October 21, 2016

Since working full-time teaching kindergarten these past 5 years, my poor blog has become so neglected.  Now that my hubby and I are empty nesters (and I am only in my mid-40's!!) I have time on my hands to focus on my blog AND I need a creative outlet after dealing with kindergarteners ALL day long. As cute as they are, they are a needy bunch and I need an outlet or I might end up drinking myself to death. Oops, did I say that out loud? That darn inside voice just keeps speaking up! BUT I am in need of a better platform (any suggestions out there?), possibly a new URL- thinking of jumping on the bandwagon and just using my name instead of my maiden name that I used for my URL, fix up some of the pages on my blog - finally make a project gallery page just to name a few.

Back to what this post is about. I love what other bloggers do sharing what caught their eye that week, so I am doing the same.

So to celebrate Friday-yay! Here is what has caught my eye this week.

I love, love, love The One Room Challenge. As a guest participant in the early days, I love seeing how far Linda has come with her idea! The guest participants are real fancy pants designers unlike me, so their projects are spectacular! Even my friend Nancy is a guest participant this round!

Lauren Liess created another beautiful kitchen at her dad's lakehouse.

And how I love this newest show on Gusto TV, Canada's Next Designer. The winner wins a designer contract with Ikea! What a dream that would be. And what is even more fabulous is Tommy Smythe is the guest host!

MyDomaine lists 8 Top Designers Who Were Self Taught. I had no idea!

Fingers crossed I can get my blogging mojo back and be back with more regular posts!

Happy Weekend!


Vancouver Modern Home Tour

August 31, 2016

Have you ever driven by a beautifully designed home and wondered what it looks like inside? Now is your chance with the 4th annual Vancouver Modern Architecture and Design Society's Home Tour on September 17, 2016. 

I had the privilege of attending their home tour a few years back and LOVED it. I have to admit when I go for walks in the evening I love peering into peoples home from the street. Creepy...but I am always curious to see how other people live in their homes. 

What is so enjoyable about the Modern Home Tour is that the beautifully designed and decorated homes are open so you get to walk through and explore. It is a real design treat! This year's self-guided tour has a line-up of 5 local homes designed by local architecture, designers and builders. Chip and Shannon Wilson School of Design (Chip is the founder of Lululemon) are the non-profit partners again this year. 

I can't wait to hop in the car and explore some eye candy. Check out this website for information and to purchase tickets. 

Who is going to join me? 

DIY Outdoor Table

July 15, 2016

What fun I had working with Lowe's Canada to create a Backyard on a Budget! But it didn't come without it's challenges. Being the adventurous DIYer, I decided to build a table. My husband was skeptical and instructed me not to sell our old glass patio table until I was actually finished my DIY one. 

Pfffttt... he of little faith.

 I searched the web to find a table that I liked with clear instructions and one that didn't require fancy power tools. 

 I chose this one from Shanty 2 Chic, which was featured on Ana White's blog along with clear instructions! 

Using an inherited mitre saw and a cordless power drill, which I discovered during my project had a battery pack that drained quickly, I managed to build a solid and heavy table!

While it looks fabulous, I learned a few things along the way. 

Tip #1: Using good working and quality power tools makes a huge difference. 

I managed to use what I had, but boy it would have been amazing to use power tools that cut precisely! My dad came to help me with our mitre saw which he gave to me when they downsized. He knew what angle to cut the wood as the mitre saw does not cut at a 45 degree angle when it says it does. He was able to fudge the angle so it worked. Even with his adjustments it wasn't perfect. Since this table was for outdoors I didn't really care.

Tip #2: Use good quality wood!

 I can't stress that enough. I used 2X4's the cheapest wood I could find. I spent over an hour sorting through the piles of wood at Lowe's looking for straight pieces. Even with all that time sorting my wood warped after it was assembled and stained. I have a bit of a tilt which is fixed with a wood shim under one side of the table. The table top pieces also "waved" a bit. It all adds to the rustic charm of the table though.

