Thursday, June 30, 2011

Moving Backwards

Instead of making progress on our living room redo, I feel like I am moving backwards. Stalled. At a standstill.

I made a bit of progress.


But then I got frustrated. I sold this pine cabinet this week because it just seemed too short and small for this wall. We use this room to read, visit and relax (no TV) and I was trying to add a library, but the hutch was just too small.

I'm still searching for a little table to paint for the corner.


And now I may need to look for bookcases (or IKEA Billy bookcases?) too. So I am officially moving backwards in finishing this room!


I'm really glad today is my last day of work for the summer. I need to step back and gather some inspiration and ideas. Take some time to make a plan. The leather sofa and white walls make me happy, so I'll just have to go from there. Do you have a room that you just don't know what to do with?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Adding Curb Appeal ~Phase 1

It is time to update our home's curb appeal! Curb appeal plays a large role in determining a property's value and it is the first thing visitors notice. 

Our home is modest for our neighbourhood, but it is a big investment for us. Some ongoing maintenance and curb appeal projects have been planned to keep our home looking fresh. Our plans include small changes, larger projects, general maintenance and long term projects. Some are easy fix projects with supplies already on hand and more muscle than cash needed. Others are longer term because of the cost involved. 
After work yesterday I managed to get a few items on my list checked off. I decided to remove the low growing pine bush. I felt it was getting too big for the area and the inner part of the bush had some dead needles. Man, were the roots thick! I cut a new garden edge, weeded and added mulch. And yes, I am a lot little sore today. I don't know how people keep up with huge gardens. I also trimmed the euonymus bush at the driveway edge of the garden. It is very healthy but was getting a bit too big for the space.

We also bought a pair of solar lanterns to add much needed safety lighting and ambience to the walkway at night. I chose Westinghouse Solar 12X High-Output LED Flair Lights from Canadian Tire and love how they look.  I may pick up another pair and put one in the garden (power of three's) and one at the back gate.

And now, the changes I made yesterday (both the tree and weigela are finished blooming this week):
Autumn Joy Sedum and a small Weigela bush.


Newly trimmed variegated euonymus bush.

I'm getting impatient for the walkway to match our patio. I know it will have the most impact but it won't be happening for awhile. I think the next step will be to get rid of the pesky weeds in the paver cracks. And painting the house numbers black or finding new ones. I might try the zinc pots in the backyard in the front:

I would love to hear what you think?


OUR PROJECT LIST FOR INCREASED CURB APPEAL

Paint:
repaint porch railing and post
touch up paint on front door
touch up paint on overhead garage door

Accessories:
updated plant pots, black urns?
new door mat
refresh or buy new house numbers

Landscaping:
remove pine bush
trim euonymus bush
weed garden beds
mulch front garden bed
add new spike to support and straighten tree
overseed lawn
fertilize lawn

Windows/Doors
re-caulk all windows
add new weatherstripping to front door
new front door lock set-last year
new exterior lights-last year
new man door on garage
new lockset for man door to match front door hardware
new overhead garage door-next year

Front walkway/steps
buy solar walk lights
mulch front garden bed
add new walkway and steps to match back patio -fall or next year
move beach stones to backyard


Fence:

new gate hardware

It would be easy to hire someone to do all this, but that just isn't in our budget. So we will work on this a bit at a time. Do you think the garden needs more plantings?

I'm joining SNS at Funky Junk Interiors.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Vintage Milk Bottles

This trio of vintage milk bottles I won from Gina at 3 Ring Cottage (edited to add: now Cottag3) is perfect for simple garden cuttings.

While I am waiting rather impatiently for my hydrangeas to bloom, I decided to cut a few flowers to bring indoors.

I cut single stems of geraniums and a hot pink perennial flower (not sure of the name.) Below is the flower from my garden in 2009, does anyone know what it is called? Rose Campion, thanks Mindy at Rindy Mae.

Old and new mixed together- vintage milk bottles, an old crocheted doily and modern white dishes from The RealCanadian Superstore (I bought place settings for 16 a few years ago for buffets.) I shared our kitchen updated photos on the post below this one.

The buffet and hutch provides lots of storage for white and cream dish collections and seldom used appliances. I really need to search for inspiration and practice styling the buffet top.

I love that the white linen curtains on the patio doors seem to soften the morning light coming in. We get a lot of light from a skylight in the cathedral ceiling directly above the table, and another skylight and wall of windows to the right in the end of the family room.

We desperately need to spend some time this week weeding our backyard garden and adding mulch. All the rain we have had and being off for surgery combined to make the weed situation pretty bad. We also need to find a spot for that canoe on our patio.

A few simple blooms in some lovely vintage milk bottles, or other collected bottles or jars, can really help to brighten a day and add some personality to a kitchen.

I'm joining:
Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays at Coastal Charm, the flowers are freebies from our garden and the bottles were won, or could be collected.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Our Kitchen


I took some new photos of our kitchen today. While I dream of new cabinets, counters and hardwood floors, the changes we are making and the feel of our kitchen make me happy.

I am so glad I decided to add the board and batten to the kitchen and family room walls and hope to get even more done soon. I love vignettes on the table, and love these old milk bottles that came all the way from Texas. Simple garden flowers add a lovely bit of summer.

