Monthly Archives: September 2012

Photo Friday: Dachshund

Do you ever have those days in which you want to curl up in the corner of the couch and do nothing but stew in your own self-ness? This week has been one of those days.

This Dachshund is one of Mocha’s best friends. I shot this during our family Christmas last year, when she was a little overwhelmed by the crowds of people that had descended upon her home. The expression on her face, that alert watchfulness, waiting for everyone to go home so life can go back to normal… I recognize that expression.

I hope you all have a restful weekend, that you’ll spend some time to curl up in the corner of a couch if you need to, or meet that best friend for a long heart to heart, or snuggle your pets, or find balance in creativity.

Come back Monday – I have some fun stuff planned for all of next week!

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Filed under Capri, dogs, Photography

Three Things For Thursday: Three Living Rooms

One: Tufted Sofas

I used to think that my love for tufted sofas was mainly focused on the traditional chesterfield, fixating, even, on Restoration Hardware’s Kensington. And then, Centsational Girl wrote about tufted sofas on her new Better Homes and Gardens blog and I realized that, in fact, I love most things tufted. 

Two: May It’s The Feet

Or, maybe it isn’t the tufting I love about the couch above at all. Maybe it’s the feet.
I’m sure I would end up hating having a couch on wheels, but there’s something sweet and whimsical about them, a little dash of tradition in the midst of a playful modernity. There are, of course, other things to love about this living room too. The colour of the couch? The painting on the wall? The blue accents in the curtain and side table display? Ah. Dreamy.

Three: Doors

Let’s just round this week’s Three Things with yet another living room, shall we? 

The doors! When this sneak peak went up on Design*Sponge this week, my eye was immediately drawn to the statement making doors being used as artwork above the couch. The texture they bring into this room is incredible. We have our house’s original door stored away in the garage. It’s a beautiful, slightly ornate, old wooden door with a textured glass window in it. And, a huge crack across the front. If the crack weren’t there, we would still be using it. I’ve been searching for a way we can encorporate it in somehow. I don’t think this is it, but this shot has me itching to bring it in somehow, some way.


Follow me on Pinterest and Facebook to see what else is inspiring me lately.


Filed under living room, Things for Thursday

Five Hard Things About Getting A Puppy

One: House Breaking

We know all the theories. Take your dog out to the exact same place every 2 hours, tell him to pee and praise him copiously when he does. Be consistent.

I think the theories forget to take into account puppies who slurp back a whole bowl of water, pee like they’re supposed to outside, then come in, slurp back the second bowl of water and leave a large puddle on the floor half an hour later.

Thank goodness for crate training.

Two: Three and Six

AM. Kingsley is almost four months, which, if you follow the formula of (age+1)=the number of hours a puppy can hold it, means he has a bladder built for 5 hours. Generally, we sleep from 11 to 7. That’s 8 hours. So, every night, Mark’s alarm goes off at 3 am, and, for the last month, mine has gone off at 6.

It sucks.

Three: Teeth

Puppies do this thing called mouthing. They explore the world with their mouth. They want to chew, chew, chew on everything. Including hands. Human, fleshy hands. Also, they have these tiny, sharp teeth that, one day, they’ll lose so their big adult teeth can come in and take over.

Puppy teeth hurt.

Four: That moment when your puppy learns an important life lesson the hard way

Sometimes, being their highly energetic, crazy selves, puppies can hurt themselves and almost make you cry.

Last night, Kingsley was doing his best to jump to reach the cat, who was sitting on top of the radiator out of his reach. He got too close, came down on the pipes, got his fat paw stuck and his leg twisted in the bars. The yelp he made went right to my core.

I expect it will be the last time he tries to chase the kitty onto the radiator.

Five: I’m all out.

I can’t think of a fifth.

I can think of about a dozen wonderful things about getting a puppy. I can think of about a dozen things I love about Kingsley and about two dozen things I love about Mocha, who we also got as a puppy two years ago. These puppies are a part of my family.

I adore them.


Filed under Kingsley, Pets

A Simple Lamp Makeover

Everyone spray paints, right? There are whole lists of spray painting projects on the Internet, after all. Some people have even built their blog on spray painting. Me? I’ve only ever spray painted one thing in my life. Ok, two, but they were the same things and part of the same project.

