Repurposing (Again) and Getting Geared up for Christmas

Hello all,

Well, after an amazing sunshine-filled October, the rain has set in. My backyard looks like the beginnings of a lake. My neighbour did warn me.


So it’s just as well I have lots to get on with indoors for the next little while. So, armed with hot chocolate, I’ve been busy doing indoorsy things.



Following the acquisition of our lovely new couch, we thought we would make doggy beds out of the old futon mattress. Fortunately, it was fairly easy. Well, it was very easy for me – I just sat on the lovely new couch and watched Mr. LoveThat work. How easy is that? 🙂

No sewing or complicated processes, just a matter of cutting it into sections.


Here’s one of the sections.


And here’s the finished products.


The frame has been stored until the summer when we will turn it into a patio couch.

Last weekend, we visited our usual Italian Coffee Shop only to find it’s closed for renovations! Horrors! What will we do now? So we wandered aimlessly until we came upon another little coffee shop where we decided to stop. What caught my eye was the Belgian Dark Chocolate Hot Chocolate. I love Belgian chocolate (well, I love ALL chocolate) and so I had to have some. It was just as I imagined – totally decadant and very rich – lovely. So perhaps we’ll be frequenting two coffee shops on our weekend trips. What was so funny about this visit, was that it is Breast Cancer Awareness month here and all the coffee was served in bright pink cups. Mr. LoveThat embraced the idea of walking throught the mall with his fucia pink cup and I just had to take a photo.


Very pretty, don’t you think? Manly too!

I’ve been following along with Etsy’s Christmas Bootcamp and have been learning all sorts of wonderful things about marketing for the holidays and taking better photos (although, I have yet to master that). So I’ve been very busy making Christmas-y stuff. It’s been a long time since I got so excited about glitter, but I’m just loving painting gold and silver glitter on my fabric. I made some Christmas stockings


And then I’ve been making something that I never would have thought of myself in a million years! Reading and sunglasses cases. 

Mr. LoveThat dropped his readers in his truck for the millionth time and asked me if I could make him a glasses case. I have a lot of little scraps of material and thought these would be perfect for this. So I made him one and painted it lovingly. It turned out great, but he wanted a lining so his glasses wouldn’t get scratched, so I made another one with a satin lining. Satin, I have learned, is VERY difficult to work with. When you cut it, it slips and slides all over the place. Fortunately, I enlisted the help of some lovely sewing ladies on the internet and figured it all out. This is the result.




















They will make great stocking stuffers for Christmas. Thank you, Mr. LoveThat, for this great idea. And such fun to make and paint also.

As you know, I am planning on giving my family gift baskets for Christmas filled with all sorts of decadent and frivolous things and I will make sunglasses cases for my kids to add to the baskets. I guess there will be at least once useful thing among their gifts. And the hand painted coffee/tea mugs also. I still have to figure out how to make them washable. I will consult the wonderful internet next week. 

If we had had internet when I was in school, things would have been so much easier! Honestly, you can learn how to do pretty much anything!

Until next time …

Jane





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Thanksgiving, Wine Tasting and New Couch (Finally!)

Hello again! It was Thanksgiving in Canada this past Monday. I think I like Thanksgiving more than I like Christmas, although I’m still on the fence about it. Thanksgiving hasn’t been “commercialized” like Christmas has. It’s simply a feast or a simple meal with family and/or friends around the dinner table, and a chance to refect on what we are truly thankful for. No rushing around spending money we don’t have on expensive gifts, no stress, just good food and good company. Christmas should be like that.

This year, we decided not to have a turkey, but cornish hens instead. Only two of our 6 children could make it to our table this year. Yes, we have 6 children between us – none of which we had together. Three from Mr. LoveThat’s previous marriage and 3 from my previous marriage. One thing I am grateful for is that they are all grown and have flown the nest, so to speak 🙂

Mr. LoveThat’s oldest son and my youngest son had Thanksgiving dinner with us. I made special Thanksgiving placemats and napkins for the occasion. Here’s what the table looked like before


And here’s our feast


I must admit I haven’t eaten that much for a very long time, and I had more wine than I should have. Fortunately, not so much that I made a fool of myself and not enough to generate a headache the next day, so all in all, a good time was had by all.

