Category Archives: Lifestyle

Making Magic: Messy Kid Fun

One thing I have learned as a mother is that my kids have the most fun when they are making a mess. Whether it is lining up cars all over the house, getting elbow deep in bread dough, or transferring water from container to container, if it is messy, it is fun. After visiting their cousins and seeing their thrift store bottles full of of red potion (water and food dye), my kids became interested in the idea of making their own potions.

Anything to keep them busy! I headed off to Value Village and collected an assortment of second hand odds and ends to make an “apothecary kit” for them. I used items from around the house to fill the containers: cold red tea became dragon spit (I forwent the red food dye for obvious stain related reasons), vinegar became liquefied Ent roots, baking soda was ground fairy teeth, Epsom salts were ground unicorn horns, and some unappetizing stevia became ground leg of magic toad.

My new mattress was delivered yesterday and I held onto the plastic wrap so I could cover up my sundeck and contain the mess. After setting the ingredients up along with some mixing utensils, they got to work mixing all the “magic ingredients”.  Thank goodness for the plastic! My sundeck was like a pool of green potion by the end but they certainly had fun. We won’t be mixing potions on a daily basis but I highly recommend this activity for a messy good time!

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IMG_5403Notice how there is no hitting or screaming in any of the pictures? Win. Win. Win. Mess be damned.

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Filed under At home, From the Heart: Thoughts on Life and Family, Uncategorized

Little Garden in the Big City

My husband and I far too often begrudge the fact that we don’t have a yard. I think in our hearts, though neither of us has ever lived in the country, we are country folk. However, we have chosen to stay in the Great Vancouver Area in order to be close to family rather than follow the dream of moving somewhere where we could own a house and a small acreage.

This summer I decided to stop complaining and make the best out of the little outdoor space we have. The budget for said decision was small and did not include replacing any furniture. I instead focused my budget on creating a little piece of “country life” on my sundeck. A visit to Wigs Nursery and some advice from my lovely neighbor resulted in some DIY hanging baskets which quickly flourished and gave me confidence to expand my little garden. My sundeck now houses a couple decorative plants in addition to mint, basil, tomatoes, and edamame beans. I love that even here in the city my children can walk outside and snack on a home grown tomato.

I happened to have some fabric hanging around the house which looked perfect with my rugs USA rug so I whipped up a couple of cushions to decorate the simple Home Depot chairs. The cats spend 50% of their time lounging on these chair

I happened to have some fabric hanging around the house which looked perfect with my Rugs USA rug so I whipped up a couple of cushions to decorate the simple Home Depot chairs. Though I bought the rug two years ago it only made it onto the sundeck this summer!

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There is some serious mutual adoration between Anna and Papa Price.

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My home made hanging flower basket. Thank goodness for the workers at WIGS who told me which flowers to plant and my neighbor who has taught me everything else!

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A tomato plant for snacking, a mint plant for mojitos, and sunshine for Sheba.

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I would like to say, “here is a picture of Charlie enjoying a nice juicy tomato from our sundeck” but really he is holding the tomato he spat out. Sofia, who did enjoy her tomato, ate it too quickly to be captured by camera.

On one of our many visits to Wigs, Sofia asked to buy some berry bushes. Whilst my original reply was “no, we don’t have room on the sundeck”, I soon realized that our unused 10′ by 5′ bit of “yard” downstairs was beckoning to be used for a greater purpose than hiding toys chucked off the sundeck. I got the kids involved and we tore up the crawling plant which covered the ground then returned to Wigs to pick up three blueberry bushes and two raspberry bushes. It was a delight to get down and dirty with the kids and plant our berry garden and it has brought joy to my country girl heart to watch them truck downstairs and pick a berry snack from our very own little garden.

I didn’t get around to taking any pictures when the berries were ripe but I look forward to sharing more pictures of our city garden next year when the bushes are grander and the berries are ripe for picking!

