30 June 2014

find it: red and white summer home

Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian friends, and early Independence Day to my neighbours across the border. And to all in the northern hemisphere, hope you are enjoying a lovely and restful summer. Doesn't red and white just give you that feeling of long, hot summer days? I can smell the barbeque just thinking of it.

In the spirit of dog day summer, I've compiled a list over on Etsy of red, white and summer-ey goodies to refresh your home. Hope you get inspired. Have a great week everyone.

vintage red and white chair for the porch or cottage
red, white and summer Etsy list

27 June 2014

find it friday: eco-chic summer entertaining

I can't believe we are already heading into long weekend time when true outdoor summer entertaining season begins! I love backyard dinners and cocktails, so I rounded up a few eco-friendly essentials for setting an outdoor table this summer.
eco-friendly products for outdoor table setting

1. First, you'll need to head to the farmers market to pick up fresh fruits, veggies, goodies and flowers - and you can carry them in this reusable and collapsible bag from Blue Avocado.

2. These cute kraft paper toppers from CatchSomeRaes would make lovely place markers.

3. Candles outside in the evening are a must - but make sure they are all-natural and not emitting nasty chemicals around your guests or the food. These pure beeswax ones from Noble Beeswax Candles are wonderful.

4. I love the simple yet elegant tablecloths and runners from Bambeco.

5. These upcycled drinking glasses by Wine Punts that are made from the bottoms of wine bottles are brilliant.

6. Cloth napkins up the game, and they also help save trees. These organic cotton versions with frayed edges by Simple is Pretty Shop are beautiful.

7. Why not create a natural centrepiece by using herbs that guests can snip off and use during the meal? Photo credit via GH. Aged terracotta pots available from OliverandRust.

8. These gorgeous hand painted ceramic bowls from Provisions are perfect for finishing off the evening with ice cream!

25 June 2014

spotlight on: patterned wood floors

Reclaimed wood is so beautiful and I'm so glad it's really trendy right now, because it's a great way to be sustainable when renovating or building a home. Reclaimed wood floors are also lovely because they add character and are durable. If you're looking for that wow factor for your flooring, getting to know the difference in patterns, and then spending some time handcrafting and laying the reclaimed wood in a patterned design is the way to go.

understanding patterned wood floors
An interesting look is the herringbone pattern; it reminds me of the villas in Italy I saw when visiting a few years ago. With equal sized planks laid with the straight edges butting together, it creates a long zig-zag that looks great in a large space to make it feel even larger. It's harder to pull off in a small room though, as it can make it feel to busy and cramped.

reclaimed wood patterned floors

herringbone floors in kitchen

gray-stained herringbone floors
Then there's the chevron pattern, where the planks are cut at a diagonal. This makes a more pronounced and straight-lined zig zag. Both the herringone and chevron pattern do create more waste than simply laying straight planks, so be conscious of this if thinking about doing it throughout your whole home. Or perhaps use the waste for an art project?

chevorn floor from reclaimed wood

modern rustic chevron wood floor
Parquet is technically a floor composed of short strips or blocks of wood forming a pattern, with inlays of other wood or materials. So while it could describe many different patterns including chevron and herringbone, when I think of parquet I think of the classic box shapes. I like this traditional look, which can be updated by staining or whitewashing. The sky is the the limit with parquet patterns, and it really is an art to show off.

dark stained parquet floors

large box parquet flooring

Another option for hardwood floors is to break it up so that the directions are switched between spaces. Not something I usallly recommend as it will break up the flow of a small home, but in a grand space it looks kinda neat.

wood flooring laid in different directions

By far my favourite is reclaimed wood plank flooring laid in a rustic and mismatched way. It's just so natural, simple and elegant at the same time.

modern rustic reclaimed wood floor

reclaimed wood plank flooring in ktichen

rustic wood flooring
Which is your favourite?

22 June 2014

DIY hammock ideas for summer

Happy first weekend of Summer! I adore summer here in Canada and look forward each year to going back home to New Brunswick on the East Coast to get some R'nR. What better way to do that by laying outdoors in a hammock or swingbed and reading a great summer book?

Here are some neat ideas for making your own DIY hammock or swingbed from material, rope, canvas or wood poles or pallets.

Dad, get your tools ready for when I visit...

