Tuesday, July 28, 2009

not all it's cracked up to be ...

... my blog makeover, I mean. I just realized that the fonts I've used are quite obscure, so chances are you're seeing my new banner and the posts in an horribly icky Times font, rather than the pretty ones I chose. I'm not sure if I'm going to have time to tackle the issue before we go away on vacation tomorrow. 

Which also reminds me — Hey readers, I'm going on vacation! So please pop in and enjoy some of the 237 posts that are already here and I will be back to my regularly scheduled blogging, with all new lovely fonts, on August 6. 

Talk soon!

Monday, July 27, 2009

couldn't believe my eyes

Do you want to hear a crazy story? You there, in the back row. Did you raise your hand? Yes? Good. You're in for a doozey.

So I was sitting on the couch early Saturday morning, in the throws of my blog makeover and a piping hot cup of coffee, when I heard a scratching noise. I looked up just in time to see a blur pass by the patio door. My heart immediately started thumping, because incase you don't know, we live on the fifth floor. That means that the blur came from six storeys up. I tentatively peered out the patio window to see exactly what I suspected — a little kitty on the ground, cautiously licking itself, and pretty bewildered.

Knowing what I needed to do, I ran upstairs and knocked at the apartment above. It was early and the residents were still asleep, but when I told them the horrifying news, they reacted just as I would have, with exclamations of terror. They quickly went to retrieve her and I returned to my apartment to allow them to deal with the situation, but I kept thinking about the poor kitty.

But earlier this evening, we got a knock at the door. Wiskers came to visit! She's feeling much better after an overnight stay in the hospital for a punctured lung, and her owners gave me a sweet card of thanks for alerting them that their little dare devil had taken a flying leap. She had somehow made it through the narrow opening of the window and scrambled through the screen.

Though we were careful before, this scary situation has made us especially cautious and make sure that all of our windows are closed tight unless we're in the room to supervise. And we're wishing Wiskers a speedy recovery!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

before & after: memo board

Today's inspiration is taking the old and making it new again.

I got this lovely memo board from my Grammie several years ago and over time it's been bleached/stained by the sun. Exhibit A:

So it's been stashed in a closet because I couldn't bear to cast is aside. I started by peeling the backing off, much to the delight of a couple fur balls.

I used my trusty staple gun to attach new fabric around the board.

Re-attached the backing with my glue gun.

Adhered some ribbon where the twine used to be and added some new star embellishments to replace the seashells.

Et voila:

Now, in all honesty, this doesn't match anything in our apartment, so I think it's going to end up in my etsy shop.

The moral of the story? If you're about to chuck something in the trash, consider what it could be with a little TLC.

Friday, July 24, 2009

always, sometimes, never

I always:

* multi-task.
* wish I had more time to blog.
* need coffee in the morning.
* make lists.
* feel guilty when I fall behind on returning voicemails/e-mails/Facebook messages.
* am up for playing cards or board games.
* need to have a plan.
* stay in bed longer than I should and then run around like a chicken with my head cut off, trying to get ready.

I sometimes:

* get distracted.
* need a break from an intense book and pick up chick-lit novel for a while.
* procrastinate.
* try to sneak ingredients that Husband doesn't like into recipes. He only find out sometimes.
* buy things I don't really need just because they're on sale.
* daydream about what my life will be like in 5 years.

I never:

* remember to charge my cellphone before it goes dead.
* want to forget all of my favourite memories.
* drink Tim Hortons coffee. I hate it.
* have been to a drive-in theatre, but hopefully that will change soon.
* want to get another filling, so I'm going to start flossing every day.
* watch really violent movies.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

bedroom bliss

These bedrooms make we want to curl up with a good book, take a relaxing nap and just be in the tranquility. Can you tell I need a vacation?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

classy composting

Since Husband and I started composting, we've tried different containers, but none worked quite right. So what's the answer? DIY, of course!

This empty kitty litter container was just the ticket — big enough that we wouldn't have to empty it every day, with a tight-fitting lid and a convenient handle.

We learned the long and hard way that acrylic paint doesn't adhere to plastic so well. But between the two of us we applied 4 coats, et voila —

Monday, July 20, 2009

our amazing 2009 to-dos

Back in February, when I first started blogging, Husband and I cooked up a list of the things we want to do before the end of the year. And as you may have noticed, if you've been here for the long haul, we're not really getting anywhere with our tasks. So, we took our our erasers and made some edits. There are actually more items than there were before, so we're not trying to take the easy way out. Here's what we've decided:

Make our own sushi: This one's staying on our list. Husband is a bit of a picky eater, so I was so thrilled when he was willing to try sushi last year, and he loved it! I must also mention that I am a vegetarian and neither of us are seafood lovers, so we only eat veggie sushi. Going out for sushi or buying it in the store is a bit of a treat for us, so we're going to attempt to diy.

