Wednesday, November 30, 2011

About Time: Kitchen Update

This has been a long time coming. Looong time coming. Too long. This is proof of how willing we are to live with imperfection and convenience for the sake of a little laziness and a little busyness. This is also proof that, eventually we'll get to it.

Believe it or not. Those are handles adorning our cabinets. 

In the end, despite considering colourful options, despite procrastinating because we couldn't make a choice, in the end, we stopped by the big orange box and picked up the one we liked the best among their selection. It's nothing incredibly special, but it's classic with a bit of a swoop to it. These ones, to be exact:

(From Home Depot)

It's weird, having pulls. Every so often, I find myself reaching for a fork, our preferred method of opening the doors after our tape fell off, or opening two doors in order to open one. I definitely still open the sink drawer from the bottom with my foot.

It will take a while to adjust to normal living again, right? Good thing the kitty approves.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Month of Movember!!

(Two posts today! A word from the Husband.)

Hey All,

The Husband writing here. I thought I would just give some acknowledgement to the month of Movember. For those who are not familiar to this growing tradiation, it's a month dedicated to prostate cancer and men's heath. You can read more about it on their webpage. If you haven't guessed already I've joined the movement. Here is a picture at the start of month:

And 10 days in:

On the 24th:

And so it continues.

At the end of the month, I'll have to share an updated photo you can see the final look.

Want to donate? You can donate to the cause itself here or me, here. Are there any other mustaches being grown this month out there?

I love kitchens

We've had a wonderfully productive weekend. I can only hope that I get my act together enough to take some wonderful pictures of the work we did so I can properly share it with you. In the meantime...

One of the many things we did this weekend was spend a delightful afternoon in the company of a family from our church. After the most delicious ginger-filled squash soup I've ever had, we moved on to talk about renovations, ours, and the ones they want to do. Their kitchen has risen to be their main priority and they're now in the planning stages of a full renovation. The old, cracked tile is coming up, the cabinets are coming out, a new counter top is on its way. It was kind of exciting, in a way, to talk about someone else's renovations for once.

They had a good list of requirements for their kitchen, and they already know what they like and, more importantly, perhaps, what they don't. No open shelving, no tile. White cabinets with a darker counter top. Their kitchen already had a good layout. Small but, most importantly, it works and their happy with it. With a few new finishes, I know they'll love their kitchen.

They have a gorgeous window in their kitchen, a huge, solid pane of glass that draws your eye in and out to their private backyard the moment you step into the room. This is where I think they should focus their design once they've made the basic decisions about flooring, cabinetry, and counter tops. That window opens up the small room and could make it feel a lot bigger than it is.  

They're well on their way to finishing up their plans, I think, and I can't wait to see what they come up with. Hopefully, we'll be invited back once they've made the leap.

Thank you to the Zed's for picking our brains about your kitchen! We thoroughly enjoyed talking about someone else's renovation for a change and we're always glad to share some of the knowledge we've picked up along our renovation journey. I hope you're finding plenty of inspiration and I can't wait to see what you come up with.

Friday, November 25, 2011

A To-Do List

I've talked about them often enough. Why don't we bring things all out into the open?

A To-Do List of all the little things that need to be done and would only take 10 minutes to finish but, for some reason are so easy to over look

  1. Install cover plates on our light switches and outlets.
  2. Install baseboard in the dining room.
  3. Install toe-kicks in the kitchen.
  4. Secure baseboard in the bedroom, rather than just letting it float there.
  5. Install curtain rods and hang curtains properly rather than by string.
  6. Install trim around the window in the front room.
  7. Hang our third rod in the closet so I can finally show it to you. And properly hang all my clothes. Totally secondary, I know.
  8. Purchase and install kitchen door hardware.
  9. Install closet door hardware.
  10. Paint the back interior door.
  11. Paint the trim around the front door.
  12. Skim coat to fill air holes and seal grout. (Ok, this one might take a wee longer than 10 minutes. There's a reason it hasn't been done!)
I think that's enough. Perhaps this weekend, we'll cross a few off the list.

Or, I'll work on a new project that I might tell you about next week. Maybe.

Did I mention that I have far too many project on the go? Like this one: a baby blanket for a co-worker.

