5 things I always buy at Ikea

I haven’t been to Ikea in about six months and yet, within the past three weeks, I have shopped there three times.  Go figure.

Just like at Costco, there are a few staples that I usually buy at Ikea.  They are always in good supply and the price is always right!

Clockwise from top right:

  1. Toilet brush cleaner/holder – it’s only $1 and it gets the job done.  Enough said.
  2. Kitchen dish scrub brush – again it’s about $1, comes in 3 colours and lasts a pretty long time.
  3. Ribba frames – these vary in size and price, and come with a mat.  These frames are frequently used for gallery walls in many of the magazines I read.
  4. Roll of paper – found in the children’s section.  It’s about $5 and we use it for colouring, drawing, making signs, table runners, etc.
  5. Fantastisk napkins – they are fantastic.  Cost is about $3 and I usually buy the standard white, but they often have seasonal colours and a few patterned ones throughout the year.

Obviously, my shopping cart is filled with more than these five items anytime I go to my favourite Swedish home store.  Am I missing anything?  What do you buy when you go to Ikea?

linking up with: Design Dining & DiapersThe Fab JourneySincerely, PaulaA Little Bit of EverythingShelbee on the EdgeCurly Crafty MomClaire JustineI Should Be Mopping the FloorGood Random FunBy BMG

Fun Finds

While out shopping at Winners Homesense last week, I found some fun shoes, clothes and home items.

Take a look!

These slip on rain booties were only $29.99 and perfect for our rainy weather.
If you are a size 9 and like leopard print, these Ugg boots would be perfect for you and only $69.99.
If you are a size 9 and like leopard print, these Ugg boots would be perfect for you and only $69.99.
I've seen these lined work boot everywhere these days. Only $69.99.
I’ve seen these lined work boot everywhere these days. Only $69.99.
Calling all Kate Spade fans, these flats were $99.99 and a perfect colour for Spring.
Calling all Kate Spade fans, these flats were $99.99 and a perfect colour for Spring.
Slip ons are my favourite and this metallic would go with anything.
Slip ons are my favourite and this metallic would go with anything.
This graphic hoodie would go with everything and it's grey!! Only $19.99.
This graphic hoodie would go with everything and it’s grey!! Only $19.99.
J Brand ankle or cropped skinny jeans. $79.99. Not a bad price at all.
J Brand ankle or cropped skinny jeans. $79.99. Not a bad price at all.
These towels scream beach and coastal to me and would look great in my bathroom. Too bad I didn't buy them.
These towels scream beach and coastal to me and would look great in my bathroom. Too bad I didn’t buy them.
Sarah Richardson's first book was on sale for $10. So, I bought it!
This is Sarah Richardson’s second book and it was on sale for $19.99.  I happened to also find her first book for only $9.99, so I bought it!
Fringe is on trend, so this key chain by Jonathan Adler would make a great little gift for someone.
Fringe is on trend, so this key chain would make a great little gift for someone.
Another Jonathan Adler accessory at the checkout - a new iPhone cover.
Another Jonathan Adler accessory at the checkout – a new iPhone cover.


I’m surprised I only came home with the book!  What would you have brought home with you?

linking up with: The Jenny Evolution



Friday’s Fun Finds – Home Edition

Now that the kids are back in school, I have a bit more time to myself.  So, with this time, I have hit a few of the local and not so local stores.  Here’s what I have found on my travels:

fox homesense winners
What does the fox say? He says, “buy me!” This adorable print was at Winners Homesense and I thought it would be so great in a cabin.
A squirrel with antlers ? Again, another cute print at Winners Homesense and if I had a cabin, I would have bought it.
These mostly nautical hooks were in a cute little home store in Whistler. They would be fun in a boy’s room, in a cabin by the lake or in your mudroom.
I should have bought these sticky notes that I found while getting groceries at Superstore.
Fishes, fishes everywhere! Love the colours in this tea towel. Great gift for the fisherman in the family! Should have bought it for my Dad.
Lastly, I saw this magainze at the grocery store checkout and thought it was my last gasp at Summer. Something nice to look at when the weather is cold, wet and grey.

Have a great weekend and maybe you will discover some fun finds yourself!

linking up with: The Jenny EvolutionCurly Crafty Mom

Organize your linens in 5 easy steps

organize your linen I’ve written about de-cluttering a fair amount on this blog.  I always have a donate bag on the go in the house and every couple weeks, I drop it off at our local thrift store filled with clothes, household items, books, etc. Last week, we had an unexpected repair in the basement which meant I had to unload our junk guest room into the main play/family space.  This week, I started sorting out all those items and I was determined that the guest room would remain a guest room without looking like a junk room.  Make sense?

