Thursday, October 9, 2014

[ making pumpkins ]

IT'S Canadian Thanksgiving this coming weekend {it always seem to sneak up on me since it's so early in the fall} so I thought I'd better get going on a few decorations around here.

I've loved velvet pumpkins since I first saw them a few years ago but couldn't find the supplies I needed while in Dubai. So, now that we're back in Canada, I thought I would finally make a few to add to my antique dough bowl on my dining room table.

This is a very easy project and I had 5 of them made in less than a couple of hours. First, gather supplies...

tips: If you have trouble {like I did} finding velvets, you can use velour or low-pile fabric with a bit of a fuzz ~ really, anything can work if it's not too stiff. If you are using real stems, be sure to clean them well and bake them on a cookie sheet on low temp for a half hour or so to dry them out {or use some plastic ones from a craft or dollar store if you can find them}. The pumpkins turn out best if you use both beans {or pebbles or rice, etc} and craft stuffing to stuff them with. I used glass pebbles I found at the dollar store which I prefer to natural beans or rice if I plant to store them for future years. For glue, I used E-6000 glue but I'm sure a glue gun would work well. 

Trace a plate on the backside of the fabric and cut out...

Sew a running stitch all the way around the circle...

Fill with pebbles about 1/3 and then fill the rest with craft stuffing and pull tight, careful not to break the thread {I used double thread or you can try dental floss for added strength}...

Sew hole closed by pulling edges together and knot off thread. I went one step further and pushed my needle down through the middle of the pumpkin to the bottom to create one big stitch and pulled it back up which added a cute little pinch to the pumpkin shape but this is optional...

Glue on stem and you're done!

You can make them various sizes in a variety of fabrics and they make a charming little grouping. And the best part is, they'll be ready for you again next year!

Happy crafting!


Monday, October 6, 2014

[ fireplace facelift - finally ]


Well, after all of you weighed in on whether I should paint it or not {thank you!}, I finally gave my fireplace a facelift. It's amazing what a coat of paint can do!

First, a coat of super-adherent primer...

After a bit of primer, it was already looking better! A couple coats of paint and tadaaaa! A fresh and pretty facelift!

I love how the fireplace no longer takes over the room and instead seems to recede into the wall. The room overall feels larger and brighter and the colour of the tile surround seems to blend much better with the floor and its inlay. 

I think it really gives the room a similar feel to my inspiration shots...



I think I'd like to add a little bit of simple moulding detail above the fireplace similar to these lovely inspirational shots {it will also help the TV feel less like it's floating on the wall without loading the mantel with lots of accessories}...



I may not bother adding wiring for sconces, but perhaps will hunt for some candle sconces that would provide the same feel.

So what do you think? Was it worth painting my fireplace?


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

[ seat with a view ]

PERHAPS it's because I'm a Pisces, but I'm always drawn to water. There's just something so relaxing about gazing out over sparkling water. My dream is to have a home with a water view someday but for now, I'm lucky to live a block away from Lake Ontario where I can enjoy this...

I love going out for a walk and making a stop at this little park. We're having some amazing late summer weather this week and all the more reason to linger a while on my favourite bench...

I love the dedication plaque on the bench. I think someday I'd like to donate a bench to the park so more people can pause a while and soak in that pretty view. Do you have a favourite spot you like to go to enjoy a view?


Friday, September 12, 2014

[ from free to fab ]

FIRST, thanks everyone for weighing in on my fireplace! It's good to know that we're all on the same page ~ that baby needs a paint job! I think it will make a huge difference in the room and actually make it feel a bit more spacious since it does seem to dominate the room right now.

In the meantime, I've been working on another little project this week. Since we're using our tufted ottoman in the family room, I've been on the hunt for a coffee table for the living room ~ on a budget. I decided to take a peek on Kijiji {Canada's alternative to Craigslist}. And you can't get a better deal than this...

Seriously, a FREE coffee table just waiting to be loved! I know, it wasn't looking too great in the ad but I could see it's potential. I liked the legs, the wicker bottom shelf and the bevelled glass top. 

I decided to give it a new life with Annie Sloan chalk paint. This was the first time using actual chalk paint ~ the last time I made my own {read about it here}. To be honest, it performed very much the same way as the homemade version. I was able to paint the entire table using only one sample pot...

I chose Pure White and got started. I didn't bother to sand ~ I just wiped it down first with a cleaning wipe. Here it is after one coat...

After a second coat, some sanding on the edges and a light coat of wax, it's done!

