Thursday, 28 July 2011

Dan gets artsy.

As I spend the next couple of days hunting down a new camera, I figured that it would be fun to go digging through my photo archieves. By no means am I photographer (if you've been following me you've seen some of the randomness that's made its way on here), I'm just a guy that loves to wander around and snap what catches my attention.

This fall I'll have been a 'Pegger' for three years....and while I spent the first year hating the city, I've grown to love it. So much to do and see. So much history. So many random characters. So many Slurpees (eww). 

The city's Exchange District is one of my fave places in the world to shoot. So much character, so much history. Here's just a small sampling of why love wandering down there -

If you're in the city, where's your fave place to shoot? If you're a gazillion miles away from me...where's your go-to place? Let's see some shots!


Word up.

Julie Mitchell Photography
Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself.
Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them. Every day begin the task anew.

- Saint Francis de Sales

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Three stories. Dan edition.

I thought that I'd try something a bit different tonight. This evening while surfing the net, I checked out one of my favourite blogs, Freckled Nest and was inspired by LA's new series 'three stories.' Enough so, that I figured that I'd jump on the band wagon and see what I could come up with.

Basically, the objective is to find a pic that you love (or perhaps hate...) and share a couple of stories that relate to it. Simple, right?

Therefore, I present to you, my picture - 
1. This abandoned house used to be a couple miles from my family's farm. Whenever we'd drive the back roads I'd hope that we'd drive by it so that I could admire it and ask my Dad questions about its history.
2. When I finished college (the second time around) I wasn't sure where I was going to end-up....resulting in a couple months spent back on the farm. It was at this point that I ended up deciding to actually explore this building that had fascinated me for so long. As derelict as this place was, I would routinely escape to it to be alone with my thoughts and ideas. It became my quiet place. I'd sit on the living room windowsill and think about who'd lived there, the farm that they'd once had, the happy memories that had occurred in this space. It's also think about what I wanted, where I was going, who I wanted to be 'when I grew up.' There was something about that place that brought me a sense of comfort during a very uncertain time. It's something to this day that I can't explain.
3. I cried when I found out that the land on which this house had stood on for so long had been sold and that the new owners had bulldozed the house and the long, winding tree lined lane that led up to it.

Share your own pic and stories with me and feel free to leave your link in LA's or my comment section.


Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Click. Click. Snap.

Just a quick note to let you know that the next couple posts that I throw up are going to be a little bit different than originally intended. Actually scratch that last line. They're going to be a lot different than originally intended.

You see, this past weekend a hooligan (or perhaps hooligans) decided that it would be fun to rummage through my car - and then take my beloved camera...I'd had it stashed in my centre console, but apparently hooligans are not opposed to digging through receipts, McDonald's ketchup packets, things of dental floss, empty gum packages and the other randomness that makes its way into my car.

Obviously I'm miffed about loosing my camera, but what I'm more upset about is loosing some of the fun pictures that I didn't have a chance to upload into my computer and planned to share with you guys. That and the whole shelling out of coin for a replacement camera sucks (I don't think that my 60 year old Brownie will cut it)....
So while I'm on the hunt for a kick-ass camera at a bargain price (fingers and toes crossed that I stumble across something), I promise to keep you entertained with a variety of (generally) amusing and (generally) informative posts...I've got a stash of images that I've been waiting to use for awhile now. 

And when I'm back to clicking who knows what I'll have for you! I might have a tutorial or two, and possibly a couple of projects finished! Stranger things have happened.

Stay tuned!

Monday, 25 July 2011

This is why you hire a stager.

I was going to call this post 'This is why you hire a stager - the WTF were you thinking edition' but decided not to for obvious reasons, but read on and you'll understand where I'm going with this post.

If you haven't already figured it out yet, I hate-on with real estate agents that don't do everything they can to sell their client's homes. I'm far from being a real estate professional (I doubt that reading a couple chapters from a real estate training guide counts), but I thought it was their job to say "Mr. Brown, your house is a dive. Before we list it you need to clean it and possibly fix some of the crap that's broken." Maybe I'm wrong. Hmm.