Speaking of wine, Mr. LoveThat was diagnosed with high blood pressure a few months ago and decided to switch from white wine to red wine together with a change in diet to include more salads and vegetables, fish and the like. So last weekend we went on a wine-tasting mission to find a red wine he might like.

There are few vinyards in our area and we chose the closest one – Lulu Island. It looked very inviting from the outside with a beautiful rose arbor as you drive in.


I would imagine that this arbor would look spectacular in the summer, laden with roses.

The inside of the building was just the kind of place I could spend some time in. Lots of wood and beautifully decorated. An old wine barrel


Rows of wine in the main area



















And displayed on the counter


and another room where I guess they have shows and wine tasting – looks like a wonderful place to spend an evening in

A beautiful mural on one wall.





























Mr. LoveThat tried 3 different kinds of red wine


And settled on a lovely Cabernet Savignon and then just for good measure, bought a white Chardonnay as well, which kind of defeated the object, but it was much appreciated at the Thanksgiving table.

Once I’d restored my kitchen and dining-room back to some semblance of order after the festivities, I was in for another surprise. Mr. LoveThat and I drove to Ikea yesterday and finally bought our new couch. Here it is as I live and breathe


Not such a great photo – I’m still trying to figure out the camera on my phone (excuses, excuses). But there it is – in my living room!

This week is an “office” week. I’m still trying to find an arrangement in my work room that’s going to work for me. So this week I’ll be sorting out my paperwork and organizing my drawers and stuff so that I can find everything easily and have it all within reach. Last week I made some sample gift baggie thingies. The idea is to make little bags with a drawstring to put things like chocolates or tea or coffee – or anything like that – and they can be used for stocking stuffers or as gifts for the host/hostess. Over the last couple of years, I have been making up gift baskets for my family and friends filled with an assortment of things I think they will like, all personalized to their tastes and nothing practical at all. It’s all about indulgence and luxury. And it doesn’t have to be expensive. Maybe an assortment of their favourite teas, chocolates and other little luxury items that we wouldn’t usually buy ourselves or indulge in. I got the idea for the little bags because I wanted something to hold an assortment of teas for my daughter. They are totally frivolous and probably couldn’t be used in a practical way, but that’s the whole point!

Here’s the result of my experimentations



















It needs a bit of work and pretty ribbon, but that’s the general idea. I will also finish the Christmas stockings next week and hopefully have them all posted on Etsy by Wednesday.

In the meantime, I think I’ll take a break with a cappuccino on my lovely new couch!

Until next week …

Jane


Getting Re-organized and Making More Space

Hello again,

I hope you all had a great weekend. I’ve been very busy getting my house in order (again, or still, whichever you like).


True to his word, my son moved into his own place last Tuesday, which meant that I could finally have my work room back again (yay!). You may have figured out by now that I absolutely hate clutter and disorganization. I like to be able to have a place for everything and everything in it’s place. This is seldom achieved in my house, but it was particularly bad when I had to work in the dining room. Not only was I constantly having to unpack and re-pack my sewing machine, paints etc., but I was also constantly stepping over stuff, or stubbing my toe on things because there just wasn’t enough space! My kitchen is so tiny and I had all the appliances crammed into once corner, leaving me very little space to cook. My witch’s broom was working overtime, I tell you!

So I got stuck in with a vengeance last week to finally put everything in order and make more space for once and for all.

