Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holiday Decorating

Over the weekend we decorated the house for the holidays. We have lights up outside on the trees, placed a few decorations inside and decorated the tree. I got a really good bargin on yellow ribbon this summer, so I have been using it everywhere. I also made a paper chain garland, but have not found a place to hang it. I might use use it in James's room. Next we need to get a wreath on the front door and make a dinning room table centerpiece. Hopefully those will get done soon so we have time to enjoy them before the holidays.

James wanted to make it into one photo. And also just now noticed that the wreath on the right is crooked. I just fixed it.

Friday, December 4, 2009

How have we never met?

Today I stumbled upon Serena & Lilly for the very first time. How have I never been to this website before? They have everything I love - bedding, fabric, baby stuff and unique finds. I am in love. If you have been living under the same rock I have, go online and order a catalog. I am so excited for it to arrive so I can study each photo, item description etc.
Here are some of my favorite things I found online -

The Rye crib bedding is so cute. Too bad bumpers are considered not safe anymore. I think James would love the blue indian print.

I have a weekness for stripes. I love the pink-ish color of the duvet cover, but not so much of the green. They also have this fabric by the yard that I am trying to think of a use for. Headboard slipcover and bed skirt? Hum...

I still have not made pillows out of my Vera scarves. It it is like painting beautiful wood, just cannot alter my scarves. However, if someone else has already done it for me then it is OK. This was made from one of Serena's scarves.

Finally something I know Nick would also love. The black portion is chalkboard paper. I would totally frame this for James's room for when he gets bigger. Or would be really cool in our living room too.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

On a pillow kick.

So before James was born, I purchased SeaCloth fabric off Ebay. I think I got 5 yards for under $50. I knew I wanted to use the fabric for pillows on our sofa and measured and cut the fabric right away. When it came time to sew pillows with zippers I lost confidence in my sewing abilities. I contacted a woman to do the sewing for me, but that never worked out. Since then the pillows moved to my basement in a pile of someday projects. Well this weekend I decided to forego the zippers and do an envelope back instead.

I really like the final pillows. They give the couch more impact with very little investment. Sorry the image is so dark, no matter what I try I just cannot get it brighter. If you click on the image you get a better view.

Don’t judge we yet on the white walls, curtains and sofa. Our den is a long work in progress. I plan on making new curtains, but have not been able to find fabric I like at a reasonable price. In our laundry room I installed and inspiration board. Since it is a narrow room it is hard to get a good picture, but the upper right is my inspiration for our den. Don't tell Nick since there is more pink than he would be willing to agree with using.

Finally, here is another pillow I made from fabric I bought at the thrift store years ago. There was less than one yard, but I was able to cut around the good areas to make one pillow.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Someone an artist?

So last night we had an HVAC company give us an estimate for a new furnace. After coming up from our messy basement the very nice man asked if someone in our household was an artist since our decorating was so unique. I tried to explain that neither my husband nor I are artists, we just have a passion for making our home reflect our personalities. I guess I take it for granted that not everyone has a file box of inspirational tear sheets sorted by room/project or spend five years obsessing over purchasing the perfect sofa. I did not tell the man about either of these facts since I am sure he already thought we were odd. Oh well, I totally take it as a complement that our house is completely different from all the other houses he has been in over the years.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Today I was able to find an extra 30 minutes to finish hanging the artwork in the living room. Using the craft paper template made the process so much easier. After I measured and placed nails on the right side of the desk, I just pulled the paper down (carefully) and hung in the matching location on the left side and placed nails in the existing nail holes. Now looking at this photo I think they might be a little too close to the bookcase, but is so much better than having a blank wall.

Organizing Books by Hue

I keep my favorite and most referenced books in our den bookcases flanking the fireplace. I have tried many different combinations for organizing the books, but always hesitated to group by color. I have seen color grouping that I loved (Kevin Starkey's office bookshelf) and others that I did not like so much. I decided to give by hue it a try and actually really like the result. It is great when little 15 minute tasks create such a difference.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Hanging Art Thanks to Help from PhotoShop

So another small project on the to do list has being hanging artwork in the living room. Over a year ago we moved around the furniture, but never took the time to put artwork back on the walls. We have a set of 6 1950's model home watercolors that were hanging on this wall that now has the bookcase. I want to flank the watercolors on either side of the bookcase, but not sure the best height and position. Using PhotoShop and measuing on craft paper I have made a template for where I want them to be positioned. Now I just need to find another 30 free minutes to measure for the nails and hang. (And maybe another 30 more minutes to pick up the room).

