Posts made in January, 2013

Oh the weather outside is frightful (but the flowers are so delightful)

Posted by on Jan 28, 2013 in Ramblings... | 0 comments

While we hunker down here in Southwestern Ontario (temperatures last week went as low as -18 Celcius, which is crazy and insanely cold!) the orchid in my kitchen window reminds me that spring will come.  And it will be beautiful.  Eventually.

Pink orchids in my little gray kitchen

Wherever you are (and especially if temperatures are -18 Celcius or colder in your neck of the woods too!) stay warm!  Spring is coming soon!  (Can’t wait!)

 

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My countertop conundrum (the big debate: laminate vs butchers block)

Posted by on Jan 24, 2013 in Kitchen | 0 comments

I’ve likely mentioned this before (and, well, possibly several times) but there are two things that drive me a little wacko about my cute little kitchen: the countertops and the floor.

The floor is its own separate debate (that I’ve already chatted about HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE just a little HERE too.)  The floor is indeed hideous, and soon needs to be replaced (sadly, teal-coloured 1980′s peel and stick tiles just aren’t my thing.)

But almost equally offensive are my old laminate countertops.  They’re warped.  They’re chipped.  They’re scorched in a couple of places.  They’re, um, blue.  From a distance they don’t look completely awful…

BM Stonington Gray and Snowfall White 1940s kitchen

But once you get a little closer, the years of wear and tear (and overall blue-ness) becomes a little more apparent…

Yep.  Kinda gross.

In a perfect, countertop-abundant world, I would adore new Corian or Caesarstone countertops, or some other sort of composite material.  Similarly, granite would be fantastic.  And marble would be positively lovely!  Unfortunately my (rather frugal) bank account has a bit of a say in the matter, and is dictating my choices just a little.

I’ve always lived with laminate countertops.  My mom had them in our house growing up (and recently replaced her old laminate countertops with gorgeous new granite-look laminate counters.)  Every apartment and house I’ve lived in since (including this one obviously) has also had laminate counters.  And I DO like them – untrendy as they may be, they’re rather easy to care for (no sealing, no worrying about standing water or red wine…  install, and enjoy.  Simple!)  Of course I’d absolutely prefer a snazzy natural stone or one of the new composites (oh, Misty Carrera Caesarstone, how beautiful you are!) but from a financial and practicality standpoint, laminate is a far more appealing option.

And, all that said, I HAVE found a laminate option that I think I could live with.  It’s a granite-y laminate called Ivory Kashmire, and it’s made by those fine folk over at Formica.  On the tiny little chip I nabbed from Home Depot, it looks like this…

Which, I’m hoping in my kitchen, would look a bit like this (from the Lettered Cottage)…

White kitchen with gold granite countertops from the Lettered Cottage

Or like this (from Made By Girl)…

White kitchen with gold granite countertops courtesy of Made By Girl

Pretty eh?  :)

My other option would be the super trendy (and lovely!) butchers block countertops.  Butchers blocks seem to require considerably more care than laminate counters.  There’s the sealing.  And the oiling.  And more oiling.  And the paranoia regarding standing water.  And the oiling.  And while treating wooden countertops once every few months doesn’t sound like a huge undertaking, I’ll forget.  Guaranteed.  And Sweetie will forget to wipe up water splashes.  Also guaranteed.  And then I’ll end up with watermarks or cracking or whatever normally happens to shamefully neglected butchers block countertops.  And then I’ll be sad.

But, they’re SO NICE.  See?  I want my kitchen to look like this (from the Marian House Book)…

White older kitchen with butchers block counters and checker board floor

…or like this (from the Mustard Ceiling)…

White older kitchen with diy butchers block countertops courtesy of the Mustard Ceiling

Love!

I may, in the end, very well end up with both in my kitchen – laminate on the countertops around my cupboards/sink, and butchers block on the island (where its much less likely to come into contact with water, and could look lovely leading into my living room!)  Time will tell.  Until then, I’ll likely continue to obsess over both.

Because that’s what I do.  It makes me sound a little crazy (but, in truth, it’s sorta fun.)

 

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Prettying things up (a search for lovely linens)

Posted by on Jan 21, 2013 in Bedroom | 0 comments

With my bedroom freshly painted (yay!) I recently began the search for new linens.  Our current duvet cover has most definitely lived a long and happy life with us – it’s old, has been washed about a gazillion times, features several tears from renegade cat claws, and, overall, has lost its sparkle.

And we all know how much I love a sparkly duvet cover.  :)

Un-sparkly-ness (and cat-induced tears) aside, I’ve always loved our current duvet cover, Ikea’s Alvine Kvist.  So much so that I seriously considered replacing the current duvet with another Alvine Kvist.

