Tuesday, 29 April 2014

I Love Online Auctions

I've had amazing luck in 2014 with online auctions. Often downsizing or estate sales, these auctions are an amazing way to find an ecletic array of vintage and antique goods! And they're addictive. My first purchase was an assorted lot of teacups for our wedding favours. I got them for a steal. My second purchase, which I picked up Friday afternoon, were two items from a flea market that I frequent often.

Vintage Hobnail Milk Glass Light Fixtures

I snapped this pic in the back of my car. How gorgeous are these lamps? I'm officially obsessed with milk glass! They're in good working order and simply need a shade and a bulb. I went out looking for shades last night but didn't have any luck at Homesense or Home Outfitters they seem to only sell the whole lamp. I'm going to try Lowes tonight. I was thinking of a simple black shade... what colour or type of lamp shade would you put on these babies?

Five Antique Porcelain Door Knobs & 1 Antique Glass Door Knob

I'm using these antique door knobs as place holders for the wedding. I already have someand jumped when I saw these on the online auction! It's a cute little DIY that I will post on the blog once I've collected more knobs. Considering what I spent on the glass knobs I purchased for our  these were amazingly priced with my high bid of $29 for the lot. They also threw in two enamel style dishes (pictured below the knobs). Not sure what I will do with them yet but they're kind of cool!

Advice on Using Online Auctions

  • Wait to bid: getting into a bidding war on something you really want with five days remaining will just drive the final bid price up. I only bid on the last day of the auction so I have a clearer idea of what the final price is going to be. Don't get excited when you find an amazing piece for $2 on day one. It won't last! That said...
  • Go for the deals: Sometimes things do go for ridiculously low prices. I find this especially happens with mid-low range art. I've seen it go for $2-3 on the final day of bidding. Keep an eye out for nice frames even if the art isn't totally to your taste. Sort the items from low to high to control yourself from looking at that gorgeous harvest table that is already at $300.
  • Decide how much you want to spend: when you see an item you want, whether it's an old steamer trunk, a vintage typewriter or a piece of art, decide what the most you'll pay for it is up front. Do some comparisons on ebay or kijiji to see what it might be worth. Don't overspend! It's easy to get pulled in to a bidding war and end up over paying for something you didn't even want before you opened up the auction.
Most importantly have fun! Let me know what amazing finds you've found on online auctions I'd love to hear your thrifting story.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The Old Bathroom

Finally, finally, finally after months of hard work (on my bf's part not mine) and patience the old bathroom is GONE. No more teal and black tile, no more weird shutter cupboards, no more ugly lighting, old mirror, outdated vanity, scummy tub or old toilet. Can you believe a family with four kids used this bathroom as their only full bath? They were troopers! I could not be more excited to see the bathroom completely cleared out. I'm still going to do a room tour of the sparkly NEW bathroom but there are a few finishing touches I am hoping to complete first so that you can have the full experience.


Originally, the plan was to convert the old bathroom into a main floor laundry room. Our plan to put in a patio door and build a deck off the back is still going to happen however when it came down to measurements and practicality this room is simply too small to be a functioning laundry room. There was no way to position the machines and have the door without being cramped. So we scrapped the laundry room and kept our dreams of a patio alive! Taking the wall down actually opens up the space and makes the odd main floor layout a little more spacious and open. We're going to treat it like a mudroom to out back with some bench seating and space to hang jackets and store clothes.

What would you do with this space?

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Planning the Jack and Jill

Jack and Jill wedding fundraisers seem to be one aspect of a wedding that create quite a bit of controversy among guests. Some people hate them with a passion! They see them as a "money grab" and one more thing that they have to cash out for (in addition to presents, outfits, babysitters etc.). While I agree that couples shouldn't PROFIT off of their wedding, I think that Jack & Jill's can be fun and cost party-goers no more (in reality probably less) than a night out on the town or dinner at a nice restaurant. Why not spend Saturday night helping out the bride & groom if you're going to go out and do something anyway? Again, in moderation: a couple I know had a Jack and Jill despite having the wedding PAID for by their parents and simply pocketed the cash from the Jack & Jill. In my opinion that is wrong but throwing one to help pay for your wedding is totally okay! In many cases young couples really need that extra money to front the bills. I've been to a couple and for any friends whose party I couldn't attend I bought a ticket to support them anyway. I think they're fun and don't cost any individual person too much.

