Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Kitchen Chalkboard

This post was almost called . . .
"I liked it and so I put a frame around it" "Yes I liked it and so I put a frame around it" Oh Oh Oh, Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh . . . Woah Oh Oh.

I LOVE chalkboard paint, I would paint the entire house in chalkboard paint and then draw all over the walls, luckily Lee is normal (unlike myself) and tames down my chalkboard paint excursions.
Here's how it went down:
Ashli: "I'm going to paint the kitchen wall in Chalkboard paint!" "I'm a genuis"
Lee: "What?? The whole wall?"
Ashli: "Why don't you trust me, and my mad decorating skills" wa wa wa . . . and some other general pouting occurred.

I came up with an everybody wins solution . . . Chalkboard Paper!!! I found a big 'ol piece of it at Homesense, on clearance for $15.  We stuck it to the wall, and it looked good . . . not great.
I remembered Janell from Isabella and Max rooms made a gorgeous frame for her kitchen chalkboard so right there in Home Depot's moulding isle we pulled it up on the phone and devised a copy cat version of Janell's right on the spot! (thank goodness for crafty bloggers like Janell, and iPhones).

Like I said First we stuck the paper to the wall.

Then Lee added the trim:

We painted it the same color as our Trim (Martha Stewart's Heavy Cream). And to top it off (literally!) I added a clock I found at Homesense, for $15.

I was thinking it would be great to write holiday messages on . . . or take photos in front of with funny chalk drawings around us!! Or just write down a quick message or dirty limerick, you know, what ever comes to mind!

Disclaimer: This image is totally photoshoped on, I couldn't draw this,
let alone in chalk, to save my life!

I still need to find a Hook for my Apron! And a chalk holder of some sort!! And some Chalk pens, I heard those things are awesome!

Budget Breakdown:
Molding:                 $20 and change
Chalkboard Paper:  $ 15
Wall Clock:             $15
Total Cost:         $50 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How To: Decorate a Christmas Tree

Decorating a Christmas tree is not like putting on your pants . . .
There are two ways to put your pants on, one leg at a time or the controversial double leg pull up! There are so many ways to decorate a tree, this is a post on how we decorate OUR tree.

1) First you set up the tree . . .

Our tree is a 12 foot artificial tree. We have a double story, 20 foot ceilings in the Library so any tree smaller than 12 feet would look teeny tiny!

2) Then we add the lights, if you have a pre-lit artificial tree . . . well La Di Da!! Just kidding, a pre-lit tree puts you one step ahead.

3) Next we add all the bulbs one color at a time, i.e. we put all of our green bulbs on first, then the red, then the silver. I do it this way so that we get even distribution of colors.

4) After all the bulbs are up we add all the small special touches, like our sentimental ornaments and bows.

and last, my philosphy on tree skirts . . . I finish my Christmas Shopping early and use the presents as a tree skirt. I figure the skirt gets covered by presents so it's un-neccessary! Plus the added bonus of not having to go to the mall in December, nothing sucks the Christmas Spirit out faster then a mall, on the weekend, in December.

This year we went with a Classic Red paper and Green Ribbon, I've never wrapped all the presents the same before but I like it!!! Just make sure to label them all well, or little Jonny might end up with a set of earrings and Grandma might get some much anticipated Hot Wheels.

Our paper and ribbon are from Nashville Wraps.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thai Coconut Curry Soup

We've been trying to add more healthy meals to our weekly schedule, this one was GREAT and vegan.
Lee's a sucker for any form of Thai food so his review of this might be slightly bias but He did give it two thumbs up!

1Tbsp Olive Oil
3 Cloves Garlic
1 can of drained corn or about a cup of frozen corn
4-5 Green Onions
1 med Red Pepper
2 15 oz cans of Coconut Milk
1  1/2 cups Rice Milk
2 tsp good Curry Powder
1/4 tsp Red Curry Paste (not really necessary but it you have some it's good to add)
1 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Minced Cilantro (I don't like cilantro so I cut it out of mine)
This is great for a starter soup but if it's for dinner:
I add a few nugget potatoes and a couple of florets of cauliflower.

