a day at the beach: family photo shoot

29th July 2014

A few weeks ago, Dan, Maya and I headed off to the beach (Britannia Beach in Ottawa, for you local folks) and had a family photo shoot. Before I get to those ones though, I am taking a little step back down memory lane. Here is Maya at our first family photo shoot — she was 5 months.

{Photos by Baby & Belly}



I swore I wasn’t going to do “baby in a bucket”. And yep … here is the baby in a bucket. Whoops. Just too darn cute.343A2420


I love her “what the … ?!” face in the photo below.

It is wild to think about how much she has grown, learned, and developed in just these last 6 months. The baby is disappearing, and a toddler is emerging.

{Photos by Michelle Ma Belle Photography}

gemma005 - cropped edited


“Give me those bubbles, Mum!”


SO typical Maya – complete ham.gemma011




gemma020 - edited


I wasn’t sure what we should all wear for the photos, so kept it simple in light neutrals. I think it’s a pretty safe bet. Oh and I brought a few props along with us — a blanket to sit on in the grass, some of Maya’s books, and the bubbles.gemma021


The photographer was Michelle from Michelle Ma Belle Photography. Michelle is also a mum and so totally gets how to photograph with kiddos. She is easy going, fun, and has great ideas. I felt like it was going to be super awkward out in public taking photos (our other shoot was in a studio, and 99% of just Maya), but it was totally chill. Michelle made us feel at ease, and I hardly even noticed the other folks at the beach.

It was a hot day, Maya hadn’t napped in the car ride over so was on the cranky side, and Dan had taken his air cast off his leg and was hopping around on crutches (and would then throw the crutches to the side for the photo) — and Michelle was just totally helpful and relaxed. I can’t say enough good things about her!

gemma023 - edited



Isn’t she a great photographer? I love the way they turned out. And just an FYI that this post was in no way sponsored – I just wanted to share my experience!

Have you guys done any photo shoots? I try to snap lots of photos of Maya, but as she gets older, I get worse about it. It’s nice every once in a while to get some really great ones by a professional. Plus, then Dan and I get to be in them too! I’d love to do some with the grandparents at some point. 



snaps of summer

25th July 2014

I would probably rate Fall as my favourite season overall (how can you not love the sweater weather, changing leaves, and pumpkin spice lattes?), but summer is pretty darn glorious too. July and August filled with long weekends and holidays in the water, playing outside, and eating too many popsicles. This summer seems to be whipping by, and I have been feeling a bit desperate for things to slow down. I don’t think I mentioned on here that Dan broke his foot? One of his metatarsals during an ultimate game – he jumped for the disc and then landed on his foot weird. Oh, and he did this just a few days after coming home from Poland where he was for 3 weeks with work. Awesome. As you can imagine, I was really trying to be sympathetic about his foot, but I was a little grumpy about the lack of help with Maya. Anyway, he is off the crutches now and just in an aircast, so things are feeling more back to normal.

Between Dan being away and then healing, and our house renovation stuff keeping us busy, It feels a little bit like we are trying to play catch up with the summer. I want to make sure we are using the rest of our weekends trying to do as many summer activities as we can – picnics, cottaging, etc.

We were able on the Canada Day long weekend to get out to my family’s cottage. Dan hobbled around and we read, visited with family, Maya played in a “pool” (ie. rubber boat filled with water from the hose), did some boating, and visited the local Kenney Hotel (on the Rideau system).

It was Maya’s first time to the cottage since she was an itty bitty thing, so it definitely more fun this time around for her.


As you might imagine, I have totally turned into that typical mum when it comes to sunscreen. I don’t want that little girl’s skin exposed for even a second. We have bought a UV resistant bathing suit for her - with full arms and legs! – and I lather on that sunscreen like it’s nobody’s business.

When Aveeno sent me a sample of some of their baby sunscreen recently - their Baby Sunscreen Lotion SPF 55 - I was game to give it go. It has a nice flip lid that makes it easy to get the sunscreen out and not end up all messy and everywhere. The consistency was nice and thick but not at all greasy, and went on Maya’s skin really smoothly. It left a bit of a white layer, but not much of one, and it could have just been because I am super generous with the application. It doesn’t have a smell, and it’s waterproof – perfect for days on the lake.DSC_0422

Not much squirming. She helped me rub it in, and seemed to dig the packaging, too.