We're throwing our Jack & Jill in June. Interestingly, I couldn't find many tutorials or blogs on the internet so I've decided to write my own.

My Dream Jack & Jill

My dream Jack & Jill would have been a party outside, preferably on a friend's farm or in a backyard, where we could sell alcohol ourselves, have a BBQ and serve delicious homemade food. Good music, great weather and all of our friends would be there. I think this would have been the best profit margin if we had the perfect place to host it with a pre-existing sheltered area. Unfortunately, we don't have such a place to use and to rent one or rent a tent for a backyard would have been far too expensive. (Tent rental = up to $2K in our area).  Plus, we would have had to pay for additional things like tables & chairs, either a DJ or a sound system, portable outhouses ... it adds up quickly and suddenly becomes almost like the wedding! Sadly, we realized an outdoor party wasn't the best way to make money.

The Reality

So, my dreams are not going to come true for the Jack & Jill. My bridesmaid who took event planning in school reassured me that they were taught that outdoor events are often way more expensive than indoor ones. Plus, we're having my dream wedding at the most amazing outdoor venue I could ever imagine so I decided I could take a loss on this one. That left us with the question: where else could we host the party? A country legion or hall is just about my worst nightmare. It's too country for me; they just aren't my style of party at all. I want something a little more chic and trendy. So we compromised by finding a hall type venue in town.

The Venue

  • Must be cost efficient (the average rate was $300 in our area for a hall-type space)
  • Must have a cash bar with enough bar tenders to keep party go-ers happy
  • Must have room for fun & games and a dance floor
  • Must either have reasonably priced food or allow you to bring in your own
  • Must allow you to stay until a decent hour
  • It's a bonus if... they have a sound system that allows you to plug in an ipod save on the cost of a DJ for the night
We crunched the numbers on a couple venues before deciding on one. The cheapest venue that was in the best location ended up wanting us to be packed up and out by 12 a.m. (way too early!) and didn't have a sound system for us to plug into. We decided early on to save on the price of a DJ by creating an awesome playlist for the night and simply plugging an ipod into a sound system. We assumed that halls would have such a thing already set up.

The venue we chose is a local curling club that was built within the past five years so it's totally new and up-to-date. The room is very nice looking, has a big bar with two bartenders for the night, room for 200 guests, tables and chairs set up, a sound system to plug in to and we can party until 2 a.m.! We're thrilled.

Pick a Theme

A theme makes it much easier to pull everything together. Popular party themes include Hawaiian/Beach Party, Carnival/Circus, 80s/neon, etc. etc.

We are going with a 90s theme as per my event planning bridesmaid's suggestion. We grew up in the 90s so it's the perfect decade to celebrate. Once we started throwing ideas around there were endless game and decorating ideas to go with it. Other themes seemed tired and over-done but this one spoke to us.


Games are run by the bridal party. They should be fun and cheap enough for people to want to play. I've been to a country J&J where we did minnow racing and log chopping. For our 90s theme we're thinking:

  • Beanie Baby Toss
  • Pogs Tournament
  • Battleship Station
  • MASH
  • Kareoke 
  • Board Games

We will also do the usual games like toonie toss and goldfish insurance. 


Food should be free for guests. We are going to serve something easy and affordable like pizza! The rest of the food will tie into our theme:

  •  90s Candy Station: baby pops, rockets, popeyes....
  • Cupcakes decorated like a 90s show like Pokemon
  • Crazy Straws for drinks
  • Soup Nazi soup station (I love Seinfeld!)

