Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Colouring my world

Hey everyone- hope the sun is shining on you and winter has exited.  I swear, Old Man Winter- he really overstays his welcome. Just like that houseguest that doesn't get the hint, you keep yawning, looking at the clock, going on about what you have to do the next day or that afternoon or what you're making for supper- and they keep on staying.  "Do you have anymore coffee?" and you're thinking, coffee, you gotta be kidding me- are you a machine?  Ten cups of coffee and not one pee break?

(Cue Charlie Brown aaugh!)

I obviously have NEVER had that happen to me.  Ever.  Or anyone I know.  Never.

Instead of listening to me ramble away, which if you've been reading thus far- I'm prone to do, I'm going to talk a bit about paint colours. Yes, paint colours.

Picking paint colours to be exact.  I'm not an expert- faaaaaaaar from it- but, I've picked paint colours enough (and some bad ones at that) that I thought I would share some of the things I've learned along the way.


Wow, this advice is starting off great isn't it?  Colour.  I do find I need to start there though- that's my process.  I start with what colour I want in my room.  Maybe it's not even the wall colour.  When we did our first reno, I found a set of curtains at a ridiculous price that I loved.  They are red.  I am not a red girl, but I loved these, so I knew the office was going to have red as a major player.

(via The 36th Avenue) Like in this craft room.  The red jumps out at me first, but it's not the wall colour.

Warm vs cool

This is a biggie and it's taken me a long time to figure this out.  When I first painted my kitchen, I wanted an apple green kitchen.  The paint colour we picked wasn't apple green- I think it was called Lime Light- it was cooler green with blue undertones.  It never felt right to me but I kept it till we did our reno in 2012 (6 years) and messed with a kitchen window and the wall.  We repainted in green yet again, but a more apple-y shade this time.  I hate it.  I've hated it from the word go.  It's a warm green with major yellow undertones.  I  did something similar in our master, that's been repainted at least 4 times.  I need cool colours surrounding me.  Warm colours are great for accents for me- but surrounding me, no.  It needs to be cool tones (don't worry kitchen is getting repainted- eventually)

Brighter is NOT better

Ugh, this one can be a real nightmare.  Trust me on this.  If you don't trust me, trust all the design books, the tv shows, the blogs, the podcasts, whatever- you pick a colour on that paint card- don't choose the bright ones!  Yes, saturated colours are gorgeous.  IN TINY POSTAGE STAMP SIZES.
Oh my gravy, if you know me, remember my door.  Ugh!  Horrible!

Go to the section where the colours are muted-usually around the edges.  The darkest ones are almost black.  The lightest are almost white.  You'll find something much better there.

White is not white

For reals guys.  You might look at all those whites in the paint deck or at the store.  Why are there so many whites?  It's just flipping white.  Um, no it's not.  Put those whites together- some are creamy yellow, some look blue, some pink, some grey.  What looks white on the sample can look totally different up on your wall with your lighting and your stuff.  You'd be surprised.  The same white can vary from room to room.  I have a white that I have in my mudroom, the kitchen, the hall and the bathroom- both bathrooms actually.  I am telling you, it looks totally different in each space.  It's really grey in the back bathroom, fairly white in the mudroom and kitchen, and creamier in the hall and main bath.


The worst paint decisions I have made are those when I pick something really fast in the store. Boom, done.  Um, no, not done.  Cause I have to redo it, cause it's fugly.  Case in point my son's nursery. Tim and I picked some greens out, right in the store.  He wanted to get going on it.  So I picked out the colours under the gun.  Got home.  Put some on the wall.  No.  Way.  Ever.  Back to the drawing board and the hemming and hawing.  It took me a bit, but I got it right and I loved that room.    Now I'm working on picking out colours for the reno.  I have paint chips for days from everywhere.   Still haven't picked anything yet.

Play with percentages

I got this from watching Sarah Richardson.  She was designing a room and used a 50% tint on a ceiling or something.  It's still the colour, but the saturation is much less.  They will put only that percentage of the formula in the base.  I've done this a few times, I'll definitely do it again.

Find a paint you love

For us, it's Beautitone.

Image result for beautitone paint

I know I've sung the praises before, but at this house, it's our paint of choice. I can get it locally (big, BIG bonus) and they will custom mix.  I bring in a chip from who knows where, and the lovely ladies at the hardware store match it and mix it for me in Beautitone paint.  I know how it goes on and how it wears.  I'm very happy on both counts.

So there you have it.  A little insight into what I've learned.   I should say that sampling your colour on the wall would do a world of good in choosing your colour.  I never do that.  I should.  But I probably still won't.  I do browse Pinterest a ton for colour ideas for my spaces.  Just remember, what a colour looks like on someone else's wall isn't necessarily what it will look like on yours.  The same is true for what it looks like in the can- remember it will dry darker!

