ORC – Weeks 4 & 5 – Pillow Fabrics & Paint Choices

An update on the slow going basement project for One Room Challenge. Having furniture (who knew?!) has made a huge difference and now we use this space all the time. I finally started painting because I want it to be brighter down here but still cozy.

I am using mystery paint from Restore. Usually I’m picky about my colours but in this case these shades of what seem to be warm and light grey/beige should work. I’m not done yet but it is already feeling brighter in these back corners.

The colour is a smoother transition to the downstairs bathroom.

This wall will be a slightly darker greige and I’ve mapped out the picture frame moulding here that I will install eventually. I decided to do moulding that would be manageable with my limited tools – hello handsaw, plastic mitre box and tiny hammer. Below is our last home where I installed this Metrie moulding behind our banquette.

Picture frame moulding I installed in our last home.

This mirror, one of the few decor pieces I brought in the move, will go above the couch to maximize the light coming in from the window.

Pillow: Shibang Designs – www.shibangdesigns.com

There will be lots of pillows on the large sectional so I will be using my own pillows and will add some other basics to go with them…I’m not sure what yet.

Since July my sewing focus has turned to masks but this will be a chance to add some basic pillows made with linen.

To see what everyone else is working on here is the link below:

https://www.oneroomchallenge.com/blog/orcguestss20wk1-khx3f-955p7-bj33w-24pb8-kfs9p

ORC – Weeks 2 & 3 – Quick Update for Oak

The One Room Challenge has been slow going lately and I’m totally fine with that. I’m looking for the easiest way to make some updates with secondhand items.

This media console we bought used with our kitchen table and I believe they’re originally from Pottery Barn.

While refinishing a dining table is worthwhile I just don’t have the energy or interest in making a big mess right now. For the media console I did a technique I’ve used on oak mirrors to emphasize the grain.

Over the years I’ve used name brand Chalk Paint and it’s been good but I now make my own using Plaster of Paris mixed with common housepaint and water. That’s what I have used for this project. It works the same in this application and is a fraction of the cost.

The key is to use a stiff (aka ruined ) brush and push the paint into the grain. Then you wipe away the paint almost immediately.

These are other mirrors I’ve done in this style.

We had a lot of snow fall on Friday and we’ve been so cozy indoors that I didn’t get too far into the basement makeover. It’s comfortable with a couch now and we have so many library books to read.

I have planned the moulding now which will be something manageable to complete with my handsaw and mitre box.

I also found the perfect coffee table a couple of weeks back. I had been looking into how to make a trunk but came across this one at Restore that was in excellent condition and the perfect size – it also locks so that helps keep little brother out of the Lego while the older one is at school.

Here is the link to the One Room Challenge and everyone else’s progress:

One Room Challenge – Fall 2020- Week#1

Time for the Fall One Room Challenge – The best motivation to finish up projects!
Welcome to our basement. When we moved here over one year ago the only furniture we brought were our beds, couch and coffee table. This room has stayed basically unfurnished for the past year so now is the time to make it cozy to stay home this winter!
I prefer to use secondhand furniture as much as possible – for the environment, the quality is often better as is the price. This console we bought with our kitchen table, the TV used to be my Nana’s and the lamp is from the last house.
Last year I added curtains to the window. I bought new sheets and sewed them into curtains.
These cabinets I bought at Restore with plans to paint them and make them into a storage bench similar to our last home.
Here is the room (and the kids 😉 ) in a space overrun with toys. Despite the full size windows, it is dark so I will be painting the walls lighter and adding mirrors.
For months I have been looking for a secondhand sectional couch – finally I found one!


