Saturday, June 30, 2012

Canada Day Long Weekend!

Happy Canada Day!!

Whether your chillin' on the dock at the cottage or headed to a Canada Day bash, I hope you enjoy yourself and let your hair down!

Canada Day in Ottawa is quite the show! If you ever have the opportunity to spend a Canada Day in the Nation's Capital, I recommend that you hit the downtown party to experience the Canada LOVE!

Canada Day is an extra special day for Mr. Fix-it and I. We were married on July 1st and celebrating our 7th anniversary this year :) We were married on a beautiful sunny and breezy afternoon with a great party to really was a wicked party!

To add to the long weekend fun, my brother is visiting from Paris :) Check out the beautiful Murano glass bowl from the city of love that he and his girlfriend gave us. So sweet. J'aime.

The boutique this bowl is from is called Merci. Its located in a majestic sun-filled loft where you can browse from room to room like a real house. Its amazing. Just by chance if you happen to be heading to must check it out.
MERCI, 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais - 3rd
Open daily Monday to Saturday 10am-8pm
Metro Saint S├ębastien Froissard

The owner has exquisite taste...who doesn't in Paris?

We'll be celebrating Canada's birthday with a backyard bash at our house! The weather looks to be beauty so the fridge is stocked with burgers and beer and the fireworks are ready.

If you are entertaining this weekend there are lots of ways to decorate your table that are super easy and look great. What about layering red and white jelly beans in a vase with a few small Canada flags hanging out? Or there is always the popular Canada Day cake that is yummy and cute.

Go to Kraft Canada for the recipe.

What about laying down a red table cloth or placements...your white plates will all of a sudden look festive! You can also wrap up your cutlery in red napkins (adding the little flag is a cute touch too). Its functional for your guests and looks great.

This is one of my fav summer recipes...who knew strawberry bruschetta would be so delish!

Strawberry Bruschetta
Yield: about 4-6 servings

1 cup strawberries, hulled and diced
1 tbsp. sugar
1 French baguette, sliced on a bias
4 oz. goat cheese
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
¼ cup minced basil leaves
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine the strawberries and sugar in a small bowl; toss to combine. Let the berries macerate for about 30 minutes so that they begin to release their juices. Spread a thin layer of goat cheese on top of each baguette slice. Top each slice with spoonfuls of the strawberry mixture. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Top each slice with the basil leaves and cracked pepper, to taste

Get that creative mind thinking of how red and white can make your Canada Day fresh.fabulous.sophisticated.

I'm off to get our backyard "Canada Day ready"! Enjoy your long weekend and we'll see you in July!

Keep it Beautiful.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tea Towel & Apron LOVE

Finishing your kitchen with beautiful accents is a sure way to give it that WOW factor. You dont always need a kitchen overhaul to make it fresh.fabulous.sophisticated.

While looking online for some kitchen "love", I came across these beauties from Studiopatro, a San Francisco based company - their gorgeous linen tea towels and aprons are naturally sustainable, luxurious and absorbent. All designs are handprinted one-by-one, using water-based inks and an ecologically sound citrus-soy cleanup.

This is their "Love Set"...wouldn't you just love to receive these? These would be a great wedding shower gift to give or receive.

Their new line "Cake+Pie" is perfect for summer entertaining or giving your kitchen a fresh pop of colour

You can buy their tea towels individually or in a set...lovely! They are perfect to have on hand as hostess gifts when you're off to a dinner party.

And let's not forget their aprons...beautiful and useful!

Here are some creative ways that Studiopatro suggests to "wrap" up your gifts...

Got a friend that loves to cook? Why not wrap up a fab cookbook!

or how adorable is this...

One of my favourite things to do is wrap up some yummy muffins or a loaf in a tea towel to bring for your host or to share with a friend.

Studiopatro ships anywhere and everywhere so check them out if you want to add some beauty to your kitchen or give a lovely gift.

These tea towels and aprons are beautiful and organic. They definitely make this Wednesday fresh.fabulous.sophisticated.

Keep it Beautiful

Monday, June 25, 2012

Imagination Station Playhouse

Did you have a playhouse growing up? Or maybe a treehouse? Or a special little hiding spot where your tea party and imagination came alive?

