Happy Halloween~I Found the Perfect Halloween Prop Books

Happy Halloween! We did some quick Halloween decorating today. I found some cool black books with the perfect Halloween titles to use as props-Grave Secrets and Ghost at Work.

Pumpkins, tea lights and jack-o'-lantern lights, and one of my Halloween quilts add some Halloween fun to the front porch.

We've been pretty busy with school and the new puppy, so we only did some simple Halloween decor this year.

The straw bale will be used to keep Callie the bunny warm this winter. I painted the little 'pumpkins' sign. J carved his own little pie pumpkin but the boys didn't want to carve their large pumpkins this year.

We are having snow flurries today and it is freezing quite cold so we will be handing candy and chips out from the front entry. Last year was so warm that all the neighbours gave candy out from the porches and driveways.

I made this second little Halloween quilt and use it as a tablecloth for one of the candy tables. We get close to 200 (not a typo) kids so the rest of the candy goes on a different table.

 Wishing you a safe and fun Halloween.


Painting the kitchen~Looking for advice

I always admire people who plan a project and work at it until it is completed. I'm guilty of having lots and lots of plans and quite a few unfinished projects. Sometimes it is due to our budget and other times I just get distracted or don't know how to finish. This is one of those times.
I love the paint colour on most of our main floor, a neutral beige, Benjamin Moore's Stone House. It goes from our entry, through to our family room and back around to the kitchen. Or, most of the kitchen. This is where I have the problem. I started the kitchen and didn't finish because I had some trim ideas that I had to figure out. In the above photo, you can see where the Stone House stops at the kitchen breakfast bar. Changing our counters, flooring or cabinets is NOT an option. The yellow is what I am painting over.
If you look above the cabinets to the soffit, you will see where I have started to paint Benjamin Moore Cloud White. Today I carried the white across the soffit because I plan to add trim and make the soffit look more like part of the white cabinets.

{Sorry for the quickly taken photos mid-paint job!)

Today I also used the white to paint the backsplash, mostly to get rid of the yellow, but also to see how the white would look. I'm not sure I like the white on the lower backsplash area. Should I continue the Stone House across to the backsplash area? It seems more logical as the rest of this wall in the eat-in area is Stone House. Or should I try the white for awhile (this is just first coat of paint.) 
I would eventually like to add white subway tile or beadboard, or mini 1 inch tiles, but I have too much other trim work planned first. The painted backsplash will have to do for now. I would also like to change the brass knobs, even though my sister and bil so kindly bought them for us for Christmas a few years ago.
And if you have time to comment, do you have an idea what I should put above the sink? I have had a framed print here for years, but it would need updating. Would a mirror look weird there? We had to get all new appliances over the last three years, and I actually chose the white. I'm thinking the stainless might have been a better idea. {sigh} Thanks for stopping by and for any input.


Fun Pillowcases

Using some fun fabric, I made a pair of pillowcases for our youngest son J's bedroom.

I used two different patterns of 100% cotton for interest, skateboarders for the border and trick bikers for the main body. I prewashed and dried the fabric but didn't use a pattern. I just measured standard pillowcases and went from there. They fit perfectly and worked up quickly~under an hour. The best part is that he loves them.
It is getting too dark tonight to take photos of the pillows on his bed, so I'll share that later.
I'm sharing this with Fabric Fun Thursday #21 at Cheap Chic Home. I hope you stop by!

I'm also joining in the fun at Just A Girl's Show and Share Day. Grab a drink of choice and enjoy the many many links.


