Saturday, March 31, 2012


We are in Maui! It has been top secret, because we surprised our best friend. By now, we have surprised her at the airport in Maui (whilst dressed like idiots, of course) and are headed to our condo in Kihei. It is our 30th birthday presents to each other! 10 days of Hawaii bliss. Ahhh.

Our Honeymoon in Dominican Republic, June 2011
I've scheduled a couple posts while we are away, so don't be shy... come on back why doncha. And when we get back, I have some fun stuff to post about... like our master bedroom being almost done (there's art on the walls people!!), a wedding post (that would be our wedding)... and maybe a house tour?! Oooooh. But for now... Aloha!


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Entryway Board & Batten

Living in the typical 3 level townhouse, our entry is VERY limited. It's basically a landing. There's no room for a little table or bench... and there are 2 doors in that little space! The front door opens, and the garage door is on the immediate left, and stairs straight ahead. It's a whole lot of awkward, especially when we are entertaining guests... which is often! Our coat closet is at the top of the stairs, which means a traffic jam when we try to store coats and purses too. Not to mention, we never have enough room in that closet.

In addition, I also found it to be a fairly boring space. One very blank wall and 2 doors. I did hang some pictures on the wall, but it wasn't cutting it. I started searching blogs for Board and Batten ideas in an entryway and found a lot of them. BUT, most of them followed a mudroom style with benches and shelves which we just can't accommodate regardless of how much I would like to! We took this project on well before blogging, so not many photos of the process, but you probably don't need to see much either! It's fairly straightforward. Here are the end results:

Casing (for centre pieces)
Baseboard (for outer pieces)
1"x3" Pine for the Ledge
2"x2" Oak for underneath the Ledge (just for support)
LePage No More Nails Adhesive
Finishing Nails (we used a compressor nail gun)
Wood Filler
Sanding blocks (Moderate & Fine grit)
Behr White Semi Gloss paint
Paint brushes, roller, drop cloth.
4 Amerock Arrondi Brushed Bronze hooks

I could give a full tutorial, but I think there are a couple of really good ones already out there, like this one from Kate at Centsational Girl, this one from Ana White and this one from Sada Lewis. The bottom line is measure, measure, measure. And measure again. Oh yeah, and pre-plan with measurements :) Have I made myself clear?! The project ended up taking about 8 hours and costing $34 plus the hooks which were definitely a splurge at $75 (after shipping and taxes from Amazon). But I loooove them. Pretty, pretty, pretty. I really wanted an antiqued gold or oil rubbed bronze finish but contemporary style and couldn't find anything I liked after scouring at least 10 stores. Worth it.

Source List:
Herringbone Rug from West Elm
Orchid canvases from Urban Barn (a couple years ago)
Frames are from Ikea & Home Sense (a couple years ago)
Cast Metal "&" from Restoration Hardware
Glass Votive Candle Holders from Home Sense (a couple years ago)

These items are on the ledge now, but not shown in these pictures... I will have to put some updated photos up shortly, as soon as I fill/replace those blank "placeholder" frames!
Mercury Glass Vase from Pottery Barn (but I didn't buy it as a set, just one individually)
Artificial Forsythia from Joann's

I have some bigger frames that I plan to put in place of the small ones to give a bit more height, but they need spray painting first. I think this treatment makes the entry way much more interesting and functional. Are you inspired to try a Board & Batten treatment?


Sunday, March 25, 2012

A little bit of Spring...

I'm feeling the need for some freshness and colour - I so wish I had a garden that got sun. Unfortunately, it only gets about 2 hours of late afternoon sun in the summer because it is North facing. Last year, I planted baskets and even the frigging begonias and impatiens died. Rotted and molded. And I re-planted (as in ripped out dead and planted new) TWICE. Boo. This year I'm going with boxwood! Lately, I've had a thing for forsythia, alas it also requires full sun. So I'm getting my fix with some fakes from Joann's. $5.99 for a little sunshiney goodness.

If I got full sun, I would plant oodles of peonies, dahlias, garden roses, ranunculas, sweet peas.... oh, to dream. In our next house, you can bet I'll be paying attention to which way the garden faces! At least I have tulips and daffodils... I might survive. I am going to work on my herb window box tomorrow! Stay tuned for progress. Are you starting to think about your garden? What are you planting?


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Pantry Overhaul: Part 2

Holy mother of pearl. That project took a little longer than I thought. BUT here is the big reveal, to follow up the first post here.

