Sunday, May 30, 2010

Lighting Love Affair

I spent a few hours on Friday night at HomeSense.  I had some giftcards burning a hole in my wallet and was looking for nothing in particular
I spotted a pile of clearance light fixtures and spent a great deal of time mulling over whether they should come home with me or not.
There were two I liked,  this one:

(Excuse the photo, it was taken with my crappy Blackberry, and the box was wrapped in plastic wrap so it's a little hard to see...)

There was another similar one, with simple dangling crystals, but my aforementioned crappy phone apparently was not able to save that photo!

Despite the great price, I just wasn't able to convince myself that lighting was something we actually I passed.

It's currently all I can think about now.  Everytime I walk into a room at the house, I notice the crappy, builder-basic light fixtures we have and how much better the space would be with one of these fixtures lighting the way.

I guess I will be making a pit stop on my way home tomorrow.... Anyone have some tips for newbies learning to switch out light fixtures? 

Friday, May 28, 2010

Reward Yourself!

Last week while paying bills, I noticed that I had an outstanding points balance on one of my credit card statements that was about to EXPIRE! 

Did you know that some companies with Rewards Programs actually put expiry dates on them?  Neither did I!

I immediately went online to see if I had enough points for anything and saw that I did.  Needless to say, I didn't hesitate to redeem my points!
I also spent the rest of the evening going through my many Rewards Programs and redeeming wherever I could!

Fast forward to today, and here's a few of the goodies I have received so far:
When choosing my rewards, I obviously make selections for things that would help me get this house in tip top shape!

Here's what's burning a hole in my wallet right now:

~ A $50 HBC Gift card from HBC obviously.  Did you know they replaced their Rewards Catalogue with gift cards?  I think that's a much better option!

~ A $120 gift card for Sears from my Sears Club points on my Mastercard

~ My credit card company's Choice Rewards rewards program had some of the best options, but as soon as I saw that HomeSense/Winners was on there, I snatched those up!  I was a few points short of another $50.  I am hoping that when I get my statement this month, I'll have enough to grab another card!

I'm excited to spend these babies on some stuff to spiffy up the house.  Don't worry, I 'll share all about my rewards!

Cory and I are also no strangers for cashing in our Gas Station's reward points for free gas, car washes, washer fluid and snacks!  As well our Airmiles often get us movie passes and restaurant gift certificates!

How about you?  What have you scored for "FREE" lately?  Ever taken a look at your rewards programs to see if your points expire?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Possible Entry Addition

I decided last month to finally start tackling the task of completing our home decorating, since the end of June marks our ONE YEAR HOME ANNIVERSARY!!
I figured the best and most logical way to complete everything would be to start at the front porch, and work my way through the house until we finished.  Although, I'm smart enough to know, I'll never REALLY be finished...   And while I am not sure if it's really feasible, I am hoping to try and work on only one room's projects at a time.... But I know my brain doesn't really work that way, so I'll do my best to keep from skipping back and forth.
Anyhow, last week I shared my  Front porch mini-makeover , so it only makes sense that the next space we start to tackle be the front entrance. 
Here's what it looks like now (well, Christmas time actually, since I can't seem to find any current photos of the hall...)
Yeah, pretty bland....  I DO love the mirror, but something is missing.  I've really wanted to add a console table, but Cory is convinced that there simply just isn't enough room for a table.

See how the hallways angles and gets pretty narrow? 

Well, I accompanied a gf to Ikea last week and got to see the HEMNES shoe cabinet on display.  Instantly, I was in love!  It seemed like it had the potential to be the perfect addition to the space.  Plus it had everything I was looking for:

  • Narrow enough to fit in the space comfortably?  Check!  It mounts to the wall, which helps save space.

  • Look like an actual piece of furniture?  Check There are legs which make it look like a real table.

  • Provide storage?  Check!  Those 4 tilt out drawers are pretty room, and would definitely tackle the mounds of shoes in our entry.  Not to mention mittens and even large purses... yes!  I stuffed mine in at the store!

  • Have a wide enough top so that it would accomodate a nice vase and a bowl for keys, etc. ?  Check!  I already have an idea for a nice little vignette up there.  That'll help fill out the space under the mirror nicely.

Although, it definitely looks a little cheap  here, which was my biggest worry.  Especially considering I broke the display model when I tried to see if my ginormous purse would fit inside one of the tilt out compartments!  oops!

