Friday, 27 January 2012


I am icky icky sicky...just in time for the weekend when I wanted to tackle the stairs.  So I'm not sure if I'll have any updates to share next week, maybe by Sunday I'll be alright.

One more day of work and then look out couch, here I come!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend...any exciting plans?  Big project plans??

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Link Party

Linking up at aka Design today...go on over and link up if you have a DIY project to share!


Wednesday, 25 January 2012

One Person's Trash...

...Is my treasure!  Last week I stopped off at my parents' house on my way home after work.  While I was talking with my dad outside I noticed a table up the street.  From where I was standing it looked like a pretty nice table to be sitting out for the garbage, it couldn't be, right?  So up I marched to take a closer look and a measurement to see if it would fit in my wee car, and what do you know!?...

My dad and I walked it down the street, took the legs off and packed it in the back of my car.  It looks like it was once spray painted white and then black...I've got a few ideas of what I might want to do with it, but I'll be waiting till the spring when I can take the paint fumes outside.

But yay for free finds!  And for getting my creative juices flowing...

Have you come across some treasures of your own lately??

Monday, 23 January 2012

Sand Dunes

Hi friends!  I hope you all enjoyed your weekend, don't they just fly by way too quickly??

I had a nice weekend, it was unexpectedly productive actually, and I may or may not have got my hands on a bit of a big project...

Do you have a part of your house that you constantly apologize about when guests come over?  Our stair case is that for me.  The grunge and grime (a lot of surface mess was from our demo, but I also know how they were before the demo and they were not much prettier then) is enough to make my mum tiptoe up the stairs to the washroom, just barely touching the railing with her finger tips - I see you mum!  Since the minute we walked around this house I could envision refinishing these stairs with beautiful white risers and a darker stain on the treads and it just brightening and opening up the entire entryway.  And something just got into me this weekend and I jumped in with both feet!

At some point someone had carpeted over these gorgeous (maybe not yet, but I know they will be!) stairs.  Darryl's doll of a sister came over on both Saturday and Sunday and we started ripping out all the nails and staples that were left in after the carpet had been removed, and using nail punches to sink some in that had loosened up over the years...


So after a good 10 hours of work, a ridiculous amount of sawdust, and blisters developing as proof of our hard work, let's take another peak at how it's looking...

This is only after the first run with 60 grit sandpaper (fyi, using a 40 grit may have sped the process up but I had a bunch of donated sandpaper and was nervous to try the 40).  So I have to go over it all again with a mid-grade paper and then again with a fine finish. 

And I definitely haven't even tackled the spindles and entire side part of the stairs!

(Thoughts on whether we should stain the side panel or paint it white?  It's got such beautiful grain, but it is really heavy/dark in our tiny entryway...)

So this is only the beginning but I can't even wait to see how it all turns out!  These stairs will gross me out no more!

Total Cost so far: $28 for sandpaper

Did you get in over your boots on a project this weekend?  Have you refinished your own stairs....any tips???

Friday, 20 January 2012

Mirror Mirror

Darryl bought me this nice large mirror for my 2010!  And it sat packed away during our renos until we found a nice place for it...

Right in the front entrance!  It's nice because it reflects the light around nicely and makes the little entrance feel a little bit bigger.  But it feels like it's floating in the middle of no where right now - I'd really like to have some kind of table underneath it. 

(eeps!  Don't look too closely at the staircase, it's still covered in mudding from drywall  :S  We'll get to it eventually!)

Anyways, it would have to be a really narrow table though because there's not a lot of room in there

I've had my eye on this guy for a couple of months now...

It's only 8 inches deep so it really wouldn't get in the way or crowd up the entryway.  Since we have no front hall closet, it would be nice to have somewhere to hide off season or extra shoes.  I also really like how there are no back legs so that it can butt right up against the wall and waste no space.  But at this point it's just not a priority and I can't justify buying it just yet.  It's in my memory banks though and everytime I go to Ikea I stop to visit it!

Have a lovely weekend!!

Does anyone have this piece?  Is it worth it?  Any other small space suggestions??

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Can I Take Your Coat?

