Sunday, April 22, 2012

Plant Party!

Thanks to the Nester, I've become quite obsessed with all things plantey. Have you seen her plant series? Her plantey pins on pinterest? If you have, I'm sure you're inspired by all things green, as well!

When we first moved into this home, I knew I was going to fill the sunroom with plants.  I didn't have the best light in my old home, so many plants didn't do well.  Here, they are thriving in this light filled, warm room!  Nester has gotten me quite excited to try my hand at growing succulents-have you ever seen glorious succulents pouring from rusty, weathered old urns? Fabulous, I tell ya!

Naturally, I was quite excited when she announced a link party so we can show off our plants.

Here is my newest pet, purchased last week at a garden show.  I was told this is a Chinese Sedum succulent, and I fell in love with it in this trophy-shaped urn. There were so many booths dedicated to succulents, terrariums, and fairy gardens.  It was so much fun!

My girls (4.5 and 7) wanted to try to plant their own terrarium.  They each picked out a succulent, and we planted them in some apothecary jars that I had already:

What little girls terrarium is complete without a butterfly? We did a little shopping trip at Michael's to buy the pebbles, but they wanted these glass beads instead.  Perfect, sparkly and best of all, they picked it out themselves. The terrariums are in their rooms, and they are so proud of them!

Of course, Mom likes to have a plant or two in her room as well, and an Orchid is ever a favorite:

A newly planted terrarium in the sunroom.  I think of it as my English Garden inspired terrarium, filled with feathery ferns and purple violets.

Have you ever seen such a fabulous blue orchid?  Well worth the $19 to enjoy months of beautiful blooms.  I just place in 3 ice cubes a week to water it, and it's still just as beautiful as the day I bought it.

Irish moss in a silver urn:

My $12.97 Home Depot plant.  It's called Bridal Veil, and it's doing wonderfully in this sunny spot.

In a few weeks (it's still a bit chilly here for much outdoor planting), we plan to create a fairy garden in a beautiful old bird bath, and fill a large urn with all sorts of fun and funky succulents!

Thank you, Nester, for the party and the inspiration!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mantel-ly Challenged

It seems I am mantel-ly challenged. I have struggled with styling my mantels in all the homes we've lived in.

The only mantel that seemed to come naturally was this one in the sunroom: 

Take my mantel in my current living room, for instance. The mirror was far too small and lacked a ne sais quoi. The accessories tried hard, but couldn't make up for the inferior mirror, nor create the drama I wanted; afterall, this is the main focal point in the room, not to mention the first thing you see from the front door.


The new mirror, old accessories.

The old mirror and accessories.
I found a new mirror which I shared with you in this post. I did try a few other mirrors, but ended up returning them and decided to work with this mirror.

I took the advice of the wonderful bloggy friends who left comments after my call for help and this is what I came up with:


I wanted something more dramatic and finished, and I think that's what I got!

I brought in some natural elements with branches, Pussy Willows, antlers and moss balls.

An old encyclopedia set from the 30's helps fill the space below the mirror. I mentioned to my hubby that I was looking for some old books and he pulled these out of storage. In all the time we've been married, I had no idea he had these stored in a box in his shop. Maybe I should check out what other cool stuff he's got out there!

While I was hoping for a larger mirror, the urns with orchids and branches help fill the space. The Pussy Willows add a bit of a spring touch. If I ever want a simpler, cleaner look, I will remove the branches and Pussy Willows.

Finally, a mantel I am happy with!

Linking to my Favorite Parties!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Tale of 2 Chairs

This tale begins with a lonely, empty spot in our Great room. It was empty since we moved in, aside from a glorious Christmas tree, and remained empty until recently. I knew it needed a few key items: a chair, a floor lamp, and a side table and something of architectural interest for the wall.

Skip a few chapters, and enter a baby. Her new Momma needs a comfy chair to nurse in, so we bring down a wingback chair, 'just for now' from the office/craft room to fill this spot. I have always loved this chair, which was inherited from my Nana. It is a nice scale, and shape, but has some uuuugly worn out upholstery fabric, and I dare say an even uglier slipcover. I had always intended to sew a new slipcover and keep it in the craft room.

