It's been quite the eventful weekend...Liam was playing in a hockey tournament and their team ending up winning!!!! It was quite exciting for all. Unfortunately Liam's cold turned into a full out asthma issue and he had to watch the last game from the bench. We also have two new boys in the house Joan and Santiago arrived from Columbia today and they both are eleven and very sweet. Everyone is getting along swell and Liam's really hoping they get to be in the same class as him at school tomorrow.
This morning, I started a post after reading the daily Houzz update and being inspired by an idea but I didn't quite get through before we had to scoot. Of course since then the computer got shut down and I have to start again fresh as my changes didn't save.
Houzz features showers tiled to the ceiling today as their Houzz Designer Trick. This reminded me I never got around to sharing the photos of our shower tile job in October. It was the final thing to finish in Birch Hill and had been long neglected as it was an extra bathroom for company and something else always seemed to need paying for first. Anyways we buckled down and did it for my inlaws visit as we thought it would be foolishly frugal of us to ask our loving parents with bad knees to hoof up and downstairs for their daily showers. And now our new Colombian cuties get a shower of their own while they stay with us.
Don't mind the colour in this photo it's quite a bit harsher than in real life.
A designer I am not but I do like the way our shower tile looked upstairs when carried to the ceiling so we did the same downstairs...except we didn't have to go as high as we have a drop ceiling over the tub. I adore the plain, soft white subway tile upstairs in my kitchen and to keep the flow of the house I did a similar but larger size downstairs. The fact that it's extremely inexpensive also helped...it runs less than $2 a square foot. The curved shower bar we bought didn't work so we have this one from our old house up in the meantime. The linen curtain was a steal at my sis's garage sale. When we hang the permanent bar I'll have to re-think the height...either lower so the curtain is closer to the floor or higher and add a band of fabric to the curtain. The decision might require a bit of research and a search on Houzz for ideas.
When you are working on home projects always keep that in mind, even if you don't finish your house all at once you still want a flow by repeating similar materials, styles and colour palettes. Keep it simple and your home won't date itself before it's time. A consistent look also makes for a professionally designed look...nothing cries "do it yourself" more than chopped up room styles. Trust me we did that when we finished our first house and experimented with a Mexican themed bathroom upstairs and an uber modern one downstairs when the rest of the house was more simple country. Play with accessories and furniture for your fad fixes keep the house staples well made and classic. A new shower curtain or piece of art is easy and budget-friendly to update...cabinets, plumbing fixtures, counters and tiles are not.
Another thing I've learned over the years is that dark grout is perfect for gals like moi who aren't good with high maintenance. These matte tiles with dark grout don't even need wiping down. In my kitchen a quick rinse with a cloth on the back splash is all I need to do when I splatter while cooking. I don't even have to seal the grout as it's dark enough it won't stain unless someone decides to spray ink in my shower or something radical. Plus I really like the look of the dark grout with the lighter tile...in my kitchen the contrast isn't so strong but still enough to accentuate the subway tile and give it a little punch.
Decorating wise, Birch Hill is not nearly done, and I hope it never will be. I am sure it will be a constantly evolving project, and I like that. What better reason to scour garage sales and thrift shops for the perfect piece or slip into Homesense and find a hip new chatchka? Decorating magazines and books are my divine decadence and a 'done' house would be a boring house for me, as it would put an end to my adventure playing designer on a dime.
In time I'll save up to have the window seat cushion made, order some more shades, paint that feature wall, and even landscape BUT for now functionally speaking our home is done and that's a great feeling.
Besides Houzz there are lots of other spots on the internet to get style savvy about your home. Style at Home, House & Home, Martha Stewart, Apartment Therapy, Dwell, Pottery Barn, West Elm, Anthropologie, and millions of other design blogs are waiting for you to discover them. Do you have a design place you want to share?
Today, for eco-friday, I wanted to share a few of my favorite spots online you might like to visit when you get a moment. These are some of the places that keep me sane working from home. Sometimes I am on the computer hours and hours editting and writing...escaping to these places for little breaks bring me back from the brink of zombie-hood.
