Happy Halloween!

I'm looking forward to a day of pumpkin carving, candy and scary movies (it's the one day a year I'll watch anything scary). And how cute is Hannah in her little pumpkin costume?! Happy Halloween! 


Fall Pinterest Challenge: DIY monogrammed coasters

It's time for another Pinterest Challenge, which means I've completed another project I probably wouldn't have otherwise (you can check out my past Pinterest projects here and here). I was inspired by these DIY coasters from Penelope & Pip, but I decided to add my own twist with a monogram (I grabbed a stamp at Michael's for $1.50). Unfortunately, I couldn't find any pre-cut coasters, so I made my own out of cork tiles. Another option would be to paint over some coasters you already own.

Here's the how-to:

  1. Gather your supplies.
  2. Trace the shape of your coaster onto your cork. I used a coaster I already had on hand.
  3. Cut out your coasters using an exacto knife, then smooth out the edges with some fine grit sandpaper.
  4. Tape off your coasters and brush on your first paint colour. Apply as many coats as needed (I did three for the pink and two for the gold), but remember to remove the tape while your paint is still wet. Once your first colour is dry, tape off the coaster to apply your second colour. The last step is to apply your stamp and seal your coasters with a clear glaze.

And now you can enjoy your pretty, personalized coasters with a glass of wine :)

Psst! Make sure you check out all the Fall Pinterest projects here, here, here and here.


DIY jewellery storage

Lately, I've been trying to deal with our junk. You know, all that stuff we don't need, can't use and pretty much ignored until we were tripping over it (I swear it multiplied in the night). Some of it needed to be recycled or thrown out, a lot of it will be donated or sold in a future yard sale, some of it has already been sold on Kijiji, and a very little bit of it went into a I'm-not-ready-to-make-a-decision-about-this-yet pile. It's a multi-phase operation.

But this post isn't about my nasty hoarding habit, it's about how I turned some of that "junk" into this pretty jewellery organizer:

It started out as an empty, cheap-looking picture frame:

This is a classic case of something looking better in photos than it does in real life. A problem I would love to have, by the way. The glass was already missing, so I decided to paint the frame white and cover the backing with a scrap of leftover fabric (I secured it with spray adhesive and trimmed the edges). I had a bunch of small hooks leftover from a similar project I did a couple years ago; I eyeballed the placement using my jewellery as a guide and screwed the hooks into the frame's backing (the hooks poke through the back, so you could double up the backing with a piece of cardboard or cover each hook with a little tape to keep it from scratching the wall - I just left them).

It's going to live in my organized and pretty closet, just as soon as I finish organizing and prettying it :)


Simple fall table setting

Earlier this week, we had my mom over for dinner to celebrate her 60th birthday. To pretty up my table, I turned a scrap piece of fabric into a no-sew tablecloth and created a simple centerpiece using a square of leftover burlap from my $15 neutral mantle, some vases, candlesticks and votives I already had on hand, and some white carnations from the grocery store. Carnations seem to get a bad rap, but I think they're so pretty when you stick to one colour. I also got to break out my cake stand! I went with a classic yellow birthday cake with chocolate frosting and sprinkles. Oh, and that frame on the settee was a gift for my mom - it's filled with pictures of Hannah for her wall of fame (an entire wall in her house is devoted to pictures of her grandchildren).

For that little something extra, I made this DIY tassle garland from penelope & pip. The garlands were so easy to make and I love how they turned out. Apparently they could also work as Halloween decorations; my niece Caroline asked if they were "ghosties" over Skype. 

While editing these photos, I realized that I forgot napkins! Oops. Can I blame it on mommy brain? A linen hemstitched napkin would be perfect here, folded and placed on top of each plate. If you're not obsessed with neutrals like I am, this would be a good place to add some colour or pattern :)


In case you're wondering what we ate, I made butternut squash risotto for the first time (Adam and I are vegetarians) and it was delicious! I used this recipe from Martha Stewart, but I roasted the squash instead of steaming it. We served it with a delicious salad that my brother and his gf brought, roasted brussel sprouts, and plenty of red wine.

