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A blog about thrifty DIY, furniture makeovers, decor and design for the home with a farmhouse cottage lakeside feel.

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    I switched out the coffee table in our living room this week with this lovely round pedestal piece. 

    I am happy to finish this table that I painted in May (pre-surgery and recovery) but was only able to wax this week. I used a mix of ASCP Old White and Benjamin Moore's Cotton Balls. I chose the mix because I found the Old White a little too yellow for this room and adding a high quality Ben Moore paint helps stretch the ASCP. It was sealed with two coats of Annie Sloan soft wax on the base and three coats on the top.

    Our hydrangeas in the backyard (white with a hint of green) took a beating from wild rabbits and ice this winter, but a smaller bush out front has had lots of blooms this year. The huge blooms are white with a pinkish tint. I placed some in an aqua CROWN canning jar.

    The rectangular coffee table in this room before (that I also painted) has moved to our basement TV room. A few months ago we also switched the leather couch in the living room with the white slipcovered couch in the family room. 

    The slipcovers need a wash and straightening but they are so much easier to keep clean in the living room. Please excuse the dusty floors. Our boys are removing popcorn ceiling texture in the nearby family room and I can't keep up with the dust. 

    This is the table before in good condition but the wood tone was too red for our home. The best part is that it was free!

    This is such a solid piece and I love the pedestal leg detail. I am still deciding whether or not to add some Miss Mustard Seed dark wax to bring out the details. 

     I adore aqua canning jars and hydrangeas!

    A simple summer vignette on our new coffee table. I think I'll pour myself a nice cold pop, prop up my feet with a book and ignore the dust 'till it settles.

    I'm joining the following link parties this week...
    Inspiration Gallery Link Party at Design Dining and Diapers

    Weekend Bloggy Reading at Serenity Now

    The Shabby Nest
    Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest

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    I am happy to announce that I am being featured at Saturday Spotlight Life Behind the Blogger at Must Love Junk today. I hope you get a chance to stop by.

    While you are there be sure to check out Susan's gorgeous home. Her collections, and the way she uses and styles pieces, are amazing. Thanks so much, Susan!

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    We made progress on our family room makeover this week including removing the popcorn textured ceiling from one section of the family room and painting the walls.

    Our family room gets lots of light from two skylights in the cathedral ceiling (which we just replaced along with the new roof), a bank of windows and light from our kitchen patio doors. It was time to refresh our paint and I chose Benjamin Moore Simply White for the walls and Benjamin Moore Snowfall for the trim. At first I wasn't sure about white walls even though our living room and my studio are Cotton Balls white and I love them. I am used to the change now and really like the Simply White at all times of the day. It is a nice bright white without being stark.

    We started the budget friendly family room makeover by switching the white slipcoverd couch that was in here with the custom leather couch in the living room. With teen boys, lots of visitors and a chocolate Lab it just made more sense to have the leather in the family room. It helps that leather is my all time favourite upholstery choice (just like my favourite outfit, brown leather boots, jeans and white blouse.)  

    I shared the found end tables painted ASCP Old White and I finally got around to spray painting the original hardware black. The new lamps and pillow slips I made were shared here.

    Our boys stripped the popcorn ceiling texture this week. They just did this area of the room that has 8 foot ceilings, stopping before the dining room and entry (that huge mess with be for another day.) Did I say what a huge dusty mess it is? We'll be putting up plastic 'doors' to keep the dust down when we tackle the dining room for sure.

    A total mess but so worth it even before I sanded and painted with flat ceiling paint. The too small light is being replaced with a {gasp}ceiling fan/light fixure because popular design or not my guys love fans. 

    The before colour was Benjamin Moore StoneHouse, a nice tan that tended to read a little gold in photos. We will be adding white millwork to the 'post' part of the far right wall.

    One of the before photos. Even with lots of windows this end of the room could feel dark with the StoneHouse walls and without a light area rug (hoping to get eventually.)

    The tall wall on the catherdral ceiling end of the room will probably be painted a grey (I'm considering Revere Pewter and Gray Owl.) And there is no way that we are scraping the popcorn texture off that ceiling! We'll add white beadboard or planks and frame out the replaced skylights. I also made replacement white curtains for the kitchen patio doors so don't pay attention to the temporary ones there in this older photo.

    The grey colour will soon wrap around the upper portion of our board and batten wall (that needs some finishing) and down the hall to our front entry.

    I am moving the photo gallery to the shorter end wall and will be adding one larger piece over the couch. Still tossing ideas around. 

    I sewed a new star pillow for our $50 Natuzzi leather recliner that the guys will just toss on the floor, so I will add a basket beside the chair to hopefully catch it lol. 

    The pillow slip is sewn with leftover fabric from the curtains and a heavy twill star. I have a thing for stars.

    I'm really liking how this room is coming along. The next steps will be the gallery wall and then to continue on with finishing the board and batten and painting the other walls. I'll be looking for a rug eventually and I plan to buy an Ektorp white slipcoverd chair from Ikea soon to add to the seating.

