Tuesday, 29 July 2014


It's been a big year for the garden already, since it looked like this in MAY. But as per usual, I continue to find new projects to add to my list, even though the garden is feeling more and more finished. Here's the list I started with:

Yet, just the other night, my husband suggested that maybe the garden was done. And that just maybe I could stop working in it and start enjoying it. Well, I was internally outraged! Done enough for now! What the What! There is so much to do! But he had a point, and he made another suggestion, that I consider completing a couple more items off my to do list and then call it a year. After much internal struggle I decided he's right and came up with a revised list. The green items are the ones I'll finish this year and the grey items are on hold until next year. 
These last few seem do-able, since some of them I've already started to make some head way on, like finishing the last piece of the sectional! Which, I'm sure will get a throwback thursday at some point, since I did build the majority of it last year!

But for now, I don't mind working slowly away at the last couple of tasks. And my husband's right, when am I going to start enjoying our beautiful garden!

Side Note Update: We've got so much going on over here and lots of decisions being made about a whole bunch of things. One of them being a whole house renovation that's in the design phase that I want to start sharing with you. And though I promised carpet on Friday, I still haven't had a chance to finish our new living room rugs, but hopefully I'll have it for you soon! Because I know you can't get enough carpet in your life either.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Carpet Outside! Throwback Thursday! More Exclamation Marks!

Last week, in this post, I shared the little patio I created in our garden. And staying with the theme of all carpet, all the time, I thought I'd share about how we came to even have carpet in our yard. But not carpet tile of course. 

Well, just like with the patio project, we've been working to eliminate opportunities in which Henry can't help himself but give into his innate desire to dig. And as you can see, he will take any opportunity to help rotate the soil:

Thus significantly reducing the dig-able surface area in our yard,
 has been a number one priority. 
So about a month ago, I discovered these:                And since our yard was looking like this:

And I had measured it more than a couple of times because we were thinking about getting this:

But it was actually the price that made the fake grass an impossible solution. So when I saw the garden centre sale, I knew that these carpets could be a cheap and cheerful solution to our problem. Two text messages to my husband later, and walking 8 blocks with them under my arms, I was ready to put them down.

I started by checking to see how much space they would fill up and how I might resolve the half a foot on either side. This is also when I discovered that the space under my table was really lumpy. Which meant I had to level it out a bit (and by a bit, I mean I re-leveled the whole carpet section and then used a piece of wood to make sure it was mostly level, yep, perfectionism moment). 

I decided to do a pea gravel edge, because I had it, and it would be a continuation of the already existing edge. And I thought it wouldn't be too hard to push back off the carpet when it did spill over. Like I did for the gravel edge of the patio, I laid down some gardening fabric, and then placed the stones on top. I also decided to add the landscape fabric under the carpets, to prevent dirt and mud from coming up from underneath when it rains. 

And then that was basically that. All in all, it probably took about 3-4 hours between leveling and placing the carpets. Even with this being a Henry prevention/solution project, Patches decided it was worth checking out. I think mostly she thought I was finally building him a house outside of her house, so she came to monitor it's progress. By her expression, you can see her disappoint when she discovered it was just carpet. 

But in the end, it looked like this:

Which is significantly better, and maybe the best $80 we've ever spent in the garden!
Tomorrow it going to be all about using carpet tile and regular carpet to make the biggest and best carpet yet! And then maybe I'll be done with talking about carpet. Until I find something else to carpet, like the kitchen or the bathroom. Come on, we've all been in one and loved it. 

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Workin It Wednesday: Where Exclamation Points Come to Life

I thought what I might do is use Wednesdays to share with you the work that I'm doing for other people. Because sometimes I do that. Stuff for other people. And you better believe that I even have a carpet tile project!

So here it goes! Several months back, I started helping Toronto First Unitarian's Youth Group with their room, which was a bit of mish-mash. Really, it was a classic youth room. The place where hand-me-downs and unwanted things had come to live, in the hopes of gaining a second life with a new generation. But this youth group wanted something else. Something nice! Something organized! So I made a little mood board to capture the ideas and materials as we went. You can see it's only half done because we're only half done! 

We started by painted the ceiling a light blue as it had been a bright yellow! 

Then we took on painting the walls a lighter shade of blue! But that concrete block wasn't easy to paint! (Am I using too many exclamation points! I didn't think so!) Even with 10 people painting, special roller sleves, and a ton of arm power, it still ended up looking like this:

So we decided that it was time to take it to the next level. And while the youth were away at a conference I decided to take on their room with a paint sprayer!

Which took the walls from looking like this, to looking like this:

With the walls and the ceiling done, we were ready to tackle that floor. It still had the original 1950's tiles - you know, that classic combination of hunter green and mustard yellow (so hard to part with).  Carpet tile was definitely the flooring of choice, as it meant the youth would be able to sit on the floor and even install it themselves. The youth got to decide on which carpet they wanted, and we were lucky to be able to get it at a discount from Interface (Flor's big commercial sister). Once it all arrived, we just needed to put it down. And in less than 3 hours, it was totally done!

Then we loaded the furniture back in, and it started to feel like a real room! But better and more awesome than ever before:

Even with the same furniture, it looks completely different. Plus, once the fall hits and the youth are back, it will be time to seriously take on curtains, lights, and all that jazz. The stuff that will make it truly finished. I can't wait to share this room again with you, when it is all decorated up. It's amazing what a little elbow grease and some energy gets you!

Exclamation point count: 14

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Tiles vs Tiles - Quilting Edition.

