So I recently saw this image from the lovely folk over at Ikea…
…and I got really (like, insanely) excited for Christmas. I don’t normally start planning for the holidays weeks in advance (I’m a bit of a last minute holiday girl, truth be told) but that red? Against that white? And all that merriness? Yep. It got to me.
So off we went (poor Patrick gets toted around a lot these days) (I think he’s developing an appreciation for shopping!) (or just a high tolerance for mommy) to HomeSense (of course.) And I wandered around the pillow aisle for far far too long. Did I emerge from all that soft and squishy loveliness triumphantly waving beautiful new red pillows in the air? No. But, as I’ve learned, that’s all part of the HomeSense experience. It’s the thrill of the hunt. It’s the glory of the chase. And I, like a throw pillow stalking tigress, will be returning shortly to HomeSense (with my cute little kitten in tow, of course) to continue chasing the ever elusive perfect festive red throw pillows.
BUT, in the meantime, I’ve found even more Christmas inspiration on Pinterest. Like this super festive living room…
And this pretty room…
…from SandAndSisal (omg I want that chair!!!)
And this beautiful and comfy looking living room from Four Generations One Roof…
Yes, I’m completely obsessed with finding the perfect new red throw pillows now. And perhaps even a new red throw. Patrick just rolls his tiny little eyes over the whole thing. In his three long wise months, he’s become accustomed to mommy’s obsession with all things pretty.
But really, in this particular case, it’s all Ikea’s fault, you know. :)
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I’m tired. Yup, it finally happened. At 39 weeks (plus three days!) pregnant, I am ever nap-ready and having a hard time finding much motivation these days to do a whole lot of anything. Which, according to all sources (Sweetie, my friend Jess over at Little Townhome Love, my family, random strangers), is exactly how it should be: for the past few weeks they’ve collectively urged me to nap more and relax lots and just sit and enjoy the time that I have right now. For the record, I’m terrible at relaxing. My most common response to these subtle suggestions to sloth: but I have things to do.
But now I think I’m done.
Not because there aren’t a gazillion things I could be doing. (Dear neighbours: please please please disregard our front flowerbeds. I promise to be a far better gardener next summer.) (And dear dustbunnies: please stop multiplying so quickly in the corners.) But because I just don’t have the energy right now.
It’s a super hard thing for me to admit. I’m definitely feeling a little defeated.
That said, I had two joyously productive moments yesterday: I finished a couple of tiny little projects. And I’m quite proud.
First, I swapped out the front entryway doormat for a new one I picked up at HomeSense (oh how I love HomeSense!) a few days ago. I went from this stripey snore-fest…
(Obviously file footage, since I’ve since painted those super ugly green walls!)
Admittedly, it’s not a massive change, but it makes me happy to think that any post-baby visitors will have a much nicer mat to land upon when they walk through my front door.
Project number two involved dressing a long-naked window in our living room. When we moved in, the previous owners had left some rather hideous and dirty-looking blinds on this window (which I promptly removed.) I was left with this…
Unfortunately, and rather oddly, this window frame is positioned unusually high – it almost reaches the ceiling (I’m guessing that at some point someone dropped the ceiling in this room to run new, non-knob-and-tube wiring through the house since other ceilings on the main floor are a good foot taller.) As a result, I’ve hummed and hawed over what to do with this window for several months now. Yesterday, I had Sweetie hang a curtain rod right at ceiling height. And yesterday, I finally added curtains to this window.
And today, I am very happy with the result. The curtains (which are Ikea’s lovely Matilda panels, btw) don’t hide the ugliness of the window itself (see all that stuff on the window? Spray foam. Between the panes of glass. Yup, some not-so-bright but likely well-meaning previous home owner decided that this would be a good solution to winter draftiness.) (For the record, spray foam between the window panes is never ever a good – or, at least, nice looking – solution to draftiness.) But the curtains do make the window look better (which this soon-to-be momma is content with for now, until we find a way to disassemble the window and scrape out the offending foam.)
So there. Those are my two most recent tiny little accomplishments at the old mauve house. Significant? Not particularly. But I at least feel like I’m still making some progress, despite that my body is most definitely slowing down.
