Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ikea Rast Hack #2

I've been looking for a side table or chest that's compact yet offers storage for a little corner in my home office. Nothing else seems to fit the bill except for the Ikea Rast dresser, so it's a no-brainer that I need to hack it yet again. It didn't take long before I figured out what I wanted it to look like this time -- it's for a home office so "library chest" it is!

After painting it in white, I picked up some antique bronze label pulls from Etsy, and inserted six cheesy labels in nostalgic typewriter font representing six known tastes: Kokumi, Umami, Bitter, Sweet, Salty and Sour. I am hilarious, right?

The dresser went from this:
To this:
I am still debating whether I should add decorative brass corners for a more industrial look, but this clean look will stay for a while until I make up my mind.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Living Room Complete

I've been working on re-decorating our living room on and off for the past five months. I don't think I can be entirely content with the outcome until I move the TV down to the basement (when it's finished), and get rid of those masculine black cowhide club chairs. A formal living room, in my view, should have more elegant seating like this and this. After all, if hub could claim his man cave in the basement, I certainly deserve my Petit Trianon.

So here are some latest pictures of my living room. The only thing missing is this Pemberley Grey Rug that's forever on back order. It's probably about time for me to look for an alternative.
Living Room
Living Room with Lighting
Living Room from a different angle
Birds Nest Coral Close-up
A few weeks ago Grandma surprised me with this gift -- blue and white porcelain vase from Qing Dynasty. I think it works nicely with the rest of the decor in the room.
  • Textured Dupioni Silk Curtains in Robin Egg from Halfpricedrapes.
  • Mirror over mantle: Lighting Palace.
  • White porcelain urn with finials: Urban Barn.
  • Black cowhide club chairs and sofa: Coja Leather.
  • Cream fabric tufted sofa with curved arms: custom made by Zooma Designs.
  • Antique architectural prints:; Frames from Michaels.
  • Antique coffee table with criss-cross legs: circa 1890.
  • Windsor Smith Pelagos Pillows: SanMarino on Etsy.
  • Sofa table with marble top: Domus Decor.
  • Criss-cross side table with antique mirror finish top: some boutique in Paris.
  • Oval ottoman: Skyline Furniture.
  • Geometric throw, lacquered black and blue boxes: HomeSense.
  • Edwardian Lantern in Chrome: HomeSense.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Photo Ledge and A Last Glimpse of Summer

After much debate over a gallery wall vs. photo ledge, I've decided to go with the latter for the reason of less commitment (only 4 nail holes in the wall), and a more laidback appeal. This is what it looks like still in progress.
I spent the majority of my childhood on an island city in the Pacific ocean. Nostalgically, anything from the sea has a soft spot in my heart. The purple coral branch fossils in the two vintage glass display boxes are every rare. It takes the purple coral 25 years to grow 1.5 inches, and therefore it is now a protected species. This corner has become my emotional escape in my home office.
I am almost done with the home office except for some finishing touch to yet another Ikea Rast hack, and framing the Caroline Gold's posters (when they arrive in the mail). Am I too crazy to like industrial chic decor like this or this for the Ikea Rast chest (well that's the look I am going for)?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

12 Hours: My ER Déjà vu

My last bid for the Canadian healthcare emergency service was two and half years ago when a chicken bone cut through my esophagus. The 7-hour wait time made me swear that unless, God forbid, I was dying, I would never go back to ER again.

Unfortunately this time it was hub's turn. He is an extremely healthy person that rarely gets sick. As a healthcare professional, he actually knows how to take care of himself (the joke is most of them don't. An example is that they give patients annual physical but never bother to take one themselves).

Here is an hour-by-hour replay of the events from this past Thursday.

I was on a long phone conversation with an important client. Anthony barged into my office (which he's never done before): "I am going to see our family physician." I had no time to react nor could I before he closed the door and disappeared.

He called me on his way home to tell me that he had Tinnitus in his right ear. Our family doctor believed the Eustachian tube was blocked, and asked him to take some OTC decongestant. After he got home he immediately took a Sudafed, and things started to go downhill from there (unrelated to Sudafed just to be fair).

He started to feel the room spinning, couldn't hold himself steady, and minutes later, he had his first projectile vomiting.  

Not long after I helped him lie down before he threw up again and again for four times.

That's it, we are going to the emergency. I rushed him to a community hospital nearby, waited in line for 15 minutes to get to the Triage, and another 15 minutes to complete the registration. We were given a red file folder which meant high priority case. Not bad at all so far. We then moved to a room filled with 10+ more patients, sat there and waited for an ER doctor.

A nurse called our name, and we were led to a curtained area by an ER doctor. The doctor, without looking into his ear or checking his eye movement, told us that Anthony's symptoms were very typical Ménière's Disease. It could be temporary or chronic but there's no way to be sure (yes, he actually told us that. What I learnt later on was that Ménière's is a diagnosis of exclusion). The doc gave us a prescription and a referral to an ENT specialist, and by 8pm we were on our way back home.
The world in hub's eyes that night
The projectile vomiting continued, and there's no sign indicating that he was going to get better on his own. My brother-in-law D (works in Internal Medicine of that hospital) and mother-in-law L (was a Cardiac OR nurse before she retired) earlier suggested that we went to a downtown teaching hospital where they are better equipped with skills and technologies to help us. An ENT resident might also be on call there that night.

Hub was exhausted and wanted to lie still to avoid vomiting. I was able to convince him to give the downtown hospital a try. 404/DVP was never so sane to me, and it only took us 30 minutes to get there.

