Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Mantel

I know it is a bit late to post about my mantel only 5 days before Christmas. But the reason I didn't post sooner was two fold.  First of all, I hate posting about half finished projects and secondly, I was waiting for this little baby to arrive.

I had ordered it from Beyond the Rack about 6 weeks ago and I had so hoped it would come before Christmas.  It came just in time!  So finally I give you my Christmas mantel.

I am quite pleased with it.  I always use the basics each year, the garland with lights and then I usually add some accessories to it, like pine cones and ornaments.  This year because of the teal in my carpet I decided to throw that into the mix as well, so there are some cute little teal cupcake ornaments which I found at the dollar store believe it or not.  Also, I added some branches in vases with some pretty blue and teal stones that I also found at the dollar store.

When my daughter and I were shopping at Michaels one day, we bought this peacock feather because it caught her eye and so it too was added to the display.

Probably, my favourite part of the mantel display is the stockings.  The reason....they were all made by my mom. She is very talented and has over the years made all of these special heirlooms for everyone in our family.

So there you have it.  This will be my last post until after the holidays, so may you all have a very Happy Holiday and a joyful new year! See you in 2013!

Until next time...Lisa

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Taking Time

I had a few more holiday posts prepared to publish for you but after the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut last week, I decided that I would rather take the time I would have spent blogging and spend it with my family instead.  I felt like I wanted to hug my babies close and never let them go.

My heart and prayers go out to all the families who were touched by this senseless act of violence and my hopes are that they can someday heal the hole that was left in their hearts.

I'll leave you with this little poem that someone gave me when my first daughter was born almost five years ago.  It has been on my fridge ever since to remind me of how important every moment is with our kids.

To My Child 

by Sally Meyer 

Just for this morning, I am going to
smile when I see your face and laugh
when I feel like crying.

Just for this morning, I will let you
choose what you want to wear,
and smile and say how perfect it is.

Just for this morning, I am going to step
over the laundry and pick you up and take you to
the park to play.

Just for this morning, I will leave the
dishes in the sink, and let you teach me how to put
that puzzle of yours together.

Just for this afternoon, I will unplug
the telephone and keep the computer off, and sit with
you in the backyard and blow bubbles.

Just for this afternoon, I will not yell
once, not even a tiny grumble when you scream and
whine for the ice cream truck, and I will buy you one
if he comes by.

Just for this afternoon, I won't worry
about what you are going to be when you grow up, or
second guess every decision I have made where you are
concern ed.

Just for this afternoon, I will let you
help me bake cookies, and I won't stand over you
trying to fix them.

Just for this afternoon, I will take us
to McDonald's and buy us both a Happy Meal so you can
have both toys.

Just for this evening, I will hold you in
my arms and tell you a story about how you were
born and how much I love you.

Just for this evening, I will let you
splash in the tub and not get angry.

Just for this evening, I will let you
stay up late while we sit on the porch and count all the stars.

Just for this evening, I will snuggle
beside you for hours, and miss my favourite TV shows.

Just for this evening when I run my
finger through your hair as you pray, I will simply be
grateful that God has given me the greatest gift ever given.

I will think about the mothers and
fathers who are searching for their missing children, the
mothers and fathers who are visiting their children's
graves instead of their bedrooms. The mothers
and fathers who are in hospital rooms
watching their children suffer senselessly and screaming
inside that little body

And when I kiss you goodnight I will hold
you a little tighter, a little longer. It is then,
that I will thank God for you, and ask him for
nothing, except one more day.............

Monday, December 10, 2012

DIY for the Holidays

Hello again, I know...I know, this is the most you've ever heard from me but I am so excited to share my projects and those of the blogosphere with you that I just can't stop myself.

Today, I'm going to share a couple of little DIY projects that I've done to add some Christmas cheer to our home.

The first is such a quick and easy one that I made it using items I already had on hand.  It looks really cute hanging in the kitchen.

I started with some ribbon that came wrapped around packages of ornaments from the dollar store and then I strung through some cookie cutters.  I alternated the colours of both the ribbon and the cutters, but you could place them however you like or just use one colour.  Instead of ribbon you could use beaded garland or string, whatever your little heart desires.  The only thing I would recommend is to tie a knot or have some kind of stopper at the end of each section where you want to hang it otherwise the cutters will slide down and bunch up in the middle.  Here's a closer look at it.

The cutters that I happened to have had holes in them so I just strung the ribbon through it and then through the shape itself so that the shape was facing out instead of hanging sideways.  If your cookie cutters don't have a hole like these do, you may need to play around with the ribbon to find a way to tie it so that you can actually see the shapes.

