Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Blues Continue...

I feel like it has been a while since I've posted a project on here so in the spirit of the holidays, I figured it was time!!

J and I took this week off as we have some family in town and wanted to spend some time with everyone. While our guests were out exploring the city, I got motivated and off to Home Depot we went!

What did we get up to, you might ask?




These doors had bothered me for a while. The white was dingy and dirty, and the plastic window panes had yellowed very badly over the years. Of course, I should have done this during the summer so I could paint both sides, but I decided that painting the kitchen-side of the doors would satisfy me for the time being.

So after cleaning the doors and removing the ugly metal blinds, coat number 1 went up:


At this point, I was definitely thinking that it looked terrible. We hadn't made a decision on what to do with the panes (we actually had thought of doing them white) so I googled some photos and came across this from Decor Pad:


Of COURSE the panes should be painted - why didn't I think of that to begin with?!

Coat number 2 (still wet):


And the final product:




The paint colour is the same as our front door and the dining room french doors: Benjamin Moore's "Polo Blue". To me, it is the perfect colour - dark enough so that it pulls black when you first look, but in the right light you see the gorgeous navy of it.

I must say, it is a huge improvement in the kitchen.  It really sets off the other colours in the kitchen/family room combo and makes the doors look brand new. 

Anyhoo - Happy New Year to everyone!!  Thanks for reading this ol' blog (I know there are a lot of blogs you could be reading, but it makes me all warm and fuzzy inside that you visit mine!) and I wish you all the best for 2011!

ETA: I received a question about how I painted the panes next to the glass. Basically, I just painted over them  and then I used one of these handy tools to scrape the paint off the glass. It was super easy (and way less stressful than taping each pane!).

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Well That Was Fast!

Anyone else think that Christmas just flies by? So much planning and preparation and excitement and the day comes and goes and BAM. It's over. Take down the tree, realize that your radio station has started playing regular music (as opposed to all Christmas, all the time) - it is a sad day indeed.

However, as I mentioned before Christmas, I wanted one thing and that was a healthy baby for my best friend, Jen.

Well, friends. I GOT IT! :-)

Introducing baby Ella!!


Don't you love technology? This photo was taken all of an hour or less after she was born and emailed to her already adoring family and friends.

Hi Ella!!

As a shower gift, I decided to gift my friend and her husband with a newborn photoshoot with the supremely talented Asheigh Faye of www.ashleigh-fayephotography.com.  Since Jen lives in Florida, I spent hours looking online at all of the local newborn photographers in her area and felt very strongly that Asheligh-Faye Photography was the right choice. She was super responsive over the phone and email (which is important when buying sight-unseen, right?) and even put together a super cute gift certificate for me to wrap up for the shower.

Even though Ella was born right before Christmas, Ashleigh popped by to photograph baby Ella when she was only 3 days old!! Ashleigh said that Ella was one of the most alert 3-day olds she'd ever seen!

Here are some of the photos she captured (taken from her blog):





What a gorgeous family!!  Since Ella was so alert, they are actually having a second photoshoot (see, I told you Ashleigh is something else!) soon, but helllloooo these photos are beautiful!!

So clearly I got what I asked for this Christmas - I'm a lucky girl!!

Anyways - I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! Off to Home Depot for me (tee hee hee).

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

When Your Spidey-Senses Tingle...

You should definitely listen to them!!

Before I tell everyone about our furnace fiasco, let me tell you that my best friend had the most beautiful baby girl yesterday - naturally without any drugs!! I am so proud of her I could burst! If she lets me, I will post a picture of this adorable little girl - she looks just like her mom so far :-)

In other news, I'm sure most of you heard my moaning and winge-ing about our dead furnace. Here's how the timeline went.

Thursday-Temperature: 55 degrees. Went out right after work - house was cold but we hadn't turned the heat up yet so it made sense. Came home and went right to bed.

