Monday, April 29, 2013

Gnome Sweet Gnome

Just a quick post today, I was at Ross last week, and I saw this little white ceramic gnome. I didn't even hesitate, he was less than $5 and I love him.
He will probably go outside in our shade garden with the Hosta, but since the Hostas aren't out yet, I thought I would enjoy him inside for now!
He's about 12 inches tall, and 4 inches wide. I have never had an outside ornament before, but I kind of liked the play between the traditional Gnome in the yard and the modern, crisp white color.
I think every room needs a little touch of whimsy and outside is gnome exception  . . .  although a yard full of bits and pieces would look funny but one or two choices items is nice.
This is probably one of the weirder purchases I've made . . . that and my white ceramic husband.  But you can't help who and what you love ;)
I'll share his new spot when he makes his way outside.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Rock me gently, Rock me slowly . . .


Take it easy, 
Don't you know.
That I have never been loved like this before . . . 
Baby Baby!

I hope this song reference doesn't go over some of our younger readers heads. It's totally not the point of this post . . . but I love that song! 

We found a rocker at The Salvation Army thrift store for $20! Every mother I spoke to said you NEED a rocking chair, and I refuse to buy a glider . . . I know they are great but there is nothing you can tell me to make me buy a glider. BUT we are going to buy a metal rocking base for one of our chairs in the living room so we will have a chair that glides! (of course we will blog about it when it happens)
Since we don't know if we are going to be chosen to adopt a boy or a girl . . . or even if we will be chosen . . . or when (have I mentioned waiting is hard??) haha We've decided to do a really natural nursery. Natural wood tones . . . solid wood furniture . . . things like that. So when I saw this solid wood rocker on sale for $20 I picked it up. 
Check out the construction: 
We still need to add a cushion to the seat and the back but we are really excited to have this part of the nursery done.
So excited we thought we should practice baby rocking with Max.
In other news . . .  Max does not enjoy rocking. :(

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

This blew my mind!!!

KA-BOOM!
Maybe as we get older we get more skeptical but I thought there was NO WAY this was going to work. Here's how it went down:

Our new table for Carson had some scratches on it. I thought about picking up one of those stain pens or using a crayon . . . but then I remembered something about rubbing a walnut on the scratch ? ? . . . I was seriously skeptical, I grab a walnut out of the pantry and started rubbing the leg of the table.

I stopped dead, and started screaming for Lee (a little over dramatic in hindsight). Lee came running thinking I had just hurt myself or the house was on fire. Honestly he was a little angry I yelled so loud over nothing but I showed him what I was doing and how well it worked and he was so AMAZED, he forgot all about being mad at me.

We Rubbed the entire table with walnuts and there are NO MORE SCRATCHES at all!!! It was seriously amazing to me!
Here's the before and afters:
Isn't that amazing, we just rubbed it with a piece of walnut! I don't think I have ever impressed Lee more then I did that day! haha
Here's a close up:
There you have it . . . I hope you mind is sufficiently Blown! I'm not kidding I am still amazed! I think it has something to do with the oil in the nut . . . but I just chalk it up to MAGIC!!! Ta Da!

Besides the magical aspect of the walnut, I think I am so excited about this because it is such a natural way to get out scratches, no stain, no VOC's. It's as green as you can get!!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Big Changes in the Office

We are planning some changes in the office. Good changes for Good reasons. The 'ol blog has been growing in readership, which we are so so grateful for!!! But working from the dining room table or the sofa isn't really cutting it for me anymore.
We do have the big desk in the office but Lee works from home often so it's usually covered in blueprints. We had a talk about it and thought it would be really nice if we could both work in there at the same time. For that reason we are going to add another desk to the office.
If you remember we did have a smaller corner desk in the office, but it was a bit too small and pretty uncomfortable to do any long stretches of work.
Getting rid of the corner desk also gives us room for a large cage for Carson. I have always wanted a large, 'aviary' cage for Carson, I am so excited!!!
We found the cage from a local bird rescue group and were able to trade our old cage for a bunch of money off so the new cage ended up costing us under $50!
It came with a ugly metal stand but I knew that I wanted a piece of furniture for under Carson. I wasn't sure what piece of furniture but I knew it had to be wood.
We found this piece on Craigslist for . . . $20! It was in rough shape (more on that later) but it was the perfect size.
We are so happy to have our Carson all set up in his new cage.
I always think of the quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

"You are responsible, forever, for that which you have tamed."  