Add oil and garlic to a soup pot, fry up a bit until the garlic is fragrant, add the white part of the green onions and the red pepper. Cook in pot for a couple minutes.

Add all the milks, corn, curry powder, curry paste, and salt.

Cook until the potatoes are done, or if your not using potatoes cook until it's all heated through.

At the last minute throw in the cilantro and green parts of green onions and serve.

Very Yummy!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Failed Art Project!

While lurking searching around pintrest I found an amazing DIY art project that I thought I would be able to replicate no problem at all.
Here's my inspiration, a beautiful gold scale piece of art:

Source: found Here.

So I attempted to make my own mini version in green. I also thought I would get a little fancy and do a cascade of color effect . . . FAIL!
I bought a circle punch for $10 - 40% coupon from Michaels, I punched out many, many circles, and hot glued them into place. I used the paper that came with the ikea frame to glue them on to.

Judge for yourself, but it's a bit of a disaster . . . it kind of looks less like fish scales and more like roof shingles :)

I've said it before and I'll say it again, "I am Seriously lacking in artistic talent". Back to the drawing board to find some inexpensive art for the powder room.

Barn Door Progess . . . and a confession.

We're just about ready to add the track to the barn door. Lee extended the door molding to accommodate the track, I think he did an amazing job making it a perfect match to the existing molding.


Hopefully the track gets made this week and we have a new barn door to share next week!! :)

I also have a confession to make . . . the barn door is CREAM, but at one point it was Yellow. It's true I painted it yellow first!!

I thought I liked it yellow, we lived with it for a day but every time I came into the room it was loud. I felt like I couldn't think with it in the room, it just kept screaming at me!!! So cream it went and we're thrilled with it!

Lee's working away on a How to: build a barn door post, so if you were wondering keep an eye out for it this week!

BTW . . . we've got another post up today about my most recent failed art project :(

Monday, November 21, 2011

We partied like it was my birthday . . . because it was :)

This weekend I turned 28! And at my own 28th birthday dinner I was asked to show my ID. Here in BC the legal drinking age is 19 so I'm over the moon to say the least!! haha

Not too much excitement over the weekend. Lee made me lunch and we ordered my favorite pizza for dinner.
We have a bit of a tradition around here . . . on each others birthdays we have a slave for a day policy. On Lee's birthday it's basically me cooking all day. On my birthday it's Lee doing house projects all day long, and taking me on trips to Homesense :) (he hates homesense, only second to Jo Ann Fabrics).

So this weekend we started tons of projects:
  • We made progress on the barn door.
  • We cleaned the garage
  • Picked up a new light fixture for the powder room, actually it was 3 until we found the right one!
  • Picked up a new mirror for the powder room . . . it was too small so I returned it.
  • Some chalkboard action in the kitchen
  • One completely failed art project (more on that later this week).
For my birthday present Lee picked out something I wanted for a long time, but kept saying it was too much money and my sewing machine was fine. Lee could see me struggling with my old machine and picked me up the Brother SQ9050 computerized sewing and quilting machine. I did some "test" projects and it's amazing!!! It also has a free motion quilting option, I can't wait to get started on a quilt for the guest room.

Look at all these stitch options:

And from Max ;) a new cocktail ring! (clearly I should have gotten a birthday manicure too :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Book Review: Killer Stuff and Tons of Money

I just finished "Killer Stuff and Tons of Money: Seeking History and Hidden Gems in Flea Market America" by Maureen Stanton.
It really was a GREAT read. It gave me a whole new outlook on Antiques and the world of Flea Markets.

Maureen follows around antique expert Curt Avery, show to show, market to market. It sounds a little cliche but I really felt like I was there. I couldn't wait to get a few free minutes and find out what show or antique market we were going to next.

