Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone. I am logging in for the first time in a several weeks. The first thing I noticed was my draft blog post of what was to be our 2013 Christmas Home tour. It didn’t happen folks. However, if you follow me on facebook, I did upload those photos that I was going to share with you there. So head on over to my facebook page, if you want to check them out.

2014 came in with a bang- freezing temps, crazy wind chills and a nasty blizzard where much of our province closed down. For us, it meant our Christmas vacation got extended for another couple of days. The Christmas decorations have been long taken down and the totes sit neatly by the backdoor awaiting for either hubby or myself to take them to the basement.

We took the kids to the movie Frozen on New Years Eve Day and spent the evening after the kids went to sleep working on our business cards. Romantic I know. I think we did make it to midnight but, both of us were so tired at that point, we never even noticed. New Years Day was just more of the same- sitting by the fire, napping, reading and watching movies. That pretty much sums up our entire Christmas vacation.

I did organize and purge a bunch of files on my computer and performed a proper backup on New Years day evening. It was long overdue and we have a ton of pictures we either need to burn or print. Can anyone recommend a great printing service for photos. We have a lot so really looking for something that will not break the bank. Some people say Wal-mart is good. Any one out there who can share their experiences? We have used Blacks in the past but, I think they were a bit pricey if I remember correctly. Actually, we have not printed pictures in 7 years. Yikes!

By the time Christmas came around, I was beyond exhausted. Christmas baking did not happen this year. This is the first year in ten that I mailed out store bought Christmas cards. I just didn’t have the time to make them.  This past fall, I managed to repaint 75% of our home. My work continued to keep me busy right up until Christmas which I am very grateful for and will post pictures of that project very soon. Plus, we participated in our area’s Coastal Holiday home tour which was scheduled for December 15 but, due to a snowstorm, got rescheduled to the following weekend. On that Saturday before Christmas, we had 27 people come through and we had a real estate showing on top of that with two more showings over Christmas vacation. Did I happen to mention that I am exhausted?

I did do a headboard makeover during Christmas that I will share with you on Monday. It is for the new queen bed that is in our daughter’s bedroom. It was a roadside find that I picked up last summer. We also finished up the Restoration Hardware inspired vintage pantry console for a client.

As for New Year’s resolutions, I don’t make any.

This weekend, I intend on getting those totes to the basement and to dig out the home school table from underneath a pile of paper and to get back to more of a routine starting Monday. I have a consult booked for Monday morning as that got rescheduled due to daughter being sick earlier this week.  Hubby will be responsible for the daily lessons that morning. However, for the rest of the week, it will be my responsibility.  I am going to try really hard to not let outside interference get in the way of our morning school routine. So any projects I may want to do around the house will have to wait until our lessons are done. Our routine works wonderfully when this mama sticks to it. I guess that is what I am going to work on- sticking to our routine.

 

How about you? Did you make any resolutions, choose a word that you will live by in 2014, set an intention? Always interested to hear what others like to do.

Son’s Bedroom makeover

Our son has always wanted bunk beds and this mama finally conceded to this idea a couple of weeks ago.  When he first asked for them, I said he was too little and then we told him once we bought a new house. Well, two years later, he is in the same room and not getting any smaller. So his grandparents gifted him with new bunk beds. Anyone who knows me will know that I found this to be the perfect opportunity to redecorate his bedroom. Off to the paint store I went.

Good bye blue wall and hello white dove. His room has a sloped ceiling due to our roof line so on the only wall where the beds were to go, I painted wide stripes in Revere Pewter. His closet doors got a burst of color. Hello Red. He got a new light as well since his older light hung down too low. It can now be found in our front hall. Re-use right?

I spent all one Saturday painting his room. God love Benjamin Moore Aura as it allows you to recoat in an hour. However, those red closet doors were another story. Despite using the proper base primer first, it still took 4 coats to achieve uniform coverage. ugh!

With the painting all done, I suggested to hubby that we build the bunk beds. This was at 7 pm. Kids go to bed at 8. There was no way that the two of us were able to haul the box that the bunk beds came in up our stairs so we took them up piece by piece. After we dismantled his two twin beds, my hubby opened the manual. Da da daaaa….first thing he read is that the mattress for the top bunk can not exceed 6 inches. For the love of gawd. When I moved our son in to a big boy bed, I invested in great mattresses that were 12 inches thick. These were not going to work.  At this point, I was ready to throw in the towel but dear ol’ hubby persuaded me to sell his beds including mattresses and for us to purchase new mattresses. He said that we could not turn back now and disappoint one very excited little boy.

