Friday, June 29, 2012

Blogging Musings and Redbook


Urm, so, I've discovered that blogging is hard. Harder than dragging myself out of bed on a rainy day to go for a run after a night of a bit too much wine.

I have heaps of respect for those amazing bloggers out there who seem to have boundless amounts of energy and create more projects in a week than I do in a two month span, all while blogging about it every step of the way. Major props and cheers to you!

I, on the other hand, am a major fail. Last Tuesday I was off work, and the whole day all I could think about was how badly I needed to photograph our bedroom makeover and blog about it. You know that feeling when you have a big interview/meeting coming up and you can't completely focus on anything else because of the knots in your stomache? It was kind of like that. I kept beating myself up, because here I am, a DIY-nut with LOADS of projects to share, and no kiddos running around (yet) to really get in my way, but somehow, I still have a full plate.

My hubby asks me if it causes me so much stress, why still do it? Well, I really do enjoy it when I carve out the time. And as narcissistic as this may sound, there is something about sharing a project with the world that gives you fuzzy feelings inside. I'll never forget when I showed my hubs the pantry makeover when he came home from work. He said something along the lines of "Oh, it's nice" and then continued on with his life. Boys don't quite get it, now do they? But having a bunch of fabulous people I've never met gush over something that took me hours and hours, that made it worth while. It validated the time and energy I put into it. My pantry got the appreciation it so deserved.

I am still trying to figure something out; perhaps a schedule of some sorts so I have dedicated time slots for blogging and project making. If you have any tips on how you balance it all, please do let me know!

On another note, last week I was *hoping* to have a big announcement. A couple of months ago an email popped up my my inbox from an @hearst.com email address. Yes, that Hearst. Mega magazine conglomerate in NYC. Found me. The fact that someone in the iconic Hearst Tower in New York was actually looking at my label designs was enough to make me pass out, but the fact that a senior editor was emailing me to ask my permission and for a high res photo to feature in Redbook Magazine was the tipping point. Holy. Cow.



The email looked liked this:

"I’m an editor at REDBOOK, and we’re interested in showing the attached image in a new section of the magazine that’s all about getting inspired. We think the spice rack labels are such a cute idea! Would you be willing to send me a high-res of the attached photo? We’d of course include your name and the name of your blog for our nine million readers to see!
Cheers,
C****"


NINE MILLION READERS!! I wanted to keep the news wrapped up tightly until the big reveal, but I just couldn't help myself. I spread the news loud and proud and told all of my friends ands family, and pretty much anyone else who would listen. Redbook has never been my go-to glossy as I believe it's probably geared at a slightly more mature demo (just guessing here, but 35 plus?), but that being said, I know Redbook is an iconic magazine. It's been around for over a hundred years!


The day the mag was supposed to hit shelves I had a lunch date. I hurried over to the magazine stand on my way to the restaurant, and stood in the aisle flipping through page after page. Hubby was on the phone with me as I described my emotions with every page turn. I was pretty calm about it. To be honest, after exchanging 5 or so emails with the editor a few months ago and hearing nothing since, I figured the article was trimmed from the magazine. I get it. I've seen The Devil Wear Prada. There's a big white wall with the entire magazine spread out in sections, and only parts actually make it in. That's real life, right?

So after the final page turned and my spice cupboard makeover wasn't there, I felt a bit deflated, but I had prepared myself. My darling man was so great about it, reminding me that even being considered to be in a print magazine is a huge honour, and yes, it was. The fact that that one photo found it's way into the Hearst building was a huge honour.

So am I disappointed? Of course, but maybe it wasn't the right time. Perhaps that sounds crazy, but a huge part of me was worried about how little content I have on this blog and how fresh and new The Paper Society actually is. If I work on developing and establishing both a little more, and if an opportunity ever comes along like that again, I might actually benefit from it more so than I would have now.

