Inspiration and trends in interior design – Salumi poster

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I’m on a bit of a kitchen-binge as of late, partially due to do with the fact that I finally decided that red was the way to go – see my post on our painted kitchen lamp.

It felt like it was meant to be when I was perusing Design Sponge a couple weeks ago and came across this Salumi poster from Brooklyn Larder:

From here

TO DIE FOR!

Not only does it have the red and is kitchen-themed – but P and I are salami and prosciutto fiends – so this was perfect for us!

They didn’t have the dimensions of the poster anywhere online, and they didn’t ship to Canada but I didn’t care – that poster was mine! So I ordered it dimensions-unknown and had it shipped to Point Roberts. When I got it, however, I found this:

From here

The pastries poster. Okay. So, if there’s anything that P and I love OTHER than salami and prosciutto, it’s pastries. But I didn’t order it, and it didn’t go as well with the kitchen, so I was bummed. However, when I peeked further into the package, I found the salumi poster too. Huh? I was confused, but happy nonetheless – until I saw the state of the salumi poster. It was bent. Darn. So I emailed the people at Brooklyn Larder and they promptly have sent me another salumi poster (yay!) to be received in the next couple days. Meanwhile, we’re giving the damaged one to some other salami and prosciutto lovers in the family – so it’s all good.

By the way, the dimensions of the posters were:

Salumi poster: 17 inches x 11 inches (seems to be just the inside portion of the poster)

Pastries poster: 19 inches x 13 inches

We plan to put up both the salumi and pastry posters in the kitchen now – can’t wait to show you!

AFC

Project day – Kitchen lamp

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P repainted the cupboards in our kitchen white last summer, and ever since then we’ve been debating (well, let’s be honest – I have) what colour the remainder of the kitchen should be. We collect red Le Creuset pots (got most of them as seconds from Homesense), and since P’s favourite colour is red I got him the KitchenAid stand mixer in Empire Red for Christmas last year…so the logical conclusion was red. But I held back – I’ve always seen red as a very stark colour that ilicits anger or passion, and I didn’t want to go red anywhere in our apartment, I was quite certain of that.

However, as time went on, and I began picking colours for the main living area, I realized that the colour I was leaning towards – a light gray – would actually work perfectly with red in the kitchen. So, red it was!

We repainted the kitchen, living room and hallway the light gray colour (Benjamin Moore Nosegay), and our next step was to find a new kitchen light. We knew that the fluorescent lighting formerly in the kitchen just wasn’t cutting it, so we started looking for new lamps.

First I went to the lighting store near my office – and they were fantastic, providing me with a sizable stack of lighting catalogues that I was allowed to keep! I was ecstatic – that is, until I actually started looking through them. I think I tabbed, maybe, 5 pages total. And one of the pages was tagging the art, sideboard and wallpaper in one of the displays, NOT the lamp. I just found the lamps lacklustre, or too over the top. I mean, it’s kitchen task lighting, I don’t need 30 million crystals!

Eventually I decided that it would be best to go with a classic shape, and so a schoolhouse-shaped light was the best way to go. Here’s a sample of what we were looking for:

From here

We then went to a lighting store on Cambie, and found out that the style we wanted was a whopping $250! Yeah, that wasn’t going to fly with my parents, who were footing the bill. So we decided, on a whim, to go across the street to Home Depot to look for something. I had already been there and nixed everything I’d seen, but we hadn’t been to this particular location so I thought we’d give it a try – and we were so lucky we did! We found a similar pendant lamp to the one we liked, and not only was it only $52 – but they gave it to us for $25 because it was discontinued! Holy moley – 90% off our original choice is not bad! (it also helps to be polite and patient shoppers – teehee!) Here’s the lamp:

The only problem was – it didn’t go with anything in our kitchen. The pendant over our table has brushed steel hardware, and the knobs on our drawers and cabinets are a sort of hammered brushed steel – so the black-ish tone to the lamp was not working for us.

So I decided to paint it red, similar to these green kitchen lamps I saw here:

From here

– and I love how it turned out! No tutorial needed here, I think. Just remember to do light, even coats and you’ll be golden. Plus, we shortened the light to its minimal length so it fits more like a close-to-ceiling light than a pendant.