Case in point this residence that I stumbled across on MLS.
It's cute, but it's tired. It needs some paint, some potted plants of appreciation, some patch work on the driveway and the random dead plants in the front pulled out. Seriously, if you were driving by on a Sunday afternoon and saw this joint would you even stop? Yah, probably not. It kind of looks like one of those scary houses where scary things take place.

Entering into the home, it doesn't get much better.

Okay, so I understand that when you and your partner choose to have kids that they have a lot of stuff and that it takes up a lot of room. That said, if I'm a young, hip urbanite (not really) and I'm looking for my first home, this is not the picture that I want to see when flipping through your listing. Okay, so this picture shows me that the living room has hardwood floors and room for a TV, but why did the agent focus on showing all the clutter?

Had it been me, or the homeowner taking the picture I would have, even if only for a few minutes thrown everything baby related out of the room to take my shots. To end up with something like this -
Living room before being professionally home staged
It's not fancy, and perhaps not what I'd personally do it my own home, but it looks fresh, spacious and appealing to any potential buyer (even those who are in the same boat have will be filling the home with their own baby stuff.

Back to our current abode, let's wander into the kitchen. Fresh! Clean! Neat, uncluttered and full of character....or not.
This space actually has some potential but it's hard to see. IT's covered and obscured by phone lists, dirty dishes, fridge magnets, travel mugs, potholders and general kitchen clutter. Does this space make me want to pull out my cookbooks and whip up a feast for friends and family. Not really. Rather, this space makes me want to pull out a couple of empty cardboard boxes, a can of melamine paint for the cabinets and a jug of bleach. Yummy.
Again, the key to selling a space is to have it looking neat, organized and fresh. I know that I use the word fresh over and over and over again, but I want to look at a picture and believe that the space is FRESH. That it doesn't smell like food that's going bad or old coffee or burnt Kraft Dinner. I want it too look like this -

This kitchen isn't brand new - but it looks amazing! It's clean, well staged and evokes thoughts of spending the afternoon baking a cake or of doing the dishes whilst listening to birds sing outside (okay...maybe no dish doing for this boy), but when I look at the above kitchen and compare it to the one in this week's residence, there really is no comparison. 

I was going to save this picture for last, but I figured that as we're going through this space, we may as well get the scariness out of the way. Let's check out this bathroom, fit for a - trucker?
Eww. That's all I have to say. There's nothing spa-like or serene about this space. What the hell were the homeowners and the real estate agent thinking when they took this picture? I'm not even going to talk about this how ugly this space is. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, if we're looking at this bathroom, I'd say that this picture is worth a couple thousand words - at least. All I'm going to say is that they could have cleaned the toilet....

And last but not least, the master suite. Peaceful. Serene. The perfect place to escape to after a long day at work and running around. Or not.
How do you even get out of the bed on the one side? Also, with that crib in front of the bookcase  / dresser how do you access your clothes? I'm getting claustrophobic just looking at this space. When I'm looking at a bedroom, any home, I want to see a warm and inviting space where I can actually see the floor and climb into the bed from either side.

So all in all, what do I think of this home and the pictures that the real estate agent is using to try to sell this to you, me and everyone else checking it out online and (*shudder) in person?
I wish that I could have words with everyone involved in the sale of this home. Believe me, they wouldn't have been friendly words.

And that's how I feel.

That is all.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Who is this Dan guy?

So it's been a couple months (almost four) since I began posting my rambling musings. In that time we've touched on a bit of everything and anything. I've shared some projects with you, given you a few brief glimpses into my apartment, shared photos and ideas that inspire me, and have rambled enough that I'm sure you can't help but sit back and smile while reading (well, that's my goal isn't it?).

That said, though I feel like I've been giving you wee glimpses into who I am, I don't feel like we really know each other yet. I feel that while I've given you snippets of who I am, what I like, where I come from, that you're missing out on knowing some of the pivotal things that make Dan, well, Dan.
Mexico - Spring 2011
Therefore I present to you, an updated version of my '25 things about me' list....which first appeared on Facebook a couple years back (and has since been completely overhauled. It's amazing how much a guy can change & grow in a few short years.