At least that's what I keep telling myself!

xo J

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Healthy Eating and Mediterranean "Squashghetti"

I am obviously not a food blogger, and no expert cook by any means, but when I find a recipe that's too good not to share, well, I'm going to share it!



I've been on a bit of a health kick lately, however kick isn't the right word because I'm hoping it lasts longer than a kick. Maybe let's call it a health awakening? 

I grew up on easy, convenient meals and packaged snacks, so learning to grab an apple from the fridge instead of something in a box from Costco in the pantry is like learning to speak Italian for me. It's changing the very core of my food beliefs and behaviours. And so far, I'm feeling about a thousand times better about life and my health. Snacking on veggie sticks and fruit, and making dinner from REAL ingredients from scratch is rewarding! There's no beating yourself up because you just ate a cookie for lunch and a bag of microwave popcorn for dinner. Because I totally used to that. Quite frequently.

I could go on and on about my new relationship with food, but I will save that for another post because I just need to share this recipe with you. I've made it 4 times this week, it's that good.

Now if you are still eating popcorn for dinner and are used to massive portions of white pasta drenched in a creamy sauce, then you may not find this recipe as delectable as I do, because I've been eating sprouted grain toast and egg whites. Me gushing about this recipe is completely warranted because of my current state, so just be forewarned. For a healthy recipe, it's delish. And to be honest, it's so good I would probably want to eat it even if it weren't so healthy!

First things first, this recipe is E-A-S-Y. The first time I made it I cooked the squash in the oven so that definitely took some time, but I just cleaned around the house while I waited for it. The second squash I cooked I tried the microwave, and in 5 minutes I had a perfectly cooked spaghetti squash half. Hands down, I will never cook a spaghetti squash in the oven ever again (unless I have no access to a micro of course).



It really is so simple, and the fact that I have everything on hand (well except for the squash) on a daily basis makes this recipe a new staple in my life. And best of all, you can so easily modify this to your tastes or add other things you have on hand. I add bell peppers, but you could add zucchini, mushrooms, chicken etc and make it your own! The flavour comes from the feta, which melts a bit when you mix it in, along with the basil and olives. The flavour is fresh, subtle and sublime! And although I didn't put it in the recipe, I usually add sun-dried tomatoes and they take it to a whole other level!

One of the reviewers of the original recipe even added beaten eggs and bread crumbs the next day to make little breakfast patties! Genius!

Anywho, without further ado, here's the recipe that I like to call Mediterranean Squashghetti!



If you can't see the image clearly, here's the text version of the recipe:

Mediterranean Squashghetti


Ingredients:

1/2 onion, sliced or diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp olive oil
big handful grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 spaghetti squash, forked
2 tbsp fat free feta, crumbled
3 tbsp black olives, sliced
handful fresh basil
fresh lemon juice (optional)
sea salt

Directions:
  1. Cut squash in half. Scoop out seeds and guts like you would a pumpkin. Place one half cut side down in microwave safe dish, add 1/4 inch of water and cover. Microwave for approximately 5 minutes.If a knife slides fairly easily through the skin, it’s ready!
  2. While the squash is cooking, sauté your onion and garlic in olive oil. Add any other veggies you’d like at this point as well.
  3. When you’re just about done sautéing, add your sliced grape tomatoes and saute for about a minute until tomatoes are warmed.
  4. Take your pan off the heat, and remove your squash from the microwave. Use a fork to get all the spaghetti squash strings on of the skin. Add to your pan.
  5. Mix spaghetti squash with sautéed veg, and then add feta and olives. Once all mixed, toss in your fresh basil (and optional- lemon juice and/or sundried tomatoes) and mix a couple more times. 
  6. Top with a touch of sea salt and enjoy!
Hope you give this recipe a go sometime. It really is super quick and filling! I am making it for my grandma this weekend so we'll see if it passes the test!

xo J


Florally Fabric Fun on YHL

Well, clearly I was on to something when I snagged my $3 fabric at a local designer warehouse sale a couple months ago. Hubby told me it looked like something he'd see covering his grandma's chesterfield, but it was love at first sight for me.