Have a great weekend!


Bathroom inspiration

You may have already spotted this gorgeous Vancouver home on The Marion House Book While drooling over it again last night, I noticed the shower curtain hanging in the bathroom.

source: the marion house book

I want this shower curtain. I need this shower curtain. Anyone know where I can find something similar?


Four ways to make your home more energy efficient

Making your home more energy-efficient isn't exactly fun, but it will save you money in the long run - and who doesn't like saving money? With winter around the corner, we've started talking about the efficiency upgrades on our home's to-do list. Since I know some of you are probably thinking or talking about the same thing, I thought I'd share our list.


1. Install a programmable thermostat. DONE!


2. Draft-proof our house by caulking and weather-stripping windows and doors.


3. Add insulation to attic, exterior walls or basement. DONE! But we can do more. We had spray-foam insulation installed in our basement and crawl space last year, following our home energy assessment. Adam also installed a vapour barrier over the gravel floor in our crawl space, but we'd like to cover that with foam board insulation (per our energy advisor's recommendation). It's an affordable and relatively easy project, but not a fun one (spiders!).


4. Replace old windows and doors with energy efficient ones. Our energy advisor also recommended that we replace our windows, doors and garage door. The door leading outside from our kitchen is in really bad shape, so it's definitely on our list, but we're not sure about the rest of it (this isn't our forever house after all). Of course, seeing pretty garage doors, like this one from Garaga, are making me think twice about it.

Do you have any energy upgrades planned for this winter? Or, which improvements have you already made?

This post was sponsored by Garaga, but the content and opinions are my own.


Our dining room just got fancier

Thanks to everyone who commented or tweeted with your two cents about my headboard dilemma. Almost all of you said I should paint it, so that's what I'm going to do. I even bought the paint this weekend :)

Remember that Kijiji find I teased you with back in August? It hung out in our living room for a bit, until I figured out that it really belonged in our dining room. The best part is that now I can stare at it while I'm sitting on the couch :)

I found the Dwell Studio pillow at HomeSense for a steal. I think it adds interest to the room and the colour of the applique ties in with our living room couch, helping unite the two spaces (now that I'm sure I love it, I should probably remove the tags). The vintage enamel jug was another Kijiji find.

 I've been wanting to add a snake plant to our house for ages, but for some reason I never buy them when I see them for sale, and then I kick myself later when they're nowhere to be found. Home Depot had a few tropical plants on sale for under $10, including one snake plant, so this time I made sure he came home with me. Still need to transplant him into a prettier pot.

How was your weekend?



It's been a long week. Between work, rehearsals and shows for HPX, Adam has been super busy and I've been on full-time Hannah duty. Don't get me wrong, I love spending time with the bean, but she barely sleeps during the day. It's hard enough to find time to feed myself, throw in a load of laundry or vacuum the living room, let alone time to tackle a DIY project or, you know, actually relax. I know it sounds like I'm being dramatic, but I swear an entire day goes by and all I've done is feed and change Hannah and take the dog for a walk. Then I look around at the laundry that needs to be washed or folded or put away, the floors that need vacuuming and all the crap that needs tidying, and I feel like crying.*

Seriously, how do moms do it all?

Luckily my mom showed up yesterday to help, so I was finally able to hang the vintage mirror she brought me back from Vermont in the guest room (top left). It's huge and gorgeous and I love it. Did I mention that it was only $35?

I also finally got around to hanging my Ikea curtain wire in Adam's studio (bottom). The posters are just placeholders for now (it would be kind of weird to only display your own show posters, no?), but I'm looking forward to digging through our art collection (that makes it sound much more impressive than it actually is) to create a semi-permanent display. The beauty of the curtain wire is that we can easily switch it up as we go. Oh, and in case you're wondering where I got an Ikea curtain wire in Halifax, I ordered it through Amazon, had it shipped to my father in the US and he mailed it to me. Thanks Dad!