    I'm joining the following parties...

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    Today I have a furniture transformation to share. After a few weeks of enjoying summer and smaller projects around our home it is nice to have a big painted piece finished. This vintage sideboard sat in the garage for a few months while I decided what colour to paint it. 

    Since I am probably going to sell it I knew that black and white were my best choices (painted furniture, especially in other colours is a slower sell in our area.) I was inspired by thesexy black beast of a cabinet that Meg at Oliver and Rust transformed and decided to go with black.

    It was so worth the hour drive to Lee Valley to pick up the same #generalfinishesmilkpaint in Lamp Black. The colour is such a true black and General Finishes Milk Paint is a great product to work with.

    Clear wax was used to topcoat and I kept the original brass hardware. I decided not to distress it. I like that a sideboard is one of those pieces that can be used for different purposes in a variety of rooms. If our dining room was bigger I would keep this cabinet because it looks great with our black buffet and hutch.

    This before photo doesn't quite show the tired finish. A bonus of finishing this big piece is that there is more room in the garage now. Hopefully I will stumble across another piece soon to work on.

    I know that many areas have already started back to school but we have until after Labour Day weekend before school starts (Sept. 2.) Since that is when I also head back to work I am trying to enjoy every last bit of 'at home' summer holiday moments that remain. Sometimes that means tackling a closet re-organize, a paint project or just enjoying a quiet afternoon with a favourite book. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you take time to enjoy a favourite activity too.

    Sharing at the following parties...
    The first official Vintage Inspiration Link Party at Beyond The Picket Fence, Knick of Time, and My Salvaged Treasures
    Furniture Feature Friday at Miss Mustard Seed
    Sundays at Home at Thoughts From Alice

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    I hope you are enjoying this beautiful Friday and for many, including us, the start to our last long weekend before back to school on Tuesday. I have been busy painting a few furniture pieces and our exterior trim. 

    This lovely vintage waterfall dresser was primed with KILZ coverstain primer and then painted with several coats of General Finishes Milk Paint in Snow white. It was protected with a satin poly. I have my every 5 weeks hair appointment today and there's no telling how much white paint is mixed in with the grey hair lol.

    The General Finishes Milk Paint is a great product to work with. I really like the graceful waterfall front and the detail on the bottom including the original castors.

    Solid wood, with nice deep drawers that are dovetailed on both the front and back. It was a $10 garage sale find in our neighbourhood. I decided to keep the original pulls. 

    The before was a very clean solid wood piece but with a tired finish. The drawer interiors were spotless which is a really nice thing to discover. I have it listed for sale but I could always use it for extra storage in my hobby studio.

    The Lamp Black buffet sold this week and with the profits I took a trip to IKEA and Home Depot for a few new things for our living room that I will be sharing soon. I head back to school/work on Tuesday {sigh} so I will be squeezing every last bit of summer out of this weekend. Hoping you have a great weekend too and thanks for stopping by!

    I'm sharing this at...

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    After the first week of September being a real scorcher (high 30's C) this past week has been quite cool (in the teens and cooler at night.) I had completed some exterior trim painting but going back to work brought that to a standstill.

    I need to get busy and get the front door painted before the weather gets too cold. I chose white trim to go with the new white garage door and white garage man door. 

    The roofers were here in late June and we got a new black roof and replacement skylights. This photo shows the crew taking off the old brown shingles. I need to take a photo with the black shingles.

    There is also black in our brick. Our exterior lights and the door handles/lock sets are black too. I'm leaning towards the matt black in this photo, Behr Marquee in Limousine Leather. The charcoal grey is Behr Marquee Peppery. What would you do?

    I'm also working on some stuff in the family room. After painting this side of the family room I decided to move the gallery wall above the leather sofa to the side wall. This is what I have so far (including the new frames without photos) but I need to keep working on it. I have a great new piece that I am working on for above the couch that I will share soon. 

    So that is a snippet of the start to my September, back to work, helping hubby job hunt after his job being out sourced (boo!), my guys back to school, painting exterior trim, painting chairs, gallery wall, getting interior hall and dining room prepped for painting...  As usual, and like many of you, balancing too many things at one time lol. No wonder my Fall decorating is unfinished. Things certainly don't get finished around here very quickly. Hoping your weekend is great!

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    We have been tackling some regular home maintenance type projects lately and getting our home ready for winter. They don't make for great photos but are projects that help to keep the value in our home and in some cases, like the new front door weatherstripping I just changed, can save us money.

    This past winter we noticed that a breeze was actually coming in around the door cold days. A very noticeable cold breeze. We all know that cold air coming in means that heat (and our $) is escaping too. 

    Our home is 15 years old and we haven't changed the door weatherstripping before, as you can see by the multiple coats of paint on the old piece. 

