Thursday, February 26, 2009

List of Links

Here is the requested list of where I get my inspiration on line.  I tried to explain a bit why I like the blog and where to click to see what I am talking about.  I broke it up by category so you can find what interests you.  So get comfy this is a lot of info!
As I don't really know how anything works on blogger....I will put a list here. When my Hubby has some free time, I will get him to help me make a bit of a side bar so you can see them more easily.

I was on a quest about 2 years ago to find out how to plan the most efficient wardrobe possible. Buy the least amount of clothes and be prepared for all situations. Here was what I found on that quest...

Space between my Peers From Rebecca I got the idea of a limited colour palette.  She does frugal, she does proportion, modesty, wardrobe planning.  Very interesting.  Oh, and check out her fashion labs, so great.
My Wardrobe Today and Wardrobe Oxygen Real life and practical.  I like her a lot!
You Look Fab Good summaries of current trends.
Insideout Style An Australian stylist, often has good insights.
Super Kawaii Mama Her style is just cool.  More feminine, and edgy than I care to be, but I adore her vintage stuff.

My favorite decorating blogs show real before and afters of real people's houses. I find them so much more inspiring then magazines.

Shabby Nest I have several of her projects that I am hoping to copy someday!  I especially love her boys room.
Nesting Place She is from NC!! And she says it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful!
The Inspired Room Beautiful stuff.  This was one of the first design blogs I found.  Check out her drive bys.
The Lettered Cottage I could move in here.  Everything she does is wonderful.  And she stresses affordability.
House Obsession I love her kitchen!  Came here from the one below.
More Ways to Waste Time The title pretty much sums it up.  Check out her House Voyeur, and House in Progress sections.  This leans a bit more to the Apartment Therapy aesthetic, kinda mid century modern with a bit of vintage.

Although I do consider my main craft to be scrapbooking, I don't really read any scrapbooking blogs, I would rather do it than read about it. I do adore the quilting blogs though, wish I had a bit more talent with sewing- the things people can make with fabric are so great.

Simplify  Ok I admit it I wish I was Camille Roskelley sometimes.  She is so talented, I love her house, her boys are adorable, and I even wish I had her clothes.  Go look.  It will make you want to take up quilting!
Little Birdie Secrets All different types of crafty ideas here
Today's Creative Blog A great place to find other crafty blogs.
Chic'N'Scratch Stampin Up! stuff. Very cute.  She does video demos, love that.  And of course she has the cutest southern accent, which makes me nostalgic.  
Becky Higgins  She is a scrapbook celebrity, in case you didn't know.  I like her style, it is fun to check here every once and a while.

Recommended by Others Here is what my wonderful friends have recommended to me.  Some I have checked out more than others...

Fresh MD I think this is fun for the medical stories, and generally interesting
Ramblings of a Renovating Couple Notice how this site links to a couple of the sites I have up top! and to Katiedid - I an copying part of that kitchen too!

Mommy type sites, recommended to me but I haven't had much time to check them out....

365 Days of Exercise Inspired by the blog below this lady is blogging her every day resolution.  I find it inspiring.
A Year of Crockpotting Even though her year is up, the recipes are still there and they are good!
Bring the Rain Do Not Go Here unless you have lots of time and lots of kleenex.  She writes so well, I can't even tell you.  I was told  reading her thoughts on grief "is like therapy" by my friend after I told her to check this blog out.  If you do go here, start at the beginning and read through.  Her pain is so intense, but it is refreshing because there is no bitterness, it is so full of grace.  Amazing.

That's it, hope you find something you like, if you do, let me know!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A little vintage

Here are some vintage treasures I haven't exactly found a home for yet...
These drawers were from a garage sale 2 summers ago, just drove by and they had so much great stuff, I love these, but I don't really know where they should live. I had them on top of the cupboard in the kitchen, but now they are on a shelf in my bedroom.
This fan was my great grandmother's. Love it. It used to be in the living room, but I put it in the ensuite at Christmas time, felt to chilly too see it out every day, but I love it.

And TADA... here are the cool crates I bought last week.

The antiques mall near my Dad's care home is going out of business and baby L and I stopped by there on our way to visit him last Friday. I was actually searching for kid sized chairs, but there weren't any. Since the place is going out of business there was a room for 25% off and a room for 50% off. These Pepsi beauties were in the 50% off room, so I got 2! My hubby loves Pepsi and Pepsi was "born" in North Carolina where I used to live, so that gives these crates special meaning. Ok, I have no home for them yet, but they are boxes people, I have junk so I know I can use boxes! If the price was a bit lower I would have bought more... I also saw wooden milk crates, and a turquoise kitchen scale that were beautiful, but above the budget. I think I will try to get to more antique places next Friday, this Friday is already scheduled, trailer hitch getting put on the mini van. I know my life is glamourous....