 

 

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Filed under At home, Decorating Projects, From the Heart: Thoughts on Life and Family, Uncategorized

Dreams Come True and Dining Room Reveal

I have had little time for blogging this week because my two eldest have been little monsters and I’ve had to take away Netflix privileges (little do they realize this is more a punishment for mommy than them!). I am stealing this bit of time while they are at preschool and Anna is napping to finally sit down at my computer and catch up.

A few exciting things have happened this week among the chaos of parenting, namely Apartment Therapy published an article on the re-decorating I did in Charlie and Sofia’s room. I enjoyed a few hours of fame on their front page before the next “just in” came through and I was shoved into cyber space 🙂 Here is a link if you are interested: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/a-diy-shared-bedroom-space-for-two-kiddos-complete-with-closet-play-loft-231692

Having Apartment Therapy post my kid’s room was a dream come true. Another dream that is in the process of coming true is having my own decorating business. I have officially been approved for my new name (Fabrictherapy is a bit too narrow a name though I loathe to depart from my roots). Hopefully sometime in the next few weeks I will be launching my website for “The Best Nest”. Cute right? Do you get the reference?

And since I’m home alone I finally had a chance to take some pictures of my new dining room. “New” as in I re-decorated it a year ago but had a baby at the same time so I never showed it to you.

A before with our old dining set, paint, mirror and light:

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I’m a fan of a neutral envelope with pops of colour but before the dining room was beige on white on beige on falling apart dining furniture. I kept my plate wall which is a favorite element of mine but added pops of colour by having the drum shade re-finished with blue slubbed silk and a banquette custom made with kid friendly navy faux leather (FYI, not so cat claw friendly). I also made funky new covers for my Craigslist find, Chinese Chippendale chairs (do you remember their previous lime green corduroy covers?). The dining table we had custom made by Lalji home. Having the pedestal base rather than legs at four corners makes it way more comfortable for jamming people around the table when we have guests over.

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I love, love, love our new dining room and how it now relates to the rest of our house and I’m so happy to (finally) share it with you!

Source List:

Dining table: custom from Lalji home

Dining Chairs: chairs vintage, fabric from Fabricana, foam from the Foam Shop

Light fixture: Home Depot, recovering of drum shade done by The Victoria Lampshade Shop

Banquette: custom design, faux leather from J.Ennis, made by the Quality Sofa Makers,

Paint colour: Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore

Mirror: vintage

 

 

 

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Filed under At home, Decorating Projects, DIY Projects, Eye Candy

10 Space Saving Indoor Herb Gardens.

For mother’s day, one of the things my hubby did was order supplies to build me a special herb garden in the kitchen. The plan I have is a somewhat innovative (?) use of space and I’m looking forward to chronicling the process of getting it set up. I don’t actually use a lot of fresh herbs and my desire for this garden is mostly aesthetic but hopefully having them handy will encourage me to liven up my dishes!

In the mean time while we await our order, I have been enjoying these other ideas for indoor herb gardens that take up no space at all.

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Sold on Etsy.

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As easy as attaching a planter box to the wall.

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A DIY anyone can do

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Ikea hanging herb garden

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Bringing back macrame

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A gorgeous custom design by Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper.

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Super cute use of a peg board

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Even with the tiniest amount of space you can make room for some fresh herbs.

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I LOVE this. I could just see my cats on our counters, on their hind legs batting at these. By designer Patrick Morris.

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Ikea’s fintorp system

The problem with most of these is that they require attention. As in, you actually have to remember to give them water frequently. Not killing plants is not my forte so Steve is setting me up with a garden that has a reservoir of water that I only have to fill occasionally. Phew! I’m looking forward to mojitos, tomato basil salad,  and other herby fresh treats this summer!

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Filed under At home, Inspiration, Uncategorized

A Playful Shared Bedroom

Not too long ago I decorated Sofia’s room and was very happy with the soft, pretty appearance I created for her. However, it was by no means gender neutral and with the advent of Anna, the need for Charlie and Sofia to share a room arose.

