friday observations

Happy Friday. Here are some shots from over the week.

1. I picked up a Hape Alphabet Puzzle from Mastermind Toys for Oscar.
2. I think it's time I admitted I have a pillow obsession
3. Anyone know where I could find a similar scarf as in this shot? Love the style. *Note, I love the length especially. I find it hard to find LONG scarfs.
4. I joined a gym. I went at 6 am each morning for one week and quickly realized I am NOT a morning person. I now workout in the evening....and I'm much happier. ;)
5. Went to a wedding and it was gorgeous. I noticed that people (like myself) didn't bring cameras - everyone whipped out their iPhones to take photos. A lot has changed since I got married.
6. Peel + Stick Moustaches are a hit over here.

Other things I've boomarked because I enjoyed:

1. I loved how Joanna's husband diffuses an argument.
2. Love the packaging of these soaps
3. Behind the scene video shoot of the 2012 Princess Margaret Showhome. Gorgeous.

xo Linds

Closet woes

Since Hannah was born, the worst part of my day is getting dressed each morning. OK, maybe not worse than trying to soothe a fussy baby at 4am, but it's up there. Why? Partly because I'm in that awkward stage where my maternity clothes are too big (yay!) and my normal clothes are too small (boo!), but also because my closet is one. giant. mess. Like a can't-find-anything-can-barely-get-the-doors-closed mess. It's bad. So bad, that organizing my closet has suddenly moved to the top of my priority list.

My closet is a standard, double closet. It offers a lot more storage space than any of my past, apartment-sized closets, but it's no walk-in. I'd show you a picture, but then I'd die of embarrassment and I have a little one depending on me now, so...


I know, I just said it's not a walk-in. I pinned the image above because I like how the closet is organized vertically - shoes on the bottom, cubbies for folded tops and pants, a rod for items that need to be hung, and another shelf for bins and baskets on top. I can definitely see us DIY-ing something like this, except, where would my dresses go?

source: pinterest (original source unknown)

Here's another option. Again, it has space for shoes and both folded and hanging items. And it looks like the bottom shelves don't run the length of the closet, so there's room to hang dresses. I also love how this closet makes room for bags and even some jewelry.

source: the style files

This closet most closely resembles my current set-up - one long shelf, single rod, and several smaller shelves tucked into one side. I love the idea of wallpapering or stencilling my closet walls, and bonus points for being the easiest and most affordable option, since it would only really require buying paint/wallpaper and baskets for the shelves.

Whether I choose option 1, 2 or 3, the first step is going to be a major clothing purge.

So which one would you go with?

To do list and the dream list at my house

Sometimes I have to remind myself that this house is only 9 months old and we have achieved a lot already.  So many projects still to do, finishing touches to find, and tasks to finish.   With a limitless budget this would all be done in a flash(note to self "buy lottery ticket").  Failing the lottery we are doing a lot of the work ourselves, making our dollars stretch where they can.  It can be frustrating because it takes longer, but it is satisfying to do something ourselves.    
This is some of what is on my to do and dream lists at the moment:
- order these hooks for hanging towels at the poolside (via abodent)
- look out for long narrow table for bedroom, love the oversize mirrors (via Etcekodeco)
- plant wisteria to catch the season as it turns
- could this (finally) be the light for our dining room or entrance? (via Shelterholic)
- find reasonably priced cobbles so we can finish the driveway

Setting realistic goals:
With Little Miss J in tow things take longer than I would like and its easy to get frustrated.  Ashley from She Makes a Home wrote a brilliant post this week on the importance of setting realistic goals, of coming to terms with the interruptions that come with having a young family.  Ashley was talking about working from home, but it resonates strongly with my desire to get things done, and the frustration of not being able to do everything I want to.  

I would make long to do lists and then get so frustrated when a week went by with nothing accomplished.  The length of the lists were overwhelming, seeing the same tasks week after week demoralising.

I had an epiphany:

  • make a list but divide tasks into necessary, urgent, important & nice to do (yes yes you have heard it before)
  • do the necessary and urgent first and as soon in the week as possible.  Once they are done you get to move onto the fun stuff.
  • schedule in the important, like bills and emails, so you don't get behind.
  • choose one nice to do task each week, yes only one, and focus on getting it done.