I can definitely feel more at ease having her skin exposed, when I know that she has a good layer of protection on.



Here was her first taste of ice cream. Not surprisingly, the girl LOVED it. I had to polish it off quickly as she just wanted to get her sticky paws all over my cone. #mummydoesn’tliketoshareDSC_0436


These two. Kills me.

dan and maya

The Aveeno baby sunscreen has been a great product for us over these sunny summer days. I have been using it daily, and still haven’t run out! One thing I will mention is that I am very picky when it comes to products for Maya. I try to stick with the more natural, environmentally friendly products as much as I can. It’s hard to know all of the ingredients that can be listed in shampoos, creams, etc. but I try to steer clear of certain things that I have heard negative things about. One of those things are parabens. I noticed that in the Aveeno Baby Suncreen SPF 55 there were some parabens listed (but interestingly, not in their kids sunscreen). I reached out to Aveeno about it, and they provided an excellent response that really put my mind at ease. Parabens are naturally occurring preservatives (are found in things like mangos and blueberries) and there are a bunch of different types. They are used in products like sunscreen because they can ensure bacteria and fungi aren’t able to grow, and help guarantee a product’s freshness and quality. Even though the levels of parabens in the Aveeno products are present at really low levels – far under the European Union, U.S., and Health Canada regulations – they have been keeping informed about the science and public dialogue about parabens, and are going to give parents complete peace of mind by phasing out the use of parabens in the baby care products by 2015.

I couldn’t have been more impressed with their response, and subsequently feel comfortable using their products.AveenoBadge May 27[1][1]

Have you guys been enjoying the summer so far? Taking any holidays? Cottaging? Are you good about putting on that sunscreen? I used to be terrible, but especially now that Maya is here, I have gotten so much better about putting it on myself. I just use some self-tanner too, to have that summer ‘glow’ (but try to steer clear of the Jersey Girl orange…!).

photo (4)

the cottage bunkie: interior finishes

23rd July 2014

So you saw the other day the exterior finishes we chose for the workshop-turned-bunkie at our lake. Now I’ll get into what we’ve got going on for the cottage bunkie interior finishes.

Remember, it looked like this?


As a workshop, this space had never been drywalled, so we were really starting from scratch. To make it a little easier on my parents and staying true to a traditional cottage look, we went with a beadboard for the walls. The beadboard is usually made of MDF and comes in large sheets (around 4×8). They come primed white, but you do need to paint them (even if you’re going for white).

I don’t have the link for the exact size we used, but they were similar to these ones from Lowes. Like the patio door, my parents bought these from Lowes in the States as it was cheaper than the same version in Canada.

I won’t get into nitty gritty about the installation as I wasn’t there during that phase (!!), but here is how it looks afterwards. Pretty light and lovely, hey?

photo (3)

On the ceiling, my parents found a ceiling plank product. They aren’t actually wood, but they came in planks and once up, totally look like painted wood (these are they). They don’t seem to be available online, but I’m sure you could find something else similar on the site.


My mum painted the walls white, and the ceiling a light grey. The colours were from the Martha Stewart line at Home Depot, but sadly they no longer carry the Martha paint. They had discontinued it last summer when we went in, but since I had the Martha swatches that we had chosen already, Home Depot just colour matched it to a different line of paint. I don’t think they even have the swatches anymore though. Bummer – I loved her colours.


The new paint instantly made the space feel light and bright. There is something about the combination of white walls and a coloured ceiling that I am crazy about.

For the floors, I knew I wanted to go with something light and beachy. We are at the lake, after all. We came across this laminate at Home Depot, and loved it.

2013-06-29 11.54.00

It’s by Kaindl and was called ‘Chelsea Hickory’, but when I was looking up a link, I couldn’t find it. It seems like the ‘Hickory Chelsea’ (reversed) that is now in the Kaindl collection is a completely different colour (here). Seriously, everything in this post is no longer! The ceiling planks, Martha Stewart paint lines, and now this flooring. A bunkie curse?

