Monday, December 10, 2012

Fall Decor

Fall is such a pretty time of year in Ontario.  Purple fountain grasses in the urns, white mums, pumpkins and corn stalks.  This year I forgot to remove the corn from the corn stalks and I had squirrels fighting over it on the porch!  Corn kernels were everywhere and the stalks were bent and knocked over.  So remember to remove the corn cobs from the stalks before decorating if squirrels (or worse, raccoons) frequent your area!  Large hanging Fern baskets from the summer still work with the fall decor and the Sedum in the garden have turned a great shade of deep burgundy that compliments the front door color.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Good Morning, Visit our new website:

Friday, November 9, 2012

Oh! Baby, Booties

' Oh! Baby ' Crochet Baby Booties

The popular baby bootie pattern is now
available for crocheters!
a portion of sales will be donated to
the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children
' Oh! Baby ' Baby Bootie Pattern, knit

I designed the ' Oh! Baby ' Baby booties way back in 1998 and these were first shared on the knit giftlist.  I wanted to make a bootie suitable for boys or girls that would stay on little feet.  Oh! Baby has been extremely popular.   
The easy garter stitch pattern looks equally nice in solid or variegated yarn.

Bonnie Baby Cloche Hat

Bonnie Baby Cloche Hat
crochet pattern
I wanted to design a pattern for a baby hat that could be crocheted quickly for last minute gifts and also that was simple enough to add different embellishments.  This could have a couple of stripes added, flowers, buttons, bows, or a ribbon band.  Would like great in variegated yarns and leftovers too.

Bonnie Baby is an easy to crochet baby hat with flower and button embellishment
pattern is available in my shop

Bonnie Baby Brimmed Hat

Bonnie Baby Brimmed Hat 
crochet hat pattern
a baby cloche hat with brim and button trimmed hatband
available in my shop

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Rag Quilt

 Rag Quilt for a baby girl
Many thanks to a friend who showed me how to make a rag quilt.  I finished this little 30 x 30 inch stroller quilt last night. I am hooked on rag quilting. It is so easy and the finished quilt is SO soft, warm and cuddly.
I'm starting a throw size for the family room next!
I straight stitched each square sandwich (flannel, batting, flannel) from corner to corner then using a 4" quilters square marked a center square and used an embroidery stitch of tiny leaves and vines.

Instructions for Baby Rag Quilt:
For a baby rag quilt you will need a total of 2 yards of fabric 
(for this project I used 1/2 yard of each color).
quilting mat, quilting ruler, 4 or 5" quilting square, scissors, thread ( matching or contrasting).
If you want to use quilt batting you will need one yard.  Do not pre-wash the fabrics.

Fold the fabric in half, holding selvedge ends to the top, then fold again. Square the side then cut every 8" and then cut again into 8" squares.  I cut a total of 32 squares- 8 of each colour.

If you choose to use batting, you can use quilt batting or white flannel  Cut your batting into 6" squares.  Place the batting in the center of an 8" square, with right side of flannel square being face down.  Place another 8" square on top of the batting, like a sandwich.  Tip*  If you want a lighter weight quilt then do not to use batting.

Using a ruler and an erasable marker, draw a diagonal line from corner to corner.

Draw another line in the opposite corners to make an X.

With the quilters square ruler, mark a square in the centre of each block.
Sew a straight line on each of your marks to make an X.
Sew a decorative stitch around the centre square.
I used a leaf and vine stitch but you can use one of your choice or a different one on each block.  It is totally up to you.   When your blocks are sewn your quilting is done!  Now lay out your squares and see how you want to put them together.  I used a diagonal layout.
Sew your first 2 squares together using a straight stitch and 1/2" seam allowance.  Make sure your seams are facing up towards you, unlike most sewing.  Do not press your blocks.
Complete the row of 4 blocks then sew all your strips of blocks together using a 1/2" seam allowance.  When all the squares are together, sew around the quilt 1/2" from the edge.

With scissors, clip 3/4 of the way down on all of the seams and around the outside of the quilt.  Make the clips about 1/4" apart to achieve a nice 'fray'.  Be careful not to clip into the seam, if you do you will need to repair it.

When all of your seams are clipped, run the quilt through the washer on the rinse cycle, (I then take it outside and give it a good shake to remove some of the loose threads)
Put it in the dryer.  Check your dryer lint trap often and clean out the threads.  
When I do a larger size quilt I think I'll take it to the laundromat to wash and dry it.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Winter Warmers

Jules Mock Cable Hat

super easy, looks like cables but no
cable needle needed!
sock yarn makes it light and very stretchy
so no hat hair.