Mr. LoveThat adores coffee – especially the speciality coffees, so when I bought him a Keurig Coffee Maker for Christmas 2 years ago, he was delighted. It was only afterwards that we found out that Keurig does not provide the lattes and cappuccino that we are so in love with because Bosch has the patent on that, which means a Tassimo would have been a better choice. So last week, we bought one. Now we have 3 coffee makers and a kettle – and we use them all! So my first task was to put them all in one place and get them out of my kitchen. The buffet in the dining-room was the obvious choice and this is the result. All the cups, mugs, tea, coffee and appliances (including the toaster) are now all in one place, creating more space in my kitchen.


While I was at it, I unpacked the rest of Mr. LoveThat’s books and put them here



Just to give you an idea of how many books he has, these are packed 3-deep and there is another shelf adjacent to this one, also 3-deep. There are more dotted all over the living room and on a long shelf in my bedroom also. 

In the space where the boxes of books used to be, I finally had a place to hang our excess coats and bike leathers, and the tubs for the dog food.



This stuff (minus the dog bins) was originally crammed into the little coat closet in our entrance hall along with our winter coats and jackets.

Now that my ‘office’ was no longer in my dining room, I had a place for my poor old plant which was not thriving in the living room. I re-potted her, so she’s looking a little sad, but I’m sure she’ll get over it. I hope she likes Mint, because I re-potted that to keep her company!



Before tackling the kitchen, and while I had all this new space, I finally got round to painting the wall where the ugly wall paper was, and adding the lettering I’ve been promising to do for weeks. After painting it white


I started painting on the words, with the help of a stencil


And here’s the finished product – not very straight, but then life’s a bit like that, isn’t it?


I love it! I still have to paint the rest of the wall behind the washing machine and above the sink, but at least the wording is done, which was the time-consuming part.

Now I have more space here

and here


which leaves no excuse for Mr. LoveThat to now help me in the kitchen!

Since I was on a roll, I moved on to the living room to make more space in there also. I moved Floyd, the Ball Python, and her now 40 gallon tank, into my work room. She’ll be happier there as there is less movement in that room – no TV or dogs – which means she will come out of her little cave more often (and she does). In that space I put the old treddle sewing machine which used to be here


And fits perfectly here



Which makes room for a doggy bed without my having to either step over it to get to the kitchen, or end up standing on the dog which, as you can imagine, makes the dog quite grumpy.


The clutter of stuff in one corner was very not pleasing to the eye



so I moved the end table and the world globe to the other end of the couch


leaving the corner looking much better, in my opinion (LOL)


And opening up space for another doggy bed that I don’t have to fall over


You’ll notice that we still have the very ugly and uncomfortable futon, but I am told that my new couch will be a reality next Tuesday! Only one week away. I’m so excited. Such is life in the fast lane 🙂

Now that I have all this space, I will be working on Thanksgiving place mats for our Thanksgiving dinner with the family next Monday. We have decided to do something different this year. Instead of a turkey, we’re going to have cornish hens. And lots of wine and song hopefully. I’ll post a photo of the festivities next week.

Until then, laugh, indulge, love.



Cheers!

Jane


A Birthday Day Out and Getting My Shop Ready for Christmas (already?)

Hello all,

I hope you are enjoying the kids going back to school and the ‘back to normal’ feel that brings with it.

Of course, I just love summer, but I also love the Fall, especially September and October here in British Columbia because even though the temperature is cooler, we still have loads of sunshine and all the leaves are turning beautiful shades of red, gold and yellow – spectacular!


I wish I could say that was my house – but it’s not!

I had a birthday recently, and Mr. LoveThat planned an amazing day for me. I’m not one for huge parties and lots of gifts – I really love simple things. One of my favourite places to go in Vancouver is Granville Island and that’s where Mr. LoveThat took me. 


It’s an island in the middle of the city buzzing with a colourful artistic community, an urban oasis filled with waterfront restaurants, theatres, galleries, studios, unique shops, cafes and the most fantastic fresh food market you’ve ever seen. It’s where we go when we want speciality food items, or really good fish and meat (that doesn’t happen very often in my household as the prices for that stuff are a bit more than in the local supermarket, but certainly worth every cent).

