Friday, June 29, 2012

Things That Make Me Happy

It's about that time again! Please feel to join in in celebrating a little happiness by linking in the comments or simply sharing your happiness there (I promise I'll get the linky thing going soon enough, it just seems to be awfully low on a long to-do list).

{ thrifted Paige Laurel Canyon jeans }
These were my first ever thrift store clothing purchase for myself. $6 for a sweet pair of jeans? This is what dreams are made of!

{ forgotten stacks of antique plates in the basement }
We cleaned out a room in the basement for Wren to have a play room. Turns out I'd forgotten about 2 GIANT boxes of china I scored for $1 at an auction last year. Way too pretty to forget in a basement.

{ Birthdays }
Need I say more? My hubby is now 28 and we celebrated with all our bestest friends in the world. The castle was for the kids, but we had ourselves a blast too. 

(ps: Alexis, your butt looks good here, don't hate me for this photo!)

The birthday boy.

{ garden bounty }
I love english garden roses, they are not as sophisticated or dramatic as other varieties but they smell heavenly. 

{ ripped sheets as head wraps }
It's safe to say I have been crazy about vintage sheets lately.  Using them in any way I can possibly think of, they have been a blessing for our hair this summer. Great for keeping after pool messy hair under control, specially on little people.

{ still loving cutlery on the counter }
Emptying the dishwasher was never easier, and easy to take outside for BBQ season.

{ floppy, droopy roses }
They seem to be most fragrant at this stage. A good reminder that getting older is beautiful in it's own way.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

DIY Ombre Tutorial

Ombre is so huge right now. I have actually loved it for years, but until now it has been limited to my closet. The thing is, it is a great trend but so far I haven't seen many affordable items locally so I figured why not make my own?

And you can too!

I had 6 of these white pillows floating around. I bought them on clearance for $6 back when Wren was teeny tiny, knowing that glam throw pillows were not in the card for a few years (unless spit up miraculously becomes a big trend, you moms know what I mean!).

I've found them a little boring, making them good candidates for a $0 craft. If you have unused bed linens or pillow cases this is a good way to freshen them up!

I had the fabric dyes left over from { this makeover } and I decided to try using my paint sprayer. Obviously not everyone has a paint sprayer laying around, but have no fear! You can still do this project. If you don't have a sprayer you can pick up a spray bottle at the dollar store (the mistier the spray the better) and get the same effect.

I laid the pillow covers out in the garage on an old piece of cork board so I could pin them down. I chose to leave them a little wrinkled for a more organic look, but if you want that perfect ombre just give them a fast iron first.

This is where the project really starts! No matter what technique you use to apply the dye (wouldn't brush strokes be beautiful?) you have to start with a HIGHLY concentrated mixture. It is also important to not fill your sprayer or bottle with too much dye because we will need to add more water as we go. So start with just enough to do your darkest layer on all your fabric.

One pass of the sprayer and the darkest layer is on! The secret to getting the ombre is not in how lightly/darkly you spray, but to let each color dry, then to water down your solution. 

Various stages of finished product out drying. I did the darkest level, watered down for a second level and then did a final water down for the lightest level.

After all the pillows were finished up I still had a good amount of dye left over so I decided to try a different technique.

I threw the left overs into a bucket and hung Wren's curtains from the shower curtain rod and into the bucket for about 40 minutes. This kind of reminded me of using coffee filter to soak paint in art class back in elementary school, and it definitely had the same effect.

After they were done soaking I let them hang to drip for about 20 minutes. I rinsed all the excess color out and threw all the pillows and curtains into the wash machine with a half cup of vinegar to lock the color in.

I was nervous it would all blend together in the wash, but in the end it all came out like new!

Every shade of blue is welcome in Wren's room.

{ pillows all washed and back on the couch }

I did one pillow in just a stripe for some contrast. This is such a fun project, I think I will definitely experiment further with different dyes and techniques.

{ All slightly different, but perfect in their own uniform way }

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

People in white houses shouldn't throw dirty stones.... well actually they shouldn't throw anything.

Life with little people. As they say, it's a full time job! A really fun one, but also a busy, happy, messy, tiring, exciting one. 

Many of my friends 'get' my love of white, most don't. Not in a judge-y way, just in a 'you must really like to keep yourself busy with all that cleaning' way. Probably because a lot of them have kids too! I actually probably do clean a lot by most standards, but not enough by others. It's one of those things that never seems to be done, but I think that is just about finally being a grown up. Once a pile of dirty clothes on the floor bugs you it's safe to say you've arrived in adult territory. 

Despite numerous stains, marks and messes I have never once questioned my love of white (specifically upholstered) furniture. But more importantly I don't think I've made it a big issue in our house, a burden on Wren or her friends. If it ever gets to that I will know it is time to let it go. But so far so good!

