Hi there, great chair. I wish you were mine. I can’t tell exactly if you’re leather or not, but that’s okay. You’re Danish and that’s pretty much good enough for me.
Monthly Archives: June 2012
Spring is quickly disappearing into summer, and I am again caught off guard by the approaching end of the school year.
All around me, I hear conversations of summer plans. People are booking time off, renting cottages, flying to visit family or planning restful days by the pool or patio. I’ll be honest, we’ve spent much of our vacation time over the years either moving, preparing for a move, or just relaxing around home. We stay busy enough that there is great relief in time to relax, time to stop rushing and time to just enjoy the life and home we have built around us.
But then, as time goes on, we realize that time off spent in the home we occupy every day can get lost in real life very easily, especially now that we have children. Before kids, we might have had lazy mornings to stay in bed catching up on sleep. We might have had coffee while reading the newspaper on the deck, and drifted through afternoons of sun, rest and the occasional umbrella drink. If you have kids, you know how far our reality is from that little daydream, yes?
So what to do? Last year we rented a chalet in Canmore, and spent our holidays exploring Banff, Canmore, and surrounding areas. It was lovely, and I’ll admit we were tempted by discreet information showing chalets for sale on the property but as we come to realize how many places we would like to visit, we start to wonder – could we ever choose just one? And in fact, as we drove and explored, we came to realize someday it might be easier to keep travelling rather than staying in one central location.
And then the discussion rises once again. Would we ever consider an RV or camper? Could we be that family? I know plenty of families who own campers and who head out every summer to enjoy their holidays in a favourite campground, or to tour around areas they want to explore. They all enjoy it, come back with great stories, and there are campers aplenty available new, or used if you want the best deal.
Hmm…could I, would I? Best way is just to go looking myself, so here are a few currently for sale on Used.
It would be easy to start with something like this:
And then perhaps move up to something more like this one:
Okay, I probably would start with that second one, if we’re being honest. I have bear issues. Yes, I know people sleep in tents, in the woods and live to tell about it. I, however, want a metal wall and door between me and any part of nature that comes with teeth and claws. I adore bears…just not, you know, hugging me through canvas.
And then, what about the truly glorious hotel room on wheels, the epitome of “glamping” aka glamourous camping:
I’ll admit I can see the appeal. I hate packing for air travel, and love the idea of travelling without relying on hotels. With two young kids, a holiday with plenty of outdoor play and fresh air sounds just about perfect.
But I’ll admit, though we discuss it, and I do browse the used sections, I still am not quite there in my head. I look at ads, floor plans and photos and try to figure out where to put my kids. Then I think of the families I know with three children and think, where is everybody going to sleep? One actual bed means my three year old sleeping out on a makeshift bed in the middle – what’s to keep her from wandering around, getting into things, opening a door? And honestly, I have two kids under the age of eight – where do I put them when they are making me crazy? How do I separate them if they need a little space?
Admittedly, these are the wanderings of a mind that hasn’t camped in twenty-five years. Oh, I camped as a kid, but by age twelve we had purchased a cabin and now all the memories I can dredge up have two bedrooms, locking doors, and a bathroom. There was always a little room to breathe, a little privacy. There was a fridge, and a deck for eating and lounging.
And yet, adventures beckon. The roads beckon. And the freedom to just while away the hours and days in an RV will always make it into our conversations…
I obviously need guidance from those in the know. Who camps? Do you camp in an RV? A fifth wheel? Or do you prefer cottages, cabins, chalets and the like? Strictly an airplane and five star hotel enthusiast?
Tell me how you’ll be travelling this summer, and why?
And if it’s in close quarters, how do you manage your kids?
Father’s Day is THIS Sunday. If you haven’t knit him a tie or papier-mâchéd a bust of his likeness, you’re seriously running out of time to give the dad in your life the thoughtful gift he deserves. So, put down that “Kiss the Cook” BBQ apron and please tell me you weren’t seriously going to buy him a Starbucks card… Be original! Reduce, reuse & recycle! Give your cash to your neighbour instead of that big bad big box store! Here are some unique gifts for dad we found on our Used Sites:
You want dad to look cooler than all the other fishermen, right? Nothing says street (water?) cred like a fully stocked tackle box from the 60′s – back when fish were fish.
You COULD get him a custom, air brushed beer fridge… Yep, you sure could.
Come on, how great would the daddy-o in your life look on a cool vintage bike? Pretty cool.
