Saturday, December 31, 2016

Saying Goodbye to Christmas (Slowly) & Our New DIY Fireplace Mantel

I know from the posts I've been enjoying on Instagram lately that many of us have trouble letting go of the holidays. I often keep my Christmas tree up until the kids return to school in January. This year that didn't happen, only because every single needle fell off the tree. The needles were randomly showering down like gentle rain drops falling for a few days before I finally admitted defeat and removed the decorations.

I think it's the spirit of Christmas that I want to hang onto. Even amidst the (many!) preparations leading up to Christmas, there's a kind of peacefulness that doesn't surround us at any other time of year, don't you think? My compromise on the decor this year goes like this - while the tree is gone, I will continue to enjoy twinkle lights on the staircase, the silver glitter tree in our newly renovated foyer and my brand new fireplace mantel, decked out for the holidays. At least for another week or so. (But string lights can stay up all winter, no?)

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

12 Months of DIY - A Year in Review & My Fave Project

12 months of easy and fun diy craft project ideas

This year I embarked on a #12monthsofdiy challenge with 11 other Canadian bloggers. The premise was this: each month we created our own diy projects around a given material. Unlike many of the other participants, prior to 2016 my diy experience was somewhat limited. This fact made the challenge a little bit intimidating and also a lot of fun.

I found some of the materials easier to work with, and knew pretty much right away what I wanted to create with them. Other craft materials had me scratching my head. Those were the really good ones, because they forced me to kick the old brain into action. It might seem like I'm exaggerating when I say that this experience was life-changing, but I really feel that it was. Not life-changing like getting married or having a baby, but life-changing as in pushing me in new directions and in search of more varied pursuits.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Cape Breton Molasses Cookies (vegan)

Rich with molasses & cinnamon, these vegan Cape Breton Cookies are crispy on the outside, dense and chewy in the middle. A great addition to your Christmas platter.

Each year when Christmas approaches, I tend to get out all of my little sentimental kind of cookbooks. You know the ones? Collections of recipes put together by church groups and other organizations of women who use their husbands' names, like "Mrs. Gerald Regan." The directions for these recipes are sometimes incomplete. Often two or more recipes are basically the same, with ingredients listed in a different order. But I just love the idea that these women got together to publish their favourite family recipes for some cause near and dear to them.

This week I took out my copy of Cape Breton Squares and Cookies by the Des Barres Chapter of the Imperial Order of Daughters of the Empire (I.O.D.E.), Sydney, Nova Scotia. This precious cookbook consists of 21 pages of typed recipes, stapled together with a soft, mustard-colour cover. The recipes are presented alphabetically.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

DIY Chain Yarn Garland #12monthsofdiy

December is all about getting cozy - snuggling up with a faux fur blanket and a hot cocoa to watch seasonal favourites like Elf and Love Actually. It's also the perfect time to pick up your knitting needles and knit something cozy. For me, it was something "warm" for my house - this diy yarn garland in the form of a looped chain. It's like a slightly more complicated version of those paper chains the kids like to make.

For other snuggly yarn projects, such as blankets and scarves, visit the links at the bottom of this post. Once again this month, 12 Canadian lifestyle and d├ęcor bloggers are sharing our diys using a given material - in this case yarn. I'm sad to see our #12monthsofdiy project come to an end. I have had such a great time coming up with crafts for each theme and interacting with the other bloggers and readers.

Our Foyer Makeover Reveal & Holiday Home Tour

Over the past few days I have used muscles that I'm quite sure I had never used before. Not for a very long time anyway! My husband had been installing our beautiful millwork from Metrie whenever he had a spare moment or two over the last few weeks. You can read more about that process and our paint choices in this post.

Then I heard there was an opening in the Canadian Bloggers Holiday Home Tour this week and I thought, "Why not?" As in, why not finish installing the trim, painting the walls and trim, buying and hanging artwork, accessorizing and doing a bunch of little Christmas diys in one short week? Good thinking, right? My husband would definitely not have made that choice. But I kindly made the decision for both of us. So we put up our wallpaper feature wall on Friday night and we worked all through the weekend. Despite my sore muscles, I'm really glad we did! I have to say I truly love our new foyer space.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Our Foyer Makeover - Progress Report

We have been working on our foyer makeover for the past few weeks during evenings and weekends. You can see the "before" pics in this previous post. As I said then, we were looking for a cleaner, more sophisticated look in our large entryway. Considering the foyer is the first space you see when you enter the haven of your home, shouldn't it be a space that makes you feel good?

The first step in our reno was tearing down the old baseboards and door casing and prepping the walls and doors for our new interior finishings from Metrie. We selected French Curves Scene II 7 ¼-inch poplar baseboard and 5 ¼-inch poplar crown, as well as the matching 2-inch chair rail and 3 ½-inch door casing. These additions alone would be stunning (especially when you consider that we only had small baseboards and casing and no other trim before).

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Easy DIY Christmas Wreath Tutorial

A couple weeks back I felt like I was getting all the things done super early for Christmas. Then the calendar hit December today and I was like, "Wait a second. What happened?" I have a bazillion things to do still to get the house ready for Christmas. Not to mention gifts to buy and cookies to bake.

Perhaps beginning a diy foyer renovation in late October wasn't the wisest idea. (My husband has been toiling away on the trim in the evenings and on weekends.) But the refreshed foyer is sure going to make a serene and lovely backdrop for our Christmas decor! In the meantime, I was able to whip together this Christmas wreath for our freshly painted front door yesterday.

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