I want to do what's best for our little pets, and having a Big cage for Carson makes all of us happy.  We still have to raise one of the white shelves above the cage and paint the parts we had to patch but we are almost there, then we can add an extra desk and get posting! ;)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Flowers on Friday: Daffodils

We were gifted a very beautiful bouquet of Daffodils last weekend. I will never tire of Daffodils!
I love them, what's not to love beautiful yellow flowers:
And slender long stems:
They remind me of my sister . . . crazy on the top, skinny on the bottom! haha (she's going to be mad I wrote that . . . or happy ??? I'm not sure.)
And after our post on The 6 vases you need to have . . . I go ahead and use a small juice pitcher to hold our daffodils!

I hope you have a great weekend. I'll be here Monday with our New Rocking Chair . . . I promise ;).

Thursday, April 18, 2013

All you need is Lipstick

I love a good before and after as much as the next person, but when you live in the house day in and day out, making small changes as you go. The Big reveal isn't so BIG. It's subtle and slow, a new pillow here, a new side table there. You barely notice the difference.

Last week I came across a photo of our living room (taken from the kitchen) before we moved in. I couldn't believe the difference. I barely noticed . . . I always felt that we didn't "do much" in the living room. We didn't change the wall color, or alter the fireplace mantel. We kept the wood floors and the molding around the windows. We only changed the sconces on either side of the fireplace, and added our furniture and accents.
The living room had good bones when we moved in so it's definitely an example of what a little "lipstick" can do.
Today's post was for all the emails I get saying "That project was great, but I don't have a handy husband so I can't do that" or "That's fine, but I'm renting and I can't make permanent changes". Sometimes big renovations aren't necessary, the right scale furniture and some accents is all a room needs. Don't be discouraged because major reno's aren't possible.

btw . . . who hates the two pendant lights in the first photo as much as I did!!! That was the FIRST thing we changed when we got the keys!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The 6 vases you have to have!

I LOVE reader requests . . . we've been doing this for almost 3 years now, and finding something to write about during projects can sometimes be a stretch. So if there is anything you want to know shoot me an email and ask!

Today's post came from an email I received asking about our flower vases! I do not remember who it came from . . . sorry!
The question basically asked, what flower vases should we own??

Basically I think that One Large vase and One small vase should be owned by everyone . . . if you are really in to minimalism the small vase could be a small tumbler ;).
But if you are a fresh flower addict like myself here are the basic vases you should have: 

1) A White Ceramic Pitcher:
It can be used for other things as well, but more than 50% of the time I use it as a vase.

2) A round glass "fish bowl" vase:

I found ours at Michaels, and I use it all the time, any bouquet I've put into it has looked amazing! I seriously Love this vase!

3) A Julep Cup:
Again, I found this at Michaels (p.s. Don't put it into the dishwasher). I use this little cup about as often as I use all of our other vases combined. Sometimes the flowers in a mixed bouquet die at different times. So when the first few flowers die, I pull the live flowers out (usually carnations), and place them in our julep cup to live for a few more days!

4) Medium Vase:
I love texture and I love white but it doesn't have to be textured and white. It's just nice to have a medium sized vase for medium sized bouquets. I find that this size about 10" tall is the perfect size for almost any bouquet.

5) A bud vase: *Optional
I know I said you should own a bud vase but I just use an oil bottle, it's rare that I receive a single stem but it does happen occasionally. For that reason we keep the white oil bottle around if we didn't already own one I'm not sure I would invest in one.

6) A Large honeycomb vase from Target! *Optional
Okay . . . it's a little specific but what I really mean to say is a Large Vase. This is also optional, because if you have the big white pitcher (number 1) you won't need a large vase.

And the best place to buy vases . . . second hand stores! Save yourself some money and search through your local thrift store for vases!! 