On my list above, only the wisteria and the cobbles are important, all the rest are nice to have's or dreams.  It takes the pressure off knowing I only have two things to focus on, and if things go pear shaped this week neither are even important and I can let them go.
Sharing my dreams here helps too, putting the thoughts and images into a post stops them racing around my head.  Also I won't lose track of my ideas and thoughts.

One week I focused on getting the washing line set up.  Sounds crazy but it's a lot of little jobs: finding the drill, two trips to the hardware to get the right size drill bits and screws, finding the position of the wall supports, measuring the correct height, assembling the thing from the pathetic instructions.  At the end of the week the line was up, task firmly crossed off the list forever.  I had to laugh when I read Mia's post at Number-Nineteen on Monday, she is also celebrating the convenience of a new washing line.

This week it has been all about getting the children's clothes sorted as the seasons change.
I have done the sorting but the neatly labeled bundles are still sitting on the table until I buy a new plastic crate to store them in.  It all takes time, it will be done by Sunday.

Oh no!

Ooops! Looks like Blogger's done it to me again. That last post was a draft for an upcoming post. And while it looks like a bash against social's not. It's another heartfelt post about building meaningful relationships as a result of social media (Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) 

I hope you'll hop back over to take a peek when it's done! 

Happy Thursday!

new kitchen accessory...

Some girlfriends were visiting Monday and one of them presented me with a little kraft box from The Ontario Craft Council. I opened it up to find my very own Heydey Design ceramic jar that I have been coveting since the Spring One of a Kind Show and just blogged about. I flipped out. It's beautiful and has a place of honor in the new kitchen. Yay! Ps., Thanks Kareen. xo

Sizzling Summer Sign

So now that we are starting to sadly watch summer take a back seat and fall peaking it's fally head in....
I have for you a very summery sign I painted a few months back for a customer.
I must admit that sometimes custom work can kind be somewhat hum-drum.
Not so with this one!
He wanted a "Margaritaville" style sign.
The customer (a local contractor who did our pool redo) has commissioned a few custom pieces and it's always interesting to see what style he'll have me do next.
So there ya have it!
And you thought I've just been sitting around didn't you?

dishes // bone china

A few weeks ago Kay was asking via twitter where to find good white dishes and it made me think of our dishes that I adore. When Aubrey and I were married 8 years ago we received formal china for entertaining. But we totally cheaped out on our everyday plates. Total regret.  Our everyday plates were heavy and chipped easily (they may have been ceramic?) Although they were inexpensive per piece, it still adds up to be an investment when you buy a number of place settings. So should you be looking for everyday plates, I wanted to tell you about what we did.
As our everyday plates dwindled (due to chipping/cracking/breaking) I decided that we should maybe invest in good "everyday" plates. My Mom has beautiful dinnerware and she's the one that told me about bone china. Bone china is lighter and more resilient to chipping than our ceramic plates.

Although we picked up our set of bone china a few years back at the William Ashley Warehouse Sale just as recently as last week I was at HomeSense and found plates that were bone china. How can you tell? Pick up a piece and turn it around. You can see that it says what it is. As above, it says in small type "Bone China".

Anyhow, that conversation on twitter really sparked this post as I really adore our dinnerware. So if you're looking for new awesome dishes, maybe source out bone china for your house.

Update: We have the Dutchess brand of plates & bowls via William Ashley and a set of 8 of the Wedgwood "Night and Day" small bowls in addition (as shown above) The night and day bowls are perfect for berries or ice cream. :)

DIY gold chair

My chair is finally gold!

On Monday I called Rust-Oleum and explained what happened. They suggested that I return the paint to Home Depot. When I accidentally bought the silver paint, Home Depot was out of Rust-Oleum's gold spray paint. They had fully restocked since then, and next to the cans of gold, I realized there was nothing wrong with the cans I bought, their caps just weren't silver (and the cans weren't marked). Luckily Home Depot's customer service department was very understanding. They explained that they couldn't take the silver spray paint back (I'd already used a can and a half), but they gave me two cans of gold spray paint, free of charge.

I love the gold. And the new seat cushion.

