Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pretty Pendants

After drooling over one too many pendant lights, here are some of my faves:
Pendants 1
Pendants 1 by Alray98 on

1. Dahlia Pendant
2. Knotted Rattan Pendant
3. Bronze Pendant
4. Small White Pendant
5. Ikea Rutbo Pendant
6. Black Mumm Silk Pendant

Pendants 2
Pendants 2 by Alray98 on

1. Kimono Silk Pendant
2. 2-Tier Round Pendant
3. Stripe Rendant
4. Silver Baroque Pendant
5. Ventura Square Pendant

I'm thinking of a simple one for the family room, and either the exact same, or a fun one for the dining room.

I'd love to use the Dahlia pendant from board 1 in the dining room, but it's only 10" high x 13.5" wide and the room is 10'4" by 17'6". According to Style at Home, a chandelier should have the diameter of 2 x the width of the room, but converted to inches. i.e. the width of the room is 10'4", so the diameter of the lighting fixture should be (10.3 x 2) or 20" at a minumum. That's a big friggin light fixture!

I wonder how hard it would be to create your own. Buy the hardware and then use some sort of paper crafting to create the shade? Maybe that's too ghetto for such a big dining room....who knows.

Any ideas?

May Goals

In the footsteps of Bower Power and Imperfect, this is my first try at a monthly goal list.

Hopefully giving myself a list of monthly goals rather than daily ones, it'll make the failure sting a little less.

May's Goals:
  1. Organize Kitchen
  2. Learn to/begin sewing draperies
  3. Make a meal plan for each week
  4. Each week, include 1 new recipe or dish
  5. Have a real date night with hubs
  6. Strip & repaint dresser from the 'rents
  7. Keep plants alive

I think that's a pretty simple first list...we'll see how it goes in a few weeks time.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Do you ever watch a TV show, or read in a magazine about an amazing room or home transformation that someone has done?

Every single time I watch Sarah's House, or Sarah's Cottage, or even Design Inc, I wonder where they go. I know they're in Toronto, so it's not the same, but I'd like to know a good, inexpensive, reliable place to do some of the things they do on the show. Some examples:
  • reupholstery
  • refinishing
  • curtains and drapes
  • window seats & general seamstressing
  • antiques, thrift store finds

I'm only starting to view things with the potential of what they could be, and with purse strings tight, it looks like an avenue I need to explore more. Plus, it's fun to re-use things and personalize them.

If anyone happens to know some Ottawa resources for these things, please let me know.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Material Girls April fantastico challange

I'm not sure how I missed this post the first time around!

But...fool me once and all that, I took advantage when the reminder post was made today.

I e-mailed Abby for our family room. I have oodles of inspiration images saved on my computer, but unfortunately none of the magazine ones that I have in hard copy at home.

So I sent the floorplan:
Along with these inspiration photos:
Although I should have also included this one from Bower Power: (Abby, if you're reading this (ha!) add this one to my major inspiring images file)
Anf finally attached these semi-current pics of the room:
I can't even think about how great it would be to be chosen for the challenge. I tend to get my hopes up (i.e. I mentally spend the money as soon as I buy a lottery ticket then I'm crushed when I inevitable don't win), so I'm trying to be realistic.

But seriously, I need the help.

Thanks for having the challenge ladies,

Monday, April 27, 2009


You may have noticed a couple minor changes to my blog. Or maybe you haven't because only one person other than my husband read this blog and she just returned from Puerto Rico and has more exciting things to think about.

However...while reading through one of my new favourite blogs, Bower Power, I realized that there must be some way that all of these other people are able to format their blogs.

You see what I did there? I embedded the link into the actual words! Sometimes I amaze myself.

So I went to work trying to figure this out. I'm pretty decent with technology and this shouldn't be so hard. Thanks to the help feature I figured out the 2 things that were bothering me most about my blog:

1-That the spacing was unreliable and, well, crap. Apparently a little 'Edit HTML' and a little '<>' combined with the much more efficient Preview feature made this problem go away!
(note: I couldn't actually use the real code or it wouldn't show up. Just take away the 1st and 3rd spaces and you're a Crunchwrap supreme)

2-That I'd have to copy and paste the entire link if I wanted to allow linkage to it. I knew it was possible to embed a link (is embed the right word? I have no idea but it sounds really good), and I'd done it in chat rooms (ok, one, and it was Weddingbells). But how do people know these things if they're not a web designer???

Anyways, a mere highlighting of the word you want to embed to (seriously I can't stop saying it), pressing ctrl+shift+a and then pasting the link...and you're done.

I'm so happy I did a little happy dance in my chair a few times this afternoon. My co-workers wouldn't understand the excitement--they ARE web designers.

Here's hoping my posts are now a little easier to read!

Note: In case you didn't get it, the slogan for the Crunchwrap Supreme is Good to Go. I was having too much fun with my new tricks, sorry.

