Thursday, June 29, 2017

For the Love of Vintage

Bonjour et Bienvenue `a My Little Paris


I was flipping through face book the other day, and came across an article that caught my eye. I can't remember who it was written by ......but the content has been on my mind since I read it. At first I thought it was going to give helpful hints about what to do about mom and dad's old "stuff" when they were  downsizing, or sadly, when they have passed. I was hoping that it would advise giving the "stuff" to a creative individual that had perhaps opened a boutique offering said treasures to the public..........but alas........no. 

What it stated instead, was that no one wants this "stuff". NO one! Not the auction places or antique stores, not the "boomers" who are the children of said parents, who are, in fact, trying to dispose of their own "stuff" ...........and certainly not Gen X..........the offspring of the boomers.....who don't want to be weighed down, who are transient and more interested in being able to "do" instead of to "have."

Of course, reading this made me sad because I really do love old things........but I'm being faced with a "stuff" dilemma of my own. When we move out to the cottage on the farm, I'm going to have to downsize considerably.........as in I have to get rid of a whole lot of "stuff". Our living space here, is three times the size that we'll have at the cottage, and while I'm looking forward to things being simpler.......I know that I'm still going to want my books, dishes and linens where I can see them and use them everyday. The trick is to figure out which are going to be really used and which are not..........and, what to do with both lol. 



 I've noticed in the boutique, that it's the new merchandise that's selling........not the vintage......and it makes me "sigh".........and it makes me thankful that I can do what I want. That while the world spins........and travels........and eats take out, I can and will continue to read real books, eat on real china and love, love, love my vintage......................

As Always.................. 
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Monday, June 26, 2017

Living Small?

Bonjour et Bienvenue `a My Little Paris



Circumstances and chilling weather kept us from staying at the farm this past weekend. Living in the camper out there works really well for my husband and I, but not so well for our two tiny maltese , they really feel the cold. So we opted for a trip to the city and spending time at the lake house instead. On Saturday morning we were enjoying coffee together, something we only do on the weekends and we got talking about the lifestyle at the lake........about how, over the years,  we've seen such changes in the way people "live" at the lake.


The property we're on was purchased by my grandfather in 1939. They stayed in tents on weekends for several years, cooking in a stone oven on the beach. I have pictures from that time showing lots of family..........fishing, out in the boat, playing horseshoes.........working on the yard and cutting wood. In 1942 they built a one room cottage .........my mother used to talk of making paths through the trees, of secret sunbathing spots, of fishing with her aunt..........it was fun, they looked forward to going to the lake every weekend and returned home to the city on Sunday nights feeling tired, sun burnt and totally relaxed. 



My parents built a permanent home on the side lot spanning the years from 1984 to about 1987, working on it on weekends themselves. They moved there permanently in 1992 when my dad retired. Things were different though..........the family that used to drop by never came, and the yard became a lot of work........one went for a swim at the end of the day to cool off and clean up after working all day, but the days spent in the water seemed to be part of another era. No one fished and for most years there wasn't even a dock.

My husband and I and our kids used the old cottage on the adjoining lot for years and finally built a home of our own there in 1998...........and again, noticed that things changed. I used to say that the washer, dryer and vacuum cleaner followed me there. I've always been a water duck, but now, I hardly spend any time even down by the water, unless I have the grandboys here, it's still our special thing. We used to have a small old fishing boat and we'd pile in there and spend the day on the water, often.We decided we were living here full time, so we'd get a bigger, nicer boat, and if I was in it twice a year, I was lucky. We hardly ever used it. We don't even sit on our beautiful deck anymore, unless we have company, which is seldom. 

I've noticed it too with our neighbors. They used to have the little old cottage........like our's, and then they built a house on the lot, and the same thing seems to have happened to them. They used to have lots of family functions there and be out in the boat and in the water, picking raspberries and going golfing.............just like us..........but not now. Not now that there's "a house". 

And so.........I wonder, "why?" Are the houses too big........do we spend all our time cleaning? What do we spend all our time doing? Because it certainly isn't enjoying the sunshine and the water, or relaxing with a coffee and a good book. 

