Monday, December 23, 2013

O'Christmas Tree 2013

We have been surviving a storm since Saturday which I will post on later this week to commemorate our first Christmas in our new home.

We picked out our tree last Sunday. We went to the same guy as last year, despite learning there are three closer lots to our house on the drive home. I really wanted a big tree this year for our first Christmas in our country home. At the time I thought the one we chose would be a little too short, but it turned out to be the perfect size.

Here's how it looks all lit up:

Here's a blurry night picture I think is beautiful

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Favourite Holiday Spaces: Guest Room

It's funny how the simplest things can make you happy! I hung a wreath in the guest room above the bed and put some painted letters that spell Christmas on the ledge, and this is definitely one of my favourite spaces in the house. Sometimes I wish more of my house could be a bit more minimalist, but that's not really my nature (I blame my dad's side of the family and my maternal grandmother)! My mom is coming to visit after Christmas, so I thought a few festive touches in this space would be nice.

PS- The letters are from the dollar store ($2), and we're just painted white and gold!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Favourite Holiday Spaces- Sitting Room Mantle

I have seen tons of Holiday House tours on blogs I read lately, and I wanted to join in the fun. Instead of giving one tour of all my holiday decorations, I decided to share some of my favourite spaces. This is our first Christmas in our old country cottage, so decorating was exciting this year as I had to pick new places for everything to go.

Our sitting room doesn't get used very often, but it does have a lovely fireplace with a barn board mantle. It already had my collection of blue fruit jars and the wooden C and J from our wedding. I added some garland and lights as well as my Christmas mitten bunting. I found two bags of vintage glass Christmas bulbs at Value Village earlier this month and used the green and blue ones on top of each of the jars. It looks great during the day, but magical at night!

Friday, December 13, 2013

DIY: Holiday Runner Under $3

I picked up these cute white and red dish towels at Ikea the last time I stopped in for a hot dog! They were $0.69 each. I thought they looked a bit festive and decided that if I sewed them together they would make a cute runner.

I hope to get around to actually sewing them together this weekend, but her is what I am thinking (minus the cat- who likely would be so bold as to cosy up to them when they're sewn and on the table as well).

That is if I can get them away from this one!

We're getting our real tree this weekend, and I am very excited. Here is our tree from last year and the famous 2011 post. I am also looking forward to getting through my Christmas card writing and putting up my Christmas Card holder from last year

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Kitty Christmas Cards

We have caught our kittens in the act of enjoying our Christmas decorations each year, and each time I think, wow that could be on a Christmas card. In 2012 Boy-Cat launched himself into all of the ribbon we had just taken off the tree, and this past weekend, Missy decided to nestle in some wreaths before they went outside!



Wednesday, December 4, 2013

West Elm Hack: 3 Jar Chandelier

As I noted in an earlier post, we have been humming and hawing over lighting decisions for most of the rooms in the house. The search came to an end of the dining room and kitchen a few weeks ago, and I am proud to say we have new lights hanging above the island and dining table!

For the dining table chandelier, we took advantage of the West Elm 20% off lighting sale and purchased their 3 Jar Chandelier.

Photo from West Elm

They didn't have any in stock, so I ordered over the phone and opted for store delivery to save the shipping and duty charges. After making the scary drive downtown (which included an Ikea pitstop for hotdogs and an As-Is visit), I made it to West Elm and picked up our light.

When my dad was here last week, he had installation on his project list. Chris saw it before me and told my dad I wasn't going to like it. He was right, it looked too modern in our space, the pewter coloured metal didn't match the bronze pendants hanging over my island and the silver cord didn't match anything. We thought about taking it down and selling on kijiji, but having been without a proper light for so long, and the fact that it had so much potential, I decided to give it a makeover.

Before the makeover when Chris took it down.

So I used a Sherry Petersik trick and bought a can of oil rubbed bronze spray-paint. After taping the light sockets, all of the metal parts got a few healthy coats of spray (multiple light coats works best). Although it doesn't match my bronze pendants exactly, it's much better.

The cord still had to be improved, so taking a cue from our wedding Boutonniers, I decided I would trying wrapping jute twine around the cord. I was able to get away with only gluing the top and bottom of the cord making it easy to change in the future if need be.

I love the way it turned out. It fits the vibe of our old house so much better than the original version. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

22 Hours Later: Our Trip to Maine

It feels like I have been MIA for ages on the blog. We've had a busy couple weeks, so please excuse the radio silence. The busyness started with a whirlwind trip to Maine to visit my good friend Cait and her sweet new puppy Piper. My husband decided we could drive and after 11 hours each way (with a snowstorm on the way back), we proved him right. It was so good to catch up with Caitlin, meet Piper and introduce Chris to all the Maine landmarks.

After showing up at 2am and getting a bit of sleep, Elliot rewarded me with some cuddles.

