7.16.2012

Working With What You Already Have

I still haven't taken photos of our new front yard, what can I say, I'm pretty fantastic at procrastination.  In all honesty though, with the ridiculous heat wave we've had for the last couple of weeks its been a battle just to keep my new plants alive.  Twice a day I've been dragging our hose to the front yard just to keep them from wilting, sadly we may still lose a couple of plants.  But, with the heatwave easing off and the rain coming my plants will hopefully rebound and we can take some pictures soon!

While our front yard has been coming along nicely everything else has kind of been put to the backburner.  If you have ever heard me talk about our backyard, you have probably heard me utter the words ugly and hate.

Our backyard is a giant deck, landscaping brick everywhere and a garage strategically located right in the middle of the yard.
While big plans are on the horizon for the backyard, these last two years haven't seen much use beyond being utilized as a painting area.

Marc, decided that for our first anniversary he would make that backyard a little bit more palatable.  So with the help of his brother Dan, his sister-in-law Rachel and my mom Carol, Marc put together a pretty good backyard.


I couldn't believe that such a small change could make such a big difference.  This last week I have found myself sitting out in my backyard enjoying it!  All because of a patio set and a few planters.




I'm still looking forward to completely renovating the backyard, but for now, we are working with what we have and it's going pretty well.





7.06.2012

Sometimes you finish a project, and sometimes you run out of brick.

The title pretty much says it all, we ran out of brick yesterday for our walkway, a whole 30 bricks short.  When we decided to widen the walkway I forgot to adjust my oh so careful brick calculations. Thankfully the lady who sold us the brick still had about 300 left so we will pop by sometime this weekend and pick up the last batch.

I did manage to get 8 plants planted yesterday as well, so it is actually starting to take shape as a yard, and it feels really really nice!  Hopefully we can finish this weekend and have pictures ready for Monday!

These last few weeks have been a bit ramshackle with posting, its been a busy time for us, so posts haven't been regular.  But, I'm going to try and get back on track today with the usual "Pictures of the Week".  


Enjoy!







7.03.2012

Confessions

This Canada Day weekend was exhausting. Long, hot, humid and exhausting.  While people were watching fireworks and drinking beer, Marc and I were cutting sod and smashing concrete.  I think we need a vacation from our long weekend.

Now here is the hard part, I have a confession you guys.  My yard is 100% not at all complete.  It's about 50% of the way there, I guess, maybe...

I have about half a walkway and three plants planted, but considering that at 2pm yesterday my yard looked like a brickyard and a dirt pile had blown up, three plants isn't so bad.


It wasn't meant to be, finishing a yard in a weekend.  Thunderstorms, stuck pickup trucks, concrete and tree roots added up to an eventful and long weekend.

Many, many thanks to my inlaws who drove 2.5 hours on super short notice just to help us out!!  Without them I don't think we would have gotten nearly as far as we did, and our walkway definitely wouldn't be as level as it is.

We will keep moving along, and hopefully tonight will be last night of laying bricks and pulling sod.

Farmer Joe

Anique was ready to work hard this weekend, and between the rock throwing and dirt eating it was a lot to accomplish for one little kiddo. She did a pretty good job though, and even got a couple of naps in on the side.

6.29.2012

Big Changes

The reality of owning a home is spending money, the bigger the project the more money, time and people you need.  So, in two years of living in our house we haven't really had the resources to tackle some of the big projects on our wishlist.  Until this week!

Finally, we decided to start on a big redo.  The front yard.



That right there ladies and gentlemen is my completely underwhelming yard.  

It's not bad, just really boring and fairly unkempt.  Three scraggly cedars right next to my house (completely blocking sunshine by the way), an overgrown honeysuckle bush, and a sidewalk that is pretty much no longer in the ground.

So a fair portion of this last week has been devoted to this


Between Marc, myself and my brother Craig we've gotten about half of the sidewalk pulled up.  It only took an entire day.  That is a 4 inch thick, reinforced sidewalk.  I mean, if you're gonna do it, you should do it right.

The last of the sidewalk should meet it's end today, and so will a large portion of the lawn.  Perennial garden, here I come!

Busy weekend ahead, full of big changes.  The ultimate goal for the weekend will be to keep the entire front yard reno under $500 bucks.

Lot's of work ahead!



