Thursday, May 31, 2012

Upstairs Hallway Reveal

As always, what was supposed to be a quick project turned into a huge one in the blink of an eye (or should I say with the pull of the corner of the stair-carpet).

Originally, the plan was to lighten and brighten our hallway with some new paint and some pictures. Easy, right?

To be honest, that part was easy. It has been the stairs that have been holding up the full reveal!! Damn you, you beautiful stairs. 

So we made some progress last night and I think it is high-time I showed all of you!!

I don't have any proper "before" pics so this is as good as it gets:

Yep - awesome light fixtures, shiny grey walls. HOT.

And now:

(that's right - you even get a stair sneak-peek!)

As usual, my photos are not the best because they are all taken at night time. I promise if the weather is decent this weekend (it isn't supposed to be) I will try for some that include a little natural light. The first pic is a more accurate reflection of what it looks like, but the second pic shows all three light fixtures).

Here is what the transformation included:

Paint: Thanks to the awesome folks at Para, we were able to cover up the egg-shelly goodness of the existing grey paint. We used the Elite Latex Suede Designer Finish on the walls in Chrysler Hall White. It is a gloss-free, washable latex that seemed ideal for a hallway (especially one being painted white!)

The ceiling received 2 coats of white ceiling paint, and the trim and doors got a coat of semi-gloss in the same Chrysler Hall White. Fun little tip - Chrysler Hall White is actually Para's base white. So if you go in looking for it, and they just hand you a can without adding anything, don't freak out :-)

Thank goodness that Para was so generous with us. Because these walls SUCKED UP PAINT LIKE NOBODY'S BIZ-NASS.  I'm not kidding. The walls received THREE coats of paint. Three. The trim and doors were fine with two, but the walls. The walls. Little paint suckers. Even with Para's generosity, we had to go to the paint store to grab an extra gallon of it. Crazy. 

The thing I find funny about all of this is that most often, I don't think the walls look white enough. I think it is the lack of natural light (go figure, no light in the hall of a row house). I may or may not have tried to swing the idea of a skylight past J. It should surprise none of you that a skylight has not made it onto our list :-)

The paint has done a fantastic job of lightening up the hallway though. It is so much brighter than before and I smile on a regular basis when I walk through it (even during my multiple trips to the bathroom every night).

Light Fixtures:

Only a few people guessed that we would pick the Hershey's Kiss of light fixtures. I did see a lot of great fixtures out there but these just spoke to me (probably because they look so much like chocolate, and I am pregnant people!). I was nervous about how they would look but I'm super happy with them. They technically come with an awesome rope-wire that in the right space would look like this:

Of course, we didn't have enough headroom for that, so we basically flush-mounted them. Although I do think some of the effect was lost, I am really happy with them!

Plus I think the combo of bronze and brass looks pretty great in the white hallway :-) For those of you who are wondering, they are by Murray Feiss and are part of his "Beso" collection.

Art: Of course, we picked up the Ribba frames at Ikea. They are consistently good and well priced. Hanging them with the right spacing on a wall that isn't straight or flat is slightly more difficult than navigating the ice-cream line at Ikea, but it was worth it! We don't have any photos to go in them yet, but I'm guessing in the next few weeks we will!!

Stairs: You can certainly see the upper railing/spindles in these pics. I hope I'm not too much of a tease. We just have a few touch ups on the actual stairs to do and then I will show everything next week!! Eeek! Almost there!

So there you have it - upper hallway mostly done! We may add some more art on other walls, etc, but at this point we are throwing in the towel up there. 

So what do you think? Think we are NUTS for having a white hall with a baby on the way? Think having a reminder of chocolate treats every time you walk down the hall is a bad idea? Spill it!

PS: Special thanks to Para for the paint - we've been super happy with the results since switching most of our house paint to the Para line. Although we received most of the paint for the hallway project gratis, we were not asked to review it or say overly nice things if we didn't like it. We just happen to love it! 


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Showers (the Baby Kind)

This past weekend my sister hosted a really gorgeous shower to help get us ready for Baby Poutine's arrival. It was me and about 25 girlfriends and the most gorgeous May 26th in Toronto history (I think).

Unfortunately, we didn't have a designated photographer but my sister grabbed a few pics.

