Down to Earth

It’s coming together.  Slowly but surely.

We didn’t find out ahead of time what gender our baby would be, so I couldn’t narrow down little details.  But now that Miss Brinley is here, piece by piece, our gender neutral room is becoming a wee bit more ‘girlie’.

I’m a sucker for classic nurseries and not super keen on cartoon themes.  My eye is always drawn to rooms on Pinterest that the little person can grow into rather than having to fully change out the decor over time.  I decided on a colour scheme ahead of time, based on the owl artwork I found at Winners / Home Sense.  The gray from the owl pic matched the walls perfectly and incorporated navy and teal, which could easily be in a girl or a boy room.  Once little miss was born, I added in a touch of pink in the room.

Owl in the closet

Truth be told, I typically despise pink.  I’m not exactly a girlie girl.  I enjoy wearing jeans and a t-shirt and my hair is almost always in a pony tail.  I didn’t even plan on putting any pink anywhere.  I thought “how cliche”.  But now that Brinley is here, something about having a girl has changed that.  Just slightly, mind you.  I haven’t gone overboard by any means… but I’m not vehemently adverse to a little pink here and there anymore either !

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I found the cutest pink fabric antique chaise at a garage sale for $30 (it was actually already sold and … well, I managed to talk the owners into selling it to me.  Long story !).  I just love it – although I’m still figuring out the layout in the room – so things may move.  Add in a beautiful bird cage (another garage sale find! Score !) and the chandelier (that was an original light fixture in our house … from our dining room) and there is a nice, feminine feel to the room.

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I tried my hand at making two terrariums to bring in some greenery and life to the nursery.  Love succulents instead of love ferns, perhaps !?

The only thing I bought were the succulents… making this an inexpensive addition as I used vases I already had and pebbles and dirt from my yard.

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I also made a mobile out of … wait for it … pine cones !  This room has a down to earth kinda feel and I wanted a little less consumerism in it and a little more creativity thrown in.  To make the mobile, I bound two pieces of drift wood together and then strung up some pine cones with fishing line.  I am contemplating painting the pine cones but for now they are maintaining their au naturel vibe.  B just loves staring up at them when I change her.  So I guess it passed the bosses test!

Pine Cone Mobile

A little bit of sentiment and older pieces are currently in there.  Like the distressed, vintage cabinet that the succulents are on, Isaac’s old crib, Lee’s grandmother’s La-Z-Boy that i happen to fall asleep in at least 5 times a week during the night time feed, and the dresser/change table that my dad built when I was born.


I thought it would be cool to incorporate the dresser somehow (plus our budget was too tight to buy anything else!) but it was a orange-y yellow stain and needing a bit of an update.  I painted the sides of it with Cowboy, which is the darkest paint on the swatch that the walls are painted (Skeptic and Turbo by General paint are the stripes colours) so that it still ‘matched’.  And then I painted the fronts of the doors and drawers with a plain ol’ white that I had sitting in the basement.  It’s not perfect.  It’s not consistent.  It now has a weathered look – done by accident – but I love it.  Now begins the hunt for new knobs and pulls !  I’m thinking crystal knobs… an Anthropologie shop will be needed but for now, I just spray painted the knobs so they weren’t totally in yo’ face.

There is a lot I still want to do in this room.  I would love to do some sort of a patterned paint on the plain Jane white curtains and I really want to do some sort of a gallery wall above her bed.  We shall see.  Like everything else in our house, it is a work in progress and will forever be changing.

Brinley's Room

Brinley's Room 2

Brinley's Room 3

But for now, it’s exactly what it needs to be !


Momma of Two

Brinley Corianne was 9 days overdue when she finally made her debut on July 21st, 2013.

And since that day, my heart has grown.  It is stretched every day – with every smile, snuggle and sigh.

I used to wonder how in the world my heart would be divided between my two little people.  But it isn’t divided… the love that I have now has just been multiplied.

Now if only the time in the day would be multiplied about 10 times !  It continually blows me away when I realize how many days have passed by and how little I accomplish each day.  So, excuse me while I adjust to being a stay at home momma of a newborn and a two year old.  The projects may be fewer for the next little while, but the hilarious two year old quotes are increasing, along with our adventures as a family of 4.  So, please stay posted 🙂

Isaac Quotes

“Goodness gracious, child !”

“Mommy, baby Brinley is crying ?  Again ?  She cries lots, and lots, and lots, and lots, and lots, and LOTS !”

“Hi !  I’m Isaac.  I’m TWO !  And two months !”


Coming Soon – Brinley’s birth story 🙂

Fireplace Makeover Part 1 and 2

My form of pregnancy nesting doesn’t exactly look the same as most women.  Many women are driven into cleaning frenzies, organizing spurts, or preparing frozen meals.  And I totally wish I was one of those women.

