This Christmas had the lovely added feature that I had bronchitis, and Christmas Eve was touch and go (seriously thought about cancelling at various parts of the day - the morning when I was trying to whip non-heavy cream into stiff peaks - it will not work - you need more than 18%, and when I had to dry my hair sitting on the floor in my bedroom amidst sweating and crying because I was so weak), but we pulled through! My parents, Adam and Jessica came over on Christmas Eve. Matt really did all the work because I was trying to sleep and recover for most of the days leading up to it, and if not I was cleaning the house. We made some delicious brie, cranberry, pecan crostini for appetizers, along with the chili-sweet nut mix we did last year, for dinner we had roasted duck with a maple bourbon glaze with root mash, and for dessert I made a chocolate mousse trifle (hence the whipping of cream earlier on in the day). It went pretty well - opened presents, ate good food, and enjoyed entertaining my family.
Our little tree - all owled up (there are now 3 owls on the tree thanks to my family)
Playing with my new 50 mm lens - West Elm Hedwig owl
Table ready for dinner
Runner and log votives from West Elm, Star napkin holder from Ikea!
These cranberries have now been rehydrated...I do not look forward to cleaning this out...
I added some sparkly branches and a bow to make this spring-branch arrangement a bit more festive
Planned to do a gallery wall in this room but didn't have pictures yet - so I improvised with wrapping paper
I will post more on this when I change the frames to real pictures!
The table before dinner - votives filled with candles and lots of light
Time to eat and open presents!
Taking mom to see the World Figure Skating Championships in London (Ontario) in March
Dad opening our gift (Cycling Store Gift Card)
Adam looking very scary with tinsel on his head
Lego Empire State Building - Classic present for Adam
Sisters pose just before dinner
Mmmm festive salads and cranberry juice
Mom and Dad
Ohhh those two are photogenic!
Must have been awkward lighting for me to make this B&W
Crowns from the Christmas Crackers!
Matt opened a present that night - "I Am A Pole" by Stephen Colbert (looks like a Children's book...but not so much)
Christmas morning is Matt and I time. We don't have anyone else over - we open our presents, we made a delicious breakfast, and we just relax. This year we made a french toast casserole with a brown sugar strudel glaze and apple and craisins. It was so good. The antibiotics prevented the typical ice wine drinking, but I'll make that up on New Year's Eve!
I guessed most of my presents before I opened them (and there was only 2 I didn't get - this table is a lie!)
One of my gifts - Paloma Picasso hammered ring - looks like a girly version of Matt's iron ring, but needs to be resized. I wanted this because I used to wear his iron ring when he first got it if he was wakeboarding at the cottage or any other time he may have lost it. Just a cute little reminder of those days.
Delicious baked french toast - and so easy (we prepped it the night before)
I gave George the gift of all the acorns I collected in the fall that never ended up dip-dying (I'll try again next year)
Christmas Day was spent with Matt's family, both at his parents' house in Oakville to open gifts, and then to his aunt and uncle's place in Ancaster for dinner. We only had to make a vegetable dish, so it was an easy day, and I was starting to feel better luckily! It was nice seeing the whole family (we see his dad's side far less often), and all the food was incredible! His cousin's wife is starting her own catering company and she made all the appetizers - wow! Look out Peterborough!!!
Christmas afternoon at the in-laws - what a beautiful tree!
I look like I'm in pain...I was probably about to cough...
Pete with his kids - all grown up!
In Ancaster with Buppa - great face Jamie!
Kisses from the granddaughters
Matt probably being a smart-ass
Boxing Day we always go to my aunt and uncle's place in Bowmanville. My dad has a huge family so it is always a fun gathering. On the way home we went to see Les Miserables with Adam and Jess - it was SOOO good (although Russell Crowe really shouldn't sing). Highly recommended Christmas break movie, although very sad (hence the title). Bring Kleenex - you will cry at 3 different spots!
If you think I wouldn't post this Adam, you were wrong.
Singing Christmas carols to get gifts (although it turns out that now that I'm married Santa can't find me anymore)
Pretty much sat here the entire time
Came home to this. Merry and bright.
