Thursday, January 29, 2009

the couch

To trash or not to trash? That is the question.
We have a couch. We bought it ourselves right after we bought our first place.
From IKEA.
I love IKEA, but sometime you get what you pay for.
The cushions squish after just one person sits on them, and it is cream, with some dry erase marker decorating the back. We can wash the cover, and have (very often), but the last time or two I think we shrunk it.
So the cover doesn't quite fit and is stained and it squishes if anyone so much as breathes on it. SO... we thought about getting another cover made through Bemz. If you have and IKEA furniture in your house, you really should check these guys out. But it still has the cheap foam and the squishy problem continues. When we were looking for dining room chairs in December, I sat down on a couch in the Sears showroom, to feed the baby quickly, and discovered the nice lather couch I was sitting on was only $100 more than the new covers we were contemplating. Well for $100 bucks it hardly seems worth the trouble of recovering and possibly upgrading the cushions of our original Ektorp. And while the economy is still turning down, I imagine that furniture prices will stay about as reasonable as they have ever been.

Here are the Bemz samples.
That is the dilemma.  Complicated by the fact that our basement is not big enough to accommodate the current couch. So it would truly have to find a new home. And did I mention it is a sofa bed? So that feature would also be lost.
Not quite sure what to do about it all, but leaning towards an entirely new couch, sometime in the future. For now, if you come to my house don't look too close!!

restyling the mudroom

Since my current mudroom is a pile at the bottom of the stairs, while the future mudroom is an unfinished space waiting to have the floor jackhammered to accommodate plumbing of the future laundry room and basement bath...I won't have any pics of my place today. Can you just hear the bills racking up for this barely started project? Ok, I digress (but I am going back to work soon, scared by the plumber's estimate!).
So my friend has a mudroom dilemma, small hallway, kids needing to get places, to see a picture of exactly what she is up against, go here.
I just happen to know a great blog, and she has a thing for mudrooms. It is called Restyled Home, and Linda is Canadian (oh yeah). Here is her post on mudroom alternatives. So great. Oh and when you are over there, don't forget to look around, she has other mudroom posts with lockers that I love (and might very well copy), oh and her daughter's backyard playhouse is amazing!!!
If I knew how to copy pictures from her blog over here (or even if that is allowed) I would, but I don't and A is at work, sooo.... I will work on pics later!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Great minds

So remember a few days ago when I posted about my inspiration binder... well guess who does the same thing?
Wendy at the Shabby Nest.
I love her blog because she is interesting and creative but her house and style is real life decorating. Let's face it, with small kids running around it is pretty hard to have your house look like a magazine. But check out her pictures, she has a beautiful and functional house. And boys even live there!
And since in real life, my kids are up to no good... I am going to post this without a picture ;^)

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I know all the designers on TV or in magazines say "lighting makes all the difference". But really? Our current house is really nice, skylights in the kitchen, tree lined yard, original hardwood floors, big windows and lots of light, a huge kitchen. But no one wanted to buy it. It sat on the market for a few months, unheard of in this neighbourhood (before the recent "market slowdown"). So why did no one want it, but us? Well, I have a few theories.

And how am I qualified to answer this question, you ask... well, besides being the writer of this here blog (that's reason enough to talk about whatever I want;^), I have watched more HGTV and design shows than would seem possible for one person in a short 30 year time frame. Oh, and of course we sold our townhouse in 24 hours for 18oo$ under asking (in a "bad" neighbourhood - this is a whole other story that I cannot tell without being very prideful, so it will have to wait a bit!). I know that wasn't all because of my decorating but I like to think it helped.

So you guessed it LIGHTING, is one of the biggies. And it really wasn't all that hard to change. And surprising less expensive than I thought. So the first pics are the foyer before and after, and the second set is the dining room. And we didn't even through anything away, the old fixtures bypassed the dump thanks to a few minutes on craigslist.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Inspiration Binder

I was inspired by Frau Frugal's organization post to write about one small way I am attempting to get organized.
I have magazines. When we go away as a family, my husband brings a book to read and my mom and I bring a magazine. The kids refer to them as our books which makes my husband mad, ha ha. Anyway he often buys a subscription for my birthday or Christmas, so they pile up.
I like minimalism in theory... but it is so hard to throw things away.

