Friday, 30 December 2011

The year in review.

2011 you rocked my socks!

Well, almost.

It's crazy to think that not only has Christmas come and gone, but that we're on the cusp of a New Year! 

And while I'm not one to want to make huge plans for the evening of the 31st, I do like taking a couple of minutes to think about the year that has been and to look at the events that have shaped me and affected me throughout the past year. So much has happened that I don't want to bore you with all the details...but know that it has been a crazy year! A year of firsts and lots of adventures and changes - more travel than ever, the beginnings of this blog - which has been one of the best creative outlets ever for me, adventures and projects galore and a new job which has never seen me more happy professionally! What's not to love?!

Speaking of this blog, who'd of thunk that I'd still be plunking away, still coming up with posts. Not this boy! Over the past eight months I've grown this project - the result of me being too bored in the office one afternoon, into one that I love. I've discovered and conversed with some great individuals online, shared a lot of goofy thoughts, some neat ideas and even vented a little (okay, a lot for a few months...).

While time will only tell what the events of the coming year will bring I do want to say thank you for reading my ramblings and for sharing them with your friends! I had no idea what was going to happen when I keyed in the first of many posts to come eight months ago, but this has been an awesome experience! I definitely have some ideas rolling around in the back of my head for 2012 and can't wait to see them unfold.

Now, enough of me rambling - let's take a look at some randomness from the past year!

Most read in - Canada, USA, El Salvador & Russia
How cool is it to know that the ideas that you're reading about are being read by individuals on the other side of the world! Mucho love to those of you abroad who are finding me and are searching me by name! Makes a guy feel kind of special!

Most read post - It's a tie! You're loving two of my favourite posts - Framed and Dan wants to move into a school house. (I know, I know....the title of the second).
Most searched terms - Dan Mitchell Style, Picture Frame Wall, Dan design blog, Sarah Richardson's Ass (I kid you not...), danmitchellstyle
My favourite (and your most read about) project - remember when I played fairy god father to a nightstand back in July? It's still one of my favourite furniture pieces that I've redone...who'd of thunk that a Goodwill cast-off with a case of the uglies could turn into something so sexy?! Seriously. I swear, I'd be the perfect guy for an HGTV gig, haha.

Before if you'll remember -
And after some Dan lovin' -

My favourite Pinterest shot that I've posted -
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Everything about this picture is magic to me. This year has been all about new adventures, changing directions and trying to figure out how to navigate my own 'Game of Life' board. This year has had its fair share of twists and turns...and while some of them are bound to follow me into the coming year, I'm excited to see what happens and where I land.

Fave pic of mine that I've posted -
There's a pretty long personal story that goes behind this picture, but it's one of my fave shots ever - sometimes it the cloudiest, gloomiest and most depressing of days that can generate a shot this beautiful and awe inspiring.

See it's been a fun year!

And though I could go on all day sharing the things that I've loved, discovered, shared or been introduced to over the course of this past year, I'll let you sleuth through my posts at your leisure. You won't be disappointed! I promise.

Here's to 2012! The new, the familiar, the scary and the unknown! I can't wait!

Now let's go find some good wine...


Thursday, 29 December 2011

Word up.

Life has its ups and downs. It can be brutal and beautiful. You can hole yourself away to avoid life's pain, but then the beauty seldom finds it's way in. It's only when you attempt to go where you cannot go, or do what you cannot do, that you can achieve what you are truly capable of doing. Sure, you might tumble. You might fall. So what? Take a chance. Go way out on the limb. Dare to try - even if it's just a shot in the dark.


Sunday, 18 December 2011

Galvanized obsession.

