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make this DIY abstract artwork with a step-by-step guide in under 30 minutes!! - via the sweetest digs

DIY abstract artwork

14th July 2015

Artwork is one of those things that can totally MAKE a home. Inject a room with artwork that you love, and all of a sudden it will feel so much more personal and like you. It brings the life to a space, you know? The hump that people sometimes face is that it can be expensive. Thing is though, if you look around and get creative, there are so many budget-friendly ways to bring interesting artwork into your home (I even have a Pinterest board dedicated to collecting DIY artwork ideas). I recently needed a piece for above our mint and gold buffet, and had a very specific colour scheme and look in mind (and a zero budget). The solution? Paint my own DIY abstract art.


What you’ll need:
-A stretched canvas, whatever size you want (you can get canvases from any art/craft store like Michael’s, Joanne’s, etc). A white or black canvas works, as you are going to layer lots of paint on so it doesn’t really matter what colour you start with.
-Paint. Acrylic or even leftover latex wall/furniture paint (This set of paints is a great kit to get started with – I like this budget friendly but good brand)
Liquid gold foil
-Paint brushes
-A plate for mixing your paintsDIY abstract art step by step tutorial - via the sweetest digs

I had a white canvas left over from a previous project that I used for this DIY artwork. It was big and just the right size for above the buffet, and I had already painted the base white (it had been something else before). I had mis-placed my easel (guys, you don’t even want to see how disorganized and crazytown our storage area is looking right now…), so I just painted my canvas with it leaning up against a chair. #makeitwork

canvas 1

As for my paints and brushes? In order to get the exact colour scheme I wanted, I had to use a few different paint types. Some were acrylic paint that I had in my stash (my fave brand is Liquitex Basics – this pink one and this white one), and the grays were actually leftover wall paint that I had used on the doors on the main floor.


I also used a few different brushes. This green rubber one I had picked up recently gives a stripe-y look, a large (crappy) brush from some past furniture painting projects, and a finer art brush for the gold.


I started off by applying a little bit of liquid gold foil paint with a delicate paint brush to a few areas of the canvas. This is what adds that bit of glam and extra dimension to your piece. It’s much more intense than regular gold paint, and easier to use than applied gold foil. I use this one by PLAID and really like it.

canvas 2

Then it’s a matter of layering on paint. Don’t be too rigid about this or labour over it too much. I always start out by applying the darker colours. You can see here that I added strokes of the gray and the pink to get started.

canvas 3

Then I layered over with white. I knew I wanted this canvas to be really quite light overall, so I was liberal with my white application.

canvas 4You want to make sure that your entire canvas get covered with paint so you get depth and dimension – just put lots on, and then if it’s getting too colourful or dark, blend in tons of white over top.

I was going with mostly horizontal strokes to begin with, but then added some vertical in the bottom corner to again add more interest.

canvas 5Applied my last batch of white paint and blended it all in to get the soft look I was after. Then, even though I felt like I could keep tweaking and tweaking, I stepped back and put down the brush. The nice thing with acrylics (versus something like watercolour) is that you can always add more and cover up areas after your piece has dried. SO – relax and let the artwork sit for a little while before you go overboard with changes.

canvas 6Even though I painted this vertically, I ended up liking it horizontally better over my buffet.

DSC_1297There is no major trick to creating DIY abstract artwork, but just have fun with it, use the colours you love, and make sure to blend blend blend.

And if gold is your jam like it is for me, then seriously do the gold foil thing. It adds so so much to the canvas. DSC_1299 Hang, and get ready to get all kinds of comments and questions on where you got your new artwork! I promise people are going to be super surprised when you tell them you DIY’d that bad and gold dresser -3

Have you guys done at DIY artwork at your place? Got any favourites to share? I wanna hear about them!


catching up…

13th April 2015

Hi guys! Sorry for the radio silence on here for the last little bit. If you follow me on instagram, you probably noticed that Dan and I went away for a week to Tulum, Mexico (a birthday present to ourselves!). We got back last week but I have been playing catch up with emails and work (and taxes… ugh), and then we threw a birthday bash back here at our place over the weekend. I also have 4 craft fairs and a pop-up shop I’m trying to prep for. Things are busy, yo! Promise to be back here later in the week to spill more on our trip and party, and of course, have more updates on the house and other things.