Friday morning-Temperature: 50 degrees. Hubs wakes up and realizes the furnace is just blowing cold air (thanks, furnace). We call Direct Energy (since their number is plastered to the side of our furnace) to book a service call. They can't come until Friday evening, but would we be interested in a yearly service plan for only $13 per month? Uhhh no thanks. See you tonight.


Friday evening-Temperature: 50 degrees. House is still cold. DE hasn't shown up, but luckily my dad comes to the rescue and magically gets the furnace working. All is well in our house (except for my blazing migraine and hubs' massive cold). We cancel the DE appointment. Temperature at bedtime, 62 degrees. Sweet, sweet heat.

Saturday morning. -Temperature: 50 degrees. Furnace is out again. We are headed to Buffalo for some cross-border shopping so we leave, hoping my dad can stop by again to work his magic. He stops by and no such luck. Boo. We call a  HVAC repair guy who is cheaper than DE and says he will come on Sunday morning. Let's hope for a quick fix.

(Not us)

Sunday-Temperature: 50 degrees We are holed up in our bedroom with the one space heater we have. Hubs has a fever and I am covering my face in fear everytime he coughs or sneezes.  This is the time you usually WANT extra space so the cold doesn't transfer, right?!  I head out to my Mom's birthday brunch and hubs deals with the furnace fixer.


Now here is where things get all crazy. This is probably a very typical home-owner-knows-nothing story. Furnace Fixer comes in, tests everything and figures that we have a broken part. Unfortunately, according to his calculations, our furnace is 30 years old and they no longer make the part.

30 year old what? Our inspection report said 13! That is a big difference when furnaces typically don't go past 25 years! wtf.

So Furnace Fixer says that we could get a part, but it would be used, and it would probably die eventually or another part would go.  His solution...

(you can see where this is headed)...

A BRAND NEW, HIGH EFFICIENCY FURNACE!!!

Yep - since we have a mid-effeciency anyways, we should probably upgrade to a high-efficiency brand new furnace that he can install....TODAY for $2200.

So here is where my spidey-senses started to go. I might like a deal, but I don't jump on them without doing my due diligence. Furnaces are big investments, and a) I thought they'd be more than that for a good one, and b) if we actually needed a new one, I'd sure as hell get another quote or two.

Furnace Fixer Foe seemed disappointed when I put the brakes on the whole thing. Hubs seemed like he might be keen, but FF knew he wasn't getting past me, the ticked off looking wife wearing a winter coat in the house.
No way.

I also knew that my brother in law's brother in law (yep, that's a mouthful) was a HVAC guy. While he did primarily commercial work, I knew that he would tell us the truth if he couldn't fix it. I'd be stupid not to wait to hear what he said.

Sunday Evening - Temperature: 50 degrees. Dreaming of Jamaica and warmer days. J and I are holed up in our bedroom watching Invictus on Rogers on Demand on the computer.  Space heater is on. Eating pizza on our laps. In bed. J has a fever.

No, this isn't the "Island Day" you hear about on TV.

I venture out to go to the dressing room to get changed.

It isn't pretty. Not even close.

Monday morning-Temperature: 49 flippin degrees. J is staying home because the poor guy is still sick (no wonder) and our brother in law's brother in law (let's just call him the Magician) comes over, tells us that our furnace is indeed 13 years old, and pulls a part from his truck and fixes it. Like that. Furnace roars to life. He even fixes up our humidifier so it works! Sweet!


Monday afternoon- Temperature: 69 degrees. Glorious. Thanks the Magician, we are warm and not $2200 poorer. That alone is keeping us cozy.

Moral of this story - if you have a family member who is proficient in the area you are having trouble with, pile on the blankets, turn on the space heater and hold out until they can come and work their magic. There are so many aspects of home ownership that you/me/we/I have NO clue about so having someone you trust can make all the difference. And if someone gives you the creeps/heebyjeebies and you don't feel like they are the best at what they do, walk slowly away and don't make any sudden movements. Get a second opinion.


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Monday, December 20, 2010

All I Want for Christmas Is....

A healthy baby for my best friend!!