    When I was painting the exterior trim recently I decided to look into changing out the weather stripping. It's a good thing that I didn't give up after a failed trip to a small hardware store, with old trim in hand, where a guy sold me the wrong product and only 8 feet of it for a whole door. I decided to drive to a neighbouring town to a Home Depot where the HD guy directed us to the proper product. The new weatherstrip came in approx. 7 foot lengths so I bought 3 pieces for less than $20 Cdn.

    I tackled this project mostly by myself. The previous stuff was glued and stapled on. It took some serious pulling to get it off and I ended up needing help from hubby Rob with one stubborn section. 

    After the trim was painted I measured and cut a vertical piece and pushed it into place. The new style has a plastic edge that sort of snaps, with lots of finger pressure, into the groove in the trim. A few times I had to mark and notch out a small piece of the plastic edge to allow for the nails the builder put through the trim. That was easy enough to do with scissors. The other side and top piece were added in the same manner. I used a small dab of 'no nails' glue on the last inch on the bottoms where the trim didn't have a groove.

    It now looks not only cleaner but we are hearing less 'slam' in the door because of the extra cushioning. The tighter seal is sure to save us some money and keep us a bit warmer too. I'm happy to have completed this inexpensive fix. One more project checked off the list. Now if the weather would only co-operate with my work schedule so I can paint the front door! Do you have any winter maintenance projects on your to-do list?

    P.S. This is not a compensated post nor do I have any affiliation with Home Depot. My opinion as always is my own. 

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    The rooms on our main floor have been without rugs for a few years now. I have been wanting to add area carpets to our living room and family room but with all of our home repairs this year the budget just didn't stretch far enough for the 8' x 10' sizes needed.

    Before without rug and rug pad

    I had investigated a few online companies selling area rugs but the shipping to Canada was more than the price of the rug. A few weeks ago I was in Home Depot and came across some inexpensive bound area rugs. I chose a nice cream colour for $89 (Cdn.) for an 8' x 10' (more or less) size. 

    I think it looks nice in our living room but being on the thin side it certainly wasn't cushy to our feet. The back of the rug is stiff and very scratchy and we were concerned about how it would affect the laminate hardwood too. 

    You can imagine how surpised I was when the co-founder from Rug Pad USA contacted me with an opportunity to review any of their rug pads. Rug Pad USA is a retailer based outside of the Greater New York area and they specialize in manufacturing higher end, eco-friendly rug pads that are made in the USA. After communicating with the rep I learned that the market is flooded with toxic pvc imported rug pads that can actually be quite toxic and could damage some types of floors. Have you ever opened one of those cheap rug pad packages and knew that it would have to be aired out before it could go in your home? With a son and lots of family with asthma we take our air quality seriously. 

    Eco-Solid Non-Slip Rug Pads - custom sizing, no awful smell and super comfy under foot. Fast shipping to Canada too. Love this!!!
    After choosing the Eco-Solid Non-slip rug pad and giving them the true dimensions of my not quite 8' x 10' area rug (which RugPadUSA custom cut to size) I was surprised to receive my rug pad in just over a week (with Canadian customs and all.) The Eco-Solid rug pad is 1/8" thick and is mold and mildew resistant, safe for all floors, hand washable and has a 20 year warranty.

    Although not as noticeable in photos, the new rug pad adds a nice bit of thickness without having an obvious 'lifted' edge. 

    The absolute best part is that when we opened the box, and laid the rug pad, there was no strong or gross smell. It is made with plant based oils rather than petroleum based oils. My rug pad was custom sized perfectly for our irregular sized rug too. Our rug now feels so much softer and cushier.

    Our youngest son with the asthma always complains when there is a strong smell in our home and our chocolate Lab Remington sneezes, like when I bring in a stained furniture piece that has not completely dried. Josh sat in here with me for almost an hour and didn't even mention any smell. Remington didn't sneeze...

    and she obviously found the rug with new underpad nice and soft now, because she was fast asleep within minutes. Thanks Rug Pad USA! If you are looking for great rug pads for your home, in many styles, be sure to check them out.

    I have started some Fall decorating and I will share some more photos of our living room soon. We are still prepping the walls in the entry hallway, dining room and the newly popcorm-texture-less ceilings in those areas, but the Fall decorating must go on lol. 

    *I was compensated for this post, however all content, thoughts and opinions are my own.

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  • 09/22/14--06:00: Fall Living Room Tour
  • Today I am sharing our living room decorated for fall with lots of whites, neutrals and pops of turquoise.

    I love texture, painted pieces and wood tones. I like a mix of styles too, including farmhouse, industrial, country, rustic, a bit vintage....I find it so hard to give my style a name.

    The newest additions to our living room include the curtains, pair of slipcovered chairs, area rug and underpad. I shared the inexpensive area rug and reviewed the rug pad I received from Rug Pad USA here

    After selling some painted pieces recently I was able to use the money for the rug and a pair of IKEA Ektorp slipcovered arm chairs. We love how they are big enough for my guys and I feel like I can really get comfy in them. The gray buffalo check pillow covers and inserts on the chairs are also from IKEA.

