When Maya was first born – almost 15 months ago – I thought it would be sweet to get her hand and foot prints. I think I have my footprints in my baby book somewhere. Just so teeny tiny and sweet. Well, you know what this procrastinating mama did? Leave it and leave it and leave it, until last weekend when I realized she would be 16 before I knew it and I needed to get my butt into gear and do this little crafty project.
I don’t have pictures of the scene because we needed all hands on deck, but it went a little something like this: Dan sitting on the toilet (we did this in the bathroom for proximity to sink – very important), holding a naked Maya down on his lap, me grabbing a foot trying to put black paint on it, while Maya kicks her other foot and wonders what is going on. Foot prints actually go OKAY (not perfect, but okay), but black paint gets on Dan’s clothes. We wash feet. Now hands. Maya getting very tired of not being able to be let loose. I’m holding her hand (Dan holding other one so there is no clapping action), and I start to paint it black. Maya wonders what on earth I’m doing to her hand and starts to cry a little. Thinks hand is going to be black forever? Starts flailing. Dan freaking out that he is going to get more paint on his clothes. Should have thought of this earlier and changed into grubby clothes. I try desperately to press Maya’s hands down on multiple pieces of paper. Maya flailing around more, and hand prints go everywhere. Maya tries to bite me to get her hand free. I yelp. Disaster.
So my lesson learned? There is a reason people do this project when babies are BABIES, not toddlers.
Maybe I’ll just call the hand prints one abstract? My little Picasso?
This set of foot prints, which happened to be the ones on the canvas I had lying around, are actually a bit of a success. Will be making it up onto the wall.
If you’re going to tackle this one at home, you don’t need much in the way of supplies. All you need is paint, paper, and a cooperative little person. I used black acrylic paint (washable!) and some watercolour paper and one small stretched canvas I had from the dollar store. I chose black because I knew I could always scan and digitally edit the colour afterwards. Plus, I like the graphic impact of the black on white.
Not my finest parenting moment. Hopefully we can try this project again when Maya is actually into doing crafts?
My favourite part of any decor project is install day (ohhh, the accessories!) – it’s the moment when it all comes together. Well, install day has come and gone, and we can officially call this nursery for sweet baby Meredith done-zo. What we ended up with was a blue and purple nursery that feels soothing and personalized, with a little dose of whimsy.
Even though we didn’t do much to the actual room (same paint colour, existing crib, dresser, light fixture, etc) the space feels like a far cry from where we started:
Let’s start in the reading corner. We used IKEA Ribba picture ledges to maximize the small amount of wall space. I love that the outfacing shelves turns books into artwork.
I love kids books, don’t you? Snuggling up for a story has got to be one of the best parts of parenthood. Maya is starting to sit more still when we read her books, but I still think her favourite part is just turning the pages and “reading” herself (ie. chatting as she points at the page). Funny girl.
I hung this darling little felt bunting. It (and some other accessories) came handmade from the Blue Without You Etsy shop. Let me just tell you – this seller is AMAZING. She will use custom colours to match your room’s decor, and is just a total pleasure to work with. Highly highly recommended!
Moving onto the next corner of the room, we have the used-to-be-green dresser. I knew a two tone application of grey and white paint would totally transform this bad boy.
Okay and see that cute change pad cover? It came from another Etsy seller – ButtercupForrest. We actually bought two different covers so that they can be switched out when there are certain blow out issues going on. This shop has pretty much every fabric you can imagine, so you’re bound to find something that works for your room scheme.
Can I just say, I was such a naive new mama when I was pregnant and thought that just one change pad cover would be sufficient. I was all “why would I ask for/purchase TWO of these and waste money on this? Money can be put to way better use”. Ahhhh little did I know the amount of …. well, pee and shit .. that would occur and go everywhere in those early months. So the lesson? Just buy two (or more) change pad covers. You won’t be sorry.
Back to the room makeover. There was what my friend/client Sarah titled “The Great Ottoman debate” when we were doing the nursery. I initially had bought one from Target that had some pattern and hits of yellow in it — this was when I was going down the initial path of a more colourful, eclectic vibe in the room. When I got a better sense from Sarah and Jeremiah that they wanted a more soothing room staying true to the purple and blue scheme, I returned that ottoman and we decided to go ottoman-less. A few weeks later, Sarah was doing some browsing and came across some knitted aqua beauties at Restoration Hardware and started having second thoughts on the ottoman debate. She sent the link to me, and I quickly totally encouraged her to hit the “buy” button (come on, Restoration Hardware? LOVE). And that’s how we ended up with this vibrant blue guy in the room. I think it goes beautifully, don’t you?
