Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Where do I get off?

Where do I get off going and having another kid?
I can hardly manage one.

Today started off pretty rough.
Leslie (our out-of-this-world-amazing caregiver) has been off on vacation since last week and I am way too scatterbrained to have my regular schedule messed with like this.

She asked for a week off back in May, a request to which I replied something along the lines of "Oh my god, of course! Whatever you want!" and reminded me two weeks ago to be sure I'd remembered, to which I cooly responded "Oh yeah. We've got it covered. Have fun!"...but do you think I really remembered though?

Not so much.
All the trouble started when I lost (read: Clemmie lost) the dry erase marker to my fridge calendar.
Who knew I relied on that crummy little Dollar Store purchase so much?
August never made it to the calendar and so far I've missed one doctor's appointment, stood up a friend for dinner (I hate myself) and forgotten to find care giving not once, but twice.
Including today.

I work Tuesdays all day.
I look forward to my full days in the shop so I can catch up on emails and administrative stuff and, let's face it, have a little time to sort myself out without having to have snack breaks and read One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish eleventeen times.

This morning I was on my own (Brad's was at a work thing in Montreal overnight) and I was all over the single mom thing like it's my job.
I even set the coffee last night so it was ready to go when I woke up.
I had both of us dressed and fed and cuddling on the couch by 8:30am, and was waiting outside with my lunch packed and purse in hand for Leslie to show up by 9:30.
By 9:45 I started to worry.
She's usually here by now. I better go check her note from back in May (she keeps a sitter's journal. Of course she does.) and see if I have my dates mixed up.

Sure enough.
She's off until the 2nd.

At this point I had 15 minutes to get to work and open the shop, and bringing the rugrat simply isn't an option.
It was Emily's (my part timer) last day before she goes off to University yesterday, it's Colleen's kid's birthday, both my parents are at work, Brad's away, and I. AM. ROYALLY. SCREWED.
In tears (I mean, if I cry over spilled milk, you know I'm going to be Niagara Falls in this kind of pickle) I called my friend Andrea who will be starting to look after Clem on Mondays soon to see if she could rescue me.
And rescue me she did.

We were at her place in less than 5 minutes and, truly, I welled up at the sight of her I loved her so much in that moment.

So we're good now, and I'm trying to turn my day around.
I've been promised a back rub for my troubles so at least there's that to look forward to.

To better days,
xo Em

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Clemmie's Big Girl Room

With everything we're doing to the back room in our sweet little house, I am in major home improvement mode right now.

The bathroom is almost done (it just needs one more coat of white, a few small accessories like baskets and a little shelf, and for the pictures and curtain to be hung), and I'm already ready to get started on transforming our sparsely decorated guest room into Clemmie's Big Girl room.

We didn't know we were having a girl when I was preparing the nursery for Clementine and, although I don't think I would ever have done the pretty pink princess thing (actually, I know I wouldn't have, and I know I will cringe when she wants everything Cinderella, and I know she totally will due simply to the fact that I am rejecting it so wholeheartedly), it would have been nice to have a few girly touches.

There is so much fabulous inspiration out there in the blogosphere as far as kid-happy decorating goes.
And this week, my bookmarks bar runneth over.

I love the scalloped paint treatment and the colour palate of this room.
It's so sunshiney. Maybe peach is the way to go.

The shuttered windows, patchwork quilt and mix n' match drawer pulls in this one are so my cup of tea.

I'm not enamored by the wild colours in this room, but the locker idea idea is sweet and I like the pop of colour the floating shelves offer.
Not to mention I'd like a better look at that window valance.

Check out this CRAZY smart closet door storage idea from Knock Off Wood.

I mean. Shut. Up.
How smart is that?
The door shelving is on wheels so you can pack them full of whatever you want and not risk the door coming off the hinges.
Only thing I'd add is some funky knobs and we're good.
This woman puts tutorials for all of her projects on her website by the way.
Thank you Laura for turning me on to her!

Oh money.
You bastard.
Why are you such an object?

Seriously. Maybe it's a life stage thing, or maybe it's just a grown up thing and I'll never have enough money for everything I want to do, but almost every conversation I had yesterday carried the same theme. Money.
Does no one have any?
Because that might actually make me feel better. I don't know.

