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en route to blogpodium 2014

12th September 2014

So I am en route to Toronto today for tomorrow’s BlogPodium conference.  It’s an amazing Canadian conference for design + lifestyle bloggers, organized by the fabulous Jen Flores.

I have been going to Blogpodium since the very first ½ day event as part of the Interior Design Show in January 2012. I remember being so incredibly nervous. I came in, almost peed my pants when I realized there was a red carpet area to have my photo taken (How do I stand? Do I have something on my teeth? Is my hair frizzy? Do I look like a huge loser here by myself?), and then proceeded to sit solo in the audience with people chatting all around me. About halfway through though, I started chatting with Laura Collins, and suddenly felt way more comfortable. A few more chit chats later that evening (with Britt, Tanya, EJ, etc), and I felt like I had known these gals for ages. They were fun, easy going, we had lots of similar interests (surprise surprise!), and lots of them didn’t really know many people either.

For a bit of fun, I looked back at my photos to see what I could find. Here we are, circa Jan 2012.

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via my daily randomness

And then the next one, later in 2012. Maybe this one was more formally the “first” BlogPodium? Anyhow, I was super nervous all over again. However, like the first event, I started chatting with some gals at my table and quickly relaxed.

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And then there was last year – a totally different story for me. I was only 6 weeks post giving birth to my baby girl, but still determined to go. With major anxiety, I left Maya at home with her super capable Dad. It looked a little something like this…

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I packed up my breast pump and headed off to Toronto. My first night away from this munchkin. Look at those skinny minny legs and socks falling off the feet!

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Admittedly, I felt like I wasn’t totally relaxed last year (pumping breastmilk in the public washroom, anyone? Ha!), but I still so enjoyed the event.

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Even won a prize from The Home Depot! 2013-09-21 11.32.12

And now today, leaving my girl again at home with Dad, but with MUCH less anxiety this time. Except for deciding what to wear. Think I’m going to go casual this year with jeans, boots, and black tee.

Every year I go, I take away new information, a renewed motivation, so much inspiration, and the best part, new friends. Can’t wait!

Also – Did you catch my hair colour changes? Blonde to dark brown, and now to ombre (okay, mostly blond) again. Apparently I can’t make up my mind.

Are you a blogger going to BlogPodium? Say hi, if you are. Can’t wait to meet you! What are the rest of you up to this weekend? Any big plans?

bunkie makeover - the sweetest digs

a nautical bunkie makeover reveal!

11th September 2014

Finally! I can do a reveal of the cottage bunkie. It’s been a long time coming. I first posted about making it over last summer, and then baby and life took over, and so my parents and I finished it up this season. Well, we can happily put a fork in it. This nautical bunkie makeover is done-zo.

bunkie makeover - the sweetest digs

Remember when it looked like this, as my Dad’s former workshop?

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Well it was re-worked to double as tool storage at the back, and bunkie with deck at the front.

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The deck and glass railing really help to show off the lake view. The plan is to put a chair up there so you can grab your cup of tea and sit and relax with a book.DSC_0624 DSC_0629

From the inside, it had been jammed with tools and other junk, and there were only the two small windows.

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And now it is this light, fresh, and beautiful space.

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Seriously, who wouldn’t want to sleep out in this cute bunk house? My mum has been sleeping in there on the regular since it was finished. Likes it better than her own room!

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The black frames were from Target and I put in some vintage nautical prints – anchors, shells, sailboats, that kind of thing. I’ll have them up for sale in my shop shortly.

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The blue and white striped bedding was from Target. We bought it at the end of the season last summer, and unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be in their stock anymore. I did see some really similar bedding over at HomeSense recently though , and this collection at Target is pretty similar.DSC_0588 The dresser was a thrift store find that was made over with navy blue paint and new hardware from Lee Valley Tools. The mirror above came from HomeSense (the Canadian version of HomeGoods). I love the injection of brass into the room – it adds a lot of character and warmth.DSC_0554I had thought that I was going to search out fabric and make the drapes, but when I came across these pre-made ones at HomeSense, I was sold. They had some interest with the grey wavy pattern, but weren’t overly bold. Paired with a black curtain rod, they add a certain crispness to the space.DSC_0601 I was really happy with our decision to keep the walls white and paint the ceiling in a light grey. It definitely adds more dimension to the room.

