As you may have noticed, we have a lot of brown walls in our house. When we bought our home almost a year and a half ago every room in the house was painted some form of tan or brown, except the kids room, which we repainted last spring. We were thankful for the fact that the walls were pretty neutral, even if we wouldn’t have picked all that brown if we had been painting them ourselves, we didn’t feel the need to paint over everything right away. Which fits perfectly with how we like to update our home, a little bit at a time.
But after living with them for over a year now, I’m feeling like everything is so brown. Brown in the kitchen, brown in the living room, brown in our bedroom. We even have a brown bathroom!
I’d love to repaint them something lighter and fresher to play off our already brown floors and furniture, but as we are saving up for a big project (hello new roof!) and we like to tackle things a bit at a time, I know we are still likely a ways off from being ready to break open the wall paint (and the other projects like painting the trim and fixing the damaged ceiling that should probably go along with it) in some of these bigger rooms.
So what can I do? Surely with somethings as neutral as brown walls I can figure out a way to love them? A way to reinvent my brown walls until we’re ready to change them up? A way to make them more then just brown walls?
So I turned to Pinterest and started a board just for brown walls that caught my eye. Brown walls that didn’t just looks brown to me, but calming and rich and fun when pulled together with everything else.
And I realized something. My walls look only brown because that’s what they mostly are. Brown bare walls. I have a small gallery wall in the hallway with most of the pictures from our rental, but there we had so many windows that we hardly had any walls to fill.
Now I have two large empty walls in our main living space, one by our table in the kitchen and the other over our couch in the living room just waiting for something to bring them alive.
I don’t naturally really think about adding a bunch of art if I know we want to paint, but I’m thinking that’s exactly what I should be doing. Making it more ours, one wall at a time.
So I’ll be pulling together what pictures and frames we already have and coming up with some budget friendly art ideas and finally start working on putting something on our walls. It may not be perfect, but it will be more us which is exactly what I think we need right now.
There’s times or seasons in all of our lives when we might have to live with something that’s not our ideal. We can let ourselves be bothered by that fact, or we can find a way to take whatever that is and make it the best that it can be. And I’m all for that.
We still have mountains of snow around here. I’m so looking forward to March and the beginning of the spring melt! Here are some of my favourite reads from February:
The Joy of Learning Contentment | Emily A. Clark
Transforming A Vintage Cutting Board | Anderson & Grant
Serve One Another In Love (Free Printable) | Jones Design Company
(Love Language) Create A Happy Home | The Inspired Room
Arrows: A Secret Weapon In Decorating | Nesting Place
For the past few weeks I’ve been keeping myself busy at the sewing machine working away on the quilts for Emma and Brendan’s room. I just finished cutting and piecing together both their quilt tops and it’s so exciting to see them coming together!
I’ve been loving the timelessness of striped quilts so I decided to play around with that idea and keep it as simple as possible for myself. After we had picked out four fabrics for each quilt, I started mapping out how I wanted to put them together.
Planning out the Design
I wanted the quilts to fit the kids new twin sized bunk bed, so I planned on the finished size being about 60″ x 90.” I wanted them to have that handmade, pieced together look so I decided to make the finished stripes 3″ wide and switch up the fabrics along each stripe.
The simplest way to do that seemed to be to vary the stripes by making patterns of 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 equally spaced fabric pieces along the length of each stripe. That way it was easily repeatable, but still had enough variety to mix them up some and give it a bit of a random feel.
Twin Striped Quilt Top
Note: I used a 1/2″ seam allowance for all the sewing, so the cut size will be 1″ larger then the finished sewn together quilt.
- twin quilt top: 61″ x 91″
- fabric needed: about 6 yards of quilting cotton (make sure you prewash your fabric before cutting)
- stripe size: 4″ x 61″
- stripes needed: 30, 4″ stripes
Cutting the Fabric
First I cut all my fabric into 8″ strips (they get cut into 4″ stripes later on after they are pieced together, so this will really end up giving you two stripes). Then each 8″ strip got cut up into smaller sections to be pieced together lengthwise into the stripe variations below:
- 3 fabric pieces per stripe. Cut 9 pieces at 21″
- 4 fabric pieces per stripe. Cut 12 pieces at 16″
- 5 pieces per stripe. Cut 15 pieces at 13″
- 6 pieces per stripe. Cut 18 pieces at 11″
- 7 pieces per stripe. Cut 21 pieces at 9 1/2″
You will be cutting enough fabric for three stripes of each kind. So you will have 15, 8″ x 61″ pieced stripes in total. I did my best to vary the fabrics between each stripe set so they’d be evenly used throughout each quilt.
