Kitchen // Shopping Guide

So you have likely seen our Kitchen Reveal and tips and tricks for buying Ikea Kitchens.  This particular post is going to tell you where we got everything else - the essential elements in making our Ikea Kitchen look custom. Things like what hardware, countertops, sink, faucet etc.... This is a long post so all the info is after the jump. Cheers! - Lindsay

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Yet another guest room update

Last time you saw the guest room, the bedding situation looked like this:

Pretty whomp whomp. Luckily you guys offered some great suggestions to improve it - like adding some colourful throw pillows or a bolster - and after doing some research on Pinterest (that's what I'm calling it now), I made a few other changes too.

I brought in the white coverlet from our bedroom (now that we have a new duvet cover) and moved the quilt to the foot of the bed. I find it stands out more this way. I also lowered the headboard a few inches and made a throw pillow using some Marimekko fabric I've had for years (proof that hoarding fabric has its upsides).

Oh, and I decided to nix the mirror above the bed (I actually sold it on Kijiji during this week's mini-purge). My aunt found a gorgeous vintage mirror for me at a Vermont antique shop and my mom is bringing it back for me. But it's not going above the bed. I've got another spot picked out for it and something else planned for the wall above the bed. More on that when I actually get around to it :)

Have a great weekend!

P.S. Remember my hint involving chalkboard paint earlier this week? Check back next week for the reveal!

Perfect, Fun...

A few years back my husband and I decided to enrich our relationship and marriage by joining a small group called "Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage" by Mark Gungor. We've since participated in this particular group once more to refresh all the things we "learned" from our first experience.

If any of you are familiar with Mark Gungor and his teachings, you know that he's hilarious. He adds humor and wit to his lessons and still manages to drive home the point. The course changed THE COURSE of our marriage at a time when we needed it most.

Now, I know some of you are wondering if this is a plug for Gungor and his packages. It is not. Stick with me here...

At the end of the course, Mark encourages participants to log onto his site and take a personality test called The Flag Page. Now, if you're like me, you've taken a bazillion of these things. Admittedly, I was a little leary about taking this one but I thought I would give it a shot. It was worth it. This was one of the most in depth personality tests I have taken and it was "spot on" to boot! 

Turns out I am from the lands of PERFECT and FUN. According to the results, I pay close attention to detail, think deeply about issues and passionately pursue the "right path. I am highly sensitive to others' feelings, energetic and loaded with enthusiasm. 

Of course, the results go into more detail but I'll spare you those and get to the point. 

If you follow me, you'll notice that it has been weeks since my last post. 

Our lives have been full of new schedules, changes and transitions as I am sure MANY of you out there can relate to. 

From having an 8 month old who barely sleeps through the night, three other kiddos who have all sorts of extracurricular activities, supporting my hubby in all of his work endeavors, running the household and attempting to run a business...well, it's enough to make one's head spin. 

It seems as though taking care of all of those things and waiting on that PERFECT moment when my garage was "just so" or my house was "perfectly organized" or when things slow down or come to a screeching halt would be just enough of a slow pace for the FUN of writing HERE and sharing my heart with all of YOU. 

Well, as you also is not, nor will it ever be PERFECT. It's time for It's time to It's time to write, share, blog, paint, sand, laugh, fill in the blank...NOW. 

Sure I have priorities, we all do. But I guess what I'm saying is that you can't let PERFECTION become the PRIORITY. Where's the fun in that?

Living a blessed, full and fun life...

Tips & Tricks for Buying an Ikea Kitchen

I know that someone may fall upon our kitchen reveal in a few years time and will have missed all of the entertaining posts leading up the grand reveal that explained how and why we chose things. I'm going to create some posts that include a lot of information for readers who may be interested in renovating their own kitchen.

For this particular post I'm focusing on the main element - our cabinetry, which is Ikea, and the door style is the Adel door. This post doesn't go into the details of what we picked elsewhere (counter, tiles etc) that you can find in our "Kitchen Shopping Guide". This is just a list of things to consider when designing an Ikea kitchen.  Warning. This is a LONG post. 

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Don't you everywhere

To follow on from the last post, this is how I would like my breakfast tray to look.  Just add a latte.

via Dreamy Whites
I am on holiday with my lovely family next week, so posts may be sporadic.  I hope the holiday includes a breakfast tray like this one.  With latte ofcourse, and cuddles from Miss E and Miss J too.