Here's where the plot thickens: I loved this chair in my craft room, but I actually think it will work nicely in the Great room. I have searched, and searched for the perfect chair for this spot, but have had no luck. I fell in love with this one from Pottery Barn, but alas, they do not sell this in (nor ship to) Canada =(

I had also been eyeing up this chair at Pier one, but knew the fabric wouldn't work in the great-room. However, it does work rather nicely in the craft room-yipee!

So now we have a new chair in the craft room, and this wingback in the livingroom. I found this fabric I'm in love with to slipcover the wingback.

It's Laura Ashley's Santorini Sand, ordered on sale from Online Fabric Store.

I'm a bit nervous to get started as I've never sewn a slipcover before, but am lucky to have the old one to use as a pattern, so how hard can it be? Oh ya, it'll be very hard as I have 3 kidlets to care for while trying to carve out time to make a slipcover. Wish me luck!

Sharing my tale at my Favorite Parties!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Kitchen Facelift: Part 1

I love our new house. We are so blessed to own a house at all, let alone one as nice. I feel the need to preface my post this way as I sure don't want to sound like I'm complaining, or ungrateful......

But if I were to complain one teeny, tiny bit, it would be about our kitchen. If the rest of the house wasn't so perfect for us, this kitchen may have been a deal breaker for us. Having just completely renovated our old kitchen, we were much more aware of what we are looking for in a kitchen, as well as more aware what to look out for as far as quality finishes.

our old kitchen
Considering the price and quality of the rest of the home, the previous owners (and builders) of this home cheaped out big time in the kitchen.

Our new kitchen this past Christmas. It actually doesn't look too bad in these pictures, but look closely at the grainy cabinetry wood.

They used inexpensive stock cabinetry in a grainy oak-like (it's actually some 'exotic') wood, and didn't trim out the island or cabinetry as I would have done.

Gutting the kitchen is not an option: we'd never regain our money from doing so, and I think there is enough 'good' about this kitchen to work with what we have.

The good:

-Light fixtures
-counter tops (my dream kitchen would be marble and butcherblock, but I sure am not going to replace this nice granite)
-Appliances are decent.
-Love the glass cab's on the top
-the cabinet shape is fine. It's pretty close to shaker style.
-Faucet and sink are fine.
-general layout and island size is great.
-slow close glides on all the drawers (love this feature!).

The bad:

-grainy honey-oak type of wood
-The range is very small, and you can't put a large fry pan on it without interfering with the knobs. Also, I looooove this look for over ranges, but ours is a downdraft, so no range hood is necessary. My ideal range would be gas, but doing so requires running gas lines and cutting out the granite/reworking the cabinetry, which is perhaps more than we'd like to take on right now??

From Hooked on Houses, via Pinterest. Notice the beadboard on the island, but more importantly, the style of the range 'hood' and the gas range.

-would love double ovens (we do a lot of cooking and baking)

What we plan on doing:

1. Painting out the cabinetry in a cream colour (Marble White, by Benjamin Moore). We actually plan on hiring this out so we are able to get a super durable sprayed on finish.

2. Painting the island black, with light distressing.

3. Trimming out the side panels of the lower cabinets and island with beadboard, and adding beefy corbels.

4. Lining the back of the glass cab's with beadboard wallpaper, and painting the inside of the cab's either the same cream or the blue/grey of our wall colour

5. Looking into re-working the stove top area, and if not too costly, perhaps replacing the stove top with a full gas range (thus giving us double ovens and allowing me to incorporate my pretty range hood =)

6. Replacing the knobs and pulls.

I have done one mini project already, and will show you all soon!

In the meantime, I couldn't help including a picture of Madelyn looking so proud holding her baby sister =)

Check out Madelyn's do...yup, I let her do her own hair =)

ps if you have any ideas for our kitchen facelift, I'd love to hear them!