Piecing Together the Quilt Top
After the fabrics for each stripe size were cut, I laid them out beside each other and played around with what order to put them in. Once I had a layout that I liked, I sewed the short pieces together into full length stripes. Then I pressed each seam open, on the back side of the fabric.
Once all fifteen larger stripes were sewn together, I cut each stripe in half width wise. So each stripe went from being 8″ x 61″ to 4″ x 61″, which was the size I wanted my finished stripe (with that 1/2″ seam allowance on each side). This saves some time when you are piecing the stripe fabric together, as you only have to sew it together once for two stripes.
When all thirty stripes were cut and ready to go, I started playing around with the final layout on the floor. I took one of each of the different pieced stripe sets and moved them around on the floor until I found a design I liked.
Then I’d get down another set of stripes and add them below the others in a slightly different layout. This method spaced the different stripes out nicely, without having to duplicate the exact same order each time.
Once I had them all laid out I took a step back to see if anything looked out of place as a whole. I usually ended up switching one or two of the stripes to a different spot to help with the overall flow of the quilt.
After I was happy with the layout of the stripes, I took out some painter’s tape (that’s what I had on hand, but you could also easily use masking tape too) and numbered the back of each stripe, so they wouldn’t get mixed up during the sewing process.
Once they were labeled, I piled the stripes up in order and then draped them over the back of a chair beside my sewing machine. Then I simply sewed one stripe to the next, until I reached the end of the quilt. After that I pressed the new seams open on the back of the quilt, so they would lay nice and flat. Then I laid out the quilt top and carefully trimmed the edges until it was nice and square.
Aren’t they fun? I think they will add just the right amount of colour and life to the kids room. I love how they are similar in design, but have their own unique look for each child. Coordinating, but not quite matching.
Next up is getting the quilt batting and backing set up and a whole lot of machine quilting. Do you have any tips for me? I’ve attempted a few smaller quilting projects, but never a large quilt so I’m hoping they come together alright!
I love finding good books. There’s something about having all that inspiration in one place that’s so much fun to discover. Here are a few of my favourite home reads from last year. They are all written by amazing bloggers and it was so much fun to see their work, style and thoughts in a new way.
This book was such a inspiring read and one of those decorating books that I actually read cover to cover, instead of jumping around to just gather inspiration. It’s filled with beautiful photos of her house as she talks about breathing new life into your home.
I love how she writes about decorating from a normal, we live here everyday approach. She touches on how to make your home beautiful, but work for the everyday and within your budget. Scattered throughout she also has a few tutorials that cover sewing curtains, painting furniture and building a tufted headboard.
Ana White is the building plan queen and this book is a compilation of some of her very best. The furniture plans are organized by room which makes it fun for browsing or finding a specific project you may be looking for.
The pictures of the finished builds, usually built and styled by different bloggers, are beautiful and inspiring. She also has a chapter at the start of the build where she outlines what tools she likes and how to use them. It’s a great, practical place to find ideas for making beautiful, functional furniture for your home.
Young House Love’s self titled book is like a Petersik version of Pinterest. It’s filled with beautiful, easy to browse ideas for you home. I love that the range of projects goes from small and simple to larger and more involved, so there’s really something for everyone.
Each project often has a few different ideas on how you could do it and the how to’s are filled with tips and tricks. I loved seeing their take on some often used ideas, like the gallery wall and reading some others I’d never thought of doing before, like painting a headboard on the wall behind your bed. It’s so much fun to sit down with and gather inspiration for your home all in one place.
What were your favourite home reads from last year?
With Valentine’s day coming up this Friday, the kids and I decided to make a little treat to enjoy. Because what’s better then soft, chocolaty brownies? Soft, chocolaty heart shaped brownies.
After seeing these on Pinterest, I thought it would be fun to create our own little heart shaped goodness, especially as Emma and Brendan both love using cookie cutters whenever they can.
We used our favourite brownie recipe from All Recipes, but decided to leave off the icing so they would be less messy for the kids to cut into hearts and dusted them with icing sugar afterwards instead.
