Monday, January 16, 2017

Books You Might Like

I've really enjoyed every book I read over the holidays so I thought I'd share them with you.
(Plus I have done nothing around the house to be able to show you.)


1.  I'm Thinking of Ending Things - Iain Reid
2.  The Folly of Prayer - Matt Woodley 
3.  The Break - Katherena Vermette
4.  The Couple Next Door - Shari Lapena
5.  Skeletons at the Feast - Chris Bohjalian (This one I listened to.)
6.  What Alice Forgot - Liane Moriarty (Not shown.)

I'm still reading The Folly of Prayer but I need to zip because my book club at Grant Memorial is skyping with the author tonight!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Starting the New Year Right

Sometimes we do the craziest things without even thinking.  We get into the habit of...well whatever, and even things that make no sense soon become routine.

That's not usually the most efficient way to live.

Take this mirror.


I had this poor thing perched on my window sill for months.  
The light in my bathroom is not great for doing makeup so every morning I'd grab the 6 or more items of makeup I use daily and walk from the bathroom to the window, put it all on, then carry it all back and put it away in my drawer.

One day it finally dawned on me that this was not:
A - Pretty
or
B - Organized

So I found a pretty mirror, grabbed some cute containers, and set it all up right there in the window.


Much more practical, and much more attractive.

Now, you may be thinking that what I actually need is better bathroom light and that is true, but that's not a project that I can do on my own and sometimes you have to wait on those bigger fixes.
In the meantime, pause for a few minutes in this New Year and take note of your daily routine.  Is there some habit you have that isn't practical?  Not efficient?  Something you could make prettier?

Change it!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Update Number NINE

So last week I gave you ten random updates on my life but I left out number nine.
I thought all week about what I could come up with that would shock and awe you but I got nothin'.
Sorry.  
I guess the big news is I can't count.

Instead I'll give you a few more updates but I won't number them.  I also won't describe them as miscellaneous cause I spelled that wrong last week as well.

I still love short rolls of wrap for the multi wrapping that happens before Christmas.  I highly recommend it...so much easier to maneuver.  These cute rolls are from Michael's.



Also super duper love the empty shelf in my office that is now piled with gifts.  Before these would all be stacked all over already full tables or shelves so having an empty spot to fill up has been great.



During December I switched from a one percent americano misto to an americano misto with eggnog.  So.  Amazing.  I will miss them when they are gone and I will have to shed some pounds but it was so worth it.



Okay, you got me.  I actually switched in November as soon as the eggnog came out.

 Do you have some very favourite ornaments?
Here are a few of mine.

This one was from our first married Christmas.



I got baby Jesus from the store at St. Peter's dome in the summer.  He lays by my bed all year now. 
 Is he not the cutest??



This salt and pepper with the marshmallows on their heads...adorable.
Plus they magnet together which I find quite satisfying.



And of course my original elf.
He still has a twinkle in his eye that is quite endearing.



I seem to have saved the ivy!  
Let's not anyone read this out loud and cause a return of the grossy bugs, but so far, so good!



After 4 tries I managed to get a kid after my own heart.  
Cate has made/bought gifts for everyone, wrapped them and is over the moon excited to see us open them.  I just LOVE watching her spirit of giving!



One of my favourite traditions we've adopted is to have a boat load of chocolates at our house during the holiday season.  I put them out in bowls and set them out in boxes.  At any given time there are 7-10 varieties.  I am always amazed at how much guests enjoy having options...and what an easy way to make your company feel special!



There are loads of lights available now on battery.  I put a strand in a vase with snow at my front door.  A friend had one on her door wreath which I copied.  So fun to string little lights all over the house with no need to plug in!



This year's puzzle is going slowly...it's a bit tricky maybe.



 Buddy continues his adventures.  Soon he will be headed back to Santa and this year he plans to leave the kids with the gift of a novel that is apparently set in our neighbourhood.  I'm excited to get reading with the kids!



