Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Garden results - part 2

And now to share the second portion of all of our hard work in the garden!

We decided to do a big clean up, and then decide how to  fill in the holes with a mix of perennials and annuals. Here are the before's:

I didn't like the randomness of this front planter - the stuff under the tree has no structure, and the high plant in the front corner really doesn't do anything for the area. There were also a few plants that could have been weeds for all I knew. We were here last summer and saw everything through the season, so if I couldn't remember loving it and didn't like the look of it currently, it went.

The planter close to the house is a bit of a mess. What was a middle bush (pre-picture) was a disaster to keep under control, and had a number of dead branches (and, as the Mr. found out - a huge root system embedded in the planter!).

So, with a lot of hard work and a couple of trips to a neighbourhood garden store (Bill's Garden Centre on Pape), we made fair progress. Here are the after's: 

You can see here, we ripped out the massive plant that was in the front right corner (and actually moved it to a corner in the planter by the house). We put in a number of perennials along the front border, so they will fill out in year or so, and there are 2 hostas on the right side which will fill out in the next couple of years. We transplanted some lily of the valley from our backyard to in front of the tree -- we'll have to see how it holds up, but if I have to replace any I have a LOT more in the back! It also multiplies as years go on, so will fill out (I've learned this is a frustrating part of gardening - that what it looks like now isn't what it will look like next year!).

In this one we got rid of everything in the front planter, and replaced it with a hosta, a couple of white perennials, and then a soft orange/yellow mix of dahlias as annuals. In the back planter, we kept the holly, evergreen bushes, and that random starburst purple flower. We added some lavendar beside the flower, and there is still a gap that I have to fill with some low-ish and green. I want to keep it green up there and keep the colour in the front planter. I don't want to do a hosta because I already have a bunch of them and when they really fill out, I think it would be too much to have an additional one there too.  So, it's ALMOST there, once I fill the gap and have patience for everything to fill in we will be all set.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Garden results - part 1

Summer is here! Today is sunny and humid (tomorrow probably "too" humid for most people's liking) BUT it's not supposed to rain for the next little while and the sun is out. I welcome it.

I hope you all had a good weekend. Our weekend was B-U-S-Y! The Mr's parents were in town for a visit, and I'm ashamed (and yet so so so glad for the results) to say that we put them to work!

We started off nice and easy with an excellent brunch on Saturday at what is now one of our new favourite places: Bonjour Brioche in Leslieville. Everything there tasted exactly like it does in Paris - the baguettes were perfect, pain au chocolats delicious, and the chorizo-basil-parmsean tart I had was to die for (litterally, the crust was such buttery perfection I was beside myself). For those in Toronto I highly recommend a visit! The Mr. and I don't really love going out for brunch -primarily because the offerings are things that we can make quite easily at home, in the comfort of our jp's (yes, jp's, not pj's...jp's = jogging pants, and we are big fans). Bonjour Brioche really hits it out of the park though, and we are already looking forward to going back.

If you saw my original gardening post (check it out here), you know that I wanted to try the square foot gardening technique. I didn't go all out with a 4'x4' garden, but did a mini-version: 2'x2'.  We went to the Brickworks after brunch to pick up the plants. If you haven't been to the Brickworks yet I highly recommend it. It's a beautiful area in the heart of the city / Don Valley. On Saturdays they have a local farmer's market, and they have a huge garden centre every day.  Their herbs and plants were in great shape, so we picked up a number of them, along with some wood "nuggets" for a bush in our front yard:

Then after a few more stops, we were ready to go. We built the planting box out of cedar and planted away It was very simple and is looking good in the yard. I can't wait until we can start to harvest some of the goodies:
We have 2 plants each of radicchio, basil (can you EVER have enough fresh basil?), and spinach. I also planted some rosemary and parsely in a window box on the little deck off our back door. I have left some room for other plants as well - will try to find arugula (every place I've checked has been out), or if that fails I'll try to do beets from seed leading into the fall.

