Monday, September 24, 2018

september faves

I tried many moons ago to do a little monthly round up of my favourite things- you can see how well that worked out because you probably forgot I did it.

Well, I'm trying again.

If you know me very well, you know I'm a hunter of things.  Not of animal things- furry animal or wild, exotic animal- or any animal for that matter.  Unless maybe it's made of brass or ceramic.

Ok, let's be real.  I like to shop.  There, I said it.

I don't always buy, but I shop.  I pretty much do the internet version of window shopping, it gives me ideas for all kinds of stuff, clothing, decor, makeup, etc.- so I thought I'd put all that time to good use and share some of the things I find each month with you.  I know not everyone is a hunter (mom) so let me do it for you.  I'm really doing you a solid here, I'm not feeding into my habit of creeping.  Not a bit.  I'm doing it for you, dear reader.  Cause I'm just that nice.  😉

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.