Posts by Nicole :

Social Saturday | March 5 (Winter Again!)

galvanized metal quanset surrounded by trees covered in white frost

And here I am again with more winter photos even though I just posted some on Tuesday…however I woke up this morning and was greeting with this beautiful sight, so of course I had to take my camera out to capture it! I never tire of seeing a beautiful frost. Do you get frost where you live?

a line of spruce trees covered in frost

I haven’t done a “lately” post for a while, so here are some things I’ve been up to.

What I’ve been reading– The “Daughters of Fortune” series by Judith Pella. I received this set for Christmas, though it took forever to arrive (bought from Thrift Books) so I just started reading it now. It’s one of my favourite book series, set in WWII.

branches covered in large white snowflakes and frost silhouetted against a blue sky

What I’ve been watching– I just found out about this movie “Sabina, Tortured For Christ: The Nazi Years”. I wasn’t familiar with Sabina Wurmbrand at all, so it was really fascinating to watch this part of her life. It is available to watch for free this weekend (March 4-6) here. All you have to do is register.

row of graineries in different colours of grey, blue and red covered in snow

What I’m thankful for– The fact that I am feeling much better after being sick for several weeks. It’s so nice to get back into the swing of things- work, sewing and other projects. Even just giving your bedroom a good sweep and dusting feels good when you haven’t been able to do it for a while. It’s crazy how much things pile up when you’re stuck in bed!

seed cone and a pine tree covered in snow and silhouetted against the blue sky

What I’ve been making– My mom and I started painting a storage cabinet in January, but then put it on hold once I got sick. It is our first time using milk paint, and I’ve been quite enjoying it. Now we just have to oil it and then we’re done. I am hoping to finally finish it today! Have you ever tried milk paint?

snow covered road lined with frosty trees

What I’ve been eating– This recipe went viral last year, so probably everyone has tried the Tomato Feta Pasta, but if you haven’t yet, you really should. I used this recipe from The Daily Connoisseur”. Since we didn’t have enough fresh tomatoes, I used some diced canned tomatoes, and it turned out just as good!

branches covered in sparkling white frost against a blue sky

What I’ve been working on: Adding a bunch of my artwork to my shops! I have started re-listing pieces on my Poshmark Shop, and some will make their way to my Art Shop too. I decided not to renew my contract with the art gallery in town, so all of the pieces that I was showing there will be making their way to the shops in the coming weeks.

Well, that’s what I have going on right now. What plans do you have for this weekend? Whatever you do, I hope it is a good one!

a view of a valley with trees and an old gas tank in the foreground covered with snow

Snow Softly Sifting Down

mugo pine needles covered in heavy snowfall

The snow is softly sifting down outside my window, and it looks like a perfect picture postcard. The calendar might say March, but the it’s still winter out there. Before the weather changes to warmer days, though, I had better share these photos. It’s just a small mix of scenes from the past couple of months, that I’ve taken on warmer days when I’ve ventured out for some fresh, cold, air!

What is the weather like where you are at? 

chickadee silhouetted against a cloudy sky

abandoned buildings and trees against a cloudy sky and covered with snowfall

shadows through the trees slanting across the snow drifts

mugo pine needles green against a backdrop of snow

a gravel country road covered in snow and trees with bare branches against the sky

Finding and Styling Thrifted Home Decor

thrifted home decor items on a table: a teacup, pitcher, picture frames and vintage books

I was recently inspired by one of my favourite bloggers, Sarah from She Holds Dearly, to do my own version of her series “Styling Thrifted Finds”. Almost all of my decor is thrifted or secondhand, and it would actually be easier to find the pieces that were purchased new so this is just my “recent” thrifted home decor; otherwise I would have to post a picture of my entire bedroom!