    This is a great time of year for smaller craft sales and the few remaining garage sales in our area. My sister-in-law and I are really looking forward to attending the Oliver and Rust Vintage Interiors Autumn Show in Welland in a few weeks. If you are in southern Ontario (or close by) you will love it. Last year I bought the old balustrade and the chippy porch post to add to my architectural salvage collection.

    Pinecones are part of our decor almost year round and especially pretty for Fall, through Christmas and into the winter months. I have large cones that I bought and many smaller pine cones that were picked up on walks.

    The smaller mirror was a kijiji find and it reminds me of the Restoration Hardware Mansard Scroll but much smaller.

    I added linen ribbon from Michael's to the wheat sheaf this year. Plaid blankets are a favourite and while I am still searching for more I decided to use a large Alpaca shawl handcrafted in Peru. I love the colour and texture it adds to the white slipcover.

    I will be keeping an eye out for new end tables but I love the found pedestal coffee table that I painted with a mix of ASCP. I sewed the grey plaid pillow covers from napkins that I picked up at HomeSense this week.

    The little white boo pumpkins are my favourite at this time of year. Stores and farmer's markets here are full of pumpkins but I will be saving the orange ones for outdoor decorating. The colourful hydrangeas are from our front garden and I love using them throughout our home. Aqua CROWN canning jars are my go to vases. 

    Finally finally we have both a match stick shade and curtains on the front window. I don't know what took me so long! The grey and white stripe curtains are from IKEA. They still need ironed and hemmed but add such softness (and privacy) to our room. Can you tell I'm a bit candle crazy? I love the scents of Fall baked goods in my candles year round (maple, cinnamon, vanilla, pumpkin pie etc.) but we never leave them unattended. We have a chocolate Lab with a wicked strong tail and that could be a disaster.

     You might be able to see her nose prints on the window as she checks out life beyond the front porch.

    The view through the parapet window is to our entry hall that is currently patched and awaiting a paint colour choice (and some extra time.) The tall black plant stand and grey plaid throw were garage sale finds. The old wood crate on the window ledge holds galvanized pots storing our eyeglass cleaners, cases, safety glasses and sunglasses. It is very handy having a dropping spot for them near the front door.

    At a garage sale on Saturday I picked up this cute little science beaker. 

    I like to collect and use vintage ironstone plates in our home. Some are used in vignettes on table tops and others are displayed on the wall, like these vintage black transferware platters and plates

    This little white painted end table moves around our home a lot. I am currently painting a different pair that I might use in here or may sell.

    I love metal locker baskets and the pair in our living room hold my magazines and on this table my Restoration Hardware catalogues. I like having them close at hand so I can go through them over and over. I love visiting the RH outlet. I can't really afford anything there but I do like studying the look.

    Hydrangeas in mason jars -how I do love thee!

    More texture and coziness for Autumn in our living room. The t.v.'s are in our family room and basement sitting room (and we are master bedroom t.v. people too) so this is a nice quiet room for reading, needlework and visiting. There will still be changes but I am really liking how this small room looks and functions now. Thanks for stopping by! 

    I am sharing this at the following link parties...

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    While I love a solid base of neutrals in our home, I am happiest when there are blues mixed in. Today I am sharing lots of blue inspiration from the new Ralph Lauren Paint line I discovered while buying front door paint at Home Depot (Canada) today.

    Blues always catch my eye. They are my 'happy colours.' Deep navy, aqua, turquoise, denim blue, watery blues, sky blue, indigo,  I love them all.

    Ralph Lauren Paint has several new colour way and technique brochures and I brought home Harbor Blues and Faux Techniques. The paint chips in the brochure look a bit different and better than the above photo on my computer screen.

    I was surprised to see Faux Techniques making a comeback. It makes sense to me though with all the colour layering and chippy furniture painting so many of us admire from Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paints and Annie Sloan Chalk Paints. They have that vintage farmhouse or aged European look. This photo shows the Indigo Denim technique. Just like my favourite pair of jeans. Maybe after we plank the cathedral ceiling in the family room/kitchen I will be brave enough to attempt this on the back wall.

    I love mixing my blues. 

    I have plans to keep mixing my blues in our basement kitchen/TV room. Adding more white will keep things light and give us that lakeside farmhouse look that I love. 

    Denim is my favourite fabric and I wear it as often as possible. I also like using it for sewing projects around our home.

    All photos: Ralph Lauren Paint 2014 available exclusively at Home Depot

    If blue is not your 'thing' there are other colourways for inspiration in the collection. I'm glad my trip for front door paint led me to these paint chips today. I shared my front door paint choices post here. I didn't end up going with any of the colours in the BEHR Marquee line after all. I chose Cracked Pepper, a dark charcoal,  from the BEHR Premium Plus Ultra line but had to have it mixed in the more expensive Marquee because they were out of the Premium Plus in satin exterior. I have one coat on both sides of the door and I'm loving it. Now to get started on the second coat before it gets dark.
    What colour makes you smile?