Until then… what have you guys been up to? Any fun spring activities going on? Travel? Puddle jumping? House cleaning? Fill me in.

gold kitchen cabinetry hardware - via the sweetest digs

kitchen design: choosing gold hardware pulls and install guide

23rd March 2015

I’m all about the gold and brass and copper these days. Are you guys? When I was a teenager, I was a silver gal through and through, but I slowly migrated over to the warmer metal tones over the last decade+ and especially during these last few years, when all things gold have become on-trend again. So, it’s probably no surprise that when I was choosing the finishes for our kitchen, I immediately gravitated toward gold hardware pulls.

HOW TO install kitchen cabinetry - via the sweetest digs

With the dominating grey and white scheme in our kitchen, I knew that bringing in a bit of gold would warm up the room and add a little bit of glam. I knew I wanted something with clean lines (nothing too ornate) and a pull style rather than knob (just a personal preference thing).

I searched around and fell in love with a few different options – like these and these and these. Ultimately though, some sleek gold pulls from my go-to hardware source, Lee Valley, won me over with price AND look. No having to order online and pay for shipping, or deal with the Canadian-US price conversion. In a perfect world I would have loved to get brushed brass pulls that had a slightly more squared profile, but these were so close that I couldn’t really justify the price difference.

These are the ones – “J” on the far  right side (product number 00W5840). I almost passed them by as the ornate ones on the left aren’t my jam… but then… there they were! They were $5.25 a handle since I was buying more than 10.

lee valley gold pulls

A few notes about installation:
– Figure out exactly where on your cabinet the pulls look best to you. Maybe it’s perfectly centered, or up towards the top. Hold it in a few different spots and take the time to figure out what you like.
– Use a hardware measuring tool (that plastic thing with a bunch of pre-measured holes). You can get them from just about any hardware store, and it really helps make marking out the spots to drill so much easier. I also made a template on paper that I could hold up on my cabinet and make sure I was starting out at the same spot every time.

installing gold cabinetry hardware in a grey and white kitchen - via the sweetest digs
– Always measure twice (three times!), and then drill. Take your time. You don’t want to mess this up… no pressure.

installing gold cabinetry hardware in a grey and white kitchen - via the sweetest digs
– It’s best to drill 3/4 of the way through from the front, but then drill that last bit from the back, as that way you get a clean hole. If you go all the way through from the front, you can have a bit of the cabinetry finish flake off the back around the hole.

installing gold cabinetry hardware in a grey and white kitchen - via the sweetest digs installing gold cabinetry hardware in a grey and white kitchen - via the sweetest digs

Once your holes are drilled, it’s just a matter of taking a screw driver and mounting the pulls. The fun part!

installing gold cabinetry hardware in a grey and white kitchen - via the sweetest digs

There is something about the combo of grey and gold that makes me all kinds of happy.
installing gold cabinetry hardware in a grey and white kitchen - via the sweetest digs

installing gold cabinetry hardware in a grey and white kitchen - via the sweetest digs

The fun thing about kitchen hardware is that it is easy to switch up over time. If, down the road, I want to go for a more “farmhouse” kitchen look, I can put some matte black pulls in. Or maybe I will veer back into the silver arena over time. Who knows. The nice thing is that the big choices in this room – like cabinetry, backsplash, and countertops – are all neutral and long-lasting, and switching out the small things as tastes evolve and change over time, is do-able. Oh, and cabinetry pulls tend to come in standard sizes, so it’s fairly easy to replace pulls without having to fill and drill new holes.

kitchen design, gold hardware pulls, gray and white cabinetry, IKEA kitchen

installing gold cabinetry hardware in a grey and white kitchen - via the sweetest digs

So that’s how the kitchen is looking these days. I need to update you guys on that backsplash, lighting, and faucet (coming soon – promise!). And there are a few things that are still on the to do list: our hood range isn’t up yet, we don’t have the right size of garbage/recycling bins yet in the cabinets, and I’m not happy with the white of the window trim as it is too bright next to the tile… so thinking of painting it out either just a soft white or maybe a gray? You would think the “to do” list at our place would feel like it’s getting smaller, but somehow it just seems to be ever-expanding. Not sure how that works.. ?!