I put the beds and mattresses up on kijiji as well as my FB page. Within 10 minutes we had a buyer and they took them off our hands the very next day. Off we went to purchase new mattresses. Now anyone who knows me also knows how I appreciate a good deal. I got the mattresses for $149 each. They were regular priced at $449. Score! See, I explained to hubby that I would proceed with this bunk bed fiasco on one condition that I did not have to compromise on great mattresses.

Now, we own a Jetta and on that rainy Sunday afternoon we were like two country bumpkins with the mattresses strapped to the roof of our car. The store was unable to deliver them until Thursday. That wasn’t going to work since we had all ready sold off his two beds.

The lesson, even an experienced Interior Decorator like myself make mistakes. I call it keepin’ it real folks. His bedroom is finished. He loves it and I have a few more grey hairs than before this all started.

Here it is now.

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Front Hall Makeover

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This past weekend, hubby and I spruced up our front entry. This is the entry that we use on a daily basis. The sad thing is, we do not have a closet in that part of the house to store any outerwear.

With some 1×6, 1×4 and 1×2 spruce boards, we tackled the main wall in our front entry and gave it the look of board and batten. It was very easy to do and with some caulking and two coats of primer, that wall was ready for some paint. I used Zinsser’s Bullseye 1-2-3 primer as it is a stain blocker which was important as the wood we used did have some knots. We sanded down any rough areas before applying the primer.

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I painted the board and batten in Benjamin Moore’s Cloud white CC-40 as the trim throughout the rest of the house is that color. Above the board and batten as well as the rest of the walls I painted Benjamin Moore’s White Dove. I love this white. It is warm but not yellow.

The light was purchased from Restoration Hardware a couple of years ago. W e took it from our  son’s room as his room got a recent makeover and we needed to replace his light with a flush mount. The existing light in the front hall got moved to the upstairs hallway as that is the only light in this house that never got replaced. I’m not sure why.

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The dresser is a makeover from a couple of years ago. The piece itself came from my grandparents cottage. It is painted in Benjamin Moore’s Collingwood grey and it holds our mittens, toques and scarves.

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The rug is from another room in the house. I would love a Dash and Albert rug but, that is not in the budget right now. Perhaps in the new year. For now, this one works.

On the board and batten itself, we installed some hooks to hang coats, dog leashes, etc.

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I do intend on painting the front door as well but that too, will happen in the new year.

This project came in under $250. The paint was $150, the hooks were from Home Depot and came in at $40 and the lumber used for the board and batten came in at $40.

We love how it turned out. It is much brighter since the hallway only gets morning sun. I love how the hooks and the light pick up the dark tone of the floors and the painted stair treads.

 

 

 

Opportunities, Wealth and Perspective

This is a long one….grab a cup of coffee or tea and sit for awhile….

Recently, my husband was asked the following question; By choosing to live in a rural community on Canada’s East Coast did we feel we were robbing our children of opportunity that would otherwise be available to them if we lived in a more affluent area of Canada?

This is a long time debate between city dwellers and country folk. There are pros and cons for each side of course. I am not here to debate either. There is also the  stigma between the rich province of the west and the ‘have not’ provinces of the East Coast. Again, I am not going to debate on that either.

A little background if this is your first visit to my blog. I am a Newfoundland girl who grew up in an outport 4 hours west of St. Johns. The only major city center for the entire island at the time of my childhood. My husband hails from Alberta where he grew up in Calgary. We have both discussed our childhoods in depth over the past 10 years that we have been together. He grew up in an affluent family in a big city center in a well to do province. I grew up in a middle class family in outport NL. Neither of us feels that one had more opportunity over the other. Opportunity is about doing what one can in a certain amount of time. While our childhoods were very different due to the environment we were raised in, we both went on to pursue post secondary education. My husband attending a 3 year Acupuncture program at a college and myself earning a Bachelors Degree from Memorial University.

