Side Entry Nook Organization


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Our house has a side entry that gets a lot of traffic. The door leads out into the driveway and is used at least a zillion times a day. 
The side entry door used to open right onto a tiny basement stair landing which I'm sure you can imagine, wasn't the safest or the roomiest. The previous owners had a tiny addition built onto the side entry which gained us a little bit of space but not much. It's a bit of a hodge podge space - super ugly if I'm being honest. 
There is a tiny nook in the side entry that had been driving me crazy. It was so messy and disorganzied. Yesterday I decided that it was high time I cleaned / purged / organized the little space.
Here's how the little nook looked this morning after I moved all of our winter coats and snow pants to a different closet.
The top shelf had a small wooden Christmas box (?!?!?) stuffed with dog toys, baseball hats, and miscellaneous junk. Not only did the box have snowflakes on it (and it's August), it was too small and didn't utilize the full shelf. Notice our fall jackets hung on inexpensive plastic hangers. Trust me, this looked way worse yesterday when there were about five winter coats and two pairs of snowpants jammed in there too.
The bottom shelf had an old Ikea basket with mittens, gloves, hats, scarves, doggy bags, and leashes. Beside and behind the basket were random tools that Alex was bringing back and forth to The Fixer Upper. Again, the basket was too small and didn't utilize all of the space on the shelf. We also had to dig to find anything.
Note: We leave our hats/mitts out year-round because we end up using them for almost eight months out of the year. The temperature has already been dropping to about 6 degrees C (43 degrees F) at night lately!!!
The first thing I did was move our winter coats that we're not using yet to a different closet. That left some fall jackets and vests. After that I took everything out and gave the spot a thorough cleaning.

At Homesense last night I purchased:
- a basket for the top shelf ($14.99)
- a basket for the bottom shelf ($29.99)
- a set of 15 wooden hangers ($14.99)

I used the basket on the top shelf for our ball caps, umbrellas, and a box of doggy bags:

Notice how I used the umbrellas to strategically separate the boy hats from the cute girl hats? Impressive, yes I know.
In the bottom basket, I organized our mittens, gloves, hats, and scarves into little piles:

It's amazing how two matching baskets and a set of nice hangers can make you un-hate a spot in your house.

Instead of throwing the dog's leashes into the basket with our hats n' mitts, I would like to add some hooks to the wall on the left. However if you look at the picture below you'll see that there is a light switch right in the way. And a weird piece of trim that serves no purpose.
Hmmmm. I'll let you know if/when I figure something out. For now though, I'm pretty happy with myself.
If you're wondering how I did this today, it's because Cooper has started sleeping for 30-40 minute intervals during the day instead of the random 2 minute, 5 minute, 10 minute naps he was taking for the longest time.

I did a job! (Happy dance!)
I did a job! (Squeal!)
I did a job! (Barney Stinson high five!)

Hi From the Hairdressers


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

He-eeeey. Just wanted to give y'all a quick update on the 'ol blog (and my hair).

I kind of broke my blog. All of a sudden my blog header looks all fuzzy and low budget. I hate that!?! Then, yesterday, when I was adding a new page I did something by accident that messed up my menu underneath my blog header. It's back to the old blogger page menu instead of my new Blogmilk template menu. Is there anybody out there who knows how to fix this? I've even stumped my computer nerd husband with this one!!
Update: Alex just texted me after reading this post to tell me that I didn't "stump him". Sure, honey. Sure.

Bye, bye blonde hair. I will miss you so.

In other news, I'm sitting under the dryer at the hairdressers with knots in my stomach because today is the day when I'll be saying goodbye to my lovely (but fried) blonde hair. In case you thought I was a natural blonde (hugs to you if you thought that) I'll share my deep, dark secret. My natural hair colour is brown. Dark brown. Really dark brown. My hairdresser told me it was time to say goodbye. Deep down I knew she was right. So here we go. Ahhhhh!
I'll be back later today to share a little review of the Instagram photos that I just got printed. I heart Instagram.
Okay byeeeeee!

