One Room at a Time

For the past couple years I’ve been slowly painting and decorating my apartment, and as I finish it I’d like to share it with you, one room at a time.

Floorplan

As you can see from the floor plan, most of my apartment is one big “greatroom.” This is fantastic from a family child care perspective- less walls means more space for playing, and I can easily see what the kids are up to from almost anywhere! However, I didn’t really want to paint this huge space all one colour. That would have taken forever, and been totally BORING and just not me. I decided to divide it up into several distinct areas: the living room, the children’s living room, the library-slash-music room, and the dining room. First up is what I call the children’s living room.

Children's Living Room

There is only one wall in this “room,” which is painted in an eggshell Light Blue and a semi-gloss Pear Green (both by Benjamin Moore). I chose the semi-gloss for the “hills” because it’s more durable, and I chose those colours because they are one shade lighter than the Honolulu Blue dining room and two shades darker than the Celadon Green living room, both of which I’d already painted. I was going to make a mask to make painting the hills easier but I couldn’t figure out how to tape it to the wall efficiently so I ended up drawing the outline and just trying my best to colour in the lines!

Living Room/Children's Living Room GreensChildren's Living Room/Foyer/Dining Room Blues

I created the details for the mural by painting them on individual canvases and mounting them to the wall. This saved me the trouble of having the sit there on the floor for hours working on it, plus if I ever move I’ll be able to take them down and won’t have to sand the crap out of the wall! To make sure they are secure on the wall and can’t be pulled or knocked down by the kids, I screwed wooden blocks into the wall, snapped the canvases over them, and screwed the canvases to the blocks from the sides. I used five canvases altogether- two for the tree and one each for the others. I think I got all of them at various dollar stores.

Tree Painting

The tree was the biggest nightmare, partially because it took forever to paint and partially because when I went to put it up, I thought it would be easier if I screwed the two canvases together first and ended up jamming a screwdriver right through the painting. I had to come up with my own repair technique involving tissues, white glue and panic.

Mushroom Table & Beanbag Chairs

The child-size beanbag armchairs I bought at a store here called Urban Barn. The mushroom table I made from a piece of mdf and one of four nesting cubes I got at this weird florist-slash-tacky housewares store down near Davie and Granville. The cube was originally green-I painted it white and also painted the red and white table top and then liberally coated it with polyurethane.

Bird with Banner

The bird canvas was the last one I painted. I put Symphony’s name on it with mine because she helped paint the wall, and she also drew the original baby deer that inspired my whole design for this room.

Claire with Mushroom & Babby Deer Paintings

This third beanbag chair is actually Symphony’s, although Claire also enjoys it. It was a gift from Taylor’s Dad & his boyfriend for our wedding (I put it on our registry for her and it was so awesome I ended up buying the others). To the left is my mushroom painting and to the right is, of course, Symphony’s deer.

Last but not least is a project I just finished this morning: a tree bookcase!

Tree Bookcase w/Books

I used the last two nesting cubes (the fourth is packed away with my Christmas decorations- I use it to hide the tree base) and the pieces of wood I cut last week. After I sanded them I screwed them together, painted them with a raw sienna acrylic, drew wood-y lines with a black Sharpie and then did a second coat of the paint. The nesting cubes were actually already the perfect shade of green so I didn’t have to do anything extra to them.

Bookshelf Trunk & Branches

This morning I drilled holes in the cubes to screw the pieces of the “trunk” and “branches” to them. You can see I have a couple little brackets attaching the top cube to the wall and the back of the bottom cube sits on the baseboard. Now I have somewhere to store the kid’s books that is cute and easily accessible!

Happy It’s-Just-a-Regular Day!

I know it’s Valentine’s Day today, but Taylor and I didn’t do anything special to celebrate it. My birthday (with lots of gifts and cake and fancy dinner) was just over a week ago, and we’re kind of saving for our vacation next month. Plus, Taylor works tonight so it isn’t like we could really do much anyway. He’s actually already asleep! Last night we sort of celebrated buy drinking the bottle of pink champagne we didn’t drink on my birthday and watching The Notebook, which neither of us had ever seen. I knew what it was about and I have to say I was a little disappointed by it- I was expecting more crossing-of-paths-at-inconvenient-times for young Allie and Noah. I didn’t even cry! Okay I teared up a little, but that was it. Also, if you are interested, the pink champagne we had (Moët & Chandon Rosé Impérial) is the pinkest pink champagne I’ve ever had. It was like, SERIOUSLY pink.