Going back to the question posed to my husband about opportunity. Let’s define the word opportunity as it is one that is overused. Merriam Webster Dictionary defines Opportunity as:

op·por·tu·ni·ty

noun \ˌä-pər-ˈtü-nə-tē, -ˈtyü-\

: an amount of time or a situation in which something can be done

When we consider the actual definition of the word, I can honestly say that my children have an abundance of opportunity. At 5 and 7 years of age, they are home schooled which allows plenty of opportunity for them to explore any number of activities and experiences. Because we made the choice to live in a rural area, they run free on our acreage where there is an abundance of nature. Because of our surroundings, they are in tune with nature and it’s rhythms. They are both enrolled in Music for Young Children, they attend a weekly Learning club, my son takes a weekly Tae Kwon Do class and when my daughter turns 6, she will start horse riding lessons. These are all activities they have asked to participate.

My kids are typical 5 and 7 year olds. My son would build Lego from morning til night. If given the chance, he will talk your ear off about Ninja-go and Batman. He also loves his Wii. Right now, it is Lego Batman. My daughter is all about her stuffed animals. She plays house with them, she plays vet, she dresses them up,  builds houses for them out of boxes and drives them around on the plasma car. She can also be seen/heard at anytime of the day dancing and singing. She is your typical little girl who loves purple and pink and loves to dress up.

I don’t see how my children are any different than any other child whether they live on the east coast or the west coast, whether they live in a small town or the city.

As they get older, their interests will change and we live only 30 minutes from city center so if there is an activity that is not available in our neck of the woods, I’m fairly confident that it will be available in the city. Some people may say but, that’s 30 minutes away. We see it as small trade off for living in the country.

When the time comes for them to consider post secondary education. Again, Nova Scotia has more universities than any other province in Canada and some of them are even considered to be some of the top universities within Canada.

Going back to the word Opportunity; an amount of time or a situation in which something can be done. Their childhood is fleeting. We are very cognizant about allowing our two children to be kids for as long as possible. We encourage free play, we limit their screen time. We do not do cable TV so they are not even exposed to advertising. We have one TV that is in our living room. Their day entails playing, creating, singing, reading, baking, etc. You get the picture. We have a small amount of time to be children and we are making the most of it.

The next word that comes up a lot is how can you become rich living in a country setting running a country business. How long do we keep our heels dug in doing this before we throw in the towel.  Let’s talk about rich.

Going back to the good ol’  Merriam Webster Dictionary, the word rich can be defined as

rich

adjective \ˈrich\

: having a lot of money and possessions

: very expensive and beautiful, impressive, etc.

: having or supplying a large amount of something that is wanted or needed

We don’t have a lot of money. We get by. Probably like most people. We have a mortgage- smaller than most living here on the east coast and in a rural community. We have a 2000 sq/ft home on an acre of land that overlooks the ocean. We have debt but have put forth a plan to have it completely paid off in 5 years. We own one car; a 2008 VW Jetta. We live within our means. Are we cheap or frugal (another question we get asked)? I wouldn’t say we are cheap but are definitely frugal. We are big advocates for up-cycling, re-purposing. We do not have a lot of possessions by choice. We do not want clutter and we try to live simply. We feel that is the best lesson we can teach our kids. Life is about experiences, not possessions. Between my husband and I, we do not make 6 figures and that is okay. We are grateful for what we have and we realize that we have more than most. Does that make us rich? I think so.

That brings we to having or supplying a large amount of something that is wanted or needed. In our marriage, we have a ton of love and respect for one another. We are both devoted to our kids, to each other and to ourselves. We continue to grow, learn new things, push ourselves beyond our comfort zone to learn new things and accept new challenges. My husband and I are always setting new goals for ourselves and for our family. Again, I would say we are rich. I want to be able to look back on my life and feel a sense of fulfillment and for me  that it isn’t about how many $$$$ I have in my bank account.

The last thing that I wanted to talk about in this blog post is perspective.

Merriam Webster defines perspective as:

per·spec·tive

noun \pər-ˈspek-tiv\

the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance <trying to maintain my perspective>

As human beings, we tend to judge others. We even can go so far to think that some one is wrong if they do not share our perspective on life. Some people like to throw around the word “normal”. I always say, what is normal? What is normal to you may or may not be normal to me. To some, our lifestyle is not normal because we live in a country setting, we eat organic, natural whole foods. We raise chickens. We grow a garden. We home school our kids, my husband and I are both entrepreneurs. To some people we are totally normal and to others we are so far away from what they perceive to be normal.

To those people, I ask please let us live our life without judgment. Please accept that we are living our life the way we want to live it. We are raising our kids the way we think is best. Despite the struggles and curve balls that life some times throws our way, we are happy.