I usually can’t stand ceiling fans, but the newer sleek modern ones really aren’t so bad. This 3-blade beauty came from Lowe’s, and totally works in the room.DSC_0602

We installed the holder for the fan remote behind the curtain, so you always know where it is, but it’s out of sight and won’t get lost at the back of a drawer or something.DSC_0599DSC_0604

Here is a recap of the blog posts associated with the bunkie makeover (more source info there, if you are looking for it!):
-Design Inspiration
-Exterior Finishes
-Interior Finishes
-Dresser makeover: navy + gold
-DIY bunk beds

What do you think? Definitely has a cottage vibe going on, right? I just love makeovers like these. I have so much fun shopping around for everything and pulling it all together. Especially when it’s for my parents – easy clients, that’s for sure! 

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Maya’s first year: Shutterfly photobook review

8th September 2014

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you will know that I love photobooks. Do you guys have “baby books” that your parents did for you? Or maybe you have done them for your kids? Well, I haven’t done one of these for Maya as I knew I wanted to do a baby’s first year photobook for her instead. I keep a journal with funny things she does and milestones, but this was the spot for all of the photos we have been snapping since last August (which you know for a new parent is A LOT).

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I used Shutterfly for my pregnancy photobook (see that here) and was so impressed with not only the quality of the book and ease of using their software, but I loved the design templates. I went through the ones that they have for baby books, and fell in love with the ‘Hello World’ design. I found the designs to be modern and clean – nothing too frilly. And the great thing about their designs is that you only use what you want. You can have really basic pages just with photos, and then mix it up with their templates.

shutterfly1If you are making a photobook with a lot of photos that go in a chronological order of some kind, here is a tip. The longest part can be choosing your photos – I copy/paste them into folders by month. Then, when I am making my book, I upload the photos one month at a time. I upload that month, create all the pages, then no photos are left in the photo tab, and then upload the next round. That way you don’t have like 100+ photos in the photo tab and you are scrolling through trying to figure out what should come first, what to collage on a page together, etc.

As usual, the book arrived quickly and packaged carefully. It is lovely. I have flipped through it at least a dozen times already. Even Maya pointed to the photos of her and squealed (I always wonder if she recognizes herself, or just thinks it’s some cute baby?! Ha). DSC_1038

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I really like that you can put text on the spine of the book, and add photos to the back cover. DSC_1013

So remember my monthly Maya photoshoots? Well, I was able to fit them all onto two pages here. I *love* it. It is so sweet to see how she grew over the year. I feel like each month captured her funny facial expressions, long limbs, and look at that last one… practically running! DSC_1014

For the first time ever, I upgraded to the “lay flat” pages. It means that when you open the book the pages lay perfectly flat rather than bending from the spine. I have to admit, it’s pretty lovely. I feel like the book might stand up better over the years with this feature… we’ll see.
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All of those “firsts” photos that I had prepared for Maya’s birthday party (see that here), I uploaded onto a few pages at the end of the book. DSC_1026

And I always like to have some pages that are just one full photo. They are really pretty stunning all blown up like that. I used the photos from our 2 family photoshoots that we have had since she was born as I knew the quality of the photos was really good.
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A bit of a love theme going on, as you can see. 
DSC_1036Cute, right? Oh and Shutterfly always has rotating sales on their products. Usually a % off the photobook, extra pages for free, and/or free shipping. Definitely keep your eyes open for those deals, as you can save a lot! You can always create your photobook, and then just have it saved and ready to place the order.

Do you guys make photobooks? Any tips for doing them quickly? The longest part for me is always choosing the photos to use. Man, it takes forever… but the result is always worth it. 

*Disclosure: I am working with Shutterfly on their baby campaign, and so received this particular photobook for free. All opinions are my own though (as always), and I order from Shutterfly on the regular! Love them. Thanks for supporting the brands that support this blog!

