It's All Hallows' Eve!

Oct 31, 2014

I'm skipping Friday's List this week, check back Sunday for a DIY canvas art tutorial.
Have a spooktacular Friday!

Progress & Closet Doors

Oct 29, 2014

Progress comes in many different forms, shapes and sizes. Through the work we've completed on the house to date, and all the work still to come, I've realized that progress is achievement in and of itself. A project doesn't have to be 100% complete with everything finalized and in it's place for there to be a sense of accomplishment. And I say thank goodness for that!

I've learned to make smaller goals and celebrate those achievements; making the work more fun and...keeping me from going insane!

This same philosophy can easily be applied to life. By setting smaller more achievable goals I'm more dedicated to getting things done and once I've completed something and give myself a pat on the back, I'm more eager to move onto the next small goal, knowing that there's an end in sight. Versus on the other hand, having long term, complicated goals which leave you feeling defeated and unaccomplished.

My wise words of wisdom for wednesday! (ha!)

Closet Doors

Onto the second part of this post...closet doors. Who would've thought that picking out closet doors could be such a challenge. I had no idea how many options there were! Bi-fold or sliding, mirror or solid, 2 panel, 4 panel, 5 panel - the choices are endless.

I like bi-fold doors because you are able to view the entire contents of the closet at once, with sliding doors you will always have one side hidden behind the doors. I'm not a huge fan of mirrors, so I think we can check that off the list of options. I want to go with something a little different and nothing that is too modern or too traditional.

I've narrowed my preference down to these three bi-fold closet doors.

Anyone have any experiences with bifold doors that might help me make my decision?
Which door do you like best? Can you recommend another style?

Home Tour: A Humble Lakeside Abode in Downtown St. John's

Oct 27, 2014

I'm so excited to be sharing the very first guest home tour today on The Simply Inspired Blog. My dear friend Lacey was kind enough to let us take a look inside her beautiful home. Not only is the inside beautiful (which you will see in the photos below), but it's located in one of my favourite parts of town, Forest Rd, overlooking Quidi Vidi Lake and surrounded by stately maple trees.

The Home

Lacey describes her home as simple, cozy and zen. Having a calming space to come home to is important for Lacey, who's day to day life is usually beyond hectic. She achieved this calming environment (with help from her friend and old roommate Jill) by maintaining Benjamin Moore's Wickham Grey on the walls throughout and incorporating color in small doses. Earthy and vintage are other words that Lacey would use to describe her home. Her love for nature is evident throughout with plants, driftwood and branches adding unique touches to every room. Eclectic vintage pieces were added over time as Lacey collected them while travelling or just browsing the local shops of downtown St. John's.

Lacey shares her home with her beloved silver lab Harrison and roommate Renee.

Come on in and take a look! I'm sure you'll have the same reaction I did and find that you never want to leave!

I hope you enjoyed the tour. With any luck, this will be the first of many home tours. A big thanks to photographer Jill Willcott (ex roommate mentioned above) for lending her time and talents to take these wonderful and captivating photographs.

ps. If you can picture yourself getting comfy in this home, then you might be in luck. Lacey's searching for a new roommate, vacancy for January 1st. Interested parties can contact me and I'll set you guys up!

Friday's List: Career Advice from a Successful Entrepreneur

Oct 24, 2014

If you've been following along, you might have noticed that each Friday I post Friday's List. There are no requirements for what type of list I post - it can be anything from my 10 favourite recipes (that one's coming soon) to 5 items to add to your wardrobe for fall (check that post out here). I like having a consistent weekly feature and it also switches things up from my regular posts about decorating and our reno.
I had the opportunity this week to attend a mentor luncheon hosted by the St. John's Board of Trade. The event paired groups up with successful local business persons, who shared with us their most valuable lessons learned from their careers so far. I took away a lot from the luncheon and thought the advice was definitely something I had to share.

