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Burlap and Arrows Chalkboards

When we built, I knew I wanted a big area to ‘land’ when we walked in the door.  Lots of room for boots, coats, purses, marking, instruments, backpacks, and all of the rest of the paraphernalia from everyday life.

This was our entry from the trailer that we lived in for 12 years.  You can see why I had my heart set on something a little bigger.  This wasn’t easy to live with.

What I wanted included a desk for mail and the computer.  I wanted it right by the back door rather than hidden away in an office somewhere so I didn’t have to traipse all over the house putting stuff away and then hauling it back to deal with it.

Besides.  I am bad at doing that.  Out in the open is better.  Then I can’t forget!

We have the desk area.  But the desk had a big blank wall looming above it.  That needed a little something…

So I have been looking for a long time for things to fill up the wall above my desk.  Items on my list are a whiteboard calendar (I’m a calendar girl- no matter how many things I type into my phone, I just don’t remember them as well as if they are written in big letters on a calendar), a pinboard to hold notes and reminders, and some other pretty kinds of decorations.

front entry

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Craft Room

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Office Organizers

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desk area

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And then I spotted these beauties.  Love.  Them.

They are so us.

Zinc & Jute Round Chalkboard

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I knew I had to do these right away.

So I cut out the circles from some leftover bookshelf backing material that we hadn’t used from our library bookshelves and then gave them a couple of coats of ASCP in Primer Red.  I knew you could use it for chalkboard paint as I had already done the inset of my pantry door with it.

This is how they turned out.

I put our initials on them- they are probably going to be used for decoration rather than real chalkboards.  I love the look of them.

I will show you the rest of the desk gallery wall soon.  A few little additions to go yet…

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Summer Patio

Here is the front patio after the door was painted and the flowers planted and the bikes and skateboards and dogs gently removed.

This is what it looked like last summer.

Big changes, no?

We started the front landscaping by building the bank out of rocks and then the paver stone patio on top.  Stairs completed the big work.

Then, all that was left to do was fill the flower pots and the chairs and enjoy it!

One side of the front door.

And the other.

This is in early evening, but usually this is a hot and sunny south-facing spot.

The woods surrounding our house come right up to the bottom of the patio so you are surrounded by a halo of green at this time of day.

I just finished painting our front door with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  Primer Red.  I love it.  See the before picture above for the original color.

I’ve had the old whiskey barrels for a long time.  My parents used them as water barrels when I was growing up.

My grandma collected cream cans.  She painted them usually and I have one inside my front door with beautiful farm scenes on it.  This one she hadn’t gotten around to yet, and now I use it for flowers.

The whiskey barrels are bottomless, so I just planted flowers in a smaller sized pot and plunked it in there on  a piece of wood.  Burlap fills in the edges.

At the bottom of the steps we planted two weeping carragana.  They are so pretty in the summer and still interesting to look at in the winter too, which is kind of a big deal around here.  I can see hanging little lights on them at Christmas.

The yellow pansies planted underneath looked especially pretty until a couple of days ago.

When somebody decided to have a little snack.

Oh well, one side still looks un-chewed.

I didn’t want the stump by the driveway to feel left out, so it got a little yellow begonia.

The pots aren’t very spectacular looking just yet.  We just planted them last weekend and it actually froze here two nights ago, so our annuals are just getting started (sigh… our season in Alberta is so short).  But, the hanging pots are lovely now.

I’ll give you some updated pictures in July when the pots should have filled out a little more.

And…. one last shot…

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The Deer Have Arrived…

If anyone thought I was kidding about the deer eating my garden…here is what happened yesterday.

I got up.  Worked for a little while and then went to finish painting my front doors (a huge and scary project which I finally got the nerve to start and turned out to be not so bad).

As I was walking to my front door, something rather large and brown walked by.  Definitely not one of our dogs.

I ran to the window and this is what I saw.

Just casually eating my pansies.

I ran to grab my camera, but ended up with my phone as it was closer and I was sure they were going to be chased off by the dogs any second.  But they seemed none too concerned.  The dogs.  The deer.  Just me.

