Chace’s bedroom makeover is coming along slowly but surely. Recently we completed a key element of his room – the faux wood wallpaper! If you are new to this discussion, feel free to get caught up here where I went over my vision for his room and shared all my ideas via the mood board below.
Canada Day is this Friday! In honour of this special day I thought I would repost a fun Canada Day drink idea from a few years back. Enjoy! Have a great long weekend everyone!
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This Sunday is Canada Day – which is quite appropriate given that I’m Canadian ;). … So here’s a little idea that you may enjoy tipping back as you tip your hat to this great country.
Now I don’t think I need to point out the obvious, but you probably notice that this drink is layered in red and white – just like our amazing Canadian flag. How patriotic! And gorgeous. And tasty!
I can’t take full credit for this idea though. This morning as I was feeding my little guy breakfast I had the ‘Today Show’ on in the background. Given that July 4th is coming up, they were doing a segment on entertaining ideas for the holiday. They featured an amazing layered red, white and blue drink. I thought, “hey, I want to try that” so I went to their site looking for some direction.
So, I got started.
What you will need for this is:
First I filled my glasses about 1/3 full of ice.
Then I filled each cup about 1/3 full of cranberry juice.
Then I added a bit more ice and begain to layer. I poured in another third of Sprite Zero. The key to layering is to pour your second beverage DIRECTLY on to an ice cube so that it does not mix into the cranberry juice.
You can see the Sprite Zero hitting the ice cube above.
Here they all are with their second ‘white’ layers.
So then I went to add another layer of red cranberry juice.
FAIL! flopzilla. mixville.
I think what happened here is that the layers mixed because the sugar in my cranberry juice, was denser/heavier than the sugars in my pop. There is a note about drink sugars here. I thought I had covered my bases, but apparently not.
Oh well, on to plan B.
I cut up some strawberries and created a new red layer! They didn’t sink down as I was careful when placing them and made sure they sat on top of the ice.
And when that was all said and done we had this!
HAPPY CANADA DAY!
I must admit, I drank the one that I messed up as I typed this post. Delicous!
Have a wonderful and safe long weekend everyone. We’re off to do some fun things around town and celebrate a good friends’ birthday.
And probably drink a few more of these no doubt.
Stay in touch and follow along…
We recently tackled some updates in our back yard. I haven’t shared this space much because – to be honest – until now there wasn’t much to share! It was in a DIS-GUST-ING state. Let me show you.
But first, a little preamble. Our back yard is quite small. It is one of the compromises that we made when purchasing this house. There were so many other things that we loved about our house – the layout, the fact that it was a “2 story plus basement”, the greenbelt that we back on to, the neighbourhood, the proximity to Chace’s school etc. that we decided even though the yard was small, we could work with it.
We have big plans down the road to give it a complete makeover – new fence, designate ‘zones’ (dining, lounging etc) and a new deck to name a few. We haven’t finalized that plan yet but when we do, I will share. We envision a true entertaining paradise. It’s a future project so for now our goal was to just clean it up and be able to use it.
A little disclaimer – we are not slobs so you can’t judge based on these ‘before’ pictures (please don’t). When we moved in last summer we didn’t tackle the yard at all because we were busy unpacking (and working). The photos are a result of past gardening mistakes, follies, crazy people, neglect, a very rainy and windy Autumn and Winter (although I did clean up all the leaves during that time) and the fact that (did I mention) we back onto a greenbelt. The greenbelt Gods laugh as they rain sticks and debris down into the garden (true story, I’ve heard them).
But finally, we got our hands on it for the first time back in early/mid April. And it’s looking much less insane now. We even managed to rope my parents in to helping which was a HUGE help (thanks Mom and Dad!)
BEFORE (yuck). The view looking down from the upper deck. The deck is off our kitchen which is on our main level. The property slopes though from the front to the back so the deck is about half a level off the ground.
I should mention at this point, my love for black mulch. After cleaning up all the garden beds, we topped them up with topsoil, did a bit of planting and gave everything a layer of black mulch. I am obsessed with it.
You may have seen this photo if you follow me on Instagram…
BEFORE (seriously?) A very flattering shot of our skinny upper deck. There are stairs that go down to ground level off each end.
AFTER: Chefkev got his power washing hands on it. He power washed #ERRYTHING by the way. He showed the concrete, the shed, both decks, the deck rails and even the patio furniture who was BOSS. He was a man on a mission!
