Monday, November 30, 2009

Sarah's Holiday Party - Review

I was uber excited last week when I saw the preview for "Sarah' s Holiday Party", hosted by the wonderful Sarah Richardson, and her helped Tommy Smythe. I set the DVR to record it yesterday afternoon!

When I went to watch it, around 4.... I found that something had happened, and it had not recorded :( So I searched for the next viewing, and set it to tape again. Thankfully, it worked, and I watched it when Cory fell asleep.

I have to say though, I was a little disappointed at first, because I thought the hour long segment was the same as what's I'd seen in last year's Canadian House & Home Magazine. Upon closer inspection, they were different, so I was glad!!

I was however, excited to hear about all her prep work! It was pretty cool seeing how a Canadian Design Icon gets ready for her big fetes.

They tackled everything : decorating indoors and out, making stockings from scratch, trimming the tree, baking yummy treats, creating an Advent tree, jazzing up cocktail napkins, shopping for groceries, and setting up your buffet.

While the Holiday decor style Ms. Richardson chose for her own home was definetly not my taste... more Easter/Spring colors than Christmas if you ask me... but she had some handy tips and tricks.

Jazzing up plain cocktail napkins

Since Sarah's party had a guest list of 200, it can get a little pricey to rent linens, and I'm doubting anyone has that many matching ones.... So she uses paper cocktail ones. In order to dress them up a bit, she embosses hers!!

She invested in a "seal", like what Corporations use to stamp legal documents, which she said cost about $125.00 (still a bit much for my budget), and had it customized with her and her husband Alexander's names around a "Y" for his last name (and her personal last name).
*Very cute idea! Would a stamping embosser work??

Tree Trimming tips:

While Sarah's tree-style is much different than mine, she had 2 good tips:

~ Have the same person place all balls of one color, to make sure they are responsible for proper and even disbursement. (As we saw, this method goes completely out the window, when children are helping )

~ Place any metallic or reflective ornaments nearer the inside of the tree, which will help to reflect the lights out.

Making Stockings:
One thing Sarah mentioned, that I was not aware of, is that cutting felt with Pinking Shears, ensures that it will not fray!!! Did NOT know that. I'm off to buy a pair myself tonight!
What's next for Sarah and gang?
Season 3 of Sarah's House airs March 2010!!!! A new show, Sarah 101 starts filiming in January, and they hope to have Sarah's House Season 4 in early 2011!!
Photo Credit: Canadian House & Home

Wreath post... edited.

I removed this morning's post, when I realized there were no photos associated with it... not sure what happened....

I'll re-post when I get home tonight.

In the meantime, might as well fill you in on tonight's plan: Starting my Christmas stockings!

I have to make a quick stop on the way home for some additional fabric (since I got a great tip last night...) and then hopefully, I can get started!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cute Christmas Gift Tags

Last night, Cory and I got very productive! While waiting for friends to finish dinner and head over, he headed to the garage to work on a project for me, and I headed upstairs to get crafty!

On Friday, while cleaning my desk at work, in preparation for our big office move. I came across these cute, glittery snowman die-cuts. Not sure why we had them, but there were 12 of them, and no one seemed to need them, so into my bag they went.

I wasn't entirely sure what I was going to use them for until I got home! They were the perfect size for gift tags!

So tonight, I got out my handy little punch to put a tiny little hole in his hat. Then looped through some linen thread, leaving the ends long, so I could attach them to the gift's ribbon!

In my head, I really wanted these to look professional, so I wanted a great little greeting. I kept saying to Cory, "shoot, I need a little to and from stamp".... then it dawned on me.....


So I raced over to the stamp drawer, and rifled through a few sets before I found it! PERFECT!!

I used Staz-on to stamp the greeting. Cory was the smart one who suggested I move the stamp over a bit to leave room for writing the names in!!

Now, they are exactly what I was envisioning! I can't wait to buy and wrap the first gifts, so I can use these!!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

just an everday posts

Nothing homey to report today. We weren't home last night to work on anything company Christmas party was last night.

