Wilderness Wall

I can’t hide my love for gallery walls. I’m always looking for an excuse to put one up. So far I have one up in my laundry room and the stairwell. Naturally, when I was pondering ideas for the toddler’s little man cave, I felt like I could create a gallery wall to really take my theme to a new level.

I used painters tape to help me out with the design. I first put a piece of tape where the door would close to. I didn’t want the gallery wall to be hidden behind it, so it gave me a guideline of where to stop. I create a design (on the floor below the wall space) to get an idea of how I want it to look. Then I added tape for each frame located on the ground. This helps me keep everything in proportion.

For the wall, I created some dark stained wooden signs. Two of which contained some of my favourite “wilderness” themed quotes. The other wooden boards contained silhouettes of arrows, a teepee, and bear paws. I also picked up five frames from the local dollar store. I painted two thicker framed ones the same color as my middle mountains on my mural. And three thinner frames the darkest mountain color (to tie the opposite walls together). The five grey frames contained watercolor images of animals (fox, bear, deer, rabbit, and a hedgehog.

Here it is all put together. I hang my gallery walls with command strips (the picture hanging kind). I find it easier to get the placement right without having to put a ton of holes in the wall. However, from personal experience I can tell you that command strips don’t work well on plastic frames. So be cautious with what you’re hanging. In the gallery above, all my pieces were flat and wooden. Making it easy to press in place and hung flat against the wall.

Mountain Mural

As my sons second birthday fast approaches I got the urge to begin the transition of his room. I wanted to slowly make some changes from a baby’s nursery to a little man cave. Something fun but a little more grown up. Peak his curiosity and sense of adventure.

As you all know, paint is my favourite place to start. For $40-$50 you can transform an entire room. It seems well worth it to me.

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As you may remember, I went pretty bright in the nursery before the baby was born. A nursery should never be dull or boring. The decals came down, the walls were cleaned, and a base wall color was picked.

Went with a Behr paint (of course)… called Zero Gravity (N450-2). Its a soft grey. Can we take a moment to look at that coverage! One coat of pale grey over a bright green, magic! One of the many reasons I love this stuff.

Once the entire room was painted we moved on to the accent wall. I had seen many versions of the wall on Pinterest. I decided to just eyeball it and use painters tape to get some clean lines.

When choosing the next color I decided to stay on the same paint chip and go two shades darker. Moonquake (N450-4) goes on like a silver and dries slightly darker. I was a bit nervous I wouldn’t get the effect I wanted. It’s hard to really see the vision until you have more dimension. ***Hint: Always remove painters tape when paint is still wet. Otherwise you risk peeling edges.***

Once the middle color was dry, I took it 2 shades darker for my third and final layer of mountains. I wanted the dark mountains to be closer, so there are less of them. Darkest mountains are painted Binary Star (N450-6).

Voila! My mountain mural is complete. Could easily add snowy mountain tops or stars in the sky, whatever you’d like. I wanted to keep mine very simple. This wall is the far wall when you walk in, and will also have the bed against it. So I felt if it was too busy, it might take away from the bedding, accent pillows, etc.

Stay tuned for more updates on our toddler room transformation.

 

 

 

DIY Garden Markers

We recently decided that we were going to try our hand at a vegetable garden this year. Even though the we have a million other things on our plate and we didn’t really have the appropriate amount of time to prepare our soil. We did our best and planted all kinds of things. We figured it would be a trial. We can test the area to see what grows best, what gets eaten by critters, what doesn’t grow at all, etc.

The only problem with that is we have a lot to keep track of. Some rows have different varieties of the same thing, etc. So I took to the internet to see what I could find for garden markers. Behold, I saw that it is a pretty popular up cycle to use paint stir sticks. And since you all know that I paint walls as often as the seasons change I had a very nice stock pile to work with!

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I needed about 20 sticks total. We practically live at home depot so all of ours had their beautiful logo on it. I got out my acrylic paint and got to work. I painted each one to match the fruit or veggie that would be going on it. **The acrylic paint covered the home depot print perfectly so it didn’t show through or ruin the design***

Once the paint dried I put a layer of clear coat to make sure they wouldn’t fade from the sun or get damaged by water. Then added the titles! The only expense I really had was the clear coat because I didn’t have any left. $5.00 for a can at home depot.

I used black font on the light colored sticks and white on the darker colored ones. They were a fun project to throw together. The kids love the colors and are extremely excited to start putting them in the ground.

They have also served as a double purpose item. As I was finishing each stick, our daughter was using them to practice her sight words. She can now tell you what each one says!

 

Playroom

As you know, we have a large room on our lower level that we designated for the playroom. We felt it was important for the kids to have their own space in the house. It will start as a playroom and maybe as they get older it will transfer to a homework room or a space to hang out with their friends.

