Friday, July 23, 2010

a quick After post. another set of chairs!

The next project I decided to tackle in my apartment make-over design challenge was the dining area chairs. Julz had two chairs from Ikea that simply needed covers made for them. These two chairs were from different years with one being older and one brand new, still in the box. Slightly different in scale, but the exact same shape chair. It was super easy to cover these. Less than 3 hours to do both from start to finish. The fabric I chose matches the main colour of the room and the main palette chosen. The wood legs are light, just like the flooring and living room chairs. kinda comme ├ža:

I made sure the chairs were both apart, not assembled, so I could cover the back and seat sections separately and then assemble the chairs afterward. It was much easier that way and allowed for tucking and stapling fabric along the inside much easier. The secret, for me, is pinning. I pinned the fabric (wrong side out) on the chair back, smoothing and pinning the entire way around the edges, essentially giving myself a row of pins to follow on the machine when sewing. I carefully pulled the fabric off, sewed the side seams and then put it back on the chair to check for fit and to pin the corners down to create a boxed top and a defined edge for the sides.
Once I was happy with the corners at the top I again, slipped the cover off and sewed the flattened corners, making a neat tight boxed top thingy. (sorry, I'm not a pro. clearly.) I trimmed the edges, turned it right side out and put the cover on the chair. I then stapled the bottom edges to the underside of the chair with my super awesome electric stapler, and was done the back portion.

The seat portion was even easier. I KNOW. No sewing involved. Just me, a square piece of fabric and my stapler. I simply placed the fabric face down on the table, placed the seat face down on it, pulled the fabric up and over the bottom of the chair and stapled it to the inside edge. Making my way around, starting at the middle of each side, I continued with each side making sure to check for consistent tension and smoothness as I went. The corners were carefully trimmed, tucked and stapled and that was it, done. I re-assembled the chairs, and bam, that was it. SO EASY. In total I used about 2.5 meters of fabric. I purchased 3 meters, an still have lots left over for cushions and fun fabricy projects. yay!

So there you have it: A sneak peak of the dining area chairs. I just love how these have turned out and am anxious to see them in the final design!

Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful friday.


p.s. wanna see what project i'm working on right now? Check this out... Blog @ ya' later!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

a before & after post :: 2 chairs for julz ::

this is my life, right now. dining room office? why not.

So this is a superfun post for me to write! It's the first in a before & after series centering around a 1 room apartment (shared bath & kitchen) in a beautiful humongo brick house in downtown Ottawa. I am redesigning for a friend/client, Julz. She's a university student and wants to be able to have friends over to study and not have it so it feels like everyone is sitting in her bedroom. We sat down before she left and agreed it would be perfect for 3 distinct areas: an eating/meal prep area, a living/sitting area and a sleeping area. We also decided to create a bit of an entrance way.

This rented room is fairly straight forward, shape wise, it's a 14' x 21' rectangle. Think high ceilings, an entire wall of windows equipped with rods and new white blinds, 10" high baseboard mouldings... gorgeous. Two equal size closets are next to the entrance way, both with shelves and rods built in. Perfect for storage. The floors are light hardwood and the room is a soft warm creamy yellow. Very easy to work with, especially since they aren't keen on us painting, which I totally understand. I probably wouldn't let me paint either, if I were the landlord.

So at this point I've been at it for a week now and have managed to get a plan written/drawn out including 2 possible layouts for the 3 distinct areas, as well as most of my fabric purchased. I was matching fabric to a new duvet cover Julz wanted to use on her bed, so I needed 3 co-ordinating fabrics. We're going for a bohemian beach garden feel. yah. that. (I'll should wrangle up an inspiration post to show you the overall feel, with pics, to get that point across, I see. I'll get to that.)

ANYway, my first project was to recover 2 chairs for the living room. I have had these kicking around for a while, awaiting the perfect home and the perfect fabric. Once those decisions were out of the way *woohoo* I tore apart one of the fitted covers to use as a pattern and reserved the other for reference while sewing. I labeled the pieces so I could keep track. It was pretty straight forward, just a lot of pressing and pinning and sewing slow straight lines. I was so excited to see these chairs come to life, I can't wait to see the room together with the other fabrics chosen. Here's what I speak of:

before: in my backyard. p.s. i actually weed weekly.

after: in my own living room, not the final location. evil sweet dog not included.