Steve and I shared our bedroom with little Anna for the first eight or nine months of her life in a desperate attempt to avoid putting Charlie and Sofia in the same room (Charlie is an excellent sleeper, Sofia, not so much). Around Christmas time my sister gave me a talking to and told me that I needed to be excited about them moving in together because if I wasn’t, they wouldn’t be. How did I get myself excited? By re-decorating of course!

The budget for this room was pretty much nil so I relied on my sewing machine, paint, and some DIY art to bring the room to life. My mother’s day wish was that I would have time to stage and photograph Sofia and Charlie’s new shared room. Wish granted. Thank you husband!

First, a before of Sofia’s girly decor:

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For the new decor I departed from the fairly neutral overall scheme of our house and went wild with aqua and pops of red.

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FYI, Walmart has the cutest and least expensive lamps, like this red one here.

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Curtains, bed, red pillows, Ikea; Faux fur pillow fabric, Fabricana; Fox print and zig zag prints fabric, Fabric.com; Cellular shades, Canadian Blind Manufacturing Inc.; Drawer knobs, Anthropologie; Side table, Home Outfitters; Toy storage bin, Homesense.

I sweet talked Steve into replacing the seldom used closet with a loft space.

I sweet talked Steve into replacing the seldom used closet with a loft space. Now looking at the picture I’m thinking it is a bit too red. I might paint the ladder and front of the loft cloud white to lighten it up.

I gave these inexpensive Ikea curtains some pizazz with a red and white zig zag trim to match the homemade window cornice.

I gave these inexpensive Ikea curtains some pizazz with a red and white zig zag trim to match the homemade window cornice.

A collection of mismatched Value Village pictures frames are unified with red paint and filled with DIY art.

A collection of mismatched Value Village pictures frames are unified with red paint and filled with DIY art. And wow, really could have hung those pictures straighter. Quilt by Grandma LaRoy.

It is a tight squeeze but we make it work. I'll keep Charlie in a crib until he's ten if it means he won't wake us up at night.

It is a tight squeeze but we make it work. I’ll keep Charlie in a crib until he’s ten if it means he won’t wake us up at night.

This is how Charlie gets into his crib.

This is how Charlie gets into his crib.

My favorite part of this room is the gallery wall. Not because I think my drawings are so fantastic or because the frames only cost $20 total, but because the pictures tell a story. You see one night Sofia asked me to “tell them a story with my mouth” and so I made up a tale about an orphan brother and sister, Barley and Bofia, who went into a cave and found a secret underground land of talking dinosaurs where they met a family of triceratops who adopted them. It was a hit and they have been asking for Barley and Bofia stories every night for two months since. If I knew that it was going to turn into such an epic series I probably would have chosen better names! I love coming into the room and catching the kids just standing there, staring at the pictures which feature different characters from the stories.

I think the kids probably like the addition of the loft best (what kid wouldn’t?). We have dubbed the lower section Charlie’s “man cave” and the loft portion, Sofia’s “lady loft”. They’ve ended up sharing both spaces and overall the transition from separate rooms to a shared room has been a good one. They are constantly fighting but they are also the best of friends and I am thankful that their sharing a space has contributed to this.

I used to do more DIY posts with instructions but there are so many good ones out there already so I’ve included some links to tutorials for how to do some of the projects I took on for this room: the closet loft, curtain trim, fabric window cornice, fitted sheet (in loft).

Hope you enjoyed the pictures! Next up is giving Charlie’s old room some girly flair to suit my Anna baby!

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Filed under At home, DIY Projects, Uncategorized

Succulents, meet Grandma’s Crystal

My dining table always looks more alive when it has a centerpiece. Practical for a family of five who eats at this table three times a day? No. But very pretty.

Over the past couple of years succulents have become one of my favorite forms of greenery. They stand up to my black thumb and my cat’s annoying habit of nibbling leafy greens, plus they have sculptural form to boot! Many years ago I claimed a crystal bowl which belonged to my maternal grandma and proceeded to leave it hidden in a cupboard. I decided that it would make a perfect container for a grouping of succulents so now I get to have a center piece and a functional way to display grandma’s crystal!

