Sunday, July 17, 2011

a matter of perspective

Any of you who have built before will  understand when I say that during the course of construction, the perspective changes over time.  Usually it goes something like this...

oh my gosh it's huge... what have we done??
oh no - it's too small.. what have we done???
oh - I guess it's just right.. what was I worried about?
Then the "honeymoon" period with the house begins.  Everything is bright, shiny, and new.  Love is in the air...
...and then the house starts bugging you.  Things aren't functioning like you thought they would, and the house isn't 'perfect'.  You start beating yourself up over things you could have done differently, and complaining about things that make you crazy.  Things aren't getting done and the vision that you had in your head isn't happening.
The to-do list stares accusingly at you every day, but you just can't do one. more. thing. on. this. house.
(By the way my vision always includes the house being sparkling clean, perfectly decorated, and the kids are impeccably behaved... and wait, is that someone baking cookies for me while I curl up on the sofa with a good book?)

Building is a roller coaster ride.. one that we love, but it isn't for everybody.  In the end it's all worth it, because we get to create exactly what we want.  On the downside of that, we have no one but ourselves to blame when things don't turn out.

Work on the house this summer has been moving slow.  We are still working out the kinks inside, and things aren't perfect.  But it's exactly what we wanted, so I know if we give it a little time we'll get there.  Our perspective will change again, as we resolve some problems and cross some projects off the list.  We'll settle into our long-term relationship with the house.. the kind of love that accepts the flaws and quirks for what they are.

I will admit that for me, this process seems to get more dramatic with each house we build (this project was number 4).  I think that I get harder on myself, and my standards get higher.  
So I think I'll work on a series of posts about each room, how it is functioning, what I would do differently, and my future plans for it.  Also I'd like to update you about how our heating/cooling systems are doing as well as post on some of the little projects that are happening around here.

So, maybe I'm crazy.. but this is the process for me adjusting to a new house... how is it for you?  Am I the only one who pictures life as a magazine spread?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

check this out

And what is this, you ask?  Why it's a gorgeous glass and silicone reusable water bottle I say!  Can you believe I WON this little pink creation over at pretty little green things, a fantastic blog which I read regularly.  Petra is also a contributing writer at Pure Green Magazine, a beautiful Canadian online mag which you should totally check out!

Eco-friendly water bottle

Now, don't get too jealous.. but these just launched in the US, and I can't seem to find anywhere in Canada that stocks them yet.  So you might not be able to get one.  That's right, I just might be the very first Canadian to own a BKR.  I am super-cool.  Actually, I guess it's Petra who's super-cool, since she held the contest!

I have to say that the bottle is really pretty, and although I haven't dropped it yet, the silicone does seem very cushiony.  I love the glass-bottle opening.  So much nicer feeling (and tasting) than metal, and no annoying complicated push/sip valves.  I can carry this at work, and it looks appropriate.  It fits in my cupholder.  And if I do break it, they'll replace it for FREE.

The whole thing can go in the top rack of the dishwasher, and although it says the silicone sleeve doesn't have to come off, I found I got a lot of moisture (and a little food grit) under the sleeve.  So in the future I will take the sleeve off to wash it.  Because it bothers me, and that's the kind of girl I am.  You're probably much more tolerant and would save yourself some work by just throwing it right in there.  You're smart like that.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

spring has sprung

Here it is.. proof that spring has finally sprung up here in the forest.  It is glorious.  But WOW it sure took it's sweet time getting here.  

So here it is, for all of you who gave me a hard time about living in perpetual winter.. 

Proof of life in the forest.  Yes, that's a wild strawberry plant.  Don't be jealous.

There is no more hiding from all the work to be done.  The time is now.

Hmmm... let's build rock towers instead.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tuesday Reading

I came across this image on the newly reconstructed Pure Green Blog yesterday.  It made me giggle.. hope it does the same for you.  Love the chubby boxer half way down the line.  
"we have to stop cutting trees, this is getting serious"

If you have never read the Pure Green Blog, or Pure Green Living Magazine you should give them a try!  They have a team of people that do terrific work on the blog and magazine.. I find them to be a great source of information and inspiration.  And the sites are both really pretty.. and as anyone who knows me will tell you, I am all about the pretty.

