Monday, March 30, 2015

Open Shelving Solutions

When we renovated our kitchen, almost four years ago, I wanted white and bright and my husband wanted dark and moody. 

So, we compromised.

 I looked deep inside my cooking-loving-cleaning-loathing heart and realized that dark cabinets were probably the best fit for our lifestyle.

 So we went with dark cabinets and decided that in order to make our kitchen feel light and bright we would add a stone back splash that was light in tone. I then matched our paint color to our backsplash so that the whole room opened up and felt brighter and airy. We even carried our light colored stone up and around part of our kitchen and added open shelving for that bright look I was craving.

See? Compromise.

Since adding these babies I have changed them around a lot. I have learned a ton on what works and what doesn't and today I wanted to share with you some solutions I have discovered that will help you get the most out of your open shelving too.


Before installing these, everyone I discussed them with were skeptical. 

"Wont they get dusty?" "Who wants to see your dishes and junk?" "Wouldn't you prefer a cupboard or pantry?" "The kids are going to knock everything off of them."

No sweet husband, no to all of that and all your doubts. Give Mama all the shelves.

If you are wishing to brighten up your kitchen and want to embrace the open shelving that is trending now, take my humble advice and just do it. I have never looked back and have loved them since the moment they went up.

To keep your shelving light and bright you might consider displaying items that are similar in color. White dish ware is a great idea if you are trying to brighten your space. Your bare shelves give you the option of displaying your collections, whatever color they may be, or you have a good excuse to start a collection. ;)

I decided to collect white tea pots and jugs and have found all of these at thrift stores and junk shops. Collecting like items allows your shelving to look styled without actually trying.


Layering art work on open shelving is a lovely way to add some pretty in a place like a kitchen where there isn't much space for hanging art work. By adding frames and pictures behind your collections you can fill up dead shelving space and you can show off some of your favorite pieces in an original way.


I am loving my custom Vancouver sketches we have displayed on our open shelving. I love that I get to enjoy staring at them, all zoned out and groggy eyed, in the mornings when I am making my coffee and day dreaming about the gorgeousness that is the water front in Vancouver.

Lighting is also an unexpected beautiful addition to open shelving. 

Sometimes I sneak down here after dark to make a hot cup of sleepy time tea and this little light works perfectly in this space. A timer for your little light is a great option too.

You can use a small lamp or candles or combine the two, like we have done here. By adding faux candles you can plug them in and easily illuminate a little corner in your home without worrying about safety issues.


Using pretty canisters to hold usable items is also a nice way to pretty up a shelf. 

Because we are using our shelving and this little corner in our kitchen as a coffee station at the moment, we have clear glass canisters full of tea bangs and jars full of sugar and closed white containers full of coffee odds and ends. Mixing clear and opaque containers in glass and ceramic are a great way to make open shelving look grown up and classy.

And speaking of grown up, if you have a pretty tea cup collection you can contain their gorgeousness in glass cylinders so you can still admire them.


Glass canisters are going to be your best friend when you are decorating your open shelving. By utilizing a thrift store glass container to hold tea cups and tea saucers, we can ensure that they are safely in place from crazy kids and clumsy adults.
Bonus: they get protected from dreaded dust too. ;)

Large glass canisters with lids are also a great way to hold coffee mugs that are used on the daily. 

This will keep them from slipping and toppling over when stacked and it will also keep them dust free and easily accessible. Not to mention, they will always look neat and tidy.

Clear canisters are fabulous to use for the day to day things you will be accessing from your open shelves. 

I like to fill an over sized glass canister with coffee pods to use when I am in a pinch and dont have the time to use our refillable coffee pod. Quick access to items is what you want on your open shelving and glass ware helps take the guess work out of what is inside of a container.


  1. Showcase your favorite collectibles
  2. Keep it simple by showing off only a few of your favorites
  3. To keep your shelves feeling bright display light colored items or clear items
  4. Store breakables in glass cylinders to keep safe
  5. To keep mugs dust free store in an easily accessible container
  6. Get rid of product boxes and unsightly containers and instead store things like tea and sugar in pretty clear containers
  7. Use cute ceramic air tight containers for perishable items
  8. Utilize your shelves by displaying framed pictures to fill in the space between your shelves
  9. Use lighting if possible to personalize your space and to add ambiance
  10. Have fun with it and switch things around with every season so you don't get bored with your shelving

By trying one or two of these open shelving solutions, I'm certain that you will love your shelving as much as we love ours.

Useful and pretty. 

Two musts in any kitchen.


If you are like me and want to take on installing open shelving all by yourself, then stay tuned for a future post where I finally share my adventures with the wet saw and give you all the dirty deets on how I installed these shelves and this tile in a weekend.

(You can get updates free and right to your inbox by subscribing with your email right here...)


Shelfie love forever.

PSSST....Want to see what our shelving looked like at Christmas? Click the picture below.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Homemade Stirfry Sauce {Easy and Kid Approved!}

When I met my husband, my nickname became "Bunny". 

Save the jokes people.

He lovingly referred to me as "Bunny" simply because if he lost me when I visited his parents house, where he lived at the time, I could be found holed up in his parents abundant vegetable garden, chomping away on cucumbers and pears and whatever else was looking delicious and ripening in the summer sunshine.

Thankfully we have passed on my bunny nibbling ways to our children, which means we now enjoy veggie filled stir frys as  a famjam on the regular.

