Wednesday, June 24, 2015

summer reading list

Hey guys- S U M M E R  I S  H E R E!!!!  Here in Ontario, the peeps have one more day of school left. You know what that means... ONE MORE LUNCH TO PACK!  And boredom within 3 days. I hate hearing that.  I KNOW my mom hated to hear that too.  I'm bored.  Dude, I wish I was done all the things so I could be bored too.

This summer, my library (where I work and patronize) is doing a Summer of Learning where kiddos can get ballots to win an iPad mini.  Now in order to get said ballots, one of the important things you have to do is read 20 minutes a day.  (Not so bored now, are ya?)  The Maxster is very, VERY interested in possibly winning this iPad- because he has cranky mom who doesn't believe in purchasing electronics for 5 and 7 year olds.  I just don't.  You win one, what can I do.  And he knows it.  (He figures out all the angles right quick)  So he's all for the 20 minutes of reading just for that very reason.  This works out well for me- I have a hard time fitting in some day time reading for myself (at night it's one page then Eyelid Theatre- I know you know what I'm saying) - so we (the three of us) are going to have 20 minutes of reading time together each day.  This is the plan- I'll let you know how it goes.

To prepare for my summer reading, I got together a list of some titles I've been wanting to read and I thought I'd share them with you.  I know, from experience, most people are looking for a new book to read and love recommends.  Now, just a note here, I'm not recommending any of these- I haven't read them.  However, I have read reviews and have had friends recommend them to me.

(I'm going to provide links for all these titles at Chapters Indigo, but really guys, head over to your local library.  It saves you money, shelf space and the people that work there are usually pretty nice too.  I'm quite certain, if they don't have these books on the shelves, they can get them for you- or you can try to get them for your ereader)

1. Leviathan by Scott Westerfield

I have to have a young adult series to read in the summer and this one peeked my interest.  I really liked Scott Westerfield's Uglies, Pretties, Specials series so I thought I'd like to try another of his.

It is the cusp of World War I. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ genetically fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their Leviathan is a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet.

Aleksandar Ferdinand, a Clanker, and Deryn Sharp, a Darwinist, are on opposite sides of the war. But their paths cross in the most unexpected way, taking them both aboard the Leviathan on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure….One that will change both their lives forever.

2. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

I have had this on my to-read list for ages.  I've heard nothing but good things about it.  I have had it at home a number of times, but usually with a pile of other things.  Whenever I go to renew it, I can't because someone else is waiting for it.

Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon at a mission hospital in Addis Ababa. Orphaned by their mother’s death in childbirth and their father’s disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution. Yet it will be love, not politics — their passion for the same woman — that will tear them apart and force Marion, fresh out of medical school, to flee his homeland. He makes his way to America, finding refuge in his work as an intern at an underfunded, overcrowded New York City hospital. When the past catches up to him — nearly destroying him — Marion must entrust his life to the two men he thought he trusted least in the world: the surgeon father who abandoned him and the brother who betrayed him.

3.  The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

An English mystery series.  I've seen it go past me across the desk a bunch of times and it looks intriguing.  I've heard mixed reviews on it so we'll see.

The summer of 1950 hasn’t offered up anything out of the ordinary for eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce: bicycle explorations around the village, keeping tabs on her neighbours, relentless battles with her older sisters, Ophelia and Daphne, and brewing up poisonous concoctions while plotting revenge in their home’s abandoned Victorian chemistry lab, which Flavia has claimed for her own.

But then a series of mysterious events gets Flavia’s attention: A dead bird is found on the doormat, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. A mysterious late-night visitor argues with her aloof father, Colonel de Luce, behind closed doors. And in the early morning Flavia finds a red-headed stranger lying in the cucumber patch and watches him take his dying breath. For Flavia, the summer begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw: “I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.”

4.  The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

I'm kinda cheating with this one- I'm already reading it.  I'm not usually a reader of Kristin Hannah's books, but I am really enjoying this one.

FRANCE, 1939
In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn't believe that the Nazis will invade France...but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne's home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.
Vianne's sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can...completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.

I'm not sure why I had this one on my list- I think I had read a review in a magazine, I have it on hold on my library card- so it must have sounded good!  