I wonder..........when we move to the farm, if we do build the big old farmhouse that I think I want.........will the same thing happen there? I have ideas of living at the farm, same as I did regarding living at the lake........will the same thing happen? I've been feeling kind of sad because it seems that I will never have my farmhouse............but, do I want it? Will that ruin my idea of "life on the farm?" Am I better off just being in the little cottage, will that keep life simpler and more joyful, will I actually get more out of "life at the farm" living "small?" My great aunt raised three kids in a tiny two bedroom bungalow in Regina, and you would never have found a warmer more welcoming home. There was always family there, always big family dinners, and it didn't matter that everyone didn't have a chair at the table or that the little galley kitchen was four thick in women. We had wonderful times there...........and you know, I'm all about how a place makes me feel..............

As Always..........
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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Wild Life


Bonjour et Bienvenue `a My Little Paris



We were staying at the farm for a couple of days this week.....working on the cottage/cabin/garage.....which will, from this day forward, be known as " the cottage." It's really coming along. We're putting horizontal tongue and grove boards on the walls like I have in the boutique.....there's just something so cottagey about that look. I think the whole place is going to be charming, and such a lovely setting for the shabby chic/cottage look that always makes me feel so at home. The rooms are small and quaint, with a wood burning fireplace and a covered veranda, and we're planning for a screened in sun room and a little garden and patio by the back door. Everything is "small" and seems so doable. I'd like curtains on the windows.......and a soft colour palette. The floors will be in ceramic tile but there'll be lots of area rugs, especially in the wintertime.


Just the other day we were sitting outside in the sun, having coffee and we noticed a deer in our coulee, being bothered by what we thought were two coyotes .........turns out, there were three.....and they weren't coyotes but were fawns. The deer had triplets.....so unusual, and it was really something to see. She's such a busy mom lol.  Those babies have her running every which way as she tries to keep track of them and keep them safe. On the downside of wildlife.......a coon got into the BBQ last night and we caught a mouse in a trap in the camper.......I guess one has to learn to take the good with the bad hahahahaha
Life at the farm is certainly going to be different. I'm a city girl at heart......but I love the big open spaces and the eternal quiet that goes with life there. I do find myself wondering if the wind will ever stop blowing or if the grass will ever stop growing......but on and on it goes lol. We've relisted our lakehouse and I'm hoping someone will see it and love it like we do.



In the meantime, there's life at the boutique, where I get to dress up and be surrounded by the things I love. It's my chance to get off the riding mower and be the girly girl that I sometimes like to be lol. Hope to see you there tomorrow.......


As always.....
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Monday, June 19, 2017

Downsizing????????


Bonjour et Beinvenue `a My Little Paris



Ok..........this is a complete about face after my blog last week on sprawling farmhouses......but it's an idea that apparently bears thinking about. 

As you know, I have been searching out vintage treasures for the boutique for some time now and I've been able to get a lot of nice things from an old friend of mine. She and her husband have decided to down size (a concept that I am unfamiliar with)........and I am the beneficiary of this windfall of lovely things that they no longer want to make room for. I have questioned her sanity, and been told that they are tired of working in a big yard all summer, tired of working to pay for a house that they hardly use, and that they want to do other things..........like travel. Their plans are to sell their home and move into a condo or a small house with an even smaller yard. The whole thing left me scratching my head.......and wondering what the heck is going on??

Then the other day, into the boutique comes a more recent acquaintance......we get talking, and she tells me that they have sold their home and have converted part of their business into living space. Once again I am dumbstuck........and when I recover, I, of course, ask "why"? And she tells me that they were tired of working to keep a house that they hardly used, and, that they want to travel more...... I'm noticing a common thread here.

Now, I know that this whole "tiny house" thing is a phenomenon that is sweeping the nation, but I really thought it was for kids, just starting out, trying to get into the housing market in something affordable. Not that they aren't cute..........but come on!!