And of course you aren't limited to just traditional vases, if you are short on space here are some examples of unconventional things we've used as a vase:
A goblet: 
A mason jar inside an orchid pot: 
A cookie jar without the lid:
I hope you enjoyed today's reader request!!! I hope I didn't sound too bossy, but those are the vases that I've found work really well for us!! ;) haha

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston

It felt weird to talk about our new chair today. Our hearts are in Boston. We had a friend running, she is fine, she finished about 10 minutes before the explosions.

Like everyone else we just stared at the TV wondering who would do that, worried, and angry. I popped on to facebook and saw this quote. One of my volleyball coaches (and a woman I look up to and admire so much in my adult life) had posted it on her timeline. I saw the incident through new eyes. This is something I want to hold on to and remember to share with our children one day.
We'll be back with two posts tomorrow, but today our thoughts and our hearts are in Boston. We are hoping you and all of your loved ones are safe and sound.

Monday, April 15, 2013

We threw a Baby Shower!

This weekend I got to co-host a baby shower for two of our dearest friends!!! The house was PACKED full of people, and the guests of honor were thrilled.
It was a Jack and Jill shower, meaning both men and women were invited, and it turned into a party but with lots of presents for the Mom and Dad to be!

Like I said, we were co-hosts with our friend Rachel. Together we tackled the decorations and food!

I thought that a diaper cake would be fun, new mom's can always use diapers, right?
Lee and I tackled the diaper cake making on Thursday night, we rolled over 150 diapers . . . Lee said it was the most ridiculous thing he's ever helped me do, but that it turned out super cool! haha
The cake was topped off with a sock monkey!
We also added some Pom Poms to the pendant above the table.
Next, since it was an Owl Theme, I tackled some owl cupcakes.
Using Oreos for eyes worked out great!
 We did both blue and green cupcake icing . . .
and just because you can't have enough cupcakes I made some white ones as well.
Rachel thought of a candy table, she had me at Candy!
Lastly a little banner . . .
I think our guests of honor had a good time . . . and we got a great sneak peek of some seriously adorable baby goods!
So a big congratulations to Matt and Sara, we love you guys!!

Pop back tomorrow for another peek into our future babies room . . . we'll be "rocking" our latest thrift store find! ;)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Our Favorite Vegetarian Recipe

The best way to eat Vegetarian food is to cook it in Curry. To me everything in a curry dish tastes the same, other than the texture I couldn't tell potato from chicken!
We Love this Chickpea and Carrot Spicy Curry!!!
The recipe was adapted from The Kitchenist's Spicy Chickpea Curry. 
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Onion, diced
4-5 Carrots, diced
3 Cloves of Garlic, minced
1" piece of ginger, minced (or grated in)
1 tsp ground Cumin
1 tsp ground Coriander
1 tsp Turmeric
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Chili Flakes (even more if looking for revenge on your tongue)
1 (400gr) can of Chickpeas
1 (794gr) can of diced tomatoes (liquid and all)
1 tsp salt

Greek yogurt and fresh coriander to sprinkle on top!
Step 1: 
Heat oil in a pan (frying pan, dutch over, sauce pot what ever you have). Throw in Onion and brown for 2 minutes, add diced carrots and saute for another 2-3 minutes.
Step 2: 
Add garlic and ginger and saute for another minute. Then add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne pepper, chili flakes and cook for another minute.
Step 3:
Add Chickpeas, tomatoes and salt to the pan . . . stir!
Step 4: 
Turn heat to low and simmer until carrots are cooked through about 20 minutes (depending on how large your dice was).

Additional add in's: 
Red pepper, green pepper, potatoes (cooked), corn (although I sure every single person in India is mad at me for saying that right now), egg plant, cauliflower.

Lee's favorite to eat it is wrapped up in a flour tortilla (or naan bread) with rice and green yogurt! 
I hope you'll give it a try on your next Meatless Monday!!!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I Love my Canary

I really do Love our Canary, 'Carson' . . . 'Carson the Canary'.

He is the easiest pet I have ever had. He is really next to no work, and he sings so beautifully and has so much personality.

I posted a photo of our little Carson on Instagram last week and I realized I hadn't done a post on him since 2010! Which is weird because I seriously couldn't imagine our home without him in it.