The spread:

Quiche from a really fantastic French bakery (Bonjour Brioche) and a DIY salad bar with all the girly-fixings you could want!

The super cute banner:

The not-too-embarrassing games:

My sister put together a matted photo frame for everyone to sign. Eventually there will be a picture of the little guy in there (although I imagine he is going to look strikingly similar to that monkey). She also had custom mints made for a little gifty for the guests:

And the cutest part - the cake!! My sister made this, people. From scratch. Well, except for the internal layer of pre-made frosting but she only does that because it is my FAVOURITE even though she makes a mean buttercream. I'm sure it kills her to use the pre-made stuff but I guess she realized you don't come between a pregnant woman and her favourite frosting.

Anyways - it was such a lovely day and I really appreciated having all of my best girls around me as we get so close to Baby Poutine's big reveal! Of course, the baby was spoiled with all of the lovely gifts. As we don't need much as far as gear goes, the shower was a clothing shower so everyone showed up with bags of itty bitty little baby boy clothing and some really adorable accessories. It was SO cute.

I have so much more to show you but here are a few super cute items:

Poutine was also the recipient of his very own "Build-A-Bear", all decked out in Harley Davidson stuff. Although I suspect Poutine will have to fight his dad for the bear...

Iphone Pics 3448

Iphone Pics 3449

Cute, eh? :-) The bear is pretty sweet too.

Anyways, it was such a gorgeous day and I felt like a very lucky preggo to have such wonderful family and friends around me who already love Baby Poutine so much. He is going to be one loved little guy!

PS - did any of you watch the premiere of Sarah 101, Season 2?! I LOVED it. Both episodes. I thought that (as Tommy promised at last year's BlogPodium event) it was much funnier than season 1 and that Sarah and Tommy had more of their usual funny banter. I also loved the fact that there was more air time for the "team" that works with S&T. All around excellent. I also loved that there were two episodes in a row. :-)


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

36 Weeks! Update on Baby and Lots of Other Stuff

That's right. The little guy is 36 weeks old now (well, technically, 36 weeks and 4 days). Today my doctor made a comment about how "this is it" and "in the next three weeks..."


I can't believe how fast this has gone, and how prepared and unprepared I am at the same time. I'm sure this is normal but I can't help but feel a strange mix of excitement and pure fear when I think about the fact I could go into labour at. any. time. now.

While some people at work have mentioned that I've 'dropped' a little, the general consensus is that the little guy is going to stay put for the time being. We shall see.

Here is a (brutal) photo from today:

Yep that's right. I'm pretty huge now!! The belly is properly massive and pretty much nothing fits. I am wearing my "doctor appointment" outfit (where the belly is easily accessed by the doctor for measurements, etc) but this week you get to see my new best friends - my flip flops! Yes, that is right, folks. I wear plastic flip flops to work every day now because all of my other shoes don't fit. Thank you, hot hot heat and general water retention. You are swell (haha).

I also put together a pretty brutal collage showing the growth of this little guy - created on PicMonkey (which is awesome, by the way):

Since I wasn't that stellar at taking weekly photos (or good ones, for that matter), this is as good as it gets. This picture shows me that the body is an amazing thing. According to my doctor, mine is doing a good job growing this baby!

So at 36 weeks, you may be asking, "what's next?" as far as our house projects go. Here is the scoop, using our old list of "to dos":

House Stuff:

1. Have the hallway/trim/ceiling painted.
2. Ceiling in the family room/kitchen is also going to be painted since we've been living with a big patch mark on it for 2 years. Oops.
3. Finish the laundry room by installing hooks and buying cute stuff to fill the shelves :-)
4. Complete the 'lightening' of our dining room. Put the frames up even if we don't have art to fill them.
5. Replace the rotten wood in our front garden. We originally thought of doing something more major out front but I've decided to pick our battles and just make it look pretty again. [Revised: will happen post baby]
6. Paint our front porch. The weather has taken its toll on the paint so some sanding and painting is definitely in order. The spindles also need replacing but I think that should be an easy enough job (for J) to do. [Revised: will happen post baby]
7. Let J have ONE MORE kick at the can with trying to grow grass in our backyard. He bought some fancy full shade seed so if we can beat the raccoon problem, grass MAY grow.  
8. Randomly decide to rip carpet off stairs and spend weeks painting said stairs (added now :-)

9. Re-tile the vestibule [Revised: haha I was DREAMING when I thought this would happen!]

Baby Stuff:

1. Figure out the whole cloth vs disposable diaper issue and make a decision.
2. Buy STUFF for baby. We have a stroller and some clothes...that's it so far. Oh and a baby monitor. We have one of those. We are trying to keep the 'stuff' under control as we don't have a lot of storage and I don't want the house to get too over run with primary colours, but I know that there are things that aremust haves.
3. Have a baby. 