Slowly but surely I'm realizing that I've got a bit of an obsession with anything galvanized. One could attribute it to the galvanized Dutch style flower buckets that I picked up awhile back, but I'm thinking that my love for this edgy, rough and industrial yet slightly inviting, relaxed and familiar look goes back a ways. Way growing up on the farm.
Source unknown
Whether it was the grain bins around my family's farm, the old galvanized pails that I used when I was feeding the pigs (...that's right....I grew-up feeding pigs...), the roofs on our barns, the quonset where my dad parked his tractors or the rusting old pieces of galvanized sheet metal laying out in the bush, the look was and is still everywhere
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That said, I am kind of picky with how I like my galvanized metal. I don't like the new and shiny stuff...I've got a mini palm that's living in a convert ice bucket that I found a couple years ago. While the idea is there, it doesn't have the patina and texture that older pieces have. I've thought about leaving it outside for awhile so that it gets a bit of exposure to the elements....but I'm secretly hoping that I can just come across another piece that has a bit of depth to it.
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I've been spending a bit of time lately flipping through images that I've archived in my folders - and without really realizing it, I've saved what seems like a gazillion and a half different shots that include this look...a look that I definitely want to try to bring into my own place a bit further...I like shiny and classic...but I'm feeling like I need to mix it up a bit....rough it up a bit. 

Here are a couple of my fave looks & ideas - 
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Galvanized metal side table
This side table is blowing my mind....
if only I could figure out where it's from!
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French designed galvanized dining chairs? Oui!
New goal! To find the metal boxes that I made in my junior-high metal working class....who knew that what seemed like a pain to make at the time (and result in a solid 'C' for metal working would excite me again...)
Love this look! I have no idea how you'd properly clean it....
but really, who cares. It looks amazing!
Must replant cedars after Christmas in my Dutch style flower buckets!
Must find! Must find! I NEED to own this table!
I'm thinking that it's time that I start wandering through the sheds and digging through the scrap piles around my folk's farm to see what treasures I can find. 

Perhaps it's time for Dan to get crafty during Christmas holidays...bring on the tin snips and band-aids!


Word up.

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My favourite adventure is to go where I've never been.
-Diane Arbus

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Tree trimming time!

So I've made you wait long enough! Here it is a week from Christmas and I've yet to share this year's tree with you! I've had the tree up for a couple of weeks now...but in between all of the holiday fun, craziness in the office and chocolate eggnog drinking (that's right I found chocolate eggnog!!), I haven't had a time to tell you about the crazy fun that is my tree.
Since November I've been giving you sneak-peeks of some of the ornaments that I've picked up along the way....and also told you about how I've randomly picked up different pieces on my way home from the grocery store over the course of a few weeks (seriously - I swear I was just going in to pick-up more chocolate eggnog and bananas....).
Decorating was reasonably was putting up the stupid tree that took forever....I'm one of those anal guys that needs to make sure that the lights are perfect - we're talking about taking three and a half hours to wrap lights around each branch as I'm building the turned out looking pretty spiffy though, so I guess it was worth it in the end!
After finally deciding on going with a blue and silver theme this season, my goal was to make my tree look kind of fresh and exciting, but at the same time make it look cozy and 'Dan like'...if that makes sense. A bit of bling, a bit of glass, a bit of fun and some burlap....(I don't get how the burlap makes it 'Dan like'....maybe it has to do with me coming from the farm....hmmm....).
After getting a bulk of the decorations onto the tree over the course of a couple of evenings (tying fishing line onto ornaments takes a long time....), I still didn't have a tree skirt to complete the look. In the past this fact hasn't bothered me....but in past years I've been a bit more on my 'A Game' having wrapped my presents early....this year that hasn't exactly there I was left not knowing what to do, not wanting to drop anymore coin on a skirt, and apparently not ready to wrap everything up. So out came the burlap!
Not too bad huh? Actually....the pic doesn't really do it justice but my $3.99 roll of burlap that I picked up at work looks pretty snazzy - it's so simple and the complete opposite of everything else that's going on....but it seems to make sense! No sewing, just a lot of fluffing....
And here you have it! The big unveiling! It might not look like something you'd find in a showroom or in a swanky design magazine, but I love it! It's goofy how much I find myself sitting with the lights turned out just admiring the tree....a couple glasses of wine (or chocolate eggnog)...some people do yoga & meditate...I look at my tree. What are yah gonna do? 

