31 Aug 2012

Curb Appeal Update

It's been a few months since the last Curb Appeal instalment, so it must be time for a little update.  We haven't done anything too crazy, but we have been knocking off a few small projects.

Here's how the front of the house is looking today.

The flowers have exploded. I love how the purple looks against the light grey house.

Although we haven't bought any bushes for the front flower bed yet, we have finished collecting rocks for edging.

This is edging on the cheap.  Every time went went for a walk in the neighbourhood we'd look for big rocks. It took a couple months to collect enough, but it works well enough to define the space and was f-r-e-e.  I hope to get some bushes in there soon so that the weeds will stop growing. Right now at least the pretty flowers detract from the empty spot.

We also managed to hang the new outdoor light that I got for my birthday.

So much cuter than the old builder grade one.

And do you see that blue mailbox?  I have wanted a new one for years.  But seriously, have you ever shopped for mailboxes? How can a little piece of metal cost so much? The plain boring ones at The Home Depot are $60 for goodness sake.  I just couldn't stomach it, at least not this year when we have so many other things going on. But....I also couldn't live with blue any longer.

I took the mailbox down and gave it a couple coats of silver spray paint.  I used 'craft' spray paint (at least that is what it says on the can), we shall see how it holds up to the elements...maybe I'll have dripping silver with the first heavy rain.  I hope not.

Then I got on the computer and typed out the word MAIL.  I made it nice and big and bold, and then just printed it out.  I positioned the paper where I wanted the word on the mailbox and then used a ballpoint pen to trace the outline of the letters - pressing really hard.

Here's what it looked like when I removed the paper.

It left just enough of an outline for me to see.  I then used a skinny Sharpie marker to outline the letters and a fat Sharpie to fill them in.  It took a couple coats of Sharpie colouring to have full black coverage.

Much better, right? It's still not fantastic, as the mailbox is in rough shape, but for $0 it's better than it was, and will get us through the winter at least.

Here's how the front porch looks now.

I'd really like to add a planter or big vase, or something to the left of the door, but with a baby, a stroller, and a Great Dane it just isn't practical.  The porch is already too small, so it's going to have to stay bare for now.  I am still totally in love with our navy blue door.  It needs a wreath, but I haven't gotten there yet.....maybe before halloween.....

The last things we have to do are paint the steps and plant some bushes.  Not sure if those things are going to get done this year.  Gotta leave something for next year, right?

29 Aug 2012

D is For a Dog Named Diefenbaker

This post goes to the dogs.  The kind that jump into our bed at night when it's thundering outside and lick us when we come home, and the kind that just sit there and look pretty.  

In  one of my weekly visits to the Salvation Army I ran into this guy.

He's cute, right? His head comes off and he's a cookie jar. For $4.99 I couldn't pass him up.  

I liked him as he was, but the red wasn't really jiving with what I had in mind for the kitchen.  So....out came the spray paint (surprise...surprise).  He received a couple coats of sunny yellow spray paint and now he looks like a whole new dog.

He's still clearly a dog wearing a scarf, but is just a little more modern....a little glammed maybe? Plus, I couldn't handle those little black and white puppy dog eyes staring at me.

As all good dogs do, this dog needed a purpose in life.  His purpose became to hold Diefenbaker's Milk Bones.  And since it wasn't obvious that he contains a stash of Milk Bones, I made a little sign to reveal the secret.

His new home is on one of the new end tables (which I still have to tell you all about).  He likes keeping our cookbooks warm.

The real dog in our house obviously didn't need the sign to know where the Milk Bones were hidden.

He even sat and waited patiently for one.

Until I couldn't handle his cuteness any longer and gave in.

Sorry for the atomic looking hand....the lighting was not good when he started demanding Milk Bones.

After much messy eating he started to get thirsty.

The giant D above his bowls is also a new addition to the kitchen.  I figured he needed a clearly defined eating space.  Since kibble is still our enemy #1, we often have his bowls hidden in the closet when he's not eating.  Maybe by putting the giant D up, Fin will respect Diefenbaker's space?  A girl can wish.... 