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    Today on the way to deliver some items to a furniture consignment store I remembered to take some photos of a few pieces I recently painted with a mix of ASCP Provence and white.

    With the colder temperatures I have been painting in our basement kitchen and the flourescent lighting down there is horrible for pictures. My husband may have chuckled as I snapped a few quick photos while he was trying to load my van. 

    This little table has been kicking around our home for a number of years. It was my husband's favourite little table to hold his Diet Coke and chips beside a comfy chair while watching hockey games in the basement TV room. I tried the ASCP Provence /white mix  and although the Provence is a lovely colour I'm thinking it is probably not the turquoise that I want for an accent in our basement. I promised Rob that I would find a replacement soon.

    Every furniture painter needs great friends and family to scope out freebies and I have some wonderful ones. My co-worker and her mom saved this very solid pair of maple chairs from their neighbours' curb, stored them and even transported the pair to work for me. 

    It was hard for me to send this lovely chalkboard off to consignment today but when I decided against using the Provence mix I didn't want to have to repaint it. Time will tell if a bright colour like this will sell. 

    I have a few pieces in our garage that need to be brought indoors to work on. We need the garage space for my van this winter now that our 17 year old has a ridiculously large truck. (Ridiculous because momma can't borrow it for furniture picking or delivery because I would need a ladder to get in lol.) 

    Hoping you enjoy this weekend and have a great week ahead. Our Canadian Thanksgiving has come and gone, we celebrated my dad's 85th birthday and I have been working on a few small projects. We are still searching for a replacement job for hubby and feeling sad this week after the loss of two Canadian soldiers in brutal attacks. EIP Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Cpl. Nathan Cirillo #OTTAWASTRONG #CANADASTRONG

    Sharing this with...

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    Our half bath off our foyer is small but now that it is freshly painted I wanted to add some accessories. This vintage wood stool is the perfect size for this small space.

    I bought the stool, along with some other things that I have yet to photograph, at Meg from Oliver and Rust's vintage sale earlier in the month. I love the patina on this sturdy little stool. When we turn the heat on full time I will slide it over closer to the door.

    I'm not stuck on our entry (and kitchen) tile but I am stuck with them for now. Oh to have had the hindsight 15 years ago when I picked them. I shared the wall colour, Grey Owl, in this post. Taking photos of this windowless room is very challenging. I still need to frame out the mirror, change the faucet and add some kind of art to the wall. We switched out the door hinges on our main floor to black and now I need to get new door handles. The only black ones I can find in stores here are $53 a pop. Ouch. It's all about baby steps at our house, ha!

    Sharing this at the following parties....

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  • 10/31/14--18:17: Happy Halloween!
  • Wishing you a spooktacular Halloween!

    It is cold and rainy here tonight, with snow predicted overnight (although not as much as a bit further north) but that didn't stop the steady stream of kiddos to the door. We were down to 110 trick or treaters tonight (suburban town with lots of little ones in our area.)

    I took a few quick photos of some last minute Halloween porch decorating. I made a quick cobweb wreath with cobweb ribbon, spiders and skulls for the door. We hung skeletons and pumpkng lights in the windows and added some Halloween signs and candle figures to the front window ledge (that I forgot to photograph.) 

    I used my Halloween quilts indoors this year due to the rain but added the Halloween bunting to the porch ceiling.

    Our 15 year old son added our tombstone signs to the front lawn and came up with this last minute idea for the front walkway. Josh and I brought the Hallween bin up from the basement at 4:30 and had the front hall, porch and lawn decorated by 5:30. Not bad for one hour of last minute decorating. 

    It is still a bit early but I am itching to get started on Christmas decorating. I need to get busy painting our front hall and dining room. Wishing you a great weekend.

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  • 11/15/14--18:38: Paint and More Paint
  • This is the second weekend of painting the ceilings, walls and trim of our entry hallway, dining room, most of the family room and parts of the kitchen. I am the painter at our home and I'm very happy to be a day or two away from finishing. Since I work during the week, and it now gets dark by 5 pm, painting gets done on the weekends.

    Our home has a somewhat open plan and I am using both white and a greige on the main floor. I finished painting the ceilings in our dining room and entry (our teen boys removed the popcorn texture ceiling this past summer.) Last weekend I painted the dining room and one kitchen wall Simply White by Benjamin Moore, just like two of the walls in our family room that I painted in July.  

    Today I did the first coat of Revere Pewter in the entry hallway, the center wall that seperates the dining room and living room and then becomes the family room TV/fireplace wall, and the high walls in the cathedral end of our family room/kitchen. The trim colour is Snowfall White (BM) and I still have a bit more of that to finish. I am really loving the fresh combination of white and greige that has replaced tan on our main floor.