I just got news that my best friend went to the hospital to have her baby!!! 

If you are reading this - send some quick and painless labour vibes towards Florida (where they live) and join me in wishing for the speedy arrival of a healthy baby girl!

ETA: Baby E has arrived safe and sound!!! I don't have the details, but I did receive a photo of one of the cutest babies I've ever seen :-)

Guess I got my Christmas wish!

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Update

Please let the furnace fairy work his magic today. Please.

Update: IT'S ALIVE!! The furnace fairy (aka my brother in-law's brother in-law) came, fixed the small part that was broken and as an added bonus, fixed our humidifier!  We have heat!!!

Yipee!!  Thanks for the good thoughts - it's been a cold few days (since Thursday night) so a warm house will feel all the sweeter when I get home tonight!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Yes it's true...

If you look closely, that says 50 degrees.

Awesome.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Mirror Mirror on the Wall...a Collection of Updates!

I'm not sure if you remember, but when we were re-arranging our living room, we decided to make use of an old frame and put it up over the fireplace.



So off we went to our local glass and mirror store, Gerrard Glass & Mirror, to get the old girl fitted with some fancy new glass.

The price of doing this was actually cheaper than I expected. Even though we had a slight misunderstanding on the plain vs. bevelled price (bevelled was 2x the price of regular flat mirror), it was a smooth transaction and they cut and mounted the mirror into the frame.

This isn't the best picture, but this is what we ended up with!


We decided not to paint the frame - the old, beat up gold works pretty well IMO!  I will take some full sized pictures shortly.

I also realized that I never followed up with how the living room furniture ended up after all of that debate! It should come as no surprise to anyone that Option #1 was the winner!



It just worked better with the space and I'm really happy with how it turned out. Now we just need to finish the other 'bits' and I'll be happy! But that will wait until after the Christmas bills are paid and the furnace is fixed (yes, it died last night. Please say a prayer that it is a quick (and CHEAP) fix).

Ahh, home ownership. No wonder people get into bidding wars for this. ha.

One last thing - for those of you who were interested in where we got the cowhide (aside from the poor cow), we picked it up at...you'll never guess....THE ROYAL WINTER FAIR!

Yes, the famous agricultural fair that is supposed to show the city about farmers and livestock actually SELLS COWHIDES. Seriously.  I knew this because of a post on the amazing StyleNorth blog. I went specifically for our gorgeous rug, and when hubs and I arrived at the fair, we were not disappointed!

Tandy Leather Factory hosts a booth at the fair every year, from what I understand. The selection and quality of the rugs was incredible.  Not just the usual styles - they had the black/brown/white splotchy ones, gorgeous brindle coloured rugs and of course our lovely spotted grey/black/white one. They were so luxuriously soft and the staff selling them went out of their way to be super helpful.

The price was amazing - $160 with tax included!  The Ikea cowhides are $299 plus 13% tax and the selection/quality paled in comparison to what we saw and purchased.  The company was also wonderful - we had a full money back guarantee and if we got home and the rug didn't fit, we could take it back to their Mississauga or Scaroborough location and find another one without paying anymore.

Perfect.

Anyways so there it is - some updates that I've been neglecting to give you!

I hope everyone has a good weekend - and in the meantime, say a little prayer to whoever or whatever is controlling my furnace and ask them for a cheap and fast fix. The house is currently 54 degrees and that just isn't going to work.

:-)

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Silver (and Gold)...Soon It Will Be Christmas Time...

Jeesh it is getting close to Christmas!!! Seriously - time is just flying by (like the snow outside my window!).

But don't worry - I'm about to make someone feel all warm and fuzzy inside when I announce the WINNER of the giveaway hosted by my lovely sponsor, Sarah Ana Designs!

Thanks to the people who created the awesome site Random.org, I'd like to congratulate....#25!!!

 
Woo hoo!! E@ Oh! Apostrophe is the big winner of the gorgeous Forget-Me-Not necklace from Sarah Ana Designs!!



