Tuesday, 30 June 2009

What my garden looks like this week

While we were on vacation, my mom came to house sit. She doesn't have a permanent residence right now, so it was nice for her to have a house to herself for once. I told her that if the plant watering was too much for her, I would ask a friend to do it instead. She assured me that she would be fine. And was she ever! My garden loved her! When we got back, everything was green and growing lushly. Even the marigolds and monkey-flowers that I didn't have time to put in proper pots before I left. But the biggest surprise was this shrub: I could have sworn it was dead as a doornail, as seen in this post. Somehow, my mom worked magic on it because it is now almost as full as the other one. These unidentified plants have grown, and I think the taller one is getting ready to bloom soon. I'm now about 80% certain that these two large dark-leaved shrubs are diablo ninebark. I was waiting for the flowers to show up before I officially identified them. If anyone knows different, let me know! The little ivory flower clusters are so dainty and pretty. These two garage sale plants are blooming now. They have very interesting flowers. Any idea what they are? My mom thinks they might be bachelor's buttons, but can't say for sure. My tomatoes and marigolds appear to be thriving, despite having 5 tomato plants in the same pot, plus 4 marigolds. I hope they don't mind the crowding. I think I need to feed them though, because one of them is starting to turn yellow...it doesn't like having to share, I think. Franklin's pink and purple petunias are vibrant and exactly what I wanted. And my nasturtiums had an amazing growth spurt over the past two weeks. When they bloom, they'll clash horribly with the petunias, so I'll have to move something. And that's all folks! I want to plant more perennials this summer, but our first priority is getting something happening with the fence. KD wanted to paint the posts today, but we got a bit of rain this morning so he couldn't. I will probably go pick up the stain tomorrow.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Something Blue?

While I was browsing in Value Village on Friday, I spotted three of these pretty blue and white transferware plates. I thought they were lovely and a pretty good price ($3.99 for 3), but I wasn't going to get them, because nothing in my house is blue. Then I thought "maybe I don't have any blue in my house because I never buy the blue things I like because I don't have any blue in my house?" (I'm not sure if that makes sense, but that was my train of thought). So I decided to go ahead and get them anyway. I've always liked the blue/white combination, ever since my days of reading Victoria magazine at age 15. The plates are made by English Ironstone like my little green plates are, but I'm sure they're not as old. The logo looks much more modern. Replacements.com calls this pattern number EIT41, and these ten-inch dinner plates are listed at $17.99 each. I also found some horribly stained and dirty white curtains at Value Village. There were two panels together, and I assumed that they were $9.99 for the pair. I thought that was still a little high, but decided to get them anyway, because I really liked the fabric. When I went to pay, the cashier told me that they were actually $9.99 each. I told her that I didn't think they were worth that much, since they were very yellowed and dirty, and had spots that looked like coffee stains all over them. I can get two white curtain panels at Walmart for around the same price. So, she called over a manager, who looked at them, and offered me 20% off. I said that I only wanted to pay $9.99 for the pair, so after she carefully looked at the stains and thought about it, she agreed! The cashier later told me that I was lucky, because the manager was just newly promoted, and I probably wouldn't have gotten any discount from another manager. Boy, I'm feeling bold these days! That's the second time in the past few weeks that I've asked for a discount and gotten it! I bleached the curtains as soon as I got home, and they are now pristine white! Bleach is my friend. These curtains are destined for JK's new big-girl bedroom. One will become the top of a white quilt or duvet-cover, and the other will either be made into accessories or curtains for her room, or find a purpose elsewhere in the house (It would make a lovely tablecloth). And the wall colour for JK's room will be blue (because KD says "No pink walls!"). I've picked my paint colour (French Silver by CIL), and bought twin-size sheets. Now if only KD would move the office to the basement so we can paint! See more Thrifty Treasures over at Rhoda's Southern Hospitality blog.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Nesting Gone Wacky - and a Metamorphosis Monday