Sun Over Wall Centre

It was gorgeously warm and sunny out today, the complete opposite of yesterday’s freezing cold rain.

Taylor at the Templeton

This morning for brunch we went to The Templeton on Granville St. We go there a lot for lunch and dinner (and white russians, if you’re Taylor) but never for brunch because it’s always super busy. Today, in spite of the Olympic crowds, we decided to risk it and in a crazy fit of serendipity some people we leaving just as we arrived!

Breakfast at The Templeton

Taylor had the mangled eggs (eggs, bacon & brie on a croissant) and I had the trucker’s breakfast (3 eggs, bacon, potatoes and toast). So yummy! After the restaurant did our own version of shopping together- he went to the comic book store while I went to Urban Outfitters, I went to H&M and he went to the video game store, then I snuck off to Holt Renfrew to look at designer bags and shoes and made him come meet me. At H&M I got some new clothes for Sym as a Valentine’s gift, and then went into the baby clothes section and seriously considered buying all these adorable onesies just in case. They had grey & white ones! Grey & white is like, my jam.

VAG on Georgia Street
I love love love this Michael Lin mural at the Vancouver Art Gallery!

After leaving the mall with no baby clothes or designer bags and shoes we headed back towards home through the crazy crowds at Robson Square, stopping to browse the art gallery gift shop and watch people on the zipline that goes from up by the courthouse to the gallery. The built it for the Olympics and it’s free, but the lineup is always like 3 hours long so I don’t think I’ll be doing it.

Japadog

While we’ve been out this weekend we’ve heard tons of tourists talking about Japadog, this famous Japanese hotdog stand on Burrard & Smithe (there’s also a second location at Burrard & Pender and I just saw on their websire that thaty’re opening an actual restaurant on Robson Street). I’m not big on hotdogs but Taylor has eaten there before and it’s always pretty busy, but this weekend has been extra insane. The line at the Burrard & Smithe location was almost a block long!

When we got home we laid in bed reading (Taylor: comic books & World War Z, me: finished the second book on my Kindle & started the third!) for a while, then took Kichou for a walk to this French bakery on Davie where I bought these weird heart-shaped eclair-type pastries. The had tons of chocolate on top and chocolate cream inside, but the bottom half was full of unexpected blueberries! I’m not entirely sure it was a good choice.

Even though today was just a regular Sunday for us, I loved spending it with my wonderful husband ♥

Laser Beams and Cauldrons of Fire

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This morning I had my fifth laser hair removal treatment on my underarms. I’ve been going for about 7 months, and let me tell you, it is AMAZING. I still have hair but it’s pale blonde, super-fine and grows really slowly. It used to be so coarse and fast-growing that even if I shaved in the morning I’d have enough stubble that night that if I went to the gym and ran on the treadmill my skin would get rubbed raw. So annoying! That definitely doesn’t happen anymore, and the technician today said two or three more sessions should finish it up completely.

Laser hair removal is pretty expensive, each underarm treatment costs over $100 for about 15 minutes of lasering (I’ve always bought packages with buy-2-get-1-free or 35% off if you buy 3) but for me it is SO worth it. My skin is too sensitive for anything like waxing or depilatory chemicals, and even shaving gives me a rash if I do it it too often. Eventually I’d like to get my legs done as well, although besides the cost there is a huge deterent: it really hurts!

During my consultation last summer the technician told me the pain was like having and elastic band snapped on your skin. I kind of agree, except in my experience the elastic band is made out of white hot metal and it’s over and over again. Ow! The pain does lessen with each visit- at first it was like a 7 but today it was more like a 5, and even a 3 in some areas. You can put numbing cream on beforehand but you have to wrap whatever body part that has the cream on in airtight plastic for two hours, which really isn’t convenient for my lifestyle choice of NOT being wrapped in plastic!

Now, of course last night was the Opening Ceremonies for the Winter Olympics, and if you follow me on twitter (you can add me if you like but it’s 99% links to this blog, haha) you’ll know how I felt about them because I inadvertently live-tweeted the whole thing (wine was also involved). As I put in my facebook status, “The Opening Ceremonies were the perfect combination id awesome, stupid and just total weird and random.” Then I commented “of not id wtf typing.” As I mentioned, wine was involved! Anyway I decided we should go down to see the Olympic Cauldron, but of course everyone else had the same idea and it was so busy! It’s pretty close to my house (only about eight blocks I think) so we’re going to go see it later this week.

