Monday, September 17, 2018

road trip- Country Living Fair

Hey all!  It's another HOT September day here- unseasonably hot.  I haven't broken out the plaid and cozy sweaters, that's for sure, it's still shorts and t-shirts around here.

And it was hot last week when we took a road trip down to Columbus, Ohio to one of my favourite things- the Country Living Fair.
This was my third trip - I blogged about my other trips here and here - and I still love it.  

It's a 4+ hour trip for us, but it's worth it. 
With the Canadian dollar not the best, I was a little more conservative with what I picked up but just the ideas you get make it worth the trip. 

Also this big arse grilled cheese helped

Since there's a bit of time between now and the next one in Columbus (there's one in Atlanta in October) let's take a little virtual stroll to get you excited to make a trip of your own!

Welcome to Ohio Village- don't forget to bring a bag, a wagon or a handy cart to haul your purchases around with you!

Parking is $5- whether or not you are hauling hay and flowers.

You know you're here when you see the pumpkin mountain- it's the Cinderella castle of the fair!  But there's no mice here. I don't care how many dresses they can sew.

It's like they knew I was showing up.

Now I want all the old spindles and baby boo pumpkins. 
I don't think Tim would mind if I piled these on the mantle in front of the tv- it's not like the Lions are off to a good start anyways.....

This booth had such great ideas- so simple but so beautiful.  I'm going to head to my local ReStore and see if I can't recreate some of these for myself.  

These scrolls were TO DIE FOR.  Check her out online Cottonwood Shanty - my mom bought one, and I really want one too!  

I am telling you- they KNEW I was coming.
And just so you know, it's true.  It is exhausting.

The displays were phenomenal- creative and so visually appealing.  I wanted to buy ALL THE THINGS. I didn't, but I'll show you what I did get.

This vintage pennant.  My grandpa came from Manitoulin Island so Gore Bay holds a special place in my heart.  We used to go up north for family vacations as kids and a lot of great memories were made there.  It also really has a fall feel to it, so it was a two for one.

This vintage wood bowl.  It's fairly large and has a flat bottom.  I really wanted a dough bowl, but they were either over $100 for a vintage one or they were inexpensive reproductions.  Part of me is kicking myself for not just grabbing a repro.  But I love this bowl- I need to go grab some baby boos to give it a warm up before the big show when it holds my ornaments.

That's it!  I only picked up two things.  I think the crazy heat toned down my shopping and maybe that's not a bad thing.  Both of these pieces I love and I'll use for years to come.

Mark your calendars for next year- there was a show this spring (June) in Columbus too, maybe we will give that one a test run just to do some research for a comparison post.  😏  Cause I'm there for you guys, you know.

Until next time,

Monday, September 10, 2018

new house, one year (and a month or so) later

Well, we've been out of the house with two barns and in this new blue build for a little over a year now.  It's hard to believe that it's been that long and it's also hard to believe it hasn't been longer.  All of us (grownups, kids, dog and cat) adjusted to our new surroundings fairly quickly, and I think I can safely say this feels like home.

That being said, as we live our day to day, I've found things that are real head slapping moments for me- things I wish I would have done differently, and things I'm still asking myself why in the world I picked that or let that go.  

I decided as we were nearing the year mark, to make a mental list of stuff and culminate it into a blog post.  There are things that I had NO IDEA about, and I wish someone would have told me.  There's a super good chance I would not have listened, but at least I would have had my eyes partially open.  So I'm going to give you a list of things I learned in this process, they really transfer over to renovations too, as I've had a little experience in that department.

1.  Don't be afraid to speak up.  

    It is YOUR house.

That's a real, no duh moment there, isn't it.  But for me, anyways, that's not the easiest thing to do.  Especially (and please don't chastise me for saying this) being a woman.  The majority of contractors are men. I don't think there was one woman working on this job, that may be different in bigger city centers or on HGTV, but for this one ALL DUDES.

I had a few times in this house where I did both things, speak up and just shut up.  And guess what?   I'm still loving what I spoke up about and kicking myself for not speaking up about the others.  

Here's an example:

We came into the house one night during painting and finish carpentry.  I walked over to my stairs and saw that my railings and banisters were stained.  Dark stain to match the floor (which I will talk about in a minute)  I didn't want stain.  I wanted white paint.  No one had asked me, they just did it.  I was really disappointed (more mad, actually) and Tim told me to tell them.  By this point I just wanted to be done and I said "forget it"  

NEVER SAY FORGET IT- cause you won't.  As I type I am looking up at the rails and silently cursing myself-  cause you know I'm going to paint them eventually.   Should have spoken up.