Whether you're a young entrepreneur, or just looking to get ahead in your career, these tips will get you going in the right direction.
When you are passionate - people are going to notice. Whether applying for loans or grants, meeting with banks or looking for a promotion, showcasing your passion let's others know that you're dedicated, committed and invested in your goal. If you have faith in your idea and your passion shows, then others will latch on to your ideas too.
Many times throughout one's career, we are told no, not now, not possible. Instead of accepting these responses as defeat,  we should instead be challenged to find a way to overcome the obstacles. As the old saying goes, where there is a will, there is a way. The mentor who spoke to us referenced several occasions when she was told "no", she welcomed the challenge that these responses gave her and went above and beyond to make her goals happen and in the end, this approach always paid off.
There are countless ways to give back and get involved throughout your professional career. Whether you choose to volunteer your time on a board, organize a charity event, or mentor other young professionals - find something that you can commit yourself to and reap the rewards. Not only will you be helping others, but you may also find that you yourself will learn new things, meet new people and be challenged (both professionally and personally).
It's understandable that taking risks can be intimidating. Especially when you've put all of your finances, time and efforts into your venture, taking a big risk might seem like the furthest thing from a good idea. But when I asked my mentor what she would do differently if she could start her career over again, she said she would take more risks and not hold back. If you feel something in your gut, go for it. If you don't succeed, then you learn.

Now get out there & be fearless!

Happy Friday :)

Tutorial: How to Paint a Fireplace Mantle

Oct 23, 2014

Before I get into the tutorial I just want to say thank you for taking the time to come on here and read my writings & ramblings!

I'm having a lot of fun putting the projects and posts together so I'm glad you're enjoying reading them too :)

The first fireplace I painted was at my last house, and although the end result was quite good, the process was a disaster. Believe it or not, I actually spray painted the mantle - indoors - in my living room. This was back when I first started reading DIY blogs, namely Young House Love (so upset that they have decided to stop blogging...!), and everything was being spray painted. So of course, my first project had to involve spray paint - only I should've chosen an object that was significantly smaller and one that I could take outside.

Safe to say, I learned my lesson from that experience and went with the good ol can of paint and paint brush for fireplace mantle painting round 2.
Let me preface by saying I'm no pro, but this is what worked for me.

Step 1: Prep your mantle. Dust it first with a dry cloth or duster then wipe it down with a wet cloth. Once dry, very lightly sand the mantle. I used 180 grit sandpaper, the finest grit, just to lightly remove some of the sheen from the mantle finish.

Step 2: Prime your mantle. Since I was painting black over white, I chose to go with a grey primer which helped the darker colour apply a little easier than if I was applying directly over white. The paint shop can tint a can of white primer to make it grey.  

Step 3: Once your primer has completely dried, start applying your the colour that you've chosen. Be mindful of places where the paint may run or drip. I found this fairly common so I painted in small sections rather than tackling the whole mantle in one go. I also recommend using paint near the wall. As much as I like to think I have a steady hand, I'd rather tape then have to cover up black paint on the white walls. 

Step 4: Once your mantle is fully covered in it's new colour, apply a few coats of Minwax polyurethane (there are recommendations on the can, I applied one coat only to the top where there would be the most contact and it's held up perfectly so far). The paint was an eggshell finish and I wanted as little shine as possible so I went with velvet finish for the polyurethane.

Once you're comfortable with the number of polyurethane coats you've applied, let it dry and then you're done!
Don't be intimated by this project. It only requires patience. Just remember it's worth it in the end...the results make a big impact! 

Friday's List: It's Halloween Decor!

Oct 17, 2014

Halloween is definitely my favourite holiday and occasion next to Christmas and my birthday. Costumes, candy, spooky movies and fall...what's not to love?

I also love any excuse to decorate, here's my Halloween fireplace mantle decor from last year.

Pretty basic but it was cozy and festive. I added some extra items this year and am still working on a few other additions that I'll finalize over the weekend.

The plastic pumpkins are the same ones I picked up at the dollar store several years and continue to use. I picked up some pinecones on my hike last weekend to fill the tall candle holder with. I filled a large mason jar with gold decorative stone, threw in a tea light and added some jute string to create more ambiance and add another candle to the mix.

