Friday, July 29, 2011

Happy 5th Wedding Anniversary!

Today 5 years ago I married Bruno! Last week my photographer friend Colin Rowe took some pictures of us at the Ottawa Locks - another beautiful historic place in Ottawa. I am quite pleased with the results. It was a little strange having your photo taken in public like that when not wearing a wedding dress, but we got over it and enjoyed a bit of quiet time without the kids.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Time flies

Five years ago I married the best man ever! How time flies's just crazy. Two kids later and two houses later we just can't seem to grasp how things have changed. We had a great wedding day - a hot and sunny wedding day and most of all, a fun wedding day with friends and family from close and very far away.

Leading up to the wedding we had fun organizing most of it ourselves. We used Billings Estate as our venue. The oldest wood frame house in the area is the main feature, the gardens are beautiful and a large tent was used for dining and dancing. We had five long tables set up and mix and matched groups of people. We left a good half of the tent for dancing and DJ and we hung 72 paper lanterns on fishing wire.

Many of our guests were from out of town, so we used a double decker bus for a city tour which then took us to the reception. Hubby made the wooden signs indicating sports activities (crocket and volleyball), washrooms and reception area.

I sewed gingham table runners because I wanted a bit of a picnic feel at our event. I had bought restaurant wholesale dinner napkins which I tied with coordinating ribbons in shades of blue and green. Each napkin had a name tag pinned to it with a clothespin. We hung the menu on a close-by tree. We cut and folded many favour boxes shaped like cake slices and filled them with maple sugar candy and swiss chocolate. Leading up to the wedding I collected cake stands to display the favours. Our flowers were kept in shades of blue. We did all the printing of table numbers, name tags and programs ourselves.

Our cake was a delicious dense chocolate cake. It was not typical wedding cake at all and I did get the question as to why my cake was not white?  We had to cut the cake early because the heat was melting it! I still get this cake quite often at the caterer. Our food was perfect for a hot day - vichyssoise soup, stuffed chicken and couscous at room temperature.

We had a live jazz band play during cocktail hour and a DJ after dinner. My dress was made by the daughter of a dear friend. We took my mother's 1970's dress apart and used all the beautiful belgian lace to make my own dress. Although I quite liked my mother's dress style, she is about 3 inches shorter than I and got married at age 22 - no way I was going to fit into that thing. This made it a special dress for both of us.

We had a great time leading up to the wedding, the wedding itself and a great five years since. They might not have been easy - kids will do that to you, but it just confirms that I chose the right guy to marry!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

One photo a week - 30/52

Not much to say - a VERY hot week here in Canada. It hit 37C and 45C with the humidex. We had one day without power which made it quite hot. Cold beverages, a dip in a public pool and popsicles are the only thing that take the edge off.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Basement Update

We made a bit of progress on the basement in the last two days. All the framing is completed, including doorway into the new utility room. Hubby spent a few hours doing electrical work, including two outlets on the outside walls and three lights in the utility room on a separate switch. He also managed to attach the bracket system for the storage shelves.

We were a little unlucky with getting drywall as the Home Depot van was checked out the couple of times we tried. We will only be drywalling the exterior of the room to keep access to plumbing and electrical. We are pretty pleased with the progress so far. Door is ordered, so final steps will be taken in a couple of weeks.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Closing in to gain space

We have a basement that's untouched and serves as laundry room, furnace room and storage of tools and a whole bunch of random stuff. We've always intended to finish this space to gain the same amount of square footage we have upstairs in our living/dining room.

This week we are taking our first step towards this transformation. We are building a wall around the new utility room that houses the furnace and the laundry. Once the wall is up and the door installed we'll add storage shelves that will allow hubby to move all of his tools and big buckets of renovation/construction 'stuff' into this utility area - this will free up a big corner in the basement.

Eventually we'll finish all the walls, put in a bathroom where the water heater now lives, move the water heater into the utility room and have this large open rec room that will serve as guest area, play area and additional work space.

We are really looking forward to having this wall create more overall space for us - allowing for more organized storage! Stay tuned for an update later on this week.

Linked to Beach Cottage Linky Party

Sunday, July 17, 2011

One photo a week - 29/52

I decided to do another colour mood board this week and decided on red. I did not think I'd have a lot of red things to choose from, but once I looked around I came up with quite the collection - everything from my favourite shoes, toiletries, vintage plate to toys and tools. It was fun to do this again as I did earlier this year with the colour blue.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Frosted bubbles

I think I've said it before - we have old windows. Really old and ugly aluminium windows that need to be replaced. As dollar wise that isn't really an option this year we'll live with it and know that one day we'll have the windows we want.

Our bathroom window faces south and has a view of our neighbours house, nothing pretty, but a large window nonetheless, perfect to brighten up the space and air it out. As it's facing the side of our neighbours house, privacy hasn't been an issue, however, a VERY large house was built right next to him and I feel leaning forward to grab my towel might not be as private any more since they have brand spanking new 8 foot windows facing our way!

