Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Dining Room and a New Chandelier

Over the past couple weeks I've been trying to tackle some projects on my to-do list around the house. Usually January and February seem to be the most convenient times to do these things.

While it doesn't quite feel like it just yet, spring is coming soon. I don't know about you, but to me, Springtime around our home brings with it thoughts of gardens to tend to, spring cleaning, and organizing. Hopefully, if I can accomplish many of these projects now, that all might seem less overwhelming when March and April roll around.

So I've set to work, one room at a time.

The first room I started on was the dining room.

I recently read that the average home in Canada is around 1950 square feet, and about 2200 square feet in the United States.

Our home is considerably smaller at about 1250 square feet. In it's original state it was even more modest. Previous owners have opened the attic space and created a second floor with two bedrooms and a small bath. They also added a sun room off the kitchen, opened up the living and dining room areas and began finishing off the basement. So while that number might seem rather small, we do in fact have a comfortable home for a family of four.

There are just some details about our home that make it more of a challenge when it comes to layout and functionality. I joke that it's like a puzzle; if I could just crack the code and figure out the perfect placement of everything, it would feel as though I've gained an extra 200 square feet.

One of these challenges is the dining area. It's actually half of a long, narrow room with the entrance and stairs in the middle, and living area on the other end. Due to the size, we cannot fit a normal dining room table. It would entirely fill the space, making it impossible to walk around, which is necessary for getting to the kitchen and back of the house. This means that our table must either be smaller or round, and it has to sit off center in the corner.

For a year now we've had our dining room in the sun room. It wasn't bad, but it still wasn't the most practical. As well, the original dining room area had become sort of wasted space. And in a small home, it's necessary to maximize space and use it as efficiently as possible. And so, back the table went into it's original spot. 

I was pleasantly surprised. We had never used our current dining room table in that space before. It's small, but it extends with a leaf to a larger square giving us lots of room at the table, and ample space to move comfortably around it. 

The next issue was that there was no light fixture. After much searching, and sourcing and trying to decide on a fixture, I found this chandelier at Home Depot.

I had searched online and in local antique stores for a beautiful antique one with not luck. At least not within my small budget. I also loved the look of a farmhouse style lantern, but again, nothing I really loved the shape of, except a beautiful Pottery Barn lantern for $399! And that was before shipping. I also felt that a black lantern, while stylish, would have just been too much for this small space. I felt that it would have drawn too much attention, and added too much weight. I wanted something that was lighter, and blended rather than become a focal point.

I felt that this glass chandelier achieved that. It's not antique, but I think it lends to the space quite well. Being glass and crystal, your eye tends look beyond it. This makes it feel lighter and less obtrusive in the space. It was also $199, and I had a $50 gift certificate. This was a lot more practical than the other lanterns I had sourced, and the expensive antique chandeliers, most of which needed crystals replaced and rewiring at additional costs.

Another issue with this space is that we do not having wiring to allow a fixture to be hung from our ceiling. It has to drape over to the corner, and plug into the wall outlet. It's possible for us to have an electrician come in and fix this, but for now, Ryan purchased all the necessary parts to make it plug in. The only thing I still need to decide is whether or not I am going to paint the candlesticks. They are silver and I don't know if I should paint them white, or dark, or even keep my eye out for antique covers I could replace them with. Ryan also needs to add a few extra links to the chain so it reaches the floor.

In the end, I'm very happy with this space. It's bright and airy, and that's what I was hoping for.

The only other pieces in the room are this buffet, which is to the left of our front entrance, and a large antique cabinet that I use to store all of my extra glassware and dishes and entertaining things in. I'm still looking for a painting to go in my antique frame on the wall. Until then, I think it's beautiful enough to hang on it's own.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Cheery House Plants and Chicken Quinoa Soup

The sun, with it's bright light and warmth, seems to have made only a few appearances in the last while.

The days are either grey, bringing with them damp, dreary rains, or they're bitterly cold.