I have however received promise from Cory that he will do his handy-man part and work on a new project for me tonight.
It shouldn't take too long, but he's never done it before... And it could potentially be dangerous, so i'm heading off to the gym lol.
It's a Christmas decoration that a friend of ours makes, i'm gonna knock it off!

But that's not all! In addition to that, I've got a massage scheduled for tomorrow, and we have a date to get started on Christmas decorating this weekend! December 1st is usually my timeline, but since it's midweek this year, and our weekends are pretty full after this, it only made sense to start a few days early!

I've got a new theme and all new lights and decorations this year, so i'm eager to see how things will turn out, and how I fix them when I realize I hate them...
The camera is charged and i'm poised to take tons of pics!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Hip-hip-Hooray!!! - A Coffee Table Victory!

I am beyond pleased to finally show some (crappy) photos of the finished coffee table!!
We brought it in last night, and were just getting it acclimated to the heat, since it's been in the garage for quite some (cold) time, so it's not staged properly yet.... But we're pleased with how the color turned out (despite the washed out, less than dark color it appears when the flash is on...).
Here's a little backstory on the tables, in case you've forgotten since it took so long to finish... or if you're a first-time visitor.

Friends of ours were getting rid of the set ( 1 coffee and 2 end tables) when they moved into their new home. We were offered them, and I originally declined because:

a.) I didn't want to seem like a charity case

b.) they weren't really our style

c.) they were the wrong color

d.) I didn't think we needed them

After some quick thinking, I recanted my decision and said we'd pick them up the next day! I knew with some TLC, they could work. Plus, we were moving soon to a house with a basement... we'd need something, at least for the interim.

Here's what they looked like when we brought them home (glass tops removed for storage):

They ended up working fine for the meantime, in our upstairs loft.

However, when we moved, I fully intended on them going in the basement until we decided to finish the space and buy new stuff.... until we moved in and found our current table, for the wide room. So the end tables went to the basement for the time being, and the coffee table found a new (temporary) home as our coffee table. The color of the wood was not working for me, so I tried masking the "orange" tones of the wood, by placing a fabric-wrapped canvas on the lower shelf, a few hours before a big party:

It certainly worked, and served a purpose. Plus, a ton of people commented on the table, and the neat artwork on it ( my canvas). In fact, everyone thought it was custom-made or even something that came with the table! But, I couldn't stand the glaring wood tone difference. I wanted something that would blend, so the table would just disappear.

So, after months of my begging Cory to sand it down for me, he finally did:

I was a little worried. Apparently, the table was not solid wood - the shelf had just a veneer! Plus, in lieu of using an actual sander, he used an attachment for his drill, so it wasn't smooth looking....

But, after 2 coats of Minwax in Ebony, I am pleased to say, I am very happy with how it turned out. Aside from some touch-ups I need to do on a few drips that went un-noticed in the dark garage, we're good to go!

The flash is on in this pic, so it made the table look a lot lighter. It actually matches the floors really well!

Hopefully, despite the crappy pics, taken at night, in poor lighting, with my poor skills... you can see it's such a big improvement over the previous color.

Please know, the flash made the wood look very splotchy and light, in reality, it's not. Otherwise, I would have been too ashamed and not posted it!!

I'll post some good photos, hopefully on the weekend, when I am able to get a shot during daylight!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wreathy Inspiration

Last year, I made a wreath for our front door. I was so un-inspired and unhappy with it, that I didn't take any photos, and promptly took it apart as soon as Christmas was over.
I'm not sure what was so wrong about it, but it just didn't work for me.....

This year, I am determined to do something a little more "me", so I started thinking about it, much earlier!
I decided to go online and find some inspiration. I'm sad to report that I have yet to find something that screams to me " THIS IS MY WREATH!!! I MUST HAVE THAT WREATH!!"....

I mean, there are a lot of pictures out there, and most of them are very nice. Some of them... not so much my style. But until I find "the one", I will keep up my search.
In the meantime, here's an assortment that I don't hate:

This one is traditional, and whimsical all at the same time. Seems very likely this wreath would be on the door of a family with children's home! Oddly enough, I am seeking a little more sophistication this year.