P.S. This is my first post from my iPhone. Forgive me if it looks weird!! :)

Update #2: Did I ever feel like a weirdo taking pictures of myself (in my car)(on the side of the road) twice today.

Woah. That's all I gotta say.

Frames In The Living Room


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Ever since we purchased a new rug for the living room on our last road trip, I've been anxious to add some details here and there to finish the living room off. It's been in limbo for a long time! One thing the room was lacking: wall art.

A few weeks ago I asked your opinions on three different sets of Etsy prints (thanks so much for your input btw). I didn't really have a particular spot in mind so the shape and number of prints didn't matter at the time.

However the other day I opened up the closet in our spare bedroom and saw three brand new gallery style frames from Chapters Indigo sitting in a bag. Oh yeah, forgot I had those. 

I brought them downstairs and tried to figure out where I could put them. An image from Pinterest stuck out in my mind.... a set of three pictures hung vertically behind a chair.

Check 'em out here:

Image: Pinterest
So I took the three frames from my closet (it was like Christmas, weeeee!) and hung them vertically on a little wall in the corner that was sitting empty for the longest time.
Empty wall. Needs pictures. ASAP.
Three empty frames. Getting there!
Since two of the three sets of prints I was considering were square, I'll need to use this set of small 4x6 prints from The Haunted Hollow Tree on Etsy:  
Image: The Haunted Hollow Tree

Image: The Haunted Hollow Tree

Image: The Haunted Hollow Tree

I did a really terrible mock-up in Photoshop to get an idea of how it would look with these three prints. I think the textured paper and the subtle browns will add a little bit of contrast with the all-white frames and mats. I'll have to get some custom mats cut at a local framing store but I always love how they turn out so I'm looking forward to that!

Well, that's one mini-project that I can cross off my list. Don't you just love that!?!

So Many Posts, Too Little Time & The Fixer Upper - Structure


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Hello, friends. Do you ever have so many possible post ideas swirling around in your head that you end up not writing anything at all? That's what's been going on with me. Finally I sat down and made a list of all the posts I want / need to write about to catch you up on everything that's been going on around here. I stopped my list at eighteen possible posts.
Possible Post Ideas Rattling Round in Head:
- two antique store finds and plans for them
- nursery source list - part four
- nursery - final before and after photos including room dimensions, floor plan, etc.
- fixer upper - trim
- fixer upper - paint colours
- fixer upper - lighting
- fixer upper - structure
- questions and answers - part three
- questions and answers - part four
- living room dilemma - curtains with valence
- small projects around the house (fixing sun room tie-up shades, hanging frames, etc.)
- four Pinterest recipes I've tried and four I want to try
- small perennial garden in backyard
- cooper update
- grown-up shopping finds
- random everyday life stuff with Instagram photo collage
- receipt organization system
- found a door & a tutorial to make a dutch door
Whoa. That's a lot. I'll start with sharing what went down today at The Fixer Upper. Before the boys can start making the exterior of the house look pretty, they have to fix some structural issues. There are two areas of the house that aren't properly supported: the front porch and the side porch.
Alex rented the fancy digger and, with the help of his dad and my dad, worked on digging the holes and pouring the concrete posts that will support the new porches. 
It was messy. They were sweaty. Apparently boys like machines and playing with dirt.
I'm ready for the fun stuff like choosing railing styles and siding colours but apparently I have to wait until they're done this boy stuff so that the house doesn't fall down.
Fine. Hahaha.
Now, which post should I tackle next???  :S

You Ask, I Answer - Part Three


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

How do you convince your husband to let you buy expensive stuff?
I'm struggling over here.


How do you afford all the cute stuff you buy for your house and for the fixer-upper?
I'd love to do all the cute things you are doing, but finding the $$$$ makes me feel like I'm seeing stars.

Hmmm, I think the answers to both of these questions have a few different factors so I'll try my best to explain them all. Here we go. Get ready for the longest explanation of all time.