Kitchen Reveal

Ta-da! Our new kitchen! Can you believe it's Ikea?

I'm in love with our kitchen. Our kitchen is a great example of mixing high end items with budget to end up with a kitchen that is gorgeous. The trick to this kitchen was finding areas of the renovation that we could do ourselves (demolition, painting, cabinetry building) and  picking certain things to splurge on to give it a wow factor (having hardwood installed, going for Quartz counters). We were given two major things as gifts - the faucet, and the hardware. We were also given a discount on our appliances, but everything else we got at retail. The mix of big box store and luxury items gives a pretty spectacular result.

There were some tricky things to work around. I knew from the start I wanted to extend the base cabinetry into the eat in portion of the kitchen, which is higher than the rest of the house (in the above photograph you can see the step) We had to get a little creative with cabinetry - but everything is possible. We installed a GE Cafe microwave above the oven that has a vent feature - that pulls the steam from the stove up and out into the kitchen. I'll get into our appliances more in another post, but I love having this above the stove. 

In the above photo you can see the wall of white subway tile in the background, which I simply adore as it reflects a lot of light from the new pot lights. It also blends in because it is white, like the rest of our kitchen. 

When we bought the house the fridge was blocking the doorway to the front hall. We moved the fridge to the eat in kitchen and bought a counter depth GE Cafe Fridge (more on the appliances later) and we built around it a pantry using Ikea Cabinetry. This made it feel more like the kitchen, instead of the fridge just being plunked into a different room. 

The design inspiration for the cookbooks above the sink came from a Kitchen Cousins Episode on HGTV. I loved the idea, as it was a perfect spot for my cookbook collection that has been gifted to me by my Mom. That faucet. OH that faucet. It's the most gorgeous thing on this planet. It's a Perrin and Rowe and my favourite thing ever. 

Anyhow, that is our kitchen reveal. While we've been finishing up the kitchen I've been working on posts that actually get into 1. Ikea Kitchen Shopping tips 2. Where we bought everything. So stay tuned, but if you have questions I'll do my best to answer.

I hope you like it as much as we do!

xo Lindsay

don't you inside

This is what the spaces in the moody masculine post would look like with flowers.

The Voice of Reason can't deny that they make the spaces sing.
From top left: Elle Decor, Mia Widlake's home (right) and bottom both via Number-Nineteen.

When Life Sends You Lemons...

Poor little Lee fell off the sofa a few weeks ago and fractured both the bones right above his wrist.
Poor little Beau got strep throat last week and missed all but one day of school.
Poor little Jack got sick this week and is currently coughing on me.
It could be worse.
Let's go make some lemonade.

Fall bedding

Now that nights are a little colder, I decided it was time to switch up our bedding for fall. And when I spotted Style at Home's limited edition bedding collection, I couldn't resist the tallulah duvet cover. It's the perfect mix of grey and taupe for our neutral bedroom and I love the ikat-inspired print. I've been searching for a new duvet cover for a long time, but I couldn't find a print I liked (anyone else have that problem?). So when I saw the tallulah print, I got the quick OK from the husband and ordered it on the spot (BTW, it has a nice silky feel to it and I think it could go more grey or taupe, depending on what you pair it with).

I found the wooly red throw at HomeSense for $19. It's perfect for curling up with a hot drink and a good book, or just for taking a nap (these would be two of my favourite fall activities). I already had the small houndstooth pillow on hand and I made the other pillow cover out of an old shower curtain (you may remember it from the DIY fabric headboard in the guest room - it's the fabric that keeps on giving). For fun, I added a few buttons from my collection.

My bedding switcheroo gets Hannah's approval (this is her 'I approve' face):

As opposed to her 'I hate outfit photoshoots!' face:

So, do you switch your bedding up for fall? Any great sources of duvet covers I should know about?

BTW, I wasn't paid or perked to mention Style at Home's new bedding collection - I just like sharing good stuff!

Kitchen Renovation | The Before

So you know what this means, right? If I'm posting "befores" of our kitchen, the "after" is around the corner. I'm happy to post that our kitchen renovation is 100% done and the "after" shots will be revealed in a few days.

