Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sick Computer

Hi everyone! Well, it looks like my computer has a virus and not feeling too well. So its been taken to our friend Carlos' house for some TLC. Unfortunately I wont have it back until after the weekend so I wont be able to blog until then as it has all my photos on it.

However, I'm not going to leave you with nothing today. This morning, I came across this Martha Stewart Recipe for White Wine Sangria. If the weather is supposed to be lovely where you are this weekend, this will definitely get the party started. Maybe serve it with a strawberry rhubarb pie? I pulled the rhubarb from my garden yesterday and made one. I'm not going to post the recipe because it was like soup inside but it tasted DELICIOUS. I dont care if I have to eat it with a spoon!!

Yield Serves 8


6 cups assorted fruits (such as mango, pineapple, cantaloupe, and apricot), sliced or cut into chunks
1/4 cup thinly sliced peeled fresh ginger
1 to 1 1/2 cups fresh basil or mint leaves
1/2 cup orange liqueur, such as Cointreau
1 bottle crisp white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)


1. In a large bowl or pitcher, combine fruit, ginger, basil or mint, and orange liqueur. Mash gently with the back of a wooden spoon until basil is bruised and fruit releases juices. Add wine and lemon juice and stir to combine. Refrigerate 1 hour (or up to 1 day). To serve, fill eight glasses with ice and top with sangria.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Keep it Beautiful.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Treasure Hunt

The Great Glebe Garage Sale...aka The-Great-Treasure-Hunt was this past Saturday May 26th. Like I said in a previous post, its one of my favourite events of the year where thousands of people walk the streets of the Glebe hunting for gems and diamonds-in-the-rough.

Not only do you see people walking the streets before the sun rises, there are also folks who rent a space for their stuff and camp out the night before to "guard" it. Crazy!

The weather was beautiful with lots of sunshine. Normally I walk the sale for hours looking for treasures, but this year I was only out for a little bit as I was running in a race on Sunday and didn't want my feet to be too angry with me.

However, I did find a great lantern for the patio, a few toys for the kids and a free belt from my girlfriend Isabelle ;)

Here are some photos of the great day:

Just because someone else has owned something doesn't mean that it can't be Fresh.Fabulous.Sophisticated in your house!

Keep it Beautiful.

Friday, May 25, 2012

One Person's Trash is Another's Treasure

Its only one more day until the Great Glebe Garage Sale so I thought we would continue talking about trash to treasure...

A few weeks ago I was driving down my street around 9pm and spotted a whole bunch of stuff on someone's curb. I slowed down, looked over the curbside and saw an old secretary's desk just sitting waiting to be eyed. Good thing it was dark because I knew I would feel super weird if the people in the house actually saw me taking their junk into my car. So, I stop the car and stealthly walk over to the desk that is calling my name from the lonely curb. It has good bones, needs work but would be a great piece in my guest room and a perfect spot for me to sit at and blog.

Hmmm, how am I going to get this thing in my car? I'll go get Mr. Fix-it. Just then, the owner of the home opens his front door! Gasp! I've been seen. Akward.

He comes over to me and asks me if I need some help hauling the desk into my car. More akward. He then proceeds to tell me that his mother had lived in the house and she was a hoarder. A real life hoarder? Oh, I SOOO wanted to see inside. However, ten minutes of his life story he said he had found this desk under piles of clothing and he remembered sitting at it as a child. He was happy to see it go and I was happy with the vision of it in my guest room.

I get down the street and Mr. Fix-it helps me carry it downstairs to the basement for its transformation.

Here is what the desk looked like when it called my name from the curb:

Looks like someone liked stickers?!


- Sand Paper
- Paint Brushes
- Mini roller brush
- Primer
- Paint
- Scredriver
- Hardware
- Pretty Paper (I got mine from Michael's)
- Glue (white craft glue or spray adhesive)

Here is what I did:

- Washed the desk with some mild soap and water - it was super dusty and the primer won't stick to the dust.
- Removed the hardware and the drawers
- Gave the desk and drawers a quick sand all over
- Primed the desk and drawers with a coat of primer using a medium sized paintbrush
- Once everything was dry I used a paintbrush to do the first coat of paint. The paint colour is high gloss Benjamin Moore - Cloud White. I let it dry over night.
- Painted a second coat on with the small roller brush so that it didn't leave any brush strokes.
- Once all the paint was dry I cut the paper to the size needed for the back of the desk and glued it on with standard white craft glue. You can use spray adhesive also.
- Add some new hardware and...


I just realized I dont have a final picture with the new hardware. I'll make sure to take one this weekend and upload it. Silly me! Right now I haven't put the door back on as I'm not sure it needs it (I covered up all those stickers with the pretty paper).

This desk is the perfect size for our guest room and a great little spot for me to sit and blog. It has lots of little nooks and drawer space for the laptop, pens, design inspiration and ideas, paper clips etc.

Another person's trash can be your fresh.fabulous.sophisticated treasure.

Keep it Beautiful

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Drab to Fab - Chair DIY

Its three days until the event that is anticipated by many bargain hunters and junk purgers in Ottawa. The Great Glebe Garage Sale is this Saturday, rain or shine, it always draws thousands of people into the tree lined streets of the Glebe.

The Sale is one of my favourite events of the year, as residents of the Glebe haul out their unwanted items for sale on their driveways, laneways, lawns and curbs. Seasoned bargain hunters start scoping out the loot as the sun starts to rise and there are still die hard shoppers out there until early evening.

I'm always on the hunt for a good bargain and the Great Glebe Garage Sale is a gem event not to miss. Sure, there's tons of junk that often ends up on the curb with a "TAKE ME" sign. But there are lots of hidden treasures just waiting to be scooped up.

Last year I found this great chair on my hunt. All it needed was a little bit of love.


- chair
- screw driver
- sand paper
- primer
- paint
- fabric
- staple gun


- Unscrew the cushion from the original frame and give the frame a good sand.

- Prime and paint the frame of the chair. I'm sorry I didn't take a photo of the chair before I primed and painted it (picture dark wood in poor condition, with this cushion on it).

- Now that your cushion is off the chair, its super easy to cover. I chose a thin white fabric (not sure it was the best move for toddler fingers, but so far so good). Iron the fabric and lay it down on the floor. Lay the cushion over top and with your staple gun pull the fabric taught over the back of the cushion and staple. I suggest starting with the longest sides first.

- Screw the cushion back to the frame. It was a Saturday morning and my little guy hadn't made his entrance into the world yet ;) just a short period of time you have a chair from drab to fab!

Add a cushion to make it a Fresh.Fabulous.Sophisticated occasional chair for your room of choice.

I'll make sure to let you know what treasures the sale will uncover this weekend!

Keep it Beautiful.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Pretty, Pretty Tulips!

The first three weeks of May in Ottawa is a special time for the city. The annual Canadian Tulip Festival is a time honoured tradition that draws thousands of people into the city from literally all over the world. If you can believe it, its the largest one in the world.

The Festival was established to preserve the heritage of Canada's role in liberating the Dutch during World War II. The symbolic tulip was a gift to the Canadian people for providing safe harbour to the Dutch royal family at that time. Three hundred thousand tulips are planted every year in 60 different varieties. Impressive eh?

This week I took the kids for a little stroll to see the beautiful flowers.

Here's my little guy hiding in the tulips (I do believe he's snacking on one of the leaves ;)

and this is my big guy when he was just about the same age as my baby. This is one of my most treasured photos.

You may not get a chance to see these tulips but tulips scream spring. There are so many ways to show off these beauties. Get creative and they'll make you smile. Here are a few ideas...

Displaying one colour creates cohesion

My favourite vase that I own is specifically for tulips that my mum gave me from Pottery Barn. J'aime.
These are on my table now.

Tulips are a sign of Spring, beautiful and inexpensive. You can find them in high end flower boutiques and your local grocery store. Pick a couple of bunches up next time you need to stop for milk and get creative displaying these beauties!