Other Warm Winter Gear I'm knitting for me!
I love Wrist Warmers! I constantly take gloves on and off
and then I lose one or both.
With wrist warmers I can drive, text, shop, pick things up
without ever taking them off !

Handknit Socks


This is the pattern I'm going to use for this yarn.
I've used this pattern several times - it's one I designed back in 2001.  I love the lacy leg!
The Socks I'm knitting just for me.  Berroco Sox yarn 1427 (on the left).  I think these will look fabulous with jeans and my new olive green ralph lauren sweater!  I knit so many socks for the family that I definitely need some warm new socks for me!   I love Berroco Sox yarn!     Great colors and patterns

Fall Colors

Autumn Road
The fall colors this year are absolutely gorgeous!
This photo was taken early one morning in October
on the lake.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Great Gift

Tin Beer Case
Received this gift from great friends on the weekend.
It's a tin beer case! Great for carrying glasses or cleaning up bottles at the end of a party.
 A perfect addition to our boathouse summer decor!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Celtic Cross Garden

This garden was planted 2 years ago on our lakeside and this year I'm happy with how it has grown up!
perennial grasses, alberta spruce and globe cedar, orange day lilies, yellow begonias, euonymus, river rocks, natural cedar mulch, bronze arbor and my prized celtic cross.

Chair Re-Do

I purchased this chair at a flea market for $25, white paint over awful bright yellow paint but it had good lines and the frame and caning is in decent shape! 
 I spray primed the chair frame and painted it with two coats of espresso brown satin spray paint.  I had a new seat cushion made and covered in a caramel color bonded leather (cost $83)   A cowhide leather would have been my choice but I would have had to order a whole hide, lots of waste and I needed so little for this chair that a bonded leather, by the yard, fit the bill here!  
      I love this chair in the front foyer! 


A small lumbar cushion in shades of olive, terracotta, caramel and gold adds extra comfort and colour!  The small side table is very old. I refinished the top and drawer, added an oil rubbed bronze knob, and painted the base to match the chair and the dresser and mirror already in the entrance.  The floor is slate tile, walls are Benjamim Moore 'maple syrup;, trim is 'gentle cream'.  I like to put a wreath on the inside of the front door as well as the outside.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


 The Boathouse
exterior colour is Benjamin Moore 'mediterranean olive'
the door is 'raphael' and the trim and interior doors are Behr 'swiss coffee'
 Since we don't need the old boathouse to store our boat
I thought I would turn it into a gazebo to use on rainy days or to get out of the sun.
It's perfect for an afternoon nap when I open the doors to the lake.
fishing rods and oars are stored overhead in the rafters

the new floor paint is Benjamin Moore 'Mediterranean Olive'
I laid an 8 x 10 outdoor rug
I added a small fridge at the end of the room next to floor to ceiling shelving
I found the window frame mirrors on ebay and the daybed on kijiji
I made the quilt, pillows and cushions

I'm still debating whether to paint the interior walls white or
leave them original and rustic

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Dresser Repurposed

Old Dresser and Mirror into New Hall Console

This dresser and mirror was a medium brown stained maple set
The set is 45 yrs old and was used by my husband as a child then my son and now it provides lots of storage in the foyer.   Check out my July17th post to see the finished foyer!

I removed the attached mirror and it's hardware
painted the frame and attached a hanging wire to the back
to hang it vertically.
(wallcolour is Benjamin Moore 'maple syrup')

I sanded the top smooth and finished it with 3 coats of satin varathane
the base was lightly sanded to smooth out scratches, rough edges and dents, 
primed with KILZ, then painted with 2 coats of satin latex paint in an espresso shade
new oil rubbed bronze egg shaped knobs and curved handles were added
a little wood carving was glued to the centre of the bottom skirt
picture frame moulding was glued and nailed to each side

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Laundry Room Shelf Decor

basic laundry room/mud room needed dressing up
8' x 8" mdf board trimmed with 1 1/2" decorative bull nose trim
painted creamy off white, Behr paint in 'swiss coffee'
(one of my favourite off whites)
three polished nickel shelf brackets picked up at Lowes
paper towel holder from Costco
 'WASH' letters picked up at POE Design in Port Perry ON
limited edition print, The Entertainer, by T. Romance
wooden chicken wire crate to hold clothes pins, antique peanut butter jar, 
candles, white milk glass vase with faux hydrangea and sticks,
white french framed sign (wash/dry/fold/repeat)
two old washboards, white hobnail vase, flowers in glass vase
Wall colour is Benjamin Moore 'Dijon'