It feels wonderful to have this first project complete and delivered to the apartment and project 2 soon underway. I'll be sure to share bits as they come together, but I also want to make sure to save some details for the grand finale. I'll be sure to get some formal Before pictures of the room as well for a final comparison post in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for all that craziness!


Sunday, July 18, 2010

1 blog award received, 5 given & a lot about *me*

Check this shit out! Yup, it's true. Not only was I awarded with a very cool blogging badge of honour, I'm actually sitting down and writing a post about it. AND following the rules of acceptance. I KNOW! I'm slow, but I get there. Something that was holding me back was the Rules, you see. Having to write about myself feels hard. And the Rules clearly state one must write five things about one's self that reader's wouldn't know. See? Just throwing that out there.

Let's just start.

One person I have gotten to know online and frequently wish my neighbour IRL is Katy from Torpid Trifling. I love her. As soon as her rss feed bolds in my faves list, I run to check out the latest post. So, I wander over one day and Yay! Lazybones (her ironic screen name) had received a Beautiful Blogger Award! Yay Katy! I'm reading her always-amazingly-written post explaining the amazingness bestowed on her blog and BAM! she has to pass the award on to five others, including yours truly, moi! Flattery blushing on it's own is odd for me, but that's what I did, sitting in front of my laptop, alone, I blushed. And smiled.

Let's get this show on the road. Here come the rules:

Rule 1: Thank the person who gave you the award.

That's so easy! Thank You Thank You Thank You Katy! I found Katy's blog, Torpid Trifling, through the comments section of one of my favourite other blogs I frequent and replied that "Katy, you and I could be friends IRL" due to that one comment she wrote that day.

So, dear Katy I say to you: Your frequent posts detailing many areas of your life never bore, always inspire, forever challenge my own ideas and you simply awe me with all you do and how you love. I love your outlook, your observations, tales of life, love, education, settling down vs. travel, motherhood and I admire it all. I secretly hope you write a book one day, it would be amazing. I also actually do hope to meet you IRL one day! She's also having another baby who's sex she pre-dreamt. I know! GO read her blog. now. we'll wait.

Rule 2: List 7 things about yourself your readers do not know.

I decided to just go for it kids. Zioks!

1. My career has some fuzziness to it on this blog, so let's tackle that here. In five points. To start, I have had 25 jobs in my lifetime with my first starting back when I was 13. I was a horse-girl, owned horses and worked and lived on a horse farm taking care of barns, animals and day campers for a few summers. I was a member of Pony Club and have judged a pony club show. I also worked in the barns on weekends for free riding lessons. I got ribbons at shows. I can do dirty and sweaty just fine. When it comes to farm life I have seen it all and cleaned it all. I can also throw a bail of hay higher than myself and show no fear & take control of large animals freaking out. These skills have actually come in quite handy, like when dealing with random raging drunken people, for example.

2. Once I found cars and boys and made the hard decision to bid my love and hobby of 8 years goodbye I sold my beautiful thoroughbred boy and got a 'real job' making hard cash. At this point I entered the ever character building line of work known as Food Services. My first out-of-barn experience was working for a small crappy donut store in my small town. The manager was 19 and continually fighting with her baby daddy. I was left to pretty much run the place, worked double shifts all summer long and provided everyone I knew with free donuts. I made a mint. I also encountered mean girls. And owners who don't care that you are deathly allergic to bees and wasps because it is YOUR new job to clean out the industrial garbage bins. In the summer. Yah. I left there when school started again. I worked a multitude of clothing retail jobs all through high school (including a bathing suit store for 2 years; that's a post of it's own) until I entered my second year of university in 1993. At that point I got a job with an art supply store, downtown where I was then living, where I worked and played with supplies until I graduated 3 years later. (there was even a plaster cast of my entire body hanging in the ceiling for years.) By far, the best experience I have had job-wise. Working with artists and supplies (and the discount!) was amazing. Think art camp + work. I learned so. much. there.

3. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts and Social Sciences in Art History & Anthropology in 1996 my career prospects were, um, limited. I took a few months off and worked at a video store, at a cosmetics counter at a department store and then I found a Real Job. It was not my desired field, but I had an opportunity from a distant family member to join the wonderful world of Technical Recruiting. I was a recruiter for 5 years. Some of it was fun. I mean, it wasn't ALL bad. I worked at the first place for 3 years. I got to learn the ins and outs out a corporate job, my role, business, procurement and the government. I had cool things to work on (read: recruited real! astronauts!) and it fed my quest to learn. I hated it though. H.A.T.E.D it. So I left to pursue the world of International Headhunting. Yup. Me. I had clients in Santa Barbara and Maryland. I went to physics conferences to woo pH.D's to join in on the .com bubble. I hated it. I hated the long hours, the time-zones, the shitty ultra-right wing nutbar guys who started this company and I was fired. It was the best thing to happen to me, actually. I hated it. So, I took those skills and went back to regular recruiting for government clients locally and joined a family owned and run consulting firm. I was with them for a year and a half and took that opportunity to really learn the ins and outs of procurement and proposal writing instead of just body-hunting all day long. I hated my boss, the big bosses son and what I deemed racist actions at times . Yah. So I moved on. I finally had some new experience to market and landed an awesome position in the world of national business development and proposal writing. After doing that for a couple of years I grew bored and worked with a start-up company from home full time and thereby found myself entering the world of Management and contracting. I moved around to a couple of different firms managing the proposal team, working on contract. Contracting suited me. More freedom, more flexibility, I liked it. But after 10 years and many changes in the industry I had had it. I couldn't do it any more. My guilty conscience had gotten the better of me and I could no longer handle the stress of generating multi-year, multi-million dollar contracts for the corporate world. I mean, I'm a frickin artist, who was I kidding? Waking up in the middle of the night with tension headaches for weeks on end took it's toll. I felt like I was losing it. I was, in fact losing it.

4. 2006: The Before and After. Soon after we got married my contract was to end and I wasn't sure what would come after. I wasn't too concerned since finding other people jobs WAS my job for 8 years. What I couldn't predict was the announcement made 10 days after our honeymoon. My father was leaving my mother after 34 years of marriage for a woman who lived in the US. They had been an affair with for over 2 years. My mother had found out the year previous, but my brother was getting married in December 2005 so they had decided to keep it a secret until after his wedding. Then we got engaged in December 2005, and my parents decided to extend the plan out until I was married. I was now married. My mother broke the news. My life that day changed. I somehow managed to get through the final two months of my contract, but I was a mess. A literal mess. My adoption and abandonment issues broke through to the surface. I was I weepy heap of non-identity all of a sudden. I couldn't even function in a meeting without getting angry and lashing out. I cried every bus ride home. My contract ended in September. My depression got dark and gooey and I turtled in the dark at home through the fall and winter of 2007. My husband was scared and confused. Who was this nutbar he had married? Couples counseling began on the morning of New Year's Eve. Trust in anyone was fading. I start to separate myself from my broad network, even my closest friends and all acquaintances. I was officially unemployed and to me, unemployable. I was my career's own worst enemy.

5. New Normal. After landing a very cool contract with the federal government in March of 2007, a sweet Communications role, I was finally feeling functional again. This was a first for me since the federal government had always been a client, so I started to see the light a little. I was still fragile, but functional. Therapy had helped. I was enjoying the role I had, but not enlightened by the system that ran the country. The bureaucracy was foreign to me. I was clearly from the cut throat, revenue-generating, Private Sector. A stranger in a strange land. I wanted accountability and strategy and extension of service offerings and communicating within the unit, while the reply was pretty much " (blank stare) huh? I have a french exam to study for so I can get my next Level/promotion" Weirdos. Luckily we had decided that when my contract ended in the fall I would take on the task of managing the renovation of our 1950's house. Bathroom and kitchen were gutted and replaced. Walls moved. New appliances researched and purchased. An entire Ikea kitchen assembled, by yours truly, with a lone allen key and a phillips head screwdriver. We did a lot of it ourselves. Did you know that 60% of couples renovating separate? SIXTY percent. We fought. A lot. The renovations took OVER our lives, my depression was still deep. But we pulled through and I found a new contract in a new world, the non-profit world of festivals and film and art. I started working with them in the spring of 2008 and today, still, I'm working with them in some capacity. I worked back in the proposal world last summer and fall, but really hated it. The pointlessness of so many hours of MY day being spent wasting time for the paycheque. Sitting around makes me crazy, I've found. Enter today. Today? Well, today I'm still struggling a bit. I'm dealing with the past a lot. Quietly. It's not so hard, now in the new normal that comes from four years of time passing by. But it's still there. I have made a commitment to keep moving forward in the art and design and film world. To be where I am comfortable in my own skin. I started blogging in multiple arenas in 2005. This blog as a testing ground last year. Now, I want to start my own business and work with other creative people. Not many people get this about me. Why I can't go back there. Take another McJob. So I'm relying on my own instincts and love of art and Making Things to get me through the next 40 or 50 years of my life. I want this next career to be It. My life's passion. So I'm starting it. And it's all happening so fast.