Now, if you’ll please excuse me for a moment (or two), this momma-to-be desperately needs a nap. :)
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Doing the drapery dance (which doesn’t at all look like the Safety Dance) (ok, it actually kinda does, but just a little)
It’s spring! Well, sort of. I’m still wearing a winter coat on some mornings (albeit a very tight one due to my ever-growing and beloved baby bump.) And I’m keeping my toque and mitts and scarf close at hand. Just in case the weather turns wintery. Again. Since, you know, Mother Nature has cursed us with a never ending winter this year. (Dear Mother Nature… I love you, and you’re awesome, but you’re being completely irrational this year. Stop it. Please. Thank you!)
And while I despise the ridiculously cold snowy winter we’ve had this year, I despise my current window coverings even more. The previous home owners (being the
insane awesome people that they are!) left us a plethora of flood-ready bright white sparkly-swirl sheers for our windows. An intended act of generosity? Perhaps. But regardless of motive, the result is the same: the curtains are making me a crazy person.
Enter: Ikea. Yep. My beloved and dependable go-to for window coverings. Their curtains are cheap. They’re very cheerful. They come in really long lengths (for those of us who prefer to set our curtain rods a tad higher than the average population.) And their curtains come in pairs (which seems to be a bit of a rarity anymore.) (But really, how many people only need one curtain?) (Cough, cough, rip off, ehem…) During an Ikea trip about a month ago I purchased no fewer than six (much needed) new drapery sets along with the accompanying curtain rods and hardware and doodads and such. After a second Ikea trip a few days later (because a certain someone with a wee bit of baby brain forgot a few crucial curtain rod components…) we finally got everything up last weekend.
Here’s my front living room window before (with its icky swirly silver sheers all aglow):
(Here’s a closeup of the sheers’ sparkly swirls, just in case you’re interested. Snazzy, eh?)
I’m a happy girl! But why did we get another pair of sheers? The glass panes in this window are no longer sealed properly (one of the hazards of buying a fixer-upper with archaic windows) so there’s condensation and dust between the panes and this window always appears dirty from the street (despite that – I promise! – it’s very very clean!) The sheers help mask that a bit, which means we’ll likely be sheer-people until we replace that entire front window (which, sadly, will be a very expensive venture) (which, also sadly, means it’s pretty far down on our list of priorities right now.)
The Ritvas are waaay too long right now (I’m all for little drapery puddles, but this is a little silly) and will likely require shortening. Tip I’ve learned? Wash and dry Ikea drapes a couple of times before shortening them. They sometimes shrink. A lot. Whenever they’ve accumulated enough kitty fur to require a trip through the laundry (which, sadly, will likely be soon) I’ll get around to making them a bit shorter. For now, however, I’m just happy that they’re not sparkly. Or swirly. Or bright white.
Next up? Here’s the before of my dining room window…
Apparently the previous owners weren’t bothered by the too-short panels (or, um, lack of baseboards) but I think the windows look much lovelier now that they’re dressed with a few Borghild panels from Ikea…
And we added the same curtains to this previously un-adorned window at the end of our dining room too. Here it is pre-curtaining…
…and here’s the much improved after…
All of which makes me a very happy girl. :)
The last set of the six sets of curtains I purchased is earmarked for the baby’s room (should we ever get around to starting the nursery) (hello? Ambition? You should probably kick in about now…) If they don’t end up used in the nursery, we’ll hang them in our bedroom (since a certain black kitten has pretty much destroyed our bedroom drapes.) (He thinks bedroom curtain-clawing is a really fun pastime.) (Particularly at 5am.) (It’s a good thing he’s cute.)
And now, for your viewing pleasure (and a little post-title clarity), here’s a little
Drapery Safety Dance from Men Without Hats…
…because, well, it’s really, really weird, but so fun. :)
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This post was supposed to be a rather celebratory “the evil white sheers are gone!” sort of post about my new drapes. My six (six!) packages of wonderful, lovely, much-adored, space-transforming new drapes, to be exact. However sometimes things don’t quite work out as planned. Like, for instance, when you buy all the hardware pieces needed to assemble a curtain rod for a big bay window, and you excitedly prepare to hang everything one sunny Sunday afternoon and then realize (dun dun dun) that you’ve forgotten a critical component way back at the store. Which, unfortunately, is 1.5 hours away.
