Blue + white

We've had a wall of plates in our dining room for awhile. I didn't love it, but I didn't dislike it enough to take it down. It was just there. At some point, I thought adding a few blue and white plates might help and I must have mentioned it - maybe even here - because my mother-in-law brought this beautiful blue and white plate back from Ontario for me. 

The smaller plate I bought for 50 cents at the 50-mile yardsale.

It's better, but I think I need at least one more blue and white plate. The hunt continues!

Run or Dye

On Saturday, Adam and I participated in the Run or Dye 5K. It was lots of fun and the turnout was impressive. The course felt like it was one (small) hill after another and it was embarrassingly hard for me to keep a good pace going, considering I ran a half over the summer and I heard the route was actually closer to 3.5K. Looks like I need to get my butt out and running before our 10K race in a couple of weeks!

Sunday Night Inspiration | What a Gift!

I know it's really late on this Sunday so for this week we'll call this the "Sunday Night-Monday Morning Inspiration". We've had a full weekend of sports and time with friends. Lots of laughing, wrestling, talking, praying, dreaming...and thinking.

Today while I was out for a bit I had the opportunity to bless some really special friends of ours with an anniversary gift. I wasn't stumped one bit when I thought about what to get them for their anniversary. As a matter of fact, the choices were abundant but I settled on a sweet quote throw pillow for their bedroom and some gourmet dark chocolate salted caramels for the two of them to share. While there was no slim picking, I was pretty particular about the items I purchased. I wanted them to be just right. It was, after all, their 14th anniversary.

Anyone who knows me knows that one of my love languages is "gifts".
{Admittedly, it's probably number one, eh hm.} And while receiving them is fun, no doubt, giving them for me is just as amazing. I love it!

Today, as the lady at the shop packaged everything up for me I felt the excitement growing as I thought about the look on our friends' faces when they opened up the gift we'd purchased for them. I couldn't take it...the excitement continued to build and the time that passed from the time of purchase to the glorious opening was approximately...five. long. hours.
There is, of course, a reason that I share the details of my day and the thrill I get each and every time I have the opportunity to give to someone I know or a stranger a gift.
Today, as I drove home from the mall I and thought about WHY I was SO excited to give and why in the world enjoy it so much.
I was then reminded of the amazing Gift Giver Himself...Jesus.
The ultimate exchange...thje ultimate sacrifice.
He {Jesus}has given us a great gift. As a matter of fact, it's the greatest of all. Life.
Real. True. Pure. Full. Blessed. Abundant...LIFE.  
And why do we give? Because He did and He does. Why do I get so excited about giving? Well, because He does. Don't believe me?

He gave...
After supper He took another cup of wine and said, "This cup is the new covenant between God and His people-an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you. -Luke 22:20

And He loves doing it...even more than me...or you.
If your little girl asks for an egg, do you trick her with a spider? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing—you’re at least decent to your own children. And don’t you think the Father who conceived you in love will give the Holy Spirit when you ask him?” -Luke 11:13
He thought about you then, thinks about you and me now and planned our great destinies...
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, {Yup, He was thinking of you even then} that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons... -Ephesians 1:3-5
Not only does He think about us, love us, cheer for us, comfort us...He is purposeful and thoughtful in His giving of gifts and He has given us GREAT PURPOSE to, through Him, live an empowered life with open hands and hearts that are willing to give just because He did.
Let the adventure begin,

Wood Slices + Sanders

During the wedding planning for my brother's wedding, one thing that the lovebirds knew that they wanted were slices of wood for their centerpiece. Unfortunately - finding slices of wood locally proved to be impossible. Although we found them on Etsy they were pretty expensive to ship to Canada. I kept racking my brain trying to figure out how we could do our own. It wasn't until I was at our cottage - a few weeks before the wedding that it hit me - We have a TON of wood stumps on our property and all I needed was someone to slice them. (It seems obvious I know, but really it was the slicing part that was stumping* me)

The "ah-ha" moment was the realization that a man who works at one of my favourite cottage antique spots always was wood working outside the shop, and it hit me that if anyone knew how to slice the stumps, he would. I decided to try my luck and see if he would be able to help me. And he said yes! He informed me all we needed was a chainsaw. Well, we needed a chainsaw and someone comfortable enough to use it. That's where Andy came in.

Meet Andy. :) A few bucks later, my car was full of slabs. But they were a little "rough" so I brought them home and proceeded to sand them.

I have a little mouse sander but it wasn't working as much as I'd like it on these. The Home Depot heard I was doing this project back in September and sent me this awesome gadget....

A Ridgid Heavy Duty Belt Sander. Whoooooo!!! If there is one thing I love as much as I love vacuums it is power tools that I can use like power sanders. If you don't have one in your home then I highly, highly recommend one. Although the mouse would likely be the most used in most DIY toolboxes this belt sander is pretty awesome for heavy duty sanding. Although I'm showing it in use for this wedding craft - I actually got more use out of it in some other projects I'm working on - which are coming up. But back to the wedding crafting for this post....

