9.09.2012

The White Mag

Hey Everyone!

Its been a while since our last post, but I can honestly say projects are being worked on....just unfortunately still in progress. I could give you a list of set-backs, but it would be boring and just remind me of the many times I've wanted to pull out my hair in the past few weeks.

So in the meantime, we wanted to share with you our latest little project.

We were recently asked to write a short DIY article for a magazine called The White Mag. The editor Sara contacted us personally and gave us the freedom to write about whatever we wanted, as long as it had a fall theme. The first thing that came to my mind when I thought of fall was leaves and how much I am going to miss fresh flowers from the garden, in my home. And what better way to decorate for the holiday's than to make your own artificial flower or decorative arrangements?! We actually posted about making your own artificial flower arrangements here, and wanted to share that with the readers of The White Magazine as well.

You can check out the online version of our article here...

http://issuu.com/thewhitemagazine/docs/september2012?mode=window&pageNumber=1


Check out some of the other great articles in there this month...including working with small spaces!

8.21.2012

Like a Rock

Hi Friends!

Dont worry we haven't forgotten about you :) We've actually been quite busy with work and a few other things lately and have to deal with some unfortunate family things this week, but we'll be back next week sharing some projects and "How To's" with you all :)

I wanted to show you how far we've come with our patio beside our deck. Ian worked many many hours on this, and Im happy to say its finally done!

Let me remind you of the before:


and after many hours of carrying INSANELY heavy rocks back and forth from the car to the backyard, hours of cutting and levelling and and only a few injuries, here's the after:


Ya, can you see Ian poking out beside the house on the left? Oh wait, I'm sorry, you're probably focused on the MASSIVE DUST CLOUD that filled our backyard while Ian cut the rocks/stones. Even his eyelashes were white.


However, it looks pretty good doesn't it? :)



I love the side-by-side comparison:

So its much cleaner, the space is much more usable and once the deck and shed are stained/painted it will allllll match. Finally :D Im excited for that. We'll be posting on the process we went through to get to the final patio reveal, next week.

p.s LOVED reading all of your comments on our last post....TGIF really WAS the best, wasn't it!?  :)

8.10.2012

TGIF Sneak Peek

TGIF! Friday is my favorite day of the week. Not Saturday, Friday. Why? Its like the week leading up to a vacation...all the anticipation and excitment to come...I love it.

I also have fond memories of Friday nights as a child. Did you ever watch the Friday night family tv line-up?  Family Matters, Boy Meets World, Full House, Dinosaurs, Step by Step?! Ya. Best night ever! Not only did my younger brother and I get to watch those shows and stay up wayyyy past our 8:00pm bedtime, but got to pop homemade popcorn (in the popcorn maker of course), and drink pop...Wink used to be my favorite ;)

So ya I love Friday's. This weekend I am in a wedding for a very good friend of mine, so we wont have much time to work on projects however, I wanted to show you a sneak peek of our guest room headboard I just finished this week....


I wanted to touch it up a bit and I'd like to even out the paint, but Ian seems to like the patchy look. We'll see. So there you have it- a sneak peek for a Friday.

Happy weekend everyone!

p.s Readers Choice results from our last poll are in! You wanted us to pain the sidetables in this room. So guess what? We're gonna do it! Check out our Facebook Page to get your vote in for the colour we paint them ;)

8.09.2012

Loungin'

As LL Cool J would say, we are loungin people! Yes I grew up in the 80's and yes I probably listened to a few LL Cool J songs in my day...common Mamma Said Knock You Out....you know it ;)

Anyho, the true topic of this post is to fill you in on some tips for buying patio furniture, or in our case, patio loungers. We had been looking for loungers to match our patio set since last summer, and hadn't had any luck. We got super lucky with the rest of our patio set- totally scored at HomeSense last year.