4. Pack a bag for the hospital.
5. Go to pre-natal course

So I think we are doing okay with the list. The stairs. OMG the stairs. They took WAY longer than expected and are not even done yet. The final coat of paint went on this weekend and we just have a few touch ups to do before the big reveal. 

The grass:

There is grass growing in our backyard, if you can see it under the billion helicopters on the ground. I swear, it RAINS helicopters in my neighbourhood! J is always out there cleaning them up, trying to give the grass the best chance to grow. From far away it isn't bad, but it is definitely patchy. We are going to try reseeding soon (just waiting for some rain in the forecast).

The basement: 

For those of you who were sitting at home, biting their nails wondering about the fate of our basement, here it is. It is back together!!  Our neighbour was excellent and came through with paying for the damage without us even asking. We called up Alexanian Carpet and Flooring (where the original carpet was from) and ordered the carpet over the phone. A week later, it was being installed. There was a slight hiccup with the install, but Alexanian sent people out to fix it in no time flat. The couch has been reassembled and we are slowly getting back to normal. Photos to come.

So there you have it - lots of stuff going on in my neck of the woods. Coming up later this week (hopefully) - the grand finale of the stair project, photos of some of the awesome stuff Baby Poutine received at the beautiful shower my sister threw for us and a few other tidbits :-)


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Have you Tried

Have any of you purchased anything from yet? Up until about a month ago, I'd seen the name floating around the (Canadian) interweb but didn't really know what they did. Framed posters, I was guessing.

As luck would have it, I received an email from a lovely woman at Posterjack who offered to send me one of their products to review. Recently, I've become a bit more selective in what products/services I'm willing to review on this ol' blog because well, I want to make sure that they are things that you guys would actually be interested in.

How do I know what you'd be interested in? I don't! I just pick what I would be interested in and hope for the best :-)

Anyways, I checked out Posterjack's website and decided that yes, I would LOVE to receive and review one of their products. Especially because a) they are Canadian, b) even better, they are LOCAL, and c) they have some really cool stuff.

Like prints on Canvas:

Prints on Metal:


And what I ordered, prints on BirchWood:

Ordering was super simple - just uploaded a high resolution image, cropped as necessary and clicked SEND!

Of course, I'm not much of a photographer (iphone pics aren't exactly high-res or wall-worthy!), so I had Shannon send me one of her photos and here it is!!



Isn't it fantastic? I love how the BirchWood option comes in its own frame. If you look up closely (it didn't show up in pics), it looks like the image is almost hand painted on the wood. It really is something else.

I'm really happy with how it turned out, as well as the whole experience. From ordering, to shipping, to packaging (it came wrapped in a protective layer and then brown kraft paper, with a super strong wire already installed on the back for hanging), Posterjack really knows what it is doing. Plus, did I mention it is in Toronto? That is so cool!!

And just in case it isn't clear, Posterjack gave me a free 8x12 BirchWood print in exchange for my honest review. There was no requirement that I ooh and ahh like this. :-)

I know there are a few bloggers out there who have tried - if you have, let me know what you ordered and how you like it! I'm itching to order more but don't know what to pick!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Weekend Wrap Up

I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend. Up here in the Great White North we had a long weekend and the weather was the NICEST it has been in recent memory. May 2-4 weekend, as it is affectionatly known, is usually the first weekend at the cottage where people  go up North and end up wearing a zillion layers and praying for summer to come soon.

Not this year - this year it was glorious!!

Saturday I hit up the Style North sale with Shannon and her adorable family. While I did pick up some gold vases, the real reason I went was because Tim from Design Maze was there and was giving me (cue the drumroll....) the matching lamp I was so desperately looking for!!

Sweet!! After searching more than 8 Home Sense stores, Tim must have sensed my desperation and decided to sell me his second lamp (he kept one). I'm a lucky girl!!