I will leave you with this. It is a line from the movie, Peace, Love and Misunderstanding. (I posted this to my FB feed a couple of days ago)

Gal: I judge you for what you do.
Guy: That’s not my problem.
Gal: It isn’t?
Guy: Nope, it’s yours.

I needed to hear that. Remember the next time someone is judging you for who you are, what you do, where you are, etc, it is not about you and it is not your problem.

It is their problem and it is about them. Perhaps they have regrets in their own life. Perhaps, they are unhappy or are not fulfilled.

All I can say is Live your life. Don’t worry about what the next person thinks. Those who truly and unconditionally love you will respect, understand and love you anyways.

 

 

 

 

Why so Quiet?

Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian Readers.

I know it has been quiet around these parts. We are slogging away over here, client projects, homeschooling the kids, cleaning the house like a madwoman for scheduled showings, trips to the vet with a sick kitty and spending time with family visiting outside of the province.

If you follow me over on Facebook, I have posted pictures of some quick and easy Fall craft projects as well as the progress on a client project that I am working on.

Otherwise, I have not had a lot to say. We came close to receiving an offer on the house and when that didn’t come through, it nearly broke us. This roller coaster of being on the market has been going on for 26 months now. We never imagined we would still be here.

Since my husband and I met, things have chugged along for us tickety-boo. I mean we met in 2003, got engaged in 2004, got married and pregnant in 2005, had a baby in 2006, moved to Nova Scotia in 2007 and had another baby. During  all of this, my husband enrolled and graduated from Traditional Chinese Medicine college and started his own clinic. I enrolled and received my diploma in Interior Decorating and started up my own business on the side while being a SAHM. We also renovated our entire home from the studs in in just four years.

When we made the decision to sell, we never imagined in a million years that it would take so long. We thought by now we would be the owners of several acres raising some goats, chickens, ducks and bees. We would have a vegetable garden, greenhouse and a small orchard and a berry patch. Our goal to grow as much of our own food as possible and then some. We want to have a small garden market, my husband would like to have his clinic at home and I would like to have my own home decor shoppe/studio.

I know this will happen for us. Perhaps not as soon as  we had once hoped. Either way, we have made peace. Our house will sell when it sells. In the meantime, we will continue to make wonderful memories here and continue working towards our goal. Paying down debt, paying down our mortgage and providing our kids with opportunities.

I have so much to be thankful for. My business has tripled this year, we have our health, a beautiful place to call home and we have each other.
As they say, everything else is just gravy.

Happy Thanksgiving

Chair Makeover

Back in August, I purchased a  pair of  wing back chairs from Kijiji. I sold my old Ikea Ektorp armchair as I could never get my living room just right with this chair. It was my nemesis. It was comfy and the kids love to snuggle in it while watching TV but, it had to go. I love the look of the wing back with it’s high back and how the sides sort of come in to hug you. One chair even came with an ottoman.

Once I got the chairs home, I promptly jumped on Tonic Living‘s website in search of fabric. I knew I wanted the slipcovers to be white to compliment our Ikea Ektorp sofa. I selected a 10 oz organic cotton in white. To cover the wing back chair, I needed six yards.

Here is the chair before:

I found  the chair on Kijiji for $60.

I found the chair on Kijiji for $60.

Here is the After:

chair after

Some one photo bombed the picture. That would be Tom Kitten. He thinks he is well hidden.

I opted to do a skirted bottom, and arm covers. I have two children and a gaggle of pets and I always find that the arms get dingy before anything else. I hope this cuts down on the number of times I need to wash the entire cover. I love the feminine touch that the skirt adds to the chair.

I am going to sew some wooden buttons on to the tabs.

I am going to sew some wooden buttons on to the tabs.

One more close up. The pillow is from Simons.

One more close up. The pillow is from Simons.

chair skirt

Here is the project breakdown:

Chair $60 on kijiji

6 yards of fabric $110

Sewing of cover $70

Total: $240

I’m pretty pleased. For $240 I have a new chair. I could have gone with a less expensive fabric as the organic 10 oz cotton was $15.95 per yard. I have seen on the blogsphere that some people have even used drop cloths. Initially, I was going to attempt the sewing of this cover myself but for $70, I didn’t think I could go wrong. I still have the second chair to get done. That will be October’s project.

