Monthly Archives: May 2014

You and Me Babe

As a mother it is sometimes easy to forget about taking care of your own needs. It is easy to resort to eating your child’s leftovers instead of making your own meal, to seek recreation for the children and forget rest for yourself, and in the case of this blog post, to decorate the kid’s bedrooms and leave my own untouched.

When we first moved in we whipped together a headboard and had the walls painted but otherwise left the master bedroom undone. No curtains, no art, etc. My thought process was…”well no one ever sees it…”.  Because of this I haven’t wanted to shunt any redecorating budget in its direction. However, with two wild children running about the house, creating a haven of our master bedroom has become a necessity. I still don’t want to spent much money there so to manage the budget I have been sewing, re-purposing, and thrifting.

One of my favourite new additions to the master bedroom is “the wall of us”. I have always been a fan of gallery walls so I decided to make one devoted to Steve and I. Frames can be pricey so I sifted through some local thrift stores looking for ones with interesting detailing. For seven frames I only spent $40! I had some sample pots of paint kicking around which corresponded with the colours in my master bedrooms so I went to work to paint over the gaudy gold frames.

I’m heading in the direction of “romantic vintage modern” (if that is such a thing) in our bedroom. To this purpose, I did a shabby chic finish on the frames. I simply did one thinnish coat of paint on the frames to mostly cover up the gold but leave a bit of glimmer showing. I decided to go with mostly black and white prints to fit in with my vintage vibe.

I'm not ready to show too much of this room. As I said before, it's a bit of a work in process. Like what should I do with the ugly record player which we so enjoy listening to?

I’m not ready to show too much of this room. As I said before, it’s a bit of a work in progress. Like what should I do with the ugly record player which we so enjoy listening to?

In this picture you can get a slightly better look at the "shabby chic" paint finish. Wall colour: cool cucumber by Benjamin Moore.

In this picture you can get a slightly better look at the “shabby chic” paint finish. Wall colour: cool cucumber by Benjamin Moore.

This wall show cases a collection of some of our best memories: our wedding, camping trips to the Yukon, Oregon, California, our trip to Europe, holding our first born. It is a celebration of our friendship, the path we have made in this life together and the blessings we have shared. The kids like looking at it too and Sofia loves to hear about how she was “in mommy’s tummy” in this picture or that.

But know what’s sad? We couldn’t find a single picture of just the two of us since our children were born. For reference, that’s almost three and a half years. Our marriage is all the stronger for having produced these beautiful little human beings but this was a reminder that it is not just the raising of gracious children or the creation of a master retreat that should be a priority. You and me babe. We are important too.

That seems kinda terrible to write down, to voice a recognition of our own importance, but it’s true. It is far too easy to forget that in order to take good care of our little ones we need to take good care of ourselves and our marriages. This gallery wall is a delightful reminder to me of the beauty of us, together, and an inspiration for future togetherness.

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Filed under At home, DIY Projects, From the Heart: Thoughts on Life and Family

Elegant Entry

If you have been reading my blog from the beginning you have already been introduced to my entryway (and not a, “yay, it’s so pretty” kind of introduction). As seen below, my entryway showcased beaten up builders beige and a complete lack of storage.

Before (this doesn't begin to show the depths of how lifeless and ugly this area was).

Before (this doesn’t begin to show the depths of how lifeless and ugly this area was).

This area of my home has been on the agenda since we first moved in a year ago but we finally got to it post tax return. To save money we opted to go for a paint treatment rather than my dreamed of wall paper. To save even more money we decided to do the painting ourselves. I’m loving the results:

Thank you ikea for innovative shoe storage! I revamped this vintage mirror with some green paint to introduce one of my upstairs accent colours and add some cheer to the space.

Thank you ikea for innovative shoe storage! I revamped this vintage mirror with some green paint to introduce one of my upstairs accent colours and add some cheer to the space.

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The little lantern was also a thrift store find.

As you can see in the picture below I opted to do the white stripes in a flat paint and the revere pewter stripes in a semi gloss to give it more of a wallpaper look and add some interest.

I couldn't get a great shot from this angle but wanted to show you are blingy new flush mount lights from Lowes. The umbra coat hooks help to keep everything in place.

I couldn’t get a great shot from this angle but wanted to show you the blingy new flush mount lights from Lowes. The Umbra coat hooks help to keep everything in place.