Now the lamp looks like it was made for the space – and it cost less than $40 to pull off.

What do you think? Would you paint a ceiling lamp?
(By the way, more kitchen pictures to come at a later date!)

AFC

Inspiration and trends in interior design – Thanksgiving table

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I have been neglecting the blog for the past couple weeks – a few things have come up which have caused us to spend lots of time with our families – but I’m back! I’ll also be sharing some shots of our apartment post-renovation, so stay tuned!

Today is Canadian Thanksgiving, so I thought I’d share some shots of our Thanksgiving dinner table. We had an incredible Thanksgiving dinner at my aunt’s last night, but P’s making a roast chicken so I thought I’d set up a table at our place.

I actually came across this table on Saturday morning at a garage sale as we were driving to Point Roberts – it’s round and has two drop leafs and is PERFECT for apartment living because it folds up – plus it’s solid wood and cost us only $40! (please ignore the yet-to-be-organized paraphernalia littering the apartment – we’re working on it!)

Isn’t it adorable? I love the architectural element of the legs. I was originally thinking that I wanted a tulip-style table, but I’m really happy with this find. (by the way, the curtains are from IKEA – love them!)

Anyway, I set the table for four with some things you might recognize – the green plates I purchased from Homesense, the gold-rimmed plates from West Elm that I was coveting, and some other things I’ll explain below.

The turkey and green wine glasses are from Homesense, the yellow glasses are vintage from my Nonna, as are the cutlery, the placemats/napkins are from a Mercedes picnic basket my aunt gave to us, and the egg cups/tealight holders are from the Salvation Army that I mentioned in an earlier post.

Anyway, that’s all for now – I have lots to update on so I’ll be posting way more soon.

Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!

AFC

Party – Halloween party

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Well kids, it’s not just a wish anymore – we’re having a Halloween Party! Yup, the invitations are sent, the games are drawn up, and the dessert menu is prepped (P’s got some work ahead of him!).

For now I’ll post some inspiration for the dessert details, as well as an item I have my eyes on.

I’m trying to make the party more of a vintage-Halloween vibe – I don’t want bloody arms and legs all over the food, nor do I want a corpse in my bed a la Not Quite Nigella, who throws INCREDIBLE Halloween parties with great ideas for entertainment that I might possibly need to borrow, by the way! No, I’m looking to keep it really shiny and bright, orange and black and simple. I’m one of those people who can get bogged down in the details because I want to find the perfect dessert and the perfect game and the perfect decorations. But I’m limiting myself to (approximately) five of each type of party planning necessity (games, entertainment, desserts, drinks), except for decor which I allowed myself to choose 7 projects. I decided that if I could reuse a project in a subsequent year that it really didn’t count. Haha, at least I’m starting the planning early!

So here are the desserts so far, in no particular order, from pinterest:

1. Blood-filled cupcakes

These were P’s idea. I like these ones in particular because they have lots of brainy/icing goodness.

2. Tombstone pudding

Literally, any excuse to mix pudding with oreo crumbs I’ll take. I could see putting gummy bones in the pudding too, but I’m not sure if their existence is a figment of my imagination!

3. Halloween peep s’mores

Peeps are cool – last Easter we played trivia and my team’s name was “The Peeps”. We won because of our awesome name. Anyway, s’mores are amazing, and I think this idea is genius!

4. Dipped ice cream cones and oreo ice cream

P’s making his famous ice cream – this time with oreos! I already know this’ll be a hit. I want to make festive dipped cones too, just so people don’t forget it’s Halloween-y.

5. Mini caramel apples

I really had my heart set on making caramel apples for the party, but I had two dilemmas: a) I didn’t think people would sit there and eat an entire apple and b) I got these really cute Martha Stewart dessert wrappers at Homesense and I wanted these to fit in them. I’m such a fusspot! Anyway, I found a recipe where they used a melon baller to make miniature apple spheres, so they were both bite-sized and would fit in the wrappers – perfect!

There you go – it’ll probably be some work, but nothing that P and I can’t handle!