Have you guys ever switched out the hardware in your kitchen? Got a favourite style or colour?


saving the date

9th March 2015

Dan and I didn’t have a long engagement – just under 4 months – since we had a pretty clear idea of the wedding we wanted and it didn’t take too much organizing to plan (it was held at Dan’s family cottage in upstate New York so there wasn’t major venue and catering bookings to do). We wanted to get word out about our wedding date quickly once we had nailed it down, so sent out a pretty basic save the date via email, followed up with a postcard style invite.

Us two, engagement day in St James Park in London…

engagement pic

Having missed out on the fancy save the dates and invites train, now that I see these beauties from Shutterfly… I have to admit, I’m a little jealous. They are all kinds of pretty.


Don’t you loved the one with scalloped edges? And the one with the couple in the yellow boat is all kinds of sweet. I love the fact that they all include photos, making them super personal. If you’ve had an engagement photoshoot you could use one of those, but I also find selfies that have been edited with filters can look just as cute too. Stefanie over at Brooklyn Limestone snapped a quick family selfie for her cards a few months ago (they are adorbs!) and included a few tips here.

As you guys have seen before, I order all of my photobooks and Christmas cards from Shutterfly and have always been super happy with their designs, quality, and shipping times. I’m so smitten with that scallop edge card… I think I’m going to need to find one like that for Maya’s next birthday party or our Christmas card or something!  DSC_1470

Designs from left to right:

1- 5×7 ticket trim card with cursive lettering
2- 5×7 card with bracket trim
3- Rounded edge card
4- Foil design with ticket trim card
5- Scalloped trim 5×5 card

Are you guys planning a wedding, or know of someone who is? Go check out the designs at Shutterfly and keep your eyes peeled for their rotating deals and sales! For those of you who are already married, did you guys do save the dates? Or have any selfie tips? I’m the worst at them… so please, I’m all ears! 

Post has been sponsored by partner, Shutterfly


project reno: the main floor layout

17th February 2015

When we decided to build up on our bungalow, it made sense to take down all the walls in the main floor to get an open concept living space. We didn’t need the bedrooms down there anymore since we would have plenty upstairs, and we didn’t want it to feel pokey or like it had been added on to.

house reno: main floor layout ideas - via the sweetest digs

I need to film a house tour for you guys soon, to give you a better sense of how everything flows. Here is a totally-not-to-scale floorplan of what the bungalow used to look like:

rowanwood - floor plan

And here it is on our design drawings. Way more profesh. It looks a lot more square now, thanks to the garage added onto the left side.

main floor layout


As you have seen, the kitchen stayed in the same spot but we moved the front door over to get more of an entryway area. What had been the living/dining room in the old house, is now our dining area. Down the road, we would like to have a bigger table in that space — something that would seat 8 or 10 people. And obviously once we have curtains, a rug, and other decor, it will help define that space better. Right now it’s a little bit like a table floating in the middle of the house, covered in reno junk.

house reno: main floor layout ideas - via the sweetest digs

Across from the dining area is the side wall that used to be part of our hallway. It houses the side entrance (that leads to the basement and the garage), our main floor bathroom, and a new broom closet on the left. This photo was taken a while ago (pre-door hanging), but you get the idea.

house reno: main floor layout ideas - via the sweetest digs

Then moving down into the back of the house, in what was our master bedroom, we now have the new living room. We put in a patio door – the biggest we could afford – to help maximise the connectedness to the backyard. We would have loved an accordion style door that opens right up in the summertime, but those cost some serious dolla dolla bills. Having this door to the backyard is a huge game-changer for our house, as you used to have to exit through the side door and then walk around to the backyard. There was no patio or deck back there, so we really didn’t make enough use of the space. Now with this doorway leading out onto a deck (we will be building that in the spring), we hope to spend way more time outside.

house reno: main floor layout ideas - via the sweetest digs

We pushed out from where Maya’s nursery (slash office) had been and moved it over into the new attached garage. That space will eventually become our home office (right now it is acting as a put-the-junk-in-there-and-close-the-door kind of space).

