Monday, 27 January 2014

Bathroom Update

The bathroom renovation has been an on-going one. With the other updates we've been doing (exterior lighting), the weather (holy snow) and side projects for other people Brad hasn't exactly had a lot of time to work on our new bathroom!

I chose Behr Elephant Skin grey for the walls. It looks fantastic. I've seen the colour on Pinterest and in other blogs and it has always just been the perfect grey colour in my eyes. It's light enough not to darken the room, its rich and elegant and it doesn't have that blue tone some grey paints have.

Pinterest: Elephant Skin Grey
The tile is up around the shower. We didn't know exactly what we wanted when we went into Lowes but we knew we wanted big & rectangular tiles. I had originally thought of something simple and stone like this or this or even this. When we got into the store, though, the stone look just wasn't speaking to me. I don't know if it was how it was displayed or what but it all looked fake and marble-y to me. With our bathroom walls painted grey we wanted something that would keep the room light and airy and tried to shy away from grey tones. 

Lowes: The Tile Close Up
Then we found "Touch Summer Breeze" by Ceramics Inc. It's described as a "linen-look" which I completely agree with. I would describe it as burlap -esque. It has a texture to it that isn't easy to see based on the screencapture. I absolutely love it. It looks modern and fresh while still able to compliment and fit in with our rustic design style.

This past weekend Brad finished putting up the showerhead. We bought the showerhead a year ago at Lowes because it was a $300 + showerhead on for $70. It's a modern square shower head made by Delta. It actually had it's own commercial for a while! I love it! I had actally somewhat forgotten what it looked like until I saw the finished product.

Now we're working on the vanity. And of course when I say "we" I mean Brad. I'm just patiently waiting until I get to make the next design choice.

Does anyone have any thoughts or advice on flooring? We're leaning away from traditional tile but we've heard hardwood isn't the best idea with all the moisture and changing temps that go along with being a bathroom. We checked out some laminate hardwood on the weekend and I saw pleasantly surrpised. I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments or tweet me .

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Winter Blues (and Greys and Whites): A Compilation of Complaints

I’ve always loved summer: blue skies, green grass, cottaging, riding and most importantly the sun. I don’t mind the heat and humidity of July one bit.  I will never complain about nice weather. Interestingly, though, as much as I’ve always disliked winter I haven’t minded this winter as much as my facebook friends, neighbours, coworkers and parents have. It seems like all anyone can talk about is the weather. We've even named it the "polar vortex". As crazy as the weather has been (snow storms, ice storms, power outages, freezing rain and hail) I’d prefer a “real” winter to a melty, slushy, muddy and mild one. I like the look of white fluffy snow outside of my window a lot more than a big mud pit.

Harley loving the fresh snow (pre-icestorm!)

Our backyard pre-ice storm... lovely white snow!

Despite all this positive thinking the wintry weather does have downfalls around the house. The chickens have been in the coop for about two months now. They are extremely bored and are starting to get aggitated. My girls LOVE being outside. When they seem me coming down the hill in the morning they RUN to the door. There's always drama over who gets to come outside first. Needless to say, they are not enjoying being "cooped up" ....;) (pardon the pun - I had to!). With temperatures dropping to -40 degrees celcius in early January it just seemed too cold to me. (That and the fact that the door to their outdoor area is frozen shut). I've been trying to keep them occupied and content; every morning I bring them fresh produce to munch on (in addition to their regular feed which they have been going through a TON of). Despite the fact tat the coop is well insulated and has an excellent heat source the water kept freezing on us so we had to invest in a heated water bowl for them. It works but it's messier and holds less water than their regular waterer so I've had to refreshing their water two or three times a day. (I'm not complaining because clean water is a right all animals have - it's just more work than our other system). Brad installed pipes down to the coop in the fall so that in the spring we can have fresh running water right to our coop! I can't wait!

The girls after the first snowfall in November

Our yard is completely frozen. You could literally skate on it. In fact i've driven by kids playing hockey on their front lawns. I've fallen twice; the first time I dumped the bucket of water I was carrying all over myself and the second was last night and luckily I wasn't carrying anything but my takeout which survived the fall! Poor Harley can barely walk around she's taken to doing this little jog that seems to give her more traction. Unlike a normal winter no one seems to be having any luck chipping away at the ice and everytime it does warm up a bit its followed by more rain, snow or ice!