I love thrift shopping, and we have an excellent thrift store in town. It’s housed in the ground floor of an old building from 1912, and is a rabbit warren of rooms full of treasures waiting to be unearthed. It always requires a lot of digging past junk to find those treasures, but the prices are so good that it’s worth it. And because it’s a charity shop, I am always more willing to buy than I am at a for-profit shop. (And to donate my old items to as well!)

a gold enameled vintage oval mirror

First up, here are some items that made their way into my recent gallery wall. I found this vintage gold mirror from that thrift store in town. It was originally priced at $25, which I thought was a bit steep for that shop, and when I brought it up to the till, the lady who organizes the shop knocked $5 off (without me saying anything), because she thought it was a bit steep too! It pays to have a good relationship with your local thrift shops.  There is some of the gold enamel worn off on the bottom edge, but it just adds to the patina. The oval shape of the mirror fit perfectly over top of my bookshelf, and it lines up perfectly with my dresser mirror opposite, so I can use it to see how the back of my hair looks.

three vintage frames leaning against the wall

Thrift stores are also excellent places to find picture frames. The wooden frame with the oval opening cost $0.50, and even though it doesn’t have glass, it was still a bargain. If I want glass for it someday, I could always buy another frame for the same price and steal the glass and it would still only cost $1.00. The oval opening in the frame was perfect for this antique styled photo of my friend and I. (Ps. the black frame with the fashion illustration, below, was originally white, but I painted it with black chalk paint and waxed it and it looks so much better. I also painted the mat with acrylic paint. If you find frames that are the perfect size, but not the colour you’re looking for, you can always transform them with a little bit of paint!)

vintage wooden oval frame; styling thrifted home decor in my gallery wall

Both the wooden frame and the large gold one were frames that I saw at two different second hand shops, decided to not buy, and then wished that I had. Amazingly when I returned to the shops weeks later, the frames were still there, so I brought them home, of course.

vintage gold frame with view from the elbe landscape painting

I wasn’t in love with the watercolour that was originally in the large gold frame (for $8.00 by the way), so I removed it and decided to print some new artwork. I found a couple high resolution downloads of vintage artwork online and got them printed as poster prints. Because they are in the public domain, they are free to use and some can actually be downloaded directly from museum collections. I also printed an artwork for this black frame, below, at the same time. The two pieces I chose are this gorgeous black botanical “Still Life with Roses” by Elias van den Broeck”, and for the gold frame, this landscape which is titled “View from the Elbe” by Johan Christian Clausen Dahl. If you are looking for a different landscape, there are some other really lovely ones available here. (I love the one of the cottage with the chickens in front, but it was the wrong aspect ratio for my frame).

dutch floral still life with roses

I found the vintage brass frame with the convex glass on Poshmark (that’s a dangerous place to browse) and I have put a Victorian calendar page in it for now, but if I ever find a Victorian portrait, I will replace it.

tiny hanging picture frames

I also picked up these little brass frames to add to my gallery wall. I put pictures of my mom and both grandmas in them, and they fit in perfectly.

stack of vintage books

Moving on to finds of a different sort, vintage books are always a great thing to look for. The bottom one, Mary Queen of Scots, was from a thrift shop for $1.00 and the top three were from a library sale; all three for just $1.50.  The library books had dust jackets- always make sure to look behind the dust jackets of vintage books to see if they are clothbound. The top one, unfortunately, had glue residue from the ancient library tape which had ruined the colour and finish of the spine, so I painted it over with gold paint. It originally had gold lettering, similar to the bottom book, so it was too bad that the spine wasn’t in good condition, but for $0.50, I don’t mind. I have gathered all of my vintage books onto the bookshelf in my bedroom, for now.

styling vintage books on a bookshelf

Vintage books also make a nice backdrop for other decor. In the past I have used my vintage books to create vignettes on my IKEA bookshelf. They can also be used as risers to give height to seasonal decor, and large ones can be used as a sort of tray to ground other items when placed on a table. And, of course, you can read them too!

silver spoons before and after polishing

Another thing to keep you eye out for at the thrift stores is silverware. It is getting harder to find, but I do still come across it sometimes. These pieces looked so terrible and tarnished they were mixed into the bin of loose stainless steel cutlery, and were only $0.25 each. After a polishing, they are ready to add to my mismatched silverware set! To polish silverware easily (I wouldn’t use this for anything too precious, since I’ve heard it can blur delicate detail work) this is the method I use.

