Monthly Archives: November 2011

About Time: Kitchen Update

This has been a long time coming. Looong time coming. Too long. This is proof of how willing we are to live with imperfection and convenience for the sake of a little laziness and a little busyness. This is also proof that, eventually we’ll get to it.

Believe it or not. Those are handles adorning our cabinets. 
In the end, despite considering colourful options, despite procrastinating because we couldn’t make a choice, in the end, we stopped by the big orange box and picked up the one we liked the best among their selection. It’s nothing incredibly special, but it’s classic with a bit of a swoop to it. These ones, to be exact:
(From Home Depot)

It’s weird, having pulls. Every so often, I find myself reaching for a fork, our preferred method of opening the doors after our tape fell off, or opening two doors in order to open one. I definitely still open the sink drawer from the bottom with my foot.

It will take a while to adjust to normal living again, right? Good thing the kitty approves.


Filed under cabinets, door hardware, kitchen

The Month of Movember!!

(Two posts today! A word from the Husband.)
Hey All,
The Husband writing here. I thought I would just give some acknowledgement to the month of Movember. For those who are not familiar to this growing tradiation, it’s a month dedicated to prostate cancer and men’s heath. You can read more about it on their webpage. If you haven’t guessed already I’ve joined the movement. Here is a picture at the start of month:

And 10 days in:
On the 24th:
And so it continues.
At the end of the month, I’ll have to share an updated photo you can see the final look.

Want to donate? You can donate to the cause itself here or me, here. Are there any other mustaches being grown this month out there?

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Filed under Uncategorized

I love kitchens

We’ve had a wonderfully productive weekend. I can only hope that I get my act together enough to take some wonderful pictures of the work we did so I can properly share it with you. In the meantime…

One of the many things we did this weekend was spend a delightful afternoon in the company of a family from our church. After the most delicious ginger-filled squash soup I’ve ever had, we moved on to talk about renovations, ours, and the ones they want to do. Their kitchen has risen to be their main priority and they’re now in the planning stages of a full renovation. The old, cracked tile is coming up, the cabinets are coming out, a new counter top is on its way. It was kind of exciting, in a way, to talk about someone else’s renovations for once.

They had a good list of requirements for their kitchen, and they already know what they like and, more importantly, perhaps, what they don’t. No open shelving, no tile. White cabinets with a darker counter top. Their kitchen already had a good layout. Small but, most importantly, it works and their happy with it. With a few new finishes, I know they’ll love their kitchen.
They have a gorgeous window in their kitchen, a huge, solid pane of glass that draws your eye in and out to their private backyard the moment you step into the room. This is where I think they should focus their design once they’ve made the basic decisions about flooring, cabinetry, and counter tops. That window opens up the small room and could make it feel a lot bigger than it is.  
They’re well on their way to finishing up their plans, I think, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with. Hopefully, we’ll be invited back once they’ve made the leap.
Thank you to the Zed’s for picking our brains about your kitchen! We thoroughly enjoyed talking about someone else’s renovation for a change and we’re always glad to share some of the knowledge we’ve picked up along our renovation journey. I hope you’re finding plenty of inspiration and I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

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Filed under community, kitchen, renovations

A To-Do List

I’ve talked about them often enough. Why don’t we bring things all out into the open?

A To-Do List of all the little things that need to be done and would only take 10 minutes to finish but, for some reason are so easy to over look

  1. Install cover plates on our light switches and outlets.
  2. Install baseboard in the dining room.
  3. Install toe-kicks in the kitchen.
  4. Secure baseboard in the bedroom, rather than just letting it float there.
  5. Install curtain rods and hang curtains properly rather than by string.
  6. Install trim around the window in the front room.
  7. Hang our third rod in the closet so I can finally show it to you. And properly hang all my clothes. Totally secondary, I know.
  8. Purchase and install kitchen door hardware.
  9. Install closet door hardware.
  10. Paint the back interior door.
  11. Paint the trim around the front door.
  12. Skim coat to fill air holes and seal grout. (Ok, this one might take a wee longer than 10 minutes. There’s a reason it hasn’t been done!)
I think that’s enough. Perhaps this weekend, we’ll cross a few off the list.
Or, I’ll work on a new project that I might tell you about next week. Maybe.
Did I mention that I have far too many project on the go? Like this one: a baby blanket for a co-worker.
Have a blessed, relaxing, productive weekend, friends. ‘Til next week.