2. Never assume.

Ok, that's just supposed to be a life lesson, but I somehow forgot it.

I assumed the painters would use eggshell finish paint.  Nope.  Flat paint.  And if you read my last post, you know I have no love for flat paint.  It is BS- especially in a house with kids and pets.

I assumed someone would ask me how I wanted my stair rails treated, but as you read in 1, they didn't.

I assumed there would be caulking between sinks and walls.  Nope.  They had to come back to fix it in the kitchen, and I have to do it now in the staff room between the sink and the wall.  Easy enough, but if you don't know about it, you might have a big problem.

I assumed it would be perfect.  It isn't.  It won't be.  It can't be.  Humans work hard but that doesn't mean they are perfect.  This isn't something I am upset about or anything like that- you just have to have realistic expectations***.  It can be pretty darn close to perfect, but, as I learned from my door knocker in grade 3, pobody's nerfect.

***This does not excuse crappy workmanship.  That is just plain old garbage and has no excuse whatsoever.

3.  Don't choose all the things at once.

What?  Why not?  It's so convenient, it saves time, it's so simple.

Two words.  Decision fatigue.

That is something that happened to me as we neared the end of this build, but especially when we chose all the pretty bits for the house.  In a matter of a couple of hours, we chose all the flooring, tiles, cupboards, hardware and countertops.  That's a huge list checked off all at once. A ton of decisions.  Now some of the choices were no brainers, I had been planning and researching things so I had a good idea of what I wanted in some areas, and in others, I still have no idea what the heck I was thinking.

Let's start with the cupboards- that was an easy thing for me.  I had been kitchen dreaming for a long time.  I knew I wanted white, I knew I wanted shaker and I knew I wanted a blue island.  Easy. Happy with that decision.  

Countertops.  Again- I knew what I wanted for those.  White (even though they tried to steer me towards dark) and I wanted sparkle.  I love them.  

Tiles. This is both kitchen and bath.  I knew I wanted a handmade look subway tile in the kitchen for the backsplash, and we found it.  Love it.  

And for bathrooms, I already had experience doing bathrooms- we did two brand new ones at the old house.  Picking these were pretty easy- I did a lot of the same stuff we did previously.  Super happy with those choices.  
Also, hex tile for life.

Hardware.  This is the start of my head shakers.  There is nothing wrong with my hardware.  It is very nice, and I'm sure a lot of you are thinking I'm being a fuss pants.  However, it isn't my aesthetic, and it makes no sense.  I have no clue why I picked any of it- it's all so NOT me that it isn't even funny.  Changing this down the road (cause you know I will, don't tell Tim) isn't a big deal, but it also isn't a big enough deal right now to change it.  I can live with it.

FLOORS.  Holy bananas.  This is a truly what the bleep moment.
I chose dark floors.  That just makes no sense.  I have no idea why I picked them.  Tim has no idea why I picked them.  I don't like dark floors.  I have never liked dark floors.  I said, "I don't like dark floors."  And then I chose them. I do not like them.  I didn't like them when they installed them, and they have not grown on me.  The crap job that was done on the install doesn't help either. Shoddy, shoddy craftsmanship. 
I was so concerned about not having an orange floor, I was OBSESSED.  No orange tones. I think I truly lost my mind and picked the most non-orange floor I could find. 

This floor is fine.  I am sure lots of people, again, think I'm being a fuss pants.  But with a dog, a cat and kids- all I do is vacuum, cause all I see (besides footprints) is dust and hair.  It's there with other colours, you just don't see it.  

This floor is ALLLLLLL through the house- so changing it isn't going to happen.  I'm used to it, I can whatever it away, but still, it's my one big regret.  And I really and truly believe it was decision fatigue.  Or a brief moment of insanity.

All of these pieces really add up to one thing:

4. Go with your gut.

Sure, you're not an expert.  These people building your house are- and they are, they truly are.  BUT, you are the one who is going to live here.  You think something isn't going to work for you and how you live- say so, and if they experts tell you otherwise, they better give you a good reason for it.  (unless it's structural, then, please go with the experts)

Lighting.  This one for me, is twofold.