Swedish Lapland, 1717. Maija, her husband and their two daughters arrive from their native Finland, hoping to forget the traumas of the past and put down roots in this harsh but beautiful land. Above them looms Blackasen, a mountain whose dark history haunts the lives of those in its shadow.
While herding the family's goats on the mountain, Maija's elder daughter, Frederika, stumbles across the mutilated body of one of their neighbours, Eriksson. The community dismisses the death as a wolf attack, but Maija feels certain it was murder. Compelled to investigate despite her neighbours' unconcern, Maija is drawn into the history of tragedies and betrayals that have taken place on Blackasen.
Meanwhile, young Frederika is pulled toward the mountain as well, feeling something no one around her seems to notice. The seasons change, and the harshest winter in memory-known as a "wolf winter"-descends upon them. Struggling to survive, the settlers are forced to come together, but Maija, not knowing whom to trust, is still determined to find answers. As the snow gathers, the settlers' secrets are laid bare. Soon Maija will discover the true cost of survival under the mountain-and what it will take to make it to spring.

My friend and co-worker Sue, recommended this one to me.  She loved it and I've found I do have a penchant for historical fiction.  I get all research-y and learn about the history behind it.  I've read another book about the Khmer Rouge- Dogs at the Perimeter by Madeliene Thien which was a very good read too.

For seven-year-old Raami, the shattering end of childhood begins with the footsteps of her father returning home in the early dawn hours, bringing details of the civil war that has overwhelmed the streets of Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital. Soon the family’s world of carefully guarded royal privilege is swept up in the chaos of revolution and forced exodus. Over the next four years, as the Khmer Rouge attempts to strip the population of every shred of individual identity, Raami clings to the only remaining vestige of her childhood—the mythical legends and poems told to her by her father. In a climate of systematic violence where memory is sickness and justification for execution, Raami fights for her improbable survival.

Another friend/coworker recommend.  My girl Leslie recommended this one to me a couple of years ago and it's been on my reading list since.  It's part of a series, and I do so love series books (really, I do!) and she and I have very similar taste in books so I totally trust her recommendation. 

Timothy Wilde tends bar, saving every dollar in hopes of winning the girl of his dreams. But when his dreams are destroyed by a fire that devastates downtown Manhattan, he is left with little choice but to accept a job in the newly minted New York City Police Department.
Returning exhausted from his rounds one night, Tim collides with a girl no more than ten years old… covered in blood. She claims that dozens of bodies are buried in the forest north of Twenty-Third Street. Timothy isn’t sure whether to believe her, but as the image of a brutal killer is slowly revealed and anti-Irish rage infects the city, the reluctant copper star is engaged in a battle that may cost him everything…  

A little bit of  chick lit-ish-ness to round out the list.  This isn't exactly your run of the mill light hearted frivolous chick lit (I'm not being judge-y, I enjoy that too)  It's a little more acidic.  Moms, school yard scandal, murder.  Sounds like a page turner to me.

Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:
Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.
New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

It's a big list- I know.  I may be reaching a little, l thinking I'm going to getter done, but I'm aiming high.  I hope if you're looking for something, one of these might interest you enough for a closer look.  If you're looking for other ideas and you LOVE the social media- you can follow me on Goodreads.  Oh, yes- there's a social media community for readers. I really like using it to keep track of the things I've read, because I can quickly access it and find the title I'm thinking of.  AND it has covers and that helps.  B I G  T I M E

"I don't remember the title, but the cover was blue." Display based on the ever popular book request.

If you have any recommendations for ME, please let me know!  I'm always looking for new titles to add to my list.

Hope your summer is off to a great un-boring start!


Friday, June 19, 2015

master bath reveal

Hey guys- today I'm finally bringing you the master bath reveal.  All the major details are finished, and most of the minor ones too.  I'm still figuring out stuff for the walls, once I figure that out, I'll share it with you too.  But today, I was cleaning and I thought no better time to take some pics than right after it's clean, it's kind of like taking pics of a rare species- when you see it, you click or you're gonna miss it.

So here we go!

