Friday, April 18, 2014

Easter Decor

As I've mentioned before, I tend to subscribe to the notion that "less is more" when it comes to holiday décor. That being said, my mother always decorated for the holidays and that's something that I want for my child as well. So this year for Easter I made a few easy decorations and dressed-up our mantel.

I started with this bunny bunting from one of my favourite blogs The Sweetest Occasion. I strung it up using garden twine, mini clothes pins and washi tape.

I decided to stick with the colour palette from the bunting of pink, peach, and orange when I bought the paint for my Easter egg canvas. Inspired by Andrea's talents over at Pinksugarland, I taped out an egg shape on a large canvas then painted smudgy stripes to fill it in. Once dry, I just peeled off the tape and voila!

While shopping for my paint & canvas, I grabbed some burlap canvases on sale at Michael's for $7 for a package of three. I Googled "rabbit outlines", printed off a couple I liked, then traced them on to some colour-coordinating paper. After cutting them out, I glued the rabbit silhouettes to the burlap to make some cute bunny art.

With a young child in the house we've collected a warren of plush rabbits. I just filled in the spaces on the mantel with some bunny friends to complete the look.

All in this project cost me about $30 and an hour of my time. I love the little pop of spring in the middle of our living room now!

Wishing you & your family a very happy Easter!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Wesley's Teepee

We don't have a designated playroom in our house: with our basement still unfinished there just isn't really a space where Wesley can spread out all his toys. When Kevin and I were trying to decide what we wanted to give Wesley for Christmas this past year we thought a teepee would be something we could build a play area around. I poked around online a bit and found some beautiful play tents and teepees:

I was really excited until I saw the $300 price tag! And that's before shipping! A little discouraged I did some research and found a great webpage with step by step instructions on how to build an actual teepee. We scaled it down to toddler size and in the end it was a pretty simple project. We bought five 7-foot wooden dowlings, a canvas drop sheet, and some garden twine from Home Depot for a much more reasonable price of $46.

I tucked in a faux-sheepskin rug and a couple throw pillows to make it a little cozier. Wesley likes to add some plush friends and books as well.

My hope is that he'll make this his little getaway, create his own space around it. For now I'm happy that he'll sit in there for a few minutes and play on his own!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Windsor Chair Redo

Last winter I shared a post about refinishing our dining room table (read that post here). Originally when I purchased the table off Kijiji I wanted to buy the table alone but the gentleman selling it offered the matching chairs for free. How could I pass up free? They were the same ugly finish as the table so I knew I would have to paint them eventually and "eventually" turned out to be TWO YEARS LATER! It took a couple of weekends and a little elbow grease but I managed to get them done.

{the before shot}

{sanding them up, my least favourite part...}

{all done!}

One coat of primer, two coats of paint, and two coats of diamond Varathane finish. I love the cool grey colour I chose, Oyster Bay by C.I.L. I think it compliments the creamy white table but has just enough contrast as well. 

I debated for a while about whether to distress the finish on the chairs the way I did with the table, I do so love that worn shabby chic look, but decided to leave them as is. Again, I like the contrast to the table and I think it gives me more opportunity to play around the dressings for the chairs. I'm on the hunt for some cool seat cushions but until I find exactly what I have in mind I'm experimenting with a few ideas. 

{throw pillow?}

{folded sheep skin?}

For now I think I'll leave them plain and enjoy seeing my handiwork. I also think I'll hang up the paint brushes for a while - at least until inspiration strikes again!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holiday Gift Wrap

Call me crazy but I love wrapping presents. I find it relaxing and seeing the finished product just makes me smile. I'm not overly meticulous (my corners don't always line up and the tape usually has dog hair stuck in it) but I do like to get creative. This year, in keeping with my Christmas colour scheme of red, white, and brown, I wrapped all our gifts in coordinating paper.

I always keep a few rolls of regular, ol' brown parcel paper from the post office on hand as I find it's the easiest to jazz up and suitable for all occasions. I also picked up a roll of cranberry red paper from Ikea and a patterned red paper from Superstore.

Since my wrapping paper is pretty basic I like to use unique ribbons to dress my parcels. Red, white, and brown twine, leftover lace trim, and some scrap fabric work perfectly in this area. Last year I topped my presents with pine cones as well but there are lots of other clever finishings for gifts (think feathers, sprigs of pine, dried flowers, or small plush toys for young kids).

I'm not a big believer in greeting cards so I usually just make my own little gift tags from craft paper and Washi tape or stamp the recipient's name right on to the wrapping paper. It's cheap and personal and looks pretty crafty too!