We bought our leather living room couch used in Montreal 8 years ago and it has withstood the use and abuse from kids and pets and still looks good. I had hoped to find something used again rather than buying new but was having trouble finding one. I started to look for a new one and asking my Aunt and friends when I saw this one used online. We hired a local person – Your Friend with a Truck – to bring it to us.
Here is step one of the Fall One Room Challenge to make the room cozier – what a difference furniture makes!
Photo: Heidi Lau Photography

In our last home adding moulding throughout the house was a priority to add character. I haven’t done any yet in our current home but I brought this mirror from our last dining room which I plan to finally put up.

photo: Heidi Lau Photography

This was our last basement where I added this board and batten. I have some ideas for the wall treatment in our current home to give the space more character…they are quite finalized yet.

Here’s some of the materials I’ve been slowly collecting over the past year – paint mis-tints, some leftover Advance paint from the island cabinets and door architraves. I am also excited to sew some new cushion covers for the sectional couch.

To see what else everyone has planned check out the One Room Challenge page linked below:

ORC Spring 2020 Reveal – Vegetable Garden & Deer Fencing

Here is the completed vegetable garden & deer fencing I was working on for the One Room Challenge. I’m glad that the deadline was extended because it took me so long to finish. Thinking about the design for the deer fencing was holding me back.

In the end I spent more time thinking about it than actually making it.The fencing ended up being inspired by a combination of a modern deer proof structure by Lauri Kranz of Edible Farms LA and the casual & coastal feeling of Malibu Farm – yes I’m on a California theme now that we’re living on the West Coast.

Inspiration:

Lauri Kranz – Edible Gardens LA

Malibu Farm

Here’s a reminder of what this area looked like last year – in need of some TLC. Now we can maximize our use of this designated vegetable garden area without the deer eating everything.

I started with staining the hot tub and painting the existing raised beds & house trim white (photos link to the process in Week #2)

The Finished Exterior Refresh & Vegetable Garden

These are photos from around the vegetable garden and a look at what we have growing.

Zucchini Growing in a Container

Intercropping Cucumber, Garlic, Spinach

Lettuce, Kale & Lettuce Seeds Sowed 10 days ago.

Snow Peas

 

Deer Fencing Solution

Instead of digging fence posts that may have ruined our irrigation (not to mention our car isn’t big enough to transport large posts) I built boxes to support the chicken wire fencing. I had the cedar 2×4’s cut at Home Depot and then the rest of the cutting I did with my little hand saw and plastic mitre box. I’m not going to do a tutorial on the process until I see how my idea holds up to a snowy winter.

Winterbor & Dwarf Kale

Containers- Cherry Tomatoes & Zucchini

  

There’s a small pear tree that’s in the back along the fence side too as well as two blueberry bushes in the white box beside the side fence. The Okanagan has incredible fruits & wineries and I hope that we have some success with fruit too.

In the past 3 months we have learned so much about gardening and are excited to continue growing more of our own food. Using seeds was new for us and now we are ready to get our beets, swiss chard, arugula and lettuce seeds in the ground for the fall. And now with the deer fencing we shouldn’t have to worry about the deer eating everything.

To see everyone else’s projects check out the page for the Spring One Room Challenge Reveal here.

 

 

 

ORC Week # 7

It’s almost the end of the One Room Challenge, next week is the final reveal. This vegetable garden project didn’t quite get to where I had hoped it would in terms of building an additional pergola but we have had tons of leafy greens so that part was a success.

Everyday, we go out and fill this colander with swiss chard, baby greens, kale and some herbs. I’ve been taking photos to show what we’ve harvested because it is so exciting for us!

Sometimes we pick the Swiss Chard when the leaves are almost full size like this and I slice them into ribbons for a salad.

We make lots of kale chips because that is the only way the kids will eat it.

I’m glad that I bought the Swiss Chard and Kale as seedlings in May because it gave us a head start. The seeds we grew have worked but are way smaller still.

Sometimes we pick the greens in baby size too like the mixes that we usually get from the grocery store.

This is the Candy Cane Swiss chard that I got from the nursery and I love the colour of these stems!