So I wanted to cover the window just slightly to make me feel more comfortable. I didn't want to loose any of the light, so blinds were not an option. I opted to create a few frosted bubbles to emulate bubble bath and add a bit of whimsy to our family bathroom. The shower curtain has a fun print, so I thought this would work well. I used the stick-on frosted film, traced three sizes of circles on the backing and cut away. The product I used (d-c-fix) is really sturdy, easy to apply, doesn't need water, can be detached and reaffixed and is available at Loews. I liked working with it - but that was a lot of circles to cut!

This won't be our forever solution, but a little fun pattern that gives me a bit more privacy can't hurt, right?

PS: Taking pictures of a window is super hard, especially with a screen on it , so I apologize for the quality of photos.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

And four it is!

There it is. My little girl is officially four! She had a great time at her birthday party. The sun was out, the Rapunzel Tower birthday cake turned out great and 10 little girls climbed the play structure (Rapunzel Tower) in their princess dresses - followed around by 2 year old D.

The party was held from 1-3 pm, so no real expectation of food was there. We did provide sugar cookies with Sun Medallions (my cookie decorating skills are very limited), we had fruit, veggies in Dixie cups with dip served on a Rapunzel frying pan, purple tortilla chips with dip and a variety of beverages. The cake was my usual Martha Stewart chocolate cake assembled in a tower. I made the base cake and used cupcakes on a dowel to serve as the tower. This was actually really easy and the idea was based on this version.

The challenge with beverages is to keep track of which one is yours and particularly kids are bad at this. I've been seeing a lot of milk bottles used for kids parties, but I decided to use small classic coke bottles with paper straws. I used leftover chalkboard paint on the label and marked each bottle with a guest name. Each one was filled with lemonade. Again, this was a low cost and easy project.

In our decor we referenced the Tangled movie with a printable Wanted poster, our own Snuggly Duckling Pub sign and a Pascal paper lizard, all of these ideas based on ideas from the Disney Family site. Other than that, I just kept the colours purple and yellow with tablecloths, napkins, plates and paper garlands we cut and ran through the sewing machine. This provided a theme without using Disney merchandise.

This was very much a DIY party and we spent less than $100 to get this done. Most things were crafted or based on items we already had in our home. I find it very important to use things that have more than one use and don't get disposed after a party. It's also important to me to use things that are not specifically 'kid' or 'baby' but rather grown up and great for future gatherings.

This was our first big kids party at our house and all of us are very pleased with how it turned out. All our guests had fun, the weather cooperated and everything came together beautifully.

PS: Those chairs we beautified the other week worked out great for all the little princess guests. 

Linked to Beach Cottage Linky Party

Sunday, July 10, 2011

One photo a week - 28/52

M turned four this week and we had a great birthday party and fun at the farm the next day. Nothing beats a good splash pad and bouncy pillows on a Sunday. A great weekend indeed.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A nine dollar party investment

It's all about M's birthday party preparations this week and I wanted to share a little low-cost fixer upper I just completed. We have 11 kids coming over and I don't have 11 extra chairs. I searched Kijiji a couple of weeks back and stumbled upon 9 plastic kids garden chairs for a total of $4. A bargain, right?

Hubby went to pick them up and we made a family event out of pressure washing them.

The colour yellow worked well for our Tangled theme, however, the faded pink, red and blue, not so much. So I grabbed a $5 can of purple spray paint at Home Depot and beautified the non-matching chairs. I just did a quick coat - it's not perfect, but it will do fine for a party and future kid use.

Last night I dressed the chairs up a little with scraps of fabric * and ribbon - again, nothing fancy, but just a little different than a plain old plastic chair. I think this nine dollar investment will be worth it - especially after M came down this morning and said: " Look at all the Rapunzel chairs! Now we get to play musical chairs."

Have you used scraps of ribbon and fabric to dress something up? Are you handy with a can of spray paint?
* did you know you can order fabric scraps from Tonic Living for less than a $1? it's great!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tangled up in birthday planning

M's fourth birthday party is coming up and this is the first one she got to invite her friends. She wanted a 'Tangled' birthday theme and as I'm not the commercial theme lover, we decided to lean on colours and ideas from the movie without covering our place with Disney merchandise.

First I printed the invite text on card stock, four per page. Then I used some yellow and purple craft paper to create a Rapunzel tower and added the window with a purple sharpie. I then used vellum envelopes we had left over from our wedding and used yellow ribbon I had lying around to wrap the envelope in 'Rapunzel Hair'. This worked well because all invites were being handed out and not sent by mail.

This was a fun and fast project that was inspired by the Tangled movie and let people know that M was going to have a princess party.

We have a couple more things to get ready this week and then I hope the weather will allow for lots of playing on the tower (play structure) in the backyard. I might be going a little overboard with the decor, but I don't often have a chance to decorate for a party!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

One photo a week - 27/52

I think peonies are gorgeous flowers - doesn't this one just look like layers and layers of pink tissue paper? It's as if the flower wraps itself up for a special occasion and bursts open with lots of fanfare - just in time to welcome summer.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Canada Day

Happy Canada Day to all of you! We spent a lovely morning outside in a sea of red and white. Hope you get to enjoy the long weekend as well. We'll be enjoying a swim this afternoon and a BBQ dinner.