I didn't have a playhouse growing up, but I did have special little spots in the neighbourhood where my friend Carolyn and I would hangout and play "house" with our dolls.

My big guy has a very big imagination and we love watching him play pretend. Whether its pretending to be a daddy to his baby bear, a super hero rescuing his mummy or playing with his imaginary friend of the day, his imagination is infectious and embodies the creativity and innocence of being a child.

One day while I was at Costco with the kids, our cart came across a playhouse kit. My big guy went crazy for it and I knew it should have a home in our backyard.

Mr. Fix-it was excited about the project and we knew that our little boys and their friends could have great times in a playhouse.

Soooo...a couple of weeks ago while I was visiting my parents, Mr. Fix-it and his handy helpers started and finished the project in 40 degree heat. Oh my! Beverages definitely earned!

Here is the playhouse play-by-play:

- Mr. Fix-it pulled our various perennials, little trees and random weeds out of the corner where the future house would be built and then transplanted a bunch of the hostas that needed a new home.

- Next, he and his handy helpers leveled the ground and started to build a platform deck using 4X4s for the length and width and 2X4s for the crossbeams. The goal for this platform was a spot for the house to sit on, as well as space for the kids to play around the playhouse. This was not an easy job in hot weather. More bevvies definitely earned!

A way to make a solid base that wont sink is by using crushed limestone (you can get it at any Home Depot, Rona, Lowes etc), pour it in the trenches dug for the wood (about 2 inches thick), spray lightly with the hose, compact it (you can pound it down with a shovel) and wait for it to dry. This allows you to have a solid "make shift" concrete base.

- Next they added the crossbeams...

- Once the deck was built, the construction began.

Alot of TLC later...a playhouse was born!

I bought these two resin "Muskoka" chairs at Canadian Tire but didn't love their original blue colour. So...I gave them a quick spray using Krylon spray for plastic furniture. It gave me the look I wanted (although I see from my photo that I missed a few spots around the legs ;)

It even comes with its own working doorbell and a mock gas stove and sink ;)

- Our big guy's face of surprise was priceless! We stocked the little house with a few little flowers for the finishing touch. I'm thinking it needs a little sign out front maybe.

- So far the playhouse has transformed from a house, to a rocket ship to a zoo. Its hard not to remember how fun imagination and pretend play was.

If you have a young family, you're bound to have alot of plastic toys outside and inside your home (they aren't the most attractive things to look at). Sometimes its nice to splurge a little and get something that not only your kids will love, but that also looks fresh.fabulous.sophisticated.

Keep it Beautiful.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer Mantel

Yesterday was the official day of summer! I.LOVE.SUMMER!

Its been a scorcher week across many parts of Canada and we are feeling the heat in Ottawa! It felt like 44 degrees on Wednesday...crazy!

It was time for our living room mantel to get a little makeover to kick off my favourite season.

Bear with me and my photos for the next little bit. I had been using a friend's camera but its decided it needs a break and a new lens so I'm stuck using my little mini camera for now.

Hello summer mantel...

The little "beach" sign came from Mr. Fix-it's workshop. I journeyed down into the "man cave" aka...dark, dirty, tool-filled work room, to find something to make a sign with. I found a random plank and had Mr. Fix-it cut it to the length I needed. I gave it a quick paint and wrote "beach" on it with Benjamin Moore Cloud White. A quick sand to make it look a bit "weathered" and VOILA...a summer sign.

There are sand and shells in this glass jar from our honeymoon, a friend's down south wedding, babymoons, the Maritimes and other beachy trips. The piece of coral and that other cool looking stick thing (what is that anyway?) is also from our honeymoon.

Take a look around your home, I'm sure you'll find something to spice up your summer mantel. Here is some inspiration...

Casabella Project

Home Stories A to Z

Even if you dont have a mantel to decorate, what about a front hall table? Dining room table? Get creative and makeover your mantel that is fresh.fabulous.sophisticated about summer!

Happy Weekend!

Keep it Beautiful.

This post has been linked up to
The Lettered Cottage

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Life's Distractions

We all have our distractions in life that keep us balanced. What is yours? Is it finding an hour with a good book? Or maybe spending time at the mall for some retail therapy? Or getting lost in the kitchen creating a new dish?

