Saturday, January 31, 2009


My love for Halloween has been well  spoken about on the pages of this blog. Second only to Christmas, I embrace the fun and childhood appeal of the Halloween, and do not over-analyze the "meaning" of the holiday. For me, it is about kids, candy, costumes and light-hearted decorations. Halloween is a welcome break and a time for fun in the weeks leading up to the inevitable work and festivities that accompany Christmas. Please have a look through my Halloween archives, beginning with the most popular Halloween project to ever come out of this blog, my blue, spray-painted pumpkin. Happy haunting!

Want to make a Blue, glittered pumpkin?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Mother Hubbard pulls through...

This is my fridge. Sure, it has the basics - like margarine, ketchup, four eggs, a splash of milk... oops, and some bubbly (it's the weekend, after all)! Everything else is on a list in my purse, waiting to be purchased. Today was supposed to be grocery day. Technically, I had every intention to food shop; honestly, I had zero intention. Instead, I spent much of the day with my handy man, who took the day off to work on a project (while I tidied up after him). He treated me to a lunch date, which was wise considering what is in the cupboards...

Then came that moment in the day when I had to face up to my shortcomings. Too lazy to go to the grocery store, I rooted around in our deep freeze and found some ground beef. A quick rummage in our cupboards yielded some pasta and a jar of pasta sauce. Bonanza!

I could make a meal I like to call Good Enough: Good enough: AKA macaroni, meat sauce, a dash of Tobasco sauce and bottled crushed garlic, all topped with mozarella cheese. Everyone calls it something different, I just call it easy...

Then, just to show off, I made this:

A nice, white packaged mix cake. I used two of the four eggs, and thankfully I had some oil. Presto! I decided I would garner some mothering brownie points by telling my eldest son that it was a cake to celebrate the completion of his first ever exam. In reality, I just wanted something with my tea, but he appreciated my lie!

I know many of you have a fancy pants Kitchen-aid mixer. But honestly, who needs one of those when you can get a pretty red hand mixer for $9.99 at The Superstore? I might even dress it up with some pretty cherry stickers. Then again, I probably won't.

Either way, it was a perfectly acceptable supper...even if Sophie did pretend to gag on my splendid casserole. Apparently Good Enough, in her opinion, just isn't!!

It seems she would prefer to eat snow...


What do you fix for dinner when the cupboards are near bare??

Everything Is Amazing, Nobody is Happy

From time to time, it becomes necessary to post something other than real estate information. This is such a time. Enjoy the video clip below.

A Craft You'll Love

Let's make a sweet little decoration
for Sweetheart's day!

First, gather your supplies. You will need:
Scrapbook Paper
Scissors and Glue

A Glitter Heart
(Package purchased at WM for $1.50, but you could easily make your own)
Artist Canvas (You can find these in any craft store. These were purchased at WM, 3/$2.50 for 8x10 size. They can be also found in 7x9 sizes at the dollar store 2/$1.)Next, mark and drill two holes on one side of all three canvas panels. Then on one canvas, drill two more holes on the opposite side. If you don't own a drill, you could easily make the holes using a hammer and nail to punch through the canvas.Paint the two canvases with two holes. I used spray paint, but any craft paint will do. Or you could cover them with scrapbook paper.Cover the canvas with the four holes with scrapbook paper.
Glue on a large glitter heart.
Cut two large I's and two large U's out of coordinating paper. Stagger the two pieces for a shadow effect and glue them onto the painted canvases.String ribbon through the holes in the canvases to tie all three together.And there you have a sweet, and fairly easy, Valentine's Day decoration!

I love a craft that
you can personalize to your own taste!
You could connect the canvases horizontally to have a bigger area for words, instead of letters. You might choose: Be Mine, Happy Valentine's Day, Hugs & Kisses, to name a few. If you have a passion for scrapbooking, you might want to get more decorative.

If I've inspired you to make this sweet little craft,
I'd love to see yours!