Monday, May 16, 2011

making changes

You may have noticed that I have been playing around with the design of the blog, and doing a little organizing.  Yes, I know, I have better things I could be doing.  But organizing is a bit of a compulsion for me so when I see things in disarray I just can't help but put it to rights.

In doing this I have categorized all the previous posts into the tabs at the top, so that if you are interested solely in the house construction the related posts are all sorted into one spot.  This also allows for me to collect some tutorials and DIY projects together in the "made with love" category.

Anyways, all this to apologize for the Standard Magazine post re-posting itself today for no apparent reason.  Very mysterious.

I can't post without including a picture
Let me know if you like the changes... I have to say it is feeling much more like "me" these days!

Standard Magazine

Here's a lovely little magazine for you to browse this rainy Thursday..

Standard Magazine is a magazine in which green and sustainable are the "standard"

One of my favorite finds in there is the Etsy shop Housing Authority.  Isn't this chair fabulous?

10% SALE - Vintage Modern Knoll Pollock Client Chair
Add caption

the front entry

The front entry of the house has been a flexible space for us because I don't have a specific piece of furniture for that spot.  It is next to the dining room/kitchen, and between the front and back doors.  When we first moved in it was an art station for the kids...
what a mess
Then, as more boxes got unpacked, a new spot was created for the art station, and the entry sat empty for a while.. then I realized how CRAZY that was, when space is so tight.  I decided to put it to good use as a sewing centre for me, while I get some projects done.

a little better
What I would like to do, long term, is to put a nice long teak server here, a rug on the floor with some floor pillows for little readers.  Add a funky coat rack for guests, paint the door a fun colour (green?yellow?) and some whimsical accessories and plants.

front entry
something like this

But in the meantime, sewing awaits.. what do you think.. do you like it?  A girl can always dream, right?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

oh, sheet

Have you ever bought something and then really regretted it?  I usually buy my sheets at a discount home warehouse.. good quality 100% cotton sheets for a really reasonable price.  Fantastic.  
That is, until I decided that those sheets weren't good enough for me anymore... Cotton requires a ton of chemicals to grow, don't you know.

So off I went in search of the perfect sheets.. white, organic or bamboo, not too expensive.  Not only did I discover after many hours of shopping that organic or bamboo sheets are not readily available here, what I did find was really expensive.

I finally discovered some bamboo sheets from Home Outfitters.  I can't remember how much they were, I was on shopping overload by the time I found them.  But they were definitely reasonably priced.  I was happy.  I could sleep at night knowing my sheets were made from an earth-friendly fibre and that was that.  I loved my sheets.


I noticed after the first washing that the hemmed ends of the pillowcases and top sheet were quite wrinkly.  OK, I thought, I can live with that... cotton does that too.

Then I noticed that the fabric has a "grabby" quality (like a micro fibre cloth).  That means lots of hair stuck to the pillowcase (yuck, I know).  At first I thought I was going bald, so in a way the fact that it's the sheets is a relief.

After a few washes they started to pill.  A lot.

Is hate too strong of a word for how I feel about these sheets?  They have all the worst qualities of cotton and acrylic.  I can't believe I paid extra for them.  Next time I'm in the states I am going to be stocking up at Tar-gay on Organic cotton sheet sets.

So.. is it just me?  Did I stumble on the worst bamboo sheet set ever made?  Have any of you ever had this problem?  Should I give bamboo another chance?

And at what point is the sacrifice for a "green" product just not worth it?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

happy mama's day

Wishing a wonderful day to all you wonderful mamas.  May your day be sunny and your children be quiet.  Happy Mother's day.

It will be gone before you know it. 
The fingerprints on the wall appear higher and higher. 
Then suddenly they disappear. - Dorothy Evslin

Saturday, May 7, 2011

ribbon bows

remember these?
I sat down today with the kids and my mom and tried the ribbon bow tutorial.  I don't have pinking shears, so I decided to use up some ribbon scraps instead.  I followed the instructions, but stitched the loops together instead of using a stapler and glue gun.  I find hand sewing thoroughly enjoyable.  It's soothing to do something so quietly and slowly.  At least until I get the inevitable knot in my thread, which generally finds me putting it down and walking away until I find some patience.  Or chocolate.

