Free coffee printable... and a personal note

Ugh. January 28. I hate January 28.

Today is the third year anniversary of my sister's death. We lost her in 2013 after a horrible, long, painful and heart wrenching battler with cancer.

I. hate. that. disease.

However, when I think of my sister - Tanya - the images that come to mind aren't the long days filled with pain, medication and sorrow. They are the happy times. And I am so thankful that they flood my memory and push the painful ones to the far, far recesses.

My sister was so, so sweet. She loved everything and everyone. She'd buy gift cards and flowers "just because". She'd call "just to say hi". She lived her life simply and her heart was filled with good.

So. Much. Good.

I miss her every day single day. I miss all the little things. The way she'd smile at me. Driving together in the car. Going to Starbucks. Sipping coffee. She sure loved her coffee. One of the many things we had in common.

My sister was plain and simply, lovely.

So, to mark this day and remember her in a 'beautiful' way as we approach the month/season of love, I made a little printable. I love printables and use them as decor all over my home. This one will take a special place on my kitchen counter, next to the coffee pot where I can see it each day.

Feel free to download one yourself here - just follow the link, download to your computer and print on a colour copier.

For all you coffee lovers out there. xo.

Tanya and I at my bridal shower in 2006.
UPDATE: Here it is all framed and pretty!

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Be our guest!

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a great weekend. Ours was nice - full of running errands, play dates and visits. Just the way I like it :)

You may recall from my "settling in" update a few months after we moved, that our spare room was this hot mess.

Well, I'm happy to report that... well, it still looks like this. Okay, so maybe I'm not so happy to report that...

BUT - we have a plan! Or (more accurately), it's a "we-have-family-coming-from-England-this-Spring-and-I-will-not-subject-them-to-the-room-in-this-state-so-did-something-about-it-PLAN".

After some thinking and browsing I came up with a direction for our guest room. I wanted it to be calming and inviting. I also wanted to use our existing dressers and bed since we already own those.  So, I set off in search of things that could make my vision happen.

I whipped up a mood board this weekend and thought I'd share!

1 - curtains: I loved these ones for their calming grey and blue pattern. I also thought these colours complimented the birch toned Ikea dressers that we already own. A dark curtain rod will play nicely (good curtain rod) with our existing headboard and the light fixture hardware/details.

2 - light fixture: so much prettier than our 1990's boob light. Just so much prettier... And softer. And prettier. And nicer. And prettier.

3 - Art: not this one necessarily but something photographic, abstract or painted that has colours tying the room elements together.

4 - bedding: Yes please! This was the first thing I chose  for the room and then picked the others items to compliment. I loved the pattern, the colour and the price. Score.

5 - our existing Ikea Malm dressers. We have two back from the days of Chace's nursery (sniff). I'd like to update the dresser by doing little leather pulls in white (similar to the inspiration photo in the circle)

6 - bedside table: something like this one perhaps?

7 - paint. I plan on painting a light grey or blue shade.

I haven't purchased any of these items yet but this is my plan! And in the wise words of Mike Tyson (according to my google search) "Everyone has a plan 'till they get punched in the mouth." So, let's hope I don't get punched in the mouth. At least not before I can make this happen. And then after that too. Why would anyone want to get punched in the mouth?

Have a punch-free Monday everyone.

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corralling the clutter

I'm sure most of us can sympathize recognize this...

The inevitable stack-o-papers-on-the-counter that comes with school, kids, running a household etc. The papers seem to come in faster then they go out (5, 10, 15 a day!) yet some just have to stick around for reference, information or sentimental reasons. 


I. hate. clutter. 


So, I organized. Awhhh yeah! My favourite word (oh wait, there is "wine" and "coffee" in the dictionary too). Okay, so maybe my third favourite word. Anyway, now the pile-o-clutter looks like this.


To achieve this calmness, I first separated the stack-o-chaos into piles. The point of this was to see what categories I could lump them into.

I came up with:
1) "Reference" (for things like recycling schedules, Chace's school notices etc)
2) "For Review" (notices about programs I may want to check out, forms I have to read still etc)
3) "Action Required" (forms I need to fill out such as book order forms, field trip forms etc) and
4) "Projects" (ALL the paperwork that comes home from Chace's day - spelling, art, poems etc.).

A note about the "projects" folder: when that folder gets full I take the paperwork up to our office where it gets placed in a larger box. Once a year I go through the box and save the best pieces or my/Chace's favourites. I recycle the rest (will he miss a piece of paper with an orange crayon line across it when he's 20?). In the end I am left with one large manilla envelope for each year filled with all of the papers I've kept for that period. 

Then, I bought the Ikea Kvissle magazine rack to corral my piles. This unit was perfect because it was a) sturdy since it's metal, b) customizable - you can use only one or all five (I used four as mentioned), c) inexpensive - who doesn't love that? And d) white - clean and pretty - my fave. Also, since it's metal you can attach things to it using magnets too if desired.

