Welcome to my crazy world!

Hello and welcome!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Greetings from Ireland!

We are having a great time on the west coast but it's been constant rain! We are in a little town called Doolin. It's near Listoonvarna (the matchmaking capital of the world)! Don't you love the huge billboards? Who could miss those? All you single North American ladies should come and try it! The Irish men are soooo adorbs! Remember the 1997 movie with Janine Garofalo called The MatchMaker? Yes, it was made here! They gave the town a fictional name but we all know the truth!

More rainy Irish photos, you say? Sure!!

Lots of cows (and cow smells) UGH!

Having fun!!! Hope you all are too!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Its a long way to Tipperary...



And thats where I'm going!!! Closer to Limerick the first week, but near Tipperary the 2nd!  This is my third trip to Ireland and I cannot be more excited!  My husbands family is there. His aunt is will be turning 81 on July 28th, and God willing we will be spending her birthday with her!  She is a nun at the Sisters of Mercy Convent in Longford.  I've actually slept at that convent for about a week 13 years ago, when my husband decided to pass a kidney stone while we were in Ireland!  What a man, he didn't want to shop, junk or antique but pass a kidney stone!




Anyways, I'm off on the wee hours of friday morning, and will be gone for two weeks.  I've planned to attend as many boot sales as I can find!   Ciao for now!  I mean feach leat go luath!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Tea Cup Corner

I've mentioned before that I am a certified tea sommelier, but I don't think I've ever mentioned that my dream was to start my own tea room.  Have you ever been to The Crown and Crumpet in San Francisco?  Isn't it just scrumptious?  Honestly, deeply Truly Scrumptious (huh, any Chitty Chitty Bang Bang fans out there?)!!  When my daughter lived in San Francisco, I visited her, and took her there for afternoon tea one day.  She humoured me by going there, but LOVED it!  She loved it so much that a couple of days later when we were going to go out for lunch, she asked if we could go there again.  She didn't have to twist my arm very far!



I'd seen the Tea Room in Romantic Homes magazine, just before it opened up.  I fell in LURV with the Cath Kidston covered sofa!  Look at the great cushions!  The Union Jack pillow was there WAY BEFORE it was hip in North America.



Its Cath Kidston EVERYTHING!!!  From table clothes to the aprons the wait staff wear.  Bliss…


Don't you just LURV that Tea Merchant sign?  If Amy and Chris would sell it, believe me I'd be on it like melted butter on a crumpet!



While it wasn't small, it wasn't big enough!  So they are apparently moving to a larger location!!!  Good news for Tea and Wit lovers!!


So pretty!!!


When you walk in there is an adorable shop!  Don't you just want it all??? If and when I go back to SF that will be the first place I eat (and drink tea of course!)!!

Subsequent to eating at the C & C my daughter introduced numerous friends to the amusingly charming tea room.  Then when she decided that she was going to leave SF and move back home, she quit her full time job, and got a job there for about a month bussing.  She just wanted a easy pleasant job so she could enjoy her last few days sight seeing.  She had a blast, and absolutely adored the owners.

Anyway, since I've become certified (not insane, just as a sommelier), I've been toying with the idea of opening up a tea room, but as I ran a family business for about twenty years, I'm both aware of the time drain it is, and financial drain.  It really isn't the time for me now, as I'm still busy raising my kids and taking them to all their lessons, auditions, etc…  My parents had sold their souls to the Entrepreneurial devil, and didn't have time to take us to anything, or to parent on more than a functional level.  My parents are and have always been wonderful, but they did what they had to do.  I don't want to do that. Since God has given me the strength and ability to give them more than I had, I'm going to.  When I had my three youngest kids, I promised myself that if I could, I would do for them all that my parents couldn't do for us.  Thus, no tea room yet!!

Anyways…even if I don't open a tea shop, Tea is a big part of my home!!!  My home is fully kitted out in Cath Kidston anyway, and WAY BEFORE I went to the C&C!!!  My husband is from the UK and I  would always bring it back whenever I or we went.  Since I started my tea sommelier program at George Brown College, I started collecting Tea Accessories.  I thought I would show some of my tea cup collection…Just so you know this is just a smattering of my collection.  I think I started collecting tea cups before I was interested in tea, just as a inexpensive and pretty collection.  It was probably the first thing I collected.

Here is how I display some of my favourite cups!


This ones one of my faves!




When I buy tea cups, its not their lineage which intrigues me, rather if I like it or think its unique, its in my buggy!!




This ones so simple yet sweet, isn't it?


Ok, I lied, I'll buy limoge whenever I see it, cause its always the best, or is Paragon the best…Both are my absolute faves!



They are all in a small $5 wooden shelf I bought from the Sally Ann about ten years ago, and painted grey.  I've only displayed all that it can hold : (  









We use the tea trolly for a computer table for the kids computer.  No computer in their bedrooms!!  

This is a very old original Canadian Red Rose Tea advertisement which I had framed.