I saw this dark blue/navy/black resin wicker set one day and convinced Ian it was a great find. He eventually agreed, and we lugged the entire set home somehow. I like to think its navy, but everyone else tells me its black...the wicker and colour looks pretty similar to this:


However, our dining table is square and so are our chairs, and its not from Pottery Barn's gorgeous collection...Pottery Barn considers this set to be "black" too...so I guess they win. I will finally admit ours probably is black.

Anyho, we wanted to find matching loungers, but struggled to find the right ones.

We first came across these babies from DOT Furniture...


However the money tree in our backyard hasn't sprouted yet and $775.00 EACH was definitely not in the budget.

Then we came across these ones from Overstock:

Which I actually liked better, but were still $528.00. Nope.

We found these at Target, which looked great:





They were $199.00 each, but we would have had to take a trip to the USA, find 2 of them in the store and somehow get them back over the border...riiiiiight.

Somehow last weekend we just happened to look on the right site at the right time. We were checking out the DOT Furniture site again, and came across these:


They're the right colour (black of course), have the same metal base as our dining table, and were on SALE. Regular price was $425.00 each, and they are on sale for $170.00 each. SOLD! We went out there on the holiday Monday and they happened to be open. They had 2 left in the warehouse. Now tell me that isn't super lucky, so we bought them- I think I practically threw my credit card at the sales lady...in a nice friendly way of course.

Im SO happy we found them. Now I dont need to to try and spray paint our old plastic loungers...which to be honest, Ive been avoiding ever since the little I-found-a-honeycomb-in-the-chair-and-can't-clean-it-since-I'm-having-a-panic-attack, incident happened.

So there you have it. We're loungin' peeps.

I honestly have to say though, that I absolutely love the resin wicker. Its very durable, looks great and has a clean, modern look to it.  Since we practially look at patio furniture every time we go out lately, we've learnt a few things along the way about purchasing patio furniture:

1. Try to buy something that has an aluminum frame. Steel will rust and platic bends and doesn't last as long. Aluminum might cost you a bit more, but its worth it in the end when you aren't using CLR to get rid of all the rust on your furniture every year.

2. Wait for a sale or buy at the end of the season. We bought all of our furniture at the end of the season last year and this year got the loungers and an umbrella hugely on sale.

3. Think of your patio furniture in the same way you would furniture for your home. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, then you should be able to relax and enjoy as much as you would indoors. You might consider buying a table, dining chairs and a seating set if you plan to sit outside a lot.

4. Pick a colour that will stand the test of time. We like grey's and whites (obviously!) so when I saw the dark navy black set, I loved it right away. I envisioned a dark set with white cushions and a grey deck, and thats exactly what we are going for. It goes with the colour scheme on the inside and what we'll eventually have on the outside of our home.

5. Make sure you have room for storage. We put some of our furniture in our pool shed for the winter, but I wanted to keep some things inside over the winter. Thankfully we had to space in our basement for that, but if you dont have a lot of extra space in your home or garage, consider that when you are buying.

Lastly, make sure you enjoy it! This year, once the deck was finished, we moved our furniture around so we now have a dining area and a seating area (pics to come later), and we love it. We sit outside more (when we do actually sit down to relax!) and have made better use of our space.

Hope that helps with your patio furniture shopping ;) Have any of you bought resin wicker or aluminum? How have you found its been keeping?

8.01.2012

Projects Update

We're in the middle of multiple projects, but for some reason we're finding it hard to finish any of them right now...maybe its because we're not getting home from work until 8:30pm or something like that...not too sure? Anyho, I wanted to give you a bit of an update on everything we're in the midst of.

1. Finishing up the Guest Room Headboard



You all voted on us making this change to the guest room, so we did! Here's where we're at...not much change from a few weeks ago, but they are coming along:

Once they're done we'll fill you in on how we did them with the whitewashing process we began a few weeks ago...its a very time consuming process, but creates a really nice effect.

Our next project for this room, was also voted on by you...our fabulous readers! We'll let you know what we plan to do next, once this first project is complete ;)


2. Staining the Deck

So we finished off re-building the deck:



Our next steps for the deck, are to wait for it to dry out completely and then stain it. Its been quite the undertaking and we can't wait to share the before and after of this project with you. We're planning on staining it a light grey, and then painting our shed to match, which brings me to project #3...

