Princess Success Story

This is Princess, our latest foster cat. Princess came to us with a slight cat-cold and spent a pleasant few weeks in our home. She was a little shy, but very snugly and sweet. When she had stopped sneezing, we dropped her off at the Ottawa Humane Society with best wishes for a happy future.

But it turned out that Princess was not ready to go up for adoption. She was suffering from an extreme form of gingivitis that was making her gums red and inflamed. She came back to us with a course of antibiotics and a warning that cats with this condition usually get put down.

Princess 1

Princess is two and a half years old! We took her back knowing that we would do everything we could to keep this tragedy from happening… while at the same time giving her as much love as possible, just in case.

After lots of drooling, a few vet checks, yet anther course of antibiotics, and a month of daily teeth brushing, the inflammation in Princess’s gums has completely receded!

Princess 3

Princess is now available for adoption at the Ottawa Human Society (ask for shelter number A164784). Whoever become’s this little girl’s forever family should take very good care to keep up with her teeth brushing, but otherwise she is absolutely a perfect cat. She is warm and cuddly, neat, funny, and got along very well with our two adult male cats. She can  be a bit of a wallflower at first (hugs the walls) and she likes her peace and quiet, but is very affectionate and playful.

We had Princess for a long time, and under pretty stressful circumstances. We become attached to all the cats we care for, but the ones who need you most are the ones who leave a little deeper stamp on your heart. We miss Princess in our home already, but the feeling of having had a hand in her recovery is incredible. To be surpassed only by the knowledge of her having found a loving forever home.

Princess 4

Princess ID#A164784

Good luck little Miss.

How to Reupholster Dinning Chairs

Our dinning room redecorating is under way, and as the paint dries on the walls I am doing what I can to update the furniture as frugally as possible.

That means reupholstering our hand-me-down dinning chairs. I’m not in love with the cream finish, but they are in great shape all-around, and I was hoping re-covering  the seats would freshen them up. I found home decorating fabric for $7 / meter at Fabricland and bought 3 meters (more than enough for 6 seats). Here are the other tools I needed:

  • screwdriver
  • scissors
  • lint roller (optional)
  • staple gun with small staples or tacks
  • Scotch Gaurd

marterialsStep 1 Remove the seat by flipping the chair upside down and unscrewing the screws. This is how my chairs worked, yours may be different but are probably similar.

remove seat

Step 2 Cut the fabric to size by using the seat as a guide and leaving a 3-4 inch margin all around. You want to have enough fabric to pull up and under the the seat, but not so much that it becomes cumbersome to work with. Once you’ve made one square, use this piece as a template to cut enough fabric for each chair.

Step 3 Iron out each piece of fabric for a neat crisp result. Worst step ever, I hate ironing.

cut and iron

Step 4 If the fabric of your seat is tatty, you should remove it and upholster directly over the foam. My seats where in such great shape that I was able to upholster right over it. I did give them a good one-over with the lint roller, just so dust and cat hair wouldn’t be trapped inside my dinning room for all eternity. Obviously this is optional.

Step 5 Lay the fabric upside down on your workspace, and centre the seat upside down on the fabric. Starting from the middle of the top edge, grab the fabric and pull in up and over the backside of the seat. Secure with a staple.  Next, do the same thing on the bottom edge; then one side and the other. Work in the counter-part manner along each edge of the seat until you get to the corners.

Make the fabric taunt over the cushion, but be careful of pulling too tight. If you depress the foam of the seat, you could end up with dimples everywhere you have a staple.

stapleStep 6 Remove excess material at the corners by cutting them horizontally. You should end up with triangular shreds of fabric. Tightly pull up and across and staple down the corner.

cut corners

Step 7 Trim and staple down any excess fabric from the underside of your seat, and snip away frayed edges. It may also be a good idea to staple a scrap pieces of fabric to the bottom. This way if you ever need a colour sample, or need to test an new cleaning product on the fabric, you will always have some handy.

all done

Step 8 Once all of your seat cushions are covered, it is time for a very important, and often overlooked step, Scotch Guarding! These chairs are going in the dinning room. You know, where people dine. Unfortunately, people don’t always dine so elegantly and spills do happen. You don’t want to have gone through all this work just to have your beautiful new modern fabric all nasty and stained by next Easter. Buy a can of fabric protector at the hardware store, lay out the seats on a drop cloth, and give them two good coats.

photo 4

Step 9 Reattach the seats to the chairs and enjoy!

