Backyard Progress

We have been making some progress on the backyard lately (though when I say ‘we’, I really mean Kurt). Our gardens are nearly ready for planting, our grass is green, and the phase 2 of the pool is underway. I was really hoping to plant some flowers in the far back yard, but a tree branch that fell in the ice storm is occupying most of it still.

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In case you were wondering, that is not my cat in the picture. It is the cat I not so lovingly refer to as ‘damn whitecat’.

We bordered our gardens with concrete slabs from the backyard and filled them with a mix of peat moss, regular dirt and compost. Our region offers free compost from our food waste collection program, so we are using that, along with some worm casings from our worm bin.

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We rented a big saw last weekend and Kurt and his friends cut out some of the metal from the pool. There is still a long way to go, but at least progress is being made. I have hopes that one day there won’t be a giant death hole in the middle of our yard.

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I have dreams that one day our backyard will be a beautiful oasis filled with flowers, vegetables and butterflies, but until then, Kurt is really enjoying sledgehammering everything.

Free Spring Home Updates

We are trying to save money these days. We are getting our windows replaced in August, going on a 2 week trip in July and my car’s lease is up in September. So that’s a lot of big expenses over a few months.

With things starting to clear up and grow outside it’s nice to freshen up a bit inside along with it. Here are some ways to cheer up your home for free.

Bring some nature inside. There are finally things growing outside. Maybe you have flowers, lucky you. All I could find on a walk Easter weekend was a branch of pussywillows. Though they isn’t colourful, they are still beautiful.

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Change out your winter bedding for some lighter and fresher. Now is a great time to switch out heavy blankets and duvets. Choose something you love!

Choose one area of the house (or the whole thing if you are feeling motivated). Deep clean and purge any extra stuff.

Make some free art. Use some of those art supplies I’m sure you have around somewhere. Create something and be proud of it. Hang it on the wall!

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Easy Curtain Tie Backs

Sometimes curtains drive me crazy. Actually what really drives me crazy is the tutorials online for curtain related things. This time it was curtain tie backs. Everything is so complicated. Many involve finding an antique spoon and bending it. I just wanted to sew some fabric together and be done with it. So that’s what I did.

I went through my fabric scraps until I found something that looked good with the bright yellow, light blocking curtains I bought for the guest room. It get’s an insane amount of light, which I love, but sleeping people don’t love as much. I was in luck with the fabric because I had a strip cut off a sheet that I used for a quilt backing. It was the long, skinny part from the top of the sheet that is folded over and sewn. This meant less sewing, which was good because half-way through my sewing machine decided it hated me and was hell-bent to sabotage everything I did (actually I think I may have bent my needle, but at the time I just assumed the machine was evil).

Here’s what I used:

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All I did was sew the two ends of my strip closed with a loop of ribbon in the middle.

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If you don’t have a strip cut from the top of a sheet lying around (which is most likely the case), you will just have to use a strip of fabric and sew the long end together as well.

Each tie should only take about 10 minutes (this is assuming your sewing machine doesn’t hate you).

After the sewing I just wrapped the tie back around the curtain to measure where I wanted it and screwed a hoop into the wall, then looped the ribbon around the hook. For the second one I measured to make sure they were even.

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Obviously I didn’t iron anything. That’s my least favourite part of sewing, so I usually skip it.

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I’m happy with how they turned out, and the fact that they didn’t cost a dime!

Real Homes: Guest Room

I’ve shown pictures of our guest room before, but we’ve changed it quite a bit. It’s definitely our most colourful room. It’s probably also one of our more ‘done’ rooms. The only things really left to do are add trim, replace the window and closet doors, the light fixture and get a table and lamp for beside the bed. We’ve painted (after plastering a million holes), changed out the electrical sockets, put up new curtains (twice now, the first set proved too tricky for guests to tie up), painted an old dresser, and hung stuff on the walls.

Try to ignore the plastic on the windows (it’s still regularly going below minus 15 here). Also don’t mind the Homer’s green tunnel and scratching triangle, he uses the room way more than anyone else so he get’s first priority).

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One Year as Homeowners

Today is the anniversary of the day we bought our house. This time last year we were running around like chickens sans heads to get everything done in time for our closing. It was crazy. Owning our own home has also been fairly crazy, but in a mostly good way. It often surprises me how expensive it is though. Even if you don’t consider the actual costs of buying a house (which are huge and seemingly never-ending as you get deeper into the process), just living in a house is expensive. It is so worth it though. It just makes me feel so happy that the walls surrounding me are MINE (and Kurt’s). When we are away I worry about our house (especially since we always seem to be away during crazy house killing storms), and strangely I also miss our house and the fact that we can create the lives we want here.

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I will leave you with our sad attempt at a family photo.

Kitchen Dreaming

Our kitchen drives me crazy. There are so many things that bother me about it. One of the biggest is that it could be so great, but whoever designed it originally just did a terrible job. There is so much wasted space. It is nearly impossible for both me and Kurt to work in the kitchen at the same time (at least without me getting frustrated). Another thing that really bugs me is that at this point there is almost nothing I can do about it because kitchens are expensive, and there are other priorities right now. So, all that is left to do is dream. And Pin. A lot.

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Here are the kitchens that I dream about, that will someday (hopefully not too far away) be inspiration for our new, beautiful, two-cook friendly kitchen.

We plan to tear out a wall and replace it with a peninsula, like this or this.

We plan on having pops of colour, like this or this.

We plan on having open shelving like this or this.

And we`d like to sort of build-in the fridge like this or this.

To see the rest of the things I like, here is my kitchen specific Pinterest page. It grows by the day.

Around Here Lately:

We’ve been trying to enjoy the sun. And itching for Spring.

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We’ve been watching some wanted visitors.

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And plotting against some unwanted ones.

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We’ve been smiling about nature’s free car wash.

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But unhappily dealing with the leaky window aftermath.

Oh Winter, you’re wet, cold, cruel, yet beautiful.