my ribbon flower
I think mine turned out fairly cute.. too big and "loose" to use as a hair clip, but looks alright on the package.  I threaded some ribbon through the back to hold it in place.  I think I would prefer it out of something less glitzy, but that will wait for another day.

mom's ribbon flower
And speaking of glitzy.. mom made a flower out of some hot pink grosgrain ribbon by threading one edge and gathering it.  A rhinestone button I had hanging around finishes it off.  So cute, and this one would be great on a clip or hairband.  I also seems to be a much quicker way to make a flower.  Moms are so smart that way.

little girl's sewing
Little girl wanted to learn to sew on "the machine" this morning, but instead used needle and thread for the first time on a scrap of fabric.  The result is apparently a doggie toy.. "though not for a dog to actually play with, mom.. that would just wreck it".  Probably a good plan with the needle sticking out like that.  I was just happy that no tears or blood was shed... I'd call that a success!  Any ideas for teaching a 5 year old some sewing techniques?  I thought I'd get an embroidery hoop for practicing stitches, or maybe use some felt at first... I'd love to hear any ideas you have, or if you know of any good books or blogs with easy projects!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

good morning

In honour of another beautiful morning in the forest.. here is a fantastic video.  Take the time to watch it, it will make you smile.  Promise.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

my (not so) green thumb

"The people who you think are really great gardeners are actually people who just don't tell you how many plants they've killed and replaced."        mjs7640

Thank you mjs7640.. commenter on re-nest and maker of my day.  I hope this is true.  I am somewhat notorious for killing plants.  There have been too many to count.. lovely plants that have slowly lost the battle against neglect and disease, over watering or under watering, too much light or not enough.

Understanding that indoor plants do so much good for the air quality in a home, I am trying yet again to have happy plants in the house.  Hopefully these little beauties will not meet the same demise as their predecessors...

random tropicals
I have, in fact, killed so many plants I have a little stash of pretty pots in my cupboard, so I didn't need much in the way of supplies.  I did pick up some white sand and polished stones to pretty up the tops.

These canning jars were waiting to be returned to my mother-in-law, and instead got re purposed for terrarium-like purposes.  I call these terrariums but I think that term actually refers to enclosed/damp plantings.  I don't know what to call these.  If anyone knows, please fill me in.


And finally this little row of aloe plants for use on burns and scrapes.  I am doing my best not to over water the succulents, and not to underwater the tropicals.  If I can manage to keep these beauties happy, I may just treat myself to one of these..

Woolly pocket - wally
I have been admiring the woolly pockets for some time, and I think it would be lovely for herbs near the kitchen.. I even have a wall picked out.  But first I have to figure out how to keep some plants alive.  I'm working on it.

Monday, May 2, 2011

adorable bow tutorial

In the interest of simplifying and using handmade products I cleared out my box of gift wrapping goodies.  I let little girl use up the papers and decorations for craft projects (heaven for her!), and decided that from now on we will only use brown craft paper or fabric for wrapping gifts.

We've seen quite the trend these last few years of gift bags, and while they are super easy to re-use I seem to fall into the trap of wanting the gifts we give as a family to reflect who we are.  Disney Princesses simply don't do it for me.  Sorry.  Which translates into a build-up of gift bags I don't want to re-use and end up going into the give away bag.  I'd like to think that someone else re-uses them.

For me, simple is always best, and something different from the crowd also makes a gift seem special.  I also appreciate a scheme that can be used for any occasion.. no more running out at the last minute to buy gift wrap in the theme of the party.  Not only does this make my life easier, but the kids love to decorate the paper themselves for friends birthdays.  Right now this means a session with felts and crayons.. but I see this evolving into stamping techniques as they get older.

For ribbons, I have a stash of satin and grosgrain ribbons which are getting passed around between friends and family on gifts.  I do love a nice satin ribbon.  Sometimes though, I get a hankering to do something just a little bit different.. and in the spirit of Mother's day, here's an idea for fabric bows that uses up scraps of fabric (or ribbon).

image from for the love

The tutorial is at for the love and is by Carrie of TheRoudyStroudys, and I found it via Poppytalk this morning.  And so, I will try some of these this week.. I think with a button in the center and using a needle and thread instead of glue and staples.  I am also wondering if done a little smaller it would make a cute hair clip flower?  I can see them in multicolour, out of ribbon.. so many possibilities!  I shall try.  I shall post.  We shall see.