I walked in the house after electrical rough in and almost lost my mind.  It looked like a dance floor there were so many lights.  Fifteen pot lights in my kitchen and dining area.  Yes, I said 15.  And nine in my two story living area.  I thought it was too many.  Our builder said no, you'll like it, you'll be happy you did it.  Um,  let's just say that there is rarely an occasion when we have all these lights on.  In an open plan living area there are 22 pot lights and 2 pendants.  Oh wait, there's pots in my walkway, so add another 3.  25 pots.  Nope.  Should have gone with my gut.  I don't do any work in here that I need that kind of light and, we all know, harsh light is not a girl's best friend.

Next in the lighting category- chandelier.  I didn't put one in over my dining table.  Remember, I've got the 85 pots instead.  I wanted it, and I got talked out of it.  You'll have to make sure you always keep your table centred under it, you'll never be able to change your table.  Ugh.  Why did I listen?  I really wish I had gone with my gut on this one.  I'm figuring out a way to do something now, but it's a real pain in the keister.  

Out of the box(ish) design decisions.

These aren't crazy off the wall ideas, I had seen them before multiple times in many different ways online.  I knew I liked them.
No upper cabinets on the back wall.  Oh man.  Did I ever have to fight both Tim and my builder on this one.  I wanted no cabinets, just a wall of tile to the ceiling.  What was I thinking, what about storage, this was crazy talk, no way.  I said trust me guys.  This is happening.  It's going to look great.

Um, it does.

Score for the gut.

Making a change during construction.

Oh, boy.  That's a dicey one.  And it's one that's likely going to cost your some money.  BUT, it's your house.  Let me repeat that- IT'S YOUR HOUSE.

I walked into the house when they were framing and there was a coat closet in the front entry way.  I said to Tim, oh no.  This is no good.  This cannot stay.  It made the entry so crammed and tight, and then the basement access was tight as well.  No, I could not live with it.  We called our builder and I (not Tim, cause it was my thing) had an early morning site meeting with the builder, the framers and the architect.  We took that closet out and changed the basement entry up a bit.  I am so glad, so, so glad that I didn't just say "forget it" like I did with the railings.  I had such an immediate reaction when I saw it, I knew I couldn't live with it.

What we didn't change was our closet. We saw how small it was during construction and thought we could live with it.  Well, we are, but it sucks.  BIG TIME.  We should have gone with our guts and paused and figured something out.

All that being said, building this house was not the nightmare that maybe I'm making it sound like.  Any sort of renovation or build is stressful- unless you hire a designer and then good on you.  Sit back and let that s#!t go.  I had days where I just wanted it to be done, days where I was ticked off, days where I was so flipping excited I couldn't stand it.  Would I do it again?  Sure, why not.  It's really fun watching your ideas come to life from a hole in the ground to a warm, cozy house where you hang your hat.  

I hope these little bits of knowledge I acquired from this process help you, if you're doing any sort of project.  A house build or a small renovation project.  

If you ever get stuck and feel overwhelmed, take a second.  

Take a breath.  

Talk it out.  Whether it be to your partner, to your pal or even to yourself.  Heck, shoot me an email, I'll talk you through it.  You don't want to start off hating your house before you even live in it or feel trapped into decisions you were pressured into making.  

Caused ain't nobody got time for that.


Monday, August 27, 2018

staff room (powder room) makeover

Hey all!  It's been an age since I was on here.  I was doing great (for me) with regular posts and then the kids' birthdays hit and life rolled all over me.

But, I'm back, and I have a brain full of ideas.
Buckle up.

Today I'm going to share with you the makeover we did of our powder room- which shall henceforth be known as the staff room.

If you remember waaaaay back in January I shared all the things I wanted to do in this house- make it more me us.  And the powder staff room was on that list.

There was nothing wrong with it (save for the water marks on the wall 😖) it was just, blah.

See.  Blah.

I love that floor- I loved it when I picked it out and I still love it.  And this blah box didn't do it justice.

Another boo for this room was the paint finish.  Our whole house was painted in flat finish paint. (that's a whole diatribe I'm saving for next time)  Maybe you like flat paint- I don't know.  Maybe you also like raisins.  I am not a fan of either.  Actually I am the opposite of a fan- they are like the Venom to my Spider-Man, the Red Skull to my Captain America, the Thanos to my Avengers..... you get me?

Flat paint shows EVERYTHING.  Dirty fingerprints from kid (and grownup!) hands.  Water splashes from seemingly dripping wet hands flinging across the room to get a towel.  
And other stuff.  