Read the same book: If we actually get some decent weather for camping and beach days, we'll get this done. Or we may just wait until it starts snowing so we can cozy up with two copies of a good book. It'll be like our own mini book club!

Golf together at least four times: Well, Husband has this one taken care of, minus me. He loves golf. LOVES it. And like I said before, I strongly like golf. I haven't said the L word to golf yet. But we are definitely in like. So, basically there are other things I'd sometimes rather do. But I really want to learn and get better, so this is saying on the list.

Go camping at least twice: This one already gets a 50% check and we've got another outing planned soon.

Get a Wii We changed our minds on this one. We're more board game, card playing people. We don't think it's worth the money for us personally.

Paint another room We also decided against another paint job. In our apartment building, you have to paint it back to plain, old ivory when you move out, or they take some $$ from your damage deposit, so it's not worth it, considering we have no idea how long we'll be living in our apartment.

Sleep in all day: We don't sleep in. Ever. It's not that we necessarily want to sleep all day, but we want to have a completely free day when we can spend the whole day in bed, watching movies, reading good books and trying not to drop crumbs while we also snack there. Husband doesn't think I have the ability to do nothing for a whole day. Sounds like a challenge to me. *Update: I will do this. I swear.

Pull an all-nighter: I'm just realizing that this probably sounds super lame. What kind of 25-year-olds need to put an all-nighter on a to-do list?

Go hiking: Our fair province is filled with beautiful, scenic trails. We've been to Long Lake and Blomidon Provincial Park already this summer. Hopefully we'll hit a few more.

Try kayaking: This is still a must and we have tentative plans to venture out with friends S & N next month. Can't wait!

Spend a day on the Common: After they clean up the muddy mess following the weekend's rainy KISS concert, we're going to take all of our sports equipment and a picnic lunch and spend an afternoon.

Take in a movie at the alFresco filmFesto: A great Halifax event, this is a fest of weekly outdoor movies on the waterfront. Spectators bring their own chairs and enjoy a flick under the stars for $5. We hope to catch The Breakfast Club or Pulp Fiction.

Go to Shakespeare By The Sea: I saw two of these amazing outdoor performances last summer — A Midsummer Night's Dream and Othello — and can't wait to take Husband for his first time this year. We'll be seeing Love's Labour's Lost.

Go back to Ingonish for our anniversary We do love Cape Breton — our honeymoon on the Cabot Trail was amazing, but we've decided to try something new this year. We're going Tidal Bore Rafting for our anniversary! Hang on to your lifejacket, Husband!

Saturday, July 18, 2009


You know what our apartment doesn't have enough of? BAM! Pops of bright colour.

For the most part, our place is fairly neutral. The living room/dining room is mostly soft greens, browns and other Earth tones. Our bedroom is chocolate brown, grey-blue and ivory. Even the bathroom is mostly beige with bits of green and white. All quite monotone, though relaxed and comfortable. Our kitchen is the only room in the apartment that has any real colour with red accents inspired by our crazy radio toaster — a gift from my step-dad.

But I'm feeling inspired to liven up the rest of the apartment. I love the drama a pop of colour can add — with flowers:

With furniture:

With accent walls:

How do you brighten up a space, especially if you're in an apartment like ours that has little natural light?

Friday, July 17, 2009

must. have. coffee.

Better late than never, here is my selected prompt this week, courtesy of MamaKat.

Which appliance in your home would you most miss living without if you had to live without?

Without a doubt, my coffee maker. I say my coffee maker because it was a birthday gift from Husband, so technically it's mine, nevermind the fact that he makes the coffee 90 per cent of the time. 

To tell you the truth, I raised an eyebrow when I unwrapped it on my 22nd birthday. A coffee maker? Really? I may have mentioned it in passing, that it would be nice to have a coffee maker at home, but a kitchen appliance doesn't exactly scream romance.

Boy, was I wrong. This is her. Isn't she lovely? She keeps the coffee right inside — always hot and no pot to clean! Looking back on three years of delicious coffee, I see that this might be the best gift Husband has ever given me. 

Yes, I'm a coffee addict, but I'm not a coffee snob. It doesn't have to be Starbucks. We love picking out new kinds of coffee at the grocery store and experimenting with new brands and blends. We tote our travel mugs most places we go, and we save a significant amount of coin in the process.

What appliance could you not live without?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

the sun and the breeze

It is an amazingly beautiful day outside. It makes me wish I had a clothesline to hang out my freshly washed sheets.