So, here's my question for the day?  Do you think that if I swapped out those oil-bronze knobs for something a little more glam, and dressed the top of the piece properly, I could get away with it looking a little more upscale?

I'm hoping to take it from Ikea STANDARD to STANDOUT!!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Good News and a little clean-up!

Thankfully, nothing was ruined in the flash flood that hit the guest room and office earlier this week.  Note to everyone:  ALWAYS make sure your electronics are plugged into a power bar with a surge protector and gfi!

Since everything had been moved, thrown around and wiped down from all the rainwater, I took this weekend as an opportunity to clean and tidy the space so that I might actually want to spend time in there again.  I don't actually love this space.  It works, mostly.  But it's pretty oppressive in there with all that dark furniture.  However, everything is less than 2 years old, and it's what we had to work with, so it's staying until we:

a.) get me a laptop and completely get rid of the desk top computer.
b.) save up enough money to do a complete re-do.
It's not the prettiest, most stylish office but it does the job!
(Please esxcuse the mess of cords under the desk - I needed Cory's help to mount those under the desk but he was napping and I couldn't wait!)
To be honest, it doesn't get used all that often anymore!  Something I hope to change...
The desk is used mainly for paying bills.
The desk is an Ikea find, and the chair was one I stole from my office when we got new furniture (our cheap one had broken in the move!)

Another Ikea piece, this is perfect for holding all my crafting supplies! Plus the top is the perfect height (for me!) to use as a workspace.  My papercutter lives here, however the sewing machine gets moved to a folding table to accomodate room for fabrics.

Our old place had a loft.  We set it up as an office/craft space and make shift den.  This Billy bookcase was purchased for that space.  It held dvds,cds, video games, books and of course decorative objects.  It's really not working for me in this space... It will most likely get moved to the basement once we finish it!

But since I know you're all wondering where my "stuff" is... I'll show you:
The room actually has a walk-in closet that is perfect for storing.... well, just about everything.  Excuse the mess, the stuff here, is stuff I am working on, or in progress so I didn't fully organize it as I cleaned the rest of the room.
My craft punches hang from a piece my mom made me out of scrap wood and towel bars.
The clear plastic organizer was a freebie from a friend cleaning out her basement - it holds fabric and sewing supplies.
The white dresser was another freebie from a gentleman at work cleaning his basement - top drawer holds more craft supplies and the other 2 hold all my stamp sets
Wrapping paper and other Christmas wrapping supplies are in the long plastic rubbermaid bins.
The rest of it, needs some work!

For now, this is serving as my BEFORE, but it's (mostly) tidy now, so expect to see some crafts coming out of here soon!

Happy Long Weekend!

Friday, May 21, 2010

THE "Incident"

I was unable to past last night, and tonight is still up in the air...(a real post, not this makeshift deal from my cell) as we had an incident last night. I take 100% responsibility for it, and I don't usually say that!

You see, it's been hot around here lately, and since we dropped the ball on central air while we were building and currently there are other projects taking priority (and funding) we've been dealing by opening the windows.

Unfortunately, last night it POURED! I mean, I knew it was raining. I knew the windows were open. I guess I just forgot how far they were open. And I wasn't taking into consideration the direction of the rain...

Whoops! Yeah, so when I finally felt the wind pick up, it was already too late! Both the guest room and office were SOAKED! And i'm by no means exagerating. As in, the whole duvet in the guest room was soaked, as were the wood blinds.

The office was even worse. Unfortunately, underneath the window is where our desk and all the electronics are. Yes, probably a bad idea in hindsight, but it's where it works best!

Thankfully, it appears the surge protector has a gfi and shut itself off, so we hope that it prevented everything from shorting out.... Hopefully.

Cory and I spent a good deal of time in there last night with stacks of towels, wiping down the desk and everything on it (it was a pile of mess). We're letting all the electronics completely dry out before we do any plugging back in. We also made sure to do our absolute best in drying off the wood blinds to prevent damage.

But, thankfully this weekend is a long one with few plans. So I have on day lined up to tackle and full purge, clean and re-organization of that room. Guess I needed a little kick in the butt from a rainstorm.
I am beyond thankful though that my brand new camera wasn't on the desk where I usually keep it.

So, in the event that I am incommunicado for the next few, have a great long weekend!

We have a ton of stuff to do at the house so I will make sure to share when I am back!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Fun (and Fruity) Find!