3. Painting the Shed

This is the shed right now:



Its pretty much a light tan colour with bright blue trim. Our plan is to paint the tim this colour:

and paint the main parts walls of the shed this colour:


and of course match the shed wall colour to the deck.

4. Making a Roman Shade for the Kids Bathroom

I have this fabric...well actually its 2 curtains I picked up a while ago:



but I have enough fabric to work with, to make it into a roman shade. It works well with the colours in the bathroom:


I've found a great tutorial on how to creat the shade, but I think it might be a bit more difficult than I'm anticipating, so we'll see!

5. Shelving in the main Master Bedroom Closet/ Wallpaper in the smaller closet

We've been living out of 3 closets in different bedrooms for the past 6-7 months. We've gotten used to the idea of our underwear being in one place, pants in another and shirts somewhere else, but its getting a bit old.

Right now our closets look like this:



So after they're done, we know they're going to look pretty awesome. VERY excited for the day when most of our clothes are in one place!

6. Finishing off the Guest Room:

The curtains have been completed:



However, there is still a LOT to do. Headboard, lamps, sidetables, accessories and artwork. Lots to go in this room!

7. Gardens, gardens, gardens.

The planting never ends around here. We're working on fixing up all of our gardens, and planting everything in the fall, so this project is going to be on the go for a while:


So there's our project update: lots to think about, lots to share and lots to do! Hope to share one of these completed projects with you all soon :)

7.30.2012

Marilyn!

Hi Everyone!

Ian and I are in the midst of various projects right now that Im waiting on sharing with you all, so I thought in the meantime I'd fill you in on a fun experience I had. A while back, I took my mom to a taping of the Marilyn Denis Show. We've been to a few tapings before, yet every studio is a totally unique experience. We had a great time, despite the fact that we were stuck in traffic for 2.5 hours, ran in 5 minutes before the live show actually started taping and therefore didn't get to sit together, but beggers can't be choosers!

The show was great- we had a great time watching the guests, including Chuck, from Chuck's Day Off, whom the ladies in the audience seemed to love (obviously).

We scored some pretty great swag, including some Pottery Barn bath towels (that are super thick and soft and actually the exact colour of our master bath towels), and some Jonathan Adler bath accessories:
and even a Jonathan Adler Design book:




Seriously there couldn't have been better swag package- I was pumped!

If you ever have the chance to go see a taping, I'd highly recommend it! There are tons of great shows filmed in Toronto and tickets are often free. It's such a fun experience and you usually get a bit of free swag too ;)



Happy Monday everyone! Only 5 more days till the weekend!  ;)

7.27.2012

The jungle has been TAMED

Happy Friday Everyone! I hope you all have great plans for the weekend. Lets be honest, who doesn't live for weekends during the summer?! We're still spending our weekends working away on our backyard jungle, however some spaces look more like a desert now... Its odd to think we went from this madness:



 
To this vast open space:





The ground has actually all been levelled and our next step is to lay patio stones. Ian also sealed up the side of the deck and included a little door in order to access underneath. You know, for when we need to play hide and go seek. Seriously though, it allows us to store wood and other things under there.

So much better:


Melissa and Ian-  1, Jungle - 0.
However, our taming was not complete. We also had the sides of the house to contend with.  Remember this?



