Thursday, January 31, 2013

The $20 Thrift Store Challenge (give or take a dollar)

I'm always game for any excuse to go shopping at a thrift store with $20 in my pocket.  So when the Young House Love Macklemore Thrift Store Challenge came along I was ready, willing, and in my car.  Around my neck of the woods the thrift stores are not huge ones like I've seen on some American blogs so I took a few liberties and made a couple of return visits to spend my entire $20.  I'm dedicated like that.  Also I was looking for some specific items and it took a few tries to get enough of them.

So let's begin.

Here's my favourite thrift shop, although there are a few others that I also frequent.  I love to go at lunchtime on Fridays as my little treat.

These are my two favourite sections to check out - the dishes

and the tablecloths.  Yes, there are some who would say I have found enough of both of those treasures, but then again what do they know. 

You can find other goodies like luggage

and wedding dresses (yikes), but I generally stick to my two favourite areas.  They provide me with plenty of temptation as it is.

I've been hankering to collect an informal grouping of brass candlesticks to decorate the mantel or arrange in the middle of the table.  I was after that aged brass not any of that shiny 1980s brass.  So the thrift store challenge seemed just the time to start the hunt.  I needed a nice grouping - aka - five different, but coordinating brass candlesticks.  Of course, it had to be an uneven number so it looked aesthetically pleasing and three would seem too few and seven would be too hard to find on such short notice.  So five it was.  It took me three trips to different thrift stores to find these five, but here they are.   

Ain't they purdy!

I also thought I might be able to get a tablecloth and make a pretty tablescape.  I used to find great tablecloths at the thrift stores, but over the past year or so there haven't been many for sale.  This week, though, I was lucky and found two that tickled my fancy.  

And finally, I found this pretty little platter for only $1.99.  Couldn't you see it on the Christmas lunch table or at Valentine's Day.

So lets see what we have:

5 Brass Candlesticks: $10.95
2 Tablecloths: $7.98
1 Platter: $1.99
GRAND TOTAL: $20.92 (not including taxes)

Oops.  I'm roughly in the $20 range.  Right?  Are you with me on this? Close enough wouldn't you say? Can you blame a girl when it was my lucky week at the thrift store.  

As any self-respecting blogger would do, I got my new things out and played around a bit and had some fun creating this fake Valentine's table settings. 

I sure wish it was light in the evening as it is impossible to take any photos these days, but there you have it - my real treasures found during a real thrift store challenge posed in a fake dinner situation.

... and a few photos I managed to snap this morning in daylight.

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Linked to Macklemore Thrift Store Challenge at Young House Love,
Weekend Bloggy Reading at Serenity Now

Monday, January 28, 2013

17 Ways to Add Colour to a White Kitchen

Do you love white kitchens as much as I do?  For me it just doesn't get any better than a kitchen with clean fresh white cabinets. While I love this classic look it can sometimes slip into looking stark and institutional if not enough contrast and detail are added to the kitchen design.  So I've gathered together inspiration photos to demonstrate seventeen ways to add colour and warmth to a white kitchen.  Let's have a look:

1. Paint the walls a colour so the white cabinets really stand out

design inc
2. Add a colourful backsplash (careful with this one though as you don't want to go too trendy on something that costs a lot to replace)

House Beautiful

3. Paint the back of shelves or glass-fronted cupboards a contrasting colour

4. Add colourful decorative items on shelves, in open cupboards, and on the counter

Kathryn Ireland via Canadian House and Home

5. Purchase colourful appliances (would you have the nerve to do this? I'm not sure I would.  Just make sure you really love the colour.)

House Beautiful

6. Add a throw rug or runner (While Googling white kitchens, I found this one styled two different ways which are interesting to compare)

Apartment Therapy
7. Add a colourful tea towel


8. Add some plants or a bouquet of flowers 

House to Home

9. Store your cookbooks out in the open (and only purchase colourful cookbooks!)


10. Hang art on the walls

Bobbie Burger's kitchen via Canadian House and Home

11. Add a chalkboard and decorate it with colourful drawings

Kitchen Building
12. Select colourful fabric for drapes or blinds 

13.  Pull some cheerful stools up to the kitchen island

Design Manifest
14. Add a bright light

Home Klondike
15.  Paint a window frame or door in a fresh bright colour

Coastal Living

16.  Add a colourful floor

Elle Decor via Apartment Therapy
17.  Paint the ceiling

via Design Megallih
Gorgeous aren't they?  Which kitchens did you like best?  

By the way, if you want to read two other posts in my white kitchen series you can click on the links below:
4 Great Countertop Colours for White Kitchens
A Rainbow of Kitchen Islands

Friday, January 25, 2013

Robbie Burns Day

Happy Robbie Burns Day!  Did you know that people all over the world celebrate Scotland's national poet Robert Burns' birthday every year with a special supper.  I've always wanted to go to one and this year I got my chance as our friend's Kim and Paul invited us to one that they attend.

It was a wonderful evening with lots of great food, friendly, intelligent people, and talented speakers and singers.

Many people were wearing their family tartans.  Here Kim and I are in our competing plaid scarves.

And some men were wearing kilts.

Jonathan had (appropriately enough), just arrived home from Edinburgh seven hours earlier.  He did so well to wine and dine despite the jet lag.

The setting was perfect - a pub in Toronto decorated with Highland regiments on the walls and a cozy atmosphere.

The evening started with Burns' traditional Selkirk Grace.

After grace, the bagpiper processed in followed by the haggis (you can just see part of the white plate to the left of the bagpiper.  Unfortunately I wasn't very adept at using my husband's camera and I didn't get good pictures of the bagpiper.)

There was the ceremonial cutting of the haggis,

followed by dinner.

Haggis really falls in the category of unusual foods.  Here's how it is described in Wikipedia:
Haggis is a savoury pudding containing sheep's pluck (heart, liver and lungs); minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally encased in the animal's stomach and simmered for approximately three hours. Most modern commercial haggis is prepared in a sausage casingrather than an actual stomach.
Naturally I chose to have haggis for dinner since it is the traditional food served at a Burns' Supper (and I have a burning curiosity that makes me want to eat strange and unusual food).  The haggis was served with neeps (turnips) and tatties (mashed potatoes) and gravy.  I've always wanted to try haggis and fortunately I thought it tasted fantastic - rather like a mushy sausage.  It was definitely a dinner you didn't need teeth to eat.

I had some delicious sticky toffee pudding for dessert.

Some people had athol brose, which is a Scottish drink made into a dessert with oats at the bottom and fruit on top.

Dinner was followed by recitations of Burns' poems (including an amazing rendition of Tam o'Shanter), toasts, and music.  It was so much fun - we enjoyed the evening immensely (many thanks Kim and Paul). 

Have you ever been to a Burn's Supper?  Would you be adventuresome enough to eat haggis?

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