I read a lot of blogs and find myself mesmerized and inspired by so many great ideas, plus I like to think that I'm spending my money more wisely with the benefit of open and honest product reviews. But every now and then I find myself giving a project or product shill the side eye, and find myself cynically wondering if it was scrapped as soon as the blogger hit "publish". I decided it might be fun to start providing a little follow-up on my own projects, product reviews and posts. Don't worry: I won't re-hash the minutiae of every post, but I'll definitely re-visit some biggies, especially things I still really, really, love or things that turned out to be a huge disappointment. I'll let you know how things have withstood the test of time. Awhile ago I shared my thoughts on our townhouse bathroom reno and I really enjoyed that look back (ahhh, the magic of hindsight). If there's something you've been curious about and want me to honestly re-assess, just let me know in the comments, on Instagram (it's so much easier to leave comments there), or shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Today I want to re-visit two things: a blog freebie I reviewed a year ago, and our second-hand leather sofa. I'm normally pretty scrupulous when it comes to reviewing items on the blog. Items have to be super cool or something already on my "to buy" list. You might have ascertained that my aesthetic is fairly spartan, so the last thing I want is lots of useless clutter. Last December I was contacted to review two Guillaume faux fur throws, for sale on The Shopping Channel. Normally faux fur and polyester aren't my bag, but I was motivated to accept the product by two colliding events: we were broke from carrying two mortgages (and I was craving something shiny and new, because we'd axed luxuries - and some staples - from our budget). Plus, we were on the verge on facing a harsh Northwestern Ontario winter and I knew
that blankets - a copious amount of blankets - would help keep me warm. Oh yeah, and the designer is Canadian-born!
Somewhat surprisingly, the faux lynx blanket became a favorite and, a year
later, it held it's place of honor on our sofa. (The leopard print, not really my jam, ended up in the truck for emergencies when we need to keep warm). While Szuka outgrew her
chew-all-the-things phase, she does come over to us when we're vegging on
the sofa and drop a drool-covered ball in our laps or try to lick crumbs off
the blanket. I'm still very much a fan of the machine wash and tumble dry. When I was offered another Guillaume faux fur throw this year, in a slightly larger size, I happily accepted. When the new one came, I realized just how much I'd worn out the old one. The new one feels so silky and smooth, while the old feels a bit rougher and matted. I wash it weekly, sometimes twice a week. It helps my allergies to keep it laundered, but I think it probably isn't intended to be washed quite so much.
The throws will be a Shopping Channel Showstopper for under $65, which is apparently half the price of similar throws from well-known home decor stores. The Ivory Snow Lynx is still my favorite pattern (though I did want to try the navy minx or grey leopard, but no such luck!).
As I was snapping photos of the new throw, I realized our cream leather sofa was embarrassingly dusty (the cream hides dust so well!), so I gave it a wipe down with leather cleaner. I used to work at Danier Leather and loved their leather conditioner (the leather rejuvenate lotion) - it smells great and does a good job of moisturizing and cleaning leather. I preferred it to the actual cleaners Danier sells. We had this gross sales pitch when I worked there about leather goods being like human skin: they need to be cleaned and moisturized to stay supple. Blech. But I want my leather goods to last forever, so I faithfully use the lotion on my purses, leather jacket - even our sofa. I recently ran out so I figured now is a good time to use up the leather furniture cleaner (just on the sofa, not my bags!) that we received for free when we bought our doomed sofa from The Brick. It doesn't smell as good, but it does the job: I apply a small amount to a cloth and then wipe down the surface. I follow up with a second clean cloth to remove any excess and let it dry before replacing the pillows and throw. (Always spot test any new cleaners on a hidden area to ensure that no colour is buffed off). I was aghast to see how much dirt Szuka had rubbed onto the bottom - lots of little pale muddy splotches! I think I should be cleaning it more often, because I recently learned that pet saliva is acidic and it can harm leather finish.
I'm still really pleased with our second-hand score. It's kept it's shape really well. The seat cushions look a smidge flatter and I really wish they weren't fixed so I could rotate/flip them. but otherwise it still looks sharp. While the cream leather has a few tiny marks here and there, it has held up SO well. I was worried that the light leather would get trashed, especially during the move, but we wrapped it up and it was fine. Leather is a little cool to the touch in the winter, but that's really nice in the summer (although sweaty skin can stick to it). Ultimately, we really do love a leather sofa for how easy it is to keep clean and how well it wears. Broken in leather looks much better than threadbare upholstery! The mid-century sectional waiting in the wings has been put on the back burner...for now. I struggle between really wanting to cough up the cash and reupholster that sectional, but then it seems a shame to jettison a perfectly good leather sofa. More importantly, right now there are so many things we should put our money toward first (closet doors in the bedroom would be a start...), so I think we'll put off that decision for a bit.
Next time I'm addressing the open shelves in the kitchen. Do they get dusty? Are they functional? Do I still like them? Such a cliffhanger! Don't forget: if there's something you want to scoop on - a DIY you thought was suspect, or a product you doubt made the cut, let me know. If this new series bores you to tears (sorry!), I'll be titling the posts "Honest Thougths on..." so you can easily skip them (I won't know).