Saturday, May 30, 2009

Flowers Everywhere!


The beauty of an English garden is everywhere - on china, textiles, in paintings and packaging! We have filled our cottage garden with many varieties of pretty flowers and shrubs, and that love of flowers is also reflected in our home and on our website. Here is a small selection of our favourite collections and floral scenes which abound in both cottage and garden!

Vintage toiletries in a plethora of floral fragrances and designs...

A rampant and aromatic rambler of a rose!


The dainty blooms of aquilegia...

...the sunny yellow of the pansy...

...and the soft faded purple of the geranium...


...are echoed in this beautiful old oil painting of pansies.

The vibrant pink of sweet williams provides bold and lasting colour throughout the season.

A mix of magnificent, floral vintage fabrics provides inspiration in a rainbow of cheerful colours and patterns.

A pretty floral glass mirror amidst the vintage toiletries.

Thank you for visiting - we hope you have an enjoyable weekend!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Address It

I found these galvanized planters at the thrift store for three dollars each. I like the galvanized finish, but I wanted them to look a bit more formal.
So out came the black spray paint.
Now they match the other decor on my front porch.
Just for fun I put our house number on the front of each using a permanent paint pen.They're the perfect pots for beautiful boxwoods.

Address It

I found these galvanized planters at the thrift store for three dollars each. I like the galvanized finish, but I wanted them to look a bit more formal.
So out came the black spray paint.
Now they match the other decor on my front porch.
Just for fun I put our house number on the front of each using a permanent paint pen.They're the perfect pots for beautiful boxwoods.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The 5-10 Minute Rule

No matter how beautifully we decorate our homes, if they're messy & disorganized, we can't appreciate or even see the beauty. However, I think of "messes" as reality, at least in my life. I have a toddler and a job, and hence, my house is almost always a mess. BUT in general, I'm okay with this mess, because it can be disposed of in 5 to 10 minutes, tops.


So, I'll never pretend that I can have a "messless" life-- for me it's just not possible-- but I can have "organized messes." I consider an "organized mess"as a mess that's allowed for a time. It's a manageable mess & the most important thing about it is that it MUST BE ABLE TO BE CLEANED UP IN 5-10 MINUTES! That's the rule. It's easy to get rid of because an organized mess has a place where it belongs: baskets, bins, drawers, cabinets, shelves, etc... a SPECIFIC HOME. (This is the key to putting it away quickly, because you're not shoving the mess anywhere, you're putting it back where it belongs.)

I wanted to share with you some of my favorite tools/ organizational pieces used to handle messes and "stuff." Below is a picture of what I consider an "organized mess." The pillows on the sofa are all messed up, toys are everywhere & there are a few magazines/ books laying around. But it would take only 5-10 minutes MAX to get this messed cleaned up. And I'm so okay with it.



In our living room, we have a shelf with baskets full of Christian's toys. (Now I know some might think it sacriligous to keep toys in fairly plain sight in the living room, but it's the way we want to live... we all want to be able to hang in the same room, so I figure for a few years while we have little ones I can give up a half-wall in the living room ;)


Anyway, toys are all over the floor half the time but when we need to get them cleaned up, it takes 5 minutes to put them all away neatly in the baskets. (The key is keeping them in not-too-full baskets because there's always room, even when throwing the toys in carelessly and the little guy can help too. )


This hutch (below) in the family room (pic is from old house) fits tons off storage for toys and also photo albums & other random things. It makes clean-up so easy and totally hides all evidence if kiddies!!


I never regret spending on organizational items like baskets & storage bins. I'm often reluctant to buy them because I would rather spend the money on something pretty, but they're worth their weight in gold.


I LOVe these huge baskets from ikea. It's where I stick all the pages I've ripped out of magazines before they go into my Style Files:


For my office, these hanging file bins are awesome & when there's a mess all over my desk I can easily & quickly (less than 5 mins!!) stow it all away with these suckers:


So, my goal is to have every room in the house obeying the "5-10 Minute Rule." (and right now I'm SO far from that!! It seems as soon as we got our old house in perfect order, we moved!! I'm NOT doing that again!! ) Here's a quick punch-list for our new house:

1) Our closet --> it's a HUGE 4-6 HOUR MESS right now!! We need to install more bars & storage and get things put away nicely. Below is how we've been living: (ahhhh I can't believe I'm showing you this!!) It's tough to feel organized when your closet looks like this:

2) Little guy's bedroom-> Since I stole the toy shelf from his room, he doesn't have anywhere for the toys in his room and unfortunately the furniture form our old house doesn't fit right in his bedroom, which is driving me crazy!!!!

3) The kitchen-> I have more shelves to go up with baskets for extra storage but I'm waiting on the wallpaper install before I can get to this:

4) The entryway-> To put it simply, it doesn't work right now. We need to add some storage & decorate it asap!! It's so drab & unfunctional right now!! (haha check out my dead hydrangeas in the little vase & the dog chow- now THAT'S styling!!! ;)




There just doesn't seem to be enough time in the day!!! but i know everntually we'll get there... (don't worry, i'll take pics! ;)

Now, what to do with all that stuff that doesn't have a place? Arrggg like the strange piece of mail you don't know where to put (you need to handle it sometime soon, but not soon enough to warrant immediate attention) or those stupid screws that keep showing up everywhere (with all of these projects going on right now!!!) or the returns you need to make at the store or your pile of giveaways?