Speaking of Ikea, I've been using their kitchen planning tool to play around with layout options for my brother-in-law's kitchen remodel (top right). Adam's brother and his soon-to-be wife aren't planning to use Ikea cabinets, but the planning tool is still a good way to get a feel for what is and isn't possible in the room (I know there are lots of planning tools out there, I just find Ikea's the easiest to work with).

Anyone else thankful for Friday? Have a great weekend!

*Thanks for letting me vent. I really do know how lucky I am to be able to stay home with Hannah for the next several months. I'm incredibly grateful and we're doing great, but we're still figuring it out, too :)


Headboard indecision

OK design-savvy friends, I need your help.

Our bed sits in front of an off-centre window (obviously not by choice), so we need a headboard that looks good front and back and attaches to our bed's frame. I had my heart set on an upholstered headboard with nailhead trim, but that wasn't exactly Adam's idea of a few hundred dollars well-spent (weird, I know), and I ruled out DIY-ing one as too tricky/time-consuming/costly given the conditions mentioned above. I stalked Kijiji for months, hoping that my dream headboard would magically appear, but when that didn't happen and this guy popped up instead, I decided to go for it. Also, the seller was willing to part with it for $50.

Sorry for not making the bed/cleaning up the bedside tables/actually attaching the headboard to the bed frame (it's leaning up against the wall for now). I have a cold and a baby who couldn't care less about napping.

Obviously I have to do something about the picture frames on the right. And I'm kind of over the lamp. So, Option 1 is to keep the headboard as is, switch up the frames (I'm thinking two frames in a simple stacked arrangement) and maybe nix the lamp altogether. It would be a lot less work than Option 2 (see below), but I'm worried that the black is too heavy for the room.

Option 2 is to paint the headboard. White with brassy-gold finials. Here's my inspiration:

source: country living

source: house to home

If I go the painting route, I'll probably introduce a gold picture frame or two, too.

I can't decide. What would you do?


DIY paint-dipped planter

Remember my paint-dipped chair? Turns out I couldn't stop at just one paint-dipped project.

I found terracotta pots and saucers (not sure what the correct term is) at the Dollar Store months ago and the paint was leftover from other projects (including the chair). For my chair, I taped off the areas I didn't want to paint to get that "dipped" look. I tried doing that again (after painting most of the pot with my orange-y coral colour), but I couldn't figure out how to wrap straight tape around a round pot and get a smooth line. I'm not saying it can't be done, I just couldn't do it :)

Instead, I measured two inches from the bottom of my pot and made several pencil marks as I worked my way around the pot. Using my pencil marks as guides, I used a small foam brush to apply my white paint. My line isn't even close to straight, but I like the wavy imperfection.

I've still got two more pots, so I'm definitely going to try this again, hopefully with a colour that isn't so terracotta-esque ;)



I took a little break from blogging last week so I could devote all my attention to moments like this one while my brother and his family were visiting. I told the girls that Hannah liked silly faces and noises, so they started jumping onto the bed and saying 'Boo!' to entertain her. So cute. The break wasn't planned, I just let it happen and I'm glad I did.

Unfortunately it was windy and rainy for most of their visit, but everyone made the best of it and we crammed in some fall activities wherever the weather would allow. Mostly it was just nice to spend time together, since we don't get to see each other nearly enough (and as great as Skype is, it can't possibly compete with real hugs and kisses from my nieces). There was also something special (and kind of crazy) about seeing my family's next generation together. Being so close in age, I can already imagine how much fun they're going to have together.

I'll be back with some house-related updates this week, but here are a few photos from last week :)


Happy Thanksgiving and a sneak peek!

I know I promised to reveal my chalkboard project this week, but how about a sneak peek instead? I painted our fridge! It was super easy to do and it looks so much better than the ugly white "before". And yeah, it was a lot cheaper than buying a new one. I've been stalking Kijiji for a piece that will finish it all off, and as soon as I find it, I'll be back with the full reveal and how-to.

