Taking the Plunge!

Well, not THAT plunge… that one was five years ago now.

party

It ain’t a party without maracas!!

No, this is another kind of plunge that I’ve been thinking about for a long time… I’m going full-throttle with my blog and moving to a self hosting site. This is HUGE for me… what it means is I will have full control over the page, and won’t be forced to use the provided WordPress templates. I will also be able to have advertisers (I hope! At some point!) – real ones, not just those pop ups that you see now. I’m REALLY excited about the upgrade and super nervous about messing it up.

Fortunately, WordPress offers a guided transfer feature, so for a fee I am having them assist me in moving the blog from them to my new host – and if all goes well, none of my readers will even notice the switch! It should happen some time tomorrow, and then once it’s done the real work (and FUN) begins.

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I have selected a new theme with all kinds of beautiful details that I’m going to be installing, and I cannot WAIT to get it up and running. As much as I’ve loved blogging from WordPress, I admit it’s been frustrating having to work within their parameters and I really want to learn how to manage the site on my own. Some people (*coughmyhusbandcough*) would say that I should wait and see if my blog grows and expands more before putting some money into it, and while that makes sense I also think that this blog will continue to grow and reach more people if it’s REALLY looking kick ass and is set up just how I want it. I admit, some days I don’t write because I’m just plain annoyed with what I am working with. I hope that once I have my perfect little space set up, I will be SUPERCHARGED and inspired even more!

I’m excited, in case you can’t tell.

So please bear with me over the next few days as I inevitably mess things up, panic, call support, get things fixed, sigh with relief, and then do it all again four more times. I will get things squared away as fast as possible, and in the meantime I am coming up with some posts that are hopefully as great as my new home will be!

I thank you as always for reading and coming along on my little ride.
xoMB

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Fall Decor on a Budget

Hello my friends… I’m getting crafty over here again…

Fall Decor

I’m not sure about where you all live, but around here it’s getting chilly and the leaves are a changin’! As much as I HATE the cold and the snow, I admit I’m getting a smidge excited for autumn and the holiday season. The funny thing is, this year it’s kind of difficult for me to decorate with my new colour palette! Before, when my house was all reds and yellows and browns, it was easy to incorporate fall and then Christmas colours. But those hues are no longer welcome here… lol:

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 Not a spot of red to be seen…

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So I’ve had to keep it simple and get a little bit creative with this one. I’ve never been someone to REALLY do up the house for any holiday, even Christmas, so it’s not like I have a ton of work ahead of me… but I have to be quite selective in decorating now so as not to clash with the nice soft tones I’ve brought into the house.

Yesterday I decided to get started with a small project using a HUGE vase that I got at the thrift store on the weekend for $4.99, and some mini pumpkins and gourds I grabbed when I was at the grocery store. Not fancy, but I love how it turned out!

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I started by using my glue gun to secure twine around the neck of the vase. I just wrapped it around and around, from top to bottom, gluing as I went. Then I put the wheat sheaf in, and while I was holding it in a tight bunch I arranged the items around it. When I was done I let go of the wheat and let it fall a little bit… I think it looks super cute!

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I love how I was able to make something FALL-ISH without going for the bright orange and red theme. Of course I had to add the twine because that’s just what I do, and I think it turned out pretty well.

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I was going to use it as a centerpiece on the dining room table, but it’s pretty enormous…

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So it found a home on the console, and I think it’s very happy there.

So, all in all this project cost me $14 and took about 20 minutes – most of that time was spent gluing the twine on. It’s funny, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with that vase when I bought it, but for $4.99 I knew I’d think of something. I figure that I can easily use it at Christmas as well – I can fill it with ornaments and cover the twine with a festive ribbon!

But for now I think it’s a nice, warm, fall piece without being over the top.
Anyone else working on some autumn decor yet? I feel like it’s too soon but it’s almost October already!
xoMB

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Keeping Things Light…

I had a wonderful moment in the thrift store this weekend. (What else is new, right?)

First let me explain something for my non-Canadian readers… we do have Goodwill stores here, and we also have Salvation Army. But the store I frequent the MOST is called Value Village. I often don’t reference it on the blog because I figure since most of my readers are American you wouldn’t know what I’m talking about.. lol. But that’s my store. #VVforever Yup. It’s the best. Their prices are WAY lower than Goodwill and the place is GINORMOUS. I will totally take pics next time I’m there.

