Kitchen Progress: Phase 1

{tongue and groove beadboard installed}

{first coat of primer on}

Adam took some time off over the holidays, so we got started on Phase 1 of our kitchen makeover (naturally). We took a chisel and hammer to the rest of the dusty rose tile backsplash we inherited with the house and Adam installed tongue and groove beadbord planks, which he also ran up the backs of the upper cabinets. He also brought our kitchen outlets up to code by installing GFCIs. Then we caulked all the seams, sanded the cabinets and primed everything. Next up: we paint.

So far, I'm really happy with how it's turning out (sorry for the crappy iPhone photos - a lot of the work happens in the evening, after The Bean goes to bed). I wouldn't choose beadboard for my dream kitchen, but the look works with our existing cabinets and I can't believe how much it's already transformed the space (again, sorry for the crappy photos). We tried the open cabinets for awhile before committing to the beadboard and I don't think I could go back to doors now, at least not in our tiny kitchen.

My inspiration is a cross between this:


and this:


Although Adam and I still haven't agreed on a colour for the lower cabinets. Phase 2 will involve trimming out and painting the lower cabinets, doing something about the ugly countertop and replacing the faucet. There are a few big projects planned for Phase 3 (new exterior door, new flooring, a dishwasher!!!), but I'm trying not to think about that too much right now. Gotta finish Phase 1 first.


Happy Everything!

Just wanted to quickly pop in to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! As you can see, Hannah enjoyed celebrating her first Christmas (the outfit was a gift from my dad and his wife) and somehow we managed to sleep ten people (including one baby and two kids) in our tiny house on Christmas Eve! Now the plan is to relax :)

Happy Christmas!


Photo inspiration + links for your weekend

source: lonny.com

Have you checked out Lonny's photo archives yet? My apologies in advance for the hours you will waste there :)

Here are a few links to get you through till Christmas Eve:

-Need a last-minute gift idea? Check out NPR's Best Books of 2012 - there's a list for everyone on your list.
-Have you heard of Rdio? We've been using it for a few months and love it. Hello, Christmas albums.
-I want to see almost all of these movies.
-But sometimes 'worst of' lists are more fun.
-This is hilarious. Like laugh 'til you cry funny (I did).

Our holiday break officially starts today. I'm taking next week off from the Internet to enjoy the holidays with family and friends, but I'll be back in the New Year with some fun projects and house updates. Happy Holidays and best wishes for the New Year!




Don't hate me, but I'm actually enjoying the run-up to Christmas this year. Maybe it's because of the little one (I've discovered that dancing around the house to Christmas carols is sure to result in smiles, giggles and squeals of delight), or maybe it's because I'm home on maternity leave. Yes, even with an infant to take care of, it turns out I find it a lot easier to shop, decorate, bake and make when I don't have to go to work everyday (and of course it helps that Adam is around for much of the day to help out with Hannah). I'm thinking about saving up some vacation time so I can take the week off before Christmas every year.

I did a little extra decorating around the house this year (extra, for us). More boxwood, just like the mantle, but this time from my mom's supply (thanks Mom!). Our Christmas tree was a little tall for our living room, so Adam shortened the trunk and I used the leftover branches to make my first decorative swag. I kind of love it.

I'm using my DIY'ed silver-leafed mirror to display Christmas cards this year. I feel bad that we didn't send out cards (first time in years!), but I fully intend to make up for it next year. They're one of my favourite parts of the holidays (this is a not-so-subtle hint to send me cards, friends and family).

We still have a few small things to pick up, but most of our gifts are already wrapped and under the tree. Thank goodness for clearance ribbon sales at Michael's (in case you're wondering, instead of gift tags, I marked each present with the recipient's initial - those are the black dots).

These photo boxes are also from Michael's (marked down to $2.50 each). They were plain white, so I used gold paint (Martha Stewart) to dress them up a little. I used tape to get clean lines for the stripes and I made a stencil for my polka dots out of stiff card stock and a circle punch. The boxes will be filled with home-made cookies, tied with ribbon and given as gifts.

So far I've made toffee almond haystacks, almond chai cookies, and classic holiday sugar cookies. Next up, cinnamon sugar crinkles and peanut brittle.

I made these dipped spoons as a stocking stuffer. I love how they turned out so much, I may have to make myself a pair. Thanks for the inspiration Tanya!

I can't believe Christmas Day is almost here. Where does the time go?


DIY painted wall hooks

One of the items on my 30 Before Thirty list is tiling the entry-way floor. I included it partly because I've never tiled anything before and I wanted to push myself to learn a new skill (much like installing hardwood upstairs), but also because our entry-way is one sad-looking spot. I want the first space I see when I walk in the door to be a pleasant one, not to mention the terrible first impression we're currently making with visitors. We're not at the tiling stage yet, but these sunny yellow hooks are at least a start to prettying up the space.