I really tried to focus on using what I had rather than buying new... but it's hard to resist a good deal (and trust me, I'm known for not needing a good deal at all). I think I did a pretty good job of keeping to my goal... I made sure to use the storage options that I had (but more effectively) and only use the new where needed. I am a sucker for pretty new things, especially organizational tools. So this pantry will not really be a beautiful new and coordinated one... but it is orderly and functional.

SO, it started as just a spice organizing project... but, when I saw the containers at Dollarama, I knew I could put them to good use. So this project got a little bigger! Here is my entire breakdown for Dollarama:
  • 14 small baskets that I used to organize various drawers (bedside and console tables)
  • 4 larger baskets for the pantry
  • 8 glass canisters (4 medium and 4 large) for the pantry
  • 4 small apothecary jars (3 for pantry, 1 TBD)
The grand total? $35 even with tax. Ahhhh. Now, this I can live with!

I also purchased 2 sets of Martha Stewart labels, 1 set of 12 chalkboard labels ($5.99), one set of 168 permanent labels ($2.99 but I only used 30 of them!) and 3 adhesive pockets ($4.99 each) from Staples. I am thinking about getting a couple more pockets, and putting one in a hidden place in the kitchen, laundry, etc with the relevant warranties relating to products in that room... so when something is needed, you know exactly where to find it. Not in a filing box hidden away in a closet like it is now (or was).

Cost Breakdown for the Pantry:
  • Dollarama baskets (not including drawer baskets) @ 4x$1.50 = $6
  • Dollarama canisters and jars = $20
  • Labels = $8.98
  • 1 Pocket = $4.99
  • Containers = (16x$0.83) + (8x$1.08) = $21.92
  • Magnet = $5.99
  • Ducting/sheet metal = $6
  • Trim = 12x$0.69 = $8.28
Total = $82.16 not including tax, so let's say $90. Plus my sanity, which is priceless. Anything not listed means I already had it on hand (trim paint, frog tape, tools, etc).

Without further ado... before:
And now:

So you can see my spice organization on the left 2 cupboard doors which was inspired by this post by A Beautiful Mess Blog. On the right door, there is a pocket that holds off of our take out menus, and a larger pocket above it that holds any warranty information that is relevant to the kitchen (large and small appliances). This way the warranties are handy for us to grab and we know exactly where to get them rather than pulling out a filing box. Here is a few more details:
I arranged the spices so the cupboards can close easily, and tried to group them logically (put things that you usually use together, together and more frequently used things in the handiest spots).

The baskets above have other cooking things - some seasonings that we don't use often, spice packs, etc. To the right are my Dollarama apothecary jars. One has Splenda packets, and the other two have tea bags. Right next to them are the spices that I decided to leave in the jar because we use them often and want to be able to shake them right onto food.
The next shelf up has 2 baskets of medicines (yes, I am a drugstore). The left basket is pain killers, allergy meds and the like. The one on the right is vitamins and cold meds. To the right of those baskets is coffee filters, coffees, espresso pods and syrups.
This shelf is all baking stuff. I wasn't worried about not being able to see each canister because I don't bake often! There are two canisters that we will use more often that are at the front - rice and protein powder.
Those labels are chalkboard, so I can erase them and change them easily, and I can wash the canisters without having to take them off - I just re-write on them. They are also removable.
These 2 pockets house take out menus and appliance warranties. Easily accessible!
Next thing I would like is one of those can organizers... but I'll give it a little time!
The top two shelves don't get used often. The very top one is mostly just a few odds and sods. Extra placemats, Kris' BBQ tools, etc. The one below is full of plastic cups, cutlery, napkins, birthday banners & candles... stuff that I use when we have soirees :)
So it's not perfect and lovely, but it's functional and didn't cost a fortune. We have definitely maximized the space and freed up a little more room. And it's much easier on the eyes. That's it! I am going to go stare in the cupboard and appreciate the order. I'm not type A at all. 


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pantry Overhaul: Part 1

I know I promised this post yesterday, but we ran into a few snags and weren't able to finish up yesterday. So, this is going to be a 2 part-er so I can get photos of the finished results during the daylight!