To make it, Adam cut a piece of plywood to size for me (1) and I cut a piece of foam to match (2). I used a little spray adhesive to secure the foam to the plywood before wrapping it with some batting (3) and stapling it to the back of the plywood. Finally, I wrapped the whole thing with my fabric and secured it with more staples (4).  


So cheerful.

I bought the chair on Kijiji a few years ago and the rest of the supplies were leftover from other projects. My only purchases were the fabric and two cans of spray paint, so this makeover was less than $25 - and worth every penny :)

Piet Oudolf inspiration again

I am a huge fan of Piet Oudolf's gardens, wild and textured and colourful.  In the nursery today I spotted a beautiful Lomandra Lime wave grass and it reminded me of this Piet Oudolf picture below.
Photo via Flickr, if anybody knows the original source let me know
I have already planted these exact salvias (Salvia nemorosa 'Caradonna' which I managed to source from Lambley Nursery) but the Sesleria grass I have seen in Sydney has been a little drier and browner.  I like the zestiness of this green, I don't want brown.  The Lime wave (bottom left) may be a great solution.  Plus it is hardy enough to survive the plant love of Little Miss J, as well as being an Aussie native and very drought tolerant. Tick tick tick - this is the one!
I will have the gorgeous crocus towards the front (center above) and the Sedum Autumn Harvest (above right) coming up every now and then.  It could work!  I am itching to get to the nursery and get planting!!  Its so lovely to have a garden again!

thanks for the help....

I got a amazing feedback on where to find blue & white pottery much like the ones I found antiquing in cottage country. Shadi snapped a photo of a page from HGTV magazine (shown above) and it showed these Chinese Ginger Jars are from a shop (Thank you for taking that photo!) Robbin via the comments told me that Bowing having a collection (and they are on sale!) and LouLou via the comments sent me a link to the Bombay Company's collection. Of course, there is Chinatown which is actually where I did find one similar a year ago, but the pattern wasn't totally to my taste. But I should go back down for fun to search out more treasures. Anyhow, just wanted to say thanks for the help but also - pass along these links should you want to find some too! xo Linds

First Day of School...

Sometimes life doesn't go the way you want it to.
Beau was all ready for his first day of kindergarten but started complaining of a sore throat the night before.
Turns out he has hand, foot and mouth.
Poor guy.
Not an easy thing to know you're missing the first few days of school.

grouting surprises

Grouting the kitchen backsplash is complete. :)  We had a little surprise when the grouting was done - Although the container from Home Depot said "Bright White" as you can see in the image below, it definitely isn't bright white.

It's kind of gray .... no?

Thankfully it was a happy surprise. For the longest time our kitchen was being used without grout and the spacing between the tiles made it look like we had done gray grouting. The look was growing on me and I was nervous to go completely white with the grout. But we did - partially because I like to play it safe. When Aubrey was done the grouting I said to him cautiously - "It looks kind of gray doesn't it?" He agreed, but then we kind of moved on because we both liked the look. It also plays well with the Caesarstone Misty Carrara countertop.

So conclusion to the pre-mixed grout? Awesome as there is little cleanup and you can use what you need, and put the rest away. Downside - the colour was a wee-bit off from the label. ;-)

Happy Monday!

I scored this little gem on Kijiji today. I'm not sure where it's going to go yet, but what a great start to the week!

Happy Monday! xo

Making Ikea cabinets look custom

I have always loved the look of crown moulding around kitchen cabinetry, especially when you're using "Big Box Store" cabinets. I think it's one of the key elements in making something out of a flat packed box look custom. (See Carol Reed's blog for inspiration on ways to make Ikea kitchens look custom) Early in the design process we accounted for having crown moulding above the cabinets.

First thing - we went with the tallest Ikea cabinets possible. After accounting for the space between the counter and bottom of the cabinets (18") we were left with enough for a 2" crown moulding. Prior to installing the crown moulding, I painted it in Benjamin Moore's Paper Mache. Because we're working with a lot of whites, it was important to match the Ikea doors.

If you're going to do the same - make a note of the fact that Benjamin Moore's Paper Mache is a perfect match for Ikea's Adel Doors. Ikea Adel doors are not white - they are a creamy tone. I fretted about this originally, but I'll tell you now that the cabinets are gorgeous and I love the tone. I think if they were any whiter they would look too white. You can see in the photos above the crown moulding against the ceiling colour (bright white). The cabinets are definitely cream. By painting the crown moulding the same colour as the doors it makes the entire upper cabinetry look built in. Best decision.