Now we have lavender blooming in another area of the yard thanks to the former owner – what a treat! We have been garnishing drinks with it, adding it to desserts, and enjoying the scent of it inside.

I had been procrastinating with the deer fencing plan…that was until the deer started hanging out in our yard again. I went to get cedar 2×4’s cut and some deer mesh but I haven’t built the fence yet. Getting these materials definitely reminded me of this ORC from 2017 that was featured on Apartment Therapy.

Staining the wood black was tons of extra labour but was worth it. I’m not sure if I’ll do white or the same taupe as the hot tub this time.

Our Kelowna yard with a frequent visitor.

When summer is so short in Canada we are enjoying making the most of it and I’m learning which seeds to get ready for fall planting (carrots, beets, garlic). Cooking and eating salads is way more interesting with lettuce and edible flowers straight from the garden!

Have a look at where everyone else is as the end of the One Room Challenge here.

ORC – Week #6 – Salad Greens

This week for the One Room Challenge for us is all about enjoying eating from our garden and watching it grow. My plan is to eat all of our leafy greens from our garden rather than buying them at the grocery store from June until the end of September (and hopefully longer).

Since the end of May we have been eating all of our salad greens from the garden for 2 meals per day. My Mum was telling me about how my Grandpa’s family used to grow a lot of their own produce in the yard to feed their large family of 8 and also to save money. I’m just a beginner with limited experience with kale and swiss chard but I plan to learn more!

The kids don’t eat much still, just occassional kale chips but this little one loves eating mint and the kale flowers.

We use a colander to go out and pick the leafy greens. We have let the kale get large but for the lettuces I am picking them as baby greens.

I bought these little lettuce as seedlings (Romaine, Leaf & Buttercrunch for $9 total) – I probably could have started them as seed but wanted to get started asap. There has been enough to pick salad every 2 days.

The lettuces are all in the gaps between the tulips. They don’t need a lot of space since I’m not planning to let them grow to full size. Once the tulip leaves are yellow then I will remove them and try adding some lettuce seeds to get the next round going.

We tried indoor seeding this winter but it didn’t give us a head start outside. In about 4-5 weeks the directly sowed seeds have caught up in size to the ones we started indoors in mid March. Next year we will sow seeds straight outside and start earlier in the season.

No new building has gone in this area, for the past two weeks we’ve spent plenty of time here just looking at how everything is changing. We are all learning together. I am also not comfortable digging 2 ft down where there may be irrigation lines to put posts up for a deer fence. I’m brainstorming a different idea.

This kale plant was from last summer and survived the winter and continues to bloom with hundreds of yellow flowers. We see bees going from one flower to the next every time we are outside. The seed pods are starting to form too.

I added 2 blueberry bushes and tomato plants in the pots along this fence line. I’m hoping that these will be foods that my kids will actually eat! These pots were what the trees (that I showed last post) came in. I’m going to build a couple of planters along this edge similar to what I built in ORC Spring 2017 at our last house.

We also added some cucumber seeds in the raised beds. It’s so incredible to see the leaves pop up. It looked like nothing was happening and then suddenly these just seemed to appear!

   

The mint has come back from this box! I guess I never got rid of it but that’s fine with us, at least we can make the most of this raised bed by growing kale and swiss chard here.

A reminder of how the back raised bed was full of overgrown mint when we moved in last summer.

Here’s a selection of the rainbow of swiss chards growing – Candy Cane & Bright Lights.

This is how the kale and swiss chard looked 2 weeks after planting the seedlings that I bought.

This is 2 months after planting the seedlings. Some of the swiss chard was turning yellow from bugs so we are now picking it smaller but meanwhile the kale remains nearly indestructible.

We are feeling pretty lucky to be enjoying fresh garden salads. Salad dressing is one of my Mum’s specialties – this one is based on her Honey Dijon Dressing.

There are also beautiful peonies, poppies and many other plants around the yard from previous owners that I am loving and have inspired some floral arrangements. 

