Monday, May 16, 2016

What Perfect Means to Me. (#YourPerfect)

Ever since we moved to our fixer-upper-forever-home, I have been thinking a lot about what I want this home to feel like. Currently we have half finished projects in corners of every room and last nights snack dishes lining the bottom of our kitchen sink. Long gone are the days where everything I owned was alphabetized and color coordinated -- though I do long for those days. I have come to quickly realize that when a house is under renovation, it is best to let some things go. Apparently by looking around this place, we have been letting a lot of things go recently. ;)

I want this space to be a place of comfort. A place where the door is always open. A gathering place. A home where my family and friends come and can just be themselves. I want our house to be be a retreat from the world where we can throw our feet up and and throw our worries away. I want this place to be a true representation of what we hold dear, where coffee and conversations flow freely. I want these spaces to be finished and pretty one day but I also want others to know that the only things that are too precious around here are the people and the memories we make within these walls.

I'm realizing that things don't need to be picture perfect to be perfect to me.

I have teamed up with Leon's recently and I love that they believe the same thing. They help create homes that are meant to be lived in, not just looked at. This resonates deeply with my Mama heart. There will always be art supplies scattered on the table and toy planes strewn across the living room floor and though that's not typically picture perfect by social media standards, its pretty perfect to me.

There are moments throughout my day that aren't picture perfect but they are undeniably beautiful to this Mama. Sometimes I put that tool down in the middle of a project or put that stirring spoon down in the middle of making dinner and I snap a picture of that real moment I want to hold close. 

You know the kind of moment I'm talking about, right? The kind where the dog steals your spot on the sofa and stares at you in that adorable way only the family dog can, or when the kids pull out everything from the cupboards and turn the pots and pans into a happy tip-tapping drum set. 

For me, my perfect moments are when our house feels the way I have always wanted it to: love filled.

Around here it definitely feels that way first thing in the morning. Especially on those days where the house is quiet and the bed is still warm, you know the ones. When I wake up to find sleeping little people who have quietly climbed into bed after they were awakened by the early morning light.  It's that moment when the whole day is before us and there is possibility everywhere. When the day is ready and waiting but I find myself lingering a little longer just so we can be together. In that moment I get to really reflect. To see how they have grown up a little more and to see them slowly wiggle awake.

Those for me are my favorite moments that I want to tuck away in my Mama heart forever, while I tuck them in just a little bit longer.

I'm so thankful for the realization that it's fine that renovations, parenthood and life demand that we let things go sometimes, because the things that are worth holding on to are right here.

My absolute perfect moments, these ones, are when these babies are still enough for me to count the new freckles growing on their noses.

One, two, three, four...

What does your perfect moment look like?

I would love to see what things make you pause and what moments you want to remember. What instances make you grab that camera, snap away and lock that moment forever in your memory bank.  Use the #YourPerfect hashtag on Instagram to share the moments and the people in your day that you want to hold on to. I can't wait to see what makes you feel content, excited, inspired and happy.

Whats your perfect moment? 


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Life is Messy. {A note to all the Mamas}

Happy hump day everyone, I hope you got to enjoy a small break with your families this weekend. To all the Mamas out there, I hope you also got to put your feet up for a while and take in the love of your babies.

Today I planned on sharing with you our second step for getting the beams of your dreams, but after some deliberation, I feel like sharing some pictures and a little pep talk might be what some of us need after a jam packed weekend.

If you have been following along here for long enough then you know I like to keep things real. I share during photos, messy photos and before photos and in my earlier days as a blogger I wore my heart on my sleeve a lot of the time.

These days I have lots of heart to heart things I would love to share, but honestly, there is just not enough time in the day to run a business, a house hold and then complete all the unfinished projects we have happening over here.

But, I still want to be transparent.

So, my sweet friends, after hearing this weekend by a well meaning friend that my life looks "pulled together" I thought I would tear up that false persona and show you this:

THIS is what our home has recently looked like for months and months...

NO wonder we lost my daughters first grade homework more than actually handing it in.

I love pretty pictures as much as the next decor loving person, but I never want someone looking into our lives and thinking that we have it all together. 

Cause, CLEARLY that's not the case.