It's this time of year that can seem so long and drawn out. A lot of what makes winter so cozy has passed - the tree all aglow, the holiday festivities, and the pretty white snow... And now we're left with dull days, a yard of muddy old snow, and no sign of relief. 

Unfortunately, there are still enough weeks until any signs of spring begin to pop up outside, so we must do what we can to make the most of these last weeks of winter.

Like this beautiful white Begonia I brought home from the store, we take full advantage of any sunlight we're blessed with. While reading in the pleasant warmth the other day, I couldn't help but notice it's delicate petals were turned completely to the source of the warm light. They were basking in it!

Adding potted plants that remind me of my gardens helps cheer up a home as well, like this Hellebore I found at our grocery store in town.

Hellebores are such brave, spirited flowers in my opinion. Did you know that they can brave the heavy frosts of late winter and early spring, and they aren't bothered by the snow? 

(photo from

How beautiful is this? This particular variety is called Ivory Prince - even it's name is valiant.

Candles and cozy throws also add warmth.

And what brings more warmth than a cup of homemade soup? With everyone fighting colds in our house, a bowl of Chicken Quinoa soup was the perfect remedy. We haven't been eating pasta, and a handful of quinoa was a great substitute.

The boys got to enjoy theirs with ones of Nona's homemade Cheddar and Chive scones.

How are you making the most of these wintry days? 

I've actually been working on the living and dining rooms - rearranging and doing a few projects to keep me busy.

I hope to be able to post more on that soon.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

More New Items Added

Well that was short lived.

I was so excited to finally have some items listed in the shop, but before I knew it, they had been snatched up, and the shop was empty once again.

Luckily I've been collecting for a while.

So, don't worry, more lovely items have been added.

Like this gorgeous antique oval frame, with an antique photograph and a beautiful matte.

This is the charming Mr. Charles Slingerland and his belle in 1906, more than a century ago! It was taken locally, and there are even a few families I know with this same name, though none of them that I know of are related to this particular couple.

I think the gold trim adds charm.

I've also listed more ironstone.

Including this lovely scalloped wheat platter, perfect for hanging on your wall.

I actually have a pair, and they would look even lovelier hanging one above the other.

I also listed this little brown transferware vase. It's a favorite of mine, and compliments pretty garden roses and peonies, but also looks particularly nice displayed in the Fall. It has the feel of a piece from the Aesthetic movement.

I'm working on adding a few pieces every day or so.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Recent Finds and New Items in the Shop

While out and about this weekend, I managed to pop into an antique store not too far from here. They are actually going out of business, and have been up for sale for a while, so I wasn't expecting to find much left. Still, it's been a while since I've spent any length of time looking for something old and full of character, so in I went.

I did manage to find a few little things, an antler, a tiny ironstone creamer, and a few pieces of mismatched silverware.

It wasn't much, but she gave me a good deal, so it felt like a success. 

I decided it was time to start listing some items in the shop again.

The serving fork and the gravy spoon are for myself. I love collecting pieces of antique silverware, and I use them quite often.

It's the tiniest little creamer.

These spoons are so versatile. They can be used as they were intended, or they can be tied with a package of loose tea or coffee, or in a jar of body scrub by the bath. 

This soap dish is a relatively recent find. It's up in the shop as well. I love how it fits one of those large, luxurious bars of soap.

I started listing some other ironstone that I've had collected for a while.

The boys were pretty excited about the antler.

For now it's on our shelf with other natural bits.

I had also planned to list these two julep cups, but decided not to. I really love them, so for now they will stay.

The weather has turned overnight, plummeting from an unseasonal 7 degrees (45) to -19 with the wind (-2). Hudson and I spent some time this afternoon snuggling in bed. I couldn't resist snapping a photo of him as he just looked so beautiful with his haircut and his thumb in his mouth. He's growing up much too quickly for my liking, so I was thankful for the quiet cuddling together.