Friday, November 13, 2009

It's never too late to be who you might have been. - George Elliot

I forget what blog I read this quote, but I have it on a post-it note at my computer. It reminds me to not put off the house projects, chores or work for another day or time. One of those items I keep putting off is new blog posts. Since I work from home now, I am constantly thinking of different updates to the house (artwork, painting, rugs, reorganization, etc), but I need help making up my mind. I need comments!!!

Today is the day that I am back! No more putting off our projects status, ideas or questions to another time. To start, I am posting a progress report that has been a very long time coming, the renovation of our guest bathroom.

Here is the best before photo that I have –

Here is where we are today (thanks to a lot of work by Nick). My favorite part is the new vanity area since it includes some of the best deals from the remodel. Information about the deals I posted here back in January. I cannot believe we have been working on the bathroom for that long!

We painted the ceiling Ink and the walls Sail, which are both discontinued Martha Stewart colors from Sherwin Williams.

Nick is working to get the new tile in the shower grouted and sealed before we have someone refinish the tub to match the white of the tile. It is hard to see from my photos, but Nick even titled the ceiling.
We still have to get the new shower hardware hooked up, towel bars, shower curtain and artwork, but we are so close. We might make it under the 1 year mark.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Who knew? - Sundance Catalog

I was looking for a christmas stocking for James online the other day and checked out the Sundance Catalog website. It has been a really long time since I have received a catalog so I had no idea all the great stuff they have! Here are some of the great items -

I think this cabinet would be great in our Bathroom (post-remodel). It would be perfect for towels and all my lotions and potions.

This is $58, and I think would be fun and unexpected art for the kitchen or hallway. Something funny about a Question mark.

Nick wants these chairs for our backyard. We got a great teak table at the Smith and Hawken closeout sale. These are still a little too pricey, but someday.

Ohh. And these boots are on sale for $149. I got them for much more at Zappos, but love them. They look great with jeans and are very comfortable.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

John Robshaw and HSN

A while back I was on the Home Shopping Network website ordering my signed copy of Mommywood (Sorry I am a Tori Spelling fan) and noticed that they had some good prices on their John Robshaw pillows. I mistakenly let the pillow I really wanted sell out, but when checking today I saw they had the yellow striped pillows for $15. Not 100% sure what I will do with these, but cannot pass up a good deal. The John Robshaw website also has some great pillows on sale with an additional 25% off, that if we were not on a budget I would be tempted. Next I need to decided if I need this Rachel Zoe ring (sorry I love reality tv shows).

Thursday, October 1, 2009

RIP - mini mac

So after running my scheduled updates, my Mac mini has died. I am going to see if they can save her, or at the very least get me my photos back. So until I can get her back up and running or replaced I will be limited on blog posts. Sad thing is I have tons of new photos to share.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Love Ebay

I am having our peach club chairs recovered and been waiting for a sale at Calico Corners since the fabric we picked out is $60 a yard. While I was waiting I did a search on Ebay and found 11 yards of Robert Allen gray wool upholstery fabric (the exact yardage I needed). $73 dollars later all 11 yards are mine. This is a lighter color gray than I originally planned, but you cannot beat the price. Now that I have the fabric I am ready to get the chairs recovered, but the reupholster is booked until after Thanksgiving.

Also on Ebay I purchased these vintage show ribbons. I have a small collection that I have purchased (and even won in my younger years) that I am planning on creating a collage. This will be a long process before I have enough, but it is fun looking for more on Ebay at auctions.