Super Dad deserves monogrammed cufflinks. Enough said.
For the hockey fan/vintage collector, these classic tabletop figurines are very, very cool.
So, there you have it. Can’t you just hear him now– bragging over the phone when he calls all the other dads to compare gifts. Dads do that, right?
Father’s Day in 2012: the pressure. The stress! The onslaught of vaguely embarrassing and stereotypical TV commercials! The slew of cards with BBQs on them!
Like any holiday that becomes a commercial juggernaut, contemporary Father’s Day suffers from a case of performance anxiety, and it foists its burden on everybody in its path. Have a father? A partner who IS a father? A grandfather? An uncle? A pet who loves the man in your life dearly?
The Hallmark machine that is contemporary Father’s Day exhorts everybody in the immediate vicinity of modern-day fatherhood to cough up time and money to ensure that Dad feels deeply cared for and attended to on his special day.
Now, this can be a really good thing. Dads are important, and men today are playing new nurturing roles that will likely have huge and positive impacts on the lives of their children. No longer is Dad just a pipe and slippers fixture on the armchair of our sociocultural family imagination.
But. We’re doing a crappy job of celebrating him properly, people. We’ve swapped out the old stereotypes only to replace them with new ones. You may feel obliged to make Dad’s dreams come true on Father’s Day…but what kind of dreams does Father’s Day merchandising actually sell?
Judging by the card selection at my local stationery shop, apparently all Dads live for the following:
1. new golf clubs
2. a personalized set of BBQ tongs
4. fart jokes
Now, I enjoy a good fart joke as much as the next person (well, not if the next person is my six-year-old, but still) and beer never goes out of season. But seriously, world. A man can only use so many sets of golf clubs and steak implements, and all that golfing and standing out on the deck grilling and farting and drinking kinda perpetuates the old “Dad is the fun parent when he’s here but really, he’s secondary on the domestic front and relegated to the deck” mythology.
Truth is, the deck is fun. I’ll happily stand out there and BBQ, at least when it’s not January. But to get past the slightly snide ways in which we celebrate Dad as parent and caregiver and truly honour him as a well-rounded person and not a Homer Simpson caricature, we need to bring BACK the standard Father’s Day gift of yore.
Yep. Let’s be clear: the necktie, with its straight, stuffy reputation? Is actually the most subversive, saucy gift you can give a man for Father’s Day. Why?
Because ties are – looks around, whispers – actually pretty little man dresses.
Back in the Renaissance and European Restoration era, dudes got to wear velvet and lace and fancy little hose with those pointy shoes at the end. They practically pranced around in drag, swathed in sumptuous fabric. And ribbons!
It can’t be easy being a man in this day and age. There’s nothing sumptuous about most men’s clothing choices. Avenues for self-expression – and velvet! – are limited. Hair is short. Hose are a niche market. You can’t wear band tshirts forever and get promoted.
So what happens? Men in the Dad phases of their lives end up falling in line and standing on the back deck in bland golf clothes drinking beer and wondering why everybody swoons over Mad Men and not over them.
The answer is simple: not enough ties.
Ties, ladies and gentlemen, are glorious. They’re expressive and varied and rich in texture and colour and pattern. Pretty little man-dresses, I tell you.
Better, every single man – and plenty of women, hello Annie Lennox – looks absolutely smashing in them. They exude vintage style and power, a la Mad Men (purr), and they inject a little bit of joie de vivre and jauntiness into the otherwise drab landscape of men’s fashion.
Worn right, ties are hot. It’s that simple. They get noticed, and they reap compliments, and they make a man feel kinda
purdy like a player. Whatever floats his boat. Ties are the one place men get to be playful and still professional in their wardrobe choices.
So for Father’s Day, do the Dad in your life a favour and help him out of the beer & BBQ box and beyond: buy him a tie. Or three.
Maybe he’ll like feeling pretty.
What a lovely little butter churner! Bet you don’t hear that too often. No matter, we love how this looks and judging by the good condition it appears to be in, it probably still works. Maybe you could sucker the kids into making butter for you until the novelty wears off? After that, perhaps a great alternative to the time out chair?
Okay quick, you’ve got three days to get sorted. My last post was Quick and Easy Father’s Day crafts, but now, now we’re just too darn late to get that crafty that quickly and that easily.
