Category Archives: our digs


shower tile: subway with a side of marble

19th January 2015

Let’s get back to the kids/guest bathroom, m’kay? It feels like the one room in the house that is close to being finished. Maybe cause it’s the smallest? In the post last week you saw how we put down charcoal grey tiles in a herringbone pattern and installed the IKEA vanities. Well, let’s get to the shower.

Like the floor tile, there wasn’t any DIY’ing going on here (too little time – functional bathroom required!). We have a great tile guy who works quickly and does beautiful work. To start off, he painted the drywall with a waterproofing material.image (6)

As you can see, in keeping with the black + white direction of the room and my general French vibe, I figured that classic subway tiles would be perfect. Plus, they don’t do too much damage on the ol’ wallet. To up the ante a little though, I went with the extra long ones. You can still get them at your regular big box hardware store – I got these ones at Home Depot. The price per square foot didn’t end up being all that different from the usual 3×6 subway tile size.

That orange thing in the pic below is a niche – little nook where you can put shampoos and stuff. It feels all kinds of fancy to me…. but in actual cost it was only an extra hundred bucks or so (for materials + a bit of extra time in labour).

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I had a little fun with the niche and bought one sheet of marble hex tile. It isn’t cheap, but buying just one sheet was do-able (also from Home Depot). DSC_1327


We went with a medium grey grout. I like the way the subway tiles pop, and I also like the fact that the grout won’t show dirt. Three cheers for less cleaning?!DSC_1331 DSC_1333 DSC_1337

I would have looooooved to get a black shower head/drain set, but the black ones I could find were all on the expensive side. This budget-friendly Moen one in chrome was $150 and the traditional shape felt like it would suit the bathroom (it is this fixture from Rona). DSC_1343Oh, and here is a more “keepin’ it real” pic of the niche. It holds 4-5 bottles, which means that we have just a few tucked in that one corner (I’m a bit of a product lover, and Dan and I don’t use the same stuff… so you know… there are always quite a few bottles on the go!). I also need to grab one of those bags that you can put bath toys in. Right now, our various boats and ducks sit on the vanity when not in use. Not ideal! 
DSC_1346So that’s how it’s shaping up. I need to paint in there and then I can get to the really fun part: accessorizing. Oooh how I’m dying to put up a piece of art somewhere in the house.



planning + designing a kitchen

13th January 2015

So, the kitchen. The heart of the home, right? Just to jog your memory, this was our sweet little diner-style kitchen we had pre-reno.

home tour 9

We had made it work by painting out the oak strip cabinetry, adding new hardware, and laying those fabulous budget-friendly black and white vinyl tiles. We lived with our kitchen like this for a number of years, which gave us lots of time to think about what our dream kitchen would look like.

One thing that was on the must-do list was to expand the kitchen. You can see in these pics that I snapped just as we were moving out, that our kitchen was on the right side of the supporting wall…


And the living room on the left side..IMG_20140609_111313

Well, one of our main re-design elements was to bring that wall down (a beam put up in place to support the house). Once our renovation was underway in the summer, things were looking pretty horrific.


When you do any kind of large reno, you just always have to remember that it gets worse before it gets better. Otherwise you would just want to hide under your pillow and wonder why on earth you ruined a perfectly functional space…


As the house was getting framed, we turned our attention to planning the kitchen. We kept the kitchen in the same general spot as it was before to save on costs related to moving plumbing, but we moved our front door over to the other side of the house so that we could expand the kitchen right up to the exterior wall. Where the door used to be, would now make way for a big picture window.

Before I go on, I just want to make it clear that we are newbie DIY kitchen designers and did these mock ups on our own. Once we got to our more final version, however, we consulted with an IKEA kitchen rep, which was definitely super useful. If you’re able to, I would always recommend chatting with a professional kitchen designer as there are lots of things that they can help guide you with, and point out things that you might not have considered.