E - send me an email with your address and I will pass it on to Sarah. Thanks to everyone who participated and a special thank you to Sarah for your generous giveaway!!

If anyone who didn't win is interested in purchasing anything from Sarah, she has graciously offered up a 10% discount to readers of LB@30 - just email her directly and bada-bing-bada-boom! Gorgeous jewellery and a discount. Can't get much better than that (you know I love me a deal!)

Happy holidays everyone - hope you have a great end of the week!


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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Guest Bedroom Before Pictures

Now - here is where you find out that a blogger is a real person. I'm not someone whose house is always perfect and styled (my family and friends will laugh that I even have to say that out loud). Far from it.

I have a few rooms that I try to keep under control, and like I mentioned earlier today, the guest bedroom isn't one of those rooms.

So, in an attempt to give you adventure-seekers something to start with, here are the "before" pictures of the guest room to show you the layout and reality of the situation.









So there you have it. This is the room where random furniture and accessories go to die. It isn't super big, nor is it super small. However it feels very "filled" by the bed when it is in the second position, however it makes room for a side table or two.

Annnd....discuss.

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Choose Your Own Adventure - Decor-Styles!

A while ago, I made a comment that sometimes I feel like being a blogger that decorates her house is like being part of a choose-your-own adventure book, with the readers making the choices.  This gave me an idea and I'd love to try it out!



So here it is! I have a secret room in the house that has been hidden away from most people. Especially you. No, it isn't the gross moldy bathroom screaming for a gut-job (yes, that room has been hidden as well).

It is our guest room.


Pretty, right? Well this is the oft-mentioned tricky staged sales photo from when we bought the place.  It doesn't look like this now. Or really ever. This picture makes it look like the bed isn't jammed in the corner of the room (which it is) or the fact that the walls are a greeny-grey.

What is the same is the furniture placement.  The bed can't fit anywhere else in the room. If it went on the wall with the two small frames on it, the door would barely scrape by when you open it. Ideally, I'd like it there so a bedside table or two would fit, but alas, I'm not sure it is in the cards.

Next to the bed (on the 'left' wall in this photo) is the closet door. On the 'right' wall, we also have a small dark wood desk that will likely have to stay, since it is my grandmother's dining room table (it folds up super tiny) and I'm not really keen on relegating it to the basement (with everything else I don't want to throw out!!)



Here is a floorplan of our home that shows where the closet/window/door are in the room (Bedroom #2):




The only think that is for sure is that the chandelier that is currently in my dressing room is going in here. It is just. too. big. for the dressing room and I've finally had it!



So there we have it.  The rest is up to you!! I'm looking for some direction and suggestions on paint (solid? stripes? accent wall?), furniture placement, rug, art, headboard, accessories, bedding...the works. Depending on the feasibilityy of the suggestions (i.e. they can't be too expensive), this room will be decorated by you, my readers!!

So I will post some options, you kids can choose and make final decisions. Don't steer me wrong, friends. This could all go horribly, terribly wrong, but I think it is worth it!

Of course, there is no guarantee that they will be implemented exactly as suggested, especially if my husband kiboches any of them or if they are out of our budget, but I'd love to see how this goes! I reserve the right to throw in the towel at any time, but will endeavour not to do so.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

I Love Me A Deal

My family and friends will tell you that over the past few years, I have become obsessed with finding deals. It started with the knowledge that our friends to the south (I'm lookin' at you, U.S.A) paid significantly less for the same items as we did. Of course, having instant access to this information via the internet made it easy to find the price comparisons and that much harder to just 'take it' up here in Canada.

Lucky for me, we have now entered the age of the deal. I can't be the only one who has an inbox exploding wtih daily "deal" emails from Groupon, WebPiggy, Redflagdeals, etc. Whereas before people bragged about their designer buys, now it is a competition as to who got the best deal on the same items.

I actually remember many times when someone would say "nice dress" and I couldn't help myself but say:

IT'S FROM TARGET!