During my weekly peruse over the wares at my local Dollarama this weekend, I finally caved and bought something that I have been mulling over for the last few weeks:  FAKE PEARS!

I originally planned on filling up one of my new hurricane lanterns however there was no way I had enough.

So I decided to try them out in my new black glass compotes.  They looked great!  But there was still only enough for one.
Yes, I realize this is not the most flattering shot.  I had just come in the door from work; tired from my workout; hungry and wanting to get some posts ready.  Deal with it!  There wasn't any natural light to work with anyhow!

Now, my Dollarama doesn't actually have even a fraction of the cool stuff I've seen you all find at yours, so I'd love to know, What have you picked up lately?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Treasured Two-Tier Table

Ever since I was a little girl, I've known there were a few things from my family home that I wished I could take with me when I got my own place. Well, it's been a few years now since I left the nest, but this past weekend one of those items finally became MINE!

This two-tiered table (on wheels no less!) is something I will always remember from my childhood. It wasn't fancy or big, but it always held the tv in our busy family room! I'm not sure what makes it so special to me, I just know that I was incredibly upset when I heard that my dad had (gasp) given it to his new girlfriend to use at her place. I couldn't believe that something so special to me was no longer in our family...

I guess it was just a temporary loaner, cause when I met up with dad for dinner, he told me to bring the truck around to load my table up! HIP HIP HOORAY!

I was shocked when I saw it again for the first time in many years, as it is still in almost PERFECT condition. There's just one scratch on the top:

It's pretty simple, with just the tiniest touch of detailing on the legs:

I'm not actually sure what I want to do with it, or where it will end up. I'm just happy to know that it's mine!

But, about a month ago, when we decided not to go anywhere for the May long weekend, I made Cory promise to set up a little sanding station in the garage so I can start getting rid of some of this mess:

It's not huge, but there are two chairs, 3 tables, and 2 lamps just in here! Nevermind the other rooms in the house that are housing my finds!!

Any suggestions on what I should do to the table?

Paint it white? Stain it a dark walnut? Go nuts with a fun color?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

This Weekend's Garage Sale Finds

I hit up quite a few garage sales this weekend and am sad to report that there wasn't much good stuff. However, in all the junk, I was able to find a few gems.
This milk glass bud vase is such a staple but I hadn't (until now) been able to find one in good condition that was super cheap. At 50 cents, this made the cut.

I also scored a brand new box of the same silver Christmas ball ornaments I used last year, for $2.00. (no photo)

At the next sale, I found these 2 interesting black glass compotes. I'm not sure what they're called, if anything. Does anyone know. They were a bit pricier, and now I don't even think I have space for them... so they might actually get sold. But they would look great with a huge pink peony inside!

How'd you make out this weekend at the garage sales/thrift stores?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Front Porch Mini-Makeover

Number 1 on the list to accomplish this weekend was a mini-porch makeover. As you probably read in my update, it turned out to be a lot harder than I imagine to accomplish my goal.
The initial plan was a dark colored wicker chair with bright colored cushion, a new wreath and some black pots for some bright colored flowers. As you can probably see, we went in a completely different direction!

1. The biggest change is that I sacrificed vanity for practicality and we put in a SCREEN DOOR! It really takes away from the curb appeal, but it is infinitely practical for us. As there are NO opening windows on the main floor, aside from the patio doors off the dining area, we really needed something to provide a cross-breeze in the warm weather!

Plus, the cats seem to love being able to look out onto the street. I did however, choose the best looking and most expensive one they had, so at least I had looks in mind!

2. When I couldn't find the chair I was looking for, I decided that we didn't need one. Until I got home and changed my mind again. Luckily, we had a few on the back deck that weren't being used. Thankfully, it turned out wonderfully!

3. I had planned on picking up some square black pots to add some bright colored flowers in. Infact, I hadn't even started looking for pots yet, when I stumbled across these off-white woven beauties. They were actually a LOT more than I wanted to spend, but I knew they'd be perfect! Thankfully, I was right and they look great against the house! Even Cory said so, which means I hit the nail right on the head!

I still need to pick up at least one more pot, and some more of the rounded evergreens and actually pot eveything, but I like the look of the greenery here best.

4. Lastly, I was at Michael's trying to decide what sort of a wreath I wanted to do and had pretty much picked out a whole slew of things, when I decided that it would be silly of me to have REAL GREENERY on the porch and FAKE FLOWERS on a wreath. I decided a sign would be more fitting. I found this lovely buttefly plaque and loved it immediately!