Almost there! We really have only one thing left to do.....

Ps., Thanks to Leigh-Ann for helping me figure out the paint colour for the doors! If you don't have a friend that is a part of the Benjamin Moore Design Team then do what I also did and bring an Ikea door with you to your paint store and start pulling out paint swatches to try to match. (I did this to double check that we were going with the right tone)

Don't you love.....getting organised

I spent the whole day sorting the girls wardrobes, yes I know it sounds boring, but I enjoyed it.  When the seasons change I enjoy having a big tidy, unpacking the cupboards, sorting out what no longer fits, what will be put away, what will be passed on, what is simply worn out.

I have a little trick to keep it all tidy:  

1.  Sort clothes that will be kept by age.

2.  Fold neatly and stack into bundle.

3.  Use string to tie bundle securely.

4.  Write appropriate age or size onto label. 

5.  Tie label onto parcel with ends of string.

If I was really Martha Stewart I would have some gorgeous home made labels like these, just waiting for this very moment.  But since I am not I use the left over Christmas gift tags.

Its a satisfying task to complete. 
Tomorrow I am going to tackle the garage and see if I can unpack the last remaining boxes from our move six months ago.

Scissor string & spool set by Father Rabbit
Scalloped tags via LD Craft Supplies
Colourful tags via Little Paper Farmhouse

Tattered Goods Giveaway at Common Ground

Just had to take a moment to let you know about this! 
Extremely. Awesome. Giveaway. 

Over at Common Ground...

Excuse me, but do any of you follow either of these ladies? They're pretty amazing. 

Why? Well...
Because of pretties like this...

Yup, all that's from Tattered Goods. See what I mean? 
So, hop on over to Common Ground (don't you just love that name?) and find out how you can enter to win some goodies from Tattered Goods

And let 'em know I sent ya! 

MINUSCULE TV SERIES.... for you and your kids

Do you know these little guys yet?  If not I may just be saving your sanity, because I don't know about you, but I can't do Dora baby, not one more time.  

Introducing the teeny tiny bug eye-view world of Minuscule.  Made of course by the French, I don't imagine French children listen to the Wiggles, or High Five. Non Non!
Its cartoon, but not as you know it:
-the backdrop is real gorgeous France, very pretty,
-no dialogue, no irritating sugary squeaky voices, just very cute sound effects & simple instrumental music,
-each episode is about 4 minutes long, long enough to finish dinner, unpack the drier, drink a cup of tea in peace.  Need I say more?  Give it a try.The baby is obsessed, she clutches the remote and presses every button in the hope that "mmmmiiiii" will magically appear.  The rest of us think the baby and the show is funny too.

Tell me what you think, because in a perfect world the kids don't watch tv, but in the real world they sometimes do.  Any other  recommendations will be gratefully received.

Colour mismatch

{the colour I thought I was buying - note the caps} 

{and the colour I actually got}

I'm working on a little chair transformation, but as you can see, the gold spray paint I bought came out silver! I tweeted about it yesterday and Rust-Oleum responded right away. I'm going to try their customer service line on Monday and hopefully they'll hook me up with the right colour ASAP. The silver doesn't look half bad, but I have my heart set on a gold chair. Not happy that I have to spray paint it again, but at least it doesn't take long to do!

in search of serenity again

I was thinking of the beach, driftwood and seaweed.  Birds, a hint of green.  Sepia, a hint of horns.
Have a lovely weekend, sip some wine, laugh a lot, snooze a little, love those dear ones, life is to short.
Deer print by Nan Lawson, Bird vase designed by Gemma Orkin from West ElmSeaweed botanicalsI found this restful desk space on Father Rabbit, and was wondering what I would put in the shelves if they were mine.   If you could see my desk right now you would know why this appeals!  I am going to get it clear and enjoy this lovely spring sunshine with my family. 

Cottage Country Finds: Canadian Crown Jars

Ever since I spotted Heydey Design ceramic jars at the One of a Kind Show last year, I have wanted to have one in my house. It seemed like pure Canadiana to me and while antiquing in cottage country last week, I spotted in two different shops collections of old Canadian Crown Jars. Although I would still love one from Heyday Design, the price of the real glass ones were too good to pass up.

