Thrifting to Paperwhites

Paperwhites from Home Depot

In all the years I’ve been decking out our home for the Holidays, one thing I’ve never tried is Paperwhites! Can you believe that? Last year my friend Meesh from I Dream of Chairs got me thinking about it… but that’s all I did, was ‘think’ about it! So this year after seeing more Paperwhites in the works on different blogs and good ol’ Pinterest, I decided to hop on the PaperwhiteNarcissus bus!

I picked up my bulbs at Home Depot.

Paperwhites from Home Depot

And then headed off on a thrifting expedition for a great pot to put them in!

Here, they’re in my new gold lacquered tray from Pier 1! A big thank you to Nicole from Nicole Scott Designs for the heads up on where to buy the tray!

For my Paperwhites’ pot I had a tarnished silver ‘something’ in mind, but in my hunt I discovered very few options. I thought about buying a stainless pot and DIYing it to look tarnished, but even that idea was easier thought up than executed!

So I picked up this brass urn instead. It had a few scuff marks, and some buildup of who knows what.

Aged Brass Urn

I thought about painting it, but decided to give it a scrub with Barkeepers Friend.

Barkeeper's Friend on Brass

I ended up resorting to toxic Brasso, because the grime wasn’t giving in without a fight. I thought about trying Ketchup, or a Ketchup and Vinegar paste, but I’ve only read about that remedy – have you ever tried it? Did it work???

Even with the Brasso, I still had to use a lot of elbow grease! But finally the little urn came clean 🙂

Brass Urn after Polishing

Is it just me, or do you have a hard time photographing shiny brass, too? Honestly, it’s like taking a photograph of a mirror!

Anyway, onto planting up the Paperwhites…

At first I was going to put a pot inside the urn, but decided to build up a bit of drainage and just put the dirt right in instead. I cut a small container down to size and set it into the very bottom of the urn. Then I filled the bottom with little rocks from the Dollar Store.

I cut the bottom out of a plastic plant pot, and set it upside-down over the rocks. I thought this would help the drainage by keeping the dirt up off the rocks a little bit.

Remember my Grunge One & Two pumpkins? Well, I reused some of the dirt from them, and just topped it up.

Paperwhite Bulbs in Dirt

I wasn’t sure how deep to plant the bulbs because of my drainage experiment, so just went by different images I’ve seen. How deep do you plant your Paperwhites? Do you think I should add a bit more dirt, or will my bulbs become too moist?

Next, according to Pam’s tutorial from Simple Details, I watered with luke warm water, and placed the urn in this dark cupboard…

Where it shall stay for about a week, until the bulbs begin to shoot. They are going to shoot, right?

I thought about trying the rocks and water in a clear container method for growing Paperwhites, but decided to save that for another time. Or… I might try that with an Amaryllis instead!

I would like to give Shauna from Satori Design for Living a special shout out for her Holiday countdown series. Without it I might not have realized it was time to stop ‘thinking’ about Paperwhites, and actually start ‘growing’ them if was going to give them a try this year! If you need a little prodding to stay organized coming into the Holidays this year, pop on over to Shauna’s blog. I bet there’s something in her series that will land on your ‘to do before it’s too late’ list!

Do you grow Paperwhites for the Holidays? How about Amaryllis? What are your tips and tricks for success? ‘Cause we all know, the jury’s out on my success for the time being!

Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

Photographs by Sheila Zeller

IDSwest 2012: A Final Tour Through the Show

Omer Arbel 28D Bocci Desk Lamps

Now that the buzz has died down a bit, I thought I’d do a photo tour through the show with you! And seriously, this is just a snippet of IDSwest this year. But you know how it goes. It’s hard to see and do everything! Even so, this post is photo heavy, so you might want to grab a coffee, and settle in for a bit!

Up first are the whimsical Chickadee bird houses designed by Trevor Coghill and Nathan Lee of Contexture Design.

Chickadee Bird Houses

This exhibit features the prototypes designed for the Chickadee! If you’re loving them, the Chickadee bird houses are slated to be launched in time for Christmas.

This next exhibit was created by Hatch Interior Design out of Kelowna. This design firm specializes in sustainable interior solutions for the modern work place.

Hatch Interior Design Exhibit

5 interior designers were invited to create 4’x4′ spaces for IDSwest, and this is the space created by Hatch! I’m thinking all you need is a laptop, and you’re good to go, but I’m not so sure about the ergonomics of that stump 😉

In the background you see the sign for MOES Home Collection.

Want a closer look?

MOES Home Collection Exhibit

MOES is a family owned and award winning home decor retailer. They have been in business for over 20 years, travel the world for fashion forward furnishings, and they source new pieces every week.