Prior to hauling all the stuff out of this room, I had put things under the bed, in the cabinet and just piled up on the floor.  If you are thinking we must not get a lot of guests, you are correct! When I finished sorting, the biggest pile of stuff that I had to deal with was linens!  Blankets, sheets, towels and more blankets, sheets and towels.  I went upstairs to my linen closet and pulled out even more items! I counted:

  • 12 blankets
  • 6 old sheets
  • 1 set of sheets for the sofa bed
  • 1 set of sheets for the guest bed
  • 2 sets of extra pillow cases
  • 6 towels for the dog
  • 1 set of pillow protectors
  • 2 picnic blankets
  • flannel Christmas sheets
  • baby blankets
  • an extra mattress pad, duvet and pillow
  • 20 tea towels

*I excluded the sheets we use daily on our beds in this initial exercise* Then I analyzed my lot.  A fair amount of these linens had seen better days, so I quickly put them out of their misery and into the garbage.   They were not even worth to become cleaning rags if you know what I mean. Next, I carefully looked at each item and decided if it was a keep or donate.  This was tough.  I became fairly ruthless and kept only what we needed.  Off of this pile, I donated:

  • flannel Christmas sheets (too warm for my kids)
  • 4 blankets
  • 1 baby blanket
  • 2 knitted afghans
  • 4 tea towels

The dog did pretty well.  She got 2 blankets, 2 sheets and 4 towels.   I think this is fair considering how often she gets wet and dirty and it means I won’t have to do laundry every other day for her. Based on this quick success, I headed into the kids’ bedrooms to suss out the linen and bedroom closets.

I keep the bedding for each child in their room.  Easy to find and change the beds this way.  I only found 1 extra set of twin sheets that was a little too young in pattern for my now 9 year old son.  They were quickly put in the donate pile. My daughter only has 2 sets of sheets, so there was nothing taken from her room – except I found….more baby blankets!  We no longer have any babies in our house and my daughter doesn’t play with dolls, so the 8 blankets I found in her room were pretty unnecessary.  I kept 1 for sentimental reasons, 2 for her to play with stuffies and the other 5 were being donated.

Then I tackled the towels.   In our powder room, there were 6 hand towels and only 3 were in colours I actually liked, so 3 were donated.  The kids’ bathroom has 2 sets of towels in different colours and patterns to match their bathroom, so I kept them all.  The master bathroom has 3 sets of towels in white and they were all in pretty good shape, so I kept them all. After all was said and done, our family now has the following linens:

  • sheets for the sofa bed
  • sheets for the guest bed
  • 2 sets of sheets for my son’s room
  • 2 sets of sheets for my daughter’s room
  • 2 sets of sheets for the master bedroom
  • 2 picnic blankets – which I promptly put in my car
  • 4 blankets – for the couches and on the guest bed downstairs
  • pillow protectors  – I actually put them on the pillows
  • 10 tea towels
  • 3 hand towels for the powder room
  • 2 sets of towels for the kids’ bath
  • 3 sets of towels for the master bath

My 5 easy steps to declutter your household linens are:

  1. Go room by room and deal with each room on its own.  Bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, mudroom, etc.
  2. In each room, pull out all the linens associated with that room and put into one big pile.
  3. Sort into keep, donate and garbage.   Be ruthless and only keep what you need.
  4. If you are keeping them, use them!  Right away, put on the pillow protectors, put the blankets where they are needed and hang those lovely hand towels.  Donating is easy, too – pet shelters and thrift stores are always in need of clean usable sheets and towels.
  5. When you put the linens back, make sure they are neat, tidy and easy to access.  If you have space in your bathroom, keep your towels there instead of a closet down the hall.  I also store the kids’ sheets in each of their bedrooms.

Check out this link from Martha Stewart if you need ideas on how to organize your linens and what might work for your style. I found these images on Pinterest to also give you some ideas:

organizing linens1fbb7a47aaaecd68822dec97fc72828ee819e91baa888d6dd27b565d5887ac4bd74e6dd96674ea5742bf6f5331a92f3d

Hope this helps you reduce some of those extra linens you have stored around your house. If you have been following Marie Kondo, you will know that this room by room method is not what she would recommend.  I haven’t read the book yet, but it is on my list as I am always interested in new ideas on organizing.

If you have read her book, let me know what you think and if you have any other ideas, please share!

linking up with: Dwelling in HappinessThrifty Decor ChickThe Pin JunkieThe Jenny Evolution

Colour Me Happy ?