Before we demoed the main floor we had a makeshift coat hook thing, with the pointiest hooks and we were always worried that someone would lose an eye going around the corner.

Enter Umbra. 

Darryl's mom gifted us these awesome hooks that retract!  So when they are not in use, no one's eyes are at risk!  We are loving them.  And we are loving being able to put our guests coats somewhere other than over the arm of the couch, or draped over the huge saw that was parked in the hallway for about a month!

Eventually I would love to have a little nook with doors maybe where the coats wouldn't be in plain sight and for some added storage, but for now we are loving our hooks!

What storage solutions do you have for your front entrance?

Monday, 16 January 2012

Kitchen Wall Art Inspiration

I hope you had a wonderful weekend!  Mine was quiet, enjoyable and a little less productive than I had anticipated, but what can you do! 

After making and hanging up our calendar last week, I keep staring at the kitchen walls and wondering what else I can add to them.  Here are a few pinspirations I came across...

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Maybe a sign above our back door, in a different colour though.  Maybe yellow, nice, bright, sunny, cheerful...I like!

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Some framed utensils with interesting backdrops??

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Some of these free printables are super cute too....too many choices!

What kind of wall art do you have in your kitchen?

Friday, 13 January 2012

Could we DIY Wall Sconces??

Happy Friday!  This week back to work has gone by nice and quickly for me and I can't wait to sleep in a little and relax this weekend.  And maybe get a mini project or two done...!

Remember when we were in the demo phase of renos and we uncovered two original wall sconce outlets?

We've been searching for months now for sconces that we like (we're not looking for something too formal) with no luck!  So I thought I'd throw it out there to you have any suggestions of places we could check out?  I was even wondering....has anyone ever DIYed a sconce??

Enjoy your weekend!!

Have you had your eye out for a particular item for a while with no luck finding it?

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Dry Erase Calendar

Scratch what I said yesterday, it's not even really photo worthy to show you what we started over the holidays so we'll have to work more on that...but I did scratch something off my personal to-do list last week.

I've had this frame and this project on the to-do list for a good while now, and finally just got around to actually doing it!  I love a calendar.  And I love having it out in the open, easy to see and access.  It makes me feel more organized being able to see what's coming up in the month ahead and being able to quickly add things to it.  I wanted to do a dry-erase calendar so that I would have to waste paper each month and then toss the calendar out (I used to write everything on paper calendars and then I never could throw them out because so much had been recorded in now I have many stored away from my teenaged years!  I never look at them but don't have the heart to get rid of them, so a dry-erase will help keep my paper clutter down!)

I got this picture frame from Value Village for $8.99 and it was the perfect size.  While I was busy priming and painting the baseboards I thought it just made sense to keep my roller going and get the frame done too.

I gave the frame a quick sand, two coats of primer and two coats of paint. 

Then - many days  weeks later - I got out some paper, pencils, erasers and a ruler and got to drawing up a template of how I wanted the calendar to look. 

Then I flipped the paper over so I could trace the template onto the back of the glass (I wanted the basic template to be on the inside of the glass so that it would never get wiped off).  Then I'll add the dates, the month and everything else on the outside of the glass with dry erase markers.

I debated for a while over whether to use fancy scrapbook paper, wall paper, paint chips, and finally settled on some of the fabric I ordered a few months ago.

So here's the empty wall in the unfinished-finished kitchen before we hung it...

And with the calendar up...

(I have to brainstorm ideas for something to add above the calendar...any thoughts??)

My mind is already at ease, seeing everything up in clear view! 

Does anyone else love calendars?  Have you ever made your own??

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Candy Cane Vodka!

Another pinterest inspiration...

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I like vodka, and I like candy canes, so this sounded pretty yummy!  I filled a jam jar with vodka and popped a candy-cane in there for 2 days and it quickly turned a beautiful shade of candy cane red.  I made up a label and tied on a bow and was ready to bring it to a Christmas party we were off to!  (Not before giving it a quick taste test of course and it was yummy!)

After I made it, Darryl asked me how people are supposed to drink it....good question.  I'm guessing shots??  Or a tiny bit in a glass to sip on (because it's pretty sugary!)  But if anyone else has any ideas maybe I'll try it again next year.

