Switching Gears

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It’s been a long time coming but I have finally decided to retire from massage therapy.   At the end of February, 2016 I will switch gears and work at my fabric retail business (www.fabricplease.com) full time.

It is a bittersweet feeling, knowing I won’t have the same interaction with people that I do now.  My clients, many who have been with me for 25 years, have become my friends.  I will miss seeing them as often and hearing how they live their lives.

The excitement of jumping in with both feet into the fabric business, keeps me on the ‘sweet’ side of the bittersweet emotions.  The ‘bitter’ is the uncertainty.  I have been a massage therapist for my entire adult life, and so much of my identity is wrapped up in that.  It’s sort of like re-discovering who I am.  Fun, but scary.

I’m hoping with the different pace, I’ll have more time to sew, more time to finish projects around the house and hopefully more time to cook and bake.  Basically, I’m hoping I’ll be a better wife and mother.

My clients, while sad to lose their trusted therapist, are encouraging and supportive of the change.  I thank them for that.  My husband is wonderful, he is willing to walk this path with me and hold my hand when needed.  My son, well, he’s a teenager and while he thinks this is a good thing, he’s pretty much indifferent.  What can I really ask of him?  He’s going through his own major changes (voice/body/emotions) right now and if I remember correctly, it takes a lot of energy to morph into an adult.

SneakPeekFullSizeRender-3(sneak peek of some of what I’ve been working on)

I’m hoping you will find more quilting/sewing related posts here in the next little bit.  I have several customer projects in the wings that I must get to soon.  I have lots of my own projects rumbling around in my head that I have to slap down on paper (or I’ll forget).  I’m also hoping to get ahead of the game and pre-make items to sell.  In all, I’m hoping to totally change the pace and feel of my life.  I’ve been known to have two speeds:  “lightning fast” and “sleeping”.  Now, I’m planning on creating another speed… “steady-as-she-goes”.  I think it will sustain me long into the next few stages of life.

Thanks for joining me in my journey…

Till next time…

Rita

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Sneak Peek!

I know it’s been forever since I’ve posted but, the store has kept me so busy with all the sales!  If you love fabric, you really should head over there.  Last week, I nearly GAVE everything away!

Well, this week, I’ve had a bit of time to start some Christmas sewing….

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I can only show you this sneak peek, as I have many eyes that will see this and I don’t want to spoil the surprise!

I’ll also be working with some of these happy prints…

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I’m hoping after the tree is trimmed and the rest of the decorations are put out, I will have a bit of time to sew up some fun Christmas goodies!

I’ll show you when all is said and done.

By the way, if you are wanting some of this minion fleece, head over to the store!  There’s lots of other amazing fabric too!

Till next time…

Rita

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Home Again!

Thank you to everyone that stopped by my booth at the Creativ Festival!

My crew and I had a lovely time getting to know you all a little better.

I have been blessed with the best friendships ever.  One friend travelled from Quebec, my sister took time away from work and another friend left her baby boys to spend the weekend helping me!  Two others showed up out of the blue to tear down.  God is good!

Here they are…

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A quick pic before the show opens!

One of my dearest friends from childhood is on the left and my wonderful sister is on the right.

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Ok, I guess I had to get in on one of the shots too…

That’s me on the left, my friend in the middle (came all the way from Quebec!) and my sister on the right. These ladies took time away from their jobs to help me out at the show.  I am grateful for the time we could spend together.  Sister-love runs deep in the three of us.

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If I ever start to feel a little blue, all I have to remember is that these amazing ladies all showed up to help tear down at the end of a very long day.  I didn’t ask, they just figured out that I could use the help.

The six of us tore down my display booth in one hour, then loaded it all in my U-Haul in about 20 minutes!  There’s no moving company that can compare with the forces of girl power!  We all stayed fairly clean in our white shirts too!

Another note of interest, there are two sets of sisters in the above photo and the four of us have been friends for over 35 years!  Bring on another 35 ladies!  We’ll all be rocking together in the nursing home!

Thanks again to everyone that stopped by to say hello, I’m always happy to hear what you are working on and to be able to put a face to the name.

Thank you to my fabulous team that helped out, I couldn’t have done it without you all.

You make me look good, you make me feel loved.  Thank you!

Till next time…

Rita

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Sweet Dreamin’, Civil Rest

So, you know that old saying about the shoemakers’ kids having no shoes?  Well, that is also kind of true for this quilter.  I have probably made about 30 – 40 quilts in the past two years or so but had never made one for our bed.  My son has three, my extended family all have at least one, some have two with several more in the WIP pile.  Sadly, my husband and I did not have one for our bed.