Anyway, the floor is a beautiful grey, without pink or purple undertones, and screams beach house. Like any laminate, it was fairly easy to install with a click floating system. Once it was in, I was even more in love.The colour is perfection, and the quality is really pretty good. Doesn’t feel like one of those bouncy laminates like you used to get. If I can find it again, you can bet that I might use in our renovated house (the loft maybe?).


The small overhead lights at each bunk were only $7 each from Lowe’s (these).


They are called the ‘Portfolio Wall Lantern’ and are meant for outdoors, but I liked the way they had a cottage vibe with the jar cover, and thought the matte black finish would be a nice grounding element in the space.

photo (4)

We grabbed 4 of them – one for each bed. Dimmer switches for each were installed, so someone can keep reading after others have gone to sleep. Pretty clever, if you ask me.

So walls, ceilings, and floors. Check. Next up? What bunkie is complete without bunk beds?

You guys doing any cottage decorating this summer? I am feeling totally inspired by the coastal vibe lately. Everything is coming up white, weathered wood, black, and indigo. Can’t. get. enough.

CIL Photo 1

CIL Paint Giveaway

21st July 2014

Are you itching to do a project around the house? Definitely the fastest and easiest way to fix up a space or piece of furniture is to give it a fresh coat of paint. Seriously, works wonders. Sometimes you can get into a bit of a paint paralysis situation where you deliberate and deliberate on what colour to go for – I have been known to do this for sure – but it’s always best to just bite the bullet and go for it. After all, it’s only paint.

The bunkie has been painted (more on that soon!), and my Mum and I also just decided to take on re-doing my room in our cottage as well. So painting that room is up next for us there!

Do you need some paint for your next project? CIL Paints has offered 3 free gallons of paint to one lucky reader! You can find CIL in Canada at The Home Depot, Rona, Walmart, Canadian Tire, and at independent stores across Canada. You can check out their “Stop Paint Paralysis” campaign here – you can sign up to get 20% off your paint purchase!

Here is a gorgeous room for inspiration – the back of the built ins is painted in Peking Blue (56BG 23/355*) by CIL Paint.

CIL Photo 1

Contest open to Canadian residents only. Contest closes on Friday July 25th 2014. Enter using the RaffleCopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What would you use the paint on? Is there a room in your pad that is desperate for a new coat of paint? Maybe a piece of furniture that needs re-doing? What colour would you choose?

etsy road trip

Etsy is going on a road trip

18th July 2014

This is more of a local post, but for any of you from the Ottawa,. Kingston, Toronto or Montreal and areas, listen up. is hitting the road and embarking on its first ever road trip!

etsy road trip

You know I love all things Etsy - an online marketplace full of amazing handmade and vintage goods – so an Etsy roadtrip just sounds like one amazing time. There are going to be local sellers, live music, and food trucks at each stop.

They are making their stops between August 1-9. You can check out all the deets – like which local sellers will be there, who will be in concert, and which food trucks you can sample - here.

Oh, and don’t forget that I still have my summer sale up on my Etsy shop. Buy 2 prints, and get a 3rd free. Just let me know in the “message to seller” which third print you’d fancy! I’m putting up new prints weekly, so keep checking back for new stuff.

Here is one my latest..


Do you guys have a favourite road trip memory or vacation photo? Share it on Instragram or Twitter and hashtag #etsyroadtrip for a chance to be highlighted on Going to any other craft fairs or festivals this summer? 

bunkie exterior 2

the cottage bunkie makeover: exterior finishes

16th July 2014

Last summer my Mum and I started gathering ideas and a few items to decorate the new bunkie at my parents cottage (remember, I gathered some inspiration from Pinterest here?). Anyway, we got part way through things and then I went and had a baby and the bunkie got put on the back burner – you know, wasn’t a huge priority when caring for a newborn, healing after birth, and all that. When this summer rolled around we were totally keen to get back into the space and finish it off. To start with though, I need to back up to last summer (pre-baby), when we began the project and chose the cottage bunkie exterior finishes.