Have a blessed, relaxing, productive weekend, friends. 'Til next week.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Three Things This Thursday

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends today! I will never understand why you have it so late, but I will be slightly envious of two things: 1) the not one, but two days many of you get off work, no questions asked, making it a beautiful 4 day weekend 2) the clearly defined weekend in which the Thanksgiving decorations come down and the Christmas decorations go up.

Since it's Thursday, here's a brief line-up of the things I've been thinking about lately.


We did some work at cleaning out our garage last week, pulled out the Christmas tree and kinda half set it up, anyway. When I'm finished decorating, perhaps I'll let you see it, though my tree decorating skills have never been much to get excited about. Because the tree is out, though, I've been thinking about DIY Christmas ornaments! Like these:

I think it might be time to hit up the Dollar Store for some styrofoam balls sometime soon.


Perhaps in connection with the above thought, I've been thinking a lot about homemade 'clay' options. Example? Flour and Salt dough!

How pretty is that necklace? I am nearly certain I'll be completely unable to create something quite so successfully, but I plan to try it out someday soon, perhaps even come up with something I'll be willing to deck my tree in!


This last thing on this list is not nearly as exciting as the other two, but maybe a little more important. I don't know. You can be the judge.

That's a light switch. Unfortunately, our light switches look a lot more like this:

And, they've looked like that for, oh... 8 months? And we've actually been finished things for, oh, 6 months? 

I know. I know. Pathetic.

The thing is, I'm getting sick of them. Slowly, but surely, as I look at the gaping holes every single day, I'm reaching the breaking point that will involve going out to the garage and rummaging around until I find those covers and a screw driving and fixing the whole light switch over situation.

(I know. I know. Pathetic.)

What are you guys thinking about these days? Christmas on your brains yet? Is your tree set up or lights on your house? Do you have any silly unfinished tidbit that would take about 5 minutes to finish up tidy?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Window seat... not so much

I was unsuccessful in convincing the Husband that we should build a window seat beneath the front window. He was concerned it would take too much space and make our home feel smaller than it already is. Fair enough. It is absolutely important to me that our home is one we build together. You will never find me putting my foot down about design decisions. If he's not convinced, we move on to the next idea; no harm, no foul.

However, another idea did offshoot from our window bench discussion. Part of the point of a window seat is the additional storage beneath. Closed storage is crucial in our house. We have a puppy who has yet to grow out of the chewing stage. Shoes are her favourite treat, but she's also not opposed to purses, headphones, cords, afghans, pens, and duvets (especially pens on duvets. We can't have anything nice). Leaving the house can be a chore, involving double and triple checking closet doors and putting anything she might like to sink her teeth into well out of her reach. A window seat would offer the perfect place to store shoes, afghans, extra pillows, etc.

But so would doors on a bookcase. Like this:

William Hefner Architecture Interiors & Landscape traditional home office

So, the new plan?

Something like this:

(Promise you won't laugh.)

(Ok, I guess this probably deserves a little laughter...)

Yes. Yes. It's Paint. I'm not cool enough for Sketch-up, not yet.

So... does it need a bit of a legend? Those blue blobs, they're my club chair and another, complementing or matching chair. The brown thing in between is a side table. It would hold our favourite plant and such, as it currently does. On each side of the window, there are bookshelves, built in, or at least looking so, turned in to face each other. But, at the bottom, - and this is where the ever crucial closed storage comes in - I want cupboards that face out for easy access. Whether they're drawers or actual cupboards, I haven't yet decided.

Can you envision it? Or is my Paint sketch just a little too amateur? I think it would work and work well! And, who knows... this kind of a configuration would allow us to, one day, add in that bench should the Husband change his mind!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Chair Booties: A Pattern

Last week, when I shared our dining room rug with you, many of you noticed - and liked! - my chair booties. Of course, my mom's comment was my favourite:
I had to laugh at the socks on your chair legs. Lesson from your grandmother?
 Indeed. My grandmother has not a chair in her house that isn't adorned with a chair booty.

After watching in frustration as the felt pads we stuck to the bottom of our chairs slipped off after only a few times being slid back from the table, I gave in to the lesson my grandmother passed down, picked up my crochet hook and some stashed yarn, and went to work.

