Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

June 30, 2012

I Attended a Spray Painter's Anonymous Meeting

Thanks to Tiffany, from Living Savvy, for inviting me to attend a meeting for Spray Painter's Anonymous.  I think my spray painting addiction has been sufficiently fueled, cured.


June 28, 2012

Shop Talk: My Etsy Shop Launch!

I have officially opened an Etsy shop with my Mom and our mascot!  Why did no one tell me what a ridiculous amount of work it would be?  We are still figuring things out and adding to our inventory, but I wanted to give you all a peek.  Our shop is called Minden Shop.  "Minden" (pronounced "Meen-den") means "Everything" in Hungarian.  As in, we'd like to keep everything in our shop because we love it so.  More importantly, we hope you love everything we have in store, too.

We are trying to stock a variety of items, from pretty vintage jewellery to kitschy kitchen decor.  We have a few finer antiques and then some quirky finds.  Our vintage goods range from 1930s pretty, to 1980s fab.  We've done our best to research everything, including pricing, and have priced everything so it's within reach.  Here are a few of my (current) favorite items:

I'm pretty obsessed with this child's plate we just added.  The young child, hunting rabbits, cracks me up:

These Emsa egg cups, from W. Germany, are so deliciously cheery, plus I love how practical they are (not breakable and they have a little spot for the shells).  My Mom has been hinting at un-listing them.  She is incorrigible. 

I have seen other cheese boards, but this lovely cheese board is the first I have bought because this one has the prettiest tile (celery green, periwinkle blue, pink and orange), combined with richly hued wood.  The whole piece is in fabulous condition.  And look how handy the little knife spot is - it has a magnet to hold the knife in. 

This set of leaves, from Occupied Japan, is so cheery.  I want these for nuts on a table setting, or for organizing jewellery.

This turquoise-coloured stone ring (we believe it to be Magnesite) is super stunning and makes such a statement.

Yup, there will always be at least a couple of turquoise pieces in the shop.  You know how much I heart turquoise.  If Hubs wasn't so smitten with his pepper mill, I'd keep this sweet turquoise salt and pepper set:

We currently have quite a few Figgjo Norway pieces in stock, including full sets of dinner and lunch plates:

. . . and this sweet covered sugar bowl and creamer set:

We aren't sure what these Sheffield Kelly green knives are made of, but they are really unusual and remind me of the Malachite that is so on-trend right now.

We don't have many listings of jewellery or accessories, but we're adding more (including some handmade items).  Currently, we do have a few gorgeous pieces, like these deep Baltic amber earrings . . .

and this sparkly, tiny chain mail purse:

We are always on the hunt for Pyrex, which is so scarce it seems!  We have a few pieces still to add, but right now we do have this crisp Pyrex casserole from England:

Not everything is for the ladies, though.  Among some other great finds for your favorite guy, we also have a little something Hubby has been begging me to keep (street sign themed shot glasses!):

I am so jealous of whoever buys this Arabia Finlandia vase (produced between 1932 and 1949).  It is so beautiful, and in amazing condition, but just won't suit my decor.

Check out Minden Shop for more goodies.  Our vintage finds and handmade goods (to be added soon) will only be available until August 15th, 2012 because I'm heading abroad for research.  We plan to re-open in the spring of 2013.

To thank everyone for their support, I'd like to give my readers a 10% discount off anything in the shop.  Just use the code DANSLETOWNHOUSE12.  And stay tuned, because next week I plan to host a Minden Shop giveaway!!
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June 26, 2012

Shop Talk: I'm Opening an Etsy Shop!

After much encouragement from readers, I'm finally opening up an Etsy shop with my Mom.  We will be selling our best vintage finds and favorite handmade goods.  I'm pretty excited, but also really nervous.  More details, plus a Dans le Townhouse coupon code and a fun giveaway (sponsored by yours truly) will come this week, I hope.  But first, something truly important: what to name our mascot?

We found this little planter supposedly for the shop, but when I began photographing him he made the saddest eyes at my Mom, who was looking on. I saw this (with my Mom to the left):

Awwwww.  In our silliness, we decided to keep him and make him our mascot, representative of the fact that we only sell stuff we love (and would love to keep).