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That’s been rectified!  Meet “Civil Rest”, this is a jumbo California King size quilt.  It is actually more of a bedspread size.  It measures 136″ x 120″ and was completely made on my domestic Juki sewing machine.  My shoulders are a bit tender from wrestling with it in that tiny throat space but… I won the battle!

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Speaking of battles, the name of the quilt pays homage to the years my husband and I silently waged war over the bed covers through the long, cold nights.  He would turn over, taking 80% of the blankets with him.  I would wake and yank 20% back.  This would leave me with less than half… every… single… night. For years.

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No more!

I promised him, I would make a quilt that was impossible for us to fight over, and guess what?  I did.  The overhang is a hearty 28″!  Almost to the floor!  We slept the past two nights with it and, Whaaat? No tug-o-war over the coverings!

“Civil Rest”.

As stated before, it measures 136″x120″.  I used parts of a “Collection for a Cause” Fat Quarter bundle along with other fabrics from my stash.  The bundle consisted of mostly civil war reproduction prints in browns, tans, creams with vibrant blues, pinks and reds.  I omitted the pinks, I love wearing it but didn’t think hubby would want pink in the bedroom.

I used the QAYG method perfected by Jera at Quilting in the Rain.  Basically, it is a foundation pieced log cabin quilt, using batting squares as the foundation.  Each block measured 13.25″.  There are 80 blocks.  I then picked a wide backing by Kona called Primitive Gatherings in a muslin/tan colour.  During the basting stage, I lost count at over 400 pins!  The quilt even hung over my king-size quilting rails!

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I just did straight-line quilting on the diagonal of each log cabin block.  I knew because the piecing had been done on the batting, I only needed to lightly quilt the backing on.  I am loving the large squares the quilting pattern creates.  It really allows for the piecing and fabrics to shine.  I wanted the quilt to look like it had been made ages ago.

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I used Warm & Plush 100% cotton batting, which is a double-thick batting from the Warm Company.  It will keep us warm and toasty well into the winter months.  I haven’t yet washed it to get that gorgeous crinkled look.  That will happen on the weekend when I have time to hang it out on the line.

So, now that we have peace, we can both get some rest.

Till next time…

Rita

Posted in 2015 Finishes, Fabric, personal post | Tagged , | 20 Comments

Summer’s Over, Back to Routine

Canada's Wonderland (amusement park)

Canada’s Wonderland (amusement park)

I hear it all the time, “Where did the time go?”  Now, I find myself saying it!  With summer vacation over, time lends itself to a more structured routine.  Oh, how I love structure!  I had been having a tough time getting “going” each day with the absence of the structure that forms our “normal” daily lives.  I tend to be a very productive person – when I have a list of jobs to do.  Otherwise, I can just as easily become one with the couch.

Yesterday marked the first day of high school for our son.  He was nervous and I was nervous for him.  He has always been a quiet kid, keeping his emotions fairly hidden.  His friends are attending the same school and I know he will make new friends easily, it’s just the ‘newness’ of it all that adds a bit of stress to our lives.  I’m sure in no time, we will all wonder why we were so worried to begin with.

I’m looking forward to having my house to myself for the 7 hours that my guys are out through the day.  I get so much more done when I don’t have to stop to answer a myriad of questions.  “Where’s the milk?” (seriously!) and the ever annoying “What are you doing?” (oh, nothing dear – just trying to work!)  I know I should be grateful they care about my daily happenings, but honestly, the questions come every couple of minutes, it seems.

I have a few projects on the “To Do” list.  I’m currently working on this…IMG_0376

Quilt-as-You-Go log cabin.  I’m actually basically just using the batting as the foundation for foundation-piecing these blocks.  I’ve done a QAYG quilt before but this one isn’t going quite as quickly as the other one did.  Maybe it’s just the time of year that I started it.

I tried a different layout to begin with

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but ended up liking the contrasting square pattern better.

I have a project requested by the youth at our church that needs to be done ASAP!  It’s going to be an interactive banner symbolizing community in baptism.  I’m still working out the particulars on it in my mind, so no pics for this one.  It’s due for Sunday, so I best get my butt in gear!

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I’m also beginning a quilt for a dear friend of mine from Quebec.  If you get the chance to get out to the Creativ Festival in Toronto October 14-16, you will have a chance to meet her at my Fabric Please! booth.  The picture above is one she sent me via Pinterest and it will be the inspiration for her quilt.  Here is the inital fabric pull.  We still need to edit some of the choices but I think we are on the right track.

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So, not a ton of projects but enough to get my mojo going!  I’m looking forward to hearing my Juki hum again and getting lost in the hours of blissful sewing!  If you need me, you know where I’ll be!