The bunkie used to be my Dad’s workshop. But because he’s got a big workshop at my parents’ home now, this one at the cottage wasn’t getting used much. And the need for more sleeping space has always been an issue – so project turn-shed-into-bunkie was born.

Here is how the shed looked on the inside to start with – my Dad’s workshop chaos. Just packed full of tools and building supplies.

bunkie exterior 4

Since my Dad still needed a small area for tool storage, one of the first things he did (with Dan to help) was to frame out a small space on the back side of the bunkie.

bunkie exterior 1

bunkie exterior 2

bunkie exterior 3

They cut space for a new door, so it’s kind of like a walk-in-closet for tools. Clever.

bunkie exterior 6

The main door was moved from where you can see it in this photo below…

bunkie exterior 5

…to the real front of the building - mostly to capitalize on the view. When it’s this pretty, you can’t have the front of the building on the wrong side.

bunkie exterior 8

My Dad filled in the old door (but left space for a new window), and cut a big opening to install a sliding patio door. It was about as wide as it could be in that space – 5 or 6 feet, I think. Oh, and they actually bought the sliding door over at the Lowe’s in the States (we live pretty close to the border at Ogdensburg). Saved them a couple hundred bucks compared to the same one here in Canada.

bunkie exterior 7

Next up was to put new siding on the structure. My parents wanted something long lasting and low maintenance, so they went with KWP – an engineered wood product. They chose a neutral taupe colour (“Pine” by KWP), in the “Provincial” style, with white trim, and 5 inch vertical boards. The product isn’t cheap, but it’s meant to last for a long, long time.

bunkie exterior 10

bunkie exterior 11

On the front, my Dad also got started on building a small deck and new steps. For the decking, they went with Azek - a composite product that, like the siding, is hard-wearing and low maintenance. After years of pressure-washing and water sealing the big cottage deck, and re-staining the cottage wood siding, they have realized that the lower the maintenance, the better.

The colour they chose for the decking was the “Slate Gray” from the Harvest Collection (found here).

bunkie exterior 12

bunkie exterior 9

As you can see by fall of last year, it was already starting to look like a completely new building from the outside. Although it’s a bit dark in these photos, the new siding now pops so nicely against all the greenery, unlike the wood used to. Eventually, the long term plan is to put this same siding on the main cottage. That’s waaay down the road though, as the wood siding is still in okay shape and cladding the whole cottage is going to be a high priced project.

As you can see, there were still a few things to be done on the exterior: Build a retaining wall at the back of the bunkie, install railing on the deck, build the steps up to the deck using the same composite decking product, and lay down some sod. My parents have been making mad progress on the bunkie this summer though, so I have more updates to post shortly!

Oh, and wait till you get a glimpse at what we’re doing in the interior. I’m in nautical-meets-scandinavian heaven.

Do you guys have a family cottage that you go to? Love being out by the lake? As a kid, my parents and I went to our cottage just about every weekend from spring until fall. I haven’t been out as much over these last few years, but I’m hoping over the next few years we can get out there more with Maya. Doesn’t get much better than swimming and outdoor adventures (oh, and ice cream!) for the kiddos.


drop dead gorgeous: gold and pink wedding decor

14th July 2014

About a month ago I had the pleasure of styling a wedding at a local restaurant and brewery here in Ottawa – Mill St Brew Pub. It is a beautiful historic building with tons of exposed stone and views of the river. The bride was referred to me by a friend, and we clicked right off the bat. She explained her vision, and I could instantly picture exactly what she wanted. In the end, we executed some seriously beautiful gold and pink wedding decor.

Ashleigh is a gorgeous redhead who loves pink. Her ring was rosegold, and her cinderella dress was blush. Totes amazing.

(FYI: All photography in this post is care of Intuition Photography – Janine does phenomenal work!)




I know. Stop. Way too stunning, right?

The ceremony and reception were taking place in the same room, so I literally flew in there post-ceremony (with the help of my pal, Courtney) and worked with the restaurant staff to decorate my little butt off. The guests were in the room next door for cocktail hour, and the bridal party was off getting photos taken. The pressure was on to get everything done in about an hour and a half, but it happened. (phew)

Across the rectangular tables, Ashleigh had rented some gold and ivory chevron table runners. Oh and did I mention they were sparkly? Yep, I definitely wanted to take them home with me. And the regular restaurant chairs were swapped out for gold ones, which really transformed the space.



