Monday, April 7, 2014

back porches

With spring here and snow finally melted it's time to start thinking about outdoor life again. Trust me we will be spending every possible moment outdoors this spring and summer. It has been a long hard winter.
Now last spring we were seriously considering a pool and in ground hot tub but when the price of our dream came in ridiculously higher than we could have ever imagined we took a step back.
But what to do? Well we need a fence badly and that is top priority this spring and as for the rest like a deck patio and outdoor kitchen it will come in good time.
I had been thinking a deck would be what we need but I don't want the weather to decide if we can enjoy days and nights outdoors so I started thinking a covered porch might be just what we need. Then that evolved into to a screened in porch with a wood burning fireplace it all came from a dream actually. I dreamt we had a covered screened in porch and then I thought of how beautifully it would function.
It would be a spring summer and early fall living space, and indoor outdoor space. A southern style back porch.
We would eat out there during the warmer months and entertain out there and nap and relax. A fireplace would allow it to be used earlier and later into the season then without. The perfect backyard retreat.


Warm days and nights perfect for outdoor dining.
I love the look of this screened in porch it's the perfect style for our house.
How could I not be inspired by these pictures.

This is also a great option , I love the idea of the metal roof, nothing like rain on a metal roof.

I'm sure this will be a big project so it may take a couple of years to see it through, so it's time to dream, design and plan.

First we need to build a privacy fence and enclose our backyard so we can enjoy the yard we do have.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Goals for good health

Things have been really quiet on the blog front lately as I have not been up to much as far as decor is related.
The one thing I have been trying to sort out if a wall color for my bedroom and a color for the living room. 
After a lot well 2 years of thinking, I have decided on the color for the bedroom, Edgecomb gray is it...the perfect neutral. Now I need to get to it....I have lost my mojo....well I am busy actually.

 I was going between Revere Pewter at full strength and 1/2 strength and Edgecomb gray but Edgecomb is perfect for this room. I wanted a little color but not a color color just a soft shade.
 One coat of Edgecomb sealed the deal for me.
I will paint this room , soon...but I have taken on what I call Project Health right now.

I am on a mission to get myself in really good shape. Since New Years I have been working really hard on my diet and fitness, like a job. 1-2 hours a day of working out 6 days a week and eating really clean and it was slow going there for a while but I have as of today lost 18 lbs, as well I know I have gained muscle since I have been using weights quite significantly.
I have 13-15lbs to go to my goal. I just want to be a healthy weight not too skinny.I need to make my health a priority and I have after all what's more important than health and family, nothing.
My whole family is working on eating well and we are all working out regularly in our crude home gym. It has really helped me weather this rough winter in Ontario.
It's almost been a year since we headed off to Aruba for our first family beach vacation. I love that we are finally taking trips with our kids and making memories like these.

 I have logged so many hours and miles on this trusted elliptical, this was a good day , 700 cals burned.... not too many runs like that, I had to document that.
As well as my health being a motivator we are going on a trip south in a few short days.....and we couldn't be more excited. 

 No recipes I just wanted to share some pics of my healthy eating...you know I look forward to healthy eating so much now.
 cilantro dressing
 lots of healthy raw chopped salads.
 Trips south require new shoes right? these are amazing from Target but they are going back because my poor ankles can't handle them, they are so high, I have never had ankle pain from trying on shoes so I know they won't work for a real wear. Cute but they have got to go.....kinda sad.
Back to my healthy choices....smokes salmon on rye crackers

there is so much to do in preparation for a trip getting the whole family organized making sure everything is thought of , not to mention , spray tans and waxing and grey hair touch ups and mani pedi's of course. 

Thanks for stopping by and seeing what I have been up to.....


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Bringing in the new light, trying out LED bulbs

I was approached to try something new recently. I have partnered up with Home Depot to switch out all of my light bulbs in the house with new LED bulbs.
I was a little hesitant because when I hear LED I think of the early Christmas lights from oh 6-7 years ago , you know what I mean those glowing blue neon looking lights that people were putting on their trees. They were to save lots of money on the electric bill and were going to last a long time but if they looked like that who cares.
Here's the thing Canada has banned the sale of incandescent bulbs so when they are gone off the shelves they are gone....did you know that? I didn't know that until recently.

You can check out Home Depot's selection of LED bulbs HERE or check them out in store.

I know we have all tried the compact florescent bulbs right! I don't know about you but I have always gone back to the incandescent bulbs.


I was being offered a great opportunity to try out the new LED bulbs by partnering with Home Depot and so I accepted the challenge as it was offered.