A couple TV shows for background noise and mental entertainment later, I had three sets of these. I need one more yet, but I'll get to it eventually.

These don't slip off. They provide complete coverage, so there's no way a little edge of something sharp will come into contact with our beautiful floors. They let our chairs slide smoothly across our beautiful bamboo. Perhaps I'm romanticizing them a little too much. But they are truly amazing. They will save floors.

Want to make your own? Know how to crochet?

(Want to learn? It's hard to without someone sitting beside you and showing you and correcting your mistakes, but try out this tutorial. Plenty of photos to go with it to show each minute step. Try it!)

Chair Booties

What you need:
A hook - G, H, or I - It doesn't really matter if the booty ends up a little loose - that's what the tie at the top is for! However, make sure you don't use a hook that's too small! Choose your best guess, based on the size of the legs you're covering.
Yarn from your stash. You don't need a lot for each set and you could probably get 4 sets of booties (for 4 chairs) from a single (substantial) ball of yarn.

Chain 4 and join in the first chain with a slip stitch to form a ring.
Rnd 1: Chain 3. 12 double crochet in ring. Join with a slip stitch in the top of the beginning chain. 
Rnd 2: Chain 3. Double crochet in each stitch around. Join with a slip stitch at the top of the beginning chain.
Rnd 3-5: Repeat Rnd 2 three more times or until the desired length is reached. Fasten off.
Work the ends in. 
Cut a length of contrasting yarn or ribbon. I tripled up my pink yarn to give it some thickness. Use the finished booty to measure the needed length, ensuring the yarn or ribbon will be long enough that it can be woven through once and tied into a bow.
Weave the contrasting ribbon around the posts of the double crochets in the 5th rnd, ie, through the space between them.
Slip them onto the feet of your chair and tie the ribbon or yarn tight to keep them secure. 

If you make them, let me know!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Another Thought: Window Benches

Humour me here.

I know I've been talking a lot about my little club chair lately. The idea is that it replace one of our Ikea chairs which sit just inside our front door. Eventually, both Poang chairs will be replaced with smaller, more suited piece of furniture.

Occasionally, however, I start thinking about a totally different option.

Window seats!

Let's look at my space, shall we?

On either side of the window, there's approximately 2 feet, a decent amount of space for a book shelf. Our window isn't terribly low, so a bench could fit nicely beneath, with storage underneath for shoes, umbrellas, and all the other things we may need when venturing outdoors. Pile the bench high with pillows and it could still be a comfortable place to sit, enjoy a cup of coffee, and snuggle with a pet.

I can envision it. Could I convince the Husband? And, if so, would we ever get around to it?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fabric from Tonic Living: So Excited!

Last night, I pulled a big brown envelope out of the mail. Usually it's our tenants who get all the good stuff. Not this time!

Inside the envelope was a pleasant note,

and eight beautiful swatches!

Now, I have a problem, a problem that you might be able to help with. Which one do I pick for my club chair

Which fabric would you use?
Groovy Grille
Loopy Lou

These fabrics can all be found at Tonic Living for a beautifully reasonable price.

Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bamboo Black and Purple Swirls

When we chose our floors 5 months or so ago, we took a risk. We'd fallen in love with dark floors, but the hardwood was so expensive. We were this close to ordering our square footage worth of $6-a-foot beautiful, scraped hardwood when we stumbled across a small display of options tucked into a corner of Alexanians. Bamboo! Nearly half the price, beautifully dark. Not scraped, nor hardwood, and very susceptible to scratching, we were warned. But, we went with it.

Fast forward. We're actually living with the bamboo. Guests are coming over and I'm desperately trying to get the floors to shine. Only a few months after installing them, they seem to have lost their sheen. Faint scratches from shoes, paw prints, drywall dust filling the cracks. We have a rule now: cleaning the floors is the Husband's job because I get way too disappointed with our choice.

Except that, when we're not working really hard to try to make it look amazing, I love our floors. They're warm. They're dark and sophisticated.

Solution? Put a rug down!

We found this baby at Rona for $80 on sale. We debated the colour. After all, we have a dog who loves to root around in the garden which, at the moment, is just dirt.* Was going so light really such a good idea? But the contrast, in the end, seems to save our floors in a way. It draws the eye away from the dust and the hair-line scratches, heightens the sheen, and amps up the warmth factor all in one.