So.  Names?  Our shop name starts with an "M" and is a Hungarian word + the Hungarian word for teddy bear is "maci" . . . so there's gotta be a cute name in there somewhere.

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June 25, 2012

Houzz, She Knows & Eclectically Vintage Features

As always, I'm so appreciative when folks send my blog a little virtual love, so I'd like to take a moment and thank a few sites that have featured Dans le Townhouse.

Most recently, Kelly, the blogger behind the wonderful blog Eclectically Vintage, featured the townhouse on her series "Exceptionally Eclectic". 

Sherri Kuhn, of She Knows Canada compiled a list of favorite Canadian home and living blogs and listed my little blog.  And, someone pinch me, placed me between The Marion House Book and Cobistyle

In a weird internet twist, it was a photo of my living room included as the thumbnail for the link to the article.  Surely a random happening, but enough to make me beam for a whole day!

Yummly did a round up of delicious frittata recipes and included my broccoli and feta frittata!  Yum.

Last, but not least, Samantha Schoech, from Houzz, featured our white-walled bedroom in a round-up of white-white spaces.

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June 21, 2012

99 Bottles of Fun on the Wall

Have you entered to win my feminist stencil?

Yesterday's cliffhanger is about to be solved.  I love plaster-look objects and after I painted the bird, I used the rest of the can of matte white spray paint and made:


I had a blank spot on top of the armoire, in the guest room, that I wanted to fill with something cheap, maybe even temporary, until I found something I love.  The bottles did the trick . . .


This project was simple, and I certainly didn't re-invent the wheel here.  I think I'm the millionth person to spray paint a bottle!

I hauled the bottles out into the garage.  I placed them spouts down, on a piece of cardboard, and gave their bottoms a few light mists of Tremclad Matte White Spray Paint.  After 48 hours, I flipped the bottles over and sprayed a few more light coats.  I ended up needing a second can of paint, because my dark glass bottles needed more paint for coverage.  I recommend clear glass bottles because they require much less paint (and effort). 

I primed a few, first, for comparison and found that just painting was good enough for lazy old me.   But do a coat of primer if you find that your items need to be a little more durable. 

The only trouble is, after I painted the bottles, I realized guests store the pillows up there.  Oops.  Now I'm not so sure.  But then I spotted this 2011 installation by Matthew Brannon on mint and now want a whole wall of bottles, with some painted different colours.  We'll see where this goes . . .

Photo via mint
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June 20, 2012

The Gold Standard

Do you ever feel a little weird when you liked something for awhile, then it became super trendy, and now to say you like it makes everyone roll their eyes because they're thinking, "of course you like it - everyone does!" 

Like everyone on this planet, it seems, I have a crush on white plaster (or ceramic, although I love matte white) sculptures, especially every day shapes turned into art.  I saw an exhibit of Lisa Gralnick's three part exhibit, The Gold Standard, last year at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft and it's like she made it for me.  As part of the exhibit, she cast everyday objects in plaster, but used small slivers of gold to visually represent the value of both, to make us think about perceptions of value.  In another part of the exhibit, she created plaster ghosts of the gold she melted down (from bracelets, rings, etc.) to make her gold adorned plaster objects.  That those once treasured items no longer existed was really moving.  In the last part she created gold pieces of jewellery with fabricated histories that almost fooled me!  For a more eloquent account, see this article.   

I like how her exhibit made me think, but I was really bowled over by the beauty of her work.  Her work makes a little more sense if you see some pieces (click here to see even more):

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Amazing, right?  I want this exhibit in my house!  I don't have any skills in casting, but I can still make faux plaster objects for decorating the townhouse. First it was the bird . . . but what did I use the rest of the can of spray paint on?  
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June 19, 2012

Help: DIY Dye Job Gone Wrong

Sugar.  I made my hair ugly.

Years & years ago, I used to colour my own hair.  I used henna, every brand of semi-permanent dye, plus I coloured over other dye, highlights - you name it.  Hubs (my then boyfriend) even cut my hair for awhile, which I mentioned here, so I am no stranger to the DIY hair-do.  But a few years back I turned to a hair dresser to help grow out a black, DIY dye job gracefully.  She suggested a chic, ombre colour that I loved.  Over the years, she created a fabulous angled bob, then a lovely crisp layered cut and then some glittery highlights for me.  But somewhere along the way she lost her magic.  My last set of highlights were too brassy, but the cut was sharp.  Then the next cut was crooked and wonky.  I panicked, because I hate finding a new stylist and have a fear of spas and salons.  So I avoided getting my hair cut, or coloured, for about a year.

