Monday, 30 January 2012

A Farm Fresh Pitcher

We made a quick stop at the Hope Mission Thrift Store today.  I was looking for new-with-tags boots for Juli that my friend said they had.  Unfortunately I had waited too long to go, and they had sold all of them.  I did find this slightly-chipped and unmarked white ironstone pitcher and an undated British copy of Little Lord Fauntleroy.  It has some sticky residue from tape or a sticker on the front.  Any ideas how to clean that off?

I discovered The Bedside Book of Famous French Stories at Value Village last week.

I can imagine the jug filled to the brim with fresh creamy milk sitting on an old farmhouse table while hungry farm kids settle down after chores to devour their breakfast. (I'm a country girl disguised as a city girl!)

PS: To a Pretty Life now has a facebook page and an advertise page...check it out and spread the word!


Friday, 27 January 2012

I Want to Buy a Boat

I have this shelf.  Above the fireplace.  It's weird and awkward and very difficult to decorate.  I think it's meant for a TV, but ours is in the basement (and would be too big for the space anyway.)

Currently we have our Ipod dock/sound system up there, with some decor items that have been displaced from elsewhere, Kevin's CMA certificate, some noisemakers from a hockey game, and I think a Chicago Blackhawks Santa hat.  I'll be building some shelves elsewhere that I want to move the sound system to, and then I want to find something really big to put up there.  It has to be big enough to fill the space proportionately by itself.  I don't want anything else up there.

So I was thinking a boat would work.  Not a full on Spanish galleon, but a schooner or other sail boat would work.  And be appropriate since we live in a lake community.

I saw this picture at sixteen fourteen and that's where I got the boat idea from  I love how big it is.  I don't know.  When it comes time to look, I may decide on something else entirely.

PS: To a Pretty Life now has a facebook page and an advertise page...check it out and spread the word!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Pretty Rugs

I hate my rug.  It's a beige $39 berber Walmart special, and it's stained and falling apart and I hate it (yes, I like hyperbole).  But 6x9 rugs are expensive, so I can't replace it yet.  Sometimes I roll it up and stash it behind the couch so I don't have to look at it for a while.  But we have slippery laminate and a rug is pretty much a necessity in this house.

But one day I'll be able to get a rug I like...maybe a cowhide?

Or a traditional braided rug?  Now that's really farmhouse!


Or maybe this Dash & Albert indoor/outdoor rug?  It can just be hosed off to clean it!

I found this rug on Kijiji a couple of months ago, and if my kids were a little older and less prone to spill things, I would have bought it.  Looking at it now, I should have bought it anyway despite the $249 asking price!  Oh well.  When I'm ready, I'm sure I'll find the perfect rug.

source: kijiji (ad is no longer active)
In the meantime, I may try to make my rug prettier like this:

PS: To a Pretty Life now has a facebook page and an advertise page...check it out and spread the word!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Proud Canadian Blogger!

I love reading blogs.  Most of the bloggers I "meet" are American of course, and some are British or Australian.  But occasionally I get a little thrill when I realise that a blogger is Canadian!  To show my Canadian pride, I created this badge to share.  Feel free to download it and use it without attribution.  The maple leaf graphic is from  The background is transparent.

Proud Canadian Blogger

Some of my favourite Canadian blogs are:

Life in the Fun Lane - This blogger actually lives in the same city as I do!  Which makes me kind of feel like a stalker when I read her blog.
A Pretty Life in the Suburbs - Jo-Anna gave me a bit of a shock when I came across her blog...she's my doppelgänger.  We have the same name, write a "pretty life" blog, and are both Canadian.
Canadian Cottage - I love this woman's houses (old and new) and her decorating style.

If you've added this badge to your blog, I'd love to have you link up here so I can visit! Add your blog link below:

Little Red Hearts - A Valentine Tutorial

My Christmas jingle bells needed to come down.  But I still wanted to have something hanging on my branches on the front porch.  So I came up with these little red hearts, in honour of Valentine's Day (which I never decorate for).

- Red felt, 2 sheets
- string, twine, or ribbon (I used 100% wool yarn that my dad made)
- hot glue sticks

- hot glue gun
- scissors
- paper (optional)

Step 1: Make a template out of paper.  Or don't.  It works either way.  I just wanted all my hearts to be exactly the same shape and size.

Step 2: Cut hearts out of one whole sheet of felt.

Step 3: Hot glue a length of string to each heart.

Step 4: Run a bead of hot glue around a heart about 1/4-inch from the edge and position the heart on the uncut sheet of felt.

Step 5: Cut out your heart, being careful not to cut your string.  Repeat steps 4 & 5 with the remaining cut hearts.  After about half the sheet, I decided to glue all of them before I cut them out.  I positioned them before I glued them to make sure I could fit all of them on.