Stained oak and pine are not everyone's favourite, but we really like a few pieces throughout our home, like our new buffet and hutch shown here and here.

Our eat in area is not huge, but we also have a dining room for larger crowds. Those locker baskets need a home somewhere and I just haven't decided where yet.


My collection of white pitchers, dishes and platters is growing and I store them in both the kitchen and dining room. I like a mix of old and modern, in both age and style. I still love the farmhouse table and chairs I painted, here and here, but occasionally wonder if I should have painted them white.

I have four more days of work before summer holidays (yahoo!) and then plan to finish the caulking and painting of the soffit board and batten that was put on hold this spring due to vertigo. I love that these shelves fill the space below the soffits.

The aqua mason jars and miniature Adirondack/Muskoka chairs on the shelves add hits of my favourite colour -blue!

More blue in the mirror over the sink.

Hopefully in the Fall we can add white subway tile to the backsplash. 



I still love the little beverage centre. It is so handy to have like items grouped together.

We also have a small kitchen in our basement that was part of my parent's suite. I'm just beginning to toss around ideas for updating the space on a budget (we already gave away the appliances). I'm thinking of possibly open cupboards and more of a beverage centre/bar look. I'll be able to store more dishes and glasses here too. We have way to many projects to finish first, but I love collecting ideas.


I hope you enjoyed our kitchen tour. Nothing expensive or fancy, but a great place to work and eat together.


Freckled Laundry's Kitchen Link Party.
You will be inspired by all the great projects!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Canadians Looking for Chalk Paint?

Are you looking for a Canadian stockist of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint?


After emailing a few American stockists of Annie Sloan Chalk paint I was kindly directed to a new stockist here in Ontario, Canada. Elizabeth Sarich-Harvey of The Melon Patch Home and Garden near Kingston, Ontario has a shipment arriving on Monday. She will have all 24 colours of chalk paints, waxes and a few books.

I'm looking forward to trying this product one day! You can reach Elizabeth at:

Phone: 613-541-0231

Friday, June 24, 2011

Milk Bottles and Paper Clips

A while back I won Gina at 3 Ring Cottage's giveaway and was so happy to recieve this package from Texas. I love how she styled this photo!

{photo via 3 Ring Cottage}

We love cows and anything dairy or farm related at our home, so these three vintage milk bottles are a perfect addition to our home. Thanks, Gina, for wrapping them so well that they made the trek from Texas to Ontario, Canada without an accident. I'm not sure if our boys were more excited about the milk bottles or our first package from Texas. The paper clips are huge and perfectly rusty and the bottles look great empty and will be fun to pop blooms into. As if blogging and meeting new people wasn't enough fun!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Drop Cloth Projects

I love creating with drop cloths! They are sturdy and affordable, and are a nice neutral that can be used for many projects.


I love that you can throw them in the washing machine and for tough stains or to lighten them they can be bleached. I sewed this pleated drop cloth pillow, above, and added some strips and backing to the denim and whites pillow.

My log cabin denim and whites pillow also uses drop cloth and is a favourite.

Different drop cloth brands can give you a firmer or more relaxed fabric after washing. This pillow was created with a softer nubbier drop cloth. I love the wrinkles it gets.

This drop cloth ruffled runner is on the little cupboard in our entry.
We also have drop cloth curtains in our master bedroom (I hope to finish up that project this summer) and I used drop cloth fabric to create my Cowboy Christmas and Canadiana Christmas garland, Christmas wreath bow, and Christmas tree skirt.  I have other projects planned, and hope to get even more inspiration from Kristin's party! Hope to 'see' you there: BLOCKG PARTY at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia.



Sunday, June 19, 2011

Armoire Paint Progress~ Primer and first coat

I'm sharing a work in progress on the armoire in our family room today. You may be surprised by my colour choice after seeing this post.

My ideas from that post and so many of the great suggestions I received in the comments suggested white, aqua, grey or black. But there were also suggestions for a french blue or more intense aqua that got me thinking.  I started with white primer but after the whole piece was painted I decided there was too much white. I decided against the black, aqua and grey too. Crazy, huh! Our tv sideboard will probably be painted grey and we already have a lot of black and aqua.  I decided on this pretty blue that reminds me of faded denim {LOVE DENIM}.


Before:

The blue looks brighter in the setting sun but is closer to the first picture. This is only the first coat, on top of white primer, but I really like it. To me it is a very happy colour.


So what do you think, do you like the blue? Distressed (but I don't want the orangey stain showing through) or not? I will most likely wax it too. Looking forward to your comments!

Happy Father's Day

I am very fortunate to have a lot of great Fathers in my life. My own dad, my father-in-law, my hubby, and my brothers and brothers-in-law, and adult nephews. Men of good character who are very kind and considerate to their children and families. Dads who work hard. Men who spend time with their children and extended families and are really good examples. Dads you can count on - gentle men every one of them. We truly are blessed.


Today I visited my dad and brought him his favourite lunch and watched our dog Remington who had surgery this week. Hubby chose to spend his day up north with our boys (visiting his dad, a car show, and their favourite farm.)

Wishing all the Fathers, brothers, uncles, big cousins and role models out there a Happy Father's Day!

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