Holiday Decorating 2021

Here’s a look at some of the holiday decorating and wreaths I made for 2021. I will do a second post with all the wreaths from this year.

If you’ve been reading my blog or seen my Instagram, you’ll know that I love making wreaths and using fresh material to decorate.

Fresh Greenery

We try to limit how much stuff we store in bins so using fresh greens that go into the yard waste at the end of season does the trick…and bonus smells good too! The only place I use artificial is for a staircase garland.

I started early with making boxwood wreaths to hang in our windows with greens clipped from our yard and silk ribbons that I made (available in my Etsy shop).

Boxwood will last a good 6-8 weeks indoors, especially if it gets some moisture from fogged up windows.

Tree Alternatives

I cut branches off some of our trees and shrubs to make “trees” in the front planters, indoors and as out Christmas tree.

I have tried potted trees in the past but they need to be maintained all year so instead I use branches. That way, at the end of season to the yard waste they go.

Benefits of using branches instead of trees:

  • No trees wasted
  • Less maintenance than a potted tree
  • Nothing plastic and bulky that needs to be stored.

Front Door Decor

The front porch area changed in the Spring with the One Room Challenge when I added seating. For winter I made a new pillow cover …maybe we’ll have a cup of hot chocolate here on a mild day.

The front door set up is similar to last year. I start setting it up in November with a winter look and then add some sparkle in December near Christmas.

After the holidays, I remove the sparkle and keep this display for the rest of winter. I added battery powered tiny lights to the trees that add a glow to the trees for the 3 pm sunset.

For the past few years I have been selling wreaths locally in December. I will share more pictures of the ones I made this year in another blog post.

To see more photos of the outdoor decorating I have a few Reels on my Instagram to get a more detailed look.

Linen Stockings & Silk Ribbons

Recently I have turned my love of decorating into items available in my shop.

Well made pieces made with natural materials aren’t always easy to find in stores so I’m making them.

I have several neutral linen fabrics that can be mixed and matched. They can be personalized with ribbons, ornaments to change the look over the years.

Most of the time I make ribbons for myself and now added them to the shop. They are 100% silk with frayed edges and available in a few metallic colours.
Stripe, Cream and Oatmeal
Stockings with Silk Ribbons

Right now my Etsy shop is where I have the ribbons available.


Here’s a look at my winter wreath making. These boxwood wreaths are for the front windows in my home. We are so lucky that someone planted a boxwood shrub in our yard years ago.

I cleared out the Fall decor (cooked the pumpkins, put the grasses in yard waste) and I’m beginning to decorate the front porch, more to come soon!

Faux Finish -Plaster Accent Wall

With the weather now perfect for leaving the windows open, I’m catching up on a couple of indoor painting projects. I wanted to give our room personality on a tiny budget of time and resources.

A few basic supplies was all that was needed. I had an idea of the look I was going for and then just jumped in and started improvising.

Here is how the room looked after adding these painted end tables turned nightstands (see previous post).

Here are a few pictures of the process.

There is some subtle texture that shows when the sun shines.

The lamps looked a bit different when I brought them home. I added new lamp shades and replaced the harps to lower where the shade sat, rather than searching for a uncommon shade size. The harp and shades were from Home Depot.

These were the nightstands before. I chose them for the open style on the bottom and the fluted detail around the top edge.

Homemade Chalk Paint

With a darker, warmer paint colour on the walls the room instantly feels cozier with a shoestring budget – both in supplies and time. Those are my favourite kind of projects these days.

Now that its Autumn I’m making wreaths again. I will have more of these wheat style wreaths available in early October. They ship within Canada and will be available for local pick up too.

Homemade Chalk Paint

Painting to refresh used furniture is nothing new.

Over the years I’ve done lots of pieces using brand name chalk paint and now I find that making my own works just as well and it’s so easy to do.

Basically by adding Plaster of Paris to house paint it adds the grit needed to help it stick to the wood surface.

Homemade Chalk Paint Recipe:

  • 1.5 cups Interior House Paint
  • 1/3 cup Plaster of Paris
  • 1/3 cup Water

*These are estimates. Once the supplies are mixed the paint will start to thicken slightly.


Mix the supplies together. First apply primer on the piece of furniture, then coat with the chalk paint. Seal with a clear coat intended for chalk paint. I tried a water based product that was applied with a brush, it didn’t have the toxic smell like other wax sealants do.

Some Examples

Primer and First Coat of Homemade Chalk Paint

There are so many used pieces of furniture around and changing the colour can easily update them.

After Applying a Clear Topcoat

I keep a box of Plaster of Paris and there is plenty to mix up gallons of chalk paint with leftover house paint. It works well on cabinets, mirrors and end tables.

Once you have the basic supplies it’s so easy to whip up a batch for the latest thrift store/marketplace find.

ORC – Spring 2021 – Reveal

Here we are at the final reveal for the One Room Challenge. As I’ve mentioned before, I love these challenges as motivation to complete a project with others working on theirs at the same time.

I set out to continue projects started in Spring 2020 which included exterior updates and in the vegetable garden.