Line a heat proof container, or your sink, with tin foil. Place silver on top of the foil, leaving space between the pieces. Sprinkle 2 tbsp. of salt and 2 tbsp. of baking soda over top. Boil a kettle full of water (mine is 1.7 L). Pour the boiling water over top of the silver until they are submerged and watch the tarnish magically disappear! Let soak for up to 2 minutes, remove and rinse the pieces and then buff dry with a soft cloth to remove any remaining colour. It works amazingly well!

brass pillar stand

Another find was this brass stand. It is approximately 6″ across and 3″ tall. I think it may have originally been for a pillar candle? Or perhaps it originally had a glass cloche?

plant on top of the brass stand

The top was very scratched, but it makes a perfect plant stand. It gives the purple shamrock at the back of the buffet just enough height from the plants in the front.

vintage transferware pieces

And the last thrifted finds for today are these two transferware pieces- one featuring a scene of an English estate and the other of an 18th century man riding a horse. The teacup didn’t have a saucer, but that was fine because I had another plan for it. Likewise, I didn’t know what I was going to use the little cream pitcher for, but I quickly had an idea. I think the teacup was $4 and the pitcher was $2, from two different shops.

transferware pieces in a drawer and on top of the dresser

I store all of my makeup and toiletry supplies in baskets and castoff teacups. They work perfectly to hold my brushes and lipsticks and makeup wipes, and look so much prettier than usual organizing bins. I added this teacup in with a few others I have in my makeup drawer.

And for the pitcher, I put a bit of stuffing and a piece of black felt inside to create a cushion to hold my hat pins. I wear these pins on my berets, and it’s nice having them easy to access on my dresser as I get ready.  

That’s how I have styled my recent thrifted home decor. I’m always on the lookout for unique home decor pieces, though I leave more pieces behind than I buy these days. I’m trying to be more of a minimalist…but that doesn’t always work out.

What sorts of things do you keep your eye out for at the thrift shops? What is your best thrifted find ever? Do you have any good charity shops where you live?

A Fashion Moment with Creative Hands: Evening Wear

lady wearing a white crocheted long dress with a square motif

Because Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, I thought today would be the perfect time to share some of the evening wear and wedding looks from the Creative Hands book series from the 1960’s – 1970’s. (Also published under the name “Golden Hands”) There are a lot of eras in the past that had elegant evening wear…the 1970’s wasn’t one of them, unfortunately. However, there is still much inspiration to be had!

I have published some more images from the Creative Hands series here, here and here.

Starting off with the wedding looks, I don’t think the above image is supposed to be a wedding look, but it has that iconic space boho look the late 60’s and early 70’s was famous for.

wedding long coat with a hood from the Creative Hands series

Here is a wedding look featuring a floor length coat with a hood and the front buttons all the way down. I love this piece!

vintage 1970's evening dress with batwing sleeves and a regency styled wedding dress

Here is another wedding dress, on the right. I wish that the fabric they had chosen was softer so the gathers didn’t pouf out like that, but it’s a pretty Regency style which is also very iconic for the era.

two 1970's fashion illustrations of a wedding dress and a stole

Here’s the final wedding look, and a knitted stole. I love the fashion illustrations in these books; these two are so detailed.

silver crocheted sleeveless dress with a cowl hood from the Creative Hands book

Now this is an interesting evening dress in silver yarn (with matching silver platform shoes too). The cowl hood is crocheted separately and added afterwards, it says.

crocheted lacy evening top with a silver belt

They were really into the silver yarn/thread, as this lacy top demonstrates. I’m not sure if this is supposed to be an evening look, or not, but because it’s silver I thought I’d include it!

angora knitted sleeveless top and a fringed shawl

Here is the last silver piece; an angora sleeveless top. Definitely not my favourite look. That shawl would be very pretty if worked in a natural fibre and not synthetic, though.