I have a love/hate relationship with this style of wreath. I hate that it's not traditional greenery, but I love the idea of it, and can't not look at them. This one catches me because of the blue and silver... but not what I want....Initially, I liked this. Now, I'm not so sure.... not Christmas-y enough for me, but it's neat to frame a mirror for extra glam!
This, to me, screams Cheap and Cheerful, which is probably what I love about it! I says exactly the message you want to convey. Wooden letters are so whimsical!

Twig wreaths have become incredibly popular over the years, and while I typically use them more for fall, I think that this one, done in silver, is so wonderful and wintery!!
Last but not least, my favorite style of wreath - the traditional evergreen wreath!!
Believe it or not, while I saw hundreds of them, this is the only one tonight that I liked!! Easy, simple, elegant. Ribbon, greenery, and pinecones!! PERFECT!!
All of tonight's wreath's are courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens

Monday, November 23, 2009

white + bright

I'm not typically a fan of all-white homes. I feel they have a tendancy to lack character, that's so important in one's home.
This home in Style at Home does not fall into that category. The owner of this home, used plenty of bright, vibrant colors to showcase the family's personality. I love it!

The living room is still pretty austere, but the use of many different textures, adds layers!

In the den, there's no absence of playful colors! I love that the furniture is all very simple in shape, to really let the accessories POP!

The kitchen is a little too stark for my liking, but would really help to open up a space, that perhaps didn't have a lot of natural light...

I absolutely adore this little vignette!! That apple is so perfect!! LOVE THIS!

The dining room, is the perfect backdrop for some great themed parties. While this ladies casino night, isn't my style, the chandelier is!! I could just imagine the gorgeous tablescapes I could set on this all white background!

What do you think? Could you live with all white?

more bad news...

Well, I had lofty goals of getting some stuff posted, and projects finished, but a last minute visit from my mom, and the news that my dad had a mild stroke last Monday, meant my blog was the last thing on my Mind this weekend.

On a happier note, everyone thinks the coffee table looks dark enough with only 2 costs. So, we're gonna let it dry out a bit more in the garage, since the cold prevents proper drying, then being it in to see how it looks! I anticipate it'll be back in place by middle of the week!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Emergency Rooms, Ebony Stain and Epiphanies

Yesterday was long and stressful, but oddly enough, still mildly productive!

+I left work around 11 am, when I was notified that Cory had been admitted to the Emergency Room. He had been feeling "off" for the past 2 days, so I wasn't surprised. However, I was surprised to find him keeled over in pain, lying on the floor at the hospital!

After many blood tests, xrays, and urine samples, they diagnosed him with gastroenteritis, and told him to keep an eye on the pain, which could indicate appendicitis!

Thankfully, it didn't get worse. But, it hasn't gotten better, and he's still in quite a bit of pain. But at least we know what's wrong!

When we got home, he slept and I decided to get some work done in the office. My big stationery order came in this week (I'll share photos of what I got tonight... but here's a peek at one item I got). The invites are all addressed and just waiting for some postage, so they can get put in the mail!

+I started a bit of a workspace clean-up, so that I can get started on some Christmas projects! Which inspired me to start working on a Christmas scrapbook. My plan was to get the pages all done up, and layouts selected, so that afterwards, I could just print the photos, crop and stick...... Unfortunately, an epiphany of myself wanting to add the pictures, and then realizing I HATED this pre-done scrapbook, cause that's just not how I roll. Which brought me to the realization that while I like to plan ahead, doing scrapbook pages before I've even taken the photos, is not my cup of tea.

When I design a page, I like to pull from the colors in the photo, and really draw for the mood or feeling in the photo. I'm far less about having a matchy-matchy album, with coordinating papers throughout the whole thing, than I am about creating layouts that really capture the feeling and memory associated with the photo.... so I decided to put the thing away.

