Wednesday, June 27, 2012

School's Out!

Whoop whoop!  Just a few minutes until school's out for the summer!  My (going into) grade 3 and 4 children will be home soon and I wonder what they will want to do upon their arrival?  Plop in front of the TV/ computer?  Ha ha ha ha ha.  Little do they know what chores their evil mother has in store for them.  Clean the van.  De-clutter the basement.  Tidy the junk drawers.  Bah ha ha ha ha ha.

On a slightly more (or less) serious note, I'd like to reflect a bit over the past year.

  • We made it to school on time most days, approx. 95% of the time -- way up from last year.
  • Each child grew by leaps and bounds, both personally and academically.  I'm so proud of my children.
  • Johnny surprised us all by making it to the provincial track and field finals.  His art was displayed at the Jubilee Auditorium.  He did an awesome rapper impression in the school play.  He has lots of friends and is loved by all.
  • Tasja is a voracious reader, a wonderful friend, and great writer/ storyteller.  She loves making lists and knows how to get things done!  She learned how to jump rope, do flips, handstands and more.  She is little mother to Baby Heidi.  And she grows more beautiful every day.
  • Luke learned to love school and made lots of great friends in Kindergarten.  I am so proud of you Luke for trying and succeeding at so many new things.  Also, you are great at computer games, building things, singing, and making Baby Heidi happy.
  • Owen grew and learned so much this year, like how to build Lego trucks, make potty jokes, and spell his name.  He is Mr. Enthusiasm.  Love you Owen!  One more year of playschool, and then you're off to Big Kids' School!

Things I would like to do better next year:
  • Encourage the kids to participate in more organized sports or extra-curricular activities.
  • Go on more field trips/ volunteer at my kids' school more often.
  • Keep on top of everyone's calendar.
  • Remember to do home reading/ homework every night.
It was a bit of a crazy year, with me being pregnant and so sick for most of it, and then having a new baby to really make things interesting.  Still, we pulled through with flying colors thanks to my amazing persevering children and gem of a husband, Chris -- who really stepped in to pick up the slack.  We are truly blessed.

And now it's time to have fun!  First up on the agenda: tonight, pull out the calender and pencil in all those parties/ play dates/ sleepovers/ excursions/ camping trips/ vacations we need to squeeze into this all-too-short summer.  Let the good times roll!  What plans do you have for the summer holidays?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Learning To Love My Flat Roof Bungalow

I never expected to love my home as much as I do. 

When I first saw the photos on the Kijiji rental listing I thought how ugly.  If it hadn't have been for my husband talking me into "just taking a look" we wouldn't be living here today.

She was a somewhat dowdy flat roofed 1954 bungalow.  I always pictured myself living in a charming Victorian.


But over time this place has grown on me.

I mean, what's not to love about these trees?
They are so beautiful in the summer.  They provide amazing privacy and soften the hard lines of the modern architecture.

Notice the classic mid-century detailing such as the wide eaves on the porch supported by narrow steel columns, the stacked brickwork and the corner windows. Do you see how the building seems to hug the ground and how it draws the eye out rather than up?  Strong horizontal lines are a trademark of modern design.  The deck/ fence was added circa 1985.  I think they did a bang up job.  It could have gone so badly, but this one really enhances the overall design and stays true to the home's modern aesthetic.

This beauty has been a rental for many years and is badly in need of some cosmetic work.  Not unlike your spinster aunt who could actually look quite attractive with an eyebrow pluck and updated wardrobe (a la Susan Boyle).  ; )

There are many things to love about my home: the trees, the huge lot, the container gardens, the deck . . . did I mention the huge backyard?

Recently, however, I am coming to appreciate the architecture itself.  If I really use my imagination, I can picture the home as it looked when it was first built . . . & the family who lived here (I think they loved to entertain) . . . I'm glimpsing the vision of the original designer and builder. . . it must have been so cutting edge in 1954!  The blueprint was no doubt inspired by the work of the iconic Frank Loyd Wright, who designed such homes as the Affleck House in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.  Here is a picture:

And here is the rear view of our home.

 A little exercise in geometry, anyone?

This is my inspiration image.  (I always have an inspiration image(s) for every makeover project I undertake.)  Midnight blue front door, here we come!

I was so pleased to find this image online -- I see so many similarities to our home.  Grander, to be sure, but notice the roof lines, paint colors and materials ulilized.

This whole mid century architecture thing has sent me on a bit of a learning expedition.  In my travels I Googled everything from bungalow to brutalism.  I keyed in the words "flat roof bungalow" and guess what?  There is even a Flicker stream dedicated to the flat roof bungalow.  It really is amazing.  You should check it out.  There are some beautiful homes to view.

Living in a mid century modern house has certainly pushed me in a different design direction than I anticipated. My previous home was decorated in a cottage/ country style.  Now I notice myself mixing more modern pieces into my home's decor and I am certainly embracing a more minimalist aesthetic all around.