25 Dan Facts (in no particular order)

1. I don't know what I want to be when I grow-up. True story. I guess you could call what I'm doing a career, but most of the time, it really doesn't feel like one...I'm the last person that should be a hardware buyer.
2. I'm kind of a scatterbrain. I'm the guy who will have friends over, will ask them if they want drinks, will prepare drinks only to return to the conversation without them - completely forgetting that I've prepared them (this happens more often than I'm willing to admit).
3.I start to panic when there's under a liter of milk in my fridge. Seriously. How am I going to have a bowl of cereal or make pancakes if I don't have any milk?
4. On that note, I make awesome pancakes.
5. I adore bad British pop music, a fact that I'm not ashamed to share. My latest obsession - 

6. I've mentioned it in passing, but I grew up on a farm, but by no means am I a farmer. I gave it an honest go, but it's not for me. I can appreciate all the hard work that goes into what my family does, but it's not for me. That said, I miss living in the country.
7. I don't like scary movies. I'm a big suck when it comes to having to watch something that involves blood and chainsaws or scary demon children. I'll either pout my way out of having to watch flicks like this or will pull my sweater over my eyes. I'd much rather spend my evening watching something like this - 

8. If you haven't figured it out by now, I love, love, love thrifting / auctions / tag sales / dumpster diving & treasure hunting. There's something about finding a piece or pieces for next to nothing that makes my heart flutter. Well, not really, but seriously - go ahead and shop retail. Spend your coin, and when we meet up I'll tell you about how I found the same glassware for pennies on the dollar.
9. My Mom's garden is my happy place. There's something about being a gazillion miles from the city, surrounded by a bunch of plants, a crabby house cat and two dogs that can put a guy at ease. I used to hate weeding the garden when I was a kid, now I can't wait to get back there.
10. I'm one of those guys who happens to like guys...I came out at 24 and it was the easiest / hardest thing that I've ever done. It's a part of me, but it's not what defines me. At the end of the day I think that regardless of who we are we all what the same thing - someone to love and care for. Why 24? I'm not sure, it just felt like it was my time. That and everyone else had figured it out years before hand.
11. Related to the last point, I'm comfortable enough in my own skin that I've kicked people out of my office and have have dropped business relationships with individuals who felt the need to slag me or those like warned!
12. I have a secret weakness for jujubes and jellybeans. If there's a bag or container hiding in my kitchen or in an office drawer I'll tear through them in an afternoon or evening.

13. Sometimes I'll dream about what it would be like to one day hop on a jet plane destined for some exotic locale. No return flight booked. Imagine it! New York, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Sydney, Paris, London, Monte Carlo, Madrid. Being the farm boy that I am, I've only recently had the opportunity to begin travelling and I think about these places on a daily basis....wondering when I'll have the opportunity to visit them.
14. To inspire me, and to keep my dream of travelling abroad intact, I have an old school map hanging on one wall in my dining room. It's a little bit dated (Soviet Russia anyone?) but it serves as a constant reminder that there's a whole other world out there ready to be explored.
15. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. Most of the time, it's only after the fact that I understand why I've gone through certain scenarios or why I've been dealt the blows I have, but I know that regardless of whatever happens, everything is a life lesson.
16. I make the best mojitos ever. They will blow your mind. I don't measure - I pour. Americans and Europeans may 'free pour'...but you haven't had a drink until you've experienced a 'Dan Drink.'
17. I've been thinking about getting some ink for a couple of years now. Nothing big or garish, but A) haven't come up with a word or image that's unique enough that I want to spend the rest of my life with it on my wrist and B) at 26 I'm still terrified as to what my Mom would think or say if I did that.
18. On that note, I consider my Mom one of my best friends. I love and adore her. We've been through a lot together and I know that she's always got my back. That and she has all of the blackmail worthy shots of I have to stay on her good side!