Textiles in White

My friend Jami at Freckled Laundry is having her first linky party!
I decided to join her air your laundry friday party using photos of items I have sewn for our home using white (or nearly white) textiles.
It has been crazy here with the new puppy and this is my first chance to post since last week. I also have way too many incomplete projects to finish and photograph. I am so happy the weekend is finally here!
Now for the tour of white textiles: 
On our entry cupboard is a little ruffled runner made from muslin.
The slipcovers with ruffled hem for the chairs in our family room are sewn from white denim. The ottoman cover is made from muslin but has since been washed several times and is a lot lighter in colour and has a loosely ruffled hem. I like it much better now. The pleated pillow is sewn from drop cloth fabric and the striped one from cotton.
I used more pleated drop cloth pillows in the living room.
And two white tone-on-tone patterned pillows (in our livingroom this past Christmas. I'm working on lots of changes in here too.)
In the dining room I sewed drapes from cotton sheeting fabric with thin tone on tone stripes. It was very affordable and the double width made them really full.
On the dining table is a ruffled table runner (below, on our previous dining set) sewn from moire 'waterspot' cotton left over from my wedding dress.
I made a slipcover from white denim for a little upholstered bench. It is currently in our living room. I'm finding that I really enjoy having pieces that can be used in more than one room in our home.
The windows in our family room and the kitchen patio doors are finally united by five white curtains made from linen tablecloths that only needed bottom hems.  
Finally, a super simple drop cloth bow on a Christmas wreath. I couldn't resist adding this one. Did you know that I can hardly wait to decorate for Christmas? I could easily skip right by Halloween. Don't hate me ;)
I hope you enjoyed seeing how I use white and off-white fabrics in our home. I have plans to add more white textiles to our home, especially in our bedroom and the guest bedroom.

Edited to add Dec.27/10: I'm also joining The Drop Cloth linky party at Cottage and Vine. 


Never Say Never

You wouldn't believe how many times I said we would never get a dog. Or all the reasons WHY we would never get a dog.
Meet our new puppy! Remington, Remi for short.
Our oldest son K, 13, has been seriously begging pleading asking for a dog for the last 8 years. He even got his younger brother J, who is a bit nervous of animals, on our case. As one of my older nieces said, Auntie Liz finally caved in.
They have shown their responsibility with the rabbit and 4-H. We have negotiated for 3 months. 
 Tuesday night we brought her home. She is a chocolate Lab, 13 weeks old.
 Very, very cute, and remarkably well behaved considering she has been with us only two days.
It was about time for me to lose some of my hang-ups. To live in the moment. To be a little bit more relaxed about grass clippings at the door. Puppy nose prints on the patio doors. Our boys are growing up way too fast and this is something we are fortunate enough to give them now. Next up, puppy obedience classes.

I'm sharing this older post with The Nester's Take a Risk link up. Some people may wonder why I chose getting a dog as a risk, but for us it was a big risk. She is a fairly significant money investment, and some days is a lot of work or planning when one or more of us would rather be doing something else. But the best part is that at now eight months, she has turned out to be worth the risk. What is your risk?


Buying and Selling Fun

I enjoy finding furniture at garage sales or on kijiji or craigslist for great prices. I have also been busy lately selling furniture that we no longer need.
In trying to define my decorating style I am selling the pieces that I don't LOVE in order to make room for furnishings that I love and that suit our family lifestyle. Selling them also gives us a bit of money to use for other pieces.

Author and decorator Lynette Jennings, in her book No Compromise Decorating, uses the example of sorting your furniture into three types, Love It!So-So... and Leave It. I have some real Love Its! that I would have a lot of trouble parting with. These are pieces that suit our home and design style, like the Mennonite pine harvest table and Windsor chairs we bought with wedding gift money. Great memories, quality construction and the right touch of rustic country style that we love. Or the heritage leather couch that I dreamed of for years and finally splurged on. The Love Its! are the foundation pieces of our home.

We also have some So-Sos... that are functional but that I am slowly replacing with things that better suit my design style. Sometimes So-Sos...can become Love Its! with a new slipcover or paint treatment.

Then there are the Leave Its., that unless they are totally necessary, are already gone. The pieces that have bad memories, or don't contribute to a good feeling for your room. I have been selling these So-Sos... and Leave Its. to make room for more Love Its!

