August 27, 2013

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

I have to admit, now that my oldest, Nico, is in senior kindergarten, I am DEFINITELY singing this tune! Last year, I had mixed feelings of sadness and happiness because it was his first year. But this time around, I was looking forward to school {and the routine} starting up again! My kids NEED a routine to be happy!
 
Anyhow, continuing with my tradition, I took some pictures of Nicholas this morning on our front stoop:
The sign reads {in French}: August 27 2013, 1st day of Senior Kindergarten; When I grow up, I want to be a Firefighter. 
 
 
 Look at that face!
 
That's better! 
 
I asked him to show me his teeth! Nico lost his first 2 teeth this summer, and that crooked one you see? It's loose too! It was quite eventful for him!
 
Let's compare to last year, shall we?
 
This was his first day of junior kindergarten, and he wanted to be a hockey player:
 
And now, one year later:
 
My, how time flies!
 
 
 

August 23, 2013

A few smaller projects

Amongst all of the chaos of renovating the basement, I managed to get a few little projects done.
 
First, I completed a tiny little organizing project just for moi. You see, for those of you who don't know me, I measure a short 5' 2", maybe 2 3/4" at the most.
 
*Me being silly! I apologize for the blurriness of the pics! I think there was a smudge on my camera! Oops!* 
 
This upper cabinet beside my range is where my spices were stored:
 
As you can see from the pics of me above, my spices were all uncomfortably stored above my eye level. After a year of trying to find spices and making bottles and jars topple on me during my searches, I decided a little reorganization was in order. The drawer in the lower cabinet beside the range was only being used for oven mitts and a larger recipe book. I knew I could put it to better use... 
 
Since a lot of the canning products are on sale right now, I picked up two cases of twelve 250ml mason jars at $6.62 per case {that's $0.55 per jar!}. I used my label maker to label each jar for each spice. An hour or so later {and a lot of sneezing}, I ended up with this little gem of organization:
 
 
 
Aren't they pretty? 
 
The funny thing is, due to the previous poor arrangement, I realized that I had two bottles of three different spices! Talk about wasted space. I also did a little bit of a purge, discarding older spices that I knew had been opened and unused for several years {basically, from our apartment, to our first home, to my sister's home, to our NEW home.... Ewe!}. 
 
 
What I enjoy most since organizing my spices this way is that I feel more inspired when cooking. I simply open my drawer of flavor goodness and add a pinch of this, and a dash of that. And using jars makes it so much easier to measure an amount as you can just dig a spoon right in. I keep small spoons nearby so I can easily grab one and scoop some spices instead of using my fingers. 
 
As for the cupboard, it received a little love too, via a small 3-level shelf at $1.25 from the Dollar Tree:
 
I opted to keep my most used seasonings and spices in the cupboard, as well as a collection of dip spices from Epicure.
 
For only $13.24 total cost, it was a low cost project with big impact! Awesome!
 
Project number two involved further organizing but this time it was in Nico's room. A few months ago I purchased three hooks with every intention of hanging them beside his library in order to hang his little toy baskets:
 
 
Sadly, the hooks were put away at one point and I never got around to it. Since Nico is older and likes to do things himself, I thought it was high time I hung the hooks so he can access his baskets without needing our help, as they were currently stored on his closet shelf, WAY at the top!
 
So, I grabbed the drill and measuring tape, and he helped me hang his hooks. He just LOVES working with real tools and always offers to "help". The finished project looked like this:
 
 
 
Perfect for little toys who need a home. And Luca also loves to pull a basket down and empty it just so he can put the items back in! I find it also encourages Nico to pick up after himself.
{Side note: I really need to take more recent photos of Nico's room, and the entire house for that matter, as some spaces have be updated décor-wise! Maybe a video home tour is in order!?}
 
My final small project was to add a shelf to the front entry way, mostly for decorating purposes. Since we first finished this space, it has felt bare:
 
The wall to the left of the door received a bit of affection with a welcoming Alphabet Photography sign that spells our last name "Beadow" which was a wedding gift from a couple we know. Below that personal sign, I hung hooks for my purse and scarves.
 
 
The opposite wall to the hooks, however, remained blank for a long time. At one point, I purchased two large black frames as I wanted to hang pictures of the boys. After hanging the frames, the space still lacked something. I kept imagining a console table or beautiful shelf. One night, it hit me: I had this old IKEA two-drawer unit that was currently collecting dust:
 
Currently a bright sunshine yellow, it had previously been apple green:
 
I purchased two brackets {which are actually meant to be used as porch detailing} for $15 a piece at Home Depot. I just loved the detail and felt it would make the shelf look more substantial. At first, I hung the brackets and lay the shelf on top as it was, in all its sunshine glory... and thought "Ooh!" and then "Ummm, no." The yellow just didn't do it for me and clashed with the soft creamy yellow walls.
 
*LOL! It actually doesn't look that bad in these photos!*
 
Seeing as I had aqua paint leftover from the dining room wall, I figured it would be a good way to tie in all the spaces together.
 
So the unit received three coats of aqua. I also opted to use the other side of the drawers which doesn't have the cut-out: 
 
Ahhh! Much more suitable to the space and current décor.
 
 
I am still looking for pretty knobs to add to the drawers, but for now, the happy splash of aqua is a breath of fresh air! Here are the knobs I am LOVING from Anthropologie.com:
 
A hit of unexpected color could be fun and daring: 
 
A crisp and fresh clear apple green would also do:
 
How about this antique broach looking knob? Love!
 
This hand painted option actually has a touch of the aqua and pale yellow in the design.
 
This next one is hands-down my FAVORITE! It is only 3/4" diameter so it is the perfect size for my petite shelf. Plus the apple green would look gorgeous! 
 
I secured the shelf to the wall as well as to the brackets for safety reasons since I have young kids running around. Finally, the shelf was adorned with a few decorative items to give it purpose. Ta-da! 
 
 
 
 
 
I'm happy with the look of this space now, and even Jon admitted that it looked nice and that it was great to add a few more decorations! 
 
I am also currently picking an apple green paint color for the interior and exterior of the currently brown-sugar-colored door. The apple green will further help tie in the living room, dining room and kitchen spaces.
 
* Had you noticed the paint swatches in the pictures above?
 
I already have my top choices, and knew as soon as I hung them on the door. They are marked with a star in the first picture! I will have to wait for a dryer weekend so I can remove the door completely. I am hoping to use my father-in-law's spray gun to ensure a smooth finish. I would love to get this door painted this fall but my husband currently has other priorities... He thinks I need him to paint a door!? We'll see about that!
 
Just for kicks, I am also looking at paint colors for the side entrance door, which will more than likely get painted first as we are currently working on that space. Here are those swatches: 
 
 
I grabbed a bunch of blue and teal swatches, and a few beige and brown ones. Again my interior decorator's instinct narrowed down my search to a few colors almost instantly once I hung them up. Even more so after painting a patch of my wall with the leftover paint we will be using, all the beiges and browns were gone!
 
I narrowed my choices down to these three:

 
 *They unfortunately don't read as teal in these pics...

I was loving the center one {marked with a dot} and my choice was confirmed after seeing this gorgeous space on Pinterest:
This door is almost the exact color that I picked.
 
So that is all still to come!
 
Some people may feel that these smaller projects are useless, but to me, I feel they add that extra personal touch and make it feel even more like our home.
 
 

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