We had to get this guy a Maine lobster roll the first day. 
Note: Don't let two girls who don't eat lobster pick out the lobster spot. 

Chris was introduced to all things LL Bean!

My comrads at the start of our shopping trip.

And After!

No trip would be complete without a trip to Scratch Baking Co. for their yummy bagels and spice cookies.

The Beach Walk Had Beautiful Sights

Including this pretty girl- the star of the weekend!

All in all, we had a great trip. The driving wiped us, and then we hosted my dad the following week and this week is our 1st Annual Country Christmas which means we spent last weekend decorating, prepping baked goods and tidying the house. I hope to be back later in the week with some DIYs and our wedding pictures have finally arrived, so you should expect an update soon!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Retail Insparation

Sometimes when I am out and about, I see things in stores and think "I could do that". Here are a few of my latest inspiration pieces:

1. ABC Painting from Wal-Mart. I thought this would look really sweet in a nursery or kitchen. It would be easy to make with a piece of wood or canvas and a simple stencil kit

2. Kraft Paper Mural Ikea: This would be simple to recreate with a roll of Kraft paper and some craft paint to make a beautiful holiday mural.

3. Felt Bunting at West Elm. After crafting burlap bunting for my wedding, I thought this colourful felt bunting inspired from West Elm would be a cinch. All you would need is some spare felt and twine. I might try to recreate this one for my holiday decor this year!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Harvest Share: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

This post should probably be called "Why I'm Not Participating in Harvest Share Next Year", but I did want to share some of the positives as well.

The Good: We got to try a few vegetables that we had never tried before, the produce tasted better and lasted longer because it was so fresh, we got some good recipes each week with our list of produce. Probably my favourite thing about the program was creating the photo project

The Bad: We wasted a lot of food- I tried hard to use everything and freeze what I could, but I still found the personal size boxes too much for just the two of us. I found it was difficult to stuff everything on my fridge on pick up days, and we got a few things that I never would have bought myself, and really didn't enjoy.

The Ugly: I don't really know how to explain this, but as excited as I was to participate in this program, it created a lot of unnecessary anxiety and stress for me. We always had to worry about picking up the basket before the farm closed (they do offer a drop off program for $7/week), I had anxiety about packing everything up to properly store, Chris complained about never being able to find anything in the fridge, I stressed myself out trying to incorporate all of these veggies into our dinner meals, I made some epic disaster dinners just to use the vegetables (hint: celery root soup is a bad idea).

All in all, it wasn't awful, but there are enough lessons learned that I won't be participating again. Next summer, I will be buying my produce from all the local farmers markets and plan to grow a few more things in my garden!
Last 4 weeks of Farm Baskets

Monday, November 11, 2013


Today is Remembrance Day. Growing up in an East Coast Military town, Remembrance Day has always been a pretty important day. It became even more personally relevant a few years ago when one of my high school classmates lost his life in Afghanistan on my best friend's birthday. Chad was always full of life, he was fun, hilarious, smart, sweet and very kind. He died doing something he wanted to be doing, something he was proud of, and we are grateful for the time we had with him.

If you have a chance, please take the time today to remember those who have served, those who came home and those who didn't.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Life Lately

I'm currently light shopping for almost every room in our is painful and I have not made one solid decision yet.

I made oreos again last weekend to bring to my friends house. They were better the second time around because I let the dough mix until it was full combined and balling up in my mixer.

The holiday cups and flavours are back at Starbucks- certainly an early indicator that the holidays are upon us!

I made wonton soup on Sunday night for the first time, and it was delicious. I somewhat followed this recipe.

This guy had a late night photo shoot a few days ago, I loved how they turned out!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween Wrap Up

We were very much looking forward to our first Halloween in our home. I learned I have a bit of a pumpkin fetish. We ended up with 5 of them at our house. Chris even got into the spirit and brought home a giant jack'o lantern! We had a pumpkin carving night on Tuesday and after a couple hours we had done 3 pumpkins. Chris did an awesome job on his Cars themed pumpkin, and it was a huge hit with the two trick or treaters that made it to our place (the downside of rural living)!

Maiter had reconstructive dental surgery (aka wood screw implants) the day of to ensure he was a perfect replica!

Hope you all had a wonderful Halloween and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Last Day of Aberfoyle

Last Sunday was the last day of Aberfoyle for another year. I love going on closing day because despite the cold, you can actually get some really good deals as it is the Sellers last chance to make a sale (the cold probably helps).

This was the first thing I noticed when I walked up to the market from the parking lot. I have dreams of owning a truck just like this...or a little know for when I own a business in a quaint little town (think Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride).

The next bright light in my Aberfoyle trip was meeting up with this cute chick. It's been a while since we've seen each other, and I always love the time we spend together. For the record, this isn't her bike...but she really wanted it to know for cruising around town!