Till next time…

Rita

Posted in Fabric, family, quilting | Tagged , | 11 Comments

Home Again, Refreshed!

I’ve spent the past two weeks camping along the shores of Lake Huron, Ontario, Canada.  It is one of our favourite places to camp.  The sunsets are gorgeous, the walking trails are beautiful and the sandy beach is perfect for playing with our dogs and swimming.  It’s a little piece of perfection just over an hour from home.

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We spent several afternoons just hanging out at our campsite, taking lessons in relaxation from our dogs.

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Tango (pictured below) is our 9 year old Portuguese Water Dog.

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He has camped with us most of his life and he loves it!  However, two whole weeks were proving to be a bit much for his arthritic bones.  My husband, having to go back to work after only one week, decided to take our old boy home with him.  The two of them enjoyed the peace and quiet at home without this little guy…

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Wrigley is our 1 year old Portuguese Water Dog.  He is full of energy and always up for an adventure!  It was his first camping trip, first time in the water and first real trail walk.  He was great at all of it!  We don’t even need a leash while trail walking with him, he stays so close.  My ever-loyal companion.

I did manage to get some knitting done by the fire.  I’ve even taught myself to knit by feel instead of having to look at each stitch as I go.  I made a couple of small errors but, all in all, it worked out okay.  I’m working on a couple of squares for a prayer blanket.  Our church has a wonderful prayer blanket ministry, making knitted/crocheted blankets for anyone in need.

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We spent some time building sand castles.  My son brought a friend along to share in the fun!

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There were a few games of “doggie in the middle”.  Our pup seemed to think this was the best game ever!

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Mostly though, it was two weeks of sleeping in tents, eating outdoors and playing on the beach.  Summer is truly a glorious time in Ontario!

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You can’t tell from this picture but, the tips of the trees are starting to turn orange.

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Before we know it, winter will be upon us and we’ll have to snuggle under our favourite quilts to keep warm.  I better get busy making some of those quilts!

I’m still working on a QAYG quilt for our bed…IMG_0098

I haven’t had a chance to work on it for several weeks but I have lots of time in the near future for this and many other projects!

I’m looking forward to a week while my son is at church camp and hubby is away on a motorcycle trip!  I’ll have the house to myself with no meals to prepare and no housework to do (until the last day before they both come home).

Oh, boy!  The projects are just piling up in my imagination!  I may even work on a few Christmas projects.  I’ve got a lot of pretty Christmas fabric in the shop right now!  Oh, there’s even a 15% off sale!  I’ll let you head over there to find out more!

Till next time…

Rita

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A Long Time for This Finish…

I finally have a finish this week!  I started this quilt two and a half years ago!

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I took it along to a rental cottage two years ago in hopes of finishing the top and only got as far as this.

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Then, it sat on my shelf like an abandoned orpah.  I was determined this week to finally finish it!  It’s been so long, I’ve totally forgotten the fabric line.  I made it using two charm packs and (I think) three of Kona Snow.  I’m not a huge fan of charm packs, as they kind of limit what kind of pattern you can use.  I settled on the ever versatile HST!  I played around with the layout (for a very long time) until I decided on this spiralling square.

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As this quilt already took far too long to complete, I decided on straight line quilting a kind of chevron pattern in the cream HST spaces.  I then bordered the quilt in straight line quilting in the background fabric.

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The quilting is simple and, I think, allows the printed fabrics to  “pop”!  I may have a few more mistakes in this quilt than others I’ve made, but, I was losing my patience with this project and really just wanted it done!  Did I mention this is the first quilt I made just for me?  I was undecided up until this week what I was going to do with it but when I got started, I felt that this lonely orphan needed a mama!

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The back is pieced with two large pieces from the same line that I found in yardage and a strip of Kona Snow.

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I sort of cheated by binding it with pre-made bias binding that I bought ages ago from a now closed fabric shop.  I don’t love the binding and may end up removing it and putting on a co-ordinating one from my stash.  In the meantime, I have washed it and use it most nights while curled up watching the awesome summer line up of shows!  Who here is watching The Last Ship, Falling Skies, Under The Dome or the ever entertaining Rizzoli & Isles?

And…

Here’s a sneak peek of what I’m working on now…

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A California King Quilt for our bed!  I’m using the amazingly quick “quilt-as-you-go” method I used making this quilt last Christmas.

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I think with my patience level being so low, I need a quick finish for this monster of a quilt.

I also spent a few days sprucing up my pergola.  I hemmed up some drop cloths, hung them on curtain rods and, voila!  Curtains for my pergola!  I then bought a loveseat & chair set and an outdoor carpet.  This is my favourite spot to enjoy my morning coffee!  Many of my emails and blog posts are done here too!  It never feels like work when I’m enjoying this space.

