Monday, 31 October 2011

Christmas. Christmas. Christmas.
ZOMG! forget Halloween, Kris Humphries and Kim Kardashian's divorce, the fact that we've still got four days left in the work's all about the new Christmas mags that have started to hit the stands! 

I picked up the latest issue of Style At Home this Evening and I've already got a gazillion ideas rolling through my head for what I'm going to do this Christmas! Aaaaaaaaaah! So excited. You have no idea! Seriously - every page has something amazing on it! Loads of metallic tones, bright yellows (score!) and softer versions of the traditional Christmas colours!

I've decided to wait until the 15th of the month to begin bringing out anything....but that doesn't mean that I'm not going to start trying to map out some ideas - I wanna go ALL OUT this year!

Bring on the paint & glitter! (That may have been the gayest sentence I've written to date on here....but who cares, it's only 50 something days 'til Christmas and I for one can't wait!!


Sunday, 30 October 2011

Around the office.

So I've been back on the job for three weeks now and I'm slowly but surely getting the hang of things. Having worked for this company previously, I figured out the computer system in a snap! I know a lot of my team and I'm in the same (albeit tiny) office as I was before I left.
Though the past three weeks has been a complete blur of emails, meetings, phone calls, questions, quotations, fabric selecting and brain storming, I've been having a blast! I'm currently working on an amazing project that has been so much fun - I'm completely in my element and my creative juices are flowing...something that hasn't happened at work in ages!
I can't share too many details of what I'm doing (well, not yet anyways....eventually I'll spill more!), but as you can see by my snaps I'm surrounded by amazing ideas, loads of color, new concepts, fabrics, fun catalogues that have made the journey from the other side of the world.
Sure there are moments where it feels like my head is going to explode and that I'll never make it through the sea of paperwork, but hey, at the end of the day, what gig doesn't have that? I'm doing exactly what I want to be doing right now. I'm growing my portfolio, expanding my credibility and making sure that I try to have fun while doing so.

Now....if only I had enough energy to finish painting my living room during my evenings then I'd be golden!

Eventually I say, eventually!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

A quick update.

Four days. Five phone calls from China. Six containers of product booked. 

Not bad huh?

Oh yah, that and I bought myself flowers on the way home one night....they've got such vivid tones in them that I couldn't help but take a couple of pictures.

Anyways, back to the week that was, I'm starting to settle into my new role. Second day on my computer and I remembered most of the ins and outs of the purchasing software that I'll be using....which makes life a lot easier! I know most of my team, and have already established communication with some old colleagues and friends overseas - which makes my life a whole lot easier!

I've got a number of exciting projects on the go - a number of which I really do hope to share with you....once I get some details sorted out. Right now I'm working about five months in advance to make sure that I've got a full assortment of seasonal merchandise available; I wish that I had a bit more time....a couple of extra months to play with ideas, but I've got an awesome feel for what I want to do - the ideas are rolling and I've plastered my office walls with pictures and ideas. I've got two weeks to put everything together, not a lot of time, but I know that I can do it!
What I'm loving the most about my new role is the fact that there's always something new for me to hunt for! One minute I'm checking out this, the next minute I'm checking out that....and then there's a bit of random other stuff thrown in for fun.

Sure I've got some challenges ahead of me, and there will be some skeptics, but I know that I made the right move. Nose to the grindstone and away I go!

That said, week number one kind of kicked my ass....a new routine takes a bit of time to get used to. That and I'm missing my sneakers....but that's pretty minor. A couple of projects around home have been cast aside and are still sitting in the middle of my living room floor, but I'm hoping to get them wrapped up before the end of this week!

But before any of that, it's time for this guy to crawl into a hot bath and then get some shuteye. 

I've got a week filled with Vietnamese ceramic factories, bathtubs, office decorating and random phone calls from India ahead of me....I need as much sleep as I can get to prep myself!

I can't wait!

Muffin man.

What better way to wrap up a busy weekend and by spending the evening making muffins? Sure Lady Gaga sings about them (indirectly that is...) but could she make my amazing carrot pineapple muffins? Probably not. Well, okay, she probably could, but they'd be missing the touch of 'Dan' that makes them that much more amazing.
Pretty tasty looking huh? This time of year I'm all about comfort foods...and these bad boys certainly fit right into that category!

So how'd I make them? 

Why I'm glad you asked!