For me, nesting includes doing random DIY projects that I feel are 100% absolutely necessary.  Unless it caulking baseboards and door trims.  I truly despise that… probably because I haven’t figured out the best way to do it.  And maybe top it off with the fact that I’m a walking beluga whale.

As I sat on the couch one nap time – putting off cleaning, organizing, or meal preparing – I found myself staring at the fireplace, desperately wanting to update the old red brick and brassy doors.  You see, quite a few months ago, a friend of mine had mentioned seeing or hearing about someone using a concrete stain to update their brick.  I was fascinated.  Especially considering that we had collected a few quotes on knocking out the brick and installing a gas fireplace and stone surround and I nearly pooped my pants at the numbers that had come back.  Seriously – I couldn’t justify paying $6 – 7000 to do that.

Pre Fireplace Makeover

Brick Before

I could quickly visualize the brick stain but had to win over Lee with the idea.  It helped somewhat that the cost was significantly lower than even $1000 !  So I got my Google on and found some examples – which helped but wasn’t overly convincing.  So, I took the route of “it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission” and bought Behr Semi-Transparent Concrete Stain in Dark Coal from Home Depot for a solid $32 and went to town on the fireplace during one of Isaac’s naptimes and waited to see what Lee’s reaction would be.

Behr Concrete Stain - Dark Coal

The application was quick and relatively painless.  Especially because I’m one that doesn’t believe in taping off everything or doing much prep work.  I brushed off any dust and then did a quick vacuum over the bricks.  Then I grabbed a paint brush that was the same width as the bricks and starting applying the stain in extremely thin coats.

It’s not like paint at all.  It’s super drippy. Which is a good reason to lay down something to protect your floors or whatever.  In our case, we had ripped out the hearth and we are planning on tiling over it, so I didn’t bother.  I’m lazy like that – but it was something that I did consider…

And one by one, I tackled each brick.  It didn’t take long for applying at all.  It ended up being a two nap process just because I had to do a wee bit of prep before starting on Nap #1 and Isaac woke up early.  But I was really pleased with the coverage and how quickly things progressed.

Stage 1

As a disclaimer – I was in a wee bit of a freak out mode but trucked thru it at the beginning because the stain almost looked navy going onto the brick.  But I had started and was past the point of no return already so I hoped to goodness that when it dried and cured that it would turn dark coal…

Sure enough, it cured into a beautiful dark coal that worked really well with our Turbo colored walls.  So much so that I actually had to point it out to Lee.  The best part was that I got a mostly supportive nod to keep going.  Not that either of us had any choice at this point !  There was no going back !

Staining during Nap #2 proved to be much more successful as I found my stride and really wanted it done.  So much so, that I actually kept going once Isaac was up.  The plus to renovating when babies are wee is that they learn quickly what they are allowed to touch and not.  That or he is just a pretty good listener and we lucked out.

I finished the faces of the bricks and left the sides for another day, which ended up being a solid 15 minutes a couple evenings later while Lee and Isaac played.

Of course, my DIY nesting wasn’t overly fulfilled as now I had an obviously brassy in-your-face fireplace door that taunted me blatantly from below my snappy stained bricks.  So, Isaac and I trekked out to Canadian Tire and picked up some black BBQ spray paint for $4.99 – which leads me to Part 2 of the makeover.

Krylon BBQ Spray Paint

Part 1 was awesome.  The BIG transformation.  Part 2 was the finishing touch.  Although, in actuality there will be a Part 3 eventually when we build the mantle, which will really be the finishing touch.

So let’s call Part 2, the … pièce de résistance of Parts 1 and 2 combined.  A little mascara perhaps.

I actually did a bit more prep this time, considering spray paint could have the potential to get incredibly messy.  I taped and papered off the glass on the fireplace doors and the surrounding areas around the face.

Spray Paint Prep

I then threw open the main floor doors and windows, put on a dust mask and got to spraying.  Thin, light coats to prevent drips.  It took a good 3 – 4 coats to get full coverage because of how light I was going.  To be honest, I feel like I could be one of the worst spray painters around because I am so impatient, but I really tried this time !  Mainly because our budget doesn’t allow for a new door panel thingy for our fireplace right now and I didn’t want to mess it up and then have to fork out the cash for a new one.  That and this was a project totally out of left field because that’s what nesting is, right !?  A crazy, unprecedented need to do something.

After 3 coats

But it turned out SO great.

Post spray paint

There is something about even a little, cheapy update that makes things feel so much more cohesive.  Our home is feeling a bit more home-y with every project that gets done.  It brings us one step closer to feeling complete and welcoming instead of feeling like we’re living in a constant state of renovation.

Before and After - Side by Side

And now, when people walk in, the red brick doesn’t jump out at them.  Their eye passes over the fireplace surround because it flows. It looks much more right.  Which to me, is the scratch that makes the itch go away.

From a distance

At least for a little bit !!