house reno: main floor layout ideas - via the sweetest digs

The new staircase is in the spot where we used to have a linen closet and partly into where Maya’s room used to be. We looked at having the staircase in other spots so that our living room could be a bit more open, but none of them quite worked or made as much sense. Staircases take up a surprising amount of room. It means that we have this nook at the back of the living room, which we will utilize as a little play space. We’re making a mini door under the stairs to hold toys. Maybe eventually make it a little secret hiding space? Wouldn’t that be fun?

house reno: main floor layout ideas - via the sweetest digs

And then let’s turn around again to that living room. We REALLY wanted a gas fireplace in the house, both for the cozy factor and to help with heating, so we worked that in to our plans from the very beginning. We had it installed by a local fireplace company, and then I drew up some plans for built-in shelving around it.

house reno: main floor layout ideas - via the sweetest digs

Now that this has all happened, it’s crazy to stand on the main floor and think that this space had been our entire house. Although it did feel as though it was getting small for us, it had clearly been really well designed and made such efficient use of the space.

I’ll be back later in the week to give you an update on the fireplace built ins. They are really coming together and I’m in loooove.

Hope you guys had a good weekend! It was “family day” here yesterday in Ontario. Dan didn’t get it off work sadly, but I had a chance to hunker down for the day with Maya. We are over some serious cold/flu viruses we had been battling, so it was nice to relax and play together. I’m totally ready for winter to be over though. This deep freeze we have been in is depressing. Come on, spring!


2014: year in review

1st January 2015

Holy smokes, how is it 2015 already? Feels totally crazy to me. Time seems to be whizzing by at lightning speed. Well, happy new year, you guys!! Just as we are saying goodbye to 2014, I thought I would take a little look back at the year on the blog.

I have a bunch of favourite posts and projects from 2014. In no particular order …

These DIY gold and white jewellery stands were easy to do and continue to look gorgeous. I still love gold and still love swiss crosses… can’t get me off those trends yet. 

Unfortunately this stair runner using IKEA ‘soften’ throw rugs hasn’t made it through our renovation, which is terribly sad because I loved it. Definitely a favourite project from 2014.  make-a-gorgeous-DIY-stair-runner-using-IKEA-rugs-and-upholster-nailsI had so much fun making over this nursery for a friend/client. It’s full of handmade touches and clever ideas, like this little nook where we used IKEA Ribba picture ledges for kids books. nursery-bookshelves-using-IKEA-Ribba-picture-ledges-via-the-sweetest-digsAnd the bunkie! This was definitely one of *the* projects of 2014 for me. A major makeover transforming a tool shed into this nautical retreat at my parents’ cottage.


Although I thought this was going to end up as a major craft fail, this burlap ribbon table runner ended up being quite darling.


And this was a recent one, but these felt pennants are all kinds of cute. I’m ready to whip out a dozen more because they were so easy and fun to do.


One new thing I did this year was style a few weddings. I rent out vintage stuff for various weddings and events, but I hadn’t ever taken on an official stylist role until this year. Let me tell you — it was so my jam. I can’t see myself ever doing it full time, but I do have a few weddings lined up to style for 2015 already. Fun.

This gold + pink wedding was glitzy and gorgeous.


And this more vintage-inspired wedding, full of greenery, was a beaut. Plus, it was my girlfriend Courntey’s wedding – so double fun.


Continuing on the event trend for a sec, one of my favourite events of 2014 was definitely Maya’s 1st birthday party. It was full of friends, family, and fun. We did a time capsule, smash cake, and this polaroid wall of ‘firsts’ at the party.


I also posted a little about parenthood in 2014. My post on my struggles with breastfeeding ended up being hugely popular with a lot of readers. Obviously this is an issue that deserves more discussion!


Other popular parenthood posts this year included my follow up post about pumping, and my top 10 tips to support a new mom (or generally, new parent).

top-ten-tips-to-support-a-new-momAnd obviously – the most major thing that we took on in 2014 has been our whole house renovation. We had been dreaming and planning this large scale renovation for several years and decided it was the right time to pull the trigger. It has been a whirlwind 6 months living out with my parents and managing this reno, but we are in the home stretch now and it feels amazing.

I did a last tour of the bungalow, which makes me all kinds of sappy. As much as I’m excited about our larger, more family-friendly home, I did love our little space.


This pretty much sums up our 2014.