Design Crushes...

(photo source: Coastal

We all have them...

Considering I am a married woman, I figure a design crush is the safest, most appropriate kind of crush to have. After all, don't we all put some of our favourite design celebrities on a (beautifully designed) pedestal? And really, I have to somehow justify the ridiculous number of design magazines I have purchased over the years...

Enjoy the (growing) list of my favourites, and perhaps you'll develop your own crush on one or more of these talented individuals.

In essence, I believe in giving credit where credit is due, and the following industry leaders deserve the accolades I have given them:

Matthew Mead ...
(well, you knew he'd be at the top of the list, didn't you?)

Matthew Mead is a stylist, editor, and writer whose work I admire very much. I have had the good fortune to interview and do collaborative posts with him, and I can attest that he is as nice a person as he is talented. If you want great inspiration and style tips, read the following posts and be sure to check out his website: Matthew Mead . But first, check him out here:

Peter Fallico...Canada's favourite male HGTV designer. Sure, he may not go around flexing his biceps like Mike Holmes, but he doesn't have to do demo; he does, smart design. Plus he can make you just about anything you want made; or even better, he'll teach you how to do it!!
Sarah Richardson...if Peter is Canada's favourite male designer, then Sarah is Canada's interior design sweetheart. Though once more girl next door (when Room Service was her media outlet), Sarah Richardson is decidedly more sophisticated city girl now, at the helm of the slick, stylish Design Inc. Either persona, Sarah can do it all - from country cottages and get-aways (like this yurt), to industrial spaces, posh homes and her own decked out (though charming, coastal style) cottage...on its own island!

Keep checking back as I add more of my favourites to this list!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

You've Been Framed!

I love my foyer table and mirror. I'm so proud of the way I was able to transform them. I'm happy that they look so good together. But, there has always been one little thing that has bothered me. The mirror is just not the right dimension for the table. The balance between the two is off, large table, small mirror.I've managed to create balance by placing large objects like plants and candles on each side of the mirror. Yet, it still seemed like it needed a bit more.
The other day as I sat contemplating my design dilemma, it occurred to me that the solution was right in front of my face.A little tweaking and I had my solution. I love the layers and balance, as well as the repetition of design from across the room. I even like the look of the hanging wire. It helps to tie the two frames together.
Could there be a solution to your design dilemma
right in front of you?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Pretty Houses by the Bay...

Last weekend, we travelled to a pretty little town called Mahone Bay. It is a small, colourful town that never fails to draw gasps, sighs and envy from me as I gaze open-mouthed at the colourful homes bursting with fanciful architectural details. Some are simple, modestly adorned Capes, and others wear their moulding and trims like fancy dress coats, beckoning the visitors to this pretty community to click away with their cameras, as I was inclined to do on a cold, winter's day.

Enjoy the tour...
and from the back:

Statelier homes:

Gorgeous details abound:

Every colour under the sun:

Stalking houses is a good way to pass time between basketball games... ...and my girlie even seemed to enjoy it!

Two coffees and a decaf Cafe Mocha simply added to our bliss...

Don't be fooled by his smile...he was just happy the shopping wasn't great!

More Green for Less Green

I love to look in popular home stores and catalogs to see what's current. I never want to have one of those homes that an archeologist can date it (or me) by the furnishings and decorations. You know what I mean. Think of that house down the street that still has country blue and mauve wallpaper adorned with geese and a old dusty dried floral arrangement. Your home design, like water, should never be stagnant. My mother taught me that "a change is as good as a rest." And making small changes in your home can really make it a more restful place.
You don't have to change everything in your house to keep up with the styles, just incorporate a current item or two.
(photo courtesy of Pottery Barn)
Recently while in a very trendy store, I noticed these "moss spheres" adorning several surfaces. You know what I did? Yes. I stopped by the dollar store on my way home and picked up a few items. The glue and thread were items I had on hand.I turned on some relaxing music and started to craft. Working in sections, I applied glue to the styrofoam ball and then stuck on the moss. It was a bit messy, but really easy. Knowing that these spheres might tempt the young men in my family (a ball is a ball to them), I took a clue from the original items and wrapped each with green thread to additionally secure the moss.I was able to make five moss spheres for substantially less than purchasing them at the popular store. Won't this arrangement look gorgeous in my fireplace or as a centerpiece for my table?
I promise to light the candles
and not leave them unattended.