    After I finish and get everything tidied again I will share some photos before I start decorating for Christmas. It will be a later start to decorating for me this year, but it will be nice to have freshly painted walls. Have you started Christmas decorating yet, or is it too early for you?

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    I am having a late start to Christmas decorating this year but I did manage to finish most of the painting on our main floor these past few weeks.

    I am the painter in our family and I work full time outside our home so it has been a somewhat long process to get the painting done. I started in the front entry hall with Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter on the walls and Benjamin Moore Snowfall White on the trim. Revere Pewter is a beautiful light grey with warm undertones. It changes depending on the light (or lack of natural light in our home!) but one week in and I am really happy with it at all times of the day.

    Our living room was already painted BM Cotton Balls White. The dining room changed to Benjamin Moore Simply White. 

    The dining room (in the before photo above) was previously BM Muslin, a shade down on the chip from BM Stone House. The Muslin tended to get a pink undertone in some lighting.

    Simply White is a lovely colour, even on this overcast day. I like how our wood pieces look with the clean white backdrop. I may or may not keep the white curtains.

    I am considering a long low buffet for the right side of our dining room. Now that my guys removed the popcorn ceiling and I painted it, we will adjust the black chandy light. 

    The fourth 'wall' in our open concept dining room is now Revere Pewter. The entry hall, family room and kitchen were previously BM Stone House (described as a neutral cafe au lait/toasted almonds colour.) It was nice but it was a bit too yellow and time for a fresh change.

    Revere Pewter is now the wall colour from the entry hall down the centre wall to the back of our home (family room/kitchen.) Again, not the best lighting today but these photos give you an idea.

    We still have trim work to complete on the fireplace/tv wall in the family room. Yes, that is one of our Christmas trees undecorated in our living room. I am determined to get started on it this weekend. In this photo you can see the Simply White on the two couch walls (left side) of the family room with Revere Pewter on the tv/fireplace wall (right side) opposite.

    The white slipcover for the ottoman is in the wash, but here you can see the Simply White. I am still struggling with the photo gallery wall.

    I like how our leather couch and chair work with the white backdrop.

    I couldn't resist this Smith and Hawken wood curl rosette wreath from Target. It seems lonely on that big wall. Our youngest son and I made a wood backdrop for it. I just have to hang it.

    We had to buy a new 10 foot ladder to paint the cathedral end of our family room and kitchen. Rob was home to help with manouvering the huge ladder.

    This angle is from the kitchen to the back wall. I still need to finish painting the trim on that back wall, stain the new kitchen shelves, and hang a few things but all in all I am very happy with the results. Now to start getting some Christmas decor out! Have you started your Christmas decorating yet?

    I'm linking up to the following parties...
    Sundays at Home at Thoughts From Alice

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    This post has been sitting in my drafts from a feature at Must Love Junk's Saturday Spotlight. I am back posting it so that I have a copy of it here on the blog.

    Hi everyone! I'm Elizabeth from Blue Clear Sky. What a pleasure it is to be invited by Susan of Must Love Junk to participate in Saturday Spotlight: Life Behind the Blogger! Susan is such a kind person, and her home and collections are so inspiring! 

    I honestly didn't give a blog name too much thought when I first launced Blue Clear Sky (inspired by a song by my favourite artist George Strait) back in February of 2009. I had no idea what I was doing (and still don't really hah!) but I so wanted to join in the creative world that opened to me through blogging. I have met some awesome people through blogging and am continually inspired by the creative ideas and glimpses into people's homes and lives around the world.

    We live in Halton Hills, a smaller town west of Toronto, Ontario (Canada.) I am 49 years old and this month my husband and I celebrate 22 years of marriage. Here's a flashback photo:

    I am the mother of two teenage boys, 17 and 15.

    Our oldest son is going into grade 12 and has been very involved in 4-H, showing in the Beef, Dairy, Goat and Rabbit clubs (he owned the goats and rabbits but the calves were kindly loaned by local farmers.) This year he is only in the Dairy club. He recently became a junior Jersey breeder and at present owns 2 cows. K is also pretty handy with vehicles and diy around the house.

    Our youngest son is going into grade 10 and has passed his older brother in height, currently 6 feet tall. They tower over this 5'4" mom! J loves playing and watching hockey and lacrosse. He prefers sports. He also likes vehicles and hanging with his older brother. J is my garage sale buddy and this same kid who struggles to get out of bed on a school day always cuts the garage sale listings out of the paper and sets the alarm for early Saturday morning. Of course he insists on stopping at Timmies (it's a Canadian thing, where we enjoy our favourite coffee/donut shop.)

    Our large extended family is a very big part of our daily life. I am the second youngest of eight children and have been an aunt since I was 5. I am very proud of my 17 nieces and nephews (plus spouses) and 19 great-nieces and -nephews (not including hubby's side.)  Many of our family live nearby and others visit often.

