Monday, October 28, 2013

Inspiration And A Sander, most of the rooms in this house are complete.  As in, well thought out, functional, arranged and (mostly) crossed off my list-of-things-to-do.

As they should.

Except this one.

Boys Room

It's not that I didn't think about this room when we were renovating.  I knew who was going to live in it and that it would have a bunk bed.  But the thinking part went so far as figuring out where in the room that bunk bed would go.  Then I moved on.

This room needs more than a bunk bed.  And I needed a little inspiration.


Yep, love this look.  And it can work in our house.  Modern & cozy.

So, I set out looking for a dresser.  That antique in the corner wasn't cutting it...  Kijiji led me to this.

Similar lines.  Love the legs.  Swap the hardware.  Refinish and/or paint. 

Are you seeing it?  I am. 

And instead of this guy, I took his brother.  Better fit in the'll see.

Then I googled for a rug.  Hard.  Ugh.

Enter Target.

This is where I have to pause and thank my mother.  Even though Target is here in Canada, it does not hold a flame to the original.  Out of stock, dingy and messy here.  It makes me sad to say it.  On the other hand, it makes for a great excuse to call my mom, even if it's to ask her to make a Target run. 

Although, props to the 3rd Target Canada I went to (on a quest for stumbling upon this rug here), for new bedding for the boys.  I took the last two comforters and they haven't been restocked since. 


Sorry.  Worst pictures ever.  Small room.  Bad lighting.  Stupid iphone. 

Henry has dinosaur sheets, Jake has sports sheets, same blue comforter. 

Ok, enough about sheets.  Let's see how close I am to inspiration...

Getting There

Ok!  Well, no.  Not nearly there yet.  But on the way...

I'm happy with the rug.  It's less gray and more brown, but it works with the hardwood.  It's soooooo plush.  And not shedding.  That's a score in my book.


(Ignore the unhung pictures - still deciding)

There's the brother.  Three drawers per kid.  It fits perfectly between the closet and the window. 

I like that you see it immediately upon walking in the room.  Or just by the room.

I like the lines and the legs.  I don't like the shape it's in.  So here's the plan.


Was this the longest way to get to a sander?  Does it all make sense now? 

I have never ever painted furniture before, but I am taking the plunge with this Kijiji score and you're coming along for the ride.  I still have three kids, so it may take a while.  But I have a plan and I'm excited. 

About those three kids.  Notice anything else in this picture?

Umm...A Crib Too?

I know.  It's crazy.  We have 5 bedrooms and they all want to sleep in the same small one.  But when else in their life will they ever want to do this again?  The plan is a rollout bed when George outgrows the crib in February. 

I have 40 minutes of naptime left - gotta investigate a good sander...

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Newest Member of Our Family

Yesterday morning, Steve was in the kitchen and heard little feet coming down the stairs.  As Henry rounded the last step, he held up one finger and said, "No time for chit-chat.  I have to eat breakfast.  I'm getting a fish today."

Meet Sparky.

Henry's biggest wish for his birthday was to get a fish.  Well, it started as a remote controlled fish that he saw on TV.  But I couldn't believe that would last more than 5 minutes in a bowl surrounded by 3 little boys.  So the wish slowly turned into a real live fish that he SWORE he would take care of. 

So, at the weekend family birthday party, he got a bowl, plastic plant and rocks from his grandma and pop.  And a picture of a fish from his parents...which he turned in for the betta fish seen above.

Why a betta?  We spent about 20 minutes at the pet store looking at the wall of hundreds of fish in aerated tanks, going back and forth choosing the favorite one.  Best color, shape, size...  Until we finally talked to a worker and he said there's one type of fish best for bowls.  That's the betta.  To the right of the counter. 

Made my job easy.  Pick a color, any color.  Purple it was.  His name was chosen in the car on the way to the store.  It stuck on the way home.

Welcome, Sparky.  George thinks you're his.  Jake wants to overfeed you.  And Henry didn't pay any attention to you at all this morning. 

We'll see how long you last...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Family Birthday Fun

October's kinda special here.  We have two birthdays in this family and host a weekend full of Americans to celebrate them.  Trust me, Americans like to party.

First up was the birthday boy, Henry.

I'm 6!!!

