Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Summer wrap up

Summer in our new home has been awesome!  This is the first time we have had our very own garden, apple tree and nice looking bedding plants. This summer has been filled with upkeep but its been fun. We didn't really get much crossed off the outdoor to do list but that's okay, the yard isn't going anywhere.
Alex is so proud of how his garden turned out and I must say that my 4 year old must have got the green thumb gene. Sadly it skipped right past me.
Here is the original garden he planted in the spring, you can read more HERE

With a little direction from granny he raked the soil,  planted and watered each seed and occasionally pulled a weed. I was impressed.

And this is what it looked like in July
Emily was caught eating dirt.. mmmmm

And just recently

We gave away plenty of raspberry bushes, probably about 20 and there are still tons!

This old tree has provided us with plenty of apples. Alex and Emily both pick them and eat them right off the tree each day. Surprisingly no diarrhea yet.. they eat that many! Mommy on the other hand has been picking up at least 10 apples off the ground everyday to keep wasps away

Speaking of wasps, isn't this the cutest catcher ever?!

just beneath our back windows

In the front of the house, it makes me want to rip out our lawn an grown nothing but flowers

This sweet little chair was gifted to me by my friend Heather before she moved away, I already have two in my collection and I seriously cant get enough. I love these planters

Did a little swap with my sister in law.. and now these beauties are mine. I think these will look nice along the brown fence

End of summer also brings clearance sales. I picked up this outdoor rug at walmart for only $20 and laid it out in the kitchen to have a better look at the design. I really like it in the kitchen so I guess its staying there for awhile. Since its an outdoor rug its been low maintenance yet nice on the feet.

The roller blind. Ugly as hell but a staple in our house. I cant believe it took until the end of summer to put these up. They do wonders keeping the sun an heat out of the room and in winter they keep the heat in. Purely functional

And lookie who finally got a RUFFLE shower curtain!! thanks to Alex forcing me to visit Bed, Bath an Beyond (read more HERE )I found this baby on clearance. Not necessarily the color scheme I was going for but it looks good.. and more importantly I found my ruffles.

You know what that means?
one more item checked off the list

light fixture
shower curtain
Have a wonderful day and thanks for following our adventure


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Lets have a garage sale

Once the last box was unpacked and the basement tidy we realized we had accumulated a lot of "stuff". Having kids definitely adds to the random pilings of junk that seems to gather into huge piles, and then into bags, and then into boxes when you aren't looking. The worst culprit is the equipment. Baby equipment that is ridiculous in size and takes up the most room, costs the most and is the hardest to part with. Clearly its time for a garage sale!!

A garage sale in my family is not just a "garage sale". I've got some big shoes to fill. My mom and my late father could be called professional garage sale hosts. When they had a garage sale (a few times a summer) the garage would be converted into a mini store. My mom had a knack for retail and set ups and my dad was always very creative. Carpet would be laid down on the floor, tables set up with everything labeled and in its place. I can even remember clothing racks, and at one time a rotating display case! I am by no means an expert but I am my parents daughter


Here are a few tips on how you can make the best of your garage sale!


1. Signage

If you build it, they will NOT come. You must advertise. Put signs at busy intersections in your area, and don't forget a sign at the end of your alley. I also like to have a few balloons on the fence so the sale can be spotted easily. My parents had wooden signs on a stake and each sign was hand painted with our address. Short on time and materials I opted for poster board stapled to poles and a few in ground signs. In a pinch poster board and a home depot stir stick work okay, just be sure to have your address marked clearly and in thick writing along with days and times.
Thursday and Fridays seem to be most popular in our area, make sure you take the signs down once you are done with your sale.
Online advertising like kijiji or craigslist is a great way to let people know about your sale.

Fold a poster board in half and glue a stick to the inside.. this is good for a quick fix but if you plan on having a sale more than one day long you might want to consider stronger materials.


2. Cover up what is not for sale

Unless you want someone buying your toboggans or items that you are holding onto, its best to cover them up or hear all day how much something is when its not for sale in the first place. Tarps or old sheets work well.

3. Pricing

Remember that you are trying to get rid of this stuff! leave your attachments behind and don't expect to get close to what you paid originally.. you will usually get less than half back. If there is more than one family contributing items to the sale its really important to find a method to identify whose item is what. We use initials on each tag however a color coded system for price tags would be ideal.
you can find printed price tags at almost any store including your local dollar store. Please price EVERYTHING, saying make me an offer is not ideal. People don't usually feel comfortable making an offer for fear that they will be way off your expectations. Its better for the customer to see a price and decide to buy it or negotiate.