This post is for Met Monday at Between Naps on the Porch. Find more transformations on Susan's lovely blog. So this baby is starting to make his presence felt, in the form of the Nesting Instinct (yes, the way I've been feeling this week, it deserves the capital letters!). I've been obsessively compelled to organize and rearrange things. Yesterday, I finally tackled a project that I've been ignoring ever since we moved into this house five months ago: Organising the linen closet. Here is the before picture: Half of that jumbled mess at the bottom isn't even unpacked from the garbage bag we moved it in. The rest of it is filled with sheet sets (in sizes that we don't even own beds for), a table linens that are not my style at all, and all our towels, dish cloths, and other miscellaneous stuff. With JK's help (she really was helpful!), I quickly got it all sorted. Here it is after: Eventually I want to make the shelves look pretty too, but I'll save that for another burst of nesting energy...after my crafting/sewing supplies are unearthed from the basement. Today's nesting energy went toward something that doesn't even make any sense...but I like it anyway. We have an extra couch that we are trying to sell, and I just got sick of having it in the living room hampering my decorating in there. So I put it in the kitchen: KD hasn't yet told me that I'm completely crazy, but I'm sure he will. And I'm sure I am. But now that it is there, I think that our little eating area would look cute with a smaller settee or something under the window and a lower table...I feel future wacky furniture arrangement coming on! And this is where JK has been nesting lately:

Friday, 26 June 2009

Wall Colour Question

Can I paint my walls white/off-white/ivory/cream if I have dark furniture? What do you think?

Summary of Our Vacation in Pictures

So that I don't bore you with multiple posts filled with descriptions of our vacation, here it is in one post. Feel free to skip it! We went to visit KD's family in Ontario. JK turns two in a week or so, and we wanted to squeeze in one more trip before we have to start paying for her plane ticket. She loved being on the airplane ("ay-ping!") and visiting family. I loved visiting, driving around the countryside, seeing beautiful old houses, and sending JK to see Nanny in the morning so we could sleep in. I'm pretty sure KD loved that part too. JK sharing her birthday balloons with her great-great-aunt Helen: My little owl at Storyland (which is in vast need of updating, but was fun nevertheless): Reading with Poppa (KD's Poppa, that is): Riding her new bike (gift from Nanny for her birthday...it was fun finding a box to put it in for the flight home): First professional haircut (hairdresser is the same one who always cut KD's hair when he was a kid): Chasing bunnies on Parliament Hill: At Nicholson's Lock on the Rideau Canal (KD's Nanny was raised there...she lived with her grandfather who was the lockmaster): Watching the huge fish upstream from the lock: JK swinging with Nan (KD's Nan, who is distinguished by the shortened name from JK's Nanny - KD's mom): Hammock chair at Nanny's house: The End. I'm glad to be back home, but I thoroughly enjoyed the time in Ontario. I love it there (despite the humidity). I am blessed to have wonderful in-laws (all of them, both in Ontario and here at home). Since I've been home, I have been itching to nest. I didn't want to unpack, I wanted to clean and organize! But I restrained the urge, and got everything unpacked yesterday...which has to be a record for me. Usually we are still living out of suitcases a week after getting home.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

200th post

This is my totally-not-exciting 200th post. Since I just got back from vacation, I don't have anything nice planned for you this time. I will post something more interesting as soon as I find my camera cord. I'm excited to show you all the changes in my garden!

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day KD! Thank you for being a wonderful dad. Of course, I didn't pack this gift, so he won't get it until we get home. But I just love how it looks on my kitchen counter. I'll have to get a frame for this spot. When I was buying the frame, the cashier put a serious chip in the edge, and there was no other frame that I could exchange it for. I was feeling annoyed and ambitious and empowered, so I went to customer service to complain and got a 10% discount! For that, I can fix the chip. And I didn't even have to wait in line (a rare event at Walmart's customer service desk) I hope you all have a terrific day celebrating the fathers in your life.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Party Tablescape

We hosted a BBQ for my friend's 25th birthday. Her husband did all the inviting and food. All I had to do was clean the house, decorate a little (nothing tacky, I told KD when he suggested getting decorations), and pick up a Dairy Queen ice cream cake. I wanted to show my decorating, for Susan's Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch. This is another scheduled post, so I won't have the links right until I can get online. Here is what I started with: I found adorable yellow and green napkins and creamy yellow plates at Dollarama, and hesitated only a little in buying a loose-woven green scarf for a table runner. Some cheery sunflowers completed my very simple decorations. (sorry about the clutter in the background...I had nowhere to move it to except the basement, and I was feeling too pregnant that day to make the extra trip down the stairs, or even to just move it out of the way for the picture. I'm so lazy.) Here it is, the extent of my party decorations: I love how my fruit tray raises the plates to just the right height to make them look special. I wanted to tie just the green ribbon around the glass holding the utensils, but I only had about three inches of it left. So I used a trick I learned in a stamping workshop, and tied the green ribbon around the ivory one. It turned out much better than my original plan. And of course, I had to wrap my friend's gift to coordinate. It kind of looks like I wrapped up a pumpkin, but no, it was a really cute candle holder/vase thing. This is my very simple tablescape, my first attempt at joining Tablescape Thursday. See more lovely tables over at Between Naps on the Porch.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Kimba's Garden Party