Happy long weekend!

Keep it Beautiful.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bathroom Bliss

Who isn't a sucker for a beautiful bathroom? There is just something so dreamy about them. Maybe its the thought of blissfully soaking in a big beautiful tub full of bubbles and a glass of wine in hand.

Checkout these beautiful bathrooms. Aren't they dreamy?

A closet in the bathroom? Yes please!

I feel like this bathroom belongs in a beautiful French Chateau

A soak at the cottage

Is this tub calling you? Or is it just me?

However, for most of us...if you get to take a bath all by yourself with no interuptions, its a beautiful day! Last winter we decided to do a small bathroom reno. Ha! Small renos in these old houses tend to uncover many hidden surprises. When we moved into the house, the second floor bathroom (we call it the kids bathroom but its also used for guests as we dont have a powder room on the main floor) was circa 1985. Mauve, pink, grey and beige was the theme. We thought in the short term we would replace the tile, paint the walls and lay new flooring. Sounds easy? Maybe a weekend project for my hubby (Mr. Fix-it). Well, Mr. Fix-it took off the tile to find this...ROTTEN wood from the window.

Our reno went from mini to yikes! We started panicking that if the wood was rotten there, could it be all over that wall? Into the other rooms? Uh oh. I was starting to wish we hadn't even opened the wall. However...with the help of some of Mr. Fix-it's buddies, they found that the rot was contained and they could fix it. Phew! Turned out we couldn't really salvage anything, so full demolition went down...

This is Mr. Fix-it talking on the phone to me while I was away with the kids for the weekend. Just letting me know we had a slight problem with the bathroom ;)

Guess we're not keeping the tub

Carter helping Daddy out

Seeing how everything had to come out, it was a great opportunity to try to make the tiny space (7'X7') feel as big as it could. We had to deal with a heating vent that was at one end of the tub but instead of having the shelf up high, we made it wider and lowered it to almost tub level so that it fit all the kids bath toys, shampoo etc., and at a height they could reach.

Before the tiles were grouted

Initially I wanted to install wainscotting half way up the wall but with such little wall space, it felt much more airy by painting the walls a fresh colour. We chose Farrow & Ball - Borrowed Light.

Mirrors...a small room's best friend. By adding a full length mirror on one wall and a glass framed mirror directly opposite it made the bathroom feel more open.

Dont get too fussy with decor stuff in the bathroom. Keep it simple. Pretty baskets are a great way to keep your bathroom essentials organized and if you can fit a storage hutch in your it. Its a great way to organize, store your towels and looks lovely.

Towels are a lovely way to add colour or texture to your bathroom. Realistically, towels dont have the longest shelf life (even the really good ones) so switch it up now and then.

Pottery Barn has some beauties but so does HomeSense. Monogramming also adds a little extra special touch.

Lighting...can make or break a room. Take the time to find that perfect light fixture for your space. Bad "hag lighting" in a bathroom is bad news. I suggest puting your light fixture on a dimmer switch. Just like everyone looks great in candle light, your guests will thank you when they look fab in your dimmed bathroom. Because lighting is such an important element to designing a room I'll make sure to have a post dedicated to it.

Home renos can be scary and if you have a fantastic contractor, or not alot of time then full steam ahead. However, you too can take on the challenge if you're not in a huge rush and interested in learning a few new things. What's the worst that's going to need to call a contractor (which you likely were going to do at the beginning anyway). With so many online tutorials and books out there, I encourage you to take risks! You will learn alot along the way. With the help of Mr. Fix-it's buddies, they learned how to fix plumbing, install a tub, replace beams, master drywalling etc. You dont need to do everything, but I encourage you to take on something in your home you've never done before.

We did hire a fabulous tiler to lay the floor and install the tile surrounding the tub. If you are in Ottawa and need tiling done, just let me know.

Bathrooms and kitchens are the top selling features in a home. Whether you install a new bathroom or add new paint and a beautiful shower curtain, you can transform your space to be fresh.fabulous.sophisticated.

Keep it beautiful.

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