My biggest struggle was to find ways to utilize a long rectangle of a room with 3 large windows and 2 large openings/doorways. Where to place furniture? How to make the entire space flow as one? It was something I have been struggling with and altering since we moved in!

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As you can see from this photo, there wasn’t much in the room to work with. Cement floors, no ceiling, partially finished outer walls. And we dove right in to address some of the immediate issues. Let me refresh your memory.

We had put down laminate flooring throughout the entire level which added some much needed warmth and functionality. We had also installed some upper cabinets for craft supply storage (over a large kitchen table for a work space).

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As we used the space we learned what worked and what didn’t. We found that although we had tons of cube storage for smaller items, we didn’t have much for larger toys. So storage became an obvious need. The kids rarely used the kitchen table that was taking up an entire wall. They would always bring their puzzles or games to the child size tables, the floor, or up to our kitchen table for supervision. The pull out sofa we had gotten for a steal of a deal wasn’t doing the space any favors by accumulating cat hair and keeping adults butts sunken into the abyss underneath.

So we decided that we would address the issues, and work on a redesign to correct. And here is what we came up with.

We started by removing the cabinets and kitchen table and used 5 “Billy” bookcases from IKEA to add storage and function. I used the top shelves for the craft stuff to keep out of reach of curious kids. The bottom shelves we utilized for larger toys, books, and puzzles. A fun rug below gives the kids a place to take the toys that’s nearby.

A cork board was added for coloring pages, crafts and other homemade items to be displayed. All craft supplies are labelled for easy clean up.

A TV was mounted above the cube storage and a finished Lego table doubled as a coffee table for anyone using the space. Some IKEA stools were added making it easy for the kids to use. The stools are light enough that they can even bring them over and play with the cubes directly. A table and chair set have been placed under each window so that it is not wasted space.

The other side of the room (which has the third window) now has a carpet for playing cars, and also has the DIY dress up area (pending mirror being hung). Having both windows so close together takes up a large amount of wall space, so we really tried to utilize the floor as a play area too.

And finally, we sold our pull out sofa and replaced with a much better option.

The Hemnes IKEA daybed is what we decided on. Now this is deep enough for cuddling while watching a movie with the kids, but if anyone ever needs to stay over (or if the kids have a sleepover with friends), it can be pulled out to a full size bed.

So as you can see, we have been very busy!

Here are a few photos of the room all together. Slowly getting closer and closer to having it complete. Next, doors. Then finishing up walls for priming and painting. Ceilings will probably only happen later on. But let’s be honest, with all the toys in here, no one is looking at a naked ceiling!

Paint Refresh

With our City House sitting on the market with no offers yet we have been at a cross roads with our Dream Home projects. We don’t want to tie up too much money in new projects while we are still carrying a second mortgage. But as you know we like working away at the new house and have a hard time holding back or neglecting it while waiting to offload The City House.

A cheap way to pack some punch in the home is with paint. And as you have probably noticed, I’m not shy with paint, nor intimidated. I actually enjoy having a freshly painted house. And if it were up to me, I would probably change decor and update each room every year or two.

Our main level has gotten a lot of attention the passed 2 years. We have redone the kids’ rooms, updated furniture, painted laundry rooms and bathrooms. But we had yet to touch our main living space walls. The reason being, its a huge job. Our entry, living room, dining room, kitchen and 2 hallways all flow together. Making it an “all or nothing” paint job. It wasn’t an immediate priority when we first moved it but as we completed more and more projects and got closer and closer to the look we wanted it was more and more obvious that it needed to be moved up on the priority list.

The color was “wheat field” and it was a yellowish brown. Not a terrible color by any means, just not what I wanted. I found the artwork and furniture just kind of blended into the walls, instead of having any impact. Our main floor color pallet has been mostly cool colors, so the warm yellow just wasn’t going to cut it anymore.

It was time to kiss the wheat fields goodbye and head to the Home Depot for some much needed paint and supplies. And over the next week, we watched the space transform.

We went with Behr Ultra paint (my personal favourite) and the color choice is “Cosmic Quest”. Its a medium grey color with a hint of a blue undertone. Definitely on the cool side of the color wheel and with the main floor being primarily blue and green accents it seemed only fitting to have a bit of blue to match.

It changed the entire look and feel of the main floor. Everything seemed brighter and most crisp. Colors pop against the grey instead of blending in all together (check out the green vase in the photo against the wall!). Even the wood floors have changed colors based on the new walls. Not all our art work is up on the walls again (some is actually at the City House for staging reasons) but as we move forward at the Dream Home you will be seeing a lot more of this new wall color.