There is so much to learn in the garden. Also the timing of this Spring One Room Challenge being later in the season means there’s way more to show as a transformation even though nature itself is doing the work, not me.

To see what projects everyone else is working click here.

 

 

ORC Week #4- Herb Growing Tips

This week for the One Room Challenge update (where I’m working on our vegetable garden) I have some tips for growing herbs from Isabelle at Paradise Herbs.
Isabelle and her partner Rob, moved from Switzerland to BC last year to start an herb farm. They also have animals, fruit trees and grow vegetables while using regenerative farming practices.

Herbs are so easy to grow and so expensive to buy, and they add so much flavor to a meal. I think a small balcony herb garden could benefit a lot of people.

Herb tips
– If you have a balcony and limited space, I would take 2 window boxes to plant two sets of herbs. Parsley, marjoram, savory and basil for example all take rich soil and lots of sun, so any normal potting soil will do and plant them in the sun. Some small rocks or sand in the bottom would help with drainage though. All of those herbs, except the parsley, are annual and will need to be planted again next year if you leave the box outside. However, if you bring the box inside over the winter, you’ll have parsley at least all winter too.
In the other box, I’d put perennial herbs that like good drainage and put half sand and half soil in the box. Perennial herbs that like good drainage are rosemary, thyme, lemon thyme, sage and oregano. This box should be brought inside at least its first winter (if growing from seed) and especially if you want to enjoy these herbs in the winter.
– You can grow herbs from seed but they require sometime up to 3 weeks to germinate, so do not hesitate to plant them any season inside and expect 80% germination with most herb seeds (50% with rosemary). Within a year though, your rosemary will be 20cm high even from seed.
– Lastly, if you want mint or lemon balm, plant them in a third box alone, otherwise they will take over all the other herbs in the box.
Perennial Herbs:
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Lemon Thyme
  • Sage
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
More behind the scenes from the long farming days and what Paradise Herbs is working on can be found on Instagram below: 

Fresh herbs make simple food feel fancy and even if you don’t have a lot of space, they can be planted in pots to enjoy as Isabelle explained.

Since we’re all spending more time at home cooking, here’s a simple recipe based on Whitewater CooksCool Sesame Miso Noodle Salad‘. I love Whitewater Cooks and their recipes that are healthy, often plant based and uncomplicated to make but so delicious. They’re also based in BC near Nelson and have several cookbooks available.

 

I’m not a food blogger – mealtime is too chaotic at our house to be taking decent photos but this recipe is so simple, summery & satisfying that I had to share. I modified it to only use basic pantry staples that are livened up with the addition of fresh herbs & leafy greens.

Dressing:
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 vegetable oil

Method: Mix dressing ingredients and add to cooked & cooled spaghetti noodles- (run them under cold water) before serving. Toss with fresh green vegetables and chives. Add chopped nuts and protein as desired. Keep the extra dressing in the fridge and you’ll be ready for another quick meal.

Right now in our garden everything is growing and the kids are enjoying picking and sometimes eating the leafy greens.
My older son loves going out to pick our salad greens and loading up this colander before mealtime. Now of course I wish he would eat them!
These are a couple of books that I have found to be useful resources. Edible Landscaping by Senga Lindsay has lots of different edible garden styles that look good and covers everything from rooftop gardens to potager to urban gardening ideas. Edible Spots & Pots by Stacey Hirvela has information about planting combinations, how to harvest herbs and which choices make the most sense to plant.
While my One Room Challenge is about the vegetable garden area I am also going to plant these trees and grasses. This size of pine was much easier to bring in the car than the 6 foot cedars I planted to create a hedge at our last house.
I figure that this is the ideal time to plant trees since there will be no vacation plans so the trees can be watered daily to become established.
To see what everyone else is up to for the One Room Challenge click here.

