Sunday, April 13, 2014

Grocery Store Flowers

Five dollars and ninety-nine cents.....  
these days, 
what can you buy with that?

I treat myself to a café latte from time to time when I am on the road for work
and I rarely get out the door without spending at least $5.00.
And hey, although I savour the taste at the time... the effect is temporary.
That caffeine boost satisfies my need for a hot drink in the morning
and it allows for a certain comfort factor that I seem to associate with a good cup of java.
But that's it...that's all.

So for a similar price I can buy flowers at our local grocery store.
Those flowers have a huge effect on my morale at this time of year.
And it last much longer than the early morning Joe.

I should also let you know that
it is snowing right now....and my spring bulbs are buried under 3 feet of snow.

... investing in some grocery store flowers is helping me to feel a sense of spring
the minute I wake up in the morning.

These hyacinths next to the bed are a welcome sight and the smell is pleasantly intoxicating.
Okay...just looking at these images reminds me of my plan to paint these side tables and finally do something with our bedroom... it always loses out ...

Hmm.... looks like I should also re-consider my bedside "vignette"....
but, I love the mix of flowers, magazines, books, and favourite tea cup
as I roll in and out of bed each day.

And then of course, another pot of hyacinths in the living room...

to continue the effect of spring indoors.

I like to buy them when they are in their early stage,
sprouting and getting ready to bloom.

I also love placing the plastic pot in old pieces such as this antique soup tureen.
I pick up dried moss from the dollar store to hide the pot and create a more finished look.

When it comes to longer lasting blooms I always make a point of picking up hydrangeas
from Costco at this time of the year.

Not the same price point but still a great deal at $19.99 since these will be transplanted to my backyard garden in 6 weeks.... I HOPE.

I move them around the house, usually between the kitchen and the dining room.
I am actually thinking of picking up another pot so I can leave one in both locations.

They give off such a different feeling in each room.
Perhaps a nice pot of the white variety would work even better in the dining room.
And, yes, still need to find a replacement for that chandelier.... that is the problem with taking pictures of your space... you find yourself analyzing and highlighting what you don't like.

And the thing is...they will stay beautiful for quite a long time.
Certainly this will last well into the month of May.

So, there you go, cheap but perky.... yep, I said Perky.
Do you pick up grocery store flowers to brighten up your home?

oh and a little snow update for you southerners who envy ;) our cold, wet and white stuff.

sharing this at:
A Stroll Thru Life: Inspire Me Tuesday
Mod Vintage Monday
Inspiration Monday
Anything Goes Linky Party

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Quebec city

This past weekend I played tourist with a dear friend of mine as we headed out on the ferry that crosses between Québec city (old port) and Lévis.
It is always refreshing to visit your home from a different perspective... that of a tourist.
These old buildings are some of the oldest in Québec city and are located in a section of the lower town known as Place Royale.

I was amazed by the beauty of the ice flows in the St. Lawrence and how much fun it was to capture them with my camera.
Certainly if you get dizzy easily then that is not the highlight of the trip as the water is flowing at a rapid pace right now and the opposing shore line appears to be moving.

This is the Lévis shoreline as we approach the dock.
Quite something to see the ice breaking up as it hits the underbelly of the ferry.

In the image below you can see the funiculaire which acts as an elevator that climbs the side of the hill bringing you from the lower town and in particular the Petit Champlain district
up to the Dufferin Terrace which is a boardwalk that runs in front of the Chateau Frontenac.

I will admit that the beauty of the trip is seeing the old port from the water.
You really get a great perspective on where everything is located in relation to 
the Fleuve St. Laurent (St. Lawrence River)
And of course, the grande dame herself, the Chateau Frontenac hotel.

The beauty of the city lies in its history and its age.
And every once in awhile we need just a little reminder of how unique it looks through the eyes of a tourist.

Have you ever toured your home town or city through the eyes of a visitor?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Completing Projects

Over the years I have learned a lot about myself when it comes to renovating.
Changes in our space have to be organized and decisions about the sequence of events have to be clear.....
marked on a calendar kind of clear... if you know what I mean.

I am queen of the start-up.
Matter of fact I have been known to drive a few people around here crazy with late-night start-ups.
Yep, out come the paint cans and the drop cloths as I test out those ideas that have been swirling around in my head all day.

 CASE IN POINT... Two years ago we put in a new fireplace in a part of the living room where none existed.
That was a big job and certainly a bit more expensive than originally anticipated but we have had no regrets.

Of course, finishing touches were delayed
until we could get around to them.... budget and time is always a factor...
or a good excuse.

But finally, during this last week I got a surge of energy and decided to get some of these projects done.
And, I will admit that a big birthday party for a particular person helped motivate me in the right direction as well.

So, after a long time deciding on paint colours and what to do with the fireplace when it comes to finishing touches.....
I just decided to, get' er done.
Well, most of it.

The living room got primed with white paint.
See those paint test patches in the left images....GONE. 
I cannot believe I lived with those paint patches for months already.
My daughter is home from university in another week with plans to paint!!!
So, this job has an actual time line that I can track.....LOVE it.

