Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy Holiday List Progress

I'm still working away on my Happy Holiday List.  But I'll be honest, some of the deadlines have already been missed.  I'm a bit disappointed about this but I know I still made a good start, and am getting things ready way earlier this year than usual.

  • I have to get the cards done for this weekend, cause we're going to this family party and I'd like to be able to give them out then.  That means the photos need to be completed and the cards put together.  I think I'll still be on time with those.
  • I didn't bake any cookies last week.  I really planned to but the week just got away from me!  I'm going to try and get them done this week too.  I like having them for hostess gifts, parties and quick last minute presents.  I also still need to get the packaging for them ready.
  • I went on a big shopping trip this weekend.  I did get many of the items on my list checked off but there are still more to do.  Because of Black Friday, many of the things I needed for the kids were sold out.
  • I still need a wreath for my front door.  I gave up on the lights, since Jay is working a lot right now and our house is really, really tall.  I would need the giant ladder and am getting tired of harassing Jay to bring it home from the jobsite.  If they actually get done, that would just be a bonus.  

I'm just trying to keep it real for you.  I put a lot of pressure on myself to meet these deadlines and frankly, it's a fail.

I don't want to let that ruin my holiday spirit though.  After all, it's about the fun of doing all those things anyway.  I really have enjoyed working on the list and I'll keep going, even though I may have been unrealistic about the timelines.

Happy Monday!

xo Meg

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Flipped Out, Tripped Out Bathroom

I'm taking a break from my holiday posting cause I think it might be getting a little boring for all of you to watch me struggling to get organized.  That'll probably never happen.  But I'm giving it my best.

This is something I know you'll like!  A little before and after.  Some flipped out, tripped out bathroom madness!  Everyone loves a makeover!

Remember how we flipped a house last winter?  This bathroom was probably the worst room in the whole place.

heinous bathroom on the upper level

ceiling of heinous bathroom.  don't ask.

The plan was to adjust the layout slightly, stealing some space from a closet in the hallway.  We lost a bit of linen storage this way but we gained a bunch of space to create better function in the bathroom.

Bathroom Layout Before

Bathroom Layout After

I should also explain that this is the main bath of the home, there is no ensuite.  There is a powder room on the main level though.  Also, the clawfoot tub was out of our budget so we went with a lovely drop in that we created a panelled surround for.

Here's how it turned out:

Still a pretty tight space but much more functional and certainly more beautiful!  I was really pleased with the way it turned out.  The marble really gives the room a luxurious feel and since we were working in such a tight space, we were able to splurge a bit.  

Happy Thursday!
xo Meg

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Christmas Mantle


   I've been working on decorating the inside of our home for Christmas.  It's kind of been my goal this year to use things we already have in our decorating for Christmas.  I want everything to look homemade and sweet.  Audrey is always the first to help out when it comes to decorating.  She helped me to come up with the plan for this mantle.  I did, however, remove about 200 extra things that she put out.  We have a slightly different design sensibility...

I clipped these branches from our yard.

 We found the dogwood on a hike we took over the weekend.  
I think I might need to add more greenery to this side.

What do you think?  

I'm just glad to be checking all those items off my list.  I can't check this one off yet, since it's not done.  But it was a great start for me!  Now, onto those cookies!

xo Meg

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Holiday Happiness!

I know my American friends are preparing for their Thanksgiving celebrations right now.  But here in Canada, that's been over for quite a while.  So I'm full swing in Christmas mode! This is the earliest I've ever started to prepare and it's giving me a wonderful case of Holiday Happiness!

We went on a hike this weekend and collected dogwood branches for our outdoor planters.  We had a blast as a family looking for the brightest red branches.  And Gilmore, our golden retriever, actually swam in the river despite the near freezing temperatures.

Now if it would only snow!  I'm having a little trouble with the photographs of the front of the house but I'll make sure to show you them as soon as I can.  They still need a little re-touching.

So, as for my list.  I've checked the first thing off!

Now I'm working on the inside decor.  I'm striving for natural, cheery and simple.  

Here's some of my favourite inspiration photos from my holiday pinterest.  

Usually at this time of year, I swap out the piece of art over my mantle with a mirror.  I like the way the candles and lights are reflected in the mirror and it looks better with my overall scheme.