Riding has been off the table in the cold weather too. Thankfully this week has been milder which has been nice for the horses and riders! The horses that are boarded inside at our barn have been living inside 24/7 due to the icy conditions. Our barn owner has asked people to come out as much as possible to exercise them for the horses health and safety. Boomer lives outside and I can't say he's any better off! Although they spread manure over the outdoor paddock to create footing its still trecherous. On the bitterly cold nights and days of freezing rain the outdoor horses were brought in but otherwise they don't seem to mind being out in the actual weather conditions - its the footing that is the danger! I once read an article that said despite our human-logic horses prefer winter to summer; you'll see a horse standing out leaning in to a cold winter wind far more often than you'll see one doing that in the summer. It was an interesting and informative read about keeping horses outside that I wish I had saved so I could link it here. I'll try taking a look for it! The reason Boomer is boarded out is because he HATES being in a stall and will stall walk from morning to night if he has to be inside. He becomes hot, irritable and grumpy when he's kept in for too long which caused a lot of problems for us when we were showing. He likes to be one with nature and I support that... but I worry about him when the weather is as bad as it has been!

Okay, I'll stop complaining. Thanks for comiserating and feel free to share your winter animal keeping woes in the comments!

Friday, 10 January 2014

Flowers: Current Thoughts

My mom's friend who is an amazingly talented gardener has offered to do the flowers for our wedding. She told me to pick a flower and pick a style and she'll take care of everything. Amazing! She and a friend have done four weddings so far. She told me her favourite choices so far were yellow roses and sunflowers. Apparently roses are actually a budget-friendly option because they are so widely available. Unfortunately, I don't like roses. Hey, don't get me wrong, I like them on Valentines Day but not in my bouquet.

I like peonies.  I love how big, soft and feminine they are:

Source: Wedding Wire

Source: Pinterest
Source: Pinterest

Source: Pinterest
Source: Pinterest
 I rest my case.

However, my MIL quickly informed me peonies are spring flowers. It didn't even occur to me to think about flowers seasonally. Then I got sad because I didn't realize how much I had envisioned peonies!

One of my friends did some research and found out that the Alaskan spring is in August and many brides overnight ship peonies for their wedding day. Sounds amazing but expensive.

My MIL suggested chrysathemums as an alternative:

Source: My English Club

And they do look lovely in a bouquet (although definitely different colours):

Source: Merledress
So I will consider them, probably in white, to go with another coral coloured flower.

Luckily, I found Life of a Vintage Lover's blog on peony alternatives! It made me feel better than someone else was in the same boat. She clearly did her research and found some beautiful flower options! I will share my favourite photos but I highly recommend you go directly to her blog and read her post by clicking here :

Sweet Juliet Roses

Source: Life of a Vintage Lover
Cabbage Roses

Source: Life of a Vintage Lover

Source: Life of a Vintage Lover

Source: Life of a Vintage Lover
I did some more of my own "research" (cough, cough pinning) and found even more options most which bloom in August. I think I'm liking the idea of a really big soft white flower with some eye-catching coral coloured flowers. I like the big, bountiful bouquets. I also really love the vintage bouquets with intricate details on the stem portion (like the one above).

Garden Roses
 (no clue when they're in season but they are absolutely beautiful and come in the right colours)

Source: Pinterest

Source: Pinterest
Gladiolus(come in coral & bloom in August)

Source: bulbs4you
Hydrangea(come in coral & bloom in August. Would also look nice in white)

Source: Pinterest
Source: Boho Weddings
Succulents(so on trend right now and add a little quirkiness to the bouquet. Also look great for the guys)

Source: Confetti Daydreams
Source: Pinterest
So, obviously, there are a lot of choices to be made. Consulting with my personal florist (aka mom's friend) will no doubt help me decide what will fit out budget. Luckily, I have a while to digest and think before I have to decide on flowers.

Once I do decide the next hurdle will be deciding how to display them. Here are a few of my favourite options thus far:

Antique Blue  Mason Jars

Source: Pinterest
Vintage Crate

Source: Pinterest
Log Planter

Source: Pinterest
Well, that's all the brainstorming I can handle for now. I hope this post was somewhat helpful/interesting/inspiring to someone out there!

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Save the Date: Planning & Visualization

Hello everyone! Again, I've been MIA from this blog but this time for good reason! I've been blogging with a couple of friends from grad school AND Brad and I got engaged right before Christmas! We are thrilled; we've found a caterer, set a date and have a venue in the works! I've decided to blog about my wedding planning process here so that if I in fact learn anything I can help others and it will keep me more active on the blog. We are going to do as much DIY as possible. Our style will be rustic & vintage with a country flair without being full-fledged country. Country weddings are trending right now and as adorable as they are I want to do something different for ours. Replace the cowboy boots and hay bales with steamer trunks, rusty horse shoes and tattered shutters... in the most chic way possible of course! The wedding doesn't mean that we've abandoned our house reno though; the bathroom is making progress with tiles finally up around the shower!

DIY Save the Dates

Everything to do with our wedding has been fast and furious already. From the second we got engaged people started asking us when!? Literally, an hour after he proposed I was asked that question. According to my wedding binder we’re having an “express” wedding and because we decided to get married this summer so we’re already “behind”. Most of the wedding timelines I’ve seen start two years out. Personally, I’m not worried about it but it seems a lot of other people are so I decided to get the save the dates out ASAP. My goal is to have them in the mail by the end of January which gives people a solid seven months’ notice. I also wanted to do them DIY to save $$.