There yah have it!

Stay tuned for a couple more shots!

Where did I snag everything from?

Tree - Value Village (Martha Stewart)
Silver owls - Walmart USA
Frosted & sequin balls - Zellers
Tin press birds / stockings / snowflakes - TBS! The Bargain! Shop
Standard-sized solid coloured balls - The Bay / Walmart Canada
Sparkle 'Merry Christmas' - Walmart USA
Swirled blue glass ornaments - Walmart USA
Over-sized coloured balls - PC Home Collection for Superstore / Loblaws
Rolled burlap - McDiarmid 
Christmas lights - Target 

Monday, 12 December 2011

Thrift Thursday (Monday Edition...)

The thrifting Gods have finally started to answer my prayers....well, not really, but you know what I mean. After what seemed like months of random junk at the shops around the city, I've finally started to stumble across some rather neat pieces....all of which have called out "take me home."

Case in point. These pieces - 
I really lucked out this past week when I hit-up Value Village. Lately I've been pretty unimpressed, but struck gold when I stumbled across two Pottery Barn books for $1.99 each...the dust jackets are a bit ripped, but the books themselves are in great shape! They're a few years old, but they've got some neat ideas....and we're talking about Pottery Barn....they're all about creating 'classic looking' they're still pretty current.

Also, a snazzy Christmas tree for my office for the grand total of $.49 (with Michael's tag still attached....I'd rather pay the $.49 than the original $10.49 CDN retail) and two glass vases; perfect for more Christmas decorations! Can I get a 'whoop whoop?' No, not even a 'whoop'....hmm....

The next couple of weeks are only going to get busier and busier with the Christmas rush, which means less time to wander around and treasure hunt (I'll be too busy burning Christmas cookies). That said, I can't wait to hit the shops up in January & February when I'll hopefully be able to snag some deals on random Christmas stuff and unwanted Christmas presents. Last year I snagged a new 30PC set of Gluckstein glass balls for $2.99 and a bag of mercury glass ornaments (with tags still on them) for $1.99!

Let's make a day of it! Shops...lunch....Dan!

How 'bout it?

Word up.

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If you want to know where you heart is, 
look where your mind goes when it wanders.


Sunday, 11 December 2011

Around the house...

I love lazy Sunday afternoons around Casa Dan. Except for me, lazy Sunday afternoons usually involve me spending a couple of hours scrubbing down my kitchen, dusting my living room and vacuuming everything, plus finishing up my holiday decorating. That said, I wouldn't have had it any other way.

Here are a couple of the projects that I tackled - 
I picked up three mini cedars from Safeway earlier this week and finally got around to planting them in a couple of my vintage milk glass planters. While digging around though some drawers I came across a bag of old keys that my Mom gave me awhile back....lo and behold, I ended up with this.
After tackling the cedars, I ventured out into the cold and stole a bunch of branches from my neighbour's tree....(I'm sure that they won't miss them). A bit of fake snow, some balls, one hound's tooth reindeer and a bunch more old keys later, and I ended up with this. I love the way the skeleton keys look on the branches! So unexpected, and not Christmas-y, but still, neat!
Bulb watch, day ___ (like I can remember stuff like that) and they're still growing! I must be doin' something right! I also went digging thru the closet and found yet another vase which ended up being filled with more....balls.
Let's have another glimpse of the trees! When I was scooping up the milk glass left, right and centre this summer, I wasn't too sure what I was going to do with them. I'm soooooooo happy that I finally figured out a unique and different way to showcase them.
And guess what else I did! I figured out the chandelier!!! As you may remember, earlier this week I tried to decorate my chandelier and ended up having a mini meltdown. The ribbon that I was using wasn't working out, I was tired, frustrated not only with decorating but with everything else and basically said "eff it" after three balls. However, new day, new ribbon, better mood and it turned out looking out pretty stellar!
I went digging through my totes and found some of the decorations that I hadn't used on the tree....and then snagged a few more from the tree. My fave pieces have to be the mercury glass double-ball & teardrop ornament that I snagged this summer from The Bay (reg. $12.99 on for $1.99) and the mercury glass bird that I picked up couple weeks ago at JYSK.

