Thursday, December 30

Kitchens and Character

Kitchens have been on my mind lately, in particular mine.  I've been on the hunt for ideas to start planning my kitchen makeover.  I have a 80's style galley kitchen now which I plan on gutting but I am still limited to a small space.  Over the holidays I was at my grammie's in Miramichi.  Her kitchen cabinets are going to be my inspiration or starting point for my makeover.  The cabinets go all the way to the ceiling, with glass fronts, they speak character and age...my two favorites about houses.



This kitchen has been lived in. It was my great grandparent's house and then passed onto my grandparent's.  The entire house is filled with character from huge baseboards to original wainscotting in most of the sitting rooms, plaster walls, exquisite solid wood exterior doors, original hardwood floors...It's truly fantastic holding many memories.  The craftsmanship is just not there in many of today's new homes.


I thought I would post some pics of kitchens I admire to help get my planning started even though it will most likely be a year away project...a girl's gotta dream!!


I love hardwood in a kitchen...its very English and Canadian to me...I wouldn't do it any other way. 


A butcher block style counter top, or black slate would do.  Personally I am not a fan of the traditional "stone" looking granite you find many people "ouu-ing" over - I find it dated and just so bland! Although I would settle for a white granite although there are many eco-friendly stones out there that look better than granite.


As you can see I like white kitchens.  I can't help but LOVE the vintage stove below.  I can't believe this really exists...it's candy to my eyes, a vintage inspired space along with a contemporary feel.


The aged ceiling beams make this space. Although the floor doesn't appeal to me.




Creamy white cabinets with wood counter tops...I'd love to wake up in the morning and make a cup of tea in this kitchen!!


Sunday, November 7

Window Talk

The windows in my house were single pane, over 25 years old, had warped wooden frames and drafts were flowing through. The exterior trim was getting soft and in some places needed to be replaced.  This was no DIY, there are some things best left to the professionals.  Here is a Before of the old wood windows with wood exterior trim.


During the install....

Notice below the slight difference in glass size on the bottom windows. The left window is the new one.

We now have energy-efficient windows with exterior azek trim.  This trim is guaranteed for 25 years, comes in white LOOKS like wood and never needs to be painted! They even rip it like wood as its just as thick.  The Windows were installed with new casings, proper insulation and larger sills. (Which my cats are loving.)
My only beef with this project was my lack of knowledge - and the companies lack of communications around going from the old wood windows to vinyl. You lose glass and there is nothing that can be done. I lost almost 2 inches in glass on the width of the top pane (double hung) and nearly one inch in length. Seems minor but its noticeable when comparing side by side. As a home owner I hate the thought of losing natural light!   The company told me I had an extreme attention to detail...that's bull, I think most would notice.  Going forward they will be sure to mention this in their consultations...so I am told.  With all new things come changes and learning experiences.

Saturday, October 23

Easy jack-o'-lanterns and Halloween home decor

I've been searching the web for fall and Halloween decorating DIY projects and found so many clever ideas I had to share them with you. I wish I could do them all! 


Get artsy with these mini pumpkins. Carve shapes, expressions, whatever you like and light them up with tea lights.


Classic black and white displays give a modern touch to traditional design.




Here are some fun jack-o-lantern carvings.



The leaves left on the step above give a natural untouched, abandoned house look.



Be creative, make your own ghosts crafts from supplies around the house and hang them from light fixtures.

Cut out bats or other Halloween creatures to make a spooky display in your home.  Another idea I've seen is little mice cut outs all around and up a stairway.


The cobwebs below were made with a hot glue gun.



My personal favorite is this simple inexpensive idea...a fire pit filled with pumpkins and candles. If only I had a traditional fire pit!


Here is a simple yet fabulous outdoor display.




Lastly I will leave you with some Eco Friendly Halloween Tips!

Organize a costume swap with friends.

• Use your pumpkin to its fullest potential: roast the seeds, place a candle in it for your home, then make into a pie and compost what's left.

Have kids walk from house to house instead of driving them. If you do have to drive, be idle free and turn off your vehicle while you wait.

• Use a re-usable bag for collecting treats in, tote bags, or the classic pillowcase works well for trick-or-treating.

Don't buy food treats made with palm oil (Palm oil plantations contribute to rain forest destruction).

• Choose a candle made with 100 per cent beeswax or soy candles as paraffin candles are petroleum based and burn less cleanly.

If you must use lights, decorate with LED lights. They last as much as 133 times longer than incandescent and cost 80 per cent less to use.

• When purchasing Halloween decor try to ensure items are durable and will last for years of use.

Trick or Treat!!!