And thankfully, it's not just love for moi! The same fabric is now adorning the headboard of John and Sherry's bedroom over at YHL!


When I originally came home with the fabric, a headboard was actually my first inclination. It got nixed foremost because I was short on fabric, but I let the hubby think it was scrapped because he wasn't super keen on it as a permanent fixture in our room. I'm kind of digging the headboard though, and wishing I had done a little franken-sew to make the fabric work. However, I definitely get tired of patterns pretty quickly, so maybe interchangeable pillows are a good thing? Still, totally loving what J and S have done with their bedroom as of late!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Master Makeover: The Reveal!

I hesitate to ever call a room "done" because it is always an evolution. So, other than the fact that there are likely new bedside tables, side lamps and pillows in the foreseeable future, I am still calling this room "done" (for now). It actually is probably one of the most finished rooms in our house, so that helps me get past the little things I would like to change but have to save for.

For the moment, our master bedroom looks like this:



What did we (erm, the hubby) do to take the room from THIS:



Above: BEFORE

To THIS?:
 Above: AFTER

Well, here's the list and cost breakdown:
  • Removed wallpaper, wallpaper paste and painted walls grey (Cost: $150)
  • Trimmed out the windows with 2.5 inch white trim and then painted the inside to create "faux" window casings (Cost: $30)
  • Painted "free" craigslist dresser a light grey, trimed out the scrolly toe kick with a piece of wood, and replaced the hardware on the drawers (Cost: $30)
  • Painted the espresso legs of the bench white, and sewed a grey slipcover to cover the old mocha microfibre (cost: paint $0 (on hand), upholstery fabric $3 (had on hand but purchased a couple of months ago at a designer warehouse sale)
  • Switched out old headboard for a grey upholstered one. It used to be a window seat in it's previous life at a show home, but for now it is our headboard. One day it may end up as a window seat again under that large window we have. (Cost: $8 at designer sale)
  • New mint and white bedding (Cost: $20 from warehouse sale)
  • Sewed floral pillows (Cost: $3 for fabric from warehouse sale)
  • Hung faux roman shades (Cost: $15 for velcro, wood was on hand, faux roman shades cost $24 for all three from warehouse sale last year)
So, just under $300 for the entire room makeover. Not too shabby, hey? Thank goodness for my designer sale scores! When I set out to do this room, I made a promise to myself to use as much of my warehouse sale finds as possible. I bought quite a lot of stuff, and I have half a craft room full of things I have yet to use (including about 20 roman shades), and so in the interest of saving money AND clearing out some space, I forced myself to work with what I had. And I am pretty darn happy I did. 

For the first time in 2.5 years, I can say I actually love spending time in our bedroom. I now bring my iPad up to bed and like to curl up and watch TV on our not as nice TV in the bedroom just so I can immerse myself in the energy I feel while I'm in there. Man, it makes such a difference!

Here are some of the details..


Marble Torre & Tagus box from warehouse sale for some of my watches.

An Umbra soap dish used for my little pretties.

New lamp shade still to be added, but this is the entertainment side of the bedroom.

I am NOT a seamstress, but somehow I found a way to sew this slipcover. It's not perfect, but I like it. It works. I've been wanting to paint this espresso bench with mocha fabric FOREVER and so glad I finally did! Ok, the hubby painted it but I sewed the slip cover!


 The fabric for the pillows was an awesome find at the most recent designer warehouse sale I attended (I got that fabric, the bench fabric and the bedding all there). The floral pattern is lovely and adds just the right pop of colour. The mirror looks much bigger in person than in this photo, but it's still something I'd like to replace down the road.


Ahh peonies. My fave. Waking up to the smell is just divine. And of course a kissy shot of my hubby ain't too bad to wake up to either!


And again, the whole room complete. I wil try and do some posts on the faux window casings and put up some better pictures because you can't really see them in these photos. They were so cheap and easy to do, and make miles of difference!