To mail or e-mail?

At first I considered sending off a quick e-mail. It’s easier, faster and postage in Canada is going up to $1 a stamp (from 60-some cents!!) so it made sense. But, when I started to think about it I realized I already had a vision for what I wanted and I realized It was more “me” to do a crafty DIY save the date. I decided that if I could keep it simple and affordable this was the way to go.

My idea was a rustic kraft paper postcard with a stamp on the front and basic info on the back.

First I did my research. I pinned and googled. I pictured myself making something on Photoshop. I experimented and realized my attempt looked too simplistic, extremely childish and was not in line with my original vision whatsoever. I can make my way around Photoshop but definitely not to the degree that I would be happy with for my save the dates. On vistaprint I found magnets! Adorable! But they're $4.99 (on sale) for 10.. that's just under $100 without envelopes, shipping, tax and postage. Yikes. I had to keep telling myself these are not the formal invitations and these could be free if I go with an e-mail. I will show you what I found and loved though in case the idea of magnets is too cute to pass up for you:

Cute Magnet
Source: VistaPrint
Change of plan. I started browsing Etsy. I found a plethora of amazingly gorgeous invites and save the dates. While I will consider getting fully prepared invitations sent to me in the mail I wanted something simpler for the save the dates and something with a personal touch. I am going to share a couple that I found and loved in case you want to go that route!

Rustic Forest Wedding
Source: CoreSolutions

Burlap & Lace
Source: RusticEleganceDesign

Sweet Wreath
Source: JuneBrideLettering
Finally, I found “printables”. Essentially, the Etsy vendor creates a customized .pdf with yoru names, date and location which you pay a VERY reasonable price for and then get to print them out yourself on whatever paper you so choose! No shipping, very little wait, no hassle. I love it! Luckily, I will be able to print mine at work and save on that cost as well.

Option One: Printable Post Cards
Source: SimplyFetchingPaper

Option Two: Vintage Postcards
Source: HeSawSparks
Option Three: 4 x 6
Source: missprintdesign
Option Four: The Winner!
Source: sweetinvitationco

I am thrilled with the design I chose. It simple, rustic, tredy (hello bunting!) and completely adorable. I approved them with the bf and my two most design savvy bridesmaids before purchasing them. The design I chose will allow me to print four save the dates on one 8 x 10 piece of paper so essentially 50 piece of whatever paper I choose will make 200 invites. Not bad at all! Further research taught me that this means I will need size A2 envelopes.

I spent most of yesterday searching the internet for envelopes. Initially I figured I could get some locally at Staples but all I could find were plain white invitation envelopes. Boring! Michaels? They did have kraft envelopes but they came with cards. The bright envelope in the picture was so eye catching I realized I really wanted a coral envelope which is my accent colour for the wedding. So, I decided on coral envelopes. Of course they turned out to be impossible to find. I couldn’t find ANY on Etsy. Sure there is orange, pink and red. There’s even peach, lava and sunrise. But coral? Nothing to be seen. I considered going with hot pink but even the lowest priced envelopes were over my budget even before shipping. I looked into the most popular paper goods websites. I found other people on message boards asking where are the coral envelopes? The prices on the paper goods websites were better than Etsy but still high especially with shipping and taxes to Canada. Apparently because paper is heavy shipping is totally outrageous for envelopes. I started to get discouraged. Then, I found them. Thank you god for American Amazon. $20 for 250. The shipping and taxes brought the total to $50. What a steal! AND they get to me before the end of the month. If you want to find them on Amazon go through the link on the picture or search:

"Mohawk BriteHue  - A2 Envelopes - ULTRA LAVA - 250 PK"

The Envelopes
Source: Amazon

I simply loved the look of the doily wrapped around the invite for the Burlap and Lace invites. I've seen it done multiple times and in multiple different fashions. I decided to order 200 paper doilies to do my own thing with them. One of my bridesmaids pointed out they might not fit into the envelopes but if it doesn't work out I'll just save them for the invites.

White Lace Doily
Source: TheEnchantedWedding
That's everything I purchased yesterday. I still need: 8 x 10 Kraft cardstock to print the .pdfs out on and rustic twine to wrap the doily around with (easy enough to find cheap & locally). What i still want are rubber stamps. Who knew they could be so chic?

Option One: Calligraphy Save the Date
Source: featherletter
Option Two: Postage Stamp
Source: stampcouture
 My issue now is that the option two stamp won't be ready in time. I've contacted the seller and they are going to look into rush international shipping. My question today is could I make my own save the date stamp?

That's all for planning and visualization for now. When I start receiving my different parts in the mail I'll put it all together and show you how it looks! :)