Do forgive the excessive number of pictures. I was practicing my still life photography.

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Here are some other interesting vessels for planting succulents in. Choose a vessel fitting your home’s style and you can’t go wrong with these beauties.

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Moving Upward and Making Changes

In the past two weeks I have been overwhelmed by the love and care I have received from my friends, both in person, and via words of prayer and encouragement over the internet. I am thankful to let you know that I have been trudging upwards out of the pit over the past week. Periods of depression are not uncommon for me though this was the worst I have experienced since finding out I was pregnant with Anna (love you baby girl!). I am blessed to have my mental health issues mostly well controlled through medication and thankful that during those dark periods of time I always know, even when I feel almost hopeless, that I will come out of it.

After the lethargy of the past week I was struck with a wave of energy over the weekend. You may have noticed that I have not posted any projects from my own house in a long time. Not because they have not been happening! This past weekend I spent copious amounts of time working on DIY projects for finishing up the new decor of Sofia and Charlie’s shared bedroom (almost done!) and as I write a contractor is tearing out my kitchen counters. I am looking forward to sharing some pictures and projects once it is all done.

Since last posting pictures of my home these three rooms have changed greatly:

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Can’t wait to show you what they look like now…okay, as in right now my kitchen is still in shambles but it is getting there. Hopefully I’ll have pictures of the kid’s room up sometime next week. Fingers crossed for another productive weekend!

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Filed under At home, From the Heart: Thoughts on Life and Family, General, Uncategorized

Coping with Sundecks

Everyone has different coping mechanisms. For me, when I’m taking a break from the curled up in a ball crying phase, I cope (probably more effectively) by blogging. It is not uncommon for me to stop mid cry and ask my husband something like, “would you prefer a settee or chairs for the balcony?” Because that is where my obsessive compulsive brain has been going lately when not walking in rounds of negative self talk.

Currently we live next door to a construction site and we spent last summer with our balcony door closed, trying to escape the clouds of dust caused by the combination of drought and the copious amount of sand loading going on next door. This summer I’m determined to pretty up the space and not have it just be my children’s dirty out door “playpen”. I want an adult space where Steve and I can go to relax and enjoy the sun set and the frog’s song once we’ve put the kids down.

I get annoyed by all the large and luxurious patios and backyards shown in design magazines around this time of year. If you live in Vancouver or anywhere within spitting distance you are lucky to have a square of grass much less a sprawling backyard. Thank goodness for the internet! I set to searching online for inspiring small space outdoor decorating, focusing mostly on small sundecks since that is what I am personally looking to decorate. Here are some of the fantastic spaces I found.

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Sophisticated Monochromatic

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Parisian Petite

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Outdoor office

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Zen Spa Space

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Global comfort

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Country chic

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Cozy cocoon

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Modern Bohemian

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A colourful retreat

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A classic look

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Garden retreat

Colour me inspired! I hope you are inspired too! I’m planning on choosing a few of the pictures over the next few weeks and doing some blogs on “how to get the look”. If I had a larger, more interactive reading pool for my blog I would ask you to pick your favorites so I can search out the product for you but alas, I am a small fry. However, if you do see a look you really fancy give me a shout and I’ll make sure to include it in one of my blog posts.

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Filed under At home, Decorating Projects, Eye Candy, From the Heart: Thoughts on Life and Family, General, Mental Health, Therapy

A love letter from the pit

Are you familiar with the Bernstein Bears stories? Each story has a little “proverb” at the beginning. If this were a Bernstein Bears story, the proverb would say this, “when life, depression, and hormones collide, mommy takes daddy on a rough ride”.

This post is a love letter to my husband. To help him understand. Because he doesn’t, and he feels frustrated. He wants me to speak words, to help him understand. But I can’t speak just now. Maybe you have a loved one who goes through periods of depression. Maybe my words can help you understand too.