I couldn't stop. After the fact, I'd chastise myself for not just saying "thank you" and moving on. I got such a thrill out of finding something that a) looked more expensive than it was, or b) spending way less on something than it was worth. Here's a picture of the dress. Haha.

So here I am today. I buy things on Craigslist. I track Anthropologie sales. I get price adjustments. Ain't nothing wrong with that!

This morning I received a 'deal' email that I thought I'd let you guys know about. If you are anything like me, finding and buying art is a scary thing because the real thing is expensive (or so I thought) and I have commitment issues when it comes to things on my wall.

One of my favourite inexepensive art sites is Paperwork. It is a website that sells limited edition art for not so much money.  Prices range from $20 - $100 depending on the size of the print, and there are only so many of each size available.

Right now, they are holding a two for one sale - which is pretty great if you want to get yourself something and maybe something for a friend. Or two for you...whatever your blank walls require.

Here are a few I like:


Ryan Pickart's "Guinevere"


Ryan Picart's "Regina"


Maryam Gaber's "The Girl"


Jennifer Ross's "Grade AA"

Yes, I often pick art by the colours I think would work best in my home. Go figure :-)

Anyways - the 2 for 1 finishes tomorrow so if you are still looking for art, get on it!!

And no - I'm not being sponsored by Paperwork to post this - I'm just passing on a good deal. It's the AGE OF THE DEAL, remember? :-)


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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Just in Time for Christmas - ANOTHER Giveaway!!!

In super serious exciting news, I've got another giveaway for you guys!!!  Woot woot! Who doesn't love free stuff?

I'm not sure if you noticed, but about 2 weeks ago I added a little something to my sidebar called "Lovely Sponsors" - cool eh?! Did you notice? Look over there! ---->  No, not there...down a little...a little further...there it is!

Anyways, it is now officially time to welcome Sarah of Sarah Ana Designs to our little home here at Life Begins at Thirty, Right?

[cue applause!]

Welcome Sarah! (Isn't she a cutie?!)



Sarah  is an extremely talented artist who puts her skills to use in creating gorgeous jewellery! She is a recent graduate from George Brown College in Toronto, Ontario. Previous to attending George Brown she completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts and received a teaching certificate from Concordia University in Montreal. Sarah is currently an Artist-in-residence at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, Ontario so you can actually go visit her!


Sarah’s works are often influenced by nature. She also enjoys incorporating humour or quirky elements to her pieces, often using found objects or recycled materials. She likes giving these objects new life. 

I've actually seen a lot of her work and it is gorgeous! Like this cutie:


And these beautiful earrings - I'd love to have these (hint, hint, honey)




She is extremely creative and quirky as well. Check out this necklace that allows you to put a little piece of fabric in it that means something special to you. Maybe I could finally throw out my baby blankie after all these years if I had this!



And then there is another personal favourite of mine - the profanity bubble broach!


Seriously - how fun is that?

So here is the BEST part!

As a way to say HI to my awesome readers, Sarah has graciously offered up a beautiful Forget-Me-Not necklace to one lucky winner!! Its made out of sterling silver and is on a 16" or 18" sterling chain. It has a single freshwater pearl and comes in white or blue.


To win this amazing necklace, here is what you kids have to do:

1. Head on over to Sarah's etsy shop and come back here and leave a comment, letting me know what you love! You have to be a follower of this blog to do this (d'uh :-)
2. Tweeting about the giveaway gets you another entry - just come back and let me know you did (with the link since people have different twitter names!)
3. You can get ANOTHER entry (yep, that could be 3 entries!) if you follow Sarah's twitter (she actually tweets, unlike me, so it is worth it just for the entertainment!) - click here to follow her! Make sure you come back and add another comment that you did that so it counts.
4. That's it! How easy is that?!

Unfortunately, this is only open to Canadian and U.S. readers. I know that stinks for the over-seas-ers, but the shipping is too expensive and risky for such a gorgeous item!

So comment away!!  Contest is open for one whole week. Not half, a WHOLE week :-)

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