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I’ll be linking up with a few of my blogging friends this week, gosh, it’s been a long time!  I’ll see you all at the various linky parties!

Till next time…

Rita

Posted in 2015 Finishes, diy, FMQ, Pre cuts, quilting, sew my stash | Tagged , | 11 Comments

Tuxedo Quilt

TUXEDO QUILT-PERSONAL POST

Originally Posted on: July 6th, 2015 by Rita Ferber

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For posterity and to keep track of all of my “makes”; here is a photo (taken by the recipients) of a quilt I gifted for a lovely couple that got married last week.  I call it “Tuxedo”.  In part because of the event it was made for, but also, because the striped sashing reminds me of a tuxedo… don’t know why.

It is a Queen-sized quilt, made using a Zen Chic layer cake.  I saw a pattern (somewhere in the blogoshpere) and decided I was going to try to figure out the math for it.  It seemed simple enough so I didn’t bother to buy the pattern.  I know, shame on me!  I usually buy patterns from the designers to support them but I just caught a quick look of the original and couldn’t find it when I logged on again.  (if anyone knows who designed this… I’d be happy to give kudos)

I don’t have a picture of the back but, I pieced large white and black lengths of fabric together and added a strip of extra sashing to add a bit of zing.  I used Hobbs 80/20 batting and Aurifil 2600 (light grey) for the quiling.  I FMQ triangular “stipples” (random triangles) in the squares and lines with raindrops in each alternate square.

The couple seems to like it and it’s one more quilt made using my stash.

Till next time…

Rita

Posted in 2015 Finishes, FMQ, Gifts, quilting, sew my stash | 2 Comments

So Much Quilting, So Little Time!

SO MUCH QUILTING, SO LITTLE TIME!

Originally posted June 10, 2015 by Rita Ferber

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During my “spare” time, I’ve been able to get a whole lot of quilting done.  I had been commissioned to make 4 quilts for 4 little boys with VERY specific tastes!  I’m actually not sure if the boys care (or know) what kind of quilts they get or if the grandma and auntie are the ones with the specific tastes.

(I’m guessing it’s the latter)

The first obstacle was finding the exact fabrics requested for these quilts.  The blue “movie reel” fabric came from Spoonflower, the TMNT minky came from somewhere in the States (Etsy) and the Tree Frog fabric was an  out-of-print Timeless Treasures print that I found at Fabric.com.  YES!  I shopped my competitors!  If I can’t get it, and a customer wants it bad enough, I’ll find it!  Mind you, it cost them a pretty penny to get all that fabric shipped up here!  I hope they think it was all worth it.

Quilts 1 & 2

“Tree Frog Quilts” – Twin Size

Simple patchwork piecing.

Hobbs 80/20 batting, black Flannel for backing, Aurifil 2692 black thread used

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Raindrop quilting in the black squares

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Outline quilting around frogs and leaves in the print fabric

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This photo shows the back of the print fabric, you can see the outline of some of the frogs and leaves in the quilting.

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Quilt 3

“Movie Reel Quit” – Double Sized

Simple patchwork

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Simple stipple quilting in the squares.

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Hobbs 80/20 batting, black Flannel for backing, Aurifil 2692 black thread used.

Quilt 4

“TMNT minky comforter”

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This is more of a whole-cloth quilt, I suppose.  There was no piecing except to sew the two long strips together.  The challenge with this one was the minky fabric!  It’s so darn slippery!  Black minky was used on the back as well, so the batting actually helped to hold it all in place a bit.  I can’t tell you how many pins I used to baste this, but it was a lot!

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I free-motion quilted around all of the turtle heads and when you look from the back, the shapes created sort of look like turtles as well!  Happy coincidence!

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Each of these quilts has a matching pillow case to go with them.  While black isn’t always my first choice for quilts (especially for kids) I think it works well with these prints.  I hope the families are pleased with the results.

In other sewing news…

I have a baby shower coming up this weekend and I had previously made this quilt

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You can read all about it here.

I suppose because I was spending so much time in my sewing room and I still had a few days to go, I decided to make some little extras to go with the quilt.

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knit “everything” blanket, 2 burp cloths, flannel receiving blanket

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And because I’m a Parson Gray super-fan, I made a laminated change pad and a little bow tie!

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It was my first time sewing with laminated cotton, and let me tell you, it was much easier than I expected.  TIP:  if you plan on sewing with this stuff, be sure the laminated fabric is not touching the bed of your machine.  It has a tendency to stick to the plastic of the machine and won’t feed through the feed dogs.

