9.28.2012

Yet another guest room update

Last time you saw the guest room, the bedding situation looked like this:


Pretty whomp whomp. Luckily you guys offered some great suggestions to improve it - like adding some colourful throw pillows or a bolster - and after doing some research on Pinterest (that's what I'm calling it now), I made a few other changes too.



I brought in the white coverlet from our bedroom (now that we have a new duvet cover) and moved the quilt to the foot of the bed. I find it stands out more this way. I also lowered the headboard a few inches and made a throw pillow using some Marimekko fabric I've had for years (proof that hoarding fabric has its upsides).


Oh, and I decided to nix the mirror above the bed (I actually sold it on Kijiji during this week's mini-purge). My aunt found a gorgeous vintage mirror for me at a Vermont antique shop and my mom is bringing it back for me. But it's not going above the bed. I've got another spot picked out for it and something else planned for the wall above the bed. More on that when I actually get around to it :)

Have a great weekend!

P.S. Remember my hint involving chalkboard paint earlier this week? Check back next week for the reveal!

9.26.2012

Fall bedding


Now that nights are a little colder, I decided it was time to switch up our bedding for fall. And when I spotted Style at Home's limited edition bedding collection, I couldn't resist the tallulah duvet cover. It's the perfect mix of grey and taupe for our neutral bedroom and I love the ikat-inspired print. I've been searching for a new duvet cover for a long time, but I couldn't find a print I liked (anyone else have that problem?). So when I saw the tallulah print, I got the quick OK from the husband and ordered it on the spot (BTW, it has a nice silky feel to it and I think it could go more grey or taupe, depending on what you pair it with).




I found the wooly red throw at HomeSense for $19. It's perfect for curling up with a hot drink and a good book, or just for taking a nap (these would be two of my favourite fall activities). I already had the small houndstooth pillow on hand and I made the other pillow cover out of an old shower curtain (you may remember it from the DIY fabric headboard in the guest room - it's the fabric that keeps on giving). For fun, I added a few buttons from my collection.


My bedding switcheroo gets Hannah's approval (this is her 'I approve' face):



As opposed to her 'I hate outfit photoshoots!' face:



So, do you switch your bedding up for fall? Any great sources of duvet covers I should know about?



BTW, I wasn't paid or perked to mention Style at Home's new bedding collection - I just like sharing good stuff!

9.25.2012

A DIY hint


While Adam was out over the weekend, I moved a few (large) things around in the kitchen. Our tiny kitchen feels so much larger now! And it prompted me to sell a few things on Kijiji, freeing up some much-needed space in our storage room.

I'm hoping to get started on a new project in the kitchen today. The picture above is a hint. Any guesses?

9.22.2012

How to turn any pair of jeans into skinnies

Now that Hannah is almost 2 months old, I'm starting to put together a plan to lose the rest of my pregnancy weight. I  know it will take time, but it's hard to be patient when most of my clothes don't fit, especially my jeans. My mom suggested picking up some cheap jeans so I would feel more comfortable, so while I was staying with Adam's parents last weekend, my mother-in-law and I made a quick stop at Frenchy's (quick because Hannah had her first public meltdown - we survived).

For those who don't know, Frenchy's is a chain of used clothing stores across Nova Scotia and some of the best ones are in the Annapolis Valley (where Adam's parents and my mom live). The one we go to (Guy's in Coldbrook if you're local) usually has tons of great stuff from labels I love, like Gap and Banana Republic, and labels I love but that aren't available in stores here, like J. Crew, Express, LOFT, and The Limited - often with the tags still on. It helps to go with an experienced Frenchy's shopper (digging through bins of clothes to find the good stuff is a bit of a skill) and Adam's mom is like the master yogi of Frenchy's shopping. Anyway, I found three pairs of jeans (including a pair of Citizens), but they were all bootcut and I wanted skinny. I decided to turn them into skinny jeans with my sewing machine and it was so easy to do I thought I would share!


To start, I laid a pair of skinny jeans I already owned on top of my Frenchy's jeans and marked the leg line with pins.


Using my sewing machine, I stitched along this line (when I got to the thigh, I just stitched along the existing seam the rest of the way up the leg). You can trim the excess fabric if you want, but I just left it and I don't notice it at all.


And that's it! In less than five minutes I had a new pair of skinnies!

9.21.2012

Turn a tablecloth into window treatments


Fall is officially here, which means lots of rain in Halifax. I happen to love a good rainy day, except when I'm trying to photograph my latest DIY project :)

I was in the home section of my local Superstore last week (I think it's Loblaws in Ontario), when I spotted white cotton tablecloths on sale for less than $5 each. I scooped two up, thinking they'd be perfect as curtains in the guest room. Turning one into a "door" for the closet was easy. I opened up one of the seams to slide a tension rod through and, after a quick wash and dry, I lucked out and it was the perfect length for my opening - no sewing required.

{we still need to install baseboard and door plinths}

I'm thinking about adding a small piece of trim along the top of the opening to hide the tension rod, but we'll see.