I have now replaced 95% of our houses bulbs(we have a lot of bulbs) with LED bulbs. I selected a soft warm color light for all of our lamps and hanging fixtures as well as bathroom fixtures, and bright white for all of our pot lights.
I have to say I am very pleased with all the new light. The bulbs are all dimmable so I will be installing lots of dimmers ASAP.

 Lasts 22.8 years wow I won't miss changing those pot light bulbs, I have already changed all of our kitchen bulbs twice in 2 years.
 Over the next year I am going to see how these new bulbs impact our electric bill, this should be interesting to see. This pkg says saves $231.00 well that sounds great to me.
It's amazing how new lighting and better lighting changes a space, for instance our basement is no longer a dingy space. I had thought to replace some of the builder basic single bulb fixtures in our unfinished basement with track lights to gain light but it turns out just changing out the bulbs has made the basement much brighter and lighter which is so nice. The change in the bathrooms is amazing it is so nice to have the perfect lighting for make-up even on those dark winter no sun days which we have had a lot of lately.
 Here is the before of our pot lights
And the after ...the light is bright and clean I like it.

When you go to choose your new bulbs bring in what you are replacing and ask the Home Depot associates for help because you may need some help getting the right bulb the first time. 
They have a great display set up in the bulb dept to showcase the different colors and bulbs, everyone has a preference and it makes it easy for you to select what you like. 
So far my opinion is that I am pleasantly surprised with the new LED bulbs , big thanks to Home Depot for asking me to try them out... now how do I get them to let me try out a new HOT TUB!!! kidding....

click here to more on LED bulbs

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The completed Family room tour

I thought that I should take some photos of our completed family room ...that feels so good to say , completed! The kitchen is completed the powder room is completed and now the family room is completed. So many room are just not there yet. But these things takes time. 

 Drapes are linen from Ikea 2 pairs for fullness. The rug is from Home depot and is an 8'x10' synthetic sisal which we love. The fan is from Lowe's.
 I added book cases to the fireplace and added a marble hearth and tile to the surround.
 My daughter Mason and I added the chair rail moulding for her bring your kid to work day. The little side table is from Winners.
 All our soft seating is from the Ikea Ektorp collection. The lamps are from a second hand store. The frames are from Ikea. Most of the pillows I made from Tonic living fabrics.
 The coffered ceiling is my latest project which is the crowning touch this room needed. The coffee table is from Urban Barn.
And of course the 6" pine flooring finished in dark Kona stain and top coated with satin varathane, it is getting worn daily which is all part of the plan.
I hope you like my little tour ...thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A little news to share

I wanted to remind you to get prepared to watch an all new season of Canada's Handyman Challenge. 
Tune in January 21st at 10 pm on HGTV  Canada for the season premier. 
I was invited to visit the set this past fall. It was so nice to get a behind the scenes look. A few other bloggers and I were able to sit down with the judges and the host and chat about DIY projects and blogging, it was a lot of fun they were all so nice and charming of course. Sadly my computer crashed recently and I lost all but this photo. 
I was thoroughly impressed with the final challenge, it would have crippled me.  It is amazing what some people are able to accomplish in such a pressure cooker, I don't know how they did it.
You will have to tune in to watch their journey and to see who walks away with the grand prize. 


I wanted to share with you a NEW BLOG you must check out. My dear friend's sister Jenna has just jumped into the blogging world. I think it's a great idea, she is very talented and lucky us she is wanting to share her talents with the world. She transformed her previous home which was lovely but decided to make the move to a new home, which is stunning. Jenna recently purchased an "80's vintage" cottage and she is transforming it room by room, in a very tight timeline they have already made remarkable changes that you have to see, it sure makes me long for a cottage to DIY makeover myself. 
You can see her makeovers of her previous home her current home and her cottage continue to tune in while she shares the journey of transforming both her home and cottage. 


Here are some pics of her work for you to drool over
Enjoy! and then head on over to OAK POINT COTTAGE and see what Jenna has been up to, make sure to say hi and tell her I sent you. 
 It's so gorgeous right?



Honestly I could switch houses in a heart beat....
Check out Jenna's new blog OAK POINT COTTAGE I just love that name also it's perfect. 