Parking is usually a problem, but it was a cloudy day, and the end of the ‘season’, so we didn’t have too much trouble. The trees were just turning red and gold


Then down to the waterfront for an amazing seafood lunch. On the way there, we stopped to watch the model of the cement works


And then this poster caught my eye


That’s where I’m from – Zimbabwe! I was sad to see the shop was closing, but soon saw why when we went to take a look at the sculptures. They were beautiful, but VERY expensive. Nothing under $10,000.00. Just a little out of my price range. If you are ever in that part of Africa, the sculptures are a lot cheaper.

Seated on the patio of the Bridges restaurant overlooking the bay


We ordered drinks.



and I ordered a huge plate of mussels. I didn’t take a photo and I was too busy getting it down my throat! But they were REALLY fresh and steamed in a lovely parsley/butter/garlic sauce. Absolutely delicious!

Then, on to the Public Market


Past the flowers



And inside



where we wandered around for a while drooling over the chocolates and desserts and cheeses (most of which I’ve never heard of!) and fish and meat, until we finally bought some beautiful Italian salads to go with our supper.

I found a wonderful little shop where I can buy a better quality of fabric paint and I will be buying some there this weekend (yay! another excuse to visit Granville Island). They also had beautiful silk and raw linen fabric there, but certainly out of my price range right now. The linen would make wonderful napkins, but that is still a bit down the road yet. Maybe I will get to paint a silk duvet cover one of these days?

We couldn’t leave without having a beer at the Granville Island Brewing Company













And then home where Mr. LoveThat made me a supper of Lamb Chops to go with the Italian salads we bought that afternoon.

It was a perfect day!

Back in the real world, I got an email from Etsy, as I do from time to time, reminding me that Christmas is just around the corner and they are starting the count down. Horrors! 

So this week, I got on with some Christmas Place mats and napkins and Wine Bottle gift bags.

Pretty silver bells and Christmas wording

A Christmas Tree made out of stars



and just for fun, Santa and his reindeer (well some of them, anyway) charging through the wintry night sky



















And various wine bottle gift bags along the same lines
















I cut out the fabric for Christmas Stockings and will sew them together and paint them on Friday.

I have a few more ideas – tea towels and such, and little gift bags to hold tea and coffee or chocolate and other favours. I have all sorts of small scraps of material all over the place and these will make great little bags.

In the meantime – still no progress on my house which seems to have come to a grinding halt, but I am getting tired of looking at the half-finished kitchen wall, so maybe next week …?

But now it’s time for a cup of tea, so until next week – cheers and have a great week.


Jane

Small Pleasures, Beautiful Beans and a Fall Collection

Hello again! I can’t believe it’s already almost two weeks since my last post. It doesn’t seem like that much time has passed!



Well, I guess my sewing machine also enjoyed having a long weekend off – a bit too much, I think, because after giving it a well-deserved clean, I started sewing some tea towels for my lovely neighbour as a thank you gift for the beautiful fresh Halibut they gave us a few weeks ago, and it (she?) just wouldn’t cooperate! It kept on snagging here


here


and here


Grrrr! I adjusted then tension a whole bunch of times and tried all sorts of things (yelling didn’t work, by the way) and eventually, when I was about 2 inches away from finishing the hem, I gave up and decided that tomorrow is another day.

