Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Rain Barrel!

Last year at about this time, our region did their annual rain barrel distribution. At $40 each, how could you not pick one up?! Over 3,000 units were sold which means 3,000 more families in the region are collecting rain water to be re-used. Matt and I were part of those 3,000 people and we are so excited to finally have our own!

We chose to put the barrel at the spout from the house that would give us the most run off which happened to land just at the East side of our house. We had to re-route the soffit and run it down the side of the house to the barrel. The rain barrel we purchased came with all the connecting hoses needed, plus a screen on the lid to stop leaves and debris from getting into the barrel.

We used old blocks from the front garden to raise the barrel up off the ground about 1'. The higher you mount your barrel, the more water pressure you will get from your hose. (Yes, those are bricks the spout is sitting on. We still have to re-attach the spout to the house.)

You can make a rain barrel yourself, but for $40 we could not pass up the opportunity to get a really good one!

You don't have to be an environmentally conscious 'guru' to have a rain barrel. In fact, Matt and I are not. But we like the idea of taking advantage of the resources that our own planet is giving us - water.  Using a rain barrel means you are not using your own home water and in turn, saving money. Who doesn't want extra money in their pocket? I certainly do! Rain barrels certainly help the environment, but they also help us as well.

It's been installed for a few months now and it's just great! It's so easy to use and we have collected lots of water in the spring and early summer (good thing too, as our region went through a dry spell this summer!)

We use this water to water the potted plants around the yard!

Does your community distribute rain barrels? Do you have one installed at your home?

Monday, 12 August 2013

Updated Guest Room

We finally have the guest room all put together! 

We are so pleased with the way it turned out!

We still have to add little finishes to the room (as noted on our to-do list here) but overall it is done and ready for guests!

The bedding and wall colour turned out to be a near perfect match – and picking the wall colour to match the bedding was unintentional! This quilt and two pillow shams were a gift from my mom about 4 years ago – and look how perfect it goes with the paint! (more on choosing the colour in this post).

I also picked up some curtain rings from a yard sale for $2 (for two sets!) It was certainly a steal considering each set were unopened and had a $19.95 price sticker on the front.

The ‘curtains’ are really just white sheets from jysk. They cost about $9.99 per panel and we just hung them from the rings and then onto the existing drapery pole. As you can see, they still need hemmed. 

We also picked up a couple of original watercolour paintings and only paid $10 for the large one and $4 for each small one! 

Overall we are pleasantly surprised with the way the room came together! What a difference!

We are looking forward to having more guests in the future!!

Monday, 5 August 2013

Guest Room Progress

This weekend we were very hard at work painting our guest room (among other projects!) We have been wanting to paint it for a very long time and since we are getting a new guest bed next weekend, we thought it was best to paint it before the arrival of the new bed!  

The room wasn't a horrible colour (could have been worse) but we wanted a more inviting and relaxing feeling to our guest room.

Here are a few shots of the guest room before:

Then we primed! It took 2 coats to fully cover the green but doesn't the prime alone brighten up the space already?! (it almost hurts the eyes!)

And voila!

We found the can of Valspar paint on sale at Lowe's for only $10 a few months ago and just HAD to pick it up since we thought it would make the perfect guest room colour! I think we made a great snap decision. 

We ended up having to buy a second can of paint, though. I think we could have got away with one coat but after the first coat you could see some paint lines from the roller. To be safe and to ensure no regrets, we painted a second coat. 

The blue is bright enough to add colour to the space yet not too bright to avoid feeling clinical (like when it was only primed!)

I think next time we will go back to the Dulux primer and paint all-in-one as it really treated us well when we painted the main floor and we can skip the priming step (and saving ourselves some money on the priming part.)

We will be posting more photos next weekend once we get the new bed in the room and set up!

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Master Bedroom Design Board

I have decided to start making design boards for the rooms around the house. Our master bedroom was first on our list!

The items I have sourced below aren't necessarily the exact items I want for our room, but more of the idea of the finished look. Most furniture pieces for the space we already have;   some will be repurposed and items like bedding and draperies will be new!

- Headboard:
- End table:
- Chandelier:

More design boards soon to come!! You will also be able to access the boards by clicking on the 'Design Boards' tab at the top of the page or click here!

Do you make design boards for your rooms? What helps you when designing a room?

Saturday, 23 March 2013

DIY Laundry Detergent

I have been making my own laundry detergent for about a year and a half now and am SO in love with the results!

I googled a bunch of recipes, but ended up using this one here as a base.

She has lots of great recipies, but I choose to do a powdered one. I had to change the recipie around a bit but this is what I ended up with:

• 1/2 bar of grated Pure Sunlight bar soap

• 1/2 cup of Washing Soda

• 1/2 cup of Borax

I actually had a really hard time finding washing soda in Ontario. In fact, we had to ask my grandmother-in-law to pick up a box when they went to the States - which she did and I am SO grateful for! (I have recently made a visit to the US myself and stocked up!)

The original recipe also required fel's naptha bar soap which I also had a hard time finding. I had thought I'd seen in in a grocery store a long time ago, but do you think I could remember which store? Of course not! So I ended up buying a bar of pure sunlight soap instead which actually works great and smells fantastic!

Making the soap could not get any simpler!


1 - Finely grate 1/2 the bar of soap (makes approximately 1 cup of soap).

2 - Add the grated 1/2 bar of soap in a medium sized bowl. Mix in 1/2 cup of washing soda and 1/2 cup of borax. Mix well.

3 - Use 1/2 tbsp for normal loads, and 1 tbsp for heavier soiled loads.

And there you have it! A perfectly simple powdered laundry soap that is very easy to use and cleans great!

Yes - you can use this in front loading washing machines! Just use a little less soap (maybe 1/3 tbsp to 1/2 tbsp per load).

I had this cute wooden container that I bought at a yard sale and used to store my tea in - I cleaned it out and now store my laundry detergent in it! It's the perfect size! 

(I also printed some a label with the recipe and added it to the back of the box as well as a cute label for the front!)

I keep a half-tablespoon measuring spoon in the container to ensure we have the correct amount each time. Even the hubby can't mess this one up!

Why do I make my own soap, do you ask? For me, it's the pure cost savings of it. 

Here is the break down:

Sunlight bar x 2 = $2.00 (use half bar per recipe) = $0.50 per batch
Box of Borax $5.00 (approx. 9 cups. Use 1/2 cup per recipe) = $0.28 per batch
Washing Soda $3.00 (approx. 7 cups. Use 1/2 cup per recipe) = $0.21 per batch

Total to make this recipe (32 loads of laundry)= $0.99

32 loads of laundry = $0.03 per load load

It's the simple things in life that keep me going :)

I have recently tried a liquid soap that I am also IN LOVE with! Plus, there is no soap grating involved so it is much quicker to make. More on that recipe in a future post. :)

Have you ever made your own detergent? Willing to try? What are your thoughts?