Step 6: Display or give away your hearts!  I opted to do both.  They'll be displayed on my branches 'til Valentine's Day, then the kids can give them to their friends as a valentine, if the elements haven't wrecked them.  Using my two sheets of felt, I ended up with 20 hearts.

Let me know if you make these little hearts!

PS: To a Pretty Life now has a facebook page and an advertise page...check it out and spread the word!

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Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

I'm playing the game again.  So I can't have sugar, white flour, etc, etc, etc.  I needed to bring a snack to our Tuesday morning moms' group.  This is what I came up with.  My starting point was the King Arthur Whole Wheat Banana Bread recipe, but with several modifications.

My Whole Wheat Banana Bread

3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup honey
2 eggs
3 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp (rounded, not level) baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9x5 loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl, mash bananas and stir in next 5 ingredients.
3. Add remaining ingredients into the mix.  Mix well.
4. Pour into a the prepared loaf pan.
5. Bake 60 minutes, removing from oven when toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in pan 10 minutes then remove from pan to cool completely on a baking rack.

Some notes: The first time I made this, I substituted spelt flour for about 1/2 a cup of the whole wheat.  I liked the texture much better.  The next time I made it, with all whole wheat, it was denser, but still delicious.

PS: To a Pretty Life now has a facebook page and an advertise page...check it out and spread the word!

Monday, 23 January 2012


It has taken me months (of intermittent procrastination), but I'm finally close to the end of decluttering my former craft/sewing area.  I initially began the task because I was going to mostly stop creating so I could focus on my editing career.  See how that turned out here.  Although I've decided to keep creating, I still wanted to clear out all the unnecessary stuff that I was keeping just in case I ever decided to make something with it.  And I needed to organise.  And my laundry area wasn't functional with all that stuff in there.  Neither was our office area.  These photos I found on Pinterest may give you an idea of the look and feeling I'm after...of course all these rooms have big windows while my area is in the basement with one small window.

source - if anyone knows the original source, please let me know...I could only find it on tumblr.
And here is what it really looks like as of this morning.  Feel free to avert your eyes from the horror.

I'll be taking a big load of stuff to Goodwill this morning, and I have a bin of things I need to sort through and list for sale.  Mostly fabric and decor items.  I have a huge garbage bag full of fabric scraps that I was thinking about listing for free on Kijiji, but at this point I'm really tempted to just throw it all out.

Once my stuff is cleared up and organised, I hope I can convince Kevin to drywall the area.  Then I'll paint the walls and put up curtains up on the side without a wall, where the storage shelves are in the third picture. And shelving would help.  This may take all year.

PS: To a Pretty Life now has a facebook page and an advertise page...check it out and spread the word! 

Friday, 20 January 2012

The Story of a Little White Cabinet

Once upon a time there was a sad little cabinet.  She had been built out of scraps and held tools or other shop items that battered her cream coloured paint.  Soon she recieved new paint green, white, rust red, black, and finally dark green.  Over the years the little cabinet became scarred, but she was proud to be useful.  She survived a flood that warped her bottom and was moved around from place to place until eventually being sold for $2 to a furniture dealer.

 She sat in his showroom, surrounded by bigger, newer, nicer furniture pieces, forgotten and ignored.  Then one day a girl came in, browsing slowly through all the furniture, eyes lingering on a dresser here, a dining set there. She looked at the little green cabinet, running her fingers over bumpy, imperfect paint, opening the door to look inside.  The girl walked away, to the front desk where the dealer waited.

"How much for that little green cabinet?"

The dealer walked over, eyed the cabinet, and responded, "$20."

The girl innocently paid without haggling and carried the cabinet out to her mother's car.  In her home with the girl, the cabinet was no longer battered and neglected, but put to use as a beloved part of the house.  She held lamps and books and pretty things instead of tools or flood water.  Her paint was still scarred and bumpy.

After many years, the cabinet began to really feel old.  She was missing one screw from her ill-fitting hinges, and the remaining three became looser and looser.  Until one day the baby of the house turned the latch and opened the cabinet door.  The top hinge completely detatched from the body of the cabinet.  The door hung by just one remaining screw.

The cabinet found herself hoisted up on to the kitchen table, with sticky wet glue and sharp toothpicks shoved into the stripped screw holes.  She lay there all night wondering what was going to happen next.  In the morning she was unceremoniously moved to the floor in the corner, door still detatched and tucked behind her.  She remained there for the next few days, getting in the way and not being useful.

Finally, she was moved back to the kitchen table.  The girl roughly sanded the glossy finish off her paint then wiped her down.  A smoky turquoise paint soon covered her inside, followed by creamy white on the outside.  The cabinet felt fresh and bright and new!

Once the paint was dry, she was gently moved down to the floor and fitted with soft felt feet.  She was positioned in a place of honour near the front door, ready to greet any visitors, welcoming them in.

PS: To a Pretty Life now has a facebook page and an advertise page...check it out and spread the word!

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