The sander arrived when my brother was there - so we actually got to do this project together which was pretty darn fun. (Although my brother looks pretty grumpy, but I assure you he was happy). It was ridiculously easy to use. The cool thing with this sander is that it has a bag on the end to collect the sawdust - a great plus if you're doing something indoors (which I did do later, and although it doesn't suck up ALL the dust, it's pretty significant how much it does)

The thing that I discovered was that the belt sander was actually too powerful for the little slabs of wood that I initially wanted to use it for. It kept throwing the slabs at me because the rotary part means that the sandpaper well, rotates vs. staying in one place. Even though it kept chucking the wood slices at me (cue a few screams from me, and hysterical laughter of those watching) it worked really well on planks (you can see me sanding a plank above). So if you're sanding small items, stick with a mouse. Bigger items like planks of wood or big furniture pieces - the belt sander is sooooo much fun.

With the leftover slices that weren't even enough for resting a vase on - I painted chalk board paint on them to be used throughout the wedding venue to write things on. :)

It was pretty darn cute. Ps., Oscar snuck into the picture above.

The birch wood slices sanded the easiest. So if you're hunting some piles of wood - go for the birch. :)

In terms of sanders, the mouse still is my favourite but this Belt Sander is a welcomed addition to my DIY toolbox for bigger projects. :) You should also check out this pretty helpful page: Sander Buying Guide 

Belt Sander.......Ridgid Heavy-Duty Belt Sander via The Home Depot
Wood Tree Stumps .......... My cottage. :)
Wood Cutting ................ A friendly neighbour at the cottage, Andy
Mouse Sander ............... My own, but you can get it at The Home Depot

The Home Depot provided me with the rotary sander to help me accomplish this project. Thank you!!

*Pun Intended. :)

Decorating with Gold

It's no secret by now that I am just a wee bit in love with gold. I also think it 's a great way to add an inspiring touch to just about any space. As Fall season is upon us I probably really should be writing about that and how awesome my mantel looks in all of its fall mantel remains empty. Truth.

Instead, I intend to wish you a happy Friday and inspire you to add gold to your beautiful autumnal displays and hopefully I will be able to come back later and show off my beautiful Fall mantel. Until then...swoon.


bits + pieces

Happy Friday! I have a whack load of projects on the go, all worthy of blog posts but every night when I typically would come down to my office to write or, get some extra hours of work in - I'd head up to bed, curl up and watch trash TV. It was one of those weeks of feeling bummed out and at the same time pretty thankful for a lot of things. I had some lovely "dates" this week. I went for a coffee with Debra, and had a girly night sleepover at my Mom's house - and hung out with my new sister and her sister - who also feels like family.  Oscar is home from preschool today, his cold got worse and I've been up a lot at night with him rubbing vicks on his chest and on his feet. Aubrey thinks I'm nuts but I swear the feet thing works. All in all, it was a really nice week and I'm excited to show you some projects. :) Here are some bits + pieces that I thought I'd share.
  • What would you do to your home if you were given $1,000? That's what I was asked and see my response You can enter to win $1,000 - which is aweeeeeeesome. *
  • This is genius. How to recognize artists 
  • Oscar wants to be a pirate for Halloween and he told Aubrey that he has to be Captain Hook and I'll have to be Mr. Smee. I'm not terribly happy about being Mr. Smee.  But then he tried on a Banana costume and for awhile there we were going to have to go as a Banana family. No lie. And I may have bought adult Banana costumes for Aubrey and I. I'm waiting for someone to dare me to walk down the street as a banana.
Anyhow, have a great weekend! Above are just some shots from my phone this week - shopping at the Drake, walking with my Mom and admiring gardens and of course - dressing up at Target.

*I was given a $50 gift card for Home Depot my thanks in sharing this link with you! 

Photo inspiration + weekend links

It's Friday! I have some painting to finish up this weekend (oh, guest room I'm finally going to check you off my list!), but tomorrow is all about the Color Run - and a much-needed haircut. I conveniently scheduled my haircut after the run in case I need help getting all that dye out of my hair ;)
Tartan is one of those designs that never goes out of style, and every Fall I go through a plaid kick. As much as I love it, I always struggle to incorporate it into my home (I have one great tartan blanket and that's about it). Here are some examples of homeowners who've done plaid in a big way - walls, upholstery - and a few low-commitment ways to get some plaid in your life - think blankets, pillows or a great coat. I think that pillow (or something similar) needs to find its way onto my couch.
This week's links are at the bottom of the post. There are some good ones, so make sure you scroll through!
Happy weekend! xo






Weekend reading:

-It's nice to know I'm not alone in asking myself these questions.