    We are especially close (and neighbours!) to my youngest sister/best friend, her husband and three children. The kids attended the same elementary and high schools and get along well. It's kind of like I have 5 kids and tons of nieces and nephews.

    We have a 4 year old female chocolate lab. She's such a good girl and loves being spoiled by the teens.

    I trained as a Practical Nurse in College and after 5 years in patient care I had an opportunity to work in Special Education in a high school setting, where I have worked for the last 24 years. While I would love to stay home I have been fortunate to have a very supportive husband who has been instumental in keeping the balance between my full time job and home life. My friends joke about my lunch-making, laundry and dish-doing husband but I wouldn't trade him. He worked the afternoon shift for years and cared for our children (and my sister's kids) while I was at work. It is great that we can now enjoy being on the same work schedule (plus I get the added benefit of school holidays and summer off, yeah!)

    I enjoy many creative hobbies and decorating. Some women like shoes and fashion but I get excited over paint chips, decor and hardware stores.

    Our home is always evolving as I work towards finding my favourite decorating style, all on a fairly tight budget. I paint furniture, DIY, do all of our interior painting, collect, sew, paint signs, knit, crochet and occasionally quilt. I make a bit of extra money for my projects by painting and selling furniture, signs, thrifted items and occassionally my stitched goods under my business name Rustic Maple. I hope to do more of this in the future and have even considered changing my blog name over to Rustic Maple.

    I'm an avid romance novel reader. What can I say, I love a happy ending! I love to start new projects but my biggest problem is that I'm not always fast on finishing projects. I tend to have lots on the go at one time. Just recently I switched the leather couch in the living room with the white slipcovered couch in the family room, which created a snowball effect of changes. I will be taking pictures and sharing the changes in the next few weeks.

    My style is comfy and casual, with a mix of rustic, country, and farmhouse/lakehouse with neutrals, lots of white and accents of my favourite blues, from denim to turquoise.

    I love to collect ironstone and vintage mason jars in both clear and aqua (mostly CROWN here in Canada.)

    I enjoy creating pretty vignettes with my inexpensive finds year round but I especially love love to decorate for Christmas. 

    I have two or three favourite TV shows but really don't spend a lot of time watching TV. I do however spend way too much time on Pinterest, blogs and reading decor magazines lol.

    I enjoy organizing and get a little thrill when I open a closet or drawer that is freshly organized. With a busy family our home is always in need of tidying and reorganizing though. My sister/bff hates decorating and organizing so I get to paint and organize their home too.

    Finding the time to blog can sometimes be challenging but I do enjoy the people I have met. Last year it was a treat when I was invited to submit photos of our home and my little blog was mentioned in Romantic Homes magazine's Site Seeing section. I would love for you to stop by Blue Clear Sky and say hello and if you are new to my blog let me know because I would love to visit you too. You can also find me on Pinterest here

    One thing that I have learned from this experience is that I need to spend more time taking photos of my family (and making sure I get in some of them!) Thanks so much, Susan, for inviting me to share about myself and my blog.

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    Happy December! I have been busy decorating our home for Christmas and finishing up some last minute projects after painting our entry, dining room, family room and kitchen last month.

    One of those projects was changing out the shelves in our kitchen. I bought some 2" x 10" pine lumber and used Varathane Gel Stain in Early American. I really like the rustic feel of these shelves with our white cabinets and newly painted Simply White (Benjamin Moore) walls.

    The shelves we replaced (shown here in our Christmas 2011 photo) were thinner and painted white. The walls were previously BM Stone House.

    I sold the barstools with backs that were here and now I'm looking for tall industrial metal barstools (that don't cost as much as the barstools for shipping!) that we can tuck under the breakfast bar. We plan to buy some chunkier breakfast bar supports.

    I have been keeping the shelf display simple lately, using my favourite aqua CROWN mason jar collection and four ironstone pudding bowls. 

    I love the chunkiness of the wood with all its rough texture. I still need to paint the little wood screw covers and add them to the shelf supports.

    I will soon be decorating our kitchen for Christmas and I am going to see if I can keep this shelf display simple with a bit of greenery. Time will tell! Do you ever find yourself walking into a room just to admire a new little addition? I feel like this little area really reflects my style now.

    I am sharing this at the following parties...
    Show and Share at Coastal Charm
    The Scoop at Cedar Hill Farmhouse.Stone Gable, Confessions of a Plate Addict and Worthing Court
    Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style

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    Last year I shared my new clear bins for storage of Christmas decorations. This system has made decorating our home this year so much easier.

    By sorting like items together, I can easily see and grab the small portable bins that I need. Seeing everything I need makes it easy to change up the look from last year without having to dig through huge totes or boxes.

    Last January I had a few clear bins on hand and bought a bunch more at a half price sale. Over the summer I picked up a few more so I will have all my small pieces in bins this January.