Keep up with the renos over on Instagram - there's a wall today and I'm excited.  It's the small things, right?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

dropping some books

It's a bright, sunny (a bit chilly) day in the middle of our the kids' week of Spring Break.  (Let's be real here, I'm still working and the peeps are off for a week- other than the absence of lunches- this is no break)  I haven't been doing any projects this week, and the upstairs is moving at a snail's pace (for my frenetic mind) so I thought today would be a perfect time to share some of my favourite reads with you.  Spring break should be a perfect time to pick up a book and read for a bit- hopefully while basking in the sun (now I could be basking in the sun, but I'd be buried beneath a blanket or two at the same time)

I'm a reader, always have been.  As a kid, I looooved the Babysitter's Club books.  My best friend and I used to collect them- I remember her huge shelf of them- I was so jealous, she had way more than I did.  I used to get so excited whenever I'd get a bit of money and my mom would take me down to the bookstore and I could buy another book.  I totally wanted to be Stacey- she was so cool.

Oh and don't get me started on the Super Specials- loved them.

(People you can still buy these- I cannot wait to read them again with my girl)

If you know me, you know that my outside the one house job is at our local library.  I've been there 12 years this year- it doesn't seem like that long, but seems like an eternity at the same time.  Go figure.  A big part of my job is reading (shocking!)  Lots of people ask for recommendations, and I'm someone who likes to share things I loved reading

If you don't like reading, I'm sorry.  Next post, I'll have a project or an update- but books are a part of my life, and like I said, I like to share.  Now with my job, I try to be as well rounded in my reading as I can.  I'm not perfect, but I try.  In my mind, life is WAY to short to read something you don't like.  I do read a cross section of Adult, Young Adult and kids books (picture books too, but that's for another time maybe)  so this list is a little here and a little there.  You'd be surprised at the great reads you can find looking in the kids area.

The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister

This is one of my favourite books of all time.  I have recommended it a pile of times.  It's about 8 people who take a weekly cooking class and how their lives are transformed by the food,  the students and Chef Lillian, the instructor.  It's so beautifully written.  I feel like I can smell the food and see the scenery.  It's just a lovely book and sometimes that's just what you need.  I love all of Ms. Bauermeister's books, but this is my favourite.

The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay

Another of my favourites- I read this back in high school and it still is right at the top of my list.  Set in South Africa in the 1930's-50's, it's a coming of age story of a young boy at the birth of Apartheid. He befriends 2 men, one black and one white and they both teach him how to dream, how to succeed and how to triumph.  It's really long, but it is worth every single second.

Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

This book is considered a Young Adult book, so that's the section you'll find it in at your local library or bookseller.  Set in 1987, this story is about 14 year old June who looses her favourite uncle to AIDS.  Finn was the only person who understood her and she now feels totally alone. In her grief, she connects with Finn's friend Toby, whom she comes to realize was his partner.  It's heartbreakingly beautiful.  Definite must read.

The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay

Canadian author(!) Ami McKay's story is set in Manhattan in the late 1800's.  A young girl, Moth, ends up in the Bowery and meets up with Miss Everett, owner of a brothel specializing in young girls and catering the myth of "The virgin cure"- the belief that deflowering a young virgin will heal the incurable and tainted.  A historical read that will hook you in.  She has another title, The Birth House, that's on my to read list.

Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich

Now sometimes you just need something funny.  Like, laugh out loud funny.  This series fits the bill. The earlier ones in the series are the funniest, but new ones keep coming out and I keep reading them. Grandma Mazar is one of the funniest characters that I have ever come across.  It's ridiculous antics, crazy goofy mysteries, but it's a great light read.  (don't judge these by the movie- I HATED the movie, what a disappointment that was)

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

This is a kids pick but I LOVED it.  If it doesn't come across, I like quirky.  And I really dig quirky books.  This is one.  As a kid, and still as an adult, I loved Roald Dahl.  They were just silly enough, just wacky enough, just weird enough to always hook me in.  This book to me is very reminiscent of Roald Dahl.  Different, but it has that quirkiness - and I was hooked.  "Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?"  Four children are successfully recruited by the mysterious Mr Benedict and are sent undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules.  This is a great read for kids 8 and up- it's an intimidating size (over 400 pages) but the story moves very quickly.  There are two other books in the series, I highly recommend all three.  

