Thursday, August 25, 2011

{pretty, happy, funny, real} on August 25

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
Brought to you by Like Mother, Like Daughter

We are in the midst of dining room renovation, thanks to my Newfie painting team, aka Granny and Aunt Alison! It's been a busy week. More renovation pics to come in a later post. But here is a bit of contentment for this past week.


Cat catching the morning sun


All the ladies! Thanks so much to Granny Raymer and Aunt Alison for all their hard work!


Arden, armed and dangerous with a paint stir stick! I think she's ready for her own extreme home makeover show :)


The current state of our dining room. Right now everything is white! It's rather jarring after living in such a dark room for over a year! But so much brighter. The trim has been painted in Mayonnaise (I think only 2/3 coats at this point), and the walls are awaiting plaster repair. There you can see our sample spots of Concord Ivory. The colour looks slightly different to me than what I had painted on a piece of board in last week's post, but different in a good way.

Next step: Me figuring out how to do a skim coat of mud over the really bad patches of wall, then more primer, then the colour! I can't wait till it's done...

round button chicken


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

{pretty, happy, funny, real} dining room edition!

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~ 

Well, it's been a month since my last {p, h, f, r} post, but I have a very good excuse - family! We've been blessed with lots of family visiting from all over the country, which means we've been very busy going to the beach and stripping wallpaper and shopping and eating and drinking tea and trimming trees and all sorts of wonderful things which are too numerous to name.

But right now, a little snapshot of the things that bring that little sigh of contentment . . . even in the midst of dining room renovation!


Mom and I went fabric shopping and came home with this wonderful fabric for dining room curtains.

Williamsburg India Chintz 1730-1800 by Windham Fabrics

As soon as I saw it I knew it was exactly what I wanted! I love the colours and the bold but pretty pattern. The only challenge I'll have (other than not knowing how to make curtains yet!!) is that there wasn't enough fabric for two full length normal width curtains for each window, and it can't be ordered again since it's archived. But there is enough to make panels for the sides of each window (they won't be as full as a normal curtain), so I'm sure we'll able to come up with something.


Do you have a ReStore where you live? It's a place where people bring all manner of household things which are donated or leftover from renovation or construction projects. It's basically a household thrift store. Mom was dying to go, and good thing we did, for we found an amazing thrifty find!

This mirror! For only $5! It just needs a little bit of cleaning up around the frame, mostly bits of tape glue that need to be rubbed off. But isn't that a great deal? I was so happy :)

And over in the kitchen this afternoon, these things made me happy.

Veggies washed and ready for supper
Clean dishes sparkling in the late afternoon sun

Mystery seedlings growing beside the oregano 

All these small things made me smile because they were just part of an ordinary day, but it was an orderly day, and that makes such a difference.


Funny happened out on the front porch this week when Arden had her first experience with watermelon!

Pure enjoyment!

Sticky face, sticky baby!
The more mess, the more fun, right?


Real is uncovering what's behind the wallpaper and figuring out what to do next!

Some of the plaster is in not bad shape, and other walls have big rough patches with wallpaper underneath layers of drywall mud. It really needs a good skim coat over all to smooth it out and strengthen the weak spots.

I also took a deep breath and a little scraper and peeled back the layers of paint on the wainscoting. It came off fairly easily in large chips, and now I'm thinking it might be a good idea to strip it all and start fresh. Time consuming, yes, but there are so many layers of paint (latex on top of oil) that are gooping it up.

The stripped section of wainscoting

So my original quick paint job in the dining room is turning into a much bigger project (twice the time and twice the money, as they say!), but I think it will be worth it when it's all done. It's one of the biggest, most lived-in rooms in the house, and I would like to keep the original farmhouse kitchen look.

Part of the fun is also choosing paint colours, which always seems like a daunting task to me. Because this room gets only a little direct light in the mornings, I want it to have a bright cheery feel, which is why I'm thinking of going with yellow, with cream wainscoting. I also want the room to feel cozy and warm in the winter. Yellow is so tricky . . .

Here are some of the samples we brought home. From left to right (all Benjamin Moore): Concord Ivory (with Mayonnaise underneath), Danse du Soleil, and Golden Honey.

The pictures don't quite represent the colours precisely, but they give an idea. The Golden Honey I think is too yellowy and doesn't look good in the artificial light of the evening (or on grey days). The Danse du Soleil is not bad in the sun, but seems a little too peachy for my liking.

So my current choice is Concord Ivory, which is also a historical colour, which I like the idea of. It has more of a brown undertone to it. I'm scared to death of the room turning out greenish, which is why I think the brown might be on the safer side of things.