 

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Etsy road trip + latest faves

5th September 2014

So remember the Canadian Etsy roadtrip that I gave you the heads up on the other week? Well, it happened, I missed it (boo!), and it looked like it was awesome. Here is a recap video. Worth watching even just to see the cute displays of goods – Etsy peeps know how to do it right.

My latest etsy obsessions?

I’m crazy for these bracelets. Love the bright pops of colour and sort of edgy-girly vibe. They are all 50% off right now (only $10!)… I’m sorely tempted to put a few in my shopping cart.

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This pillow is amazing. Aztec pattern + turquoise = my heart is skipping a beat.

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I definitely want one of these decals for our front door when our house is done. Doesn’t it make the front door seem so cheery?

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This little apron would be so cute for any kiddo.

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And these plush ice cream cones? Please. I love them.

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Lastly, this clutch had me at hello. So, so gorge, right?

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Oh, and as an aside, did you also know that Etsy is doing a series of pop up craft shows across Canada on Sept 27th? It’s the ‘Made in Canada‘ event, and they are in a bunch of locations. I’ll be at the Ottawa event for sure (I actually have a booth!). Let me know if you plan on going!

Have a lovely weekend, guys. Any special plans? I think we might try and get away to the cottage even just for a day. I feel like the warm weekends are slipping away… Need to take advantage while we can!

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our latest news: summer, house, life

2nd September 2014

Well, we are back from our 2 weeks away in the adirondacks (upstate NY). It was totally lovely. We were there with all of Dan’s family – 7 cousins all under the age of 5 (!!). The weather, despite a few cool days, was warm and sunny and gorgeous. We spent afternoons by the lake, I tried stand up paddleboarding for the first time (loved it!), ate lots, slept lots, and relaxed. When you are at home by yourself with baby everyday, it definitely felt like such a treat to have Dan there 24/7 for two whole weeks.

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Beansie totally loved swimming. Squeals of delight – especially when we let her go in totally naked. So fun!

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And guess what happened this morning? We dropped Maya off at daycare for the first time! I was obviously nervous (typical mummy), but she just went right in, left me, and headed off straight to the other kids and toys. I barely got a kiss out of her. Ha! My social little butterfly. Anyway, I’m starting a 3-day a week contract (consulting, so my own hours, which is nice) and continuing to run my other small businesses on the side. I’m planning on keeping Maya at home with me on Fridays, so we are hoping it will be a nice balance for everyone. We’ll see how it goes! Right now, as I sit at my computer solo, it’s feeling totally strange…

Oh, and the house. Here are some photos of how it is looking these days.IMG_20140831_163842

They have got all of the framing done, which is neat because now we can really start to see the new shape come together. It was looking super rectangular there for a while, so to have some rooflines up is great.

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As you can see they have started to wrap the house with insulation, and some of the sheeting on the roof is done. This week they should be finishing that, and getting the shingles on. I had to make a quick decision on the shingles while we were away so they could get ordered, so I went with a basic solid black from BP Shingles (the company our contractor uses).  I had originally been thinking a grey, but with the grey siding we are going to use (Hardie Board in Iron Gray), it means that I don’t have to worry about greys matching.

This is the backyard. Those concrete pillars are for our future deck. Yes – A deck! After living with just grass back there for 5+ years, we are seriously pumped about creating a nice outdoor space. Right now the building of the deck is on the list for our contractor, but if money gets too tight, we might put it off and build it ourselves next summer. We’ll see…

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As with any project like this, you always have to expect some delays. I won’t get into all of the details, but the permit process back in the spring/early summer got a little crazy. It got lost in sending to a certain section of the City department, so we didn’t get all the feedback right away. Anyway, it took about 2.5 months to get everything approved and sealed – about a month longer than we had anticipated. Then, last week, the truss company made a mistake and didn’t allocate for one of the stairwells. It had to go back and be partly re-built. Another week (or more) delay. Anyway, you expect this kind of stuff, but it’s still a nuisance when it happens. We had hoped to be almost done with the trades (electrical, HVAC, plumbing) around now, but we’re probably about 6 weeks behind where we originally thought we would be. In any case, we better be back in here by Christmastime!