The before shots are so dramatically different than what we have now, that they deserve their own post. Above are some photos of what the kitchen looked like when we bought the house. The fridge is blocking the doorway, we had a rolly-dishwasher that you had to attach to the sink (that was blocking the doorway to the basement). We had gross peel and sick floor tiles and one ugly light figure. Over the last three years of living in our house we did small minor improvements to the kitchen to make it liveable (and clean). You can see a the "in between stage" in this post. More photos of the kitchen, and how we lived with it for 3 years after the jump.
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A DIY hint

While Adam was out over the weekend, I moved a few (large) things around in the kitchen. Our tiny kitchen feels so much larger now! And it prompted me to sell a few things on Kijiji, freeing up some much-needed space in our storage room.

I'm hoping to get started on a new project in the kitchen today. The picture above is a hint. Any guesses?

NO SEW! Front Door Decor

I'm sad to say that I procrastinated about doing this forever.
I try to avoid getting my sewing machine out.
Because of that I have avoided doing this project for a few months.
I finally decided that instead of avoiding then why not just do it "no sew"!
Let's get right to it then.
You will need:
1. Fabric
2. Freezer Paper
3. A dowel rod
4. Paint
5. Hot glue
6. Twine or Ribbon

I did a simple design on my computer and printed it out.
(I use this program to design everything)
Then I lay my freezer paper over it and traced it with a pencil.
Use a razor or exacto knife to cut your stencil.
Remember that you are using the inside of the stencil and not the pieces you cut out so be very careful as you cut!
Ignore the stained rug and the toes peeking out and move forward...
Cut out your burlap and iron smooth.
Fold over your edges and iron them, then hot glue them down.
Center your freezer paper stencil on the burlap and iron on good.
Make sure you get all the tiny, pointy pieces ironed in the correct positions.
Blot on your paint.
Try not to brush it on since this may result in pushing paint under the edges of the stencil.
Wrap the burlap (or whatever fabric you chose) around your dowel rod.
Yes, I stained my dowel rod.
I'm fancy like that.
Glue the bajeebers out of it.
Go ahead and wrap some twine or ribbon around the dowel rod now.
Good job.
You should have something like this now...
I'm not a Fall person.
I'm strictly a Spring & Summer person.
I'm trying to embrace it though.
 This is me.
Embracing it.

Custom Stamp Giveaway

To celebrate the shops's 8th anniversary here is a fun little giveaway. Enter to win a Custom Rubber Stamp from my shop, The Penny Paper Co. I'll draw two winners. Open to Canadian and US readers. Stamp value is any stamp that is $29.95 or less. Contest ends Friday, September 28th, 2012 at midnight.

1.     Comment on this post and let me know which stamp you'd likely pick, should you win. Be sure to check out the Personal Stamp collection, the Wedding Collection and our Holiday Stamps
2.     Optional: If you "Like" The Penny Paper Co. on facebook, comment a second time saying that you did this. This gives you a second chance of winning. If you already like us on Facebook, be sure to comment a second time too! *

That's it! Good luck!

FINE PRINT: Not redeemable for cash, product not transferable for another product. Stamp must be redeemed within 2 months of contest ending. If a winner doesn't respond to being picked within 1 week, we'll redraw. Winner will be drawn by Tuesday, October 2nd, and I will update this post with names.

*To be fair, if you win and you commented that you liked the store on Facebook, I will check Facebook first to make sure you did. Although I don't think any of my readers would tell a fib, I've heard of other contests where people have. So in order to be fair to other people, please be truthful! xo

UPDATE: Contest closed. We increased the winning giveaway to three winners due to the 300+ comments. 

Free Halloween Font - Evilz

Although it seems ridiculously early to post Halloween stuff, when it comes to DIY projects it I think the earlier the better. This is a little bit of a recycled post from last year but it's too cute not to share year after year. Download this free font - EVILZ. I used the font last year to make some cute bags for Oscar's friends (shown below). Ps., Instead of candy we filled the fun little bags with toy bats.

