Paint Sale Purchases!

At the beginning of the month we were at our local Home Hardware picking up tinted primer for our living room. While we were in there, I noticed a sign advertising a giant paint sale later on in July. We don’t have a ton of money in the home improvement budget but I couldn’t resist a 40% off deal, so I squirreled some funds away over the next few weeks and rejoiced when the sale weekend came along and I had enough for a few cans of paint!

The sale paint was BeautiTone’s velvet interior paint, so a formula that is one step down from the paint we have been selecting lately – the velvet is what we used in our bedroom, versus the suede Designer Series used in the nursery and living room. At 40% off it came out to just under $25 a can once tax was added in, which was a good enough deal for me to pick a less swanky formula! One neat thing – some stores were doing a ‘buy now tint later’ deal, so even if you didn’t know what colours you wanted right away, you could still get the sale price. Had there been a sale like this when we closed on the house last year I would have been all over that.

I’ve cracked one can of the velvet so far and have a blog post upcoming, comparing it to the Designer Series (spoiler alert – I’m not disappointed in the cheaper stuff thus far). I’ll share each paint project as we complete it, and looking at these swatches above, I think I should write a post about how our entire colour scheme for the house has drastically changed from what we planned a year ago!

I’m a big fan of BeautiTone, overall, and I’m glad we’re using Canadian-owned, Canadian-manufactured paint. I’m glad we caught the sale! It’s over now, but I find that Home Hardware almost always has paint on sale, so if the kind you want is full price now, just keep an eye on the flyers.

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Baby Stuff, Decor, & Why I Don’t Mind

My living room often looks like this:


Actually, let’s zoom out a bit more. Because my living room actually looks more like this:


And that’s on a day when I got all the toys into a basket and M was happy in her exersaucer rather than playing with paper and rattling the baby gates like a gorilla (which is hilarious). To be honest, my living room usually has more things strewn about the floor, from errant stuffed animals to abandoned sippy cups. The missing baseboard just adds to the beauty, right?

I had to laugh when I read a popular design blogger lamenting the bright, garish toys defiling her carefully curated living room. I mean, I try to pick up the toys and put them all in one place at the end of the day. And I appreciate our wooden toys more than the plastic stuff – the IKEA moose, the cute little camera-shaped teether, the painted balls. But there is no hiding the fact that a baby lives here, and I’m fine with that.

I don’t have a Pinterest-worthy house. I’m working on individual rooms and doing my best to create an aesthetically pleasing space. But I’m left wondering where the heck big name bloggers keep their kids’ stuff. Where are the baby gates? Where are the tweenage boy band posters? Where are the overflowing laundry baskets?!

And for that matter – where is the Kleenex box, where is the boot mat, where is the weird-but-cherished artwork a beloved relative gave as a gift? Seriously, does everyone just hide the daily living stuff when the camera comes out? Where the eff are all of your storage bins, and where do you put your paint cans?

I think there is a balance to be had between form and function. I could hide all of our things away – the indoor/outdoor thermometer, the window fan, the little plastic xlyophone. I could replace our plastic watering can with a kitschy metal one. I could stuff the baby’s toys behind the couch every time someone came over. But that wouldn’t be realistic. A house is for living.


And so, I smile at the green and yellow and blue and red exersaucer in all of its farm animal glory, and the playpen covered in grinning woodland animals, and I delight in my daughter’s freedom to play in her home. I put the breakable objects out of reach, I consider tiny fingers when I set things out for display, and I look forward to hanging fingerpainted masterpieces on the wall (but not having fingerpaint on the wall – I’m drawing the line at literal drawing on the wall).

Maybe a time will come in the future when I can buy a white couch or a hand wash only throw pillow (but, um, I am also super messy so probably not). Until then, I like that my house is alive, vibrant, and kid-friendly.

Posted in Home & Garden, Parenting & Baby | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

I Don’t Hate My House

I go through fits and bursts of feeling neutral about our house and feeling SO VERY FRUSTRATED with our house. Usually, if I’m not actively trying to fix or change something about it, I’m okay with it. But as soon as we go past the superficial – looking at molding, trying to fix a pipe, stepping close enough to a wall to see the paint splatters and scribbles all over it… I feel like we were duped and bought a lemon.

I always come back to the same refrain – “This house has potential. We can unlock it.” Every time we do something, we try to do it right. That means not getting paint everywhere, it means installing tamper resistant, clean, new receptacles, it means repairing broken things in a safe, smart way. Sometimes I wish we had bought the kind of house where you just move in, paint a wall, and call it yours, but I do get satisfaction out of taking something junky and making it nice again.

I figure this house was once one of the swankiest homes on the block. I would have loved to see it in its heyday, when panelling was hip. I imagine it with shag carpeting and a fire engine red bathroom and smile. I would have even liked to see it two or three owners ago, because I think SOMEONE cared about this house at some point. Whoever came along and splashed paint and stain all over everything, installed outlets upside down, glued vinyl over original hardwood – they did this house a disservice.


So I complain. I mutter that I hate this house, paintbrush in hand, wondering why yet another simple project has turned into something that will take twice the time and four times the expected cost. But I don’t hate it, really. Maybe I’m anthropomorphizing too much but this house needs love. It needs someone to hold its hand and make it feel better.

And whoever lives here after us some day in the future will know that we loved it, and we treated it kindly, and if they get glitter paint all over the walls I’m gonna show up in their windows and shake my fist for a week.