Here’s hoping that we are smooth sailing from here! Cause we’re pretty giddy to move in….!

IMG_20140831_165618Did you guys do any kid dropping off this morning? Daycare? School? This always feels like the “real” start of the year to me. I used to LOVE the first day of school. So excited to bust out my new jeans and school supplies. I still get the feeling like I want to go out and buy a new planner and set of pens and pencils. 

 

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RBC rewards 101 + a giveaway!

28th August 2014

Are you guys ‘points’ people? You know, have the cards for the different places you shop and earn points that you can redeem for various products? I DEFINITELY am. My mum was always big on points, and we took quite a few family trips thanks to various travel rewards programs.

Dan and I both had travel reward type credit cards when we first met – he was with RBC and I was with another Canadian bank. One of our early Christmases together he brought me down to Florida on RBC points, and after seeing how easy it was to book the exact flight I wanted, it lured me over to RBC. I have since been converted to their visa card program, with it’s excellent rewards system.

Speaking of that Florida trip, here we are back in 2007… before careers, house, baby, and all that. Plus super blonde hair and oversized hoop earrings. They were my jam.

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We tend to always save up the points for travel, but when the #RBCRewards101 campaign came out, I headed on over to RBCRewards.com to check it out. I totally hadn’t realized the number of different products you can purchase with points – it’s not just flights and car rentals. You can get gift cards, Best Buy and Future shop products, all kinds of stuff. We love to save ours up for travel though, so what I was even more excited about? The fact that if you shop through RBCRewards.com you can earn WAY more points per purchase — that trip to Mexico (or Italy? Or Turks and Caicos? Ahhh …) will come sooner than we planned! The retailers that have signed up to give you bonus points include the Apple Store, ALDO, Banana Republic, Forever 21, GAP, The Home Depot and Lowe’s (!!), Indigo, Old Navy, Vistaprint, Walmart, and hundreds of others. Seriously how did I not know this?? I am definitely going to be purchasing through the RBC “eMall” from now on when I’m doing online orders.

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I’m not quite in the “back to school” rush yet with Maya as she is only 1 year old … but I know a lot of other parents who are doing some big orders right now. This would be a perfect way to get a little extra bang for your buck. Maybe let you go on that March break trip you’re dreaming of? RBC has also created a “Back to School” hub with some videos that you can check out here.

Okay so now for a giveaway. This one is only open to Canadians (sorry non-Canadian readers – another giveaway to come soon..!). The prize? A $25 gift card to either Target, Esso, Indigo, or Best Buy. You’ll rank your preference and they will do their best to get you your top pick. Enter through the rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Finer details: You may enter to win across multiple blogs (that are participating in the RBC Back to School campaign), but can only win on one. You must be 18 and live in Canada (excluding QC). You can expect to receive your prize 4-6 weeks after the contest closes.

Disclosure: I am part of the RBC Rewards Back to School Blogger Campaign with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

DIY bunk beds 7 - via the sweetest digs

cottage DIY: the bunkie bunk bed tutorial

26th August 2014

Okay so last you guys saw we had just finished the basic interior on our cottage bunkie (here), and re-finished the dresser (here). You can’t have a bunkie without bunk beds, so here is our bunkie bunk bed tutorial (say that ten times fast!).

DIY bunk beds 1 - via the sweetest digs

Sleeping space had to be maximized, so we knew we wanted to do two sets of bunk beds along either wall of the bunkie. We looked at a few bunk bed options at several stores, but since we needed very specific sizes and wanted a clean-lined look, my Dad decided that he would custom build them. It is pretty sweet to have a woodworker Dad…

The following instructions aren’t perfect, but they give you the general idea of what my Dad did. He made the frames for each bunk out of 1×1 lumber on 3 sides. The 4th side is joined to the other two by metal angle brackets (the frame is already painted white in the photo below).

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Then he put some 5/8 plywood on top of the frame (after the frame had been affixed to the wall). This is the tricky bit, as the plywood is the same length as the room, so it was difficult to maneuver into place.