6.21.2012

Organization For the Not So Organized

I love organization, or at least the idea of it.  See, I'm not as organized as I would like and I'm always astounded by my friends and family who can organize in their sleep.  Their houses are spotless and everything has a place and is in it!

Organizing is a system, a system that I am very slowly learning.  When you work from home being organized is pretty paramount to getting anything done, so I'm starting to figure out how I like to organize.

One of the biggest things I've learned about organizing is that you need containers to organize stuff into.  I like to organize by function and type, and I found some cheap organization tools to help me put items away.

Ikea has the whole organization thing CASED.  If I know that someone is going to Ikea, I send a list, and then hope they have enough room in their vehicle for everything.

I recently got the entire Kvissle set for my office and the whole set quickly became a favourite.  Clean, modern, white and with just a nice touch of cork.

Kvissle Desk Organizers, set of 4 Boxes

Kvissle Desk Organizer

My office just happens to be in my dining room at this point in time, so being neat and organized is key.  Some quick, cheap and easy mount shelving from Rona along with some more Ikea makes keeping all my work odds and ends in site and neat.

Tallisker Containers from Ikea



You don't actually have to spend money to get organized though,  It can honestly be as simple as re-purposing items you already own or found or made.




For our wedding my husband and I made almost 100 vases out of old wine bottles.  While we gave a lot of vases away we still had a couple of boxes left, and ultimately they were suited very nicely for pencils and paintbrushes.

Mason jars are really popular right now for decor, and here's why.  They can be used anywhere and for anything, and they look pretty cute at the same time.

Here was my tea and coffee cupboard pre-organization and pre-mason jar.


It was pretty much a total disaster.  Bags of tea and coffee everywhere, and I never really knew what I had.

Post mason jar organization:



Clean and simple.  Everything stacks, I can read all my labels and I know exactly what I have.  Apparently, I have a lot of tea.

I'm tempted to add some Chalkboard paint labels at some point later down the road, it would up the cuteness factor by at least 10%.

The downside to this whole organization thing?  I no longer have any excuse to stop by my local tea shop, not until I empty a few of these containers anyway.

6.19.2012

On Pink and White

It's finally done, nearly a year later and my fun, stained, beaten up chair is finally finished!  Remember the before?  Bad fabric, nails and screws everywhere, horrible deep red stain and creaky joints.


This chair had some really great bones though, and ultimately there wasn't anything that a bit of paint, epoxy and fabric couldn't fix.  




Beyond revitalizing the wood and fixing the joints and some of the cracks in the legs with epoxy and wood putty it was a fairly simple redo.  Can't believe I didn't do it sooner!  

It was also a really budget friendly redo, I managed to get that lovely coral fabric for $2.50 a metre. Crazy!! Plus I finished the edges with leftover fabric from my bedroom lampshades and sewed my own welting. The cording for the welting was about $4.00.  Paint was at a cost of about $6 a can, for 4 cans.  

Since my father in law was amazing and picked up the epoxy and wood putty supplies, then gifted them to me those were free!

Total cost: $30.50

Not too bad for a ramshackle $75 bishop's chair.  I love it, though I haven't quite decided where it's final home will be.

Also for a bit of fun, instead of covering the bottom of the cushion with the usual black mesh netting stuff, I used the last bit of my lampshade fabric.  Waste not, want not, right?


It's our excitement for the day when we need to pick up toys from underneath our furniture.  I'm so happy with the finished project, not to mention just getting it finished felt so good!

6.18.2012

Relaxing Weekends

Well, I finished my last assignment for my first Syllabus class last week and it feels good.  To be perfectly honest the theory class I took was pretty similar to my undergraduate theory courses at Ryerson, with probably less expectations than Ryerson.  In the end it was pretty simple to get through and finish, but taking courses online at home while working full time with a kid is a whole different system.  Instead of classes taking up 90% of my time and focus, they really only got the measly 10% of my focus this time.  I took just one class this semester so I could see what it was like, and through it, I've determined that any of my design studios (which are run in city, so it isn't online) will be taken alone in a semester, while I could probably handle two or three other courses at a time.

Now, the next couple of weeks will be focused on finishing up my course assessment so I can get some of my credits transferred over.  Lot's of work still ahead of me I suppose.

I celebrated my completion of my first class by finishing up some outstanding DIY projects around the house, plus starting a couple of new ones.  Marc and I also spent some time this weekend taking Anique to the park where they have a "baby sized slide", which she loved!  Down the slide, up the stairs, down the slide.  That slide entertained her for hours, ok, minutes, but that's kind of like hours in baby time.