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Sample Killah: Report #3

I’m noticing a trend of less and less samples destroyed for this challenge, each week. I’ve cracked open a few more fun ones today (my face is currently covered in gold glitter which looks atrocious, really) in hopes of finishing off a larger chunk for the end of the month, though! There is no way I’m going to get through my entire sample collection, but I’m steadily tossing out previously unused things.
  • 6 samples killed this week
  • So that Tresemme stuff is supposed to be activated with a blowdryer and flat iron – there’s a styling cream that goes along with it. I basically never, ever heat style my hair and I really don’t have time for it during this stage of my life in particular, so I used it without the cream and without the tools. Surprisingly, it still smoothed my hair out a bit!
  • I pick hand soap based on how cute the packaging is because the last time we had a real soap dispenser, the kind you fill up with bulk soap, it rusted. Honest Company soap is not that thrilling but hey, it made my hands clean.
  • The bee venom moisturizer is really thick and rich – I was glad to throw it out because it’s the lotion I tossed in my hospital bag when I went to have M and looking at it gave me a nauseous feeling after.
  • Aveda products smell good.
  • I have nothing to say about undereye primer other than that I put it all over my (gold-covered) face to try and use up the package. Now I feel itchy.

Ta-da! Just a tiny bit of time left in this challenge – I’m going to make my nails pretty this weekend, I swear.

Check out the Sample Killah challenge at!

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Posted in Life | Tagged | 9 Comments

Garden Tour

I like to head out in the morning and do a garden tour. I don’t always get to do this – sometimes a shower feels more important, or we’re all running late and can’t spare the time, or it’s pouring rain. But when I get the chance to look over what I’m growing, I feel happy. I call myself a black thumb but I semi-secretly think I’m actually okay at not killing everything (I’m grateful for well-timed thundershowers this year, however, and I freely admit that I’m not growing anything challenging, and all of the well established perennials have nothing to do with me).

Here’s a picture-heavy virtual tour!


My first stop is the firepit garden. I grew the peas there, on a whim, and I’m happy with how they turned out. Matt built a little ladder out of twigs and they really took off! They’ve topped out and I think we’ll let them stop there this year. Next year I have grand plans for a lot more peas. Next to the pea ladder I have nasturtiums, which just started flowering, and zinnias, which are slowly growing. Beside that I threw down a ton of basil seeds – I need to thin these guys out but they’re also growing slowly so I’m not quite ready to dig them up. All of this stuff came from seeds!


Next to the basil is the sad half of the firepit. The pink impatiens are sometimes happy and sometimes sad, but not growing very large. The purple and white alyssum is pretty much dead but still improbably hanging on just enough to flower sadly. The creeping thyme that was there last year is doing well, though!

After I check out the firepit I head up to the garden tiers, which are immediately to the right. On the way I take a look at the creeping thyme – I want it to creep more! I also have no idea what to do about all the grass growing throughout it.



These freaking tufted vetch weeds are everywhere. I yank and yank and yank and they keep on coming. Apparently bees like it so I won’t complain.


I planted some sedum at the top of one of the thyme patches. I can’t tell if it’s spreading out but I like it and I want to plant more next year.


One more plant in the ‘things that creep’ category! I bought this creeping jenny on a whim, hoping it would fill in some of the bare spots around the thyme. So far it has nearly doubled. The biker frog is Noodlecycle. My dad got him at an estate sale and he’s quite happy in those fern things (which I spent a month attempting to dig out until I decided they could stay there and go nuts even though I have not a clue as to what they are).


I showed you the tiers last week but here’s a look at some of my favourite container plants. The red begonia is gorgeous, although it’s still rallying back from an incident in which the flowers and leaves turned brown and wilted and dried up while we were out of town for a weekend. That tiny tomato is planted in a waaaay too small container and still managed to flower! And my one healthy broccoli plant may just give us a veggie.


After looking at the tiers (and usually some quick deadheading and weeding) I hike over to the dug-in vegetable beds. These are two small little beds – next year we want to till the entire platform. It’s partway up our backyard hill and I’ve almost fallen down dozens of times, especially when the ground is wet, but it gets a lot of sun. On the right we have tomatoes, and on the left, kale and peppers.


I’m thrilled with how well the kale is doing, and even Matt is impressed with my tomatoes (he thought it was weird that I picked a determinate variety – next year I’m going to get indeterminates and deal with staking). The peppers, on the other hand, never really took off. Cats keep digging at them and they’re small. I’d be surprised if they are successful.


Just a few more feet up the hill is the raised bed. Matt put this together one evening when I was lamenting the lack of garden space in our yard. It isn’t pretty but it is definitely doing its job. The radishes, bush beans, lettuce, carrots and cucumbers live here.


I can’t believe how well the beans are doing! I swear they shot up overnight. I’m gonna highlight the lettuce, too, because I’m salivating over it every time I head up to check on it. I can’t wait for salad!


On the way back down the hill there are a few more garden beds I occasionally check in on – I’m not as invested in them, but I’m interested to see what’s happening.


There’s the rhubarb plant, growing next to our broken shed. We’ve harvested it three times now, but I’m not sure if we’ll harvest any more this year or let it store up its energy to get through winter. Once we get the shed situation sorted out – it needs to be repaired or scrapped – I wouldn’t mind dividing this guy and having more rhubarb!


There’s this sad, neglected garden bed in the very corner of our yard by the garage. I didn’t get around to weeding this – or doing anything with it, really. Matt wants to take out the L shape and make it a solid rectangle, and I’m fine with that, but it’s a lost cause until next year – we used our garden energy on the other half of the yard this time around!


And, there’s Matt’s experimental garden. He keeps rescuing sad seedlings and bits of fruits and vegetables from the kitchen. I don’t know what half of this stuff is, but he faithfully waters all of it.

That’s our backyard garden so far. I’m loving seeing everything grow and bloom – I’m hopeful we’ll have more bright, sunny days, and just enough rain to keep me from having to bust out the watering can.

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