My top 5 summer camping essentials

The long weekend is here and we're going camping. Can you believe it will be our first camping trip of the year? And Hannah's first camping trip, period. Just for fun, I put together a list of my top five camping essentials (you know, once you've got the basics like a tent and sleeping bags covered).
  1. A comfy sweater or sweatshirt. Campfires are obviously one of the best parts of camping, but a comfy sweater on a cool night makes the campfire even more enjoyable. Better still when your comfy sweater is also cute.
  2. Since our camping trips usually involve a hike or two, I'd love to add a bento box to my stash of camping supplies. An easy and space-saving way to transport your lunch and no trash to deal with after!
  3. A good blanket is a camping must. Use it during the day to create the perfect picnic or beach spot, or at night as an extra layer around the campfire or in your tent. Plus, this one is plaid - how can you not love it?
  4. Part of why camping is so great: the food! I love a good s'more, but I hate searching for roasting sticks (probably because I never remember to go looking until after dark). I love the colourful handles on this marshmallow roasting set, but you can also make your own.
  5. There is nothing better than a hot cup of coffee on a cool morning while camping. Seriously. Our perc isn't nearly this shiny, but I wouldn't dare leave home without it.
Any campers out there? What's on your list? Given the weather forecast for Sunday, a tarp should be #6 ;)

Here are a few camping-related links for your enjoyment. Happy long weekend! xo

-A printable camping checklist
-For the love of DIY: Camping Hacks
-The top 25 camping sites in Canada. Do you agree?
-A pretty genius camping trick from Emily at Go Haus Go

little letters of gratitude...celebrating the best of one year of blogging

Little letters of gratitude after a year of blogging:
- to all the lovely people who have stopped by for a visit on these pages
- and the even lovelier people who came back and told their friends
- for the amazing brands I have been privileged to work with
- and for every blogger out there who has shared their tips and tricks and helped me get better
- to my lovely friends and family who have supported my creative space and blog obsession
- to every person who commented (it really makes my day)

Thought I would share my favourite posts and yours, just in case you missed anything.  Thanks for reading and making the last year so rewarding.

What do you think?  Were these your favourites too?

Looking back its been quite a year!  I started blogging to join in the global blog conversation, and along the way I: 
- found some lovely readers
- met wonderful bloggers
travelled all the way to Salt Lake City to be part of Alt Summit
- worked with amazing brands
- and had a whole lot of creative fun 

Its been wonderful and looking back I can see how I have grown and how the blog has developed its own flavour and style.  Can't wait to know what happens next year...hope you will be along for the ride.

Decorating the home with Etsy....

I was pretty excited when Etsy asked me to guest curate for their e-mail this week. Wheee! I chose the theme of "Decorating the home with Etsy" as I've bought a ton of stuff for my home from sellers on the site, which you likely know if you have read my blog for awhile. You can see their e-mail here but I've also put everything into a collection for you to see should you be intrigued. ;) I think one of my favourite picks were these awesome plates from Yvonne Ellen in the UK. Wouldn't these be awesome hung in a dining room or framed a-la Sarah Richardson in a bedroom? Anyhow, back to sanding some wood tree stumps while Oscar naps. Coundown to the wedding is on!

xo Lindsay

Kitchen inspiration from Oliver & Bonacini

I'm not completely loving the look of our eat in kitchen area right now. (Shown above) It's silly as it truly is quite nice. However a few things are rubbing me the wrong way. The table is a tone of wood I don't like - but on the flip side, the shape and size of the table is perfect for our home. I've looked into having it stripped and stained a new colour - but the price to do that is way out of our budget. Next - the chairs match the table, but aren't all that comfy nor do they look great. The light we have hanging above the table I think is going soon (I'll probably sell it) and I have my eye on one but it is pretty expensive - so we'll see how it plays out. All of this to explain that the eat in kitchen has been on my mind.

I had a girls day with my Mom today and we had lunch at Oliver & Bonacini's restaurant at Bayview Village. Partway through the lunch I turned to my left and looked at the above vignette and fell in love. I loved the gray with white trim, and that dark wood. And the chairs - oh, the chairs.

They were a gorgeous gray and they were comfy to sit in. I've fallen in love.

Aren't they beautiful? So the bathroom isn't done, so I'm not about to take on a new project (just yet) but I thought it was interesting where you can find inspiration - I'm now on the hunt for these chairs, and I'm now considering painting my wood table dark grey. I think it will be a budget way to get an amazing look. Anyhow, really this post is to show you the gorgeous restaurant. :) (And if you know where to get those chairs I'll hug you)

xo Linds

Ps, You can see our current table & chairs in this post

My first upholstery project: choosing the fabric

My fabric samples from Tonic Living arrived on Monday. Narrowing my choices down to four was hard enough; now I have to commit to just one. I'm planning to refinish the wood in a medium tone, slightly lighter than the current finish. You can see the full "before" and my rocker inspiration here.

Which one would you choose?