The file compartments attach together easily by simply sliding in and latching together in the back.

I used these Martha Stewart adhesive metal bookplates to label my files, but from what I've heard they are hard to get now or discontinued. I don't know why though because they are awesome! To print the words, I used my label maker (aka my third arm).

To attach the file system to the tile backsplash I simply propped it up and used a few 3M Command picture hanging strips to keep it in place.

Tucked in beside the fridge, I now have a tidy, clutter free system that helps keep me organized.

Do you have any tips and tricks for keeping clutter at bay?  I've been using this system for awhile now and LOVE it.

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Decorating inbetween holidays

If anyone is like me, once you remove all of your Christmas decor your house can look kind of bare. As nice as it is to have a fresh clean slate for the new year, the emptiness can leave your space feeling a bit drab and uninviting.

And, since it's not quite time to decorate for Valentine's Day, how do you show your house some love? Get it, love, Valentine's Day… oy.

I like to decorate minimally with natural elements and fresh greens (shades and plants/flowers). Here is an example of what I did with our entrance one all the Christmas hub-bub was packed up for the year.

This table is set up right off our entry as you head down the hall towards our kitchen/family room. It is one of the first areas you see as you come in so I like to have it styled in some way to welcome people.

Plus, let's be honest, I just like doing it. Seriously, it has me like…


Dancing aside (can you call that dancing?) here is a closer look at what I have going on.

The beer growlers are a nod back to the city where we used to live. Craft breweries are becoming increasingly popular out here (and everywhere I think) so when we moved to a different city good friends of ours gifted ChefKev with these for his birthday. Man loves his beer and this place is SO good. I love having them out on display. Plus, I covet (read: secretly pet and rub my face on) the rustic feel and the colours. I smudged out some of the details so that not everyone in the whole wide interweb knows where we live.

Beside these, I have three little potted plants which are actually left over from my Christmas table. I went for a rustic, wintery natural theme and found these little guys at a local grocery store. They had small red and white scarves tied around the neck of each mason jar and small wooden Christmas shapes (tree, reindeer etc) tied to the necks as well. I simply removed those Christmas elements to use them here.

Just past that is a tea light candle holder in the shape of a log.

I love the mercury glass vibe that it is loggin' rockin'.

Moving along we have a decorative lantern and art print.

I swap out art for each season in this frame. I display it by simply propping the frame up in this corner and securing the top with a 3M Command picture hanging strip (obsessed, I use these EVERYWHERE) to prevent it from sliding down (just for extra security).

I usually just hit up Pinterest and search "free printables". That is where I found this one. I can't seem to  locate it again though to sight a source. Argh.

I've had this lantern for years. Currently there is a bark candle in it that has long since been used up. However, I love the sparkly bark exterior so just place a battery operated tea light in it to give the illusion of a flickering flame. It creates a similar glow so it works!

Hanging beside it all is my porthole mirror. I found it last year at Homesense.

I'm obsessed with the finish. All rustic and patina-like. Meow.

And last but not least, the bottom shelf holds a wicker basket which is a catch-all for keys, sunglasses, gum etc. Beside that is a small growler know as a Boston… but I prefer to call it a Lady Growler since it's lady sized. Keepin' it classy.

Do any of you change your decor to something neutral between holidays? Anyone else do a happy dance when decorating. Oh the looks from Chace and Chef Kev… and the side-eye from Belle (our dog)… but they love me anyway.

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Playing around in the playroom

Over the Christmas break I did a few much needed updates to Chace's playroom. The room served its purpose but was lacking a bit lot in the functionality and storage departments.

As you enter the playroom, you are greeted by this little guy.

You can also see Chace's ode to his love of all things Minion on the door as well.

But, back to this guy. He's a clay pirate that Chace made at his fourth birthday party. We held his party at a kids art studio - the girls made fairies and the boys made pirates. I still love this little creation.

Years ago, I framed him. I didn't use the glass though since he's three dimensional.

Okay, so now we are in the playroom. Back in the Fall I shared some photos snapped as we were settling in. At that point, the room looked like this…

Although not drastic I've made some fun changes and now the same view looks like this.

Most notably I've added a lamp. The room is SO dark and upgrading the overhead light is on our hit wish list. I also added some bookshelves to create a defined little reading area.

Eventually we will upgrade the peeling faux leather chair but for now, our 6-year-old client isn't too picky. Plus, it's fun finding little bits of pleather all over the house. Not annoying at all.

I love the lamp (this one from Ikea). I think the over-scaled design of it is perfect for a playroom. It screams "hey, I'm a desk lamp that ate my Wheaties and look at me now". Or something to that effect. Either way, I find the overexagerated scale of it has a comical, animated feel. Plus, it has a foot on/off switch which is super easy for Chace to operate.