+Instead, I turned my attention to adding another coat of Ebony stain to the coffee table. However, by then, it was getting late, and it was starting to get very, very cold in the garage. So, I threw on a coat, and after wiping off the first area, realized that the stain needed to sit for much longer... probably due to the cold. So I decided to leave it over night - hopefully that will help! It's looking really great!! There's a gorgeous walnut-look to it now (at least when it's wet...), so I am hoping it will keep developing to look similar to our floors!
Today - I have an appointment with my trainer at 7pm, and my mom might be coming into town. I've also got a pedicure tomorrow to look forward to. whoo hoo!!
Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Movie Reviews

I volunteer with an Organization that offers a lot of free stuff, including mucho tickets to movies and local events. A few weeks ago, I was one of many lucky winners in a draw for passes to a Sneak Preview of the soon to be released movie The Blind Side . I was a little worried that Cory would hate me for dragging him along. Especially when we got to the theatre, and it was full of families, young kids and a lot of girls!!! Whoops!

However, this movie was actually, really, really good!!

Based on a true story, this one had me almost in tears at many points! Also, Cory really liked it!! Guess it was all the football,!! So, if you're looking for a nice couple's movie, and don't wanna see the usual action-packed flick, to accomodate your better-half, this is a good choice!!

However, if action is more your thing ( or your hubby's that is..) we also just saw 2012 . I have to admit, I was leary of seeing it, cause in my head it was something else, involving aliens or something of that nature. But Cory convinced me I'd be interested, so I tagged along. I was pleasantly surprised! It could be that the story line was nothing I was thinking it would be though.... but there was a nice combo of action, comedy and romance!!

Photos courtesy of All movie Photo

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Basement Envy

Over here, we've started talks about our basement development. While any large projects propbably won't start til next spring, if not later, we've decided to at least get the electrical situation started fairly soon.

That means, we pretty much need to fully design and furnish everything on paper, so that we can figure out where furniture is going to go, so we can decide where we want outlets, and where the switches will go, and where we need lighting, and what type of lighting, etc. etc. etc.

So, despite pretty much having a clear vision in MY head... that means I need to help Cory visualize something that only exists in my head...Good luck!

Since the space is super small, I plan on doing my darndest to make sure space is maximized, there is plenty of storage, and items are multi-purpose. Well lucky for me, one of the latest Style at Home had a very cute basement development feature that really maximized everything.

Here's a peek:

This is the BEFORE shot. Looks like a lot of basements I know... in fact we have an area in ours that looks quite similar!

This sofa multi-tasks, as it has storage, but the sectional can also sleep overnight guests! It's also the perfect for this space!

Across from the sofa there's a great little desk. But that floral artwork... is actually the T.V!!! What a great idea to maximize the space underneath!

Talk about an amazing craft room! This room has walls of cabinetry, and keeping everything against the walls, leaves plenty of floorspace, to throw an island in the middle for workspace!

Don't you wish you were this organizes behind closed doors?

The downstairs bath is simple, but let's light flow through the space, and it's hard to tell this is in a basement!!

So what do you think? This basement looks larger than mine... but I will definetly be taking note on how to maximize my space!

Showhome Style Inspiration

Sorry I've been MIA for a while. We've been busy. and sick, and busy and sick again.... :(
The good news is that we're slowly making progress made on some projects that I've been saying I've wanted to finish for a very long time!

However, since the garage is still full of sawdust, and most of the projects are "in the works!", I'll instead share with you, some inspiration photos from one of my favorite magazines, Style at Home .

This showhome, which was decorated "on a budget", is so gorgeous, and exactly what I would do to the space, if I had more money to buy all new stuff!! Love it!!

This sitting room is gorgeous! Love the artwork and the armless furniture selections, which help the room look so much larger. The mirrored tables also help to reflect space!

This great room is gorgeous. The mantel reminds me of mine. I've been thinking of doing bookshelves on either side... might have to try this. My only problem with this space.... no t.v!! Realistically, a great room would have one!

This dining room shot, was what caught my attention!! Loving the juxtaposition of dark woods with all that white! Love the upholstered chairs. Love the china cabinet! I'm gonna have to re-evaluate my space tonight!

