Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Bring the Spark Back

To the relationship with my blog that is. We used to be so intimate: a couple of times a week while I waited for my facial mask to dry, I would fire up a new post and get my creative juices flowing. It used to be such an enjoyable experience. Now between an increasingly demanding job, planning for our upcoming vacations and taking care of my Dad's estate, it's been a real challenge to steer my passion here. Nevertheless, I still love writing and sharing about my decor projects, so it's a matter of getting my head back in the game. 8 years and 547 blog posts later, I wasn't going to give it all up. 

First up, I finally pulled the trigger on the living room chandelier. After two years of debate between modern and classic options, the traditionalist inside me won. I went with Visual Comfort's Paris flea market chandelier by E.F. Chapman, the larger size one at 33" in diameter. At today's exchange rate, it cost me an arm and a leg, but what's done it's done and there's no turning back. Let's hope I will like it for a long time. I also ordered the ceiling medallion.  

I love my mockups, need I say more? I am sure this is the last living room chandelier mockup I had to do (yeah right). I managed to check off one item on my 2016 project list, woohoo! Now I just need a new coffee table and replace those blue drapes, and I can call it a day. 

This wasn't on my project list but I really need it done. I didn't like how the retaining wall connects with our driveway, so the same landscaping firm is coming back to add a post like this. 

My cousin Abby, who has a super brain and runs a marine biology research lab in Stockholm, out of the blue, sent me these roses as a surprise. And the most kickass thing about them is that, they are faux! But they look and feel so real. 

Now this is more than real. Is it just mine or did all your Phalaenopsis orchids bloom like crazy in early Spring? I would've guessed they usually peak in Summer, but hey, I will take orchid blooms any time of the year. 

This picture was from a few weeks ago when I picked up these Hyacinth bulbs from Lowes. They were stunning while they last. 

So that's all for now. I will come back to write about the chandelier when I receive it. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Pillow Talk

You might have seen this on Instagram already - I hacked this Ikea tablecloth from the Vinter 2015 collection into two drapery panels for one of our guest bedrooms.  

When I first came across this fabric, I knew I wanted to use it somewhere in my house, in the form of pillow accents, or drapes. 

And as usual, if I love it, I know a lot more people out there also do, so the said tablecloth was quickly sold out in Ontario. I was only able to secure one panel. I needed four. Fortunately they were still available in Calgary, so I ended up getting my BFF to courier the other three to me. I had them professionally sewed together, and voila, they became this fun yet lush backdrop for my custom settee. 

I love the organic geometric patterns. 

Now onto pillows. It's springtime (or is it?), so I started to declutter. I found a few pieces of designer fabrics lying around so I had them sewed into pillows. They are for sale. My blog readers get 10% off. All of these pillows have invisible zipper closure; and seams are double-stitched and serged to prevent fraying.

Pillow A: this ever-popular Schumacher Hothouse Floral linen pillow in mineral (a bluish grey shade), 17x17", same fabric in different patterns on both sides, US$95/CA$125. 
Pillow A - Side A

Pillow A - Side B

Pillow B: Schumacher Hothouse flowers linen pillow, 17x17", same fabric in different patterns on both sides, US$95/CA$125. 
Pillow B - Side A

Pillow B - Side B

Pillow C: Schumacher Hothouse flowers linen pillow, 17x17", same fabric in different patterns on both sides, US$90/CA$115. 
Pillow C - Side A

Pillow C - Side B

Pillow D: Yellow and Grey/Charcoal floral canvas cotton pillow, a la Schumacher Pyne Hollyhock, 18x18", US$35/CA$45.
Pillow D - Side A

Pillow D - Side B

Pillow E: Yellow and Grey/Charcoal floral canvas cotton pillow, a la Schumacher Pyne Hollyhock, 18x18", US$35/CA$45.
Pillow E - Side A

Pillow E - Side B

I couldn't find the name of the designer for this yellow and grey floral fabric, but I love it enough to turn them into drapes for one of our guest bedrooms. 