My weakness is decor stuff. I keep our local Homesense in business. Many other girls I know have other girlie things that they like to buy with their spending money: makeup, shoes, purses, clothes, wine, etc. Up until yesterday when I decided that I was going to update my wardrobe and start liking grown-up purses, I rarely spent any money on any of the above items. My makeup routine is simple and includes foundation, mascara, blush, and lip gloss all of which you can buy at Wal-Mart. I have two shades of nail polish - pink and clear. I've had the same Roxy purse and runners for over a year and a half. I've been buying my hoodies at Costco lately and if you haven't been, they are usually only $19.99!!! I've never been a big drinker and so a box of four Smirnoff Ice lasts me about a year. Since I don't spend a lot of money on shoes/purses/makeup/clothes/booze (but that is about to change since I am now a huge fashionista) I guess I don't feel guilty when I go into Homesense and spend $20 on a basket here or $30 on a lamp there. So that explains how I am able to purchase the little trinkets and doo-dads.

Now, what about the big items. Up until my recent maternity leave, Alex and I both worked full-time and made decent salaries. Not to toot our own horns but I think collectively we're pretty good with our money. Correction: Alex is pretty good with our money, hahaha. Aside from one of our vehicles and our house (oh yeah and now The Fixer Upper) we don't have any debt. Because we bought our home at a really good time, in a small town outside of the city, and with lots of TLC needed, our mortgage was a lot less than it could have been. To be more specific, the bank approved a mortgage of X dollars and we bought the house that was listed for only half of that amount. Since we didn't become house poor, we were/are able to spend the extra money to renovate and decorate.  

Now, because we take sooooo long to renovate, the trips to Home Depot and Lowes are spaced out. Alex will buy insulation one weekend, some 2x4's a few weekends later, the paint a month after that, so that we never seem to be dropping thousands of dollars in a week to update a room, build the deck, or finish the basement. I'm sure it all adds up to the same amount in the end but when it's broken up into manageable amounts of money over time it just doesn't seem like we're spending that much. Does that make sense?

You know how I'm SUPER picky and indecisive about decor-related items? Well that means that I've probably looked at and or talked about the "big" items about ten thousand times before I actually ask if we can get it. For a more specific example, I've wanted a rug for the living room for a very, very long time. The style of rug that I like (natural fiber/jute) is hard to find. My only options were ordering online from Pottery Barn or driving down south. Last summer I saw the rug of my dreams at Muskoka Living Interiors. It was expensive. I ooooohed and awwwwwed and really wanted to get it, but I didn't. I talked about it and talked about it and talked about it some more for over a year. When we went back this summer and I showed it to him again, he knew that it wasn't just an impulse buy and that I really and truly wanted it for the house. I had to bat my eyelashes and tell him that I would spend less on groceries but he finally agreed. I guess what I'm trying to explain is that I will wait and wait and wait for what I really want if it's on the expensive side. I know people that have gone out and spent thousands of dollars in a day to buy an entire set of furniture for their living room. I just shop slowly and surely instead.

Also, when it comes to decor items, I'm all about finding cheaper versions of things that I've seen online or in expensive stores. If I can find a lamp, shelf, picture frame, basket, or mirror at Homesense then I'll buy it there. I will rarely buy those things at expensive stores like Pottery Barn. As for furniture, I try and buy old, solid wood furniture that I can fix up the way I want it. All of the dressers in our house (that I actually like) were either found on the side of the road or scored from an antique shop for $100 or less.  

Basket from Homesense - $29 ----- Basket from Pottery Barn - $130

Ledges from Michael's - $26 each ----- Ledges from Pottery Barn - $85 each

Wire Shelf from Homesense - $49 ----- Wire Shelf from Restoration Hardware Baby - $199

Couch from Ikea - $449 ----- Couch from Pottery Barn $1693

I hope I don't give off the impression that our house is filled to the brim with awesome, expensive stuff because that just isn't the case. We have a double bed in our spare room that is on a metal frame with no headboard or footboard. Our basement t.v. stand is the Hemnes one from Ikea. The dresser in our bedroom is a seventies one (eeeek) that's been painted white for us to use until we find a large one that we really like. Our couches are all the cheapest Extorp ones from Ikea. The table in our breakfast room was repainted and recovered because my mom found it on the side of the road. The list goes on and on.