Uncharted Territory

Perhaps you know that we have 2 children cats.

Perhaps you know that they are beautiful little sissies who are afraid of things even a mouse wouldn't blink at.

Perhaps what you don't know is that Layla turned 5 on Saturday. Five! Yowza...I can't imagine how fast the time flies for parents of human children!

In that spirit, I thought I'd share some pictures of the cats being more than typically adventurous on our (paved, fenced,protected) front porch. They ventured out there a few weeks ago while hubs and I were enjoying a mild spring day.

Here's the little 5 year old up on the pillar:
Ain't she perty?
And here she is rubbing it in her brothers face that she's hands down the Jack be Nimble of the family.
And when all that discovering got tiring, here she is chillaxing in the toasty lap of hubs. While her brother did some exploring of his own
Ho ho, and this one because it's just way too funny

They're not quite as scared of the (paved, fenced,protected) front porch now and venture out there every once in a while if we're out there and leave the door open a crack for them. Until a car drives past, a dog barks, hubs or I stand up or move our chair, or pretty much anything happens. Lawd, they're cute.

Porch Party Part Uno

I did manage to do a mini-version of an outdoor update on our front porch this weekend.

I stopped at Ikea on my way home Friday and picked up a bistro table and chairs:
Although they don't look it, that table and chairs do match almost exactly. They're from 2 different sets, but the chairs that match the table were really kinda small in person and I'm 6' tall to my husbands 6'3", so we needed a bit of a bigger chair. These ones were a bit more expensive, but totally worth it.

I also picked up 4 of these:
But they weren't hung yet until we decide where they'll go. They were a bargoon though, $4.99 for 2.

I also looked at the rattan arm chairs, but the colour was a lot lighter than the website images, and they were more expensive, so I decided to wait and try to find something else.

I also had a planting tutorial with my mom yesterday (since I've never had a garden and have a borderline black thumb), and planted in some pots I had previously painted using a half-assed version of John & Sherry's pot painting tutorial. I followed most of it, but just used acrylic craft paint I had here and sealed that with the same water seal...we'll see how it goes.

So here's what it looked like yesterday evening once I remembered to take some photos:

Which, admittedly doesn't look a whole lot different that a week ago, but it really does feel different. We had both breakfast and lunch out there on Saturday, enjoying the 20+ degree weather and it was fantastic. I could've spent all day out there.

I didn't realize how dwarfed the planters would look, so I'll need to do something about that, but in the meantime I think I'll wait to see if I can keep these ones alive for at least a couple days.

So still to do out there,
  • Get some thinner cushions for the bistro chairs
  • Get some sort of arm chairs
  • Hang tealights
  • Window boxes/Hanging plants once I acquire some gardening skills and the weather is more reliable.
  • Sit and wait for our sod to be laid so it doesn't look like we're in a dilapidated construction zone.
It's another 25+ degree day today, so I'm looking forward to another meal out on our porch tonight.

Any tips on how else to inexpensively make the space better?

More pot lights

Friday I came home to another of my husbands' "Surprises":

Kitchen pot lights.
Here's our kitchen pre-Friday:And you can't see it, but behind that hanging light is a former-boob light, which exploded a few weeks ago and has since been 2 bare bulbs. I'm sure you can imagine how stunning it was.

And here's the kitchen now (please keep in mind that my camera's still being a rebellious teenager, and that's why there's some strange shots-I'm not trying to be artistic):

I can't even explain what a difference they make to lighting up the counter. Where there were just shadows before in the corners where I'd be cutting veggies and what not, there's now actual light. It's fantastic.

Had we done this through the builder, it would have cost us $251 PER potlight, or $1,506 total!!! Isn't that crazy?!?!

So, for the $18 per that hubs paid for them through his boss, and an hour of his time, we have saved ourselves $1,398 and probably got better lights too. Sometimes I forget what a perk it is for hubs to be an electrician who loves what he does.

How did it only take him an hour you ask? Excellent question.
1-When the house was under construction, hubs went in with a drill, measuring tape and string while I stood guard in the driveway with pre-determined warning codes.

Having already determind the layout for the future potlights, he laid the groundwork and took some measurements so that he'd know exactly where to cut the drywall once the house was finished (i.e. Friday afternoon).

Because he'd drilled holes in the studs during operation pot light prep, he didn't have to fuss around and have to do extra drywall repair.

And because he'd run the thin string through the holes during the same operation, he just had to basically use that to run the wire and save himself the headache of making sure it went to the right places.

2-He does this for a living and he could probably have done it in his sleep.
He's done the same thing in the family room, so one of these days the lighting in there will become pot lights as well.