I also considered several coral-coloured covers.  As you might remember from THIS post, I’m newly obsessed with the colour coral (so pretty!!!)  But, sadly, inexpensive coral duvet covers don’t seem to exist.  I’ve found some absolutely lovely options, but all of them are Pottery Barn-priced (and way beyond my tiny little Ikea-sized budget.)

And then, one early morning, having admitted duvet defeat, I was happily browsing the Ikea website (as I often randomly do) and I stumbled upon Alvine Kvist’s close cousin, Alvine Ljuv.

Ikea Alvine Ljuv Duvet Cover Comforter Quilt Queen size French Country...

And I fell in Ljuv.

Ljuv is colourful, without being screamy.  Pretty, without being too girly.  Cheery without being obnoxious (since no one likes an obnoxious duvet!)  And there may even be a touch of coral hidden in those sweet and swirly flowers too.  :)  Yep.  Lovely Ljuv is absolutely perfect.  And I’m excited to welcome her into my home.

So, obviously, a trip to Ikea is now imminent.  And, of course, this makes me a very happy girl!

Irwin, on the other hand, is indifferent to all of my decorating plans.  Cats are rather silly like that.

Irwin the gray and white cat loving the Ikea Alvine Kvist duvet cover

But I think he’ll really like Alvine Ljuv.  (After naptime, of course.)

 

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Putting stuff on walls (and other scary commitments)

Posted by on Jan 17, 2013 in Living Room | 0 comments

Admission: I cringe whenever I start planning to mount things (hooks, frames, mirrors, random tapestries) on my walls.  I’m not sure why.  Perhaps it’s the assumed permanency of drilling into my lovely (ie: freshly painted and yet unmarred) walls.  Maybe it’s a fear of placing items too high or too low (since, um, that happens.  To me.  A lot.)  Maybe it’s because I don’t use power tools (that’s Sweetie’s job) and because the whole anchor (necessary with our plaster walls!) + screw (in a very specific size and type) combination confuses me just a bit.  Not sure.  Let’s just suffice it to say that when I repainted much of this house, I actually left some of the previous owners’ screws in the walls and painted around them.  The previous owners had already done the dirty work for me.  Why mess with that?

But I’m thinking it’s nearly time to face this fear and address the empty wall space around my fireplace.  A space that drives me a little bonkers.  And now that the Christmas tree is down (it finally – FINALLY! – came down last weekend) it’s especially obvious that there’s a big gaping hole in my living room loveliness.

Yep.  I’m ready to tackle the vacant (and rather sad-looking) space around old not-at-all smokey.

BM Edgecomb Gray living room with fake fireplace

The corner to the left of the (faux) fireplace is particularly lonely looking.  Even Sweetie exclaimed (once the tree was all packed away and the merriness banished to the attic for the next eleven months): “You’re going to put something else there, aren’t you?”

Empty and sad-looking living room corner

And if Sweetie (aka Mr “Oh…  What’s that?  You say you painted the kitchen fuchsia?  I didn’t notice…”) recognizes that something isn’t quite right, something obviously must not be right.

My dilemma?  What to decorate the void with.  Given my fear of putting stuff on walls, I’ve been doing a lot of research on empty corner filling (since I’m a tad OCD and indecisive and generally nervous about any sort of wall-marring commitment.)  A quick discussion with the lovely folk over at Pinterest (they’re exceedingly helpful over there, btw!) left me with the following suggestions…

Wall-filling strategy #1: Framed… somethings.  For the record, I’m in love with this room (holy moly that’s some gorgeous tealness!) from Emily Henderson

Darl teal and red living room with fireplace

But what, exactly, would I put in the frames?  Prints?  Art?  Pictures of the cats?  And should I go with white frames?  Dark wood frames?  Metallic?  Sigh.

Or I could fill the space with plates perhaps (aka “Wall-filling strategy #2.”)  Just look (look!!!) at this stunning wall of pretty plates from Larissa over at mmmcrafts

Random plates gallery wall

Lovely eh?  I adore this idea.  Although my supply of decorative plates is a little low at the moment.  And planning out which-plate-goes-where seems like the sort of thing that could drive an already somewhat strange girl completely batty.

I could scatter some pretty ceiling medallions across my wall.  I’ve admired Dave and Joi’s medallion-adorned wall for a long long while now…

Dave and Joi's ceiling medallion decorated living room

Love love love their living room!

Or I could embrace the emptiness…  This room, from my all-time most favourite designer ever Samantha Pynn (hi Sam!  You rock!), makes me think that my living room void isn’t really a void afterall.  Perhaps I just need to add a lovely lamp (oooh!  And a chandelier!)…

Fuchsia and gray living room Samantha Pynn

I’m not sure.  What I AM sure of is that something needs to happen.  To spice things up a little.  You know, shake it to the right (if you know that you feel fine.)

(And yep.  I just quoted Spice Girls.  Random?  Yes.  Scary?  Agreed.)