Pinterest is my current visual addiction. I held off signing up for so long as I knew I would be helpless to it's inspirations once I started. Create pin boards of images and ideas that appeal to you. Food, crafts, quotes, art, home design, projects, books, travel. There is something for everyone. My user name is Kerry MacLeod, follow me and I'll follow you. If you need an invite leave a comment and I'll send you one. Best part no spending involved and I consider it eco-friendly as you can find ideas from all the things you probably already have around the house.
Found this too! I so need this, easy (apparently) hairstyle ideas you can do at home. Wish me luck!
Another place I have loved watching grow is PUREGREEN Magazine. It's fairly new and have been reading this online magazine since day one just over a year ago. They are on issue 6 and soon it will also be available in print. If you can read online though or via an ipad it's a great way to save paper and resources. You must check out page 99 in Issue 6, there is a Fennel, Vanilla Bean & Grapefruit Salad that looks divine. What a fun way to liven up a winter brunch or a baked ham dinner.
Okay, I promised a few spots but I am going to save the rest of my list for another time...if you make it by Pinterest before tomorrow you are a stronger woman than I! This is why I know absoulutely nothing about television, I rarely watch, if time opens up I'd much rather be exploring online.
happy weekend friends,
Don Cherry has got nuttin on this kids for sass!
I'm playing, not working tonight thanks to tasting some new wine I bottled today and I found this picture of Ryan wearing one of his hockey "Game Day" outfits. He likes to dress up when Liam does for games and is always sporting a backpack of stuff to keep him occupied. He's rather exhausting at times but his sense of adventure that exhausts me is also one of his biggest charms. Four year olds seem to be that way...they get a little feisty.
I've been using it for years for all kinds of projects. Just recently when I was hosting a ladies Make & Take night I realized I was almost out and didn't have enough for the decoupage craft I planned for them. I did some googling and found a recipe to make my own and it was easy peasy and so much cheaper than the store bought container. We used it and it dried well, I made more recently for a lantern project at Ry's school too.
Sharing the instructions just in time for Christmas crafting...
empty the bottle of glue into the jar and add an equal amount of water
then shake, shake, shake it!
then of course you need to make it a little pretty...a simple label and some decorative paper work well,
A couple tips...wipe the jar lid well when you are done as I haven't in the past and it glues on and is quite a chore to open. Also when making lanterns don't use Modge Podge for the base...do all your initial layers with paper mache and then just seal with the modge podge...these ones were unfortunately a write off as the sealer stuck so well to the balloon that it all collapsed when we popped them and didn't punch out that well afterwards.
Way back in 2008 I shared one of my first decoupage Make & Takes on Snicks here...
Plates are probably the easiest project to start with but Christmas ornaments are simple too...the possibilities are endless. You will find other ideas under my Make & Take and Art Projects categories or go to the Modge Podge Rocks Blog page to be overwhelmed with Podgy possibilities!
Sorry Walmart but I agree with Grist.
For instance, it is sad that it appears to be cheaper to buy a new printer than ink for a perfectly good one. What they don't show you is the new printers come with very little ink...one day of kiddos printing creations and you are nearly out.
We just had a big dilemma as we needed to go wireless and get a new home printer. Now I am sad that our old one that isn't actually old at all and works so well will end up in the landfill as no one will be willing to fork out the cash for ink if they hit a big box store and see the fancy new cheap models featured. Truth is a big pack of inks that carry us through a year cost around $60-75, (those cartridges are four times the size of what came with it origianlly) ...you might get a new model for that but you'll be buying the same pack of ink sooner than you'd think.
Well made, long lasting stuff is hard to find but worth paying more for. Especially eco-friendly products made locally. I enjoy a Walmart find at times just as much as anyone but I certainly buy things there sparingly.
It's eco-Friday and my go to source for enviro questions and news is often Grist...if you haven't checked it out you should, it's well researched and written. It's eye opening if you are willing to see.
"Enough is abundance to the wise."
Ry's wearing jammies that are 10 years old, each boy has worn them and loved them and not noticed how they are worn out or spotted with small stains. After spending a week of late nights reviewing and editing our family photographs of 2011 I truly feel content. We have enough...we actually have more than enough. We have a more frivolous home than we need, we have warm clothes, more food than necessary, we have our health and each other...we are blessed.