I love that it's the perfect size for the sofa and the glass top gives it a bit of lightness. The pure white will also look great when I dress the sofa with the white slipcover I made {read about it here}...

Not bad, huh? I'm super thrilled with the results and it was definitely worth the 20 minute drive to pick it up. 

Have you ever scored a freebie and given it new life?


Thursday, September 4, 2014

[ family room before and after ]

TODAY I thought I'd give you a little peek at my family room. This is the BEFORE when we viewed the house with the seller's furniture...

As you can see, their taste was quite traditional. But it's a great family room addition that they added on and the windows on three sides flood the room with such beautiful light. {It's amazing how big this room looks in these realtor photos ~ those wide angle lenses they use are deceiving!}

I started out by painting over the yellow walls with Benjamin Moore Cloud White CC-40 ~ a warm white that provides just a bit of contrast from the white trim. In some photos, it almost looks the same as the original walls but trust me, that yellow is GONE! My thought was to paint the room more of a pure white, but then we bought this new slipcovered sofa that was a bit more of a warm white so that dictated the colour {it's also the same colour I painted the kitchen}...

I absolutely love this Rowe sofa ~ what a difference from the Laura Ashley fiasco we purchased in Dubai and I didn't have to sew my own slipcover for it! Bonus!

Here is how the room looks now {without a wide angle lens!}...

It's been fun unwrapping our things from storage and combining them with items from Dubai and a few new pieces. Those of you who have been around for a while will recognize bits and pieces. We spend most of our time in this room and so far are loving how cozy it feels, while still feeling fresh.

We picked up two of these gorgeous chairs from Muskoka Living in Port Carling...

I love how they fit in so well without being bulky, still have the slipcovered look and add warmth with the wooden frame. They're down-filled so they're super comfy. Because the sofa is big in this space, I'm glad I didn't choose the matching slipcovered armchairs ~ it would have felt too heavy and crowded.

Now we just need to address the fireplace situation. We decided to put the tv above the fireplace since there really wasn't any other logical spot for it. I think I may want to frame it out somehow so that it doesn't look like a big black rectangle on the wall.

But first, the biggest question is... should I paint out the fireplace in the white trim colour?

I'm leaning a certain way but it's always fun to hear what you think!


Thursday, August 21, 2014

[ hello? and painting the kitchen ]

I KNOW, it's been ages since I've been here! Sorry for taking so long to get back to normal life ~ moving in has been busy and I've also tried to remind myself to enjoy some of this summer and not get completely obsessed about organizing and setting things up. Summer is ticking along and we've already had a bit of a nip in the air which has reminded me that fall is quickly approaching!

We're loving our new home and leafy neighbourhood ~ I honestly couldn't have asked for more and it has made all those expat years worth it {I feel truly blessed}.

This home has a lot of nice features but one of the things I only noticed once we moved in is how yellow the entire house is! The previous owners were obviously huge fans of yellow and the entire house is a mix of various shades of yellow. I'm not a big yellow fan {I had a huge overdose of it a few years ago when the home we bought was completely yellow and the office I worked in was also entirely yellow ~ I was surrounded by yellow 24 hours a day!} Needless to say, removing some of the yellow in this home is high on the to-do list!

Today I'm going to talk about undertones ~ those sneaky things that can make everything look like it blends beautifully together or looks just slightly off. Case in point: our kitchen...

kitchen before:

From what I could determine, the walls were painted in a colour similar to this:

{notice that the colour is a yellow with a bit of a peachy orange tone to it which picks up the tone of the wood floors and island}

Here is what the Corian countertops and backsplash tiles look like:

{notice that they have more of a pinky undertone similar to this colour...}

Here is how the countertop looks with the flooring...

Do you see where I'm going with this? Instead of everything blending beautifully together, we had an undertone situation happening. And the wall colour was accentuating the problem.

Time to paint!

I decided to go neutral and chose BM cc40 cloud white ~ almost exactly the cabinet colour...

 By eliminating that peach pie wall colour, it de-emphasized the clash of the undertones...

kitchen after:

I love the freshness of the warm white throughout the kitchen {I know, looking at colours on a computer isn't always accurate but hopefully you can see the improvement}. I find that it gives it a more current look and my eye doesn't immediately jump from the peachy walls to the backsplash tile. I'm sure replacing the backsplash tile is something we'll eventually do, but at least for now, I can live with it.

So that's one of the things I've tackled since we've moved in. There are so many more rooms I'd like to paint but will get to them one at a time. Now to sit out on the patio and enjoy some of this weather! Thanks for stopping by and for your patience!



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