Monday, June 08, 2015

Shiplap Wall {How we did it!}

I still cant believe I talked my husband into letting us do shiplap in our home. 

When I met him he already had his own design sence. Think lime green walls, bright white leather sofas, foosball tables, salt water fish tanks and giant flat screens connected to all the latest gaming contraptions.  

Think, every guys dream man cave.

When I suggested the idea of casual, textured, wooden shiplap to his clean line loving self, he didn't get it.

At first. 

Luckily for me, he is agreeable and loves a good project. 
So, a few weeks ago, we did what we do most weekends; we traveled the half an hour drive to our nearest Lowes and made friends with the employee in charge of their giant saw.

(Excuse the cell phone pictures to come in this post. When you diy by the seat of your pants the good camera is the last thing you remember to take out. )
This wasn't the first time we had meandered around the store trying to figure out what kind of paneling to utilize. This may have in fact been our fourth venture to this particular store. Love ya Hubby!

 Which just proves to all the shiplap lovers out there, that with some nagging and some loving prompting read more nagging and begging you too can make your rustic textured wall dreams come true.

After a lot of going back and forth between the types of wood we could use for this project, we ultimately used 1 by 8 sheets of utility board. I loved the texture on the wood and that it wasnt as smooth as MDF, it was also super affordable and was just the thickness I wanted for our boards. We then got the boards cut into 8 inch wide boards.

Then we got to work taking down our dining area plate wall while I challenged myself mentally to remember right where most plates had hung. Thank goodness for pictures though and the archives of this blog because most days I dont remember what I ate for breakfast. 


Once our plates were down my hunky hubby dragged all of the ply wood lengths into the house. Since our garage is less of a work space and more of a dumping ground for all the things. Sorry to all my neighbours who get a glimpse of it every once in a while when I cant remember the code for the automatic closing door. #sensingathemehere

PS: We may have also tried our luck with getting that helpful Lowes employee to cut more mdf for some upcoming projects that will happen soonish. Stay tuned!

Once the boards were indoors I sanded down the ouchie frayed edges and made a giant mess that would later get trampled upstairs and downstairs.  


Clearly I cant believe how many boards I will have to sand down. That face!

Once the boards were sanded to a smooth finish on all sides we started at the corner area of our wall and began attaching the boards from top to bottom.

To attach the boards we glued some adhesive to the back of them and then secured them with our nail gun.

For some reason we always seem to start our projects on what should be a lazy Sunday afternoon. Which means by 7pm hunky hubby has to rush to hockey practice with the boys. Since he is reliable like that.


Luckily we have helpful children that love to play camera man and who love to be involved in all of our diy projects. Think spreading adhesive on tables and dropping an entire box of cheerios on to the floor. No worries, they and the dog picked them up.

This is my attempt at cutting out pieces in the wood for around our outlets. It didnt need to be a perfect cut since the outlet cover would cover the cut lines. Thank goodness.

Yes Mom, I still have all my fingers.

We used a yard stick to keep our gaps between the boards the same and to ensure that all of our boards stayed even.

Once they were all up in place, I stepped back to survey our new feature wall.

And I was a smitten kitten.

It took me another few days to figure out if we should paint over this wooden wall. I guess I loved the texture of the wood and the grain of it, but ultimately, I puttied and painted and took some pretty pictures of our updated dining room.

Stay tuned for the ultimate reveal!!!! Coming in an upcoming post!!

Also, apparently victories are happening everywhere over here, because that racoon we were telling you about, you know, the one who was living in our attic? Yeah, well, she and her babies are out now. Out and living the dream in a near by forest. I'll leave that adventure for another post. You guys are going to want to see pictures of the cutie pattottie babies. All six of them!

And because I dont like to leave you guys hanging too long, and suprises arent my specialty you can see some sneak peeks of our shiplap wall on my Instagram.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Painting Tips

If you had of come over in the last few weeks you would have wondered if a tornado had gone through our home. 

We were still trucking away on our closet reno, our four year master bath reno, our board and batten ceiling in our kitchen, our shiplap wall, our roof redo and last years deck transformation. 


You could say we had a lot of work before us but I am excited to say that we worked non stop and now have 99.9% of the projects in our house finished. FINISHED.