And we also had IZM modern furniture featuring their high quality handcrafted pieces.

IZM Modern Furniture

IZM furniture is built to last, to age gracefully, and to stand the test of time.

Back again this year was Salari Fine Carpet Collections with their always popular Salsa Lounge poufs by Paulig.

Knitted Poufs

Don’t you just love their texture and colour? And you have to admit, they bring in a little cozy, too! Salari also launched a new collection of hand-knotted carpets that were inspired by photography. Totally stunning, but sadly I didn’t manage to get any photos of these beauties 🙁

And speaking of cozy, how about this Trapper Chair by Identity Apparel’s Home Division?

Vintage Hudson's Bay Point Blanket Trapper Chair by Identity Apparel Home Divison

Identity is a brand stemming from the ideals of what it means to be Canadian.  And this one-of-a-kind chair is made from a vintage Hudson’s Bay Company point blanket. Now how Canadian is that?

The glow of light you see hanging in the background of Identity’s exhibit is actually this!

Identity Apparel - Antler Light Fixture

Antlers. Are they in, or out? Either way, I thought this was a pretty cool feature that totally suited the theme.

And then there’s Montauk Sofa.

Montauk Sofa

Seriously. What’s not to love? I wish I captured the whole grasshopper lounge chair in this photo, but it was super hard take a photo of this exhibit without people walking in front. This was a veeery popular stop!

Here’s a close-up of the walls (and the ceiling)!

Montauk Sofa Exhibit

Did I mention how much I love the Grasshopper Chair? See, there it is again, bottom left!

If you saw my last post featuring Matthieu LeBlanc’s reclaimed wood creations, then you know how much I love his approach to design.

So when I saw these pieces by mth woodworks

mth woodworks - organic resin in hollowed out stumps

I was totally blown away to learn these salvaged pieces have been filled with organic resin! Isn’t this the coolest eco-friendly idea yet? And if these pieces from mth’s Bloom Collection aren’t enough, what do you think of this coffee table, also from their Bloom Collection?

mth woodworks - Bloom Coffee Table

I am totally loving the juxtaposition of this modern top and salvaged wood base.

ox + monkey. This gorgeous ceramic sculpture is one of theirs.

ox + monkey - ceramic sculpture in acrylic case

Yes, you read that right. This sculpture is ceramic, made to look like torn paper! Can you imagine the work involved? This piece was actually in a clear shadowbox, and I can see why!

I loved this colourful exhibit by Beyond Beige Interior Design. I just thought it was so much fun, and really demonstrated a great mix of pattern and colour.

Beige is Dead Exhibit

And even though I’m not a huge fan of yellow, I thought this light fixture made a perfect statement in this space! If you want to see your space infused with character, there’s no doubt, Beyond Beige can make that happen!

Lighting is always a big draw, and these pendants were no exception. They marked the Robinson Lighting & Bath Centre exhibit, and when I saw them I just had to get a photo.

Duravit - Robinson Lighting & Bath Centre

Don’t ask me what that green horseshoe is on the glass shade! I think it’s just the way my lens caught the light!

But for lighting the real show stoppers were definitely Omer Arbel’s Bocci 28D desk lamps.

Omer Arbel 28D Bocci Desk Lamps

Do you think the fact they lit up the bar, facilitated the ‘stopper’ part? 😉 Well, okay, it might have been the price, too. These lamps were being sold at an incredible price, for the show only, and were available in both yellow and gray.

One of the exhibits that caught my attention was Global Surface Solutions. Concrete fabricators out of Kelowna, they specialize in crafting unique concrete surfaces and products suitable for both interiors and exteriors.

Like this fully sealed concrete desk.

Global Surface Solutions - Kelowna

Looove this desk!

And all that you see here including the wall!

Global Surface Solutions - Kelowna

My friend and thrifting buddy, Carol from Carol Smyth Colour & Design was on the inside track with this exhibit! She consulted with this company to help them plan their booth. Check out Carol’s blog article for close-ups of the gorgeous vignettes she planned for them, and for a little more behind-the-scenes scoop!

Also working with concrete, was Sticks & Stones Furniture.

Sticks & Stones Exhibit

Sticks & Stones specialize in custom built furniture that features the contemporary beauty of wood and concrete. They work with recycled or reclaimed wood and materials to create one-of-a-kind furniture designs that are both modern, and functional.

I know the Aya Kitchen designed by Kelly Deck Design has swept the internet, but I couldn’t imagine leaving this star out of the mix!

Aya Kitchen Design by Kelly Deck Design

I interviewed Kelly Deck at IDSwest last year, and if you missed it, you can catch up on the interview here. You will see reflected in this kitchen, the intelligent, timeless design Kelly speaks of!