Dan - Circa 1986

19. I always have, and always will drive a black vehicle. Even if my current wheels are more worthy of a middle aged divorcee cougar named Brenda who sells Avon part time, there's just something about a black vehicle that makes it that much classier than everything else out there.
My current wheels - Summer 2009
20. I truly believe that quality is better than quantity when it comes to friends. My Facebook list is prime example of this. A month or so ago, I went from close to 250 people on my list to 68. Why carry around a bunch of baggage from high school and college? Sure it's fun to creep out on the slutty girl from junior high french or that jock from college, but seriously, I'd rather grow the friendships with the people that I genuinely like and care about than pretend to be friends with the people that I could care less about.
21. My books are like my children. If I were ever to catch you using one as a coaster I would be forced to attach you. I don't even want to think about what I'd have to do to you if I caught you folding down the corner of a page.
22. I grew up watching MGM musicals and comedies from the 40s through 60s. Sometimes I have a hard time watching newer movies. I'd rather watch Audrey Hepburn and Carey Grant than Megan Fox and a bunch of computer generated cars. I was probably the only 12 year old who watched 'Breakfast At Tiffany's' and knew what a call girl was. Hmm....

23. I have the dirtiest sense of humour. I don't know where I picked it up from. I enjoy it, and it makes me laugh and smile knowing that I can come out with some pretty saucy one-liners, but please, don't tell my Mom this fact.
24. I'm a big animal lover! Not so much cows or pigs (*shudder), but I've never met a cat that I didn't like. Well, okay maybe one (we used to have a cat that my sister and I nicknamed 'Spawn Of Satan'...but I'm pretty sure that somewhere deep down inside he too was a nice cat). I can't wait for a somewhat normal schedule and routine so that I too can invite a furry friend into my home.

Dan & the infamous Chauncey - Circa 2007

25. I have a tendency to ramble. I can't help it. It doesn't matter if I'm telling you a story while sitting across the table from you, or if I'm sharing a thought, idea or story here with you online. I don't want to leave anything out! Some people find it annoying (myself included from time to time), but hey, I've always found that it's better to give too many details vs. leaving out half the story.

And there you have it. 25 facts. That said. I have one more that I want to squeeze in, just because.

26. This cracks me up. Every time. BBC comedies are where it's at. You must watch this - in full.

So that's me in a nutshell. Well, most of me. Obviously I can't share everything with you....I have to keep some secrets - but get me rambling and I'm sure that I'll share more Dan facts with you.

Share with me a couple fun / random / obscure facts about yourself.

Farmer Dan.

I'm enjoying a lazy (busy) weekend on this end, and hope that regardless of where you are you've been able to enjoy time with friends / loved ones enjoying good food, good drink and good company! It's super warm here, which has been nice - and has given me the perfect excuse to catch up on nothing whilst enjoying a couple of naps.

During one of my half sleeping / half awake moments, I started to think about summer this time three years ago. I hadn't moved into the city yet and was spending the summer hanging out on the farm - doing construction and working with on my family's farm.

I'm not a farmer. Not at all. But this afternoon, I kind of missed it. I missed the hills. The trees. My dogs and the barn cats. The lack of traffic. My Mom's cookies and the fact that I could spend all day in a tractor (okay, maybe I don't miss the tractor). 

I went through some files and randomly stumbled across this shot. 
Exactly three years ago today I took this shot. I actually remember this day like it was yesterday - I was still between jobs, trying to figure out my next step and had been helping my Dad move hay bales off of the field. 

That tractor was hot, itchy and there were only two cassettes to listen to...and I'm not a fan of 'The Judds' or 'Reba'. That said, I enjoyed the day. I enjoyed the sun. The peace and quiet. The opportunity to just be alone with my thoughts and knowing that I'd been able to give my Dad a hand. Maybe bouncing over the hills in a Ford tractor might not have been the worst thing that I've ever done...

I'm not a farmer. I never have been. I never will be; but there's something about that day that stands out in my head. Something about it puts a slight smile on my face. 

It's funny where your thoughts will take you, but I wouldn't have it any other way.


Dad, if you're reading this, I really don't want to spend this coming weekend moving bales off the field.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Thrift Thursday.

