20 January 2017

Three Things to do This Weekend

Is it just me, or is January flying?! We're on our third weekend of tackling our new year's list of organizing & purging & cleaning. If you're just joining in, you can catch up on the past two weeks here & here. Instead of getting overwhelmed by all the things we want to do this time of year, namely: organize & clean all the things! (you know the drill), I thought I'd do us all a favour and break up some tasks for us all to attempt each weekend in January. You can join in with the ones I'm doing OR pick your own "three things". The main things is, just doing a few tasks at a time. As much as we'd like everything to be done in one weekend, it's just not reality.

So, here's what I'm working away at this weekend:

1. Books & Magazines - Books. This may not be a problem for you, and to be honest, the majority of our books are in storage at the moment. BUT, books are great to go through. Pick and chose the ones you really.can't.live.without & the ones that you reference back to again and again. Other than that, donate, sell, or swap the rest. I like the idea of swapping books with friends. Give a book, for a book, and then just continue passing books down the line. Fun right? Because, what is the likelihood you're going to read all your books again.

Magazines. If you're a magazine person, like me (Ok, confession: I'm kind of a magazine hoarder), it's time to recycle, donate, or whatever. Just get them out. Decor & home magazines are the target for me. When we moved to where we are now I did a purge. Because really, did I want to put those magazines in boxes and move them? Ok, kind of. To compromise, I quickly flipped through some (the ones with the covers I liked most, ha!) to make sure there weren't any pages I wanted to rip out and save, but then I got rid of a bunch. The time has come to purge again. The less things we have to move this next time, the better.

***Now, depending on how many people you have in your home, and the amount of books/magazine you all have, this one task alone could be overwhelming. Only you know. So, if you have to break it up, do it that way. Don't do it all this weekend. If all books need to be attended to, start with your books first, then move on to kids, etc.

2. Under the Kitchen Sink - It's dark, things collect, and sometimes I can't find the garbage bags. We mainly keep cleaners, rags, garbage bags & dish soap/dishwasher soap under the kitchen sink. Why is it so cluttered?? Time to organize.

3. The dreaded Tupperware Drawer/Cupboard - I feel like this is a problem for all? Maybe not, but everyone I talk to seems to have a hard time finding the correct cover for a container. It's like the dryer eating socks. Where do they go?!? So, if you have a tupperware cupboard and it's not in order, it's time to clean it out. Recycle or chuck pieces that don't have a mate and/or aren't in great condition. And recycle those extra containers you save (you know, the plastic yogurt containers etc.)...you only need so many. I always keep a few for random projects etc. because sometimes you just need a container that you don't care about, you know? Once you're done going through what you have, try and create a little system that works for you and is helpful when it comes to finding matching pieces.

Lastly, don't forget to do something fun & restful this weekend!

I'm hoping to start at some of this today! What are you working on this weekend?

Happy Weekending!

18 January 2017

Cozying Up Your Home For Winter

It's true. I believe a home should always have some cozy factor in every season: Winter, Spring, Summer & Fall. But in the winter, it's a different kind of cozy than the rest of the year. Plus, I know the winter can be loooonnngg & difficult for some.

Now that the holidays are behind us and all those decorations are away, it might feel like your home is a bit bare (mine does!). Which is kind of nice, to be honest. It always feels like there's more room to breath and the house feels lighter. At the same time, it's a great time to give your home a little boost. So, since it's winter (and I live in Canada!) cozying up your home is a great way to give it that extra boost.

Here are 5 ways to cozy up you home for winter:

Lamps - Lamp light is probably my favourite. Especially in the winter months. Since the time change in the fall, it's dark earlier in the evenings, and a little lamp light can go a long way in the late afternoon as darkness approaches. I rarely turn the overhead lights on in the rooms (unless it's the kitchen or I'm really needing some extra light). Consider investing in a few more lamps for your house; OR switch them up, move the ones you do have around so they're just so. Add one to a table in the hall, your kitchen counter (if you have the space), a corner where you wouldn't expect there to be one. I bet it'll make some difference in the cozy factor of your home.

*Side note - If you're on a budget, be sure to check second hand stores for lamps. If you find one with a great base, can look beyond the colour and initial design, not to mention the often dingy lamp shade, you can easily give it an update. Try spray painting the base a colour of your preference, grab a new shade & voila! New (to you) lamp! See how I did a little lamp update of my own here.