ORC Week #3 – Vegetable Garden

This week I’m sharing some vegetable garden progress. I’ve been dabbling in growing vegetables and flowers for a few years and every summer I try to learn something new, however my knowledge is still very basic.

These are some of the doube early and parrot tulips that I planted in the fall. I filled one planter bed with about 100 tulips bulbs plus I tried adding some garlic too. In the springtime I love to be able to cut flowers from the garden before planting vegetables.

One thing I learned the hard way before is to leave the tulip leaves until they turn yellow. As tempting as it is to tidy up the leaves they are needed to feed the bulb for the next year, otherwise there will be no flowers the next year.

Now that the tulips are almost done I’ve added some spinach where there were some gaps and I direct sowed some kale seeds as well.

Spinach is supposed to do better in cooler weather so I put some here in one corner of the box with the tulips (I still have to paint this side of the planter).

This is about one week after putting the seeds directly into the soil. I figure I have the seeds left and the space so we’ll see what happens. Growing from seed was a first this year and while it was exciting to watch them grow throughout March and April indoors, they haven’t been very successful.

I ended up turning to store bought these seedlings to get a jump start on the limited growing season in Canada. I definitely have a new appreciation for farmers and growers.

These are the seedlings from the nursery first planted.

Now the swiss chard and kale are filling in. I painted these raised beds with dirt in them so it wasn’t the best job but it’s better than they were before.

Also these chives came back from last year, somethingI didn’t know they did. This kale made it through winter and now we’re hoping that these flowers will turn to seed.

A reminder of what the yard looked like last summer.

Back in the early days at our previous home I would plant kale, swiss chard and brussel sprouts in the gaps between the limelight hydrangeas and cedar hedge that I planted. The trees were small enough that there were still big enough gaps between them to let enough sun in.

We also had success with planting zucchini in random spots in the yard too…like this giant one below!

So if you have an outdoor space but don’t have planters maybe there’s somewhere you could plant directly in the ground. Swiss chard and kale are so easy.

Swiss Chard in September, grown beside a cedar hedge.

 

Next week I will have some advice from my friend Isabelle of Paradise Herbs here to give some tips for growing. She has recently set up a farm in the Slocan Valley BC where they promote self-sufficient living and sell culinary & medicinal herbs.


Last summer Isabelle was visiting for a girls weekend here and suggested getting the overgrown mint out of the raised bed in our yard. That idea prompted me to move it into my front hanging baskets where it can no longer spread out of control – plus it means staying home and using what we already have.

To see what everyone else has been working on for the One Room Challenge click here.

 

ORC Week #2 – Exterior Painting & Staining

ORC-Guest-

Time for the week 2 update for the One Room Challenge. This is the stain that I picked to refresh some weathered cedar outside. These ideas can also be applied to staining a deck, wooden stairs, or outdoor wooden furniture that is looking a little run down by the elements.

I chose a semi-transparent to keep the wood grain showing. For the colour choice I went with a slightly warm/grey/taupe.

I looked through the colour chart for Benjamin Moore Arborcoat Semi-Transparent online and then made my choice. I know that wood stains on the warmer/tan side can end up looking orange so I narrowed down to three choices and picked the cooler shade of grey. I chose Rustic Taupe and was happy with how it turned out. Curbside pick up was easy and contactless when I got the paint, along with a wide brush (pictured above).

Here’s a comparison of how the stain changes, depending on what the base is. You need to sand when using a semi-transparent to make sure the cover comes out even.

The before – this was the most worn area of wood.

After Sanding – Before the Stain

 

The most Worn Area, Now Stained

The actual staining process went quite quickly since I had done the sanding prep a different day. The stairs looked way better and now water actually beads on the surface. I think this colour worked out as a good option to refresh old previously untreated wood.

Worn, Untreated Wood Before

 

After – Rejuvenated Wood

This was last weekend. Now that I have done the easy part of painting and staining I’ve got to figure out how to put up a fence around the vegetable garden area. I still have no idea how to do this, especially without consulting with the knowledgeable staff at Home Depot who I usually get project advice from and lumber cut.

