Thrifty Chic in Canada

Remember the post about my dough bowl with the blocks? Well, Janice from Canada emailed me and told me she was inspired to do the same under her coffee table. How sweet is that?

Don't you just love the whole room? I really like the mix of rustic with white. I really enjoy seeing what other people do on small budgets. Their "beadboard" is actually beadboard wallpaper, which surprises their guests. Could have fooled me too. Almost everything came from thrift stores or Kijiji, which is Canana's version of craigslist. Of course, the dog is one of my favorite features to the left of the room. :)

Look at her beautiful dining room!

She really wanted the Pottery Barn Queen Anne chairs but not at their going price, so they found these chairs at $25 each and her husband refinished them . So pretty, and really, just like the PB ones.

I love the wooden door in the really pops against the white in the room.

She told me one of their thrifty tricks, is to collect Pottery Barn gift cards from people selling at a significant discount. That's how they got one of their rugs. Thanks for the tip! (I've been eyeing a lovely french wire hamper from there). She sewed the table runner, chair skirts and most of the pillows. I adore the slipcover on this chair.

I adore the chair.

Their chandelier was found on the side of the road. Can you believe it?! Best of all is the story behind her dishes. Her husband won them in a golf tournament! He jokes that it should make her appreciate all the time he spends at the driving range. That would surely help I think. :)

I loved learning about how it all came together in such an inexpensive way. Janice doesn't have a blog yet, but hopefully one day she'll start one and we'll get to see more.

Thanks Janice for sharing your beautiful rooms with all of us!

Singing by the Stairs

Remember our bench seat? It used to sit beside the stairwell. That is, until Sparkle and Blue came along.

They were the much anticipated, saved-up-for pets by Paris, our oldest daughter.
She bought the birds, and we bought the birdcage.

Because I found one in a distressed gray finish.

I thought beside the stairs would be the perfect spot for it. For them.

As did Blackberry, one of our four cats. The table lends itself to a superb spying spot.
They are used to each other by now though and co-exist peaceably,

by the stairs.

Homeschooling never looked so good

Number 2 way to cheat the Dave Ramsey system? Find amazing pieces like this for my home and take it out of the "homeschooling category".

It's in the budget after all.

beautiful images above: Reading My Tea Leaves

image: Raven Maps

Aren't they just beautiful? Pieces of art, really.

I think we'll be learning a lot about Alaska this year:

Based solely on the shape.

These gorgeous maps are made by Raven Maps. Their philosophy: "Maps must be accurate, but they should also be beautiful."

Yes, please.

5 Steps Before Purchasing (from now on)

My husband and I have been attending a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace Class every week, and last night's lesson was on Buyer Beware. In it, Dave lays out the five wise and worthy steps to walk through before making a purchase:

Step 1:
Waiting overnight before making a purchase.

Step 2:
Carefully considering your buying motives. No amount of stuff equals contentment or fulfillment.

Step 3:
Never buying anything you do not understand.

Step 4:
Considering the "opportunity cost" of your money.

Step 5:
Seeking the counsel of your spouse.

The foremost thought running through my head during last night's class?

...good thing I bought these little beauties (on the spot) three days prior.


Spring is coming

Look what's laying around here lately...
Our hens like to take a holiday and mosey around their coop during mid-winter. But once the days start getting a little longer, it's their signal to get back to work.

Our bounty from this past week:

We love the colors and different shapes. The greenish-blue ones are from our Araucanas, and the little off-white ones are from the Bantams.

The chickens live very happily in a portable coop my husband and boys constructed. I think it has a bit of a European flair. The chickens think so too. They are quite distinguished.
The boys move the coop every morning to a new buggy spot in on the lawn, and the chickens just eat it up.
After the feast, they retire to the bedroom suite above...
and lay their European blue and white eggs.
Plans for the chicken's penthouse can be bought here from Catawba.

The Swedish House

It is my great pleasure to highlight this Swedish inspired home. It's located in Boone, North Carolina, and it's presently for sale. So, if you're in the market for a million dollar home ($1,200,000 to be exact), then this house might be for you! Not only is the house itself amazing, but it has the most magnificent mountain views as well.

I actually had the opportunity to tour this home in person (just to view, not to buy!). It is so much more spectacular in real life than pictures could ever capture. It was once featured in Better Homes and Gardens, and I read that the designer flew to Sweden for inspiration. What a hard, hard life.

This house has bursts of color that my own house will never see, but I really do enjoy seeing color in other people's homes. Talk about cheery! This house comes completely furnished even down to the silverware...can you imagine?! Yes, my design aesthetic could definitely transform instantaneously. How about you?

The designer had an artist come and paint the owner's children's portraits on some of the doorway headers. I so wish I had better pictures of the portraits. (you can sort of see one in the golden circle below). They are giving an allowance for the same artist to come back and paint new portraits for the lucky buyers.

This is what you see upon entering the living area. Isn't it absolutely fabulous?

Murals like this were throughout the first floor:

I wish I had a better close-up of the fireplace. The tile work is beautiful, both on the downstairs fireplace and the master bedroom.

I love the turquoise beams in the dining room. Hmm, that's something I never thought I would utter. This house has magical powers, I tell you.

Could this kitchen be any more darling? How about some sunny yellow cabinets to go with those turquoise beams?

I'll take this bedroom, thank you very much:

On second thought... sleeping by a window with that crisp mountain air breezing through might be the ticket:

Although...I could see curling up on this cozy bench seat with a book and some hot tea and a biscuit. Yes, this might be the room for me:

Here is the MLS listing. If you end up buying it, please invite me over! I promise to be super quiet. I'll cook. And clean. And really... I could sleep anywhere in this house.

Slips for Covers

Whoever invented these marvels, I could kiss 'em. Quite the practical choice for a houseful of kiddies and critters. And they look nice too. Some of our furniture came slipcovered:
A really good source for new slipcovered furniture is They are good quality and relatively inexpensive. It just won't have that tag that starts with a P and B...but it's basically the same thing. You can pick your fabric from their choices. I like their white linen fabrics:

The below chair came from craigslist, and I hired a local seamstress to make the cover. I chose a wispy lightweight linen which turned into a really bad idea. After only two years, the arms are becoming "distressed". Not the look I was going for in this particular case.
Remember my post about the "perfect chair"? I had many inquiries about the slipcover. It came with this darling slip in white linen (thicker than the above linen!). I love how it is cut to hug the wooden lines of the chair. I'm sure the ties were meant to be bows, but I personally prefer the ballet shoe look.
Slipcovers are not just for upholstered pieces. Here I've made some to dress up some stools (and hide an imperfection). You can read about how I made them here.
Even our piano bench couldn't escape a cover. Adds a little whimsy and softness.
I couldn't imagine living without slipcovers. If they ever go out of style I've resigned myself to being unfashionable. :)
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