Notice the kibble on the floor? He is the messiest eater (and drinking is even worse!).  I also thinks he spits some of his food out just to taunt Fin.  Kids and kibble - I seriously don't get the attraction.....

The picture below is really just for you to see how big he is.  We get comments all the time that he must be able to eat off the counter.  

You can see here that clearly he has no problem reaching the counter.  Thankfully he just sticks to eating the stray food that Fin throws him from her high chair.

We are just about there with the kitchen! Just a few more small projects to finish up over the next couple of weeks. My goal is to have it done before the snow flies.  That should give me until mid-October at least....

27 Aug 2012

Come, Let's Have Brunch

I'd be kidding myself if I claimed that we entertained these days.  We try, but somehow once we had a kid, the whole entertaining thing became a lot more work. If we were lucky enough to have a baby that slept through stuff then heck yes, come on over.  Let's party it up. We could laugh, and shout, and knock things over from all of our rowdiness. But...we have a kid that wakes up when we make the mistake of not taking 3 steps at a time to skip the squeeky ones.  She is the lightest sleeper I have ever known.  So, for now at least, entertaining for us is down to only being able to host brunch - when she is very wide awake.

We don't have any brunch plans in the near future, so I figured I'd just host an imaginary brunch with you guys.  Aren't you glad you didn't eat that third piece of toast this morning? You get to have brunch at my house! Well, my blog house anyway. Play along, ok?

All products below are from Indigo.  If you like the imaginary brunch items so much that you just must have them in your real life, then it's your lucky day.  Just click on the picture and you'll be brought right to the Chapters/Indigo website.

We'll start out sitting at our new farmhouse table.  I'll even use a knife to dig out the crushed in cheerios from the cracks ...just for you.

In front of you will be this bamboo placemat.
Natural Bamboo Placemat

It's bamboo, so it's easy to wipe. My kind of placemat. I am not into washing and ironing placemats.

I'll even bring out the fancy stuff for you and let you use a cloth napkin.  No, I don't really own any cloth napkins, but remember that this is 'pretend'.   The cloth napkin will be kept in place with this gold napkin ring.
Hammered Gold Napkin Ring by Indigo

Even if I am not sophisticated enough to own cloth napkins, I really do love this napkin ring. Maybe I can put my grocery store paper napkins in it?

At the top right of the placemat will be this seagrass glass. 

S/4 Seagrass Glasses by Indigo

It's pretty awesome, right? I love the texture that it adds, plus it will stop your hand from getting cold with all the ice that will be in your sparkling water.  Or maybe let's break all the rules and have mimosas in a seagrass tumbler....ya...let's.

I can't leave you with just mimosas.  You need coffee (or tea) too.  I'll pour it for you into this mug.

Forest Mug by Indigo

Or if you are one of my Canadian kin, I'll let you have this mug.

Double Double Mug

If you are Canadian you'll get it.  If you aren't Canadian then you just have to come visit us to truly understand what double double means.

Cream? Yup, I have it covered.  It's in this vintage looking milk jug.

Retro Milk Bottle Large

Ok, enough drinking. I'm hungry!

We will start by having fruit salad. I LOVE fruit salad. For some reason fruit just tastes better when it's in a salad.  I'll use this branch spoon to dish out your fruit salad.  You're guaranteed to like the fruit now because it's in salad form and it's coming to you on this beautiful spoon.


Obviously the fruit salad needs a dish.  I think this owl bowl will be perfect.

Owl Dipping Bowl

Eggs are a must at brunch at our house.  I bet you'd like to have your soft boiled egg in this little egg cup. 

Cow Egg Cup

I have no idea why eggs and cows would go together, but this guy was just too cute to pass up.  Don't forget...imaginary brunch.  If you like him there is a Guinea Pig  and a Bunny  that match.

This brunch is a little too healthy so far.  How about some pumpkin spice waffles?  I knew you'd say yes to that!  

Pumpkin Spice Pancake and Waffle Mix by Dancing Deer

We better finish off brunch with dessert.  Why not?   I'll whip up the Pecan Pie from Chuck Hughes' new cookbook Garde Manger.  

Garde Manger

I love watching Chuck on the Food Network (do you get Chuck's Day Off in the US?).  Actually, since this is an imaginary brunch, I think I'll just invite Chuck to cook the pecan pie for us.