Dearest husband,

You are a light in my life. I may not have survived previous episodes of such darkness if it were not for your strength and commitment to God and family. Right now my mind is in a dark place. You have a beautiful unclouded mind, seldom touched by waves of depression and you provide a solid foundation for our family. I am thankful that God gave you to me because, especially in times like this, I need your strength. I need it but I struggle to ask for it. You ask me to use words, to ask for help, to tell you what I need you to do, but words almost feel impossible right now. I don’t want to need help. I want to be strong. It is hard to admit weakness even when it blatantly obvious to anyone looking.

I am quiet and I hide because my mind is loud. With every request my mouth speaks and every task my inactivity leads you to do, my mind beats me down. I want to help, to do normal life stuff, but my whole body feels weighed down. It looks like laziness. It even feels like laziness. But I can’t get out. My mind is merciless in its accusations in regards to how I am letting you and our children down.

The children scream and bounce around and I feel unable to cope with it because it merges with the noise in my mind and overwhelms me. I love you all so much but I feel unable to be the wife and mother I want to be and this feeling only ads to the accusations in my head. You ask me to make simple decisions and to do simple things. The fact that I feel so incapable to do these things makes me feel like crumbling.

My mind it clutched by fear about how you perceive me. Do you find me lazy, selfish, infantile? Does this present state of being cause you to dislike me? To be angry with me? These are the questions that attack my brain and cause me to avoid your eyes. I feel ashamed of myself in your presence because I so love you and admire your strength. I don’t want to cause you trouble or inconvenience. I only want to love you and our family well and bring richness into your life, but right now I can’t be that person.

They say depression is an illness, so consider me sick right now. In need. I need you. I can’t speak the words. I don’t know how to ask for the help I need. I’m sorry my silence frustrates you. I do love you. This time will pass, please be patient. You will get your wife back soon.

Love, Your Heather

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Filed under From the Heart: Thoughts on Life and Family, Mental Health

Outfitting Billy in 2016

Tonight was supposed to be the first night of my Business Readiness course, sadly it was cancelled and I’ve taken all the other current course offerings so I am without an escape for the semester. Leaving my family at 6:30 on a week night is something I look forward to each time I take a class. Skipping the bedtime routine and having some breathing space a whole hour or so before the kids are actually in bed is a real treat.

My husband, being amazing as he is, has accepted my proposition to take that normal class night each week and leave the fam early to go have some time alone to work on blog and design related work. And so, I sit in the (quiet? relative to kids screeching) of Starbucks with my computer. I have to say, I was tempted to cross the road and see if I could blog whilst getting a pedicure. Maybe next time.

One of my most visited blog posts is one I wrote a couple years ago about different storage options for Ikea Billy bookcases. I figure those links are all but moot by now so I thought I’d do an update for those seeking to outfit their Billy. Here are some of the goodies I have found that actually fit! Please forgive all the scrolling! I was having formatting issues.

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Lattice basket from Target

A classic milk crate

A classic milk crate from Target

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For a curvy modern look these West Elm containers hit the mark.

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Fun from Pier 1

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Blue felt bin from CB2

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A modern industrial look from CB2

This may not still be around by the time you click the link but they have a constant flow of unique storage options at Chairish.

This may not still be around by the time you click the link but they have a constant flow of unique storage options at Chairish.

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A snazzy fun look for you playroom from Pier 1!

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A simple and inexpensive option from Walmart.

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So this doesn’t exactly fit on the shelf but I love the idea of attaching a hook to the side of the bookcase then hanging this World Market basket. It would be a perfect place for stuffies.

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Striped basket from Pier 1

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Wooden tool type box from World Market

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A container you can label for the super organized. From Serena and Lilly.

Hope you can find something you like.  If you stop by this post a year from now don’t be too discouraged if these links are obsolete. Check out the stores these items are from and your likely to find something that will fit!

Now I must further take advantage of this child free time and get some groceries!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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