Clockwise, from top left:

Billow, coral
Casablanca geo, citrine
Carpet ride, radish
Soho, kiwi

in the garden...don't you love it when a plan comes together

Just a few weeks ago the garden had a really dull mid winter look, but finally the ranuncula corms I planted have started to flower!   They look sensational against the fine foliage of the lime wave grasses and pick up the red tones in the last of the autumn leaves.  This is exactly the look I was trying to achieve - a modern meadow.  Now I just need more!!!
See what the garden looked like in summer, the orginal modern meadow inspiration, and my final choice of plants.
After months of being attracted to pastels and minty colours I am loving how this vibrant pink sets of the fresh green leaves.

The grasses are really sensational but I am waging a war against the curl grubs which are determined to eat their roots.  I have finally resulted to using pesticides (which I don't like).  There are just to many and I have lost about a third of the grasses I planted originally.  If anybody has a more environmentally friendly solution let me know.

Backyard picnic

{deep in conversation with Grandma}

How was your weekend? My mom came over for a bit on Saturday and we had a picnic outside on the grass (check that one off my end of summer 'to do' list). I bought fresh salads and vegetable pakora at Pete's and we had a great time just hanging out on the lawn.

Last night Adam and I went to see The Olympic Symphonium + Michael Feuerstack for the opening of the Halifax Urban Folk Festival. It was a great show and a nice way to spend a baby-free evening. Seriously - check out The Olympic Symphonium here and Michael Feuerstack (formerly Snailhouse) here.

In house-related news, I spent a lot of the weekend working on Adam's studio. His teaching year starts again soon, so I'm making some much-needed improvements to his space. While shopping for the studio, I found a light fixture for the dining room. Hopefully we'll have time to install it this week. Lots to share soon!

druzy necklaces

When I was pregnant with Oscar in 2009 I spontaneously purchased a necklace (above) that quickly became a favourite piece in my jewelry collection. It looks like a gold nugget and sits flat against my chest.The necklace chain is so thin that it almost disappears against my skin making the nugget look like it is floating on my neck.

I have fond memories of buying it - When I was pregnant I was pretty bummed out a lot of the time. I was sick my entire pregnancy and gained a lot of weight. Nothing fit, and if something did fit, I just didn't feel pretty*. So when this necklace arrived I remember feeling like I had something special on. Four years later it is still one of my favourite pieces. I wear it all the time- it is discrete enough that I can wear it with a t-shirt (as I am below) or it can come off as a statement piece when paired with a more formal outfit. At $80 it was pretty expensive for such a wee piece, but it has definitely gotten a lot of mileage in my wardrobe.

A few months ago I spotted a similar necklace on Etsy and the term they used in the description was "Druzy". I was pretty excited because my beloved necklace was available in so many different colours. After searching Etsy more for "Druzy necklaces" I came across a ton of necklaces much like my own and unfortunately for me - all at much better prices than what I had paid. Although you can search Etsy for Druzy pieces I've put a few of my favourites, including the ones above, on this page.  I have a few in my own cart, and I'm waiting for a moment to buy some more.

I think this is maybe why I love jewelry so much - A perfect piece can make you feel pretty when the nicest of clothes can't. It won't shrink in the wash, or get too small if your badonkadonk gets too big because of a baby. ;)

* Those 9 months were obviously worth it for my sweet little Oscar. 
* Here is a discussion on what the term Druzy means I was in the dark about this term.
* Unfortunately I can't recall the website that I bought my necklace from in 2009 :(
*Some write it as Druzy (as I have) and others write Drusy. Do you know which is right?


Happy Friday! The washroom is slooooowly coming together. There are a few missing pieces like finding the right hooks and installing a mirror above the sink and up until yesterday there was no shower curtain (but I found one at HomeSense that I adore...And it is obviously white) Although I love showing progress shots I really want to show a grand "Ta-da!!" for this washroom. I think because it's so small, I just want to reveal it all at once. So I think I'm at a stage where I'm going to hold off on more shots until I nail down the last two details! Wheee!

Speaking of washrooms - check out these gorgeous bathroom accessories I spotted at HomeSense (Eglinton and Laird) yesterday. Acrylic gorgeousness (that I bought for our washroom) and faux marble pieces that are ridiculously awesome.

See more HomeSense finds from yesterday over on Facebook.

Have a great weekend! xo Linds

My end of summer to do list

Believe it or not, there's only a month or so of summer left (technically, the first day of fall is September 22). Fall may be my favourite season, but I still want to get the most out of the remaining summer weather. I've put together my end of summer to do list - what's on yours?

source: martha stewart

1. Try grilled pizza

source: pinterest via

2. Hike Cape Split

source: pinterest via

3. Picnic in the backyard

source: pinterest via

4. Go camping

5. Take a beach day

6. Eat an ice cream cone

source: pinterest via

7. Take Hannah to Oaklawn Farm Zoo

Quick flowers for home that will last and last

There is nothing I love more than fresh flowers, they just add life to any room, but they can be expensive.  Real luxury is being able to pick your own flowers, on our farm I filled the whole house with roses from spring through summer.   Every few days I went into the garden with a basket and came back with bunches to fill every vase in the house.  Hopefully I will be able to do that again one day, but for now I will share a little trick to getting fresh flowers that last and last and take just minutes to arrange.  That's my quick and easy solution in the photo below.  Sound good? 
Do your own quick long lasting flowers:
Flat bottomed basket + drip tray + 5 flower pots

Start with a flat bottomed basket or bowl that is about 15cm deep.  
This basket comes from Pond but keep an eye out at second hand stores for large silver bowls. I saw this lovely basket at Freedom the other day which would work well too.
Then pop out to your local garden centre and buy however many kalanchoe pots you need to fill your basket.   
You don't want to see the pots.  The basket needs to be deep enough that the sides cover the pots from the side, and you need enough plants packed in so that the leaves cover the pots from the top.  It should look like the basket is full of flowers.  Take yours to the garden centre so you can test out just how many you need to get this effect.

