Hot travel inspiration

Sorry for the quietness around here lately, but I was taking in some sun and sand.  Don’t you find going away always makes you see your place with new eyes?  So much inspiration comes from travel.

These are a few of my inspiring photos, can you feel the heat? Lord knows, we need it here in Ontario right now.



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And we have a Refinished Table!

Happy New Year! Hope you had a restful and fun filled holiday! Mine was great, very relaxing, spent a lot of time with family and definitely ate and drank too much. But then, that’s what the holidays are all about.

We spent some time at the cottage and I managed to finish my table makeover, finally.  It was more of a job than I thought, but isn’t that usually the way.  I had to make a compromise or two on the way but I still am very happy with the way it turned out.  It’ll be perfect for our card playing evenings come summer time.

So to refresh your memory this is how the table was looking. It was in pretty rough shape.  To read my original post, click here.


I sanded slightly and painted the base in chalk paint (made by myself – click here for the recipe) in this bright green. I wanted to bring some lightness and freshness to the sunroom.


 Sherwin-Williams – Dancing Green 6716

Next up, I sanded the top which was much more arduous than I originally thought. The original finish kept gumming up the belt sander and then we tried the palm sander, which unfortunately due to our over zealous sanding caused many ripples in the surface and horror of horrors, went down to the plywood base…so much for it being a solid wood top.   Luckily, most of our boo boos were in the leaves of the table which I usually do not leave in place, as I prefer the smaller footprint in this room.

So after finally getting the top sanded, it looked like this.


I had originally intended to sand the apron by hand and stain it the same as the table top, but after trying to do just a small area, I was totally discouraged and decided on the simpler and faster route of painting the apron the same as the base.  I know a bit lazy, but I really don’t have that much patience.

So I painted the apron and then stained and varnished the top (with a satin polyurethane) and here’s the finished result.

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I love how by painting the base and apron the details show up so much more than just staining the wood.  Sorry to all the wood lovers but there is definitely enough wood in this home!


The 613 Holiday Special | Oh Christmas Tree

Hope your Christmas preparations are going well.  Mine are, two trees up, two homes decorated, presents all bought, some are even wrapped, almost all my Christmas cards sent, however, no baking done yet. I guess that is this week’s priority.

Today is the third instalment of 613 Holiday Decorating – today’s topic Oh, Christmas Tree!  So come along and see what we’ve all been up to.


In keeping with my previous post, I’ll be showing you my two very different Christmas trees. I’m excited as this is the first time we’ve had a real Christmas tree at the cottage, in previous years I’ve dressed up a large Christmas branch 🙂

I do have a few rules with my trees. Number One is a ton of white lights, so my trees always have at least hundreds of lights on them.  Number Two is the style of garland sets the stage for my trees and Number Three is I love personal ornaments, though I have been know to buy some boxed sets, but mostly I like personal and homemade ornaments.


I keep the silvery sparkly theme going at home with the tree.  I use a ton of white lights, pearl garland and as many ornaments as I can squeeze on.  These are some of my favourites.


Starting from the top left:

1. A  lovely little Christmas gate, that was a present. Doesn’t it looks so inviting, like there is a little cottage just down the way and everyone is waiting for you to arrive.

2. A sparkly chandelier, from a trip to Niagara on the Lake.  I know it’s not really representative of the area, but I couldn’t resist it’s prettiness.  I always try and get a Christmas ornament on our travels. It’s a great souvenir that doesn’t clutter up your home and you get to relive your travels at least once a year.

3. My Mom and me made these beaded ornaments one year when I was a teenager and they have been a favourite of both of ours ever since.  This is Rudolph (sorry he’s a little blurry).

4. Crystal tree in a clear ball from Rockefeller Center in New York City.

5. The beaded Christmas tree my Mom and I made, and;

6. our Santa’s stocking. They have all held up remarkably well, considering their age.

I use a pearl garland on this tree and this year I added in some silver mesh ribbon for some fullness.

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For our cottage tree, we went with a real tree….so exciting for me. It’s been years and years since we’ve had a real tree.  I bought some of the new LED lights in a mini globe shape and  I’m loving the look of them. But considering the size of the tree we ended up getting, I’m wishing I had about 4 more boxes (see Rule #1)….oh well, that’ll have to wait for next year.

I’m loving that there are tons of natural pinecones still attached to the branches. You can see them in the middle of tree below.


So for this tree I used burlap garland which gives it the rustic country feel I was going for. I even used some of it for the large bow on top of the tree.


A view in the evening.
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You can see the little San Francisco street car (another souvenir) and in the one below our little sock monkey, which is my hubby’s favourite ornament.

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One last look!

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So check out my fellow five Ottawa bloggers as we set our tables, deck our halls & try to survive the holiday season with style & cheer. Grab your eggnog and toast to the season with us every Monday until Dec 23rd. Happy Holidays!   Check out all the holiday decorating below!

613 holiday special



The Sweetest Digs

Just Settle Down

Keep it Beautiful

Next week, it’s all about our holiday traditions!

And a big congratulations to Newberry|Sykes for their fabulous articles in the Ottawa Citizen this past Saturday.  Click here to read all about Meredith’s DIYs and Susan’s decor tips. Congratulations ladies!


The 613 Holiday Special | Holiday Decorating

Welcome to the second instalment of the 613 Holiday Series.  This week’s topic  –  Holiday Decorating!

613 holiday special

Holiday decorating should reflect the style of home that you live in.  So with that in mind, I’m showing you how I seasonally embellish my two very different homes for the holidays.

First up, my city home, where I try to keep everything sparkly, elegant and simple. I do this with natural and faux greens…particularly magnolia leaves, pearls, crystals, mercury glass together with silver and snow white pieces.




I found these little birds last year and love the little touch of whimsey they give the mantel.



Here’s how it looks in the evening with this year’s addition of the new type of wired LED light strings.  I love how the wires are barely visible.


I’m still looking for this year’s addition to my mercury glass tree collection.


After seeing birch logs wrapped in these LED lights in the Pottery Barn store in Miami last year, I was determined to do the same in my home.  I so love the look they may just stay past the Christmas season.  And you can see here the ornaments that I hang in the window above the fireplace. I do the same thing for the transom window over the front door.


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Now, at the cottage, which is a log home, I use natural elements, like pinecones, evergreen boughs together with vintage pieces and a few touches of red.


My adorable Santa seagulls nestled among my vintage encyclopedias.  They make me smile, every time!


Vintage pieces, such as this sap bucket are the perfect touch for a country or rustic home.  It literally took me a few minutes to put this display together.  Some fresh evergreens, birch branches, a few frosted faux stems and berries and you are done!

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A vintage green glass jug with some faux branches and cotton stems help to add some height to the top of my dining room hutch.  Loving the jingle bells!


This chalkboard banner was picked up while shopping in Almonte a few weeks ago.  I’m thinking it has found it’s permanent home here and I’ll be just changing up the message per the season.


Well that’s it for me but be sure to follow five Ottawa bloggers as we set our tables, deck our halls & try to survive the holiday season with style & cheer. Grab your eggnog and toast to the season with us every Monday until Dec 23rd. Happy Holidays!   Check out their holiday decorating below!


The Sweetest Digs

Just Settle Down

Keep it Beautiful

Oh yes, stay tuned as next Monday’s instalment is Oh, Christmas Tree!



Silver and white holiday urn

This year I was feeling the sparkly and white decor, especially after I found this great wreath at Home Sense.
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Now to tackle the interior.