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!
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