I hope all my Canadian readers have a very happy Thanksgiving weekend! My older brother and his family arrive from Orlando tomorrow for a week and I'm so looking forward to some fun fall activities with my two cutie nieces. Have a great weekend!

Hannah's monthly photo

It's hard to believe that Hannah is already two months old! She's a little longer and a little chubbier than she was a month ago, she's smiling all the time (total heart-melter) and she's quite the chatterbox. She's also been sleeping through the night (in six to seven hour stretches) for a few weeks now. Just like her dad, she likes to stay up late and sleep in. I wonder if that means I have another musician on my hands...

We feel very, very lucky to be getting enough sleep - it makes dealing with those fussy moments so much easier. I've also started pumping, so Hannah gets the occasional bottle. I think Adam is really enjoying being able to feed her (even though she screamed her head off the first couple of times) and of course I'm enjoying the freedom it gives me to run errands or meet a friend for coffee or just have some time to myself. I think we're both feeling more confident as parents, or at least in our ability to keep Hannah alive and relatively well :)

We're off to the doctor for her two month needles this afternoon, so wish us luck :(

I'm taking a photo of Hannah every month until she turns one. You can check out the rest of her monthly photos here


The $15 Fall Decor Challenge: Neutral Mantle Reveal

Jeanette from This Dusty House challenged several bloggers to put together a fall vignette for $15 or less, by shopping exclusively at thrift and dollar stores. I decided to decorate our mantel. Full disclosure: I'm not much of a seasonal decorator. Christmas, yes. But otherwise, it doesn't really happen. That said, here's what I came up with:

I made my book page wreath a while ago and I decided to keep it over the mantle (still love that thing). Anyone with a few old books and a glue gun can make one, so I don't think I'm breaking any rules here :)

Here's how I spent my $15 to create a neutral fall mantle:

1 - I found these identical white vases at Value Village for 99 cents each. I added Chinese Lanterns from my mother-in-law's garden for a pop of colour and varying height.
2 - These trays are also from Value Village ($2.99 each). To remove the tarnish, I placed them in a baking dish lined with aluminium foil and covered them with a mixture of boiling water and baking soda (add 1 cup of baking soda for every four litres of water). If the item is really tarnished, you'll need to repeat the process a few times (I should have done it a couple more times, but I got lazy).
3 - I was looking for burlap, but all I could find was this burlap-like pillowcase ($2) at the Dollar Store. I also grabbed this lace table runner ($1.25) and then felt like explaining to the cashier that I wasn't actually planning to use it, as-is, in my house :) I wrapped some pillar candles I already had on hand (they sell similar ones at the Dollar Store) with strips of fabric I cut from the pillowcase and runner, and secured it with twine (which I also already had on hand, but is also available at the Dollar Store).

Adam thought my display was too busy with the burlap and lace, so I decided to nix it at the last minute. I'm glad I did, but the decorated candles were too cute not to share. Wouldn't they be great as part of a centrepiece?
4 - Finally, I grabbed this bag of faux gourds and pine cones ($2) at the Dollar Store. I painted the gourds white to go with my neutral mantle theme.

White vases (3)...$2.97
Silver trays (2)...$5.98
Burlap-like pillowcase...$2
Lace table runner...$1.25
Faux gourds...$2


Now that you've seen what I came up with, make sure you check out what these talented bloggers did!


The $15 Fall Decor Challenge

source: Country Home (spotted here)

Jeanette from This Dusty House has challenged several bloggers - including me - to put together a fall vignette for $15 or less. There are only two rules: we can't spend more than $15 and we have to do all our shopping at either dollar or thrift stores. The idea is to create something beautiful without spending a lot of money - my kind of challenge.

I'm going to be decorating my mantle, so check back on Wednesday to see what I come up with!

Here are the rest of the lovely bloggers who will be playing along, so don't forget to pay them a visit and find out what they have planned!

This Dusty House
Adventures in Building Beauty
Sweete Suite 10
Living in a Green Room
Casa Caudill
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