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Mantel Update

I first wrote about my fireplace mantel here, and I have slowly made some progress. This is the mantel as it stands today. Not quite sure, but I do think it is better... and my Mommy ok'd it and that means a lot.
The big silver box is my wedding pics so, although I know it is a bit big for the space, I really want a place for it in the living room. The middle thingy is a Russian Samovar that was my Great Grandmother's, and the coasters and the spoons (in the jar) were Grandma B's.
On the other side, almost everything is from a cheap-o store complete with fake patina, except the round wood box (my uncle made it, and it has american "state quarters" in it), the tin cigar boxes (a thoughtful gift from my friend Chantale), and the Pottery Barn books (they are new, but they weren't cheap, ha).
Anyway, Tips? Suggestions? General comments? I am not sure if I am happy enough to leave it and move on or not.... what do you think?
The next dilemma in this room is lighting. I would really like to have sconces over the fire, but what type and where exactly and does that affect my displays?

Friday, February 20, 2009

the answer (for my skin)

I always search and search to find "the answer" to different things in my life. When I find something that works I research it endlessly until I feel I know as much as I can then I move on to a new obsession. A while back, my sister introduced me to Paula Begoun books, and wow, this lady has answers! She calls herself the cosmetics cop she has website, cosmetics product line and lots of books. Well, really she has lots of editions of a few books. Basic premise: the cosmetics industry says whatever it wants, it can't really be held responsible, so it doesn't really act responsibly.
This lady researches thousands of products and rates them all, so you know what will actually help your skin (based on research), and what is not worth the money.
I could write a lot about what I learned from her books, but I am just going to say this, I love BHA. It helps improve your pore function and exfoliates, all that good stuff. Basically , I put it on the greasy parts of my face and they are less greasy, less likely to breakout and smoother too! The olay stuff in the picture is my current lotion that is running out, and the clearasil stuff is the new one I bought (for like $3). Both recommendations from the book, so great to see what is good BEFORE you buy it. The other thing I found through her is MAC cosmetics, so worth it!
Anyway, BHA is the answer for my skin. I won't buy anything without looking it up here first (I am always sorry if I don't). On to my next obsession....

Thursday, February 19, 2009

More Before and Afters

Kitchen Edition. This is the townhouse kitchen. When we bought it the cupboards were in quite poor shape. They were an upgrade from the original cupboards, that were in all the other units but they were dated and sun damaged. The window in this kitchen was large and bright in the afternoon, so all the cupboard doors facing the window were peeling and badly in need of refinishing. The also had the lovely hardware in the middle of the doors that dated the whole kitchen terribly.
This was the first place we owned so I had big plans, and no idea how time consuming they would be. I also knew we would be living in the townhouse about 5 years (turned out to be 3) so resale value was a big factor.
I initially planned to strip and re-stain the cabinets a more modern walnut colour, but after a consultation with the paint store guy (who tried it on his own place and said it failed terribly after weeks of work), and my own sanding/striping efforts which took over 4 hours for one door, I decided to paint instead. I had R who was 10 months at the time and I wanted a finished kitchen sometime before he moved out of the house. I was still big on the wood look so I painted the cupboards brown. A few of my loved ones tried to talk me out of it, but I knew it would be right, and I loved the result.
We did a few structural-ish changes in the kitchen, including adding the microwave/hood fan combo, which was harder than you'd expect, and opening up the pass through to make a real window sized opening. Both involved altering cabinetry and of course, using power tools, so when I say "we" here I mean my lovely husband did it and I asked "How much longer?" at least 50 times while he slaved away. In the end I liked the new kitchen, even though I would have liked to change the counter out, etc. I guess it didn't matter much for resale as the new owner ripped it all out! A said it was ok, because we would have done that if we had the time/money, but I still feel a twinge when I think it is all gone.
In the end this update didn't cost much at all, paint for cupboards and walls (we used oil paint on the cupboards by the way and it held up very well), new hinges and handles, cheap subway tile backsplash, new laminate, and new dishwasher/stove/microwave. The appliances all came from coast wholesale appliance and they were cheap and worked great. Actually the microwave was top of the line, since I don't really cook (well) I thought that would get the most use! That's all, loved how it was just the right size and just so cute!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Kitchen Inspiration