I don't know how that happened.  Yesterday he looked like this.

Baby Henry!

I must have blinked.

He got his wish, a chess set.  Again, what is going on with this kid?

The other October birthday was me.  I got the best present ever.

Coffee, Donut & Cards

Yes, 29 again.  Such a great age to relive over, and over, and over.

So let's get to the partying. 

My whole family -mom, dad, sister, brother, sister-in-law, toddler nephew, infant nephew- drove in from the Midwest, USA.  It was raining the whole drive, the Allen was backed up in Toronto when they got here, so naturally we started drinking the moment they arrived.  Party!

The next day, we hit the park. 


These toddlers are like twins.  Only born 2 months apart, they do everything together.  (No, we didn't plan it) 


Even if they aren't in the same room together, they are doing or playing with similar things.  But it's just so cute when the ARE in the same room.  It's like a mirror.

We did actually have a real party.  Like during the day.  Without wine.  Ok, there was wine, just not for kids.

In Action

Steve's side of the family joined my side of the family to have one big family birthday party for Henry.  There are six candles on that cupcake.  But I just realized there are six cupcakes in that tray.  I'm such a good, coordinated mom!

Henry got tons of awesome presents.  One we still have to run an errand to complete.  More on that later...

After the party, we got down to business.

You Sank My...

What party weekend is complete without a little competition? 


In my family, some like to challenge themselves more than others.

We've had that rubik's cube in our basement for years now.  I have no idea where it came from.  We had a few as kids, but not one was every solved in my family after the package was opened. 

Until now. 


I think the highlight of the weekend for my brother was this damn thing.  He spent 4 hours watching a video on youtube showing how to solve it.  I really couldn't believe he did it.

And I hope he will enjoy receiving a special delivery via my father just as may contain that same rubik's cube accompanied by a note from my boys...

All kidding aside, we had a fantastic weekend.

My Toddler With The World's Happiest Baby

I have the most fantastic family.

Best Shot From The Weekend

And I can't wait to do it all over again next year!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Fake Family Fun

Fake is a joke. 

I call it fake, because Canadian Thanksgiving feels fake to me.  It's way too early.  There's no football on TV.  And it's on a Monday. 

But my husband is Canadian.  I am actually Canadian (I say half).  And it is a real holiday. 

A 4-day holiday weekend this year because Friday was a PA day.  There's nothing better than a PA day with 3 little boys...except when you forgot it's a PA day.  Yay!

City Boys

Thursday is the only weekday the big boys don't have something after school.  So we hopped on our scooters down to Bloor Street because I wanted to hit the Farmer's Market.  Except the Farmer's Market is on Wednesdays.  Yay!

I was bummed because Steve and I are trying our hardest to be vegans.  Not for ethical-ness or weight loss, but just general body-working-and-feeling-better.  Which is happening.  So I'm on the wagon. 

I was craving an heirloom tomato.  Not like I crave a greasy burger or all cheese.  But as much as one can crave a vegetable.  I am doing well with the 90/10 rule, meaning cream in my morning coffee and maybe a random cheese cube off a kid's plate to get me through the day. 

Then this happened.

Nuno is our Portuguese contractor.  He is an amazing contractor (I highly recommend him) and a great person.  Even more great because of cheese.

So this was dinner on Friday night.  It was gone in 27 seconds.  Sorry, veganism.

But the sun rose the next day and we had to run these kids out.

I can't do the pose for pictures with my kids.  The chances that one in three will do this is too high.  And it's always the same kid. 

Beautiful Colors

This was the 2nd time we went to the Crawford Lake Conservation area along the Bruce Trail.  It's the only "stroller friendly" trail which is perfect for a 2.5 year old who refuses to ride in a stroller. 

We only had to trade off carrying him back to the car for the last 1/2 hour.  Which was after we followed a trail that wasn't marked on the map and I thought we were going to die overnight in the forest while the hawks were circling above us.  The dying part didn't happen, but the hawks did and that was enough for me. 

Getting to the holiday part.  Steve went in early to the office to get some work done.  I slept in due to food coma from yesterday's spread with Canadian family.  I woke to this.

I heard all of it being set up.  This newly open concept house has no secrets.  But to see it was amazing.  Who are these little people and what have you done with my real children?

