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 #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.

 

ORC Weeks #4 & #5

A little update on the progress for the One Room Challenge which is wrapping up next week.

The desk in the office is done and now there is 16 feet of desk to work at. This office by Lori Harrison that was featured in Style at Home was the inspiration for the desk configuration. We had an extra IKEA desk leg that I used to support the corner of the desk like in this photo.

I was a bit apprehensive to get started on the desk construction but once we got started it went together fine. My helper found the studs in the wall and we screwed the 1″ x 2″ ‘s to the wall to act as a support for the pine shelving.

After the desk top was in place I used a hand saw and mitre box to cut other 1″ x 2″ wood to face the front of the desk to not only make it look like the wood is thicker but to also add stability to the desk. Gorilla Glue and painters tape was enough to do this job.

A detail of the corner where the two desks meet. The desk wood was stained with my favourite and easiest stain to use. It’s Saman and is a waterbased Canadian brand.

Now one computer is set up with a hole cut out to put the cord through. There are still a few more things I want to do to complete this room. I have had some set-backs with the floating shelf but hopefully now I have the right drill bit to get going on it.

Earlier this week I was excited to see my post from last week about updating plant pots featured on Apartment Therapy.  They called it a Genius Hack to make Thrifted Pots look more Expensive. I picked up a few more pots yesterday (for $2.50) to add to the collection using this technique.

 

Here’s the link to see the other One Room Challenge Participants before the final reveals next week.

 

Fall One Room Challenge – Weeks 1 & 2

It’s that time of year again for the Fall One Room Challenge. I haven’t been blogging much since our move across the country because we’ve been enjoying the new city and working on meeting people instead of house projects.

I had planned to do a kitchen update by painting the kitchen cabinets but instead I’m focusing on my husband’s office. Since we moved this summer (with very little furniture)  we have become used to living with less and haven’t set up any rooms properly yet.

This is the temporary set up of the office and how the bedroom looked from the listing photo.

The main priorities for the office:

In the last home office, I made a large L-Shaped desk using Ikea tabletops and legs which created a lot of work surfaces. This time I’m going to make something customized using wood from the hardware store and secondhand cupboards.

Painting the room was the first step – what a difference already! As with our previous homes, we are trying to use secondhand furniture as much as possible. That being said, it can take a while to find the right pieces when shopping used. I was happy to find two matching cabinets at Restore and the white paint for the walls there too.

I painted the cabinets black to work with the filing cabinet that we brought with us and then tried different layout options.

That’s it so far, excuse the blurry phone photos. To see the progress of the 300 + other rooms being transformed visit One Room Challenge.

Spring ORC – Reveal Week 6

 

Week # 6  The Reveal

Here is the final reveal of our bathroom makeover – the mirror, vanity handles & light fixture were the only new pieces. Everything else was done with paint and materials I already had. Reimagining the space and making small, manageable changes made all the difference.

The ‘floating’ wooden shelves are finally as I imagined them, as a feature area rather than just a large wasted space that became a dumping area. More information about how this layer of plywood was added on top is in my last post.

These crates are the basic kind from the hardware store that I stained with vinegar & steel wool. We each have one to throw our toiletries in.

We have a lot of plants throughout our home and garden so we moved a few extras into this room to soften all of that white.

This is the view of our ensuite from the bedroom.

Here is the way it originally looked when we moved in. I hadn’t even painted the walls because I thought it wouldn’t make any difference.

The shower curtain is something that I made a few years ago with canvas and grosgrain ribbon. White and black are the main themes throughout the house.

This is what it looks like when the door is closed. The barn door idea didn’t end up happening because we ran out of time but I left the mirror up to reflect the natural light. We usually keep the door open because it makes the bathroom look bigger.

A reminder of the shelves before.

Another shelf detail because it is finally a space worth showing!

 

Is there a room in your house that could look entirely different by using some creativity and making a few small changes?

To see the other reveals – both small project and major renovations visit the One Room Challenge website.

ORC – Spring Weeks 4 & 5

Weeks 4 & 5

 

Here we go with the last update on the bathroom project I’m working on during the One Room Challenge. I haven’t done many updates because we had some major things happen during the past few weeks — we actually decided put our house on the market and it sold a couple of weeks ago.

