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 I ruthlessly threw out any old or outdated cosmetics and prescriptions, and then made it a bit more organized (and way more user-friendly) using some random baskets (courtesy of Bouclair) that I already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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You know how when you move into a new house, and the previous owners have left the existing curtains, and they’re ok for the time being (because, really, who has the time or money to buy all new curtains immediately upon moving into a new house), and you say “oh, I’ll change them soon”, but then three months later you’re still living with the same bright white tacky-silver-swirl-adorned too short too ugly gross sheer curtains and it suddenly dawns on you that you should really swap those things out asap?
Yeah. That’s me.
And when I say that our curtains are too short, I’m not exaggerating:
Yep. We have flood-ready curtains. And no baseboards in our dining room (for some unknown reason.) (But that’s a completely different story for a completely different day.) And this picture is obviously from the day we moved in (I promise! Our house is now fully furnished. We’re not extreme minimalists!) But just look. Look at those curtains! I’m not an interior decorator, but I’m pretty sure I speak somewhat accurately and knowledgeably when I say: that’s not how you hang curtains.
In our little 1940s home (oh, how I miss our little 1940s home!) we hung Ikea’s Ritva curtains in the front window. And they looked lovely (and apparently lulled a very cute orange cat – who we miss very much – to sleep on our sofa the day I took this picture.)
My only criticism of those Ritva curtains? They were wrinkly. Like, mucho messy wrinkly. They were definitely not wash-and-wear sorta curtains. Nope! A whole lot of ironing went into making sure that anxiety-inducing wrinkly-frumpiness was kept at bay.
So is pulling out my iron each time I wash my Ritvas a deal breaker? I really really do hate ironing. A lot. A whole lot. But, as much as I hate ironing, I do truly love Ritva. The curtains have a linen-y texture that makes them seem far more expensive than they really are (since Ikea drapes are as delightfully cheap as they are cheerful.) And Ikea’s long-length curtain panels will definitely be appreciated in this old mauve house, since our dining room ceiling height is quite high (Sweetie says 9-ish feet, but it seems way higher to me.)
Oh Ritva, you sneaky devil. You really do have a hold on me. You may be once again forcing me to dust off my iron. But you’re worth it.
Queue forthcoming curtain-collecting Ikea trip. Woo! I heart Ikea. :)
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A place to hang your hat (and, more importantly, a place to hide all the winter coats that have taken over my entryway)
One very important storage component has been dearly missed since we (rather bravely) claimed our old mauve house. At some point in the past 100-ish years, someone (quite unfortunately) removed an existing entryway closet. And the resulting lack of entryway storage has been a bit of a bur in my tooshy, truth be told.
It wasn’t nearly so dire in the early fall, when the odd light jacket would occasionally end up temporarily draped across a chair. Even in later autumn, when heavier coats began to appear once in a while, I remained impressively calm and sane about the whole situation.
But then winter hit. Snow and scarves and jackets and more jackets and Sweetie’s ginormous jackets (he is 6’4″ afterall) and the odd mitten strewn haphazardly across the dining room table all happened, all at once. And I sort of lost my marbles just a wee bit. It was uncontrolled outerwear chaos. And I decided that we desperately needed to find a containment unit for the renegade toques and the bulky parkas that were rather ruthlessly taking over our house.
The solution: a wardrobe.
My first instinct? Ikea, of course! My favourite of the bunch was this one…
Oh, Hemnes, you make me happy. :) But at $299 (plus taxes and travel), handsome Hemnes was a bit beyond my post-holiday budget.
So I turned to ever-dependable Kijiji. And Kijiji didn’t disappoint! I found this…
And after a little well-calculated haggling (aka begging) I brought the price down to a fairly reasonable (and somewhat wallet-friendly) $100 buckeroonies. Was I happy? Yes! At one third the cost of my beloved Hemnes wardrobe, I got twice the character (and, truthfully, a far better fit for our space.)
I immediately gave her (since she’s far too pretty to be a boy wardrobe) a good scrubbing with good old fashioned Murphys Oil Soap – there were paint splatters here and there and old water marks everywhere and the whole cabinet reeked of smoke and dirt and old. Luckily most of the paint came off fairly well with a little work, but there’s one big splotch on the side that refused to budge. My next cleaning attempt might involve a wee bit of steel wool, but I’m calling the paint splotch “character” for now.
And then, like every good found-furniture fluffer, I swapped out the dirty brass knobs for something a little sparklier. Because every old wardrobe deserves a little fancy new hardware. And because glass knobs make me happy.
I also added a couple baskets on top. Because scarves and hats and miscellaneous mittens seem to fit best in baskets.
And someday, maybe, down the road (if I’m feeling super ambitious and DIY-ish) perhaps my lovely little wardrobe will even get a new paint job. I think she’d look rather pretty in a creamy white. Or maybe even something more adventurous (if I’m feeling super wardrobe-brave.)
But, for now, I’m just happy to have a coat chaos containment unit. :)
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Our old mauve house needs a lot (A LOT!) of work. Sadly, I don’t have a lot of time. It’s quite the conundrum, that’s for sure! The biggest question (now that much of our stuff is finally – finally! – put away): where to start? There are a whole lot of options.
There’s painting. Which room? Take your pick! Pretty much every room in our new (to us) house needs a severe repainting. Including ceilings. And trim. And doors. And (in the case of our second floor) floors. True story. We have here the potential for a complete repainting of every single surface in every room. Daunting? Absolutely. But it’ll look awesome once it’s finished.
