Update: Choosing a rug for the living room

images (left to right): hereherehere

I've been quietly looking for a rug for our living room - I shared some options in this post - and I finally found one. Maybe you noticed it when I shared our updated entry?

I found the Kilim on Kijiji after setting up an email alert for new rug postings. The jute rug we already owned (I originally purchased it for this room from Rugs USA). Adam helped me move it back here from our bedroom. This option doesn't give us the soft cushion of a Persian (I find Kilims and jute rugs more scratchy than soft), but the low investment betters suits our lifestyle right now. I also ordered another pillow for the couch, so more updates soon.


Making the most of a small entry

images (left to right): 1 / 2 / 3

My mom teased me the other day that I'm always changing things, and I guess she's right. I pinned the three images above ages ago, and I've wanted to switch up the hooks in our entry ever since.

My decluttering efforts turned up a couple of long pine boards in our garage, abandoned by the previous owner. Unfortunately, neither one was long enough to span the entire wall, so I used one in its entirety and cut a small piece from the second. The seam is near the door, where it's least noticeable, and my spackle job was good enough that it's really not noticeable at all :)

To get the board ready for hanging, I sanded it and applied a coat of KILZ stain-blocking primer (water-based). I love using KILZ on anything pine, because it's the only primer I've found that covers knots in one coat. And it dries really quickly.

The paint is Sico's Cotton Rag Paper (same as the trim). The board is screwed into the wall studs and I used spackle to hide the screws and any major dings, etc. in the wood. My husband asked me why I didn't use wood putty, and really I just find spackle easier to work with, so that's what I use. I applied one final coat of paint to the board on the wall, and then I was ready to attach my hooks.

I purchased five of these hooks from Home Depot, and I think they're a great find, especially for the price. I spaced them 15 inches apart, leaving 30 inches between the wall and the first hook so that we can open our front door fully (you know, without banging it into a hook).

So that's it! Really easy to do and I love how it turned out. We only added one hook (we had four before), but it feels like we have so much more room - and I'm loving the new view from the living room.


Joining a CSA: Week 12 & 13

After much talk, we finally made the decision to join a CSA (I know, we're a little late to the bandwagon - oops!). Each week, I'm posting about what we got and what we made with it. Read more here.


We got:
  • Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Lettuce
  • Pac Choi
  • Beet Greens
  • Popcorn
  • Apples
  • Cucumber
  • Strawberries


We got:
  • Salad mix
  • Carrots
  • Zucchini
  • Hakurei turnips
  • Cilantro
  • Kale
  • Apples
  • Strawberries
  • Tomato

We made:

Stray observations:
  • We had Adam's family over for dinner when I picked up WEEK 12's share, so I forgot to take a picture. Oops!
  • I know I've shared this popcorn recipe before, but it's worth mentioning again. I usually cut the recipe in half (it still makes plenty of popcorn) and use two tablespoons of oil to one heaping 1/3 cup of kernels. I've used coconut oil and veggie oil, and both are delicious. I add salt when the kernels are popped and leave it add that. A little healthier, and it still tastes great.
  • I love how joining a CSA has allowed us to discover new foods and recipes. I made the hakurei turnips for my brother, his wife, and my mom, and everyone loved them. 
  • I'm officially obsessed with making pesto. It really couldn't be easier, and it's such a great way to eat your leafy greens. I've been freezing the leftovers in mason jars, which makes mid-week dinners even easier to prepare.


HomeSense Finds

Lindsay just posted about one of her HomeSense finds, and now it's my turn. I've popped in on my lunch hour a couple of times in the past month, and found some great deals, including these marble rounds.

I've had them on my "must-have" list for awhile, and they were such a great deal I couldn't leave them behind. P.S. They're a great way to hide electrical outlets :)

I also found this pretty blue-grey planter for our back patio. I dug up the ornamental grass from one of our garden beds and so far it seems to be holding up well.

Sometimes it's the little finds that make you happy!

Psst...see more of our DIY patio or check out how we transformed our laminate counters with paint.


New shelves + a realtor's decluttering tips

When we were thinking about putting our house on the market, we got some great tips from a realtor about decluttering. He suggested that we take it one room at a time and:

  1. Clear off all surfaces (tables, dressers, etc.)
  2. Remove at least one piece of furniture

I like this approach because it a) feels manageable and b) you'll have to deal with all your "stuff" when you move, so why not make the future a little easier on yourself? Even though we're not moving right now, I decided to declutter anyway.

This spot in our entry has always bothered me. I love this little side table - it's a hand me down from Adam's parents and has been with us for years - but it always felt like it was in the way in it's new spot. Also, that empty tray? In reality, it's usually piled high with crap - everything from mail to hats,  toys, and the occasional empty egg carton that someone should really take out to the compost bin.