Dan's Carrot Muffins

All purpose flour - 2 cups
Packed brown sugar - 3/4 cup (I cut down to 2/3 cup)
Baking powder - 1 tsp.
Baking soda - 1 tsp.
Salt - 1/2 tsp.
Cinnamon - 2 tsp. (if you're not a huge cinnamon lover like me, but down to 1 tsp.)

Large eggs - 2
Cooking oil - 1/2 cup (I use sunflower oil)
Grated carrot - 1-1/2 cup
Crushed pineapple & juice - 1 cup

What you'll want to do is mix preheat your oven to 400F (200C) and then combine the first seven ingredients in a large bowl. Mix together, creating a well in the centre.

In a second mixing bowl, toss in your eggs and beat until frothy. From there, mix in oil, carrots, pineapple and juice. Pour into the well that you made earlier. Stir only to should end up with something like this - 
This recipe makes a very lumpy don't be scared and over-beat. Next, either grease your muffin tins, or line with papers and fill tins 3/4 of the way full. Kind of like this -
Place in your heated oven and make for roughly 20 to 25 minutes. Remove and let sit for five minutes. 

Next up, dig in!
Wanna make these guys even healthier? Replace your 2 cups of flour with 1-1/2 cups of flour and 3/4 cup of natural bran.

Uber tasty and no bluffin' with any muffins required....

What comfort foods do you gravitate towards this time of year?

Monday, 10 October 2011

New beginnings.

We're finally here! Tomorrow's the big day! My first day in my new role, with a new, but familiar company.

I'm excited. I'm nervous. I'm tapped out from buying a bunch of new work clothes. Seriously now!?! When did dress pants get so expensive!?! 
A couple of gigs ago I put a real effort into what I wore to the office - pressed shirts and pants, the never-ending assortment of black shoes (I had a slight obsession with Aldo for awhile)...the whole nine yards. Fast forward to this time last year and I was giving away pieces that I figured I wouldn't wear again with my last gig (typical company fleece sweater, jeans and random polos)...I'm really kicking myself, but really, who am I was fun finding some new threads (I gotta impress potential office cougars somehow....)!

Anyways, all of that aside, I'm really excited to get to work. I know that my plate is going to get pretty full pretty fast. I'm hoping that I can share snippets of what I do in the near future....there are a lot of fun projects that I'm going to be tackling that really have me excited - the creative wheels are already turning!

But before all of that happens, I have to get a decent sleep! Tomorrow morning is going to come way too early!

Wish me luck!

Dan does Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian friends! I hope that wherever you were you had your fill of turkey, pilgrims, buckles and pie! Well, okay, maybe no pilgrims or buckles, but plenty of stuffing, mashed potatoes and everything else!

This past Friday evening, Mister and I planned and executed our own little shin-dig and while it didn't turn out exactly as planned, but we still had a blast putting everything together!

Here's a sneak peek of what we did!
No too bad huh?! I decided to have a bit of fun with setting the table. I stopped at off at a dollar store & supermarket on Friday morning and found a couple of leafy garlands that I pulled apart. I then tossed in a couple of place mats that I picked up for a dollar each, threw in a bag of fall gourds and  it was feeling pretty festive!
Add in my fave yellow napkins, some swanky stemware, some candles and my silver napkin rings and we're starting to look even more festive!
Okay, so the table turned out looking pretty good, but what did we eat?!

In addition to the usual chicken, potatoes, etc, etc, I figured that I'd turn it up a couple of notches by finally making the pumpkin soup recipe that I stumbled across ages ago! There were a couple of glitches along the way that resulted in soup on the ceiling and a few burnt fingers but, other than that it turned out great! And guess, what?!? It was (with the exception of the burnt fingers and soup on the ceiling) relatively easy to make! 
 Relatively easy, but oh soooooo tasty!
Here's a quick rundown of the recipe that I used!

Dan's Uber Easy Pumpkin Soup -

1 tablespoon of butter

1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
2 cups of chicken stock (low sodium)
1 cup of applesauce (plain)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 16 ounce can of pureed pumpkin, or 16 ounces of fresh cooked & mashed pumpkin
8 to 12 ounces of evaporated milk

First off, melt butter in a medium sized pot, chop onion and add to melted butter. Saute onion in butter for 5 to 7 minutes or until cooked, stirring occasionally. Next up, you'll want to add the brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and applesauce; stir and cook for four minutes. At this time, throw in (not literally) the pumpkin and chicken stock.