The book ledges are the same ones that I used in Chace's old closet nook (see it here). They are actually picture ledges and are these ones from Ikea.  Picture ledges are such an easy solution for showcasing books. Plus, Chace always gravitates to the books that I front face on them so I know he appreciates it too!

Next to this area I have Chace's easel and toy bins from his old bedroom.

The bins used to be a catch-all for all things random but now they are dedicated to art supplies and creating. The easel came with cloth baskets that fit along the top rung but they were constantly tipping, were hard to access and blocked the blue ones on the bottom. So, they had to go.

Chace wandered in and wanted to help me label the bins. Kid after my label maker loving heart I tell ya.

Turning around and looking back towards the door, the playroom looks like this.

Opening those closet doors in the Fall would have you staring at this (avert your eyes)!

But now it looks like this…

Thanks to some Ikea bins and a lot of sorting, all toys are now organized and labelled. I also took this opportunity to purge a lot of the toys that Chace is no longer using/has grown out of. And the top shelf (which he can't reach of course so it's useless to him) holds adult games.

Overall the room feels much better now. Recalling our wish list from this post you can see that there is still much to do, but at least there are a few things crossed off. And it will all come in time.

  • shelf supports ( am crossing this off as after living with the shelves piled with things for months, supports don't appear to be needed - read, no sagging and/or pulling)
  • organize closet
  • lamp
  • window treatment
  • paint?
  • decor/art
  • new chair
  • toy storage and systems (I may still add to this but not high on our priority list right now)
  • art display area
  • new door hardware

Anyone else do some organizing over the break? January always makes me want to whip our house into order :).

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And to (desk) top it all off...

Hello friends! Happy New Year! I hope you all had a lovely holiday and are refreshed and ready to tackle 2016. I know I am.

When I last left you in the office it was looking like this…

Inspiring no?


At the same time I also shared a vision board and floor plan (direction) for our little "bonus room" to be turned office/games/extra guest room. You can find more details here if you'd like to read more about that.

The vision...

The plan...

First on our agenda was completing our custom made double desk along the back wall. I was inspired by desks like the ones below and thought something like them could really work for us.

I am happy to report that we got to gettin' and have made some progress. It now looks like this!

We have yet to stain the top (obvs) but let me share how we got this far. 

First, Chef Kev assembled the four bases. All are from the Ikea Alex line. The two end units are these and the two middle ones are these

Lucky for us, one of Chef Kev's buddies is a carpenter. Score! So naturally I turned to him and begged/pleaded asked nicely if he could help us out. Other than giving him the dimensions and showing him some images of what I had in mind, I stayed out of his way. He's the pro after all.

Adam (the buddy) brought the desk top over in two pieces (she's a biggin'). And she's oak (well a veneer anyway) for those wondering.

To join the pieces together he used a biscuit joint system along with some hardware which secured the two pieces together on the underside.

Here's a close up of the biscuit.

And here's a close up of the actual biscuit that is relevant to this post. 

Adam flipped the desk top over and got ready to join the two pieces together.

I was in and out of the room as he worked on this getting my little guy ready for bed (and trying not to be an annoying hoverer) but from what I saw, he joined these two parts by using some wood glue and sliding them together.

Oh, and incase you are wondering what the middle darker piece is, it's a really cool textural detail that he added, which I will show more of later. 

Then he secured the two pieces further with a piece of hardware known as a countertop connector. News to me. I had never seen anything like this. Cool. 

Then he flipped the whole shebang over.

See the cool middle piece? Doesn't it add a neat detail? I can't wait to stain it and really bring out the different grains there.

As well, you can see in the above photo that Adam used a spacer piece and raised the desk top up versus placing it directly on the cabinets. That's because I had asked for the top to look thick (have some weight to it which balanced the look of the desk against the cabinets) versus it being thin. To create this effect, Adam attached a front strip around the whole top. It makes it look more substantial and offers a nice finished edge too. Win-win!

Here's a shot of the desk from the underside so that you can see the front lip and how it all relates a bit better…

Then, Adam secured the top to the cabinets by drilling up through the inside of the cabinets into the underside of the wood.

Next, he added some holes for our computer cords. We found the placement we liked the best and Adam used a circle drill bit to make the holes.

We chose dark desk grommets since we'll be staining the top dark.

One of my favourite parts is that we were able to (pretty much) hide all of our cords! Adam drilled and cut a few holes and openings into the one of the end units.

And now we have a place to hide all our cords, the power bar and internet equipment (except for one piece that needs to be kept on the desk top for proper reception).

I know that this looks messy inside but it was explained to me to leave the wires loose versus tying them up neat and tidy. The tighter they are, the hotter they become. Since it's not necessary to have them bound, I let them hang out to play with each other. Loosey goosey.

Now you see it…

Now you don't!

Once again, here is where we are sitting (literally) now…

I will clean up that loose white cord on the right so it's not so noticeable.

And here's a better shot of the cool middle detail. It was so unexpected and I love it.

Next stop - staining. I can't wait!

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