Rule 3: Award 5 bloggers who you've recently discovered.

* E of A Million Universes: I've known E online since the early days of 2008, if my memory serves me correctly. She's one of my Gerds. Girl Nerds from Nerdfighteria, the ning site where all things Nerdfighters and Vlogbrothers happen on the internet. I've been following E's blog for a while and I always love to catch sight of her wonderful art journal filled blog. She shares her art and writes gloriously written posts about the joys of motherhood to two twin boys with sensory issues and anxiety battles to fight. She writes like the best of them and sometimes shares tales and pictures of adventures of these amazingly brilliant beautiful boys. Check her OUT!

* Suzie of Suzie the Foodie: Suzie's blog about yes, food, is one of my go-to blogs for anything food related. She is adventurous, reviews very cool products, hosts giveaways of cool kitchen stuff and in general, she blogs beautifully. She also is happy to share and encourage. I love her recipe posts and scroll through the categories whenever I need ideas. She even inspired me to bake bread more than once this winter! A miracle I say. I love that. Get you kitchens ready because you WILL want to cook after reading this blog. The next time I'm in Halifax I am scheduling a date to meet with her IRL. I can't wait. GO!

* Sarah of Toodles shares her life: Sarah's blog always inspires me with her colourful posts on design and her natural eye for all things awesome. She's a graphic designer by day, writer and editor of great blog posts by night. It's one that you'll love to wander through. Visually, is screams to me. I love her visions and themed posts bringing together collections of items she's found in the big bright web. Beautiful!

* Emily & Serena of The D.A.D. Project. I met Emily on Twitter & am lucky enough to have met the wonderful mchen in real life. She is easily someone I would call a beautiful artist, person and blogger. (I guess this really is two awards!) When I heard she and her sister Serena were launching a project to raise awareness and funds for cancer research I was really excited for them and inspired by their energy. Their dad was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer last year and this is their ode to him. Each day one piece is posted for sale with the proceeds donated to the Canadian Cancer Society. They also have featured artists who have donated pieces for sale, so there really is something for everyone. I encourage you to check this beautiful blog out. Their artwork is bright and vivid and would be a great pop of colour in any room. All the best to your dad, beautiful E&S.

* Heather of Fumbling For Words. I met Heather on Twitter and have loved getting to know her there and via her blog. Her posts of life, art, work, leadership, travel, family, motherhood, wifehood and womanhood enrich my life. The photos alone are worth checking her out for. There is no other way to put it. When I grow up, in my next life, I want to be like Heather. Heather writes like the professional she is. She expresses and shares her journeys and the wisdom of her experiences. Her life has taught her some hard lessons along the way and I appreciate her honesty and openness in such a forum. I feel like I know myself better just by reading through her blog. I can't wait to someday meet her too. How beautiful is that?

So there you go. The beautiful blogger torch has been passed. I hope you check out some of my fave's, they really are awesome spots to explore, each one of them.

Happy Day!


p.s. if you made it to the end of this post? wow. hi!

Friday, July 16, 2010

it's ♥ I Forgot This Friday ♥ Again.

You know, I have to be honest. This second of the I Forgot This Friday posts is not something I forgot at all. Neither was the first. In fact, they are quite the opposite. They are the most exciting things going on in my little virtual world, and they are so sacred that I fear jinxing them with even an inaudible whisper. I hold them dear and close. I would package them up and put them in little lockets to have around my neck, within clutching distance, if I could. These are the things coming back to me as a result of my work. These are symbols and road signs to the place i call 'progress', I had hoped for, silently, fearfully, as i laid awake nights wondering what the future would hold for Me. And here we are. Where I have always dreamt of someday being, professionally and personally. Shhh. The shy artist in me is still bashful, and history tells me to be wary of unhatched foul. Baby steps. Shhh.