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before and afterNot an overly dramatic difference, but the chairs certainly have more personality now; well worth the $30 and one afternoon spent. The new fabric is much more modern with its ikat-esque print, and the grey and blue colours will help tie in other elements being put into the dinning room. It also has a nice metallic sheen that doesn’t photograph well but I think will look great with the chrome accents of the new chandelier and curtain rod.

Basically I’m just really excited to see this room-makeover come together. Off to do a second coat of paint!

Foodie & Wino: A Love Story {Reception Mood Board}

I am a sucker for theme parties, even when that party is a wedding. Themes help unify all aspects of an event and give direction to every decision from colour palette, outfits, food selection, to what kind of favours to give out to guests.

A theme can be as literal (like the Dino Baby Shower) or abstract (Lisbon Portugal) as you want, and can be carried through as much or as little as seems proper for the event.

Once Liam and I get back from our destination wedding, we are throwing a cocktail party for our more extend family and friends, as well as all those who could not make it to Lisbon. A little music, a lot of dancing, a chance to celebrate our marriage with everyone; I’m really looking forward to it!

Working with the decor of our venue, Sidedoor Kitchen and Bar, as well as its reputation for excellent food, the theme for our Reception will be something deceptively simple:

Food & Wine!

I don’t plan on taking the theme too literally, you wont see vines draped over everything or tables covered in plastic grapes, but it certainly inspires a lot of fun stuff:

For links to everything seen above, as well as much more, please visit my Pintrest Board.

For links to everything seen above, as well as much more, please visit my Pintrest Board.

This Mood Board is quintessential Eve & Liam, I love everything on it and want to put most of it in my mouth right now. I’m not sure which of us is the bigger Wino or Foodie; we both love fine food and a good drink A LOT.

Practically, the food part of the theme will come out in the fact that we will serve food. Creative I know. Sidedoor‘s famous tacos will be passed along with other sumptuous canapes, and what could be better than a late-night build-your-own gourmet poutine bar? Nothing on Earth. I’m also tempted to try my hand at making DIY flavoured sea salt as favours (tutorial to come?). The wine half is a bit easier; I’ll do something with corks but will mostly use the red wine inspired wonderfully rich dark purples and plums in the invitations, flowers, and linens. Come late September, these colours will be perfect for our early Autumn evening party.
pallette

Dinning Room Before

We are just about ready to move on to our next renovation! … which is more like a redesign. We aren’t demolishing the ceiling or putting up mouldings, mostly just updating the fixtures and painting. This is largely because we have bigger plans for the room in future (like busting out the kitchen wall, custom built-ins, and hardwood floors). There is still quite a bit to do, including softening up the Bay-window with curtains, dressing up the walls with some artwork, and if I can find a rug I can afford, it would be great to have one to help define the space. I’m not in love with my dinning table (which was a hand-me-down from a neighbour) but it is of great quality and in excellent shape. Reupholstering the chairs will help at least update the set.
plan 1
The old-fashioned chandelier will get replaced, and I’ll have to fix my mom’s old clock which stopped working shortly after we updated it. I’m not sure about painting the curio cabinet, it’s the only dark wood in the space, but with all that glass it seems like a lot of work. We’ll see.
plan 2
And of course I’m painting the walls grey! Going two shades lighter than the colour in the Entryway. The vent cover, electrical outlets, and dimmer switch will also all be updated. I’m very excited to turn the Bay-window into a cosy little nook with a seat and cushions. Our home backs on to farmland, the binoculars are for spying on the neighbours wild turkeys, deer, and fox out there.plan 3 The cats also love to sun themselves and do their bird watching here.

dexterAs far as design goes, I’m thinking lots of white and light blue for an airy feel. I’m hoping to take this rather stark room and create warmth by layering multiple fabrics and textures. I’ve been really loving the clean light-but-cozy feeling of Nordic/Scandinavian design lately, and will take a bit of inspiration from there. Here is what I have so far, it is mostly cushions;

dinning room mood boardWe’ve bought a few things for the space already, like the new light and a curtain rod that was 50% off! But we can’t really get started for another two weeks. Family is coming for a visit, bringing along their dogs and babies, being very welcome but unconducive to pneumatic nailers and wet-paint.  With this plan in place I am dying to just dive in but will have to hold myself back and realize that even this simple ‘renovation’, like all the others, will take time.

Our Ocean Flourish

Our invitations are out and have arrived at their destinations! Some going as far as the US and Europe. I am absolutely in love with them and the relatively pain-free process I went through to send them on their way.