Gift bags are, of course, a quick and easy way of wrapping presents. When I receive a gift bag that I like I hold on to it for future use. I also keep generic shopping bags that don't have store names on them to use for gift wrap. The Dollar Store is a great place to buy inexpensive bags and tissue paper too.  

If you wrap your presents early enough they can really add to your holiday decor. Now I can't to unwrap them!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Santa Baby

One of the activities from our advent calendar was to visit Santa. We took Wesley to meet Santa at the mall last year and it was a successful trip (ie no tears). The photo was adorable so we decided to make it an annual tradition. I had pretty realistic expectations about this operation, I've seen photos of friends' almost-two-year-olds with Santa and they're not great, so I thought he would probably sit on Santa's lap and maybe he would look at the camera. When we got there we were the third people in line so during our 5 minute wait Wesley would wave and smile at Santa and laugh when Santa waved back. This was great! My expectations grew: maybe we'll get a genuine smile for his photo! Instead, we got this:

This was the best of the options. He didn't cry but he sure wasn't impressed. Oh well, I love it because I think it really captures the moment. (Note: he smiled HUGE when Santa gave him a candy cane - why don't they do that first?).

And because I can't help myself, here is last year's photo:

What a difference a year makes! I have both photos framed next to each other and every time I look at them I smile. Then I see this photo and burst out laughing:

Hahaha! Maybe next year we'll get the perfect Santa photo. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Advent Calendar

I've been on a bit of a hiatus over the last, oh, 7 or 8 months while I've been back to work but now that my little one is in day care full time I've found some tiny pockets of time to myself and I've been DYING TO BLOG.

Last year I didn't blog at all about my Christmas decorating so I thought now would be a good time to make up for that. I'm not the type to go crazy with the seasonal decor, I subscribe more to the theory that "less is more" so come holiday time we only decorate our mantel and Christmas tree, which is just enough for me.

Our mantel is easily the focal point of our open concept main floor. Because it is so long it is my favourite area to decorate. The past couple of years I've stuck with a pretty neutral Christmas colour scheme of red, white, and brown. I love the rustic, natural look of browns and beiges mixed among cranberry red and ivory. Last year I made a long garland by knotting little pieces of red and taupe scrap fabric along a strip of white linen. I laid it along the top of the mantel then broke it up with clusters of giant pine cones that my mother in law brought home from California. A simple pine wreath and some faux berries in a vintage milk bottle were added in as well.

One of my favourite blogger's, Mary from Urban Farmgirl, was selling these rustic advent calendars in her shop and I fell in love. I was so excited about how the little linen bags match my holiday decor perfectly. I was also excited to be able to count down to Christmas with my son without feeding him candies every day. I made up 10 tags with activities to do together such as baking cookies, tobogganing, and visiting Santa, as well as 5 gift tags, which correspond to small presents.

Of course, the other 9 bags have chocolates in them (I couldn't deprive the little guy).

We're only on Day 6 of our advent calendar but little Wesley is catching on. I won't lie, he's the most excited when he finds a little red candy in the advent bag but he's also had a good time decorating, visiting Santa, and baking cookies so far. Tonight he opened gift number one and ate supper by battery-operated candlelight.

Who knew that an advent calendar could create so much family fun?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Shiva's Strawberry Party

For those of you who don't know, Shiva is our Great Dane-Labrador and she recently turned two years old (that's 14 in dog years). We never meant to be one of those families who celebrates their dog's birthdays with parties but last year we hosted a family bbq and had so much fun we decided to make it a tradition. We serve hotdogs and lemonade, it's casual and fun. 

I love party-planning and my favourite place to buy my supplies is the online shop Sweet Social. While browsing through all the pretty items one day I came across these adorable baking cups and instantly I had a theme to build Shiva's party around: strawberries! Here are a few photos from that afternoon.

We decorated with my staples: tissue paper poms, crepe paper streamers, and fresh cut flowers all arranged to resemble strawberries. 

Strawberry cheesecake & strawberry daiquiri Jellybellies were on hand along with Maynard blush berries that were pretty tasty. We added some frozen strawberries to our lemonade this year and topped them with strawberry slush. Hotdogs are our traditional doggy birthday meal so we had all the fixings to compliment them. 

Dessert was vanilla cupcakes in those adorable little baking cups and, of course, fresh strawberries. For the four-legged guests I found these strawberry-shaped dog cookies at Bone & Biscuit in Summerside - too perfect!

 {Shiva's boyfriend, Moose, enjoying his treat}

 {the birthday girl}

A huge thank you to our family and friends who came over to celebrate our girl's second birthday. She's a lucky dog to be so loved.