{And if I'm being really truthful, I used to buy things on my credit card, sneak them into the house when Alex wasn't home or wasn't looking, and then tell him my credit card bill was for groceries and gas. Since I've "matured" and am all about being "open and honest" (tee hee) I don't do that anymore. Instead I sneak them into the house and then show him when he's in a good mood. Bahaha! Okay I don't do that anymore either. He kept getting mad at me anyway.}

I really do hope that answers those two big questions. If I was vague about something you can always ask me to clarify in the comments section, mkay?

Alright, I'm off to go fix up the front yard that I've been avoiding like the plague since it was mutilated by the hailstorm a few weeks ago. Our yard is ugly now. Booooo. 

Related Posts Here:

My Wardrobe Needs a Grown-Uppity Update


Monday, August 20, 2012

If you follow me on Pinterest at all, you may have been wondering what the heck has been going on over the last few days. It's kind of like I was pinning on speed. Not my normal pins at 10x my normal pinning rate. 

Let me explain. Awhile back I was looking for some new tops. At Aeropostale. {Can't believe I just admitted that on the internet.} You know the store.... the one where all of the ads have beautiful teenagers roasting marshmallows around a campfire or all holding hands. 

Image: Aeropostale

Well, when I was browsing around the store I bumped into our next-door-neighbours: my friend and her 10-year old daughter. The little girl was holding up the same shirt as me.  


I've slowly come to the realization that since I'm now in my, ahem, thirties, it might be time to update my wardrobe a little bit. There is absolutely no way you will ever see me walking around town wearing sequins or heels, but maybe, just maybe, I could try out a scarf, a bracelet, or a grown-up purse. Gasp!

The good news is that thanks to MyFitnessPal (iphone app) I'm pretty much down to my old clothing size. That means I've lost 39 of the 43 pounds that I packed on while brewing up Mini-Coop. Sha-bam! Being a milkshake factory has that extra benefit. Sweeeeeet. 

So anyway, for the longest time I had two measly pins on a board called Ca-ute Outfits. That's how much I really cared about clothes / fashion. I've been trying to psyche myself up for the big grown-up shopping adventure by pinning a million cute but casual outfits that I just might be able to wear (if I try really hard).

Here are a few examples:

Did you notice that a few outfits even have hoodies!?!?!?! Phew. I can't give those up cold turkey. There's just no way.

I'm heading out to the mall today with my way-more-stylish-than-me friend. Wish us luck. I may come back all grown-uppity n' stuff.

Feel free to tell me that you still shop at American Eagle, too. Or that your current wardrobe consists of hoodies, jeans, and polka-dot socks just like me. You always know how to make me feel better. ;)

The Fixer Upper: Exterior Doors


Thursday, August 16, 2012

In one of my recent posts I mentioned that I reallllllly like Craftsman style front entry doors. One day in the future I would love to splurge on a solid wood one to add some more curb appeal to the front of our house.

Except right now we are working on The Fixer Upper. Oh yeah. Right.

The Fixer Upper already has two old, chippy, wooden doors on it right now. And even though I love them both, I'll explain why we won't be using them.

First of all, they need a good refinishing that includes stripping, filling, sanding, priming, and repainting. The glass needs to be replaced, too. With all of the other projects on the go at the moment, we just don't have time for this one right now.

Second, even though I happen to love chippy, old, wooden doors - it doesn't mean that everyone else does too. We have to keep in mind that it is a rental property, and that many of our choices will have to appeal to the peeps that will be renting the place.

Third, our current renters (Hi Alex's Mum and Dad) are very into energy efficiency. I'm more about looks but hey, we all have our differences.

So what we're going to do is remove the old, wooden doors and replace them with some cheap cost-effective fiberglass doors. My aunt called me yesterday to tell me she saw a door style that I might like in the Hope Depot flyer this week. For $199.

Here it is:

Home Depot

Now, picture this door with some shiny new hardware. We already purchased this set from Home Depot when it was on sale:

Home Depot

Now let's imagine a cute colour on it, kind of like these fun painted doors that I found on Pinterest:




This is totally win-win 'cause I get to sneak away with the old doors and do what I want with them. HELLO fun projects, I've missed you to bits.