Instead, I made a lovely Jamie Oliver stew for Mr. LoveThat and a beautiful side dish of green beans. I say beautiful, because my family is not very keen on vegetables and Mr. LoveThat is particularly averse to them. So I am always looking for ways to make vegetables so delicious that they can’t resist them. And I came up with this recipe for green beans, or French beans, that had both Mr. LoveThat and my youngest son eating the entire serving on their plate and asking for more! Here’s the recipe 

  • Boil green beans in salt water until they’re just done – try one – if it’s soft and not squeaky when you eat it, it’s done.
  • Drain, reserving a couple of tablespoons of the cooking water, and set them aside to steam dry.
  • Peel and slice 2 cloves of garlic. 
  • Put the pan back on the heat, add a good lug of olive oil and the sliced garlic and give it a stir
  • When the garlic starts to turn golden, add the beans and jiggle the pan to coat them in the garlicky oil.
  • Add a ladleful of the reserved cooking water and the juice of 1/2 a lemon.
  • Stir and simmer for about a minute and them remove from heat.
  • Place in a serving dish and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  • Serve immediately.
Delicious!!



The next day I suddenly realized that we’re already into September and I haven’t even thought about Fall, Thanksgiving or (horrors) Christmas. I needed to get some ideas fast for at least Fall and Thanksgiving table linens. So I spent most of that day scouring my imagination, my garden and the internet for something pretty and fall-like. A couple of my first attempts made even my family wrinkle their noses and give me funny looks (I guess that’s why I call it experimenting), but I eventually found a few things I loved and came up with three different designs


A Thanksgiving set


Mr. LoveThat liked these so much, he wants our own Thanksgiving table to be decorated with them.

A Falling Leaves design



I love the little purple/burgundy design on one of the napkins.

and finally, a kind-of wheat design
















I was so excited to get these done, I worked all weekend and most of Monday! I tell you, that really messed up my body clock. I spent most of Tuesday thinking it was Monday and have been a day behind ever since!!

Have a look on my Etsy Store for these.

This beautiful weather just seems to go on and on, and there are still all kinds of things flowering in my garden – the roses keep on blooming


And there are these daisy thingies flowering daily


And pretty Cornflowers along my driveway


And for the first time since we moved into this old cottage, little birds flying around the bird feeder outside my kitchen window.


Maybe they finally figured out that George the cat is too fat, lazy and well fed to hunt them 🙂

So, while I was running errands and grocery shopping on Tuesday (or was that Wednesday?), I heard on the radio that the following day was going to be 32 deg. C and super-sunny, and I realized that this was probably going to be my last chance to get to the beach that I’ve been trying to get to all summer. The minute I got home, I messaged my dear friend Jennifer, and insisted we go. She said ‘yes, yes, yes!’ So yesterday (That was Thursday, right?) I picked her up and we drove to a beach I’ve never been to before – Deep Cove. What an amazing place it is. 

We put our blanket down beside this log

And took in the beautiful scenery

Watched the boats go by (there was a duck too, but he was too far away)

Paddled in the crystal clear water


No sexy life guard today (sigh!)



And found this little guy washed up on the beach (unfortunately, dead)


Being the end of the summer season and everyone is back to work and school, the beach was virtually deserted, but we did meet a couple of ladies who had the same idea as us and we all stood in the water and chatted. It was a perfect day and we were sad to have to leave. But at least I managed to get to the beach before summer is over.

Next week, I have some ideas for Christmas stuff for my Etsy store and, hopefully, I will get round to painting that kitchen wall and finishing my bedroom furniture. There are still a few sunny days left to get it sanded down outside.

I hope you all have a great weekend. Check out the new Fall Collection on my Etsy Shop – lovethat50 and don’t forget to go to our website -www.lvethat.com as there are some lovely vintage ceramics and clothing over there – perfect for Christmas gifts!

Cheers!

Jane


A WEEKEND OFF AND MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH MAGAZINES

It’s true what they say about running your own business – be prepared to work long hours. These past few weeks, I’ve found myself doing my books at 6:30 in the morning, sewing and painting and cutting 8 – 10 hours a day, getting 4 – 5 hours sleep a night because I have endless ideas and to-do lists running through my head, supplies shopping and idea hunting on weekends and then performing my wifely household duties in between. I was beginning to get cabin fever and feeling a little burnt out.