My highlights got worse and worse.  See how drab and faded my highlights were on our trip to Boston (I snagged this photo from my telephone museum post)?  They were also getting really grown out.

I finally had enough and bought a box of hair dye, deciding to return to my DIY ways.  I'd coloured over highlights before and I picked a colour close to my natural shade, thinking things would go smoothly.

But somehow this happened (and, yes, I badly need a trim, too.  Ugh, so shaggy):


The weird, splotchiness disappears if I pin my hair up, so I've been rocking some Joan Holloway updos but that's hardly a permanent solution.

I called customer service and was sent a coupon for a free box of dye, but I'm scared I might make it worse.

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June 18, 2012

Reader Q: Shades of Light

I have received many emails from readers asking about our various light fixtures and table lamps.  Unfortunately, many are vintage or were bought pre-blog, back in the day when, "We got them at that place that closed down, beside the hotel my parents stayed at when we were renovating," was a sufficient answer to the question, "Where'd you get this cool light?"

I don't know what brands most of them are and the store has closed.  How useless am I? 

Luckily, Shades of Light, the newest company to advertise on Dans le Townhouse, has a fabulous selection of lighting and I hand-picked a few light fixtures and table lamps that are similar to ours for folks looking for something like what we have.  Hope this helps!

Oil Rubbed Bronze Fixtures:

We picked oil-rubbed bronze fixtures for our upstairs hallway, stairwell and main floor half bath.  We liked the bit of punctuation against all-white walls.  These stylish Fresnel Glass Restoration Bath Lights (with two or three lights) would be something we would pick if we were renovating again.  So chic!

White Drum Shade Pendant:

I think I probably get the most questions about our simple, drum shade pendant in the dining room.  Shades of Light has so many to choose from I couldn't pick just one to show you, so here are my favorites: ones that are simple, but have thoughtful details.

Clockwise, from the top left, I love the subtle pleating of the Pintuck Pleated Silk Drum Shade Pendant and the unusual metal accents of the Loft Shade Chandelier.  The soft shape of the Flower Drum Shade Pendant works perfectly with the on-trend gold hardware, while the last option, the Sheer Champagne Shade Chandelier, is a pared-back fixture made more fancy with a sheer drum shade.

But there's more I like!  The double shade of the aptly named Double Drum Pendant looks so fancy but if you really want sizzle, take a peek at the Dripping Crystal Shade Chandelier.  It looks like a snowfall!  The trim on the flower-shaped Fluted Shade Lantern Pendant makes it look a little different from the rest, while the Springfield Linen Lantern Shade Chandelier is very refined and classic. 

What I Pine For:

For our next house, though, I've already been lusting over something a little more dramatic, but my taste is pretty eclectic, ranging from a sparkly (turquoise!) Fluted Murano Style Glass Chandelier to the cool Modernized Rustic Iron Chandelier.

Vintage Lotte-look & White Table Lamps:

A few of our table lamps are vintage, so it breaks my heart when readers ask where to buy them.  But I found a few table lamps I'd like to make mine, so maybe one will tickle your fancy too?  I pinned the Sizzling Colour Geometric Ceramic Table Lamps ages ago but still heart it.  Of course I love the white, but it comes in bright pops of colour too.  Next up: the lovely Long Neck Ceramic Table Lamps reminds me so much of the Lotte lamps in our living room and guest room.  I get so many questions about those but this option is just as cute - and less expensive!

We are currently shopping for a flush mounted fixture for our in-progress laundry room reno, and this is what I'm eyeing: the super funky Convertible Ceiling to Wall Colour Pop Sconce, or . . .

. . . the matte black Nantucket Ceiling Light or maybe the ultra simple Dual Ring Ceiling Light?  There are too many gorgeous options!!

Hope this helped any readers shopping for similar styles!  Be sure to check out Shades of Light for other styles (plus rugs, mirrors, and other home decor items).  And if you have any other Q's for me, shoot me an email:  I love hearing from you!
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June 15, 2012

Giveaway: Feminist Stencil

Thanks to everyone who entered - I loved reading your insightful comments!