Okay, so now moving on to the other side of the room. Here is the little gallery wall I hung up (okay, Dan hung up – love that handy hubby of mine). White Ribba frames from IKEA (mattes turned around so that they are a crisper white), the ‘Sweet Pea’ sign from Target, a mixture of photographs and artwork (the LOVE you print is from my shop!), and some handmade goodies.
The ‘Be Brave’ embroidered hoop and felt flowers are from this Etsy seller (the one I raved about above). So cute, right?
And the decal!! I love this part of the room. The impact it makes behind the crib on a wall that otherwise might have been left blank, is amazing. The grey is warm (duh, the colour is called “warm grey”) and it works perfectly on the blue. You can find the heart decal here, but warning – you may end up browsing Urban Wall’s shop for hours. It is FULL of sweet decals. I may or may not have already ordered some for Maya’s room in the new house (can you guess which one?).
Another darling handmade piece from Blue Without You. We custom requested the violet colour to match with the egg chair on the opposite side of the room – it really helped to integrate that colour into the space.
Some labelled pics, specifically for Pinterest. PS. Do you follow me on there? I would love it if you did (@thesweetestdigs)!
All photos in this post are care of Jeremiah Soucie – client/friend/Father to baby Meredith. Thanks J!
And now for the big long list of where everything came from.
It’s going to be a sweet space for Meredith to grow up in, don’t you think? And most of the items in there should be able to grow with her. Maybe the egg chair will eventually come out and a little desk or something go in. In any case, I know Sarah and Jeremiah love it – which totally makes my day!
As many of you might know, for the last few years I have run a little Etsy shop selling art prints under the moniker ‘audrey & gem’ (in reference to my artsy grandma who taught me to paint when I was a kiddo, and me!). I have always run this little biz very much on the back-burner, adding prints here and there when I had a free moment. I started out with watercolour map prints – something I did on a whim one Christmas break – and then later started adding more graphic prints (with or without painted elements). As I have created more graphic prints, I have fallen more in love with this process. I go in waves of different inspiration – one month I was making a ton specifically for kids rooms with a bit of a tribal influence, then triangles were popping up everywhere for me, a black + white stage, and now I’ve been doing a lot of gold text. Needless to say, I’m loving it.
Then last month I did the Etsy: Made in Canada show here in Ottawa. It was my first experience at a Craft Fair, and it went over so well. People seemed to really like my work, and I loved meeting customers and just the whole maker atmosphere. Anyway, it totally gave me a kick in the butt and motivation to really put a bit more effort into the shop and try to build it into something bigger.
Since that Etsy fair, I have been accepted into two more craft fairs in lead up to the holiday season: Handmade Harvest (in Almonte, ON) and Urban Craft (in Ottawa, ON). I feel super pumped to have been accepted to these two very popular shows.
AND (!!!) I am now in two. about to be three, retail locations in Ottawa. The first is the Village Quire in Westboro – a super sweet little shop bursting at the seams with darling cards, stationary, and gift products. The second is Goods- a carefully curated home goods store located in Victoire Boutique. They carry things like gorgeous wool blankets, ceramics, delish preserves, and other goods (ha! see what I did there.. goods from goods?!). And the third, coming soon, is boogie + birdie – another darling shop full of with a curated collection of things for your home and life. This whole being in retail thing has me pretty darn thrilled.
So that’s where the name thing comes in. Now that I have decided to really put some effort into this print shop, I realized that I need to be more careful about my branding. It doesn’t really make sense to have this blog going by one name and my etsy shop going by a completely different one. I want them to be more connected, and for it to be easy for either readers or customers to remember the name. If I was starting from scratch, I don’t know if I would name this blog ‘the sweetest digs’ again, but hey, I did, and it has stuck. I ain’t changing it now. So that meant that the etsy shop needed to follow suit. And it kind of makes sense since I sell art prints for the HOME in the shop. If I ever carry anything else down the line, I imagine they will be home related. So, without further ado, welcome to my old-but-new shop: the sweetest digs co.
It just makes more sense, right?