Friday, August 28, 2009

FLIP! for Decorating

I left off my favorite book from my recommendation list. I love Flip for Decorating by Elizabeth Mayhew. I have been reading it every night before bed, yes I am even reading it before buying. The book explains fool proof formulas for decorating key rooms of your home. Since I am a complete novice at decorating it is wonderful to read a step by step process to layer a room together; the rooms do not feel stale or predictable. The book is written as a friend giving advice and not a decorator explaining their process. I am going to buy this book for all my friends as house warming gifts. (Check out a great video on Amazon of the book "Flipping" to build a living room).

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I love new projects.

So I have thank you cards completed, James' birth announcements mailed and the garage sale was a success. That leaves room for 3 new projects. Having James makes it difficult to get anything done, so these could be the projects for awhile. Plus Nick still has the bathroom to finish.
  • Project #1 - With my garage sale proceeds I am having our peach chairs recovered, but am waiting for a sale at Calico Corners before ordering the fabric. We are going to have them recovered in a charcoal wool. I have one estimate for the upholstery, but while I wait for a sale at Calico Corners I might get a few more quotes.

  • Project #2 - Here is the new coffee table we purchased the other weekend for $8. It will be great for baby proofing since two of our current coffee tables have sharp edges. The plan is to repaint the base black and either have marble cut for the top or a make one out of wood. Once complete we will do a coffee table shuffle between the rooms to figure what what works best where.
  • Project #3 - We are getting rid of our dinning room table. It is too big and the legs don't allow for enough leg room. Awhile back I purchased a faux bamboo table that has been sitting in the garage. I am going to paint it red just like this photo from Canadian House & Home. I plan on using my bamboo bench with set of bamboo chairs that are the exact same style as those in the photo. Might be a little too much faux bamboo, but hopefully the differences in finishes will stop it from being matchy-matchy.

My Book Report

I have gone through my stack of books from the library and here is my brief book report. Please note that I don't really read the books, mainly look at the photos and then scan the text. If I buy the book, then I read.

Next time I order from Amazon Recommendation:
  • A Passion for Blue and White, by Carolyne Roehm. I love and have a copy of all Carolyne's books. They are a good balance of interior, entertaining and outdoors. Plus my mom would also like to read it.

Look for at "Half Priced Books" Recommendations:
  • The Home Book and The Finishing Touch, from House Beautiful. If I had to pick one, I would purchase The Home Book. Both are a Best of from the magazine, but The Home Book has larger photos. It includes color samples recommended by decorators which I always reference when trying to narrow down color choices in our house (which ends up at Decorator's White, but still).
  • Thom Filicia Style by Thom Filicia. I really liked this book. Thom would go on my list of potential decorators I would want to decorate our house if we won the lottery. There are images I have not seen before and some that I have (his lake house), but overall it pasted my thumb through once then go back and read.

Buy if they were really discounted Recommendations:
These books I just did not have very many post-its marking rooms or images I liked. Of course I cannot turn down a good deal, so would still purchase.
  • Michael Taylor, Interior Design.
  • Domestic Art, Holly Moore.
  • Michael s Smith Houses.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Weekend Purchases

This weekend was planned to be spent at the house cleaning and organizing. On Saturday I was able to persuade Nick to go out on the town to visit a few of our favorite stops. First it was The North Market for some waffles and carrot & orange juice then the Short North and Grandview for browsing.

At Nick's favorite store I made out with two Hable Construction containers at 50% off, double satin ribbon and a candle. The low Hable container is perfect for James' toys since he will be able to reach inside it as soon as he can start crawling, plus it looks great in the den. The yellow satin ribbon will now be my signature gift wrap ribbon (I have 100 yards for $20). We also stopped at the stationary store where we ordered our wedding invites to introduce James and I had to buy the Jack and Lulu straws (I am already planning James' birthday parties). Finally the morning was capped off with a garage sale stop for 10 decorating magazines for $1 and a coffee table for $8 (pictures later).

We did stop and get new can lights for the bathroom and spend an hour picking up the house. But the evening did not stop with the bargain hunting, I got a Hable Construction Brag Book from Anthropologie for $7 when we went out for dinner. Ok, next weekend we are staying home and cleaning.

