Photo inspiration + links for your weekend

all images via To and From Magazine

You might recognize these shots of Amber Lewis' dining room from the holiday issue of To and From Magazine. Her ability to mix colour, pattern and texture is obviously unreal (that woman is seriously talented), but these photos are also great inspiration to think outside the box when it comes to holiday decorating. And do I spy pom-poms on the corners of those napkins? Love!

Onto the links!

-I wish they had puppy rooms when I was in university.
-Chelsea tweeted a link to this oldie but goodie post by Emily Henderson (warning: it's a long one) about the ins and outs of prop styling. Really interesting and, as is usually the case, the job is much more involved than you might think at first glance. I was exhausted just reading about all the work that goes into a single shoot!
-Is Pinterest making you less creative?
-I was excited to see my modern tree from last year in this round-up of pretty Christmas trees.
-I wrote a piece for Chic & Cheap Nursery this week about the dark nursery trend. Soothing and stylish or dark and depressing?

We're taking a mini road-trip with Hannah to visit friends tomorrow and Sunday I'm hoping to tackle a DIY project that I'm strangely nervous about. Cryptic enough for you? Happy weekend friends! 


Trend to try: pom-poms

It shouldn't come as a surprise that I'm digging the pom-pom trend. After all, pom-poms are basically a 3-D polka dot :)

I'm thinking about adding some dark green pom-pom fringe to the curtains in Hannah's room (you can check them out here). I was inspired by the gorgeous curtains from Christine's #projectscarlett reveal...

source: bijou and boheme
...and this more subtle approach from Yellow Brick Home.

source: yellow brick home

Of course, if pom-pom curtains aren't your thing, there are plenty of other ways to try this trend. Here are just a few examples:

source: shoppe by amber interiors

source: desire to inspire

source: the purl bee

source: trendtation

source: akong london

So, would you try this trend? Or have you tried it already? And most importantly: adding pom-pom fringe to Hannah's curtains, yes or no? 


30 Before Thirty Update

It's been awhile since my last 30 Before Thirty Update, so I thought I'd check in. Here's how my list has changed since you last saw it:

#7 - I'm calling this one done, although technically I never made a salad with the vegetables from our garden. Over the summer, we grew and ate peas, lettuce, yellow beans, carrots, zucchini, cucumber and a few tomatoes. For some reason our green beans didn't sprout, and our tomato and zucchini plants were too overcrowded to yield much. We learned a lot and we're already planning to add more raised beds (and more veggies) to next year's garden.

#15 - Hannah's birth story deserves a post of its own (and I really should write it down, whether I end up posting it or not). My labour was long, tiring, painful, emotional and involved a few scary moments, but it was all worth it. It's by far the hardest thing I've ever done, but it was one of those experiences that show you how strong you really are. Adam took the picture below just moments after Hannah was born. My face is swollen, I'm exhausted and my skin looks terrible, but I love this picture. I know what I went through to arrive at this moment and the picture is a reminder of the joy, relief and awe I felt holding Hannah for the very first time.

{the moment we first laid eyes on one another}

#18 - I managed to sneak this one in before the weather turned too cold for painting. I love how it turned out and I've been pleasantly surprised by how well my paint job is holding up (you can find my tips for painting any door here).

#23 - As I shared in this post, the guest room is officially painted and decorated (next up: installing new baseboards, quarter round and door plinths). I love hosting overnight guests now that we have a cozy, relaxing space for them to stay. We've had a few overnight guests since we (mostly) finished the room and the feedback has been very positive!

I really don't have a lot of time left before I turn 30 (a little more than two months - eek!), so I've got to get my butt in gear if I want to finish all the items on my list (I'm still trying to figure out the logistics of going on a picnic in the winter). Wish me luck!


Eating in: Smoked salmon pasta

We're trying to be better about emptying the freezer before running to the store. We're those people who end up at the grocery store every other day, which is both time consuming and expensive (turns out impulse buys really add up). We had some smoked salmon we'd been avoiding, so I did a little searching and found this recipe for smoked salmon pasta on Pinterest (you can follow me here). I made a few tweaks - whole wheat pasta instead of white, a large handful of fresh parsley instead of a couple tablespoons, and no pine nuts (only because we didn't have any in the house).

The verdict? Yummy and really quick to prepare (it's a great option for weeknights), but it probably won't make it into our regular meal rotation (we like smoked salmon, but we don't like like smoked salmon, you know?).We both found it quite lemony, and while I think the strong lemon flavour is a nice balance to the strong flavour of the salmon, you may want to hold off on that second tablespoon of lemon zest until you've had a chance to taste the dish.