I knew I did not want to attempt to make my invitations, either from scratch or from a kit. I do not have the skills or the patience to go through all that printing, cutting, and assembling involved. I have received beautiful invitations friends have made, but it just wasn’t for me … and I paid for it. I also knew that I didn’t want to go to an invitation boutique to look at album after album of paper and ink samples. I don’t make good decisions in on-the-spot situations, and I hate feeling like I’m taking up too much of someone’s time. I preferred to operate in a medium I am very comfortable in; the internet.

There are many on-line invitation companies with thousands of different designs and styles of wedding (and general party) invitations. Most of them let you customise all the text and fonts and colours and produce an instant preview of the card. They also offer (usually) free samples of their paper, ink, and text options for you the peruse in the comfort of your own home. These arrived in the mail and come with a discount for when you place your order. Worth it! I ordered samples from:

samples

So I still had lots to go-over and consider! I lusted over some of the letterpress options for a while, the thick luxurious paper and oh-so-elegant formality of them had me enchanted. But that price wasn’t going to happen, like ever. In the end I found a lovely design on Minted.com called Ocean Flourish. The hand drawn calligraphic flourishes inspired by waves on the beach utterly captured the sea-feel I wanted, without taking it to a literal “beach or “nautical” theme. And the ombré silver to blue is so pretty and trendy!

minted

from minted.com

Once ordered, the company sends you a digital proof of the invitation and all the inserts for your approval. The system on Minted for making adjustments to the design is incredible. You get to add little notes on the invitation with instructions with what you want changed. A designer then reviews your notes, makes the changes, and then sends a proof back to you. I went through a very few number of back-and-forth before getting the layout just right. The designer was incredibly prompt and helpful, and made visually pleasing suggestions that I could never have come up with. They are the professionals after all! To console myself from the loss of letterpress, I opted for the or their Luxe Museum Board Paper. This stuff is extra-thick with a rich creamy cotton texture. Coupled with the gold foil envelop liners, I had all the elegance and formality I was hoping for. In no time at all, our completed invitations arrived in the mail.

our invites

Again, to save myself time and the stress of a perfectionist, we hired a calligrapher to address the envelopes. Rebecca at Letter Artistry serves the Ottawa area and did an incredible job.

calligraphy

After all this, I still had assembling to do. Mr. Fiancé and I took an evening, poured ourselves a glass of wine (white!) and got to work. We had to stamp the envelopes with our return address embosser, paste in the gold liners, add postage to the return address envelopes, and layer all the enclosure cards. We got it done in one short evening and are incredibly happy with the results.

invitation suitWe have already received a bunch of RSVP cards! I get ridiculously excited checking the mail every day, hoping for a confirmation that another loved one will be joining us on our Portugal adventure. I even have them displayed over the mantel and get excited every time I look at them.

Invitations 050

Happily Ever After Wedding Cake Topper

Once upon a time when I was a little girl up to a few years ago, hands-down one hundred percent, this was going to be my wedding cake topper:

Lenox Cinderella and Prince Dancing

Or any of these:

What can I say? Everything I know about love I learnt from Disney movies. I think that’s true for a lot of Millennials, Disney was a big part of growing up. And although I sill love Cinderella, pretend to be Ariel when I go swimming, know all the words to to Pocahontas song, and try to make slurping spaghetti sexy, Disney is not a big part of my relationship with Liam, so doesn’t really have a place at our wedding … except maybe at the kids table … where I will be sitting.

Still, I don’t think I can give up my fairytale wedding cake-topper entirely. But it needs to be more mature than cartoon characters, less traditional than a china figurine, and still manage to capture the magical essence of a Disney romance. Tall order, Etsy to the rescue!

hapeverafter

from Betteroffwed

This is perfect. Three little words that sum up the happy ending of every love story ever told. An elegant font with romantic flourishes. Hand-crafted from eco-friendly wood board made from recycled eucalyptus tree fibres. Coloured with custom mixed vibrant metallic food safe gold paint for that magic sparkle. A unique statement that is not overly feminine, yet should still make all the inner-princess at our wedding smile.