On our first crack at using IKEA’s kitchen designer tool, we came up with this. We got the basic layout down, with the “work triangle” people talk about (you want a triangle between your sink, stove, and fridge for efficiency and ease of use). You can’t see the sink in this snapshot, but it goes under the window. The whole thing wasn’t bad, but the island was looking really dinky. We needed to leave a certain amount of space around the island for walking in and out of the kitchen, so this short island was basically as big as it was going to get. In the picture it looks decent, but when we measured it out and imagined it, I just didn’t love it. Plus, we ended up deciding to do a wall to help define the entryway/front door area, so that wall was going to come up and block the left hand space around the island. Plan #1 nixed.

possible layout3

In our second attempt, we switched from an island to a peninsula. Made way more sense space-wise, and this way we could build out the wall by the front door. I didn’t like the symmetry with the microwave built-in by the hood vent though (and it wouldn’t have been functional anyway, I have now found out!), and wanted to incorporate some glass fronted uppers.Kitchen Snip #2

Version 3 was the winner. I liked the symmetry of that far wall, the peninsula gave a nice big stretch of countertop while leaving enough walking room between it and the fridge (over 3 feet), and we could still have our wall to help define the entryway. See where there is a box on the floor of the peninsula that doesn’t appear to have a cabinet on it? That’s where the wall would come to from the far left side of the picture, leaving enough space to tuck two stools in to the peninsula. kitchen layout

Here it is with the new door, window, and wall framed up. See what I mean about wanting to define the entryway? If we hadn’t of put that wall in, you just would have walked basically straight into the kitchen. Not terrible, but not ideal either. I like having the bit of wall, and it gave an opportunity for a few more upper cabinets and a spot to run a bunch of electrical.


I had done up a moodboard a few months before on a bit of a whim, and I ended up sticking quite close to the design.


Flooring >> We decided to carry our hardwood through to the kitchen, both for continuity on the main floor and also because I just love hardwood in a kitchen up next to painted cabinetry. I like the warmth that it brings to the space. So our medium tone gray-brown hardwood (more details on that in another post) was what we started with.

Cabinetry >> We knew we would go with IKEA – great prices (most important factor for us), nice contemporary styles, and good reviews from friends and fellow bloggers. I went back and forth about going with all-white cabinetry, but in the end I fell in love with the grey of the Lindigo cabinets.

ikea kitchen gray lindigo cabinets

via IKEA

I like the look of a two-tone kitchen, so we went with the grey for bottoms to help ground the whole space, and white uppers. If I had a huge kitchen I would have loved to do some open shelving, but the reality is that our new kitchen, although bigger than it used to be, is still not massive. I knew we would benefit from having as much storage as possible.

As I type this, the kitchen cabinetry is actually in, but we are still waiting on countertops, and figuring out hardware, backsplash, etc. More pics and posts to come soon!

Have you guys designed a kitchen before? Ever gone with IKEA? Got any tips or secrets to share?

home tour 6

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.

home tour 1

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.

home tour 2

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

home tour 3

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?) …
home tour 12

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.

home tour 19

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.

cdn bloggers home tour


AKA Design

The DIY Mommy

Northern Style Exposure

Echoes of Laughter


Pop of Pretty

Rambling Renovators

Craftberry Bush

Elliven Studio


First Time Fancy

So Much Better With Age

The Creek Line House

The Sweetest Digs


Clean and Scentsible

The Happy Housie

Just Beachy

Dans le Townhouse


The Uncommon Law

This Little Estate


after the demo debris

26th June 2014

I wanted to share the latest photos with you guys at our renovation site. Everything on the interior has been demo’d as you saw in-action in this post, and now that the debris has been removed (two huge dumpsters worth!) and everything cleared out, we were able to really get an idea of what this new ground floor space is going to feel like.


It’s totally crazy to see it like this. The house already feels completely different. No more bedrooms, or hallways, or blocked off kitchen. It’s just one big, bright and open space. There aren’t going to be big lofty ceilings like you see in these pics because we are putting the second floor on, but still, it feels so much more opened up.
We were able to walk around and plan where we might put a couch, or our dining room table. Imagined walking through the new front door. Cooking in a kitchen that has a stove from this millenium (ha!). It’s a trip.
Remember? Our turquoise door, the front closet, and the kitchen!


The bathroom somehow looks even more teeny tiny now than it did before. That space to the right of it (in the photo below) was Maya’s nursery/our office. Already hard to believe.


Up next? The guys are about to start peeling off the brick from the facade, remove the roof, and tear down the free-standing garage. There is no way we could be doing this part of the work ourselves, and we feel great about the experience and knowledge that our contractor and his team are bringing to the project.

If you happen to be a reader from Australia and have done any building projects, you might have gotten your industrial and building supplies at Gotstock. They are a well-priced online retailer that supply all kinds of things from electrical supplies, to tools, to hardware. They generously sponsored today’s post – so thanks Gotstock! And as usual, thanks to any of you readers who support the brands who support this blog. Love love.