This project took me about 15 minutes and the kids helped too!

The next DIY took a bit more time.  I had to do a bit of research and thanks to YouTube, found a couple of online tutorials like this one from Skillins Greenhouse.

I decided that this year I wanted to learn how to make my own bows, so I got some really great rolls of ribbon from Michaels on a fantastic 70% off sale and with this particular pattern, I've made 2.  They found their home on my double front doors which I hung with matching wreath hangers.

I admit, I've gone a little bow crazy around the house because once you learn how to do it, they really are so simple and look beautiful.

I’m sharing this at the Dare to DIY party hosted by Decor and the Dog, Maybe Matilda, Newly Woodwards, and Two Twenty One! So be sure to check them out.

Until next time....Lisa

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

A Light Dusting of Snow

Hello everyone and welcome to my first Christmas post of the season.  I have so many ideas and projects, I hope I can manage to complete them all and post about them before the holidays are over!

Today I am going to show you how I added a little cheer and just a smattering of snow to my eat in kitchen.

I started with a pretty blank slate of a round, white table and transluscent chairs. This gave me the opportunity to decorate in whatever colours I wanted.  My holiday colours have always been and always will be traditional (red, green, white, silver, gold) and every once in a while I might throw in just a touch of a trendy colour for fun.  For this particular display, I stayed true to myself except for the bowl that I used, which is one that sits on my table anyway and I love the teal colour and the way that it juxtaposes with the traditional decor.

The idea itself is pretty basic, just some ornaments in different shapes, sizes and texture. The variation is what keeps it interesting and I love pine cones, they just seem to add a rustic warmth to everything. 

Now, lets talk about the base shall we?  You may be wondering where the snow came from and did I just grab some from the backyard and throw it in there in order to take this photo?  The answer is a resounding NO! but isn't it fantastic!  

When you look through magazines or on the web, most holiday bowls like this will have a base of greenery, whether it be real cedar boughs or artificial pine sprays.  I decided to defy the standard and try something different.  I found this stuff at Dollarama, here in Canada, it came in a little bottle and it said fake snow, just add water.  I was skeptical and almost put it back on the shelf but I thought, for $1.25, what do I have to lose, I'll try it out and see what happens.  You can be the judge, but I think it turned out great.  It has been a week since I took this picture and the snow still looks like this.

Lets recap the cost for a moment because this is something anyone can do with things you already have in your holiday decor stash.  Ornaments, pine cones and bowl - already owned, fake snow - $1.25.  Total for a new take on an old idea $1.25 and I love it!

Do you have any new ideas for traditional holiday decor?  I'd love to hear about them.

Until next time...Lisa 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Breathing New Life into Old Tables

Well, it has been a bit busy around the new abode; trying to get organized and unpacked and get ready for the holidays all at the same time.  I have found that the best motivator for getting the old butt in gear is having guests come over.  A week and a half ago my mother in law came to visit for the weekend and I really wanted to have the guest room completed.  That didn't happen, however I did manage to make it a little bit nicer than the last time she was here.  On her previous visit (I am ashamed to say) I hadn't even vacuumed or changed the sheets since my nephew had stayed over.

My first project was to make over a couple of hand-me-down end tables that my mother in law had given me.  I wasn't sure that I would be able to do anything with them at first because they were made of MDF with a veneer finish, but am I ever glad that I gave it the old college try.

I am so upset that in my haste to start this project, I completely forgot to take a before picture. UGH!! When you look at the tables, try and picture them in a cherry coloured veneer with a shiny brass handle hanging off of one end.

First of all I went scavenging through my garage and found my primer, which I love, it is called Zinsser Bulls-Eye123, "no scuff sanding required".  So the tables got a good thick coat of primer and I even let the munchkins help me out with this part.

I let the primer cure really well for probably about 24 hours and then I gave the tables their first coat of paint.  I used Rona 100% Acrylic Latex and Polyurethane, it is actually floor paint.   This was recommended to me by my friendly neighbourhood Rona paint specialist for painting furniture as it is more durable than regular latex paint.  The verdict? It was amazing! I will only be using floor paint to paint furniture from now on.

The colour I chose was called Mineral in a satin finish.  It is a bit difficult to tell from the pictures, but it is a really soft bluish-greenish-gray.  Looks pretty good, right?  That is after only one coat.  I couldn't believe it.  I almost left it at that, but I really wanted it to have a good hardy finish and didn't want any of that cherry veneer coming through, so I let it dry another couple of hours and then applied the 2nd coat of paint.