What a great year! We also had lots of personal fun things like travelling to Puerto Rico and England, spending several weeks in the Adirondacks, re-branding my shop and starting to sell in craft fairs and in retail, Dan continuing to enjoy and be challenged by his work, and lots of fun with our now walking and talking toddler. There were a lot of firsts in 2014 for our little lady!

In terms of the blog, I hope to make this coming year my best yet. Heck – I have a whole house to do – there is going to be a serious amount of DIY and decorating projects! I have like 10 moodboards floating around in my head at all times and new ideas popping up constantly. I can’t wait to really get started. I’m going to need your input, guys! I also hope to continue to weave in stories of our family life, of parenthood, and maybe a little more “lifestyle” stuff like food, fashion, etc. Thank you so much for coming by this little corner of the internet. I so appreciate you guys — you’re the best!! It’s why I love blogging so much and continue to do it. Seriously, if it weren’t for all of you reading and commenting, I wouldn’t be here. So thanks. Happy new year, darlings! Let’s make it a great one. xo.


getting a house Christmas present with RBC Rewards

10th December 2014

I have chatted before about my experience with RBC – well, with a seriously tight budget for Christmas this year, I thought about those points that we had been accumulating. It seems like the right time to put them into use.

The house is getting really close to the move-in point, which has me all kinds of excited. Is it weird that I kind of want to get the house a Christmas present? I’m all, “Hey dream house, merry christmas! welcome to the family!”. I told you – a little weird.


We usually use our points for travel, but RBC Rewards also has a big selection of products that can be purchased using their points, too. Think Kate Spade, KitchenAid, Apple, Future Shop and Best Buy items, and so many others. Here are some of the things that I have on my house christmas present wish list this year.

I love these fizzy water machines.

ProductImage (1)

This kettle is a classic and way cuter than the white plastic one I have. I love the cheery colour, don’t you?ProductImage

Now that we have more floors + rooms, my one Tivoli radio won’t quite do it. This bluetooth Bose speaker looks pretty snazzy and Dan says it has amazing sound.

ProductImage (2)

And if I was gifting myself? This rose gold and white watch by Michael Kors is a stunner. Is giving yourself a Christmas gift a thing? I’d like to start.ProductImage (3)

Maya isn’t quite old enough for it yet, but I’m totally digging this workbench by Melissa & Doug. Gotta get her DIY skills underway so she can help mum and dad around the house.ProductImage (5)

You can check out everything RBC has to offer through points here through their holiday destination guide. And I mentioned it before, but if you shop through the RBC Rewards eMall, you earn bonus points on every item purchased. More points = more presents or travel, which sounds pretty sweet in my books.

Are you guys points collectors? Ever used them to purchase gifts? Am I the only one who wants to get my house a Christmas present? Probably, huh?

This post was brought to you by RBC Rewards, but the images and opinions are my own. For more information, please visit RBC Rewards.


thrift store makeover: chalkboard paint + a globe

10th November 2014

When I had my black chalkboard paint out the other weekend – remember how I gave this tray a makeover? – I did another quickie DIY project on a globe I had picked up at the thrift store. Apparently I was on some kind of chalkboard paint kick?

Here was the globe pre-painting. I really liked the vintage colours of the globe itself, but wasn’t so crazy about the faux wood base. It doesn’t look too terrible in these photos, but in person it was definitely erring on the side of tacky. Plus it was all scratched up.

IMG_20140928_102731 IMG_20140928_102800

It took two coats of black chalkboard paint that I applied with a small brush. No sanding or priming necessary. I was careful so I didn’t need to tape anything out. Then as with any chalkboard paint application, after it has dried, you want to cover the paint in a layer of chalk for a few mins, then rub off. This “sets” the chalkboard paint so that the first message you write on doesn’t leave an imprint forever. I usually try and do this with the side of a piece of chalk, but this base was tricky to get at so I just had to lightly draw all over it.

DSC_0010After I rubbed off the first layer, I decided to write a little message. Ideas included “adventure”, “travel”, “see the world”, “oyster”, etc, but in the end settled on “Explore”.

Nothing fancy – just my handwriting and an arrow to loop around.


The fun thing is that you can totally switch up the message over time, or just leave the base black. Kinda has a cool library vibe, don’t you think? It’ll definitely be making it up onto the built in shelves that we are planning in the main floor office.