I may or may not have fallen asleep on the couch that afternoon while hubs started taping the stairs. I don't think either of us realized how big of a job that was! As is typical for J, he thought he'd tape and get the first coat on the treads and the railing. In a few hours. No problem.

Such an optimist.

Of course, if I had been HELPING instead of sleeping, maybe the taping would have been faster.

We used the special Scotch blue tape with edge lock technology:

We've never used it before so hopefully it works.


That's right - it is a lot of tape!

Once I started helping with the tape, things started moving a bit faster and J thought he would put the first coat on the railing. After all of this prep and time and stress, this was a big moment. The first touch of black paint.

Here is the paint we used:


We searched around for a while for the right stair paint. J really wanted a gloss finish in an oil based paint to try to give us the most durable finish.

The paint guy at the Home Depot laughed when I brought up the black paint chip. CIL only really had one really black chip and when I handed it over, the guy said "you want black? Let me just mix some for you."

"You don't think we should follow the chip?" I asked?

"No way. Just like they have designer whites now, they have designer blacks. All have a tone of blue or green or grey. If it is black black you want, let me do it."

haha so this is how we ended up with the Black Plague :-)


And then, with my camera ready, J got busy.

AHHH!! So crazy, right?

Sunday was a big day. Sunday we grabbed what we'd need for the next 24 hours and brought it downstairs. Pillows, pyjamas, tooth brush, clothes. Because once the treads were painted, we couldn't walk on them for 24 hours.

We woke up early and while I made pancakes, J started gathering what he'd need. After breakfast, I captured the moment. First bit of black paint on the treads:


I hauled ass out of the house after this (fumes) and about 2 hours later, J was done. And they looked....AMAZING.

Here is a sneak peek:

I'm not going to show you the rest because a) they need another coat and b) I want to finish the hall a bit more and show you all at once!! Needless to say, we are very happy and are crossing our fingers that the tape worked!

Once J was done, we hopped in the car and drove out to St. Jacobs. It was a first time for both of us and since it was the long weekend, I didn't want to spend the entire time doing home renos and we thought this might be a nice break.

The plan was this.Arrive in St. Jacobs, go to the farmers market and pick up some food for lunch. Have a picnic in the shade with said lunch and then hit up the antique and salvage shops that St. Jacobs is known for.

We arrived at the farmers market and found it was empty. Nothing in the parking lot except for some bikers.  Like Hell's Angels kind of bikers.

We sat in the parking lot, dumbfounded. "But it even says it on the building! Open TUESDAYS and SATURDAYS!!"

"But babe," J said softly. "It's Sunday".

I think this is what they call Mommy Brain.


So we had lunch in town, hit up Artefacts, walked around the town and went to some antique places. This is all we came home with:

It is a copper fire extinguisher - we are thinking of using it for an umbrella stand but all J cared about was the fact it cost less than the copper would cost. Ha. He's such a boy.

Sunday night involved us sleeping on couch cushions in the basement (remember, we couldn't walk up the stairs yet) and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Which is good because I'll have to do it again this week when the second coat goes on.

Monday was filled with relaxation. And by relaxation, I mean J washed the car and the windows and I cooked. I even baked!

Seriously - we need this stuff to stop and slow down. Who knows when this baby will arrive and we both need some downtime I think!

What did you get up to this weekend? Did you head out of town or did you take advantage of a quiet city without any traffic to get stuff done?


Thursday, May 17, 2012

I Thought We'd Won

I thought we'd won. We gave up on sod and seeded the backyard (again!). Nothing for the little f'ers to roll up and kill.

I thought we'd won.

Until my husband sent me this picture when I was at work:

And this picture:

This, my friends, is one of our basement windows (yes, it is disgustingly dirty but it is hidden behind the air conditioner and not that easy to access. Plus we don't care.). See that cute little guy? Baby. Cute baby raccoon. With his siblings. Yes, friends. There were FIVE baby raccoons in our window well. You want proof?

So not only have they ruined our yard, but now they want to make a home in our window well. AWESOME. Seriously Toronto, we need to DO something about this raccoon problem!!

J said he scared them away (the momma actually CLIMBED our neighbour's house and went on their roof) and then he doused the area with a cleaner just in case there were any toxic droppings from the little f'ers and then he covered the area with cayenne pepper (which was recommended online).