A few days later some of the same family ladies meet at Marche downtown for lunch.
Here's our living room just before we moved into the house:
And the day we moved in:
And a few months later after we painted it Cloud White:
And last Christmas:
Well one day a few weeks ago I got sick of the white and decided I was going to paint. I went to the colour I had in the hallways (Benjamin Moore's Grey Owl), and went a shade darker, to find Sea Haze. A nice grey with only a slight greenish undertone (which I noticed perhaps only because of our Christmas tree, so that won't be an issue soon enough). Matt came home to this:
Yep - there I am super glamourous with ancient AE sweats with holes in the butt and my greasy hair pulled back.
As usual Matt took more but they were usually of me bending over or another equally unflattering angle...
Done! (iPhone photo makes it look much more beige than it really is)
Ahhh yes, the overhead light casts weird shadows - I am already looking for a replacement...I never quite warmed up to it anyway, and now I feel it is too rustic for the room...
And one week to Christmas here it is!
Oh yeah - did you see our new sofa too? It's the Bliss Sofa from West Elm, and we had a 15% off coupon - sweet!
Yes, I think the glow is only from the tree...
The lsofa egs were originally natural pine, but Matt stained them to match our other furniture
I like the flow from the living to dining room better now too!
**We've since added a little gallery wall in this room too - once I change the wrapping paper in the frames to pictures, I will post about this too!**
Yes, I have not blogged in over a month, and even then, the posts were sparse. I honestly have been incredibly busy with a new course I'm teaching at school, with the play, and with the Christian Band. This past week alone I was at school until 10 pm 4 of the 5 weeks. On the weekends we have been doing various projects, and if I'm not doing that, I'm seeing family or more school prep. I feel like I am sleeping, working, or house working 90% of the time. That doesn't leave a lot of room for blogging, but with Christmas break coming up in one week (choirs of angels are singing here), I'm hoping to fire off quite a few posts. Here are some sneak peaks of the projects we have done in the past month or so, along with random events:
1. The Great Railing Demo (which was actually quite a brief process)
2. The Even Greater Railing Reconstruction (which, proportional to its greatness, took much longer)
3. The Stair Stripping (much less sexy than it sounds...)
4. Christian Band Events (aka the best kids in the world singing and playing their hearts out)
5. My Grandpa is 88 and AWESOME (self-explanatory)
6. 50+ Reasons Why I Love My Husband (but since I have yet to make this list, it could be less, or more, depending on the day and time...)
7. Surprise - I Painted The Living Room Again!
8. Pure Bliss Sofa (with and without its legs, and no more falling between couch cushions)
9. What? Christmas is in 10 Days? (Better decorate that tree we've had over a week...)
10. Post-Stripping Stairs (plus staining, painting, and taking them two at a time...)
Not Pictured Above:
- Putting some back into the living room console (pictured above beside the stairs, currently happening as we speak)
- The teacher's strike (depending on if I'm in a rant-y mood or not that day - my board already settled in the summer)
- Distillery Christmas Market (going to tonight, along with dinner at Archeo)
- Go Go Go JOE! (our school play this year)
- Going Purple (in the bedroom decor)
- Top Home Projects of 2012 (90% happened in this above post, I think)
- House Goals for 2013 (the projects never end!)
- Personal Goals & Resolutions for 2013 (oh yeah...I have a gym membership)
- And of course all the Christmas festivity-related posts in the next few weeks!
So last week on Tuesday we had our dining room table and chairs from West Elm delivered. Here are some pictures of how they look!
Here is our original Ikea table and chairs just after Christmas last year
Instagram montage of Matt's table and chair assembly
It's the West Elm Mix and Match table in solid wood top and base,
and 4 Porter upholstered dining chairs in Sand Stone
Natural light of day
Feels so much more grown up
Oh how I love owls (I almost bought more at West Elm yesterday)
Tiny white pumpkins leftover from Thanksgiving & Halloween
Set for an impromtu dinner party with Hope and Jamie
Hope's pictures (the light was very yellow so I sepia'd them - sorry Hope!)
Matt...and his moustache...