I was going to bring you baked bean cans turned into Dad tea light holders, something that I saw years ago at Glastonbury Festival and have never gotten round to (I kid you not check out this link for a how to) but hey, this is real life and I’ve been watching too much Ellen.
So instead, from the wonderful world wide web, I bring you weird cards and pricey gifts, because that’s what paternal love and respect are all about right?
Speaking of love and respect and then ignoring the concept completely, my favourite favourite favourite blogger, missteenussr did a father’s day blog this week for her sideline site: Review2akill. Yeah, we may blog, but we’re not that creative, we just live for the months when there’s a genuine celebrative day. None of this ‘national peanut day’ etc etc, a real day that real people will idle over on Pinterest, that’s what us bloggers love.
Anyway, as well as bringing the ‘tude and an heroic animated avatar, missteenussr also pointed out some very cool Father’s day gifts. Check out these Whiskey Stones, because there is nothing, I say, nothing, worse than watery booze.
If you’re really stuck, go down the gift certificate route. Okay, so picture this: I turn to my husband and say, ‘So gift certificates, what sort of a gift certificate would you get for a really cool but traditional dad. Think different, think cool. ‘His response? ‘Nah, what dads want are Home Depot, Canadian Tire and Sports’. I give up. I was thinking barber shops, record stores and liquor. His loss.
A quick addition to the gift giving; I was tidying my little one’s room this week and came across so many pages from his little books. I know I know, kids should not rip up books, it’s sacrilege, all the libraries in the world will explode, etc etc, but I am cheap and all his books come from the thrift or the curb and are already pretty ratty. So I decided to save all these pages and scraps from pages for gift wrap. Super cool and super cute! You like?
Turns out this is actually true but I’ll get into that a bit later.
I’m currently in beautiful Nova Scotia visiting my husband’s family and introducing them to our little guy for the first time. I’m always super excited to go back East to see everyone but I’m also very excited to come visit when it is lobster season (strange how we always seem to visit during lobster season, hmmmm???? lol.) As all of you West Coasters will attest to, lobster is considered a rare treat for us as it is super expensive from where we come from. But on the East Coast, lobster is just a regular, every day dinner like having chicken breasts or ham. In fact, during lobster season, it actually costs less to buy a whole lobster than it does to buy the other meats! Crazy, I know!
And the best part is that they have trucks on the side of the road that sell it even cheaper than in the stores…I’m talking $5.99 a pound! So this trip I made a promise to myself that I would eat at least one lobster every day I’m here to make up for the fact I usually eat none in a year. So far I’m managed to keep my promise but not without a few hiccups.
On the first day we arrived, we were supposed to arrive in Halifax at seven and then drive an hour to New Minas where my husband is from. Unfortunately our plane was delayed over three hours ( I will refrain from naming the airline but will give you three guesses!! Here’s a hint: it rhymes with hair planada!) so we didn’t make it till after 10:00pm. Then of course the rental car we got had some issues so we were late leaving Halifax making our arrival time in New Minas just before midnight. I was so sad that I already broke my promise to eat my lobster for that day but then suddenly my luck changed; I looked up and there on a sign under the big yellow arches I read “The McLobster is back!” What? A McLobster? What is this magical sandwich? We pulled into the drive thru and ordered two and sure enough, it was a sandwich filled with lobster meat and weirdly enough it cost the same as a Big Mac! It was delicious and a great way to start the trip.
The next day I spotted the truck on the side of the road so we pulled over with my mother-in-law to help us pick the best lobsters as she grew up in Hulls Harbour and is an expert in lobster selection. Interesting tip: the smaller lobster taste much better than the big one. So when choosing lobsters, only buy ones between 1 lbs and 1-1/2 lbs as the meat is more tender; those 3 lbs or more fellas way look cool but they are way too tough. We bought eight whole live lobsters and only paid $67! I mentioned to the guy that for that price, I’d love to have a bunch shipped to Victoria and he replied that maybe this could be arranged…maybe I could open my own lobster shack in Victoria. I’d make a fortune!! Okay, back to reality. We made hot lobster sandwiches that night and then I continued to have them for breakfast for the next two days. Delicious! Definitely a breakfast of champions (and celebrities which is how I felt!)