I've told you before that we're building the cottage/cabin/garage up at the farm, it's about 1000 sq feet so not tiny by any means, but certainly not as big as the home that I've grown accustomed to. The home, that, like my friends, I hardly use. It's usually my husband and I sitting in the corner of the very large living room, eating at the breakfast bar and sitting on two deck chairs on our rather large deck. It begs the question......do  we really need 1800 square feet (on one level)? 

So...........last night we came to the decision that we are going to put our house back on the market at a substantially reduced price, and give living in 1000 square feet a whirl. The whole "cottage at the farm" thing was supposed to be a temporary arrangement, but it will give us a good chance to find out how we like living in a smaller space. When I think about it, it's not such a bad idea.......and maybe there is more to life than cleaning and decorating a big house. I'm actually looking forward to what I can do with the little cottage. 

Who knows.........maybe my friends aren't crazy after all lol

As Always.............
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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Second Chances



Bonjour et Bienvenue `a My Little Paris

Opening the boutique, has, over the past few months, broadened my experiences........to say the least. In creative ways, it's been nothing short of delightful...........and I'm so pleased at the opportunities that have presented themselves through setting up and developing the business. 

I've enjoyed being in such a beautiful space and merchandising the store, making sure each item is in the right place, working with colour and styles.........choosing the music and the lovely scents of the candles..........it's a work in progress, constantly changing, and it's something I love to do. 

I have renewed my interest in dried flowers..........more specifically, dried roses. When I was a little girl, we visited my great Aunt in Vancouver, she lived in a grand three storey home that was built at the turn of the century.........it was brimming with antiques..........and on the hall table was a heavy crystal vase filled with beautiful, soft faded roses. It was that very vase that inspired me as an adult to dry bouquets of my own. Life gets busy though, and through the years, I'd kind of put them out of my mind..........forgotten the joy that I found in those powdery soft  blooms. Now I'm delighted to say that I am once again, letting that be part of me. I don't think it hurts any of us to check back in with the things that once mattered........to "allow" ourselves to reflect on what once had meaning. 

I've also been having fun again with fabrics. I've never been a seamstress, but there's a very talented woman in town that seems to be able to bring all my ideas to life.  I can choose a length of fabric.........and stand, letting it trickle over and over again from my fingers.........feeling the drape, the way it falls, the weight.........and my imagination runs wild with ideas for it..........


What has come as a complete surprise, is the joy I've found in painted furniture. Meet Miranda...........this lovely cabinet is my first painting project, and I was so delighted with the result, that I named it. 
Here's what she looked like before the makeover. 



It's beautiful, to take these poor old, sad pieces and give them new life............to make them so pretty. I love doing the work and more, I love styling the pieces, designing their new lives. This cabinet had glass shelves, which I thought were too new looking, and it had two doors on the bottom, which I removed to have more open display space. It's such happy work for me, and I would never, in my wildest dreams have thought that it would be something I'd like. 




This pretty buffet was once a tired old French Provincial dresser, now it has new life, just waiting to take a place of prominence in some lucky person's home. Can't you just see it in your dining room, or perhaps on a covered deck.........or in the sun room? 



And think of this little beauty in your daughter's bedroom, or in your room? It's the palest of soft pale pinks, with tiny, delicate crystal knobs, and it comes complete with this smart little vanity bench and a lovely oval mirror, all painted to match. I used to have one very much like this when I was a teen, I spent hours in the evenings sitting at it, practicing my makeup techniques, painting my nails, listening to music............I have a soft spot for this one...........I think I'll call it.........Mandy..........

There's something joyful about reviving these dear old pieces, a life lesson maybe........in the power of a fresh coat of paint........of being willing to change......of reinvention..........and second chances..........

As Always.......
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Monday, June 12, 2017

My Ultimate Farmhouse





Bonjour et Bienvenue `a My Little Paris

I'm daydreaming..............about my farmhouse....it's big and old, something a bit "sprawlly" with an inviting front porch and veranda, a sun room (aka conservatory), a butler's pantry (sans the butler of course), a warm, welcoming kitchen and plenty of room for all my stuff and lots of guests. I know to some of my more practical readers that sounds like a bit much............but any of you that know me, know that I really don't have a practical bone in my body lol...........and I love to let my imagination just run wild.  