I saw a little bit of myself in the book . . . unfortunately it was in the Housewife that shows up at noon, looking for "THE LOOK". It doesn't have to be a 'real' antique but I want it to look like one :S Something I'm going to be more conscious of now!
I also had NO idea how much Martha Stewart Living influenced the antique market, if something shows up in her magazine, the price automatically jumps up.

From Nicholas Cage's collection of shrunken heads . . . to Oprah's $200,000+ dresser, I was enthralled with the collections, but probably more so the money that people spend on them.

And last would be my new understanding of how much knowledge it takes to be in the antique business. The small little details can mean the difference between $10 and $100,000 or a million dollars.
The book was a bit sad, very exciting, well written, and for me . . . a bit guilt inducing, because I'm the one buying those "reproductions" that are killing the industry. But It definitely gave me "the shopping bug" I can't wait to get out and start looking for some redware or sandwich glass.

I would give this book a MUST READ status! I LOVED every word of it!!
And who knows your million dollar find could be right around the corner.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I see a wood door and I want it painted . . . . . .


No colors anymore I want them to turn CREAM! Martha Stewart's 'Heavy Cream' to be exact.

Here's my reasoning:

I didn't want to stain the door, because the dining room is already "wood heavy" that's my term for a lot of wood in a room. The floor is one shade of wood, the kitchen is another and the dining table is yet . . . another color of wood, so no more wood.

I decided against GREEN because while I love green the house is already embodying Kermit the Frog, which is my way of saying there's already a lot of green around this manor. The library has green, the living room is full of green accents and the walls have a touch of green.
Blue put up a fight right until the end but while I like blue, I don't LOVE blue and I felt like a blue door might boss the room around too much.

So it was down to Cream and Yellow . . . Here's my reasoning against Yellow.
While I LOVE yellow, It doesn't really fit. It's like when you find a fabulous chair but it doesn't match anything in your house but you buy it anyways because you love it so much, then you spend the rest of your days either changing the rest of your house to fit it (I call this the ripple effect) ~or~ you live with it and everyday you walk into your room you notice how it doesn't match.
For example I would LOVE an Eames Rocker but I wouldn't fit at all with anything we have going on around here so I don't buy it . . . just like I didn't paint the door yellow.

So Cream it is!! And I have to say I LOVE it!

It says "Yeah, I'm a barn door . . . so what" ~instead of~ "AAAAAHHHHHH LOOK AT MEEE

Don't Forget: Keep an eye out for Lee's How to make a barn door post.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Powder Room: Sneek Peek

Since I couldn't make up my mind about the barn door color, I decided to paint the powder room a color I knew was perfect! With Christmas around the corner it was time to style-up the powder room (that's right STYLE-UP :)
Here's a Sneek Peek:

The wall color is: Martha Stewart's Rain Water, and the trim is Heavy Cream.

We still need:
  • A new Mirror??? Maybe a new paint color for the mirror
  • Definitely a new light fixture
  • some art work
  • Maybe a bright multi colored, padded toilet seat ? ? ? hehe Just Kidding!

Check back tomorrow I've decided I need to make a decision on the barn door and just paint it!!! I'll post pictures tomorrow!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Small Space Lighting

I think because we use to live is such cramped quarters I'm happiest when dealing with the small little cubbies in our house. They small little nooks around are house are some of my favorite spaces.

Like this little nook off the front entrance. It holds the coat closet, and the powder room is off of it.

We've had this light fixture since our very first apartment right after we got married. I found this little chandelier at BOWRING on super clearance for $25. I had no where to put it so we kept it in a rubbermaid tote for a year. Then we moved into the Townhouse and tried it out in the dining room but it was too small, we tried it over the bed, it was WAY to small.

When we moved into this house, I immediately knew where it would hang. It had perfect proportions for the little nook.  HE was really easy to install, there was already a pot light there, so we just swapped out the pot light for the mini chandelier!

I love little touches in unexpected places!!! MY FAVORITE!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

New Library addition

I went to Ikea recently for something totally unrelated to what I walked out with. Because what I went for was kitchen containers . . . what I walked out with was a plant! Seriously I might be a crow, but instead of being attracted to shiny things I'm attracted to green leafy things . . . as well as shiny things ;).