Oh, and the paint is from Cloverdale Paint (in Canada) and it's called Excalibur. To be honest, I wish we had gone a touch lighter and a touch greiger, but I am not going to dwell on that. I am just happy to finally have a painted bedroom!

Looking back at the before photos, I can't help but ask myself "WHAT was I thinking???". I am SO happy to check this off the list!

Whaddya think?

xo J

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Paper Society goes Palm Springs

The ingredients for my iPhone cases have finally all fell into place. The clear plastic cases arrived about a month ago, and now I have finally figured out how to use my new Silhouette cameo to cut these babies. Hallelujah! 

 We are having a crappy June in Vancouver (Juneuary, anyone?) so I felt the need to bring a little sunshine into my life by injecting major colour into my designs. The Palm Springs Collection was born out of my deep desire to be lounging in Palm Springs for 6 months of the year. Oh, retirement can't come soon enough! Lol.


This one is probably my fave. It's a multi-coloured chevron, and looks oh so juicy. Compliments my vintage faceted bracelet very well, if I do say so myself.


The mint scallop design is also up there on the list. I love the pastel colour and the simple and classic monogram design. I designed a slew of concepts but always came back to this one. Sometimes I just need to remember to keep it simple.


If you weren't around for my first iPhone case post, check it out here. Along with some other designs, you'll find out how you can make your very own customized iPhone case for $2. Yup, that's right. Less than a cup of joe.


 If you're not feeling the DIY route, you can also check out the Paper Society on etsy. The listing includes 1 clear case and 2 customized interchangeable designs printed on a textured canvas. I only have 7 in stock, so once they're gone I'm not sure when there will be more.


(Just got this Pippa necklace by Stella and Dot from some increible friends for my birthday. I LOVE it!)


Are you feeling the colours? Any input on what you'd like to see in future designs?

And in unrelated news, we finished up step 9 of 10 of our Master Bedroom Makeover last night, so once I get those pillows sewn, there will be a massive reveal post on the way!

Thanks for stopping by!

xo J

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Master Makeover: The Dresser

Our master bedroom is SO CLOSE to being done and I am getting very excited to share it! I'm hoping to have it wrapped up in the next week or two. I've still got to sew pillows, and reupholster and paint the ottoman, build brackets for my roman shades, hang roman shades and art, and then we will *sort of* be done!

I want to wrap up some of those projects before I show a picture of the room/bed but for now you can get a sneak peek of the wall colour we just painted. As a refresher, our master used to look like this.

Anyhoo, before you get to see the dresser makeover and wall colour, feast your eyes on this beauty.



Sorry for the terrible photo, but it's the only before photo I have. I found this narsty dresser on craigslist for free. We needed a new dresser, and this one seemed to have some potential. We picked it up and it was about 1000 times heavier than I thought. Even without the drawers.

I was excited to get to work on it, so I used my electric sander and gave her a nice buff. The top was a varnished laminate and I decided that removing the varnish would be too much work, so I just sanded that as well and painted over it. I'm not a "by the books" painter so probably don't follow my lead. I definitely cut corners when it comes to painting furniture, especially free furniture, because I'm just not that attached to them.

I painted the body in the garage, and took the drawers out in the backyard to sand and spray paint.

Then this happened.



Our fur baby Sadie wanted to come play with me in the backyard while I worked away on the drawers. They were standing up so that the face of the drawer was pointing towards the sky, and balancing on the back on the cement patio. Long story short, a drawer fell down and crushed my little girl's foot. It was so heartbreaking hearing her cries and watching her hobble away. I can't even bare to think about it. Must. Stop. Now.

Anyways, along with the emotional pain of injuring her, we also were burdened with the financial pain of fixing her. Almost 500 beans.

This resulted in our "free" dresser costing us $500. In the back of my mind I couldn't help but think if I had just gone out and bought a dresser I actually liked I wouldn't have a broken wiener dog, but oh well, c'est la vie!