Candles - These are another must. The glow of candles is so cozy; and there's something about candles burning on a snowy day. With a toddler running around I have to make sure these are well out of reach. So I generally have these in the kitchen or on the dining table (OR I only light them after she's gone to bed). I have however, recently invested in a few LED candles that I can have on in the evening and not worry about with our daughter. And even though they aren't the same as a real flame, they do the trick & add some of that warm glow.

Pillows - Pillows always cozy things up. And sometimes the more the better. Add some extras to your sofa, your bed, or that corner chair in your living room. I don't think you'll be sorry about it.

Throw Blankets - I always have a couple of throw blankets floating around the living room and generally one on the end of the bed.

Hot Drink Station - Make a hot drink station. If you usually keep tea, coffee & hot chocolate out of sight, consider gathering your supplies together on a tray & keep it on the counter (at least if you have the space!). This way you'll be more inclined to make that cup of tea in the afternoon or evening on those cold days.

So, while winter is here, you might as well make the best of it & give your home a lift. In turn, I bet it'll make you feel a little better about the cold dreary months.

What are some ways you cozy up your home for winter?

16 January 2017

Farmhouse Dining Room

I know I'm not the only one who likes that farmhouse vibe. I'm pretty sure I could live with full on farmhouse style. However, since I enjoy various design elements from different styles, I always like to incorporate different styles together. Mix and match, if you will.

Here's a farmhouse dining room design I recently made that incorporates a few different design styles, all while giving off that farmhouse vibe.

While the majority of this dining room design is traditional farmhouse, I added a few elements that are a bit more modern & contemporary such as: the table, the light fixture & the art. And on a side note, don't be afraid of mixing the chairs at your table. I love the mix here. Even the straight up wooden chairs are a bit more contemporary than the slipcovered ones.

A chair like this would even be a great mix to add in. It would add a lovely contrast to the table and the two slipcovered chairs.

I quite like this space and the farmhouse vibe. There's something about the farmhouse feel that's cozy & inviting. All things I want our home to be. Definitely tucking this design away for a later time when we can do some updates.

You can find more design boards & inspiration here.

13 January 2017

Three Things to do This Weekend

It's Friday! You may remember this post from last week: 3 Things to do This Weekend. I mentioned that for the month of January I'd help us all out a little by posting some of those dreaded new year organization/cleaning tasks we all try to accomplish.

The key is not to try and tackle everything all at once. Remember, like anything, getting your home set for a new season, organizing, purging, and even decorating, is a process!

Here's what I'm working on this weekend:

1. Tackle the bathroom cabinets. Ok, if you have more than one bathroom, just do one. Unless you're feeling extra ambitious and/or your bathrooms are different levels of cluttered. One may be easier/smaller than the other, so it may be a quick task to do all. Only you know what's going to overwhelm you.

Go through the cabinets & drawers in your bathroom one by one. Empty them out, trash what needs to be trashed & only place back them items you need and use. Be sure to dispose of expired products & medicine properly. If you keep your towels in the bathroom (and not in a linen closet) go through them. Have some of them lived their life span? Do you need to rip some up to use as rags? If that's the case do so; and if you need to replace the ones you get rid of, make a note on the fridge or your phone to keep an eye out for sales. That way you can pick some up when they're on for a good deal. Like always, when you're putting the items back into the cabinets, place like things in the same cabinets. It'll make things a bit easier to find and little more uniform.

2. Clean the microwave. I can't be the only person that had food splatter & blow up in there over the holidays. It really doesn't take long to clean, so let's just get it over with. I generally get a microwave safe glass bowl (pyrex) and fill it halfway with water. Add approx. 1/4 cup of vinegar to the water and then microwave for about 3 min (maybe check on it every min or so...you may need to do a couple extra minutes). Once you notice it get steamy in there, just let the bowl of water sit in there for a few minutes with the door closed. Remove the bowl (careful, it might be hot!) and proceed to wipe down the inside of the microwave. I usually use a damp dish cloth with some water & dish soap. The caked on food comes off much easier thanks to the steamy vinegar bath.

3. De-Scale & clean the coffee maker. So I guess this one only applies to those of you who drink coffee and/or still have a coffee maker. The coffee maker often gets neglected when it comes to cleaning. In order to descale I always fill the coffee pot mostly full of cold water then add apporx. 1/2 cup vinegar. Pour the mixture into the coffee maker like you would if you were going to brew a pot, then turn it on and let it run. After it goes through, let it sit for a bit and cool down. Then run another pot of water (just water) through as if you were going to make more coffee. After it runs and cools, wash the carafe and filters in warm soapy water. Then wipe down the rest of the coffee maker. Done.

Lastly, here's a nice little thought about clutter:

Happy Weekending!