I'm so excited to share my latest find with you! Seriously. You have no idea. 

You see, it all started a couple of years ago when I first moved into my place and was starting to fill it with furniture. At the time I was still trying to figure out my style and ended up passing up a few pieces because I wasn't sure if they were 'me'. 

One of those pieces was a beautiful arm chair that I'd found on clearance at a furniture store - I loved it, and it would have been an investment piece, but I just wasn't ready to fork over the coin....and I've been kicking myself since then.

That is, until I came across this beauty on Monday evening - 

I was wandering around Goodwill when I stumbled across this piece and right away I was like "you're coming home with me." But then a funny thing happened. I didn't buy it. Seriously. After pining over a chair like this for so long I left the store without it. I decided that I didn't want to fork over $25.00. How goofy does that sound?

Coming home, I ended up falling asleep thinking about the chair. Seriously. I kept asking myself why I hadn't purchased it. Sure it needed a bit of work, but it's a piece that would look amazing with a bit of loving.

As luck would have it, I had a chance to zip back to Goodwill over my lunch break on Tuesday and there she was still waiting for me (for some reason most of my furniture is female...hmm). A bit of work was required to get her into my car, but for the princely sum of $25.00 she was mine!

Like my nightstand before her, this beauty is in need of a makeover. She's rocked the gray legs and stained upholstery for long enough - it's time for her 'She's All That' moment...minus Rachel Lee Cook.

Here's what I'm thinking of using as a jump off for this beauty -  

Of course I'm in love with this Jonathan Adler piece, but seriously, it's going to be awhile before I can throw down $1250.00 for an actual Adler. But, with a bit of work, some sexy new upholstery, a box of French nailhead trim, multiple coats of paint & some lacquer I think that I'll be able to bring this ol' girl into this decade. She might even be able to swing that dreamy jock for the prom...

So a few packs of these....

A couple yards of this - 
And I'll be on my way!

Wish me luck (I'm going to need it with with all of those nails) and stay tuned!


Monday, 18 July 2011


This past week, a close friend of mine, the lovely Mrs. H phoned me up and asked me if I'd like to come over to give her a hand to hunt down some vintage frames to create a large grouping in her living room. You see, the lovely Mrs. H has only recently become Mrs. H and really wants to display some of her beautiful wedding photos.

So this past Friday, armed with our debit cards, loads of ideas and the hope that we'd find someplace with air conditioning, we hit up my favourite Value Village. We stumbled across a number of great pieces that will look great when unified by a couple coats of acrylic paint, her black & white prints and photo matting.

And while we didn't have a chance to figure out a layout for her wall (Mrs. H was too excited to paint her pieces) I know that they look great! It's amazing what one can do with a pile of cast-off pieces scooped up for a song.

I had the same idea as Mrs. H; a few years ago and came up with my own grouping...Winners and Value Village must have loved me (I'm not going to tell you how many frames I bought and still have in storage).

Here's a quick rundown of my own project -

What does one do when it's December and -30C outside? Scrounge up a bunch of scratch & dent and vintage frames.

December 2008
Cover every surface in plastic and paint above frames with multiple coats of Tremclad (left over from another project). Dan trick - prop the frames up with pencils to keep them from sticking to whatever plastic or cardboard you're using to cover surfaces.

Once my frames had dried, I reassembled and laid everything out on my living room floor, playing around until I found a look and layout that made me happy.

Next, I used painter's tape to map out where I wanted to place my grouping...this was pre-couch (actually pre-any furniture of signifigance in my living room), so my idea for this project was to create a grouping that would look great above my future couch.

A bit of trial and error later (we won't tell my landlord about all of the holes that I made...) I was relatively pleased with the outcome -

I'd share a decent end result photo with you...but I'm at work (on my lunch break of course) and can't find a good lookin' photo to share (I promise to throw one in here later on tonight). In the meantime, I've found some great photos online to help inspire you and the lovely Mrs. H! I can't wait to see her end results!

Colour, black and white or sephia? Which do you prefer?



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