DIY chevron stool (+ an easy drawstring laundry bag)

 Ottomans are great pieces to own because of their versatility, but cute ones are usually pretty pricey. Luckily, you can customize an inexpensive faux leather ottoman (I've seen them for as little as $20, brand new) easily and affordably with a DIY slipcover. I found this ugly, but sturdy ottoman a couple years ago at Value Village for $10:

It's had a couple of different looks since I bought it (another reason I love slipcovers) and recently I decided to move it into Hannah's nursery. I already owned a blue chevron fabric that suited Hannah's room, so I created a pattern by tracing the ottoman's shape onto some wrapping paper. I made one piece for the top and another long piece for the sides by rolling the ottoman along my paper and tracing as I went. Then I just pinned my pattern to my fabric and cut around it.

I also decided to try making my own piping for the first time. I followed this tutorial and if you can sew a straight line, you're ready to make your own piping. I shouldn't have waited this long to try, but I had convinced myself that it would be really hard (definitely not true). Anyway, once my piping was done I pinned and sewed it to the top piece, then pinned and sewed that to the side piece. The last step is sewing the ends of the side piece together and hemming the bottom.

Now I have a nice low seat when Hannah's hanging out on her activity mat, or a place to put my feet up when Hannah and I are sitting in her rocker, or a spot to keep Hannah's favourite books within easy reach.

While I had a sewing machine (I've had to borrow my mom's since mine bit the dust), I also made a quick and easy laundry bag. Hannah's room is quite small, so I wanted something that I could hang on the hooks behind the door - still within easy reach of the changing table. You can find a detailed tutorial here, but the condensed version is that I cut out four rectangles (two from my liner fabric and two from my outer fabric), stitched them together on three sides, hemmed the top and fed my string through the hem with a large safety pin. Super easy, looks great and now we have a place to stash Hannah's dirty laundry without using up valuable floor space!


Photo inspiration + links for your weekend


There are so many things to love about this room (hello, polka dots), but I'm really digging the unique bedside table and gorgeous styling. It's pretty, but still functional (like, you could actually read one of those books).

I've been thinking a lot about going back to work lately and what that will mean for this blog. Funnily enough,  I've decided that if I want to keep blogging regularly, I need to expand my scope. I'll still mostly be sharing house progress, DIY projects and design inspiration, but you may see a few posts about other stuff I like too. Think food, style, and more regular posts about my life. I hope these tweaks will make the blog more fun to write and more fun to read, and of course I hope you'll keep following along :)

On that note, I stumble across all kinds of interesting/funny/helpful/inspiring things during my internet travels and I'm going to start sharing some of them here. I like it when other bloggers do it, so I'm hoping you won't mind me doing it too. Happy weekend!

-I wish I read this article when I was pregnant. Turns out I probably didn't need to worry about that occasional glass of wine.

-For anyone who celebrated turkey day yesterday, these light and healthy recipes are part of a post-Thanksgiving detox (I'm not saying you need one, I'm just saying it's there).

-This explains why my hydrangea bush didn't flower this year. Oops.

-If you've ever wondered what a Romney yard sale would look like...

-Now that American Thanksgiving is over, here are 150 stocking stuffer ideas. Chalkboard paint? Genius!

-If you live in or near Halifax, make sure you mark this event on your calendar for next weekend.

-And finally, have you been following the Air Rihanna fiasco? Catch up on Julieanne Smolinski's very funny dispatches from Rihanna's 777 tour here.


I'm loving: Polka dots

Happy turkey day to all my American family, friends and readers!

Polka dots are everywhere right now and I think I need some of this trend in my life. I love classic black and white, but metallics have been catching my attention lately too. Check out this polka dotty inspiration and tell me, are dots a do or a don't?

{Nicole's sweet polka dot shower curtain}

{this pillow needs to be in my living room}

{and these wall stickers need to be in my bedroom}

{DIY polka dots}

{anyone who speaks Spanish want to tell me how to make these polka dot cupcakes?}

{and it's on sale!}


Date night

On the weekend, my mom came over so Adam and I could have our first night out as a couple since Hannah was born (and this grainy, blurry iphone pic is all we have to remember it by - at least we look happy!). We went to see an experimental jazz ensemble at The Music Room. Since typing that sentence made me want to laugh out loud, I should probably explain that Adam studied jazz drumming at StFX and he went to school with two of the players in the ensemble. We got ice cream afterwards (my idea) and agreed that I get to pick what we do on our next date :)

More than a few people have advised us to make sure we still find time for our relationship and I'm amazed how recharged I felt after a few hours out together. We plan to make this a regular thing.

How do you and your significant other find time to be together? Do you go out or date at home? 


DIY finger puppets

I made these finger puppets over the weekend as a birthday gift for my niece. They were super easy to make  and I love how they turned out. If you're interested in making your own, read on for the how-to.