What's your take on exterior doors? Old? New? New that looks old? Old that looks new? Wood? Steel? Fiberglass? Ahhhhhh!

You Ask, I Answer - Part Two


Saturday, August 11, 2012

How long do you expect the renovation at The Fixer Upper to take?

The great part about Alex’s parents moving into The Fixer Upper in a semi-unfinished state is that Alex and his dad can work on it little by little over the course of the next year. His dad is pretty handy and will be able to work on the house a few hours a day during the week while Alex is at work. On the weekends, they will be able to tackle the bigger projects together.

We are hoping to get a few major exterior projects done on the outside of the house while the weather is still warm enough (rebuild front porch, support side entry with sauna tubes, siding, exterior doors, etc.). During the winter we’ll be able to work on some interior projects (the rest of the door trim and baseboards, flooring in the back, finishing the main floor bathroom, etc.). 

So, while we hope to get a lot accomplished this coming fall / winter / spring, I’m sure there will be no shortage of work after that. You’ve seen the pictures, right? Hahaha.

Are you going to decorate your new house?

It would be absolutely DREAMY to decorate a totally different house. There’s something so exciting about starting from a blank slate and being able to choose absolutely everything that goes into a space. If I was going to decorate the house, I think I would go for a modern cottage kind of vibe with lots of neutrals, white, and warm wood tones - something a little different from my own house. Just for fun. ;)

Modern Country Living Room. Yum.

However, Alex’s parents will be renting the house and they have a very different style than I do – very traditional. They also already have all of their furniture and accessories!

My role in decorating The Fixer Upper will be more about choosing the finishes (flooring, trim, doors, siding colour, light fixtures, etc.) which is still pretty awesome.

(My lovely in-laws did let me choose the paint colours for the house. Yippeeeee! I’m already working on a post about the paint colours I chose so stay tuned for that.)

Do you secretly want to move into The Fixer Upper?

This was a great question and made me laugh out loud. I think this question ties in with my answer above a little bit. A new house just has so many possibilities. It’s exciting to dream up new plans for a completely new space. In reality though, I love our own house. (Even with its long list of unfinished projects and hideous kitchen.) It’s quite a bit bigger than The Fixer Upper, has a great layout, has a bigger yard, and is on a quieter street. So while the thought of moving in to The Fixer Upper to decorate it and make it my own sounds pretty fun, I still love our own house and am not ready to leave it just yet. J

Where did you get that picture of the front door you have on your site... ‘cause that is EXACTLY what I need for my house.

I can’t remember exactly how I found that particular image; I think I was just randomly searching Google images for a craftsman exterior door. There are lots of variations if you look, but my favourite is the two panel, 6-pane, solid wood door (and I wrote about it here).


The site where I found the image can be found here, although I have no idea if the company that manufactures them is any good or not. Basically I was just looking for an inspiration photo and they had a perfect one!

How is your giant window box doing?

Our giant windowbox is one of my favourite things that we've added to the exterior of our home. It has held up really well so far and hasn't warped at all. It's so big and so heavy once it's filled with soil and flowers that we made sure to support it underneath with five large brackets. This has worked really well.

Alex did good.

The only teensy problem with the window box is that someone (not mentioning any names) decided to paint it with flat exterior paint. Ummmm, I wouldn't recommend this (obviously, what was I thinking?!?) as leaves and dirt that get stuck to the painted wood tend to leave marks / stains. When it comes time to give the box a new paint job, I'll make sure to use a more durable finish. Silly me.

I haven't forgotten that I promised a tutorial on how to make those window boxes. 


I was waiting until we built another one (for the side of the house) so we could take all of the step-by-step pictures. That project kinda got put on the backburner. Hopefully one day we'll get around to it so that I can hook you up with a good tutorial.


I still have lots of your juicy questions to answer. I'll finish up soon. If you missed the other related posts you can find them here:

Have a wonderful weekend! It's supposed to rain all weekend over here but hey! at least it's not hail.

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