Inside the closet, some inexpensive hangers from Winners hold my fabric, a plastic bin holds wrapping paper, and another stores gift bags, tissue paper and other gift wrapping supplies. On the shelf, there's room for a couple small boxes of craft supplies, my iron and a sewing machine. The table next to the closet doubles as my sewing table and the top drawer holds all my sewing supplies.


Here's what the table might look when we have guests (I threw a few things together for photos, but who knows how long it will stay this way). I got the glass lamp at a yard sale for $5 and the art is actually a framed postcard from a friend. The clock is from Winner's and the white bowl and plant are both from Superstore (the plant needs to be transplanted, so I haven't removed the care instructions yet).



I thought the bowl would be a convenient spot for guests to empty their pockets at the end of the day and every room needs a clock (just need to add batteries so it actually works haha).

But back to those cheapy tablecloths. The curtain for the window took a little more time and required actual sewing (although you could easily turn it into a no-sew project with hem tape). I basically hemmed a panel to fit my window and sewed a channel for my tension rod. Then I cut four lengths of grosgrain ribbon and sewed them to the top of my panel so the curtain can be tied up during the day and easily lowered at night by undoing the ribbons.


I love how it turned out! You could easily complete this project in 30-minutes, provided you're not trying to juggle DIY, caring for a newborn, feeding yourself and keeping your house halfway decent (yeah, it took me a lot longer).

9.19.2012

How to paint any door

Over several Hannah naps* on Monday, and a couple more on Tuesday, I was able to paint our front door a happy shade of yellow.


*Hannah's not actually much of a napper, but she does sleep or hang out (hanging out = awake, but not eating, crying or needing to be soothed) for maybe 10-20 minutes at a time, several times a day.

I ended up choosing Martha Stewart's Pencil Crayon, which I had tinted in Behr's Exterior Semi-Gloss Enamel. The dark green I used on the trim is a custom shade of Manor House Exterior paint (leftover from the shutters/foundation/garage door).

{now that the trim is painted, I'd like to replace the mailbox - and that light fixture is on my list too}

At first I left the trim around the window white, but I hated how it immediately drew in your eye (it actually looks better in pictures than it did in person). In an ideal world there wouldn't be a window, but since we're stuck with it, I decided to tape off a small area of of trim next to the glass (which stayed white to tie in with the window grid) and painted the rest of it yellow.



It doesn't read very well in photos, but in person that sliver of white is just enough to make sense of the white  window grid without taking all the attention away from my lovely yellow door (the photos above were taken at different times of day; you can see how the colour changes depending on the light).

{apparently I haven't cleaned my windows in awhile}

We also picked up a new doorknob. The old gold knob didn't look too bad from a distance, but up close it was ratty and worn and it rarely closed properly. The new knob looks - and works - much better.


I replaced my dying summer planters (oops) with a container of fall mums. I can't wait to see them bloom!


And in case you're thinking about painting your own door, here's the how-to. I'll be sure to check back in a few months to let you know how my paint job is holding up!

How to paint any door:


  1. Remove the door knob and wash the door with a mixture of T.S.P. and water.
  2. Tape off anything you don't want to get paint on. In my case, this included the window in the door, the brick around the trim and the sides of the door.
  3. Once your door is completely dry, apply a thin coat of Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 primer. It's a water-based, stain blocking, all surface, interior/exterior primer and it doesn't require sanding first (in short, it's awesome). I used a 1.5" brush for the trim and edging on the door, then rolled any areas I could with a small foam roller.
  4. When your primer is dry (the can says to give it an hour), apply your paint using the same brush/roller combo. I ended up needing three thin coats of paint for both the door and trim, in addition to my coat of primer. Make sure you peel your tape off while your final coat of paint is still wet, or you'll risk peeling off some of your paint too.
  5. Re-attach your door knob and you're done! I left the door open for a few hours to let my paint cure, but Adam has been opening and slamming it shut since and so far, so good. 

9.17.2012

Mellow yellow


Thanks to everyone who helped me choose a colour for our front door. Here it is, and with any luck, Hannah will give me some time to get started today - fingers crossed of course!

Adam was out of town with his band this weekend, so Hannah and I went to stay with his parents (I'm one of those lucky people with fantastic in-laws). It was so nice to have their help with Hannah, who was a little fussier than usual, plus they kept me well-fed and sent me home with a car full of goodies :) We also got to visit with Adam's brother and his girlfriend, who showed us the beginnings of their DIY kitchen renovation. They've got a great space to work with, the tough part will be deciding on a layout (lots of options!). They're going to let me share my two cents, so I can't wait to play around with a few ideas!

And while I didn't get to work on any projects this weekend, I did pick up a few supplies for projects I'm hoping to complete this week. Here's hoping I have some fun stuff to share with you soon!