(* It's amazing how quickly she's learned that, as soon as she comes in from outside, she needs to jump in the tub so that we can wash her feet. Of course, the treat she gets after each foot washing is just an added bonus.)

Also, with those big purple swirls, it's just fun.

One of these days, we'll find some complementary art for that wall. I think it's calling out for something big, something show stopping. Ideas, anyone?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Bringing the Pretty into the Mess

When we bought our dining room table, we rearranged our living space so that, from the kitchen, you looked over the dining room and a small reading nook welcomed you when you stepped through the front door. This, of course, means that our living room moved into Room #4, the room that has been our bedroom, our laundry room, our closet, our junk room, the only room in the house that has been mostly untouched by our renovations.

On one hand, having a messy room is kind of freeing. The Husband's golf clubs live in there, our ugly tubs of important papers fill one corner, and a bucket of random things with no other place sits under the window, taking up space. Once we close the door, the room is gone. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

Except that when we do sit in there - which is often -  it drives me just a little crazy. It's ugly. We never got around to painting the walls, and since at least one of them is eventually coming down, hopefully next summer, I'm not sure I see the point in doing it now. The washer and dryer sit in the corner, waiting for walls to be built around them. In terms of relaxing, well... it's not.

So, I decided to do something about it, even if that something is small. We have two Lack shelves from Ikea that we keep meaning to put up. We had them in our rental and loved them. But here, they sat in our back entryway and collected dust, just waiting. Finally, yesterday afternoon, with a burst of energy, I grabbed the drill, the level, and a pen and went at it.

What started like this,

Ended like this:

It's not quite done, styling-wise. A few things found there way up there merely because I'm not sure yet where else to put them. Over the next while, I'll work with the shelves. I want them to be pretty but functional, to hold things that add beauty to the room, but also things that we actually use on occasion. Things like my yarn,

paired with scented candles and a painting we picked up while on our honeymoon.

This room is on it's way, I suppose. In some ways, though, I'm a little disappointed we put those shelves behind us when we sit on the couch. In reality, this is what this particular room looks like:

It's still a mess. 

We'll escape this one day. 


Friday, November 11, 2011

Down to the batting

Last weekend, I finally got around to the last bit of ripping and tearing at my club chair to get it ready for fabric.  Down to the batting, it looks like this:

I'm not sure if this is a reupholstery faux pas, but I've decided to keep the batting that remains on the chair. (Obviously, I need to smooth it back into the crease a bunch.) It's this super soft, unrefined wool. Is there any chance I'd be able to find something similar for a good price? Hopefully, I'll also be able to save the batting I had to take off of the back part of the chair. I'm not sure yet where I'll be able to find the stiff cardboard that I had to destroy in order to get all the fabric off. 

There's a lot of hindsight going on with this chair. That's what's supposed to happen with a learning project, right?

Just for fun, check this out:

Inside the chair, I found 30 cents, a Canada flag pin, a stamp, and a bobby pin. The stamp was the most indicative of the era of this chair. See?

How long ago do you think Easter Seals would have put such a politically incorrect term on their stamps? After some quick research, my guess places this stamp, and, therefore, my chair, somewhere in the 80s or early 90s.

In fact, it's likely at least as old as I am.

Anyone know anything else about these stamps?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Our Home Vs. Our Wedding Gifts

We love every person who came to our wedding to bits. They are, quite literally, our favourite 142 people in the world. They are family, friends, shoulders to cry on, hands to lift us up, legs and feet to dance all night with. They're the people we spend December with, ring in the New Year with, party through our birthdays with, enjoy picnics and camping trips with, build houses with. They are the most important people in the world to us.

But... the gifts they gave us for our wedding? Maybe not so much.

Let me explain.

We live small. We always have, as a married couple. Hopefully, we won't always have to, but as it is, everything that makes it into our home must fit into this paradigm of 'small'. Not all of our wedding guests a) knew this and b) understood this. On top of all that, not all of our wedding guests have quite the same tastes that we do. So, here comes the conundrum: how do we honour our wedding guests and the thought they put into the gifts they gave us while also honouring our own tastes, especially as we attempt to bring two people with two unique sets of tastes together?