Here's the vanity wall- if you remember from the master bath update we did the floor to ceiling subway tile here, much to the chagrin of our tiler.  I'm so happy with it- I think it's almost my favourite part- that and the floor.  I love that floor.

This is my sink- I claimed the one by the window because the natural light is so good here.  Almost too good.  Hello wrinkles.  Beside my sink is a small storage tower (I just got it yesterday!) from Homesense.  It fits perfectly in this little space and holds all of my junk.  (I totally de-junkified it to take these pics)  My tackle box is so much better here than on the floor.  ;)

After a LONG hunt for mirrors, I ended up getting these ones from Moen.  I love them.  They're simple and classic.  I worried I wasn't going to be happy with the frameless design but it's so light and airy and still has a bit of sparkle with the chrome and the bevel edge.

I was really particular about vanity lights too- but once I saw these at Home Depot (and they were under $40 each!!!) I grabbed them as quickly as I could and threw them in my cart.  I have edison style bulbs in them which throw off a really yellow light, but we also put in a few pot lights and with all the natural light from the three windows, these are really just a decorative accent.

Back at the doorway again, but turned the other way.  The toilet is nestled in the back corner, it's kind of weird in front of the window that way, but someone made that decision without me.  (It's totally fine though, it's actually easier to clean around it like that.)   The towel shelf is an old piece of my grandma's - it's made the rounds in the house- in the living room, the kitchen and now here.  I think it's going to stay here.  I think.
I picked up new towels for this bathroom from Superstore-  PC Bloom Spa towels in white.  I love them.  They're really fluffy and soft and they soak up water really well too.

I love that locker basket too.  I'm totally on the hunt for more!

I love my tub.  I know I've said it before, but I do.  That is all.

On a side note- you'll see these two windows are frosted out now for privacy.  We did that ourselves with our own professional products, so it was cut to size.  You can buy a privacy film at the hardware store and do it yourself, but it will never look as good.  Trust me, I did that when we first moved in and it looked like junk- a beautiful giant seam down the middle of the window.

I don't feel the need to add pics of the toilet- except for this handle.  It lifts up.  Who knew.

I don't think I've shared many pics of the shower, so here she is.

The shower kit is from Delta.
The water drops are from my shower.

The faucet at the bottom is called a mop spout Tim tells me.  I call it compromise.  He was set on having this- he really, really wanted it.  I did not.  But since I got my way on most else, and I'm a nice person, I said ok.  And then I stomped my feet.

The shower door is a roller style.  It's so slick.  It's like a barn door shower.  How awesome is that.

I hate towel bars.  I didn't put one in the downstairs bath either.  I prefer hooks.  I know how people (kids) are with towels and towel bars.  JAM THE TOWELS ON THE BAR.  I don't know this from experience, I swear.  I grabbed two of these hooks at Rona on day, I love that they (are supposed to) have name plates on them.  As you can see, when Tim hung them, he didn't put that part on.  I may or may not put them on.  I'm pretty pleased with them as is.

And my little clothes hamper.  I picked this up on clearance at Homesense - it was uneven on the bottom, I think that's why.  Once I grabbed it, I knew I wanted it to roll- so I asked my dad to help. He cut a round of wood for the bottom and attached the casters over top of the wire, so it doesn't slide around.  It's perfect.

It took almost 6 months to get here, but I'm glad we did it.  WE'RE glad we did it.  Once I get the rest of the upstairs in a more put together state, I'll share it with you too.  If you have any questions or comments, please leave them.  I'll leave a source list here at the bottom and have links to everything I can find.  If I miss something that you're interested in, let me know and I'll tell you where I found it.

ps. Two more days till summer!


Source list

Tub -  Sax by Maax

Shower - Mirolin

Towels - President's Choice Bloom Spa collection in white available at Loblaw's

Storage tower, rolling wire basket, polka dot jar, small clock - Homesense

Pendants - Home Depot, I can't find them online (similar Shades of Light)

Tackle box, locker basket, small red stool - Attic Treasures

Thursday, June 11, 2015

repurposed, reimagined storage solutions

Hey everyone- I haven't checked in a while, I know.  I don't have a reno reveal tour to share with you just yet.  The construction is all done, but it's the finishing stuff that Tim and I have to do that is left. I should be able to share the master bath with you next week.  We just need to hang some hooks and art... and maybe clean it.  I'm in a bit of a state of overwhelmed-ness.  (I know that's not really a word, but it's the perfect description)  I'm having a hard time catching up with anything everything. I'm counting down the days left before summer almost as much as the kids are.  I'm hope to get things done and enjoy the summer at the same time.  Time will tell.....