So here is my solution to that particular problem, a binder full of just the interesting parts of the magazines! I am sure this was not an original idea. It came, quite possibly, from my friend Christina. She is organized and brilliant too, so it was probably her, yeah.

Admittedly I started this project before we moved, in the summer. I know, I know, it's not very organized to start something and not finish it for several months, I have had a few other things going on in the mean time (like raising 3 kiddies). But eventually I hope to free up this shelf in my bedroom and transfer everything to the binder, labelled and categorized. Then maybe I will fill that shelf up again, with more magazines perhaps......

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I wish I had a picture

My Grandma died. It has been over a month. The funeral was this past weekend. It was pretty hectic to travel with the kids, and there wasn't much time to stop and think about all that was happening.

But I had a moment at the cemetery.

There is so much I could say, my Grandma was good, she was godly. She was full of energy, she laughed at herself. She was welcoming and loving. She was always busy, but she still had time for quiet talks with all of us. I never felt a stitch of judgement from her, although I am sure she was aware of my faults. She was the first person to teach me to memorize the Bible, and I can still quote psalm 121 (mostly), in the KJV of course.
My Grandparents are buried on the Island, at a cemetery that overlooks the water. The waves crash and roar just across the road. It was sunny, and slightly windy, but not cold. The grass was so green, the snow there has all melted. I remembered a thousand childhood walks along that beach, digging for crabs and drawing with driftwood in the sand. I remember the fun of staying at my Grandparents house and all the undivided attention I got. I remember a few of her life lessons, though I wish I had payed more attention to those and asked more questions.
So even carrying L and watching A chase the boys, and trying to smile at relatives I had not seen in so long, some I don't really remember at all, I had a moment. That's what the title is all about. I wish that moment was captured in more than just my memory. I am ok with her being gone. I miss her, I love how she loved me. But she is fine, and I will be too.

Here is her original engagement ring that I received from her when I graduated from High School. She gave all her Granddaughters a ring when they graduated, I managed to get her engagement ring, and I love it. I usually only bring it out on special occasions, but I haven't taken it off since the funeral, and I might not, we'll see. I also wore her wedding dress when I got married, a perfect fit after a bit of a hem. I might find a picture of that and add it later.

The picture up top is her and me and K in 2006. "for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God... showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commands." Ex 20:5-6

Thanks Grandma B. We will be feeling His love for at least 998 generations to come.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Some Sewing

Since we moved into the new place I have kept my sewing machine out and done a few little things like hem curtains and the like. Then, inspired by the cheapy pillows I got at Pier One on clearance and the coordinating bowls, I bought some (even cheaper) fabric when I was making the boys Halloween capes that matched the pillows exactly. I was thinking of the teal, and red and green colour scheme from Green Eggs and Ham for my Christmas decorations, and the teal pillows were fun, but kinda lonely in the beige and brown room. So to make them fit in a bit better I made graphic stripe pillows for the couch. Now they feel more a part of the team. The design of the new pillows was copied from some "House and Home" brand pillows I saw at Home Outfitters. The inspiration pillows are brown and pale blue linen. Some have a stripe like mine, some have a square and some are oversized floral. I might still buy them for next year if they ever go on sale. But for now, my teal suits the cold weather just fine, even after the Christmas decs are put away. I think it feels rich and cheery all at the same time. Oh, and did I mention the cream fabric is actually one cloth napkin, cut in half? Also, extremely cheap, yeah!

Friday, January 2, 2009

take up the mantel

This is that regular scheduled decorating I was referring to before. We moved into this house in the beginning of October and I was slowly working on decorating, then BAM. Christmas came and everything had to be shuffled and redone for the season. Now that Christmas is officially over at our house, there are decorating issues to get back to. Namely the living room.
This is the old place, the townhouse. I was pretty happy with the living room here. It was summer when this pic was taken so the colours are a bit different from what I am working with now, and the configuration is different. My current living room has a long mantel and bookshelves on either side. It's a lot of space to cover.

Here are some shots of how it looked in November...

Now there are six black framed pictures over the fireplace instead of the empty void.... here are some old close ups....

So the big question is
What should I do now?
Working on it.