The designer wanted both regular and glass fronted cabinets... but it was getting too pricey. So they found a company that has doors, with both a single panel, and a piece of glass!! What a great idea. I might have to look into those...

The feature only showed this "girls" bedroom. But it could quite easily be a masterbedroom, if the scale of some of the furniture was changed.

**This showhome also inspired me to rid my rooms of clutter, and really pare down accessories!**

Friday, November 13, 2009

prettiest house on the block!

meet the snailskies

If you're from around here, you'll recognize the reference to a local cable provider's commercials... If not, then you should realize I just mean SLOW!

Yes, that's how things have been progressing around here lately!
As in lots of things started, nothing getting finished. Yuck! I hate waiting...

Okay, so here's what we're working on:
~ the exterior Christmas lights are about 2/3 done. However, the only reason they are not finished it strictly due to the fact that this week, it suddenly started getting dark at 4PM, and I get home an hour later..they will be completed Sunday!

~Cory finally started assembling the metal shelving for the garage. But he's lazy so it's not in place, and i'm waiting for him to do that today, so I can load up the shelves tonight!

~Cory has some time off, during which he's promised to start sanding down my coffee table. I will pick up the stain on Sunday and get to work next week, if not on Sunday as well.

~ Cory also said he'd sand my new (vintage) lamp so I can take it from ugly to lovely. I also started looking for a new shade for it - a gigantic white drum shade! Unfortunately, I've not found one that works yet.... but this one should be completed by end of next week... Fingers crossed!

~ I unwrapped the new thermostat last night. I'm a little scared and realized i'd need Cory's help turning off the power at the fuse box to do the install...he wasn't home. By monday at the latest!

~ a special Christmas project is in the works. I bought the supplies, and then shipped them off to Cory's friend, who has a special part needed to make it work. Unfortunately, Cory has been off work for a few days, so I gotta wait for that!

Okay, well I guess I've identified the problem... Waiting on a man! I know, you're probably wondering why I can't do these things myself? Well the shelves are super heavy, and I can't be anywhere near the metal on concrete scraping sound. Plus, I can't be anywhere near sandpaper, it creeps me out!

I'd love to be able to finish things myself, i'd get so much more done. But instead, I wait!

Next week I officially start my Christmas projects as well! Excited for that!

How about you? Any projects that have been taking far longer to finish than they should? Share the details! Oh, and officially set a fur date, it'll help!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

poorly lit

Well, my post for yesterday, got lost with my thoughts last night... so here's a weekend re-cap:

Saturday, I went out shopping to spend some of the birthday gift cards I had amassed. I spent an obscene amount of money buying all new ornaments and lights for my tree, to get a whole new color scheme this year. We also hit up a birthday party that night.

Sunday, my plan to hang out with friends was foiled, and I was still too sick to get togethere with Rebecca, so I went out alone and visited the new showhome of the house some friends are buying ( so jealous!). Then I headed home and got started on some work in the garage.

First up, I repaired a mug that had it's handle broken off.... I'm excited to share more projects with the product I used, soon!

I finished painting the porch trees, and they are now sitting in matching glossy black pots! I planned on taking BEFORE and AFTER pics, but got excited and started before I had the chance. You'll have to wait until the Christmas porch is finished for photos though......

I also figured that since Cory works every weekend, I'd be hard-pressed to get another nice weekend to get the Christmas lights hung, and started them a little late in the afternoon. I got 2/3 of the LED lights hung before it was too dark, and too cold to finish. I planned on finishing them and hanging the icicles as well yesterday after work, but apparently it has hit that time of year, when it is already dark before you get off work..... so the lights will have to wait until the weekend to be finished!!

I went searching for the foam for the storage ottoman, but couldn't find it in the garage.... so that project has been put back on hold, until I can either find the foam, or have a chance to buy more!

Here are projects I have on board for the rest of the week:

~ install our new electronic thermostat. Seems easy enough, however I am worried that I will screw it up, hence the hesitation on starting....

~ I've gotta figure out my Christmas card list, and then see what I have in my stock, and make whatever cards I still need!