5.The only thing we need now, is for the builder to put on the treads on our stairs. (Can't wait for them to finish that eyesore!)

Here's a little re-cap for you. This is what the porch looked like a few weeks ago:

And here it is now:

The best part? I set myself a cosmetic budget of $100.00. I am not counting the screen door since it was purchased for airflow purposes and DEFINITELY NOT for its looks!

Here is a little breakdown:

Chair: FREE from our backyard

Pots: $55 for both; HomeSense

Door Plaque: $17.00 (after 40% off coupon) Michaels

Plants: $25 for evergreens

(Hydrangea was bought previously and will be planted in the ground once we have a yard!)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Fantastic Find - Vintage Chair!

Well, it was an absolute BUST trying to find a chair for the front porch. Oh, don't get me wrong, I found what I was looking for. But there's no way on earth that I am going to spend $500 dollars and upwards for a chair that will get practically NO USE, and will only be on display 4 months of the year!
So I have decided to let that project be for the meantime. I did however find one chair I really like. I wasn't even in the market for a chair to re-upholster, but I never see good finds like this at reasonable prices. So I snatched it up without much thought!

Isn't she pretty? Okay, well yeah, not with those colors... but overall! She's got tons fo potential. Heck, even the wood is in pretty good shape!

I'm excited to try my hand at tufting!

The caning is lovely and in good condition! Only question, is do you sand-down cane?

As far as her makeover goes, I'm not exactly sure which route to go.

Should I stain it a nice dark ebony or walnut? Or should I spray her white?

I have a few fabrics in mind, but I will be hitting up the fabric store in the next couple weeks to find something that really "speaks" to me.

Any thoughts? Tips?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Striking Out!

I had a few alone hours to kill tonight, so I decided I would grab all the stuff I needed for my front porch makeover, and just set it up, and style it tomorrow. Needless to say, I will be spending ALL WEEKEND, just looking for what I want!
Here's a re-cap of my night:
First, I hit up reliable old Ikea. I figured that since they had the biggest (online) selection of rattan and wicker chairs, I'd check out in person the 3 I was contemplating, choose the one I wanted and work from there, since it was the starting piece!
Yeah, not so much!

This chair, the cheapest of the bunch, was REALLY light colored, and was very rough and cheap feeling. No good.

The second ( a bit more expensive option) was a teeny bit darker, and felt just as yucky! They didn't even have the darker, bigger chair in stock, but I assume it was the same material :(

Pier 1's selection as really limited, and I was NOT about to spending $250 on a chair that was propbably going to get sat in a handful of times, and would be in the garage for most of the year.

So I headed over to Superstore, as I had seen a great little advertising feature in House and Home magazine last night, with some great outdoor living stuff. Yeah, no chairs, and none of the cute patio stuff I was jonesing for either....They did have faux woven one that seemed reasonable, so I am keeping it on my "just-in-case" list.

Okay, fine! Over to Home Outfitters - the only single chair they had for sale was a woven style as well. I don't hate it, but it was too expensive considering it was not my first choice!

A couple other local, independent stores only made me more upset... so looks like I have my work cut out for me tomorrow! I am hoping that HomeSense will be my savior!

Have a great night!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I'll be a little sporadic this week as i'm in court. Yes, that kind of court...

No worries, i'm called as a witness, but the whole thing is pretty long and exhausting. I've been waiting by myself outside the court room for an hour and a half.

I do have a bunch of things slated for the weekend though:
~ a new wreath project ~ a mini front porch makeover
~ some garage sales and thrift stores to hit up
~ and possibly a project with plants?

Thanks for sticking with me!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Porch Perches

So I have set my heart on getting a little wicker/rattan/whatever chair for our teeny tiny front porch. I would have a bench, but unfortunately the space is too small.
I will be hitting up some stores this weekend to pick something up. Here are some top contenders:
This chair is the cheapest so far. It's from Ikea and unfortunately I believe is intended only for indoors. However, it is a covered porch, so I am hoping it will work. The color, is a little lighter than I'd like, but might work... we'll see in person!
This is another Ikea option. I like the shape a little better, and the color is a bit darker, which would probably work a little better with the color of our siding. But I am still not sure...
The last (and most expensive) of the the Ikea options, this one is the color I like best. However, I prefer the shape of the second one. This one is a bit too ornate...but actually might be more comfy with that high back... hmmm.... I dunno.

