updated walls/Pinterest Challenge

So I just thought I’d show you what I’ve done with the items I got at the flea market a few weeks ago. 🙂 I’ve been Pinspired!

Here are two of the windows over our couch. I’m hoping it makes our Ikea furniture look a little less Swedish.

And here are the Pepsi crate and blue mason jar on top of our bookcase. It’s to the left of the couch, it’s probably one of the first things you see when you walk in. I had that big white vase on top of our kitchen cabinets but needed something to add height above the shelves. I love our vaulted ceilings, but it makes decorating kind of tricky. To add even more height, I stuck a few sprigs of sakuras and pussy willow in the vase.

The only problem is they cast a pretty creepy shadow…

See… It almost looks like a monster.

And this is where the third window and gears ended up. It’s kind of like a combination of a collage wall and window-wall of the many that I’ve seen on Pinterest. The plate was a gift from a friend who visited Morocco. The black frame is from another picture which is now hanging in a new frame in the bathroom. I picked up the F (and two B’s) at a kitschy chic shop on Vancouver Island. The photograph is one of my favorites (but is over a year old!) in a frame that I re-finished this week. Here’s a close up:

The original frame was brownish with flowers on the inner border. I rubbed some lotion on it (for lack of Vaseline), spray painted it off-white, rubbed some more lotion on it, aiming for the nooks and crannies, and spray painted it Tiffany’s blue. Once it was all dried, I took an old towel and scrubbed reasonably hard. The paint didn’t stick well where the lotion was and rubbed right off. And it smelled nice. 🙂 The picture is one I just stuck to some scrapbook paper. Kind of reminds me of this pin from this site.

I also re-painted this frame:

It’s the same color as the one above, just in a different light. I didn’t do any weathering to it, just left it neat and clean. I took a postcard-sized painting that my friend brought me from Paris and stuck it to some lovely scrapbook paper. I like the contrast of the pinks and blues in the frame, backing paper, and painting.

There you go! I was wondering if I’d have this post done in time to take part in Young House Love’s Pinterest Challenge. Looks like I did!

I do love switching things up and keeping my home feeling fresh and fab. 😉

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fun with apertures

So the other day as I was taking pictures of my wee Christmas tree I was reminded of how fun it can be to play with the aperture, making shapes with the bokeh.

I had my 50mm f/1.8 lens on. Quick lesson: The f/1.8 refers to the aperture value. The aperture is the hole that lets light into the camera, like the pupil in your eye. On a bright day, your pupils get smaller, but in a dimly lit room, your pupils get larger. On your camera, you need to adjust the size of the aperture like your eyes do automatically. Unless you’ve had those crazy eye drops at the eye doctor.

Anyway, I love to use a lower f-stop because you get a much softer image. I’ve been known to wipe drool off of my chin after playing with a f/1.4. Yes, the change from f/1.8 to f/1.4 is big. In the photo above, I switched my lens to manual focus and made it way out of focus because I wanted the blur. Then lowered my aperture as far as it could go (i.e. f/1.8) and got those lovely round circles of bokeh from the Christmas tree lights. If I had used a higher f-stop of f/3.5 or so, the shape of the aperture comes through and you would see hexagons rather than circles. I wanted a circles.

Then I decided I wanted hearts and stars.

So I left my lens on manual focus, made myself a few little aperture shape filters like you can buy here, and had fun!

And of course life isn’t complete with out a little birdie.

So if you have some scrap cardboard, gitcha some scissors and let the creative juices flow. Here’s the ones I made. The holes are about the size of a nickle while the cardboard around it is still big enough to cover the entire lens.

I even saw this in a video and it really made me want to get a new DSLR that captures video. Someday! You can see it here around the 1:00 mark (and other times).

 

decorations and memories

[Warning: this post is a little bit on the sentimental side.]

I put up our wee Christmas tree today. 🙂 That always makes me happy. I listened to Christmas music the whole time, singing along and feeling like this weather is way too warm to be appropriate. We are getting our full-sized tree on Friday, so I’ll be sure to carry on the annual tradition of watching Elf over and over until everything is decorated.