My kitchen is pretty small, and I find it tough to keep it organized due to the lack of space. I think the thing that drives me the most crazy is the spice-madness. And I'm 110% sure that Kris gets pretty sick of me going crazy, pulling everything out of the cupboards and replacing it all in neat, categorized rows and threatening him with death if he messes with the perfection I've created (though clearly not perfect). He usually sticks to it until he cooks a meal, ha. Lucky for me (truly, he's a fabulous cook), he cooks daily. Do you see where I am going with this?!

Fast forward to me seeing this post from A Beautiful Mess Blog, and getting veeeeeery excited. I promptly ordered the same containers, plus a few of the bigger ones for my larger spice jars. I hit up the Martha Stewart aisle at Staples and picked up some lables and adhesive pockets. I also hit up my local Dollar store and found some awesome glass canisters for $2 each and baskets for $1 each. The canisters were an awesome find because I happen to already own 4 that are almost identical (and not $2).

I got home and the madness began. Here is what I was up against... wouldn't it drive you crazy too?? No? Just me? I'm okay with that.

That little cork square on the left? DIY Fail. Story for another day.

SO. First things first... I sorted through the spices. I actually found 4 or 5 duplicates too. See?! Disorganization costs money too :)

I gathered all of my supplies:
 This 25' roll of adhesive magnet was $5.99 at Joann's. $5.99!  Start the caaaaaar!!! That is a LOT of magnet my friends. I bought 2 rolls, just in case. As it turned out, I didn't even use a full roll. I'm sure I'll be magnetizing anything I can get my hands on.
Martha Stewart Labels from Staples. I just trimmed the sides off. I really wanted to get her chalkboard labels for this, but  she doesn't have any small ones. Boo.
 First sample. Yahoo, it works!
That is a boatload of containers. That entire box you see is full of them. Ooops? Overshot the number of spices! I ordered them from Specialty Bottle online here. I got 50 of the 4oz size (I think I was drinking wine and dreaming of many spices), and 10 of the 8oz size. As it turns out, I used 16 small ones at $0.83 each and 9 big ones at $1.08 each. I left the spices that we frequently use (garlic powder, onion powder, seasoning salt, montreal steak spice) in their bottles so they could be easily used (still have the sifters on them) because we like to shake those ones right on food when we Kris cooks.

For each small container, I cut 2 magnet strips and for the big ones, I used 3. The only thing I didn't like about the containers is that I thought they were threaded but they are not. Not a huge deal I guess. I eyeballed cutting the labels, each one is a little different. Meh. The containers were straightforward and easy peasy.

Here is the snafu: our fridge is NOT magnetic so we didn't have the option of using that. Which I had never planned on either, I wanted it hidden inside the pantry cupboards but accessible. So we picked up a piece of ducting/sheet metal from Home Depot that was 16"x36" for about $6. As it turns out, metal is like lumber and isn't really the measurements it says it is. That is so stupid. Just saying. Anyway, it was actually 15.25" by 34.5". I wanted to mount it on the inside of the cupboard and this is where it really got complicated. Kris was anti-screw, nail or glue. So I ended up using a bunch of 3M Command refill strips that I had. We picked up 12' of pre-primed trim at $0.69/foot. Actually we got 9', and ran out on Wednesday night after we altered how we decided to lay it out. So I ran to Home Depot on Thursday morning to pick up the rest! We glued the trim on using LePage No More Nails (already had it). Some of the trim was a bit arched from the way it's stored at Home Depot, so we had to remove the cupboard door and clamp it.

Yeah. I was Kris' favourite person after all of these little complications. Me and my "projects". So, the cupboard is currently clamped and setting. When I mentioned that we changed the layout, I was referring to the fact that we decided to do 2 panels, one on each cupboard to spread out the weight (which is why we needed more trim). So the first panel is done, trim caulked and painted. Once the second panel is set, I will caulk and paint it and we will be done-zo. I will post those photos and the final cost breakdown as soon as we finish up :) Whew.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I heart organizing

I'm taking the day off work tomorrow to....



organize. Yup. And I can hardly wait.

Myself, some tin containers and Martha Stewart lables (bless you, Martha) have a hot, hot date. Can you guess what I'm doing? There might be a hint on my Pinterest account in the past week or so :)  Check back tomorrow for my post on what I accomplish!!