I particularly despise the dark mossy green colour in our living room and dining room. It’s not terrible, but it’s just not “us”.
(Please pardon the off-centre star!)
Then there’s the flooring situation in our kitchen. Remember this?
Yep. That’s starting to drive me a wee bit ca-razy. However pulling up many many layers of kitchen flooring could potentially be a monumental job. Am I ready for that sort of work at this point in old mauve house home ownership? I’m not sure.
And then there are the lights that all need to be changed. This one (which currently resides in our living room) is of particular concern…
Looks harmless enough, right? But the electrical connection is completely wrong. Wrong wrong wrong. And having a random chandelier in a location where a chandelier wouldn’t normally appear (rhyming not deliberate!) is a bit of a nogging-bonking hazard for those who are a wee bit on the overgrown side. Yup - Sweetie (my 6’4″ slightly taller than most awesome hubby) keeps whacking his head off the silly thing. And unless Sweetie starts wearing his hard hat around the house, I’m pretty sure the living room light will be replaced with something flush-er (is that a word?) very soon.
Or, we could just surrender and agree to be held hostage by a little ugliness for now, and concentrate on the holidays. Afterall, Christmas (according to a friend’s recent facebook post) is only six (SIX!) weekends away. That’s six weekends that will likely be filled with parades, decorating, baking, shopping, and general merriment. And, really, who has time for painting and reflooring and new lighting and such when there’s so much festiveness and happiness and awesomeness going on. Not I (says the girl in the reindeer-patterned pajamas!) I have pompoms to make and Christmas cookies to bake and a new (sorta ugly) house to make all pretty and Christmassy. :)
That said, we need new curtains. Desperately. So one minor pre-holiday, low-effort change may be abreast: there may be a trip to IKEA in my near-ish future, in search of new, less hideous, window treatments (to replace the sheer/too short/ridiculously ugly curtains that the previous owners left behind.) Which would feel like progress (and likely make our neighbours pretty happy – I’m sure they’re getting kinda tired of watching me dance around with the cats in my living room every night after work) (it’s weird, but the kitties rather like it) (and Irwin, despite his shyness, sure knows how to boogie.)
Yep, new drapes = easy and rather quick progress. And a little cat-dancing modesty. K. Let’s start with that.
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Last night’s dinnertime conversation went a bit like this…
Me: Yay! The new Ikea catalogue is out!
Sweetie: Ooooh. That is exciting.
Me: I know! However, please note that I don’t yet have one. This is extremely upsetting.
Sweetie: Well, can’t you just order one?
Me: Maybe? [Insert frantic Ikea-website search here.] Crap. No. It looks like they no longer send them out upon request to any household that’s beyond a certain radius from a store. The site says that we need to visit our nearest Ikea location for a catalogue. Oh despair. My world is crumbling.
Sweetie: Well, we’ll just get you a catalogue the next time we pass by a store then.
Me: But there’s all sorts of amazing new stuff at Ikea now and I don’t yet know about it. I need a catalogue now. Now now now.
Sweetie: [Eye rolling]
Yep. That all actually happened. And yes, it’s sad but true: the FAQ section on Ikea’s website does indeed state that I cannot order the catalogue and have it delivered by mail. I must now trek to my nearest Ikea store in order to view the catalogue that’ll tell me what I want to buy at my nearest Ikea store. To quote my favourite blue and yellow retailer:
The IKEA catalogue is mass-distributed annually in the area around each IKEA store. If you did not receive this year’s catalogue, stop by the IKEA store near you for a free copy.
It’s all a little silly.
Of course, I could peruse the catalogue online. The website reminds me that I can flip through virtual pages as much and as often as I’d like until my heart’s content. There’s even an app for that, the website claims, if I’d like to saunter through the virtual catalogue on my teeny tiny little smartphone screen.
Call me a purist (hell, call me archaic and silly and an outdated poop-head if you’d like) but I want my catalogue, with it’s slightly glossy, thin (but surprisingly durable), glorious real-life pages. I want to dog ear the pages that feature those items that I really really want. And I want to flip leisurely through the catalogue and marvel at all the Ikea awesomeness. Over and over and over again.
However, despite my better judgement, I did indeed visit Ikea’s website. And I did indeed view some of their new products. And I did indeed squeal just a bit in delight.
(Although I would indeed still like a catalogue.)
Here were some of my favourite new items…
There’s marvellous Majviva, the pretty purple-ly duvet cover…
And Ullgump the spectacularly spotty rug…
…which claims to be listed at a new lower price (but I don’t remember it ever existing at an old higher price.)
And while we’re chatting about rugs, I absolutely adore this cheerful yellow swoon-worthy Stockholm rug in yellow…
…which actually does appear to be new to Ikea. And actually does need to come home and live with me somewhere in some room in my not-yet-officially-mine house. :)
Despite being a wee bit (ok, a lot) feminine, these beautiful Borghild curtains may eventually reside in our living room…
(Maybe Sweetie won’t notice that they’re floral?)
And I love that Hemnes now comes in blue…
And there’s more. There are new kitchen items I’m swooning over. And new lighting that I’d like. And new storage options and mirrors and frames and so… much… more.
All discovered while perusing the Ikea website.
I still really, really want a catalogue though.
Dear Ikea folk: If you’re reading this, I adore you lots. Lots and lots and lots. Please please please send me a catalogue.
Love, Melissa. :)
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