Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Operation Backyard Oasis.

With the arrival of warmer temps, we've started to think about the exterior of the house.  We need to install a walkway (paving stones) and pave the driveway (bye bye gravel!).   In the backyard, we want to add an addition to our existing deck, plant some more trees along the back fence, expand the side gardens and build a large planter to place in front of the deck.  It's a lot of work, but we are up for it!  We love to work outside and we love to enjoy the backyard, so to have a gorgeous spot to rest and hang out is our idea of pure happiness.

Naturally, I'm flipping through old magazines to look for inspiration.  I had remembered seeing Allison Willson's (Allison is part of Sarah Richardson's design team) cottage feature and loving every bit of the outdoor space, but I couldn't for the life of me remember which magazine the feature was in or which month!  After a little searching, I found the April 2013 issue with the feature.

What I love.  The couch, paired with some adirondack chairs.  Hubs wants adirondack chairs, no question, I'd love a couch, perfection.

I also want to add some planters (probably black rectangular) with some tall grass in them to the upper deck, similar to the ones below (first pic, second row).  I absolutely love the sound (and look) of ornamental grass blowing in the wind, it's so soothing:

You can view more pictures of Allison's lovely cottage here.

Our main deck is high enough off of the ground that if you are outside of our backyard, you can see the ugliness below it, so we need to block that view.  One of my favourite parts of our backyard in Winnipeg was a planter that hubs and his dad built.  We placed two evergreens in it and some gorgeous wave petunias, I'd absolutely love to replicate that here.  So we are thinking of placing (and making) a large planter in front of the deck and then flanking it with two smaller and lower planters, which will go alongside the stairs, hiding them.

The debate is if we want to go with stone or wood.  I think we are leaning towards wood at this point, primarily due to cost.

We are beyond pumped to get started on the outdoor space.  I'm currently researching trees, trying to figure out which one would best suit our needs.  If all goes according to plan, we should be able to get started on some of these projects at the beginning of May.

How about you?  Have you started planning out your outdoor space?


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Canadian Living May Recipe: Sesame Chicken With Fennel and Orange Salad

It's that time again! Time for another Canadian Living recipe!

I've got to be honest.  If you had told me a year ago that I'd be making a salad that called for fennel, I'd give you a very convincing (and polite) smile & nod without believing a word of it!  I think I've had fennel once in my life prior to this recipe, it's definitely not something that I would pick up from the grocery store on a frequent basis.  That's one of the reasons that I absolutely love these monthly recipes, they make me step outside of my comfort zone and try recipes that I typically wouldn't look twice at.

This month's recipe is Sesame Chicken with Fennel and Orange Salad, such a great meal to kick off the bbq season.  

What I loved about it....I'm a huge coleslaw fan, so the homemade mayo dressing & cabbage was right up my alley and bbq chicken is one of our favourite summer meals.  So good.  The honey glaze, oh goodness, did it ever smell absolutely delicious when it was brushed on the chicken.  I also think it's great how both the salad dressing and chicken glaze were made from scratch.

And another first: roasting sesame seeds.  I know,  I know,  that's not so extreme, but I'd never done it before and am quite surprised by how easy it is!  Sesame seeds are a really great way to add an extra touch of flavour to the chicken.

I was so surprised by how great the blend of ingredients tasted together.  This recipe was exactly what I needed to prove that my thoughts on how certain meals are going to taste couldn't be any further from the truth!

The meal itself was easy to prepare and cook.  Next time I think I'll try chopping the fennel into smaller pieces and I will most likely do the same for the chicken and cilantro (I didn't chop the cilantro finely enough).  But overall, it's definitely a light and flavourful summer meal that would be great to make after a day at the beach!  It would also be the perfect "go to" for when company is coming over or when you're asked to bring a salad to a summer get together.

Want to give it a try?! Of course you do.  You can find the recipe on the Canadian Living site, here.  You can also see what other bloggers thought about the meal here.


*sponsored post but opinions are completely my own. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Workspace Update With The Help of Ornamental Mouldings!

A few weeks ago I decided it was definitely time to add an inspiration board to my workspace.  Conveniently enough, we already had a cork bulletin board tucked away, so I dug it out, gave the frame a coat of white paint (of course) and I got to tearing photos of inspiring spaces.  Once the board was up, I realized that a little something was missing.  I loved the height of the bulletin board, but I definitely needed to add a something above it.

I chose to go with a gorgeous ornamental moulding which I found at Home Depot.  It's made of embossed acanthus wood and had the exact look and detail I was going for.

These little gems are 1- fairly inexpensive and 2- work pretty much anywhere.  They also come in a variety of styles and sizes.  I gave it a coat of white gloss spray paint (again, of course).  To hang it, I used a 3M velcro command strip (honestly, I love these little buggers!).

The moulding was the perfect added touch to a rather dull space above the bulletin board, a quick and easy fix with large impact.

Here's another shot of how the moulding looked before I sprayed it:

And here it is in place:

I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful it is to be able to see all of these inspirational images, letters from lovely friends, fabrics, words of wisdom and such while plugging away at the computer.  It also allowed me to see a pattern that I didn't know was even there until all of the photos were up.  I definitely encourage everyone to create their own perfect version of an inspiration board if you can.  This bulletin board used to be hubs when he lived at home with his parents, it has definitely seen better days, but a quick coat of paint brought life back to the frame and the damage cork was covered up as soon as I added some photos.  You could also add some fabric to the back if you wanted to cover up the cork entirely!