Anyhow, this debate obviously isn’t over.  I’ll be taping templates of some sort to my walls shortly, I’m sure.  And then the inevitable (and ongoing) template rearranging will begin.  And likely more Pinterest-ing too.

Being an indecisive commitment-phobe is a lot of work.

But yes!  Those are my quasi plans to date.  Hopefully the next time I chat about my living room walls there will be stuff strategically mounted on them.

Or, if nothing else, print/medallion/tapestry-sized paper templates.

 

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Have an Etsy Etsy Christmas (my first ever Exceptional Etsy Gift Review) (plus a little 80′s nostalgia thrown in for good measure)

Posted by on Jan 10, 2013 in Ramblings... | 0 comments

Get it?  Etsy Etsy?  Funky Funky?  New Kids on the Block?  No?  K.  Just to prove that I’m not completely insane (and to solidify the fact that I’m a major nerd – this is some rather awful NKOTB tune-age, but… I kinda like it) here’s the Funky Funky Christmas Youtube proof, c/o Arsenio Hall (yep!  We’re going waaay back in time here!)

Admittedly, there are some really bad dance moves going on in this video (I can almost hear the choreographer: “Oooh!  Running man!  Yes – we most definitely need more running man!”)  And I have no idea why Jon is missing from this performance.  Maybe he was having a bad hair day?  I wouldn’t show up for Arsenio Hall on a bad hair day either.  You think they’d mention it though, no?

Strange.

Then again, Jon was never really my favourite.  If Joe had been missing?  Chaos and woe.  Jon?  Meh.  He never really did that much for me, truth be told.  And Jon eventually left the group anyway, right?  I think?  I might be a little bit behind (by, like, 20 years perhaps) in my NKOTB gossip.

All that aside (although I could ramble on about New Kids for quite a while if you’d like) (Joe? Now HE had good hair) (so dreamy…  swoon!), this post is obviously a little late (since we’re now two weeks post-the-big-red-and-green holiday) but I wanted to show off a couple of my favourite Etsy Christmas purchases (which then became my favourite Etsy Christmas gifts!)

Awesome Etsy Christmas gift #1: Kitty Candles from Kitty Baby Love

Adorable cat shaped crayons

I fell in love (at first sight, in fact) with these little chubby cat-shaped crayons.  So cute!  So friendly looking!  And when they arrived, smiling at me happily from their little egg carton container, I seriously wanted to break out my colouring book.

Kitty crayons Christmas gift for my one year old niece

(The little yellow one in the bottom right is my fave.  “Pick me!  Pick me!” he says.)  (And yes, I just assigned a personality to a crayon…  Weird?  Probably.)

I think my niece liked them too.  Well, rather, she liked the wrapping paper I wrapped them in.  (She’s only one, so she hasn’t quite gotten the hang of that whole the-gift-is-the-thing-that’s-wrapped-IN-the paper-not-the-paper/packaging-itself concept.)  And while she’s not yet actually at the colouring stage, she will be soon!  So excited to see what lovely scribbles these happy little balls of kitty-shaped awesomeness will produce.  :)

Awesome Etsy Christmas gift #2: T-shirts for Sweetie from Quasi Science Apparel

I have only three words to describe my transaction with the folk over at Quasi Science Apparel: fastest shipping ever.  Ev-ver.  Seriously.  I purchased three t-shirts on a Monday, and by Wednesday (as in, two – TWO! – days later) they arrived.  I was flabbergasted!  (And thrilled!)  Albeit, Quasi Science Apparel is based out of Canada (like me!), so there were no customs-hoops to jump through or anything like that.  But still?  Two days?  That’s pretty darn amazing if you ask me.

And the t-shirts are fantastic too!  For Sweetie, I bought…

…the Tesla t-shirt (since, well, he is an electrician afterall):

Tesla electrician t-shirt from etsy

…the “Geek” written in binary t (since, um, he’s also kind of a geek) (which is precisely why I love him):

Black binary geek t-shirt

…and, my absolute favourite (and Sweetie’s too, I think): the SCLF (Schrodinger’s Cat Liberation Front) t-shirt:

Schrodingers cat t shirt green

The best part?  The back…

Schrondinger's Cat Liberation Front t-shirt

Totally makes me smile.  :)

For the record, and in case you were also wondering, I’m not really sure who Tesla is either.  I know he did something important, probably involving electricity?  And he was in an 80′s hair band too, I think.  Does anyone else out there remember (nervously/sweatily) dancing with some (equally nervous/sweaty) boy at some random school dance to Love Song?

Sigh.  Oh, 1980′s… you were tacky, but you kinda rocked.

So there you go!  My post-Christmas (and rather tardy) Exceptional Etsy Gift Review.  Plus a lot of 80′s nostalgia.  Because there’s nothing like a well-choreographed boy band, and a little power ballad-ness too, to perk up even the gloomiest January day.  :)

 

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