Don't you love...Moody & masculine monochrome

Moody masculine monochrome energy, this post is for the Voice of Reason who has always dreamed of the industrial inner city loft.  I do love this look, the textures, the contrast, nothing that a lovely bunch of flowers wouldn't be able to soften to my taste.
images: top left & right by Richard Powers, magazine stacks via Abigail Ahern, skull print on old paper by Mia Widlake
 I want a jelde lamp like this one above (via Artilleret).  One of those things I noticed recently and now can't stop thinking about.
left via Blood and Champagne ,right again via Artilleriet this time with a flos lamp I covet for our lounge

There is that lamp again. (via Gifts of Life)
And to go with the loft the Voice of Reason would have this country bolt hole.  Imagine the parties you could have here! (photo by Richard Powers)

How to turn any pair of jeans into skinnies

Now that Hannah is almost 2 months old, I'm starting to put together a plan to lose the rest of my pregnancy weight. I  know it will take time, but it's hard to be patient when most of my clothes don't fit, especially my jeans. My mom suggested picking up some cheap jeans so I would feel more comfortable, so while I was staying with Adam's parents last weekend, my mother-in-law and I made a quick stop at Frenchy's (quick because Hannah had her first public meltdown - we survived).

For those who don't know, Frenchy's is a chain of used clothing stores across Nova Scotia and some of the best ones are in the Annapolis Valley (where Adam's parents and my mom live). The one we go to (Guy's in Coldbrook if you're local) usually has tons of great stuff from labels I love, like Gap and Banana Republic, and labels I love but that aren't available in stores here, like J. Crew, Express, LOFT, and The Limited - often with the tags still on. It helps to go with an experienced Frenchy's shopper (digging through bins of clothes to find the good stuff is a bit of a skill) and Adam's mom is like the master yogi of Frenchy's shopping. Anyway, I found three pairs of jeans (including a pair of Citizens), but they were all bootcut and I wanted skinny. I decided to turn them into skinny jeans with my sewing machine and it was so easy to do I thought I would share!

To start, I laid a pair of skinny jeans I already owned on top of my Frenchy's jeans and marked the leg line with pins.

Using my sewing machine, I stitched along this line (when I got to the thigh, I just stitched along the existing seam the rest of the way up the leg). You can trim the excess fabric if you want, but I just left it and I don't notice it at all.

And that's it! In less than five minutes I had a new pair of skinnies!

Turn a tablecloth into window treatments

Fall is officially here, which means lots of rain in Halifax. I happen to love a good rainy day, except when I'm trying to photograph my latest DIY project :)

I was in the home section of my local Superstore last week (I think it's Loblaws in Ontario), when I spotted white cotton tablecloths on sale for less than $5 each. I scooped two up, thinking they'd be perfect as curtains in the guest room. Turning one into a "door" for the closet was easy. I opened up one of the seams to slide a tension rod through and, after a quick wash and dry, I lucked out and it was the perfect length for my opening - no sewing required.

{we still need to install baseboard and door plinths}

I'm thinking about adding a small piece of trim along the top of the opening to hide the tension rod, but we'll see.

Inside the closet, some inexpensive hangers from Winners hold my fabric, a plastic bin holds wrapping paper, and another stores gift bags, tissue paper and other gift wrapping supplies. On the shelf, there's room for a couple small boxes of craft supplies, my iron and a sewing machine. The table next to the closet doubles as my sewing table and the top drawer holds all my sewing supplies.

Here's what the table might look when we have guests (I threw a few things together for photos, but who knows how long it will stay this way). I got the glass lamp at a yard sale for $5 and the art is actually a framed postcard from a friend. The clock is from Winner's and the white bowl and plant are both from Superstore (the plant needs to be transplanted, so I haven't removed the care instructions yet).

I thought the bowl would be a convenient spot for guests to empty their pockets at the end of the day and every room needs a clock (just need to add batteries so it actually works haha).

But back to those cheapy tablecloths. The curtain for the window took a little more time and required actual sewing (although you could easily turn it into a no-sew project with hem tape). I basically hemmed a panel to fit my window and sewed a channel for my tension rod. Then I cut four lengths of grosgrain ribbon and sewed them to the top of my panel so the curtain can be tied up during the day and easily lowered at night by undoing the ribbons.

I love how it turned out! You could easily complete this project in 30-minutes, provided you're not trying to juggle DIY, caring for a newborn, feeding yourself and keeping your house halfway decent (yeah, it took me a lot longer).

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