*Above images are from MarthStewart.com and Michael Graydon photography

Thursday, October 14

Gardening in a Raised Bed

Near my home there is a hill that I take my dogs to every morning for a run. And in one section at the hill there is a bunch of raised garden beds, all of which people rent to grow their own vegetables. I think those in particular are intended for those without a yard.  I also read about people renting out plots in their yards for others to grow vegetables...or maybe you can do a trade off...fresh produce for space! Anyways I decided that making a raised bed is going to 'A' keep curious noses out of my garden and 'B' make gardening easier. 

Good thing I kept my left over cedar scraps from the deck project in the spring. I built a basic bed, just went at it with a hand saw, a drill and my helpful partner Berlin...who actually swayed a confused bumble bee my way which stung the back of my leg :) :)












Right before the bee sting (which by the way is over rated)


After the harvest...














This week I harvested the last of my tomatoes, parsley and sweet potatoes...which by the way were so tiny almost not worth eating :(   I've experimented with a few vegetables and now have a better idea of what I will start in the spring.  I've pulled out the remainder of the crops and layed down a liner.  I will add compost matter and leaves late in the fall.  Then come spring it will be filled with organic soil.  The cedar is excellent for this project as its rot-resistant and natural.



 

Goodbye lil' garden, I’ll miss the daily fresh produce pickings...but thanks to you my freezer is stocked for the winter months to come :)

Monday, September 27

Autumn Planters

I love fall! It's my favorite season.  I found this great idea online (marthastewart.com)...If you have planters get more use out of them this fall by filling them with small pumpkins, dried corn, fall leaves, etc.... Capture the fall spirit!

Sunday, September 26

Landscape DIY, stone step and retaining wall...

Initially there was only dirt to the left of the deck (see below). We use the alley way along side the house enough that it got fairly annoying tracking through the dirt especially in rain.  I got a quote for fun and asked around about having a retaining wall and step built...it was more then I would pay knowing we could handle this project. So off to home depot for the supplies, a little research and asking around, the project was underway...















Landscape fabric was laid to prevent weeds from peeking up through the stones, rocks were laid as an under bedding and careful attention to leveling was taken.  We had a lamp post from years back that made a classic addition to the project.  The practical side of it was we needed a light in that area of the backyard.  After...


Wednesday, September 22

Buy Local Think Global

By buying local food that is grown close to home all year round not only are you supporting local farmers but it feels great knowing where the food is coming from and the farming methods being used.

Your food will be fresher, more nutritious and and you will be contributing to a healthier economy as less fossil fuels will be used to transport items long distances. By buying local you'll pay for freshness and taste, NOT packaging, refrigeration, and transportation!

Although I have a small urban garden its only seasonal and I am limited by size so I joined the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) at Taproot Farms, here in Nova Scotia.  In a CSA, shareholders purchase annual shares in exchange for weekly boxes of seasonal produce.  To sign up or find out more, visit TapRoot Farms / CSA or email Patricia at patricia@taprootfarms.ca

By buying local food you are supporting local jobs for local people!

Check out the goodies from my dads garden and grapes off his grapevine from this past weekend! Only a few of the many vegetables and fruits grown here on the east coast...

Friday, September 10

Thrifty chair redo's

STEAL of a deal.

This chair cost me $5 at my fav Antique store in Halifax - Almanac Antiques. (Watch for an upcoming post on it) The chairs arms were loose so I removed them and painted the chair white. (Sorry I don't have the true Before pic of the chair un-painted!)

Next I re-upholstered the cushion.  To do this I re-used an exisiting cushion I had and purchased a small amount of material to do the trick. Staple gun is all you really need.

After...freshly painted shabby chic chair with a clean new upholstered seat..

Before...Here are my dining room chairs. Also purchased from an antique store in downtown Halifax. I got each for $60, solid wood and immaculate shape!

After removing the seats I spray painted the chairs heirloom white...

After...



Below is another antique store find for $10. Only change I made was re-upholstering the seat cover.

Cheers to re-using friends!

Sunday, September 5

Urban Gardening

More people in cities and towns all around are growing their own vegetables/fruit..and doing it organically. Here is my lil garden in late May...I planted tomatoes, parsley, green pepper, beans (yellow and green), sweet potato, zucchini and pumpkin.














So far I've harvested beans, parsley, zucchini and tomatoes. I don't think I will get any pumpkins, they are flowering and then dying, any suggestions please let me know!


 August...
















Living downtown with a water bill I've opted to install a rain barrel to water my crops...it lasts me between 4-5 days watering this small garden and keeps my water bill down. But beware of under-estimating the weight of the barrel...

Thursday, September 2

Painted Chandeliers

A "just paint" makeover...here is my sisters living room in her beautiful heritage home. Loving the painted "hierloom white" chandelier and sconce against the dark brown, so classy!

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