A couple of years ago, I bought some 'faux snow' from Pottery Barn.  I don't know if they still sell it but I love the way it looks topped with real cranberries.  I do this every year.  It's the perfect hit of red on my simple mantle.  

I'll be back a little later with some photos of my planters!

xo Meg

Friday, November 18, 2011

My New Holiday Strategy

Ok, it all started when I read Angie's post about how she gets ready for the holidays in November so that she can really enjoy Christmas with her family during December.


I am traditionally a last minute Christmas gal.  I usually cram baking and shopping and parties and wrapping all into the last week or so before the big day. Madly scribbling off Christmas cards and enclosing photos printed at the last minute.   It makes me feel stressed for most of the month of December.  You know, worrying about getting it all done and that something will fall through the cracks.  


The reason this usually happens is two fold.  First, I am a procrastinator.  I run on high adrenaline, getting stuff done at the very last second.  It only makes sense that this would spill over into my yuletide strategy.   Second, my boy's birthday is November 28th and my hubby's is the 29th, so I'm usually working on something for them right up until the first of December.

one of my christmas crafts, via

However, just as Angie inspired me to organize my back to school strategy, she has inspired me to re-think my Christmas strategy.  Basically, the idea is that if you get all the administrative details of the Christmas season done in November, you can really enjoy all the festivities that happen in December!  Makes sense, right?

Here's all the things I need to get done, and my timeline for their completion!

You can watch my blog to see the progress of some of these holiday projects.  I'm linking up to this fun party, that I saw on A Thoughtful Place:

 Maybe you'd like to join up too?

Happy Friday!  My kids are home because it's a PD Day at their school.  That means a houseful of my own and a few spares.

xo Meg

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Singin' Chandy

I can't believe it's already Thursday.  I have been working so very hard (on Audrey's room and at work) that I haven't had a free moment to post!  My apologies!  

I do have something sweet to show you:

I want this Songbird Chandelier from Anthropology soooo bad for Audrey's room.  The only thing holding me back is the $798 pricetag!  I've posted about the lighting in here before.  You know, I was looking for something whimsical and fun that reflected her personality.  But it still has to work with the rest of our home...  The songbird is perfect, right?

Well, guess what I found at Homesense?

It's a birdcage!!!!!  

(ok, that light I showed you on Monday is stuffed inside so it looks kinda funny)

I'll be using the cage, along with this old light:

And these new friends from Michael's:

Can't wait to show you the finished project!

xo Meg

Monday, November 14, 2011

Audrey's Junkyard Bedroom

Jay and I unearthed all the thrifted and gifted finds we have for Audrey's room.  The weather here is perfect today so we were able to start the sanding, prepping and painting process for these pieces.  I am so glad to be starting on this work.  I can't wait for my girl to have a beautiful room!

I'll tell you a bit about our plans for the pieces.  

We found those two corbels in an antique shop in Barrie.  We will use them to support her desk in the little corner with the window (photo lower left).  I think they will be painted a turquoise colour.  There will also be some built-ins over there.  A wardrobe, desk and window seat are planned.  Paint selections to come this week!

We will also use the hutch top for storing her crafting supplies.  I need to find a way to get her organized.  I'm thinking small bins and baskets with labels on the shelves of the hutch. I have a couple of cute DIY ideas for in there.  She is terribly messy.  Hopefully this helps.

The image above on the right is the wall that will have her bed and night tables.  You can't tell from this photo but window is centred.  The pelmet that is giving me nightmares will go up there with curtains and the bed will go in front of the window.

This iron bed was given to us by a sweet little old lady who had just finished her garage sale.  We saw her putting it out by the curb and stopped to ask if we could buy it.  She wouldn't take any money for it, once she met little Audrey.  Her name was Audrey too!  We have had the bed for 6 years now - just waiting for us to fix it up.  We are thinking turquoise.

These frames will also get a coat of paint.  The artwork will go elsewhere. She's just getting the frames but I have other work to go in them.  I feel a little bad about painting the gold one since it's actually pretty nice.  Maybe I'll leave that one as is and paint the others.  Off white?  Shades pulled from her fabrics?  Not sure yet.  

This chair came from my Grandma's house.  It needs a coat of paint and a soft seat cushion and it will be perfect for Audrey's desk.