So Mr. LoveThat decided that this Labour Day long weekend was a perfect time to take some time off. Once I caught wind of this idea (he tried to keep it a surprise, but that doesn’t work very well in our house!), I became quite excited – such is life in the fast lane!
On Saturday, I ignored the growing pile of dishes in and around my sink, bought a bottle of wine and an Innis & Gunn Rum Finish bottle of beer (all the way from Scotland) and took myself outside to enjoy the seemingly endless summer weather.













At first, it was hard to just sit there under the trees after so many weeks of being so busy, but I soon found it an incredibly enjoying experience allowing myself to think about not-very-much. It seemed all my neighbours had gone away for the weekend, because all was quiet in my street – heaven! After the very delicious beer (I must buy more next time) and 2 glasses of wine, Mr. LoveThat and I drove to the pizza shop down the road and ordered 2  pizzas. We ate pizza, drank beer and guzzled ice cream while watching a movie. And still I ignored the dishes.


The next day, I couldn’t do it anymore and I did a quick clean of the house (including the dishes). After that we went to our favourite Italian coffee shop in the mall (cappuccino for me).







We dream about and drool over this coffee all week and then treat ourselves on a Sunday morning.






With delicious coffee in hand, we went upstairs to the new terrace food court and ordered crepes for breakfast. Something we’ve been dreaming about for several weeks. The reality was just as we had imagined.



Our plan was to wander through the mall quickly and then have lunch at the Buddist Temple, but we ended up in a long line up at our cell phone provider at the end of which we upgraded our cell phone plans and our cell phones. I am now back in the 21st century with a new smart phone and a better plan. I’m sure I will regret it when I see my phone bill, but for now, the thrill of my new phone and all the things I can do with it outweighs what the phone bill will be in a few weeks. I’m especially thrilled about the camera. My old camera broke when I dropped it and, although I could still use it, I had to hold it together when I took photos which became very tiresome. Poor old camera – it has served me well over the last 3 years. However, the sadness over my old camera very quickly disappeared as I started happily snapping away with my new phone and knowing I can download to my computer (and to this Blog) with ease, is very satisfying. Being a little ‘technology challenged’ I was grateful for the help of my son’s girlfriend, who has the same phone, showing me all the shortcuts and easier ways of doing things. I just love her!



We finally got to the Bhuddist Temple and what a wonderful, peaceful place it is. 



It has a hushed air about it amongst the splendour and tranquility of it all.



We wandered about in awe just drinking in the loveliness and peace, the smell of incense strong everywhere we went and beautiful offerings of fruit and flowers. 



What a lovely way to celebrate life. We were going to have lunch there but to be quite honest, we felt a little out of place and decided to eat at home instead. 

On the way home I had to buy some groceries. I picked up a magazine – O magazine to be precise. I had to stop myself from buying magazines some years ago because it became sort of an addiction. I used to buy them because I loved them so much and then I hardly read them. There would be magazines all over my house and they ended up gathering dust somewhere and eventually going to the recycling.


My love affair with magazines began in my teens when I realized that I could get all the information that I needed from one single magazine. This, of course, was before the days of the internet. Yes, I’m THAT old! I could read about other people’s lives, other people’s cultures, how to get rid of pesky pimples (SO important when you’re a teenager) how to put my make up on, how to take it off, how to do my hair, what books I might want to read, how to cook, how to clean – how to do almost anything really. And there was a crossword that I quickly became hooked on. My mother loved reading and crosswords and through magazines, I finally found something she and I had in common. We spent many Saturday mornings over tea out on her sunny patio doing the crossword together and discussing books. It gave us a bond we never had when I was younger and I am very grateful for that.
I used to love nothing better than to curl up on the couch with a magazine on a lazy Sunday afternoon. But then life got in the way, as it does. Kids came along, a household to run, a demanding job … and all of a sudden there doesn’t seem much time for lazy Sunday afternoon magazine-reading.
So, yesterday, on a whim, I bought the O Magazine because it had a feature about hair (always looking for inspiration on what to do with my unruly hair) and today I curled up on the couch and read it cover to cover and back again, while eating my favourite food – chocolate ice cream. It was wonderful and I felt so relaxed at the end of it. It was almost as good as an afternoon nap – another luxury I don’t seem to have been able to do for many years – I think I’ll try that next!