Stay tuned for part 2 of our gardening escapade tomorrow! Happy long weekend to my American friends.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday faves - Tarjay

I love me some Target - maybe it's because it's not in Canada yet, so it always seems more exciting to visit whenever I am in the U.S. Regardless, I usually end up finding some cute stuff there when I do go.
Disclaimer: although I haven't seen this stuff in person and can't vouch for the quality, here are some of my Target fave finds judging solely on looks :)
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Cute melamine bowls - $24.99 for 6 - perfect for a picnic (ice cream anyone?)

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DwellStudio for Target Lattice Pillow - $19.99
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Camel Teapot - $14.99

Cane Design Vase (turquoise) - $69.99 - Seems pricey for Target, but I still like the vase!
DwellStudio for Target Suzani tablecloth - $21.99

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Table topper - groupie style

Remember my inspiration post on what to do with a couple of linen rable runners I bought a few weeks ago?  I took a little sidetrip to HomeSense the other day and found some great pieces to use with the runners.

Although I didn't find a tablecloth I liked enough to buy, I did find some great patterned napkins and lovely napkin rings:

(ignore the creases...it obviously needs to be washed and ironed...)
Napkin ring - doesn't this remind you of the Anthro pull below? I LOVED these pulls but they didn't fit with any refinishing projects I was working on at the time...

I like this non-tablecloth option for summer because it lets me show off my table. I only got 4 napkins and 4 napkin rings (couldn't find any more rings). Since I got them home I've been wondering if I should have gotten 4 more napkins? I can always mix and match the napkin rings (or not use them) if we have more than 4 people for dinner. I'm thinking I should have 8 napkins though - whether it's to have extras on hand, or for when we have more than 4 people. Thoughts?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Night Tables - complete!

I finished our night table project last week and am really happy with how they turned out! As a reminder, this is what they started out as:
We found the tables on Craigslist. They were originally from Cornerstone (shop in Toronto), and were finished in a red/black "crackle" finish. Not really the tones I wanted for the master bedroom :)  But, that being said, they FIT - which was harder than I thought. We could only have tables that were about 24" square and a lot of night tables are quite a bit wider than that. Aside from the fit issue, I found night tables to be way more expensive than I thought they would be ($400 each? ouch), so these were a comparative bargain.

I tried stripping the paint / finish but it didn't work out very well, so out came the trusty sander!
NIght tables sanded


I wanted to do a design on the top, and wanted something relatively simple to tape out and paint. I ended up doing a very simplified greek key design. I taped it out after painting the tables gray:

I used Frogtape after many positive reviews online. While it definitely makes crisp lines, I had some bubbles in the tape due to humidity on taping day. Nonetheless, the areas where paint seeped into the bubbles were easy to touch-up with gray paint.  Here is the final product (drum roll please!):
And in our room....

The tables still need to be styled (I wish our ipod alarm clock wasn't so big! but it's so useful I don't want to get rid of it). Will likely put some books horizontally on the shelf for visual interst, and then hide anything else (phone charger, kleenex, etc.) in the closed portion at the bottom. I am really happy with how they turnd out, specifically the gray paint colour. We bought a quart of paint from Habitat Restore for $3 and the colour worked out perfectly!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Table topper

A few weeks ago I attended Kimberley Seldon's Designer Market at the Distillery District here in Toronto. Although not that impressed with the full event, I did find 2 neutral linen table runners for our dining room.  To liven things up a bit I want to layer the look, or add a pop with other table accessories. Here are some of my inspiration pics:

This would be pretty as a runner over my runners...via Crafts Cool

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday faves - long weekend cocktails

Happy Long Weekend to all my Canadian friends! It's the kick off to summer, and please, let's hope the weather co-operates? Although May 2-4 weekend is traditionally cool and rainy, we've been-there-done-that-for-the-past-week-already. Please be sunny and nice and a hint of summer to come.

To celebrate, I have compiled some of my favourite summer cocktails...nothing better than a cool drink on a hot day!