Yep. That happened this weekend. I was so sad.
Luckily, I have another trip to Ikea planned for the not-so-distant future (since baby needs a dresser/change table for his or her little room, and handsome Hemnes seems to fit the bill) so we’ll pick up the remaining (and sadly missed) drapery hardware bits during that dresser-buying mission. In the meantime, however, my bay window looks rather naked. (Although the cats are pretty happy with the curtain-less and completely unobstructed view – cats don’t really understand, or care for, drapery.)
But the weekend wasn’t entirely filled with drapery doom and gloom! While staring (woefully) at my naked dining room windows, I noticed that a piece of our (quite shoddily installed) laminate flooring had at some point come loose.
So I gave it a wee wiggle. And it moved. And, in fact, it came completely out. And look (look!) what I found underneath…
Yep. That, there, is hardwood. Not original-to-the-house beautiful 100 year old wide-plank-holy-awesomeness-pine-or-mahogany-or-something-equally-amazing hardwood, of course, but hardwood nonetheless.
I did a little happy dance. In front of my naked big bay windows. At the exact same moment that my neighbour walked by with his dog, of course. (I’m pretty sure the neighbours think we’re a bit odd.)
So our newest question? How far does the flooring extend? Is there hardwood under all of the laminate flooring in our living room/dining room? Or only under part? With the house being quite old (and without knowing what the original floorplan here looked like) the laminate could very well be hiding big ugly scars from walls that were removed and additions that were additioned over the years. Afterall, why else would you cover hardwood flooring with laminate? If it’s simply scratched up, hardwood can be refinished. And I’m not at all afraid of a few scratches. We’ve had this sort of narrow-plank hardwood flooring in both of our previous homes, and age-related scratches and dings just add a little character (if you ask me.) They scream “This house was well-loved in past years by families blessed with excited children and lively dinner parties.” If we reveal an expanse of hardwood underneath the laminate, regardless of the shape it’s in, I’ll be one happy girl.
Now, the hard part. Finding the courage to start ripping all of the existing flooring up. It’s one of those jobs that once started, can’t be stopped. It’s also one of those jobs that’ll require a really quickly executed Plan B if it turns out that the flooring underneath isn’t usable for some reason.
Maybe we’ll save that for another (much braver) day. In the meantime, I’m leaving that one small piece of laminate flooring pulled up as a reminder that something really amazing could be hiding underneath all the ugliness. Afterall, it was that same hope of hidden beauty that convinced us to buy our old mauve house in the first place. :)
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Getting springy with it (a little organizing, a couple pretty print cushions, and a plethora of new curtains to freshen up our little mauve home)
It’s official: I’ve come down with a serious case of spring fever. After months and months of never-ending snow and cold (and more cold) (and more snow) and wind, the weather is (finally!) starting to suggest that the seasons have changed. Maybe. (Although, as I type this, I see evil little white frozen droplets of water softly falling outside my window.) (Sigh.) But I saw my first robin of the year last Thursday (on the first day of spring, in fact – he was a punctual little bird!) And I suddenly have this unbelievable urge to clean and purge and renew and make the house pretty and lighter and fresher and lovelier. These must be good, spring-is-near-type signs, right?
(Although all this might also just mean I’ve hit the “nesting” phase of pregnancy. Does nesting feel a bit like uncontrollable and obsessive spring cleaning? If so, consider me a momma bird eagerly vacuuming her happy little nest.)
First it was my loo: after months of cursing over our overflowing (and not particularly pretty) bathroom cabinet, I finally tidied it up last week. I ruthlessly threw out any old or outdated cosmetics and prescriptions, and then made it a bit more organized (and way more user-friendly) using some random baskets (courtesy of Bouclair) that I already had kicking around. The result? A much less chaotic and cluttered little cabinet that is not only far prettier from the inside…
…but looks way nicer from the outside too.
(I’m not a huge fan of these clear-ish frosted doors, btw. These doors may eventually fall victim to a little DIY-ing. Because, really, why would anyone want a semi-obscured glimpse at the inside our medicine cabinet? The same medicine cabinet that, while tidy right now, will inevitably end up looking disheveled within a few weeks I’m sure.) (It makes me super sad to type that, but, really, I’m a realist about these sorts of things.)
