25 February 2015

top 15 ways to repurpose maps as wall art

Since I love repurposing and love maps, this is a natural fit for me. Finding inspiration for the best ways to use maps, especially vintage ones, has been a feast for the eyes. I've been seeing some nice old maps at my local antique markets lately...I'm getting very tempted. Here are my top 15 picks for repurposing maps as a beautiful way to decorate your walls.

top 15 ways to repurpose maps as wall art
repurposed black and white vintage map as headboard
vintage framed map as artwork in entryway
green map as dining room art
large map as headboard for boys room
repurposed map as stacked artwork
framed black and white maps for gallery wall
small maps hung as wallpaper in entry
vintage map as art
pink map as dining room wall mural
corner vignette using map
large vintage framed map as bathroom wall art
bedroom wall map art
framed antique maps hung as art in bedroom
Top 15 DIY ways to use maps on walls

12 February 2015

top 8 no-VOC paints by price and accessibility

Clients and friends all seem to be painting these days. Whether it's a kitchen makeover or full-on home renovation, many are looking for advice on paint colour and types. Regardless of colour or finish, for interior paint jobs I always strongly recommend no-VOC paint in order to reduce harmful toxins being emitted into your beautifully updated home. I mean, you want to feel comfortable and healthy, right?

Refreshed Designs: top 8 no-voc paints

So I'm sharing with you the resource list I've compiled on easy-to-find no-VOC paints, along with a price list for comparison. All are zero VOC (before colourant), good coverage, long-wearing and scrubbable. Some have built-in primer and some don't. They are listed by price in CND$ per gallon.

Behr Premium Plus (at Home Depot) - $26.97

CIL Premium (at Home Depot) - $29.97 - also available at Wal-Mart and Canadian Tire

Valspar Ultra (at Lowes) - $36.97

Beauti-Tone Natura (at Home Hardware) - $42.99

Sico Evolution (at Rona, Kent, and other retailers across Canada) - $52.99

Dulux Lifemaster (at Dulux outlets)- $64.99

Sherwin Williams Harmony (at Sherwin Williams outlets)- $64.99

Benjamin Moore Natura (at Benjamin Moore outlets across Canada) - $79.99

I personally like Behr, CIL and Beauti-Tone as they have good coverage at a reasonable price. CIL and Beauti-Tone take two coats, unlike some of the other brands with a primer included, but I actually think that coverage is more even with two coats of any paint. And they are both Canadian companies! 

Note- none of these brands are affiliated with me in any way and I have not been paid for any listings here. I simply needed to do my own research for projects, and thought this may help those of you who are seeking to refresh your own homes without adding toxins to the environment. 

This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but covers the paint brands I've found to be easy to access and come from reputable companies. Please comment below if  you've used other options, and/or the ones you like the best. I'd love to hear your reviews. Happy painting! 

9 February 2015

tea organization

I've jumped on the tea craze train. I have to say I love trying new combinations of flavours and herbal concoctions. It's also been a good way for me to curb snacking at night, since I can sip away on a flavourful mug of goodness instead. I recently ordered a couple of flavours from the Oh She Glows Organic Tea Shoppe - my favourite is African Mint.

clarity tea

But having so many different teas, that come in different containers, and need a bunch a tools and accessories, can mean a lot of clutter. It also took up too much room in the cupboards of my small condo kitchen. So now all my tea and coffee trappings have come out onto the countertop corralled in a wooden tray as the centrepiece of an organized drink station. You can see that I still drink coffee sometimes as well, and I also love my SodaStream for carbonated water. 

tea organization

I put all the teas into either mason jars or the tall containers that some came in, and covered them with black and white polka dot craft paper and washii tape. I also painted the lids in chalk paint so I can label them and change up as needed. 

chalk paint tea organization; diy tea station

I hung some of the measuring spoons and tea strainers onto a hook on the wall, and tools like wood spoons, cinnamon sticks and more strainers go into a pretty mug. The vintage paddle is handy for cutting lemon slices. 

organized tea station

I ordered a beautifully handmade honey pot from Riverware Pottery Nort -  I love it for an easy way to add a little sweetness to some of the tea blends. 

home made honey pot, etsy

I also just received 2 of these gorgeous mugs from Christe Ahee - love her work!

handmade coffee mug

So has anyone else become a tea lover? How do you organize your tea paraphernalia? 

6 February 2015

simple, sustainable homemade valentine's gifts

I live far away from my nephew and nieces so I like to send them a little box of treats on Valentine's Day. I know I always loved getting something in the mail when I was a kid (ok, I still do) so I imagine they enjoy opening up the box to see what goodies are inside.

sustainable holiday treats; simple gifts; homemade gifts

This year, I went with simple, semi-healthy treats in mason jars, and a box filled with little cut-out hearts from scrap bits of craft paper (I still make them the old fashioned way by folding in the middle!). Filling jars (which are both pretty and re-usable) with dark-chocolate covered pretzels, trail mixes, popcorn, or even dark chocolate chips is an easy and yummy treat - the Bulk Barn has lots of options at decent prices. Grown ups might like a new tea or coffee blend, and some cinnamon sticks. I used some chalkboard paint on the tops and wrapped waashi tape around the lids.

DIY Valentine's Day

simple handmade Valentines Day

Anyone have any more ideas for simple Valentine's Day treats?

3 February 2015

mid-winter office refresh

If you're a regular reader, you know that I re-arrange my furniture often. What can I say, I like change and I'm a nerd when it comes to cleaning and organizing.  This past weekend I set up a new desk space in my small condo living room so that I can have all of my bills, work, and electronics in one spot- right where I use them.

white desk, natural modern office, minimal office

The slim IKEA desk had been holding my TV previously, but I switched it back to a desk because it's long enough to be used for a workstation and also hold an electronics charging tray, yet narrow enough not to protrude into living space. In my small condo, the living room is used for watching TV, doing yoga, dining and working. So everything needs to be properly proportioned and work well together. (Yep, the TV is too large for my liking in this space, but it's the only one I have so it stays for now!)

condo, small living, office, dining, living room

I like a clean white palette mixed with natural colours and materials, so I contrasted the sleek contemporary white desk, storage box and tray with vintage jars and plants. I made the mouse pad out of a coffee can lid - details for this and a matching hanging lamp can be found here.

organized home office

The charging station keeps everything neat and tidy in it's place.

pretty white electronics charging station

A vintage jar holds scissors, pens and paint brushes, while the wooden box holds business cards, USB sticks, and other little work tidbits.

vintage storage in modern office

I put this old board shelf up a little while back (as I showed in this post). Don't you just love the old rusted brackets found at an antiques market?

vintage board and plants in white office

Are you refreshing a little corner in your home this winter?

1 February 2015

oatmeal almond banana cups

I don't post many recipes here, but this one had to be shared. Today I made these vegan (and easy!) oatmeal, almond, banana cups and oh my are they good. They're a little gooey-er than muffins, hence the name "cups", but work just as well for a quick snack. As well as being vegan, they're processed-sugar free and in fact, low in any sugar at all (just a little maple syrup). Perfect for a really easy, healthy treat on a winter day!

vegan low sugar muffins
I used a little almond butter when they were still warm out of the oven...mmmm...
Thanks to Coffee & Quinoa for this recipe. Check out her site, and also my Plant-based Recipe board on Pinterest for more healthy ideas. Happy baking!

Low sugar muffins