Update: This is coming!! I promise... we hit a little snag and it took us a bit longer. Just finishing up, hopefully I'll have the post up tonight :)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Console Table Makeover

We were in need of a "landing zone" at the top of the stairs... a little table, preferably with some hidden storage, a spot for keys and cell phones. The catch is that the spot at the top of the stairs is a wee bit small. So this table had some size challenges - narrow so that it didn't stick out too far from the wall, and long-ish to fit on the wall and be functional. I stalked Home Sense for weeks... the trick to that place is going often because their stock turns over so frequently. However, that's also a downfall because you're there to see the new stuff waaaaay too often. Sigh. It's a burden I'll have to carry ;)

Anyway, sometime in November or December I found a table that wasn't that pretty and not in the best of shape. And not really a bargain either. I hummed and hawed... sent cell phone pictures to my sister and husband... called them... yougetthepicture. It had some damage on it so I asked about a discount. It was marked at $99.99 and the manager said she would do $75. We had gift cards from our wedding, so I decided to bite the bullet. SOLD. A perfect candidate for my first furniture makeover.

So the process began... I brought it home, sanded it (it had a veneer on it, so we sanded a lot but probably could have done more), spray primed it,spray painted it with Rustoleum Gloss White and that was that! Just not quick as quickly :)  Here are photos of the steps:

Still in the store, deciding whether I liked it or not

Sanded and ready for paint... Please don't judge our messy garage!

Um... safe to say that this photo reminded me to wear a mask! And I swear the  primer wasn't actually that blotchy...

Priming complete

First coat of paint complete

Drawers are done - we painted only the drawer fronts so they would slide smoothly

I love those cross bars!

Anthropologie pulls that I found on sale for $2 each!

First furniture piece done!

That's it! I found the drawer pulls at Anthropologie on super sale for $2 each - I was debating between another set that was $12 each... what can I say, the price made the decision for me! They are slightly pink toned but you really don't notice it. We stuck with basic white for the paint colour mostly because we completely change our colours/decor at Christmas and didn't want to be too committed to a cobalt blue or bright colour. I suppose charcoal could have worked... maybe for it's next makeover ;)

So the cost breakdown is:
$75 for table
$15 for primer & paint
$0 for sanding blocks (we already had them)
$4 for drawer pulls
Total: $94

So not really a steal of a deal, but a basic piece (especially for my first time) that was fairly easy to face lift. I love it and think it will stick around for a long time! Have you attempted any first-time furniture makeovers lately?


Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Master Bedroom had a Really Awkward Phase

Ha. Did it ever. I stumbled upon these pictures of the master bedroom when I was posting the House Tour: Before post. Here is a little eye candy for you... to the tune of a double/full size bed, way too busy duvet, and altogether boring room. I had really good intentions, I swear!

 The annoying part about that bedding is that I bought it from Daniadown and it was expensive! The table on the left is from Ikea (since then, Kris broke it at least 3 times and it has now landed in the dump) and the table one the right is from Urban Barn. I still like that table. Just not there. It's a masterpiece of electronic cords. Lovely.
My dresser is one of my most favourite things. My parents bought it for me when I lived at home about 7 or 8 years ago as a big Christmas (or birthday? I can't remember) present. It is solid wood, and I chose the stain and hardware. It weighs a billion pounds. But it's a beautiful, classic and high quality piece of furniture that I'll keep forever.

These are Ikea Ribba frames that I bought, and the photos/pictures came from there too. I had intended for them to go over the bed. I never put them up. For 3 years, they stayed in this exact place. My little sister eventually bought the frames off of me a couple months ago and the pictures are in the garage. Ha. Oh well, less holes to patch when we put up our new Pottery Barn ledge and wedding tree??!

That's it. A seriously awkward phase of our master bedroom. You're welcome.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pinterest Challenge: Bedside Tables

I am hopping on the bandwagon! Sherry from Young House Love, Katie from Bower Power, Cassie from Hi Sugarplum! and Erin from The Great Indoors issued a Pinterest Challenge, and this will be the first one I participate in.

We have been looking for bedside tables for the longest time. We had 2 mismatched tables, one from Ikea and one from Urban Barn that were sort of working for us... but. I really wanted some more storage that was hidden. Kris has a tendency to accumulate a lot of crap stuff. I hate clutter and junk lying around and really wanted to maximize storage space. We have searched high and low... Craig's List and Ikea for some cheapies that we could makeover, and countless other stores for something that would meet our needs in our budget (non-existent). Argh.

Then, I came across this on Pinterest: Ana White had plans for a bedside table that would work! And better yet, I liked this one and this one even more! We decided on the all-white look to contrast the headboard, and long simple hardware was calling my name. Find the project plans on Ana White's website here.

