Thursday, 29 January 2015

Dream Barn : The Barn & Exterior Fixtures

I've been dreaming about my horse barn my entire life. Luckily growing up my cousin lived on a farm so I got to spend weekends and holidays grooming and riding horses, four wheeling through the bush and helping my grandfather out with farm chores. As I got older I started taking riding lessons and "volunteered" at the barn doing chores and being a camp counsellor. Now that we live in the country we get closer and closer to my future farm.

I've always loved compiling my barn ideas, so I thought i'd do a post on a few of my future plans. Or dreams. Whatever they end up being it's fun to think about. :) I'll frame this post as a somewhat realistic could maybe will hopefully happen in the future kind of barn planning, instead of money is no object here are the most beautiful barns in the world (that's a whole other post I will definitely do).

Disclaimer: almost every barn i've found online has dutch doors. While I love dutch doors, I don't know if i'd break my budget on them. I can understand them in warmer climates, but in Canada the less draft the better, and I can picture myself trying to open them into snowbanks in the middle of January. There are a lot of amenities i'd prefer to have, as lovely as they are.

The Small Barn

I'm going to classify a small barn as any barn with less than six stalls. Having a "small barn"means you havejust enough space for a few horses of your own. This reduces stress, and means you won't have to worry about keeping things up to anyone's standards but your own. It also makes it super do-able to handle chores on your own while working full time. Pasture, manure and other maintenance would be lessened, and they're just so darn charming and cozy. Plus, I imagine if you go smaller size-wise you can go "bigger" on some high end design elements like the stalls or the flooring in the barn since you have less square footage to cover. 

What I love about this particular barn is the wide barn opening, the dutch doors covered by the overhang, the cute colour and the perfect small size. It looks like it's a four stall barn, though one of those spots may be taken up by a tack or feed room.

FBi Buildings
This pole barn is actually only has two stalls. The rest of the space is filled by a wash stall and tack room and machinery storage. This is the perfect type of barn to have dutch doors on; turn out for two would be so easy peasy!

The above barn is not only very beautiful, but it's the most "functional" barn I found. The doors are beautiful wooden cypress doors and there are a lot of really nice custom touches. This barn has the standard sliding front doors that open up nice and wide along with a man door on the side for easy access. There is indoor hay storage to the right of the sliding doors and the overhang on the right provides sheltered vehicle/machinery storage. Inside the barn has two stalls, a tack room,  a half bath and a loft.

The Mid-Sized Barn

I'm classifying a mid-sized barn as anything with 6-12 stalls. You might have all of your own horses, or a combination of friend/family members horses and boarders. Mid-sized barns mean that you can still do it yourself but you're probably a busy lady. You can also get help, or maybe trade chores for board. 

What I love about this particular barn is the shutters, the beautiful colour of the barn siding, the overhang on both sides of the barn, and the second story loft.

Morton Buildings
King Barns

Okay, I know i said "somewhat realistic" but this barn is too beautiful not to share. The stone, the stall doors, the peaked roof. It's perfection. I'd live in this barn!

The Large Barn

King Barns

The summary of this barn on the builder's website says it all : 12 stalls, 1 wash stall, tack room, lounge, grain room, laundry room, full bath with shower, office, full legnth prch, 2nd floor apartment and 84 x 200 indoor arena.

The Outdoor Wash Stall

I love outdoor wash stalls. Yes, they're less "all season" because you can only use them when the weather is nice enough to be outside, but in my mind that basically only means you can't bathe when it's raining.  And hey, maybe I can go crazy and have both indoor and outdoor options!

My guy getting a bath in our indoor wash stall :)

The Viewing Room

If I were to have an indoor area, i'd want a viewing room. If I had a viewing room, I'd want it to be like this one. I love how it's a cozy hang out space with ample room for seating. The kitchen is a great addition for hosting shows or clinics or even just for boarders who like to come and stay the for the day.
B&D Builders

Shared Shelters

What i've heard from other barn owners is that the shelters are one of the most expensive things to build/add on and existing facilities often come without them. I love the idea of shared shelters that cover two paddocks at once, it seems cost efficient and smart!