Vegetable Garden

Here’s a look at where we started when we moved in July 2019 and where we are now almost two years later. The changes are mainly from changing paint/stain colours and adding furniture, plus fencing to protect the vegetable garden from deer.

Summer 2019
Summer 2021

The majority of this area was completed last year for the One Room Challenge. I painted the existing raised beds white, stained the hot tub taupe & built deer fencing to create a garden room.

Summer 2019

I added a couple of other raised beds this year and as well as an apple tree nearby and a nectarine tree.

We went crazy with the peas and now that I’ve harvested them all the beds look empty.

Front Porch Reading Area

The biggest change this year came from adding furniture to make a cozy reading area at the front of the house. Now we actually use this space.

I had foam cut and I sewed an outdoor bench cushion for this wicker loveseat. Since I couldn’t find a round table the right size and price I used a sturdy basket upside-down as a coffee table.

The cushions I made and the bright yellow one is from leftover linen I had from the masks I’ve made.

Since deer hang out in the shade next to the house too I’m not bothering with plants and instead clipped some branches from shrubs we have that I know deer don’t like. Bonus, no watering in this extreme heat.

To see what this space started like head to Week #1 ORC – Spring 2021 -Exterior Updates Week #1

To see what everyone else completed for this round of One Room Challenge check out the blog:

ORC-Spring 2021- Vegetable Garden & Exterior Painting Progress -Weeks #6 & #7

The Spring 2021 One Room Challenge is wrapping up next post. I have slowly been working on these outdoor projects over the past 2 years.

The main focus was to:

  • Complete Exterior Trim & Garage Painting
  • Maximize Planting Space in Garden
  • Create Seating Area at Front of House

Exterior Trim & Garage Painting

Garage Door & Trim Painted

Our house started out with mustard trim and a beige garage door. I started the painting myself but eventually realized we needed to hire painters to do the upper portions that required ladder work.

Before – Perfect Candidate for Cosmetic Paint Changes

I did climb out the front window to paint back when my youngest used to nap but it was risky and realistically it would have probably taken me 5 years to finish at the rate I was going. Hiring painters was worth it.

Painting the Trim to change the colour & maintain the wood.
July 2019

Create More Planting Space

We were lucky that there was already a dedicated garden area off the back patio. It had irrigation installed too. The only downside was the deer are frequently in the yard so these raised beds needed some protection.

This fencing Spring 2020 has worked to keep deer out and there was still space for a couple of other raised beds.

Deer Fencing built Spring 2020
Still working on these new raised beds
So many shelling peas growing right now.
The newest garden bed tucked in along the fence
Work in Progress Still
Maybe we will have our first pears this year?
There are animals (I think they’re marmots) sneaking in and eating the lettuce. Now I’m figuring out more ways to cover the vegetable garden.

Front Porch Reading Area

We have been using this space, especially in the afternoons.

There was a shrub here that unfortunately wasn’t alive anymore and I had to remove it.
Foam & Fabric for Cushions

This is the foam and Sunbrella fabric I chose to make the base cushion. I decided on this black and beige irregular fabric so that any marks won’t be obvious. I am going to try out this stool as a side table too.

In the next 2 weeks I’m going to pull together the final details to complete the plan before the official start of summer.

To see what everyone else is doing here’s the link:

ORC – Spring 2021 – Weeks #4 & #5 – Front Porch Reading Area

The weather is getting hot so now we are seeking those shady spots, like at the front of the house.

Last year we didn’t use this front shady area of the house because we had no furniture.

Originally we had thought of putting out a bistro set here like the prior owners had, but when I saw this outdoor wicker loveseat I changed my mind.

This was the colour the house originally was before painting it.

I tried a few different options for coffee tables and ended up using this sturdy woven basket upside-down.

Now I’m sourcing foam to make a cushion and hopefully I’ll have some fabric in my stash that I can sew into a cushion cover.

Vegetable Garden

Meanwhile in the backyard the peas are flourishing.
Cedar Planter 3 Weeks ago
Last year I tried these containers but they got too hot & dried out quickly.
Current State of the Garden


Before ORC 2020 – Painted Raised Beds & Staining Hot Tub

I was going to plant this nectarine tree but after the deer ate the apple tree I’m holding off and keeping it in the vegetable area until I can figure out how to protect it.

We love seeing the deer hanging out in the shade here, I just want to have some areas where they can’t eat the plants.

To see everyone else’s projects check out the One Room Challenge.

ORC – Spring 2021 – Easy DIY Woven Stools – Week #3

This week for my One Room Challenge I’m showing how I turned these chairs into stools to use outside.

For a few months I had been looking for secondhand chairs that had rush seats. I had looked into making my own stools and learning to weave the rush myself but this route was much simpler.

I bought these 3 ladder back chairs which had seats in pretty good condition. I sawed off the back with my hand saw to make them look like stools instead.

I decided to paint them using a greige paint I had leftover from painting our Kitchen Island.

These are now being used as seats for our kids at our outdoor table for the summer, and in the winter they will move inside to our foyer.

We have been having most of our meals outside and having a comfortable place to sit makes a big difference.

To see what everyone else is working on this week, the link is below.