Me - checking some random science fact on my phone...typical.
Ohhhh yes - and as usual these two hijacked my phone and changed my background...to this...
My sister in law's birthday is on October 30th, so every year they have a Halloween-themed birthday celebration, and this is the second year they have done the party at their house. She is so crafty and I was blown away by all the decor and planning that went into this party - she went Pinterest crazy! It was such a fun night!
I helped a bit - owl peanut butter cup/oreo/pieces treats
These two Devil's food chocolate bundts turned into...
...this! Complete with orange buttercream icing and chocolate spider webs and a read pumpkin stem
I was going to be Alice, so decided to use the hair extensions from my wedding
Here they are after washing, drying overnight, and styling with a curling iron the next day
And it begins!
My brother surprised me with his costume - haha. It was great.
The birthday was Katy Perry - she made the top herself!
My cousin was Venom...complete with dyed morph suit (meaning he could not sit on the furniture...)
His friend Christian was Dexter - a great likeness!
Here we are - Mad Hatter and Alice
Plus I got to live out my dream of putting makeup on my husband...although he was NOT pretty...
Cute orange ghost Jello shots
She bloodied the tablecloth and candles herself
Haha, this supposedly freaked her out every time she came downstairs
More Dexter decor
Those are doll heads in that green liquid...creepy...
I like these skulls...next year I will spray paint some silver...
Some not so scary fall decor - we have the same owl!
He eventually took the stuffing out and became "skinny penguin"
Tablescape...taken by either Andrew or Christian (both far better photographers than I...)
Humouring Andrew by posing - look how much more hair I have!!!
Alice and Venom - what a pair!
The birthday girl cutting her cake
Ohhhh tiny white pumpkins - how I love you!
Front door - the mums are in bloom and the fall wreath is up!
PS - I know you love my photo-editing skills to get rid of our address. Better than this time at least.
Wow - I didn't kill a plant - it's a miracle! Must be all that water I'm feeding it...who knew?
Green apple switched up for a red one
A few lanterns too!
More to do - painted pumpkins in the front at least!
Last night we had both our parents over plus our siblings (minus Meg, she had to work and we missed her!). Just wanted to have a simple barbeque with everyone, and celebrate Matt's birthday last week, our anniversary, and here all about Adam and Jessica's honeymoon and Jamie's wedding planning and house hunting. Lots of things going on with both of our families, and it was nice to catch up. I didn't really take any family pictures (I was busy playing hostess I suppose), but took a few pictures of the decor - had a little Olympic theme going on.
Medal count as of yesterday (although today's soccer bronze puts us at 15!)
Olympic Ring M&Ms...I ate all the orange ones that were left over...
Canada loves hummus
Flag of flags
Even the condiments were in the Olympic spirit (there is really very few blue foods...)
I also cleaned the house (except for the basement)...
Two year anniversary cards
Olympic fruit (kind of sad rings, haha)
Dessert table, including the stout cupcakes
(pretty much basic spice cupcakes with Guinness used instead of water, and the glaze is icing sugar and beer)
Dining room shot with the anniversary flowers Matt got me (love the late summer sunflowers)
So I have a lot more time on my hands since I finished summer school so I looked to all my blog stats for the past month to see what people were creeping on or searching to come across the blog. Here are the most popular posts (PS - I wrote "hottest" post and then I thought I sounded like a nerd so I deleted it...). The titles link back to the original post if you want to see more!
1. Highlights of Joni's Wedding - I found out that if I added titles when I linked my posts to Facebook, and added "with" - it was posted on other people's walls and more people saw the post. So Joni and Blair, you have so many people who love you. You are BY FAR the most clicked people on my blog this month, haha. If you really love these two, I also did a post on Joni's Tea Shower, and her Bachelorette Weekend.
2. Dining Room Curtains - This is also related to the most searched term which was "Emmie Kvist Curtains" which are the ones we have from Ikea in the dining room. There were also a lot of searches for navy blue dining rooms, and I got a few comments on liking both the colour and the curtains from multiple people, which was nice. I wrote this post way back in October so it was surprising it was so popular this month - usually the ones I post most recently on Facebook make up most of my stats.