I had been planning to do the One Room Challenge for a few months and the project was supposed to be all about doing small manageable updates that could be done over a couple of hours each weekend. Well, good thing it was a simple plan since we had to cram the whole thing into one weekend.

I had planned to do all of the work myself but we were so lucky to have good friends come visit for the weekend – good friends who are very skilled with home improvement. This is Alfredo and he was the one who brought my vision to reality. He brought his circular saw and years of experience doing his own projects. I have so much to learn from him!

I had wanted to create the look of floating shelves in our bathroom closet while using materials I already had. My plan was the use plywood that was from a booth I had made for the One of a Kind Show.

This is the booth I made a few years ago to sell my art & accessories. It has been in storage in the garage and I’ve been saving the wood to repurpose. (You may recognize the shelf & storage unit from my studio).

Shibang Designs / How to create the illusion of floating shelves

Alfredo traced the shape of the shelves onto the plywood and then cut them with the circular saw.

He then created thin strips to go on the front of the shelves to give them depth.

Now the shelves are a feature waiting to be styled rather than a messy storage area — All with reused materials. I had planned to stain the wood but I ended up liking it as is. With the walls and tiles all being white, the wood here warms up the room.

 

Here’s a little step by step guide for how to update a vanity without doing a renovation — it’s easy and makes a world of difference. Next week will be the final reveal.

 

 

 

To see how everyone else is coming along with their rooms follow the link below:

ORC – Spring Weeks 2 & 3

Weeks 2 & 3

Continuing on with the budget bathroom update that I wish I had done sooner — next on the list was painting and a new vanity mirror.

I tried a light grey first for the walls that was a lighter shade of what we have in our bedroom but it didn’t look right so I ended up going for white.

Getting the right shade of white can be tricky.

At first, I intended to use leftover white paint (Benjamin Moore Simply White) but it was too yellow and looked dingy in the bathroom.

Next, I tested out some plain white, straight out of the can, untinted white that I use for baseboards and doors. I was hesitant about how it would look but this article from Houzz about 10 Beautiful White and Wood Bathrooms helped me finalize my decision to paint the walls white without thinking it would look too clinical.

This white instantly brightened the room and made it look cleaner too. Paint is such an easy and inexpensive way to update a space.

To keep things simple I painted the doors and baseboards the same white as the wall.

Next was removing the large mirror above the vanity. This was something that I had wanted to do for awhile but was very hesitant about taking the mirror off. It actually was quite easy to remove and replacing it with a round mirror instantly updated the look of the bathroom – why didn’t I do this 4 years ago??

 

 

That’s it so far, a huge change on a very small budget and something that could easily be done on a weekend. To see the progress other people have made follow along on the One Room Challenge site.

 

 

 

Spring 2019 – ORC
Fall 2017 -ORC

Side Note: Notice the Difference

between the current

ORC and the last one?

ORC – Spring 2019 Week 1

 

 

It’s the One Room Challenge again, a chance for interior designers and bloggers to transform a room in 6 weeks. What I like about this event is how it motivating and inspiring to tackle a project along with everyone else – plus having the deadline helps get it done.

 

The last time I did a project in our house was Fall 2017 when I did a board & batten nursery/boys’ room.

 

This time I am doing a small project and something that is long overdue — our master bathroom. Since it’s been almost 5 years since we’ve lived here and we’re not planning a renovation I want to improve what we have by doing a few small projects so that we can enjoy this space.

      The plan:

  • Replace the Mirror
  • Replace the Vanity Light
  • Paint the Walls
  • Clean the bathroom
  • Create a focal area with the illusion of floating shelves in the closet
  • Add shiplap to the walls
  • Replace the closet door with a barn door 

 

This is how our vanity originally looked and it stayed this way for 3 years until I painted and changed the hardware. There is a post about the process here.

For minimal effort and materials, this made a huge improvement and gave me the hope that I could improve this bathroom without a renovation.

 

To see what the other designers and bloggers are planning here is the link to Week 1: