Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Dan's Bathroom.

Unless you're one of those apartment dwellers that has been lucky enough to find a place with an updated bathroom, chances are that you're like me and hate your bathroom.

I'd hated mine since moving in nearly three years ago. It's tiny. The fixtures are dated. The lighting sucks. The flooring is horrendous. The bathtub drips. The towel bar kept falling down if I put more than one towel on it at a time. Hell, I'd seen truck stop bathrooms in better shape than mine.

You get the idea?

How about a visual?
Super scary flooring
Being a rental, there's not a lot that I could do with the space. If I'd owned my apartment, I'd have ripped out the vanity, tile, flooring, lighting and anything else that I could get my hands on. But since that isn't the case, once I'd unpacked and settled in I figured that I'd try to give my bathroom a bit of a face lift with a coat of paint. I ended up choosing a colour called 'Aztec Ruins' which I thought would compliment the yellow floor and counter top. I figured that a nice, somewhat boring beige would help neutralize the space. Beige, the great neutralizer. Right? Wrong-o!

For the past couple of years, my bathroom has felt like a big yellow box. The paint colour did absolutely nothing for the space and the last thing that I wanted to do was crawl into a relaxing bath when I had to look at the walls.

This spring I made it my goal to find a new paint colour and have the space repainted by the end of summer. Long story short, as of this past Sunday evening I'd yet to paint the space, let alone settle on a colour. I'd played around with some ideas, stuck chips on the wall, but still wasn't sure which direction I was heading in.
The ugly vanity
Finding myself annoyed with my indecisiveness, I hit up a big box store during my lunch break on Monday, selected a colour off of a chip and by 5:30 that afternoon was rolling on the first coat.

Two evenings and three coats of paint later it's looking a lot less 'truck stop-ish' and a lot more 'spa' like (or as spa like as you can get when you're on a budget and are still stuck with the ugliest vanity in the world).

A bit better right?
Mucho better!
I don't plan on staying in my apartment forever, so I didn't want to spend a fortune completing this project, but at the same time I wanted to make it livable. Using accessories that I already had, and in purchasing only a few other pieces I've created a space that I can live with for the next year.
If you go digging around you can easily pickup apothecary jars at any thrift or secondhand store - for a couple of bucks and a bag of seashells you can easily create that coveted 'Pottery Barn' look.
A new towel bar and cushy towels add to the look! Checkout unexpected places like Winners (T.J. Maxx) for amazing buys on boutique styled bath hardware!
I scored these sailboat prints a couple of months ago at Liquidation World for $5.00. After hunting around online I found the set for $89.99! Score!
I couldn't forget my Lush robot bath bombs!
 I love the new robe hook! A steal at only $6.00!
Remember this vase? I found it a couple of weeks ago at Goodwill and it fits in perfectly!
I love how my bathroom turned out! While I couldn't change some of the physical components, I've at least made them livable! What do you think?! Now onto the living room, random furniture pieces and stacks of unfinished projects hiding in my storage room!

Time to put those robots to use!


Paint - 'Silver Shores' / 50YR 53/011 by CIL
Towel Bar & Robe Hook - Winners
Shower Curtain - By Moda at Home (found at Liquidation World)
Sailboat Prints - By Graham & Brown (found at Liquidation World)
Apothecary Jars - Value Village
Gray Bath Towels - JC Penney
White Hand Towels - The Bay
Vase - Salvation Army
Soap Dispenser - Dollarama
Robot Bath Bombs - Lush

Word up.

Formal education will make you a living,
self education will make you a fortune.

- Jim Rohn

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Swanky lovin'.

While most kids collected Pogs, marbles and action figures, I was busy collecting vintage toy cars, old books, candy tins and vintage travel souvenirs. During the summer on any given Friday evening or Saturday morning, my Mom and I would make our list of yard sales around town and would venture out to see what we could find for treasures. It was during one such outing that I developed a fondness for Swankyswigs.

Swanky what?

Swankyswigs were originally developed in the 30s as a incentive of sorts - companies like Kraft would fill cute little juice tumblers with their most popular products - jams, salad dressings, etc. Buy enough jam and presto - a new set of glassware.
Numerous companies would continue offering an array of cute little glasses featuring the likes of animals, cartoon characters, cowboys, flowers, bunnies, etc. through to the 70s when plastic packaging started to take-off. And though long out of production many of these cute little glasses remain and can easily be found at thrift stores and in mixed lot boxes at estate auctions.
Pink & Black 50s Swanky Swigs-Set of 3
My Mom and I both have collections of Swankies. While her collection is on display in her china cabinet, mine have been in storage for years, but after reading about them on another post, I'm tempted to pull them out and find a neat way to display and utilize them.
Cat and Bunny playing Vintage Child Juice Glass
My faves are definitely the pieces with animals, cowboys and boats. I scored a set of four glasses with blue and white sailboats a few years ago at my Great Grandma's estate sale. They're really cute and remind me of her - I remember using them when we were little and would go visit her.

So while I try to come up with a clever way to display my Swankyswig collection, I'll leave you with some favourite pieces that I found on Etsy -
Vintage Red Bucking Bronco Child's Drinking Glass
5  Red, White, Blue Glasses, Swanky Swigs, Tumblers, Anchor Hocking,
What did you collect as a kid? Was I the only one collecting vintage at 10 years old?

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, 29 August 2011

A brand new week!

Mr. Mitchell getting in a bit of r'n'r.
Where's Dan been hiding?

In real life, I'm hanging in my office at work, grabbing a bite to eat. As for blog land, I've been kind of m.i.a. over the past week or so. But have no fear! After an insane work week filled with stupid people a busy week and an even busier weekend filled with sun, sand, water and just of dash of scandalous fun (well okay, perhaps more than a dash), I'm back in the city and ready to conquer this week and fill you in on what I've been doing.

I've got a long list of projects that I plan on tackling this week and am very, very excited to see the final results! I'm not going to give away any details quite yet, but there will be before and after shots. We're talking epicness! Well maybe not epicness, but I'm excited. Expect multiple posts and loads of pictures.

What am I going on about? You'll just have to wait and see!

Now, back to the grind. Four hours and counting....


Monday, 22 August 2011

Mr. Mitchell takes a drive.

I have a confession to make. I did something bad after work.

As I was driving to the gym I veered off onto a side street and ended up at one of my favourite thrift stores. This might not sound like a big deal, but I'd secretly made a bit of a pact with myself last night to avoid thrifting of a couple of weeks so that I could focus on a couple of big projects that I've been putting off.

Yeah, that idea didn't last long. And for that, I'm glad, because I found some fun stuff!

I know that it's nowhere near Thrift Thursday, but I figured that I'd share anyways.

Exhibit A -
The shop was filled to the trim with everything and anything....and to top it off all housewares were 50% off! Yet, I had to do a bit of digging before finding anything that I could deem as being 'Dan Worthy'....but once I started to really look I found some cool pieces.
First up I found this nifty cigarette tin for a whopping $1.50 - it has a cool pattern and will look neat on my nightstand or perhaps on my desk holding paperclips. Next came a set of four Chinese finger bowls. I've always had a thing for tiny bowls of this nature, but have never seen a set with more than a couple of pieces, and at .75 for the lot I couldn't turn them down. I'm thinking that they'll look cool as votive holders, or I might put them to use in the kitchen when I'm baking. And last but not least a 16 PC cup and saucer set originally from Stokes. $4.50 = coming home with Dan. I've got mugs and stemware galore, but figured that it was finally time to invest in some cups. Tea party time?
Aren't these finger bowls cool? I have no idea what they say, for all I know they could say "your Mom wears army boots" but I love them none the less.
 The tin, as cute as it was, was looking pretty tarnished and I figured that it might be worth a bit of time and effort to see if I could give it a bit of sparkle and shine.
I'm not one to promote stuff....I do enough of that at work, but I found an awesome silver polish that's totally worth trying. I love ol' skool silverware, but have resisted the urge to buy it because of the fact that I'm too lazy to polish it. That and most of the cleaners that I've tried have given me a wicked high (and not a good one at that....). However, this stuff is amazing!
It's a pink-y coloured paste and it doesn't have a 'cleaner' smell to it. That and It didn't cause my hands to get all red and itchy. It was easy enough to use, and in no time flat, my tin was looking like this - 
 I decided that I liked a bit of the patina and worn finish and that it added a bit to the tin so I left it (that and I have no attention span and didn't feel like scrubbing anymore)....not too bad hey? Bring on the thrift store silverware and old cutlery! (As if I need any more collections...)

So there you have it. One day into my 'no thifting' plan and I've already fallen by the wayside. Then again, I did find some neat I think it was worth it. What's that saying....something like "it's good to be bad"....?

And while I'm at it, I should show you what I stumbled across this past Friday evening.

Exhibit B - 

Grand total $5.50. Thank you Salvation Army on Empress Street.

Now! Time to get some other projects figured out!

Staging! Closet organizing! Painting! Reupholstering! Now! (Or maybe tomorrow...)

What have your best finds been as of late?

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Weekend tunes.

It's officially the weekend! I don't know about you, but I'm more than ready for a couple days of downtime. This past week kicked my ass. So I'm more than ready for sunshine, sleeping in and singing (albeit poorly) at the top of my lungs while cruising around.

I'm looking at another jam-packed, but relaxing weekend - including a mini road trip (mini as in less than two hours in the cougar car), but a road trip none the less. And while there are times where I like to drive and just ponder, admiring the scenery and think about whatever comes to mind, more often than not I want to be listening to the perfect driving play list.

I'll be the first to admit that technology and I don't always get along - that said, I wanted to share with you some of the randomness that will hopefully be making its way onto the ol' iPod this weekend.

Without further ado, the ten most random tracks that I'll be listening to this weekend -

1. Nicola Roberts - Lucky Day

They finally let the ginger one from Girls Aloud have her own solo record. I was all over the first single, but this one is even better. Her outfit in the vid is a bit, well, lacking, but I love everything else. Roberts worked with Dragonette, one of my fave Canadian, Brit based groups to produce this track and you can tell. Its got a very 'Dragonette' (without Martin Solveg) feel to it. Definitely worth a listen! Her vocals are amazing and I love the simplicity of the track.

2. Rye Rye Ft. Robyn - Never Will Be Mine

Apparently this track has been out for a couple of months, but I just discovered it tonight. I have no idea who this Rye Rye chick is, but I love this duet that she did with Swedish superstar Robyn. Smart move on her part. 

3. Olly Murs - Heart Skips a Beat

I haven't figured out where this song is going to land on the UK charts when it's released in September. It's a departure for Murs, but a good one at that. He's got a wicked voice and the ballads were doing nothing for me. This is one of those fun songs that gets stuck in your head (in a good way). If only he'd ditch the stupid hat in the vid.

4. Jessie J - Domino

So what if it sounds like a castoff from the Katy Perry pile of fun. I love it. Jessie J sings the hell out of this song. It's the perfect late summer track - light, fluffy and with lyrics I can remember and sing along to. Something tells me that this track is going to be huge - give it a couple of months and we'll be hearing it everywhere.

5. Moses Mayes - Schmarck Attack

Sometimes a guy doesn't need lyrics to sing along to. I love everything about this track! Moses Mayes is a Winnipeg based group that I've recently stumbled across and I love a lot of their work - a fusion of funk, acid jazz, turntables and ol' skool. Also check out their track'll elevate you. No seriously. 

6. Andy Grammer - Keep Your Head Up

My feel good song of the summer. Plain and simple. There's something about this guy's voice that does it for me.