I think it looks fantastic!  Exactly what I was going for!  Here are the finished pieces in their designated space.

Now, I just have a few more things to do in that room. A new light...

....can you say YUCK!  Also, I want to redo this bench that I scored on Kijiji for $30.  I found some great fabric at Joann's when I went to Buffalo on my annual girls weekend that I want to use to recover it.

Some curtains, some paint, some accessories....ahhhhhh, so many projects, so little time! 

Until next time...Lisa.

I linked up with Thrifty Decor Chick

TDC Before and After

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Fall Harvest Porch

I must apologize in the delay in getting this post out.  I meant to do it back at the beginning of October but time has gotten away from me as it so often does at this time of year.  I can't believe I am gearing up to do some Christmas posts.

We decided to do a front porch display this fall because, well, we could.  Also, because it is something I have always wanted to do and autumn is my favourite season.  It was a really great way to get the kids involved as well.  They picked out their items that they wanted in the display and the hubby and I picked out what we wanted and we put it all together into a pretty terrific vignette.

Then for halloween all we had to do was carve the pumpkins...

 ...and insert a couple a creepy monkeys and voila! you have Halloween!

Sorry for the fuzzy pictures, I seem to be having some technical difficulties and will try to get the issues resolved in time for the next post.

Until next time....Lisa

Monday, October 29, 2012

New Life New Blog we are again.  I know it has been a long while since my last post and now everything has changed including the name of the blog.  Lots has happened since we finished our kitchen last April.  I will try and keep the details as short and sweet as I can but I have lots to share.

Shortly after we finished the renovation of our kitchen I ended up suffering from a health problem which required some time off of work to recover from.  During that time off, I did a lot of soul searching and self evaluation and together with my husband, decided that I should make the difficult decision to leave work, a job that I had been at for the last 10 years.  As difficult as it was to make this choice, I knew that staying home with our two and half year old daughter and to be there for my 4 year old as she started school, would be the best thing for our family.  After that was decided, we made another major life change and moved to a new city.  It was a great move for us financially and it gave us (especially me) the fresh start that we were looking for. 

We moved at the end of August and I think we are finally settled in enough that I can once again begin blogging, which, by the way I have been thinking about non stop.  I have already got many great posts in the works for you. This brings me to the new title of the blog which is the same great blog, it just has a new name.  The previous title was "Family Life in a Small Space", which totally made sense when we lived here...

Oh and by the way, only the window to the left of the chimney was mine, the other one on the right was my neighbour's. However, since we now live here the title doesn't really apply. 

Thus, "Family Life Happy Life" was born, which my 4 and half year old came up with.  So there you have it, the story of what happened to the blog for the last 6 months. Now, on to the fun stuff!

Since halloween is just a couple of days away, I wanted to make sure I got a chance to tell you about my halloween mantel.  This was the first time I tried this, I usually only decorate my mantel during Christmas but I decided that in this new house I would take a stab (ha...ha, no pun intended) at it.

I looked at some great inspiration shots online and then spent half a day looking for the box that had my halloween decorations in it.  Finally I found it and came up with a bit of a plan once I saw what I had.  Here are some details of how I put it all together.  First, I found these beautiful free printables online at Nest of Posies.

Basically, all I did here was print them in different sizes based on what frames I had on hand (well, in an unpacked box anyway). I think they look amazing and this is my favourite element of the display.

Then I decided I wanted to add these skulls that I bought at Michaels for 60% off.

They were an amazing deal because they are really quality items and I just love the amethyst eyes.  So, I just flipped over the lid of the jars that I display on the mantel regularly because I wanted some height and they were really all I could find without having to buy something.  It worked perfectly.

The vase beside the skull just holds some branches that I grabbed from the back yard and then filled the vase with some mini plastic gourds and pumpkins that I already had.

Next, I added another one of my favourite parts of this vignette, the pumpkin on books.  I really wanted to make sure that I had differing heights and layers going on, so I found a couple of thick hardcover books from my bookshelf and then added the pumpkin on top.

Last but not least, I needed something on the wall because I had a ton of blank wall space above the mantel.  My budget wouldn't allow for me to purchase anything big to hang there so I made a trip to the trusty dollar store where I found this...

It is just a stick on decal but it was exactly what I needed. I found the chains and the decals used on the front of the mantel there as well.

Are you ready for the big reveal?  Here it Halloween Mantel.

I had so much fun doing this post.  I can't wait to share more with you.