Dining Room Buffet Before & After

Refinished dining room buffet, 
into new tv cabinet with lots of storage for our newly finished basement
 the drawers are removed, top is sanded and refinished
with natural stain and 3 coats of satin varathane
(..the old drawers; I attached 4 casters to the bottom of each and use
them for roll out under the bed storage now..)
 newly refinished top is taped off
the bottom is primed with KILZ oil based primer (so I didn't have to sand)
 two coats of Benjamin Moore satin latex paint in 'elephant tusk'
are brushed and rolled on
new shelves are installed where center drawers were removed
 the painting is finished and the doors are reattached 
the original brass knobs and hinges were painted with oil rubbed bronze spray paint
holes are drilled into the back of the cabinet for electronic cords
I rubbed brown stain into the nooks and crannies with a rag....
waited 5 minutes and then rubbed it off,  I then reapplied stain where needed.
I finished with 2 coats of polyurethane to protect the new finish

I love this now!
the side cabinets hold remotes, movies and games and the new shelves hold electronics,
the surround sound system is installed and a new 42" TV!
still to come:  baseboards and trim
Walls are Benjamin Moore 'boardwalk' 
floor is 'maryville brown'

Hand painted Faux Slate Tile Floor

Hand painted Faux Slate Tile Floor on Concrete Floor
base coat of concrete floor paint, then 12" 'tiles' laid out using 3/4" 'frog tape'
painters tape and a yard stick to keep the lines straight.
I measured to find the centre of the area and worked out from there
I used 5 shades of acrylic paint for the tiles.
I mixed these 5 shades to create even more shades,
but basically each 12" square starts with one of the main shades
then other shades are sponged or rubbed on, to create the look of slate.
I didn't really have a plan, just varied each tile and stood back
after each one was painted to see if I liked how it was turning out
and to decide what the next tile main shade should be.

The 5 shades used were;  gray/blue, brown, light tan, deep red and white.
I used kitchen sponges, sea sponges, sponge sticks and rags
to apply the acrylic paint to create the look of natural stone.
I used disposable plastic trays from the dollar store to mix the paints in,
 the low trays make it easy to dip the sponges into the paint.

When the paint was dry, I carefully removed the tape then I used a 3/4" flat artist
brush to paint the faux grout lines free hand using a light gray paint.
Very tedious, but worth it!  
I used the piece of white foam to kneel on while I painted.

Hand painted Faux Slate Tile Floor
on Concrete basement Floor
I let the paint dry for two days before finishing with two coats of satin finish concrete sealer.  Baseboards and stair railing to come....
Very happy with the results!
It took about 16 hours from start to finish not including the base coat.
Now it just needs the baseboards and stair railing installed!

Para SuperGrip epoxy fortified acrylic enamel for floors
was used as the base coat on the entire basement floor.
Can be tinted any shade, I used Benjamin Moore 'Maryville Brown'
2 coats covered beautifully!
The walls are Benjamin Moore 'Boardwalk'

The stair runners are jute rectangles secured with two way carpet tape -
easily lifted or changed.  I didn't want to commit to a laid down runner with staples and bars...I love the walnut wood steps and didn't want to cover them too much.
I like the rustic quality of the jute and it's simple to sweep off.  I don't have to drag out the vacuum cleaner.  Have I mentioned how much I HATE to vacuum!

Railing finished and baseboards (almost finished) 
one year later and the floor paint is just as good looking!  So Happy!!!
 the rest of the basement...more baseboards still to come!
 the fireplace and tv area
the gym and lounge area (bar not shown)

So ...  I was asked how I decided on painted concrete....well, this is a big walkout basement and we live on a lake where the water table is high and we really didn't know when we moved in 2 1/2 years ago if we were going to have water problems or dampness in the basement.  It is Ontario and we sometimes get alot of snow which means alot of melting in the spring.  Hardwood or laminate was out until we really knew if we were going to have water in the basement.  Did I mention how much I HATE to vacuum???  Wall to Wall carpeting, while it would have been warm and cozy and beautiful, was definitely out.   Area rugs were as far I was willing to go!  AND most importantly...drum roll please....I am frugal!  I never pay full price for anything and if I can do it myself, even better!  The gym area has 2x2 rubber floor tiles from Costco covering the floor under the exercise equipment. Total cost of the paint for the floor was under $150. for three gallons of floor paint, 1 gallon of sealer and various artist's acrylic paints for the 'tiles'.  Down the road, if I want to change it, no big deal.  There is nothing to rip out.  I can just paint over it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Condo Balcony Privacy

Adding Condo Balcony Privacy
a quick fix-up for a Vancouver Condo
a tall plant or two, a hanging flower planter, small iron table and new door mat were added to create a cheery vignette and the added bonus of privacy from the neighbour's balcony
Keeping it Simple!  Day to Day

Eat Clean * Exercise *  Reduse, Reuse, Recycle *