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Once those were in, he put 1×6 poplar along the front edge. This was to hold the mattress in, and to add a decorative touch.

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DIY bunk beds 4 - via the sweetest digsWe purchased mattresses and duvets from IKEA, which was helpful to know those dimensions ahead of time.

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The ladder and railing were also made out of poplar – 1×3 pieces. The ladder is affixed to the bunk bed and is straight up and down, to not take up too much space in the narrow room. It also just comes to the bottom bunk rather than all the way to the ground, so that access underneath the bottom bunk is free and clear. A railing piece was added along the top bunk, you know, to keep people from falling out.

You’ll get a sneak peak at some of the accessories and finishes in the photos below (!!).

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We took the grey paint we had used on the ceiling, watered it down, and gave the poplar a grey wash. I really love how you can see the grain through, but it gives it a weathered kind of look.

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I couldn’t have been happier with the floating and minimalist look of the bunk beds. Go, Dad, right?

That’s about it for the how-to’s on the bunkie. Next post will be the full reveal. Just need to go and edit those photos …

What are you guys up to these days? Are you having any end-of-summer holidays? If you follow me on instagram, you may have noticed that we are in the adirondacks (new york) for these last 2 weeks of August. Dan’s family has their cottage here, and it’s always a ton of fun. We’ve had Maya’s 6 cousins here with us… the girl could not be more thrilled. Social butterfly, that one. 

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a last look at the bungalow: final home tour

20th August 2014

Since we are mid-build on our house, I thought it was the perfect time for a last look at the bungalow. It’s definitely bitter sweet – I really loved our little house, and we put a lot of effort into making it a home that was suited perfectly to us.

The turquoise front door was always a happy way to enter the house. I liked the way the colour played off the red brick, with black accents.

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Here was the entryway. It certainly wasn’t big, but we had some fun with it by adding that DIY floating shelf, hanging a minty green mirror, and painting the ceiling chevron.

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Although it needed a bit of touching up, I was sad to see this little bit of ceiling get torn up during the reno.

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Here was the living room, in its last iteration. Over the 4+ years we lived in the bungalow this room changed a bunch, but I was happy with the light, fresh, and colourful vibe of how it ended up. I have plans for a pretty different living room scheme in the renovated house. I’m thinking mostly black and white and wood, but still with touches of my first love – minty turquoise. home tour 4

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The adjoining dining room had a similar vibe, with the harvest table that I built with my Dad, two-tone buffet, and old pine chest (where I kept all my craft supplies – needed the storage space!).
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We gave the kitchen a facelift by painting out the oak strip cabinetry, adding hardware, and adding the vinyl peel and stick striped tile. Even though it still eventually needed an overhaul (cabinets were old, appliances were seriously vintage, layout wasn’t great, etc), this kitchen suited us just fine for the years we were in it.
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Down the hall came our one bathroom, which we renovated a few years ago. Luckily this bathroom has stayed fairly untouched during our demo, so it will remain as our main floor bathroom post-reno.home tour 11

I never felt like I got the master bedroom to look how I had envisioned it, but there were a few projects that I liked. One was this headboard, which I think we’ll use again in our new bedroom (maybe with a few fabric?) …
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And the other were those painted closet doors. I loved that something so simple – paint and some tape – totally transformed those ugly ducklings.

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Hands down my favourite room in the house was Maya’s nursery (slash mini office in the corner). It was so cheery and had so many handmade touches, that we will bring into Maya’s room in the newly built house.

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I loved making the raindrop mobile and ribbon garland while I was pregnant and waiting for my little girl to arrive.

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And the pink + gold dresser came out just as I had hoped, so this guy will definitely be moving into Maya’s future room with her.

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The best part about the room? This girl!!

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Luckily our basement will remain pretty much the same after the renovation (we are trying hard not to damage it too much) but the stairwell down to it will look pretty different. The few things we did here – artwork, yellow door, and stair runner – all made the space feel pretty fun.