So we have a new family member (sort of), and he wants to live in the library, because he needs more light then the living room can offer.
At first we had him up on the bookcase:

But still not enough light.

So we moved him too the coffee table, and he seems super happy there . . . but we're still in the honeymoon phase with him, so far so good.

I LOVE the white ceramic pot, with drainage tray built in! Regularly priced at $29.99 he would have been way out of our houseplant price range, but this little neglected soul was a little worse for wear and we got him for 50% off.

And because I've said . . . out loud . . . in public that I'm going to add more perspective shots, here's one from a different angle!

To me a house isn't a home without a plant and a pet.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Barn Door Progress: Paint Color

First THANK YOU for all the comments from Yesterday. I was really nervous about changing so much! Especially the name! You are all so sweet and it made me feel a lot better about the whole thing :) THANK YOU!!!!

Now all the mushy stuff is out of the way:
Lee finished the Barn Door Construction this weekend!!!! And I'm in LOVE (with Lee and the door). He did an amazing Job on it. It's rustic but re-fined. It's a bit hard to see the details when it's just raw wood, so we need to paint this bad boy up!

This is where I need some HELP!
We're deciding on paint colors. Everyone seems to have a different opinion. So we need your input.

Here's my thinking:
First I was thinking Green because it matches the green in the living room. BUT, I already have green in the living room so maybe we want a different color for the dining room. I've been struggling with accent color choices for a while now, too much green everywhere . . . but I do LOVE green ? ? ? ?
Blue would match some of the blue from the living room (in the stars and in the pillow stripes).
And Yellow . . . I just plain LOVE yellow and have been trying to find a way to work it into our house for a while.
Here are the choices:

All choices are made Martha Stewart Paints:
1. Rain Water
2. Beach Grass
3. Calabash
4. Cornbread
5. Egg Yolk
And Last a Bonus color choice . . . from my mom . . . Cream, the same cream color as the trim.

So what do you think??

Monday, November 7, 2011


You may have noticed the new "look" around here. We've had the same header and sidebar elements for over a year and it was time for a change. Kind of like a mini blog renovation. A little paint on the walls, a  little tile in the kitchen that sort of thing. :)

A name change has been in the works for a while now. Since we no longer live in Maillardville it had been bothering me that we were still the Maillardville Manor. Also, it's not the easiest name to remember (it took me three months to spell it correctly :).
So Our New Name is . . . .

Why Mini Manor:
The definition of MANOR is -
                                      a. A landed estate.
                                      b. The main house on an estate; a mansion.
So a Mini Manor is exactly what we have. If you've seen our yard the term "landed estate" would make you laugh, we have land, but it's a VERY small plot.
And Yes we have a house, but it's no mansion.
Hence . . . Mini Manor!
If you're worried about your subscription, we are still keeping the old address so that all of your subscriptions and settings will stay the same. 
As for headers I made 3 . . . I thought I would just pick the best of the 3 but I liked them all, so we're going to keep all three and have them change out!
Header #1:
Header #2:
Header #3:
We've also added some new sidebar content, we're displaying 5 of our all time most popular posts. And a new About us section:
I hope you're enjoying all the changes around Mini Manor (hehe). There's still a few more changes happening this week. We have a new About Us page, a new background and Navigation bar to install.
Hopefully we'll have that all up and active next week.
In Short:
We're now Mini Manor Blog, but we're keeping Maillardville Manor so that all of your subscriptions stay the same!
I can't wait to get back to the posting part of the "job" We've been working on these changes for a few months now, and I've had post idea's building up in my head!!
Hope you enjoy the changes :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Natural Lawn Care

We're a bit behind on our fall chores. Fall is the perfect time to re-seed your lawn, I always thought that you only seeded your lawn once and then it was a lawn and you wouldn't have to do it again . . . ever. I was wrong.
Since we are trying to keep our lawn 100% natural and organic, weed control can be a bit of a problem. The best way to naturally keep weeds at bay is to make a lush full lawn. If there is tons of grass growing then the weeds have less room to grow.
So here's the process:

1.   De-thatch your lawn. I didn't know what thatch was but the best way to describe it would be the dead layer of grass between your blades of grass. You might not have any thatch, but we had a fair amount. A good way to tell is, if you walk on the grass and it's very soggy, kind of like carpet would be if you soaked it, then you probably have some thatch. You'll want to remove it before you seed so that your seeds can hit the soil and grow, otherwise a lot of your seeds would just sit on top of dead grass and not grow.
- To de-thatch your lawn you'll need a thatch rake,

and tons of muscles (mainly back and butt muscles): (p.s. check out my sweet yoga pants tucked into argyle rubber boots . . . hold on Vogue is calling)

2.    Dispense seed over lawn. Our lawn gives new meaning to the word postage stamp, seriously if a small yard is a postage stamp then our yard is Elvis's hair on an Elvis postage stamp (otherwise known as a really really small yard) so we didn't need a special seed dispenser, Lee just did it by hand. If you had a large area to do, it might make more sense you use a dispenser for a more even coating.

3.    Grab some beautiful compost (from your compost bin) or from the store :) and spread it around your lawn, it helps the seeds get started, it's also like a mini feeding of fertilizer for you lawn.

4.     Sit back and admire what a mess you just made of your lawn and how it looked so much better before you started the process!
It's true it will look a little thin (kind of like your husband looked in his late 20's (or at least my husband :) you know, still has most of his hair, but it's becoming clear that won't be the case forever . . . that level of thin )
And yes, a thin layer of dirt on your lawn kind of makes it look like you have large burrowing animals. But the compost eventually disintegrates into the earth and the seeds start to sprout and come Spring you'll have fewer weeds to pull and you'll have more time to contemplate your husbands hair line :) hehe Just kidding!

In Summary:
De-thatch your lawn with a thatch rake Less than $30 at Home Depot
Seed your lawn
Sprinkle compost on lawn
Think about husbands hair (optional)
Pull fewer weeds in Spring.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

I'll be organizing kitchen cupboards and whipping up a How To: Slipcover a round ottoman post.

Lee will be making some progress on the barn door for the dining room, and doing something to the engine of his car, only one of which will be making it into next week's post . . . Let's hope he makes some good progress on the door, or we'll all get to learn where spark plugs live :) haha

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

New Living Room pic's . . . with new ottoman!

First off, THANK YOU so much for all the new ottoman LOVE! I've been smiling every time my phone beeps with a new comment!
I have a How To: in the works. And I thought I'd answer a couple of FAQ's from yesterday about the ottoman.
  • Yes, I'll definitely pop up a mini how to later this week!
  • I used White denim (from the Fashion section of the fabric store). Yup the very same kind as my summer jeans.
  • I didn't use a pattern, I just kind of measured and then made it as simple as humanly possible!
I thought I should update the Living room photos, so that you can see what's where now! The Green pillows that are on the couch, use to live on the chairs.

And of coarse the addition of the new ottoman! :)

Here's the "Overall" look of the living room:

I'm going to try to add more perspective shots of the house. I realize it's hard to see how all of the rooms are laid out.
Here's a perspective shot of the living room windows, or what you would see walking into the living room!

I hope your enjoying where it's going, I still have a few changes in mind:
  • I'd like to add brighter, patterned curtain panels (still keeping the white at the top).
  • I'd like to get a slightly smaller T.V. (I still can't believe Lee agreed to this :)
  • Add cabinets on either side of the fireplace . . . maybe I'm still not sure how that will work, they'll have to be very narrow but still deep enough to hold the media equipment.
  • A couple more piece of artwork (my favorite)
I also moved the fern from the library, into the Living Room. Since in less than a month the Christmas Tree will be in the library, I thought now would be a good time to take it out and get it use to a new space. I'm kinda loving it's new home . . . might be a permanent move :)


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