7. Noisettes - Don't Upset The Rhythm

This track came out a couple of years ago, but it's still one of my fave driving tracks. When the lead singer hits the chorus I get to experience what I like to call my "car commercial" moment. Seriously. If I where ever to select the track for a car commercial, this would be it. Have a listen.

8. Nicole Scherzinger - Say Yes

You can laugh all you want, but I'm totally in love with Nicole Scherzinger's solo album. She's been getting loads of attention overseas and for me, this is by far the standout track. Her voice is amazing. Total single material.

9. Pitbull Ft. Jencarlos - Tu Cuerpo

What would a play list be without at least one Pitbull track?! Pitbull in English generally annoys me (that and it doesn't matter how expensive this linen suits are, he still looks dirty), but en Espanol I love him! I heard this song a gazillion times when I was in Mexico this spring and haven't tired of it. That and whenever I'm listening to it I like to think about the time that I attempted to mimic the blond backup dancer's moves....the results weren't pretty....but that's a story for another time.

10. Kim Kardashian - Jam (This is Kardashian free blog) 

10. Sophie Ellis Bextor Ft. Junior Caldera - Can't Fight This Feeling

I still haven't figured out why my girlfriend Sophie Ellis Bextor isn't more popular. She's amazing. She's got a distinctly 'British' sounding voice which sounds wicked when paired with the best-of-the-best DJs. That and she's hot to boot. This track came out last spring....and ended being huge in Poland. Totally a driving tune. Almost as good as this track, another track of her's that only ended up being a B-Side - 

And there you have it. Ten plus random songs for your weekend listening enjoyment. See, I told you that it'd be random! But, that said it's all amazing randomness. I'd never share bad music with you.

What's on your weekend play list? Share your fave tunes! I'm always on the hunt for something new and exciting to listen to!

Wherever you are, and whatever you're doing this weekend, enjoy!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Word up.

Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect.
It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections.


Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Pantry lovin'.

So, I'm still trying to figure out my camera, but I couldn't wait any longer! I've been wanting to show you my pantry - I love the way that I've been able to pull it together. There are still a few details that I want to complete - I've got my eye on a new light fixture for the wall and have been saving frames to create a wall collage....but they'll come later!

Anyways, enough of me rambling! You want to see pictures! You want to see what I've done thus far - 

I've had the little wooden stand for a few years, but have never fully utilized it. It was one of those pieces that just sat in the previous pantry and collected dust. No more! It now looks cute, decorative and functional as it holds some of my favourite pieces - including my Peek Frean cookie tin and this giant apothecary jar that I scooped up from the sample pile at my old job.

Realizing I needed more storage, I hit up a couple of different shops hoping that I'd stumble across some cool wire racks. However, an unfinished wooden rack from Walmart won out in the end. $29.97 > $79.99 wins every time.
Remember my idea to go ahead with canning jars? I totally went for it! I picked up a dozen for under $8.00 at Canadian Tire and went wild filling them with some of my seasonal baking supplies. They look even better when teamed up with the wire baskets that I picked up on clearance for $1.44 each at Superstore (regular $13.99 each). Gotta love a bargain!
The new shelving unit has worked perfectly to both store and also to display some of my favourite pieces. After having them jammed in my cupboards for years, it's finally nice to be able to see them out on display - including that snazzy fondue set I found a couple of months ago. That and I always know where the tequila is. Just sayin'.
I struck gold when I found this awesome jar at Value Village last week for $2.99. Better yet, the fact that it was still wearing its original price tag. It works perfectly as a new flour jar.
It also looks cool when teamed up with the mixing bowls that I snagged off of my sister a while back - she'd received them as a grad gift and wasn't really digging them. Enter Dan.
Remember those wicker baskets that I picked up at Goodwill? I'd originally planned on using them to store magazines and movies but they work perfectly storing canned tomatoes, soups and bags of marshmallows.
Not wanting to leave out the decorating details that make a space I decided to use the top of the new shelving unit to display some of my treasures that have been in hiding for awhile. My Grandpa gave me the Kodak darkroom light a couple of years ago - apparently my Great-Great Grandpa did photography at one point and this had belonged to him. It works well with my Niagara Falls candy tin, the stamps that came home with me from Value Village one afternoon (more than a few people were puzzled as to why I'd picked them up), the giant ceramic conch I found when cleaning up a relative's belongings and the cool blue boxes that I found at Superstore for $4.99 each. Once I get around to it, the boxes will come in handy storing and organizing recipes.
The little rack looks so cute now that I'm actually putting it to work. I've finally corralled my collection of vases and tins - no more digging through cupboards, closets and storage rooms. Throw in some bake ware, an etiquette book and an old tackle box filled with hand tools and I think I'm set.
Oh! I can't forget to show you this cute little fish platter that I found a couple of weeks ago at my Grandma's. It's proved to be the perfect spot to contain my car keys - that and whenever I look at it, I stop and think about my Gram.
So there you have it! My almost finished pantry! It's far from my dream pantry (walls of cabinets, a bar fridge and a little sink), but hey it's doing the trick! My storage room is staying organized, and best of all, I get to see a lot of my fave treasures on a daily basis!