You will also need a plastic drip tray to stand in the basket and protect the base when you water the flowers. 
Kalanchoe are perfect for this outdoor basket or a sunny indoor spot.  They are succulents with long lasting flowers that gradually change colour as they get older.  Mine have been looking gorgeous for a few weeks now and have turned a pretty soft pink which I love against our black exterior walls.  If you have your basket in a shaded spot they will need to be placed in the sun for a few days every few weeks to keep healthy and keep flowering.  

Orchids are lovely too, use one larger pot in a deep vase.  They can be expensive to buy but flower for ages and you can enjoy them again next year.  My orchids love the shady spot at our front steps and have sent up a gorgeous spray of flowers which are just about to open.  I may just leave them there and not bring them inside this year.

There you have it!  Quick, easy to get a lovely look, and your flowers will last for weeks.  

Zara Home

Tonight I got to have a fun night out and went to Yorkdale to check out the new Zara Home - A store I had been, up until recently, 100% in the dark about. I'm was pretty familiar with Zara for their clothing, but the the Zara Home stores I was totally clueless about. (For the record, I'm in the minority. I think everyone but me knew about this stores existence.) Anyhow, I was definitely curious to see what all the fuss was about. Want to see what they have in store? See more photos of the new Zara Home that opened at Yorkdale. Not in Toronto? You can shop online at

Ps., An open letter to Aubrey - if you're looking for something for Christmas for me - or my half birthday, the "hotel" style tableware I've shown above I drooled over. ;)

My DIY wedding: Guest posting at First Time Fancy

Make sure you stop by First Time Fancy today, where I'm sharing all the details from my DIY wedding two years ago - including lots of pretty pictures!

sleepy time rituals

Every night at the cottage after Oscar had brushed his teeth, said goodnight to everyone and after Aubrey had finished reading him stories - I'd go into his room and sit beside him to hold his hand as he drifted off to sleep.* And every night I'd kiss him goodnight and quietly ask what his favourite part of the day was. Often his response was "Playing in the sand" or "Eating Pink Ice Cream". It was a little conversation I cherished. My sister captured one of these moments between us (above) as Oscar and I snuggled on the couch at the cottage one evening. I have so few pictures of us (taken by someone else) and this one makes me so unbelievably happy.

On the topic of Oscar - I'm still trying to maintain what I guess I would consider as respect for his privacy by not posting a lot of photos of him. But as I also said, I was going to try to find a balance that felt right to me- because being his Mom is a major part of my life, so not show him at all was going to be impossible. But this moment above really is so special to me that I wanted it here, and also has become my profile picture on the blog.

Do you have a special moment at night with your kids? Do you find that they talk to you more openly as they lie in the dark, and the day is almost over? I'd like to continue our conversations as he gets older - so he always knows there is a time of the day, that I will sit and listen no matter how busy the day has been.

*Oscar still likes to have one of us sit with him as he falls asleep. Sometimes, it's a wee bit frustrating that we're in this habit, but 99% of the time I don't mind as I like sitting with him as he holds my hand and rubs my fingers to fall asleep. 

Our family photo shoot

I shared a sneek peak with you a few weeks ago, so I thought I'd follow up with a few more photos from our family photoshoot in July. They were shot by Chelle Wootten of Chelle Wootten Photography, along with her husband and business partner, Adam. I really can't recommend this pair highly enough - they're seriously awesome!
Before I get to the photo dump, I want to share a quick note about the baby weight. Losing it has been a difficult struggle for me. Despite exercising and eating well, I had a really hard time losing weight while I was breastfeeding (not what they tell you, I know). Now that I've weaned Hannah, I'm starting to make progress, but I still have another 15 or so pounds to go.
I'm not telling you this because I'm looking for reassuring comments about how good I look, but because I know a lot of (all?) women struggle with their body image and I want to be honest about how these photos came to be. The truth is that I kept putting them off because I wanted to wait until I'd lost more weight. When I finally accepted that losing the baby weight was going to take a lot longer than I'd planned, I decided I'd put them off long enough. I'm trying to remember that this is a stage, just like any other, and I should document it like I would any other, too. Now that I've seen the photos, I'm so glad I did. They're a good reminder that whatever weight I'm at, I have a pretty awesome family that I couldn't be more grateful for. Priorities!
Anyway, onto the photos. I know there are quite a few, but believe it or not, this is me restraining myself :)




All photos by Chelle Wootten Photography

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