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This was us on our moving day! We gave the little bungalow a kiss and although are sad to say goodbye to it as-it-is, we couldn’t be more excited about the larger family home that it is becoming. I’m giddy just thinking about all of the new spaces that I have to decorate. Confession? I think about each room and how I want to decorate it pretty much every night as I’m falling to sleep. #Obsessed.

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Okay now for the fun part. This home tour is a part of the Canadian Bloggers Home Tour that is going on this week! Be sure to check out these other bloggers for their fabulous homes. Seriously, there is so much good eye candy in here, and lots of project ideas.

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Monday

AKA Design

The DIY Mommy

Northern Style Exposure

Echoes of Laughter

Tuesday

Pop of Pretty

Rambling Renovators

Craftberry Bush

Elliven Studio

Wednesday

First Time Fancy

So Much Better With Age

The Creek Line House

The Sweetest Digs

Thursday

Clean and Scentsible

The Happy Housie

Just Beachy

Dans le Townhouse

Friday

The Uncommon Law

This Little Estate


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the ikea 2015 catalogue: favourite things

18th August 2014

The IKEA 2015 catalogue just came out. For me, it’s like getting a new design magazine or something – so many styled rooms with great ideas and new products. I just love looking through it. Although I haven’t gotten my hands on a hard copy yet, I did take a look through the online version and pulled some of my favourite pages (you can access the online catalogue here for the US version, and here for the Canadian version).

This colourful headboard is tons of fun and would add a graphic punch to a mostly-white room.

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It wasn’t one specific product in this next page, but the whole room that caught my eye. I like that the back wall is painted that deep gray, drawing your eye in, and the use of curtains was clever. If you had a bachelor apartment, this would be a great way to close off the bedroom section.

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An orange shower fixture? So fun.

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There are so many great kids things at IKEA. I love those green ombre gym mats, and that wood cabinet on the back wall could be customized with paint, wallpaper, chalkboard paint, etc.

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If they had have had this crib when we bought Maya’s, I would have been tempted to get it – I love the colour, rounded edges, and drawers underneath.

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I’m pretty positive that we will be using one of IKEA’s shoe cabinets when we move back into our house. Such a clever storage solution, and seems to come in various sizes these days. Also, that forest green coat rack is pretty rad.

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The bookshelves in this room just did it for me. Don’t they add so much personality to the room? And I love the frames and things stacked up on the top shelf.

7 I love the loungy vibe of this next room. The white walls, raw beams, big windows (without window treatments), huge sectional, cushy rug.. don’t you just want to relax here and read a book?

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Some clever paint ideas here. One is to paint the bottom half of the wall to create the effect of a chair rail or wainscotting – I especially love the contrast of the black and white. And the next is to do the tiled pattern on the floor. I’m also kind of dying for that green pendant for some reason. Just love the colour and scale.

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I couldn’t believe the inexpensive prices on these beds that have very clever built in storage systems. SO brilliant – particularly for smaller houses.

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This moodboard had me with the slightly grey-washed wood dresser, graphic rug, and hits of green. The emerald green seems to be getting trendier, hey?11

One thing I know for sure? Some of those Ranarp light fixtures will definitely be making it into our home at some point. I am crazy for the matte white and brass combo.

12And lastly some dinnerware. I like the blue + white set, but what I really fell in love with are those pink tumblers. Don’t they kind of feel like they belong in a diner? Maybe with a big milkshake?

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Anything catch your eye in the 2015 catalogue? Do you love to browse through IKEA’s stuff like I do? 

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maya’s first birthday party

14th August 2014

This past weekend we celebrated miss Maya’s very first birthday. It was a pretty exciting and emotional day – probably more for us than for our little girl. We survived our first year of parenthood! You know I couldn’t help myself, and of course had to throw her a first birthday party, right?

I didn’t have any real “theme”, but decided to stick with the colours that were in her nursery – pink, turquoise, and gold. We had the party outside on Dan’s parents’ farm, so there wasn’t really too much decorating to do.

I pulled out our old dining room table (it’s being stored in the barn there anyway – easy!) and used it as the main dessert table. I also put up a chalkboard easel to write a little birthday message.