Here are a few extra photos of the main floor paint job. Hope you all enjoy! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to drop them below!

 

Big Girl Room

So when my daughter made the switch from daycare to preschool she made a request. She felt that since she was moving up a “grade” she needed a “big girl room” to match. She had her Ariel/Under the Sea room for a year, so I wasn’t that crazy about the idea of changing it all over again. But I felt she deserved to be heard.

I wanted to know what theme she wanted. When she told me she really wanted a “little girl garden” I was a bit more open to the idea. Basically her request consists of, pink, purple and red flowers. When looking at her room, a lot already fell into that category. She had purple sheets, all white furniture (which matches everything), even purple curtains. The main change was going to be getting rid of the blue walls and choosing something that would suit this new theme.

Since the majority of the items we had were purple, my wall color choices were between pink and red. And since the thought of red walls in my 4 year olds room scares me, we went to pink! Bubblegum pink to be exact.

I decided to upgrade her purple comforter to a white duvet. If her room continues to change at this rate I felt a duvet and covers would be much easier than comforters each time. It’s also easier to throw a duvet cover in the wash then to try to stuff a comforter in there.

Then I needed to decide what to do with the walls. Do I got for my favourite decals, or try something new? Frames? Canvased art? I took several weeks before making a final decision.

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So we got her an IKEA flower night light for the wall. Two matching canvas prints for above the bed. White floating shelves for her frames, piggy bank, jewelry box, etc. For her birthday she also got the Barbie dream house and I made her a storage cart for her supplies.

She loved the room in its entirety. There are a few things left to do but it works for her right now and she is happy with her big girl room. Now she can prepare to tackle kindergarten!

“Joe The Crow”

I have written, and re written this post so many times. I can never seem to get it right; but maybe it’s not suppose to be perfect. Maybe something like this is impossible to put to words.

The Dream Home has been quiet lately as you’ve probably all noticed. And for that I apologize. It’s been a rough few weeks for us. I want to tell you all about it, but don’t know if I will make it through this post if I do.

It all started at the beginning of November, when my Uncle Joe was in a single vehicle accident. He blacked out behind the wheel and ended up in the woods. His car was totaled. An officer drove him home after he refused medical attention. Those closest to him noticed a significant difference with his temperament, personality and memory. And eventually a few days after his accident he was taken to the hospital by his step father to finally be examined.

His scans showed bleeding in the brain, a tumor had caused the black out, causing the accident. Naturally my family rallied together and did everything we could to help him. His sister flew in to stay with him, she cooked for him, drove him to appointments, sat with him almost every night when he couldn’t sleep. We took turns visiting, bringing him treats (pudding mainly), and just being there for him.

The doctor performed a biopsy of the tumor. He needed to determine if it was cancerous or not. We had no treatment plan as we sat and waited for results that ultimately never came. On November 24, he was gone. He was 53 years old.

I think what upsets me most is the distance I allowed between us. He lived only minutes from me and I only saw him a few times a year. He used to tease me so bad sometimes that I thought he hated me, was disappointed in me, embarrassed by me. But in the days after his death, while spending time inside his home, and going through his belongings, I learned that wasn’t the case. He had every photo of me he was ever given. Pictures of my children, stories and memories he had shared with his friends and family that were filled with pride.

Grief is not linear. I was told that recently. It is a circle, a ring of emotions. You may find your world ending one day, and the next day you feel like you have come to terms with what’s happened. But that doesn’t mean that the following day you wont wake up to crumbling walls again. There are days when I have to push him out of my mind, because I just don’t have the time or energy to grieve. Then there are times, when my kids are in bed, and its quiet, and dark that I let him seep in. His face, his voice, my favorite memories of him. I have to let myself feel it. The lose, pain, overwhelming sadness, I let it all in.

I spent a great deal of my life feeling sorry for my Uncle Joe. I looked at him, and his life, and believed it to be empty. He was not married, no kids, lived alone. And I always pitied him. But in those final days, and even after, I am mad at myself for thinking that way. He passed away with a room filled with family, holding him and loving him. During his service, there wasn’t even enough seats to accommodate all the people he had touched within those 53 short years. And there was a moment during the service, where it was brought to our attention that Joe had something not many ever live to have, peace. He was content with himself. “Those who fly solo have the strongest wings”

I don’t know if there will ever be a right or wrong way to say goodbye. I don’t know if he is watching over us, or hears me when I talk to him. I hope he can. I hope he knows everything I am feeling and thinking. I hope he sees my daughter drag her “Joey Bear” to bed with her every single night. I hope he is reunited with his mother, and his lost pets, and mine for that matter. I hope one day I see him again. But until that day, I will do my absolute best to make him proud.

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Rest in peace Uncle Joe – you will be forever loved and missed xo