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Chris and I decided a few months ago that we need to accept that we’ll be renting for the next few years and moving around a bit for his work but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t commit to spiffing our accommodations.  The first room to tackle will be the living room because we spend the most time there and it really needs some work.  Here it is today in it’s “before” state, although, full disclosure, here our roman blinds have already been removed and a curtain rod installed for the curtains I finished this afternoon.

This room gets a lot of light and I love that.  I find the fact that this area is so open concept a bit challenging.  It’s nice to be able to talk to each other when one of us is cooking but if you’re lazy with tidying the kitchen you have to stare at the mess while you watch Teen Mom 2. The couch is a disaster. A replacement plus a new love seat is on the way.  We have one huge, white wall and I’m still not sure what to do with it. I love an ottoman and it’s nice that Kate can’t crack her head open on it but I think a coffee table will be more practical.  Our side tables are cheap Ikea pieces of crap that were meant to be a temporary solution but we all know how that ends up.

I think I’ll document the overhaul as we work on it.  It will be slow going but I’d love any suggestions you can offer!

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Chris decided that I wasn’t spoiled enough getting a new sewing machine for my thirtieth birthday and thought he would redo my studio as a surprise.  It took almost a month of hard work after working long days and overnights and I have to admit I wasn’t always the picture of patience but it was so worth the wait. I actually teared up at the big reveal.  I thought I would let Chris walk you through it so that I can spend less time blogging and more time french kissing my new cutting table. Take it away baby!

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When I was asked to “guest blog” I  had no idea what that meant.  While I do have an iPhone and a MacBook, I use them almost exclusively to check current and future weather forecasts; yep, I’m that cool.  So Amy’s explanation went something like this:

A:  You should guest blog about the studio, so you can explain what was done.

C:  What does guest blogging mean?

A:  You write on my blog.

C:  How does that work?

A:  What do you mean?  I hand you the computer and you type.

C:  So a guest blogger has to be in the same place as the host?  Oh, wait; I guess they could just log on from anywhere.  I don’t think I understand this whole Internets thing.

Back to the studio…  This final design was at least the sixth version, as I kept having to update my plans when I couldn’t find material or figure out how to create a telescopic cutting table that could be adjusted using only your mind (and a small hand crank).  While I did have to scale down my plans, there were still a few “must haves”.  I wanted to have an elevated cutting surface, desk space for a sewing machine and serger, a comfortable chair, an edge on to which a swift and winder could be mounted, and plenty of storage.

Outdated before pic

After

I had planned on designing and building everything myself but soon realized that returning to work and having a three-month-old at home was going to keep me busy enough, so the idea of buying already designed and packaged storage cubes became incredibly appealing.  I tried to choose storage configurations that would work well for sewing, knitting, and all around general crafting. I picked them up at Michaels with a forty percent off coupon.

The cutting table was built at counter height and the sewing table at desk height.  For both surfaces, rather than building legs, I decided to use the storage cubes and shelves as supports and that seemed to work well. The tabletops are inch thick melamine from Rona.

Closet before

Closet after

The closet was the simplest fix with the installation of a few shelves and the addition of some clear plastic totes, also from Rona.

Kate gives her stamp of approval

In the end, I think it came together pretty much how I had planned, with only a few minor hiccups along the way.

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Thanks so much to Chris for angsting over both the studio and the blog post (the post took him two days – that’s how he rolls).  I’ve been stealing a few minutes here and there to work on a jersey dress and the loveliness of my new space is saving me from totally pulling my hair out.  I’m a lucky lady.

I finally finished the socks I’ve been carrying around in my purse since early December.  I’ve been working on them in the car (as a passenger) and during down time while teaching.

Theyre only slightly uneven in real life.

They're only slightly uneven in real life.

These are just a basic sock with a twisted rib.  The yarn is Silkie Socks that Rock in Walking on the Wild Tide.  I won it from Tiennie – she of the gorgeous family, beautiful house, amazing blog and  consistent comments.  Thanks again Tiennie!  I am totally in love with this yarn.

After weeks of searching thrift shops in Winnipeg and Kijiji for a real, grown up dining set we had a huge stroke of luck yesterday.  We had planned on schlepping to every  furniture store in the city but on our first try we found an amazing deal at EQ3.  They are discontinuing the Canyon dining set and one of their models had a teeny tiny scratch.  It was originally $1386 and we paid $299!  OK, the big reveal.

Before: Value Village formica table, Kijiji chair, pathetic Canadian Tire stool.

Before: Value Village formica table, Kijiji chair, pathetic Canadian Tire stool.

After: Mid-century Modern Coolness

After: Mid-century Modern Coolness

We  purchased another upholstered chair which was also crazy on sale but it’s not coming until next week.  The table has a built in leaf that makes it even bigger.  Now I have to cook a nice meal to christen it.

This also means I finally have a sewing table in my studio!

Yipee!

Yipee!

Things are finally starting to come together around here.  We found out that if we paint we have to repaint when we leave in around three years so we’re probably going to skip that and focus on accents like rugs and wall arrangements.  It will be slow going as we don’t have a huge decor budget but the thrill is in the hunt sometimes!

First off – thanks to everyone for putting up with my whining the other day.  I had a bit of a bad week and I was feeling pretty down but I’m starting to perk up a bit.  I think I need to start a lame Oprah-style gratitude journal to whip my Debbie Downer self into shape.

Chris had a couple of days off sick and was a marvel of domestic production.  He cleaned, baked, cooked, hung some pictures and shelves and it helped to boost morale.  You can’t keep that boy down.

One evening I had this kind of crazy idea and Chris agreed to try it out.  Meaning he agreed to do everything while I offered a critical eye.  We had everything we needed on hand making the finished result doubly satisfying.

Swedish moody

Swedish moody

You see, I hate open concept.  I love cozy rooms with built-in book shelves and radiators and window seats and worn wood floors.  Pretty much the antithesis of this place.  Enter some metal shower hooks, roman blinds from Ikea and Christmas lights.

Sudden dining room

Sudden dining room

To my delight and surprise Dwell-reading, Eames-loving Chris is charmed by our light wall.

It’s kicky in the daylight too.

I miss Ikea

I miss Ikea

It’s starting to feel more like home.

  • Good news!  The sock has been reunited with it’s owner.  Linda in Ottawa is again in possession of a set.  The saga was even included in Ravelry’s Forum Funnies this week.
  • Bad news! I have my first sock hole! It was inevitable really as these were the socks I grafted to within an inch of their life when the yarn was cut into a million pieces.  I guess I’ll be doing some darning research.
  • The new Twist Collective is out and it’s brilliant.  There’s hardly a piece I wouldn’t make.
  • The Interweave Winter preview is also out.  Whatevs.
  • I think it’s time for a custom header on this here blog.  Only problem is I haven’t a clue as to how to do it.  Any suggestions are much appreciated.  Please keep in mind I don’t, unfortunately, have Photoshop.
  • I’ve been cooking up a storm since there’s little else to do around these parts.  The showstoper recipe of the week is these Cottage Cheese Pancakes.  Oh my.  So good.
  • I’ve been spending my evenings while Chris is working with all the lights on and brainstorming design ideas with a healthy dose of help from the Domino Magazine website.  I’ll try to spread out the inspiration pictures I’ve been accumulating but here’s a good’un.
    Courtest domino magazine.

    Courtesy domino magazine.

    This is both the colour I want to paint the living room and the treatment I want to use for the headboard.  I can’t wait to get started!