This is probably the most expensively decorated tree we’ve ever had. You see, I’ve found myself feeling more nostalgic lately and so I decided to decorate the wee tree with the collection of Reed & Baron silver crosses that Brian’s Granny and Pa gave to us years ago. And some plastic snowflakes from IKEA. I love the irony. 😉

I’ll be honest with you. When Granny gave us this collection on our wedding day, all I wanted to do was get out of my dress and get on the road so we could get on with our honeymoon plans. So standing in my parents’ foyer, me in my dress and Bri Bond in his tux, listening to my new grandmother-in-law talk about who knows what wasn’t the highlight of my day. I’m still not sure how they beat us home… But looking back on it, I’m so glad she made me stand there and open it in front of her, making sure I understood the value of this gift. Pa has since gone to be with Jesus. As has one of my grandpas. And watching our remaining grandparents decline with age is sad. But I want to preserve our families’ memories, just like Granny did for us.

As I was going through the ornaments, I read the letter that Granny and Pa wrote as well as a few of the descriptions that came with each silver ornament.

They are each modeled after crosses from various cathedrals, monuments, and other architectural structures around the world. And if you’re wondering how I’m going to know which one’s which after taking them all out of their boxes, someone at Reed & Barton had me in mind!

Each ornament is stamped on the back with the year it was created. Granny had them well organized and labeled, most still in their original boxes.

…and then I started playing with my camera! I can’t believe I haven’t taken it out in over a month. Up next, some fun with apertures!

Organize Schmorganize

I slept in this morning. It was lovely. I tried to wake up, I did, but I couldn’t open my eyes for more than 0.2 seconds. So I didn’t! I love working from home… 🙂

Even with the late start, I got quite a bit of work done, including organizing our home office nook.

before

It’s not terrible… But it could be better. So we went to the Container Store the other day in hopes of finding ways to contain our clutter. What was supposed to be a quick trip of course ended up taking over an hour. But I’d say it was worth it!

after

My goal was to clear off as much of the horizontal work space as possible. Step one was throwing away as much as possible. I got rid of the wire paper holders and hung wall pockets which house folders for each area of notes and papers that seem to have accumulated on the desk. I also got rid of each of the little cups of sundries and housed them all in a desk tote in the center of the middle shelf. By putting all of the books on the topmost shelf into the milk crate, there is more room around and on top of it to stack other things… like a soccer ball. It also cleared room for my memory board which I was really hoping to display somewhere! It has been sitting in our guest bedroom, lonely, waiting to be a part of our family. I made it a couple of years ago and have used it here to display Canadian memorabilia like our BC licenses, Vacouver Olympics tickets and pins, and photos from our office.

I also like using the black boxes to store items that are necessary, but not for every day use. Those all came from IKEA (purchased before I learned that IKEA uses slave labor) and I like that I can close the lid and not see the jumble of things inside.

My section of this entire space is the left side of the middle shelf — two grey drawers with little wooden boxes on them. And the laptop case next to it. Scout’s honor.

It feels good to get organized!

Canadian Thanksgiving

We celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving on Monday with some fabulous friends. 🙂

I made a wreath. 🙂

Autumn decorations.

Apple cider!

Cooking!

Workin hard or hardly workin?

Dinner time!

happy tuesday

Good morning. I feel like there is so much to share, mostly in pictures, of the last month. But I’m still sorting through all of them. We’ve established our “home office” of sorts. I like our set-up. I can see Brian and Lola and get lots of sunshine (weather permitting). But this morning I am feeling a little out of place and a little blue. I dreamed about our office in Langley. I dreamed about our friends and co-workers there who we were used to seeing everyday. Or at least several times per week. It’s just different. And change takes time to get used to. So in honour of my Vancouverites, I’m sipping from my Vancouver mug today. 🙂

what up mug shot.