Triage and Registration was fast, but the nurse did drop a nuclear bomb on me: "oh, I am sure the doctor would want to order a CT scan to rule out stroke or anything else worse." The word stroke had me frozen for a few seconds. 30 minutes later hub was given a bed at the Rapid Assessment Area to rest.

We waited for the ER doctor to come.

We waited for the ER doctor to come.

I had no where to sit or lie down, so I went to an empty waiting area and dragged a chair myself next to hub's bed.

We waited for the ER doctor to come.

We waited for the ER doctor to come.

My neck, shoulders and back were killing me. I went outside the room to hunt down the doc. The ER doctor was nice enough to explain to me that he was the only one working the ER that night, and after he stitched up a patient's chin he would come over.

Contrary to the community hospital which considered hub's condition severe, this prestigious downtown hospital gets the most complicated and urgent cases such as heart attacks, strokes, gunshot woulds, etc. Understandably, we were not on the priority list to receive treatment. As much as my in-laws wanted to help us, they are also very ethical and chose not to influence the process. I've watched enough legal dramas such as The Practice and Boston Legal to see how much it sucked for those that were pushed down on the list due to lack of influence or ability to jump the line, so we wouldn't do it.

Hallelujah, the ER doctor showed up! He looked into hub's ear, checked his eye movement, prescribed 500ml normal saline and Gravol IV, and ordered a CT scan -- basically everything that the ER doc at the community hospital didn't do for us!

The IV dripped on, and hub was wheeled into the CT room.

The ER doctor popped in, and shared the good news that hub's CT scan was negative -- no acute intracranial mass, hemorrhage, infarct or fractures! In layman's terms, that meant they ruled out stroke and brain tumour.

Crap! The street parking outside of the ER ends at 7:30am. The ER doctor suggested that I moved the car to the front entrance and put the emergency break on. For the first time in my life, I felt so legit to park next to numerous "Fire Route No Parking" signs!

We were given a referral to the ENT Resident Clinic inside the same hospital, and discharged from the ER.

My eyes still tried to get used to the morning sunlight. Flashbacks of IV drips (yes, hub was sleeping and I had nothing to do but to stare at the drips) still lingered around. But fortunately, we were once again done with our wait at the ER, and hub received the most thorough diagnosis we hoped for. The even better news is that his condition continued to improve slowly.

I will spare you my ranting on Canada's healthcare systems. Instead, you could read my hub's more rational version on the similar subject here about "Why the wait?"

I hope everyone has had a better week than I did.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Flying Pig

Each year we took a couple of trips down to Niagara wineries to load up our annual wine supply. We also strolled down the streets in the village, and that's when I first came across these hand-made glass flying pigs. As I was debating how many (colors) to buy (so hard, love them all but not so much the $75 per price tag!), I realized it was almost 4pm and we absolutely had to rush to the highway back home before we sat in traffic again. So I left empty-handed, and regretted that I didn't even take down who made them.

Yesterday I spent half a day at a Spa that I frequent for the past eight years. Maybe the facial cleared up my sinuses (from ragweed pollen allergy), or maybe it was meant to be, I spotted these flying pigs from a fashion boutique that I must have passed by countless times outside of the spa. I couldn't let them go again so I picked up two.

That's when I also found out every single of these glass flying pigs is kiln fired, mouth blown, hand shaped by Christina Mayr of Three Crow Glass from Saint-Michel-des-Saints of Quebec City. Each one is unique and signed by Christina. To live up to the "flying pig" name, each piece comes with a loop on the back, so you can actually hang them and they will "fly" like wind chimes. There are also unlimited color combinations to choose from.
Aren't they adorable? They are new additions to my newly refreshed home office.
I also scored these vintage glass display boxes from the same store. I used silicone chalking to seal the bottom so they are now ready for my beach-themed displays.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Home Office Progress Part II

Long weekend has finally come, and Anthony and I eventually got around to assemble the new bookcases. We have put away books and things from tens of boxes, and there are still tons of them in the basement waiting to be sorted out. I love the thrill of a grand reveal, but to live (work) in the same room being renovated drives me bunkers I tell ya.

So here is the home office progress part II. The color combination from the "Chungking Express" poster (an Amélie-alike romantic cliché) seems to work in the space, but I could only find one movie poster that looks so nice (and from a movie I actually like). I need a second one on the other side of the window wall. Yes, in addition to being a neat freak, I also a lover of symmetry.
Click on the image to enlarge
So I "returned" the movie poster to hub's home office (we each gets a room in our house as our office. His is next on my list to refresh.), and picked up these art prints by Caroline Gold titled Noon I and II. I saw Caroline's work at an art gallery before, and love the serenity she conveys through her use of colors. 
And this is the white Billy Bookcases we put together. I think I am going to add crown moulding and baseboard to dress them up.
This is a not so pretty corner of the office. A wall gallery will go up on this wall. I am yet to find a library/lounge chair that's small yet comfortable enough to sink in for a long read (or phone call). Any suggestions?
Here is a list of things that still need to be done before this project can be wrapped up:
  • Change the lighting fixture (still searching);
  • Take stuff out of the basement and fill the bookcases;
  • Possibly add moulding to the bookcases for a more integrated look;
  • Put up a gallery wall;
  • Find a comfortable armchair that's upholstered in white, cream or light grey;
  • Finish a couple of beach-themed display boxes.
As you could see the room still requires several finishing touches, but thankfully the most painful parts (aka painting, assemble furniture) are over.
Have a great long weekend everyone!
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