2 teaspoons icing sugar
In a pot on the stove, melt butter over low heat. Remove from heat and add in sugar, eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix together cocoa powder, flour, salt and baking powder. Combine wet and dry ingredients together and pour into a buttered, 9″ x 11″ baking dish. Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes or until you can poke the center with a toothpick and it comes out clean. Let the brownies cool and then carefully remove them from the pan in one large piece. Set on a cutting board and use a heart shaped cookie cutter to cut out your brownies. Dust brownie hearts with icing sugar.
Aren’t they a sweet little something to celebrate Valentine’s day with? How do you like to remember the day with those you love?
My grandma had a wall in her granny suite that was filled with family photos. Some were from long ago, some were more recent, but I remember how much I loved looking at them whenever I came to visit growing up. It was a beautiful, eclectic gathering of framed moments. She always pointed out where we were on her family wall and there was something so special about seeing ourselves up there and knowing that we belonged.
A few months after we moved into our home I gathered up all our framed family photos and decided to hang them together in the hallway. I love seeing the photos of our kids as they grow and remembering those special moments together. We have a picture from our wedding, another from a special fishing trip when Dan was a boy and a picture of me at our cottage as a girl.
Pictures have a way of bringing back memories and making them come alive. It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life that we forget to remember the moments that make it special.
My favourite way to hang a large collection of photos is to first gather them together and play with different arrangements on the floor until I find a layout that I like. Once I have something put together, I’ll trace the outlines of each frame onto newspaper and cut them out. Then I can tape the newspaper onto the wall with painter’s tape and figure out how the arrangement will best translate onto the wall space.
Once the newspaper is in place all I have to do is find where the picture hanger is on the back of each frame and transfer it onto the newspaper. Then I place a nail through each mark, pull away the newspaper and hang my frame.
Our little gallery wall in the hallway has room to grow and I hope to print off a few of our favourite photos each year to frame and hang. Just think how amazing it will be to look back on in another ten years.
Where do you like to have family photos? Do you have some on your wall or do you put together photo books? Do you keep your favourites on your fridge or on your phone? Do tell.
- Goals Accidentally Deconstructed | (In)Courage
- January Decorating | Emily A. Clark
- Living With What You Love | Miss Mustard Seed
- How To Establish A Morning Routine (& Why It Is So Important) | The Inspired Room
- How To Mismatch Nightstands | Centsational Girl
- How To Love Your Home | The Golden Sycamore
- Make Your Own Chalk Finish Paint | The Shabby Creek Cottage
One of my favourite things to do in my spare time is work on our home. I love dreaming up how to make our home more beautiful and functional for our family. But that in between time, when you’re updating your home and things feel more unfinished than finished, I find hard sometimes.
It’s so easy to get caught up in wanting to do everything at once, but I know that’s not the best for our family in this season of our lives. We have real life commitments, young kids and we want our home improvement budget to come from what’s extra at the end of each month.
I’ve come to understand that updating our home is a process for us. It’s not going to happen overnight and that’s okay. Little by little, project by project we’ll get there and I want to fully enjoy and embrace each step along the way. So when I start to feel restless about the state of our home, this is what I try to do to help me step back and really love where we are right now.
Be thankful for today.
Each day is a gift and I feel so blessed with where we are now. We bought our first home just over a year ago and there are so many things about it that we love. It’s location, size and layout are perfect for our family. Taking the time to stop and remember that helps so much.
Take the time to enjoy and relish each project.
One of the things that always make my day a little brighter is taking the time to stop and mentally take note of a new project as I see it through the day. Often it’s the little things that really make a difference in making your day easier and taking note and being thankful for them helps you remember how far you’ve come.
Break up larger projects, makeovers or renovations into smaller steps that you can do in stages.
This one is a bit of a new idea for me, as I like to have all my ducks in a row before I start a project. And for some renovations, when each projects is dependent on the other, that totally makes sense. But often, I think I could go ahead and do some makeovers in smaller, bite sized pieces that would work better for our family and budget.
Find smaller projects that you can do right now.
I love doing little things around our home to make it into a place that reflects our family more, which is perfect for those times when you may not have a large amount of time or money to work on a big project. When I sit down and think of simple things I want to do for our home that are low cost or that I already have supplies for I can often put together quite a few ideas that I can do in an hour or two. Often it just takes thinking about it to remember them.