Dear Apartment Dwellers,

How do you get that fresh-from-the-clothesline feel and smell?

the reveal you've been waiting for

The suspense has been killing you, hasn't it? 

Sister-in-law C had a great idea for a makeover project and I was thrilled to help out.

The before:

For the record, Wally is a cat, not a child.

C's problems? She was tired of looking at the same old table, and the light fabric of the seats had become stained over the years. The whole set was cramping her style, but she didn't want to buy new.

First, she wanted to cover the chairs. Without any fabric stores in her small town, she opted for a cranberry red twin flat sheet from Walmart for $8.

There's still more than half the sheet left for some future projects, but those are for us to know and you to find out. Muuhahahaha.

Much better.

Then C and brother-in-law B set to work sanding the faux wood top of the table.

That's right. Totally too lazy to flip this photo.

And then they gave it a few coats of paint. 

Et voila — the after:

Scroll back up and look at the before. What a difference. And all for less than $20! Well done, C!

Monday, July 13, 2009

not i

— I did not leave my scrapbooking supplies spread over the kitchen table after craftapalooza last week. I did not know full well that Ellie and Scarley would spread every bit of scrap paper and ribbon all over the apartment. She did not get double-sided tape squares stuck everywhere. I cleaned it all up right away.

— I did not make Husband get up at 3 a.m. to take me to the outhouse while we were camping. I would never wake him up in the middle of the night for something I could easily do on my own.

— I did not feel the need to re-arrange our living room furniture at 11 p.m. and plead and beg until Husband agreed to help me. I'm a totally rational person and wasn't convinced it had to go back to the way it used to be arranged right. that. minute.

To read more Not Me Monday posts from other bloggers, click here.

Friday, July 10, 2009

city mouse, country mouse

The city will be hopping this weekend with the likes of Lebanese Fest, Jazz Fest and a special visit from Sir Paul McCartney. And what are we doing? We're blowing this popsicle stand for greener pastures. 

While the guys hit the fairway, us gals will visit the farmers' market, local shops and visit a petting zoo before setting up our tents at Blomidon Provincial Park

But before we coat ourselves in bug spray and put on our play clothes, Husband and I are paying a short and sweet visit to brother and sister-in-law B & C to help them with a little decor project. I can't wait to share the befores and afters with you on Sunday!

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

what to write ... what to write

Prompt o' the week:
List 5 things you like to do while camping or 5 places you'd like to go.

Well, isn't this just perfect — Husband and I are about to embark on our first camping weekend of the season with a few friends.

5 things I like to do:
* Build a campfire. Makes me feel like I'm really roughing it, even if I'm in the middle of a perfectly-groomed provincial park campground.
* Roast marshmallows. And making smores, of course.

* Running around in my bare feet. Who knows what kind of things I would catch if I ran around outside our apartment building with no shoes or socks.
* Spending time out of the city. It's so nice to be able to relax without traffic noise. 
* Visit community markets. I love buying produce fresh from the garden.

5 places I'd like to go:
* Miscou Island in northern New Brunswick. I haven't been there since I was a kid. The beach was amazing.
* Banff National Park in Alberta.
* The Cabot Trail. And "camping" could mean staying in a lovely cottage. Right?

A photo from our honeymoon

* Alaska. My dear friend HH and her hubby just spent their first anniversary in the northern state and the photos are stunning.
* Lunenburg, N.S. is one of our favourite nearby spots. We'll visit there at least once this summer.

Click here for Maggie's camping advice at Magchunk.

For more Writer's Workshop entries, click here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

in need of a nook

I am in search of the perfect reading situation. When Husband and I are out and about shopping, I'll often flop into whatever chair or lounger that's on display and give it a test. It has to be cozy, yet not too soft. It would have to match our decor and fit into our space (and space is certainly at a minimum), and be relatively affordable. 

Incase you're keeping track, our dream house requires a reading nook.

And while this doesn't look exactly comfy, I love the quote.

Where do you love to relax with a good book?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

time for change

A while back, I read an article on Apartment Therapy about cheap ways to spruce up your apartment. The idea stuck out to me. We rent a fairly big, yet inexpensive apartment in an older building, so it's nice to find little projects to make the place seem more homey (until we can afford to buy our dream home). Here are the top two AT tips:
  1. Clean your home. 
  2. Get rid of something.
Even though we're fully into summer (despite the weather), I still feel the itch to spring clean. I completely gutted our walk-in storage closet the other day, so at least that's looking a little better.

We thought for a while that there might be a chance of moving in September, but now we think we'll be staying put and, that said, it's time to make some upgrades to make our old place feel new to us.