We have all heard how colour (or color for our American readers) can influence your life.  There are books, articles and many theories about the psychology of colour.  Red in the dining room, lavender or pale colours in a bedroom and yellow for energy are all supposed to help us eat, sleep and live better lives.

I found this graphic on Pinterest and unfortunately, I cannot find the original source.  If you know it, please pass it along to me.

Immediately, I looked at the meaning of the colour grey (or gray) and I wasn’t surprised by what I saw.



The positives of grey are reliable, solid and intelligent.  The cons were gloomy, sad and conservative.  All true, dontcha think?  When we first started this blog it was because we were feeling sad and gloomy from wearing grey or gray all Fall and Winter.  Another one of my fav colours is turquoise, but I was surprised when it showed one of the negatives of the colour as envy.  Too close to green, I guess.  Tan/Beige have similar characteristics to grey, so I’ll try and stay away from those shades.   The colours of silver, gold and white only show positives, so maybe I should wear more of those?

After searching around, I saw this info graphic about the colour of your door.



My door is black and I have a couple, but not all of the strengths of a black door owner.  Those of you with grey doors are solid, calm, cool and collected.

Sounds like it is better to have a grey door than a grey wardrobe.  At least I’m doing something right.  😉

Have fun checking your colours!

linking up with: Happiness at Midlife






It’s Everywhere!

Plaid.  It’s everywhere and I love it!

Maybe it’s my Irish/English/Scottish heritage that draws me to it.   Maybe it signifies Fall, warm clothes and coziness.   Maybe it’s because it is being featured everywhere in magazines and lifestyle TV for both your wardrobe and your home.

I’m not sure exactly what it is, but this year I am especially loving plaid. So much so, that I just bought this:


and this:



Both of these items are from Superstore – Joe Fresh.  The shirt fits great and surprise, it’s not grey!  Ok, well, there is a little grey stripe in the pattern, but it’s not entirely grey.  What surprised me was they were both predominantly red, which is so unlike me!

I wanted to use some plaid in the house to make things feel like Fall and I saw this sheet set, also at Superstore:


They werent quite the right colours, so I didn’t buy it.  But I’m on the hunt for a plaid blanket for the family room in greys and blues – wish me luck.

Lastly, this is a bold move, but I saw this wallpaper and thought how fun would this be in a powder room or a rustic cottage bathroom:



So that’s my plaid update this week.   Hope you have put some plaid into your life, too!

linking up with: The Pleated PoppyGet Your Pretty OnBecause Shanna Said SoTransatlantic BlondeHappiness at Midlife

Open Sesame!

Almost three years ago, we started a major reno/gut job on our 1940s style bungalow.  It took about eight months to complete and we moved back to our house in November 2011.  I’ll do a post on the whole fun (yes, fun) process another time, but today I want to tell you about a recent change we made and two lessons I learned.

When we started our project, we had a specific budget in mind to get the interior layout and exterior 100% right.  We figured we could always change some finishings, colours, and add mouldings later on.  So, knowing that we had a budget, we went with bi-fold doors in a classic shaker style for most of our closets.  Bi-fold doors are relatively inexpensive, open wide and come in a variety of styles to suit your home.  Bi-fold doors often fall off their track if not installed properly or are used a lot by kids opening and closing and opening and closing many times a day.


So, after 20 months the bi-fold doors in our main entryway were starting to look tired.  I also realized that I could use some extra storage for my hats and scarves.  After a quick discussion with my husband, he agreed to make the change.  Within a couple weeks, the existing bi-fold doors had been sold on Craigslist (I.love.Craigslist.) and the new fixed closet doors were installed.  I found these hooks at Canadian Tire and installed one on the inside of each new door.


Have you heard the saying, “measure twice, cut once”?   Well, I didn’t measure quite well enough the first time and with my drill, I put two little bumps in my new doors like this:


Aargh!!  It was frustrating, but easy enough to sand them down, fill them and repaint.  Lesson learned – measure twice!!

So, here is my final reveal of my closet door interior and exterior:



When I look at the before and after picture, I realized those tiny little handles didn’t do much to the appearance of the doors.  Our entry way is a pretty big space and I think the new doors and handles better suit the space.   In hindsight, we should have installed these types of doors instead of bi-fold originally.  The cost difference isn’t that much more and it is easier than having the contractor come back to do a small job like this.  I read enough home design magazines that I should have know this 🙂

What did I learn from this?