The Cauldron!
The Olympic Cauldron! I think this thing is so unbelievably cool looking!

Symphony has a special hat.
Amazingly enough, I actually managed to get a smile out of Symphony by telling her that the Cauldron was her hat.

Taylor being weird with Sym
Hahaha I have no idea what Taylor is doing here, but I DO know that the second I got this shot lined up some dude with a GIANT umbrella stood right behind them to take his own picture and blocked the Cauldron! I know we Canadians are supposed to be a polite people but getting a picture of both Sym and Taylor NOT making a weird face is really rare so I immediately went and stood in front of the umbrella guy and made them do it again.

Handsome husband is handsome
My handsome husband ♥ He took pictures too, including ones of me, which I’ll add to this post once he gets home (he went to go pick up some computer parts he ordered a couple weeks ago). Until then though…

I was also there
I was also there! (If only in reflection form.)

Okay, here I am for real. For some reason I’m pointing at myself? And SYm looks like wacky inflatable arm flailing tube man in hr too-big coat, haha.

Tanie, Sym, Fire and FatGuy

Also, Taylor is finally able to take pictures of me where I DON’T look like a hideous mutant monster. Hooray!

Oh Wife

Pre-Valentine’s Day Love

In the last couple days I’ve gotten some truly amazing feedback from people about this blog, and it really made me feel great! I started this on kind of a whim with no real theme or direction, and the fact that I’ve helped or inspired or brightened someone’s day means a lot to me. And now they’ve brightened my day right back, which is the true power of stay posiness!

I just wanted to let you know that your stay posi stance (and blog about it) has changed my life. I just went through this bs with my own personal [friend with whom I had a spectacular falling out] and without following your lead somebody would have gotten cut. Please release some motivational VHS tapes, thank you.

tanie–you’re one of my favorites and i think it’s because i admire you. you, your family, your business, etc–all of it is just so nice and cute and seems amazing.

i just wanted to stop by and tell you that reading your blog always brightens my day so…..thank you! 🙂

Seriously, this is amazing! Thank you all and I just love you girls so much!!!

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Post-Relay Recap Post

We almost missed it! We were watching the relay on tv so we could tell when the torch would be coming up Davie Street (I teared up a little when I saw Rolly Fox, Terry Fox‘s father, carrying it). By the time we actually left the house it was almost here- we were still half a block away from Davie on Bute when I saw the official vehicles and motorcycles cops start passing, and I was like RUN YOU GUYS!!! We got there LITERALLY one second before the runner reached the intersection! Taylor is really bummed because all his pictures ended up being totally blurry since he didn’t have time to focus properly, but I don’t care about that sort of thing (ALL my pictures are blurry) so here’s my shot:

Torch Relay

YAY!! It was like, 20 seconds of excitement, but basically I just love anything I can scream WHOOOOOOO! for.

Earlier, while I was waiting for Taylor and Sym to get home I took Kichou out to Nelson Park, and let me tell you it was BEAUTIFUL out there this morning. It was all puffy pink clouds and shining glass towers.

The view over Nelson Park
looking east over Nelson Park

I have to say, I really love living here in Vancouver. There’s a reason it’s always higher than any other North American city on list of the world’s most livable cities: because it’s amazing here. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else!

My Street
looking south from Nelson Park (I live in one of those houses!)

My Own Version of Olympic Fever

Good morning! I am up super early today because I had an anxiety dream about going to see the Olympic torch relay. Apparently, that is a thing that can happen if you spend your evening trying to coordinate plans for 8 am with a husband who works nights, a daughter who stays over at her dad’s and a client who usually comes at 8:05 but might be somewhat late because they are also going to see the relay. But I mean, how could we not go see it- it’s passing by just a block and a half from here!

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I admit it, I am kind of a secret Winter Olympics dork. I remember in 1998 I was unemployed in February and my marginally employed boyfriend and I would stay in half the night watching live events from the Nagano Olympics and it was actually pretty awesome. I almost wish I’d bothered to try and get tickets to some events but oh well, I can just watch them on tv. Last night I finally pestered Taylor into hooking up the cable in the living room. I mean, we have cable, but a few months back my digital box died (it was way old) and since we never really watched tv we never bothered getting a new one. We’ve been paying for it all these months just for Symphony, really. Anyway he was loath to do it, like hook the cable DIRECTLY to our big fancy tv but I managed to wear him down.