Way back in May of 2011, I spray painted our bathroom radiator. That was fun, with all those nooks and crannies and impossible to reach corners. Also, with the layers of crud that had been painted over time and again by past owners. Oh, yes. Fun.

A few months later, I spray painted our bedroom radiator and nice glossy black. Two days later, I discovered a chip in the finish, so, even though I had planned to spray paint our living room one too, I hid away the cans and just forgot about it. Spray paint and I? I didn’t feel like we were getting along.

Enter the Stretch Thrift Store. It’s down the street from me. It’s kind of scuzzy and the turnover of its Home department is pretty low, but I pop in every month or so and take a turn around its three aisles to see what might be around to snap up. Two weeks ago, I found this lamp:

A simple, wooden lamp. Absolutely nothing special. No lamp shade to go with it. Just a lamp. 
And I fell in love. There was something about it’s understated-ness, it’s tall, proud simplicity. I paid my $4 and took it home.
Generally, I love a good dark wood, but this time, I had a different idea for this little guy. I wanted to break my spray painting hiatus and play up its pretty curves with a glossy, smooth coat of colour. I set it up in the bedroom, and sat back, waiting for the inspiration to hit me. 
And it did!
When we were in the Dominican Republic for our honeymoon two years ago, we picked up a few paintings as souvenirs of our trip. A couple months ago, I finally got around to framing and hanging one of them. In the process of bringing our new bed in, the frame got pulled off the wall and leaned on the bedside table instead. Eventually, this will be rectified. 
(Here’s a tip: if you have a frame with a mat that breaks the frame up into squares, try putting one larger piece of art in it. It breaks up the art or the photo in an unexpected, new way.)
See the blue in the painting? That’s the colour I fixated on. Turned out, finding a blue that would go well with that blue was not as easy as I thought it would be. I opted for something darker to complement and contrast. 
At least, I thought I did. 
What actually happened is that I fell into the same trap that Heather of Interior Groupie did a few weeks ago.  What I thought was a decent bright navy turned out to be a colour I can only describe as Lego blue. 

But, you know what? I don’t hate it. It’s incredibly bright, but I think it draws your eye. The shade isn’t quite right – it’s simply borrowed from another lamp right now. It’s a improvement, a little bit of fun in our bedroom.

And the great thing about spray paint? If I decide I really do actually hate it, I can always redo it in a few months.

Have you spray painted anything recently?

Linked up to:


Filed under make over, master bedroom, spray paint

What happens when you take a big bed and squeeze it into a really tiny room

You know my house is pretty tiny, right? According to the Apartment Therapy Small, Cool contest, it fits into the Tiny category. So, it should come as no surprise that we also have a tiny bedroom. What might come as a surprise is that we took said tiny bedroom and stuck big-a** bed frame in it. The thing I’m a little surprised about? It doesn’t make the room feel nearly as claustrophobic as I expected it to.

What you see here is the grand total of our bedroom. There is a wall of closets to the left with about two and a half feet of getting-dressed space between them and the bed and that? That is it. And this? Is our new bed. 
Here’s another surprise for you: while the scale of the huge-a** bed in our tiny room actually didn’t turn out too bad, I don’t like the bed frame itself. I like wood when it’s stained dark or painted light. Honey-brown kind of makes me cringe. And the square of white on the headboard? Suede. Oatmeal coloured suede. Blech. I’m sure some of you are frowning by now, ready to defend the poor bed frame and, I’ll admit: it’s a fine bed frame. But it’s just not my taste.
So, why do I suddenly have a huge bed frame in my tiny bedroom that I will readily admit a dislike for? Here’s the story: a close friend has this roommate who’s moving back to Brazil. This roommate owns a whole apartment of good quality (amazing quality) furniture that he doesn’t want to take back to his homeland with him. So, what’s his plan? Sell it, piece by piece or, preferably, the whole lot all together. For a measly $1000.
That’s $1000 for a solid wood bed frame, two matching bedside tables, one matching dresser, two (huge) table lamps, one dining room set, one loveseat, one arm chair, one coffee table, one side table and a media stand.
That’s $1000 for probably around $10 000 worth of furniture. At least. So, when said friend told the Husband and three others about the deal, I was more than happy to agree that, yes, we’d be ridiculous not to get in on this. Even if I happened to have completely opposite tastes. 
So, on Friday, the furniture dispersed to two different homes, for storage or use. We took in the bed, the bedside tables, and the lamps. Since our old bed frame was too small for our new mattress, I was excited to have a bed frame again, excited for space to shove our under-the-bed totes, excited for a headboard, as ugly as I may find it. It makes the room feel different, a little more luxurious, a little more pulled together, a little more special. 
Added bonus? The frame has made the bed too tall for Kingsley to jump up. Now, it’s a safe place for Pekoe to sleep and there’s no more crazy puppy play-fights going on among our sheets.
Have there been any big changes around your bedrooms lately? Anyone else surviving with a super tiny bedroom?


