Tuesday, November 30, 2010

O Christmas Tree...

 How's that for a lame-o completely unoriginal title?

 So, we set up our Christmas tree last week!  We were trapped in our house Thursday night due to the snow and icy road conditions, so... why not put the tree up?  It felt like a Christmas-y thing to do with snow on the ground and cold weather conditions!  We decided to make it a family affair-- we popped a huge bowl of popcorn and let Caleb stay up to "help" us.  It was as horrifically painful fun and stress-free as you may imagine setting up a tree with a toddler might be.  There were ornaments, lights, popcorn, and boxes everywhere.  Caleb wanted to touch everything.  In the end only one ornament was broken.  The vacuum cleaner was only pulled out twice.  I'm going to go ahead and call it a success.

And, here is the finished product!

 My ornaments are blue and gold.
A little on the unconventional side, but I like it!

I even set up a mini-version in the kitchen.  This used to be our main Christmas tree-- we finally had enough room to upgrade to a big one when we moved into this house.

It makes me feel festive while I cook.

Now, there is still one element that I'm undecided on.  The tree skirt.  I don't have a normal tree skirt since most of the ones available for purchase in the stores are either too expensive or too ugly.  Instead, I went through my fabric collection and found two pieces that could be wrapped around the base of the tree in place of a skirt.  Unfortunately, I can't decide which one I like better.  Here are the two options:

This one says:

"Hi!  I'm traditional.  If you're feeling safe today, choose me.  BTW, I'd make great throw pillows for your living room post Christmas."

I like.

 And then there's this one.  It says (I'm using 'it' because I can't decide on a gender):

"Hi!  I'm modern!  If you're interested in a tree skirt with a nautical side, choose me!  I am a nice compliment to the blue ornaments on your tree."

I also like.

Again... option 1.

And, option 2.

Who knew maternity leave could be filled with so many stressful decisions?  

Just jokes.

Which would you choose?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Paint Post!

As requested, here are the paint colors we used in our house!  Fan decks have been known to frustrate and overwhelm people.  Looking at the wall of paint chips in paint stores used to send my head spinning, until I worked in the paint section of a home improvement store and was forced to stare at it all day long!  Now I'm always interested to know which paint colors people are using in their homes!  I've had a lot of people ask me how we chose the colors in this house.  Here's what I did:

1.  I borrowed the fan deck from the paint store.  It's so hard decide which paint chips you like in the store-- instead I brought them ALL home with me so that I could see them in the space... not in the store's funky lighting.
2.  Since I was painting the entire main floor I selected 4 colors that all went together... and that I liked!  Instead of picking a color for each room hoping they would all go together-- I did the opposite. Instead I selected colors that worked the best together within the house knowing that they would all make their appearance in a room somewhere along the way.
3.  Then I had 4 gallons of each color mixed up.  I brought them all home and painted a 1x1 foot square of each color in each room.  Over the next few days I observed how the colors looked in each room's different lighting and made my decisions!  (I had time on my hands-- there was so much priming to accomplish first!)

I tend to be drawn to colors with more muted undertones-- I think they have more depth and interest.  Whenever I am selecting a new color I usually try to find the shades that have grey/green undertones since they tend to be a bit more warmer and interesting.

So!  Without further adieu, here are the paint colors found in our house!!

In the living room, dining room, kitchen and hall we used Benjamin Moore's Intense White (OC-51).
We wanted a neutral light grey that wouldn't feel too icy.

In the master bedroom and main floor bathroom I used
Benjamin Moore Horizon (OC-53).
It's a really light blue that has a bit of green in it which
keeps it from feeling too cool.

In Emerson's room we used Benjamin Moore's Woodlawn Blue (HC-147).  This wasn't one of the original four colors I chose-- we picked this color later on when the room was becoming a nursery!
It's a nice soft shade of blue that still has a bit of intensity.  One of my favorite things I love about the color is that it always looks a little bit different throught the day in different lighting.