My distraction is running.!

Running makes me feel alive, reminds me of how strong I am, makes me a better wife and mummy, allows me to think up design ideas, lets me eat yummy food and wine, shows my kids that living healthy and active is fun and makes me free in the wind.

I haven't been a "life long" runner. In 2001, I had a summer job that didn't start until 11am and I needed something to do on a beautiful summer morning. So, I decided to start running. I had always worked out and played sports - skiing and long distance swimming had been my thing as a teenager so I thought...running, no problem.

Ha! Running for 15 minutes left me winded, tired and defeated. However, it was only the beginning of the summer and I was up for the running challenge.

Three marathons, two half-marathons and various shorter races later...running and I have become close friends. In fact, we can't live without eachother.

I'm not crazy fast, I don't obsess about what foods I eat, I don't measure my run elevations (yup, there are people who do that) or measure the amount of wear on my running shoes but, I do...

wear a GPS watch to monitor my pace and distance, I've met really great running friends and love a good mental and physical challenge.

I love to run through various neighbourhoods in Ottawa to get design ideas for beautiful landscape gardens, seasonal ideas for my front door and exterior paint colours. Your neighbours have done some great things to the exterior of their homes, check them out!

A few weeks ago, we participated in the Ottawa Race Weekend. Mr. Fix-it ran the 10km, my dad power walked and ran the 5km and I did the marathon. Race weekend is an amazing time to witness inspiration from runners and walkers and hear incredible stories about people who have faced many of life's challenges.

The marathon is a long race to run, so naturally you meet a few people along the way to pass the time. One of my favourites was this guy that ran up along side me and said "Huh!" I said, "what"? He looks at me and says "I've never seen anyone run a marathon in pearls!" It totally cracked me up because I had totally forgot to take them off before the race. He's right, I'm not sure I've seen anyone run that far in pearls either?!

This is about 30 seconds after I crossed the finished line. Looking pretty rough and tired but on such a high! If you look closely, you'll see the pearls ;)

Running with thousands of your closest friends ;)

So that's one of my life's distractions. We all have them and we all deserve them. You may not be up for running a marathon but going out for a nice walk or short run doesn't take alot of time. Next time you need some incentive to go out, why dont you walk the streets near you with the goal of checking out the beautiful flowers gardens, balconies or paint colours on the houses for inspiration for your own home. I guarantee it will make your walk or run go by quicker and you'll have picked up some new fresh.fabulous.sophisticated design inspiration.

I hope you make the time this week for your life's distractions. You deserve it!

Keep it Beautiful.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Chalkboard - DIY

Hope you had a fab weekend!

The chalkboard. Some people have happy school memories of being picked to write on board and others have memories of washing the chalkboard in detention. Yikes!

Now with the rise of "Smart Boards" in schools, chalkboards seem to be making their way to being "retro". Double yikes!!

When I was trying to think of a way to keep lists, prepare menus and write messages to my family I thought a chalkboard would be a perfect addition to our kitchen. Enter in a Chalkboard DIY!

If you are looking to create one, I promise...its super easy and I use mine on a daily basis.

You can create one out of an old mirror or a picture frame. I had a different idea:


- Chalkboard paint (I picked mine up at Home Depot)

- Ikea cupboard door


- I can't leave Ikea without stopping by the "As-Is" section. On this visit, they had lots of kitchen cupboard doors hanging around and I thought it would make a perfect base and frame for a chalkboard.

- Mr. Fix-it painted the inside of the cupboard door with black chalkboard paint and the outside frame in Benjamin Moore - Cloud White.

VOILA! instant fresh.fabulous.sophisticated chalkboard! To clean off the chalkboard, just wipe it with a damp cloth and you have a fresh canvas ready for a new message.

You can totally do this!

You will have chalkboard paint are some fun ideas :)

Your friends wont lose their glass...


A place for everyone...

WOW...this is brave...

Have you used chalkboard paint before? What have you made? Would love to hear your ideas and see your chalkboard projects!

Keep it Beautiful.

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Weekend Bloggy Reading

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