Wednesday, 29 August 2012


Today I arrived home from work (yes, I am back at work, but that's another post...) and my body immediately relaxed when I saw the house. I really love the shade of gray we picked. It suits the brick perfectly. I don't regret any of my annoying humming and was worth it.

The deck and door still need to be painted, but it is great to see progress being made. I am very happy with my painter. carpenter, on the other hand, still hasn't come back to put the toppers on the posts, even though I held back a portion of the money. For 3 days in a row now he has said he is going to come...and then doesn't. I have decided that if he doesn't come tomorrow I am going to Central Fairbanks Lumber, buying some toppers myself, and keeping the money.


New deck railing (toppers on posts yet to come)
The new railing is almost complete, and I love the look. It is much more classic compared to what was there before and consistent with the style of the home. I also think that the addition of the second railing along the stairs gives the home a more formal look, and draws attention to the door.

The painter started yesterday, and we are hoping that the bulk of the job is done by end of week.

PS - Thanks for all the comments on paint colours. I ended up going with a dark door. I was actually leaning towards a light door, but my husband wanted it to be dark. He gets so little say on design choices that I thought he should get his preference on this one....and I can hold it over his head forever if I don't like it!!

Handmade laundry bags

Since my son is in cloth diapers (as was my daughter), we do a LOT of laundry. I like to keep all the parts (shells, inserts, etc) of the diapers sorted, so I wash them in those laundry bags made for delicates....but they keep wearing out, and frankly aren't really big enough for my diapers. So my amazing mother made me 4 of these bags. The fabric is the same netting used on the drawstring bags used for soccer balls (yes, she's a soccer mama!!) so they are super durable. The string is a nylon which won't easily succumb to knots.....and the rainbow of colours just makes me smile.

Thanks Mom!

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Minimizing the ugly

You may have noticed that my house has a stripe of terribly ugly wood paneling across the front - I believe this was added to cover damaged brickwork when a porch overhang was removed from the house, many moons ago (in the 70's, I'm guessing!)

I've decided to get our carpenter to add a few narrow (2-3 inches wide) pieces of wood trim around the paneling to make it look a little less...ugly. I have no illusions that this will make it look nice; I just want it to look less...ugly. It's an experiment!

UPDATE: This was going to be $500, even though to materials are probably less than $100 and I feel like it's a simple job that my husband can do, so it's tough to justify. I am going to pass on this for now, and we will maybe do it after ourselves. 


My husband is ready to throw in the towel.

If I say "can you come outside for just a second", he just might say goodbye forever. Assessing the subtle difference between chelesa gray and amherst gray is just not his idea of a fun weekend activity. ....I can't say I blame him.

I have now purchased over 10 of those tiny pots of paint, trying to decide on house colours. Each time I change one choice, all of the other choices then have to change as well. In the end, the best thing I did was to take my bike out around our neighborhood, with my little chips in hand. As any total creep would do, I walked right up to various houses comparing my grays to theirs.

All of your comments were super helpful as well. Many of you suggested I stick with just two colours, which I've decided is definitely the way too go. Some of your suggested that I don't paint the spindles a different colour - I like this look on other people's houses, but on ours I think I will like the contrast...we'll see.

In the end I've chose (Benjamin Moore) Kendall Charcoal as our main colour - it's dark, and I'm hoping it will up the 'sophistication' factor of the house, without being too spooky looking. I've paired this with a few hits of "Sea Haze" for contrast.

UPDATE: I'm so bad at decision making......

Any thoughts on these two door options? Should I go dark or light?

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Bye bye, old deck...we won't miss you!

Oh, I was indeed tickled pink when I came home around noon to two big burly men destroying the old railing on my front deck!

Progress has been made. All the original railings have been removed. The two existing posts were kept since they are sturdy, but are being clad in extra wood to give them a more 'oomphy' appearance (the carpenter *seemed* to know what I meant by this). The guys also added the second post at the bottom of the stairs, as we're adding a second railing.

Tomorrow the new railing will go up.

I am still humming and hawwing on paint colours. I am pretty settled on (all Benjamin Moore) Dolphin for the deck and wood trim, and am now leaning towards Thunder for the spindles and window panes.

The door is giving me trouble. I really want to do a fun puchy colour, but just can't find the right one...the fact that the rest of the house is brick is confusing me - is brick a neutral or do I need to match the door to it? Should I do a light or dark coloured door, considering my choice of deck colours? Would I tire of an olivey green? Would it make my house look too Christmasy with the red brick? ...should I play it safe and go for a glossy black?

....first world problems, I know.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Paint colours

As I blogged about yesterday, I am doing some small updates to the front of our home.

The hardest part has been selecting paint colours.

I visited my local paint store and picked up a number of Benjamin Moore sample pots of colours I liked from those teeny tiny chips. Each small pot of paint was $7.99, which seems reasonable until you buy 3 paint options for each of the door, trim, and main colour! But in the grand scheme of things it was well worth the money, since when I painted the samples today, I realized I would have made some very bad decisions had I went with my impressions from the little paint chips! Oh, how misleading a little square of colour can be!

I think I have arrived on (all Benjamin Moore) Dolpfin for the deck and wood trim, Fossil for the window panes, and Silver Marlin for the door.