We finally got the metal black surround finished.
It now extends all the way down to the slate floor and out on the sides more to give it a nice overall finishing touch.
As you see below, we had been living with the concrete fire board which is anything but pretty.

BEFORE & AFTER                                                           
I finally got around to building in a wood wall to act as a wood box on the right side of the fireplace.
Wood was getting tossed around and making a mess of the walls.
Oh and the cost of the wood box.... 15$ 

An IKEA wicker basket acts as a kindling box.

So now I am not even going to bother to count the months it took to get around to finishing these projects
because there is something so sweet about finishing touches.
They are not always big budget items
but they are often some of the most pleasing steps in any renovation.

Do you love the effect of details in your home?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Lesson of Winter

I have been absent for a few weeks.
 Good to be back.

noun: spring; plural noun: springs
the season after winter and before summer, in which vegetation begins to appear, in the northern hemisphere from March to May and in the southern hemisphere from September to November.
"in spring the garden is a feast of blossom"

I posted this photo on Instagram recently so I could show you the reality of spring this year in my part of the world.
According to the definition this should not be happening.

One thing we learned after such a brutal winter and a delayed spring.... 
well, perhaps we were simply reminded.... 
was that we cannot wait any longer
to replace our "front door".

So, in our buried state of snow-dom we have been searching for ideas of what that might look like.

The doors at the front of our house...which open on to the front deck.... look like this.
Okay....only photo I could find (sans neige)  is below... panoramic feature on iPhone... I know...distorted.
And by the way that was fall.... my new favourite season after summer.
It used to be spring. 

 Those same style doors open on to the back balcony off the dining room.

So, I want to keep a similar feel.
I am leaning towards the 3/4 window look.
I still want to let light flood that side of the house given it faces south.
But not sure if I want double doors or a single door.

via Simplified bee

And, what about the rules?
Not that I get too hung up on them but it does become permanent... and curb appeal etc.
I have a 3-paned double door on the front and back of the house.
Do I have to stick with that on the side?
The side door is really our front.... door.... you know, place of entry. 

Last summer we had a roof built out over the back door and I was surprised at how inexpensive a job it was.
I am thinking about building a roof on the side deck as well which would allow us to hang a nice light and create a greater senseof an entrance area.

Abby Unrath

I will admit that I have a thing for doors.
I would really love a large wood door...stately... and big.
But, I also need light.
So, that is just not going to work in this house.

via Abby Unrath
This one above is definitely on my favourite list.... but perhaps with 3 panes instead of multi-panes.

 And then again, what about single panes... like above.
Reality is that although our doors at the front and back are all wood, they have matching screen doors as well and that actually protects them somewhat in the harsher months.

So, this door(s) will have to be metal clad on the outside but I would like wood on the inside.

The double doors in this image above are probably a close match to our existing doors.
Much wider but their is a good possibility that I would put a roman blind on them ....
unless of course we build the roof on the side deck.

So, pretty pics is the reality....
hard to read the explanatory text so ..... chimney will be gone.... I painted in, rather poorly, a double door scenario for you to see.
On the left you can see the pallet-like stairs that we put in and they come right off the left hand side of the deck that you see below and wind down to the back yard.

Finally, if covered I think I could have a really nice entry many possibilities...

Phew!! Did I actually start this off by complaining about the definition of spring??

So, what about your doors....and preferences?
Any pics above strike you?

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Inspiration?

It is all about the green today, I know.
And it seems that every year I do think green around this time of year
Because it is usually around mid-March
that I become tired of the white stuff and inspired by the beauty of the St. Patrick's day colour, green.....and lots of it!!

Found on

You may know that we have been slowly working on our back yard, which started here.
It was a difficult space to develop but bit by bit it is getting there.

This year we hope to take it to the next level by putting in a hard surface, like below,  for dining.
We have spent many years dining on our front deck which has been a great place for Alfredo dining.
Eating outdoors is one of our favourite ways of celebrating summer.
Last summer, a dear friend gave us some chairs similar to those above which I just need to paint.
I intend on having chairs on one side, bench on the other and something more substantial on the ends.

Found on
I want the space to feel very much like a space where we can live....
I am on the lookout for an old table so that I can cover the top in metal and then create a spot where I
can place some larger pots on the table
as well as serving plates etc.... near the dining table so it is pratical as well.
It will be multi-purpose.
A privacy screen but useful.

Found on
I also need to figure out the stairs that descend down our sloped portion towards the woods.
I have already placed some cement pavers down the side but I now need to put some grass in around them.
Uh... have I told you how much I dislike ....grass.
We have so many trees that it has become a very annoying plant to grow.
I may just go with pea gravel instead.
Matter of fact I am really going to consider pea gravel in several spots around our property.

House and Home magazine
I am actually thinking that it might be my cure-all.

Oh, I know that there are meters of snow out back and I have a long while to wait
I am in the dream and plan mode.
Sometimes I think that is the most fun since the possibilities are endless....
for now.
How about you? Are you planning any outdoor projects in March??

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