I cant believe I just wrote that.

Oh yes, did I mention I painted our master bedroom twice recently too?

With all the projects on the go, and while living in a diy fixer upper for almost five years we have learned a lot.

Most recently I have been painting all of the indoor spaces I mentioned above and in five years have touched every square inch of this big ole house with my hand dandy used and abused paint brush.

I thought I would take a quick break from all things paint related and mess and share with you what my top three painting suggestions are.


1. Do not throw out your old sheets, you will need to re purpose them as drop cloths. If you have tossed them already then go ahead and purchase half a dozen sheets from your local thrift store. Use them as drop cloths while painting your home. Keep them in a special place in your home and just throw them down when painting your spaces. These sheets usually will put you back .99 - $1.99 and are well worth it. You can throw them in the washing machine when you are done and you can reuse them for years. If you come across a sheet that is a bottom one and has elastic in it, grab that too. I find those to be so useful if you are painting furniture in your home especially. Simply turn it inside out and put a paint can or something heavy in the corners to stretch it out and put your piece of furniture in the middle of the sheet. The lifted corners of your sheet will contain the droplets of paint from flying up and around your living space. I also love crib sheets for this same reason. They can also be used to cover soft fabric items when you are painting a furnished room and some are the perfect size to cover a dresser or a small kitchen island, like in our case. :)

2.  Plastic ziplock bags will be your best friend when you are painting. We hardly every purchase plastic bags because I prefer to reuse containers around here, but when painting and painting a lot, those little ziplock bags will be worth the expense! By placing a paint brush into a bag and sealing it shut and laying it flat, you can afford to get distracted by the kids and take the dog for a walk while in the middle of a painting project. If you are redoing an entire home like we have, plastic baggies will save you from purchasing new paint brushes on the daily. If you are doing bigger projects that need multiple coats of paint, take your sealed paint brush that is zipped up into your plastic baggy and push all the extra air bubbles out, smooth your brush bristles inside the bag until they are nice and flat and put inside your refrigerator. You can simply come back to your paint brush in a few days when work is done, when the kids dont need you and when you can give your painting your full attention. Think of all the money you will save on buying new paintbrushes!

3. Keep an old box handy and use it as a spill proof tray when you are tackling a painting project. Keep your paint can and messy brushes inside of the cardboard box at all times. Your carpet and hardwood will thank you. Say goodbye to splattered paint and flicked droplets, that cardboard box will keep things neat and tidy for even the messiest painter. If you get drips of paint down your paint can? Who cares, your tray will save you. If you need to move from one spot to the next when you are painting an entire room? Simply move your tray along with the inside of your foot. You will feel like a soccer star and you will have a mess free work space!

These are my top three painting tips that I use every time I take on a project. Except for that one time when I wanted to spray paint a giant desk in my teenage bedroom and my weakling arms couldn't take it out of my bedroom so I just spray painted it, and everything around it, including my brand new carpet. It all ended up a beautiful shade of hot pink. SORRY DAD!

IF you want to save yourself a lot of spills and paint mishaps, try following these easy steps that take seconds more to follow. From my experience, kids, life and pets have a way of messing up painting projects and these three quick tips are sure to help you. I wish I had of known to use the cardboard box as a tray when I was painting a console white in our living room. Our dog knocked over an entire can of white paint on to our tan carpet and my father in law saved the day with his steam cleaner and half a dozen roll of paper towel. #travesty

For an environmentally conscious gal like myself, I love using items I already have on hand, to avoid using items like paper towel and extra cleaning products. It feels good to re purpose things like old sheets and cardboard boxes instead of tossing them out too. :)

I hope these tips help you out and save you from making some costly mistakes when refreshing your space! If you have any painting tips of your own, I would love to hear them!

Now, back to completing the last .1% of our home projects. I cant even believe we have gotten that 99.9% off of our to do list completed in the last few weeks! 

I cant wait to show you our progress and to share some super exciting news with you shortly. Hope you all are enjoying your Monday!