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Why I would chose marble again in a heart beat


When we were buying this house I knew I would have the opportunity to build and create my dream kitchen and that meant I would choose my dream counter material , Marble Carrera Marble.
I almost fell for the warnings and scare tactics out there that marble is awful and it stains and that it would look awful and etch.... I nearly fell for it. I am so glad I didn't go against my instincts.
I tried to go for the "safe" option and try to get the "look" but I knew after a long time looking that the look a likes just weren't the same.
 Now all that being said my husband hated white and grey marble, it reminded him of the old 70's cheap marble look laminate. But I took him into a local store that had plenty of samples of counter materials quartz and real marble. We looked and felt both the quartz and real marble and that was it, the moment of no return , it was going to be marble for us. My husband said just now "it was the right choice",amen.
One great perk of marble is that it is quite a lot less expensive than quartz, like about half...I mean my dream material and half the cost of faux of course this was the right decision.

I compare my decision to get real marble over a look alike to selecting real wood floors over laminate flooring. After all wood floors are going to get scratched and show wear and tear but I would never spend more $$  to get laminate over wood (well I did have laminate once but the sound of laminate and the look and feel left me wanting more, I know it is better now but it is a personal choice) I personally have no trouble with things having character because I want a beautiful home but not a museum.

 I went with a double thickness edge and a square edge and most importantly a HONED finish. It is so divine I love my marble selection.
Let me also say I cook real food messy things greasy things so this is not a just for show kitchen by any means. I do clean as I go but that was me before.
When I made the decision to go for marble I knew that I would need to top the island with butcher block. I had butcher block in our old house and I knew that was a must have here. A tough durable spot for the messy stuff the colored stuff and the acidic stuff.
Butcher block can be refinished any old time, mine is sealed and we don't cut on it but it is just a safe prep zone for everyone.
I may feel differently about my marble if we didn't have a nice big island for all the messy stuff.

 All these photos are of the kitchen counters 2 years after regular use.
So yes marble is soft and it will mark but over time it will all add a nice patina. I use it differently than say I would laminate but I don't baby it.
 There was once lemon juice accident here early on but it has softened so much it is very difficult to even find it any more. Someone made lemon aid here and there was a ring of lemon juice from the can , it was pretty upsetting at the time but it was my fault as I guess I hadn't explained the no no foods.

 I have heard people mention coffee being a stain concern well not here, there are always little splashes and they don't get cleaned up quickly they dry in or on and I am happy to say they wipe right off. Not one single coffee drip stain remains. Actually there are no stains after 2 years, none what so ever, OH should I have said that , I am asking for trouble now aren't I.


This is what happens when something really bad occurs like a can falls from two shelves above the counter when you open the door and a can comes flying out without any warning. It's what I call a bruise, something hits and a white spot happens and there is a little scrape or divot and it is very upsetting. But it is what it is. It's minor to me. If this is as bad as it gets than I am fine with it and I would choose it again and again. You can sand scratched out with a 600 grit sand paper and re-seal also.

I don't get anything from putting this out there ( not that I wouldn't take some $$ for promoting this product though) but this sealer is I am sure the reason why I love my marble and that it's been a great choice for me. It was recommended by a reputable marble company in Toronto and by our marble manufacturer and I believe it is the only sealer to use on white marble. It needs to be applied 4 times 2 weeks apart and then it is good for 10 years....I have only done it twice so far and it has proven to be amazing. I recommend Meta Creme all the time.
you can check it out here Mete creme
So maybe all the scare tactics are out there due to lack of good quality sealer and the fact that polished marble is and can be tough to live with in a kitchen. I would not recommend polished marble in a kitchen it will look awful in a matter of weeks I have seen it in person and heard it from so many people.

That's my experience having real marble white counters I love them. I hope if you are considering Marble and have been scared about it that this post will help alleviate some of your concerns, I know it would have been helpful when I was making my decision.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year

Well here we are again at the beginning of a new year with a fresh start ahead for all of us. Lucky me my long awaited Christmas gift from my hubby arrived on New Year's Eve right before we had guests over .

 It's perfect and I couldn't be happier with it. It is an Ashby coffee table from Urban Barn. The whole collection is nice. The table goes perfectly with the chairs I have in my kitchen.
 I love the concealed storage that this coffee table has which can be easily accessed from both sides.

I love the finish, it is so pretty. I am more than happy with my first new purchased coffee table. I am making sure there are lots of coasters available for the kids to use at all times.

I just finished up the Christmas decor clean up. It was only up for 13 days but it feels good to get it all put away, I am feeling good that I didn't put up that second tree after all. Everything is all boxed up and tucked away for the next year. I still need to try to vacuum up a whole lot of sparkles and sequins, that stuff gets every where...

I don't normally make a resolution but this year I promise myself to be healthier and work on shedding my extra weight. I am going to take a well deserved break on home improvements and working on self improvement. I fell off the wagon last year sadly but its time to get back to putting myself on the to do list for good this time.

How was your New Year's Eve , did you make any resolutions?