Stir. COVER. For the love of God COVER!!! Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer (definitely make sure that your heat is turned right down before taking lid off of pot to stir....this stuff bubbles!). Set your kitchen timer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. After this time, you'll want to uncover and pour in evaporated milk (I used a whole can)...if you want a thinner soup, use less milk, if you want a thicker soup - toss in the whole can.

Plate (or rather bowl...) and dig in! I served with wholewheat croutons, just to add a bit of crunch!

Doesn't sound too bad huh?!

And for dessert?

Well. That's another story.

One that includes me dropping A) my pumpkin spiced cupcakes on the floor and B) knocking the pumpkin spiced cream-cheese frosting off the counter while cleaning the pumpkin soup off of the ceiling...

It's a good thing Mister brought cookies! :)

Regardless of where you are or what you did, I hope that you had an awesome weekend!


Friday, 7 October 2011

Mellow yellow.

I don't know if I'm trying to compensate for spending the beginning of the week under the covers sneezing and hacking away, but here it is Thursday, approximately two in the morning, and I'm still wide awake and playing with my latest project piece.

I've still got a couple of coats of paint to go, but it's already looking great....a real show stopper! Any ideas on what colour I decided to paint it!??!

That's right! I finally went out and found the brightest of bright yellows! A couple of months ago I did a post on my love of all things yellow, and decided that it was finally time to inject a bit of this beloved colour into my space!

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't just a little bit nervous about seeing how this colour looks in my living room, but at the same time I know that it will look great! That is, after two more coats of paint followed the three, possibly four coats of urethane....

Give me a couple of days and I'll have something fun to share!


Have you ever had the chance to play around with a rounded Euro-tip sash brush? I'd brought home a couple of samples from the office ages ago and have finally gotten a chance to play with them and am loving them! They're awesome for corners and tight spaces; plus they've got a slightly firmer bristle which makes it almost effortless when you want to be extra anal about the way your trim looks....I'm sold! 

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Thrift Thursday!

Best thrift Thursday ever.

Well, almost.

I really didn't find much, but I had a lot of fun wandering around. Instead of only having an hour or two to run around after work I had the whole afternoon to peruse the city for treasures! As such, I made a point to venture off of my usual beaten track to see what else I could find.

I hit up a couple of furniture stores with the hope that I would stumble across my dream coffee table (it's out there!)...but no cigar. Instead, I had an old man follow me up and down three flights of stairs. Yes. Yes, I plan to grab that dresser and run out of the store with it....

And while I didn't come away with a coffee table, I had loads of fun and I did find one project piece (which I'm going to keep secret for the time being....but it will find a home in my new living room. I'm exciting enough about it that I've already ripped it apart and have it primed and drying on my deck!

Also, I stumbled across something really fun!

Get a load of this bad boy that came home with me -

So you're thinking, "it's a candle....wooo...."

But this my friends is not just any candle! This is the Voluspa candle that I've coveted for ages but have been too cheap to buy. At $22.00 CDN, it's not exactly a 'bargain' piece; but it's so worth it...especially when you get a load of the scent delicious 'Truffle White Cocoa' scent. It smells like, ten twenty times better than any other cocoa scented candle out there. For a few brief seconds I even contemplated licking it....(not really...okay really).

I was browsing through a Value Village when I noticed the familiar tin out of the corner of my eye. Usually I don't stop to check out candles at thrift stores but with the extra time, I figured why not... right away I knew that I was onto something when I spotted this guy!

Still sealed and unused, my coveted candle came home with me for....wait for it....

Wait for it...

The princely sum of....


That's right. One dollar, ninety-nine cents.


Best. Deal. Ever.


Both Chapters & Indigo stores have a huuuuuuuuuuge selection of Voluspa scents! Go! Now!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Now switch!

I've got a bit of a problem. 

You see, I've lived in my place for nearly three years, and in that time, I've been on a never-ending quest to be completely satisfied with my living room. Whenever I figure out an element and feel like I'm getting a step or two closer, I come up with five more reasons or things that I don't like about the space. The fact that it's a rental and that I'm limited by what I can do makes me cringe even more.....(there's no effing way that I'd ever have purchased vertical blinds....)
Feeling stale! Time for a change!
Seriously friends. In the three years that I've lived in my digs, I think that there's only been a couple of weeks were I've left everything be without tickering around with furniture placement, accents, lighting, pictures, paint colours or how 'centered' my area rug is. And regardless, it feels like an uber mess and 'work in progress'.... 
Feeling awkward...strange furniture placement and arrangements that I've tired of.
For the longest time I've hated the paint colour and have wanted to start fresh with something different...somehow I ended up with a bit of a brown tones are good....but a guy needs a bit of colour too! 