Of course, it bears repeating that he's a licensed, experienced electrician, so this was both safe and possible. I wouldn't even think of attempting it if he weren't, so please be careful.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Outdoor Living

This weekend's forecast is calling for some pretty fantastic weather around these parts. With that in mind, I think I may do some outdoor work this weekend.

Unfortunately for us, that's very limited to our front porch. With no sod, no paved driveway and really nothing nice outside beyond our front porch YET, we're forced to focus our attention there.

Fortunately, though, with the Better Homes & Garden & Home Depot contest having occupied 2 of my favourite bloggers (This Young House and Making it Lovely) for the past couple weeks, I've been thinking more about it. PLUS-today's the big reveal day so I was able to cruise their transformations as well as the other participants cool projects.
Here are a couple reminders of the (semi) current state of our use-able outdoor space:

So I may just embark on my very own scaled down version of the BHG 48-hour challenge. (And very possibly extend it beyond 48-hours in typical me fashion)

I'm mentally preparing myself for the thousands of other Ottawa-ians who will be doing that very same thing this weekend, so I don't freak out about the crowds. Maybe hitting up a couple places tonight will make for an earlier start and more efficient (and sane) weekend.

My general thoughts for phase 1 (it's a very official course of action) of the front porch include:
  • 2-person bistro table for casual dinners for hubs and I
  • comfy arm chairs with bright cushions for nice lounging
  • lanterns and candles all over the place
  • a couple hanging plants
  • some potted plants in colourful pots along the stairs.

I picked up some chair cushions in a fabric similar to this last weekend,

which would look just fabulous on two of these: Which hail from Ikea and are just $69.99 each.

And while looking for the chair, I also came across these great finds from our Swedish friends:

Which, when Polyvorized with some accessories, looks a little something like this:

Outdoor reno version 1
Outdoor reno version 1 by Alray98 on

What d'ya think?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Favourite Young House Love Mood Boards

In the absence of anything to report, comment on or show from our house, I thought I'd post some of my favourite Young House Love custom mood boards in an effort to re-inspire myself.

I've said many-a-time how much I like this site, and that's only increasing. They had this awesome organization post earlier this week that was fantastic and makes me want to go home and organize everything! Then I get home and all I want to do is nothing. It's a problem.

However...John and Sherry don't seem to ever stop, so here are some of my favourites (in no particular order):

Stacie's YHL Mood Board:
and solved:
I especially love the floor lamp, super glamorous side table and chair.

Beth's YHL Mood Board:
LOVE that water poster, the paisley pillow and that awesome coffee table.

Chantal's Canadian YHL Mood Board:
Mostly I'm biased towards this one because Chantal's Canadian. But I also like the chandelier, which I used myself several months ago when making my own inspiration board for the spare bedroom in polyvore.

Trudi's YHL Mood Board:
I want that pendant chandelier. Seriously, I love it.

Courtney's YHL Mood Board:
Lydia's YHL Mood Board:
This one's just fun. I really like the side table (as discussed in my Dear Target letter here

Lindsay's YHL Mood Board:
I also LOVE, love, love this pendant chandelier! Hmmm--I wonder how many places I can put pendant chandeliers without it looking ridiculous. And with a husband who's an electrician and loves his pot lights???

Alice's YHL Mood Board:

My favourites on this board are the drapes as well as the fabric swatch up in the top left corner.

Megan & Drew's YHL Mood Board:
I love the pussy willow Ikea print in this one. I've actually gone looking for it before, but our local store hasn't had it for several months (at least when I've been there), and I've used it on my own inspiration collages as well.

Sarah's Second YHL Mood Board:

's YHL Mood Board:
Another fantastic pendant light. I also really like those ladder shelves. I never have before, but in the last several months I really like them.

Eryn's YHL Mood Board:
The pendant and the umbrella stand...a great room.

Emily's YHL Mood Board:
Love the night stand, although I'm imagining several other uses for it than a night stand.

Michele's YHL Mood Board:
Another ladder shelf and those great burnt orange glass vases, as well as the rope-y round pendant lights.

Paul's YHL Mood Board:
My favourite thing on this board is definitely the art.

Leslie's YHL Mood Board:

I love the rug, the sconce, the pendant, the desk and the orchid. Pretty much everything.

Liz's YHL Mood Board:
Perhaps I'm particular to this one because it boasts the same coffee table as our home.

Emily's YHL Mood Board:

Lindsey's YHL Mood Board:

What an awesome coffee table! The rug, art and pillows also make this one a favourite.

Believe it or not, I was actually fairly selective in my choices and there were many that I didn't choose as a favourite. They're all really nice, just not necessarily to my taste. And they seem to be getting better and better.

I have to say I've actually been considering a custom mood board of my own for any number of rooms: family room, dining room or master bedroom in particular. I'd really like to do it myself though and can't really justify spending money (however little or worthy) on getting one done.

In the meantime, I'll just enjoy these ones. Or swoon, as YHL might say.