Happy DIY-ing!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mothers Day to all the Mamas

When I was a little girl I had lopsided pigtails, haphazard bangs, gappy teeth, bruised knees, a slip that never hid beneath the dresses I had to wear and a mother who only saw beauty and who loved me fully and entirely.

She was the mother who woke up before her six children. She would pray for us in the early hours of the morning, make our lunches, lay out our clothing and rub our backs awake. She was the kind of mom who hand made gifts for our school friends birthdays, the one who baked bread and sweets and the one who was always home. She was a staple at our bustling house. 

To me, home meant Mom and mom meant home.

She was the one who brushed out hair tangles, orchestrated bath times, the one who volunteered at school, the one who sewed new clothing, the one who listened to bed time worries and dreams and the one that got the brunt of the teenage years. 

I clearly recall my mother waiting on our front porch for me to come home when I tried my feeble hand at being a rebellious teenager. She was the one that checked to make sure empty beds were filled before retiring to sleep, the one that eavesdropped for the betterment of her children and the one who rarely had to speak her disappointment or her disapproval. All she had to do was give me a look of dismay and I knew. I KNEW, in that one look that if I had disappointed her, the one that loved unconditionally and wholly, then I would soon disappoint myself. 

On the other hand, she was always the first to cheer her children on, the one who sang the biggest praises and the one who could make a little girl with a bad haircut and a love for dirt under her fingernails feel like a million bucks.
Ultimately, the Mom I had growing up, is the kind of Mother I want to be for my future teenagers and my own children, now.

The one with the heart and the arms wide open.

I also want to be the one that makes every birthday cake - no matter what the request, the one who decorates on birthday mornings with streamers and balloons, the one who sneaks love notes into crammed lunch boxes, who kisses goodbye, who laughs with abandon, who slaves over stoves, who encourages continually and who offers a wink or a hug which makes the world suddenly a better place.

My mother is one of the greatest people I have ever known and is by far the most patient and loving human I have ever been given the opportunity of loving. She is sugary sweet, unwaveringly kind, deeply creative, a Jill of all trades and the woman I most admire. And I am reminded daily that knowing her has enriched my life in countless, unmeasurable ways.

Today I hoped to mention her just a little bit - here. Today I hoped sharing a few lines about her would encourage all of the tired Mamas out there. Today, on Mothers Day, we celebrate mothers everywhere; the ones who have been, the ones that hope to be and the ones that raised us with sweat, tears and beautiful stamina. Today is for her and for YOU.

Today I will squeeze my mother and I will tell her that I love her and yet I will never be able to adequately explain how much her love and life have changed me. I only hope that as my face changes and mirrors her own that my actions and love for others will slowly transform and emulate her constant selfless love as well.

"Here is to all the strong women
May we know them,
May we be them,
May we raise them."

 May everyone who has ever had a mother, feel loved by her in your heart, today and always. May all of us who are Mothers love and care for the children in our lives the way that we always hoped to care. May all of us who have loved and lost feel a special love today and may all of us who are waiting to become Mothers feel enormous peace for the things that are to come. 

Happy Mothers Day to all of the Mamas out there. Many blessings to you on your special day.

Photos used in this post courtesy of Red Suitcase Photography

Friday, May 01, 2015

Shiplap Obsessed {Modern panelling for the wood enthusiast.}

I began to fall in love with all things wood paneling when I was a small child and my family and I lived in what looked like a cottage in the heart of our city.

Picture rough barn wood bedroom doors, wood beamed ceilings, barn board chair rail, board and batten and pretty wood overload. It was scratchy and gorgeous and I have never forgotten how warm and cozy a room feels when it is filled with natural wood elements.

Fast forward to 2014 and to the first time I caught a glimpse of the farmhouse chic designs by Joanna Gains. 

My full out wood paneling obsession was blown out of control because of her.

Check it out for yourself..

Shabby Chic Living Room by Waco Design-Build Firms Magnolia Homes

Here is her farmhouse living room. I just love the painted shiplap on her walls!


I don't think I am the only one smitten with planking and wood paneling though.

 So many in the design world love the trending wall treatments and since it is Friday and I like to celebrate end of the week with pretty things, (since I am a Mom and Friday means nothing) If you are going to be along with me and in your pajamas by 7pm tonight, I thought I would offer you some pretty eye candy in the form of all different types of shiplap. Feel free to oogle over this prettiness while you watch netflix tonight and indulge in a deserved glass of wine.