This is after I banged on the window.

It managed to look up.  But no bounding away in fear.

He had two little friends with him that were in the trees, too.

I ended up having to go outside and yell and throw a rock at them!  Then they took off at a walk.  I sure showed them.

As they sauntered their way over to my parent’s yard, our dogs finally caught on and chased them away.

Darn deer!  They also ate part of my new mountain ash tree!

It’s like they know which ones you’ve paid for and they are the most appealing and delicious for them.

Do you have pesky varmints in your yard?


Raised Garden

In an effort to try and get some use out of the very tall and imposing bank in our backyard, we are experimenting with gardening.

The bank faces south, and we thought between that and building a raised bed, we may actually be able to get something to grow.

We made ours 8 x 4 and I divided it into one foot sections using twine and screws.  I planted a lot in here!  Zucchini, peas, beans, lettuce, carrots, dill, and onions.  Hopefully it all grows!  It is a sunny spot, so it should.

Shaun put wood bark and chips all around it and some flat stones that he split when he made me some stairs to get up here.

I hope the deer don’t eat it all.

Our dogs will bark at a squirrel all night long, but deer…. nothing.


Stone Steps

One day after school, I came home to this as a surprise from my husband.

The day before, we had built a raised garden on the top of this hill and he may have had enough of watching me stumble up and down it.

So he split some rocks.  Yes, he can do that.

And built these.

I’m thinking some creeping thyme around them to fill in the spaces so maybe one day they will look like this.

Pinned Image

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Aren’t they beautiful?

 But I love mine already, too!

We had a busy weekend here.  I’m painting my doors with ASCP!  Can’t wait to show you!

I also planted all of my pots of flowers- one of my very favorite things to do- and we continued to work on our landscaping mega-project as well as get some smaller projects finished up.   Yesterday, we drove out to the lake to park our trailer for the summer, do a little fishing, and have a barbecue!

It’s the Victoria Day May long weekend here so I have one more day off before school fires up again for the last stretch.

Hope you had a great weekend!


Wire Basket Tutorial

Don’t you just the look of vintage wire baskets with lovely stacks of linens, or cutlery, or anything, in them?

Wire baskets

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Don’t you just hate the price?

Chessin Wire Baskets

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And the fact that they are virtually impossible to find?  Especially if you are looking for a certain size?

Lined Wire Baskets

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 How about making your own using hardware cloth?  And sewing a liner out of drop cloth?

I needed some big bins for underneath our kitchen bench and used this tutorial from Attempting Aloha to make them!!

It was fairly easy to do once you have your measurements.  You just need some snips, wire, and heavy duty gloves!

Here they are!

I am going to fill them with potatoes and onions.

I am hoping to eventually stencil the front of them.  Or maybe add a clay tag or two…

What are you up to this week?


Stone and Rose Kitchen

The next stop in the house tour is the kitchen!  This is my favorite room in the house and was definitely the room that I put the most planning into when we designed it.

 We built our kitchen into the southeast corner of our house facing the front with big windows and lots of counter space.  We have a few uppers on the one wall, but our storage mostly comes from lots of lower drawers and cabinets.  Our cupboards are Ikea and we are very happy we went with them.  They were economical and great quality, too.



The door on the right hand side is the pantry.  I painted the inside part of the inner door with ASCP in Primer Red to make a chalkboard.  It is pretty darn handy here- we use it all the time… to draw skulls and remind each other to buy fish bait apparently!

The plates are antiques that my grandma had in her kitchen for years and the framed embroidery was made by my other grandma and is the Norwegian table grace.  I love that every time I open my pantry door I am reminded of them and their kitchens.

The south wall holds the sink and dishwasher and a couple of surprises…

…two of my addictions- TV and coffee!  We debated on whether to put a TV in here or not, but I really enjoy it!!  I just turn it on when I’m cooking or doing dishes or making lunches and then it doesn’t feel like such a chore!

The faucet is a touch control so you can turn it on with just a nudge of your arm when your hands are covered in raw chicken.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that.