This room needed personality and a good coat of paint in a much more wipeable/washable finish.

So I went down the Pinterest rabbit hole of powder rooms.  
Dark rooms, light rooms.  
Wall paper, shiplap.  
All.  The.  Things.  

I looked at colour- but quickly realized that just wasn't me.
I wanted to stay monochrome.  All black walls just seemed too much, and colour blocking was on the right track, but this room needed some texture, and some architectural interest.  

Board and batten.

Well, faux board and batten.

I looked up a few tutorials online and my handy dandy partner (my dad) and I put our heads together to figure it out for this space.

We decided to do three inch strips, spaced out 12 inches apart, 48 inches up from the top of the baseboard.  That's a few numbers there, isn't it?

Off we went to the hardware store to find thin- THIN- MDF.  I didn't want to rip off the trim- cause that's RIPPING OFF THE TRIM- so we had to find material around 3/8"  And, friends, that was like trying to find a unicorn.  Didn't happen.

I came home to start the painting, and pops set to figuring out what else we could use.

I measured and marked the walls up from the baseboard to 48", then dropped down an inch to put my tape.

I wanted the black to fall behind the top strip of batten, not stop at the top of it, so painting down an inch would give me the cleanest line.

Now, remember whenever you're painting- the first coat is the worst coat.  It looks like garbage and you start to panic and think "What have I done" and you put your head in your hands and wail.  

Not that I have ever done that.

The black paint is by Beautitone- I've sung the praises of Beautitone paint on this blog what seems like a bazillion times.  They don't pay me, or give me paint.  This is just my raw, uninfluenced opinion.  Anyways- the colour is called Velvet Elvis.  Now I didn't just get it for the name, however that didn't hurt. It's a very blue black, and in case you're new around here, I always, always gravitate towards blue.

The black took three coats to cover nicely.  And it is nice.  It's amazing.

***now here's the part where I forgot to take pictures cause it was my dad, me and the dog all in this tiny room and hallway and it just wasn't happening.

So back to the boards. My dad called our local Home Building Center and asked for some advice.  What they recommended was mahogany underlay.  It's wood, but very thin.  It comes in a 4' x 8' sheet- and.... it cost $20!  That was enough, actually, more than enough, for the whole project.

Dad ripped the boards on his table saw to size, then we dry fit them in place and did whatever minor trimming needed to be done.

We started at the most awkward spot in the room, between the light switch and the outlet.  I didn't want to start on another wall and have it work out that a batten fall on one or the other.  We put this one up and measured all the rest at 12" apart.  The last one fell at 11" but it's behind the door and you can't tell.  
And if you are sitting in my staff room with the door closed long enough to tell that it's an inch out, I'm probably not inviting you back anyways.

We used construction adhesive on the back of each board to tack it into place, then we used the air nailer and small brad nails to secure it.

All of the nail holes were caulked and we painted the bottom half in SEMI-GLOSS!!  Wipeable, washable- water and pee resistant.  But I don't need to do any tests to make sure of that, ok. 

I am so happy with the results.  What a huge change for not a lot of money,and two days worth of work.

Let's do a little comparison here, shall we?

That's worth a happy dance right there.

Oh, and why is it the staff room?

I scored this sign a couple months ago, and I knew I wanted to put it here. A little quirky, and, quite honestly, I thought it was clever. Tim made fun of me, as per usual, but I love it.  I attached it to the door with 3M velcro strips, and it's been holding up great.

So that's the staff room makeover all there in black and white.

I promise it won't take me another 4 months to post again- fall is on the horizon and there's so much pumpkin-y goodness to share.  And a few non-fall things too!

Until next time,

Monday, April 16, 2018

curl up with a good book

Hey all.  It's the middle of April, and I haven't checked in in awhile, I've been hiding under a blanket somewhere in my house trying to will warm weather to start.  

It hasn't worked yet, but here I am anyways.

The weather is not cooperating as the projects I want to start need a bit warmer temperatures, so I've been cracking the books.  If you remember in my goals post from January, one of my goals is reading 40 books this year. I'm on my way and thought I'd share a few of the titles I loved and a few that are still on my list.  Looking at the extended forecast, there's lots of curl up with a book time.  Heck, I like sitting in the sun reading too- books aren't just for winter to me!

ps.  I'm linking these up to Chapters Indigo, but use your library if you can.  Easier on your wallet!