The flowers weren’t over the top, but were total perfection. White peonies (“a June bride’s dream”, according to my wedding guru pal Caroline! Ha!) and baby’s breath were placed in gold-sprayed (lightly) low circular glass vases. The head table had some taller vases, which the bridal party bouquets were thrown into (that’s a great trick by the way – don’t let those bouquets go to waste!).


White tealight candles were placed in low mercury glass holders and scattered along the tables.


Favours were super pretty macarons boxed and labelled with ‘thank you’ cards. The table numbers were simple paper ones from the BRIDES collection at Michael’s (these), and the name cards were hand written on tent cards from the Kate Spade collection at Chapters Indigo (these).


The dessert table was a ton of fun. I printed out ‘love is sweet’ on the chalkboard that was already affixed to the stone wall (came with the restaurant). I wish I had have had a bit of extra time to do this drawing more perfectly, but despite my OCD perfectionist tendencies, I think it turned out alright.


Ashleigh had purchased some large gold letters from Indigo (these ones – which are on sale by the way), a simple white cake stand, and gold chargers.


One clever idea that Ashleigh had (and a budget-friendly one too!) was to buy some plastic cups and bowls. The cups were turned upside down with bowl placed on top, and it suddenly became a pretty chic cake stand. I was able to place the small baked goods in there perfectly, but you could easily do candy or whatever else you wanted.


I had a slight panic attack during the setup as there were two cake toppers and we hadn’t discussed what the cake topper was going to look like. I didn’t want to use only one in case it was the other that Ashleigh had really wanted, so I put both in on the desserts on either side of the cake for symmetry. Luckily she was totally pleased, so it didn’t really matter in the end!


There were two other chalkboards that I got my hands on. One said “and they lived happily ever after” and the other, in the next room, said “kick off your shoes and dance”. Just fun little sayings to help the space feel more personalized, you know?

For the seating chart area, we had a big barrel (owned by the restaurant) where gifts and cards were left and a small table with white drapery that held the seating chart. Ashleigh made the chart herself using a frame (painted gold), wire, clips, and cardboard paper. Simple and cute!


All in all, the room totally sparkled and I know Ashleigh and Rony loved it and had a great night. Seriously, just look at these two.


If you are in the Ottawa area and interested in styling services for weddings or other events, just send me a note to: thesweetestdigs{at}gmail{dot}com. I also rent out some small pieces for events – more of a rustic chic vibe – at


Okay, what is your favourite element of this wedding decor? For me it was definitely the chevron table runners. They added so much glitter and glam to the space, I was dying. What about you? The chairs? Flowers? Ashleigh’s amazing dress?  

the sweetest digs - industrial chic bathroom design

reno planning: a french industrial bathroom design

10th July 2014

The IKEA kitchen and bathroom events are on right now (for us anyway, not sure if that’s coordinated across the country or North America?). But anyway, we have some serious shopping to do for our renovation. We are planning on going with IKEA for our kitchen cabinetry and bathroom vanities – we have heard such good reviews, like the look, and obviously the price is right. Custom or higher end stuff just ain’t in the cards for us right now. Anyway, I have been pouring over the options and planning out our kitchen and bathrooms. So exciting, but also a bit daunting to have to do it all at once! Today I’ll let you in on what I’m thinking for the kids bathroom – french industrial bathroom design.

If you follow me on Pinterest, you might have seen my kids bath board. I like to gather inspiration this way – create boards for the room, pin away without doing too much thinking, and then look it all over and see the themes that pop out at you. In this case, I have been really drawn to bathrooms that have a monochromatic and industrial vibe, with what feels to be as a French influence.

Here is what I’m thinking.

the sweetest digs - industrial chic bathroom design


>> Subway Tile. C’mon, subway tile has a lot going for it. Super budget friendly, and paired with a dark grey grout it has a cool vibe that I’m totally digging. I’m thinking of subway tile in the shower, and on the wall behind the vanity.