Christmas is coming and already retailers are working hard to get us to spend...to take us away from what Christmas is really about and deeper into debt as a society and I don't just mean financially.
At Remembrance Day services last week the speaker shared some powerful words about how we are getting consumed with greed and stuff and how our kids are growing up with a sense of entitlement that really does nothing but harm their future.
Stuff does not make us happy. We live in a consumption-based society. Our kids are growing up with something Calvin Helin calls "affluenza" in his book the Economic Dependency Trap. Some of the symptoms include - lack of motivation to work, extreme materialism, laziness, overindulgence, sense of entitlement, snobbery, low self-esteem, and failure to launch. Definitely not how I want my kiddos to grow up.
As a family we have always kept Christmas very simple, there are no extravagent Santa lists or harried shopping trips into busy malls. This year we are taking it a step further with the boys now that they are old enough to understand about giving back more.
Yes, Santa will come and bring stockings with some special treats as usual but no one will be disappointed by their lack of presents or keeping track of who got more etc....it's taken a long time but I do think we all have gained a bit of wisdom in the fact we know we have more than enough. They do certainly get gifts from other family but often they are things they'd get anyway like a new instrument, pair of skates, or something homemade by moi and that will be okay, or it least it always has been so I am assuming it still will be!
I am always looking for fun traditions to make Christmas day extra special...what are your family favourites that don't necessarily involve gifts or stuff.
Last weekend I got a couple of splendid deals at Costco I wanted to share.
It didn't take me long to spend the early Christmas money gift from my in-laws. Even had a dollar to spare, found this The Sac bag for $49! It has antique silver buckles and such though so it's even better than the photo.
Okay, it's not my dream bag, it's a tad boring and it doesn't have a cross body strap BUT it has amazing features like a little cell phone pocket on the outside so I hear it and a zipper and lots of storage so I can actually find things, it's also big enough to hold my ever present camera. The leather is buttery soft, yet the best part is inside...
LOVE their signature Peace print. So obviously Costco has the LOW price, online price not including shipping or taxes is $138! It came in tan, red and black at Costco...I would have loved to find yellow or peacock blue but beggars can't be choosers.
Here's another one, we'll start high this time...
Yummy Tummy shape wear tank top $48-58. I've wanted one so long for those clingy numbers but the Birch Hill budget wasn't kosher with it.
Thanks to Costco my dear "muffin top" is getting a run for her money. I got a an identical tummy toning tank by Flexees Fat Free Dressing for $16. I did a test run and it was super comfy, didn't roll up and it made for nice smooth lines under my fitted t-shirt. I do admit I've never tried any other type of shape wear besides some control top panties to compare with, but it seems to be identical to other brands and I am hoping they have more colours next time we make it there. They even had some kinda serious looking undies that matched...I am curious but it would have to be a very special event and dress to get me to girdle up that well.
Now it's back to work for this frugal shopper, I am plugging away at editing all our personal pics for 2011 and it's a huge job. Also, no thanks to you (tee hee) it seems the novelty of a sheepskin has faded with the pets and no one has attacked in a couple days..lucky for me because I still want to go back to the original cuddle up spot plan. Confused? Scroll back a couple days to my dilemma post.
Christmas contests in the works with some fun sponsors, stay tuned!
"Ah! There is nothing like staying home for real comfort."
— Jane Austen
Best day at home today...waffles, baked turkey for sandwiches, made pad thai, walked in the woods, worked a bit, cleaned a bit, took the boys up the mountain behind our house, Barefoot Venus mustard bath with my youngest, bliss!
Sharing a photo I've kept for a bit, keep going back to this wall colour, it's so warm and sometimes our modern white is a bit too stark in the winter. Noah has this hue in his bedroom and we love it...Benj Moore Aura low Voc in Barnboard.
Think I might just do our fireplace wall for starters...I'd contemplated a wallpaper accent wall but it's a bit too hard to decide on a look since I switch up my stuff lots and all the wallpapers I seem drawn too are sooo expensive. Isn't that always the way with home decor stuff?