One of my newer prints pretty accurately reflects what’s been going on every day of the week since the Etsy craft fair… ha :)
With all of the re-branding and happiness going on around here, I thought I would launch a sale. And, you know, in lead up to the holidays and everything. It’s never too early to start your shopping, guys!! Especially when you’re ordering online – you always want to give enough time for things to arrive.
So, 25% off all prints (doesn’t matter the quantity) with promo code HOLIDAY. Make sure you enter this code BEFORE checking out and paying — it can’t be retroactively applied.
Thanks for all of your ongoing support with this creative outlet of mine, you guys! Love love.
I don’t really know what I want to say. Yesterday, the city I grew up in, the city I moved back to with my husband and chose to raise our daughter in, the city that I love, was attacked. It sounds really dramatic, but there isn’t really any other way to say it. A gunman shot a soldier standing on guard at the War Memorial, and then stormed into Parliament where a gunfight ensued. The gunman was shot dead. Others were injured. There were reports of additional shooters, but today (the next day) the reports are now saying that he was acting alone.
It was one of those days that you just won’t forget. As soon as it happened, my first thought was the safety of my daughter. I was texting with my daycare provider to make sure they were at her house, and staying put. Then there was a period of about 25 minutes where I couldn’t get a hold of my husband Dan. He works for the Federal Government in downtown Ottawa – just down the road from Parliament. I felt like I was going to throw up. Once I got a text back from him, and knew he was safe, albeit on lockdown, I felt like I was able to breathe again. Reports of multiple gunmen roaming around downtown Ottawa for the next few hours did not do anything to calm my nerves. It wasn’t until I had my daughter Maya tucked away in her crib and my husband walk through the door (finally being let out of his building 9 hours later) that the tears I had been choking back all day just let loose.
What I really can’t stop thinking about is the soldier yesterday who was shot dead – Nathan Cirillo. This lovely looking young guy who was just doing something honourable. Something that Dan might have done in the past (Dan is also a Reservist). Makes me feel absolutely sick to my stomach and filled with sadness. I hope his family and friends know that Canadians across the country are thinking of him and them today, and that we will not forget his bravery.
I was also reminded yesterday of heroes. People who put themselves in harm’s way to protect others. Whether it’s the Ottawa Police, RCMP, Military, security guards, and civilians who step up to help in a moment of panic and fear, I am in awe and so thankful for these people. I know that my instinct yesterday was just to get my loved ones far away – not to do anything brave.
I want to say that I woke up today and felt like I was in the same peaceful city and country that I was the day before. I didn’t. I’m certainly not saying that I plan on changing the way I live my life (that is the intention behind these kinds of events, after all), but there is a certain pit-in-my-stomach anxiety that wasn’t there two days ago. I’m sure it will pass over time, but I feel sad about it. Do I fear anything? Yes, but it’s not another shooter. It’s that we, as a society, become angry, fearful, aggressive, and further stigmatize people from certain religions or parts of the world.
Let’s give each other some extra hugs today, okay?
(photograph provided by a friend – Hugh Pouliot – who I am so glad is safe today)
We’re back today with the in-progress post about Meredith’s nursery makeover. Remember how I posted here about the office I was helping turn into a nursery for some friends? This was the original moodboard to guide direction in the room.
Since we already had some of the big stuff done – the paint colour (the blue was staying), the crib (had been used by their older daughter), the purple egg chair (cause really, how fab is that piece?) – it was really about bringing accessories into the room. We needed to add the life and fun into the room, you know?
First up was this dresser. Sarah and Jeremiah had had it for ages, and it didn’t have to stay in the room… but it was a perfect size and I knew a refresh was would bring it back to life.
The plan? Paint the drawer fronts a light grey and the body of the dresser white. The two-tone effect will totally turn this dresser around. Inspiration was this dresser from Overstock.
The window was in need of some coverings. After browsing every single fabric on the Tonic Living website (they are a Toronto based fabric company with gorgeous stuff!), and pouring over the choices, we settled on Varenna Ash.
I was originally thinking something with some punchy yellow (see my original moodboard), but Sarah and Jeremiah liked that it was a bit more toned down in the grey and white scheme. I liked that it still brought some pattern into the room, so we went for it. Oh, and we asked for Tonic Living to also add some blackout lining to the panel – this is a baby’s room after all and let me tell you, anything to get some extra sleep in those early months is a must (ya feel me, mums and dads?).