Wildflower Farm Stables

That's all for now - since I only covered the exterior today i'll be back with my Dream Barn interior later. :)

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Happy New Year!

If you asked me for my New Years Resolution, it would be to find out who I am. -- Cyril Cusack

Happy New Year! 

New Years Resolutions; a fickle bitch or a way to start the year off right? This year I've decided to blog every week. 
As you may know, I'm an English major, a lover of writing and reading, a twenty something, an animal lover and an aspiring yogi. I plan to write a little more about anything and everything that interests me and may interest you. 
So what are your resolutions this year? Mine include learning to knit, reading more, blogging and continuing to explore new poses in my yoga practice. 
Resolutions that rock
  • Starting new hobbies: knitting, martial arts, gardening 
  • Organization: cleaning out the junk drawer, your closet or your car
  • Reasonable health and fitness goals: starting a new sport or buying more dark leafy greens
  • Financial goals: starting a new savings account
  • Reading goals: It never hurts to read more and there are some really cool challenges online
Resolutions that suck
  • Weight loss goals (30 lbs in two weeks just isn't healthy)
  • Self-critical goals (I will stop doing X, Y or Z)
  • Gym goals: I will go to the gym 5x a week (it never happens!) 
What's your new years resolution this year? Post it in the comments below!

Friday, 12 September 2014

Wedding Tablescapes

I can't believe how quickly summer has turned into fall. Within a week of the wedding (which was on August 30th) the leaves started turning, a chill came into the air and I've already had my first Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks. In the two weeks post-wedding, I've been busy organizing gifts (most are still stored neatly - we're saving most of them for when we have a kitchen worthy of them), cleaning and re-organizing our house, posting wedding stuff on Kijiji and starting Thank You cards. The wedding already feels like months ago even though we're only coming up on our two week anniversary this Saturday.

One of my favourite parts of wedding planning was visualizing my tables. I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted and didn't want.


I knew I wanted rustic wooden table boxes. I love how they showcase flowers and succulents. I found boxes like this on Etsy.


I personally love what we ended up doing with the table boxes. We got rough pine and cut them into three and a half foot boxes - what we determined to be the perfect size for a six foot table. We built them high enough so that you could still see the top half of the antique mason jars. We chalk painted them with Annie Sloan chalk paint, sanded them rounding the corners to create a weathered look and then waxed them with dark wax.

The boxes drying after they were waxed

The finished product
I bought over 100 antique mason jars for the wedding!


I wanted peonies, cabbage roses and garden roses; none of which were in season at the end of August. I also wanted Dahlias but our florists had worked with them before and found they wilted almost instantaneously in the direct sunlight. I found this amazing blog post from Life of a Vintage Lover about peony alternatives that are available in August which helped me discover my favourite of the wedding flowers: Rununculus. I had the most amazing florists. They were actually just two friends of my mum's who are amazing gardeners. They took my favourite looks from Pinterest and gave me the soft, romantic look and feel I wanted on my budget. Our centrepiece bouquets had two bunches of baby's breath on the end and one beautiful centre bouquet of Rununculus, two types of Wax Flower, mini white Carnations and pink Lisianthus and pink Alstromerias. Baby's Breath is a great addition because it's so cost effective yet soft and romantic and looks great alongside other flowers.

Costco is a great place to order bulk flowers

In the workshop....


I knew I wanted white linens and I was shocked to find out how expensive they were to rent. In our area they came at $17/tablecloth. I knew there had to be a more cost effective way and ended up ordering them online for $7/tablecloth from a discount wedding website. They came quickly, looked amazing and fit the bill for what we needed. If you're looking for luxurious draping linens this may not be the course of action for you but they worked for our outdoor setting. I'm now selling them to another bride for a great price so that she can save money, too! These were only used once and cleaned up perfectly without any stains or damage. 