In Caleb's room, we used French Canvas (OC-41).
It's a light neutral that is a really subtle grey color.  This color was also in Emerson's room initially when it was still an office.  I really loved it because any color scheme works with this shade on the walls.  It also makes rooms feel really warm and bright.

The last of the four colors I originally selected didn't make it into the upstairs.... instead it's been making its appearance in the basement!  The color is November Rain (OC-50)-- it's a bit more greener than the others.

Here's a few pictures of November Rain in action!

More on these rooms later-- when they're finished!
I hope this post wasn't too boring for y'all!  Hopefully all the paint junkies out there found it interesting.  Anyone else have a favorite tried and true color they'd like to share?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Snow Much Fun

Rolled out of bed this morning.
Looked out the window to discover that the snow was pulling a disappearing act right before my very eyes.
Went outside to discover premium snowman building snow.
Dragged Caleb outside for some pre-breakfast snowman building action!

I scored some major mommy points.
Just don't tell him that the eyes aren't buttons-- they're wine gums.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I looked outside and I was like... What!?

Discovering fresh snow in the morning is surprising for me... I guess I'm not a prairie girl anymore!  As soon as Caleb saw the snow, he was ITCHING to get out there to build a snowman.  He kept asking me, "Mommy, do you have black buttons for its eyes?"... "Mommy, do you have a carrot for its nose?"  How does he know about snowmen?  Anyhow, once Emerson was napping we made our trek out to the front yard.

To all you Prairie Mamas out there... I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU DO IT.  Outfitting a squirming child in snow gear has got to be one of the most difficult jobs out there.  It's difficult enough to get Caleb dressed in a shirt, pants, and underwear (socks are optional) let alone snow pants, boots, jacket, mitts, hat... wow.  Kudos to you all for doing this on a daily basis!

Once we were out there, the fun began!

Turns out the snow wasn't sticky enough for snowman building.  Thankfully Caleb wasn't too disappointed.  Maybe a post-nap snowman building session will work out for us.

I took a brief break from playing in the snow to laugh at 2 of my neighbors.  They have both been outside ALL morning shoveling their driveways.  I laugh for 2 reasons:

A.  There's only a few inches of snow out there.  Your car will make it out.  You are not snowed into your driveway.  Not yet anyways.
B.  The snow will likely be gone by 8 pm tonight.

I guess they were itching to try out their still brand new hardly used snow shovels!

**UPDATE!  It is now almost 7 pm-- snow's still here and my car is submerged.  Look who's laughing now?  Do you think Canadian Tire still has snow shovels in stock? **

Snow angels were not the smashing success I had anticipated.  Turns out Caleb doesn't like it when snowflakes land on his face.  What an angelic little boy I have.

Time to head back inside!  Caleb's not actually crying here-- this is his "smile for the camera" face.  Again, so angelic, I know.

One last thing-- I need a winter jacket for Caleb as we'll be heading to the prairies for Christmas!  It needs to be cheap since it won't see a lot of action here on the west coast and likely won't fit him next year... any suggestions on where to look?  Prairie Mamas... help me out!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My Living Room in Progress...

My living room-- the most used room of the house.  It's where we watch TV, relax, entertain, it's where Caleb spends most of his time playing... a lot goes on in here.

And this is what I had to work with.  
I like yellow, but this was a bit too much for me.
(look at how cute and little Caleb was back then :)

I definitely don't like yellow when it is paired with green as seen in the picture below (and maybe I should mention that the next room was orange).  Anyhow, it needed a change!

These pictures were taken the day we moved in.  Notice all those paint cans?  After an entire week of painting, we were able to successfully cover these crazy walls!

In case you're wondering, we used Dulux Lifemaster paint in this house.  I LOVE it.  Easy to apply, great coverage, no funky odors, and really durable/washable.  I love Benjamin Moore colors, but not the price.  Our local ICI paint store gave me a smoking deal (just over $30 a gallon) and they did a great job color matching all of the Benjamin Moore colors I brought to them.