Today is the last day of our long weekend. I have a few more hours of luxurious nothingness and a couple more glasses of wine to look forward to before I have to get back into real life again (and those pesky dishes). But I feel renewed and relaxed and have a couple of ideas for dish towels and table linen to work on tomorrow.

Cheers!

Jane

Getting On With Things

Hello from sunny Vancouver!

I used to be under the misguided impression that if you were a domestic goddess, there couldn’t possibly be bad days. I mean, what could possibly go wrong with performing the daily miracle of running a household?
But my illusions were shattered the other day when I had just that. Well, it wasn’t exactly a bad day, but a whole bunch of things went wrong in quick succession. I had a meeting with my case worker at the government work place thingy so that I could finally start the long and tedious application process to start an ocean freight course. As I’m on unemployment insurance, she is obliged to give me a ‘helping hand’ to aid me in my job search, so she gave me $30.00 in gift cards for the gas station to put gas in my car. What a lovely surprise that was! Unfortunately, it all went downhill from there. 
The gas card was, or course, for a particular gas station franchise and the closest one that I knew of was in my old neighbourhood in North Delta. Not wanting to waste my precious gas wandering around Richmond, I drove to North Delta. There, I discovered, upon attempting to take my cap to my gas tank off, that it was broken and, therefore, stuck. Fortunately, after a few attempts and enlisting the help of a kindly gas attendant (I played the damsel in distress card), we managed to get it off and I put my $30 worth in my car.

Vancouver is a series of islands and in order to get from anywhere to anywhere in the Lower Mainland as it’s nicknamed, you have either cross a bridge or go under a tunnel.
There is one bridge and one tunnel from North Delta to Richmond and, at 1:00 pm on a Friday afternoon, just as I was making my way home, there was a 3-car accident on the bridge blocking that particular route.
This meant that I had to go through the tunnel which was okay, but it was quite detour. I thought of my dwindling gas and joined the rest of the crowd who had exactly the same idea. The good news is that that route takes me past my favourite vineyard and so I decided that I deserved a glass of wine or two after this harrowing ordeal and stopped in and bought 2 bottles (okay, so I decided on more than two glasses of wine!!).

Continuing on my journey home, I came upon yet another long line up of cars and trucks only to discover it was obviously a cargo train’s scheduled time to cross the road. It was a very long train and I almost turned off my engine and suggested a tail gate party to my fellow travelers in front and behind me, using my 2 bottles of wine as refreshment. However, I pictured myself sipping said wine under the trees in my backyard with my hubby, and decided to stay put!


I have been getting on with things, finally. Sometimes when there’s so much to do and you don’t know where to start, you kinda end up, well, doing nothing. But last week I was forced to clear out what’s supposed to be my work room, to make room for my youngest son (he’s 21) who returned from Winnipeg. He says he’s going to find a place of his own (with a roommate) at the beginning of October, but in the meantime, I had to make some space for him. Once I tackled it, I found, as we do, that it wasn’t as bad as it looked. There is a lot of storage in these cupboards in the kitchen/dining area

When we first moved in I stuffed things in there to get them out of the way, and so this was an opportunity for me to really make good use of that storage. For the time being I’m working in the kitchen/dining area so some of that storage is being used for my material and painting supplies.