A busy day, but a great day! What do yah think?

Stay tuned for the great tree unveiling!


Tuesday, 6 December 2011

What Dan's watching. Holiday edition.

Everyone that knows me knows that I'm a sucker for old movies. There's just something about them that makes me light up. Sure there's no CGI or product placement and the stunts can sometimes be a bit goofy (as can the storylines themselves), but I love them none the less. I'd rather spend two hours watching something with a couple years on it vs some Hollywood blockbuster...

And when it comes to the flicks that I end-up watching during the holiday season I can say the exact same things! I may have seen a few of my favourites 20-25 times over the years, and I might remember some of the corniest of dialogue, but there's just something about them that resignates with me...and has be turn to them again and again.

So, that said, I figured it would be fun to share with you a list of my fave holiday films / shows. And you MUST promise me that you'll check out at least one or two...

10. Singin' in the Rain - 1952
So it's not exactly a Christmas movie....but Singin' in the Rain was a staple during our Christmas season. I swear there were certain years where CBC broadcast this flick 5-6 times during the month of December.

9. Holiday Inn - 1942
A group of musicians gather at a quaint inn during the Christmas season. Lots of song, dance, and goofy jokes....and the introduction of the classic song 'White Christmas.' Bet yah didn't know that the song appeared years before the movie of the same name. In-fact, when the flick was released 'White Christmas' stayed at the top of the music charts for 11 weeks. Imagine still hearing Christmas music in February? Oye.

8. The Bells of St. Mary's - 1944
Another tear-jerker revolving around a priest, a nun, a bunch of school kids, a school that faces closure and a Christmas pagent. I haven't figured out why, but as a kid, this was the VHS tape that my sister would gravitate towards whenever she wanted to watch a didn't matter if it was the middle of August or not....

7. It Happened on Fifth Avenue - 1947
Until this past weekend, I'd heard of, but never seen this flick. The storyline is ridiculous....but still, oddly appealing and super sweet. Two homeless men - a hobo and a WWII vet who's having trouble finding decent housing movie into the NYC mansion of the world's second richest man who's wintering in Vermont. All without him knowing. Before you know it the vet has fallen in love with the home owner's daughter who's moved in with them and is posing as a poor farm girl from Wisconson. The storyline would never fly today (or if it did it would have something other than a 'G' rating...) but it was oddly appealing and chances are that I'll watch it again before the New Year.

6. Christmas in Conneticut - 1945
Barbara Stanwyck plays a magazine columinst who seems to have it all. She's the perfect hostness, an amazing cook, has a loving husband and lives with him and her perfect baby on their perfect Conneticut farm (what is it about holiday movies taking place in the Eastern United Sates? How 'bout a flick taking place in Minnesota or South Dakota...hmmm). Anways, the magazine for which Stanwyck works for offers up as a hostess to a WWII GI and his family. The thing is, in reality Stanwyck lives in a simple NYC apartment, is unmarried, can't cook to save her life and simply writes the columns for the money with her friend providing the recipes. I love this flick! It's one of those rare movies where tears are streaming down your face from the first couple of minutes...even before the real hilarity ensues.

5. The Bishop's Wife - 1947
The Bishop's Wife movie poster
Dreamy Cary Grant as an angel? Bang. Sold. Grant arrives from heaven following prayers from a newly appointed bishop who's trying to build a new cathedral. So entrenched in trying to build the new structure, the bishop doesn't realize that his marriage to be amazing Loretta Young is crumbling around him. While Grant comes along to save the marriage and teach the bishop a couple lessons, you almost wish that the suave Grant ran off with Young.