A couple accessories from my “treasure trove” are featured in these next pictures: the vintage mirrors at the top of the stairs and the painted candle holders on the ledge.

A new sconce was a must for at the top of these stairs. The original lighting our our place is all kinds of ugly.

A new sconce was a must for at the top of these stairs. The original lighting in our place was all kinds of ugly.

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The darker stripes are a semi gloss version of the same colour I painted the rest of the main floor with: revere pewter from Benjamin Moore.

We had gotten so used to our ugly entryway that it took a while to adjust to the new pretty. At first I was stuck on the fact that the stripes unintentionally look like race car stripes (“no they don’t” Steve says as he holds up Charlie’s toy car followed by “oh…”), but we are both totally in love with the look now.

If you are thinking about trying stripes in your own home, a couple tips from my experience and that of other bloggers I learned from:

1. Use a laser level. Seriously, it will save your sanity and your stripes will just look better. If you don’t have a friend to borrow one from, Home Depot rents them out.

2. Run a credit card over top of your tape to get out any wrinkles and make sure that it is pressed tight to the wall.

3. Frog tape doesn’t necessarily work any better than regular painters tape. To avoid paint bleeding under the tape, paint the edges of the tape with your base colour. This way, in my case, the white paint bleeds onto the white paint and acts as a barrier, preventing your darker colour from bleeding under the edges of the tape and ruining your hard work.

Hope you enjoyed the pics and that those tips help you along your way. I’ll be updating the pictures in a little while as we are getting new hardwood floor put in next month. Looking forward to ripping out that stinky, poorly installed carpet!

 

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My Treasure Trove

When I walk around my townhouse complex on a nice weekend I often catch glimpses into the open garages of my neighbours: clean, organized, space to move and work. This is my garage right now:

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A disaster right? I can barely move in there but it is full of treasures that I can’t wait to get my hands on. New side tables: check. New mirror for my bathroom: check. And hiding here and there are little accessories waiting for new life through a lick of paint.

Why am I showing you my embarrassing garage? To let you know that I have lots in store for my home in the next little while and will be lighting up the blogosphere with some fun DIY. Looking forward to sharing my adventures with you!

 

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10 Chic Family Friendly Coffee Tables

Coffee tables are standard fare for the living room but not something I have had in my own home for many years. I had until recently deemed it best to leave the space open for child’s play but I’m now on the hunt for a stylish, family friendly coffee table.

Here are the top ten family friendly coffee tables I found:

1.) Lucite Lovely

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This coffee table tops my list due to its minimal presence, soft curves and lack of sharp edges.  Because this table is so barely there it can fit into modern or more traditional living spaces. You can gear your table top display towards your style of choice and voila! The disadvantage: scratches fairly easily and shows little finger prints (nothing some lucite polish and windex can’t fix.

2: Tribal Texture

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This table from West Elm adds great texture to a room and is a perfect counterpoint to sleek, minimalist furniture. It’s also a fantastic piece for adding some “tribal chic” to your decor. In terms of kids, its round edges are poke safe and the rustic quality of the wood will work well with the scratches your children are sure to add. No cons here (except it is too small in scale for my couch!).

3. Glam Nesting Tables

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I’m a huge fan of faux bamboo for chairs and love these metal bamboo nesting tables as well. These are a great space saving idea since you can simply nest them to increase your play space and spread them out when it is time for company. Glass, perhaps not the best for kids but great in terms of not taking up visual space in a small room.

4. Multipurpose Bench/Table

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While this bench’s corners may poke out a few eyes, it gets points for versatility and style. It can function both as a coffee table or extra seating when you find yourself a chair or two short at the dining table. Its narrow width also works well in small rooms and allows more space for the little hooligans in your family to run around.

5. Hot Wheels

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This simple coffee table exudes modernity and though its pokey corners may be a bit hazardous, its low lying profile diminishes the chance of small faces making contact. Coffee tables on wheels are a great option if you have kids since you can easily roll them to the side of the room and make space for play when desired.

6. Twos Companydrumstools2

These cute drum stools have the same tribal chic appeal as the round table from West Elm but more versatility. They can easily be pushed aside for play or called into service as extra seating.

7. Toy Trunk Chic

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This coffee table not only looks good but functions as a great storage space for unsightly toys. I love the contrast of the white trunk with the dark wood strapping and how the turned legs add some elegance. A downside: its fairly bulky and may take up too much space if you live in a Vancouver sized home (though I suppose this may be counterbalanced by the storage it offers).