Eventually I ran out so I went back the next day to my favorite lobster truck man to stock up but to my dismay, he wasn’t there. Panic began to sink in but I calmed myself and asked my sister-in-law Nancy if there was any other places these magical trucks hung out. She pointed me to the next town over so I hopped in the car and went treasure hunting for my favorite crustacean. No luck there and neither at the adjoining towns on either side. I guess Tuesdays are the days they actually go out and catch these wonderful creatures. So I had to resort to buying my lobster of the day at the local grocery store. It cost me $8.99 instead of $5.99 which was still an amazing deal, just not as amazing as the truck deal. This time I cooked it up the old-fashioned way and just dipped it in melted butter…It was absolute heaven and worth every penny!
I’ve only got 3 more days here so I intend to hunt down my favorite lobster man tomorrow and make sure to stock up until I leave…don’t want to miss out again! My husband’s family think I’m absolutely nuts but they enjoy watching me deshell these little critters each day…I’m definitely improving with each lobster.
Oh, and back to my original point, turns out that lobster is actually super good for you and even healthier than having a chicken breast or egg. It’s low in calories and is a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Who knew?
Guess I won’t be getting sick on this trip! Okay well maybe I might considering how I’ve actually been cooking my lobster so far…you see I may have omitted the fact that the hot lobster sandwiches consist of melting several sticks of butter in a pan, then sauteing the lobster meat in it for several minutes, THEN adding about 2 cups of heavy heavy cream into the mix. Once it’s all hot and lobstery, you pour it over two slices of toast to absorb all the fatty, creamy, buttery, lobstery goodness – not exactly a healthy way to eat it, but OMG it is the best thing you will ever eat.
I’ll update you all next week on whether I managed to keep my promise but right now, I’ve got to run…I’ve got a date with a lobster man to discuss shipping half of his truckload to Victoria. Mom, if you’re reading this, a few very small guests may be arriving at your doorstep soon so I hope you don’t mind entertaining them till I get back home. Thanks.
Okay, so truly dislike the word “hipster”, but let’s face it – there’s no easy replacement word. And so I’ll continue to use the word sparingly and disparagingly and then I’ll probably buy this book by Brad Getty for my husband. It will be his second Father’s Day and while he doesn’t exactly fit the “hipster” model, he did play in punk rock bands when he was younger and he sometimes sports a beard.. Good enough.
The photos are awesome and the dads all look mine did when I was a kid AND I enjoy the blog that inspired it. Sure, it’s pretty “hipster” to make fun of “hipsters” (see, how I use quotation marks around the word at all times -petty, right?), but I can’t really see any way out of this rabbit hole.
I have a thing for telephone tables or gossip tables or whatever you want to call them – I love them all. There’s something about the multi-functionality of it that appeals to me. It’s a table AND a chair! From chic mid-century to unassuming country, a telephone table is the perfect blank canvas for a DIY makeover. You can find them relatively cheap and with just a bit of sanding, some paint and an imagination, you’ve got yourself a custom piece of furniture that will make any foyer proud! I’m particularly fond of what Michelle from every little thing…inspired (Lower Mainland, BC represent!) did with the table she scored for $50 off of that-classified-site-that-shall-not-be-named-but-rhymes-with-schmijiji.
She slapped on a coat of paint, updated the hardware and covered the upholstery with a few yards of mohair she found on sale. Cheap and easy! My kind of makeover.
And so I think I’m going to take on this project and find me the perfect little table to transform. While I’m at it, I’d like to issue a DIY challenge to any of you with the courage and work space to join me! Send me a link to your project in the comments or email me at email@example.com and we’ll feature your makeovers on our blog and Facebook page. The best one will be featured in our national newsletter. Famous! You can often pick these tables up from a garage sale or a thrift shop for a song. We also have quite a few listed on our Used sites across the country. See below. Happy fixer-upper-ing!
from left to right: recently reupholstered and reasonably priced via UsedVictoria ($90), vintage solid wood via UsedWinnipeg ($195), super-fancy, antique & mahogany via UsedVictoria ($450), Roxton country charmer via UsedVictoria ($60), embroidered & ready for a redo via UsedRegina ($40), Michelle’s before & after
These are brilliant! Posted on UsedVictoria, this is what the seller had to say:
“I have a collection of about six hundred new old stock (discontinued in the 1970s) Red Cross Water Safety badges or crests, many featuring the zippy former mascot, “WALTER SAFETY”. These crests would look kind of funky sewn onto random T-shirts. This could be the start of something cool… There are well over 600 crests available at $2.00 a pop.”
These would be great for an art installation or as a cute patch on a backpack or jacket. Really, I can’t think of anything Walter Safety couldn’t make cooler.