Friday, April 1, 2016

How to Keep Your Home Safe While on Holiday

As we move out of the winter, more and more people are now thinking about their holidays. From beach holidays in Spain through to spectacular safaris in Africa, Brits will be heading to every corner of the earth this year – and nearly all will have to think about keeping their home secure while they are away.

Intruders are adept at identifying homes that are temporarily vacant, and many holidaymakers return from their trip to find their home ransacked – which is clearly a terrible way to end a holiday. To prevent yourself from being one of these people, there are a few things that you can do though, all of which will discourage or prevent burglars from targeting your home.

Everybody Needs Good Neighbours
It’s really important that you have someone you trust – usually a friendly neighbour – come into your home regularly and do things like open the curtains, pick up the post, and generally check that everything is still okay. The simple fact that someone is going in and out of the house will be enough to discourage many burglars, as they won’t want to risk being disturbed mid-way through their nefarious deed.

If you are going to have a neighbour or friend help you out, you are going to need to give them a set of keys. There’s no need to leave yourself short of a set though, as you can simply get one cut at Fast Keys, who provide a quick and affordable service. It might also be an idea to leave these keys with your neighbours after you arrive home, just in case of any future emergencies.

Keep it Quiet
You’re excited about your holiday, and that’s understandable. You want to tell everyone about how you’re going to swim with dolphins, or see the Taj Mahal. But try to only tell the people you trust, as you don’t know what ulterior motives some other people might have. By telling everyone and anyone, you’re basically advertising the fact that your home is going to be vacant, which is never a good idea.

Also, don’t post your plans all over social media, unless you are sure that your settings are completely secure. Criminals are using sites like Facebook and Twitter more and more to find their next targets, so be cautious.

Beef Up Security
Beefing up the security of your home doesn’t have to be an expensive process, as there are many things you can do for a relatively low price. For example, basic CCTV systems are now more than affordable for most people, and provide a real visual deterrent to would-be burglars, as do fake alarm boxes on the side of a building.

If visual deterrents don’t stop the burglars though, you should ensure that you have the very best locks attached to your doors and windows, as well as anything else you feel is useful, such as door chains and bolts. Burglars don’t want to work too hard to get into your property, as the longer they try, the more likely they are to get caught.

Hide the Valuables
This is a really obvious point, but so many of us still forget to tuck away any valuables before we leave on holiday. Even more importantly, ensure that nothing of value – such as jewellery, consoles and cash – is viewable from any windows, as these will be like a massive dangling carrot for burglars, spurring them on to break in.

Even better than hiding valuables is ensuring that they are not in the house in the first place. Remember that neighbour we mentioned earlier? Surely they have room to store a few things for you in their spare room, or under the stairs?

Check, Check, and Check Again
Ever get that feeling that you’ve left the back door unlocked, or that you forgot to close the bedroom window? Well, join the club, as most people heading away on holiday have the same worries. By repeatedly checking all potential entry points though, you’ll have peace of mind as you head away – plus there will be no chance of a burglar getting into your home easily.

The best way to check your home is to work methodically, from room to room, physically checking all windows and doors, and not simply relying on sight alone. If you are concerned that you’ve left something open, a quick call to the neighbour should be enough to sort the problem though.

So, there you have it: five great ways to ensure that your home is as safe as possible when you head off on holiday. Just a few simple steps and you’ll be free to enjoy your week in the sun!

Friday, March 18, 2016

4 Hassle-free Steps to Restyling Your Home

Whether you’ve been living in your property for a while or you just fancy sprucing up your space, restyling your home can be a big task to take on. So that your next home project goes smoothly, you could take these four hassle-free steps into consideration.