 I had a baking fiasco.
I know!  Me!?!?
Yes...WHY would I even try?  But I did and it ended up with a batch of cookies in the garbage.  Next I broke the cookie jar that I was trying to fill with chocolates instead.
Then I had my friend over to coach me through another try at the cookies.  She was great and the cookies are fine.  I'd bought treat bags from Dollar Tree to package them in before I put them into the remaining unbroken cookie jars.

Um, those are some LARGE treat bags huh?  
Might need to bake another batch or 12.
For some reason this makes me laugh and laugh and laugh.






















And now we're into the final stretch.  Just a week and it will all be over.  I hope you've enjoyed the waiting...and pray you've had some times of silence and peace and lots of moments of fun.
Our final week is a bit of crazy so I'm thankful for a husband who can whip up 4 pages of colour coded charts to guide us through.


Merry Christmas!!!

P.S.
Is it wrong to eat an entire box of chocolates by yourself just because they're pretty?


Nah.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Miscellaneous Updates

Oh dear, I am so delinquent on blogging.  I don't mean to be.  I love to write to you, but somehow it has fallen a bit by the wayside since my return home from Europe.

So this post is a miscellaneous bit of updates to keep us connected while I pull myself together enough to get back to being regular.


Update One:
I got to do a gallery wall at Tanya's gorgeous house.  You may have already seen it on Facebook but here are the before and afters again with the middle process added in.

Before:
Tanya wanted to fill up her wall space above the living room sofa.


Her home has a very beautiful and distinct style
so it was easy to help her make a list of what to look for.
Once she shopped I came by and we set it all out on the
floor and moved things around until we were happy.


 Next we traced each piece on paper including the exact 
position of the nail hole and hung them all up.


Once a nail was in each spot and the papers were removed, we could hang the art.
The finished look is lovely. Tanya is a super seasonal decorator (MY FAVOURITE) so we included options that could be changed up to create holiday looks...the metal bins can hold anything from Christmas balls to fern sprigs, different photos can clip to the birdcage and the door handle can also provide a spot to hang something seasonal...mistletoe ball anyone??



Update Two:
 My pen pal was here!
Michelle came to see winter in Winnipeg and unfortunately what she saw was an unseasonably warm fall.  The day she left we got the blizzard.  Go figure.
But we had fun all the same.  We saw a few sights and I dragged her around to many stores.
We seem to be blocking his face a bit but we're posing here with a bison.



Update Three:
Buddy returned!
No one here is really interested in him except Cate, but she adores him.  It's been fun to hide him for her...she is pretty easy to please so I haven't had to conjure up any major naughtiness on his behalf.
Here he is eating cheesies.
(Can someone please fix my strip of dead lights???)



Update Four:
I got BUGS!
I did not notice any Italian or Irish ivy crawling with millions of grossy little spidery creatures!
Hmf.
I was gonna just throw it out but then I caught a streak of stubborn and I marched it into my shower and dishsoaped those little stinkers off of there.  I don't know if it's a done deal yet.  I'll keep you posted.



Update Five:
Heated seats. Are. Amazing.
I love them I love them I love them I love them.



Update Six:
We started a new tradition this year.  When I was little my mom would have straw sitting beside our nativity scene.  If I did something kind without being told, I was allowed to take a piece of straw and secretly put it on Jesus' manger.  It is a tradition I've always remembered so this year I adapted it a bit and decided to offer it to my kids.  Whenever they add value to someone they can put an ornament on this little tree.
They seem to be into it!



Update Seven:
I am loving using this advent book with the kids.  We've read it in past years as well but a few days last week I added silence to our devotional time.  We did this during our trip last summer and it was so fantastic.  I hadn't realized how much I missed it.  Even 30 seconds of silence brings everyone into such a peaceful and more open posture.
It is a beautiful spiritual discipline that we practice far too little.

Image result for louie giglio advent book


Update Eight:
I've been visiting some scissors.