We found this old light in the crawlspace under our back porch.  Pretty soon, it's gonna be super-awesome.  I'm leaving you in suspense...

xo Meg

Thursday, November 10, 2011

It's my birthday and I want a falafel.  Specifically, this falafel, from Can You Stay For Dinner?

Looks good, right? Just spy-ed the recipe here.  And I'm making it for dinner tomorrow night.  Not tonight, cause Jay's doing the cooking (and the clean-up).  

One other thing... 

This is my 100th Post!  

Interesting that it co-incides with my 100th, er, 35th Birthday!

I have so loved writing this blog.  It is probably the most creatively committed I have ever been in my life.  You see, I'm really good at coming up ideas and plans and always have the best intentions for following through with them.  It's just that I often lack the commitment it requires to be a real finisher.  

To commit to completion is hard for me for some reason.  

Something about this blog has changed that for me.  For instance, the old me would probably just have given up on the whole pelmet thing in Audrey's room.  But now, I feel accountable.  And also, somehow convinced that I actually can finish something.  You guys finish stuff all the time.

So thank you for reading.  Thank you for inspiring me every day with your creativity, DIY skills and comments here.  Thank you for sharing your families and stories and homes and for listening while I shared mine.  I wish I knew you in the real world.  I would certainly invite you over for a mason jar full of cake to celebrate with me today.


Instead, I'll be arm wrestling my Pfaff 130 and the Pelmet fabric. You know, finishing what I started. 

Wish me luck.

xo Meg

NOTE:  I forgot to add the links yesterday to Jenny and Cassie's Pelmet posts.  I have added them now!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Audrey's Pelmet... FAIL!

   I wanted to make a pelmet for Audrey's window, the one above her bed.  It looked pretty easy when Jenny did it.  Cassie managed to do a good job too.  So I thought, why the heck can't I do that?

Well, here's why:

   I have constructed the frame for the pelmet .  I made it out of 1 x 2 lumber scraps that Jay had.  That part went well, since he cut and nailed it together for me.  It fits the spot perfectly.  Below is a crappy phone shot of the wood frame that is getting bracketed to the ceiling.  The fabric (with box pleats) will be stapled to the frame.

  The sewing part is nearly killing me.  Seriously.  I cut out the fabric all wrong for the first go and made the hem too small ( only 1/2 inch) so it looked cheap and homemade.  NOT the look I am going for.

Remember this image?  This is the look I'm going for.  

   I put the project aside to cool down and think it through again.  I still have enough fabric to try again and I can re-use the stuff  I screwed up to make toss pillows.  However, that leaves her windows with half-hung curtains that look pretty awkward without their pelmet topper.  That's ok, she's just happy  they're turquoise.  I will NOT be showing a picture of this epic fail.  Maybe I should, just to keep it real.
I didn't take one though.

   In other news, my parents are almost ready to completely move out of our house.  This is good news, although I will miss having them around.  It's good news because we can finally set up our downstairs family room.  We are still storing some of my parent's stuff but at least the TV, Wii and Playstation are now installed and the kids can get the heck out of my hair have a place to go.

Tomorrow is my birthday.  The big 3-5.  I'm treating myself to an all-out torture session at my sewing machine.  Hopefully the results are better.  Even if they're not, I'll post some photos.  I will need someone to laugh with.

xo Meg

Monday, November 7, 2011

Curb Appeal

I was looking at Friday's post, where the shot of my home from before we took possession of it, is front an centre.  And I was thinking about how it is going to look next spring.  Right before we got the keys, I wrote to Canadian design superstar, Michael Penney, and asked him what he thought.  Michael loves older homes, especially ones with quirky design and architectural details like mine.  These are the paint colours he recommended:

Farrow & Ball - Pavilion Grey

Farrow & Ball - White Tie

I decided to do a little photoshopping to see how Michael's ideas would look.


   The medium  gray-brown tone would go over the cedar shake shingles.  I have really hemmed and hawed this one.  I love the weathered grey look of cedar shake shingles when they have aged naturally.   Unfortunately, the previous owners put a sealant on the shake, turning it a dark brown colour.  I just don't think it looks so great with the brick.  I think that lightening up the shingles would be really nice.  