The window is in a narrow little nook – see the ceiling angles in this before pic?
Because of this, it made sense to only do one panel that would drape across the window and then pull back to one side when not in use. Kinda like this DIY curtain found on Design*Sponge. A good solution for a small window, and it has a sweet, cottage-y vibe, don’t you think?
Now, for the walls. I wanted to bring in a mixture of elements. My mind started to veer toward gallery wall, a decal, bookshelves, and some fun garlands/buntings/etc.
Gallery wall – I taped out an appropriate space on the main empty wall and grabbed some white frames from IKEA and a ‘sweet pea’ sign from Target. Because this gallery wall was pretty small, I didn’t bother taping pages cut to frame size up on to the wall to get the placement right – I just laid everything on the ground and eyeballed it.
For behind the crib? I thought a decal would be the right solution as it wouldn’t be able to fall down into the crib or be something that the baby could grab at. I have been DYING to use this big heart decal from Urban Walls. Have you guys seen Urban Walls decals popping up all over the place? I looooove them.
The only space to squeeze in some bookshelves was on a small patch of wall beside the closet, with the chair in front. So to accommodate the narrow space, I decided to grab some IKEA Ribba picture ledges, which can hold books upright. I love the way this designer styled them in her daughter’s room.
On the rest of my shopping list was a side table for beside the purple chair, a throw pillow, an ottoman, a rug, change pad cover, crib sheets, and baskets for laundry and toys. This is one of my favourite parts of doing a room. The hunt. The traipsing around town for the perfect thing. Love it.
It turned out really cute, guys! I’ll post the whole ‘after’ early next week., so stay tuned.
In the meantime – have a great weekend! Doing any special? We’re off to the 613 Night Market event here in Ottawa. Hello, date night! Oh and hitting up the pumpkin patch with Maya on Sunday.
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…
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. Sidenote, 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?”
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. 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?
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.
And 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.
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?
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.
It’s that time of year. My favourite season (despite the looming loooong winter). Fall. Full of beautiful colours, sunshine, crispness in the air, boots and scarves, and hot drinks. I don’t usually post any recipes on here because let’s be honest, I don’t do much creative cooking, but this is a good one. Easy and sooooo delish. Ready for it? Nutella hazelnut hot chocolate.
Mind blown, right?
Okay so I love hot chocolate (who doesn’t?). And I love nutella. A lot. Like eat the jar straight up with a spoon a lot. I can safely say that nutella was my comfort food of choice throughout University.
So here is what you need:
-1 cup of milk
-2 tablespoons of Nutella (or some kind of hazelnut chocolate spread)
-Shaved chocolate or cinnamon
There are two ways of doing this. The lazy way, which is obviously what I did: Microwave the milk until it is hot (usually 2 minutes or so) and then stir in the nutella with a spoon. It dissolves really quickly when the milk is hot enough.
Or the more profesh way, which would be to bring the milk to a simmer on the stove and whisk together with the nutella.
The amount of nutella you add really depends on how strong you want the hot chocolate to be. Basically just add until it reaches the level of chocolate-y-ness you want.
Then, top it off with some whipped cream and cinnamon (or chocolate shavings), and you get this cup of deliciousness.
This drink did not disappoint. It was velvety and sweet and perfect. It’s definitely not low-calorie, but you know what? It’s good to indulge every once in a while.
I’m not alone in my festive fall drink – a group of us Canadian bloggers put this roundup together of our various recipes. There are some seriously yummy looking drinks here, guys. Why hello, chocolate orange martini. Come to mama.
Earlier this summer, a girlfriend of mine was preparing for baby #2 – another girl to add to their sweet family – and reached out for a little help with the nursery. You guys know how much fun I had with Maya’s nursery, so I jumped at the chance at being a part of this project.
The room had been an office, but Sarah and Jeremiah (clients) had already moved the office out and put the nursery stuff they had kicking around in.
Here is a look at what we were starting with. The room is small, but it has slanted ceilings which give it nice character, and there is a window letting in plenty of light.
The room had been painted this soft blue a few years earlier, and Sarah and Jeremiah were keen to keep the colour (it is a lovely shade).
There were various elements in the room that I was starting with – the “must keep” list:
-paint colour (it got touched up during the project, but the colour remained the same)
-crib (it was the crib their first daughter had used)
-green dresser (this wasn’t actually a MUST keep, but the dimensions of the piece worked in the small space and I knew a coat of paint would revive it)
-purple egg chair
What purple egg chair, you ask? This one.