1. Improve your lighting
Improving your lighting is enough to boost your at-home style. Poorly lit rooms can make your decor look drab and worn out, so if your abode could do with brightening up, you could adjust your lighting situation. Regardless of the room you want to illuminate, you shouldn’t struggle for lighting ideas. For example, if you’re looking for a fixture that emits plenty of light both upwards and downwards, you could go for something like the Milo wall light design from thelightingsuperstore.co.uk. Choosing to opt for a subtle design like this means that you can light up just about any room in your house with ease.
The vintage Murano glass chandelier instantaneously elevates the style in my master bedroom.

2. Rearrange your furniture
Simply rearranging your furnishings is an easy way to restyle your home. While you may love the thought of replacing every single piece of furniture, in reality you might not have the resources to do so. Instead, moving around the furniture you already own could be enough to make you feel completely differently about any room. Whether you reposition your sofas or move your bed to the opposite wall, switching and swapping your furnishings can give your home a new look and feel.

3. Replace your soft furnishings
As interior trends are changing constantly, one way you can keep on top of your home style is to replace your soft furnishings. The accessories you have in each of your rooms can quickly make your decor look outdated and stale, so why not inject a splash of colour and beauty by investing in some additional pieces? From patterned cushions to faux fur rugs, there are an abundance of accessories for you to choose from that can instantly uplift any room in your home.

4. Add some artwork
If you don’t fancy getting out your paintbrush to spruce up your bare walls, you could add some artwork instead. A blank canvas can look boring by itself, but hanging up a piece of art can give it personality and character. From a beautiful painted landscape to a framed abstract print, you should go for art that you love. To make your spaces more personal, you could put up photographs of your loved ones, or even get a canvas printed to capture your favourite memories.
I like how the painting brings the entire room together. 

Taking tips like these on board could help you restyle your home without costing a lot of your time, effort or money.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Time for New Sheets? How to Pick Comfy, Beautiful Bedding

Your bed is important. Good, comfortable sleep is vital to your health and wellbeing, and this is only possible when your bed is right for you. However, once you’ve found a bed and mattress that you love sleeping on, what a lot of people don’t realize is that the bedding you dress it with can also make a big difference to how comfortable your bed will be night after night. If you are ready to buy some new sheets, duvet covers and pillow cases, then it can be a good idea to do some research so that you can choose something that you’ll love sleeping with, as well as which will look great in your bedroom.

The key to comfortable bedding is to choose something made of the right sort of fabric. There are lots of choices out there, and they vary a lot in cost, so it pays to know what the differences are:

The most common thing used in bedding is cotton, and this is a good start because it is natural and breathable. However, cotton weaves vary a lot, and you need to choose something that will be soft and comfortable. High thread count cotton sheets and duvet covers in high end cottons like Egyptian cotton may be expensive, but they feel amazing and also have a satin-like sheen that can look beautiful. If that isn’t within your budget, look out for ranforce cotton which is much cheaper, but offers a soft feel, a good texture, and a high level of quality.

Silk and Satin
Silky sheets are often thought of as a good thing, because these materials feel nice on the skin and look luxurious on the bed. However, if you have never slept with them before, you may find you don’t get on with the slippery feeling, and actually prefer high thread count cotton. Never buy cheap imitation satin bedding made of polyester or other synthetic fabrics, because it won’t be breathable and will quickly become uncomfortable. 

Bamboo fibre is another option you have for bedding, and is a really good choice. It is natural and breathable, wicks moisture away from skin on hot nights, feels soft to the touch, and even has antibacterial properties. This makes it a great choice for people with sensitive skin, skin problems or allergies. While bamboo bedding is nowhere near as common as cotton or synthetics, it is still possible to find it in a wide range of attractive designs for both adult and children’s sized beds. For example, this cool 3D bamboo duvet cover which uses the trend for 3D effects to create a fun, appealing look. 

There is so much choice out there that choosing the right bedding can be more difficult than it sounds, but this is one area where it is worth spending a little more to get something that will last a long time, work with the d├ęcor in your room, and give you a great night’s sleep!
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