I wanted table runners from day one. Originally, I thought burlap would be nice. I'd seen these gorgeous burlap ones trimmed in lace on Etsy - they were to die for. 

We went on a shopping trip to our local fabric store and ended up finding two rolls; one navy blue and white chevron and one coral pattern that we loved. We used the blue and white to make table runners. A change from 8' to 6' tables meant we only have enough for every other table but I ended up being really happy with how they turned out, anyway!

Table Runner Fabric

Fabric for the head tablecloth overlays

Thank You Notes

I bought this printable thank you note from Twirly Designs on Etsy. She was lovely and customized them exactly how I wanted getting them to me within hours of my purchase. I printed them on kraft paper instead of white cardstock to fit with the look and feel of our wedding. I placed them on each place but because it was windy I had to put it between the salad and dinner plates so they wouldn't fly away. Since we didn't have a menu, I thought the thank you notes added a nice touch to the place settings and reminded people how much we appreciated them being there!

I swear I didn't place these places so crookedly!

So, what's my advice for planning your table settings?

  • Start on Pinterest - find out what style you like and run with it!
  • DIY as much as possible - we made everything we possibly could
  • Budget - I had no idea how expensive fabric is and went way over budget on table runners
  • Add a personal touch like a custom menu or thank you note
  • Book your linens and tablewear in advance so you know your table sizes early on

Friday, 5 September 2014

Wedding Recovery

The blog once again took a backseat while a summer of wedding craziness unfolded. It was all about printing, DIY-ing, thrifting and a whole lot of planning and organizing. So many lists!

The wedding day was perfect; the weather was beautiful until after dinner at which point it down poured on us forcing everyone into the barn for the reception and dessert. The guests were all wonderful and the mood felt happy and relaxed. It was exactly what we wanted and hoped for.

I'm going to post a couple blog posts about the wedding to make up for lost blogging time. It would be impossible to cover everything in one. I'll start with the lead up to the wedding and a few shots of some of my favourite DIYs. I'll do a few posts specifically about doing the DIYs for other bride-to-be's.

The two days before the wedding were spent at the venue preparing. We brought in everything  from the barn beam arch to the barn board and steel bar and the antique claw foot bathtub for drinks. We had a lot of help from family and friends - we truly could not have done it without them. The venue was on the lake with a large farm house turned cottage, a beautiful beach, a sauna and a rustic barn. We had the ceremony outside, dinner outside in a beautiful meadow and the reception in the barn. It worked out perfectly and we're lucky that the rain held off for as long as it did.

I'll start with my favourite DIY; the favours. As you may know from reading the blog, our wedding favours were succulents in teacups. We stole the idea from Pinterest and ran with it. They were adorable and I love that the incorporated my love of vintage with living breathing plants. Other than the pots the succulents came in they were totally eco-friendly and upcycled, too!  Succulents are so on trend and people were obsessed with these favours.  Each favour was unique and wedding guests got to select a teacup that suited their personal style.

We don't have any professional photos back yet so please excuse the quality of the images they're mainly iPhone pictures and stolen off of Facebook from our guests but I couldn't wait to share :).

Succulent Planting Pre-Wedding

Display of Succulents
Succulent planting happened on the Wednesday and Thursday before our wedding. My mom, new mom-in-law and new sister-in-law got things done and had everything organized when I came out after getting pampered at the spa. Luckily we got into the venue early so we could plant and set up our favours before doing the rest of the wedding set up.

The finished product and one of my favourites!

Our display case is a wooden casing that was purchased out of a century home in the downtown of our city for $50 by Brad's mom. It is totally raw and people actually thought it was part of the barn it matched the decor so seamlessly. We found an antique chandelier in the basement of the barn that hung beside it completing the look.

In the days before the wedding I started getting all of the finishing touches together. The programs were one of the most time consuming but rewarding DIY's. I will do a blog post solely devoted to them because I love them so much. They were cost effective, vintage and rustic inspired and 100% handmade. Just like our favours each program was unique and I hope that people selected a cover that matched their individual style and taste. See the Intimate Weddings Blog that inspired by programs.