>> Dark grey floor tiles. I want something that is going to hold up well to the wear and tear that a kids bathroom takes. I think some dark grey ceramic floor tiles will be a good choice. I would die to have them laid in a herringbone pattern (the dream!). Again, paired with a grey grout to ensure that I’m not having to go at the grout with a toothbrush to clean them all the time. I have learned my lesson on going with white grout on floor tile (NOT GOOD!).

If you are a reader in Australia, you may have heard of ABL Tile & Bathroom Centre. They have a huge selection of tiles, many like the ones I am imagining for this bathroom, so you should pop over to check them out! 

>> White vanity. I want to keep the vanity simple, and the IKEA Hemnes double vanity in white is the winner. I like the classic look, double sinks, and the fact that it has drawers rather than cabinets. Plus, the price tag is right (with the sale right now it’s marked down to $381).

>> Black faucets. To keep with the french, industrial vibe I am keen to go with black faucets. I love the look, plus I figure they will be good at not showing finger and water prints as much. I’m all about the low maintenance.

>> Copper accents. I like the way this metal warms up the black and white scheme, so I’m keen to bring in a pendant and accessories in copper, and potentially DIY a towel bar out of copper piping.

What do you think? Are you with me on this one? Think it’ll hold up well to the little feet of kiddos and guests?  Do you have this vanity from IKEA, by any chance? It’ll be our main bathroom on the second floor, so needs to function well. You can follow me on Pinterest to see what else I’ve been lusting after as we plan the rooms for our renovated house.

Disclaimer: This post has been sponsored by the ABL Tile & Bathroom Centre.


a blue and yellow baby nursery for Mae

7th July 2014

A new niece arrived into our lives a few weeks ago – little miss Mae. She is so sweet and cuddly and we are smitten. Her parents’ are Dan’s younger brother, Doug, and his wife, Ginny. They also happen to be some of our besties and live in the same neighbourhood as we do (we talked up the neighbourhood for years to them, so when they finally came back to Ottawa they were sold!). Actually, you might remember Doug and Gin from their Toronto apartment tour back in the day, here.

Anyway, Ginny is a superstar decorator and always makes her places feel beautiful and welcoming. Little Mae’s room was no exception. They didn’t know if they were having a boy or girl, so they did this in a “gender neutral” way (I’m not a big fan of that term… but you get the idea).


The room was already painted a soft greige colour, and so Ginny added in elements of white, grey, yellow, and robin’s egg blue. A pretty and soothing palette.


Everything was done by hand. They painted a bunch of furniture (the blue is ‘Provence’ by Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan), sought out vintage-y pieces, and put up cute artwork. Those lace-filled embroidery hoops were actually from Ginny and Doug’s wedding decor!

Oh and most of the “big” pieces in the room (crib, rug, chair, etc) are from IKEA. Just another demonstration that you don’t need a big budget to create a lovely looking space!


So – remember the vintage frame that I kitted out with wire to hang photographs from a few weeks ago? This guy (see that post here)?

vintage window turned picture frame

Well, after I used it for my friend’s seating chart at her wedding (this frame has gotten great use lately! More on that one another time…) – Ginny’s 30th birthday was around the corner and I suddenly realized that the frame might make a really sweet gift for my vintage, rustic chic – loving sister in law.

I had been sent a free pot of the ‘Provence’ Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan, the colour Ginny had used in her nursery, and so decided to give the frame a coat of paint. I knew this was the right paint for this project as it didn’t require all of the sanding and prep that other paint requires – one of the features of the Chalk Paint®. With a crackly vintage frame, this was key. I sanded off anything that was super flaky, but pretty much left it as-is.

The paint was really easy to apply and goes on like butter. Seriously. This stuff is like cream. The blue looks much more vibrant in this photo (outdoor lighting) than it does in real life. The photos of the frame in the nursery are way more true to the colour.


I did two coats for really good coverage, but I probably could’ve gotten away with just one. I sanded the corners down again a little bit to let some of the wood show through.

There is a second stage in the process when you’re using this paint, and that is to wax the surface (I had a pot of the clear wax). I gather there are special wax brushes you can use, but I just used a rag cloth I had in my paint supplies stash. Worked like a treat.