Nothing like a construction site to get you all pumped up. Any of you demo’ing anything lately? It’s way easier to see the vision when everything has been cleared out, I find. Like a fresh slate. 


light it up: new wall-mounted lights

13th January 2014

If you’ve been a reader of this blog for a while, you might have noticed that in addition to the new mirror in our bedroom from last week’s post, there was also a switch up with our lighting situation. For quite a while, we have had two task lamps on either side of our bed. I still love those lamps, but the bases were really quite big and when the baby made her arrival, we realized we really needed the space on our nightstands much more than we used to. Bottles, blankets, books, creams, etc. were all taking up mad real estate. No room for a nicely styled book + plant + light combo anymore.


So we decided to move out the lamps for now (we plan to re-use them elsewhere down the road), and landed on these Hektar wall-mount lights from IKEA for $20 a pop.

Dan did the installation. One of our little tricks for reducing the mess when you’re drilling is to fold a piece of tape in half lengthwise. Then stick half onto the wall and have the other half as a little “shelf” for the dust from the drilling. It’s not going to pick up all the dust, but it does cut the mess down a whole lot.


They aren’t the most amazing lights ever or anything, but I’m pretty happy with them. They cast a nice bright light for reading, and the look is simple and unassuming. I would have preferred hard-wired sconces where the cord doesn’t show, but getting finicky with our electrical right now just wasn’t in the cards.


The black finish is nice and matte, and plays well with the grey walls and black picture frames we have going on in the room.DSC_1202


It’s really nice to have all that space back on the nightstand. The baby clutter has reduced somewhat lately as Maya has given up the night feeds (yessss!!), but it gives plenty of room for lotions and potions, etc.

What do you guys do for lighting in your bedroom? I am digging the sconces for sure. In our future bedroom (post addition/reno), I definitely want to hard wire some in. I have also seen some people do these stellar hanging lights beside the bed that have an industrial and cool vibe. Thoughts? 


a new bedroom beauty: the EQ3 ‘Conner’ mirror

8th January 2014

When EQ3 got in touch recently and selected me to be their December “blogger of the month” I was ridiculously flattered. I’m crazy for the Canadian store – did you know it originated in Winnipeg and they still manufacturer most of their products (including all upholstery pieces) there? Love that. And don’t forget the EQ3 Reverie sofa that I have been so pleased with.

I was gifted an accessory from EQ3 as part of this series, and I quickly chose the ‘Conner’ mirror in white (it retails for $99). I have been keeping my eyes peeled for a round mirror for above our bed for a long time now, and the Conner couldn’t have been more perfect.

It’s a pretty big mirror, so it’s easier to have two people on hand to do the install. The hubs and I measured out where the center spot on the wall would be, eyeballed the right height, and then broke out the drill. We do the paint tape trick of folding it in half and sticking it below the spot where you’re drilling to create a little ledge where (most) of the debris should fall. It definitely helps with the clean-up.


The simple round shape of the mirror plays off the straight lines of the bed and headboard perfectly. And it’s big enough to have a presence up there, rather than feeling too small and rinky-dink, you know? DSC_1174

I like the way it reflects the chandelier and the art display around the TV on the opposite wall. Again, the lines on the opposite wall are very rectangular (frames + TV), so it’s really nice to have the rounded shape of the mirror to add some dimension.DSC_1184

And the symmetry that the mirror + light fixtures + pillows provides in the room is much needed with our off-balance windows.DSC_1192

One of the features I really like about the mirror is that it is inset quite deeply within the painted wood frame. Somehow it makes it feel more luxe that way. It gives off a bit of a nautical feel, don’t you think? DSC_1202


Sometimes it’s just one piece that can make a room feel a whole lot more complete, you know?  And although I used this in our bedroom, the scale and look of the mirror would be fab in so many different spots. I can picture it looking gorgeous in a bathroom above a vanity, in an entryway above a narrow table, above a fireplace, or on a big wall in a mixed gallery wall.

Thanks a million to EQ3 for having me as the blogger of the month, and for this lovely mirror! I couldn’t be more pleased.

PS. I owe you guys a few other bedroom updates. More on those wall-mounted lights and bedside table soon.

What do you guys have hanging over your bed? Anything? I always find it a difficult spot to decorate. Leave just the headboard, add a mirror, mixture of frames, some antlers or other more arty object, etc. So many choices! Oh, and I always make sure to hang things really securely…wouldn’t want anything coming down in the middle of the night!


curb appeal 101: painting the front door

22nd November 2013

Remember back in this post when I lamented over our front door colour? And then bit the bullet and painted our screen door black?