As always, there were many things I loved that I didn't take home with me. Here are a few of my favourite things that didn't make the cut:

Top Left: Sweet grey chair; Right: Nice car blanket, perfect for Christmas styling. Bottom Left: Wooden crate that I was considering as a side table; Right: Sweet candy can from Halifax

I thought long and hard about this guy. I was thinking he might be perfect in a small corner I have in my kitchen, but alas I wasn't sure he would fit and wasn't totally sold on the price.

Last but definitely not least, I saw this guy as we were heading out, and he looked like someone had left him behind...many moons ago. There's something very sweet about this little guy, and I am sure he was loved by a few children before he made his way to this can!

In the end I picked up some hooks for my front entryway and bathroom as well as a little side-table that needs a bit of a makeover for the low price of $20! I will share the table in a future post:)

Happy Wednesday everyone- i'll be back on Friday with a Halloween themed post.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Orange Tabby Love

I haven't blogged about my two furry loves in a while, so I thought it was due time.

Yesterday morning I came down the stairs to see this in our living room. She must have decided she was part of the fall decor (at least she's the right colour).

Boy-Cat has been awfully snugly lately and loves to be brushed in front of the fireplace. Here is a shot of him all curled up from last week. I have so much love for this ball of fur. 

Hope you all had a good weekend. I made it to the last day of a Aberfoyle with  one of my best friends. I will share some pictures of our trip and my finds later this week. I also heard from my wedding photographer that our pictures are coming soon- can't wait to share them here on the blog.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Jack and the Brussel Stalk

Did you know Brussel sprouts grow on stalks? I'm not sure how I thought they grew before I received this in my farm basket, but it definitely wasn't this. Between this, the romanesco and the celery root, you would think my farm basket came from another planet.

To store brussel sprouts you simply pluck them off their stalk and place them in between paper towel in a plastic bag to be kept in the refrigerator until you're ready to use. I'm planning to roast these with a little salt and pepper, but here is an interesting recipe I saw on A Beautiful Mess recently.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Daddy DIY

My dad came to visit in July with a trunk full of tools and began tackling my to-do list like a champ. In the end, he put new sills on my east and north facing windows, installed an evesdrough on our porch, hung planks for my front entryway hooks (to be shared in a future post), built us a picnic table, made a track for my sliding doors among a few other things.

His biggest project though was repairing my very uneven unsafe basement stairs that I use on a daily basis. He thought he might be able to rebuild them altogether, but because the wood needed for the sides would be too long to get in through the house, he ended up working with the existing frame and evened out all of the steps. Here is the glamorous after shot:

I know it doesn't look like much but every time I walk up or down the stairs without tripping, I think of Dad and love him even more!

While he was down there, he also hung my peg board. I still have to get these organized (i.e. the pegs are still hanging on the right hand side waiting to be hung up), but it's a good start.

Sometimes it feels like we're moving really slow (I mean this work was done in July and I'm just posting now and still haven't got my peg board done or hooks for my entryway planks), but then I think about everything we've done and the fact thatcher had the busiest summer of our lives and I give myself a pass. It's not a race, this is a house we're making our home and that takes time. Chris reminds me often to stop and take the time to enjoy it, even if it's not "perfect" yet.

Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Bedroom Makeover: Paint Job

A few weekends back when Chris was out of town, I decided to paint our bedroom. The funny thing was, I thought I had tricked my husband into picking a paint colour that I had shortlisted, and he thought he had tricked his wife into painting our bedroom Maple Leaf's blue.

I'm a pretty low maintenance painter, I just use a piece of cardboard to keep my paint can and tray off the floor. I use a short-handled angled brush to cut in and a roller to do the big spaces. The colour I chose is called Lakefront. It is a CIL colour that I had mixed into the Benjamin Moore Origins paint. Originally I liked Benjamin Moore's Yarmouth Blue, but was looking for something a bit darker. This was my first time using paint with built in primer, and although the lady at the store said it would only take one coat, it definitely took two. You might be able to get away with one coat if it's a light one, but i'm guessing two is always better.

Here is the before (top) and after (bottom). I am still planning to paint the top of the left hand wall the same white as a ceiling to brighten up the space, but I am loving the new and improved bedroom colour. Apparently blue is calming, which is exactly what i'm looking for in a bedroom!

The before and after of the closet area- the colour looks very grey in this picture/lighting. I cannot wait to replace these broken beige shades with white faux wood blinds.

While I was cutting in, I had a special helper that wanted his belly scratched...the best part was when he stretched out and coated the bottom of his paws in fresh paint!

Happy Friday everyone! We have a busy weekend ahead of visiting family and friends with new babies! I am also planning on packing up my summer clothes and familiarizing myself with my winter wardrobe for another season! 
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