I don't know.

To be honest, there's still a small pile of wedding gifts sitting the corner of my parents' basement waiting for the day when we'll figure out what to do with them, and how to incorporate them into our lives. But this is a story of one particular gift: a large mirror with a thick, ornate frame in a brushed brass colour.

Not my style.

Not the Husband's style.

Definitely the style of the gift giver herself.

But, when we needed a mirror for our bathroom, I thought about it. It wasn't quite right, but perhaps a coat of spray paint could fix it right up? My parents brought it from the gift pile on one of their visits, and I knew, at first glance, that it wasn't right. It was too big, and even a coat of paint wouldn't make it right for our teeny tiny bathroom. We leaned it up against the wall in the bedroom and left it there. For months.

Until a couple weeks ago. I needed a mirror and the husband was in the bathroom. I picked it up, ripped off the protective cardboard corners and leaned it up on my bedside table. Stepped back. Hmm.


It works?

I think so!

The fancy-schmancy-ness of it seems to be toned down a bit by the plain bedside table and the country feel of our wood bed frame, and I actually love the way dust coats the design. I'm pleased enough with it to leave it there for now, though that coat of paint may still come. 

One of these days, I might hang it properly. Or I might find a new home for it, especially once we find something we like for above the bed. But it's good enough for now. And at least it's not still leaning, neglected, against the wall on the floor. In the end, I feel like this mirror has actually played a role in shaping my own sense of style. Maybe a thick, brass coloured, ornate mirror isn't so far outside of my tastes.

How do you deal with gifts for your house that don't fit? Do you find a place for them and end up surprised, allowing them, in the end, to change your own sense of style? Or are you one of those people that puts away the vase until the gift-giver comes to visit?

On the flip-side, how would you feel if a gift you bought for someone got a make-over - a can of spray paint, some reupholstery, a total deconstruction?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Blogger Awards?


You guys have blown me away.

While I was gone, I received not one but two awards from you guys.

In fact, in the past 8 months that I've been blogging, I've received 4 awards from my readers around the interwebs. I know. I'm a bad blogger for not properly, graciously accepting the two previously given awards. Embarrassed, perhaps? I mean, what did I do to deserve these awards? I am doing nothing more than what the rest of you bloggers are doing -- writing about my life through the medium of my house. I am over the moon that so many of you enjoy my ramblings, my rough photography, our renovations and my attempts at a little decorating.

So, a huge thank you to these bloggers for the Versatile Blogger award!

And, for the Liebster Blog Award, thank you to Amelia @ House Pretty (up)

Please check out all of their blogs! These are some amazing women, creating beautiful spaces and living gorgeous lives. 

Now, for the really fun stuff. Since part of the Versatile Blogger award is sharing 7 things the blogging world doesn't yet know about you, I had best play along, right?


I crochet on the subway. Sometimes, these things are small, like a pair of slippers. Other times, they're not so small, like the sweater, pictured, I'm working on right now. Any other crocheters or knitters out there? If you're on Ravelry, my username is SomethingMore. I'd love to chitchat over there too! This is what I'm working on at the moment. Hopefully it turns out!


My real name isn't Nette. Some of you already know this, I guess, especially if you've emailed me. In fact, my name is Jeanette. It's not such a far cry, is it? But there is only one person in world who calls me Nette: my best friend, whom I've known since we were in diapers. It's shortened from Nettie, which is the name my father has always called me.

While I chose to use the name here, in the blogging world, in the real world, no one is allowed to call me either Nette or Nettie. My name is Jeanette and you are neither my father, nor my best friend, thankyouverymuch. I might have to get over that pretty quickly if I ever meet any of you blogger friends in person, yes?


We got married in the dark. And yes, I mean that literally, not figuratively. The morning before our wedding, a windstorm knocked out not one, but two of the power lines that lead to the church. Our reception hall was equally in the dark, but with more than one person pulling more than one string for us, we managed to get one of those huge generators hooked up. Ain't nothing gonna slow down that party.