3. Bedroom Posts - this one was more from people clicking the tag "bedroom" on the sidebar, and the main posts in there this month were about the guest bedroom painting and decorating, Other than that, there were only posts from the end of the year last year in January about upcoming projects, and way back about our master bedroom decor.
4. Adam's Wedding Posts - all of them! This took over most of the stats, which again, is probably due to the fact that I tagged the friends and family who were in the posts on Facebook, and I did so many posts about the wedding in general. The first one was the wedding outtakes, then the father-daughter dance, followed by the ceremony, the reception, and even their launch party from before the wedding. Even did posts about the showers - one at Great Cooks and one at her Dad's House.
5. Shopping - again another tag search - I had to actually go back to the blog to find out what is in this category. I do quite a bit of shopping, but never remember to take pictures or post about it. Maybe I'll do that this week with all this time. Anyway, some posts covered shopping in Vancouver, and buying stuff for the house. Nothing exciting in this category, but if you want some great outfit and shopping posts, visit my friend Veronika's site at Veronika's Blushing!
6. Basement - Again, haven't done much to the basement for a while, which actually requires a post itself - it is a disaster, haha. This is good, I'm thinking of more posts to write. So the first post is about free house projects, of which I have done one, so I should get on that! If you go further back, there are a few posts on the progress here, here, here and here. By the way, the shelving no longer looks like this because it is overrun by books - new organization will have to happen because colour just isn't working for me anymore!
7. Sideboard Project - probably the one I am most proud of. I think it really makes our dining room look great. This was done in December and it took a while to do everything. The Ikea cabinets were first, then the base, and then the stained poplar top. The decor changes quite a bit (it's much different than the picture to the left and that was taken in May), but overall I still love this room. Now for more dinner parties so we have an excuse to use it.
8. Painting - another category search - we have definitely had some painting adventures both in this house and in the condo. I do most of the painting, although when Matt helps, he does the harder stuff - all the trim and edges - because I can't stay in the lines very well. Here are the posts: painting the basement, the master bedroom, the dining room and living room, the linen closet, the HBC painting, and the guest bedroom. Up next for us are all the hallways and the kitchen!
9. Kitchen - in this category we have the little butcher block island I built from Ikea, the kitchen chalkboard, and the some painting projects for spring and summer (of which the kitchen is one!)
10. Decor - lots of posts in this category, and besides a few mentioned above, there was one about spring and summer decor, and even all the projects from 2011. Way back was all the Christmas decor, the dining room mirror project, and just some mini-projects here and there. Most of my inspiration now comes from Pinterest, so I need to do more posts that link to my boards there, and I need to look at them more often to keep inspired!
Search Terms: Emmie Kvist Curtains, Science of Married Life (probaby one of my coworkers navigating), West Elm Tangle Rug (we have it in our living room), Paint Colours - Moonshine vs. Revere Pewter (both Benjamin Moore), Yellow and Grey Decor, Unfortunately I Married to Science (this one made me laugh), Peter Fallico - Married (don't know if Peter is married, although he is gay, so probably about 50% of you readers are out of luck trying to snag him), Finger Numb - Spraypaint (ohhh yes, so many people have had similar experiences! - *Update - it did eventually get feeling back in it, but it took over a month!*), Pax Wardrobe (ohh geez, what an ordeal!)
Referring Sites: Google (obviously) - so many countries - but the main ones are the US and Canada, Facebook (and Mobile), Pinterest, My Wedding Planning Site (probably still linked from The Knot), and then other search providers like Bing and Yahoo. By the way, that picture on the right is my most recent Pinterest desire - peanut butter chocolate cheesecake...wow.
This project started off slow - we decided to paint this room, and I had bought a mirror and red side table from Home Sense a few weeks before. We cleared the room, and realized we wanted to add chair rail to the curved wall (harder than it seems), and then had to decide on paint. I primed right away, but then it was about 2 more weeks before we did any work. Matt suggested having the family over prior to Joni's wedding, and all of sudden this project was kicked into high gear - we started on a Wednesday, and finished Saturday night! WOW! Chair rail in, filled, sanded, cleaned, 2 coats of 2 different paints, a bit mirror hung, and all the furnishings in and decorated in 4 days! We need to have people over more often! Here are the pictures:
This was the way it looked before we moved in - from the MLS listing
This is the way it looked at Christmas this past year
Other side of the room - notice that there is no chair rail on the mirror wall.