All pics from before we owned this house

This house has a big kitchen. Really big. Not that great of a layout, but it has double the cupboards of our townhouse. Coincidentally the townhouse had double the cupboards of the apartment before it. Great you say, lots of counter space, lots of cupboards.
But really what it means is $$$. This kitchen is way too big to fit in the budget for immediate renos, even replacing the cupboard doors (all 26 of them) would break the bank. So I will live on with the grey striped laminate counters, the awkward setup and the terra cotta tile floor.
My dream would be white subway tile backsplash, corian countertops, white painted shaker style cabinets, stainless appliances and some vintage and fun touches.
Cote de Texas recently did a roundup of current kitchen trends and if you want to drool, go here to see them!
But my all time favorite kitchen ever is this one featured on More Ways to Waste Time. It is the vintage touches that get me, so beautiful, fun, everything a girl could want! In fact the paint colour in this kitchen strongly influenced me towards a cool wall colour for our kitchen, over the warm beigey colour I was considering.
For now I will have to settle for minor updates here, new backsplash, modern pulls and stainless stove have been promised me so I will wait for that. For now I will enjoy the space and the light that this kitchen has to offer.
Oh and I will post a picture of it in it's current state the next time it is clean!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I love a bargain

It's inherited I guess, I love a bargain just like my Momma. And boy were these shoes a bargain. A few days ago A bought himself $11 shoes. He was pretty proud, they are black skate type shoes, not my favorite but fine considering the price and that he has ruined every other pair he owns (renovations!). So I went shopping the next day and found myself a deal. Try $6.71. That is a deal indeed. And I love them. They match a cute little purse I already own, and according to many sources this colour goes with everything! Oh and did I mention lines that go across the foot make narrow feet look less weird? Perfect! I plan on wearing them a lot in the future, especially when it warms up enough to go without socks!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Some Before and Afters

Hallway Before
I mentioned in my post about lighting, that our house was on the market for quite a while before we were able to buy it at a reduced price.  Well, since we moved in we did a few minor updates that I think made a major difference.  
The first was paint!  The house was mostly white, the kids bedrooms and the living room were the only rooms with colour! You can also see in this picture that we replace the doorbell and the lighting.  Just updated everything.  I thought of putting a mirror in the hallway as the previous owners had, but I read that a mirror shouldn't be used when there is no light to reflect.  Well this hallway has NO LIGHT, so instead I used 3 framed pics of the cutest kids ever.  This hallway table needs something pretty on it and something on the wall.  Haven't quite decided what yet.
 Hallway After
So after we painted everything with a fresh coat of subtle neutral colours, we replaced the upstairs doors and door knobs.  Ok, I just said "we" painted, but really, we paid someone to paint.  We painted our last place ourself and it took FOREVER.  So we opted to suck it up and pay a guy who did the whole main floor in 4 days, by himself!  I will probably pint downstairs myself though as it was pricey!  
These doors were a bit of a splurge, just a bit.  But I think they add a lot of character.  I dream of craftsman style bungalows, and these doors say craftsman to me and that makes me happy! 
 We left the closet doors flat just painted them and replacing the knobs.  If that really bugs me later we can always tackle those one at a time.  And the trim.  I would like to replace the casing and make it a bit thicker, but that will also have to wait.  For now, it looks like a new house, and I am very happy with our work.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The wall..revealed

Ok, I feel I mislead you all a bit with the title of the last post, the international was just an Austin Powers reference (International Man of Mystery). It was the first thing that popped into my head and I went with it.
I wonder what that says about my head, hmmmm.
Anyway, here are the pics of the mystery items:

Enough dirt to pot a plantA knife

As I write this Aaron has come to inform me that a goldfish net taped to a paint stir stick was also hidden back there. Apparently they were trying to fish something out, the knife maybe?

Who was the closest? I am not really for everyone!
Call me to arrange a time! Thanks for playing!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The international wall of mystery...

A ripped down a wall today. It is in preparation for the electrical work that is kicking me out of my house for 4 days!! Ok, that is another story!
We found 2 mystery items in the wall. That is, it's a mystery how they got IN the wall. Best guess gets a coffee from me!
We also discovered 2 cables not hooked up to anything, 2 speaker wires that run behind the fireplace, with the gas line, and a n electrical outlet totally behind the paneling. Oh and speaking of paneling... the "bleached oak" paneling that is covered over by crazy plaid wallpaper is actually itself covering over...darker brown paneling! Yep, 2 layers of the ugly stuff, NICE.
Don't forget to post your guesses, contest closes when all (3) of you have guessed, and no later than next week when S is in town so I can actually reward her in person if need be.