Concord Ivory

And now I'm trying to envision what it would look like next to the curtains, as if those were the only colours in the room and not that horrible puke-ish brown that clouds my imagination.

Hmmn, I think that looks rather nice. I'm not sure if the Mayonnaise is too white, or if I should go with something more creamy. I want it to look crisp, but not blindingly white.

Plenty of work ahead, but I am so looking forward to the results!

Any thoughts? Thanks for stopping by :)

round button chicken


Monday, August 8, 2011

A Reasonably Clean Welcome

This post is brought to you by the ladies at Like Mother, Like Daughter! I'm joining the linky party to show before and after pictures of my main entranceway. The idea is to take a look at one's house from the vantage point of a visitor . . . starting with the first impression of the front door, or in my case, the back door.

We purchased our 93 year old house last year, and it's been in a state of constant renovation/remodelling ever since. It's a challenge to keep things looking neat and pretty when we've got projects on the go!


Here you can see the back entrance to our house, which is also the main entrance.  The porch has actually been pulled away from the house to make room for some grading which needs to be done on this side of the house. The old glass windows leaning against the house are to help keep water out of the basement window wells.

I didn't take a close up, but there were bits of garbage that had been hidden under the porch, rusting ant traps, a hose lying on the ground, plant pots not in use, and a chair that rubs green paint on people when sat upon!

And it's not very welcoming, actually, when you walk onto the deck and then promptly walk off it down onto this old door bridge over the muds and weeds! Unfortunately, there's not a lot I can do about it presently.

Now prepare yourself for some unedited entranceway mess . . .

What a timely post, Auntie Leila! Just the inspiration I needed to tackle this :) Even the cat looks displeased.

Oh, just the average mess of beach stuff, shoes, purses, gloves and things that get dropped on the way in. Made worse by the fact that this is such a long, dark, narrow hallway.

And farther down, a pile of clothes I was sorting to be given away, some baby toys, a new box of diapers, and best of all, the dirty cloth diaper bag hanging, slightly smelly, on the cupboard door!

There's also a shelf right when you come in, which is a handy place for stashing odds and ends, which end up looking cluttered very quickly.

The other thing people see, other than this hallway view, is the (very narrow) entrance to the kitchen on the left, right when you come in.

So any mess in the kitchen is visible right away! And many people don't make the long trek down the hallway, they simply see me (usually in the kitchen) and come in that way. Where they are greeted by garbage and compost and cardboard and a broom and dirty dishes. And that little counter right there is where I stack the dirty dishes.

Not very welcoming, on the whole, at least on this particular day! This entranceway frustrates me because it is so long and narrow and dark, and I don't much care for the colour on the walls, or the wallpaper border, but this area just hasn't been a priority. It's an awkward way to enter the house, and poorly designed, I think. This back way is part of a later addition to the house. I have a lovely large front hall with a grand staircase, but there's no way to get to that part of the house from the road or driveway!

Well, I can't change the paint or the layout today, but I can make it reasonably clean and welcoming!


(The before pictures were taken a couple days ago, and the after ones I took today, a grey rainy day, so the light's not very good.)

I cleaned up the garbage and put things away, took away the flaky chair and swept the deck and the "bridge." It's not perfect, but it's better.

 I also washed the screen door and the green door and all the door windows and the curtain as well!

And I don't know what looks better - weeds or bare mud. What do you think? :) It was pouring buckets by the time I thought about weeding, but now that I look at this picture I think I could at least trim back the weeds by the make-shift step.

Even after clearing things out, this space still looks a little cluttered to me, but at least it's neat! And fresh smelling! I also swept the cobwebs from the ceiling :)

Here's that little shelf again. Still needed for sunglasses and keys and wallets for now, but at least there is a little bird on the top shelf smiling down.

Having a reasonably clean kitchen is much nicer! I don't really have another spot for that garbage can, unfortunately. The broom is so handy there... I thought I could leave it there... but maybe I can find a better spot for it. Knowing the kitchen is so visible to all is certainly good incentive for keeping on top of it!

Down the hall, there is a small guest bathroom to the left, which I also cleaned and made fresh for company. Beyond that is the dining room, another work in progress - the wallpaper is coming down, hooray!

And on the right is the living room, also the only babyproof room we have right now, hence the gate.

The hallway really goes right through the centre of the house, with all the rooms opening up off of it. Does anyone have any suggestions for how to make it look bigger and/or brighter? What colour would you choose for the walls?

Well, that was fun! I'm trying to be content with what I have, while dreaming of what we can do differently when we have the means to do it. And in the meantime, keeping it reasonably clean certainly makes a difference!

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