Kimba at A Soft Place to Land is having a garden party today. Its purpose is to share our outdoor projects. I am out of town this week, but I really really wanted to participate. So this is a scheduled post. As such, it won't have the pretty button or the proper links, but I will fix that as soon as I get a chance. I'm just hoping I can get internet connection long enough to add my post to the Linky! (We're visiting KD's mom out in the country...and I'm not sure what kind of connection she has, if any). My outdoor project was sanding my front porch. I've been putting it off ever since the snow left, and this party was exactly the motivation I needed to get it done. Here is the before picture: When our house was built, the painters left a horrible mess of footprints and drips. Our neighbour says the previous owner complained to the builder about it and was told "That's what you have to expect in new construction." I find that answer ridiculous. In addition to the paint, the wood had water marks because of a rug that the previous owners used. Anyway, it took me less than two hours with my trusty palm sander (honestly, I don't know how I survived before I got it) to turn the above mess into this: Looks lovely now, doesn't it? The neighbour now wants to do his. This is what my porch looks like now. I'd like to find a bench for the porch, and I need to plant something tall in the larger of my square pots. The smaller one has nasturtium seedlings coming up in it. The large pot to the left has five tomato plants and four marigolds, all of which were given to me by KD's grandma. She always gives me her extra ones. My front door will eventually be painted, probably dark blue or charcoal, since KD has declared no red or black. The white is so boring.I hope you enjoyed my before/after. See more projects over at Kimba's.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Christening Gift

KD's niece was baptised on Sunday. We are honoured to be chosen for Godparents, and I wanted to get a gift that was more than just another toy or dress or whatever else someone would get for an eleven-month-old girl. While I was browsing at Michaels, I decided to paint a box for her like I have done for JK and all my nieces and nephew (I don't have pictures of the ones I did for my nieces). I found the perfect box, and instantly knew what I wanted to do with it. After I painted the white base and pink stripes, I sanded the box to let the white show through the pink, but it still looked to barbie-pink. So I added a brown glaze (diluted craft paint), which didn't really help the pink problem. Once that dried, I tried a white glaze, which did the job. For the monogram, I printed it on the computer, then scribbled with pencil on the back. After trying to precicely measure to get it centred on the top of the box, I traced each letter on top of the paper with pen, so that the pencil would lightly mark the box. Then, not wanting to risk messing up trying to paint it, I used a fine-tip black marker to fill it in. It looks a lot crisper around the edges using the marker than it would have if I had used paint. Despite all my hard work trying to centre the monogram, it still ended up a little bit off-centre, so I added the girly bow. I glued each piece on to a large button to make the arrangement, then glued the button to the box. I didn't want to mess up the paint job if I made a mistake. The two flowers are actually made of leather, and were earings that KD's grandma gave me when she was downsizing her jewelry collection. I broke off the posts to use them. The inside of the box has just the brown glaze over the pink, and I had to add a bow to the lid too. I can never leave the inside of anything plain. Here is the box all wrapped up in brown kraft paper, a torn strip of white banner paper, ribbons, and a tag:Hmm...I didn't intend to type so much in this post.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Can this thing get any bigger?

This is what I look like tonight (taken in the basement, because KD was watching hockey stuff on TV). I am exactly twenty-nine weeks pregnant. Are you sure I still have to grow for eleven more weeks? Compare with this picture from my last pregnancy, at 8 months: I think I'm bigger now than I was then. But in any case, I just had my second ultrasound, and the baby is healthy, just over three pounds. He is head down, and had his foot right in front of his face during the ultrasound. I love this boy already...yes, he still looks like a boy!