This one is from Canadian Tire and most represents what I envisioned when I started thinking about this. But, it is at the higher end of my budget. However, unlike the Ikea versions, it is actually made for outdoor use...

Lastly, this option is what I would choose if I had a bit more money. It's pretty sharp looking! Another Canadian Tire piece, the grey is lovely, but I dunno if it would work with the browns outside. Also, probably too fancy anyhow!

For cushions, I have yet to see one that screams out "I'm the one!" to me, but these are all pretty:

From Pier 1, the perfect simple, blue cushion!

For something a little softer, there's this lovely green and white paisley floral option:

Canadian Tire also has this preppy stripe that reverses to a kicky floral! Might be a bit much, but hey, I'm looking to add some life to the step, so I'll definitely be taking a peek!

Wish me luck this weekend!Align Center

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Lighting Possibility!

For the last little while I've been thinking of getting a new light fixture for the dining room. Don't get me wrong, the builder basic fixture we chose at the lighting store is better than the ceiling fan they originally had slated for the space. It was also thankfully, the same price!

But, it's just not adding anything special to the space. I've been checking out some ideas and one that I am for sure keeping on my "potential" list is this beauty:

The perfect mix of casual and elegant, this was my favorite lighting find of the day! It's just one of the lovely fixtures available at CSN Stores .

While we have a little while before we tackle the dining room makeover, I'm definitely looking forward to adding a little sparkle to the space!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Hurricane Madness

Excuse the lack of posts this week! I was super busy with work and dinners and of course, snagging a great deal!

We had a huge winter storm last weekend and that threw my week off a bit. Anyhow, I did manage to snag a great deal, so let's get to that, shall we?

I may actually be the ONLY blogger who didn't already have a nice collection of hurricane vases to use in decoration. Well, as of this week, that has changed! I found a listing online from a couple who was selling the centerpieces from their wedding reception!

So for $5.00 a piece (I thought that was great, since they start around $25 at Walmart of Micheal's), I snagged 4. I would have liked to have gotten more, but I am running out of decor storage space...

These babies were found via Kijij who has fast become my best friend ever!

They are currently just sitting, waiting for inspiration to strike me, but I am anxious to get them styled up and shared with you!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Spring Cleaning: Hall Closet

Spring was starting to officially declare it's arrival around here, and then I had to go and mess it up for everyone! You see, the weekend was actually pretty nice. Not nice enough to go to the beach or anything like that. But certainly nice enough to work on both the interior and exterior of the house. So I did and called it my Spring Cleaning Kick Off! And then today, we had another major winter storm and a HUGE dumping of snow!!! So, yeah I'm taking full responsibility because my first project was the hall closet. You know, I cleared out winter boots, jackets and all sorts of cold weather accessories. Oops!

Anyhow, I was pretty proud of myself and here's a little peek:This thing was quite a mess! Plus, with the weather warming up, I thought it was time to get rid of the snow boots and winter jackets. (obviously, that was too soon!)

That top shelf was the absolute worst. I couldn't find anything in the bins and the re-usable shopping bags fell daily and hit me in the head!

First, I emptied EVERYTHING out!

I cleaned up all the organizers and then put them back into place. (Using all white, is a huge help cause it looks clean and keeps everything fresh looking)

Cory and I share this closet half and half. We each get a bin for accessories like hats, gloves, etc. Equal hanging space that I keep to 6 jackets at a time, and three shoe racks each. Our off season jackets and some shoes are stored in the guest room. Everything else ( my other shoes) are in our master closet.

The first things I put back were the bins. I sorted, paired gloves and decided that my hats needed their own bin. I shopped the house and scored this blue Ikea bin for free (it was being underused storing cat toys!)

Next up was the shoe racks. There were a ton of dirty shoes, which I took outside to clean off. Then I took out all snow boots and winter footwear. Everything was then put back into place. Top rack holds flip flops and flat shoes, then dress shoes, the casual shoes. My boots and new shoes went on the floor.

Lastly, winter jackets were switched out with rain coats and spring fleeces. I only allow 6 jackets each in the closet at a time.

The only other new thing I added was a small woven basket from Dollarama, that was originally in the office, to corral all the shopping bags neatly. There was a perfect spot on the floor for it!

Here's the final finished space: I am pleased, it's still super functional, but orderly.

What have you done for Spring Cleaning so far?