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Moody Florals

Floral fabrics and art are definitely coming back and strong.  I'm, of course, on board.

Last week I went back to the antique store looking for a couple of pieces that we need for the family room (more about the family room to come later in the week).  Though they didn't have what I went for, what I did spot was a breathtaking floral painting in the most exquisite gold frame.  I desperately wanted to take it home, but alas, there is a budget and I need the other items before this, plus, I already have quite a few floral prints in the house (that doesn't matter though, does it?!).

My word, it's so hard to leave great pieces behind even when you don't have an immediate use/spot for them.

Here's the gorgeousness:

The frame, the dark background, the pinks & blues, it's just lovely.

Are you all for moody florals?


Monday, April 14, 2014

The Restoration of Le Chateau de Gudanes

A week or so ago, the beautiful Jillian Harris instagrammed a photo of a breathtaking chateau in France.  I immediately clicked over and have been captivated ever since.

Let me introduce you to le Chateau de Gudanes.  An abandoned chateau in the south of France that has been purchased and is being restored by an Australian family.

There are no words that could even begin to describe how amazing experiencing something like this would be.  The family put it so well in this post.

I have a thing for gorgeous staircases, I can just imagine how beautiful this one will be once it's revived considering it looks beautiful in disrepair!


I can not even begin to imagine how much work it will take to restore this gem, but I have so much respect for this family for taking on this challenge.  The feeling they will have once the restoration is complete will without a doubt, will have made it all well worth it.  This is what dreams are made of.

I myself am beyond thankful that they are sharing this journey with us, giving us a behind the scenes look.  Every single detail has me wanting more.

I've since told asked hubs to promise me that one day, we will venture off to France and tour Chateau after Chateau after Chateau, oh how wonderful that would be!

Be sure to follow along this lovely family's journey via their blog and instagram as well!

Have a lovely day!


all photos via

Friday, April 11, 2014

Around Here Update!

Hey hey hey, it's Fri-i-i-day!

The past couple of weeks have seen some much needed progress around the house.  A little break did wonders and things are happening (sorry, they are all instagram photos).

First up, this glorious Degas Dancers canvas print from Anewall.  I mean, honestly, my heart skipped a beat or two when I saw it.  This beauty is going to grace one of the walls in the dining room.  I am hoping to send it to the framers next week, you'll be sure that there will be a post dedicated to this as soon as it's up on the wall.

HomeSense never disappoints when it comes to accessories.  It's definitely what I consider to be my "go to" store for this very reason.  New seashell votive holder = fabulous.

Speaking of HomeSense, welcome to the living room aka my HomeSense showroom, ha!  But really....the coffee table, the bench, the art, the mirror, the lamp, the sidetables, all HomeSense purchases.  And now, you can add this stunning Colin + Justin gold stool (meant for outdoors, but it's staying indoors here) to that list.  I've had my eye on this gorgeousness for at least a month, checking back every few days and hoping it was still there.  Why I didn't buy it at first, no clue, but it got to the point that I'd panic if it wasn't in the same spot that it was the previous time I visited the store.  So I finally bit the bullet and bought it....I luuuuuuuv it you guys, love!  I've since moved it onto the rug, slightly in front of the couch.  You see, I'm that person who loves to have a sidetable beside a chair/couch, this is basically how I choose where I'm going to sit in a room. I prefer to place my drink on the side vs the front of me.  Weird, I know, but true.

You know I have a huge love for Stephanie's prints, which are available in her shop, SSprintshop.  I've loved this "love" print forever and can finally call it mine!  It's perfect for this space and coordinates so well with kiddo 1's grade 1 masterpiece (behind it).

Now back to the living room.  That space behind the couch, I'm now wondering if I should take on the ever so popular ikea hack (as seen here in Jen's #rocktherental post) of the Vittsjo etagere?  I do love the look and it's the right height & width.  Thinking yes.  But do I go with the single one and have one here and another on the opposite wall or do I go with the wider one and only have the one on this wall?  Decisions.

And back to HomeSense.  This pot was just right for this spot.  A little moss and a beautiful faux bloom (also HomeSense) and tada, great spring pick me up!

Wishing you all a fantastic weekend!


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

It's Hot: Concrete Planters

Though concrete planters have been around for a while now, I seem to be becoming slightly obsessed with them and the idea of having a couple around the house.  The light grey, somewhat smooth with slight texture is the perfect foundation for a gorgeous grouping of lovely blooms.

Succulents & concrete are a very popular pairing, vivid green with a soft grey, you can never go wrong.

Jenny shared a really fantastic tutorial on how to make your own using various bowls and containers, giving you option to customize the look of your planter, which is great if you need a little more texture or character.  You can find the tutorial here.

I absolutely love the planter that Liz from Grey and Scout chose for her indoor plant.  Quite simple detail wise, but it definitely makes a beautiful statement:

A quick search on google or pinterest and you will find a slew of fabulous tips on how to create your own planter.

I seem to be leaning more towards smaller designs, vase like, similar to this beauty (posted by Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere)

but you can also make a statement by going big and using them as planters both in and outside of the home:

How do you feel about the concrete trend?  Loving it?  Or pass?