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!


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.


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!


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.


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!



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.


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?


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?