Filed under master bedroom

Photo Friday: Door

We went for a walk in Edmonton. It’s not the most exciting of cities, but we did discover the River Valley trails and I fell in love. As we left, I lamented the lack in Toronto of interconnected walking trails with multiple access points and more than one option that got you to essentially the same place. Sure, we have the Don Valley Trail, but with too few access points, there’s no such thing as a short walk. And High Park? All the way at the other end of the city.

But, I digress.

At the beginning of our long walk, we stumbled across the oldest house in Edmonton.

Perhaps stumbled isn’t the right word. My sister knew it was there. The only reason I found myself drawn to it was the bright orange trim. I’m sure it wasn’t the original colour that John Walter painted it back in 1875, but I kind of love it. Orange and white, even the antlers over the door… century old log house, I’d want it to look exactly like this.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I have an exciting house update coming your way on Monday. You might find a hint on my Pinterest boards!


Filed under Photography

Three Things For Thursday

One: Shelter Mags

I think I’ve admitted this here before, but today, I’m going to do it again: I don’t subscribe to magazines. Any magazines. And sometimes, as someone who got roped into the design blogging world, I feel like that means I’m doing it wrong. I’m sure I’m not, not really, since I’ve never managed to find a list of rules one must follow in order to really and truly be considered a design blogger. Besides the lack of rules, magazines and I just don’t… click.

Take, for example, the sample copies of Style at Home or House and Home I’ve received in a couple swag bags at blogging events. I’ve flipped through them casually, maybe, and set them on my beside table, planning on absorbing them, cover to cover, like a good house blogger would do. But it just doesn’t happen.

Image via Martha Stewart

I think that this is something that will, someday, have to change, especially if I decide I want to take this writing thing seriously, especially if I want to gain a freelance writing gig or two. Someday, I’ll have to figure this magazine thing out. So, I ask you: what magazines do you subscribe to? Do you read every issue back to front?

Two: House of Fifty

Speaking of. For some reason, House of Fifty and I have clicked. Perhaps it’s the price tag. Perhaps it’s because it’s completely digital and so easy to browse through on my lunch break. Perhaps it’s because the online format takes the pressure off, removes the requirement of study, of reading every page, and admiring every style trend.

Perhaps, also, this:

House of Fifty just gets me. Modern. Traditional. All in one.

Three: Fall

Welcome to cool days and cold nights. 
Also, boots.


Filed under Things for Thursday

A Baby Blanket for Daniel

I’m not sure that I was really fully aware of how much I was capable of loving this little creature. I waited three months to meet him, three months in which I talked to my sister nearly every day, getting updates on his  little life, seeing photos, even watching his little feet wiggle in our few Google Hangouts. From the first moment I saw his face, I fell in love. Daniel is the most handsome baby I have ever seen.

(Maybe I’m a little biased. Maybe.)

As you know if you’ve been following this particular story line of mine, I’ve been making a baby blanket. If you follow me on Instagram (thisdustyhouse) or Twitter (@thisdustyhouse), you’ll know that, as I settled onto the plane, I pulled out the colourful squares and my wool needle and set to work. Three and a half hours later, as we disembarked, it was not yet finished. Each night, as we watched trashy TV in our hotel room, I worked those ends in, one after another.

Finally, Saturday morning, I finished.