    This system works for us partly because we have a full finished basement with a large storage room. I'm not sure you would be wanting to haul shoebox size bins from a remote garage if that is your storage space :)

    I am about half way decorated and if we could just get some sun when I get home from work I would take some photos!

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    Tonight I am sharing our night time living room lit up by Christmas lights.   I will be sharing daytime photos of our living room and our Christmas home tour soon but tonight while enjoying a cup of tea in the living room I turned on the Christmas lights and took a few photos.

    This year I decorated our home with a cozy northern cabin feel. Rustic and natural with lots of neutrals and greenery. Red, white, black and grey with plaids and checks. Sparkle with shiny balls, mercury glass and glittery ornaments. Cozy blankets, throws and pillows. 

    My new clear Christmas storage bins, shared here, made it easier to use our decorations from previous years in new ways. I only added a few new decorations and ribbons this year. This olive bucket is filled with white globe lights, greenery sprays, pine and sugar cones, birch logs and red wood berries. With the Christmas ice storm last year in our area so many trees had to be seriously trimmed or cut down. While driving to work one morning I spotted a pile of birch branches bundled at the curb for yard waste pick up and stopped to pick them up. I love birch logs and I love free!

    Our living room tree this year has a red and black buffalo check ribbon; red wooden berry garland; large 'snowy' pinecones; white sweater trees; silver and brown mini bells; balls of various sizes in clear glass, silver, cream and white; glittery snowflakes and deer; tiny buffalo plaid boxes; and felt moose in red and brown. I used medium size C6 bulbs in cool white and warm white. 

    I love the glow of the basket in the corner. The vintage skis were a $10 find a few years ago. The dresser has more mercury glass, Christmas balls, pinecones and greenery.

    The tray on the coffee table holds large mercury glass ornaments, red, white, and silver Christmas balls in various sizes, more wood berry garland, pinecones and tiny white stars. 

    Thanks for visiting. I'm going to pour another cup of tea, sit on my favourite end of the couch and enjoy some knitting by Christmas light. I hope you find a moment to relax too.

    Sharing this with...

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    I have always loved the look of a cozy northern cabin and this year it inspired our Christmas decor theme. Today I am sharing our Canadian suburban home's living room where farmhouse style meets cozy cabin.

    We have a family room for TV and computer use, plus a smaller TV room in our basement so our living room is a quiet spot for visiting with family and friends. You will often find me here reading, crocheting or knitting.

    Our living room has a very neutral base with lots of white, wood tones, and black and grey accents. This year we switched out the leather sofa for the white slipcovered one and more grey. For Christmas I added red, plaids and buffalo check, and lots of sparkle with shiny Christmas balls, bells, mercury glass and glittery ornaments. My favourite, and least expensive, Christmas additions are pine cones and greenery.

     Above is our 2013 Christmas living room with lots of naturals. I loved this look but was looking for a change this year. This year our family room has more of the neutral look since the leather sofa is in there.

    The pair of new slipcoverd chairs are so comfy. I brought out my vintage wooden Superior Skis (that I scored for $10 at a recycling place a few years ago.)

    We live in southern Ontario, Canada so it was really cool to find a pair with a northern town, Sault Ste. Marie, as part of the logo.

    I bought this metal olive bucket from Meg at Oliver and Rust's Vintage Fall Sale to use for my knitting projects. For Christmas I filled it with white globe lights (summer clearance at Target), greenery sprays, birch logs (free from the curb), pine cones and red wood berry sticks (salvaged from a broken strand that was 20 years old.) The cream infinity scarf in progress is a present for one of my nieces.

    It looks so nice at night.

     More red, white, greenery, pine cones and mercury glass on the vintage dresser.

     I have a hard time doing minimal but the decor is a bit more restrained this year.

    Still loving the large mercury glass balls, this time on an ironstone platter with wood berry garland and pinecone spray.

    Love the reflection of decor in the mirrors. 

    White on white and chippy. I sewed the little sacks last year.

    Our family tree is in the family room but I always enjoy decorating this one differently each year, while still not buying many new items.

    Red and black buffalo check and red wood berry garland wrap the tree. Large snowy pine cones, glittery deer and snowflakes, felt moose, bells, silver and clear glass balls, wood candy canes, plaid mini boxes and white sweater trees fill the tree.

    I painted the JOY and Canada flag pillows last year, and also sewed the plaid, red and black check and moose pillows.

    The tray on the coffee table is filled with mini balls, pinecones, red berry garland, and large mercury glass ornaments.

     Lots of cozy fleece, wool and suede/sherpa throws for snuggling on cool winter nights. More mercury glass and ironstone with red votive candles.

    Our living room tree at night by white Christmas lights. After weeks of overcast days (and very little light by the time I get home from work in the afternoons) I was thrilled this Sunday morning to wake to sunshine. Better too much sun than not enough! Thanks for visiting! I will be back tomorrow with a Christmas home tour.

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