But these are tough decisions and I keep changing my mind! Some people have told me I shouldn't paint my door, some people think adding white trim will be too much...there is an ocean of decisions to make and I feel lost!

Monday, 20 August 2012


I am doing a few small curb appeal upgrades to the exterior of our house starting later this week.

First, the barn-fence-like railing we currently have is coming down, in favour of something more traditional (ie, vertical spindles!). I am also adding a second railing along the stairs to make the entrance look a bit more formal.

Next, the tired, worn, grungy runner is coming off faster than you can say "uggggg-ly!"

Finally, the entire deck will be painted, as will all other trim including that ugly looking wood panelling on the second story, the window frames, and door. The brick will remain unpainted.

The deck and wood panelling is going to be a dark greyish-mocha, the window frames a creamy white, and the door will likely be a robin's egg blue with some grey in it. I have ordered all my paint samples for pick up later today, and tomorrow I will start testing them (I have learned my lesson before from not testing colours properly)!

If you have any ideas for me, please send them in! I feel so unequipped to make these decisions!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Summer salsa

We are heading to friends' cottage this weekend for an annual triathalon weekend, and we are on tap for Sunday morning breakfast. Since peaches are so delicious right now, I am going to serve cheese scones, scrambled eggs, and peameal with this peach salsa.

The recipe is super easy and very flexible. I combined peaches, avocado, onion, tomatoes and cilantro, then added a splash of olive oil and red wine vinegar. Peaches can be replaced with mango or a citrus fruit if you'd prefer, and you can add corn if you have some left over from last night's dinner.

This is also delicious with fish and adds a gorgeous flash of colour - tonight we are having it with salmon! Yum!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

When is a dessert really dessert?

As I blogged about here, my husband and I are in the midst of a very competitive health competition. We earn points for exercise, and lose points for 'food infactions' like eating desserts, white flour, and refined sugar.

I was tickled pink when my friend Erin catered to our restrictions by making us faux ice cream this weekend while we were visting her parents' abode in Flesherton, Ontario. The concoction has no sugar or artificial sweetener, and it is yum!

- Slice and freeze a few bananas
- Once bananas are frozen add a spash of milk, a few scoops of plain yogurt, a teaspoon of cocoa powder, a few spoons of all-natural peanut butter, and a teaspoon of vanilla.
- Blend it all together and stick it back in the freezer for 30 minutes or so before serving.

Enjoy it guilt free!!

When life throws you lemons...

Ok, life hasn't thrown me any lemons as of late. I've had an amazing summer with my family, and peaches and corn are in season....things couldn't get much better!

Nonetheless, I fell for this vintage pitcher at Goodwill. "Clear tags" were on sale, so this was marked down to $.75. As part of Fatty Get Skinny (blogged about here) we are drinking a lot more water. I keep this adorable pitcher on the counter with a glass and sip away all day. I like that it is shaped a bit like a beaker. It reminds me of grade 8 Junior Chemistry class.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012


I am slowing adding hits of intensely saturated apple green to our bedroom. It is a colour that makes me happy, and it also happens to be the 'theme' colour from our wedding, now 5 years ago.

Last night I scooped up the green urn for $7.07 at my local Goodwill. It has a beautiful 'crackled' surface up close, and I love the way it brings out the green in the painting. .....which was another good deal!!! I gave it to my husband last year (our 4th anniversary), with the trees in the painting referencing the trees in Khalil Gibran's poem 'The Prophet', which was read at our wedding (a stretch, maybe, but I really liked the painting!).

I picked up the painting for a song at my local framing store. Someone had dropped it off for framing 7 years earlier and never picked it up!

Is there anything better?

With my retun for work imminent and the rain barreling down, I am pining for some of those special summer moments. In our family this means a game of lantern-lit Scrabble at the cottage. My best word of the summer was quivers, on a triple word score, no less.

I am sorry that I have been bad about blogging lately. Since getting back from our vacation I've been busy trying to get organized for my return to work, and am trying to revel in the time with my little man....lots of snuggles, kisses, and bike rides!

Friday, 10 August 2012

Label maker

My mother is even more of an organizational freak than me.

So last Christmas, I bought her a label maker - the Brother PTouch. It's amazing. At the cabin last week we labeled everything in sight. It is particularly good in a linen closet, and to label electronics and cords (I did my camera, IPad, Blackberry, etc.). Now I'm walking around my house thinking about all things I'd label if I had my very own label maker!

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Three weeks by the water

I've been away for three weeks on a mat leave swan song by the water. It was a wonderful trip that I will not soon forget. Here's a brief overview of what we got up to....

I took the two kids to Vancouver for a week to visit my parents. We had incredible weather and spent lots of time at the beach, Granville Island, and local public pools.

Next we headed to my parents' cabin which is half way between Vancouver and Calgary on Shuswap Lake in the Okanagan. It's a charming little cabin lit by kerosene lamps and decorated with macromae owls and hooked rugs (I'll post some pictures of the kitch factor in another post!).

Finally, we headed to Saskatchewan for a family reunion. 115 of us enjoyed loads of singing, celebrating, hearty meals, and catching up about each other's lives over the last 3 years.