This is a very vintage British table top tea shop sign which I bought from the same gentleman who sold me the Red Rose sign, and the Three teas sign.  Aren't they great!!  Its funny how the Vintiqueing Gods work…I went to a small bungalow in midtown Toronto for a craigslist ad I saw for a vintage plastic kitchen canister set and matching bread box.  I don't need it and have no room for it (its stored in my basement waiting for a good display space) but loved it and NEEDED IT!!!  When I got chatting to the gentleman selling it, I told him I was a tea sommelier, and he told me he was moving into a hospice.   He was selling years of collecting.  He and his partner used to go antiquing in the UK regularly and would have no room in his new home.  He pulled out all his tea stuff and sold it to me at great (G R E A T) prices!!!  I think he made up the difference in the canister set!


This hangs over my messy pantry door, thats why the lights are off, so you can't see the mess!

If I ever get that tea room, do I have the stuff for it!  Did I mention it would be a Peanut/tree nut free tea room?  You wouldn't know it was peanut/tree nut free because everything would be yummy!  It would be an eatery which had no nuts on the premises, and which only used ingredients which didn't contain traces of nuts!  I don't know if any of you have kids with anaphylaxis, but its really really hard to eat out.  Knowing that if the waitress ate a peanut butter sandwich at lunch then touched the cup that your kids juice comes in, he can die… Bummer!  Nut allergies kids are especially deprived of fresh yummy baked goods and candy!  So my dream was to have a tea room which would accommodate such families!  I'll let you know if my dream ever comes true!!!

How do you display your tea cups? Do you do anything interesting with them?  I'd love to know!

Hope you had a great weekend!!

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

SHE HAS GOOD BONES!


Although this post is a couple of months old, I'm submitting this in Miss Mustard Seeds Furniture Friday as I never got around to it at the time...

Oh the mistakes I made when we were newly married!  None life changing or serious, just EXPENSIVE EXPENSIVE ones, which I had to live with! How many ugly armoires can one woman buy?? It was as if I was on a mission, to give all ugly armoires a good home!

I used to think I had good taste!  I guess I did in fashion, as that had been fine tuned through years of wholesale fashion buying (though you'd NEVAH guess it by looking at how this mama dresses now!).  However, in furniture, my taste wasn't trained or fine tuned.  I think my biggest mistakes were things I HAD to buy, out of need/necessity rather than love at first sight purchases.  Can those ever be wrong?

I did an ugly armoire transformation post a few months ago, and I'm happy with that armoire now (still don't love it but can live with it).  However the elephant in the room was the armoire in my bedroom!  My husband never asked 'WHAT WERE YOU THINKING????' but he gave me that 'look' regularly.  You know 'the look'.  

This one was worse because it was pretty pricy.  It was very good quality, made by Amish in Western Ontario.  I ordered it just like the sample colours … white washed with dark oak trim!!!! AGAIN, WHAT WAS I THINKING?????  I'm embarrassed to show you the 'before' photos!  Please don't judge, we've all had expensive mistakes, haven't we?  Here is probably the only photo of the piece I have (also was painting my room at time of photo):

Good bones, but bad dated colour scheme!!!  She's only about 8 years old!
So, after eight years of living with yet another of my list of shames, I got the courage to paint her.  I think I have this mental block which stops me from painting expensive furniture even if its butt ugly!  At least until its about five years old!

First I painted it white.  I love the white look, and really want to try to live with white. As my bedroom furniture is dark in colour, and had already painted my night tables in a light paris grey and white, the all white armoire just looked…big and white and out of place.  Also, it became the third colour way in the room of furniture. The only real solution was to use the white as the under colour and trim, and paint the top coat in the paris grey (Behr) to unify the it with the end tables.

Here are the night tables. These were the traditional french repro tables you saw all over the place in the '70s.  No before photos, but you know the ones!



On to the armoire. I painted and distressed my heart out!  I also waxed with dark wax and clear wax combined. I added the appliqués after waxing as I didn't want to get the wax in the grooves.  Here is the after:



No more white and dark brown trim!



The doors not closed properly, but thats my lack of attention to detail, not the doors fault!







Just the slightest dark wood peaking through the crown…






I tried to keep a light hand with the distressing, but I just love when the edges expose the wood. 




This isn't the hardware I would have chosen, but the problem with this armoire is that it has a 3" space between the handle drawers. I don't know how it is in the US, but in Canada, most of the hardware comes in metric, and in all of Lee Valley Hardware, there was only about 4 or 5 handles which had a 3" gap.  My husband said NO DRILLING NEW HOLES.  So, this was my best option, except they were bright brass.  So I spray painted them in a hammered antiqued brass paint, and they looked great!




The appliqués are a bit stark in colour, and I will be dulling them with a grey wash.  They'll remain white but just a bit duller.




Now its perfect with my end tables:




As I was in the bedroom with my camera, I thought I would photo graph my two favourite lamps!  They haven't been tweaked yet, just left in their original conditions but I bought them separately and they are slightly different.  So terribly girly!!!!






She's the prettier more fun sister!




She's the more serious, probably older sister!



Time to make the bed!  Or possibly just sink in a take a little nap…

Please let me know if you like or dislike something!  I love hearing from you guys! 

I will be sharing on these great blogs!






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