Anyhoo – I made my weekly stop in there on Saturday, and like always I didn’t have anything particular in mind. I like to just keep my eyes open for anything I can repurpose or make use of. This time I struck my own version of $1.99 gold.

As you know, I’ve been working on our bathroom reno forever for a while now. It’s coming along – with a few hiccups of course – but overall it’s looking good! One area that was bugging me however was the lighting situation. The light itself wasn’t horribly offensive, but a) I don’t like downward facing lights AT ALL and b) the glass covers were way too big and ornate for my taste.

This is the bathroom when we first viewed the house:

before 1

And here it is when I started ripping things apart… see how the glass covers are just too BIG?

before 2

I love how there’s a sippy cup on the counter in the pic above. LOL.  Real life, yo. Anyway my temporary solution was to have my husband flip the light so that it was facing upwards. I loved that the bulbs were no longer shining down on me but having it turned around only seemed to emphasize the ridiculous shades. So I was faced with the question of spending money on a whole new fixture or trying to replace the shades alone. I didn’t really want to buy a new light since this one works fine and I’m simply staging the house at this point. But buying new shades seemed a little daunting when I didn’t know if they were a universal size or where to even find them.

Fast forward to my stop at VV this weekend and there they were – three glass shades sitting on the shelf all dirty and neglected for $1.99 each. I thought hell, why not… it’s $6! I grabbed them brought them home… cleaned them up, crossed my fingers and popped one in to see if it worked:

during

YESSSSSSSSSSS!!!!! Happy day!! What a difference! I immediately got the other two outta there as quick as possible:

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So much joy from a little pieces of glass!

after1

Seriously – what a difference. I’m THRILLED that I able to update this fixture for so little and I genuinely love how it looks now. It was the perfect solution for a space that I’m trying to remodel but remain focused on the fact that this is NOT my forever home, and the end goal is simply to make it pretty enough to sell. LOL.

I wish I could show you the rest of the bathroom, but naturally it’s not done yet. It was getting there, but then my hubby went to install a new fan only to find that you can’t buy the same depth anymore, so it has to be moved from the wall to the ceiling, which means redoing some wallpaper and cutting more holes. Otherwise it’s really almost done, and I really think it’s going to be beautiful.

Hope everyone had a great weekend, and remember – never underestimate the power of a secondhand store, I’m tellin’ ya!
Anyone else score anything amazing lately?
xoMB

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Grandma’s Tomato Mac & Cheese

You guys – it’s cold here. Like, really cold. This morning it’s 4 degrees outside, and for you Americans that’s 39!!! IT’S COLD! I went outside to get something and I could see my breath, I’m not even kidding.

My four year old is home sick for the SECOND day since school started two weeks ago, and we are wrapped in blankets watching “Wreck it Ralph”. I mean really, what else is there to do?

When my kids are sick I go into mama overdrive. I feel like of all the reasons I’m a stay at home mom, the big one is so that I can snuggle and love and smother them when they’re sick. And when my kids are sick, it always conjures up some pretty special memories of my childhood. You see, when I was little and got sick my mom still had to go to work (she was a teacher), so I would be dropped off at the farm with my grandparents.

Ahhhhh, the farm. My grandparents home out in the country was a pretty great place to be when you weren’t feeling well. Grandma would make a bed for you on the couch and make sure that cartoons were on all day. As a former nurse, she was the perfect person to spend the day with, and one of my FAVOURITE things about sick days at the farm was her tomato macaroni and cheese.

I’m pretty sure that it was a staple in more than one home back in the day… it’s deeeeeeelicious and definitely some serious soul food. I haven’t had it in probably 25 years, but last night when the kids were asking for Kraft Dinner, I was suddenly struck with a NEED to make it. So, I rounded up what I needed and went to town.

It was a good decision.

Presentation1

Here’s what you’ll need:

- 2 boxes of Kraft Dinner
– 1/2 cup of crushed Ritz crackers (I put them in a zip lock bag and crush them with a rolling pin)
– 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
– 1 can of condensed tomato soup
– 1 cup of milk (in addition to Kraft Dinner ingredients)
– 2 tbsp of butter or margarine (in addition to Kraft Dinner ingredients)

Preheat the oven to 350F and prepare the Kraft Dinner as per box instructions.
Once prepared, pour KD into a casserole dish and mix in the soup and the cup of milk.