He's a Fife Canary, they are a little bit smaller than other breeds of canaries. Like I said before he sings beautifully, and loudly. He has very discerning musical tastes, he will only sing along with, classical music, Motown, and Country Music, or a hockey game, seriously a hockey game on the TV is his signal to let 'er rip! (If only I could get him to chant Go Canucks Go!)
Canaries are really easy to care for, clean water, and fresh veggies are all they need on a daily basis. They would make an amazing starter pet for anyone.

I'm not going to lie . . . birds kind of freak me out. I will never have a parrot just because when we were little my cousin's parrot bit my sister's thumb . . . why her thumb was in the parrot cage in the first place, I will never know, but since then I am afraid of parrots, like a paralyzing "The Birds, The Birds!" fear. But canaries are way too cute to be afraid of . . . how can you be afraid of this face:
 If we get up early enough on the weekends we will get to catch him taking his bath. He only bathes in the morning, and during the week we are usually to busy to notice but on the weekends we get a show! He hops in, chest deep, and splashes around like a maniac. It's not at all refined, but it's so cute.
We've had Carson for almost 6 years now . . . which is a bit sad because their life span is 5-9 years, but he's as healthy as a horse (a tiny yellow horse). So we are hoping for many more years, of early morning baths and karaoke sing alongs. Carson is a HUGE part of what makes our house a home.

There you have it . . . 6 years in and still in love with my little Carson Canary! We just picked up a new cage for him . . . it's HUGE. I'm not kidding, I could fit inside it! We'll have pictures of the whole set up and his new spot in the house next week!!!

Weird Carson Facts
- Favorite Song: "Chicken Fried" by The Zac Brown Band
- Favorite Food: Broccoli
- Favorite Show: Gilmore Girls (he loves to tweet along to the Gilmore Girls)
- Favorite Sport: Hockey-->

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

First Baby Room Update with Para Paint

First off we both wanted to say how touched we were by the comments and well wishes from you. We've spent 6 years, more than half of our relationship, unsure what direction we were headed in regarding children, it feels so great to have a direction. Being able to share it with all of you was amazing!

We have no idea how long it will take until we are matched, it could be 1 month, it could be 1 year, it could be 10 years, but just in case it's 1 month we wanted to be prepared with the basics (my own form of "if you build it, they will come").
Step one, paint the room.
Because it's a babies room we were very conscious of paint fumes so we chose Para Paints Essence brand because it has NO VOC's. 
Since we have no idea when a baby is coming our way, let alone whether that baby will be a boy or girl we decided on a neutral nursery. We chose White Chocolate (PF27) for the bottom color, and a beautiful pale grey for the upper section, Papineau Tint 1 (P2076-01).
But first things first we had to add some chair rail. It's a 12 foot by 12 foot room, and the chair rail for the whole room was under $50.

We ran into two problems with the chair rail:
1) The chair rail was thicker than the window casing (meaning it stuck out farther than the window molding). We decided the best was was too cut it on a bit of an angle. Lee just measured the depth, and cut it on a 45 degree angle in (using a miter box).
2) Problem two was a very weird little bump out in the corner that took a little extra finessing, but Lee did an amazing job patching and filling it so it looked perfect!! 
We ran into a secret problem number 3 that resulted in some tears (yes I cried over paint). I cut in the trim for the pale grey and stepped back, it looked PURPLE! Like lilac, meets lavender, meets grape soda purple. Lee convinced me that it was only paint and we should just finish the color then decide. Two coats later and it was the perfect shade of pale Grey! I will blame the tears on Pre-adoption hormones ;). haha
So if you paint it on and it looks purple, keep going!!!! When it dries it's awesome. I am actually fighting the urge to paint the entire house Papineau Tint 1.
 I am also really excited to have a place for my nesting tables again. You might remember they use to live in the living room, but now they are going to live in the babies room (they were from Homesense a few years ago).
Here's the Before and After:
Thank you again for all of the adoption LOVE! We are so blessed already! I just realized we get to create a new label on the blog  "NURSERY"  :).  A few more tears . . . these ones are happy . . . darn these adoption hormones. ;)

Next:
-Blinds for the window (black out blinds for sure)
-A crib
-A dresser/ change table
-Rocking chair

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