So what do you think? Do you have an old chair that a slip cover could breathe new life back into it? I am thinking of a ticking strip cover of the spring/summer.

A note of caution, when buying furniture from sites such as Kijiji and Craigslist, be sure to ask things like is it from a smoke free home. Also, don’t be shy, turn that chair upside down and inside out to ensure that it is in good shape and  to check for any repairs and take a seat to ensure that the springs aren’t sagging.

 

 

 

Fall Decorating

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This Sunday will officially mark the first day of fall. The air is definitely cooler. The leaves are changing color. The vegetable garden has slowed way down. We are waiting for the last of the pumpkins to turn orange before bringing them onto the front porch where they will be carved into Jack-O-Lanterns in October.

I have been doing some cozying up of our indoor spaces this past week. In doing so, I have been very conscientious about reusing or re-purposing what we already have and making what we don’t. [Read more...]

this moment

A friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week.

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Custom Roman Shades

I finished up my latest project this morning. It was a client request for Roman Shades for the Master bedroom. The master bedroom is a generous size with amazing views through the windows.

The walls are painted a sandy beige color. Her bedding was purchased from West Elm. It is red with beige and  is no longer available. I wish I had realized that as I would have taken a picture of it this morning. We also selected wall mounted bedside lamps that were also from West Elm that has also been discontinued.  Her bed is a gorgeous piece from Geddes Furniture in downtown Halifax. The dressers were from her husband’s parents and they are the danish modern pieces from the 1960s that is on trend right now and gracing the pages of the shelter magazines.

For the shades, we selected a Linen fabric that is oatmeal in color from Tonic Living.

tuscanylinenoatmeal

I love this fabric. It feels so nice to the touch and is pleasing to look at. It works perfectly with her linen lamp shades on the bedside wall lamps and picks up the beige in her bedding. The bed is a strong focal point in the room so I did not want the window coverings competing with that. I had my seamstress whip these up. We did line them and we chose a blackout lining since it is a bedroom.

Here they are:

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I love how they turned out. If you are interested in having some new roman shades or drapery made for your home, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

choices

Life is full of choices. Some times, we make good ones and other times not so much. But, that is life. We live and learn. Other times, we feel we are being judged for our choices or being questioned at every turn in the road. That can make us doubt our decisions. It is not always easy to live the life you want. Especially if your choices fall outside of what is considered the norm by your family and peers.

We stand by our choices. They may make life unnecessarily difficult some days. However, at the end of the day, we are happy.

I can look myself in the mirror and know that I am doing the right thing. I can stand tall and be proud of my family.

We chose/choose:

  • to live in Nova Scotia.
  • to raise our family in a rural community.
  • to eat whole, locally grown organic foods.
  • to live within our means.
  • to homeschool our children.
  • to be a stay-at-home mom.
  • to live my life on my terms.
  • to support my husband
  • to love my children for the people that they are.
  • to fill my home with a gaggle of pets so my kids know unconditional love.
  • to play with my kids rather than have a pristine home.
  • to keep my windows and doors open so fresh air fills my home.
  • to hang my clothes out on the line- even my unmentionables.
  • to get a new kitty even though I knew he would shed more fur all over my fur ridden home.
  • to have a home not a house.

Is my particular path easy? No it isn’t. But, there is always some one else who has it worse than me. We have a roof over our head, we have our health and we have food on the table. Everything else is gravy.

Are there days when I may whine and complain? Sure there are. I’m human.

Are there days when we stress about money, whether our house will sell, what is the next step in our careers, are we giving our kids enough, etc? Yes, but isn’t that part of evolving and  growing as an individual, as a family. Nothing is easy 100% of the time. Life is not perfect.

But, at the end of the day, would I trade my life for another. No, I would not. Do I wish I had made different choices in regards to our decision to live here, to raise our family here, to buy the organic bag of apples over the pesticide ridden apples, to recycle, to grow a garden, to raise chickens? The answer again is no.

So the next time, you think we are weird or we chose the hard road. You are probably right. But, know this-  At the end of the day, I know that I am living my life by my terms and that I am my own person. I am blessed to have the husband and best friend that I have to stand by me. I am blessed to have the two wonderful children that I do.

Now it’s your turn, I challenge you to take a look at your own life, look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself are you happy. Are you being true to yourself. If not, isn’t it about time you start? I mean, what are you waiting for?

Choices, make yours and I will make mine.

 

 

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