Isn’t that little bow tie just the cutest?  I wish I had thought of making these when my son was smaller.   Oh well, I can live vicariously through others!

My next project?  I’m hoping it’s a king-sized quilt for hubby’s and my bed!

Till next time…

Rita

Posted in 2015 Finishes, customer quilts, fabric shopping, FMQ, Gifts, quilting | Leave a comment

Personal Post – Bathroom Renovation Complete

I usually post new fabric lines and store news  but, this week, I thought I’d share my bathroom renovation with you instead.  Warning, lots of photos and a very long post!

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(after)

It all started at Christmas…

My son and husband decided I should get the bathroom of my dreams as a Christmas gift.  As this is primarily my bathroom and the main bath in the house, I was given free-reign over the design and execution of the project.  I was also reminded that I didn’t have a budget to confine me!  Yippee!!  Being a bit of a DIY junkie, I decided I would do as much of the work as I could and only source out the jobs I wasn’t able to do on my own.  I began the project at the end of February and now, at the end of May, it’s completed (almost).

First step:  I started pulling the old tiles off the wall.  This turned out to be the most cathartic experience!  Demolition does wonders for the soul!  If you have any frustrations, this is definitely the way to get rid of them! (sorry, I didn’t take many “before” pictures – it was pretty ugly)

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Second Step:  Installing the new tub…

We opened the crate and found this…

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a huge crack in the skirting of the tub.

Thankfully, it was easily replaced with a new tub. (only a three week delay)

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Next: installing the tile…

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This lovely man has been a family friend since I was 5 years old.  He let me cut the tiles, do some of the grouting and be his helper though the whole project.  While I would never attempt to install tiles all on my own, I learned so much!  He is truly a master at his craft.

Carrara Marble tiles in the tub area, Black Hardwood-look Ceramic tiles [12″x24″] on the floor all purchased from Casa Bella Tile in Kitchener.  If you’ve never been to their showroom, it’s worth going just to see the beautiful old building it is housed in!

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I did have a drywaller come and install the new drywall (he did a great job in the tub area) but his finishing skills were lacking on the walls (or maybe I’m just a perfectionist).  I ended up having to re-tape and mud most of the walls and ceiling in the room.  I thank my dad for teaching me all my ‘handy-gal’ skills when I was a young girl.  I hope he was smiling down from heaven as I was working away.  Because of the drying time and that pesky thing called work, this was the job that took the most amount of time.

The plumbing fixtures were purchased from Hammond Plumbing in Kitchener.

The plumbing and electrical was done by Toman Services from right here in New Dundee!

I ordered these amazing sconces from Restoration Hardware and they showed up within 5 days!

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I treated myself to this ridiculously expensive clock from Restoration Hardware as well.  It was probably the biggest “splurge” considering it’s so small (6″x6″), but I love it!

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The next step was the cabinets and countertops…

The cabinetry was beautifully crafted by Sheila Reinders of JWS Woodworking & Decks out of reclaimed barn board.  I love the rough, naturally aged look of the wood.  My favourite details in the wood are the skipping saw marks, often seen on century old wood planks, and the worm holes created many decades ago.  The wood has been stained and sealed to prevent any damage due to the high humidity of the room.

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Countertops were manufactured and installed by my local Cambria Quartz dealer, My Countertop Shop.  I chose Praa Sands and think it pulls all of the colours and surfaces together.

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My favourite detail is the rough chiselled edges of the quartz and the wood countertops.

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The art glass in the cabinet doors were a happy find!  Purchased at Breslau Art Glass.

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After a piece broke when our puppy decided to do a “happy dance” in the bathroom, I decided to salvage it and have a stained glass piece made in lieu of window dressing.

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It allows the light to come in, and blocks the view so our neighbours don’ t have to be subjected to our wrinkly-selves as we exit the shower.

I did have a shower curtain hanging but, as I pulled the curtain away to take the photos, the plastic mounting brackets broke!  Initially they looked like this…

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after I touched them they shattered into a million pieces!

I’m still waiting for the mounting brackets to arrive from Kohler in the US.  They said, they have never heard of this happening… I guess I’m special!

Even with all of the little snags and setbacks, I LOVE my new bathroom!  When my family needs me, they can often find me in my bathroom, admiring all the lovely surfaces and beautiful craftsmanship!

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“A bathroom built for a queen”, as my husband says.  I guess it’s fitting, it IS the throne room!  😉

I’m so thankful to all the retailers, tradespeople and especially my husband and son for making this dream a reality.  Next major reno… the kitchen!

Till next time…

Rita

Posted in diy, family, personal post | 2 Comments