Farmhouse Living Room by Boise Interior Designers & Decorators Judith Balis Interiors

Left natural, painted white or painted dark and moody, on the walls, on the ceiling, on every square inch, whatever the case, whatever the style, I love the addition of shiplap! I cant wait to show you our dining room and to share with you our very own version of shiplap. 

Until then....
Check out the hashtag #shiplap and fall head over in heals with all things awesome-sauce and feel free to comment on these inquiries so we can get to know each other better:

Which of these pretty rooms is your favorite? Would you paint shiplap or leave it bare? Do you prefer is glossy white or cozy dark? Would you ever install this kind of wood treatment in your home? Do share, I would love to hear what YOU love!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Closet Reno Update {and a family moving in.}

Remember how I told you three months ago that we were busy working on our master closet makeover? 

Yeah, well....this little lady had other plans.

Meet, Chelsea.

After a family discussion, we decided to name her so that we could stop referring to the little vermin as "the little vermin" "that pesky raccoon"and, my personal favorite, "the evil-sounding-garbage-rooting-attic-destroying-nest-making fugitive."

You see, a few weeks ago we heard a commotion that sounded much like a three year old doing gymnastics in our attic. It turns out that Chelsea, large with child/children, had been strolling by our home one evening, minding her own business until she suddenly went into labor. She must have looked left and right and decided that we were the family whose lives she wanted to make exciting, whose sleep she wanted to disturb, whose attic she wanted to destroy, and whose closet reno she wanted to put on hold. 

So, she did what all nocturnal pregnant fugitives do and she scaled our brick home with ease and simply busted out the metal flashing of our roof and then climbed in safe and sound. She wasted no time making a huge commotion/ building herself a nest and then loudly birthed, what sounds like, half a dozen little hissing baby raccoons.

What does this have to do with our closet reno you ask??

Well, let me explain.

We have attic access through our master closet and through a weird little opening on our daughters bedroom wall. (See above) This unsightly access point is typically disguised with a giant painted canvas, by the way. 'Cause we are sly like that.

Since we took pity on the new Mama, we wanted to give her a few days to recover from her loud and seemingly traumatic birth experience, so we let her rest up for a bit.

But then, Chelsea started leaving her babies unattended in our house and going out on the town in the evenings. 

Now, Im not one to judge a new mother, but I mean, between you and me, she is only making messes around here and keeping everyone up at night, so it was quickly decided that we needed to give Chelsea some eviction papers. 

We believe in treating animals with love and respect so first we decided to try to catch Chelsea with dog treats inside an enticing cage we borrowed from friends. But, Chelsea and her squealing babies have a developed pallet and she prefers to pick up dinner when she goes out on the town each night, from our wet garbage can that lives at the side of our house. 

Im assuming she loved those pizza crusts from the weekend and that quinoa salad my children refused to eat.  

Chelsea is cool like that. 

She doesn't discriminate against the food I make. She simply climbs into the city authorized bins (our city of Guelph has a bin garbage system where we separate our waste products from our recyclables and our other garbage.) and fetches whatever deliciousness she can carry back to her hissing sweethearts.

Since our closet reno is completely destroyed due to the shelving coming down to make our raccoon sighting, attic access and cage checking easier....I have no pretty closet pictures to show you.

Though that pic above I am pretty proud of. ;) 

I read that racoons dont like loud music and lighting, they prefer darkness and quiet since it allows them to sleep during the day time, but, you know what they say about payback, right? It can be bad. Today Chelsea and her sweet hissing hooligans are getting payback for keeping me up for a week straight. Nothing crazy, except for some bright lights and  some slipped in speakers that are currently blaring house music so loudly that I guarantee we may get noise complaints.

Your mat leave is up little lady. 

It is time to pack it up and out and leave as swiftly as possible. 

Im crossing my fingers that she will get the hint that she is not welcome anymore. If not, we are going to be the unfortunate family that has to pay the big bucks for a racoons maternity stay in their unsuspecting attic. 