Last week, I shared this image of our dear little spaniel Henry welcoming the floor tiles. 


Which began arriving to cover this:

But what I didn't share with you was how pumped up I was getting after finding more and more images of cool tiled carpets. Like these two:

Which got me thinking about how carpet tiles are very similar to quilting squares. I had definitely pinned some quilts that I loved, but I would never have the time to make them. These three are some of my favorites:

And then I found this image:

Beyond the cute little human and the large friendly dog, the image has a tile pattern I fell in love with and that is super crazy simple. All you have to do is cut the tiles either in half, or in quarters.

 Like this:

 And then sort them out like this:

Or something like that. I decided to start in the corner where the bedroom door is and work my way out from there. Within 10 minutes my safe cutting practices were being evaluated by Henry, which, of course, were to spaniel code as I was using a sample tile as my cutting mat on top of the dresser. 

And after about two hours of cutting and placing, and then replacing, and then replacing again because those two blues are too close to the same colour, it was done!

And it wasn't long before the new carpet was officially approved for spaniel napping. 

Also, this final image shows my secret art shame (that I mentioned yesterday), which is a full body cast of myself that's covered in broken mirror and just hanging out in our bedroom. All because once upon a time, I went to fine art school and didn't have the heart to throw it out when we moved to the city. But if there is ever to be a PAX wardrobe, I will have to part with the glass woman. But that's for another day!

And just when you thought this was the end of my carpet tile obsession, it's not. The next two posts will show you two different projects! Maybe I could even do three posts! All carpet tile, all week! It's absolute heaven over here!

Monday, 21 July 2014

Bedroom Storage - Part 2 - Manic Monday!

It's just another manic monday, as I try to sort out all that we've got done this weekend and figure out how to share it without completely overwhelming you. Let's start with something pretty simple: some decisions about storage. As I told you last week in this post, we are looking to make some changes to deal with our bedroom storage issues. And all it took was one trip to Ikea to have us rethinking last week's plan. Plus, I'd totally forgotten to add new bedding to the list. No sheets = No sleep!

Here's my updated plan:

 On our Ikea adventure, we discovered this:

I'd previously thought about PAX as an option for a wardrobe, but the price tag quickly made it not a possibility. However, a single corner unit could be in our budget and would be a great solution for our hanging storage because it wouldn't take up too much room. And let's face it, our bedroom corner is currently storing a piece of art that needs to have some decisions made about it (more on that tomorrow). 

But the jury is still out on if we need it. But I'll give it a checkmark on the list, because I've decided! Having it would also allow us to get rid of a dresser, which I'm all for. But with the bed remaining the top priority, the wardrobe will have to wait. So back to the bed.

We did decide on this bed frame:

Which I plan to end up doing something like this to, but probably with a different leg, or no legs. 

We now just need to fully decide on a mattress. We did jump around (jump, jump!) on a couple at Ikea but we're undecided. Because that's kind of a big commitment and I definitely need to do a little more jumping around before I'm ready to decide on something. However, that doesn't mean I'm not totally on the hunt for new sheets, and duvet covers. Also, I'm soo on the hunt for headboard ideas. 

Here's what I'm in love with right now:

I'm thinking of some combination of behind and above, in an asymmetrical way. And something kind of simple, that's not too over bearing. I'm starting to come to terms with the idea that I need to build it. There isn't much out there I love, so it will probably be a combination of components mashed together into something I want. But then again, isn't that everything I build. 

P.S. The bedroom carpet is almost done. I just need to stick it down in a couple spots and finish the post for it! Let me just say, it's mashed together alright!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Throwback Thursday - Paved Paradise!

I thought that each Thursday I could share a project with you that I've already completed.

Today's project is all about our back garden. Which is totally not ours, and which we technically share with the two floors above us, and that I've totally over taken. Last year, we attempted to grow grass, and it was a complete fail (as you can see below). So this year, I decided to take a slightly different approach, pave it! 

As you can see in the image below, the garden already had a small patio section. I think 10 pavers worth, and I thought I could use those pavers, some of the bricks that were marking off the back garden area, and then some inexpensive stones from Loews (like $1.50 each). 

Before I got to breaking the ground up, I drew out a basic pattern, which you can kind of see in the image below. This gave me an idea of how many pavers to buy. Henry of course was just concerned with when the digging was going to start, because that's what he came for. Which is why we wanted to cover the yard up in the first place.

Once home with the pavers, which I should say, my dear friend Lis, hauled around with me, I laid them out in the pattern I wanted. Which again Henry helped with, but obviously not enough, because I totally broke two corners off two different stones. However, I was determined to continue. 

Then, in probably the most tedious way possible, I cut out the dirt for each block, and laid it into the ground. By no means was this a scientific or well researched plan. But that's how I did it. My goal was to disturb as little soil as possible. Eventually, I got it all done, which probably took about 2 solid days, but I did it over evenings and weekends. I added the plants as I went, and did my best to level each stone. I also didn't create a chalk line on one side to keep things lined up, I just eyeballed it. 

Like I said before, the main motivation for this project was to have less dirt for the spaniel to play in, but as per usual, he turned that on it's head, and decided to break into a planting bed. Jeepers Creepers! (which is actually the name of one of the plant brands I used). 

Now, the garden's had about a month of growth and several other projects, 
but here's what it looks like now. 

I can't believe how fast the plants are growing, and it's amazing to watch the patio grow in. I've always been into grass, so I'm surprised how much I love it.  Are you a grass or patio person? What about that new fake grass! We totally considered it! Would you?