In case you feel like you're not measuring up to everything you read and saw on social media yesterday, in case your babies wouldn't sit still for a picture with their Mama on the only day you really really wanted a picture together, in case you feel inadequate at times, in case you wonder how you are even surviving until bedtime and in case you doubt your abilities and your strengths. I'm popping in today, here, to say that we have ALL been there.

Life is messy.

Mother hood is messy.

and that's OK.

Perhaps its time that you get a glimpse of other peoples messes so you don't get the false impression that people who share their life on the Internet have it all together.

We don't.


These pictures were snapped by me, a Mama who was losing her mind during the messy portions of this renovation and was done rubbing her feet up against raw saw dust in her bed every night.

Seriously. True story.


This was a time when my eyes itched from all the messy. You know what I mean? Or could it have been from all that insulation distributed in piles all over the house? Whatever the case, these were not the moments I planned on sharing with the world. 

These were the times when the windows were drawn and visitors weren't permitted.


This was during the time when we were in the middle of building our kitchen island, what would be the center of our home -- maybe, one day, perhaps.

These were the times that I wanted to share with you then, but there seemed like no end in sight. How lack luster would it have been to show you these photos and then two months later for you to see the SAME messes, just in different piles. ;)

For some reason that reminds me of life and relationships and motherhood.

We often hold others at an arms length. We draw the curtains and don't share the messes. At times we carry on as if life is as normal and tidy as always when in actuality we may spend two hours a night looking for the misplaced homework papers or perhaps searching for our sanity.

Perhaps if we shared our messy moments more, physically and figuratively, we would find greater connection with each other. Perhaps if we knew that other Mamas struggle with keeping it all together than maybe we would offer ourselves more grace. Perhaps we would realize that brave faces aren't always the bravest things to share. Perhaps we would realize that authenticity is the bravest of them all.

 Life can be messy and crazy, but doesn't it seem less messy and crazy when you get glimpses into other peoples real life and not just their highlight reel?

Yeah, I thought so. ;)

So, today, dear Mamas, while you're coming down from the high that was Mother's days weekend (or perhaps you're feeling underwhelmed by the lack of fuss that was directed at you) please know that you are not alone in your struggles.

Please know though, that giving your best is all that matters.

Please know that you are amazing AS IS. 

Please know that even if you don't have it all together that that's not what matters. The physical messes will pile up, the dishes will not wash themselves and the laundry mountain will always be there, but the little ones in your life wont notice and they wont always be here, at home, with you.

Please know, dear Mama, that your struggles are what unites every Mama everywhere, because they are shared. We all have the same daily arguments, frustrations, disappointments and struggles and no one actually has a perfect life. Despite what we tell our friends on Instagram.

So, today dear Mama, I hope when you look around your life and see the things that you want to tweak and change, I hope you know that you are capable beyond belief and can accomplish all the things you set your mind to.

I hope that you realize that we all have our struggles and issues, and that when we share them with others, just a tiny bit, the blinds get drawn just a wee little bit too. We are no longer alone in our struggles when we let others in. Sharing our real life, shouldn't be that hard. 

Im not saying share your life story with everyone you meet while running errands, but a little vulnerability with trusted friends can go a long way.

I'm realizing as the years go by that real life should be celebrated, and currently THESE pictures depict our real life. Its not perfect, we aren't perfect, IM not perfect but this time in our lives is a perfect time to embrace and enjoy.

Transparency can change the false perception of perfection that we strive for.

So, smile at that girl in the library with the screaming children and tell her you've been there. Feel free to let your guard down with the woman at the hardware store who cant choose a paint color because her children are jumping out of the cart and she's terribly distracted. Offer a kind word, a helping hand, a wink or a joke. Go out of your way today to let someone know that life is messy for all of us. 

Authenticity is encouraging.

We could all use a a reality check while we journey through this weary and extremely blessed road called mother hood.

Because real life is a messy blessing.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

DIY Ceiling Beams {Phase 1: Custom Stain}

I grew up in a city home that was dressed up as a country cottage.

 It had plaster ceilings, beams galore, barn wood chair rail, trim work, barn board doors and black vintage farmhouse hardware everywhere. My parents still live there. As a child I wondered why my home didn't look like my friend's new build homes, but over time I learned to love all the character that surrounded me.

