Friday, December 22, 2017

Christmas 2017 Home Tour Part Two

Yesterday was my first official day off this Christmas, so I was finally able to catch up on some baking and decorating to ready our house for a whirlwind of Christmas parties to come. 

Pictures below: I call this our "final" state of our 2017 Christmas decoration. You can read about our Christmas home tour part one here

The first up was to decorate this year's gingerbread house. Before this week, I had this ambitious plan to bake my own gingerbread cookies and build the house from scratch. With Christmas only a few days away and a ton of stuff still needed to be done, I went with the Ikea gingerbread house kit to give myself a head start. The Ikea kit is a no-frills set which was perfect for me. I always made my own royal icing anyways. 

So here's my 2017 gingerbread house based on the Ikea VINTERSAGA set. Anthony immediately pointed out that the charcoal navy front door looked just like the door paint colour we had at our cottage. Mission accomplished! 

The wreath on the side of the house was a nice touch. It was a royal pain to pipe a very thick tube of icing vertically, but I liked how it turned out. 

I never thought I was a Buffalo Check person until I spotted these cute stockings by President's Choice. I know, it's totally uncool to buy decor accessories from a grocery store. But, I will make an exception for PC Home. They actually carry pretty stylish stuff. 

Look at those tiny brass bells on the cute are they?! The black deer head stocking holders are also from this year's Christmas collection, and I got them at 50% off! 

Remember that Serge Mouille ceiling light I have in my cottage dining room? I am so obsessed with it that I ended up getting a floor lamp for our home. This tall and handsome fella arrived just in time for holidays. 

I was having a few very hectic weeks at work leading up to the holidays. I was frustrated and exhausted, and didn't think I would have any energy left to pull off the upcoming festivities. Then yesterday my bestie dropped off this super gorgeous white and burgundy Freesia bouquet for me, gave me a hug and told me I had the energy level of a 10-year old. And all of sudden, all the exhaustion was lifted away from me, and I felt like an Energizer bunny again. I am so grateful to have friends that would quietly listen to my ranting, and do just the right thing for me to keep me back on track. 

Wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas! 

Monday, December 18, 2017

DIY Household Repairs You Can Do in Minutes

~ This is a featured post ~

Sometimes even the smallest repairs cost a small fortune when you need to call in a professional repairman. No matter what they do, or don’t do as the case may be, you will most likely be charged a ‘house call fee’ that costs ten times what a DIY repair would cost if you took the time to research how to do them.

YouTube is a DIYer’s best friend when it comes to household repairs and the great thing is that you can follow along step-by-step so that you actually get good results! Some of the easiest repairs can be done in minutes, saving you hundreds of dollars a year.

Resetting Your Garbage Disposal
While we tend to think of our garbage disposal as magic for getting rid of all those scraps that used to clog our sinks, garbage disposals can get clogged as well. When this happens, the automatic reset button will trip and your disposal will simply cut off.

You can get step-by-step instructions on Mr Garbage Disposal and this is one you really won’t need a video walkthrough for. It’s a matter of making sure your disposal is off, hitting the reset button like they show you, and you should be back in business again.

Fixing a Wobbly Showerhead
Some homeowners call in a plumber to install an entirely new pipe and showerhead because that wobble is driving them crazy. If you are plagued by a wobbly showerhead, simply use expanding foam that will keep that wobbly showerhead securely in place. It’s an easy and cheap fix – much less than a plumber’s service call!

Quick and Easy Patches for Holes on Ceilings or Walls
Here is a unique DIY fix that only costs the price of a smoke detector. If you have a small hole in the ceiling, perhaps from a hanging plant that pulled loose bringing plasterboard along with it, simply install a smoke detector over that hole. Is the landlord waiting to schedule that annual walkthrough? What an easy way to disguise damage until you can get it done the right way.

Removing Water Stains without Repainting an Entire Room
Whether you notice that water stain on the ceiling or on a wall near a sink, you really don’t need to repaint the entire room. A 10 percent solution of household bleach with tap water will do the job nicely. Old water and mold stains may be more resistant, requiring a second application a day or two later. Simply use a spray bottle you can get at any dollar store for the job, spray, and you are done. The actual job only takes moments, but you may need to wait a while to see how much of the stain is lifted.

Here you have some quick and easy household repairs that are perfect for novice and seasoned DIYers alike. Save the money you can later spend on that new flat screen TV you’ve been wanting by learning to do these easy fixes. Each is a quick and inexpensive fix and something even an amateur can accomplish. Would that be you?

Monday, December 11, 2017

Christmas 2017 Home Tour

This weekend was the first weekend in a long time we didn't have to work or catch up on the household chores. I was in my happy place baking, decorating for holidays, gift wrapping, and of course, blogging. I have to say, although I didn't spend nearly as much time this year on my Christmas decor, I LOVE this year's tree the most! 

Picture below: our 2017 Christmas tree, mainly white with black accents, Scandinavian hygge inspired. 