(Photo courtesy of my aunt and uncle, photographers but not our official one)


I grew up on a dairy farm. We had about 40 head of cattle and about half as many cats. Can you guess which was my favourite animal? It's no surprise that, over the course of my childhood, three of those cats made it inside the house to stay. My parents sold the farm in 2005, 6 months before I moved out to go to university.


I am the closest, geographically of my siblings to my parents. The other two picked up and moved in two different directions across the continent. My sister is out west, being the math genius that she always has been. My brother is south, in the States, being the computer science genius he always has been. And I'm here, in Toronto, being the, well. Maybe I'll just stop right there.


The Husband and I have no plans for kids yet for a good number of years. Just in case you were wondering. (There's no space for them in our house.) However, there may or may not be plans for another furbaby. (The Husband hates it when I call them furbabies.)


I have been 'blogging' since 2003. That's 9 years. I started out with a Livejournal and babbled all through high school about everything and anything including some things that no person should ever babble about on the Internet. It's still out there, still open for the world to read. I will not direct you there. From there, I popped over to the Wordpress platform for a few years before finding a home here with a blog that has far more direction than I ever have before.

And now, to share the love.

I know these awards have been making their rounds, so I've tried to award it to the blogs I regularly read that I haven't seen touting the badge yet.

  1. Decor Adventures
  2. A Little Old House
  3. At Home Alterations
  4. One Ugly House
  5. Designing Main Street
Wait a minute. Which award did I give you? Your choice! There are no 7-things-about-you requirements for accepting the Liebster Award. If you'd rather quietly accept the award without the stress of an acceptance speech, that's ok. If you'd love to spill 7 random things about yourself on your blog, by all means, this is a Versatile Blogger award. 

If you're a reader I didn't mention here, because I haven't discovered you yet, or because I may have seen your blog on another list - or thought I did - and you want to do the 7-things thing, please do! And tell me about in the comments section, of course! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Being Grown Up

Today, I have a packed bag with me, filled with enough clothes for 3 days. (I'll only be gone for 2, but I always pack for one extra day. For just in case.) Last night, as I packed, the Husband lounged in bed and watched me. It felt weird. We don't spend a lot of extended time apart and I can't say I'm looking forward to the next two nights of a large empty bed in a strange hotel room.

My work is sending me to a conference across the border. It will likely be incredibly interesting. The line up of speakers should hold my attention, and more perhaps. But being away from my life here? I'm going to miss it.

It feels oddly grown up, this business trip thing. I have business cards and a suitcase full of business casual. Just a year and a half ago, my daily attire was jeans with the hems walked off and my mom's old, green, knitted sweater. Occasionally, I find myself at these points from which I look back and realize my life has become so completely different from the student lifestyle I became so used to.

Somehow, I became the kind of person that goes on business trips.

(While I'm gone, hopefully you'll see a couple 'guest' posts here from the Husband, who will be home all by himself for 3 evenings, until my return at midnight on Friday. We'll see if I can convince him.)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A First Halloween

A few times, I've alluded to the work I do with my church's youth group here on the blog. I became the youth leader of the church we attend back in May, and since then, I've gotten to know a small, but great group of kids. I've become a friend and a mentor in a way I never would have expected and probably never would have stepped up to do if I hadn't felt that special type of tug and push. Every time I think about it too hard, I get a little nervous at the enormity of the work I do with them: I am here to pour into them, to give them spiritual guidance throughout their lives. I do believe - and hope -  the relationships I am building now aren't just going to last until they graduate high school.

Anyway, enough of the sappy stuff. Since Monday nights are our regular youth night, but since I wanted to experience Halloween in our new neighbourhood for the first time, I invited the whole lot of them to come out to my place to help hand out candy, carve pumpkins, eat pizza, etc. etc. Four of 'my' kids showed up and had a properly rowdy time making a huge, wonderful mess of our house.

Their pumpkins adorned our front porch as they handed out candy with the most gusto I have ever seen on Halloween night. By the time I dropped them all off at their homes, they were exhausted. No surprise: we got about 300 kids, and each one got a rousing, energetic greeting that probably scared them more than anything properly Halloweeny.

And my pumpkin? Pekoe, sitting on the edge of the moon:

We are, by no means, professional pumpkin carvers here.

Did you have a successful Halloween night? Do you get a lot of kids knocking on your door or just a few?