I kept George's mantra, "I big boy!" going and asked the eldest to take out the green bin, the recycling and the garbage.  He did it.  But got green bin juice on him.  After I told him he had to clean it off or he might die, I found this.

That is a wet bath mat in front of a running shower.  With just-stepped-out-of underwear on the floor.  He is 7-1/2.  Really? 

Slow it.  All.  Down.

Happy Fake Holiday!

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Free Art

This free art may not be for you.  But it's the best kind of art for me.  Partly because it's free, but mostly because it happened like this.

That is my kitchen table with my husband and my first born taping together some art.  It just happened.  I had nothing to do with it.  And I love it!

If you follow me on Instagram, you saw this picture on the weekend.  Those pieces of paper came from a website called  You upload your picture and it creates a wall size poster using 8-1/2 x 11" paper.  I don't know anything about the website, Steve probably found it on google, I take no responsibility for it. 

What I can take responsibility for -ok, Steve can take responsibility for- is the fun in putting it together and the finished product. 

First Day of School
Up On The Wall

We love love love this shot of all 3 monkeys.  And we had an open wall in the basement that needed something.  It's where they play, so it's only fitting...


Ok, I admit, it's not the right size.  Or perfectly trimmed.  Or taped together with 100% precision.  But it's free.  It's the kids.  And it makes us smile when we see it.  Maybe we'll brainstorm a border or tweak it or replace it with something bigger down the road. 

But for now, it's perfect. 

I am not art-y.  I don't know this website.  But I plan on visiting it again when I'm stuck for more artwork somewhere in the house.  The gallery of posters is inspiring me....!

Monday, October 07, 2013

Finishing Up Is Hard To Do

Ok, well it is for me.  The post-reno decorating stops me in my tracks.  Then I'm in denial and I leave it for later.  Which turns into never. 

So why not put the pressure on and schedule get-togethers where people will come see the clutter and exposed wires and empty niches and poorly hung drapes? 

That will light a fire.

Clutter you say?

If there's anything great I can say about our new kitchen is that it's functional.  Wow.  Ikea kitchens are amazing for the organization options.  And I'm all about the organization.

That's my junk drawer on the right.  Junk drawer!  This is heaven compared to what it used to be: a shoebox shoved in a drawer with everything dumped in it.  Now I have a special section for the tape measure...I'm in love!!!

And so are the kids.  They have their own little organized drawer, too.

Moving on to those wires...

Now there's a chandelier in it's place.  Yowza! 

Ok, so this item wasn't hard to do.  It was just delayed a bit.  But getting the fixture and the installation coordinated ahead of company arriving was part of the denial process for me.  I was starting to enjoy the kitchen without the finish.  What hole in the ceiling?

I was skeptical when the fixture first went up - it's the only gold element in a very stainless steel kitchen...!  But the glow from the gold foil inside is perfection.  It's the warmth the kitchen needs.  And it covers the hole in the ceiling quite nicely.

(About the was designed by my friend, Kirsten, who took on the design of our whole renovation.  It was made by the very talented Dean, of Lampcage, in Toronto.)

Next?  Niche!

There was nothing but emptiness and now there's this.  The little 2'x3' space that stressed me out more than most of the renovation.  My goal was to get something gold in here to tie in to the kitchen chandelier...but no clutter and no competition with the walnut. 

Here's why I think what's here works for me: The frame works because it's not wood.  The print works because it's gold.  The candlesticks work because they don't compete and they have texture.  The little guy makes it a group of 3 instead of only 2...and he's kinda interesting & shiny, too.

(The sandstone candlesticks and tealight holder are here.  The frame is here and the print is here.)

Lastly, those drapes.

Here's a brief history.

Move In

First Attempt

Second Attempt

At this point, Kirsten came for a visit and I knew it.  The drapes were not right.  That window is not as big as the wall, nor is it centered.  So those drapes need to go wall to wall.


We lived like this again for a night because while rehanging the drapes, I lost all will to live.  True story.

Done Forever

But then I figured out how to go wall to wall while still screwing the bracket into the stud.  So I'm still alive and the drapes look much better.  Phew.

There's still more finish to be done in the rest of the house but...wait.  Hold that thought.  I hear the doorbell!