BEFORE (stop!). Looking down the stairs at the oddest (yet still very functional) deck ever built.
AFTER: All cleaned up. Along the fence I used one of the big black planters that we had from our last place (see them in action here and here). Inside I planted Crocosmia which apparently will look a bit like a ‘birds of paradise’ flower when it blooms. I can’t wait to see that!
BEFORE (sigh, it gets worse before it gets better). The weird little space between the deck and fence.
AFTER: filling in that space with some pachysandra (a nice ground cover). Those little shrubs will fill in this space over time.
BEFORE (avert your eyes!). Looking off the deck across the back yard.
AFTER: just better all around right?
BEFORE (gak!). The weird garden bed I lovingly call ‘the trough’. “sooey!”
AFTER: all cleaned up and ready to go to pasture.
I’ll note here that aside from a little lot of of elbow grease, we didn’t invest much in this space. We did buy the top soil and black mulch as mentioned, and a few plants (which I will mention where relevant). But that was pretty much it. As a result, some areas remain empty (like above) but that’s okay for now. It will come in time. The hostas and ground cover above were already there from previous owners.
BEFORE (ouch). Looking off the deck towards the fence.
Okay, so here is where things get weird. See that plywood board? Well, under that was a pond insert. Or a water feature insert. I’m not sure. It was not hooked up and was literally a big plastic tub. So, so weird. And I didn’t take a picture of it (WHY!? THE SHAME!). And it’s long gone now. But trust me. It was weird. And stinky. So, out it came. And see all those rocks? They got used too, in a new and different way (to come). You can see a sneak peek below.
BEFORE (all the ugly). Across the yard, looking back towards the deck.
Man. This is the worst best one. I think my favourite part is the piece of damp cardboard that was left over from a spray paint project and then got blown there by the wind. It adds a nice designer touch don’t you think? And that red ‘egg’ is a dog toy in case that had you stumped.
AFTER: thank you.
BEFORE (make it stop!) I don’t really have much to say here.
AFTER. We could only go up from there right?
BEFORE (yup, it gets uglier). The other set of stairs leading up to the deck.
AFTER: Cleaner and safer. The stairs were SO slippery before they were power washed.
BEFORE (in all it’s slimy grossness). The upper deck from the other angle.
AFTER: Much more inviting.
BEFORE (blech – that auto corrected to “belch” which actually might be just as relevant here). A close up of the upper deck railings and surface (where it wraps over the edge).
AFTER. No belching required.
BEFORE (I think I might be crying). The trough from the other side.
AFTER: Much better. Pulling weeds (and rocks) and adding black mulch sure does make everything better.
BEFORE (sinister music). The shed. Looking mighty creepy in all its side-sludge glory.
AFTER. Now no horror movies can be filmed here.
BEFORE (feast your eyes on this). Here is another crazy wrong that we righted. It’s a bit hard to see but the section far right had a wooden border. It was actually a wooden (3 sided) box. That angled piece on top was nailed down (to hold the corner together?) Or perhaps to rest that little wire planter on it? I have no idea. You can see the third ‘side’ running down the middle of the garden towards the back. I am guessing maybe they had a herb or vegetable garden here (or the idea for one)? Regardless, it was empty when we moved in.
To the right of that we had a few feet of the stone border. Which was weird because it didn’t even go to the end. So, we ripped it all out and just made ONE nice garden bed. That was my dad’s idea and it looks so. much. better.
BEFORE (sad face). Moving down the same strip of garden bed toward the deck.
AFTER: All cleaned up (with nowhere to go). But at least now it looks good!
BEFORE (are you bored yet?) Check out that amazing deck finishing. What the heck were we supposed to do here for zero dollars to make it look better? We didn’t want to put any money into finishing it off better as this is not a permanent solution. Oh, and don’t forget to spot the plywood piece that hid the stinky tub far right.
AFTER: Ta da! My favourite part of yard now. My dad took the old stones that were there and made a little ‘platform’ on the ground. It was quite the puzzle. On top of that I used my other black planter and planted Crocosmia in there as well. We used the remainder of the old stones and stacked them on each side of the planter – effectively closing up that gaping hole on the right side of the stairs.
To clean the stairs up I got rid of all the random pieces of decking, Chefkev did his power washing ‘thang’ and I filled in the messy void under the stairs with some black mulch.
Here are a few closer looks at what we did with the stones and planter to clean up that area in front of the deck.