Staring up at barn board beams every night for like, forever, will do that to you.

 I learned to love the old black latches on the bedroom doors and most of all the little secret door on the stairway; the one that looks like it's just a barn board but that swings open to share what's in it's depths. It was my favorite thing to share with visitors. We would of course make visitors guess what was inside the door and no one ever figured it out. Turns out when the door swung open a big 'ole hose was hidden within the wall. A hose hooked up to a water source just in case. A plus for our house clad in bard board with a wood stove as it's main heating source. 

The original builder of my childhood house was a fireman....can you tell?

I always felt safe knowing that I could play firefighter too...if I had to. 😉

Kids don't try this at home. 

Those childhood humble beginnings bring me to today. 

I feel most comfortable in homes surrounded by natural elements -- and I'm not just talking about wood and plaster things. No, laundry piles and messy hand prints also put me at ease. 😉

But most of all beams have a way of making me feel at home.

Big sturdy beams. 

Beams that make you believe in their ability to hold up a roof and chase away the boogy man.

Like the good old days.

We decided to add beams to our new-to-us home while we were taking out the original mid century ceiling tiles. 

I shared our pine wood ceiling HERE. 

Now it was time to bulk up that ceiling.

We started with 1" by 12" by 12 foot boards. Sometimes referred to as rough cut boards. Hubby would later cut them to size, but FIRST: putting on their makeup.

We knew what color we wanted to stain them after years of playing with stains but during that stage we also wanted to give them a little bit of character.

After all, what's a girl made up out of without a few laugh lines beneath it all?? 😉

I convinced my nine year old son to join me in giving these boards some much needed character.

We picked our weapons of choice and got to work dinging up our boards.

We used some chain scraps and the back of a hammer and got to work distressing our boards.

He obviously had a lot of fun with this project. ;)

After a lot of contemplation, I finally came to a conclusion I was sure of and mixed equal parts special walnut, espresso and provincial in the Minwax brand for our stain.

1 part Special Walnut
1 part Espresso
1 part Provincial

I stained the boards in batches and once the stain was soaking into the wood my little assistant helped distress the first set of boards. It took some trial and error but I like the way the indents looked after they already had stain on them. 

Stain, beat, repeat.

I simply used an old soft cloth to apply my custom stain and then we let the stain soak in out in the open air. Having an open space with plenty of breathing room is key when staining anything. Those fumes are strong! 

Although the air was cold and damp our boards dried pretty fast. It only took an evening before we pulled the boards into the garage for cover.

I stained some boards on an old ping pong table base that we have yet to put together (Sorry kids!) and then I stained others on an old tarp on the ground. I wanted to see which way would be better for you guys, but honestly either way would do. The stain soaks into pine boards so fast that you arent leaning over boards for too long at all. 

Easy peasy!

Here's what the pine boards looked like before:

And here is what the boards looked like during the staining process...

In my next post I'll be showing you what our beams looked like all dried up and then UP on our ceiling! All our DIY tips and tricks for installing faux beams are on their way!

Chat soon!

Monday, April 18, 2016

New Adventures!

Twelve years ago I met this guy who was funny,sweet, cute and always remembered to hold the door open for me when he picked me up in his yellow European sport car.

He was kinda perfect.

Though as a design and decor obsessed gal, it was in part his trendy place that made me stop dead in my tracks; making me really ponder if we could spend our lives building a home  and life together.

You see, he had a carefully curated, fully furnished and stylish place that was also equal parts tidy and cool. The complete polar opposite from the stark dorm rooms fellow males his age lived in.

The fact that he took pride in keeping a sweet heart, a calm demeanor, great values and an inviting space  to unwind in was very intriguing.

Unbeknownst to me, and lucky for him, a few weeks before we met he had sauntered into a Leon's furniture store and bought the place out. He mixed glass, metal and leather like a pro in his place -- the place where we ended up discussing our hopes and dreams and ultimately falling in love.

You could say my husband of over a decade owes a lot to the Leon's staff who pointed him in the right direction when he was furnishing his first place.

Don't you think?