~ there's a special Christmas project I want to start this week, however it needs the assistance of a man with a carbon fibre drill bit.... so I hope to get the supplies tonight so Cory can take them with him to work tomorrow, and bring them back the next day for me!

~ a new lamp is hopefully gonna get a new coat of paint this week! I've already starting searching for the perfect shade to take this project from Shabby to Chic!

~ I'll share how to re-pot plant cuttings to salvage dying plants. I've got a couple vases full of cuttings with some great new roots!

Anyhow, that's it for now. Check in this week to see how I'm progressing through my to-do list!

Enjoy your day!!

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Since I showed you my kitchen the other day, I thought it might be nice to feature a cool item from our kitchen: our sink!!!
It's very cool, and isn't silver and sparkly... it's Silgranit and gets a lot of comments! Plus, I love it!
The builder threw it in for us (and the faucet), which was a nice treat. The faucet has a pull-down sprayer, and there is a soap dispenser built in, which eliminates clutter on the sink ledge!
We had our choice of colors and we went with Anthracite which I thought would look really great with the countertops. I think I chose well!
I believe the style we have is the Vision 210 and we love it. It's really deep, with 2 nice, wide sinks!
When we chose it though, everyone we talked to, was skeptical about how it would hold up, especially being such a dark color.
I am happy to report, NO SCRATCHES, STAINS, OR ANYTHING!
It's easy to clean, and can handle hot from the oven items, without fear of warping!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Dishin' bout my Kitchen

Well, it's been just over 4 months since we moved into our house, and there are still some rooms I've yet to share!
One that I can not believe, has been overlooked this long, is our kitchen... especially considering how important I think kitchens are in the resale of a home, and how central they are to a family's life.
It could be because ours is actually tiny (yes, smaller than our rental condo), especially compared to some of the big, beautiful kitchens I see on other blogs. Or perhaps cause I'm still feeling it out, and figuring out the best place to put things... but in reality, I guess it was just that I hadn't ever remembered to take a photo when it was all clean and sparkly.
So a couple weekends back, when I was all alone, and cleaning.... I figured what a better time than this to snap some photos!!
Without further ado, here she is, in all her tiny glory:
Yes, it's quite a departure from all the bright, white, spacious kitchens out there...but I love it.
Our kitchen is also commented on, by every new person to visit our home - which is always nice to hear!!!
Here's a little insight:
The cabinets are dark, way darker than they appear here. There is a lot of detail in the panel, so we went with simple hardware. I regret the hardware entirely, but Cory could not fit a hand inside my first choice!
I hated all the tile options they gave me. Cory and I both agreed on glossy white subway tile. It looks good, is easy to clean, and lightens things up in here. There is under-cabinet lighting in those non-descript valance boxes.

Our countertops are formica. Yes, judge me... I wanted granite or Corian.... Cory refused to spend that kind of money on a house we'll sell in 5 years. It was my #2 of what they offered me (first was discontinued), and it turned out great with everthing. Looks better in person.

We upgraded our fridge twice. Our first package included a builder basic, but in stainless. We shelled out more money to get a side by side, with an icemaker and water dispenser. We love it.
However, I think it looks awful. The builder was suppossed to let the appliance people know to let us know the dimensions, so we could shop accordingly. The appliance guy lied, and we ended up too short....... ANY IDEAS ON WHAT TO USE TO COVER THE OPENING ABOVE FRIDGE????

We originally had planned a raised eating bar here. I had gorgeous leather stools for it and everything! I accidently discovered they were doing this sideboard/china cabinet option in another showhome and we fell in love!! However, we're not maximizing on the storage - we use (or don't use for that matter) it as a bar.
I'm gonna nix that plan and instead show off some of my white servingware eventually.

This last shot is more of an action shot, you know, the cutting board is out, things are visible. But it makes me realize that those blue canisters really need to find a new home, the papertowel holder isn't working for me, and I think a white crock should replace the metal tool caddy.

Anyhow, that's my kitchen. It's teeny, simple and nothing extravagant. But we're happy with what we've made of it. Plus, we're still finding our way around it, and determining what works for our life.

Any suggestions? Comments?