Annoying little thing #1: Chipping paint on cabinet doors. I don't know if it's noticeable to anyone else, but it's noticeable to me.
Solution: Get some of the original paint from the landlady and give them a fresh coat, along with some pretty new contact paper for the shelves.

Annoying little thing #2: Our second bedroom isn't really a second bedroom. It's a catch-all for anything that doesn't have a designated place (read: the place everything gets shoved when last-minute company drops by.)
Solution: Re-organize the space. Give it a purpose. Ditch any and all items that we don't use/forgot we owned.

Annoying little thing #3: I never fully embraced the bathroom colour. I'm still not sure I really like it. The girl at the paint counter screwed it up, I know it. 
Solution: Re-paint? Agh. That's not too appealing. 

Do you ever get the itch to make some changes? It happens to me all the time. 

happy birthday, husband

Today is Husband's birthday and he's turning 25.

Grow old with me; the best is yet to be.
I love you.
Happy Birthday!

Monday, July 6, 2009

not me monday

— I did not indulge in a massive amount of poutine while shopping with Creative Partner C at Costco over the weekend. I never succumb to such greasy temptations.

— I did not put Husband's birthday gifts on display a few days before he can open them. It isn't just a fun way to torture him.

— I did not get up bright and early on Sunday with plans to get lots accomplished, only to snuggle up on the couch with my coffee and a re-run of Friends and fall back asleep for three hours. I am a morning person.

**Please note, if my Mum hadn't called at 10 a.m., I would probably still be asleep. Thanks for helping me salvage my day!

—I didn't jam the compost completely full and leave a note for Husband, asking him to take it out when he got home. If I'm the one who fills it up, I'm the one who takes it out.

To read many other Not Me Monday posts from other bloggers, click here.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

diy dress

I wasn't fibbing when I said I was going to make this lovely goddess dress. Here are the after pictures. It took about three hours to put together. It can be worn several ways, but I think I like it this way best.

It's sort of tricky to tie up myself, so Husband helped.

Ellie couldn't resist getting in on the photo action.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

independence day

Something you may not know about me is that I'm a dual citizen — half Canadian and half American. Growing up just minutes from the U.S. border, and making trips to Maine and North Carolina to visit family, I've always celebrated both national holidays. Husband's parents are also both originally American and many of his family members live south of the border as well.

Happy 4th of July to our families in 
Maine, North Carolina, New York, New Jersey and Florida!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

i'll be happy when ...

This prompt feels a bit like a trick question. I'm a happy gal with lots to be thankful for — an awesome husband, loving family, wonderful friends, sweet kitties and a comforting home. Can't complain! So, to make this more fun, I'm going to talk about the superficial things in life that make me smile.

I'll be happy when ...

... the clouds part, proving that summer really does exist.

... the next 19 work days fly by so I can be on vacation for a week.

... our dvr is installed on Friday and I can watch every delicious minute of Big Brother 11 on my own schedule.

... I find the next book that I just can't put down.

... Husband and I are out on the weekend celebrating his birthday.

Read more responses to MamaKat's Writer's Workshop prompts here.

July's tasks

It's a new month and I feel a renewed sense of energy toward the tasks I couldn't bring myself to do in June. Or May. 

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, right? Well, when this city gives you days and days on end of rain/overcast/fog (blahhh), make the most of your time inside by accomplishing to-dos! That's the spirit!

First, what I didn't do last month:

— Finish the spring summer cleaning. 

— Launch our Etsy shops.

— Accomplish something else from our Amazing 2009 To Do List.

And new goals:

— Purge unused and unnecessary items from our apartment. Unless we're expecting overnight guests, our guest room/office is usually taken over by craft supplies and odds and ends that get shoved there over the course of a week. It's got to stop.

— Make three more new recipes. Preferably nothing with dill.

What are you planning to accomplish this month?

playing hot and cold

Husband will attest to the fact that I sometimes have difficulties getting dressed in the morning (read: clothes flung all over the floor and the bed while I change my outfit half a dozen times).

The heating and cooling system in our office is a fickle mistress. Exhibit A: Today. It is a fairly warm, overcast/rainy day. I'm wearing a long-sleeved wool sweater and I'm freezing. In July!

A mere hour ago, I was burning up and seriously considering taking off my sweater to expose my black-tank-with-white-bra-straps combo. Yes, I almost went there. Now, there is an Arctic chill coming from who-the-heck-knows-where and I'm pulling my sleeves over my hands to trap in any heat that my body has left.

Wouldn't it be nice if we lived in a climate (not only in the office, but outside too) where summer actually means wearing summer clothes?