Summer Reading

Here is my summer reading pile. I have been checking out all the decorating books from the library that I have seen at the book store to "try before I buy." So far I like the House Beautiful's The Home Book, it is like a best of from the magazine. I also checked out Amy Bulter's Little Stitches for Little Ones to see if there is anything in there I could attempt to make James.

There has still be little progress at the house since James arrived. The bathroom is still not completed (month 6?) and closet doors, baseboards and walls still need painted. Hopefully before he goes off to college we will be done.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Thanks Mom, you will let us keep it right?

My mom got this awesome sofa and chair set at a local auction a few weeks ago. It is a metal bamboo outdoor set that has lived its life inside so is in great condition. It works great under our large tree in the back yard and goes on the list of things to get reupholstered and painted. I am thinking white frame, brown/grey cushions with a contrasting bright color for the welting. Oh and I should say that she got the pair for under $150. CRAZY.

New Rule - only four projects

Working on our house, there is always a few projects that are mid-stream. The majority of the bigger stuff is saved for when my dad visits or when Nick has a weekend free. The smaller stuff gets added to my list of things to do. I have a problem that I like starting projects much more than finishing, so there are a lot of little things that need to get done. Since I am home with James now, I am attempting to get the little stuff done between the feeding, changing diapers, walks and fussy times.

To help get stuff done I have implemented a new rule, only four projects going on at once. I have allowed myself space on the dinning room table to keep the current projects and cannot add another until one is complete. Currently the list is;
(1) Finish thank you notes from baby gifts
(2) Finish and mail James' birth announcements
(3) Sewing new pillows for the den couch
(4) Planning the garage sale

I am hoping this smaller list means I get things done much quicker.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Current Projects - Ebay Fabrics

A few weeks back I made some great fabric purchases on Ebay. Two of the fabrics I have a plan for (progress to come) the other will go into my pile of fabrics until I find the perfect project. Two of the fabrics I purchased are from SeaCloth. I have admired the fabrics since I saw an article in Elle Decor (June 2005) of Susan Harris's home (partner in SeaCloth). It is has been fun getting scrap yards of fabric on Ebay and finding uses for them around the house. One project is underway so I will share in the next week or so. I need to get another item upholstered so that will take a bit longer. In the mean time here are some samples of SeaCloth Fabrics from Susan's home (Images from Elle Decor).

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Late Night TV... Good Find.

With Sweet Baby James' late night feeding schedule, I have been able to catch some interesting TV shows and share 20/20 recaps to anyone that will listen. The one show I did find while playing with the DVR late at night was Sarah's House featuring Sarah Richardson and Tommy from Design Inc. Since I have seen every Design Inc and Room Service that Fine Living will air, I am very excited about a new design show that is not based on decorating a room with $1000 budget and has a "theme."

I have been watching the shows out of order, but each one showcases a different room of the renovation from demo to completed decorated room. Of course there have been two seasons already in Canada, and Sarah's Cabin is also show coming soon. The good news I think they have episodes online so if for any reason I cannot catch them all on FLN, I can at least watch online. Now when are they going to start bring over more episodes of House and Home?

HGTV CA Website - http://www.hgtv.ca/sarahshouse/default.aspx
Image From HGTV CA

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Libray of Domino Magazines

From my very first issue of Domino Magazine, I have been purchasing back issues when ever I saw one at a book sale or used book store. Plus there was a time where both my mom and I had a subscriptions. Over time I have been able to collect duplicates and sometimes triplicates of most issues. I think I might have four copies of the very first issue. (I also have two complete sets of Blueprint). Tonight for fun while doing some other Ebay searches, I looked up to see the price back issues of Domino Magazine were bringing. There is a copy of the first issue that is currently $46 with 16 bids and still more time to go. Yikes, at those prices I am sitting on $200 that could help me buy some Kelly Wearslter fabric. I wonder what an entire year of back issues would bring? Could be interesting, but I think I would rather keep my magazines.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Inching to the finish line.

Ta-da! The island has been painted black and looks so wonderful. We decided to go with straight B. Moore Black for the paint. I was getting too over whelmed with the other options. This photo does not show it, but we have also hung the hardware for a pendent shade over the island. We have ordered a Restoration Hardware glass pendent, however we had the chrome hardware for a single pendent shade in the basement and in an effort to save on money are going to use that instead.