4. White Christmas - 1954
Do I really need to tell you about how much I love the film White Christmas? Along with my top three choices, it ranks up there as one of the top watched holiday films each holiday season. Perhaps by coincidence, this flick has a VERY similar story-line to Holiday Inn. Song. Dance. Christmas in the country. An inn. The classic song. Throw in Rosemary Clooney and you've got the biggest movie of 1954.

3. Miracle on 34th Street - 1947
Skip the remake with that creepy little girl. No seriously. That little girl terrifies me. The original is where it's at. I've never been big on Santa Claus (gasp, shudder) but I do love this flick. This movie has it all....the little girl that doubts the existence of Santa, her gorgeous workaholic single mother, the dreamy guy that sweeps in and makes them believe in love, magic and Santa again. Anytime outside of the holiday season I cringe at this movie, but come December 1st this flick melts me....

2. Gone With The Wind - 1939
Scarlett! Scarlett! Ms. Scarlett! At 3 hours, 44 minutes you almost need to pencil in a Friday night to watch Gone With The Wind. Like Singin' in the Rain, this isn't a Christmas or holiday film per say, but for as long as I've remembered it's shown up on TV during the holiday season. That and last year I forced myself to read all four gazillion pages of the book. Tara. Clark Gable. Vivien Leigh. The South. Yankees. Dresses made out of name it, this flick has it. That and it gave us scenes like this - 

If you haven't seen this flick it's time. 10 Academy Awards. Still the highest grossing film of all time (after adjustments for inflation). What are you waiting for? Watch it!

1. It's A Wonderful Life - 1946

What can I say? I obviously saved the best for last! According to my sources (Wikipedia) this flick was originally a box-office bomb. However, after falling into the public domain this movie quickly ended up being shown on every channel, at least once a week during the holiday season for the past gazillion years. Clarence the angel comes along to show the always amazing Jimmy Stewart what his life would have been like if he'd never been born. And as they say, the rest is history.

Dig out the tissue -

So there you have it, a rundown of my favourite films to watch during the holiday season. while there are always new and different holiday flicks to uncover and watch, these are the ones that I'll always turn back to...

I've shared my favourites; now it's your turn!


Monday, 5 December 2011

When a good idea goes bad.

As I've been decorating my place for the holidays, I've been compelled to check out various blogs, websites and sites like Pinterest to uncover new and different ideas that I can bring into my own home. Some of the ideas I've uncovered, like planting my paperwhites in my milkglass vases have been hits...which led me to thinking that I could do this to my dining room chandelier -
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Source Unknown
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Source Unknown
I found these pics in my online archieves and was like "I need to do this" and then proceeded to drag Mister to Michaels where I made him dig through the $1.00 ribbon bin with me. Should I mention that for some bizarre reason the $1.00 ribbon bin was outside by the front doors and that it was -14c and already dark outside as we scoured for our ribbon?

Ten rolls of ribbon and twenty minutes standing in line later, I pretty much had my mind made up that my god awful looking dining room chandelier (I'm still looking for a replacement) would go from drab to fab. (How gay did that last sentence read? Hmm...)

Skip ahead to last night when I started to play around with the ribbon and balls and I ended up with this...
It looks stupid enough that I can't bring myself to spend anymore time cutting ribbon and balancing myself on a dining room chair trying to tie everything to the chandelier arms...It looks like, well, you know.

So now I'm left back where I started with my ugly beast chandelier.

I don't know if it's the ribbon, the balls, the chandelier or the combination of all three that I don't like. How could something that looked so amazing in my head look so goofy when actually put together?


Maybe it's time to finally cave and order some new dining room lighting....

But in the meantime it looks like it's back to the drawing board for with this project. Anyone got any ideas for what I can do with ten rolls of assorted blue and white ribbon besides using them as stocking stuffers?

Bah humbug


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