In the meantime (between now and the day someone walks into the shop and makes me an offer I can't refuse to buy the store but keep me on the payroll as a buyer/me winning the lottery that I never play) I'm going to take this next project as a budget challenge.
I'm going to try to do this entire room for $400.

I'll be honest, I initially wrote $200, but paint's going to suck up at least half of that I know it, and I always set myself up for failure when it comes to budgeting. No more!

For the record, I am not including any previous purchases I've made or items I bring in from other rooms.
And no that is not cheating.

Things I already have to work with:
  • A vintage metal chandelier that I bought for $50 at the Vintage Wear/Ware shop in town. It's painted white with yellow flowers and pale green leaves. Perhaps another reason to go with the sunshine palate. I don't think I'll use it as the main light in the room. I'd like to put a ceiling fan in there since we don't have A/C, and I remember loving having a hanging lamp I could switch on and off from bed so I could stay up reading late. I'll have to have it rewired with a toggle. I wonder if that's a project I could do myself.
  • A beautiful piece of letterpress art given to her by Melissa when she was born, her Kabuki Kitty Ryan Lotan Original and "Happier than a Bird with a French Fry" digital art...also compliments of Melissa.
  • Her orange polka dotted dresser that I'm not sure will work in the space or not.
Things on my wish list:
  • A retro looking desk fan for white noise. Preferably painted, but I have no problem doing that myself.
  • A white convertible crib so we don't have to rush to transition her to a big girl bed. I figure dealing with a new sibling and a new bedroom will be enough to handle for the first few months. Maybe one like this one:
Which can convert to look like this when she's ready:
  • A vintage chenille bedspread and new bedding in general
  • A funky bedside mat. Polka dots or stripes or something. This one's pretty good from Ikea. I just worry about keeping white white. It's a cat owner thing.
Lots of cute ideas out there.
Too many maybe.
I'll have to take a picture of the room as it is now and get started on documenting the transformation.
Only 10 more minutes of workday left, so I'd better run.
But stay tuned!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Shop til you drop

I left for Toronto last Sunday to go to the gift show.
Going to the gift show is, in my humble opinion, the best part about owning a shop.
Besides, I had to go.
It's not enough to just buy from catalogues on the advice of sales reps. I've got a vibe happening in this store that takes upkeep.
I need to touch stuff. Flip it over and turn it inside out. Find that balance between quality and price.
And funk.

You can't do that shopping online.

I figure that was probably the last time I'll be able to go for a while since the next show is in January and I'll have another baby by then.
I just got back last night and man, did I make some good finds while I was there.

I took a few risks, bought WAY too much jewelry (I'm planning an out of this world accessories and pampering party in October. I'm going to convert my home living room/dining room into a funky little boutique/salon. Watch for it.) and pretty much wore myself out.
My dogs are still barking.
And my little "I'm-pregnant-so-I-can-get-away-with-ugly-footwear" Nike flats stink to high heaven.
They smell like a rat died in the toe.
They may never be the same.

But it was all worth it. Check out the goodies that'll be arriving over the next weeks and months.

Customizable framed signs from Wordstock. By photographer Barbara Rowlandson from Georgian Bay.
You choose the letters, we build the frame. Her aunt (incidentally) owns Mrs. McGarrigles in Merrickville. And she has her own kitchen shop back home. So you know she totally gets the small town retailer thing.
Wordstock also turns their photographed letters into pendants.
A whole new artsy twist on the monogram necklace trend.

More Pouchees! In all colours.
Put all your necessities inside and pop it inside your purse du jour.

Quote-happy photo frames.

Cheap and cheerful clutches and handbags for fall.
More bath bombs.
Not much makes me happier than a full display of these yummy looking things. They make an adorable hostess gift in one of our complimentary truffle boxes with a Blackbird seal.
They even make a special holiday line.
Won't Frosty be adorable floating around your tub while you just sit there watching his sweet little face melt off?

Funky mohair throws and embroidered pillows. Fair trade from Nepal and oh so Anthropologie.

I love houses.
And flowers.

Flower hair accessories, cluster rings in a multitude of colour combinations and swinging bird earrings from a mother and daughter(s) company in Toronto.