This is what we've planned so far. We still have two months to do the final planning. Do you have any awesome 90s themed ideas? Comment or tweet me I'd love to hear them! 

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Spring Chickens: Part II

My Spring List

Welcome to Part II of my Spring Chicken Keeping Post! If you didn't read Part I you can click here.

I've got a pretty good understanding of the chicken keeping basics. It's been less than a year and I've figured out a lot. My goal for this spring is to make my chicken's lives even better.  I was thrilled to be able to finally  put the girls outside yesterday. When I left in the morning they hadn't worked up the nerve to venture out yet but when I arrived home all twelve of them were happily enjoying the "warm" weather (is 8 degrees Celsius really considered warm this year?) and sunshine. 

A Couple of our Girls Hanging Out
Now that spring is almost  here I want to make some changes and upgrades to our coop.

Dust Bath Upgrade: Chickens love to take dust baths and it's great for them! Our outdoor area is a dusty space which we filled with mulch from trees we cut down on our property last spring before the chickens arrived. I spent an entire day "prepping" their outdoor space.  Last summer, the hens made their own dust bath spots in the ground. This year, I would like to make a special dust bath for them. I have decided to fill my dust bath with sand. There are many options for what to fill the tub with and a simple google search will show you there are strong opinions about it. You will often hear about using food grade diatomaceous earth (DE). I have decided to avoid DE for now since it's recommended that people wear masks when dealing with DE I can't see how it's okay for the hen's respiratory systems, either.If anyone has any information on this I'd love your input! :)
Up-cycled Dog Bed becomes a Dust Bath
Source: Inside the Chicken Coop

This is the type of basin I want to use!
Source: Little Farm in the Big City
A Ladder: Although my hens have tons of roosting spots there is something so cute about chickens hanging out on a ladder! It would provide them with more roosting spots and  some great photo ops. I have always wanted an outdoor ladder but since we haven't enclosed the top of our coop it might act as an easy escape route. For now, an interior ladder is on my spring list.

Source: Pinterest
An Exterior Light: Whether it's a solar light or actually hooked up to electricity it would be nice to have a light source at the coop. Our coop is closer to the back of our yard and it gets a little dark on my walk down sometimes. I always get the girls in before dark in the summer however in the winter it would have been really nice (luxurious, even) to have some light down at the coop!  I love the two luxury coops pictured below and the hanging lights are perfect!

Source: Urban Garden
Source: The Art of Doing Stuff

Improve the Exterior: For "Year One" the outdoor yard and interior coop were the priorities. Installing the run, electricity and water went way over our original concept of what keeping chickens would cost us. This year I can have a little more fun with the exterior and decor. First thing I want to do is power wash the exterior and paint it. There are brackets for hanging baskets and I'd love to get some flowers outside this year. There are "flower beds" on the front and side of the coop that were a hot mess of bushes and weeds last year. I'd also love to order a cute sign off of Etsy for the coop.

I love the black hardware on the chicken coop below! I also love the rustic charm of the second pictured coop. Maybe I can add some rustic touches to mine.. the shutters and hanging star are super cool and trendy.

Source: Tracy Porter
Have you noticed that when you search Chicken Coop on Pinterest every coop is a glamorous, impeccably clean mini-mansion? If i've learned one thing about chickens this year it's that they are dirty. They poop everywhere. I don't understand how people let them in their houses? They look adorable but where is all of the chicken poop? Probably just outside of the photograph. As much as I want to make improvements I want them to benefit the chickens more than me. They don't care about gallery walls or couches in their coop; they like being outside and pecking at bugs. I'll try not to forget that as I get caught up in pictures of luxury coops that belong in the Hamptons. :) If you want to see some of these over-the-top coops check out my Chicken Keeping board on Pinterest! I pin everything from chandeliers to coops with seating. Oh, I also pin informative and helpful chicken related articles too.