Plus, this weekend Anique kind of decided that she actually likes the swing, a little bit anyway.  It was a bit of a rainy Father's Day, but we enjoyed it outside anyway.


6.08.2012

A DIY I didn't do

Were you just "dying" to know what the last DIY project was?  No?  That's ok too.  The best part about this next DIY project was that I can't even take credit for it, because Marc did pretty much all of it.

Remember this fantastic end table with the really horribly beaten up veneer?


We picked it up for $30, and then sanded and sanded until the veneer almost came off of the top.  Basically there was no way to salvage the top and have it smooth if we stained it.  But, since the rest of the table was in pretty good shape I didn't want to paint the entire thing.

So we went half and half, sort of anyway.


Painting just the top and sides of the table really helped make the dark wood on the rest of it really stand out.  We usually use General Paints HP2000 for furniture projects since it is a durable paint made for high wear and high wash areas, we didn't this time and I'm not sure that I love that decision.  We used Behr, and the finish just doesn't seem as durable, I may do a quick once over with some General Paint when I get the chance.

Overall though, I think Marc did a pretty good job!

6.07.2012

Elephant

Elephant was the name of our choice paint, but it ended up seeming surprisingly blue for an elephant, until I realized that it was almost the exact colour of Dumbo!  It really helped lighten up our bedroom which was a really awful dark matte brown before.  Matte paint helps hide imperfections on plaster walls, but it also deadens light and makes everything seem far more dreary.




Pretty awful before pictures, hey?  Ok now on to the good stuff!  The after(ish) pictures!



We went with a semi-gloss from General Paints in the Z-Coat line (which is their low VOC line that I love!), semi-gloss won't hide imperfections as well, but it does allow natural light to reflect off of its surface thus making the whole room brighter.

I found those bedside lamps on a weekend Salvation Army shopping trip with my Sister-in-Law Rachel, $10 a lamp.  Most likely early 70's, but originally they were pretty dated, and the bases were in rough shape.


Three coats of a glossy blue spray paint, and about 3.5m of fabric and those lamps got a fantastic easy and cheap redo.  I honestly rarely like lamps, which is why it took so long to find just the right ones.  But I am so happy with how it all turned out!


There is actually one more DIY project in the above picture, can you guess what it is?  Don't worry I will post it tomorrow, so you can see the before and afters.

6.05.2012

Trending: Cephalopods


Or more specifically, octopuses!  These, usually, eight armed sea creatures are the latest trend to hit the home front.  The move from the sea to the domestic residence was a big evolutionary step, and it is one that I'm kind of loving.  Now everyone's home can have just a little bit of 10000 Leagues Under the Sea, without the imminent possibility of drowning.

From The Deep Plates - Anthropologie

Revamp Homegoods Octopus Triptych Tutorial by Meg
The orginal Lord Bordner's Octopus Study goes for a whopping $3550, but thankfully Meg from Revamp Homegoods created her own version of the famous triptych and was fantastic enough to share her tutorial with the internet, so now you can create your own tentacled masterpiece.

I'm hopping on this bandwagon, and fast, thanks to some wonderful Octopus printed fabric I discovered on Spoonflower recently.  

Yellow Octopus
Yellow Octopus Fabric by Bonsaimechagirl
This amazing print is going to be front and centre as my new curtains in the master bedroom!  Now all I need to do is order it and sew some curtains, super simple, right?  

Are you loving the Cephalopod trend or do you think octopuses are better left in salt water?

6.04.2012

Aren't Renovations Glamorous?

It is always the weeks where you have the most to say and absolutely no time to say it, these last few weeks have been crazy!  DIY projects littered around the house, paint, family and rugby meant that I lived entirely in the real world for a while and the internet world was left behind, so I will try to catch things up as best as I can.

The real work on the master bedroom finally started, and we've been pulling it together piece by piece, and I am so excited!  I would say we are at about the 60% mark, only because some big pieces like the closet and the drapes haven't been started yet.  But 60% is still so much better than the 10% we've been sitting at for a year and a half!

In the beginning of renovations I get so inspired, I see all these "before" and "after" pictures on Pinterest and I oggle, I oooooohhh and aaaaaaahhhh, I design in my head, I pull colours and fabrics, and then we do the work.