Have you used chalkboard paint on unconventional items? I have been on a total kick. I just love the matte texture, even if you don’t use it to actually write on. Now, what to paint next ….


giving thanks

14th October 2014

This past weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving, and in our neck of the woods, it lived up to its expectation of a beautiful Fall weekend. Leaves have turned into bright reds and oranges, the sun was out, the air was crisp, and it was just a gorgeous weekend to be outside. Unfortunately our little girl had a fever for the first two days of the long weekend, so we were house-bound, but on Sunday we got out to our family cottage for one day and night. And were we ever glad we did…

DSC_1074 DSC_1078

We have so much to be thankful for. Our happy, growing girl, our health, wonderful family, amazing friends, a home that we are making perfectly ours, jobs that we enjoy, and each other. It is nice to have a holiday that makes you reflect on the larger picture. It is easy to get wrapped up in the small struggles of the everyday sometimes, but when you take a step back, it is so easy to see how amazingly lucky we are. DSC_1105Sidenote, have I ever mentioned that Maya is super strong? Like if I’m trying to take something out of her hands, it’s a major tug of war. And I don’t always win.

This pumpkin? Totes no big deal. She’s all, “What, this? No biggie, ma. Now what?” DSC_1133



Taking inspiration from the outdoors, thanksgiving table decorations were easy to put together.

A palette of wood tones + gold + white candles + linen = perfection. Throw it on a black tablecloth for some drama like I did, or use a burlap table cloth for an even more earthy vibe.
DSC_1159 These leaves were cut out of a copper coloured aluminum foil, but you could also just grab leaves from outside and place them down the middle of the table. Really simple, but creates a beautiful, warm table, don’t you think?

DSC_1162Sources: ‘Thanks’ napkins, Script Bowl, Round Wood board, Stoneware Plate. All from Chapters Indigo. They have gorgeous stuff, hey?

Oh and do you follow me on instagram (I would love it if you did!!)? Anyway, I posted the latest house pic last week. Beginnings of a porch! Stone along the front bottom of the house! Progress is happening.

IMG_20141009_135448And while I’m going on about thankfulness, I should also just mention how grateful I am for all of you who pop in here. Your support, comments, “likes”, and emails are what make this whole blogging thing so much fun. I really (really!) appreciate all of you. Thank you. 


DIY cardboard tube crafts via the sweetest digs

Viva paper towels + cardboard tube crafts!

13th October 2014

Since Maya started eating solids at 6 months, it has progressively become a more and more messy affair. We went from feeding her purees in a neat and tidy way, to finger foods which she loves to squish into her high chair and occasionally drop on the floor, and now we are at the stage of letting her have at it with her own spoon. A bath is usually pretty necessary every evening around this place.

This was at the beginning of a meal. I’m pretty sure some of that yogurt made it into her hair by the end…


I had been using a wet washcloth to wipe down the high chair tray, but it always got all full of squished food and I was having to throw it into the wash every other day. So I started to get into the routine of using paper towel to wipe down the tray first and pick up all of the bits, and then usually go over it again with a washcloth quickly afterwards. Are you guys paper towel users? We actually almost never used them until our little monkey showed up. But how can you get mad at that face?


I tried out the new Viva(R) Vantage* Choose-A-Sheet* Towels with V-Flex* Weave  recently and was super impressed.


The sheets are nice and thick and are more textured than the paper towel we had been using previously. I found that I didn’t even need to go over the high chair with a washcloth after using these towels. Anything that makes clean up easier for a parent of a messy toddler is a win in my books.


The nice thing is that they have this stretch capacity, so it can really make it over any surface. Like into all of the nooks and crannies of the high chair. And the thickness means that it soaks up everything in one go. You don’t need multiple sheets for a cleanup.

Oh, and the other fun thing? All of the crafts you can make with leftover cardboard tubes! Seriously, who knew, right? I so want to make those colourful fish.

DIY cardboard tube crafts via the sweetest digs

Sources: 1. japanese flying carp (ie. fish), 2. castle 3. advent calendar, 4. cardboard tube christmas ornaments, 5. DIY Honeycomb wreath.

Viva paper towels are available at most large grocery and department stores. Keep your eyes peeled for them, and head on over here to get a $1 off coupon!

This post was brought to you by Viva® Vantage*, however the images and opinions are my own. For more information please visit