Tip #3: Stain a scrap piece of wood before staining your table

Even though I did do that to sample various stains I had in my collection, I still ended up staining the table darker than I thought because I attempted to "touch" up a spot which you can do with paint but not with stain! I learned that the hard way. I ended up with blotchy dark shiny spots and had to sand and add another layer of stain which resulted in a darker colour.

For the stain I used Minwax's Polyshade in Espresso finish.

Minwax kindly provided me with a few can of stains in a variety of shades 18 months ago and I had yet to use them. As an oil-based stain, I found Polyshades more challenging to work with than water based stains. This has only been my second staining project ever, so truthfully I have only used a water based stain once. Frankly, staining SCARES me. I am a paint girl and know almost everything to know about paints but stain is a mystery to me! Polyshades did end up having a nice deep rich colour because it has a built-in clear coat.  Even though Polyshades has a built in clear coat, I still applied 4 coats of a clear coat that was formulated for outdoor use. Now I hope the table can withstand the rain we get our west.

This was a fun challenge and I have to admit I would LOVE to improve my woodworking skills. My inspiration is Chris Kauffman from Gray House Furniture who is a woodworking wonder woman! You have to follow her on Instagram: @chris_kauffman  How I would love to be able to whip up wood working projects like she does, she makes it look so easy.

Now if only we can get some summer weather here out west so we can really get better use out of our newly decorated outdoor space!

Backyard on a Budget Reveal!

July 4, 2016

Finally after weeks of working on my DIY table I can reveal our patio that I created with the help of Lowe's Canada. My challenge was to create a Backyard on a Budget with $750. I wanted a wooden table but to purchase one readymade would have blown the budget. Why not build one! It was ambitious, but I managed to create one with supplies from Lowe's for under $100! There were DIY setbacks, namely staining problems. More on that later!

After browsing Lowe's website I decided upon the Outdoor Treasures wicker Severson chair with the seat pad. Each chair with cushion came to $90. I happened to come across a sale when I purchased them where I paid no sales tax, so I managed to get them 12% off! They are comfortable to sit on, they stack and help create the warm inviting look I was going for with our outdoor space. (But if you hurry they are on sale right now!) 

The cost of the wood for the table was $75. That left me with a bit of wiggle room to buy a few accessories and plants. I purchased 3 copper lanterns with battery operated candles. Having a southern exposure, any candle that sits on the patio melts in the heat. Since I have a bit of a black and white weakness, I added two outdoor pillows in a trellis pattern.  Then I had fun creating a succulent planter for the tabletop using a planter I already had. Using some old plastic planters I had kicking around, I freshened them up with some spray paint and filled them with a few plants such as potato vine, coleus and petunias from Lowe's garden center to give some colour.  Patio string lights that I had added that layer of ambience. You can buy similar lights at Lowe's such as these.

My family enjoys hanging out on the patio now! If only we could get rid of the mosquitoes! 

Here is the before:

The after:

I love the Allen + Roth Greek Key pillows - they are a great deal right now - $10 off!

Lowe's selection of lanterns are to die for. It was hard to choose! And I love how the succulents are surviving and thriving on the table! The cost of the succulents in the planter was under $10!

Petunias are my favourite annual to grow in pots and the added chartreuse colour from the potato vine and coleus is just what the patio needs!

I love how the patio feels at night with the lanterns all aglow and the lights turned on!

* Lowe's Canada provided me with a gift card to create this Backyard on a Budget. 

Backyard on a Budget : Part II

May 20, 2016

As spring moves on at a rapid pace my backyard patio makeover is at a standstill.  I am working with Lowe's Canada to re-create our backyard space on a budget, you can read all about it in my first post, Our plan is to makeover the patio area as our family loves to sit outside and enjoy the sun. We have a very old and well loved patio set that has seen better days. My plan is to build a table for the space because the one I really want is NOT budget friendly while adding some chairs from Lowes. It's all about a budget makeover, a challenge that gets the creative juices flowing. Pricing out the supplies, I figured it will cost under $100! My problem has been time to start. My son is a competitive rower and we are in the midst of regatta season. Almost every weekend we are away at a regatta. We had one weekend free and I was going to get started but then he was invited to a regatta in the US and off we went. So...Victoria Day weekend - we are going to get it done!