Yikes. This was not the only jungle let me remind you. We have many. I mean can you IMAGINE what was living in our backyard? Well, let me tell you. Multiple bunny families, the usual chipmunks and squirrels, the odd raccoon and a family of turkeys. Heck, I wouldn't blame them. Who would ever find you in THAT? That, plus all of the other former jungle options in our backyard for homes. Its like a freaking palace back here. They even have a pool to bathe in. If I was an animal I'd live here. Well, not anymore...now they can all live under the deck- they pretty much have their own door in and out of it now :S

So we cleaned up the other jungles, working on one at a time...we needed to pace ourselves with this! We started with the biggest one by first clearing it out:


Then we removed all the weeds, and raked the dirt to break it up and level it out. We then moved a FEW plants (hostas since they require minimal maintenance and look nice) that we had in other gardens and  actually wanted to keep, over to this garden and mulched around them:



We wanted to make the gardens smaller and more manageable so we laid sod. The dry, dry sod. Just a tip when you are laying sod. Its best if you can do it at night or when the sun isn't as strong. Make sure you water the ground BEFORE you lay the sod down, and I also like to water the bottom of each piece of sod before laying it. Lay your sod, and then water generously. You should water it every day (unless it rains) to ensure that its getting the water it needs to root itself into the ground. Also, if you are planning on laying a lot of sod in a large area, make sure to stagger the pieces. Sound as if I know a lot about sod? Well Ian taught me all I know- he actully laid sod for a summer job once and said it was the worst job ever. However, I thought it had its perks: not only do we know ALL about sod now, but Ian was super muscular and tanned all summer because of it, so I personally thought it was an excellent work experience ;)

Anyho, here's the sod after about a week. We watered it every day. Notice how green the new sod is? Ya, thats because its been somewhat dry here this summer so we hadn't been doing the best job at watering all of the other lawn. Our bad.



We did the same to the other gardens behind this one, they just need to be finished off with some mulch:


We're actually going to have a privacy screen installed on this side of the deck to block our lovely neighbours from listening to our late night Settlers tournaments and to spare them from seeing us in bathings suits on tanning days...


So now that we've got the gardens mainly cleared out, we'll begin to plant in the next few months.
This backyard has pretty much consumed us, but its definitely coming together.
Have any of you been working on your yards? What flowers would you plant in a garden?


7.26.2012

Eat my (saw)dust

At least thats what I said to the massive hornets that have been hanging out in our pool shed for the past few seasons. Not cool.

There are a few (well probably more than a few but I'll spare you) odd things about me...one of them is I am horribly afraid of bees. Im pretty sure its a phobia. When they are around me, or I even hear a slight "buzzing" sound, I actually freak out. Ian was away on business a while back, and I noticed a wasp flying around our house (my phobia also includes wasps, hornets, really any kind of buzzing flying insect with a stinger) and I actually had a panic attack. Crying, difficultly breathing...it was ridiculous...as in me, Im ridiculous. I do recognize Im a little crazy, but hey, we all have fears right? Mine is bees. There you go.

So Ian discovered a hornets nest in our shed, and we (well actually Ian) decided it was a good time to clean it out (since I ran screaming to the hills) and re-do the inside.

The shed previously looked like this:


Its a bit bright in that photo, but our next step will be actually painting the outside of the shed to match our deck (which we plan to stain the same colour).

So here's what the inside of the shed looked like to begin with. Are you counting yet? Have you noticed have many rooms in this house were yellow when we moved in? Other than the obvious red, green, neon blue, pink, etc, yellow was a favorite of the previous homeowners. Dont get us wrong, we dont MIND yellow, but this shed needed a facelift.




So step 1, was to paint the inside. We chose white (surprise, surprise!). Not because we love white and want to paint everything that colour, but because we looked at our paint cans in the basement and noticed we had a lot of primer sitting around. So white primer it is!

It took Ian about 2 hours to paint it, and the walls were dry before he finished the door. The 37 degree weather may have had something to do with that.






Last step was the door. Yep, thats REALLY white.

Once we paint the outside of the shed a light grey (with navy trim) it might match a little better. Regardless, I wasn't willing to sit inside a boiling hot shed for 2 hours to paint it, so it was Ian's colour choice on this one.


After we finished the painting, we installed a tall laundry cabinet beside the door. I got right into organizing that (my favorite part!! eee!!) and it can now store all of our pool supplies and other chemicals we keep hanging around for the pool.