  1. I drew my pieces freehand and figured out what I needed by looking at a few examples online, but you can also find printable templates on Pinterest. To create the same puppets I made, you'll need templates for the body (with and without arms), various heads, a mane for the lion, ears for the elephant, and an oval for the dog's snout.
  2. Trace your templates onto felt pieces and cut them out. Remember to make doubles of each body piece and head (for the lion, you'll need two mane pieces, but only one face piece).
  3. Using a glue gun, I glued my body pieces together first (remember to leave the bottom open for your finger!), then sandwiched the body between two head pieces and glued those together. The last step is  to glue on the eyes and any little nose, ear or cheek pieces. I also cut little hearts out of some leftover fabric and glued those on too. 

I hope my niece likes them as much as Adam does - he wants me to make him some, haha.


DIY gift ideas

On Wednesday I shared my holiday wishlist and yesterday I started shopping (for my family, not myself :). This year, I'm determined to make something for everyone on my list. I love the personal touch that comes with a DIY gift and of course they're fun to make, too. Even if you don't consider yourself a DIYer, the ideas below are easy enough for anyone to try.

I love these DIY copper-leafed candles by Emily Henderson. Perfect for a stocking stuffer or a hostess gift.

source: stylebyemilyhenderson.com

There are lots of options for home baked gifts, but if baking's not your thing - or maybe you're just short on time - here are some really pretty ways to make store-bought goodies more gift-worthy.

source: style at home magazine (dec 2011)

My friend Sorren put together a ridiculously easy how-to for a DIY coffee exfoliant and a DIY sugar lip exfoliant. With some cute packaging, they would make great holiday gifts.

source: classic noise

Nicole featured two great posts on how to make a simple bauble necklace and how to make a statement necklace...

source: making it lovely

...and plants always make a great gift. Here are two simple ways to make them extra special with DIY painted planters.

source: homedit & the proper pinwheel

Will you be making any gifts this year? Share your ideas in the comments.


My holiday wishlist


Have you started your holiday shopping yet? I have a few ideas written down for family and friends, but no shopping yet. We have quite a few gifts to mail this year, so I need to get started soon!

I had a little fun putting together my holiday wish list (too early?). A graphic poster, a linen shower curtain, a great everyday necklace, some new down pillows, a pretty basket for the snake plant in our dining room, and a couple of good books :)

What's on your list this year?


99 cent waste basket DIY

It's funny the things you forget about when you're designing a room. Like, a nursery probably needs a waste basket. I wanted something that could be tucked virtually out of sight, into the gap between the change table and the wall. When I spotted a worn-looking pink basket for 99 cents at Value Village, I thought it might be perfect. I also thought it might be ugly, but in a whimsical, vintage kind of way (because that's better?). I used some orange paint I already owned to freshen it up and tie in with the nursery's colour scheme, and now we have a place to stash our trash.


Our almost-finished guest room

Remember the guest room I've been updating you on for months now? It's finally done! OK, it's not done done, but it's so close! We still need to install new baseboard, quarter round and door plinths, but that probably won't happen until after Christmas (we're on a slimmed-down budget while I'm on maternity leave and the room is fully functional as-is), so just picture the same gorgeous baseboard we used in our bedroom and Hannah's nursery, k?

Adam thinks the tiny art above the bed looks weird, but I love it (it's a vintage map of the Maritimes that I bought in London, of all places). I like that its size is unexpected and I think the scale plays well with the large mirror nearby.

Yes, this mirror. My aunt found it at an antique shop in Burlington, VT. For $35. The new light fixture is from Ikea. Adam installed it with help from my dad just after Hannah was born.

I love that door. We replaced all the old hollow-core doors upstairs with solid pine doors that we had cut to size, then stained, sealed and hung ourselves. The new hardwood floors were another DIY project and the wall colour is Behr's Heavy Cream. Two of the walls were textured (blech), so we decided to cover them with horizontal T + G planks. Adam took care of the installation, since I was nine months pregnant, and he did an awesome job. A few people have asked if we're planning to fill the knots and the answer is no. At least not right away. I like the rustic look of the knots, but I'm reserving the right to change my mind down the road.

The closet was missing its door when we bought the house, so I made one (and a curtain for the window, which you can get a better look at here) from a $4 tablecloth.

To give you an idea of just how far this room has come, here are a few side-by-side 'before' and 'almost afters' (can't wait to get that new baseboard installed!):

Wall colour: Heavy Cream by Behr
Alarm clock: HomeSense
Bedding: HomeSense
Quilt: Wedding gift, purchased in Guatemala
Pillow fabric: Samovaari by Marimekko, purchased from Etsy
Light fixture: Ikea KNAPPA pendant
Vintage map: purchased in London, frame purchased from Winners
Mirror: gift, purchased in Burlington, VT
Picasso print: purchased in Luzern, Switzerland
DIY dipped chair
DIY dipped planter
Table: gift, source unknown
Fancy Dress print: Yasmine Surovec, purchased from The Working Proof
Bear print: Anna Stowe
Lamp: purchased at a yard sale
Curtain and closet 'door' fabric: Atlantic Superstore

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