  • Sometimes it makes sense to spend just a little more in the beginning to get the right product
  • Measure twice

I am now seriously thinking about changing a few more of my bi-fold doors…why didn’t I do this sooner ?!  Is there anything you wish you had done during your reno ?  Let me know – maybe I will need to change something else!

linking up with: The Jenny Evolution and The Happy Housie and Thrifty Decor Chick and 

The Pin Junkie

Pinned & Tried – home

This is the home edition of Pinned & Tried.  As I have mentioned several times before in this blog, I love to pin!  Every night when the kids go to bed, I grab a iPad and do a few minutes hours of harmless pinning.

Months ago, I saw a pin of a farmhouse style of cabinet that was being used as linen storage in a bathroom.  I pinned it and immediately wanted something similar.  More pins would follow but I had yet to find my cabinet.  Here’s what I was looking for:



I was scouring craigslist regularly obsessively, but could not find my cabinet.  There was a close call about 2 months ago, but I was too late.

So, what to my wondering eyes should appear last week, but a craigslist ad with my cabinet in my neighbourhood at a fantastic price!  I quickly made contact with the seller and then sent my husband off to measure it up and provide a deposit.  Within 24 short hours, it was mine!

With a little help from me, the neighbour and our friendly plumbers (who happened to be at the house), we got the beast cabinet up two flights of stairs and into the kids’ bathroom.

It is exactly what I wanted to fill a niche behind the door.  I’ve started filling it up, but now realize the towels look a little sad and I could use a few more accessories to make it a fun beachy style bathroom for the kids.


But overall, I am really happy and this is one successful edition of Pinned & Tried – Home Edition!

linking up with: The Jenny EvolutionSuburbs MamaHome Coming

Pinterest inspired Mudroom

It’s December 1st!!!

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me a mudroom.  Romantic, eh?   Everyone knows that kitchens and bathrooms sell houses, but mudrooms are definitely an up and coming room in the house.

We park on the street and use our front door as our main entry and our mudroom space is located at the back of the house.  The basement door isn’t the most convenient door to use, but I didn’t want to waste the space.  I figured we could try and train ourselves to use this door when it is rainy or snowy.

Based on those thoughts and a few pictures from Pinterest, I convinced my husband to finish off the space into a mudroom.  He took on the project quite willingly using my ideas.  Here are my Pinterest inspirations:


source: restyled home


source:a life’s design

I wasn’t asking for a lot, just a simple mudroom with wainscotting, a shelf and hooks.  So after a quick trip to Home Depot, we had everything we needed.

He started by installing the wainscotting above the existing baseboard.  The wainscotting comes in easy to install pieces and with some measuring, cutting and a few nails, it was up.   Next to do was the shelf.  We realized that our walls weren’t perfectly straight or flush, so there was a little jiggling of the shelf to make it even.  When everything was painted white, we didn’t notice the gaps or extra shims that had to be used.

The last detail was the hooks.  We decided to go with simple black hooks from Canadian Tire that have a little bronze rubbing on them.


This is a mudroom that won’t be used daily, so we didn’t want to spend a lot of money on it.  Our total cost for the breadboard wainscotting, hooks, wood for the shelf and brackets was about $350.  We already had the Simply White paint from Benjamin Moore, so we saved money there.

In an early post, I told you about our quick bench project.  That bench fits perfectly into the space, along with our hockey gear, bike helmets, etc.

And what does our mudroom look like?


We are really happy with how it turned out.   Although, we haven’t used it to drop our muddy boots and wet coats yet, it is a great place to store stinky hockey gear.  And that is reason enough to have a mudroom in the basement of the house!

linking up with Thrifty Decor ChickThe Jenny Evolution

Where ya’ been?

Look what I found on my doorstep yesterday!


I had almost forgotten all about the Ikea catalogue. Shouldn’t it have arrived in August?

Years ago, the cataloge was a highly coveted item in my neighborhood.   It was only delivered to certain addresses or streets in our ‘hood. It was a bit of a lottery to see if you would get one or not. Some years, we didn’t win and ended up getting our catalogue at the store.

Although, our needs and style have changed over the years, I am still an Ikea fan. I see Ikea items featured regularly in the home decorating magazines and many blogs. We recently transformed an Ikea bench. You can read it here.

As for my trips to Ikea, I can’t seem to walk out of the store with a least few purchases.

My regular go to items?

  • Roll of drawing paper
  • Kitchen scrub brushes
  • Wooden hangars
  • Napkins
  • Orchids

After perusing this year’s catalogue, I’m sure I’ll get some ideas and find some things I need. Good thing, because I’m due for a trip to ikea.

Not that I really need an excuse… 🙂

ps – Ikea didn’t pay me or offer any promotional incentive for this post. But I probably wouldn’t say no, if they wanted to.😊