I’ve been ogling these Radko Shiny Brite Fraidy Cat platters for a couple weeks. If I’m going to invest in some Halloween decor, I’m going to make darn sure I’ll like it in a few years, and I think their vintage vibe assures that.

Plus I love cats! I think they look really sweet and cheeky, not scary at all. What do you think of them? And what do you think of the recipe ideas?

AFC

Project day – Selling my wedding dress!

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I am selling my wedding dress! It’s the San Patrick Calais from 2011 in ivory – and it’s a showstopper. I received so many compliments on this dress, and I love it…but what am I really going to do with a wedding dress now? Sure, I’d love to keep it around, but let’s be honest here – when am I ever going to wear it again? Answer: never! So I might as well make some money off of it while I can!

The posting is here on craigslist. I want to sell it locally instead of dealing with Canada Post’s insane prices, so tell your friends if they live in/around Vancouver!

Here are some pictures of the dress at the wedding from our great photographers!

I wore a shrug from BHLDN with the dress – everyone thought it came with the dress! Nope, but I love that thing…definitely keeping it for later use!
If you want to see how I made the garlands in the last picture, I’ve posted a tutorial on my blog here.

Anyway, I hope you can pass this on to anyone who might be looking – or maybe you’re looking yourself!

AFC

Inspiration and trends in interior design – Thrift store finds

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I love thrift shopping! Both of my parents would rather go swimming with sharks, but my sister L and I always trekked down to the Superfluity in White Rock to check out the rotation of treasures. I was saddened to hear that the store had suffered a fire during August, and it seems that since then I’ve been on a tear through the local thrift stores here in Vancouver. The feeling of satisfaction that comes with finding a beautiful item among all the trash is like no other. In the past I dabbled in thrift shopping for clothes, but now I’m basically exclusively a housewares buyer, except at Halloween or if something happens to catch my eye.

I want to share some of my favourite haunts, including a place I recently discovered that has to be the most well-organized thrift store I have ever visited (it’s also one of the priciest!).

I generally don’t go to antique stores or “vintage shops” because I know I can get a better deal at other places, if I go at strategic times and can look past all the crap out there. Sometimes I have to walk past the same thing three times before I see it, but I’m willing to do that to score something really interesting – and cheap!

1. The Salvation Army, 4th and Cypress

This is my go-to place, being about 5 blocks from our apartment. Sometimes I’ll go as many as 2 times a week. It’s pretty organized, but small. I got this stuff on my last visit:

I’m on a bit of an Easter kick. I think that an Easter celebration that incorporates some black elements would be really fun – inspired!

2. VGH Thrift Store, Broadway and Main

I went to this place for the first time just last weekend, and it’s 2 stories of…disorganization and chaos. Perfect! I found these:

Is it just me, or does the one on the left look happier?

Again on the Easter kick with the salt and pepper shakers! I also got some glass tumblers to add to my collection – see my post here on my inspiration.

3. The Salvation Army, Granville and 68th

This one is bigger than the one close to me, so it’s got more furniture and a wider selection of everything. I got only one thing there:

I love the green hue with the gold rim – so me right now! I’m using it to house my bracelets and my dangly earrings.

4. St. Vincent de Paul, Main and 11th

I also visited this store for the first time last weekend, and I’ll definitely return. A large array of things – already lots of Christmas items – all at a great price. I picked about 15 of these sparkly things up:

They all have holes in them, I just need to figure out what to do with them…I was thinking a Christmas garland. We’ll see – I’ll keep you posted!

5. McC, 42nd and Fraser

For those people who like to discover amazing deals but don’t like shifting through tons of stuff, I highly recommend this store – it’s organized. However, it is on the pricey side in comparison to The Salvation Army. I got these:

This pretty white ceramic tray with a separate metal platform with handles. Easy to clean, perfect for a bar.

These five green glass bowls will be perfect for condiments, candies at Christmas time, or even candles on the dining table.

I can’t wait until the Superfluity opens again – October is their best guess. In the meantime I’ve got these places to frequent.

Any places you like to go thrifting? Or do you like to keep it a secret so you can keep all those goodies to yourself?

