Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Sunny Yellow Window Boxes, A Tassel Garland & A Lotta Spray Paint (Summer Yard Tour Part One)

In a climate with four incredibly distinct seasons, spring is the time to wake up from our winter slumber and turn our outdoor spaces into livable extensions of our homes. We have to enjoy the warm weather while it lasts!

When I took stock of our outdoor furniture and decor items this spring, I was a bit surprised to discover that just about everything needed a refresher of some sort. (It shouldn't have surprised me, I know, but I guess I took everything for granted and didn't notice how faded things had become.)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

DIY Canvas Print Design for My Girl's Bedroom

We have been gradually redecorating my daughter's bedroom to reflect the fact that she is now in her preteen years. She still loves pink (and purple as you can plainly see) but without the associated princesses and Disney characters. After shifting her furniture around, we found ourselves with a rather large blank space on one wall. My daughter has a fun and energetic personality, so I wanted to surprise her with an artwork that reflects her character and beauty.

Thrifted Accessories & Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Linky Party #89

If you have been reading this blog for any time at all, you know that I head straight to the vintage dishes whenever I enter a thrift store. I don't often take the time to go through clothing, pick through purses or browse the jewelry counter. Last time I was at the Salvation Army Thrift Store, though, I had a coupon that required spending $25 to get $5 off. (It was an old coupon. You can now get a $10-off coupon when you donate clothing or housewares.)

I didn't find quite enough glasses, plates, etc. to reach $25. But I did spot this floral-design straw tote bag. I got the idea from Design Mom to keep a "summer bag" packed and ready to go for summer excursions - you know, with sunscreen, towel, hand wipes, sunglasses - that sort of thing. So when I saw this thrifty bag, I knew just what I would use it for. Of course, being the hasty and kind of unobservant thrifter I am, I didn't notice the name stitched on the bag.

When I got home my daughter was like, "Why does your bag have a name on it?" Oh well, I'll just pull those stitches out! (Dianne says it's a country name and I can leave it on. I'm not even sure what it's meant to say. If it's Suyana (or Sullana), that is a name and a Quechua word meaning faith and hope. Sullana is also the name of the capital of the Sullana Province, in the north-western coastal plains of Peru.)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Just Add Color Nature-Inspired Coloring Books (Blogiversary Giveaway)

As I mentioned in this previous giveaway post, this month marks the fifth anniversary of Woman in Real Life. In celebration, I have planned a few giveaways, including one for these incredibly beautiful coloring books. (I'm going to use American spelling since these books are from the US.)

If you haven't gotten yourself a grown-up coloring book yet, you really need to do so! It's a lot of fun and we all need some free time to take our minds off weighty things and focus on a simple and enjoyable artistic undertaking. These three books, part of Quarto Publishing Group's Just Add Color series, are particularly beautiful. They are illustrated by Lisa Congdon, an accomplished illustrator and fine artist. I see these lovely coloring books going along on excursions to beach, cottage and park this summer.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

What I Ate Wednesday

Happy Wednesday friends! There have been a couple of pretty darn hot days around here this week. Our air conditioner still isn't working - we are awaiting our trusted repairman, who is recovering from an operation for another week or so.

I'm not really good (at all!) at withstanding heat. Let's just say I don't get as much done as I would like when the house is 35 to 40 degrees Celsius inside! I have been careful to stock up on lots of delicious and refreshing fruit. I really crave fruit in summer and I find the whole family will eat lots of fruit if I wash it and put platters of it out regularly.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Colourful Thrifted Drinking Glasses & Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Linky Party #88

Happy summer friends! I'm looking forward to sunny beach days, picnics, tall glasses of iced tea and homemade ice cream. And perhaps a few garage sales and flea markets. My latest thrifty purchase is this set of colourful glasses. I want to call them shot glasses, but perhaps they are a bit on the large side for that? Let's just call them colourful drinking glasses.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

DIY Spray-Painted Terra Cotta Planter #12monthsofdiy

Our featured material for June's #12monthsofdiy challenge is spray paint. I had so many spray paint projects to do in the house that I'm actually presenting two of them on the blog today. Check out my fun and feminine berry pink table too!