Programs drying on our deck

Program Display
I relied on the internet for some amazing free printables. My favourite was our "please sign our guestbook" sign.  I will find the link to this printable and post it here. 

For my flower girl I wanted a basket that matched the grey ring bearer's box. For the ring bearer I bought a simple box from Michaels and stained in a beautiful grey. I made a pillow for the rings using a beautiful worn pillow case from my grandfather's house. Unfortunately we gave the box to our ring bearer and I'm not sure if I ever got a picture of it. For the flower girl my bridesmaid Amanda and I were to Michaels and bought two cute baskets. We bought grey spray paint and painted them to match. They looked lovely with pink and white rose petals in them. 

Our flower boxes were another highly time consuming DIY that were well worth the effort put in. We got rough pine from the lumber yard and Brad built the boxes with one of his groomsmen. We chalk painted, sanded and waxed them with dark wax to get the beautiful rustic look we were going for. 

DIY Stage
The Finished Product
Another DIY that was a great success was our chalkboards. Brad's mom and I bought them at thrift shops and she chalk painted them for me using Annie Sloan chalk paint. They were perfect for our bar menu, seating memo, instagram sign and dessert bar. 

The venue was in bloom with gorgeous flowers. It was a nice surprise because when we visited two weeks prior it had been looking a little weedy and overgrown. We couldn't be happier with the bright wall of yellow flower behind our ceremony site that popped up just in time.

It was a perfect day and a wonderful weekend. We had family come from across the country and got to catch up with so many of our friends. Now we're focusing on getting back to normal, married life. So much organization and cleaning to do!

We're married! 

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Rain, Rain Go Away!

Finally, a rainy day so I can return to blogging! My new job has swept me away from writing temporarily. We’ve been working on the exterior of our house in every possible way; Brad put a new deck on the front of our house, I’ve planted planters and put in some new perennial beds, we got our vegetables planted and we have done lots of general upkeep and maintenance. Last summer was our first summer in the house and instead of doing any major changes we decided to see what would come up and then make the changes necessary once we knew. Many of the flower beds were overrun with flowers and weeds so it's taken quite a bit of work to get things looking nice. 

We bought this house because of the backyard. That's what I say, anyway. I fell in love with it when I stepped outside on the first night we viewed the house. As you all know, the interior of the house was to be desired. The backyard on the other hand spoke for itself. It's a country oasis and the space, trees, gardens spoke to me. The nice thing about our house is that we're surrounded by fields on three sides so we have a view of wide open space all around us! I love country living because it means that I get to see and experience so much nature every single day. Eventually we'll have our own farm, but for now it's so nice just to be surrounded by one.

The Veggie Garden

Potatoes are coming up!

Our find of the week was definitely the claw foot tub! We’re going to use it as a cooler at the wedding. We’ve had our eye out for one for a while and B’s mom is great and finding things online. We lost out on one a few months ago so we were happy to get a great price on this one! The inside of the tub is in near perfect condition and i'm thinking about painting the outside. Do you think I should paint it or leave it looking rustic? We stuck the tub in our lower shed for the interim. Next year I might use it as a planter in the garden!

The chicken coop changes that I wrote about in early spring are all underway. I found a hardy climbing tropical flower for the lattice on the exterior of the coop, transplanted a few Hostas from the front of the house and transplanted some chives from B's parents house. I also planted Nasturtiums in this bed. Also on my list, I stuck some solar lights in and they have been a life saver when I'm running down to the coop after dark!

As you know, I like a good find. i also love using containers and items in my home in creative ways. Has anyone else noticed how expensive planters and pots are? I've found some really neat and unique containers for my planters this year.

A recycled tire pot houses my Kale
A cool enamel bowl I bought at a garage sale for $2
looks cute on our table in the backyard!

The herbs and pick-a-pepper plants are flourishing.

Do you see Harley peeking in the background? :-)
PS - those railings are on the back deck!

The only planters I bought this year
were these tall wicker planters. 
Miss Harley on the new deck.