Take stock of the all items that keep popping up and start creating places for them. They're not going to go away and isn't it annoying to have them keep popping up? If you create a place for them to go, clean up is so much quicker!! Different times & stages in your life will call for different random clutter-busters. Wintertime items vs. beach towels & sunblock or screws and tools all over the place when you're in the middle of renovating. Whatever it is, realize the type of clutter you have as quickly as possible and find a place for it. The solutions should be easy & obey the 5-10 Minute Rule. (Sometimes this means not organizing down to the last minute detail because clean-up could be really time consuming!!)


I'm on my way to follow my own advice now... So, how are the rooms in your house? Do they meet the 5-10 Minute Rule? Any rooms on your "To-do" list? would love to know!!

xoxo,

lauren

A Clean Slate

Do you ever take all of the accessories out
of a room and live with the
empty surfaces for a few days?Do you ever rearrange the furniture
or does it stay in the exact same spot
year after year?
You know that I love my accessories/clutter,
but it's very refreshing
to occasionally remove all of the extra stuff
and change the lay out of a room.
It gives you that "just moved in" feeling.
Try It!
Go ahead, give your inner decorator
a clean slate
.
Allow yourself to embrace change.
Take some time to revitalize your room
and your life.

A Clean Slate

Do you ever take all of the accessories out
of a room and live with the
empty surfaces for a few days?Do you ever rearrange the furniture
or does it stay in the exact same spot
year after year?
You know that I love my accessories/clutter,
but it's very refreshing
to occasionally remove all of the extra stuff
and change the lay out of a room.
It gives you that "just moved in" feeling.
Try It!
Go ahead, give your inner decorator
a clean slate
.
Allow yourself to embrace change.
Take some time to revitalize your room
and your life.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Winding Down to Summer...


I have noticed that some of you are witnessing the end of the school year already. In Canada, we have a fairly predictable school year from province to province, and we see classes finish by the end of June. There are some other predictable events for me that occur before all that happens. First, is the nightly pinging of June bugs as they bang against the windows, seeking the light within. I remember my first encounter with them, after emigrating from Ireland (where they did not exist): five years old and a huge droning bug, with very sticky legs, stuck in my hair instilled a life-long fear of them that still exists within me.


As I dug in the garden the other day, I noticed the telltale larvae of future June bugs, just waiting to wake up and make me fearful of stepping out my door at night throughout June. I stifled a gag and quickly dusted my self off, in hasty pursuit of more pleasant tasks. June, for me, is also hallmarked by frequent trips to the garden centers. Let loose in a garden center, I am like the proverbial kid in a candy shop. Heady from the fragrant scents wafting about me and the colourful play before me, I quickly fill my cart with pots and pots of flowers. I have tried starting flowers from seed before, but it is not for me. Always one to enjoy immediate results, I love the instant gratification and reward of planting glorious colour in my garden and reaping the benefits of an instant garden.

Another June celebration is the first picnic of the season. My favourite thing to do is to pack up a lunch of my kids' favourites and surprise them with either a quick lunchtime picnic, or a more drawn out afternoon picnic where they can skip afternoon classes and I enjoy hero status for the day. I always pack up a blanket, a frisbee or kites, and a flask of lemonade or punch. It is one of the best ways to enjoy an afternoon in the outdoors, and for very little money.


My schedule ( and the weather) hasn't allowed it yet, but with June beckoning, I plan to head off happily and "pick" some flowers, scoop up my girlie (and maybe the boys, if they're game) and head to the beach or a favourite lookoff to break in my new/old retro picnic cooler ($3 at a thrift shop). Oh, and neither one involves being outside at night, so I won't have to extract any June bugs from my hair!!
What does June mean to you?
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All images (except the June bug!): Toast.co.uk

Check out Everything LEB

Hi! Good news: THIS NEW COMPUTER WORKS YAY!!! So I'm really, truly back!!



Check out Lindsay's blog Everything LEB here to read my about my favorites in her new series, "Blogger's Favorite Everything!" I was so excited when Lindsay asked me to do this & it was a ton of fun!! Thanks Lindsay!!! Also, you'll love Linsday's etsy shop, here. The pineapple cards below are just a tiny sampling of what she does!!


I'll be back tomorrow with a post on messes!

xoxo,

lauren

Simply Pretty Storage

You know of my love for knobs, so you can imagine my delight when I found this little cutie.I was also delighted to find this little wooden box at the thrift store. Sure I could have built one, but finding one for a dollar is always exciting. As you can see, I painted it the slightest shade of blue and did some instant aging with sandpaper and stain.With the addition of the cute little knob, I have a
simply pretty storage
solution for those dryer sheets.