Handcrafted silver pendants. Fair trade from Mexico.
Stow and go flats to hide in your purse so you don't have to be that barefoot girl on the wedding dance floor ever again. Nobody likes that girl.
I'd walk around for 5 hours and think "You need to stop".
"Enough is enough."
"There can't possibly be anything else you need out there."
"Nothing more to see here folks."
And then I'd come across a booth like this one and I'd stop dead in my tracks.
As though someone splashed me in the face with a glass of ice water and gave me a second wind.

First of all, the display.
It speaks to me.
It's girly and colourful and shabby and there's a bird cage hanging above a judy covered in buttons.
I seriously was powerless against it.
I exercised as much restraint as I could and placed my order.
Here's a taste:

And loads more.
I haven't even shown you the Christmas stuff.
I don't know if you could handle it.

And isn't it more fun to wait?

Back to work.
xo Em

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Birthday Blogging

I'm 31 today.
So you officially can't tell me what to do anymore.
You're not the boss of me.

I'm at work. Hence the blogging.
But it's okay. It's Puppets Up! here in Almonte. Our largest summertime festival.
It's also the largest International Puppet Festival in Canada.
Actually, I don't know that to be true. But I can't imagine what the competition might be.

If ever you're in Almonte the first weekend of August you really should come.
Especially if you have kids.

You know what else (I mean besides puppets) is good about today?
The cake that Chris O'Brien brought me.

It's a thing of beauty.
Made by talented girls in nearby Carp who own a company called The Girl with the Most Cake.
Chris gave me one last year too. Thoughtful man that Chris.

He's running for Town Council here in Almonte incidentally.
So vote Chris O'Brien if you live here.
I mean if you want someone who might randomly show up on your doorstop with cake helping make the calls around town.

Who doesn't really.

Happy birthday to me!
xo Em

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Brad and I are officially in month 11 of what should have been maybe a 3 month renovation of our back room.
Once a three season (now a no season) we're trying to make this room a more functional part of our home.
We're outgrowing this place you know, and the inlaws are going to need a place to sleep!

Last September we installed all new windows, tore out the ceiling and the walls (yet to be replaced)...and the floor and have been at a standstill since.

Money, obviously, is a huge factor.
And we're at the cursed age where we try to do everything "IY" (as in diy) and on the cheap. But I think we're past the point of being able to tackle this alone.
My good friend Tim who can pretty much do anything as far as I'm concerned came in to give us an estimate and has agreed to help us out.

I just really want a beautiful, simple, functional space that Clemmie can play in, I can craft in, and Brad can be left alone with his "stories" (or TSN..whatever).

I want it to be bright and with lots of hidden storage like benches that open and I can toss Clementine's accoutrements into.
Gosh that girl has a lot of baggage.
And we never buy her toys.
She must have figured out shoplifting because I honestly don't know where we acquire these things. I'll have to watch her more closely.

On one of my blog hunts today I found a picture of exactly what I want.
On one wall anyway.
Check it.

If you could get in there with a microscope you'd see that those are painted knobs on the doors.
Red and white.
So cute.

Gotta run!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Last Day for Handmade Harvest Crafter Submissions!

Today's the day!
It's been 2 months since we began our Call for Crafters at handmadeharvest.com
Today, Sunday August 1st, is the last day we're accepting submissions.
You've got until midnight tonight and then it's in the hands of our jurors who makes the cut.

We've had some incredible entries. We're so excited about how this show is shaping up.
But there's still room for more fabulousness!
I know there are a few of you out there who are still thinking about submitting, so let me just make one last attempt at getting your off your lazy (albeit crafty) bums and emailing us today (hello@handmadeharvest.com).

Stop over thinking this!
You're great! You make beautiful stuff! Even your mom thinks so.

All you have to do is send us an email with a short paragraph description of your handmade product(s), tell us who you are (we're asking crafters to make up a business name if you don't have one already) and attach a minimum of 3 pictures of your stuff.

You can even send fabric swatch samples, inspiration pictures of what you plan to create if you don't have them as finished products yet, just send something.
Get this to us today and by the 15th we'll let you know if you've made the cut.
At that point you still have until September 1st to decide if you want to participate, and pay for your space.

So really, why would you stress about it?
It's Sunday and your garden can wait.
Tomorrow is a holiday after all.

(Incidentally, Blackbird will be open 10-5)

Hope to hear from you all today!
All the info you need can be found at handmadeharvest.com

Emily (& Colleen)