Update Ten:
I still have not done a thing with our trip pictures.  I have wanted to but other things just keep getting in the way.  It will be first priority as soon as the wrapping is done!  I'll leave you with a pic that I haven't ever posted cause I was keeping it as a possible Christmas shot...it didn't make the cut though.


I hope your next few days leading up to Christmas will be full of fun and rest and peace!!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Finished Office

It has been a long haul but I'm finally done.
Organizing an office has got to be one of the most challenging spaces...so many items end up in there and it can be difficult to decide what should stay and what should go.  By the end, when you get down to the last piles like this,


and this, 


it's just not as much fun as it was in the beginning.
But the finished result is so worth it.

Before

After

I am loving my new look. 
I like the colour and the feel of more space.  
I love that there's less stuff but it's still cozy.
I love that pretty rug!  Bless you sweet Ikea!!
I am enjoying the new floor plan which took some time to achieve, but is working well.

I really wanted to have my chair by the window so I could sit in the sun.


I also wanted some empty spots for those piles that inevitably end up in here.


I wanted to have more wood in my space and I hoped to use that black metal shelf that I got at the Red Barn last year.


After my time in Italy and Ireland, I wanted more ivy in my life.


I wanted to keep my little keepsake notes but I switched them from a bulletin board to this cute window frame and I edited them down to a more manageable amount.


I also wanted to have the things I love around my work space but again I had to do some careful editing to keep it to an amount that feels homey but not overwhelming.  This won't be the same amount for everyone so you have to decide what feels right for you.


I so wish I could not have this gigantor printer in here but the thing is, 
we do need to print stuff! 


I got an unexpected addition to the room just before I'd finished.  
My friend Jen brought me this fabulous guy! 
I love him and he is so perfect for the space.


My experiment with keeping most items the same colour does make the space feel less busy and more spacious.  I like that feeling of being enveloped.


It is a fantastic feeling to have a room organized and decorated in a way that makes you feel at home. I hope you'll be inspired to try something new in one of your spaces! It can be a lot of work but you just have to take it one small task at a time.
In the end it is so worth it!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Office Progress


So I picked the paint and then...what?


Where do you start when a project feels completely overwhelming?  

I always like to choose a task I know I can complete easily, and quickly.  If I'm staging a house, I start in a kid's room or a bathroom...small spaces where I know I can have speedy success.  That way when you've accomplished the first task, you feel more motivated to complete something a little larger.

In my office I decided to tackle the shelves, and the first thing I sorted was fabric.


I have lots of piles of fabric but I rarely use it so I grabbed it all off the shelves, 


got my coffee and turned on the t.v..


When you are starting a task that is overwhelming, like emptying an entire office so you can paint it, you want it to be fun!  So if there's something you can do while you listen to a radio program or watch a show on t.v., go for it! 

My fabric got purged and sorted into two metal baskets I had kicking around.


Next I emptied all my books off the shelves.  I plan to keep them in my bedroom from now on so it was another easy, quick job to just carry them in.  I'll do the book sorting after the office is done.


It's hard to be patient when you want to start painting and the room isn't empty yet, so I satisfied my need for colour by beginning the furniture painting.


He looks so cute!


I hired my son to build my new shelf.
Anytime you can enlist a little assistance, do it!  It cost me $10.  
He was happy for a little bit of cash and I was very thrilled not to have to build!


Of course eventually you run out of quick, easy jobs and you have to tackle the hard ones, but having those early successes in your pocket 
helps you feel more capable of moving to the bigger stuff.
Like painting.
Yuck.  I hate it so much.  
And right around this point I was wondering WHAT DID I DO???


But soon after I LOVED it and now the room is painted. 

(Did I mention this office is one big experiment?  
I had this vision of painting out a whole room in one colour...trim and all...along with some of the furniture so that the accessories would pop more.  So I'm experimenting.  Thus the dark trim.)

Currently we are living like this in the bedroom.

  
But soon enough I'll have it all back into the office.  
I'll show you the end result next time!