Would you love to call this kitchen your own?

I know I’d sure love to call the Brent Comber table my own!

Kelly Deck Design - Reclaimed Stump Side Table

Did you notice the gold detail in the crevices?

What I really appreciate about the Aya kitchen is the collaborative effort that went into its conception, and which ultimately resulted in its standing ovation success!

And as we exit this photo tour, I wanted to leave you with a little more of…

Brent Comber Exhibit

A creator of sculpted and functional objects, design environments, and a specialist in designing modern urban forms from ancient sources.

Brent Comber Exhibit

Brent Comber Exhibit

Brent Comber Exhibit

Isn’t Brent’s work incredible?

I hope you enjoyed the show as much as I did.

{UPDATE: The Marilyn Denis Show did a great recap of IDSwest}

{Click here to view}

I’d like to extend a special thank you to Jason & Leonie for once again providing our dlbWEST group with press passes, bubbly and the opening night tour! Definitely a great way to get the show started!

Thank you for stopping by!

Photography by Sheila Zeller

Moving On: A Set of MCM Light Fixtures

Mid-Century Modern 3-Pendant Chandelier

This weekend I’m hanging out at the Vancouver Convention Centre where idsWEST is taking place. And tomorrow night I’ll be attending Blend 2012 sponsored by IKEA. Did I mention this is a gathering of the Canadian Design & Lifestyle Bloggers West? Can’t wait to tell you all about it!

But… last week I promised to let you in on a little vintage stop I’d be making along the way. Here’s the story.

My Dad’s neighbours were doing a major kitchen reno, which meant replacing all their light fixtures.

Enter exhibit A .

Mid-Century Modern 3-Pendant Chandelier

This is their vintage 3-pendant chandelier they were replacing.

And its matching single-pole pendant…

MId-Century Modern Single Pole Pendant

The insert image is the pendant in place before the owners took it down.

They also had a matching ceiling mount fixture.

Mid-Century Modern Ceiling Mount Light FixtureAnd…

A set of single pendants that had never been out of the box!

Mid-Century Modern Single Pendant Set

Seriously. The packing tissue was brittle with age!

When I asked what was planned for these vintage beauties, the owners handed the matter over to me!

So without further ado…

If you’re looking for something that doesn’t come along every day, as in this FULL set of matching MCM light fixtures – in mint condition, never been out of the box kind of mint condition, you might want to stop in at Attic Treasures!

That’s where my mystery stop was. And that’s where you’ll find this incredible set of Mid-Century Modern lighting.

Isn’t it fun when a circle like this can be closed? The owners are happy, the light fixtures are off to find another good home, and I got to pop into a store that makes my heart skip a beat! Kinda leaves a smile on my face 🙂

Did I mention, it’s not every day something like this comes along?

Thanks for stopping by!

Photographs by Sheila Zeller. Please link and credit if you choose to use.

A Little Lamp Update

Remember when I posted about this lamp?

And showed you the replacement shade I picked up for it at ReStore?

Then left you with a cliff hanger and only showed you this much?

Well, here’s a little glimpse at how this revitalized lamp looks when it’s placed with a few friends.

Abstract Painting by Sea to Canvas

Not so bad for a $2.00 shade, right?

Click here to see the mystery project that goes with this lamp!

Do you recognize a few pieces in the mix?


Photography: Sheila Zeller

Treasure Seeking in a Thrifty Kind of Way!

Last week my treasure hunting created a mystery with the large vintage shortening bin I picked up at a garage sale. And Andrea was super sweet in featuring it this week! Thank you so much for the feature, Andrea!

Well my mystery is no closer to being solved, but this week you might think I was becoming a tin collector!

Here’s what came home with me from a little treasure hunting excursion 🙂

That’s right. A vintage Empress jam can, c. 1940s-50s! That’s the tin collecting part, but I’m not actually ‘collecting’ tins… yet!  😉

I came home with this great little vintage piece. Love the old cardboard luggage, though this one might have been a briefcase!

This old glass bottle was also part of the mix. The glass at the bottom is super thick, and poured on an angle.

I don’t know what it was used for, but I thought it was kind of cool. I also liked this wine carafe because of its shape. Most the ones you find are round from bottom to top.

So these are my treasure finds this week! A little vintage and a lot of loooove!

When I bought the jam tin, the cashier asked me what I planned to do with it. I told her it might hold pens and pencils on my desk! What would you do with it?

Today I’m heading back over to the Junkin Joe Linky Party, ’cause the last one was just way too much fun! I hope you pop over and check out all the other vintage treasures, projects and thrifty finds!