I found this armoire for $75. It is solid pine, has four doors and lots of shelves for office supplies on the top and extra Tupperware in the bottom. I like having a taller weightier piece in this spot. I considered painting it, but love the rustic look of scrubbed pine and this is pretty close. An armoire like this can also be used in different spaces. It would work in our bedroom or basement guest suite just as easily. This is a Love It!

The armoire replaced this little antique secretary that I recently sold. I liked it but it didn't store enough and I never seemed to find the right spot for it. It was a So-So...

This weekend I listed and sold this wine cabinet in two hours for the same price I paid for it! Again, a nice piece, but not something that I loved.

Also this past weekend, we sold these IKEA three drawer dressers that we were using as nightstands. Totally functional but not my style and a bit too big. I want solid wood pieces with a more rustic look. The blue bed was something we didn't plan on selling right now, but my niece and her hubby offered us a leather headboard and stronger frame and we couldn't pass it up. So, this blue king bed has now sold (for the same price we paid for it 10 years ago!)

We found this set of solid pine dresser, mirror and two night tables from a local lady who was downsizing. She sold us all four pieces for $75. They will go in our bedroom and I hope to start painting them this week. She also gave us the old fashioned lamps, but I won't be using those.
(seller's home, above)

Last weekend I picked up these two little tables from a neighbour's garage sale for $5 for the pair. I forgot the before photo, but this is after the first coat. They will be just the right size for the tv room in the basement. I'll share the after photos when they are finished.
I have lots of painting to do but hopefully there will be some extra time after work this week. I'll post pictures as things are completed. I think a lot of us would decorate differently, or would replace many of our furnishings, with an unlimited budget. Since our budget is not unlimited, my goal is to continue to work towards living with furnishings that we love. Furnishings and things that suit our style, our family, and our budget.

Is there a piece of furniture in your home that you would be happier without? Is there a way to make it something you can live with, or a way to replace it?


Happy Thanksgiving and Fall Dining Room

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian blog friends and happy fall to everyone else. 
We are celebrating with a big Thanksgiving dinner hosted this year by my youngest sister and family. They live in our neighbourhood, two streets away. Our dad, our niece's family, my brother and his wife, who all live here in town, and my sister from Sudbury will be joining us. We are supplying mashed turnip, tons of hot mashed potatoes, buns and pies. I made the desserts, two pumpkin pies with whipped cream, and two blueberry no bake cheesecakes in graham wafer crusts. I also decided to make my usual lemon meringue using ready made graham crusts this year. Nothing fancy, just lots for everyone to enjoy.

Since we are not hosting dinner and I didn't make my pie crusts from scratch, I had enough time to add some Fall touches to our dining room. I made the simple little flannel quilt last year and used it as a table topper for fall colour and texture.

 The little pumpkin tureens were found at Pier 1 in clearance two years ago.

A friend gave me the two tier black stand as a gift for sewing for her. I like the textures of it filled with a faux berry wreath and pinecones. 

 Yummy colours!

 I will use pinecones all year in my decor, but I especially like them from Fall through Christmas and the end of winter. Ontario has so many beautiful trees, parks and forests and seeing these pinecones reminds me daily of many wonderful outdoor adventures.

Two crocheted tablecloths, ecru and white, found a spot on top of our china cabinet. I hope to find more pieces to add to my collection of vintage crochet and lace.

I placed a sweet little candle, that I received as a birthday gift from a friend at work, on a Fall coloured plate and nestled it with a small berry ring and mini Indian corn.

 A few small fall touches inside the china cabinet. I plan to replace the fake pumpkins with real minis.

 Another berry wreath on the cabinet knob, and a grubbied courting candle on the cabinet edge.

And once again, the Autumn stitching I made several years ago, and reframed, that hangs on an entry wall. I hope you enjoyed the little tour of some Fall fluffing at our home. 

I'm linking to Funky Junk Interiors' SNS. This week's special theme is window sill decor, but since the window sills are so wimpy in our builder home, I'm linking to home decor. Hope you join us over there.