To prepare the topping, melt the butter in a microwave safe dish and combine it well with the parmesan cheese and ground crackers.
Sprinkle it over the top of the macaroni, and bake for 20 minutes.
Switch to broil for an additional five minutes or until topping is golden brown.

Remove from oven and let cool for five minutes before serving – ENJOY!

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This dish is SO GOOD, and if it doesn’t remind you of being a kid I don’t know what will!
Hope everyone has a great weekend, and if you try this recipe out please be sure to let me know how it was in the comments!
xoMB

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What I’ve Learned About Decorating

In the few years that I’ve been blogging, I’d like to think that I’ve come a long way in regards to my home and its decor. When I started out, I had ZERO taste of my own, and whatever taste I did have I was too insecure to explore. My house was brown. Brown brown brown. Brown leather and brown wood, stunningly accented by mustard yellow walls (literally… the paint was called “Dijon” by Ben Moore) and maroon curtains and pillows…

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It wasn’t horrible… it just wasn’t great. It was bland and boring and didn’t really reflect how I feel inside at all. The problem was that I didn’t know how to take what I like in my mind and translate it to my home! Eventually I found the joy that are home decor blogs – mainly Young House Love – and they showed me that it’s possible to have a bright, warm home with lots of colour without it looking gaudy or cheap, when done right. The trick was to incorporate these ideas into my house, and make sure they reflected who I am, and not someone else that I saw online! I have stumbled along the way most definitely.. my husband and kids will attest to that! LOL… but I think that the style of my home has evolved quite nicely over the last few years. You can check out my house tour for the full monty, but in this post I will just touch on the areas where I’ve learned the most.

5 things
#1 – Keep the big stuff simple

This is a pretty common design rule, but keeping your walls are larger items neutral is ALWAYS smart. Big pieces like sofas and dining room furniture are best kept basic and sleek. This allows you to add some personality and colour in smaller areas like throw pillows, curtains and lamp shades!
It’s a lot easier to switch out little items when you’re in the mood to redecorate than it is to replace a couch.

When I first did my living room I was stuck with a sectional from Ikea that, while very cute, was NOT doing me any favours by forcing me to stick with boring EVERYTHING when it came to accessories. Drapes, carpet, pillows, throw blankets… everything had to be neutral because of the overwhelming pattern on the sofa:

Too much.

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By the time I realized it, it was too late. I began to plan for “part two” of my living room makeover. I looked at ideas on Pinterest and figured out the direction I wanted to go in. Essentially, when you look at these rooms you can see that if you remove all the “little things”, you’re pretty much left with a blank slate, and that’s what I wanted….

Ummm… I think this is the most beautiful bedroom I have ever seen. Wow.

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 See how everything is clean and natural? The pops of green come from easily changeable items…

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So, when I found my current sofa on Craigslist, I snapped it up immediately. It changed the feel of the entire room, brought things back to neutral and now I’m slowly introducing some colour and pattern back into the room!

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My dining room (and slowly, the rest of the house) follows the same formula:

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Simple, soft paint and furniture that is complimented and brightened up by some fun and colourful accessories. I’m pretty sure I will decorate this way for the rest of my life now that I have it figured out.

#2 – PLAN, PLAN, PLAN
I sure wish I’d known about mood boards when we bought this house six years ago. Let me tell ya, it would have been a whole better coordinated different ball game! It never ocurred to me that I could come up with a colour scheme for my entire home and work from it. Not that it’s crucial to do this, but it’s certainly helpful! Working backwards, it appears that I’ve been relatively lucky…

house colour chart

1 – Our entire main floor: “Gray Horse”, Benjamin Moore

2 – Accent wall in the dining room: “Storm Cloud Gray”, Benjamin Moore

3 – All of the trim in the house: “Cloud White”, Benjamin Moore

4 – Cal & Ella’s room: “Mountain Air”, Benjamin Moore

5 – Planned striped wall in Master bedroom: “Thousand Islands”, Benjamin Moore

6 – Taya’s room: “Athabasca Blue”, Benjamin Moore

7 – Master bedroom: “Brookline Beige”, Benjamin Moore

Looking at them now, it almost looks like I planned that colour palette, but alas… we all know I’m not that bright. At least, I WASN’T that bright. I’d like to think I am now. Ha. But luckily the colours seem to work well together, and there’s a nice flow throughout the house. In the future, I know the brilliance of a mood board, and I will create and use them diligently! The biggest makeover in the house right now is the bathroom, and here is the inspiration I’m working from:

grasscloth bathroom

And of course, a mood board:

bath 2

I will be definitely looking back at these to compare once it’s all complete!