AFC

Inspiration and trends in interior design – West Elm Vancouver opening

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I have been excited all week over this – West Elm opened their second Canadian location, their first one in Vancouver, just this past Thursday on south Granville – I could die. I have been a fan of West Elm for the past few years, but I never ordered anything from them or went to a location south of the border, so I’d never seen their merchandise close up.

I walked by on Wednesday to snap some pictures of the window displays, but they were having a grand opening party and I felt a bit awkward taking pictures – didn’t want those people thinking I was a papparazo and get chased off the premises! Kidding aside, I went across the street instead and snapped this pic. Sorry about the cars – valet parking, doncha know.

Pretty pretty!

The next night was when the rest of the world could cross the threshold, and I came across so many lovely things that I want to share!

First off were these pretty bathroom trays and toothbrush holder. It’s hard to see it, but the pattern is an iridescent silver. I wanted these so badly, but they don’t come with a soap pump, so I had to say no.

There were also these ones, which have more of a moroccan feel.

Then I saw these vases that I’ve been lusting after ever since I saw them on one of my favourite blogs, makingitlovely.com.

Owls seem to be a big thing right now – they had a huge variety of different coloured owls. Of course, I had to get a pic of the green ones!

They had some beautiful paper hangings from a local Etsy seller.

And from Dahlhaus Studios, which I’ve long-admired on Etsy, beautiful handmade ceramics. Note the chevron pattern – I believe that’s new this season. I’ve had my eye on their teapot in the original blue stripes…

Finally, West Elm’s wonderful selection of dinnerware stopped me in my tracks. Check out these gold-rimmed white plates and bowls – to die for. I’m officially in love, I want these soooo badly! And they’re dishwasher safe!! (Not microwave safe, however, so if you badly need to use your microwave best to stay away and leave these to me…my precious…okay, major nerd moment.)

These blue ones are pretty too (they also had their wave plates on sale, which unfortunately weren’t as nice up close), but I really don’t think they hold a candle to the gold-rimmed ones. Oh, they also come in silver-rimmed (but gold rocks my world, so I’m totally going with that.)

Some gorgeous gold- and silver-thickly-rimmed plates too, to pair nicely with the larger plates.

And some beautiful gold-toned cutlery. Notice the knife isn’t gold on the blade – I read that that’s where the gold usually chips off the knife, so it appears that West Elm has really thought through their products. Love these, but I can’t see them being practical in the long run.

THEN I SAW THESE BOWLS!!! They have what looks like iridescent sparkles on them, reminiscent of the Kate Spade Larabee Road or Market Street lines. They have slightly uneven rims, which match the plates (stacked below) which aren’t perfectly round in shape. LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! I snapped up 8 of these bad boys up right away, even though I was walking home. (Yes, they too are dishwasher safe.) They put my purchase in a lovely West Elm Vancouver resuable sack and I was off, soon to return (Sunday, perhaps?).

They’re having a 15%-off sale on one item purchased, for the entire month of September, so I recommend heading down there. There is so much more than I took pictures of – these were just the items that really hit home with me. I can’t wait to see what else they carry for fall and I especially can’t wait for their Christmas merchandise! For good measure, here’s one last picture of the dining range I’ve finally settled on – too bad, fiestaware, too bad.

Oh my god. LOVE THOSE BOWLS!

AFC

Project day – Homemade cake stands

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Alright, so apparently homemade cake stands are nothing new to the DIY world (thank you Martha Stewart September issue!), but I felt inspired by the idea.  I also had a great excuse – two of our friends recently moved into new places, so housewarming gifts were in order! And what a perfect gift – food and a cake stand. Everyone loves cake stands – you can never have enough – and these cost me less than $10!!

First I had to find the right dishes. In most of the articles and blog entries I’ve seen, they recommend going to the thrift store and finding used household items to make the stands. The problem there is that a) you either need to repaint the stand, which could cause toxic paint to get on your food (or you have to always put paper between the food and the plate – LAME), or b) you spend FOREVER looking for just the right thing, which is not the ideal situation at a thrift store, or c) you end up with something that looks…random…and definitely homemade.