Who knows it if will work. Next step is to block off the window well (maybe we can use some of the leftover chicken wire from last year's fight against the raccoon?) and if that doesn't work? Well...then...I have no idea.

So tell me...are there any countries that DON'T have raccoons? Maybe it is time for a move...


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

It Stopped Being "Cute" a While Ago

And by "it", I mean my baby bump.

And by "bump" I mean huge growth out of the front of my body that has slowly started to cause aches, pains, swelling and overall discomfort :-)

It has been a while since I've updated you guys on the ol' baby baking so I figured it was time. I am going to be honest with you guys. As much as I am happy to be pregnant and think the whole thing is really quite miraculous, I am having a hard time watching my body change. Now don't get all "you should be lucky to be experiencing this" because seriously, I KNOW! I do feel extremely lucky and grateful that I was able to get pregnant and so far (knock on wood) seem to be carrying a healthy baby. 

But sometimes I find the body issues to take over my brain. For a moment. Mostly when I'm in my dressing room trying to find something to wear.

My non-maternity stuff that I was wearing up until about 2 weeks ago is now done. Even if it would zip, it just isn't attractive anymore.

My maternity stuff (what little I have) tends to look a little much like a tent, so yeah. Getting dressed in the morning can be tough.

Here is today - maternity dress from Shannon :

Again, sorry for the crappy picture quality. It is dark in my work bathroom and I have to manually lighten the exposure so it makes everything grainy.

My feet have also swollen up about 2 sizes. Just FYI.

Here is a closer look in better light. That's right, kids. I've got a rapidly growing baby in there!

The little guy is 34w5days. Crazy crazy how time has flown. It won't be long until he is here and my life will change (I can't wait for both of those things to happen!).

So in a nutshell (this is me! in a nutshell!), here is a brief summary of the good and bad these days:

BAD: (figured I'd start with bad so we could end with good!)
- trouble sleeping. I'm exhausted when I get home and when bedtime rolls around, I'm wide awake. For hours.
- my husband has developed sympathy snoring which is not helping my sleeping issues.
- I'm running out of things to wear 
- I'm running out of things to wear that make me feel good about my new bod
- swollen hands and feet

- baby is HEALTHY and growing :-) We had our checkup on Tuesday and everything looks GREAT!
- ice cream
- baby is moving a ton now, so no more freak outs that end up with me spending hours in the hospital for no reason. Watching my stomach move is freaky and amazing at the same time.
- thinking about what it will be like to see his little face for the first time is pretty incredible. Thinking about who he will look like, what type of personality he'll have, etc. I can't wait to experience all of that!
- seeing my husband start to make the transition from a guy who was ready for a pregnant wife to one who is ready and excited to be a father has been amazing. Not that he wasn't ready to begin with, but as my belly has grown, so has his excitement and I can't wait to see him hold our son for the first time. He's going to be a fantastic father, this much I know.
- ice cream
- my sciatica pain has all but disappeared. I still have general hip/glute/pelvic pain after a long day of errands/painting/etc, but the sharp stabbing pain that made me cry out in agony with almost every step is gone. Thank goodness. This is a VERY good thing!

- when I told J that I was 34 weeks and he asked "of how many" and I told him that full term was 37 and the baby would be due in 40. The look on his face was hilarious. Like seriously funny. I'll remember that one for a while.

So while it may not be cute, it is still pretty incredible. The human body (especially the female body!) is pretty incredible.


Last Chance for Grass - Day 9 and 10

Following our grass growing saga is probably pretty boring (especially this early on) but I thought I'd update you guys as to how it is going.

That's right folks, we've got GERMINATION!!! It looks pretty sparse but I'm guessing that is because there are a variety of seeds in the mix we used so this is probably just the first one to germinate.

That photo was from yesterday (day 9) and here is one from this morning:

It is quite blurry (I'll try for a better one tonight) but you can see that the little shoots are MUCH higher already than they were yesterday. We also have a tree that keeps dropping tiny leaves but I don't know how to deal with that - can't rake yet nor could we even use the blower, because we'd probably blow the grass seed away!! I'm hoping they don't cause too much damage at this point.

Keep your fingers crossed!!

(for those of you who have been asking for a pregnancy update, I'm working on one now :-)