The weight to them is significant, and on the blue one, you can see that the glass is far from perfectly blown. Indents here and there make it feel like you're holding a piece of history. Unlike the new canning jars that you buy today these have significant weight and beautiful imperfections. I'll stop my collection here as I don't want to take away from the pleasure I have looking at these two, reminding me of our summer trip.

The blue jar I almost passed up, until the shop keeper pointed out that it had on the back T. Eaton Co. And 190 Yonge Street - the location of Eaton's as of 1883 [Source]. Although neither jar are likely worth much, they are finding spots in the (soon to be revealed) kitchen. :)

Ps., I really wanted to find an original beaver jar but I was told they are really hard to come by - and therefore, are expensive.

Don't you love....wobble wobble wobble jelly on a plate

When Little Miss J turned one we made these jelly oranges for her birthday tea.  It was nostalgic for me because all birthday parties had these when I was a small child.  Nobody else seems to remember them, do you?Pretty colours + jelly + feeding myself = baby heaven.  
Be prepared for a jelly fall out zone so best to give them to the babies outside on the lawn.
Think she enjoyed them much?  
To make:
- Halve oranges and scoop out fruit (make orange juice while you are at it).
- Place halved fruit skins on a tray and fill with jelly liquid.
- Chill in fridge until set, you may have to top up the jellies as they set, so keep jelly liquid in reserve.
- Once set cut carefully in half.

"mmmmm mmmmm" as Little Miss J would say.

HookingupwithHoH Today I am linking up this recipe at House of Hepworths.  There are lots of amazing DIY and recipe links already up so make sure you pop on over to see what is happening over there.

blue and white pottery

I started noticing that a lot of the interiors I liked had blue and white pottery in the room design. Finding some at a reasonable price in the city proved to be impossible but I lucked out while shopping in cottage country last week. I came across a collection of them in the back of a shop and I immediately bought them all. The pots varied from $10 - $25 and although not super cheap in the scheme of normal barnyard finds in cottage country they were far less expensive than I would have found in the city. Aubrey initially didn't get the appeal, but once in our house he said he did like them. :) To see some other (fancier/more expensive) ones in interiors read more below.

Read more »

DIY fabric headboard

I'm back with some more guest room updates. Earlier this week I DIY'ed a headboard for the new bed. It's actually the same headboard we used in the old guest room (which is now the nursery). I covered how I made the original headboard in this post. For V2.0, I just covered the whole thing with a fabric shower curtain that I accidentally shrank in the dryer and secured it with staples.

I still have to figure out the bedding. Ironing the pillowcases would help. Should I switch out the white pillowcases for some colour? Buy fluffier pillows? Add some throw pillows? I know the quilt (a wedding gift) gives me lots of colour to choose from, but I'm struggling with what direction to go in. Suggestions please!

To give the headboard some interest, I DIY'ed a couple of fabric buttons. I followed this tutorial, but I used buttons with holes instead of a shank (loop on the back). Just make sure you thread the button (to attach it to the headboard) before you cover it with fabric (I figured this out the hard way).

It's hard to capture in photos, but in real life the buttons and the shower curtain's subtle chevron pattern really add some oomph.

The mirror above the bed is from Canadian Tire (it's from Debbie Travis' line). We purchased it a couple of years ago to hang above the guest bed futon in our old apartment.

While I was at it, I also hung some art. This poster is from a really cool exhibit of photos from Picasso's daily life that I saw with a friend several years ago in Luzern, Switzerland.

It's kind of funny that I'm already hanging art, since this side of the room actually looks like this:

Not really at the art hanging stage. Anyway, here's what we've done and what we still need to do in this room:

-Rip out carpet and install new hardwood floors
-Stain and install new solid wood door
-Install horizontal planks over textured walls
-Paint walls
-Paint closet
-Build "cloffice"
-Patch and paint the trim and window
-Install and paint new baseboard and quarter round
-Finish patching and staining new door
-Install new light fixture
-Replace outlets
-Sew curtains for window and closet door
-Buy new bed
-Hang art, mirror

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