Another project down, a gazillion more to go!


Large shelving unit - Walmart
Recycling Bin - Canadian Tire
Canning Jars - Canadian Tire
Wire Baskets - Superstore
Blue Storage Boxes - Superstore
Glass Cylinder Vase - Alfred Sung for Zellers
Italian Coffee Perk - The Happy Cooker (Winnipeg)

Tuesday, 16 August 2011


When I was in Puerto Vallarta this past spring I spent a lot of time wandering around the market stalls in Old Vallarta. I was in my glory. First off, I'm a shopper and the bargains were amazing. Second, the eye candy was phenomenal. 
Everywhere I turned there was something to look at - the shopkeepers sweeping their stalls, the stacks of knockoff handbags, the coloured glass, the stacks of silver platters and painted bowls and the beautiful hand embroidered textiles including stunning hand embroidered Otomi prints.

From the bit of homework I've done, the Otomi are an indigenous group of people living in the central antiplano of Mexico. One of the oldest and most complex cultures of Mesoamerica, the Otomi are known for their worship of the sun, their unique indigenous language, their farming and their beautiful weaving and textile production.

A majority of the prints feature animal and floral prints representative of the Otomi culture. I loved the vibrant colours and playful nature of the fabrics.

I fell in love with the prints instantly and am still kicking myself for not purchasing some of my faves. I kept putting off purchasing any thinking "oh, we have another day - I'll see what else I can find at the next stall." Next thing you know, I'm back in Winterpeg sans Otomi.

I've done a bit of digging to see if I can find any fabric locally and was shocked to see my 250 peso pillow covers retailing for $95.00 USD. I'm hoping to get back to Puerto Vallarta sooner than later, and in addition to the sets of blue glassware and silver trays that I intend to bring back, I also plan on filling a suitcase with Otomi in blues, reds, yellows and whatever other tones and patterns jump out at me!

Pillow covers? I think so!

Here are a couple of other cool ideas that I found online that have included Otomi.
What was your favourite travel find? What's on your wish list to bring back from your next journey?!


Pantry preview.

Mr. Mitchell has been busy lately.

Very busy.

Work. Meetings. Family. Friends. Life. Camera shopping. Pantry organizing.

This past week I was able to finally check a couple of things off of my list.  First off, I found a new camera to keep me going for awhile - I picked it up this past Saturday and finally had an opportunity to play with it this evening. So far, so good! A few days and I'll have all the bells and whistles figured out.

Second, I finished revamping my pantry. I'm so happy with the way the space has turned out. After three years it's practical, functional and looks pretty snazzy. I stumbled across a few new pieces to help keep everything organized.

Once I've had a few days to play with my camera I'll post some more pics and give you a rundown of what I did, but in the meantime, here's a little something to whet your appetite - 

What do you think? 

I can't wait to share more!


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