9.13.2012

Helen Simms Illustration on Etsy

One of my very talented friends (we met while I was studying in the UK) recently starting selling her original illustrations on Etsy and I can't believe I haven't shared her gorgeous work with you until now! She specializes in fashion illustrations and her work is stunning - just check out the examples below. Incredible, non? Make sure you visit her Etsy shop to check out the rest of her illustrations and snap up one for your wall (I have my eye on a few)!








all images via Helen Simms Illustration

9.10.2012

Around the house

I've ticked a bunch of things off my to-do list lately, although none are particularly blog-worthy. Since this blog is essentially my online diary of all things house-related, I thought I'd post a few snapshots of what I've been up to lately.


I finally got around to touching up the paint job on our dining room table. The sealer I used on the tabletop the first time around yellowed over time, not to mention the inevitable marks, scuffs and scratches that come with a well-loved table. I lightly sanded the top and applied a couple fresh coats of paint, but I still need to seal it. If you know of a sealer that won't yellow, please share in the comments!


In the guest room. I finished painting the window and door trim (we still need to install new baseboards and quarter round), spraypainted the window latch ORB and added pulls (the same ones I used on the nursery window). I also finished painting the closet. It's still not much to look at (not that closets usually are), but I have plans to organize and store all my fabric, craft and gift wrapping supplies here. I bought fabric to sew a "door" for the closet and a curtain for the window, which I'll hopefully get around to this week or next.


Speaking of closets, mine is officially de-cluttered! I was able to donate two garbage bags stuffed full of clothing and I still have plenty to wear (not that any of it fits me right now). Forcing myself to let go of clothing that I didn't actually wear, but kept because it was "nice", was key. I also packed away most of my summer and maternity clothes. I bought some linen baskets to hold my jeans, skirts, shirts and sweaters - basically anything that doesn't need to be hung. The basket at the bottom is my new laundry hamper. I still need to paint or wallpaper the closet and I have some fun plans to add jewlery and bag storage, but this was a HUGE first step.

Last but not least, I've been working on getting Adam's studio ready for a new year of teaching. We decided to go for the layered rugs and I've been slowly collecting Kijiji finds. The trick is finding something we both like without spending lots of money. The room's a teaching studio and rehearsal space for Adam's band, so I can't worry about people tracking in dirt, dragging heavy equipment around, or spilling food and drink. It's all going to happen. I love how the rugs we've found so far (3) instantly cozy up the space.

I also finally got around to painting the window and a few other touch-ups. I painted a black "frame" around the mirror (re-used from our bathroom) and we added some greenery. I also fixed up and hung a white board I found at Value Village (not pictured) and ordered a little something so we can display all of Adam's show posters. Can't wait for it to arrive!

9.07.2012

Choosing a colour for the front door

Number 18 on my 30 Before Thirty list is "Paint the front door a bright colour" and here's why:


Yup, totally boring. There's a house I used to pass daily on my commute to work whose perfectly weathered shingles, dark green trim, white windows and yellow door I always admired.


This three year-old Google maps photo really doesn't do it justice (and yes, I'm aware that posting a photo of someone's house I grabbed off Google maps is totally sketchy). Sadly, our house lacks perfectly weathered shingles, but  it already has white siding and dark green accents. It just needs a yellow door.


So, I grabbed a bunch of paint swatches and took them home to compare. Standing outside our door, I nixed the ones that were too bright, too light, too orange, etc. and narrowed it down to three options.


The top colour is CIL's 'Rich Brocade'. It's a bit darker and has more of a mustard tone than the other two. The swatch below it is CIL's 'Yellow Fervor' and, below that, is a very similar, but slightly darker colour, Martha Stewart's 'Pencil Crayon'. Since I'm planning to paint the trim around the door the same dark green I used on the shutters, foundation and garage door, I want to make sure my yellow looks great next to it.


From a distance, they all read pretty similar, so I think I'd be happy with any of the three. I should also mention that we're planning to replace the doorknob with an ORB'd version and that light fixture is going to be replaced too. As for the planters, I can't wait to switch them out for some fall mums - how great will those look next to my yellow door?


There's one yellow I'm leaning towards, but I'd love to know what you think. Which one would you choose?

9.05.2012

Hannah's monthly photo


I've seen other bloggers take monthly, even weekly, photos of their children to document their rapid growth during those first few years and I knew I wanted to do something similar. I regret not taking more photos of my growing belly while I was pregnant and I know I'll enjoy looking back on these photos when Hannah's older (maybe she'll enjoy it too). I'm not sure I'd be able to keep up with weekly photos, so I've decided to take a photo of Hannah each month until she's at least one.

Her one month check up was yesterday and she's doing great! She's steadily gaining weight (she now weighs 9 lbs. 7 oz.) and sleeping well, although she's getting a little fussier now that she's awake more. We've definitely seen a change in her ability to focus her eyes (she loves light) and she's a little less of a bobblehead these days :)

Oh, and I couldn't resist turning a couple of outtakes into an animated gif. Check out that punch!


9.03.2012

Window box idea


We passed this house while out for a walk the other day and I thought this was such a clever window box idea, I made Adam stop so I could take a picture. So cute!

I hope everyone is enjoying the long weekend :)
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