I had some 5×5 photos of Ginny, Doug, and Mae printed and popped them into the frame. The great thing about this type of frame is that they can switch out the photos to newer ones of Mae as she grows into a little girl. Maybe even put some of her pieces of artwork in it down the line.


In terms of a review of the Chalk Paint®, I was pleased. Like I said, it goes on really really smoothly and the coverage is excellent. You really don’t go through a lot of paint. And being able to skip the whole sanding and priming stage is amazing – particularly for older pieces that would require major prep. If you were working with a perfectly smooth, finish-free piece of wood furniture though, I’m not sure that this type of paint would really provide much of an advantage – whether you’re doing chalk paint + wax or regular paint + poly, it’s the same number of steps, and the Chalk Paint® is going to be more expensive. One difference though is the more matte finish that the chalk paint gives - again personal preference, but I dig the un-glossy look. Oh and if you’re into the French antique look, you can get all creative with the dark wax and mixing colours to create all kinds of finishes. That’s kind of what I always associate with Chalk Paint®, but you don’t *have* to go that route (I didn’t). I have yet to try out the paint on a big piece of furniture to see how it wears over a longer period of time, but I’m definitely going to give it a whirl. All in all, I’m digging it.

And the frame? Went over *really well* with Ginny (yay), and it looks like it was meant for the room.




Sweet nursery, right? What’s your favourite part? Mine are the embroidery hoops and crates on the wall.  


Disclaimer: I was sent some Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan for free, but was not required or compensated to write this review. I just thought you’d be interested to hear about my experience using it – all opinions are 100% me. 


yellow front door and grey brick: a porch makeover

3rd July 2014

So my sister-in-law Alexandra and I always love talking home decor and crafting. We chat about our favourite blogs, she introduces me to new ones, and I oooh and aaahh over her lastest sewing creations – she makes the most gorgeous blankets and pillows, when she has a free second as a mama of 3 seriously cute kiddos. Anyway she and my brother-in-law John have a great house in Toronto, but the outside has been a lacklustre since they bought it a few years ago. Not terrible, but just a little tired. It actually almost put them off of buying the house altogether.

From afar, the brick and black paint doesn’t look too bad..


But things were chipped and tired. The black porch showed every spec of dust, and the black door plus black window and deep red brick was all a little dark. The brick had been painted that dark red, and the mortar was painted black, too - weird. Based on the brick at the side of the house, it was in fine shape, so we aren’t quite sure where that motivation came from. before2

Anyway, a few weeks ago, the time had come to do a bit of work out there and they decided to start by giving everything a new coat of paint: the bricks, the door, the deck.

Alexandra knew she wanted grey for the brick facade, so they tested a few options. The darker grey won out – more dramatic for the white railing and pillars to pop against.

They had the brick painted grey, the door painted a cheery yellow (isn’t it sweet?), and the decking painted in the lighter grey tone. {Pics are from an iphone, but you get the idea}



Doesn’t it look so much happier and refreshed? Plus, now they can say “Oh, we’re the house with the yellow door!”. Apparently our uncle who was coming to stay with them walked right by the house because he didn’t recognize it! Thought he was on the wrong street. A sign of a great transformation.


I love the sleek silver house numbers that have a mid-century vibe to them, and the older style post box.

They have plans for even more spruce ups, but I think the transformation so far is stellar. They used College Pro painters (you know, the company run by University students) and said that their workmanship and professionalism was excellent. Two of my best girlfriends were painters for College Pro one summer – great way to get in shape and be outside enjoying the sunny weather.

The paint colours:

  • Brick Paint – Sherwin Williams Gauntlet Gray (SW7019)
  • Porch Paint – Sherwin Williams Dorian Gray (SW7017) **Two shades lighter than brick paint
  • Front Door Paint – Benjamin Moore paint matched to a Sherwin Williams colour ‘Bee’ (SW6683) **Bee wasn’t available by SW as an exterior paint, so they were able to colour match it to Benjamin Moore

Nice, right? I have always loved the grey + yellow combo, and I think it suits their house perfectly. What about you guys? Love a yellow door? Doing any work on the curb appeal of your place this summer?