29 July 2011

Inspiration Gallery #8 | Cottage Country

If this one sounds a little more chipper than I have done in the last few days, it's because I wrote it in advance.  Love the Auto-Post function!  Have a good long weekend, everyone.

It begins!  Work is officially over.  The sabbatical has officially begun.  And to celebrate, we're packing up and heading out to cottage country for a few days of rest, relaxation, fishing, eating, and reading!  It's going to be heavenly.

So that you can celebrate along with me, I'm dedicating today's Inspiration Gallery to all things cottage.  I can hear the loons calling already ... !

Fishin' ....
Kayaking ~ via here
Fun in the boat (followed by some more fishin')
Rock jumping and lake swimming ~ via here
Muskoka chairs on the dock, preferably with cocktails ~ via here
Cooking everything on the grill ...
... and eating as often as possible outside on the deck ~ via here and here
A little tubing goes a long way ~ via here
Reading in the sunshine on the dock ~ via here
Naps.  And hammocks.  But mostly naps. ~ via here
Gorgeous sunsets
Loons calling from the water
Bonfires after dark with ...
... roasted marshmallows and ...
... S'mores!  ~ via here
Playing board games on rainy days ~ via here
Catching frogs (and releasing them ... and catching ... and releasing again) ~ via here
Nature walks ~ via here

Coffee on the dock at sunrise ~ via here
Watermelon with every meal ~ via here

~ all uncited photos ("Fishin'," "Fun in the boat," "Gorgeous sunsets," and "Bonfires after dark ...") by me ~

Mostly it's just a great excuse to slow down and focus on the important things in life, spending time with family and friends, which I will be doing plenty of (nothing but!) this weekend.  Regardless of what type of plans you have for the weekend, I hope you make the most of them and enjoy every minute of it.  See you on Tuesday!


28 July 2011

The Damage ... and Some Comfort Food

The prognosis is not looking good.  People (car-people, anyway) keep looking at me like, oh, poor thing!   *Sigh*


Dinner last night, because I sorely needed some comfort food.  Family chili recipe (made a little heart-healthier with turkey+beef instead of all beef).  Yummm.


27 July 2011

The Artful Blogger

After a small hiccup yesterday in getting Dexter released from the storage lot where he was towed after the accident, we're back on track in getting him to the body shop today where he'll undergo assessment and, hopefully, repair.  I'll keep you updated as I receive more details.  Keep your fingers crossed!

Sidebar: why do people have to be jerks and try to profit from the misfortune of others?  The auto collision shop that took in Dexter on Saturday - where the OPP sent him, I might add - tried to take advantage of the situation when I called them yesterday and convince me to go against the recommendation of my insurance company to use their services instead.  I was told that the insurance-recommended companies would use post-production materials (not as good) whereas they would only use original parts; that the cost of storage and towing would be at my expense and wouldn't be covered by insurance (a lie: it is); and that any other scratches or dents in the car could be incorporated into the insurance claim and no one would be the wiser (hello, insurance fraud?!).  Today when I called to release the car to insurance-preferred auto shop, the proprietor was beyond rude to me, and then tried to charge the procuring shop an exorbitant amount of money to release it.  They - and the insurance company - of course refused, and the issue eventually had to be arbitrated between the three parties before the first shop would give in and release the car.  Seriously??  As if a situation like this isn't complicated and distressing enough without some opportunistic jackass trying to literally scare up business.  JERK.  Playing on people's emotions by bullying them into using your services at a time of vulnerability is not the way to build a business, so if you're looking for an auto body or collision shop I am happy to let you know who NOT to use.  Send me an email if you'd like a recommendation.

On a lighter note, I opened my email yesterday to find the latest update from Style at Home: 28 Affordable Ways to Add Art.  Happy day.  It might be a bit of an understatement to say that my obsession with art is well documented (you can see a bit of my crazy-art-love
here, here and here, among other places) so naturally I was dead curious to see what S@H had to say about the matter.  They didn't disappoint.  From their adorable Etsy feature to their top ten tips and tricks for purchasing art on a budget, there were some great ideas included.  Here are some highlights:

Lovely Lady - Yellow Flowers, Giclee Print 8x10" at printmakerjenn, US$20
Pink Calla Lily No. 1, Photography Print 7x7" image on 8x8" paper by Nature Mandalas, US$25
Bright Landing, 11x14" by mdcreated, US$18
Tip #4: Frame your kid's art.  Framing homemade art is not only budget-friendly, it's meaningful
and celebrates the talent of your little Picasso or O'Keeffe
image via here
Tip #8: Frame your old LPs.  You - or someone you know - has a box full of
old albums in their basement ... turn them into wall art!  Framed covers
make an amazing, eclectic collection
image by Living Etc. via here
Add art in edited arrangements.  Incorporate disparate pieces but be selective about what you include (or don't).
Vignettes should have a cultured but not contrived feel, but most of all should reflect YOU.
image via here

For the whole, terrific article, jump to it HERE.