The first few steps were to clear the room, take all the covers off the switches and plugs, pull up the old cables along the baseboard, and take off the mirror from the wall. I've had this cheap $10 Walmart mirror since university, but this is definitely the most damage it has ever caused...let's take a closer look:
...gotta love the plaster walls...
One evening later in the week I primed the walls (the green really did not want to be covered).
I then got a few paint samples. I know I wanted brown to match the bedding, but was afraid of going to dark.
The first paint was too light and more coffee-like (Benjamin Moore's Driftwood) and the second I was worried it was too dark, but I went for it - bold, I know! It is called Brown Horse (BM too).
Matt then tackled the chair rail - it was easy for 3/4 of the straight wall, but really hard to do the curves. A few people I spoke to suggested making many cuts in the wood to make it more flexible, but the curve to the door was almost 90 degrees! My dad then suggested to soak the wood all day and it would bend (THANKS DAD!). It did - a day of soaking in the tub (at least someone is using it!), it was very bendy. Matt did end up cracking the wood a bit, but I was worried it would not be fixable...let's take a closer look:
This was going to be salvageable?
But with some filling and sanding, it was a bit better. Good job Matty! Now to paint!
I painted all of the bottom - Benjamin Moore's Cloud White - our go-to white paint. Then Matt started cutting in and doing a bit of painting of the brown while I finished up. There's no going back now!
I pretty much kicked Matt out of rolling - I'm better at it. He's better at staying in the lines and not painting the ceiling brown, so he cuts in and I fill in the rest with the roller. We had to do a second coat as well, but I think this picture is after one coat only. You can't tell, but the primer really showed through.
*Note - Benjamin Moore now makes a line for Canadian Tire that is paint and primer in one that I might try. They also have an environmental line that is very low VOC that I will be using from now on (discovered that too late).*
Now the reveal:
I think the paint goes well with the bedding!
Another view with my new little end table - a Home Sense purchase (of course)
I like the little alarm clock I got there too (battery is NOT in - I can't stand the ticking)
Oh yes, that's right - that is the Twilight Series and apples reused from Thanksgiving
(Now it is a teenage girl's dream bedroom - oh Edward...)
The other side - same Ikea dresser and decor that was there before, but added the holly reused from Christmas to a vase we got as a wedding gift, along with Jamie and Hope's gift - the "treasure chest" as I call it, on the right. Didn't know where to put the red picture, so left it on the ground. I don't really mind it there at all!
The mirror was a Home Sense purchase as well - I really like it in the room.
Before - just after we moved in
After - a year and a half later!
We still have a bit to do - I want to add some art above the wall, I want a nice chaise or chair for the wall opposite the window, and just little decor items to complete the room. For now, I think we did a pretty good job, and I can't justify spending much more on this room, as it is only a guest bedroom. Now who wants to be our guest???
Next big project? Painting all the hallways up and downstairs - a summer project after our trip to Punta Cana, DR, in the 4 days! A week of sun and fun and celebrations of love, then I'll get back to work!
Last weekend during an Ikea trip we found a useful kitchen "island" for our teeny tiny kitchen. It is simple wood butcher block, and I'm planning to paint it a bright colour and sealing it in the summer. It is the Bekvam Kitchen Cart. Now we have a place for a few things that were taking our counter and dining room hostage, like random fruits and vegetables, and cookbooks. Best part? I put it all together MYSELF - I used two different screwdrivers and a wrench - no Allen keys here! No, there are no pictures, as usual. But here's some pictures of the finished and styled product:
Yes, our kitchen needs a lot of work in general. Painting will be the temporary fix, but we actually want to completely redo it - change the layout, the backsplash, the cabinetry, and the flooring. Now if only we had the money...