red evening skirts in patterned fabrics and patchwork

I love the floral skirt on the left. There was definitely a thing for patchwork in the 70’s, and it’s actually a great way to use up textile scraps. We should bring it back!

two green dresses with patchwork and embroidery

Another patchwork look- this time inset onto a plain background. And on the right an amazing embroidered dress. Both dresses are in the popular A-Line style.

elegant fashion illustration form Creative Hands book of a dress with bishop sleeves and a lace collar

And to finish off, this beautiful fashion illustration of a dress with bishop sleeves and lace collar and cuffs. Made of a very soft and lightweight cotton/silk blend, or a chiffon this would be so elegant! It’s definitely got that Gibson girl look of the Edwardian era.

Which look is your favourite? Would you wear any of these dresses? Do you like to dress up for holidays such as Valentine’s Day? 

A Vintage Cottage Inspired Bedroom Tour

a bouquet of dried baby's breath in an amber bottle in front of a gallery wall of frames and pictures

It has been few months since I moved into my new bedroom… but I’ve finally finished decorating it! I might change some things in the future, as I do like to redecorate occasionally, but for now it’s pretty much finished, and I love how it turned out. This room really feels like “me” in a way that I don’t think I’ve had since I was 8 and had a pink and purple room with Barbie wallpaper. I’ve had a lot of different bedrooms over the years, but somehow none of them ever felt just perfect…and this one does. The only thing that would make it better is if I had vintage wooden floors instead of vinyl (haha).

When I was planning to move into this room, I took some time thinking about what I wanted it to look and feel like, what colour I wanted it to be, and after moving in, to take my time deciding where to hang pictures etc.  I’m glad I did, because I love its eclectic vintage cottage inspired feeling. A few years ago I read something about defining your decorating style and I came up with “a fashion designer moves into her granny’s kitschy English cottage”. There usually isn’t much of a rhyme or reason to my decorating- I just decorate with things that I like. And the things that I like are usually fashion related, English cottage, antique, natural, a hit of 1970’s kitsch, and I always like to add in a least a few ugly or funny things to keep it from being too serious!

view of the room from the doorway facing the window

First, when you enter the room, you see the opposite wall with the window. Because this is a North facing room, I chose to paint the walls a warm, ivory white. The colour is “Acadia White” by Benjamin Moore. I got paint chips and debated getting a sample to test the colour first, but just decided to jump in headfirst with it, and it was a great choice. It has a slight undertone of ivory/yellow in it, but it’s not too saturated. In a South facing room I think it would definitely pick up those yellow tones, and perhaps lean a bit towards buttery yellow, but the cool light in this room tones it down to a perfect cream. I found in the past that crisp whites can turn grey in the shadows, so this was a perfect choice of colour and the room is always warm and bright even on cloudy days.

another angle of the gallery wall

If you turn to the left wall, you will see one of my favourite two things about this room: my gallery wall! I have been wanting a full gallery wall like this forever, and have been collecting frames and artwork for years. Now I was finally able to put them all together like this on one wall…and I love how it turned out. I didn’t start out planning for a gold, black and cream colour theme, but as I started gathering the artwork and frames together, I noticed the colour scheme emerging and decided to continue with it. I left some of my more colourful art pieces out of this arrangement and will hang them elsewhere.

framed botanical

To hang this gallery wall, I took a photo of each piece, and a photo of the wall, and then moved them around in Photoshop until it looked like a good arrangement. (Making sure there weren’t too many black frames or wooden frames beside each other etc.) Then I traced each frame onto wrapping paper I had saved from Christmas and taped the pieces onto the wall. Once I was sure of the placement, I measured where the nail needed to go, and then hammered it right through the paper. It worked like a charm! I didn’t have to mark up the walls at all, and every single frame was exactly where it needed to be without gaps or spaces. If you are planning on hanging a gallery wall, definitely do it with paper. It was my first time with that method and I am never going back.