One thing going on for the Olympics (it’s part of the Cultural Olympiad) that I am basically IN LOVE with is this amazing art installation, Vectorial Elevation. It’s a series of like, twenty huge searchlights beaming up into the sky down by the beach. I remember seeing and ~artist’s rendering~ of it on the front of the paper a while back and thinking to myself “WHAT, that is just stupid,” but it’s actually not! The lights are also interactive- you can go to vectorialvancouver.net and program in your own 12 second light display.

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You can see the lights from the alley behind my house, and the first time I did I almost had a heart attack! I was taking out the trash and when I looked up there were these huge unexpected beams of light moving across the sky! It’s pretty cool watching them from up here but on Tuesday after Symphony’s piano lesson we all went down to the beach to see them up close.

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The lights are on both sides of False Creek, on Sunset Beach and in Vanier Park

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They are huge and eerily silent- you expect them to make noise as they swing around but they don’t. It’s a little creepy.

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Symphony described it as like being inside a circus tent made of light She also said it was an awesome experience, before she got crabby because I wouldn’t give her candy. Kids.

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Birthday Gifts In Action!

Kindle

I started using my kindle pretty much as soon as I finished The Elegance of the Hedgehog on Monday and I’m 36% of the way through my second book already. I think it’s safe to say I LOVE IT. Yesterday I used the “search” function to figure out who a minor character was instead of having to flip back through several chapters. Amazing! The only thing that I don’t like is the picture of Emily Dickinson that keeps popping up on the “sleep” screen. She is so creepy looking!

Work Bench with Work

I just used my work bench for the first time and I’m kind of loving it too. I assembled it yesterday (what a pain that was) and this afternoon I cut up some wood scraps (they’re actually the legs that came with my dining room table- I only used the top). It might look like I was just doing practice cuts but all these pieces are going to be used for an adorable new project I dreamed up a few weeks ago. I should be able to finish it fairly quickly so stay tuned!

Symphony, Valentines and Morgana the Cat

Last night I helped Sym do her cards for her class’ Valentines Day party tomorrow. Her stepmom, Colleen, got these great sets of cards from the store she works at (on sale, which is good because they’re crazy expensive). They’re from Meri Meri and I love them- so much cuter than a perforated Spongebob card with a gummy Krabby Patty stuck to it! She had these last year as well, with pirate and princess themed cards (this year it’s space robots and fairies), and we never use all 40 cards (20 per box) so I’m saving them for other years.

Sym's Valentines

She was very meticulous about writing the names and only made two mistakes (Laim and Jamine instead of Liam and Jasmine).

Sym's Valentines

I was in charge of stickering the boys’ envelopes shut.

Sym's Valentines

Taylor didn’t hang out with us because he was eating messy noodles.

Taylor NOT Helping with Valentines

The torn up cardboard is Dougal’s handiwork. Some of you might know that helping recycle cardboard is his favorite thing in the world.

Earlier this week I staged a DARING DAYLIGHT CAT RESCUE!!! This little black and white cat seemed to have been living in the pit under my upstairs neighbor’s porch/outside my kitchen window for the past few weeks. My neighbor Katherine asked me what we should do since the poor kitty seemed sick, so I put on some work gloves, grabbed a small pet crate, and clambered down into the mud. The daycare kids were inside having snack but I could see them through the window, and they were laughing their little faces off! The cat was trying to climb out of the pit, and kept jumping up (the pit has concrete sides that are about 3 1/2 feet high) but then just falling back down. She was skinny and muddy and eventually just gave up and I was able to corral her into the crate without touching her- I didn’t know if she had a disease or anything and I didn’t want to risk infecting Claire. I gave her some water and was calling the SPCA and emergency animal hospital to try to figure out what to do with her, when Katherine brought me a missing cat flyer from the laundry room. It turns out she’s was our other neighbor, Sarah’s cat, who escaped with Sarah’s apartment was broken into on Christmas Day (I KNOW. People are scummy). The poor cat had been on the streets for almost seven weeks! Of course I’d seen her out there but I was told Sarah’s missing cat was white, and it didn’t see her flyer since I don’t go to the laundry room. Still, a happy ending for Morgana the cat!

Sick Kitty

In other news, spring is DEFINITELY here. All the trees and bushes in the neighborhood at starting the blossom and yesterday the rain started. It’s pretty grey and dismal out right now but these bright pink flowers are helping to brighten things up!

More Spring Flowers

What I’ve Been Reading

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The Modern Dog 8/104, The Lost City 9/104, The Elegance of the Hedgehog 10/104

These are the last three books I bought, so now I can start using my Kindle (finally, I mean I’ve had it for four whole days!).