And here’s a special shout out toAndrea at The Cottage Market for hosting! Thank you, Andrea!!!

Thank you for stopping by!

Photographs by Sheila Zeller; please link and credit if you choose to use!

Wire Racks for Organizing on the Inside!

Sunbeam Plate Racks

Organizing is always a hot topic, so I thought I’d throw a quick and easy idea into the mix.

Live in a rental? This one’s for you. Even if you don’t, it still might be for you!

If your kitchen cupboards have more space inside than shelves to maximize it, here’s a quick solution… and, you can take this solution with you when you go!

Sunbeam Plate Racks

These Sunbeam wire racks are super strong, and don’t cave under the weight of stacked dishes.

Here’s a little look at how I’ve put them into play.

This is my cupboard for everyday dishes, well, except for the top shelf. I have 9′ ceilings, so the top shelf  is like extra storage!

Sunbeam Plate Racks

Can you see how much space there is between shelves. If you own your home, then purchasing extra shelves makes sense, but if you’re renting, that’s one home improvement idea you’ll want to forego.

Here you see a smaller cupboard, so the racks fit almost perfectly. And to protect the rims of the glasses and mugs, I lined these racks with rubberized shelf liner. But notice the circled areas on the photos.

Sunbeam Plate Rack

This shelf was cut slightly smaller than the others, and was just barely deep enough to hold the rack. So I improvised a stopper to make sure the feet wouldn’t slip off the edge. The stoppers are actually Command Strip Cord Clips. They’ve been in place for a year and a half, and so far, so good!

I also put the wire racks to use in my buffet. I was able to put five along the back for an almost perfect fit, and what a difference they make.

Sunbeam Plate Racks

You know how it goes, right? China, special dishes, fragile treasures…

I had to fit all of this in, and still be able to access it. And this wasn’t all of it!

Before the wire racks, everything was tediously stacked, and it was hard to access the things at the bottom not to mention the pieces in behind them.

Here’s a look at the buffet all loaded up.

I like the way the racks safely separate and elevate the dishes now. And notice, no sagging under the weight!

Just in case you’re interested, the racks come in white like you see here, or chrome. The white is not rubber coated, it is the actual wire painted white. There are two sizes in the basic rack – square, 10″D x 10″W x 5.5″H, which I’ve used here, and rectangular, 8.5″D x 16″W x 5.5″H. You can also get a corner rack that is designed specifically for plates, and all racks are available at Canadian Tire.

Here’s a bonus tip for an unlikely spot to use these racks…

Sunbeam Wire Racks

That’s right. The fridge freezer! Doesn’t it drive you crazy trying to place your freshly filled ice trays, you know, so the water doesn’t spill everywhere? That’s what drove me to this organizational solution! Notice, the rack is turned so you can slide the trays on and off!

Have you ever tried these wire racks? What other solutions do you use to maximize spaces like this behind closed doors?


P.S. ~ Just to make sure there’s no confusion, this is not a sponsored post!

Photography by Sheila Zeller 

A New Touch for a Touch Lamp

I have been working on a redesign project, and this is one of the lamps that was in the mix…

Exactly as is. Apparently the original fluted ruffled glass shade got broken, and was just never replaced. Since redesign is working with what you already have, we knew we’d need a shade for this lamp.

I popped into the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Langford and found a one-off that would be perfect, but… forgot to bring the lamp to make sure! Handy, right? When I got home, I was pretty sure the shade would fit. For a whole $2.00, I’m not sure why I didn’t just buy it on the spot! Honestly.

It just so happens hubs was  in the area the next day, so based on my description he stopped in and made the purchase. And then decided to make sure it was right before leaving!

This is the phone shot he sent 🙂

Can you see the very light orange tint to the glass? That’s what sold me on it. I’m repurposing a piece for this project, and the new paint colour will work perfectly with the tint in this glass.

This is what the lamp looked like with the energy efficient bulb turned on.

I’m not a fan of these compact fluorescents… in fact, you can read about why here. But what you don’t know is this lamp is a touch tri light. So even if I was a fan, I would still opt not to go with this bulb.

Here’s a peek at the new shade on the lamp along with a small 60 watt incandescent bulb.

So pretty. It sure makes the lamp look different, doesn’t it? Oh, you’re dying to see all of it?

Click here and you’ll get to see both!

So what have you been fixing up lately? Any parts and pieces given a new life, or did you have to buy new to get the job done?

Thank you for stopping by. I’m so glad that you did!

And The New Black Is…

We’ve all heard this before…

[Blank] is the new black.

And I bet you can fill in the blank.