This Week’s Menu {February 3 – 9}

Last week started out great and with the best intentions, but then turned into a string of  decadent ‘cheat days’ where “one little slice of baguette” turns into “let’ s split the crème brûlée” turns into “omg doughnuts!!!“… Back to clean healthy eating this week. My wallet will approve.

menu.svg

Monday
Roasted Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts 

Tuesday
Tomato Spinach Chickpea Simmer

Wednesday
Tofu Vegetable Stir-fry

Thursday
Far East Lemon Shrimp Salad

Friday
McDonald’s Fan-pack 

Saturday
Dinner and a show at Fatboy’s Smokehouse

Sunday
Pork Chop Sauerkraut Simmer

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DIY Shower Curtain Art

When I started thinking about re-doing our entryway, I lusted over the idea of doing a wall mural like this:

mural

from muralsyourway.com

But even in our small room that would cost over $250; absolutely not in the very limited budget.  I was ready to give up on large birch trees in my foyer… until I saw this shower curtain:

birch curtain

from urbanoutfitters.com

Hummm, very similar. And at $25, it fit right into to budget. I got my shower curtain at a place in Ottawa called ZoneMaison, but this one’s identical. Anyway, I hatched a plan to turn this bathroom linen into a large piece of artwork for the would-be mural wall.

My plan:

art-plan

I decided to use 1×3 pine to build a frame slightly smaller than the curtain. That way I could stretch it over the frame for a neat wrap-around look. The curtain was pretty shear, so I knew if I didn’t have a lining the wood would show through. A relatively cheap canvas painting drop cloth would suffice for the base.

What You Need
Shower Curtain Art materials

  • wood
  • wood glue
  • staples
  • staple gun
  • canvas drop cloth
  • scissors
  • an iron
  • a shower curtain

What to Do

Step 1: Cut the wood according to the plan and lay them out. Lay something out underneath your work space to protect it from messy glue.
Shower Curtain Art 011

Step 2: Add a bit of wood glue on the joints and press.

Shower Curtain Art 019

Step 3: Straddle the stapler across the joint and add two or three staples. Glue then staple each joint.

Shower Curtain Art 022

Step 4: Flip and do the other side.

Shower Curtain Art 027

Step 5: Lay the canvas drop-cloth under the frame and cut to size, leaving about 6 inches of overlap.

Shower Curtain Art 034Step 6: Start on a long side, pull the canvas up and over the frame, keeping in taught, and staple every 8 inches or so. Pull the canvas tight and staple the opposite side.

Shower Curtain Art 046Step 7: Fold over the top, neatly tucking in the corner like you are warping a present or making a bed.

Shower Curtain Art 052Step 8: And staple! Do each corner, then a couple along the top and bottom, make sure the canvas is nicely stretched out.

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Here is the base for our artwork:

Shower Curtain Art 054

Step 9: Iron your shower curtain to get the fold creases out of the fabric. This was the least fun part of the project. I hate ironing.

Shower Curtain Art 044

Step 10: Repeat Steps 5 through 8 with the curtain; cut-stretch staple. /p>

Shower Curtain Art 056

And here it is:

diy shower curtain

Not exactly the statement a whole wall mural would have made, but still a bold piece that adds drama to the room. There are so many cute shower curtains out their that could make great ‘art’. And at about $40 all in, it’s a trick that can fit  into anybody’s budget.

Here are some examples of potential shower-curtain-art I found from bedbathandbeyond.ca:

examples

DIY Entryway Table

When thinking about renovating our front entryway, I thought it would be nice to have a console table, a handy spot to place mail and keys and what not.But we couldn’t find anything that fit the space and didn’t cost a fortune. I had seen a few black-pipe table DIYs on Pintrest and decided to give it a go.

First I needed a plan. I spent some time on Homedepot.ca getting familiar with the black pipe parts available. It’s a little like Lego; you have different pieces that you get to put together in a million different ways. There are elbow joints, caps, flanges,  t-connections, and various sized straight pipes (hilariously called nipples) that all screw together. One thing to consider is the width of your pipes, make sure every piece you get is the same. I went with 3/4 inch.

I drew out a few variations on leg designs and ended up with this:
black pipe plansSo not cheap! but still way under the other console tables we were looking at for hundreds of dollars. We also bought some wood screws and a can of good-old black spray paint. Here are all the parts, on newspapers because they are greasy.
Entryway and DIY Stuff 107
I assembled the table legs according to my plans, and then cleaned them, my hands got diiiiirty!
Entryway and DIY Stuff 008
Entryway and DIY Stuff 115To give the legs a more consistent overall colour, I gave them a light coat of spray paint. It didn’t take much.
Entryway and DIY Stuff 011
Once dry, it was time to attach the legs to an old wood beam I salvaged from the cottage this summer. This used to be a part of the old dock is well over 50 years old. We positioned the legs  carefully on the wood and marked the screw holes. We didn’t want to take any chances with the wood splitting, so Liam pre-drilled the holes.
Entryway and DIY Stuff 015Then he screwed them in for reals.

Entryway and DIY Stuff 029

And here it is all done!

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I considered sanding and oiling the wood, but decided against it. The roughness suits the space.

Entryway After 062