Our next step was to build a bench that could store all of our patio furniture cushions. We had seen a bunch of those nice storage boxes at Home Depot, Lowes, etc, but since we had the space in the shed, we figured why not save the space on our deck and keep it out of sight. So we built one. Correction- Ian built and I supervised. Im good at that.

Before anything, we measured the wall and factored in, the size of the bench, place space for the lid to open and space above for the cabinets we wanted to install.

Then we started to build. First, we built two identical box frames.  Then we attached the back and one side of the frames to the actual wall of the shed because we know the shed is not level (most things in this house aren't...we've learnt that the hard way).

If you’re just building a box to sit on the floor then cut 4 identical supports and attach them in the corners to tie the frames together, you can see we added in supports to the front corners and middle to strengthen the frame. To avoid having to cut the wainscoting we just made the box the same height, still making sure the measurements worked- we put the cushions inside the frame to ensure it was tall enough. We then double checked to make sure the lid would open with enough space. LOTS of measurements!




We attached the bottom frame first, using shims to level because not all floors are created level! The walls are plywood, so we didn’t need drywall anchors. Once the bottom frame was level and screwed to the wall we leveled and attached it to the upper frame, followed by adding the supports to the front corners and middle, to keep the top frame from pulling off the wall from the weight of the lid or someone leaning on it.

Now let’s hide that frame!  We used a 3” wainscoting (bead board) in 36” X 32” sheets and 1” finishing nails to tack it to the frame. We put the first nail in a corner then leveled the sheet to the top of the frame and tacked the opposite corner. You want to make sure the sheet is level otherwise your box will look like it’s leaning. For the trim we used a 3” high trim with a square edge for a simple look and 2” finishing nails. Since it’s hiding in our pool house we just used butt joints but if it was somewhere we’re going to see it frequently we would have cut the joints on 45 degree angles to give it a cleaner look.



After we had trimmed it out, we filled the gaps with caulking and gave it all a coat of white paint.



The wainscoting and trim added almost ¾” to the frame, so it’s a good idea to wait until it’s assembled before cutting the piece for the lid. Attach the hinges to the lid then attach the hinges to the frame, then you're done!

So while Ian did all the hard work, I was working on building the cabinets to go above the bench. We actually got a great deal on these. They are just simple laundry room cabinets that you can get at any hardware store, but we got them on sale last weekend at Canadian Tire for 40% off. So $39.99 seemed like a good deal to us.

I put the cabinet together on our kitchen floor (which was actually a bit of a pain, since there really isn't a lot of space in there...) but it took me about 30 mins and I was done. Did you notice my floral hammer? It came as a part of a tool set. I found the set on clearance at HomeSense for like $7, and thought, what girl doesn't need her OWN tool set? Plus, its so obvious now which hammer is mine. Ian refuses to use them. I would like to say its because he thinks they're just too girly, but its actually because they PROBABLY aren't the best quality tools in the world. Whatevs. I say a hammer's a hammer!



After I had my frame put together, I installed that onto the wall using wall plugs and screws.


Then it was time to attach the doors. Ian snapped this pic of me as it seems I never have any pictures of me working on anything....hmmm. Honestly though, its not easy to take a photo of yourself painting a wall. That's my story and Im sticking to it. (p.s did you notice that I am actually IN the shed? That was a big step for me people...anywhere hornets live is not a place I want to be).


Once the doors were up, we were almost finished! We just need to put a few hooks up on the walls for hanging, a few baskets in for towels and we are done! Me being picky, I also want to change all the handles on the cabinets to match....just for my own piece of mind people. I know its not a show room, but I will know.

There isn't much we can do on the other side of the pool shed, since thats where all the "pool equipment" is, so its just this one side we had to work with and create a more organized space.




So lets look at the before and afters (still in progress)....
SO much better. Plus, the best part?! The hornets, wasps, bees, etc are ALL gone. I think I had Ian spray a full can of raid before I would even step foot in there, so we are all good to go :)

We'll post a picture once its all done, but do you think Im crazy for wanting to put a BIT of decor in there? Something nautical themed?! What would you do?

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