Well, with the now-black screen door, my colour options were now wide open. I could go with any of my original contenders (yellow, red, or navy), or could get a little creative.

First step was to tape off the door. I used an “exterior surfaces” painter’s tape from ScotchBlue that I hadn’t tried before (this is the stuff). The special feature is that with a bit of pressure when you are ripping it off the roll, it tears off in a straight line – no scissors needed or wonky cuts! It only took a few tries of getting used to breaking it off, and it really made things a cinch. Taping off all of these little windows took waaaay less time.


I’ll give you three guesses on what colour I went with…DSC_0783

When I was browsing my Martha Stewart paint deck, I saw her teal colour (called “araucana teal“) and I was sold. It’s a fun and happy colour, knew it would go well with our red brick and black accents, and gives a bit of a hint of our aqua-loving house inside. Are you surprised? Turquoise is like my middle name, you guys.

I had it colour-matched at the Home Depot to CIL’s exterior paint in a satin finish.
DSC_0786Oh I should mention that I gave the door a bit of a sanding before getting started. I didn’t go overboard, as we will replace this door when we do our major addition/reno, but I wanted to get some of the major dings sanded down a bit. Then I gave it a wash with a soapy cloth, let it dry, and got started on painting.

First up was to cut in with a 2″ angled brush.

And then I finished off the rest with a small foam roller. It took three coats for full coverage.


This is a really good photo of the colour. It’s very much a teal. I couldn’t be happier.DSC_1175

You can see that there are still some dents in the door, but the paint did a nice job of distracting from them. They were more noticeable in the glossy white, which was so dingy looking.DSC_1176



I really like the balance of the cool turquoise with the warm red and rich black accents. It’s a happy little marriage of colours.DSC_1180

With the screen door closed you can’t see the turquoise as clearly, but there is still a pop of colour from the street.DSC_1188-edited

This is one of those projects that I so wish I had done when we first purchased. The turquoise door and black screen have really changed the curb appeal of our place. There is still lots to do (hello landscaping and dingy walk-up pathway).. but it is miles better.

What colour is your front door? Are you into bright doors? Love neutral beauties? I definitely still love a black or deep navy door. I think we might go that route in our future once the addition/reno is done. 

a new look

24th July 2013

Notice anything different around here? Yep, not only do I love to tweak my own pad, I like to switch up the look here on the blog every so often! I’m still working out some kinks, so bear with me over the next few days. I’m going for a super clean and fresh look, with better galleries for DIY projects, better general readability, and ability to navigate.

Back to the regular programming. With the changes and small upgrades we made to the living room recently, here are the latest photos of the room.


With the sunny yellow and cornflower blue accents, it’s a bright and cheery room. Feels nice during the summertime for sure. And with all of the main pieces being neutral, it means that it’ll be really easy to switch out the accents to create a different vibe come fall. You know I have a slight pillow obsession, so digging into my personal home decor store (ie. linen closet) provides an easy way to change things up!


The two poufs were ones that we brought back from our trip to Morocco a few years ago. They provide some extra seating, and will be great for when we’re hanging out on the floor with the kiddo. They are definitely one of my favourite things that we have brought back from our travels. Totally reminds me of walking around the medina (market) in Fez with the hubby – I can almost taste the mint tea and smell all of those crazy scents.


There is definitely a little part of me that would love to do something entirely different in here (part of my constant house-tweaking nature!), but with our plans for an addition/reno next year, I don’t want to put in much effort or moula at this point.


Ready for a little trip down memory lane? Here was the room one week after we moved in. It didn’t stay like this for long, but it’s pretty funny to look back at where we started from. So bad, right? Ha!


 Are you guys constant house tweakers like I am? Making any changes in your living room? Spill the beans!

ch-ch-ch-changes in the living room

22nd July 2013

As we finish up the nursery around here (two more weeks until my due date!), I also wanted to make a few switcharoo’s to our living room.

Remember how I mentioned in my “before baby” post that I wanted to get the two small dressers on either side of the TV painted? They were two slightly different off-whites, and one was pretty badly banged up.

This one was very much a cream colour…


And this one had loads of chips and had been painted with a really bad paint that wasn’t durable at all..DSC_0351

My super lovely mum wanted to give me a hand with getting things done around the house, so while I was working one day she came over and painted them! Seriously, how lucky am I? I’m also lucky that she is a re-finishing furniture pro and total perfectionist. She sanded down both of these pieces with my palm sander and gave them two coats of my fave Rustoleum medium gloss white paint (it’s available off the shelves at Home Depot).