I'm pretty sure that fire and smoke damage
is not a new design trend.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ending on a small note...

Well, so much for signing on to do a series of posts. Remember way back when I began my series on small space decorating and didn't finish it? I guess I'm too flighty to commit to a series of anything, at least on a daily basis...
I guess it also makes me a serial failure, or something like that...

Luckily for me, some of you came to my rescue. When I asked for reader input, I actually got a couple of contributions, which did well to prod me into finishing what I started.

Vee of A Haven for Vee sent me these photos of little tricks she pulled out of her sleeve to tackle storage issues in her lovely home. I don't know if I'd consider Vee's home small, but it is most definitely cozy!
As Vee explains, "I have a small home even though it has a basement and a second story...a story and a half house "the carpenter" tells me. Anyway, those knee walls can be interesting. One side of the roof was raised with a dormer that runs nearly the length of the house creating some unique spaces with unusual angles.

One of those spaces is behind my bed. I disguise and use it this way. A screen purchased from HomeGoods several years back sits right behind the bed. Behind that screen is the awkward space, which proves just enough room for Christmas storage."

Continues Vee, "Also included is the picture of an old handbag...broken zipper...that I use instead of a's just enough for the remote, a few tissues, my lip balm, even a book. This saves me a lot of room!"
While visiting my sister's blog the other day, I was reminded of this ingenious use of the space under the eaves, so common in Cape-Cod style homes. This little nook is a walk-in closet for those under four feet tall. It is like a secret little hide-away for little girls who love clothes!

Ohdeedoh is one of my favourite sites to glean inspiration when decorating a kid's space. This home-owner made perfect use of the floor space in her child's room by elevating the bed and using the space underneath for cool storage. Can you say, Ikea storage unit? Brilliant!

Many of you have seen this example of red and white perfection in the pages of Country Home:
It is my all-time favourite home office eked out of a living room, no less! I love it all: the skirted desk area (hiding the ugly elements of an office, no doubt), and the red storage boxes. Even bills would look pretty in those!

Another of my readers was very generous with her small space living ideas. Jen of A Thousand Words is a South African girl living in England. She writes: "Organising is one of my passions. Since we live in England I've had to come up with creative storage solutions to maximise the limited space that the houses over here afford. I've been inspired by projects online as well as come up with my own ideas."

And great ideas they are!

Check out the little pantry she carved out of her basement stairwell:

I love these little buckets she hung in her foyer to stash keys, cell phones, etc.:

She also did this:
Says Jen, "I cut down empty 2-pint plastic milk bottles and used them (and a cut-down cardboard box) to organise our stationery baskets"
**Follow this link to see how she organizes plastic containers and lids.

This next idea is genius, yet simple.

(after) According to Jen, "It took me fifteen minutes to quickly put up a bar between the cupboard and the wall and add a hanging shoe organiser from IKEA. "

Next Jen tackled the dreaded toy storage issue...even more dreaded when residing in a smaller home. The toys sit happily in this unit...just waiting to be played with.This idea speaks to the importance of incorporating built-ins when living within a smaller blue-print.
Jen has more great organization and storage tricks up her sleeve. In fact, next time, I think I'll just hand the baton over to her and get her to write any further small space living posts. She is clearly the expert here!! In fact, read this post for more great organization tips!
So, that's it for now. I will return with more solutions for living large in a small home...I just won't commit to a time-table! Thanks to those who offered up their own inspiration, and for those who still think living well in a small home can't be done:

I mean that in the nicest way, of course!!