Filed under projects, to do

Three Things This Thursday

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends today! I will never understand why you have it so late, but I will be slightly envious of two things: 1) the not one, but two days many of you get off work, no questions asked, making it a beautiful 4 day weekend 2) the clearly defined weekend in which the Thanksgiving decorations come down and the Christmas decorations go up.

Since it’s Thursday, here’s a brief line-up of the things I’ve been thinking about lately.


We did some work at cleaning out our garage last week, pulled out the Christmas tree and kinda half set it up, anyway. When I’m finished decorating, perhaps I’ll let you see it, though my tree decorating skills have never been much to get excited about. Because the tree is out, though, I’ve been thinking about DIY Christmas ornaments! Like these:

I think it might be time to hit up the Dollar Store for some styrofoam balls sometime soon.


Perhaps in connection with the above thought, I’ve been thinking a lot about homemade ‘clay’ options. Example? Flour and Salt dough!

How pretty is that necklace? I am nearly certain I’ll be completely unable to create something quite so successfully, but I plan to try it out someday soon, perhaps even come up with something I’ll be willing to deck my tree in!


This last thing on this list is not nearly as exciting as the other two, but maybe a little more important. I don’t know. You can be the judge.

That’s a light switch. Unfortunately, our light switches look a lot more like this:
And, they’ve looked like that for, oh… 8 months? And we’ve actually been finished things for, oh, 6 months? 
I know. I know. Pathetic.
The thing is, I’m getting sick of them. Slowly, but surely, as I look at the gaping holes every single day, I’m reaching the breaking point that will involve going out to the garage and rummaging around until I find those covers and a screw driving and fixing the whole light switch over situation.
(I know. I know. Pathetic.)
What are you guys thinking about these days? Christmas on your brains yet? Is your tree set up or lights on your house? Do you have any silly unfinished tidbit that would take about 5 minutes to finish up tidy?


Filed under Christmas, ornaments, Things for Thursday

Window seat… not so much

I was unsuccessful in convincing the Husband that we should build a window seat beneath the front window. He was concerned it would take too much space and make our home feel smaller than it already is. Fair enough. It is absolutely important to me that our home is one we build together. You will never find me putting my foot down about design decisions. If he’s not convinced, we move on to the next idea; no harm, no foul.

However, another idea did offshoot from our window bench discussion. Part of the point of a window seat is the additional storage beneath. Closed storage is crucial in our house. We have a puppy who has yet to grow out of the chewing stage. Shoes are her favourite treat, but she’s also not opposed to purses, headphones, cords, afghans, pens, and duvets (especially pens on duvets. We can’t have anything nice). Leaving the house can be a chore, involving double and triple checking closet doors and putting anything she might like to sink her teeth into well out of her reach. A window seat would offer the perfect place to store shoes, afghans, extra pillows, etc.

But so would doors on a bookcase. Like this:

William Hefner Architecture Interiors & Landscape traditional home office
So, the new plan?
Something like this:
(Promise you won’t laugh.)
(Ok, I guess this probably deserves a little laughter…)
Yes. Yes. It’s Paint. I’m not cool enough for Sketch-up, not yet.
So… does it need a bit of a legend? Those blue blobs, they’re my club chair and another, complementing or matching chair. The brown thing in between is a side table. It would hold our favourite plant and such, as it currently does. On each side of the window, there are bookshelves, built in, or at least looking so, turned in to face each other. But, at the bottom, – and this is where the ever crucial closed storage comes in – I want cupboards that face out for easy access. Whether they’re drawers or actual cupboards, I haven’t yet decided.
Can you envision it? Or is my Paint sketch just a little too amateur? I think it would work and work well! And, who knows… this kind of a configuration would allow us to, one day, add in that bench should the Husband change his mind!


Filed under bookcases, living room

Chair Booties: A Pattern

Last week, when I shared our dining room rug with you, many of you noticed – and liked! – my chair booties. Of course, my mom’s comment was my favourite:

I had to laugh at the socks on your chair legs. Lesson from your grandmother?

 Indeed. My grandmother has not a chair in her house that isn’t adorned with a chair booty.

After watching in frustration as the felt pads we stuck to the bottom of our chairs slipped off after only a few times being slid back from the table, I gave in to the lesson my grandmother passed down, picked up my crochet hook and some stashed yarn, and went to work.

A couple TV shows for background noise and mental entertainment later, I had three sets of these. I need one more yet, but I’ll get to it eventually.