Friday, April 22, 2011

two events.. one Friday

This year Earth Day has coincided with Good Friday.  

And so some squelching around in the mud was in order...

recipe from Mennonite girls can cook was baking Paska.  I have not attempted this in many years, but it looks good, right?  

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Winter Wonderland

Did I hear someone say it's spring?  I think it's a rumour.  Don't believe it.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


I can't believe I haven't shown you the lighting yet!  

After many hours of searching I ordered almost all our lighting through Barn Light Electric in the States.  If you haven't seen their product yet, you should definitely check it out.  It is that elusive retro/industrial/modern style which suits our house perfectly.  Here are some pics of our lights...

Goodrich Gooseneck light with Black Enamel shade
We got 5.. aren't they fantastic?
Barn Light Electric manufactures a good portion of their lights in the US.  Most of the lights are CSA or UL rated for use in Canada.  Best of all, they are reasonably priced, and everything is customizable.  Cloth cord?  Sure!  Teal Green?  Why, of course!  Reeded glass?  No problem!  So. Many. Choices.

Barn light outlaw pendant - we intentionally chose a light with the bulb neck exposed.  This allows uplighting at night to light up the plywood ceiling.
 There are six barn light pendants for overhead/general lighting in the great room.  I just realized this is kind of a horrible picture.. hang on..

that's better.

atomic industrial pendant with reeded glass over the kitchen sink

two wall mount double CGU sconces in the bathroom 
galvanized aluminum finish, reeded glass
This one was on clearance and is no longer available. 
Because lights made in north america are as rare as hens teeth, we did end up with a few that are manufactured overseas.  

The ceiling fans are by Emerson, and although I believe these are made in China, there are many things I appreciate about this fan.  The information on airflow, electricity use, and airflow efficiency are readily available, and because of the hydrofoil blade, this fan can really move a lot of air.  The motor has a lifetime warranty too, so hopefully that means we won't ever have to replace them.  They run night and day, so a quality fan was important.  Oh, and they look cool.

our bedroom lights snuck by me... they are made in China by Hubberton Forge.  If you follow the link you'll see why I was fooled.  No mention of it there.
 And last but not least... the dining room light, which is our only IKEA light, but is well worth it.  It is made in China.  To find a light the right scale and the right feel made in the USA would have cost a few grand (at least for the ones I like!) and since I really want to add a whimsical touch to our home, this light seemed perfect!  The price tag didn't hurt either.. at $99.99 you really can't go wrong.  That said I would have happily paid double if it was manufactured in Europe or North America.

I have actually had my eye on this light since it was first released, but never had an appropriate place to put it.  The scale is perfect (It's 32" in diameter), and the kids love it.  It throws the prettiest shadows over the whole room at night.  So happy with this decision.


And that, my friends, wraps up the lighting in the house!  Now I am going back to sit by the fire, because it may be spring down in the valley but up here it is still decidedly winter.  I'm hoping for spring to arrive in May, but for now I go down into town for walks in the warm sun and to see the trees budding and the bulbs in bloom.  But that's why people love the Okanagan... the golf courses and ski hills are both open!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Chicken Coop

I really, really love the idea of a chicken coop.  I'm fairly certain I like the idea of it more than I will like the reality of it.. but perhaps I will surprise myself.  I am looking forward to the eggs, but I will admit that I'm really not the kind of girl that's OK with poop under my shoes.  That said, the pretty chickens themselves may win me over.

I definitely need a pair of boots.  Cute boots make everything better.. even poop.
wellies by hunter

Although chickens are well in the future for us, I can't resist checking out gorgeous backyard chicken coops.  A reliable source is the Sunset Blog.

Picture 5
the nogg
the modern coop
We will be having more than one or two chickens, so neither of these coops would work for us... but that doesn't stop me from drooling.  Is anybody out there considering urban chickens?

Thursday, April 7, 2011


I just stumbled upon a fantastic new coupon site!  You all know Groupon I am sure... well this is the same setup, only for handmade goodness via Etsy!  
Check out heartsy.. you won't regret it!  Yay handmade!

image from hellogoodbyeagain

image from cozyblue