4. Negotiation

If someone gives you a low offer, don't be offended! The buyer is looking for a good deal and will most likely feel out how badly you are wanting to get rid of the item. Hopefully you can meet in the middle. Often a buyer may have a few items in hand and offer you one reduced figure.. "Will you take $5 for all of this?"


5. Organization

Categorize and display your items. Clothing together, toys together, housewares together, etc. If you have a lot of smaller items such as Alex does for toys, you might better off bagging them in groups rather than selling individually.

My mom used an old picture frame with some plastic mesh as the perfect way to display some crafty earrings she had made


6. Get the kids involved!

When Alex heard we were having a sale he immediately said he wanted to have a lemonade stand, I thought that was a great idea but I convinced him to sell canned juice, pop and water instead. Alex went to work on his poster and talked non stop about it until garage sale time.

Alex actually did quite well with his stand. He had a display of what was for sale on the table and sat on a cooler containing the cold beverages on ice. He was so excited each time he made a dollar. I should also point out that he sanded and painted that little table he is using all by himself. I am one proud mama

7. Show me the money

Make sure you have a float with lots of small bills, quarters, loonies and toonies. We used an old tackle box as our till. For multi family garage sales it might be a good idea to write down a quick description of what was sold and for how much. (vase $1 - Jill).  Have lots of old grocery bags on hand in case your customers need them.

Have fun and for items that don't sell, consider donating to one of your local charities

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

burnt bulb = pear

How often do you change your light bulbs?
Since moving into our bungalow we have probably changed a dozen bulbs and with each discarded light I wondered if I should hang onto it for some kind of "project". I stumbled upon a new use for an old light bulb! It only requires some twine, a twig, the light bulb and glue. I think a grouping of these pears would look pretty cool in a bowl or a glass vessel of some sort. What do you think?

Such a neat idea!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A date night

Summer is almost over and its flown by. Mr. Bliss and I have been busy settling into our home and just unpacked the last box a couple of weeks ago.  Since this is our first summer in our little bungalow we needed to take advantage of what little warm weather there is to complete some projects on our LIST. Its been busy to say the least and we have been looking forward to the Edmonton Folk Music Festival for weeks. With some old friends we took a break and headed to the hill to enjoy the beautiful weather, live music, and beer.. what a night.

I think this was just before ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT came on stage

Me and Mr. Bliss

If you are in Edmonton I suggest you check out Folk Festival next year, we have been going for just over ten years now and it gets better every year. The kids like it too!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

White Fireplace

I am so excited about our updated fireplace!! Awhile I go I posted about my attempt to white wash our red brick fireplace READ ABOUT IT HERE and the results are NOT what we expected. We went from one ugly to another. The white wash actually looks pretty decent in this picture but in person it was horrible. Very uneven and chalky, i think the black grout lines had a lot to do with the results. I tried adding more paint and concentrating on the bricks that were still reddish but it didn't help. We thought if we slept on it we would be fine with it in the morning.. nope.I woke up and felt more disappointed with it than the night before.  While the kids were in bed I tackled this baby.

Painting a red brick fireplace

I applied BEHR Painters White (the same as my wall color) eggshell finish using a roller brush. Silly me thought it might look nice to leave the black grout. Ummm NO, reminded me of a 70s basement

I promise he has clothing other than pyjamas

Voila.. such a difference, really lightens up the whole room and looks so much cleaner

You may have noticed ROBERTA (my deer head) is missing, unfortunately her clasp broke when we tried to hang her again. I'm hoping she will be fixed soon and back on the mantle where she belongs..

 So just to refresh your memory:

Fireplace Evolution

Family Room
Area Rug
Make Pillows
Fireplace Makeover
Lengthen Curtains and Hang higher
Photo Wall
Large artwork
update sofa covers
Another Room finished, insert happy dance here!!
Enjoy your weekend!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

White Wash Fireplace

Our red brick fireplace has been crying for help since the day we moved in.

so red.. so sad

We've tried our best to accept the old brick but its not happening. The more we decorate the room the uglier the fireplace becomes.  Unfortunately a major overhaul on the fireplace is not yet a priority since it will be costly.
In the meantime, we have considered painting the brick and after a bit of exploring I found some beautifully done white wash treatments:



It seemed that white washing the brick would be fairly simple and fast (I think you have learned by now that I am impatient). We I decided to go for it and lighten this baby up, the results are not what we expected Our brick looks extremely uneven and chalk like. The dark grout didn't lighten very much either.

Overall I ruined the fireplace. It kind of went from one UGLY to another. The bright side is that Roberta (my beloved deer above the fireplace)  has never looked better!

Here is how I white washed the fireplace, if this is something you are considering for your own fireplace I hope you have much better luck than I did.


White Wash

Oy.. off to fix this mess :(
Thanks for stopping in