It all started with this Crate & Barrel Frame Console Table. After decorating our cottage top to bottom in a Nordic style, I craved more modern and simplistic furnishings at home as well. I've always made an effort to keep a few pieces of really modern and clean-lined furniture in my primary residence, but their presence was camouflaged by a few more transitional items that set the overall tone of a space. Those were my design baggage. In November after closing up my cottage, I made a decision to start over. I must have got rid of at least ten pieces of furniture and accessories within two weeks - it felt so satisfying to purge! So I replaced the living room rug with the same Bokhara rug in my cottage dining room, in a larger size. I also bade farewell to the quatrefoil mirrored cabinet, and brought home the Crate & Barrel Frame Console Table. 

Picture below: our new 8-foot Christmas tree this year in the living room. We tried something new this year and moved the tree away from its usual location in our foyer. 

Crate & Barrel's Frame Console Table is made of solid American walnut with a 1/2 inch steel tube box frame. You have no idea how happy this table has made me: it's modern, clean, simplistic, and functional all at the same time, not to say it uses honest and quality materials. 

I had a white Christmas tree in mind but then realized I needed an "anchor" colour. No other colour is more elegant and sophisticated to pair with white than black. It's unconventional to do a black-and-white Christmas theme (and a big no-no in Chinese culture). But my heart wants what it wants, so there you have it, my mostly black and white Christmas tree, which was inspired by hygge and lagom. I wanted to keep it clean,  uncomplicated, not over the top but definitely elegant, very lagom that was. 

The hygge factor did shine through with the additions of all these cute felt animals. Can you spot the fox? 

Picture below: a moose in a scarf and ballerina adorable and hygge is that?!

Picture below: my 2017 Christmas living room

A more close-up look at the tree.  

Overall black, white and grey gift wraps this year. 

Picture below: 2017 Christmas mantel. Again, I tried to keep it simple. White fur pom-pom and pre-lit Eucalyptus garlands were from the Canadian Tire Canvas Collection. 

I also dressed down the bar cart with fewer things and kept it monochromatic. The bar cart has been in this room for many years, so it's probably time for it to find a new spot in our dining room next year.  

Unlike previous years, this year I also took the Christmas decor upstairs to the second floor hallway. The gold-leaf French bombe chest was replaced with this minimalist style George Oliver Woodbury console table from Wayfair. Btw, the bombe chest is for sale if you are interested. 

I even took up a DIY by using a wire coat hanger and fresh greenery to create a Nordic style wreath. The two pieces of jewel-like ornaments are from Georg Jensen's Christmas Candleholders collection. They were gifts from my bestie in Copenhagen. Lucky me! 

I really really wanted a real tree, but I was also really really scared of bugs and cleaning up the never-ending shedded needles. Keeping a real tree outside on our porch turned out to be a perfect compromise! The smell of this fresh Balsam Fir was simply dreamy. What a refreshing sight! 

How to Replace Your Bathtub in 6 Easy Steps

~ This is a featured post ~

Replacing a bathtub is not a complex process contrary to what many may think. It is a surprisingly common do-it-yourself project, assuming you don’t need to alter the plumbing installations like the faucet location or moving the drain. Here is how you can replace your bathtub in 6 easy steps.
Source: Pinterest
Verify the Dimensions
Before you buy a replacement tub, verify the dimensions of the space where the new one will be going in. Don’t forget to check the locations of the existing plumbing fixtures, since the drains should match up and you don’t want a tub so tall that the existing faucet can’t drain into it. Don’t overlook dimensions like drain sizes and pipe dimensions.

Floor supports, too, need to accommodate the new tub. Make sure you don’t try to install a heavy antique tub if the floor cannot support its weight.

Consider How You’ll Remove It
Before you decide to remove the tub, consider how you’ll remove the existing one. If you detach it from the floor and walls, will you be able to carry it out the existing doorway? Or do you need to get tools to cut the old tub into sections so that you can remove it? You’ll also need to figure out how you’ll get the new tub into the bathroom before you buy it too.

Take the Necessary Precautions
Turn off the water supply to the bathroom before you start ripping out a tub. This ensures you don’t flood the bathroom if you damage a water line when removing the old tub. If there are electrical connections around the tub like an in-tub heater, disconnect the power to that area as well.

Remove the Old Tub
Open a faucet that is below the level of the tub to drain water supply lines so that you don’t end up with water in the pipes pouring into the bathroom during the removal process. Now remove the faucet, drain and spout. Remove the old tub. Clean up the area and make sure you haven’t damaged any piping. Check your dimensions again in case you need to cut the piping.

Install the New Tub
This is the time to install the new tub. You’ll put in the new tub and then start connecting the water pipes and drains. You can learn more about how to install plumbing connections and other DIY projects at This process is easier with a freestanding tub than one installed in a tile enclosed space.
Source: Pinterest
Clean Up
After you’ve installed the new tub in a conventional bathroom, you may need to apply new caulk so that splashed water doesn’t damage the drywall under the tile wall or apply seals to the boundary between the tub and tile floor. Clean up the dust, the putty, the paint and other items leftover from the project. This ensures that you won’t slip on sawdust or spilled water when you try to get into the new tub the first time you try to enjoy it.

If you want your tub installation to go smoothly, follow the steps in this article. Verify the dimensions of the space first and foremost, consider how you’ll remove the old tub and fit the new one in and take safety precautions before your start. 
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