ORC – Spring 2021- Cedar Vegetable Planter – Week #2

Are you loving gardening especially during pandemic times? Learning to grow some of our own food has been a huge learning experience for our kids and me. I also want the vegetable area to look good too.

Design – Bueno, Bonito y Barato

Projects I share on this blog follow the principles of this saying in Spanish that my husband uses – Bueno (good), Bonito (pretty) Barato (inexpensive). I think that with creativity it is possible to find this balance.

I have been experimenting over the past few years with adding more edibles to our garden.

Rather than have a bunch of mismatched pots I’ve built simple cedar boxes. I find it’s less watering because they don’t dry out as quickly, there’s more space for roots to grow and the look is more streamlined.

Cedar Planters Stained Black – ORC 2017

Instructions on how to build these cedar boxes from our last home can be found in a One Room Challenge from 2017.

How to Build a Cedar Planter & Privacy Screen
Before – Mismatched Pots
How to Build a Cedar Planter

What I like about building cedar planters is that you can customize the size to fit your needs and choose a paint or stain to suit your style.

Kelowna Vegetable Garden 2021

We were fortunate to have raised beds already set up in our current home. Last year for One Room Challenge I painted them white and built a few extra cedar planters as supports for deer fencing.

Deer Fencing & Cedar 2″x4″ Planters

This year I am maximizing all available space in our vegetable garden by adding a couple more planters in the empty areas.

Unused space beside fence – perfect for another planter!

I used 4 untreated cedar fence boards to create each of these planters. I cut them with my hand saw and used white paint on the outside.

Planter in progress, trellises to come next.

In the background you can see there is still some available space where I will build another planter later. I also plan to make trellises along the fence here to maximize vertical growing space.

Books with Inspiration & Practical Ideas

Edible Landscaping by Senga Lindsay and Edible Spots & Pots by Stacey Hirvela

Last year I shared these books that helped me with design ideas and learning about growing vegetables. There are many other gardening books that gets lots of hype online but I haven’t found any of them as useful as these too – both of which can be found at the library.

I highly recommend Edible Landscaping by Senga Lindsay for ideas of how to set up different styles of vegetable gardens and making them look good.

Edible Spots & Pots by Stacey Hirvela is a wonderful resource to learn about growing vegetables, herbs & edible flowers. There are lots of ways to use containers in smaller spaces to grow food and she explains how.

Salad, Fresh from the Garden

For the past week we have been able to eat salad from the garden everyday. I’m learning about which seeds to start when and it’s working! In March I put cool season seeds for spinach, pea and various lettuces out and they are all taking off now.

Last year we had 4 months of eating from the garden and this year I’m trying for 5 months. I’m a beginner and sharing what I’m learning along the way.

Spinach, Romaine & Leaf Lettuce
Kale from last year that Overwintered.

Garnishing food with edible flowers & herbs is something I love doing in the summer & spring.

To see what everyone else is doing this week in the One Room Challenge follow the link below.

ORC – Spring 2021 -Exterior Updates Week #1

It’s time for the Spring One Room Challenge, my favourite way to get motivated to work on a project. This year I’m going to continue with the exterior projects from last year.

  • Complete Exterior Trim & Garage Painting
  • Maximize Planting Space in Vegetable Garden
  • Create Seating Area at Front of House

The vegetable garden from last year gave us fresh greens for 4 solid months and I’m hoping to expand what we grow this year. Also, since we have to stay home I am focusing on creating more spaces to enjoy outside.

Exterior Trim & Garage Painting

This is our home in Kelowna. When we moved here almost 2 years ago I started to paint the yellow trim white. The fact that this wood trim needed maintenance in some areas already helped get my husband on board with this update.

If your home is in need of some paint touch ups anyway, why not change the colour?


I absolutely love this garage area by House of Jade Interiors. Eventually I’d love to add a pergola but for this year I’ll be sticking to paint and adding some garage handles.

House of Jade Interiors:
Painting in Progress

Vegetable Garden & Deer Fencing

This was how the vegetable garden looked last spring, before the One Room Challenge project.

The vegetable garden last year.
Deer Fence from ORC Spring 2020

I am happy to report that the deer fencing I created stood up through the winter. During a windstorm our side gate and some other fence fell down but surprisingly this was totally fine.

The Garden this Year

Vegetable Garden May 2021

Having a designated area for growing food and being able to start the season earlier has been rewarding. There is so much to learn about seeds, soil, plants, composting etc.

This year I plan to maximize all of the space available here by adding more planters and trellises plus learn more about vegetable growing.

This is the pear tree that I planted last year – seeing it come back after winter and bloom makes me happy! Where we live there are orchards and vineyards everywhere and I want to try fruit trees in our yard too.

Seating Area at Front of House

One more project area is here by the front door. It is a shady spot that we don’t use because there is no furniture. Usually this is where piles of special sticks and pinecones the kids and I find get left.

Spring Last Year

I see that this could be a nice shady spot in the hot afternoon, perfect for reading. I plan to add seating and a coffee table here so that we use this area more often.

That’s the plan for the One Room Challenge this spring. To see what everyone else is doing the link is below. I suspect more people will be focusing on the outside this year.