These don’t slip off. They provide complete coverage, so there’s no way a little edge of something sharp will come into contact with our beautiful floors. They let our chairs slide smoothly across our beautiful bamboo. Perhaps I’m romanticizing them a little too much. But they are truly amazing. They will save floors.
Want to make your own? Know how to crochet?
(Want to learn? It’s hard to without someone sitting beside you and showing you and correcting your mistakes, but try out this tutorial. Plenty of photos to go with it to show each minute step. Try it!)

Chair Booties

What you need:
A hook – G, H, or I – It doesn’t really matter if the booty ends up a little loose – that’s what the tie at the top is for! However, make sure you don’t use a hook that’s too small! Choose your best guess, based on the size of the legs you’re covering.
Yarn from your stash. You don’t need a lot for each set and you could probably get 4 sets of booties (for 4 chairs) from a single (substantial) ball of yarn.
Chain 4 and join in the first chain with a slip stitch to form a ring.
Rnd 1: Chain 3. 12 double crochet in ring. Join with a slip stitch in the top of the beginning chain. 
Rnd 2: Chain 3. Double crochet in each stitch around. Join with a slip stitch at the top of the beginning chain.
Rnd 3-5: Repeat Rnd 2 three more times or until the desired length is reached. Fasten off.
Work the ends in. 
Cut a length of contrasting yarn or ribbon. I tripled up my pink yarn to give it some thickness. Use the finished booty to measure the needed length, ensuring the yarn or ribbon will be long enough that it can be woven through once and tied into a bow.
Weave the contrasting ribbon around the posts of the double crochets in the 5th rnd, ie, through the space between them.
Slip them onto the feet of your chair and tie the ribbon or yarn tight to keep them secure. 

If you make them, let me know!


Filed under chair, dining room

Another Thought: Window Benches

Humour me here.

I know I’ve been talking a lot about my little club chair lately. The idea is that it replace one of our Ikea chairs which sit just inside our front door. Eventually, both Poang chairs will be replaced with smaller, more suited piece of furniture.

Occasionally, however, I start thinking about a totally different option.

Window seats!

Let’s look at my space, shall we?

On either side of the window, there’s approximately 2 feet, a decent amount of space for a book shelf. Our window isn’t terribly low, so a bench could fit nicely beneath, with storage underneath for shoes, umbrellas, and all the other things we may need when venturing outdoors. Pile the bench high with pillows and it could still be a comfortable place to sit, enjoy a cup of coffee, and snuggle with a pet.

I can envision it. Could I convince the Husband? And, if so, would we ever get around to it?


Filed under entry way, window seats

Fabric from Tonic Living: So Excited!

Last night, I pulled a big brown envelope out of the mail. Usually it’s our tenants who get all the good stuff. Not this time!

Inside the envelope was a pleasant note,
and eight beautiful swatches!
Now, I have a problem, a problem that you might be able to help with. Which one do I pick for my club chair

Which fabric would you use?
Groovy Grille
Loopy Lou

These fabrics can all be found at Tonic Living for a beautifully reasonable price.

Let me know what you think!


Filed under fabric, reupholstery

Bamboo Black and Purple Swirls

When we chose our floors 5 months or so ago, we took a risk. We’d fallen in love with dark floors, but the hardwood was so expensive. We were this close to ordering our square footage worth of $6-a-foot beautiful, scraped hardwood when we stumbled across a small display of options tucked into a corner of Alexanians. Bamboo! Nearly half the price, beautifully dark. Not scraped, nor hardwood, and very susceptible to scratching, we were warned. But, we went with it.

Fast forward. We’re actually living with the bamboo. Guests are coming over and I’m desperately trying to get the floors to shine. Only a few months after installing them, they seem to have lost their sheen. Faint scratches from shoes, paw prints, drywall dust filling the cracks. We have a rule now: cleaning the floors is the Husband’s job because I get way too disappointed with our choice.

Except that, when we’re not working really hard to try to make it look amazing, I love our floors. They’re warm. They’re dark and sophisticated.

Solution? Put a rug down!

We found this baby at Rona for $80 on sale. We debated the colour. After all, we have a dog who loves to root around in the garden which, at the moment, is just dirt.* Was going so light really such a good idea? But the contrast, in the end, seems to save our floors in a way. It draws the eye away from the dust and the hair-line scratches, heightens the sheen, and amps up the warmth factor all in one.

(* It’s amazing how quickly she’s learned that, as soon as she comes in from outside, she needs to jump in the tub so that we can wash her feet. Of course, the treat she gets after each foot washing is just an added bonus.)

Also, with those big purple swirls, it’s just fun.

One of these days, we’ll find some complementary art for that wall. I think it’s calling out for something big, something show stopping. Ideas, anyone?


Filed under dining room, flooring