And the warm white for the trim is perfect.  Maybe a dark charcoal door?

   Also on our huge to-do list for the spring is the front garden.  There is an enormous maple tree on the front lawn that provides perfect partial shade to the house.  We have been working to create a landscape plan for this area that includes rounding out the walkway to soften it, removing the overgrown cedars, putting window boxes up under the bay windows, and planting a ton of perennial shrubs.  I am thinking about enlisting a pro landscape designer to help me with the overall design of this area.  I love gardening but would require something low maintenance and simple. 

 And white.  I really only dig white flowers (pun intended).  Especially hydrangeas.

What do you think?  Do you have any suggestions for paint colours?  Do you think the paint colour for the shingles should be a little 'grey-er' to tie in with the driveway?

xo Meg

Friday, November 4, 2011

Friday Favourites

Oh so glad the weekend is here!  I have been working a lot lately and I'm looking forward to having a little time to get some things in order around here.

   The thing that's really been inspiring me to get things in order is Casey's 'Organization Weekend'.  She's tackled a few tricky areas, including the kitchen pantry, office, and bedroom closet.  It just makes me want to tear apart all the messy areas in my house and start organizing!  I love nothing more than a well organized closet!

Holy smokes, did you see this twin girls' bedroom?????  It's knock your socks off amazing.  I just love it. In fact, Edie's blog itself is new to me and I have been really enjoying reading over all the design projects she tackles.  You should check it out.

(Oh yeah, there's a killer bathroom attached too... lucky girls!)

And last, but certainly not least,

     It's Mood Board Monday time again at Pewter and Sage (this one is going live on November 14th).  This one is featuring Dining Rooms and Dinnerware and I'm so excited to create another board for this series.  It's so fun to be creative and not really have to think of budget once in a while!  You should make a board too - check out this post for the deets.

   I am also helping my parents with their new build.  The project is nearing completion - the distressed wood floors are in, the paint is on the walls, etc.  But there is one bathroom that is giving us some trouble.  It's got a North-facing window and my Mom wanted to paint it blue.  However, the light in there makes every soft, serene blue look like electric turquoise!  Not really what she's going for.  So this weekend, I'm doing a little painting in there to see if we can come up with a colour that will work.  Next week, I'll probably have a few shots of the house, since Jay is installing her kitchen cabinetry this weekend.

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend.

xo Meg

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bye Bye Fall Decor!

Ok, I really didn't have enough time to do much Halloween and Fall decorating this year.  I didn't string garlands of leaves or put branches into a vase on my mantle.  I didn't really do much at all.  I did put out the white mini pumpkins, carve a few jack-o-lanterns and made my front porch look a little scary with spiderwebs and giant spiders from Dollarama.

I took all that stuff down first thing Tuesday morning.  This might sound crazy but I think I enjoy the removal of decorations almost as much as I enjoy putting them up in the first place!  I like how everything looks clean, fresh and simple once the decorations are put back into their tubs in the basement.

(my house before we moved in)

That being said, I'm already thinking about my plans for Christmas decorating this year.  Our house seems made for Christmas: the big bay window at the front begs for the tree to be put there, and the peak on the roof will look so pretty with lights on it!

I've been pinning some of my favorite ideas onto my Holiday Board on Pinterest.

First up, the front door:

     These wreaths are all lovely and I really like the idea of using an initial on the front door.  I happen to have a silver 'T' that would work perfectly but I would really love an aged bronze one.  I usually get my wreath from Costco.  They are made of several different types of greenery - simple and inexpensive.  Then I add my own personal stamp with ribbon, berries, etc.  I will also make a pair of festive planters to flank our front stairs.

The Mantle:

    I like the look of natural and simple holiday decor.  I know, lots of people go for the bling at this time of year.  I do like some bling - in the form of strictly white twinkle lights.  I love the little berry branches on the mantle above.  They add a little touch of red and the garland is perfectly simple.  These mason jars are filled with epsom salts - it really looks like snow!

One last shot:

Just 'cause I love the overall vibe of this room.  We have a huge galvanized tub to put our tree in too.

I might be insane for posting about Christmas on November 2nd.  But considering how late I was in decorating for Halloween, I need to get started right away!

xo Meg