Apparently, my Feminist Mirror Makeover was so darn popular, Stencils Online has received a ton of orders for the same, exact stencil!  I still can't wrap my head around that! Last week, they offered a giveaway for a custom stencil (click here to see if you won), but they wanted to come back and offer up the feminist stencil, too, just because there are so many (awesome) DIYers interested in it.

If you want a chance to win one (for yourself, or as a unique gift for someone in your life - I think every teen girl needs one), here's how:

(don't forget to leave your email address if you don't have an account with an email attached - I am still waiting to hear from the Subway Print winner . . . Farquist . . . are you there?  Please email me!)

Leave a comment, and tell me what feminism means to you.

(leave a separate comment for each & if you did these things this last week, it counts! But still leave a comment for each, please):

1. Like Stencils Online on Facebook
2. Like iStencils on Facebook
3. Follow iStencils on Pinterest 

Contest closes Thursday, June 21st, Midnight EST.  Good luck!
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June 14, 2012

Treasure Hunting: What I Look For

Emily A. Clark recently posted a list of her top 5 yard sale must haves.  Basically, a list of what you should snag next time you're out and about yard saling.  Genius!

After countless posts bragging about my thrifty finds (search "treasure hunting report" in the google search features, to the right), it dawned on me you might like to know what's on my shopping list.  I'm always surprised by the goodies I find, but I do head out with some kind of an idea of what I want, or "need".  Yup, I'm a list-maker and have a list of things to look for + projects I have in mind.  Otherwise, in the early morning daze, I forget and miss something great!

Here's are a few items from my list that are versatile enough that you might want to add them to yours:

1. Vintage Ceramic Planters & Dishes

I'm trying to be Martha Stewart classy.  I've ditched my dollar store plastic organizers and have opted for 25 cent ceramic pieces instead!  I use super cheap (but super nice), vintage ceramic dishes to corral toiletries, office supplies and other tidbits.  Here's one keeping my lip glosses in order:

Photos from Martha Stewart; Martha Stewart, Paper Lust

2. Frames & Mirrors

Eventually I get around to using all of the frames and mirrors I buy, especially for crafty DIY art projects.  I recently scored three solid wood frames for 50 cents (for all three)!  They need a little paint, but will be a perfect - affordable - way to frame up my own art projects.

And, of course, you have already seen the much-loved feminist makeover I gave a $5.00 yard sale find. 

3. Retro Jewellery

I sometimes use large, reclaimed, vintage beads to make the bodies of my DIY Christmas spiders.  I also reclaim other pieces for jewellery of my own design and have even converted a tired pendant into something else.  Plus, I'm on the hunt for some cheap rhinestone brooches to spray paint a neon hue.  The materials in vintage jewellery have so much potential and can't be beat for affordability.  As a bonus, I have found some truly stunning mid-century pieces for a song, and that kind of treasure-finding just makes my Saturday!

4. Pottery, Art + Accessories

In terms of accessorizing the townhouse, I pepper our home with quite a few second-hand finds to gussy up the place for a fraction of the cost.  Because we splurged (well, his work is pretty affordable, comparably, but we still had to save up!) on Shane Norrie pottery from an art gallery, I've saved money by mixing in some $5.00 pottery pieces.  If you spy some great pottery or other accessories at a yard sale, snap them up!  While you're at it, take a second glance at original paintings, quirky prints and fun artwork. You won't even believe the savings, plus you have a chance to score something unusual. 

5. Bowls!

This was a suggestion of Emily's, too, and & I heartily agree.  Whether I'm adding a stunning vintage enamel bowl to my nightstand, or using a sweet vintage Pyrex piece for a bowl of (slightly dented) cherries, I find bowls so immensely useful and stylish.  I can't amass enough!

Bonus Item: Fuel for Collecting

Yard saling is oodles more fun if you start a collection.  It needn't be expensive or rare - just something you like.  Anything looks good en masse, like my silhouette collection, my budding McCoy pottery collection or Shannon's milk glass collection.  And finding a piece to add to a collection feels like such a triumph!

What do you look for?  Do you make a list? 

P.S.  Amy, from wrote a great post about how to shop at garage sales.

P.P.S. Today's the last day for my custom stencil giveaway.
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