-I couldn't have discovered this post at a better time. I wonder how often you do this - I know I'm guilty of it.

-A really powerful art exhibit.

-Adam and I didn't start pooling our money until we got married, but it has dramatically reduced arguments over money (reduced being the key word).

-An incredibly cool DIY mirror.

DIY Gold Frames | Kids' Mini Gallery Wall | Rub'n Buff Magic

Two out of our four kiddos love drawing and creating things with their hands. I'd like to say they get it from...well, their mama.

They also love to hang their creations up all over the house with washi tape, Scotch tape, pretty much whatever they can find to make it stick to walls, doors, furniture...

I decided that instead of having pieces of paper and artwork all over the house that we would consolidate their masterpieces and contain them in one area of the house. A kids' gallery wall if you will.

Yesterday, I needed to run out to Target to pick up a few things and if you're a Target shopper you know you can't just go into that place without checking out a bazillion other things that SHOULD have been on your list. This is especially true when it comes to their clearance sections. Right?

I found these frames marked down to $0.88 each. What? I just knew I could do something with them and then I remembered I'd wanted to make a gallery wall for the kiddos so I snatched them up! All 12 of them! Yippee!

Since I am loving Rub'n Buff and all things gold right now, what better way to transform and accent these frames than to add a dab of the liquid gold goodness to them to help them "pop" off the wall?
You really don't need much when using Rub'n Buff for a project, just your finger. Since I had a lot of frames and I am an OCD crafter, I used a paintbrush to coat these frames.
I didn't get a good pic of the in-between of applying the wax to the frame but the process doesn't look amazing.
First, I dropped a little of the wax on each side of the frame. A little really does go a long way.
After that, I just took my brush and begin to spread it {in one direction} along the sides of each frame. You really don't want to go back and forth with the wax. It begins to cure pretty quickly and if you do, this will happen...
See those areas that look a little thicker than the others? That's because I got a little crazy with the dolloping. {yup, that is a word!}
I ended up going back after the wax cured and sanding very lightly to get rid of the rough spots and then waxed over with a VERY small amount. Hey, practice makes perfect and I am still getting to know the product.
This little project only took about an hour from start to finish. That is, of course, since I decided I am SO BAD at hanging pics so I used Dap and Museum putty instead of nails for pics until the hubs could work his magic. Yep, sure did.
I think it turned out pretty good. What do you think?
Have you used Rub'n Buff or any other products to transform your home d├ęcor lately? I'd love to see them!

Partying with...
Wow Us Wednesdays

A weekend well spent

I hope you had a great weekend. Even a flat tire couldn't ruin ours. We visited with an old and dear friend on Saturday morning, picked apples and pears with Adam's mom in the afternoon, and enjoyed a Chinese feast with Adam's family that night. My mom and I took Hannah to the park on Sunday, while Adam suffered through mowing the lawn and installing the trim in the guest room. That's right, more than one year later, the baseboard is finally in! For my part, I spent a good part of this evening caulking the new trim. Tomorrow I start painting and then photos.

Until then, here are some photos from our weekend! xo

jewelry find....

Blue Necklace/ Amethest Necklace 

I've been eyeing a necklace for a number of months and a few weeks ago splurged on getting it. (Actually two because I couldn't decide which I loved more.) I love blues, greens and purples in my home and the same is for my jewelry - rarely do I gravitate to the reds or oranges. As fate would have it, my purchase arrived on our wedding anniversary last week and I chose to wear the blue one out for our lovely dinner. (I paired it with this dress that I picked up online at Old Navy and these shoes from Payless that are ridiculously comfortable) The necklace got so many compliments. Aubrey commented that he liked it as it was a change from the bigger jewelry that I tend to gravitate towards when going out. Anyhow, I'm really a sucker for great jewelry as I really think it changes an outfit so easily. Kind of like pillows changing a rooms vibe. Funny, I just realized I dress as I decorate my house! Ha. ;)

Ps., Although I love the purple, I find that the blue stands out the most against my skin tone.

Etsy Affiliate links used in this post.

Holiday break...

School holidays are on us again and I will be taking a break to spend time with my family.  While I am away I plan to read a book to review, the first of a new monthly post that I am planning to add in association with Random House.

And I will be getting excited about the Blogster Awards in the first week of October!!!!
I am delighted to have been nominated in the lifestyle category for this years awards, especially since the prize is a mentorship with Inside Out magazine.  You can pop along here and vote for me by clicking on the Like button.  
Inside Out may be doing a little promo on the finalists on their blog next week, I will keep you posted!

{Vignette above from my kitchen counter}

I will also be working on some long overdue diy projects, I am almost through making an amazing pull out pants rack with my amazing Kreg.  

There will be lots coming up soon, there is nothing like a break to stimulate a whole lot of fresh ideas!  

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