DIY hammocks and swing beds

homemade hammock

crochet hammock DIY

DIY outdoor swing bed
DiY canvas hammock

DIY outdoor daybed

diy wood swing bed

And check out these resources for handmaking a hammock and for properly hanging a hammock.

Enjoy the summer!

16 June 2014

exterior home paint options

Friends of mine in Calgary have asked for help in choosing a paint colour for the exterior trim and front door of their oh-so-cute little bungalow. Two years ago they refreshed the interior on a budget, but with big impact (check out the before and afters here). After getting married last year and now expecting a baby any day, I'm sure they won't want to take on a project that's too big, but they still want to improve curb appeal.

Currently their stucco is an off-white with white trim and a burgundy door. They have been thinking about painting the trim either gray, soft green or navy blue, but want an opinion. Rightly so, since it's difficult to pick exterior paint colours, and you need to take your time and examine patches in different light.

One thing - be sure to choose an eco and health-friendly paint. CIL make a no-VOC exterior paint that resists cracking, peeling, painting and mildew. My friends will want to go with a healthy option like this with a new baby at home.

Here are some colour options I would recommend:

1. Choose a pewter gray for the trim like CIL Fine Silver, and make the door a more vibrant red, such as CIL Old Glory. I really like this crisp cottage feel - it's my fave... I think...so many good combos below...

white house red door gray trim
 2. Try a darker gray for the trim and a deeper charcoal of the same family for the door.

slate gray door white house
Here's another example of deep charcoal gray for both doors and trim.

white stucco house trim colour
 3. A variation on the white/gray theme would be to keep the trim white, but add light gray window boxes below the windows, and paint the door brown for a wood look.

white brick gray window boxes
nest egg - good exterior painting tips here

4. I like their idea of a soft green trim, and would err on the side of a mossy gray-green. This example with a wooden door is wonderful, but a red or yellow door would work well here too.

Another variation of this would be to also paint the door in the same mossy green, only a couple of shades deeper. 

5. If they wanted to try the navy blue for a bolder look, pairing with a yellow door is a really cute option. 

white painted brick house yellow door
6. Now, if they wanted to get crazy and take on a little more work, they could keep the trim white and paint the stucco for a whole new colour palette. Here are a few options that would look nice for their style home. 

gray house yellow door

source - lots of painted brick exterior colour options here

Which is your favourite? 

13 June 2014

find it friday: affordable summer art

Happy Friday all. Don't you just love early summer weekends? Everything smells fresh, birds are singing, the grass is green and flowers are growing like crazy. I love going for evening walks and seeing how the neighborhood gardens have grown seemingly overnight!

I know there's still one more week to the offical start of summer, but in celebration of the season, I've curated a list of summery prints by independent artists. Decorating with unique artwork not only makes your home interesting and supports creative souls, it's also more sustainable that buying mass produced pieces from big box stores. And still very affordable.

Earlier this week I won a fabulous gift package of art from decor happy blog (thank you Vanessa!) so I'm looking forward to creating a new gallery wall. Hope you too enjoy refreshing your home with these lovely summer-inspired works!

affordable summer art
Annie Seaton

top 8 summer art prints online
Yang Yang

affordable summer art
Carolyn Cochrane

butterfly print art
Erin Deegan

flora and fauna artwork
Erin Deegan

serene art

find it: affordable summer artwork
Beverly LeFevre

affordable summery artwork
Joy StClair
vintage bike art
Jessica Reiss

9 June 2014

cool gift ideas for Dad

Need a last minute gift for Dad before Father's Day this weekend? Check out my Etsy picks of quality handmade and vintage items. There are some really neat and unique items that any Dad would appreciate. And the craftspeople who make them will appreciate the business. Handmade is just better, isn't it?

handmade Etsy father's day gifts
Etsy Father's Day Collection

5 June 2014

warming up a kitchen with a vintage rug

I love a contemporary kitchen with clean lines that's easy on the eyes. I also love vintage...well, anything. So a trend lately that has been jumping out at me from blogs and magazines is using vintage area rugs in modern kitchens. They add colour and definitely warmth. Let's face it, the kitchen is where we spend the most time, so why not make it inviting?

vintage rug in kitchen

modern kitchen with area rug


colourful rug in kitchen





area rug in kitchn
unknown source