The Modern Dog was pretty interesting. Each chapter is its own self-contained essay or article about human-dog interactions throughout history. Some parts were a little cheesy (a woman finds an abandoned, half-drowned puppy named Angel who is her constant protector, even after his death when his ghostly barks rouse her during a gas leak), but others were informative (a chapter on how different kinds hunting dogs have been bred and altered as hunting techniques and weapons have changed) and ridiculous (a teenager posts pictures on his blog of the author’s dog getting a tomato juice bath after a run in with a skunk, and years later the pictures still pop up on anti-animal testing websites as “proof” of vivisection). I’m basically mental for dogs anyway so this just really reinforced that.

I picked The Lost City out of the bargain book bin because I liked the cover (the greens! the foliage! the typeface!) but I actually really enjoyed this book! The story was fascinating and I got really emotionally invested in the characters’ lives. I ended up staying up until 3 am to finish it! I just had to know whether the lost city would ever be found, who would live, who would die and most of all, what would happen to the cat? This makes it sound really swashbuckling but it’s actually a very quiet, introspective and melancholy book. My only (minor) complaint is that it’s one of those books without quotation marks, so sometimes you can’t really tell who is saying (or even thinking) what.

I think I bought The Elegance of the Hedgehog just because I kept seeing it in every bookstore I went into, and you know what? I did not like this book AT ALL. Maybe there is just something off about the translation- in one passage a coat is described as being made from the wool of a llama with a papaya on its head. What does that mean???- but the people in this book got on my every last nerve. I rarely leave books unfinished but with this one I came very, very close to just quitting a third of the way through. The end of the book redeemed it somewhat, but not enough to make up for the heinous struggle of getting though the first 300 pages.

New Hair II: The Shortening/More Hot Birthday Action

On Saturday afternoon I went back to the salon to get my hair cut again- not because I didn’t like the first time but because I thought I would like it more if it was shorter.

New Hair II

LOVE IT. Love love love it. I haven’t had my hair this short since probably 2005 or something so it’s quite a change for me and I’m going to have to seriously get over my over-reliance on ponytails.

On Saturday night we went out for Part Two of my birthday celebration. I ended up wearing my American Apparel tri-blend raglan pullover, but because I’m fancy I paired it with my vintage black crystal necklace and a ridiculous silver sequin miniskirt. I figure I’m just about at the end of my miniskirt wearing years so why not go out with a bang?

Sequin Mini

I realized when I got home I’d accidentally left the tags on the skirt. How did I not notice that???

Taylor with Wine

Taylor and I had a couple glasses of wine at home and then met Rich and Jenn at the restaurant I chose, The Corner Suite Bistro Deluxe. The food was so good! I had arctic char with olive oil mashed potatoes, Taylor and Rich both had steak & frites and Jenn had the vegetarian croque madame, and for dessert we had paper bag donuts (hot, fresh donut holes you shake in a paper bag to coat with cinnamon sugar). I think because the restaurant just opened last week they were still working out some kinks and it did take a while to get our drinks at first but overall the service was good. I would definitely go back!

After dinner we wandered around Robson and Granville checking out some of the weird Olympic art installations and then to the bar at Market for drinks. It wasn’t as weird in there as the last time I went (no one doing interpretive dance in a creepy mask) but there was still some good people watching. We parted ways with Rich and Jenn and went home at around twelve-thirty, but immediately went back out to buy a ton of junk food to eat while we fell asleep watching Caravan of Courage (yes, the Ewok movie).

In spite of each of us drinking about a bottle and a half of wine on Saturday night, neither Taylor nor myself was hungover today (some sort of birthday miracle). We spent a super-relaxing day lying around in bed and on the couch, reading and watching tv. Basically I had a perfectly lovely, low-key birthday weekend!

My present from Rich and Jenny, Alessi Paradise Birds salt and pepper shakers. EDIT: now with a better picture.
Paradise Birds

I think I took this after some wine. Taylor had Jimmy Neutron hair that night.
I don't even know.

It’s raining cats and dogs! crochet bombing at the Davie & Burrard community garden.
Crochet Bombs

4 out of 5 blob-faces don’t like the Olympics, but the fifth one is STOKED!
Olympic Rings Have Feelings

Claire in the children’s living room. She was sitting on the third beanbag chair but of course as soon as I went to get my camera she moved.
Claire in Repose