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Another kids' pick.  This is a great series about a 12 year old evil genius Artemis Fowl.  He's rich, he's brilliant and he's a criminal mastermind.  In the first book in the series, Artemis kidnaps a fairy- these fairies aren't the Tinkerbell kind.  These fairies are armed and dangerous.  This series is a ton of fun, it delves into all sorts of mythical creatures good and bad alike.  Boys and girls, and moms and dads will like these ones.

Harry Potter series by JK Rowling

I know, I know, not very original, am I?  But I love these books.  I have since the moment I read the first one.  My mom and I  (nerds that we are) waited in line for the midnight release of one of these.... we were both full grown adults... and I stayed up the rest of the night to read it.  I loved all of these characters- I cried when we lost one, I cheered when they won battles.  I am not a Potter Head (I do not have a wand, a Griffindor scarf or a sorting hat) but I am a big fan.

I hope I've given you a title or two to think about picking up.  Use your local library, it's a great FREE resource. 

I do realize that sometimes you just want to buy a book- I reread things, so I totally get that (I'm going to order The Power of One to add to my collection)- all of the links on here are back to Chapters Indigo, I'm not paid or sponsored in any way, but they are one of my favourite places to online shop.  I love their stores too.  

BUT- if you have a local bookstore- GO!!!  Go- support them, keep them in business.  They are true gems- especially when you're 10 years old and you want to get the next book in your favourite series. You walk in and smell that book smell.  Go on, breathe it in. You head back to your section of the store and see all the copies lined up. In order.  Pristine.  Just waiting for you to crack the spine. 

If you enjoyed this post, let me know.  I'd love to share some more of my favourites with you!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Easy Peasy Bunny Runner

Happy Tuesday everyone.  The snow is melting (yay!) and the kids and I are getting so anxious for spring- we were counting down the days at the bus stop this morning.  Ten days people!!!!


Today I'm going to share with you a super easy DIY to get a jump (wah wah) on your Easter decorating.  Heck, you could just use it for spring too, it's not just for Easter.  Bunnies are cute.  The end.

I made one of these runners last year when I saw something similar over at Electically Vintage

Make this Burlap Bunny Table Runner Easter Craft (& free bunny template)

and I was really happy with how it turned out- now, of course I CAN'T FIND IT to shoot a picture of it!
My mom had wanted one, so I thought I'd make it for her and show you how at the same time.

For this runner I used drop cloth.  Yup, just regular old painter's drop cloth.  NOT the kind with the plastic backing folks- read the package and make sure it's 100% cotton drop cloth.  I grabbed mine at Canadian Tire- I was pretty stoked to find it there, I had to get it at Home Depot before and that was not right around the corner. (Forgot to mention- I pre-washed the drop cloth last night in hot water, to soften it a bit and to get rid of any chemical smell that might be there)  The one I grabbed the other day is a 4' x 12' size- so for my mom's table, I figured 4 feet would be long enough.  It won't have an overhang, but with her table that's totally fine.  Bonus - if I kept it at 4 feet, the ends are finished.  Boom.

I measured out what I wanted the width to be- right around 14" is what I decided looked right.  I marked it and started a cut with scissors and then- why I love drop cloth-  just rip that sucker and it will tear in a straight line.

Next- run the iron over it and get all those pesky wrinkles out.  You're not going to have the chance to do it again, so if you don't like wrinkles (my mom HATES them)- iron it.

You can also get the scissors out at this point and trim the little threads that might be sticking out. This is a no-sew runner- so clean up the edges as much as you like.

In the meantime, I printed a bunny shape, just on regular old paper.

Then I just cut out the shape to make a stencil.  Nothing fancy- just regular paper and scissors.  My bunny is just shy of 7" x 7"- but you can make it whatever size you like.  You could do a whole pile of teeny tiny ones- that would be pretty cute too.

Then I grabbed some white craft paint and just brushed and dabbed it on with a foam brush.  Put something underneath the cloth, just in case it bleeds through- it shouldn't- but I don't want you to blame me when your table has white paint all over it, I get in enough trouble here with my craft adventures. (Because I didn't hem this, I'm not planning on washing it. It's just decorative.  If you want to make it a functional piece, hem up the sides and put a fabric paint additive in your paint- I've seen it at Walmart and Michael's)

With the length of mine, and my aversion to even numbers in design, I put three little dudes on this runner.

Now you could just leave it like that- it's pretty darn cute that way. But if you know me, I can't leave well enough alone.  You gotta add a fluffy tail- am I right?

Pom poms it is!  Just in case you forgot how to make them- here's a quick refresher.

Wind your yarn around a fork- yup a fork.

Once it's pretty thick, slide the loop off the fork.

Cut a piece of yarn, tie it in the middle.

Cut through the loops on each end.