Until next time...Lisa

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Completed Kitchen Reno

Well, the moment you have all been waiting for has finally arrived!  My kitchen reno is finished, YAY!  It is perfect and I need to give a big shout out to my handyman Filippo for doing such an amazing, meticulous job.  Honestly, I couldn't have asked for more.  If any of you are looking for someone to do some work for you in the West of Toronto region of Ontario give me a shout and I will pass along his number.

There are soooo many parts of this kitchen that I absolutely love, but lets start with my number 1 countertop.  You may recall my last post where I talked about changing my mind about my countertop and that I was keeping it a secret.  Well, the secret will now be revealed.

Aren't they gorgeous?!  They are called Silver Travertine and although they look like stone they are actually a new product from Formica called 180fx.  I love, love, love them!  This product is so durable and a fraction of the cost of the real excellent compromise on my part.

Another area of this kitchen that I am totally in love with speaks to both my heart and my caffeine addiction.  It is my new pantry/coffee centre.

Mmmm....I can smell the coffee brewing now!

There are lots of other great things in this kitchen, like the hardware which is incredible and the spice drawer which keeps things so neat and organized.  I love my new pot drawers and corner cabinets because they add so much storage, which I had been desperately in need of.  

Now, here are a few before and afters for you to enjoy!

Here you can see how we've managed to great rid of a lot of the countertop clutter because now we actually have places to store things.  You may also notice there is more landing space between the stove and the sink and that's because we decided to downsize the sink from a double bowl to a bowl and a half.  I feel like this was a great choice not only because it gives us more space but also because I scored an amazing deal on it! Gotta love that!

This is the view coming into the kitchen from the living room.  I love how sleek and clean it looks with the over the range microwave.  It is so nice to have it out of the way and now I can actually reach it!  In this before and after, you can see how the removal of the wall beside the stove opened up that space and allowed us to have those great pot drawers and spice drawer just to the left of the stove.

And last, but certainly not least, the view in the dining space.  Just look at the difference here, isn't it amazing!  The space has been totally opened up and it feels so much bigger and brighter.

Well, that's it.  The completed kitchen reno.  Now comes the fun part, the decorating and accessorizing.  I thinking peacock blues and apple chair dining light fixture...maybe some window treatments...........


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Nifty Little Craft

So now that my new kitchen is almost complete, I have to decorate and accessorize (that's really my favourite part).  Hold onto your hats there partners, I'm not showing you pictures of the finished kitchen just yet, that will be on the weekend...hopefully!  This post is all about my "nifty little craft".

Most of my kitchen cabinets are surrounded by a bulkhead, like this...

...but I have one area, which I call the pantry wall, where there is no bulkhead.  This little section of cabinetry will be a great space to bring in a little colour and interest.  

So, on the weekend while my munchkins were doing their crafts, I decided to do a little one of my own.  I tried a couple of different things which just didn't work out, then I came up with this.

Here, I have a $1 wooden frame that I picked up a while back, on sale at Michael's. Then, there is a piece of scrapbook paper, also from a sale at Michael's which I bought just because it intrigued me.  Lastly, I have paint from Benjamin Moore that I got because I had a coupon to get a free sample.  So, all in all, this craft cost me a whopping....wait for it....$1.50!

I didn't take any pictures during the process, but really, it is pretty simple.  You just paint the frame in your chosen colour and let it dry for a few minutes.  After that, cut the scrapbook paper to fit the opening of the frame, I used the cardstock that came in the frame as a template.  I also left the cardstock in the frame behind the scrapbook paper to give it more support.  Lastly, just place it in your space and sit back and enjoy!

I know this isn't the most beautifully framed shot, but I didn't want to give away to much of the final look of the kitchen, you'll just have to come back on the weekend to check it out!


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Almost There...

We are one week and 2 days into the kitchen reno now and it is coming along very nicely. By Friday, we had some of the upper cabinets installed and our new pantry wall was started which previously had no cabinets at all.

Over the weekend, we, well it was really just me with some help from my little munchkins did some painting.  Hubby decided it would be a good time to power wash the deck?! Really?!

I managed to get most of it done.  It is so much easier to paint when you don't have to worry about dripping on floors and countertops etc.  I had to tape off some of the cabinets but mostly it was the easiest painting I have ever done.  Here are some shots of it after it was painted this nice warm, creamy colour.

Our contractor wasn't in on Monday but boy did he ever make up for it today.  These are all of the cabinets installed.

Of course there is still a lot of finishing work to be done, but it looks so fantastic already.  I can't believe how much bigger and brighter it looks even with the dark cabinetry.

The floors will be installed on Thursday and Friday so stay tuned for that update.