Kid clutter anyone?

My 3 monkeys create some major messes, and have a lot of stuff! So here are some places I keep their stuff so our living room looks less like the aftermath of a Toys R Us explosion and more like a place that actually has a floor.
So the key for me is to have a place to hide it! I have 2 vintage make up suitcases, one I inherited from my Grandma, and one my mother in law gave me when she saw what I did with the first one!
One holds baby toys and one holds matchbox cars. They can be toted anywhere, which the kids love! They dump them out, I lock them back up to avoid pinched fingers. Just pile everything back in when the kids are done and slide them under the chairs in the living room when not in use.The next trick is classic, it's the storage ottoman! Specifically, this is the Ektorp Bromma leather ottoman from IKEA. Love that place. I bought rubbermaid tubs to organize the inside, and voila, train storage! I was quite surprised how much of the Island of Sodor fits in there. I may reassess the whole plan as K got more trains for his birthday and they may need to get bumped somewhere else. But basically I put our current obsession in here so it is readily accessible but not always visible.
There you go. My contribution to the taming kid clutter linky party hosted by the Shabby Nest and Pretty Organized Palace. I can't wait to see all the other ideas so I can deal with the clutter in other rooms, like the playroom, oh the playroom!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Defining Style

I keep reading in magazines about all the trends in home decor coming this year.  Style at Home describes them as European Mauves, Belgian Farmhouse, Polychromatic Brights (!), and Industrial Schoolhouse in this year's high/low issue.  As we have recently moved, I see choices on the horizon for everything from a couch, to bathroom fixtures, to flooring.  I would love to have a clear idea of what I want the house to turn out like before I choose things along the way. 

Really, I don't want basic and I don't want a mishmash, so I would like to define my style a bit before we get too far.  Thinking about clothes and how I have thought through my style this last year thanks to some fun blogs (more on that in another post) I have discovered some truths about myself that I think will be useful here. 

 I am not Romantic.  I don't like ruffles or florals on my clothing, and I think we can safely rule it out for the house too.  Even traditional and intricate antiques are a bit too much for me in big doses.
I am not Trendy.  Looking like everyone else is not for me.  I am excited by colour trends though, so I would like to have some flexibility in accent colours.  My house has had some version of blue in it (and a bit of green) since I have had a house of my own.  So keep blue and green in mind.
I like Vintage.  I like un-frilly vintage things.  In my wardrobe I think this means a bit of 30's/40's/50's styling and in my house it means pieces with patina that happily show their age.
I like Natural.  I like being outdoors, I like denim, I like the worn in look.  In the house I like wood, and primitive things, a bit of nature.
I read a lot of country decorating magazines, never the fancy magazines with perfect formal houses!  But when I first got married I was enthralled with modern, minimalist style and everything had to be chrome.
When I saw Style at Home I thought I was all about the Belgian Farmhouse look described as "natural", "clean" and "casual".  Did I mention that everything about us as a family is casual?The mauves are to feminine and the brights make my head hurt.  Then I flipped a few pages and saw the Industrial Schoolhouse spread.  I think I gasped.  It is lovely.  
Described as "retro", "functional, yet clean, simple".  It is the perfect way for my country and modern ideas to meet.  I think it will work well with the classic and caftsman pieces we already have.  It is casual, vintage and natural, and now I just need to get my hands on all the galvanized metal I can find!
Oh, and these pictures are sneak peaks of my new improved mantel.  Remember back here I said I was working on it?  Well I have made progress, but it is not perfect yet!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Linky party coming up

So over at the Shabby Nest and Pretty Organized Palace they are hosting a Linky Party about taming kid clutter on February 4th.  That is precisely what I need, especially after a certain someone's 3rd birthday party today!  
We used to live in a townhouse that had no playroom.  Did I mention that the playroom (aka the bamboo lounge) is my favorite part of this house?  Anyway, we did the 'kids play in the middle of everything' thing for 4 years so I have a few hiding places for toys.
Here is a quick teaser of what I am going to post for the party!
Hmmm, I wonder what's in here?  Ok no cheating, since 2 of the 3 people who read this blog have been to my house!
I am also hoping to get some ideas on what to do with kids artwork and books.  We don't have a good system for storing books yet in this house.  So in short I can't wait for the party!  I love a good party don't you?