The only problem with removing it is that it was secretly a bar cart, and where would the contents go? The dining room was out, since our dining room is more of a nook than an actual room, and our kitchen cupboards are full.

Then I remembered the space next to our fridge where our kitchen cart lives. I've wanted to add shelves here for awhile, and this was the kick in the butt I needed to get it done.

I stained and sealed some leftover pine boards from this project, and spray painted some basic grey brackets from Home Depot  with leftover ORB paint (I couldn't find the small size I wanted in black). This spray paint has been with me for awhile - I keep a pin in the hole and it works just fine.

I installed the shelves while listening to the WTF podcast one night after Hannah went to bed. It was so easy to do, I just wish I'd gone for it sooner!

This little project also inspired me to get rid of all the random stuff that had slowly accumulated on top of our fridge. We still keep a few things up there (the knife block, a gold tin that holds our stash of candles for power outages, and a small basket that holds things like band-aids and aspirin). I moved Hannah's chalk and window markers onto the kitchen cart, so it's easy for her to use them and put them away. So far she's only tried to colour the floor with chalk once, so I think we're good ;)


Plants for every room in your house

I love plants in decor. The houses I grew up in had an attached greenhouse, and then a sunroom, filled by my parents with every imaginable green thing. There is something unmistakable about the feeling plants give to a space - cozy, lived-in, welcoming. If it feels like your room is missing something, it might just be a plant :)

left to right: elephant ear / peace lily / rubber plant

Plants don't just look nice, they can improve indoor air quality, too. I've rounded up some of the best looking, best air-filtering plants, and narrowed it down to seven that are relatively easy to find and care for.

Finding plants is one thing, but figuring out how to keep them happy and healthy is quite another. My mom gave me a rubber plant that I couldn't seem to find the right spot for (spoiler alert: it died), whereas snake plants will survive - and thrive - just about anywhere, as long as you don't over-water.

left to right: snake plant / spider plant / weeping fig

Plants are also a relatively affordable way to add interest to a room (compared to, say, new furniture or art). The copper planter above is a real stunner, but the rest of these rooms use basic planters that let the plant stand out.

While these photos each feature one large, statement-making plant, you can achieve a similar effect by grouping smaller plants together in variously sized pots. Stores like Home Depot and the Atlantic Superstore (i.e. Loblaws) seem to have a great selection of large indoor plants these days, but you can also get cuttings from friends and family. I've received many plants that way (thanks Mom!), and I'm always surprised at how quickly they grow.

bamboo palm

Want to know how to care for one of these babies? Check out the links below:

  1. Elephant ear
  2. Peace lily
  3. Rubber plant
  4. Snake plant
  5. Spider plant
  6. Weeping fig
  7. Bamboo palm


Patio updates

It's finally summer here and I can't tell you how much I love being able to eat outdoors again (I really, really, reaaallly love it).We have such a small house that I really notice - and appreciate - the extra space our patio and yard provide in warmer months.

We've come a long way since we built our patio in August 2013. We added furniture and a DIY painted outdoor rug, built a fence, and added some greenery with transplanted hostas and ferns.

I know small updates run the risk of being boring, but I think it's interesting to see how a space evolves over time. Don't get me wrong, I love big 'before & after' reveals, but they're not always realistic, you know?

That brings me to this year's small patio updates :)

I was so happy to see that my transplants all came back! The ferns are still quite small (young plants tend to 'adjust' better to being transplanted), but they're going to be so lovely as they get bigger and fill in the space between the hostas. Next year!

Adam mulched this area in the spring and extended the pea gravel to the end of the fence. It looks so much better, and it gave us a little spot to put Hannah's sand/water table. I'd love to add some kind of screen to hide the oil tank (the table's cover is leaning on it), but I'm not sure what to do. Nothing that requires setting fence posts, please. Any ideas?

My dad helped me install a clothesline while he was visiting, which I know some people don't like the look of, but they're really popular here, and so much easier on the environment.

Friends picked up an IKEA PS 2014 stool for us on a recent trip to Montreal. It's the perfect side table for our vintage lounger and I love that it can be used for lighting or an extra seat, too.

The nice thing about having trees over our patio is that they're lovely to look at and provide shade. The downside is that they're always dropping leaves and seed pods. I guess now you know what kind of cleaner I am :)

I made the mistake of leaving my planters outside all winter and they of course cracked - oops! Luckily, I have quite the collection. I found the cement planter on the left at HomeSense for a steal.

More recently, I added some simple brackets and hanging planters for more colour out here. I love the purple and white flowers.

Plants and flowers make such a difference, don't they?
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