BEFORE (will it ever end?). Smelly, dirty board.
AFTER: Still dirty. But in a good way!
BEFORE (ugh). The big pile of rocks. That was fun.
BEFORE (last one!) Looking down towards the lower deck from the upper deck.
AFTER: Now there’s a space that calls my name. “Come and have a cold bevy on me Elaine!”
And who am I to turn down a talking deck?
I grabbed some citronella candles at Home Depot this past weekend too. The yellow roses are from our garden. We inherited the rose bush when we moved in and had no idea what colour they were until it bloomed. It was badly pruned in the past so I actually had to cut it back quite severely as it was pretty much falling over, but before I did, I clipped the two blooms it had.
It’s amazing what a small budget and a lot little elbow grease can achieve. Our backyard may be small, but now she is mighty too!
We’ve made a few small updates to the office / bonus room over the last while and I realized I hadn’t really blogged about them, so this post is a bit of a mish-mash to bring you up to speed!
We’ve made some big changes since I last shared the progress on our office/bonus room space .
Mainly this – the addition of a murphy bed!
Back in the Fall I shared our vision for the large bonus room located on our top floor. Our plan was to transform it into an office/guest room. We also wanted space for a craft table and room to set up a games table if needed.
Here is the mood board from that post.
Earlier this week I shared our guest room makeover. We had guests from England staying with us in April and needed two sleeping quarters. So, the murphy bed addition became a priority for the first part of this year.
Here is the room sketch (shared here) that shows our layout plan for the room.
And here is a pic of the room from way back in the early Fall shortly after we moved in. Basically boxes and storage at that point but with a wall ‘bump out’ that had major murphy bed potential. I will pause for a moment to see if you can guess which space I am talking about.
Okay, so now that we have that sorted, we chose our murphy bed. We did a lot of research but kept coming back to styles that Costco sold. All of the reviews were good and the price seemed pretty decent for what was available. After measuring our wall, we decided to go for this configuration.
One of the main reasons we chose this option was that the shelving portion came with a cord/wire grommet. Our main phone jack is on this wall so this allowed us to keep it there and saved the trouble of rerouting it to another location. We liked the idea of the extra storage as well and the open shelving to break up what could be a dense wall of ‘closets’ otherwise. When closed, the bed looks like a large armoire or cabinet and runs along the same wall as our existing double closet in the office.
Of course I was itching to make the shelves look pretty.
I styled them pretty simply using most of what I had on hand.
Does this photo give away the fact that I am short-ish? 5′ 3″ problems Y’all. Look up, way up.
The next shelf holds other items I already had, a green candle, tin pot, pear tea light holder, owl paper weight (which I think is older than I am since I’ve had it for as long as I can remember – seriously, I had it in my childhood. I wonder if my parents even know I have it. I think it’s theirs.) and a photo that I took when we visited England in 2008. Ah, such good memories. This was a pub we stopped to have a drink at after going for a walk through a really cool nature reserve called Burnham Beeches (say that five times fast).
But, I digress.
Looking at the shelves that are more my, um, stature, we have this.
A stack of books topped with a decorative plate/platter…
… and a Wifi sign for guests.
I’ve made this a free printable download if you’d like one as well.
Simply click here to access it.
On the bottom shelf we have our phone, another faux ikea plant and pot, another little tray and some random green ‘ball’. I have no idea where I got it but I’ve found a surprising number of uses for it. (weird).
There is also another England photo tucked back there. This one was from our lunch stop after touring Windsor Castle. Memoriiiieees…
The hanging sign reads “Dedicated To Life, Liberty, Food, Drink and Other Less Serious Matters”. Amazeballs.
(I added that last word. It was my reaction to the awesomeness).
BUT, I digress again.
The bedding was a birthday present. It is this one here (Bjornloka from Ikea).
And, like I mentioned in the guest room post, I like to have fresh towels and a guest basket out to make our visitors feel extra special… and welcome.
I always like to customize the gift basket (versus having just a generic one) for who is staying. I put two waters out if it is more than one person, kids toothpaste and toothbrushes if there are kids etc. It’s the little things that make guests feel like you are really glad they are staying with you (I think).
So, there we are! And how does the bed work? Well, take a peek…
(note: the .gif is absent of guest because apparently having a tripod with a camera on it in the corner of the ‘bedroom’ is frowned upon when entertaining. Ask me how I know.)
I joke. I joke.
Stay in touch and follow along…