So, are you full yet?  It was delicious wasn't it?

What now? I think I better go for a run to burn off the waffles and pecan pie.  Want to come with me?  This isn't imaginary any more.  I could really use a running partner!  I have cool songs on my iPod that I might let you listen to.  The latest CD I am running to is the Sons Of Anarchy soundtrack. Is that any surprise? I think of Jax Teller Mr. Swell and I run.  Girl from the North Country by The Lions is my new favorite running song.

Well, we've drank, we've eaten, we've run....now it's time to rest our heads on this pillow.

Love You To The Moon Pillow

Oh wait.  Fin is poking at my eyes.  Is this imaginary or real now?

*this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase one of these products the kind people at Indigo will send me a small percentage of the sale price for sending you their way.

24 Aug 2012

Guest Room Reveal

Ready to see the guest room?  This was really more of a mini-revamp than a complete overhaul, but it still looks 1000 times better than it did before.

Let's look at the before.

If you are a regular visitor around these parts you will know all about the famed frame closet.  There it is - in the picture above. It's a GONG show, but look at all those frames!!!

Pretty plain and boring. Our poor guests didn't even have any pillows! See that tall lamp on the left? That's the one that was crushed by Fin and I later used for the Inkodye print.

Ok, enough of that sad room.  Let's look at the after, shall we?

This is the view from the hallway.  I wish I had this same view in the 'before' pictures.  I don't close the door to the guest room any longer.

Just so you can get a sense of the size of this room....it's small...11' x 8'.  There is no way to put a queen sized bed in here without having one side against the wall. Our guests get good at climbing over one another.

I swapped out the white bedspread that was there before for a dark brown duvet.  As you already know, I have some hoarder tendencies, so I already had this duvet in the linen closet.  I think we had used it a few houses ago - I can't even remember, but I knew we'd use it some day!  The bed is Malm from Ikea, and I believe the mirror is part of the Malm series as well.  These both were Mr. Swell's from his bachelor days.  I probably would have never picked the natural finish, and was a little tempted to paint over it all, but once I had all of the natural finish pieces together it started to grow on me.  Besides, we have enough white and dark brown furniture in our house already.

The bright orange framed fabric from Papua New Guinea (read all about it here) adds a bright pop of colour.

I used some of the left over orange fabric in a tray for the top of the dresser.  The tray has a removable back so that you can place photos in it.  I've never actually had photos in it, but I do like changing it up.  I had a placemat in it before this piece of fabric.  I believe it's Umbra, originally from Urban Barn.  I also spray painted an old bottle I had metallic gold.

I really cleared out the 'frame closet' on this room.  The 2 framed fabric pieces and the mirror were from the frame closet, and then I went on another closet hunting adventure and found a few pieces to make a gallery wall of sorts.  Mr. Swell came with the tribal mask when he moved in with me.  I have to be honest....it creeps me out a bit. The lips are ginormous. He loves it though, and I figured that I had shoved it in the closet for 5 years, so it was time for it to make an appearance again.  It doesn't creep me out as much when it's part of a larger collection.  The picture above it is from my first time in Hawaii (we've been lucky enough to be back multiple times since).  The cowboy hat is one that I've had for quite a while.  Since I live in Alberta it's pretty much mandatory to have a cowboy hat.  I actually have 2, a classic black one and this more casual one.  I used to wear them at least once a year when I lived in Calgary and went to Stampede, but since we've moved to Edmonton they haven't seen a lot of use.  And lastly, the clock is just an Umbra clock, but it has a bit of sentimental value.  When Mr. Swell bought his first house, his realtor gave him the clock as a house warming gift.  Reminds us how far we've come.

The little dip dyed stool holds a basket of goodies for our guests.  Some of the essentials that a person may need while staying at our house.  Travel sized toiletries, hand towels and face cloths.

And just to keep things real....this is what happened about 2 minutes after I put the basket on the stool.

The total cost for this room was $10 - the cost of the stencil on the dresser.  That's it. Everything else was shopped from within our house.  Now we just need some guests!

Linking to:

TDC Before and After
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