Even though things aren't finished, I have been working on them.  Getting stuff PUT AWAY.  We've been living in a smidge of chaos here for a number of months.  I cannot tell you the thrill I had taking my clothes off the rolling rack and hanging them in the closet.  I may have a shed a tear.

I'm not going to bore you with my hangers today- I thought I'd share some storage solutions I have that maybe you might not have thought of.  Then again, maybe you have and you may want to go read a book now instead.  I won't be insulted.

Tool box = Book storage

I picked up this old wooden tool box a few years ago and never really knew what to do with it.  I repainted it and then tried it a million and one places around the house.  As you can see in the picture, it's almost the width of the window, so it's pretty big.  One day, I was picking up the books all over the floor AGAIN, and I thought of the tool box.  Now, the kids have a nice book shelf, but it's in the toy room and these are the books they read at bedtime (when they're supposed to be sleeping) so this is perfect.  They can read away, and quick as a wink they I can scoop them up and pop them in here.

 And easy peasy, grab the box by the handle and move it to vacuum.  Winning.

Hooks = Necklace storage

Now, I know this isn't a new one.  I'm sure I got the idea on Pinterest or something, but I am CRAZY about how this works.

I'm not a jewelry box gal.  I'm just not.  And probably if I had one, these would be tangled in a knot that would TAKE HOURS TO UNTANGLE.  That might just possibly be the anger of a memory screaming out there.

My dad made this hook rack out of some reclaimed trim and old hooks.  It's perfect.  The two hooks on the outer edges are double hooks, so I have two areas to load up on each of those hooks.  Now my necklaces are easy to see and easy to grab.  And actually, easy to put away.  Woo to the hoo!

Industrial drawers = jewelry storage

I saw one of my favourite stores post a pic of this little number and I knew I had to have it.  Bonny asked me what I was going to do with it, and I had NO IDEA.  I just knew I NEEDED IT.

Little did I know, the drawers were sectioned.

Bam.  That's just almost to much awesomeness for me to handle right there.  I was nerding it up putting all my earrings and bracelets in there (are you loving this Danielle?) - colour coordinating them (gold in the top drawer, silver in the next)  Again, it's easy to look at all my stuff right there, and I try to put them away, I really do. Tell me I'm not the only person who takes off earrings and leaves them all over.  I can't lay down with them in, they poke me in the head and I can't deal.

Tackle box = Spackle box

Not really spackle- though some days that would probably be a good idea- this old tackle box is my makeup case.  As you can see, I don't have a ton.  There's room for more, if  I decide I need it (which sometimes I do, but I've been in a cleaning phase and that meant makeup bag too)

This works great in my bathroom, hiding my junk and looking cool at the same time.  Open it up and it's all divided too.

I love it.  It almost makes me want to get up and get going in the morning.  ALMOST. 

I think it's great to reuse and repurpose old treasures like these.  I could have toddled on down to W-mart and got something to hold my necklaces and makeup and stuff- I was looking there, I really was- but then I found these pieces and they inspired me to breathe new life into them.  They've got character and personality.  Who doesn't love that?

Check out these other great ideas from around the interwebs

How clever is this?  Necklace storage on a garden rake from Sarah Ortega

Baker's rack photo display from My Salvaged Treasures  

Awesomely good idea

Crate and licence plate toilet paper holder by funky junk interiors

This is just.... I have no words.

And check out this article on Country Living... repurposing wagons

LOVE.  I need to go on a wagon hunt this summer.

There's so many more ideas out there, cruise around on Pinterest, magazines or just let your imagination run.  Like The Nester says "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful"  Truth right there.  (If you haven't checked out her blog- go.  It's awesome.)  So have some fun, be creative, and for gosh sakes PUT STUFF AWAY.  Oh, sorry, I had a mom moment there.