Lemonade - via

Lemonade is one of my all time favourite beverages. I love it, and nothing quenches thirst like cold lemonade on a hot day (come on hot days, I know you're out there!). I started this post with this image for all of my pregnant friends who should really just focus on the lemonade and mocktails this summer :)  If you're missing drinks, stop reading now.

Gin and tonic. Nice and simple. Clean and refreshing. Classic and consistent. Need I say more?

Mint Julep - via
I had my first mint julep on a lovely weekend visit to one of my all time favourite cities - San Francisco, CA. The Clock Bar at the Westin St.Francis was the location, and the drink (and atmosphere) were excellent! I highly recommend dropping into the Clock Bar if you're in the area and looking for a good place to have a classic cocktail.

The quintessential Canadian Caesar. The bloody mary just doesn't pack the same punch as a caesar. Mott's tag line is: You see one, you want one. And it's so true. Want one yet?

Did I miss anything friends? What is your favourite summer cocktail?

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Everyone makes mistakes, right? Right. RIGHT. This is a little story about how we are not exempt from that rule...

Remember our early success with the rad covers? Well, we were so pumped about the results on the main floor we decided to waste no time getting some rad covers built for our bedrooms upstairs.

We went about the measurements, did all the cuts, assembled, painted, and poof - rad covers!  We didn't test things as much this time around -- followed the "measure twice, cut once" rule and that was that.

Well. Maybe a better rule for us would be measure twice, get it checked by a second set of eyes, measure again, compare, build a test unit, measure again, and cut.  Because THIS is the result of working while our new-found-wood-working-confidence was at an all-time high:

Do you see how small that top is for the cover?? The cover is perfect for the rad, but we must have measured the size of the rad for the top, not the size of the cover. UGH how annoying. Not only do we have to re-do the top, but the material is basically wasted (anyone need a rad top??). ugh.  To top it all off, that wasn't the only mistake:
Same issue as the first one. What's worse than making a stupid mistake? Doing it twice!

What's worse than doing the same mistake twice? Well...the one rad cover we thought was safe, the one that had a top that would fit over the rad cover, turned out like this:
Are you kidding me!??! We messed up the actual cover on this one - which led to us buying more metal screen for the inside, and led to this gargantuan rad cover that comes out over the window sill. We're hoping for this one we can pry the pieces apart, cut off the execss and put it back together. Cross your fingers ladies and gents!

Can you believe this comedy of errors?? The Mr.and I were in shock when we discovered just how much we did wrong, and the fact that it wasn't just one cover that was messed up, it was all three!!  That being said, we had a good laugh - what else can you do? We have a busy few weekends coming up so these won't be able to be fixed immediately, much to our shagrin...but we will get to it, and make it right!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Coaxing the sun

Although I don't consider myself to suffer from Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder, I have been greatly affected by the gray skies and rain we've had since Saturday!  To try to lift my spirits I've gathered some shots that say sunny to me (and keep up with my current obsession with yellow)...sun sun sun, come out whenever you're ready! Tonight I am drowning my sorrows with a glass of wine, homemade mac & cheese, and making cookies to bring into work tomorrow. When in doubt, bake!

via Etsy - A. T. Frey
Sailor Tote Bag --for market or beach or gym-- -yellow and white bold striped, X-Large and cotton rope straps-
via Etsy - Bayanhippo
30x30 Bright Happy Modern Abstract Original Knife Painting Sunshine Yellow Uplifting Art
via Etsy - NathalieVan
THINK HAPPY. BE HAPPY - Inspiring 8x10 inch Print (in Sunshine Yellow and Cloud White)
via Etsy - theloveshop
Polaroid Print- Swimming at the Grand- Alicia Bock
via Etsy - AliciaBock

I sincerely hope you are having sunnier weather than I am!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Dreamy greenery

April showers bring May flowers...but what do May showers bring? We have had a very healthy dose of rain, and I’m ready to break it up a bit.  Flowers need sun too, right?  Here’s a showing of some amazing outdoor inspiration pics (if only I had this much room / gardening-know-how / money / patience)


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