The beauty of blogging and reading blogs is to gain and share inspiration, but at the same time it is easy to assume life is perfect in the home of a blogger thanks to beautiful interiors, wonderful photography and angelic children. Of course! I would be kidding myself if I told you that was my reality. True, Wren is a little angel. But there are times, many times daily actually, that this white house of ours is the scene of real childhood Oops moments. 

Take this photo for example. Peaceful, right? 

What you don't see is that while Mommy was unloading laundry Wren decided to use yogurt as glue in her latest craft session. Miraculously none got on the sofa! 

Smudges on stainless steel appliances? We've got 'em. LOT's of them. Feel free to help yourself to some next time your around.


Furniture repurposed into a gymnastics apparatus? check! ALL THE TIME. The cushions actually function as cave building materials more frequently than they do as cushions. Gotta love Ikea furniture for that reason alone (the new couch smell wore off long before it got to us! we got our sectional on craigslist for $300 and the previous owner allowed their dog to chew it slightly).

The lesson I've learned in this white house of ours is that if you have to choose to laugh or cry when something gets ruined, you have to be know you will laugh. And I almost always do (nobody's perfect!). Because none of it is worth a face like this.

PS: thanks to one of my besties, Rebecca, for making Wren such a beautiful headband!!! I can't get her to take it off her head this week. Hugs and kisses!

Giveaway winner and summer sponsor special

{ the old man got a new summer 'do }

Congratulations to Couponing Cat Lady! says you are the winner of our little giveaway from last week. Shoot me an email and I will get your new goodies all ready for their journey home! Thanks to everyone who entered.

And a BIG thank you to everyone for your support and comments on Lexington!!! I had so much fun working and getting everything done but once it was all over I realized that I would have to put it all out there. Which is pretty scary!! It is totally different from playing and working on your own home. What if people don't like it? What if everyone notices the few things budget didn't allow me to work on? What if it looks too girly, too white, too 'me'??? All of these and lots more run through my head daily. So I have to remind myself that I did my best, that I set out to do something different and now I have to just let whatever happens, happen. 

It is time to get working on a few projects I've been meaning to tackle around here, some fun ideas I want to try and now that I have a little time I am having fun getting back to blogging as usual and sharing with you. Summer is just the start!

And speaking of Summer, I think it is high time we had some new faces grace our sidebar. To celebrate hot days by a pool, cool lemonade, the smell of freshly clipped lawn in the air I thought it would be fun to offer a Summer Sponsor Special! 

Only open to fellow bloggers and small businesses, the Summer Sponsor Special is only $20 for a 125x125 pixel link for BOTH July and August! That's unbeatable value for the visibility you will receive. My humble little blog has over 10,000 subscribers, more than 9,000 hits every day, and over 4,200 followers, which equals lots wonderful new friends for you to introduce to your blog/brand!

If you are interested simply email me at with your link html code and site address 
(if you don't have a link code don't fear! I can help)

Now I am off to clean up the remaining pile of neglected dirty dishes from our weekend soiree. In The Fun Lane indeed.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Lexington, All Done

What a ride y'all! I have been floating the last couple days as the chaos winds down and it is back to life as usual (for now, at least!). As promised, here is my tour of Lexington all finished and staged to sell. Is it entirely decorated? no. That's not the purpose of selling, but in my dreams I would love to do a Sarah Richardson-like full house remodel and fully decorate it. But considering this is my first venture into renovating and flipping homes I think we did a pretty good job.

Our total timeline was 10 weeks and we hit it, but the last week was a REAL push! I had a fabulous crew of miracle workers that made all my wishes (sometimes demands) come true and I cannot say enough wonderful things about them. I will continue to use them all again and again!

Let's start from the top, or rather the bottom in this case. Lexington is a 4 level townhouse that is in a nice, quiet community. What originally drew me to it was the exteriors that all evoke feelings of an old boston neighborhood. There is also an attached garage which made the logistics of renovating a lot easier!
Our front door was dark, RED and dirty before (my camera killed the before of this space, but it maybe the most dramatic change). With a little wallpaper (from Lowe's, $40/roll) and some new tile it feels light and bright now, with just hit of fun and quirkiness.

Up a flight of stairs from the front door is the living room (shown here from up in the dining room).

But now it feels like a relaxing place to unwind. I painted the walls in Martha Stewart's Whetstone Grey. All the trim in the house is Elegant white by Behr. 12x12 inch marble tiles ($6/ft, HomeDepot) tie the white and grey together and the more substantial hearth my dad built makes it so much more grand.

All the laminate in the house is from Timber Town on 99th street in Edmonton. If you want wood floors, laminate floors, engineered floors you will LOVE these guys (If you go in and see Dave tell him Holly sent you and I promise you will get a good discount on any price!).
We decided to paint the trim work Whetstone Grey as well to give a modern touch with all the original character.
LOVE the ceiling height in here. I like to think of it as my little french country boat house.