Well, here’s the thing. The other day a mystery envelope was left on our porch. I recognized the sender’s name (thank you so much, Alicia), but had no clue what might be inside.

I was so curious.

When I opened it, these fell out!

How cool are they? Don’t they just make you smile?

My hubs is a social media guy, so the top pencil was for him. Skill testing question: Which SM platform does this apply to?

The other two were pour moi! 🙂 By now I’m pretty sure you know this about me: I’m good with old black, new black… any kind of black, but to see D.I.Y. and Upcycling coined the ‘New Black’, well what’s not to love about that?

Can I just say,

Hello Audrey…

Bead Designs by K

Hello Jackie…

Oh No They Didn’t Live Journal

Mind if we join you?

Do you know what the difference is between and Upcycling?

D.I.Y. stands for ‘Do It Yourself’, and it literally means to build, modify or repair something without the help of experts or professionals. Did you know the phrase,”do it yourself” became common in the 1950s? I know, right! I thought it was newer than that! See, what’s old is new again 😉

Upcycling is all about finding a new purpose for things instead of throwing them out. And usually this means you will be whatever it is you’re upcycling, but not always. You can also hire someone to do the upcycling for you!

But did you know that upcycling, though a form of recycling, is in fact a greener way of recycling? That’s right, they are actually different, because recycling requires energy and resources to collect, sort and process unwanted items and waste in order to turn them into something useable in the future. Upcycling does not.

The ottoman below is an example of an upcycled project that was D.I.Y.ed. What do you think it was made from?

That Was A What Blog

Would you believe me if I told you there’s a tire inside that forms the shape? And the feet are repurposed from another piece of furniture?

Just in case you’re wondering about the value of D.I.Y. projects, especially ones that are upcycled… well, when I pinned this ottoman to my Pinterest board just 5 days ago, I was able to read all the ‘how to’ steps, you know, in case I want to make my own. Today when I put this article together I discovered this ottoman has been trademarked the ‘Ottire’, and will be hitting the market soon! And I bet you’ve already guessed, the ‘how to’ steps have been removed! This is such a great story, and the perfect example of finding value in upcycling through the power of

To see some examples of how recycled tires have been put to use, I featured a few things here.

So, you heard it here, D.I.Y. and Upcycling are the new black!

Did I mention how much I love black? And how about you? Do you love black, too???


PS – did you get the answer to the skill testing question? If you said, Twitter, you’re right!

Photos by Sheila Zeller unless otherwise indicated. 

Simply Spectacular… Totally Affordable!

Adding a little touch to your space doesn’t have to be costly or time consuming…

Have you got a second?



Hydrangeas picked fresh from my Dad’s garden…

Displayed in a vinaigrette bottle thrifted for $1.00.

Simple, affordable style.

Created in minutes, enjoyed for days!

How about you? What’s your favorite way to add a dash of style to your home?

Sometimes it’s the smallest things that bring the greatest pleasure. I walked around my Dad’s yard with him while he cut some of his flowers for me. We wandered and chatted, and like always, bantered a bit, too. 😉 When I got home, putting the flowers into vases was a nice extension of the time we spent together. And now as I enjoy them, these moments are imprinted with this little added touch of simple, affordable style!


All Photos by Sheila Zeller

The Story Behind the Scrolls

I teased you in my last post by promising a little story behind these two scrolls hanging on our wall.

Do you remember them?

Well, to tell you the truth, the story isn’t anything mind blowing. It’s just an example of how a moment in time was preserved, another fibre woven into a tapestry of stories whispered in a space.

You see, these scrolls came from Korea, a business trip my hubs was on a number of years back. Only then, we weren’t an official Mr. & Mrs., just a couple figuring it out! So he brought home one scroll for me to hang in my home, and the other for his. A pair, even though they lived apart.

This is the background on the scrolls, which was included inside the box with each one…

So when you know this piece, it suddenly helps you see the scrolls from a much deeper perspective.

I’d like to show you a close-up of the Jeon-gak of each scroll.

This is the one that hung in my home first.

And this is what it means.

Jeon-gak 'A Beautiful House'

Can you see the house in the red square? Hubs picked this out for me because it spoke to him of creating beautiful spaces, and making a home.

Here’s the one that he picked out for his place.

And what it means…

This meant to him that you need to be surrounded by that which is important to you.

And now, the scrolls hang together in our home.

The rest they say, is history!

And yes, a part of our story that is shared in our space.

How about you? What special moments have you featured in your home?

It’s a great time to assess those things that are special to you. What things have you got tucked away? Anything you can think of off hand? Why not pull them out, and give them a chance to shine?

Thanks for stopping in!

All Photos by Sheila Zeller