I found one fantastic blog (I forget where – boo, I know it’s based out of Ottawa) where the girl painted the base and the bottom of the cake stand, but not the top – genius. All you have to find is a nice plate top. My question though – is it still dishwasher safe? Probably not – I wouldn’t want rustoleum leaking all over my dishwasher and other dishes!!

So, remember when we went for fried chicken and I mentioned Daiso in Richmond? You got it – I bought me some $2 plates and cups and used those. I also used Elmer’s China and Glass Cement which I got at Home Depot for less than $6. This stuff is dishwasher safe, so these cakestands stand up to the Adrienne test of approval. The result is this:

These are made from two tart dishes, a large cup and a small ramekin – $8 for them all.

MAKE SURE YOU LET IT CURE FOR 48 HOURS! I didn’t do this the first time and the larger one popped apart – oops! I had to sand the glue off and start again.

Here’s a pic of them stacked together:

Though these cake stands are both small, they would stack together nicely for a dip in the small one and some crackers or chips in the larger one. You could also use them separately of course – the small one is perfect for a cupcake.

If I didn’t know these were homemade, I wouldn’t think they were. Hurrah for sneaky DIYs!

I love these, they’re so simple and cute. Daiso has such a plethora of appealing china that it was an ordeal paring it down to just these and another I made from a plate ($4 – sad face) and an upside-down ice cream bowl. The options are limitless – they have some beautiful coloured china items that would be wonderful for bases. I’m very tempted to go back – Christmas presents, anyone?

What do you think?

AFC

Project Day – Jewels iPhone wallpaper

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I designed this for my sister’s birthday card, but configured it for use as an iPhone wallpaper. I love jewels, and was recently inspired by a blog post by Mini-eco  where a free printable for jewel cut-outs was shared:

From here

So I made my own iPhone wallpaper:

This reminds me of She-Ra, He-Man, My Little Ponies and Trolls – my childhood, to say the least.

Hope you enjoy 🙂

AFC

I’m a foodie – Wu Fung Dessert fried chicken

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A few months back I went to a restaurant in Chinatown called Phnom Penh that was known for its fried chicken – considered the best in Vancouver. I haven’t dined much in Chinatown before, so when I indicated to some of my foodie friends that I had eaten there, with, admittedly, a bit of swagger, I was shocked to hear from not one, but two people that this was, in fact, NOT the best fried chicken. The best fried chicken was at Wu Fung Dessert in Aberdeen Centre.

I was surprised. I’ve been to Aberdeen Centre before, to check out the mecca that is Daiso (in sort, a $2 store that has a mind boggling assortment of things, including the most wonderful and varied collection of dinnerware), and although I had occasionally studied with people at Aberdeen in university (hey – I went to UBC), I hadn’t really ordered food there. I’m not afraid of trying new foods…but I’d prefer to do my research before delving into a bunch of unknown restaurants. And unknown they are, because hardly any of the restaurants are recognizable – no McDonald’s, no Mrs. Vanellis’. Only a Vera’s Burgers and a Beard Papa’s (cream puffs, for the uninitiated). The remainder are one-offs, as far as I can tell.

So we went, because I’m not one to pass up on highly recommended food. We got six chicken wings each, which, in hindsight, was probably too much:

I’m kicking myself for not trying something else, but hey. When it’s recommended I go all out.

It was so good. Simple though, just a ginger flavour, but fried to perfection. Plus they fry it when you order, so everything was super crispy and hot. When I was eating I would break the chicken open and have to wait until it cooled down – even on my 6th one!

Anyway, in comparison to the ones at Phnom Penh I would say these aren’t as good. They don’t have as much flavour – Phnom Penh’s have a variety of seasoning while these just had ginger – and they didn’t leave me wanting more, more, more, which was definitely the case at Phnom Penh. Yes, these are bigger wings, but the sole ginger flavour didn’t make it up for me.

Sorry Richmond guys. I know you’ll always consider your Asian food superior to everywhere else in the Lower Mainland, but I’m afraid Chinatown trumps Richmond this time!

What do you think? Have you tried these places? Do you plan to?

AFC