Back to the dresser. I used Antique White to paint the body and sprayed using the same colour for the solid wood drawers. Then I spray painted the original handles black to update the look a touch. It was okay. Meh.

I was too exhausted (and too upset from doggy-gate) to do anything else, so into the room she went. Didn't love it, but it did the trick.

When time came to update our bedroom, I knew I wanted to do something with the dresser. I found these pulls on ebay for $1.79 a piece from the Knob Shop.


They are AMAZING. I really love them, and they shipped to our US mailbox in a day. Seriously.


So I tried them out. What a difference! They really changed the whole look of the dresser.

Then I realized I only ordered 6. A bit of a blonde moment; I counted 6 drawers and ordered 6 knobs. Doh! I ordered the rest and again, they shipped insanely fast. Thank you Knob Shop!

Then life took over so I lived with the dresser looking like this for a week or so. I discussed with hubby about painting it white. He suggested a light grey. Mostly because we were out of white paint and we had light grey left over from our bathroom. Sure, why not?

I also thought a quick update would be to cover the curvy toe kick. A piece of wood nailed on and painted would make a world of a difference. I had my plan, just needed to find the time to do it (story of my life!).

Last night I was at a friend's for a Bachelorette viewing party, and when I came home, my hubby had done this.


He propped up the dresser so it could be painted in our room (waaaay too heavy to move back to the garage again) and he painted away in the light grey paint. He also covered the toe kick with the wood and replaced all my pulls.




 It's obviously not a perfect piece of furniture (note the uneven gaps) but can be fixed if we tighten up the tracks a bit I think). It just looks SO much better than that free $500 dresser looked a year ago. Want to see again? Not really? Too bad, here it is.


I will definitely take some more pics once it's cured and once I've had a chance to style it a bit. We have a big bulky TV that usually sits on it so I'm hoping I can get the hubby to wall mount it so it's out of the way. I'm just happy that I can finally say that I like our dresser. And it restores a bit of my faith in getting things from craigslist. Well, as long as you keep your animals out of harms way of course.

xo J

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Palm Springs Pop Art Party and Printables

Try saying that five times fast ;)

With the dreary weather we're having here up north in Van, I figured a little sunshine might lift my spirits.

I wish I could say I got to go on this AMAZING girls trip, but alas I did not. I did, however, help create some of the printable graphics for hostess Kristin (of the incredible Moustache Bash) and when she told me about their plans I just HAD to steal some photos and post it so I could live vicariously though this incredible group of friends.

Quick background- Kristin and I think 7 of her friends planned a trip to Palm Springs for their besties 30th birthday. The birthday girl is also getting married this summer so they had a lingerie shower for her while down there (and most of the activities were a surprise to her!).

Did you get to stay here for YOUR 30th birthday?

















Ok, there are too many amazing things about this place to list, but OMG, that LOVE sign above the master bedroom?? I. DIE. I really really want to live in this house. And the fact that you could buy a comparable house for about the same as a 600 square foot condo in our city makes me a little sick. Not fair. Not fair at all. I actually looked into investing in Palm Springs real estate until I realized the loop holes and paper work with claiming US income in both countries was going to be a headache. But one day. Just you wait.

Back to reality.

The theme for this vacay was Pop Art with a little touch of Housewives of Palm Springs. The girls planned a fabulous weekend full of girly goodness, including flying in a Project Runway stylist, getting all glammed up, and having a photoshoot with a celebrity photographer. Pretty neat, hey?







Here are some photos the girls took on their trip.






And finally, some Pop Art inspired graphics! I heart Andy Warhol big time.






And, in case you ever want to host your very own Pop Art inspired bridal shower, here are some free printables pour vous!




Hope you enjoyed all the delicious eye candy! I definitely plan on renting this house one day. Hmmm, my 30th is in two years, hint hint. ;)

Xo

J