8. Mid Century Mod

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Small in scale and high in style, this mid century modern coffee table works well for tight spaces. Its rounded edges are safe for the little ones and the storage shelf helps to limit table top clutter. I can also picture the storage shelf being used to shoot cars through…

9. Modern Wicker

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If I thought that wicker was outdated and country specific this coffee table proves me wrong. It’s shapely form and black paint elevate this table and make it appropriate for a more modern family home. A possible downside: children trying to push toys through the slats and damaging the table (because I know my kids would).

10.Tried and True Ottoman

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Upholstered ottomans are a favorite family friendly coffee table replacement. I love the look, especially with the tufting and all the better if you can find one that has storage. However, unless you plan on getting leather this may not be the best option for kids. It wouldn’t last a week in my house without juice getting dumped on it.

Different tables for different homes, for different lifestyles but all beautiful in their own way. What suits your family best?

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The Words of My Mouth

“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt”

I was never one to swear growing up. I went through a short phase in elementary school when I experimented but after telling my brother to f*** off I felt so bad that my mom didn’t bother to punish me. I lost the taste for it after this experience and maintained the speech of a good little Christian girl.

To be honest, I became pretty legalistic about it and was shocked to high heaven when I went to Bible College with a bunch of farm kids. They taught me to swear again but with milder words like “sh*t”. Fancy that.

I continued on with mild “potty” talk until my daughter started to speak. My husband was never a fan of my language and began to have a real case when Sofia started repeating everything she heard.  I had to reevaluate my freedom to speak as I wished and think more about what was beneficial and constructive for my family. This reevaluation of my speech encompassed not just my use of “classified” swear words but other harsh language as well.

“A soft word turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger”

The thing about kids is that context is lost on them. I may know how to appropriately use words like “hate” and “stupid” but my children don’t. Our tongues can light fires and even words as simple as these can ignite conflict both within the family and with friends on the playground. “I ‘hate’ this food” at dinner time would make mama mad. “You’re ‘stupid'” to a friend would hurt said friend’s feelings.

I want my children to learn gracious speech. The words that come out of our mouths are a reflection of who we are as a person, whether we are full of love, kindness, and thankfulness, or whether we are full of anger, discontent, and hate. I figure that if I can teach my children a way of speaking which displays kindness and gentleness, it will go a ways towards enhancing these virtues within them.

I can’t say that it has been the easiest thing. We all need words to express our frustration and “dear me!” doesn’t always feel strong enough. But it is worth it. It is worth it to use “softened” exclamations of frustration if only for moments when my “goodness gracious!” is met by Sofia’s sing song “great balls of fire!”.  Much more appropriate than “what’s a shit?” and just as entertaining.

 

 

 

 

 

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I See You

I’m busy. I recently heard a host on CBC radio quoting a study that stated that if you don’t call yourself “busy” then you won’t be. I’m not sure that I agree. I’m busy, and I say this with the full understanding that my busyness is of my own making. Perhaps a life with two children is chronically busy for any person but no one forces me to add to that classes, sewing, blogging and of late, re-painting my house.

I’m not complaining. I have a good, good life and it is a blessing to be able to say that any stress I experience in life is usually self imposed by my chosen activities. To an extent, I thrive on this busyness. I love seeing the results of my hard work and the beauty that I am able to create and it somehow leaves me more aware of the beauty of God as the Creator.

However, in all this busyness, this thriving, stressing, and enjoying, I can sometimes lose sight of my children. Not to say that they aren’t clean, well fed, well loved little individuals, but I start to feel like they are getting in the way of what I rather be doing. Sometimes I am working so hard to get things done that I can spend a whole day not really seeing them. It is easy for me to feel like their needs are another thing that I just “need to get done”.

What is it for me to “see”my children? For me, it is to not just pass over them and live through my day with them hanging off my side but rather take time to look at who they are as little individuals. When I take the time to fully surrender my attention to them I am awed. Sofia has become her own little person: vivacious, zany, fiery, loving, insatiable in her thirst for entertainment and knowledge. Charlie is on his way to becoming a little man himself: goofy, coy, affectionate, sweet, with an insatiable thirst for well…breastmilk.

They are so precious and though I struggle at times to take a break and give them my full attention, when I do, what I see is my greatest joy. Charlie, Sofia, know that your busy mama sees you, values you, and loves you to bits and pieces.

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