Kris and I followed the plans given, but did run into a couple snags. Because we were making two tables, we thought it might be easier to do all the cuts first, and then assemble both together. We agreed it was easiest in the end (so we weren't going back and forth to the saw), but the cut list called for one extra trim piece that the plans never used... lucky for us, we realized this before doing the cuts so just skipped it. The cut list left out one piece that the plans asked for at the end (for the life of me, I can't remember what it was), but we had quite a bit of extra lumber thanks to carefully thought out cuts so it wasn't a big deal.

We found that the plans really forced us to think out our approach along the way. We are true beginners, and we even ended up having to think about where we were sinking the screws and making sure to sand the pieces prior to assembling. These tables are never going to fall apart, I can tell you that. You could jump on them, throw them around... I don't think it would matter. They are so sturdy!!

We have very few photos of the process... oops?
Framed tables

Done, just waiting for some paint. No idea why Kris decided to stack one on top of the other. Weird. 
Once we assembled the tables, I did all of the spray painting. Seeing as it was all my idea, I had to take the hit somewhere :) I ended up doing 2-3 coats of Rustoleum Primer, 2-3 coats of Rustoleum Gloss White and 1-2 coats of Rustoleum Clear Lacquer. I ballpark the number of coats because I was all over the place and re-spraying parts with no clear pattern. They definitely took a lot of paint though. I was unsure about the lacquer but I'm glad I did it now - I really wanted a sheen and I found it helped to set the paint and eliminate that tacky feel. Here they are!!

Finished product! And yes, I know the pillows on the bed are super awkward. 

In future, I won't use coloured flowers in this room... but  they were birthday flowers from  Kris and I wanted to enjoy them!

Love it! Mental note: next time, move un-hung pictures and cell phone chargers. Ooops?!
As far as our materials went, we purchased most of it at Home Depot. For the tops, we decided to use some scrap MDF that we had leftover from another project. Otherwise, we just used the cheapest lumber we could find, and pine for the 1x6 and 1x12's. Our Home Depot bill was $104, but we have a few pieces of lumber and pine that we didn't use, so plan to take them back. We already had the paint, and we bought the hardware at Lee Valley in Vancouver, which was $24. We figure that the end price for each table is about $60.

We love them, they are perfect for our needs... next stop is Ikea to pick up some of these. For some reason, they aren't on Ikea's website but I saw them there just a couple weeks ago. Perfect to organize the drawer (and prevent Kris' crap stuff accumulation).

Success!! Have you attempted anything that you have "pinned"? I would love to hear about it!


Update: Tamsyn from Max and Me featured our project in her Pinterest Challenge Round Up! Check it out here.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

House Tour: Before

I bought this lovely little townhouse brand new in March, 2009. I lived there on my own for awhile, one of my sisters moved in for about 8 months, I lived on my own again, and then my now-husband moved in after we got engaged in October, 2010. The house has already gone through a couple of decor phases in that time!  It was a blank canvas, so I've been able to put my own style all over it.

The house was complete when I bought it, so I didn't get to choose the upgrades (although the builder chose to include almost all of them, yippee for me!). Most of the decor is nice but very basic. My most favourite thing about this house is the light - the developer included lots of really big windows so we get a lot of natural light (and a good breeze on a hot day!). I have a lot of plans, but need to remember that I'm on a budget (so hard to remember), so we are trying to do as much as we can ourselves.

My apologies for the bad pictures - they are 3 years old now, and I didn't anticipate posting them on a blog! They are taken on Day 1 of 43, 582 painting days!

Without further ado...

The main floor:

Living Room (hi dad!)

I Started a Blog!

This is a little scary and I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing... but here goes! I'm not entirely sure what direction this blog will take but for now, it will start with as a lifestyle blog covering our diy adventures around the house, what inspires me, daily life and other little bits and bytes.

My husband and I live in a townhouse in South Surrey, BC and have been slowly building a home with projects here and there. Our house is a bit cookie cutter for the area, a 3 level, 2 bedroom and 2 bathroom (with the dreaded tandem double garage) so we are slowly adding our own style as time and budget allows.

We got married on June 11, 2011 and had a beautiful wedding at Semiahmoo Resort in Blaine, Washington that was featured on StyleMePretty here.

We had a couple diy projects at our wedding, but true to form I procrastinated and left time for only a couple.

That's it for this Sunday night!!


Photo by Miranda Karkling