I always have. ;)

You can now imagine my surprise when Leon's contacted me directly and asked me to work along side of them. I THOUGHT for sure this was the work of my still-funny-now-holds-the-FRIDGE-door-open-for-me-on-movie-night-while-we-contemplate-what-to-devour-joke-playing-husband.

I mean, my first initial meeting with the Leon's Bloggers was even scheduled for April 1st. THIS had to be a joke right?

Happily for me it was not and I'm left feeling so excited and truly grateful to be considered for this fun journey.

Hello Yellow Blog is the official Leon's Furniture blog and is chalked full of inspiration, DIY, recipes, seasonal crafts, room ideas and my personal favorite, before and afters!

Leon's knows a thing or two about how to design furniture for real life. As one of the oldest Canadian companies (at over 100 years young!!) myself and generations forever have long admired their Canadian made products and the fact that they are a family run business. 

Sounds like I would love a family run business, right? ;)

They believe that real life is interesting, textured and fun and not always perfect.

Sounds like a theme around here too, doesn't it?

If you've been following from the beginning of my blogging journey, first off THANK YOU, "HI MOM!" but you would also know that this is new territory for me. Up until now Ive been diligently focused on growing my personal business and have used this blog as my creative outlet and reno journal only. 

I'm excited to let you in on this surprise and look forward to you following my adventures as a contributor for the official Leon's website -- and a few more fun things to come!

Their blog called Hello Yellow Blog is run by the lovely Autumn and is completely addicting. As I mentioned earlier it is packed full of inspiring design and DIY posts from some of yours and my favorites: Thalita,  Melissa, Kassandra, Lucy, Joanna and Julie.


I can't wait to show you what we have up our sleeves!

Until then, you can check out my mug shot over on the about page over on the  Hello Yellow blog. Would you guess from the look on my face that this photo was taken in a 12 by 12 room with the amazing Jessica from Red Suitcase Photography but that the room was also filled with four children, six adults and eight chickens? 

Yeah, she is THAT good!

Be aware that once you visit the Hello Yellow Blog you'll be staying up all night stalking all the pretty that is over there.

You're welcome.:D

I'll keep you guys updated with what is to come and all the changes that have been happening over here at this little estate in the mean time. As always, thank you for your cheers as I expand in to new and fun endeavors.

Also a big thanks to my mom and dad for turning a blind eye when I hacked up their desk/wedding present/heirloom piece with a hand saw.... when I was 13. You've always encouraged my love for furniture and creativity and I'm forever thankful for that.

It was about time I replaced that piece, right?

Start shopping here Mom and send me the bill... xoxo

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

21 Tips and Tricks For Installing a Wood Ceiling {And ceiling progress photos!}

When we bought our home it had a dropped ceiling throughout. Although dropped ceilings were completely useful and awesome when I was in the fifth grade. You know,  so I could count away the time during math class until recess. Currently having dropped ceiling squares in our home just brought back a million bad memories of wishing away my bill free, care free, to-do-list-free youth. 

Insert Rihanna's song "Werk werk werk werk werk" HERE.

  In any other home changing out a dropped ceiling might be an easy fix. One might consider many ceiling options after the dropped ceiling was removed, but unfortunately, for us, with a flat-roofed-mid-century-modern-home, there are fewer options we could use without changing the footprint of our home.

We removed the dropped ceiling though, and crossed our fingers, just IN CASE the ceiling magically went up and up and up and we could gain some height. 

That was obviously not the case, no matter how many twinkling stars I wished upon.

So we embraced my husband's age old saying "It is what it is" and we made the best of our plain old ceiling.

When we thought of the ceiling we could have we wanted a ceiling that was cozy and interesting. We quickly nixed the idea of applying plain drywall to our ceilings, no matter how many good hearted, advice giving people suggested it to us. 

We're rebels like that.

Crisp and clean ceilings didn't seem right for the aesthetic we were going for. We wanted our space to feel like a cottage or a farmhouse and we knew immediately that tongue and groove paneling was the way to fully embrace that style. 

We knew that pine ceilings and big ole beams would do the trick to add interest without feeling over the top. 

So we got to work applying a vapor barrier and attaching pine boards throughout our main floor.