I love making our house into a home and I want to do that with purpose. Thinking through projects ahead of time is the first part of that process for me as it helps me be more ready to know what we’d love and what would work best for us when we are ready to tackle them. But I don’t just want to stop there. I want to take the time to really love where we are, remember how far we’ve come and do what I can to make our house more like home right now.
And you know what, it’s often in embracing those imperfections in our life, in our home or in our budget that we are really pushed to come up with the most creative, beautiful ideas.
The kids new bunk bed is finished and we love it! It fits the back wall in their room so well and really opens up the floor for playing. Emma loves being able to sleep on the top bunk and Brendan transitioned out of his crib into the bottom bunk even better then we expected.
We used Ana White’s building plans for her Classic Bunk Beds. I love the simple lines of it and the fact that the top bunk rail is so substantial and integrated into the whole design. It’s perfect for young sleepers.
The smartest part of the whole design is that each of the four sides are built separately and then bolted together. So it’s easy to disassemble if we want to move it at some point in the future.
We followed the building plans pretty closely, making a few adjustments to better suit our needs. We switched the ladder to the left hand side of the bed, instead of the right side where it was originally, because it made more sense in our space.
As stated in the comments of Ana White’s plan, you will need a little more wood then is on the shopping list. We bought two extra 1″ x 4″ boards that were 6′ long for the front rails on the top bunk, which worked out perfectly. We also bought enough wood for thirteen 1″ x 3″ mattress slats for each bunk, which she suggests you calculate yourself, depending on your mattress recommendations.
We used peel and stick velcro to secure the mattress slats to the side rails, once the bed was finished and assembled. We wanted something that would hold them in place, but also be easily removable in case we need to take it down to move it at some point in the future. The velcro seems to do the job perfectly!
We bought sixteen 2-3/4″ long carriage bolts to assemble the pieces of the bed together, placing them between the rails so the ends wouldn’t be in the way. Dan got acorn nuts to use with them so there wouldn’t be any sharp edges on the inside.
To finish the bed we used our favourite dark brown stain, Minwax’s Dark Walnut. To protect the wood we used a coat of Miss Mustard Seed’s Hemp Oil followed by a coat of Minwax’s Paste Finishing Wax for extra durability and that soft sheen that I love so much. It compliments the rustic feel of the wood beautifully.
Emma and Brendan were so excited to get it set up in their room! Brendan’s been sleeping on his big bed like a champ and it was so sweet to see him go to sleep in it that first night as if he’d been doing it for forever. He looks so little in that big bed but I know it won’t be long until he fills it out!
Emma loves having the top bunk and keeps a bunch of her favourite things up there to go to bed with. I’ve been finding pencils, paper, tape, books and a doll or two around her blankets after rest time so she’s been having a lot of fun up there!
Do you have bunk beds for your kids? Isn’t it amazing how much they can open up a room?
With January here I’ve been itching to work on some bigger projects. Something about feeling a little snowed in (and in turn wanting to keep busy) and the fresh start of the new year makes me excited to get things done.
So I decided to turn my attention back to the kids room. We started building a bunk bed for the kids after the Christmas holidays and we absolutely love it! We have a few more finishing touches to do on it and then I’ll be posting all about it.
And with the bunk bed in the works, I’ve been thinking about quilts again! I toyed with the idea of making the kids quilts at the start of their room makeover, found some fabric we loved and then promptly got busy with summer projects. But their new bed is just begging for some fun fabric so I’m looking forward to putting them together. I ordered the fabric a few weeks ago and it’s here now and it’s beautiful.
I ended up ordering the two Amy Butler fabrics for Emma’s quilt and the two Michael Miller prints for Brendan’s from Hawthorn Threads and I’m really happy with them. I also found a striped navy and white fabric from Hawthorne’s that’s similar to the other one I had picked out but it has smaller stripes and is in a regular cotton weave, which should suit itself to quilting better.
The other fabrics I added in were from my fabric stash downstairs and should hopefully fill out the rest of each quilt. I’m so excited to see them come together!
How do you embrace the winter days? Anyone else love keeping busy?
- I'm Shannon. I want to make our home with purpose. You too?
Subscribe by email
select a month