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A great trick is to get some wrapping paper in the colours of the party, and then use it as a table runner, like I did here. I used some double sided tape to keep it down, but as long as you have some heavier items on the table, it won’t go anywhere.

I put out my cake stands with goodies on them, and then dotted some flowers around in my gold-sprayed mason jars.
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The gold letters are from Chapters (LOVE them!), and the rest of the party supplies were either from my existing stash or Target. I find Target has great party stuff – various colour options and patterns. I got the “Hooray” cake topper, hats, and a few other things from the Oh Joy collection a few months ago.

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Here is my “make a cake look good” secret. These were plain old cakes that I baked from boxed (thank you, Duncan Hines!) – 4 layers. Then I just put them on top of one another using some icing as the “glue” (again, store bought icing), and layered the icing over the whole cake. It was looking like a lopsided mess by this point. Not pretty. But how to save it? Stick it on a pretty cake plate, pop in a topper, and put some flower buds along the bottom. I promise – it’ll look pin worthy.
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For drinks, I decided to do a little drinks station. I found a card table in the barn, and so again covered it in wrapping paper. This time from front to back, taping it along the legs of the table. We did two different fruit punches – one berry, one orange/mango – in the dispensers. Then I set out a bunch of different fruit (blueberries, rasberries, sliced peaches, strawberries, etc), some club soda, and wine (white + rose), so that people could make their own cocktails. With a bunch of kiddos and breastfeeding mamas in the group, I wanted to have fun non-alcoholic options.

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The wine and beer was kept on ice in some fun, vintage buckets.

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I had looked up different games and activities for a first birthday party and the only thing that really caught my eye was a time capsule. I loved that idea, and paired it with a polaroid wall.

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For the time capsule, I grabbed a wood box from the dollar store and painted the top turquoise and wrote “Maya’s Time Capsule” with sharpie marker. Then I had small cards and pens ready for the party guests to all write down a little note to put into the capsule.DSC_0491

We sealed it shut, and Maya will get to open it on her 18th birthday. It’s hard to even imagine that birthday in 2031! After the party, I also added in some of the trinkets from the day, and the front page of the newspaper.
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Behind the time capsule table was the polaroid wall. I went through our photos of Maya from this past year, and pulled out the ones that demonstrated “firsts” of some kind. Then I used PicMonkey to put a polaroid lens on them and add the text, describing what that first was. I had them printed in 4×6, and just tacked them up onto the wall.
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They ranged from first steps, to first swim, to first hotel stay, to first time having a diaper change in the trunk of the car. It was so fun to do! I think I’ll include these into some kind of book for her down the road.DSC_0496

As for the party itself, it was low key and fun. We did the usual activities – like birthday cake!

Here we are bringing out Maya’s personal cake. She was standing up in her high chair with excitement. Ha!

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It was her first time having cake, so after some curious looks as to what this big thing was, the girl didn’t hold back. It was HILARIOUS.

She, plus the high chair, needed a serious hose down afterwards (cue the outfit change!).first birthday cake

Everybody was so generous and brought some lovely gifts. Taking the paper out of the bag was of course the highlight for her. DSC_0684

It was just so nice to sit and relax on a perfect, sunny day with so many of our friends and some family (we saw my family the day before at a wedding, and will be seeing Dan’s family next week, so it was mostly a friends affair).

I had won a gift card to Just Play Toy Rentals – a company here in Ottawa that rents toys for all kinds of occasions. I got a variety of things (tunnels, race cars, etc) and they were a total hit. I absolutely recommend them for any local folks!
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Oh and the swing set at the farm? So perfect for kids of various ages.

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And the cows. Man those things provide great entertainment.

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That was it! Couldn’t have been better. I threw a bunch of labels on the photos below — you know, for Pinterest purposes.

first birthday party - pink gold turquoise

birthday cake

drinks bar

first birthday party - polaroid wall of firsts

first birthday time capsule

Happy first birthday, my darling girl! We are so lucky to have you. This year has been full of joy, laughs, goofy grins, and adventures as a family of three. You sure do keep us on our toes! We love you.