Once they were all dry, I brought them back in to the space and threw the knobs back on.


I’m always so pleased how a fresh coat of paint – even in a similar colour – can make a piece of furniture feel brand new. DSC_0391



The one to the right of the TV needed a knob upgrade, so I grabbed these gorgeous glass minty ones. So pretty, right? They came from a small store where my parents live, but you can find similar ones from Anthropologie.




We also said goodbye to hubby’s beloved Poang chair in the living room. Though it was super handy to have the chair, it was never my favourite and we knew we were going to need the floor space to let our little lady have tummy time and crawl around. Now we have this nice patch of free floor where we can play!


The last change was to switch out the rug. We planned on using the green trellis rug in the nursery (more on that later this week), and wanted something neutral, non-shedding, and super budget friendly in the living room. With the possibility of our house addition next year, we knew we didn’t want to splurge now on a rug. So when I saw this bound taupe-y/grey area rug at Home Depot for $35, it quickly came home with us. With the $40 we got for our Poang chair off Kijiji, it was a break even move. My favourite!


Yes it’s a little small for the space (it should really fit under the front legs of the couch), but the colour and how easy it is to keep clean made it a total winner.DSC_0424


I didn’t have time to edit all of the photos this weekend, so I’ll post some before and afters of the living room later this week.

Hope you guys had a good weekend. Anything fun going on? Have you been switching things up in any parts of your house lately? Oh, and did you hear that Kate Middleton is in labour? I can’t wait to find out if it’s a boy or girl, and what they name him/her. Do you guys have any guesses?

project nursery: a no-sew closet curtain

2nd July 2013

You may have noticed in the last nursery post, a glimpse at the new closet door we have in there. Well, a closet curtain actually. We started out with a door on the closet, but quickly realized that to maximize the space in there and get a nice long dresser along the far wall, we were going to have to lose the door (there wasn’t enough room for it to swing in and out). I have always liked the look of closet curtains, and they are pretty great for closets you have to access a lot.

no sew closet curtain

So while my handy hubs took the door off, I got to work on putting together a curtain panel. This Amy Butler fabric (called ‘Love Water Bouquet’) had been on my original moodboard, and when I received it from, I knew it was the right choice. It has a nice dose of minty green, with a little pink thrown in. And the florals are just so pretty. Amy Butler always knows how to do sweet fabric, in my opinion.

amy butler fabric

Making a no-sew curtain panel is super easy.

First you want to cut the fabric to size after it has been pre-washed. Cutting is totally a personal preference thing – I like the curtain to graze the floor, but not puddle much. I wanted there to be a nice amount of pleating in the fabric when it was closed, so I cut it at double the width of the closet. Be sure to leave a few inches extra on all four sides for hemming.


Now for the hemming part.

Step 1: One side at a time, fold and iron down the hem (usually about an inch thick).

Step 2: Put the heat ‘n bond hemming tape in place, along the underside of the hem. You can grab hemming tape at just about any crafts/sewing store. I like to use the heavy duty stuff just to make sure it really holds up.

no sew curtain collage

Step 3: Fold the hem over the tape and iron over the whole thing. You want to really give it a good ironing so that the tape has fused well with the fabric. It can be a bit slow-going, so it’s good to do this in front of a TV show or something. My personal recommendation is Bachelorette. Ha! On that note, was anyone else was a little bummed that Juan Pablo didn’t get a rose last night?

Back to the curtain. Once you have done all four sides, you’re finished! Time to hang up the curtain.

We installed a piece of dowel (it was unfinished wood that I sprayed white) on the inside edges of the door frame with some brackets – all from the Home Depot. I wanted to use the clip-on curtain rings for a few reasons – one is that they slide super easily, so it’s great for a curtain you need to open and close often, and secondly, I felt like they are a bit safer for the babe. If she pulls on the curtain, the curtain will just come out of the clips instead of the whole bar crashing down.



I’m definitely pleased with how it turned out. I like the injection of colour and pattern into the room, and it really functions well. Although I love all of the sweet clothes and other baby things in the closet, it’s nice to get it all hidden!



DSC_0299So we can check that one off the list. Holla! Time for a gallery wall, shelves, and mobile. Watch out nursery – you’re gettin’ finished.

Happy Canada Day, guys! Did you have a good long weekend? Hope so!  Done any no-sew curtains lately? Seriously, it’s way less scary than breaking out the sewing machine (well, for the non-sewers in the house!)?