I’m pleased with it. It’s bright and colourful, gender neutral without being overbearingly so. I hope this will be the blanket that Daniel carries with him everywhere he goes, getting it dirty, sticking his fingers through the holes as he goes to sleep at night.

 I hope he loves it.

I linked up:

Create and Share @ The Trendy TreehouseWow Me Wednesday @ Polka Dots on ParadeTransformation Thursday @ The Shabby Creek CottageTime Travel Thursdays @ The Brambleberry Cottage  DIY Link Party @ AKA Design


Filed under baby blanket


I haven’t been talking much about our garden recently. It still exists in all its disappointing glory. This will sum it up:

  1. My tomatoes went crazy, split before they ripened, fell out of their tomato cages and turned into a dirty tangle of tomato chaos. Then I stopped watering them. (Oops.)
  2. My watermelons were promising and I was dreaming of light pink fruit. Then, they got eaten. All five of them. And not by me.
  3. My eggplants were growing! Beautiful purple things. Then they got eaten. All four of them. And not by me. 
  4. My green beans are weird. Long stringy things that turn into long, dry, chewy things. Also, I don’t think I like green beans much.
  5. My hot peppers are out of control. We put that $%#! on everything.
  6. Most importantly, the Husband’s sunflowers, though they didn’t grow to be the promised 18 feet of towering yellow, have finally bloomed. And they’re beautiful.

In less than 12 hours, I will by sitting on an airplane, frantically working ends into a colourful baby blanket for four hours and getting antsy with excitement. In just a little more than 12 hours, I’m finally going to meet the little man who has been my favourite baby in the world for three whole months even though I’ve never met him.

I really, truly, cannot wait.

We have an amazing friend coming to stay with our pups while we’re gone, so all will be cared for at home, but no one will be watching out over this blog for our five day vacation. If I were a good blogger, I would probably have arranged a guest post or two for you but… in my excitement, the whole concept kind of escaped me. I may reappear for a surprise giddy-aunt post at some point during my visit, but don’t expect it.

I hope you all have a blessed week, full of family, and friends, and love, and good books, and delicious food, and music that makes you want to dance and sing at the top of your lungs.


Filed under Daniel, vacation

Introspection: Home

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what my home says about me. Does it hold within it my values? What does it say about how I feel about my family, my friends? How does this place reflect my role in the world? How I feel about religion, and politics, and rights, and the city, and the dirt on which we’re built?

I’ve never looked around my home and thought it beautiful. Comfortable, yes. Cute. Sure. Coming along. Definitely. I recognize that my home is in a constant state of progress but that I have no innate talents when it comes to decorating. I will be surprised if my home is ever featured between the covers of the likes of Style at Home or House Beautiful. But, I’m beginning to realize that my home is so much more than the beautiful things it contains. I’m sure you’ve heard this quote:

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to beautiful.

I don’t believe it.

Don’t get me wrong: it’s a nice idea and something I believe interior designers should take into consideration with each and every client they work with. But if my home is a reflection of myself – something I truly hope it is – this idea falls short. I am not always beautiful. I am not always useful. More importantly, there are things that are important to me or important to the Husband that are not always beautiful and not always useful. I am not about to hide those things in a space that is meant to be completely and utterly us.

For example. I am a voracious reader. Problem: I don’t find books to be a particularly attractive way to decorate a room. Ah! But they’re useful! Except that they’re not. I read a book once and I’m unlikely to pick it up again. And yet, our home is full of books. I’ve toyed with boxing them all up and dropping them off at the nearly thrift store, filling my bookshelves with pretty trinkets instead. And yet, I can’t. They are neither beautiful nor useful, and yet, I love them. I love them because they are part of me.

I would like to refocus. I’m stepping back from the goal of creating a beautiful home. I’m leaving William Morris behind. Rather, I want my home to be passionate. I want it to be a place that reminds us what we care about. I want our home to be a place in which we can be grounded, in which we completely and utterly know who we are. In which we, husband and wife, support each other wholeheartedly, and from which we reach out to offer care and support to those around us.

Home begins and ends with the people. I’m sure no one would argue when I say that home is so much more than the beautiful things a house contains. So, this is my new vision for my home: to be intentional about allowing it to reflect all that I – that we – believe, know, care for, and desire.

Who knows what that looks like.


Filed under introspection