This is the view out of my sink window.  Towards the driveway so I can see who’s coming.  Bird feeder.  Shed.  Lots and lots of trees.  Pretty good view.

All of the window ledges in our house are very deep because we built with ICF (concrete forms).  Ten inches actually.  We used pieces of barn board from our floors for the bottom ledge portion of all of the windows.

By the sink I have two pieces of quartz crystal that my father-in-law gave us, tulips for spring, and rocks of course!!

Looking out past the Norwegian spruce to the bike ramp so I can see what horrifying antics are going on out there!

But I prefer to focus on the flowers!

The countertops are quartz composite in a gray/ green color and the backsplash is pebble tile that we embellished using rocks from our own driveway to create a more natural, uneven top line to it.

I love these little measuring spoons.  I never use them… just for decoration.

We just got the new barn board sign put up above the sink.

The pendants over the island are red (which is kind of my go to choice for accent color).

The back wall with the stove, cupboards, and messy side of the fridge.

Here are the shelves we had room to squeeze in and pretty front to the fridge.  The shelves hold all of my cookbooks, the canisters for flour, sugar, etc., and some decor items.

Under the bench by the shelves I made some wire baskets with drop cloth inserts using the tutorial found here.  I’ll use them for potatoes and onions.

This is from the kitchen looking out to the living room.

Here’s the whole kitchen from the living room so you can see our table and benches as well.  Pottery Barn.  It was the big splurge and we did an awful lot of work on this house ourselves, so we went for it.  Love.

We didn’t originally plan on having stools at the island, but one ended up there, and we use it all the time!

The island is big and holds 3 sets of drawers by the stove for pots and pans, rice cookers, etc.  The side by the sink holds two cabinets/ slide outs for recycling, and the side closest to the stool holds bakeware and placemats and napkins.  We ended up with the little nook in the front, which is nice to decorate!

The paint color is General Paints Cartographic, which is a lovely kind of gray/ taupe.  The trim is all General Paints pure white.

I hope you enjoyed the tour of our kitchen!


Family History

This past Easter weekend, we went to my husband’s family’s for dinner and a visit.

I have been asking for a while for pictures of his grandparents when they were young to go with the gallery wall I have featuring my grandparents when they were young and my parents were small.

Here is a picture of it so far.

I have pictures of my grandparents and their businesses (logging camp and trucking outfits) and then pictures of my parents when they were little.

I wanted the same thing for my husband’s family.

And I finally have some pictures to add!

This is his grandma in the mountains after she moved from the prairie.

I can imagine it was quite the change in scenery for her.

I love how there are always pictures with horses.

And speaking of, here is her husband on his horse, Silver.

Here they are together.

I also love how, in all the old pictures, after there are children, they are always included in the shots.

My mother-in-law with her dad.

Helping her dad with a swan (and you can see the beaver pelt in the background).

You can see how much my husband looks like his grandpa!

Here is my mother-in-law and her sister with dad skinning a bear in the background.

Isaac and the girls.

The girls.

With a beaver.
Grandma looks less thrilled than the kids.
 It will be fun to choose some of them to enlarge and add to the family gallery wall.
Do you have old photographs in your home?

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(Always In) Style- White Denim Pencil

A pencil skirt is always one of my favorites to wear to work.  I have a black high-waisted pencil skirt that is my absolute fave, but I also have a navy one with a kick pleat in the back and a gray one with lots of seaming that has a blazer to match.

Great pieces, but a tad wintry.  I’m ready for something more appropriate for spring and summer.

If you are like me, you buy a new pair of white jeans every summer or so.  Blue jeans of mine may last, and often do, for years.  Probably years longer than they should…

But white jeans just don’t seem to last as long.  This year I decided to take my old white jeans and make a pencil skirt out of them.  There are a lot of tutorials online to show you how to do this.

I’m not quite done…but I’m hoping these sets will inspire me to get finished!!

Can I just say how much I love that beaded clutch?  I do.  A lot.

Ok.  Off to sew…and then maybe bead…

Have a great week, everyone!


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