Organizing this tiny little utilitarian cabinet probably took less than half an hour, but it made me feel about a gazillion pounds lighter. Like stripping away a big bulky winter coat. And mitts. And scarf. And a super static-y winter toque that makes your hair all flooffy (techincal term) but you defiantly wear it anyway because, seriously, if you didn’t, your ears might actually fall off from the cold. Good hair days be damned.
(Have I mentioned how much I dislike winter? I really dislike winter.)
Next, I turned to my couch (which, btw, is overdue for its quarterly date with our washing machine. Don’t look too closely.)
After months of looking at the same dark brown (and, admittedly, very boring) throw pillows, I turned to the brilliant, pillow-scouting buyers at HomeSense with a great deal of pillow-related optimism.
They did not let me down. I found these…
And I think my exact words at the time were “Oooooh. You’re pretty.” Does anyone else talk to decorative objects while out shopping? I most certainly do. It helps me to bond with the blankets, and create rapport with rugs. In this particular case, I got a little complimentary with the cushions. They didn’t mind. And now they’re sitting happily on my couch, looking all spring-ish, like this…
And, they almost match the spring placemats I pulled out of winter storage…
It’s textile fate. It was meant to be. :)
And, speaking of textiles, and continuing in my must-organize-and-improve-the-house-in-celebration-of-that-one-lonely-and-cold-looking-robin theme, I then went a little crazy at Ikea. I purchased no fewer than six (six!) new sets of drapes for our living room/dining room (and all of the required curtain rods/brackets/fancy pieces to accompany said curtains too.)
Pictures of all this drapery actually hanging are still in progress (since, well, Baby decided I needed a day off from all this craziness and urged me to take a very long nap yesterday afternoon) but believe you me: it’ll be one epic and super happy day when the new curtains go up. (Because the sparkly white sheers must go.) (Immediately.) You just wait!
So that’s the story of spring coming to our little mauve-coloured house. At least so far. There’s lots more cleaning and organizing and nursery-decorating and probably another trip to Ikea looming (yay! I heart Ikea so much), but for now I’m happy with the progress made to date.
Now, please excuse me while I go play with my new, non-stark-white, living room drapes. Whee!
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If you’re scratching your forehead a bit (aside: do people actually do that when confused? I’m more of a brow-furrower myself) at the random musical reference, here: watch this (somewhat creepy) video (for a very awesome song!)…
Oh Florence. You rock, and I adore you (despite your rather dark music videos.) (Seriously: the voodoo parts in that video really creep me out…)
But moving right along…
Random creepiness aside (sorry about all that), what else do I adore? Our new living room ceiling light! Remember our old light?
Aka the heavy-looking, ill-placed, not-at-all us, noggin-knocker (since Sweetie bonked his head off of it no fewer than about a gazillion times?) Gone. Gone! And replaced by something much much lovelier (and melon-safe). Specifically, this:
It was cheap. It is cheerful. It just seems to fit in our living room. It makes me very happy.
And did I mention it was cheap? It was only $44.97 from my favourite folks over at Home Depot. It’s the Hampton Bay 2-Light Oil Rubbed Bronze Glenburn Semi-Flush Drum, to be exact. On the website, it looks like this…
…and I think it fits perfectly in our space. So perfectly that I actually bought a second one to replace the light at the top of our stairs. (Don’t even get me started on the light that’s currently up there – that’s a whole other story for a whole other post. Let’s suffice it to say that the existing light is quite the monstrosity. Sort of gothic. Sort of antique-y. Exceedingly ugly.)
For now I’m quite pleased with this small (but significant!) improvement.
Next, on to other, much needed living room improvements. Like, um, colour? The dark mossy green is starting to get under my skin. A lot. It’s so dark, it’s very dreary, and it’s just not us. And, after the winter we’ve had around here (could it be that spring has finally – fiiiinalllly – almost arrived?) I think I need a little more lightness-and-airyness in my life (and a lot less drab-and-darkness.)
Yep, coming soon to a living room near me? A little bit of Edgecomb Gray! Like in our last house (because I liked it just that much.) I think. Unless I change my mind. Which I tend to do a lot. I’ll keep you posted. :)
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