You might recognize them from this project. They work better for us this way, so I painted them with some leftover Martha Stewart craft paint and attached them to the wall using screws and drywall anchors. It took about a billion thin coats, so I would HIGHLY recommend spray paint if you're thinking about doing something similar (it's too cold to spray paint here, but painting was tedious enough that I almost wish I'd waited until spring).

Pre-hooks, Adam insisted on flinging his jacket over one of our dining room chairs instead of hanging it in the entryway closet. It drove me crazy. Now, he uses the hooks (he says they're convenient) and I'm a happy lady. Plus, I like their bright and cheery colour. Unfortunately the rest of our entryway still looks like this:

Opposite this wall, there's a decent-size closet with a set of curtains as temporary doors. They're hiding a chaotic mess of coats, shoes, hats, mitts, scarves, dog toys, a space heater (I could go on, people). When I need to go somewhere, I pull back the curtains and literally dig through a pile of shoes until I find two that match. #keepingitreal

So, here's my to do list for this space:

-Paint and install hooks near the door.
-Caulk and paint the trim around the door (not sure why we didn't do this when we moved in).
-Paint and re-hang the closet doors (they're just sitting in our garage right now). I'm thinking black.
-Clean and organize the closet.
-Replace the light fixture.
-Buy or build a bench that I can sit on while putting on shoes, especially boots
-Tile the floor and buy a new cover for the heating vent.


Photo inspiration + links for your weekend

source: habitually chic

I love all the emerald I've been seeing since it was announced as the colour of the year. Blue and green are my favourite colours, so of course I love me some emerald. It's an especially luxurious shade of green, no? I just ordered some emerald green pom-pom trim for Hannah's curtains (on Etsy, in case anyone else is looking) and I'm on the hunt for an emerald dress. To be fair, I've been looking for an emerald dress ever since my friend Molly wore one to my wedding, but I'm thinking this will be the year. Or maybe I'll just ask Molly if I can borrow hers.

Here are a few links for your weekend. Have a good one!

-A couple of cute and clever ways to display your holiday cards (spotted here and here).
-For every type of holiday party, the perfect drink.
-I really need a new pair of everyday earrings. These would be perfect.
-If you have an iPhone, you might want this (Adam says he does).
-Are video games art?
-I really love the idea behind the want, need, wear, read tradition. How many gifts do you think are enough?


Hannah's monthly photo

Hannah turned four months old last week, and since it's the holiday season, I had to put on her new snowflake tights (thanks Mom!). The biggest change from last month is that Hannah now has two bottom teeth, or at least the beginnings of teeth. She woke up at least four times one night (which is very unusual for her) and the next day I noticed two sharp little teeth poking through her lower gums. She also learned how to grab and hold onto objects recently, so now the game is to test everything out with her mouth (her hand is still her favourite thing to suck on by far, though). You have to be extra careful while eating with her on your lap, since she loves to grab plates now too ;)

She had her four month needles yesterday (she was super tough) and weighed in at a healthy 13 lbs. 9 oz. Now I know why my back is sore after rocking her to sleep!

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


Picking out our Christmas tree

On Sunday, we went to Hutchinson Acres for our Christmas tree. There were cookies, hot drinks and a wagon ride into the woods to pick out a tree. They cut it down for you on the spot, then bale it and bring it round so you can take it home. I have great childhood memories of running around in the snowy woods at a family friend's farm, watching the adults cut down our Christmas tree, then drinking hot chocolate inside while waiting for the snow to melt off the tree as it rested against the side of the barn. I would love to give Hannah a similar experience when she's a little older and obviously I still get a kick out of picking out our tree :)

We set it up and decorated it yesterday. It's so nice to have a traditional, sweet-smelling, needle-dropping tree after last year's modern tree. This is my new view while sitting on the sofa. I love the holidays!


DIY gilded geodesic vase

I spotted this vase at Value Village several months ago. The colour was pretty boring, but the shape reminded me of some geodesic accessories I'd been coveting (spotted here) and I figured I could easily spray paint it.

So I took it home, put it on a shelf and forgot about it until the weather was too cold for spray painting. Dammit, self. Luckily I had discovered gilding by then and in less than 5 minutes I had this beauty (well, more like 10 if you include transplanting time).

I used the same bottle of Martha Stewart's bronze liquid gilding that I used here and here (I also used it on a picture frame - not the one seen here - and still have plenty left, so I'm going to go ahead and say the tiny bottle is well worth its $11.99 price tag). 

{Are we the only people who still have a landline?}

I wanted to apply a clear gloss finish, but Adam said he liked the matte look so I left it (I think he was right anyway). I also re-painted my thrifted wooden tray and finished that with my clear gloss spray (I needed something glossy). I liked the blue, but the white works better in our living room now that I've switched a few things around. I need to take some updated pictures for you guys, but I'm waiting for a certain giant rug to arrive first :)

BTW, I just looked back at my pictures when I first put my DIY message center together...what happened to all the pens?!?!