Looks crazy?  Give it a good haircut.

Tada!  Pom poms.

Now, get out the trusty old glue gun.  (Being a non-sewer, this is my jam)

Flatten one end of the pom pom so the glue will have a place to sit- then turn it over and glue it right onto that bunny's rear.

Cute and easy, isn't it?

Until next time- Peeps and love my friends. <3

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Winter Reno Sandwich

Hey all.  So it's March and I think so far in 2015, I've blogged twice?  Pretty bad, I know.  In my defense, we're stuck between a renovation and THE NEVER ENDING WINTER.

My motivation and inspiration are low and moments occur at random.  I'm pouring coffee down the hatch each morning in an attempt to supercharge myself, but it still ends with me thinking how much nicer it would be to curl up under the blankets and watch more Netflix.

I've got a couple of Easter-y spring things churning in my mind that I'll try to put together to share soon.  I actually got some of my eggs out yesterday, in the hopes that it would somehow jump start a spring-y feeling.

Today and tomorrow, not so much- but look at that extended forecast baby-

That's almost flip flop weather.  You think I'm joking don't you?

Today I'll give you a little glimpse into our reno.  A little bit of a backstory- when we bought our house almost 9 years ago, it was operating as a bed and breakfast.  The upstairs had been converted into a suite for that- with a living room, kitchenette, 3 piece bath and a bedroom.  We haven't used that space for our own family in all that time.  We reno-ed our downstairs- old plaster, uneven floors, plumbing and electrical in 2012 to get what we have now.  Since then, we've considered selling our house a few times, and always the sticking point was that upstairs. (WE'RE NOT MOVING, SETTLE DOWN)  It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't usable for a family space.  So this year, we decided to jump in.  Originally we were going to make it rooms for the kids, but in talking with our contractor (who is awesome) we decide to make it into a master suite.  As much as I don't want to think about it, down the road, my kids are not going to want to hang out with me.  It's shocking isn't it?  I'm pretty awesome.  And that statement right there is exactly why my kids will want me to drop them off three blocks from school.

Here's the plan.

Pretty high tech there, isn't it.

Here's what we've got right now.


It doesn't look like much, I know.  But it will be.  Or so they tell me.  Here's some finer points- the floors were so bad.  They were out 5 INCHES.  Yup. so that had to all be ripped up and levelled out. The walls were plaster lathe- that was a mess and an entire gigantic dumpster load already.  The door is going to be replaced by a window.  And that column in the middle?  That's the chimney, that's staying and going to be worked around.

So what are we going to do- that's the question, am I right?

As you can see on the plan, if you can understand it, a bedroom, full bath and a WALK IN CLOSET!!!  I cannot express enough how excited I am about that. When I was a kid, my brother had the big closet- the walk in closet- I did not.  This is exciting business for me.


This area here.  I don't have a solid idea yet- but here's some of  my inspirations.

(via Jenna Sue)

I love this bedroom.  Our headboard is a similar colour, and the dark grey with pops of white and navy.  I really love it. The setup, the textures, the colours.  Love it.  Did I mention that I love it?

But then the funner (I know it's not a word, but it serves the purpose) part of me loves this.


(via Handmade Home)

Colour.  It's so pretty.  What a shocker, it's blue.  I know.  Tim likes this too.  He loves colour.  If we go this route, I'm thinking I may slipcover our headboard in a pop of colour, maybe emerald like here, maybe something else.  I don't know.


Two sinks, a shower and a tub.  I love me a nice tub.  I'm a bath girl.  You may think that's gross. You may stop reading this blog now.  But I will never, EVER give up my bath.  It's going to have a ton of natural light.  Both windows and the door (which will be a window) will be in the room.  So I want to keep it light and bright.  White, grey and .... you'll never guess.... blue!  I'm so mysterious.

I actually have two things for this room already.

This jam cupboard- which we picked up at one of my favourite little shops- Attic Treasures.  Bonny knows me well.  I also grabbed this there.

I haven't found the right frame yet, but this is so cool.  I love it.  If you're local, go and check out Bonny's shop- she's on Facebook too.
This room is proving a little more difficult to hammer out exactly what I want.

I love this
IMG_5737psVintage bathroom
(via)                                                                             (via)

and this

Master Bath Decor


Subway tile with dark grout and I'm thinking hex tile on the floor.  This week.

If you want to see more of my ideas, hop on over to Pinterest and you can follow my train of thought... it might be overwhelming, just warning you.

I'll be back in a bit to share some easy Easter diys and I'll update you on the reno progress as it goes along.  Until then,  I'll be here.  Huddled under my blanket.  Wishing hard for spring.