But, it hasn't always been THAT easy.

Through the years we have gotten more creative with our veggie choices and have branched out from the beginning days of simply steaming up kid approved broccoli and carrots.

 Today, some of our favorite veggies for stir frys include red peppers, zucchini, red onion, baby spinach, chickpeas and thinly sliced baby carrots with a side of basmati rice, cilantro and roasted peanuts for garnishing.

I like to think that the reason our children like an array of vegetables isn't because of our awesome parenting but because I found a deliciously magical stir fry sauce that will make any unknown vegetable taste too perfect not to try.

Because  I have known the "eat your vegetables!" struggle, I want to share with you the stir fry sauce of this century that will have you singing, "My stir fry brings all the boys to the yarrrrrdddd" and other lyrically changed ballads that your children wont understand, but will have you feeling very clever.

 So without further ado

Moms, this one is for you.


Combine the following in a mixing bowl:
2/3 cup coconut milk
2+1/2 Tbsp. fish sauce (vegetarians/vegans: substitute 2 Tbsp. Thai Golden Mountain Sauce OR 2 Tbsp. soy sauce)
3+1/2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1+1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/3 to 1/2 tsp. dried crushed chili (chili flakes)
2+1/2 tsp. brown sugar


NOW, go pat yourself on the back and get your camera ready for tonight's dinner when your adorable and picky babies try vegetables that you don't even like.

For real. GO.

 Combine your sauce on top of your choice of sauteed veggies and proteins and dig in.

PS: If you make a double batch, just freeze the remaining in a freezer safe Ziploc and put in your freezer. A quick weeknight meal has now never been easier.

 Now you will have "Bunnies" of your own. 

Just in time for Easter. ;)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Spring Entry Way {...and a bucket list}

It is finally here.


I feel like Olaf from "Frozen" and want to start busting out a song about....

Bees a-buzzin', kissable dandelion fuzz
And I'll be doin' whatever snow does in springggggg
A drink in my hand, my snow up against the burning sand
Probably getting gorgeously tanned in springggggggg

I'll finally see a summer breeze, blow away a winter storm
And find out what happens to solid water when it gets warm!
And I can't wait to see, what my buddies all think of me
Just imagine how much cooler I'll be in

Okay Okay, I will stop.

Clearly I have a young daughter at home and I have just given away what our favorite movie is.

But, truly, I could not be happier about the arrival of longer days and sunlight on top of that!

Yesterday was the first day of Spring and it was a gorgeous one. The sun was shining, it was a Friday, and I was cruising in my Mom-mobile with the sun roof open feeling all cool and happy and stuff.

Since we are fully embracing the changing of the season around here by burning all the winter hats and singleton mitts, I felt like it was only appropriate to give our little entry way a little spring time flare.

First up I filled my over sized glass seeded jars with moss balls, (not to be mistaken with moth balls) and I love how they effortlessly bring the color green indoors before we actually grow any green outdoors.

I hung these pretty,wooden floral wreaths a few weeks ago and I am so happy that I waited for them to go half price so I would have an excuse to snap up two.

I used some wide burlap ribbon in a tan and white chevron pattern to add some fun to the space and hung them in front of the two mirrors we have in our entry way.

They are a beautiful pop of texture and I love how neutral they are as well. Also, thank you to my family for the Target gift cards for Christmas. Clearly they came in handy.

They now mirror each other which I think is punny. 
(That joke is for you Dad!)


I killed this violet in 2.5 seconds, but it impressed me since it lasted through this quick photo shoot.

Im still loving these prints that I got at Michaels last year, so they have stayed in place at the front door as a great encouraging reminder to us as we come and go.

I got this gorgeous blue jar after Christmas on clearance at Target. Right before they announced in Canada that they will be closing. I'm so glad I snapped this beaut up for $6. It is heavy and gorgeous and is acting like a night light at this point since it holds lots of sparkly lights on a string.

A perfect solution for some ambiance during these spring months, since it still gets dark at 7:30 PM. 

Which is obviously much better then 5PM a few short weeks ago.


Since spring is here to stay, we have already started compiling our spring bucket list.

If you are in need of some to add to yours, here you are:


  1. Jump in puddles WITH boots on this time
  2. Outline our bodies with chalk on the driveway inform the neighbours that their is no crime scene
  3. Go on a nature treasure hunt
  4. Play "Chubby bunny" at Easter (Just an excuse to eat all the marshmallows and act like a glutton -- But who is judging.)
  5. Find the perfect blade of grass and make it whistle
  6. Plant flowers in pots and paint them. That did NOT read plant pot. FYI for all you "skimming readers"
  7. Name the ducks at the near by pond
  8. Make homemade bubbles for hours of fun. Or for five minutes of fun; before the baby confuses it for a beverage or before the kids fight over it so hard that it falls from their grubby (Soon to be inadvertently clean) paws.
  9. Clean up garbage from our favorite park
  10. Knit dandelion stems into flower crowns

That is all we have for now, but it is still a pretty solid list for us. Soon we will be scrapping it anyways and making our yearly epic SUMMER bucket list. 

The season that us and our good friend Olaf the snowman, LIVE FOR. 

How about you? Have any amazing things we should be adding to our spring bucket list???

Hoping it is sunny and gorgeous where you are too today! Happy Saturday lovelies!
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