detail of my artwork story of a dress in my gallery wall

There are definitely no secrets about what my hobbies and interests are in this room. Almost all of the artwork is fashion, floral or vintage themed! (Or portraits of people we have no clue who they are). My wall is a mix of postcards and greeting cards, calendar pages I saved, one of my own artworks, book pages, some photos of my family and friends, and some art pieces I’ve picked up along the way. (Two pieces that are, sort of, still available are the black framed diamond print of The Five Solas that I got online here. And I have a print that is similar to that “Story of A Dress”, of a dress, but without the text, available in my Society 6 Shop here. ) Many of the frames are second hand or thrifted, some are IKEA frames, and a few were picked up at Michael’s craft store or Walmart years ago.

vases and candle on top of a bookshelf

Also along this wall I placed a short bookshelf, which gives me a spot to put flowers and seasonal decor and other knick-knacks. I wallpapered the back of the shelf, but unfortunately the glue just didn’t want to stick, so you can see the seam. Maybe some day I’ll get around to redoing it.

small bookshelf with vintage books, baskets and boxes and shoes on it

As you saw in my closet tour, I keep shoes on the shelf, as well as clothing/shoe care items in the basket. Gloves and sunglasses are in the round box, stationery is in the shoebox, a couple of clutches are on display and then all of my vintage books are on the top shelf.

shelves with vintage books and boxes on them

gallery wall

I love lace curtains and I hung these with curtain rings to add some interest.

vintage lamp turned on and casting shadows across the wall

Turning to the right there is a small pathway as wide as the nightstand alongside the bed. I like to have my bed out from the wall, if possible; it’s so much nicer to make the bed when you can access both sides! On my nightstand is the ever present stack of books to be read.

lamp casting shadows on textured beadboard wallpaper

And here you can see my other favourite thing about this room: the bead board wallpaper. I turned on the lamp so you can see the shadows picking up the texture of the wall. Up close it doesn’t fool anyone, but from a distance it really does look like bead board. I love how it gives such a cottage look to the room, as well as being a subtle focal point.

beadboard feature wall in a cottage inspired bedroom

I was originally planning on hanging a row of three botanical prints above the bed, but after living with the room for a while, I realized that I liked having this wall left bare. It gives a bit of negative space, while not being completely boring. And this way I can have all the artwork on the opposite wall without overwhelming the room. (And I love being able to sit in bed and look at the artwork).

battenburg lace pillow shams

My bed is covered with my favourite Battenburg lace pillows and the quilt and pillowcases made from vintage sheets. I used to have a lot more decorative pillows on my bed, but I got tired of having to remove the mountain of them every night.

vintage wooden dresser with a mirror above it

To the other side of the bed is my vintage dresser. I inherited this piece from my parents. I didn’t ever officially inherit it, I just had it in my room for a long time, and so I kind of absorbed it into my belongings. It was originally my great-grandmother’s and she refinished it with Danish oil which gives it this lovely patina. And it has such a pretty mirror, doesn’t it?

view of the closet and dresser and chair

Continuing full circle in the room, we at last come to the least pretty part of the room (because there’s no way to hide my very plastic air purifier!) I’ve already shared a more thorough look at my closet in this post here, so I won’t share it again today. That chair is just there temporarily, because I have plans for another project to take it’s place…if all goes well I will be able to share that on the blog sometime in the future.

a hatstand and tray on top of the vintage dresser

Finally, here is the top of the dresser. A hat stand, featuring a seasonally appropriate hat, and a tray with perfume and jewelry on it. And, on the right side you can see the handle of my vintage mirror and brush. I don’t use the brush, but I do use the hand mirror all the time!

Well, there is my vintage, English cottage inspired bedroom! I’m so happy with how this room turned out, and I enjoy spending time in here. I’m going to be sharing another post about decorating either next week or the week after, so stay tuned for that.

How would you describe your decor style? What is your favourite thing about your home or bedroom? Have you ever moved into a “blank slate” and, if so, did you take your time or did you know right away how you wanted to decorate it?

baby's breath bouquet in front of a gallery wall