#3 – COMPLETE A SPACE, THEN MOVE ON
Speaking of complete… sigh. This is one of my weaknesses. I have a tendency to have many projects happening at once, and no space ever feels like it’s DONE. This bathroom reno has dragged on for so long that I’ve found myself starting on other areas of the house, and I’m not sure that’s so smart. I think that the best thing to do is pick a room, or a space, and work on it until it’s complete. Every spare hour, every spare dollar… put your time, money and effort into that spot until it’s exactly what you want it to be, and then walk away from it.

The bathroom has gone from this:

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To this:

bathroom progress

 But that’s it. Over the span of a year. There’s still SO much more to do.

Focusing on one space until it’s totally done not only gives the room a sense of completion, but it gives YOU a sense of satisfaction and hopefully deters you from endlessly tweaking a space that will never truly feel finished.

#4 – SHOP WITH PURPOSE
Buy something with a use or a place in mind… not just because you like it.
I have always had a habit of falling in love with something in a store, and bringing it home with the intention of just “finding” a place for it. That’s not usually a good idea. Unless it’s an amazing one of a kind item or an incredible deal on a vintage or antique piece, buying something without any idea of where or how it will be used in your home is just clutter waiting to happen. Thankfully I don’t have an example photo of this inside the house… I’ve learned from my mistakes!

Or have I???
Yah… that’s our garage.

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#5 – PERSONAL MAKES PERFECT
I’m as guilty as anyone of buying small, decorative items at Target or HomeSense – I LOVE those stores! – but I’ve learned that whenever possible, it’s better for something to MEAN something to me. I don’t travel a lot, so it’s not like I can gather beautiful trinkets from around the globe, but I make a point of decorating my home with sentimental items that have history and value – even if it’s just to me.

This cake topper was not only on my wedding cake in 2009, it was on my grandparents’ cake when they married over 70 years ago.

cake topper

Decor shops have lots of lovely things, and they’re perfect for filling an empty spot on a wall or a shelf, but the things that make a house a home are the ones that have a story, and a spot in your heart!

This pretty vintage container holds what’s left of my Grandma’s “White Lavender” perfume powder.
And the tissue flowers in a clay pot behind it are something that my oldest daughter made me years ago in school.

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Sometimes I get a real burst of energy and even MAKE something!

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So there you have it.. nothing fancy, just the most useful things that I’ve learned through trial and error over the last few years. I feel like I’m finally in a bit of a groove with decorating, and I can’t WAIT until our next house when I can start from scratch and (hopefully!) not have to undo my own mistakes. What’s in your design bible? Any rules you live by or tips to share? Until I win the lottery and my dream of looking at fabric swatches over tea with Sarah Richardson comes true, I will remain a faithful student of the decor world.
;)
MB

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The IKEA 2015 Catalogue is here!!

(Alternate Titles – “Happiness in Paper Form”, or “The Best Day of the Year”)

So here it is… oh happy day!!

Ikea Catalogue

I am the first to admit that I get super excited for the new catalogue each year – but at the same time I do often find it to be more of the same stuff they usually carry.  I usually flip through, get excited, then leave it in the bathroom for the next 12 months.. lol. Today, however, I was quite surprised! Personally, I think that Ikea has knocked it out of the park this year, and I’m more impressed than ever before. Their new items are innovative, functional and VERY cool to look at. They also seem to have a wider array of styles than in previous years. They’ve moved beyond just the nordic style they’ve become known for and have incorporated some new elements that range from mid-century modern to shabby chic. I am LOVING this new line!! In saying that, I thought I’d share my favourite new items from the 2015 catalogue, and tell you why I love them so! Part of Ikea’s new line this year is a sub-collection called “PS 2014″. These items are more forward thinking than anything they’ve sold before, and I want them all. LOL! Here are some of my favourites from this collection and the rest of the new line that’s available now.