And on a sort-of-related note, here's my most recent Etsy purchase: a vintage-looking cigarette case with a bee motif, which I intend to use as a business card holder.

image via CosmicFirefly

It was a little pricier than what I was looking to spend originally, but I had a PayPal credit that was burning a wee hole in my virtual pocket which covered most of the cost except for a measly $3.11.  For the extra three bucks, the splurge was worth it: I'm pretty excited about it.

So how do you incorporate art into your space?  What are your tips and tricks for others, that S@H might have missed?  I'd love to hear them!


25 July 2011

'Schooooool's - Out - For - SUMMER!"

Thank you, Alice Cooper.

On Saturday I submitted my final two projects for my drafting course, thus wrapping up my second course overall and school for the summer holidays.  Yay!  I hugely enjoyed the class but am also looking forward to the break in August - from everything! - and to spending my days tackling my task list.  Since I
threatened promised to keep you updated on my progress at school and since it's not every day that I draft an entire condo plan, I thought I would share a step-by-step photo montage of my final project: a little stroll down so-recent-it-can-barely-be-called-a-Memory Lane, if you will (if pencil drawings bore you, now is the time to suddenly remember something very important that you have to do, and exit quickly!):

A nearly-finished view of the north wall of that kitchen I was working on early last week

I'm sure there are many who could easily point out all the mistakes that I made (I know there are lots, but please don't) but I think it's not too shabby for a first effort.  And yes, there are plenty of changes I would make to the layout that in hindsight I don't care for.  But once I'd laid pencil to vellum I wasn't about to erase anything so we'll just live with the dining room in an odd position, thanks, and I'll know better for next time.  Anyways, it was a fun experience and I can't wait to employ these new-found skills in real life!  Anyone need a draft of their house, just for fun?  I could use the practice!  :)


22 July 2011

A Blog within a Blog: 'Mastership Wright' on Target

They say there's a first time for everything, and now is as good a time as any to test out the old link-to-another-post/blog-that-I-admire.  Cruising around my favourite blogs (visit my "Who I'm Reading" section for details), I came across this bit of fabulousness that I just had to share.

Canada is many things - green, fresh and spacious among them - but we are a very young country with very young architecture to match.  Our sense of history is not as deep (for obvious reasons) so when I happen upon beautiful architecture like

that looks on the inside like this

all photos via Desire to Inspire

I can't help but feel all squashy inside.  I don't know if I could actually live in this type of deconstructed history all of the time (though I'm game enough to try, and I know for sure that I could make myself comfortable enough in that kitchen!) but something about it just makes my heart go pitty-pat when I look at it.  Check out the entire amazing post HERE.

And if you're casting about for something to do this weekend (and, as it always goes, you're local to Milton, Ontario), check out the
Gadsden's Midsummer Antique Expo taking place tomorrow {July 23} between 8am and 4pm.  Details are here.  Hosted by the organizers of the Christie Antique Shows and featuring over 120 dealers, it promises to be a great shop on a lovely day.  Admission is $10, and kids are free!

Have a great weekend!


21 July 2011

We're Mellllltiiing!

I had planned something very different for today's post but current weather conditions have driven everything else out of my mind.  I'm assuming I'm not alone when I say that Mother Nature having hot flashes is just not cool? (baDum-bum.  Pun fully intended.)

As I trotted around the house this morning preparing for the heat wave, my daydreams turned to all the fun and delicious ways we can beat the heat.  While the "usual" tactics are necessary - shutting curtains and pulling blinds against the sun, turning up the thermostat and turning down the air conditioner (so it doesn't have to work so hard), and filling extra bottles of water for the kids to take to camp (at least, for the one the went today: one of them is flopping around on the couch, moaning of utter boredom) - I'd rather be doing any one of these right now:

Outdoor splash pads = aweseome heat busters | via here
Fresh food is a great way to cool down, and watermelon tops the list as a perfect way to combat the heat | via here
Staying cool can be stylish as well with vintage accessories, and a fabulous tip from
Apartment Therapy is to put a bowl of ice in front of your fan, to let it blow the
cool air from the melting ice around.  Genius! | via here
If the beach isn't an option, try cottage country!  Nothing beats a day of water play in weather like this | via here

Classic heat-buster | via here
When it's just that hot outside, sometimes there's nothing left to do but
sleep the day - and heat - away in a comfy hammock | via here

Stay cool, everyone!