Mr LoveThat has a huge collection of DVDs and books from his long haul trucking days – they could have their own library room – and these were all in boxes in my work room and getting messed up in the process not to mention taking up valuable work space. So we managed to get them out of the boxes and into this storage space

Our plan is to build shelves in my work room (which is a temporary son’s room) and give them a permanent home.
Then I tackled the dining room table. I bought this dining set (minus a chair – so 5 chairs) at a thrift store for $35.00.
 It was originally priced at $70 and the day I went in they had it marked down 50%. Our old table (now my work table) was very small and terrible for entertaining, or seating more than 2 or 3 people comfortably – so when I saw this, I had to have it. Mr. LoveThat was not impressed as it looked in bad need of refinishing and one of the legs needed fixing and he had to lug it home in the rain – poor thing! But for me, it was love at first sight. He was especially happy to have it when we moved as it fits perfectly in our dining area – the old table would have looked really tiny in there. But, alas, 6 months later, I still hadn’t gotten around to sanding the table top down and staining it. So while I was still in ‘let’s-get-my-house-done’ mood, I did it this weekend. Of course, it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. I thought I would just sand it down with the sanding machine and then put a layer of staining on it and, voila! It would be beautiful. But that was not the case (it never is, is it?). I had to sand it 3 times and even then, the stain wouldn’t stick in some parts. After a while, I got a little frustrated with the whole thing and started adding more and more stain in the hopes it would all even out, but it just ended up looking like one big blue mess (the stain I chose was a blue-grey). By this time, I really hated it!
 Still frustrated, I took a damp cloth and rubbed the whole thing down and ended up with exactly what I wanted in the first place – this:

I love it! I wanted a sort of farmhouse look and I think this does it. I still have to paint the chairs and will hopefully start on that next week.

In the meantime, I was determined to strip the yellow paint in the kitchen and add the lettering border I had planned. In 68 years, the walls of this old house are not exactly level anymore. Fortunately for me, whoever painted the yellow, did a really bad job and obviously used the wrong kind of paint as it was already starting to peel off the walls. I used a scraper as sandpaper was doing nothing. Then I leveled it off with sandpaper as  best I could and ended up with this:

I have to fill in the holes and sand it smooth one more time and then I’ll repaint and finally get to the fun part of adding the lettering.
I have to tell you that sanding and scraping and preparing is not my idea of fun. In fact, it’s a real chore – right up there with washing dishes and doing laundry. But unfortunately, it’s a necessary part of the process. Even though I love to restore or upcycle my old furniture and find new uses for old things, I am often tempted to simply visit my favourite store, Ikea, and buy myself a new house! Speaking of which, I am finally going to get my new couch and they have a new colour which I’ve fallen in love with. Originally, we were going to go with this colour
 
But after a little trip there this weekend, I saw this and have to have it!
Mr. LoveThat says probably another 2 weeks. I’m so excited. I have plans for the old futon. I’m going to paint it a really bright colour, get new cushions for it and use it as a couch for our patio – next year.
This weekend I’ll get the rest of the bedroom finished.
But, back to work. I’ve been thinking a lot about table linen. I’m the kind of person that loves sets of stuff like linens and crockery – tea sets, plate sets, cutlery sets – you get the idea – and, to be honest, I have never come across an entire table linen set. I mean, they sell matching table ware, but separately. Maybe I’m shopping in the wrong stores? You can get a ‘bed in a bag’ but not table linen in a bag. So I thought I would make a whole linen set and sell it as a set – and, of course, you can buy the separate pieces also. Since the ‘Paris’ theme turned out so well and I already have some place mats and napkins made, I thought I would start with this theme and I made a table runner on Friday and painted it today. This is how it turned out.

Here are the place mats and napkins to match

Don’tcha just leerve my “new” table? I will add a table cloth to this, but I’m thinking simply red stripes at each end otherwise I think it’ll all look too ‘busy’ when the table is fully set. Once it’s all together, I’ll do a tablescape for the next blog post and show you how it all goes together. These are in my Etsy store. I have some ideas for other themes which I’ll start working on next.
I was paging through a magazine on French Country décor and came across some beautiful little chair covers. My chairs aren’t exactly chair cover friendly because they are not straight-backed, but I think I can make them work and will post them next time also. They really were very cute.
Until next time …

Jane