The work is so much less glamorous, you guys.  Halfway through painting my master bedroom looked something like this:



Everything we own shoved into one corner of our room, paint and patch on the walls, ladders and dropcloths.  Pretty sexy right?

Thankfully, we are just passed that stage and onto the putting everything back in its rightful place stage.  I can't wait until we are done that stage, because we have three pretty fantastic DIY projects that need some photo love!


Anique may be watching a little too much DIY go on around the house since she has effectively started her own projects.  I'm worried about what she is going to start DIYing when we start the big renos on the house... or maybe we can channel those creative energies into installing new wood flooring, or patching plaster?

5.14.2012

Happy Monday

I hope everyone had a great weekend, ours was a blast!  As usual it was a jam packed weekend full of sun, rugby, family and homework.  I coached a highschool girls rugby team in a tournament this weekend, and honestly I couldn't be more proud of the girls after what I saw this weekend.  We didn't win one game, but that didn't matter one bit, my girls went out there and played their hearts out and enjoyed every second!   In the end we won the sportsmanship award, and the girls deserved it!  Seriously, they inspire me to be a better coach, and really, a better person.  Never have I met such a fantastic group of kind-hearted and determined individuals and I am so lucky to be able to coach them!



We spent most of Sunday with my mom, my sister, her boyfriend, Anique and three dogs.  It was nice to spend time with family, we all  (almost, my brother had to work) went for a walk to the park on a beautiful sunny Sunday.  Three dogs, a kid, and a play structure make for a pretty rambunctious afternoon, so I wound it all down with some 'on my own' shopping.  To be honest its been ages and ages since I've been able to go shopping alone, and it was really nice, surprisingly nice.

I am really amazed that yesterday was already my second mother's day and I can't believe how much Anique has changed in that short amount of time.  She astounds me with her expressions and how she can communicate so much with so little. I could spend all day just watching her roll her eyes at me; or smiling and laughing with the biggest grins ever; or yelling 'PUPPY' and taking off to try and grab a handful of Brunswick.  There are days and nights that are tough, temper tantrums and thrown soothers abound, but the smiles and giggles nullify all of those tough times.  Some days I'm surprised at how much I've enjoyed being a mom, I never saw myself as super maternal (though maybe my nickname of "mom" in highschool should have been a clue) but I truly have enjoyed almost every second with Anique.  Being a mom is a part of me. I still play rugby, I am finishing school, I still gawk over architecture magazines and books, I paint and draw, and I'm a mom.  But, being a mom isn't all that I am, and I am totally okay with that.  I want to teach Anique balance in all parts of life, something that has taken me a lot of years to learn and something that I am still learning.

Keep smiling Anique, I'll always be there to smile back.  I love you.




5.11.2012

Pictures of the Week

We had some beautiful weather this week, and so we took some time out of our days to wander around the city and go on a playdate.





I hope everyone has a great weekend and a fantastic Mother's Day if you celebrate it!

5.10.2012

The Never Ending Project

Sometimes there are days where I don't listen to my own advice and sometimes it works out great, and other times it results in that one project that just won't end.

A year ago I fell in love with a chair, I spent more than I had intended and I brought it home.  I loved it, but it was in bad shape, really bad shape.

The legs were broken, it was stained badly, it creaked, it wiggled and it had screws in all the wrong places.  But I loved it.  So I told myself I was going to fix it, I was going to paint it, I was going to make it all better.  That was a year ago.

And so I've been slowly plodding along with this chair, working at it from time to time, and I am finally getting close to getting to the point of painting and upholstering it.




I can work with wood, I can make new furniture, I can build architecture models, I can make stuff.  But, I have never worked with old, beaten up wood.  Thankfully my father in law is a wood carver and has an amazing knowledge of wood and how to fix it.  So he has been instrumental in helping me along thus far, and always has great suggestions for what products and techniques to use to fix everything on this chair.

So far I tried to strip off the bad stain, but the wood is in such bad shape that it isn't worth trying to salvage.  I did strip the stain off the metal patch, which I love and am going to keep for sure!  I've also used a wood epoxy to fix up some of the decor that came off.

Slowly but surely it's coming along, now I need to pick some fabric, I was looking at patterns originally but I'm thinking maybe a really bright solid would be nice.  Still haven't fully decided, I need to go shopping I think.