These two patios spaces have been my favourite for a few years. I love the mix of wood and wicker. Add in a few black and white stripes mixed in with red, and I am weak at the knees.

Lowes has so many amazing products, it was hard to choose which way to go. 

I fell in love with these chairs, and their price point is amazing! They cost $70, plus $19 for the cushion, which came to $90. They have been broken in already, the family approves! What I love is the cushions are simple in design so they can be re-upholstered in a snap. Our current patio chairs have cushions that smell like stinky armpits but to replace them would cost the same as new chairs. 

Throw in the Allen + Roth pillow and it's a done deal. Now if only Lowes had more.....I could only find one. Hoping this weekend I can snag a few more. Such popular pillows.

As I was perusing the assecories section, the lanterns were drool worthy. Being a bit of a lantern lover, I had a hard time choosing until I saw these. 

Unique in their design and on-trend, I couldn't leave them behind. I think the key to being budget friendly is building the base with classic pieces like a solid table and chairs and change the accessories as the trends change. Since we have a southern facing yard, wax candles melt. Lowes has battery operated candles - I will grab those the next time I am back.

 Facing our patio is our shed, I am adding a bit of visual interest to the shed with this....

And this weekend I plan on getting the wood for the table. This table is my inspiration. 

I think I can build it. After last year's potting bench success, I feel my basic woodworking skills will suffice, even though my husband said, don't use the miter saw by myself. He seriously thinks I will cut my fingers off. Hmmm....he might have a point. I am off to Lowe's this weekend to gather up the remaining items needed to finish up the space. Wish me luck!

*This post is sponsored by Lowes Canada

Backyard on a Budget

April 29, 2016

When we moved into this house the back yard was an eyesore. The previous tenant had created raised garden beds using weird angles and in strange places. It was frankly a mess. My husband and I used a bit of elbow grease to rip up the beds, move the soil and using perennial cuttings from my mom's garden to fill in the flower beds.

Now that the garden beds are looking 1000 times better, it is time to set sights on our patio area.  I am working with Lowe's Canada to create a Backyard on a Budget and this girl is redoing her patio area! Our sad, sad, sad patio table with cushions that smell like stinky armpits have seen better days.
It will requite a bit of DIY, involving some wood and stain (I am building a table) along with some mixing and matching. My husband has his doubts. All he said was, "Don't saw off your fingers, and don't sell the patio table until we see the finished product."

 Oh, he of little faith!

Last Sunday I ventured out to the nearest Lowe's at Queensborough Landing. We on the west coast only have ONE Lowe's, but I hear another is about to open in Abbotsford! Before Sunday, I had never been inside Lowe's. Being somewhat familiar with the store because of the radio commercials narrated by the deep and sexy voice of Bryan Baeumler's, I had no idea what was in store. After shopping at other big box hardware stores for most of my adult life, Lowe's was a pleasant change from the usual. Having a quick tour of the backyard living section with the assistant manager, David, who explained that Lowe's only strives to offer high quality products with varying price points. I was impressed! Their outdoor accessories were to die for. Feeling like a kid in a candy shop, it was hard deciding which way I was going to go design-wise.

Check out my favourite finds:

They have a gorgeous selection of outdoor rugs.

Their lanterns are stunning.

These copper beauties may have followed me home.

And I am still thinking I may have to go back for these copper beauties.

And HELLO gorgeous! I have no words...

Loved these pillows. But I found some even more delicious ones.

Browsing through their garden center was so relaxing, I always find inspiration roaming among plants and flowers. There is something serene about garden centers. Don't you think?

After browsing through Lowe's for over an hour, feeling overwhelmed with all the selection. I narrowed down my choices. These chairs, and pillows all came home with me.

Here is my inspiration for the backyard.

Style at Home Photo: Edward Pond

Style at Home

Follow along behind the scenes on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or Snapchat (barbaramatson)!

I can't wait to get started!

XO Barbara

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