Which for some reason has me remembering these lyrics:

"If there's something strange
in your neighborhood

Who you gonna call?
Ghostbusters! Racoon-busters!
If there's something weird
and it don't look good

Who you gonna call?
Ghostbusters! Racoon-busters!"

Since our closet reno isn't happening for awhile and because this loud music really puts a kick in ones step, I have decided to beautify our dining room while we wait for pest control to call us back.

If you follow me on Pinterest then you know I am obsessed with all things molding. After we added trim work to our upstairs family room, I have been itching to add molding in other parts of our home. 

Well now we have the chance!!


I cant wait to show you what we are up to!  

And this poor baby dog cant wait for animal control to call us back as she is as restless as Chelsea and her babies.

In the mean time, we will be working in our dining room, but if you have any advice on how to politely remove creatures from ones attic, PLEASE dont hesitate to pass on your advice in the comments.

I will love you forever and ever and ever and ever and ever....

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Too easy slowcooker lasagna recipe {Now a believer!}

Once upon a time I fell in love with my crock pot slowcooker and all seemed right with the world. 

We were happy and in love and our relationship was perfect in every way. We both would give and take appropriately and we were mindful to keep our expectations reasonable for eachother and above all we had an undeniable bond.

I knew that if my family wanted a nice moist roast or a lovely soup, all I had to do was give my beloved crockpot the ingredients and it would in turn love us back by connecting flavors together and serving up hot and delicious meals.

Everything was right in the world, until, one fateful day, I discovered that my crock pot was actually not living up to its full potential. Potentially, it was ripping us off from Italian cuisine and when I found out, I was not very pleased.

You see, I discovered that other ordinary crockpots were creating complicated Italian meals with minimal work and maximum flavor.  

But, mine was not.

My lasagna loving heart could not believe it. 

How could I have been so blind???

I was certain, after hearing about this crock pot recipe that every full fledged Italian everywhere was disgusted with the thought of giving a crock pot the complicated responsibility of cooking up Sunday dinner. I know I was at first too, but along with being astounded and perplexed I was also very very INTERESTED.

If all these other crockpots and slowcookers could create delectable Sunday dinners then I was certain mine could learn to as well. I knew our relationship would grow stronger because of it, but I still was not convinced.

As with any good relationship, I realized I had to trust my beloved crockpot and give it opportunities to prove its depth and care for us. So, as any devils advocate would do, I set out to prove that a classic, beloved Italian dish could in fact, not be cooked correctly in a crock pot and that all the braggers and doers were in fact fibbing.

BUT, I turned out to be more then pleasantly surprised. 

Here is the quick story on how my bond with my crock pot grew deeper and stronger and overflowing with trust by combining a few ingredients and walking away for four+ hours.

First gather your ingredients. You will need ready to cook lasagna noodles, tomato sauce, one egg, ricotta cheese, a clove of garlic and approximately five cups of baby spinach.

I used these delicious brands:
To make your easy slow cooker lasagna, do this:

 Pour pasta sauce on the bottom of your slow cooker
Place ready to cook lasagna noodles on top. Break accordingly so they make a good fit.
Pour more sauce on
Layer noodles
Mix one egg in with your ricotta cheese and add a clove of smashed garlic to your 
mixture and spread on top

Pour more sauce on
Layer noodle
Pour more sauce on and add your five cups of baby spinach

Layer noodle
Pour more sauce on
Layer noodle and add sauce and mozzarella cheese on top to finish it off.

 It will look like this when it is done.

Keep covered and cook on high for four hours.

When a knife can easily cut through your lasagna uncover and cook on high for one more hour (If you prefer your lasagna more al dente then cook for less time. Slow cookers vary in strength.

All your excess moisture will evaportate during that last hour of cooking. Also, your home is going to smell divine.

Serve your lasagna but first make sure to give your reliable crock pot a big fat smooch.

If you're Italian, or wish to be, try giving it a big smooch on either side of its adorable little self and remember not to tell Nona how it was cooked so effortlessly.

 Sit back and enjoy a million compliments from your family and friends and pretend you slaved for hours over a hot stove.

Just don't tell your beloved slowcooker that you didn't give it full credit.

Happy Cooking!

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