How fun is that? I should mention that Sarah and Jeremiah have amazing taste, with a side of quirky. It’s the best. Their house is absolutely gorge – I should really do a house tour so you can get a glimpse.
Anyway, back to the nursery. If I had it my way, I always prefer to start completely from scratch where I can find an inspirational starting point, and build a room from there. When you begin with existing elements, unless they are exactly what you would have picked yourself, it can be more of a challenge. However, I knew we could make this room super sweet and tie these elements together in a thoughtful way. Challenge accepted!
I started out the project by creating a moodboard – both to help myself envision how I was going to bring together the different colours and pieces, and also to give Sarah and Jeremiah a vision of where the room would go. This is what I came up with.
In the end, this moodboard was a bit more eclectic and colourful than where we ended up, but it was a good spot to start from.
What about you guys? Do you find it easier to start from scratch with decorating projects, or do you like the challenge of pulling it together with existing elements? Been decorating a nursery or kids room lately? They are so much fun, right?
Things have been moving and grooving over at the house lately. Well, maybe the grooving is mostly on my part – I can’t help but break out into a happy dance every time something gets checked off the list. The latest? Framing is done, house wrapping done, roof done, most windows in, concrete poured for garage floor, electrical pretty well done, HVAC and plumbing half-way done. With all of that going on, we have been making various decisions pretty much daily. As much as I’m wanting to dream about kitchen and bathroom finishes and paint colours, my head has been occupied with exterior finishes, door choices, where outlets should go, and bath tubs. Today let’s chat exterior finishes: James Hardie, stone, and Azek decking.
(Photo snapped two days ago at the house)
For the siding of the house, we knew we wanted to go with James Hardie Board, which is a fiber cement siding. It has the same look as wood siding, but is extremely durable and long lasting. No maintenance a few years down the line after some rough winters – this stuff will really last. They have a nice line of colours to choose from and you can choose different placements (like vertical, horizontal, shake style, etc).
We could have gone a variety of ways in terms of colour, but I am regularly drawn to darker homes with a lot of white accent. There are a few houses in our neighbourhood that I’m obsessed with (sorry – phone pics so not great quality):
I also remembered something Sarah Richardson said on one of her shows ages ago that stuck with me – when you live in a climate with lots of snow, why go with a light coloured house that will not stand out for half the year? Why not go with something that offers a lot of contrast to that white blanket we live under from Nov-March? So, with that in mind, I narrowed in on ‘Iron Gray’ from the James Hardie line. Here are a few examples of houses in that colour – both from the James Hardie Facebook page.
We are going to have the Hardie Board installed horizontally on the whole house. I would have loved to do some shakes up in the gables at the front of the house, but the cost to do that was just too high. Gotta stay on budget!
All of the trim – so around each window, along each seam, etc will be in white. This, along with a white garage door, will bring some lightness to the house.
To add a bit of contrast to the exterior, we are also doing some stone along the “skirt” of the house (ie. the bottom 1/4 of the front of the house). This is a nice way to add a bit of stone, without it costing an arm and a leg. We need less than 200 square feet, so it’s not really a huge expense. We chose Traditional Grey by Arriscraft, which is a light grey stone that looks a lot like limestone to me.
As for the porch, I want to use some tapered white columns and white railing and posts. Again, keeping it light and bright. For the actual steps and porch floor, we are thinking of going with a engineered decking material. Probably the ‘Azek’ decking – which my parents used it at their cottage and it seems like a great product. We like the idea that it won’t require maintenance and is super durable (scratch and stain resistant). I’m still going back and forth on the colour a bit, but I’m thinking maybe the Acacia, which is a deep warm brown. Might be a nice contrast against all the cool tones of the house?
Oh, and did I mention our front door and sidelights came in? I’m super happy with it. I feel like it’s a classic choice that has a craftsman vibe to it.
Anyway, that’s where we are! We are only about 2 weeks away from drywall, which is ridiculously exciting for me. Drywall is when it all becomes a house that you can envision living in again, you know?
Have a great weekend, guys! Getting out and enjoying the Fall weather maybe? We are off to a local Fair (the Metcalfe Fair), which all of Dan’s family comes into town for. Always a fun weekend! Poutine and mini-doughnuts, you’re calling my name.