Thanks for lending me your lavender Mom!
I think Lexington is unique because we didn't try to fight all the modern elements. It was a challenge, but we made it really versatile for someone with a modern design sensibility or more on the traditional/rustic side.

Remember our old kitchen? It photographed deceptively well. In reality it was a hot mess.

*singing* A Whole Neeeew World!

The separation between the dining room and kitchen was making both rooms feel small.

The new open layout is family friendly and great for entertaining.

And your view from the kitchen is a little prettier!

The Ikea Otava pendants were only $50 each and add to my 'french-boathouse' theme. The Totem Island was a clearance $399 find that ties all my black elements in.

I feel like form over function describes my take on range hoods. I have nothing against over-range microwave vents, but I don't see myself ever buying anything but industrial, freestanding hoods. This one is only $399 from Ikea!

All the cabinets are Adel Off White cabinets from Ikea. They are a wonderful price, but you need a lot of experience getting them right. Be prepared to do a lot of Ikea runs! I have had a lot of emails asking if I think they are better than my Martha Stewart cabinets and the honest answer is no. I would do Martha cabinets again in a heart beat but time was my only constraint here and her cabinets seem to take forever. If you are trying to make the decision for your own home please do your research on your installers but also decide how you want to live in your kitchen. For me, resale was a big factor in my choice in both properties. My own home is in a neighborhood with half million dollar homes and we needed to make choices based on that, but Lexington appeals to a whole different buyer. The difference is not in the door styles, but in the actual construction of the cabinets themselves. I still 100% believe you cannot get a better quality cabinet at Martha's price point!
I chose a honed black granite for the counters. It was the one element I felt completely out of my comfort zone with, but I am thrilled with the outcome. If you are in Edmonton and looking into new counters I HIGHLY recommend Urban Granite. I used them in our own kitchen overhaul as well and cannot sing anything but the highest praises for them.

The penny round backsplash was from Tile Town and was overage from another order so I got them for $4/sheet. The whole kitchen took $90 of tile!

My installers built a cute little custom cabinet beside the dishwasher for cups, wine bottles, etc. to fill a void space. See why I love those guys?
(my beloved Ikea brackets and shelves again!)
The herringbone tile is probably my single favorite element in the house. It is done out of 12x24 inch tiles I got from Lowe's for $6 each. The result is both classic and modern at the same time and I think I will definitely do it somewhere again in the future!

My wine barrel chandelier
I found it for $179 on a random trip to HomeSense last Winter. I originally didn't like the color of the wood so I restained it a driftwood grey that matches all our laminate floors (and Ikea shelves!)

The railings were probably my biggest job. My Mom and Sister dutifully and sweetly dedicated many weekends to helping me strip and sand them down from years of paint!

Dark grey metal and white handrails now
Just off the kitchen was the dirtiest, ugliest, smallest bathroom in history.

Now it is a grey haven. The HomeDepot vanity ($400) feels like furniture and isn't too heavy for the little room. The hardware and mirror are also from Home Depot.
The upstairs landing before. YIKES!

All cleared of junk!

One of the three bedrooms before
and after!

Another gross room (this room was PLASTERED with gum! It tooks days of work to get it off and repair the drywall).

All clean now!
The upstairs bathroom is another dramatic change. It was so ugly, dirty and crappy before I could hardly stand it. AND THE SMELL! yeeesh.
Mid progress.

And today. 

The lighting came from Lowe's ($75) and all the hooks and accessories were also by Martha Stewart for Home Depot. Because the room is small we opted to use the same tile as the kitchen, but in a traditional staggered pattern.

And finally, the old Master bedroom. We ripped out a dividing wall in here and closed a doorway to the bathroom (controversial! but necessary). We also had all the closets rebuilt and drywalled to accommodate new folding doors.

Open and airy now! I may run over there just to take a cat nap one day very soon.

So there ya have it! It doesn't really feel right to sum up SO MUCH WORK into one post and just a few pictures but that's how it is I guess. If I didn't address something feel free to comment and I'll respond in the comments below (the email responses never work for me). If you are in the Edmonton area and want more info on purchasing Lexington feel free to email me for all the details. 

Thanks again for ALL your support and kind words. It was a BIG, scary jump from flipping furniture but I feel like it was the perfect time, perfect project and just what I needed to push myself out of my comfort zone as an entrepreneur. 

And a BIG thank you to all 'my boys' who made this dream come true. I couldn't have done it without Justin and crew from Right Time Repaints (I know I would have broke my neck up that high!). And most importantly Nick and Jason from Nick's woodworking. You guys rock my socks, and all that jazz. We had tons of laughs, a few tears (maybe just on my end) but it all worked out in the end and I learned so much. 

Let's do it again, soon.
Blogging tips