In preparing our outdoor spaces for summer, my husband and I have spray painted eight chairs and three tables over the past two weeks! (Note to self: don't wait until all the furnishings have deteriorated at once to do touch-ups.) Spray painting is so easy and quick that I confess I got a little addicted. So when I saw this pathetic scene, I had to do something...

DIY Spray-Painted Pink Side Table (with #12monthsofdiy

Each month I participate in a diy challenge with 11 other Canadian lifestyle and decor bloggers. We base our projects on a common material for the month. Hard to believe we are in June already! To review, January was about mason jars. February was fabric. March centred on Fusion mineral paint. April was thrifted finds. And May was a crafter's favourite - mod podge.

This month, our chosen material is spray paint. And thank goodness for that, because I hadn't quite realized how many items around this house needed a good refreshing with spray paint! I actually did two projects for June, as we are down a couple of bloggers in our group temporarily. Check out my spray-painted and stencilled terra cotta planter too!

The project featured here is a simple side table spray paint makeover. The fun of it is in the colour. The table, which I found discarded at the curb by a neighbour, was sitting in our home office/living room for quite a while, looking dull, outdated and, dare I say, ugly. As I have several touches of hot pink in the room, on picture frames, accessories and in artwork, I thought I would pick up the same type of pink for the old, dull table.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Thrifted Cutlery For Food Photos & Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Linky Party #87

When I'm taking food photos, like these ones of my Peachy Dessert Parfait, I tend to think about what plate, bowl or central dish I'm going to use. Then I'll think about a backdrop and maybe add a napkin or dishtowel and sprinkle some ingredients around. Less often do I focus on the cutlery.

So, last time I was at the Salvation Army Thrift Store, I had a wee peek through the bins of random cutlery. I think they were about 50 cents a piece, but I have seen them for as low as 10 cents elsewhere. I picked out two trios including spoon, fork and knife. The great thing is, I won't actually be using them for meals, so I don't need to find a complete set. Most of the pieces are stainless steel, but it's kind of fun to dive into the pile looking for more colourful options.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Woman in Real Life Turns 5! (With a Blogiversary Giveaway for Little Ones)

On June 14th, it will be five years since I wrote this post about my domestically gifted grandmother, thus launching the little blog that I have come to love. I created Woman in Real Life at a time of significant change in my life. Having just quit a full-time job that I held for over 14 years, I was unsure of what was next for me career-wise. I knew only a few things for sure. I knew I needed a break. A break from nasty bosses and work that lacked creativity. I knew that I've always been a writer. (It's the only passion I've ever wanted to turn into a career.) And I knew I wanted to be a better, happier mom and human being.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

What I Ate Wednesday - A Day of Vegan Eats

A day of simple, healthy, homemade vegan food! Eating #vegan can be easy and #tasty. Find some inspiration here.

We have been such a busy little family lately. My son just celebrated his 14th birthday (how can this be?). His grade 8 graduation is coming up. My daughter has her dance recital this week (two nights). Then there's the usual - appointments, laundry, cleaning bathrooms, grocery shopping, blogging and freelance writing - to fit in. Plus, every spare moment my husband and I have been planting flowers (him planting, me pointing) and spray painting our outdoor furniture. (We let it all get shabby at once.) We are imagining that there might be a day or two when we actually get to sit outside and enjoy our yard. Ha.

All this is to say, sometimes cooking falls by the wayside. On the weekend there was a pizza party - what else do you feed teenage boys at a birthday celebration? And then we took my son shoe shopping and to dinner (veggie burgers, fries and pop at Harvey's). I tried to ensure there were some healthy eats too - I gave the boys watermelon with their pizza and fruit and homemade banana muffins with their breakfast, for example. But nothing too strenuous to prepare.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Thrifted Mugs & Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Linky Party #86

On my last visit to the Salvation Army Thrift Store, I immediately made a beeline to the housewares section (as I always do). But I wasn't looking for mugs. Recently I reorganized my kitchen cupboards to create an entire shelf for our mugs, including the pretty pale green ones I showed off in this post - 5 Inexpensive Ideas to Create a Pretty Spring Table. In other words, we have enough mugs. Too many mugs.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

What I Ate Wednesday, with loads o' berries

Today's What I Ate Wednesday is full up with plump, juicy berries! I love late spring, when berries are abundant and less costly. This week I put berries on everything I could think of - like the Qi'a hot cereal, above. I topped my cereal with blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and walnuts.

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