Photo inspiration + links for your weekend

source: House of Turquoise

What's not to love about this Spanish living room? The space is so serene, and I'm seriously coveting those wood floors! We installed medium-dark wood floors upstairs, but lately I've been thinking that I'd like to do something different downstairs. I love how rustic and warm these floors are, and the wide plank...swoon. I wonder if we could find something similar, with tones that relate to, but don't match, the flooring upstairs. Where do you stand on mixing hardwoods? I'm thinking it probably looks great when done right, but doing it right is the tricky part.

Here are your links!

-Remember those polka dot cupcakes I shared recently? The recipe is available in English now (thanks Anna!). Am I the only one who's never heard of steam baking before?
-If you haven't watched this show yet, you should.
-I bet you never had a term paper assignment like this in college.
-A great post from Emily Henderson on how to choose your perfect colour palette. Definitely worth reading. Twice.
-This would make a great DIY gift for kids.
-I'll bet the guy who called the Christmas tree a "passing fad" feels like an idiot. 

Speaking of Christmas trees, we're getting ours this weekend - pictures to come! Have a good one!


Natural holiday mantle

Last year I went with a modern and fun mantle, so this year I wanted something a little more traditional. My mother-in-law made us a gorgeous boxwood wreath for our door, which inspired me to use boxwood on our mantle. She was nice enough to clip all this boxwood (and more) from the bushes in her yard for me to use (I know, I have the best mother-in-law ever). I pinned this rustic holiday centerpiece a couple weeks ago while looking for table setting ideas, and decided to use it as my mantle inspiration instead.

I rummaged around the house to find a bunch of white candles of varying heights and widths, and I found a bag of natural pine cones in my Christmas stuff (I wanted to use my DIY glitter pine cones, but I couldn't find them!). In fact, the only thing I spent money on was a strand of faux berries from Wicker Emporium (which I got for $2.88, including tax).

I just cut the strand into pieces of different sizes and stuck them in amongst the boxwood. I love the little pops of red in all that green and white!

So far I've been loving sitting on our couch and taking in the mantle. I'd love to DIY some tartan stockings to hang (that Adam, Hannah and I will use when we start doing Christmas mornings at home), but who knows if I'll get around to it this year. We're getting our tree this weekend - I can't wait!


Style, day to night

1. Metallic tweed blazer 2. Crystal venus flytrap earrings 3. Sybil dress 4. Gold watch 5. Expandable tote bag 6. Leopard print wedge

1. Berry opaque tight 2. Gold pyramid earrings 3. Sybil dress 4. Croc clutch 5. Black leather booties 6. Beaded dot bracelet 7. Crystals chain bracelet

Even though I'm on maternity leave, my office still invited me to the Christmas party (possibly because we're an office of three and without me it would be more of a Christmas date). I say party, but we usually just go out for a bite and a drink or two after work (like I said, there are only three of us). And because we're all clothes-loving women, we use it as an excuse to get dressed up and talk about anything but work over a glass of wine. While I'm obviously not in the office these days, I still had fun putting together two looks with one dress you could wear straight from the office out for drinks with only a few key accessory changes.


Painted nightstand 2.0

Way back in August I shared that I wanted to make some tweaks to our bedroom, including repainting our $10 yard sale nightstands and switching up the hardware. I finally got around to it a few weeks ago, but I was waiting to take pictures until I sorted out our lamp situation. Turns out the lamps I bought weren't right for the room (not to worry, they were an inexpensive Kijiji find and my mom wants them), so I shopped my house and came up with something I think I'm happy with.

I stole the lamp and alarm clock from the guest room. The lamp is pretty tiny, but perched on a stack of magazines it's just the right height. The dried hydrangeas are from my mother-in-law, the glass votive was a Christmas gift from my mom, and I found the vintage tray at Value Village a couple years ago.

The colour is C-I-L's Cinnabar. It's an orange-y coral and I just love it. Totally makes me smile every time I see it and it really warms up the room at night. Instead of replacing the hardware, I decided to gild what I already had. The difference is incredible. I went from hating the hardware to absolutely loving it. #gildingchangedmylife.

Here's how my side of the bed looks now. I'm still playing around with the styling on Adam's side of the bed, but it's very close.

I have one more DIY project planned for the bedroom and I'm hoping I receive a certain piece of art on my Christmas wish list (hint, hint family) so I can take some updated shots of the room to share with you (I've made a few other tweaks around the room, so there's lots to share).

I'm much happier with the direction of the room now. I unintentionally ended up basing the room's colour palette on the huge vintage map of Iceland hanging next to Adam's side of the bed (a souvenir from our honeymoon). Lots of neutrals with some oranges, blues and a tiny bit of deep purple. It's still coming together, but hopefully I'll have a reveal 2.0 to share with you soon!

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