Here’s a glimpse at this area from the same angle as last year. I’ve started painting the planter boxes as well with paint I had leftover from my exterior painting I had started last year.

This is a glimpse at the front door where I started refreshing the front of the house with classic white instead of the mustard yellow it formerly was.

front door shibang

This pear tree is supposed to be for the backyard but I couldn’t help but leave it here at the front door for a few days. I’m trying to be really calculated with garden purchases (I also don’t know how the cost of a tree could be the same as a hanging flower basket). These hanging baskets are filled with overgrown mint that I dug up from the backyard.

This was last summer when I started updating with paint and trying to create more of a beachy look. The yellow wood trim was getting worn in some areas from time and sun exposure. This was the perfect excuse to convince my husband that it was a preventative maintenance project, not just to beautify.

Now that the weather is warmer and we have to stay close to home but want to be outside here are some ideas to refresh what you may already have:

  • Paint the front door a different colour
  • Stain a worn deck
  • Paint a wooden garage door
  • Repair patio furniture (sanding and staining or spray painting corroded metal)

If you’re looking to use an opaque stain on wood it can be tinted any colour you want. I previously did a black from Home Depot on these cedar planters I built. Also, I have another post for painting a garage door and front door.

 

To see the other projects that bloggers and designers are working on at home check out the One Room Challenge page.

 

One Room Challenge – Spring 2020

It’s One Room Challenge time again and I am joining with a small outdoor project to refresh what we already have and prepare our vegetable garden.

Everything is different right now but one thing is the same – paint can make a huge difference to change what you already have and also to maintain materials outdoors. A lot of people are also more interested in growing their own seeds (myself included) so I’ll be sharing some of my trials and errors with gardening over the past few years.

One thing I have learned is that kale is so easy and provides green vegetables for months!

Kale from my garden – it’s so easy to grow!

Here’s a quick refresh of my ORC 2017 where I built my own planters and trellis:

How to Build Cedar Planters

 

This time we already have raised beds so I will just be changing the colour. One difference about our new home is that we have deer that come into the backyard and eat the garden so I will be figuring out a way to build a fence around this garden area. This was last summer with my Father in Law just after we moved in, late July.

Last year I naively thought that this little bit of chicken wire would keep out the deer. Two days later they had decimated the vegetables that I had planted.

I moved what was left of the vegetables into one box and made this ugly arrangement that did keep out the deer and did grow a ton of lettuce and kale.

Vegetables thrive here in the Okanagan. This little raised bed produced these large romaine leaves, swiss chard and kale despite being planted at the end of July.

This year I want to maximize what I grow in these three raised beds while making it prettier and more functional.

Right next to the raised beds is a hot tub that is in good condition inside, but the outer wood needs a new stain to protect it. This umbrella got destroyed by an animal last summer too so I am hoping to build a large pergola for shade.

Project Plan:

  • New coat of paint on previously painted wood raised beds
  • Sand & restain cedar
  • Build a fence for the vegetable garden
  • Build a pergola for shade

This is the back of the house, these sliding doors lead to the kitchen/dining/living room area. There is a large concrete slab patio which is the perfect blank canvas.

I love the look of these simplified pergolas that are an extended size. I would like to build something similar to these quick sketches and images below…we’ll see what ends up happening.

My brother now lives 5 hours away and I was hoping he could visit and help me but we’ll have to see what travel restrictions are looking like in June to know whether or not that can happen.

Fixer Upper

 

Humphrey Munson

 

Meanwhie these kale seedlings are getting ready for the garden soon. This year I had planned to try growing seeds for the first time. So far, so good but I have a better appreciation of buying plants now!

kale seedlings

Lots of other people are working on projects big and small in their homes, here’s the link to see what they’re up to.