunately already gone for today.

Just felt like sharing! How has your day been?

Monday, January 16, 2012

A thought for Monday

I just saw this today. Not sure where it's from originally, but I thought it was a great way to start the week!

I found this through Taina's blog

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lovely Sunday

Stop and smell the coffee (I can't say flowers as I'm notoriously bad at keeping plants alive). I tend to stress too much, so it's time to think about nice things. Today is a good day.

I got to enjoy my coffee while looking through my latest finds. Beautiful books about various topics. Halley's comet. Beautiful flowers. Funny animals. I sat down and browsed through the books and thought about what to make out of them. This time though, I didn't just think about it, I also started making.

I got to see friends who are moving to Europe. I also found some wonderfully inspirational photos of work spaces and beautiful homes. I Pinned quite a few for future inspiration and was happy to see others liked them too.

Photo via Pinterest

I have a number of orders to finish packing and a few custom orders to finalize. I have awesome customers.

The light outside is beautiful even if it's cold outside. I'm glad I bought that vintage jacket all those years ago. Keeps me warm.

All in all a pretty good day.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Materials - British Flora

The concise British flora in colour. By W. Keble Martin, MS, DSc, FLS. This book was published in 1972 (am I just imagining or do I somehow end up with a lot of books from that year? Maybe it was a really good year for amazing books) and has a foreword by His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (neat little fact in my opinion).

Condition: This book is actually one of the better ones when it comes to condition. It's printed on rather heavy paper, which I believe credits much of the condition. There were a few rips and tears and some staining on the book, most pages, however, were in great condition.

This book was one of those that I immediately was drawn to. The illustrations are amazing. It has a good number of colour plates and a few black and white ones. To quote H.R.H. Prince Philip "It represents a life's work and has taken nearly sixty years to complete." Makes me appreciate it even more.

This was also a book that I had a harder time deciding what to do with. I had ideas, but for a long while I felt bad about cutting it up (This happens often, more on that later) but I realized that even though the condition was not as bad as a lot of the other books I've rescued, it had reached the end of it's life as a book and would delight so many more people as stationery. This combined with a request of one of my regular customers decided the conundrum for me. It was time to make a few stationery sets.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Inspiration

Graphic design and old punk bands, what's not to love?

I came across a site called "Swissted", which is an ongoing project by graphic designer Mike Joyce. He redesigns old punk, hardcore and indie rock flyers into typographic style posters. His inspiration (according to his site) comes from love of punk rock and Swiss modernism.

Now, I can't say I know much about Swiss modernism, but I do love punk rock. These designs are fantastical!

I feel they look even better in groups! I do have to admit though, that as much as I love these, I am still trying to convince my husband to let me get an old Sex Pistols poster (preferably God save the Queen, the one with the Union Jack) and frame it in the condo. We'll see if it works out!