Light fixture we need to return - I like it, but free is better.

We are slowing finishing the kitchen. The to do list is getting shorter. I cannot wait till we have the room complete, but I am sure once we finish this list, I will have a new idea and the list will grow all over again.

1. Island - install hardware
2. Lighting - Need to find a fabric shade for over the island.
3. Baseboards/Crown - install and finish painting
4. Need new dining room table
5. Reupholster club chairs - (Fabric color?)
6. Paint the china cabinet - (color?)
7. Finish the desk area (paint shelves, glass top)
8. Pantry hardware install
9. New closet door.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Counter Top - CHECK.

There is a lot going on at No. 462. Baby M arrived a few weeks early so that has thrown every thing house related to the back burner as we oh and ahh over the cute little button. Luckily there were a few projects in the works to get accomplished before Baby M arrived so there is some progress to show on the kitchen. You will not believe how long we had an island with no counter top, but finally there is a counter top and electrical for the microwave. Today I am selecting a black to paint the cabinets. There is  some final sanding that needs to happen (when Baby M and I are out of the house) and then this weekend Nick plans to paint. Yet another project off the list!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Baby M's Room

Besides ticking projects off the honey do list while waiting for the arrival of Baby M, we have been working on his room. The question we get besides name and due date is our nursery theme and colors.  Our answer is always "there is none." We have no theme and no color scheme, just a collection of the things we like and think the baby will enjoy without being over decorated or too baby like.  Of course this collection of things has taken awhile to pull together and with just over a month to go is finally coming together. Here are two photos from some completed projects.
I have hung the Animal House images over the changing table which is across the room from the crib. My dad made the changing pad box so we could use an existing dresser. I still need to find what we want to use for lighting and storage on top, but so far looking good. Yes the walls are white (sorry I like white), but we did paint the ceiling blue. 

After debating getting one of the ugly glidders for late nights or something more pleasing to the eye, we ended up with a rocker from Ikea. The pillows were my christmas gift from Nick a few years ago and the roman shade was created by moi with fabric from Calico Corners. I found this amazing website - Terrell Designs that gives you how to video and measurements based on your window. Works great and with the blackout lining will make a great napping room. 

There is still so much more work to do with the crib, lighting, artwork, etc and I promise to take better photos. Stay tuned, we only have a few more weeks to get it completed. 

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Home and Garden Fair

For the next week and half is the local Home and Garden Show. Nick has a booth with the Nursery and if I must say is the best 10x10 booth in the place. They are located in the building with the display gardens and he is getting great expose. Here are some action shots I took while visiting him on Saturday. Nick has much better images, before the doors opened which I will try to snag from his camera later.
Huge thanks to our friends Jen and Marit for all their work with the print material. Plus the best item - Keep Calm and Garden On (you can see it in the first photo). My small contribution to the entire booth as the green pillow on the chair, not much but still a nice detail.

Other exciting news for Nick is in the summer he is doing a green roof at the Parade of Homes. More on that this summer (not until July). Congrats Nick!!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Baby Room Ideas

We are trying to finish up some "construction" in the soon to be baby's room so that we can start decorating and putting it all together. I borrowed a great idea from my friend for the art and we are using pages from Catherine Ledner's Animal House framed in a grouping. I am also borrowing an idea from my Celery Kemble's decorating book and painting a Jenny Lind crib (blue or green).

So far those are my only ideas. I am still trying to figure out complete the whole room without making it look like a generic baby room. In searching my library on defunct magazine's and found two cute kids rooms that I like. First is Jennifer Delonge's son's room from the Fall/Winter 2007 InStyle Home magazine. I like that the room is not too kid-ish, but is also not over decorated and is a place for a baby.

Also I have Barrie Benson's son's room pulled open for inspiration. She mixes blues, greens and oranges in a "collected over time" look. I cannot scan this photo since our printer is out of commission but you can in the October 2007 issue of Domino.

My goal is to have all the big elements of the room complete by end of March so I have the last month without that project looming over us.