Whether you're looking for spooky or stylish, here's 5 ideas to inspire your Halloween Decorating projects. We're supposed to be getting bad weather this weekend - the perfect time for arts and crafts!
Eerie Outdoor Decor

Candy & Branches Display

Hanging Ghosts

Pretty Painted Pumpkins

Woodsy Bat Mobile

Have fun decorating! 

Home Office Reveal & Living Room Update

Oct 16, 2014

The living room continues to get updates and is now looking better than ever. Over the long weekend we hung up some wall decor, added a storage chest to act as a coffee table, and moved a storage bench from the laundry room into the living room in front of the large front window. I would be lying if I said that this whole storage bench relocation was not for the sole purpose of our was. Penelope loves looking out the window and the  window ledges just aren't big enough for her.

Not to worry - we are fully patriotic Canadians, but Nick has a strong interest in American history and the flag matches the living room's no more than that. Of course there'll be a Newfoundland flag hung in the house as well - just not sure where yet.
I set up my office area at the other end of the living room. The room is long enough to allow for both a sitting area and a working space. Here's the before:
And here's the after! 
I love being set up in front of the window. There's a view into the garden and lots of natural light. I plan to add some shelves soon for extra storage and not shown in the photos is an old media console/cabinet which I'm using as storage for files, papers, and writing materials. Lots of storage is a must!

My desk chair   was a DIY project. I primed and painted an old dining chair and recovered the chair cushion with new fabric. I'm not a huge fan of the desk, maybe I'll paint it. But it does the job for now and matches the rest of the stained wood furniture we have in the room. 

This typography art which hangs next to my desk, was also sort of a DIY project. I had my eye on some beautiful prints at Chapters, but at close to $40 per print I had to reconsider. So I downloaded the free trial of photoshop, read a few online tutorials and created the prints. Then I printed off my prints at Staples and framed them with dollar store frames.  Love achieving my decor ideas with dollar store finds! 
I'm completely enjoying every aspect of this room now.

Check back tomorrow for Friday's List of easy Halloween decor.

Easy Removable DIY Cushion Slipcovers

Oct 14, 2014

I hope you all had a great long weekend! I certainly did  - we visited Lester's Farm and picked up our pumpkins (and visited the animals and got lost in the corn maze!), did a hike on the East Coast Trail, had turkey dinner twice and managed to make some progress on the house. A productive yet relaxing weekend which left me feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Now - on to the tutorial. Today I'm sharing an easy way to make removable cushion slipcovers for outdoor cushion pads. When covering toss cushions, the best technique is to make envelope style slipcovers (tutorial to come on those), but in this case, since the cushions were much larger and we wanted them to be removable, I took a different approach.

These were done on the request of my Aunt & Uncle who wanted to cover their faded and dated cushion covers for their place in Florida. Here is a photo of the faded original cushion covers before:
And here is the cushion with it's new slipcover:
Easy Removable DIY Cushion Slipcover Tutorial

  • Exterior Fabric (I actually used shower curtains, the fabric pattern was just what they wanted and the price was very reasonable)
  • Sewing machine with coordinating thread
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Fastener snaps
  • Needle

Measure your cushions and allow for an extra inch or two on either side and an extra inch or two at the top. It's better to have more fabric than not enough. Measure twice, cut once.

Match and pin together the two sides of fabric, right sides together, and sew along the edge, allowing for about a 1/4" allowance for the edge from the seam. DO NOT sew across the top, just sew to the top edges of both sides and back stitch to secure your seam.
Next, fold the top edge of your slipcover back about an inch (see photo above) so the right side is showing, and iron along the folded edge to get it to stay in place a little easier. 

Then place your fastener snaps along the edge and space them out to see how many you will need. I think mine are placed about two inches apart. 

I followed this simple video tutorial to learn the best way to sew the fasteners in place. I attached fasteners to one side first then pinned both sides together so I could match up the female and male fasteners on either side, then proceeded to sew the fasteners on the other side. 

This is the most time consuming part of the project but once you've finished sewing on your snap fasteners, you're slipcover is done!

Above is a photo of the slipcovers at their new home in Florida. This was simple, straight forward and very budget friendly project. It certainly serves the purpose for my Aunt & Uncle at their holiday place and would be a good quick fix for any deck furniture you may need to spruce up.