Here is another shot of our backyard.  (Do you love my new IKEA table?)

So there's a quick tour of my 1954 flat roofed bungalow, diamond in the rough.  We are making it into a happy family home once again. 

In the next week or two this angular old gal will be getting a few updates.  A lick of paint, some modern house numbers and a shiny new mailbox.  Oh, and a blue front door!  Maybe we'll do something about that distracting cable too. ; )  Well, hope you enjoyed the tour (and the brief history lesson.)  Come back in a few weeks to see the updates!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Organized Home Office

I am always trying to improve my organizational systems.  One area that has come under the radar lately is our home office/ command centre/ front door drop off spot.  Piles of paper, school projects, diaper bag and bills all on one surface -- my work surface!  Can you relate?

Wouldn't we all like to have a space like this?

 (image: Pottery Barn)
No, I don't have any solutions to offer up yet.  But I am putting my beautiful brain to work on it and will let you know when I stumble across something brilliant.  Meanwhile, I would love to hear your tips for organizing your home's command centre.  If you are particulary proud of your space, be sure to email photos to me as well.  (

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Be Kind

Tonight I have just one simple thing to say:  Be Kind.  Be Kind to everyone you you meet, because you just don't know.  You just have no idea what that person might be going through.  So be kind.
This is on my mind because today I found out that friends of ours are having trouble, the sort of trouble that you think, it could never happen to them.

But you just never know, whether it's a stranger or a friend. You don't know whose child has cancer, whose husband's been cheating on her, whose house is about to be repossessed.  You just don't know.

So what is this post doing in a blog called Design Your Life?  Well, a huge part of creating the life you want is being aware.  We must be aware of our surroundings, aware of our environment, aware of how our actions affect the world around us.  It's a reminder to myself not to take anything for granted, to pay attention to the signs that something might be wrong, to get out of my blithe little bubble of worrying about what paint color goes best with my cabinets and instead be present, aware and grateful for what I have.
 Mother and son Embracing  ~  Watercolor print by Etsy seller PrintIllustrations

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Three Fresh Color Schemes To Love

Gunmetal and Mustard

Grey is the new beige!  There are so many greys out there ranging from warm to cool, light to dark.  Painting your room one of these shades will instantly update your space.  In this space, muted yellow and pops of bright color warm up the cool blue-violet of the walls, while plenty of white keeps the look light and bright.  See more of this charming home here.

Seafoam and Tangerine

I love how glamorous and modern this nursery feels with all the black & white and gold accents.

Earth and Sky (with a little splash of Crimson)

Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne's home proves how a very simple color scheme can look quite sophisticated when multiple layers are added to the design.  Aren't those sliding barn doors amazing?

What color schemes are you loving right now?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

My Favorite Makeover Ever. . . (So Far!)


Watched a couple episodes of Sarah 101 Season 2 tonight after putting the kids to bed.  (It was one of those days -- and Sarah and Tommy are such good therapy.  Cheaper than shopping and less fattening than chocolate.  : )
Episode 4 simply blew me away.  Hands down my favorite S&T makeover to date.  Photos here:

You can watch it here:
Versatile Living/ Dining Room

Enjoy!  I have dishes to do. ; )
 P.S. Sarah is looking especially glamorous this time around, don't you think?  How DOES she do that?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Whether the Weather's Fine. . . and other rhymes

See if you can finish this.
Whether the weather's fine. . .

Standing in line at Safeway this morning with a perfect stranger and struck up a conversation about -- what else -- the weather.
"That was quite the rain we had this morning.  Thought it was going to rain all day."
"Ha." I smiled.  "My mother had this saying.  'If it rains before Seven it will shine by Eleven.'  It's always true."

(Clouds Over the Ocean, by Etsy seller Dream ON)

But I'm curious. Is it always true?  What has been your experience?  And, do you know any maxims regarding the weather?

My mother taught me another one.
Red sky at night, Sailor's delight.
Red sky in morning, Sailors take warning. 

Now for the rest of that rhyme we started with.
Whether the weather's fine
Whether the weather's not
We'll weather the weather
Whatever the weather
Whether we like it or not. 

Happy Tuesday.
Can't wait to hear yours!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Newborn: Loving

Top three baby products I am loving right now:

This music is the perfect soundtrack to sleep.  Good for calming a mommie's frayed nerves, too.  Bonus:  It earned my music degree-flaunting husband's stamp of approval.  My favorite tracks include Simple Gifts and Angel.

This carrier lets me type, chop veggies, fold laundry, and fasten my three year-old's shoes all while keeping my baby close and comforted.  Be sure to buy the proper size according to the sizing chart as the fabric does stretch a bit with wear.  We're rocking the Eggplant (shown).

This natural body wash
is gentle for both baby and mommy's sensitive skin.  Works as a baby shampoo, too.  My favorite is Lavender Rose. Heavenly!  You can find Aroma Health products at the Old Strathcona Farmer's Market in Edmonton or order direct from their website.