We took into consideration our lighting, where it was located, and where we wanted our beams to end up. There was a lot of math involved in this step so I was super glad my husband didn't waste away 5th grade like I did.

For someone who isn't a planner and is more of a "doer" this is where the reno stood still. 

My lovely handyman hubby wanted to jump right in and get started too, BUT he also knows to measure twice and cut once. My toe tapping may have not given me any brownie points. 

Slowly but surely thought,  after lots of measuring and mapping out the space the ceiling started to come together. 


Hubby installed the lights as he went and I busied myself sanding the crap (again, LITERALLY! ) out of our new-to-us cabinets. 

See in the distance there? That's what I'm talking about. ....

If you are thinking of installing a tongue and groove ceiling to your space, keep reading, this next bit is for you.

 If you dont want your project to stall like ours did and if ultimately you want to take the guess work out of DIY-ing a wood ceiling then here is what you need to know. 

1. Figure out which direction you want your boards to run. This decision may be the hardest step in this ceiling install. 😉
2. Depending on the way you are running your boards you may need to block out your ceiling.  This means to simply add joists in between your joists to connect your boards to.
3. When picking out your boards you will need to find ones that have strong grooves.  No cracks or knots in the grooves.
4. Ensure your boards are even and not bowed.
If you're buying in packages don't use the boards that are imperfect.  Instead take back at a later date..
5. Make sure you have decided where you want your lighting, electrical and any other wiring that will end up in your ceiling. This may be a time when you decide to add speakers for that surround sound you have always wished for. ;)
6. When you are ready to I stall your boards makes sure the starting piece is completely level and perfect.  This will make for a straight ceiling install that doesn't bend.
7. For an easy install make sure you have a proper platform to stand on. Ideally this would be scaffolding of some sort.
8. To continuously and perfectly cut around your lighting try making a stencil out of paper. This will ensure that every cut is the same around your pot lights and won't slow down the install.
9. Cut your stenciled holes with a jigsaw for ease.
10. Depending on the thickness of your boards you may want to use a different size of nails. We used 2" Brad nails and bought them in bulk. It's better to buy more and return your unused nails than to have to run out to the hardware store 4 times during install. ;)
11. When you're attaching boards to your ceiling place the nails strategically into your boards.  Don't put the nails into knots or into the seam where it could splinter making it difficult to neatly fit the next board in.
11. If you have the time and want to make your final step of painting easier run a paintbrush across each board's grooves as you install. 
12. Plan out the placement of your boards where possible. Some boards have few knots and have a light wood grain. Some are filled with knots and have a contrasting wood grain.  It is best to space out these pieces so your eye isn't drawn to one specific part of your ceiling.
13. If you are not using beams in your ceiling install simply stagger your beams across your ceiling. 
14. If you ARE using beams in your design, try spacing your beams 8 feet apart to avoid unnecessary cutting.  Typically pre packaged boards are 8-9 feet long and your beams will cover the seams. 
15. Use flat ceiling paint. If you use semi gloss or paint with a sheen it will show all of the imperfections.  
16. If you want a white washed finish dilute your paint to desired consistency with water and apply one coat. (Remember to use drop cloths if applying in this manner)
17. If you want an evenly painted ceiling use two coats of flat ceiling paint.
18. If you find your boards are very knotty first conceal the knots by applying a primer/wood sealer then painting a coat or two of your flat white ceiling paint.
19. If you didn't do the step at install where I recommended painting the seams of your boards then at this point you'll want to get good paint coverage on the seams of your boards. Use a square sponge paint applicator and run the angled sponge part along the grooves of your board to ensure that paint gets right in there. 
20. For best coverage apply your ceiling paint with a roller and an expandable handle to the rest of the ceiling.
21. Over time the places where your wood has knots may show through. Keep a re purposed  jar filled with your ceiling paint for easy touch ups to use over time.

Now sit back, throw your feet up, rest your weary arms and watch your paint dry.

You deserve it.

 Next up: Beams!

I can't wait to share with you what we learned while DIY-ing beams.  

Have you ever wondered how to install a pine ceiling? If you think this is something you may tackle in the future, perhaps to an unfinished basement or in a future space, feel free to pin  this post.

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