So, to the point. You remember my little creation (and current laptop table - I mean that, I'm sitting in my office using him, Blue Footed Bobby, right now!) I blogged about here? Well, technically, since his base is an Ikea table base he qualifies as an "Ikea-hack." Ikea Hacker is a blog about all the other things you can do with Ikea stuff. People from all over the world submit their projects to the blog and if they are accepted are then posted to the blog. After posting Bobby here it popped into my mind that I should take a chance and submit to them.

I did.

A few days later it popped up online and omg, the reaction has been incredible. I am still in shock at the response to my tables. Here is what I speak of. In a screen shot story time style.

The original Ikea Hack:

Which led to re-nest, a division of Apartment Therapy picking it up:

Which led to Life Hacker in Australia (affiliated with Pop Sugar)

Then Pianeta Donna in Italy featured both suitcase tables, Bambi & Bobby. (note translated text makes for weirdness.)

and then, finally, it also popped up on another more general site:

Can you stand it?!?!? WHO KNEW? And still, the excitement keeps building. I received a pretty cool e-mail yesterday about one of my posts. I'm super excited about it.I will be sure to forget about it and update you later. :)

So that's what I had forgotten to update. Never fear, there are more fun projects to come and of course more styles and designs of suitcase tables. They are really exciting to pull together. Any colour combo ideas? I need some fresh eyes kids, what colour combos would YOU personally like?

Thanks for all the patience. I am sucking at blogging these days.


ps: love you long time.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

look! pretty flowers! a quick distracted update post

this is a distraction post. plain and simple. (bad capitalization to follow)
new projects are like tiny new baby chicks in my world.
I'm spending lots of time with my baby chicks.

dets? fair enough i suppose. I'm being weird and vague here.
some of you might want to sit down. I'm actually-for-real-this-time/finally starting a teenie tiny art & design business.* I KNOW! So much more on this later.

in addition to the excitement around that circus, I've had two different projects come my way.

1) I'll be in the credits of a short independent film! for set-design! over three weekends this summer I'll be working behind the scenes. In addition, one of my paintings is going to be IN the FILM. let me stop so you can think about that coolness for a second and feel my excitement. Ready, breathe: I. KNOW. RIGHT? I'm heading to the set for the first day of shooting after i press 'publish' on this bad-boy. i feel like i did the first day of summer school. That to me means good things, new things, new doors, and kinda awesome.

2) I've been hired by a new friend to design and execute her 1 - room apartment while she's away for 5 weeks volunteering in an eco-village and backpacking around Costa Rica. She has no time to do it herself and doesn't want to worry about it while she's gone so abracadabra do we have a plan! she's leaving me with her budget, some ideas and her keys. she wants a unique home to return to and entrusts that I will be able to deliver her that. I so can. I'm so excited. Blog away I will! DIY funtimes FTW!

That's it for now. Sorry 'bout that. I got a blog award and everything (!!!!) and I still have to find the time to get that big awesome post up. *slacker*

Enjoy your Saturday. If it's sucking, I'm sorry. Look at the blue sky and watch the trees for a minute to distract your brain. Helps me.

love you long time,


* teenie tiny now, watch out though, my plan includes world domination inside of two years. Don't say I didn't warn you. Just ask my cheerleader, Kristal. She's helping me get all my ducks in a row. (they wander)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

short, sweet & sketchy

The summer has landed! The summer has landed! And, yo, am I lovin it. Less blogging and more gardening, cleaning and organizing it seems. Woo hoo! Never fear, there are a tonne of new projects in the works to share. DIY funtimes, in fact.

For now I'll share some index card sketches. I use the back of a simple recipe card, a black marker and draw quick little sketches. They come from whatever I happen to be cycling through in my mind and serve as reference points for future work. I try and do at least one daily, but if I'm working on something else they often get tossed aside. Most are dated on the bottom and some have corresponding words on the back. Over the last couple of years I've collected quite a few of them. Hundreds. Wanna see?

ok then.
below are 2 sets of 4 individual sketches, for a total of 8. they wer picked at random and tossed on the scanner. fun!

(click image to enlarge)

So yah, that's a little tidbit to tide you over until I get to what's REALLY going on around here these days. Fun stuff.

More to come this week!



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