I packaged it up in a gift bag and added (yes, another pinspiration!) some "reindeer noses" (8 maltesers and one red gumball)

Can you even remember life before pinterest?!

Tomorrow I'll be back to share the one little thing we got started on over the holidays.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012


Christmas has come and gone, but because I took a break over the last two weeks I never got around to posting a couple of holiday crafts I did.  If you're sick an tired of Christmas stuff, come back in a couple of days, this is more just a way for me to document some things I enjoyed doing!

I thought these guys were so cute on pinterest so I decided to make some for Darryl's sister's boyfriend...

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I used different beer to suit his tastes but basically did the rest the same (except I made a "rein-beer" sign to put on either side of the case...which I forgot to take a picture of)

My sister made some too and I love how hers turned out, the scarves are too cute!

This was a fun and easy gift...although it was suprisingly difficult to find brown pipecleaners!

Did you use any pins as inspiration for your gifts this year?

Monday, 9 January 2012

2012 Goals

Well hello!  I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year!  I have been MIA for the last two weeks, and needed to be.  The week before holidays, work was ca-razy, I felt like I was running around like a chicken with it's head cut off.  But over the last two weeks I was able to spend some quality time with family, we had several guests over which excites us to no end (that we can entertain people on our main floor this year and not in a tiny bedroom!), and caught up on some much needed rest. 

I'll be honest though, we got a whole lot of nothing done in terms of kitchen finishing touches...that's not true we started one little thing ... and didn't finish it.  But I did work on a few little projects over the holidays that I'll share with you this week.

Today I just wanted to put a few of our goals for 2012 in writing.  I love my "to-do" lists, they're scattered all over the house, in my purse, at work...they help me feel more organized and like I have some sort of plan of action.

When I started to draft my list a couple of weeks ago, it looked something like this...

1.  Porch

2.  Mudroom

3.  Garage

4.  Basement

5.  Loft

And then I ha.ha.ha'd out loud.  That may be only 5 items but they are five of the biggest, most time consuming and expensive projects!  So I am going to scratch that and bring it down to only 2 things:

1.  The Porch - it is the original 92 year old porch and it's looking a little worse for wear.  Also the steps up the porch are less than safe  :s  We are constantly shouting out to people leaving our house things like "be careful!  hold the railing as you go down, the steps get really slippery!"..."but be careful, the railing wiggles, so don't hold too tightly!"  So we're thinking it's time to revamp it all.  Only right now, we differ on how we want it to look in the end so we'll see where we end up.  Darryl wants to combine iron posts with wooden tops... I don't know the technical names, but something like this...

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...which I think looks very stream-lined, modern and really quite nice.  It's just that our house is 92 years old and I just want to restore the look of the original porch, but give it the not-one-strong-blow-of-wind-away-from-crumpling-to-the-ground look...

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I'd like to have all white railings, but still the chunky square posts/spindles as opposed to the iron.  So we'll see come summer time which way we end up going.  I imagine that cost will ultimately be the deciding factor!

2.  The Basement - this one's a biggie...we'd like to finish our basement.  It's already all demo'd and so grungy looking and, most importantly, a waste of space!  We could have so much more space if it were finished.  What we can't decide though, is whether or not we want to finish it and use it for ourselves, or if we'd like to rent it out and have a third income.  When I put it like that it sounds like a no brainer...but when I actually think about doing it, I feel like I might feel funny having someone below me all the time.  I love my cheesy workout videos and would feel bad bouncing around above someone at 8am on weekends!  But we'll have to decide because ultimately, that's what's going to guide how we end up finishing the basement (whether or not there's a full bath and kitchen put in or not). 

Hmmmmm lots to ponder!  But those are our 2 main goals for the year.  Wish us luck! 

Have you done any porch renos lately?  Did you try to revamp it to a new look or did you keep it close to its original character?  How about basement renos, I know a few of you out there have done this...any advice?  Do you have a basement rental - would you recommend doing it??

Linking up with The Nester's Home Goals Link Party