So anyways, this past Monday in-between sneezing, coughing, blowing my nose and drinking a year's supply of Roobois tea, I decided to forge ahead and repaint my living room, dining room and foyer a simply wonderful shade of gray. 
Keeping it real. Obviously I created thee biggest of big messes whilst painting!
I've got a ways to go before showing you the end results, but I feel like I'm finally on the right track with getting this room sorted out. In addition to painting the walls, I really want to refinish the small buffet (TV stand) that I picked up this summer. I've got a rather bright shade picked out for it...I can't wait to get going on it! That and finally dragged my sniffley ass off the couch this afternoon and found some drapery that I'm in love with....I'm still on the hunt for a coffee table....but it will come with time! Throw in some pops of colour with updated fabrics on the throw cushions and we mind actually end-up with a finished space...
Doesn't it look great!?! Two coats of ICI / CIL's 'Cliffside' and this space is lookin' great!
While I've got a ways to go to get the room that I've thought about and envisioned for ages, this space is still looking mucho mucho better than when I first moved in three years ago - 
In the beginning there was the $50.00 club chair and the Rubbermaid end tables...
You've come a long way Mr.'ve got a ways to go, but you've come a long way....

I can't wait to show you the end results!

Word up.

If you wait to do everything until you’re sure it’s right, 
you’ll probably never do much of anything.
– Win Borden

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

All's well that ends well.

I've kind of been all over the place for the past month or so. Professionally a lot has been up in the air and I'd finally like to take a couple of minutes to tell you a bit more about what I've been up-to.

Roughly this time last year I began working as a hardware buyer for a fairly well known local retailer. Great company - full of promise, some awesome people and lots of potential. However, things did not go as planned, and without going into too much detail - something didn't click. I wasn't feeling the company or my role; leading me to become increasingly frustrated with what I was doing, making me question and doubt my skills and wonder I was heading.
Over the course of the past couple of months I've been approached about a few opportunities and have come in runner-up for two positions, but still wasn't sure what to do next. Then, as luck would have it - a phone call came my way right before my departure to Saskatchewan.

A couple of meetings, and a lot of thought and consideration later I've decided to make the jump to another role. 

I'm excited. I'm scared. I'm looking forward to new challenges. New people. New adventures. 

That and I'm sicker than a dog.

I wrapped up my last role this past Friday and am taking the week to clear my head and also to get over the wicked cold that came my way this past weekend. I didn't realize that I was so rundown from everything, but I'm really feeling....flemish. Seriously, this boy needs to buy shares in Kleenex.

Anyways, I'm on the mend, and have some fun stuff to share with you over the next week as I enjoy a bit of 'Dan time'....some new projects to share and some adventures to be had - all leading into my new big adventure starting next week!

Anyways, time to go find some more Kleenex and another glass of orange juice.

Any remedies for the common cold worth sharing?


Just one thing.

I've loved milk glass forever, but it's only been recently that I've actually started building a collection of my own. A a kid I admired a small vase that my Gram used to showcase spring flower blossoms - it wasn't the fanciest or most intricate of pieces, but I think that's why I liked it so much - there's something about the overall 'whiteness' of the piece that helped make the blossoms pop.
Milk glass pieces always seemed out of reach, that is until recently. For some reason it seems like everywhere I turn I'm stumbling into the point where I've been able to get picky with which pieces come home with me, and which pieces stay in the shop.
Wanna know the best part? I've scored my pieces for amazing steal-of-a-deal prices! I haven't paid anymore than $2.00 for any of my pieces...which is really something considering the fact that when you start hunting for pieces online, most of what I've collected goes for anywhere from $16.00 through $30.00 per piece.
I've made it a point to stick with vases and urns - I've seen some awesome examples of milk glass dinnerware and serving pieces along the way, but my kitchen and pantry are only so big....that and I'm scared that at some point Mister will phone A&E or whatever network it is that has those shows about people who have multiple 'collections'....
I'm still working out how I want to display my new-found collection, and have come up with a couple of ideas, of which all are highly unrealistic for the time being - one idea involves built-in shelving, another sees me re-purposing an old secretary desk and displaying the pieces in the upper cabinets. Until such a time when either idea is feasible or possible, I'm thinking that I'd love to try displaying a couple of my fave pieces on my mantel this Christmas! Picture this - oodles of milk glass along with blue and silver glass balls....maybe some greenery...hmm.....

What collections have stumbled your way as of late?



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