As you may have noticed in the previous photos, we left the existing carpet when we first moved in (hence the sheets taped to the floors).  They were in terrible condition, but after all that painting we needed a few months off-- so we pulled out the steam cleaner and left them as is for a few months.  Thank goodness it was summer-- we didn't spend a whole lot of time indoors.

Then we ripped them out!  And slowly put the house back together.  Emphasis on SLOWLY.  Doug and I did a lot of the work ourselves during evenings and weekends as we both had busy day jobs :)  We were a good team-- he did the work in the top half of the room (easy to reach) and I focus on the bottom half-- about all my shoulder can manage these days :)

So we lived in this crazy mess for about two and a half months.

Finally the floors were in.   What a difference it made!  Crown and baseboards were next.

And finally the room was liveable again.

I haven't done too much "decorating" in this room yet so I'm going to say that it's still a room in progress.  It still feels a bit too empty for me.  We used to have a coffee table up here, but left it downstairs for the time being so that Caleb could have room to play.  Eventually, when we get around to it, Doug and I would like to put some built in cabinets along the main wall.  There isn't a fire place or any other major focal point in the room, so we'd like to add something a little more interesting.  Built in's would also add a lot of much needed toy storage.  But here's what the room looks like now...

This room holds two of my all time favorite finds-- let me rephrase-- two of my CHEAPEST finds.
Can you guess which ones they are?

Number 1...

This cabinet was found at MCC for 15 bucks.  I can still remember the day I discovered it-- I called Doug and had him rush over to the store to pick it up.  We were still living in our condo at the time so we had to paint and fix it up on our deck!  After a coat of primer and some white oil paint it looks awesome.  Whenever I paint furniture I usually use Kilz primer first (it's the best out there) and an oil based paint-- I'm kind of old school with this one.  Some people think there are latex paints out there that are durable enough for furniture, but I'm still a fan of using an oil based paint since I know from experience that the finish will last.  I've had this cabinet for several years now and it's withstood much abuse in our household.

It not only looks pretty, it's also practical!  I use it to hold our upstairs toys.  The big annoying ones have to stay in the basement.  That's my rule.  Just say no to annoying toys!

The cabinet also holds a little inspiration for moi...

Number 2 favorite/cheap find...
This awesome chair.
Also an MCC find... for 15 bucks.  What is it with the 15 dollar price tag?

I like the way it looks as is, so I haven't felt the need to recover it.
We gave it a good steam cleaning when we brought it home and it was ready for action.

The baseboards, crown, and flooring match the other rooms in the house.

Now I know you're all thinking... she has two young kids and light colored couches/area rug.  I'm not going to lie to you-- keeping them clean takes work!  But I like the way light furniture looks and really, I'd rather know when my furniture is dirty so that I can clean it!  I've never had a stain that I couldn't remove.  Doug and I bought these couches 5 years ago and they have withstood a TON of abuse-- full cups of coffee spilled, food spills, Caleb "accidents"... and the worst one of all-- blue pen-- not just a little pen... A LOT of blue pen scribbles.

The area rug also has encountered much abuse-- mainly from Caleb and all the three-year old spills/accidents you can imagine.  But more recently, an entire glass of orange pop hit the floor-- not Caleb, not me... someone else in this house :)  Definitely the most persistent stain I've ever encountered-- but still conquered! 

This area rug is one of my favorites-- it's a good living room size (8x10), it's a great neutral color, I can't complain about the quality since it's held up well-- and it's cheap-- $149 at Home Depot!

Well... there's another room in my house-- still in progress, but it works!
Now, time to bring out those Christmas decorations :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hey Cutie

 Oh my... look at those chubby cheeks.

Here's my little lady in her Sunday best... recognize this dress Auntie Angie?

I just can't help myself... these headbands are so cute.
I'll admit, I've got a little headband crazy.
Why shouldn't Emerson have one in every color to match her outfits?

And while I'm outfitting Emerson in cute little outfits, this is what my boys are doing... dressing Caleb up in Daddy's winter gear and trying to make him look tall by putting him on the stairs.  Oh boys.