Wall Rail with shelf, mirror & four knobs – $47.99

This thing is super cool. You can purchase many different components to suit your needs. Knobs, mirrors, trays, rails… it’s modular and can be easily switched around. I love the idea of having it just inside a mudroom door to drop jackets and keys, or even on a bathroom wall to hold towels and jewelry.

Ikea PS 2014 wall rail with shelf mirror and 4 knobs

LED Stool Lamp - $59.99 How COOL is this thing? It’s a stool, it’s a lamp, and it’s cordless. When I first saw it I immediately pictured it in my kids’ rooms… but then when I saw that it’s cordless I wanted to buy a bunch for our backyard! Imagine a circle of these out back on your patio at night? Amazing. LED  stool lamp Storage Table – $79.00 I’m mildly obsessed with this one, and I’m fighting the urge to run out and buy a few until I can decide where I will actually USE them. But really? The possibilities are endless. Our living area always seems to have a few straggler items that never find a home. (My husband’s X-box headphones, the tv and X-box remotes, pens and a handful of small toys ALWAYS seem to be leftover no matter how much I tidy.) I’m thinking this table would be the perfect solution – not to mention that it’s levels are interchangeable and can be used as trays! Not a fan of the colours?? It comes in solid white too! Storage Table Enudden Wall Storage with Knob – $3.99 Here’s another “by the door” idea that I love. It’s small, it’s simple, and it serves a great purpose. Put a few of these up right next to the door you use most and you instantly have your own spot for keys, sunglasses and a wallet. Attach some inside your closet in a vertical arrangement to store scarves and jewelry, or put them pretty much ANYWHERE to keep small bits of whatever you think needs a home. Craft supplies, makeup and nailpolish, you name it – this holds it. Enudden Wall Storage w Knob Enudden Hat & Coat Stand – $39.99 This one is definitely on my list. We currently have this Ikea coat stand in our front hall, but I much prefer the aesthetic of this one with its smooth lines and rounded base with no feet to trip over. It’s sleek and offers great storage, and you can even purchase a package of clips and hooks to add to it for hanging scarves and mittens, etc. So I’m totally going to sell the one we have and get this. LOL. Enudden Hat and Coat StandIngeborg Bath Towels – starting at $1.99 This line of towels makes me happy. That’s all. I just love them and think that the colours are fun and fresh. Love the pattern combos! Ingebord Bath Towels & Accessories Lekande Bedspread – $19.99 So basically you can spend $100 at Pottery Barn or $20 at Ikea for this adorable patchwork style quilt! Don’t have to ask me twice… How adorable… Lekande Bedspread Gonatt Crib – $249.00 (But on sale ending TODAY for $211.00!) I think this crib might be my favourite thing in the whole catalogue, which is kind of unfortunately seeing as it’s like the one thing I have NO reason to buy. It’s a gorgeous grey which is perfect for a boy or a girl. It’s got storage underneath and it converts to first a day bed and then a loveseat. It’s not too juvenile looking so it can be used for YEARS. Talk about a good buy. Personally I’d switch out the knobs, but otherwise I think it’s just perfect. Gonatt Crib

I couldn’t find a photo online of the converted version, so yes – I took a picture of the catalogue with my phone:

Gonatt Day Bed

Stuva Twin Loft Bed – $506.00 (this combination) Okay, I admit that I’ve never been a fan of this style of bed. I always thought they were sort of cheap looking and junky. BUT – my ten year old daughter saw this and literally swooned. Yes. Literally. There was swaying and moaning and glassy eyes… the whole deal. I get it, it’s like a club house and this one has tons of storage which is pretty cool. Again, you can get this in many different combinations, styles and colours. I kind of want one myself. Stuva Loft Bed Selje Bedside Table -$39.99 Another forward step for Ikea… this side table has a cut out in the drawer front that allows for a cable to come through. Perfect for the 37 year old teenager who sleeps with their phone two inches from their head, it’s cute and stylish too! Selje Nightstand

So there you have it.. my favourites from the new “book book”… lol!

pin it Have you gone through the new catalogue yet? Are your picks the same or did I leave out something crucial? My closest Ikea is about 20 minutes away, so I’m hoping to get down there one day this week. And I’m definitely taking the van… hehe.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!
MB

PS – This post was in no way sponsored. I just reeeeeeally like Ikea.

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