I am, as always, longing for the "feeling" I'll have when I'm in"my farmhouse". That good feeling, of warmth and comfort, that surety of shelter and security.........of family and friends and good food. Of quiet, and, when I want it, of not so quiet. I dream of experiencing the seasons there..........crisp winter days and cozy, warm evenings.........bright sweet scented spring days..........the sultry, still, long days of summer.........and the mellow, smoky afternoons of autumn...........my favorite. I think of being there during thunderstorms..........of bonfires, of cats in the barn, dogs in the yard, maybe even a few chickens...........fresh eggs..........a horse.....or two.........miniature goats.........really, anything's possible.


I think too, there should be lots of nooks and crannys in my farmhouse........hidey holes, window seats and bookshelves .  Both my grandboys and I would love to have little places to hide out, to read, to play...........and  fireplaces...... in the kitchen would be divine....I remember at the farm, the kitchen often had a couch in it, and if not, everyone just sat around the table and visited..........I'd love to have a china cupboard (obviously), a large cupboard or little room with glass doors so I can see my china, and so it's easy and convenient to use all the time. A sleeping porch, off the second floor hallway would be a nice touch.............imagine falling asleep in the fresh air, listening to the crickets, waking up with the sun, enjoying that first cup of coffee back under the covers ........and............

Now I'm thinking perhaps I should be getting a second/third/fourth job lol......but what's life without dreams.............

As always
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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Keeping a Journal


Bonjour et Bienvenue `a My Little Paris

Do you keep a journal.........or, journals? I do, and for me it's in the plural form. I have several. The one pictured here is my "farm journal".......I started it right after we bought our acreage two years ago. It was a life changing experience for us. I wanted to keep track of when we did things on the property and, someday I'm hoping to write about how it feels to live there. I wanted a book that would last the ages and that was special, so I chose this one from Paperblanks. It's lovely with gilded pages and little latches to keep it closed. 


Awhile ago, I read a magazine about art journaling, and just as I love to include pictures with this blog, I discovered that journaling with pictures is much more fun. I bought a large coil scrapbook and just began........making notes of my dreams and thoughts, not really writing about particular days or events, but just noting down "plans"........and "what if's" that came to mind. It's nice to think about hopes and dreams that I had when I was younger, to revisit them.........on paper........to see, the possibilities.......and maybe, just maybe.......follow through with some of them. 


I keep a little book on my nightstand..........and sometimes, at night, when I can't sleep, I'll sit up and put the myriad of thoughts that are in my head down in the book. It helps to get them out of my head and onto paper........clears my mind, and then often, I can go back to sleep. 



I have two leather bound ones as well.........one is for my family tree. I wanted a spot where I could not only put down the dates and names, but where I could write the information that I knew about my ancestors, tell a story or two.  I thought that maybe, fifty years from now it would be really nice for my great grandchildren to pull out this leather bound book with its handmade paper and read about where they came from. 



And this little gem, stays in my purse. If you love the scent and feel of soft, worn leather, then these are for you. I like to have this one to jot down phone numbers, or to make note of a new book that I want to get, or to keep track of websites to visit, or just anything else that I need to have close at hand. I know, you're thinking that I could do that on my iPhone, but you must know by now that I love my pages, and that technology is not my "go to" lol. 

My journals are important to me.......and over the years, I have learned that the art of journaling isn't just about "keeping a diary", it's about any kind of writing. You could choose a journal to write to your grandchildren or to your own kids, as they grow, or to write to any loved one. You could have one specifically for hopes and dreams and wishes.........or you could use one for your bucket list and write about the experiences as they come to you.  Many people use a journal to keep track of the weather, when the ice is off the lake and what day they planted the garden that year. You could keep a journal of your entertaining.........who you invited, what you served, that kind of thing.  There are no limitations, no rules. You can include pictures, drawings, magazine clippings, ticket stubs or anything else........and the format of your journaling and the books that you choose.........well that's totally up to you. 

As Always
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