This past summer I was ready to get to work with my many ideas of how I wanted to update and makeover our spare bedroom, which had turned into a catch-all and storage room. There was no “bedroom-ing” at all happening. My plan included painting, rearranging furniture, and some new furniture and accessory purchases. Having a dresser in the guest bedroom was included in those plans, as it’s convenient to store out-of-season clothes, and also handy for when we really do have guests!
Lucky for me, when I was describing my plans to my sister, she told me that she had a gently loved dresser in her garage that was used in my niece’s room, but that was in need of some TLC. It was mine for the taking if I wanted it… and when I laid eyes on it, I wanted it!
This dresser is solid wood and so well made and in terrific condition on the inside. It just needed some cleaning, sanding and painting to make the outside gorgeous again, and to make it fit into the look I was envisioning in my guest bedroom.
Look at these legs!! (I’m all about great legs…on furniture!)
I debated for a long time on the drawer pulls, and if I wanted to just use the current ones and spray paint them, or if I should patch up the holes and get new pulls. These are lovely pulls, but even after I spray painted them gold, they looked too traditional for what I was going for.
You can see here how the ivory paint was chipped in many spots on the top and front of the dresser.
After removing all four drawer pulls and figuring out what I was going to do with this beauty, I got to work!
This simple wood filler did the trick for filling the holes on each drawer. I made sure to get one that said that it was “paintable and stainable” so that I could be certain it wouldn’t be noticeable after.
And this is what she looks like after 3 weekends of filling all holes, sanding, and painting on three coats of Aspire Mineral Chalk paint in “Innocence” and then three coats of topcoat!
I had visited a sweet shop in town called Whimsical Furnishings to buy the paint and they gave me great information and advice on how best to use the Aspire paint and topcoat to restore my dresser. They also offer furniture painting workshops to help you get started with the Aspire paint, and you can find more information on those on their FaceBook page here.
Next it was time to find the right drawer pulls for the dresser. I knew I wanted something fancy, pretty and sparkly if possible. I had pictured some cute gift shops where I remembered seeing beautiful and different pulls being sold individually. On the way to one of them, I was about to drive by my favourite HomeSense store and thought I should stop in, because…HomeSense! I’m so glad I did!
I found that this location had quite a few different sets of Lily & Leah doorknob pulls, and they were so pretty and so well priced! I actually couldn’t decide between two different styles, so I bought them both! At $14.99 for four pulls, I had no reason not to! So, I left HomeSense quite happy, with two sets of 4 pulls of each style… one was a hexagon mirrored pull, and the other a crystal ball pull (pictured below).
I ended up using the mirrored pulls on the dresser, but kept the crystal ball pulls for another little update I’m working on. These pulls are great for so many pieces of furniture where by just changing up the hardware, you have a whole new look!
BTW…I did actually go to the gift shop I was thinking about just to see if there were any pulls there that I liked better, and I was shocked to find that although their ceramic pulls were pretty and original, they were $12 each!! I needed eight of them for this dresser, so that was way too rich and unnecessary for this project.
And here is the final product after measuring and asking the hubby to drill new holes in the drawers for me…
I love the sparkly mirrored pulls! I really lucked out with those!
The dresser fits in perfectly with the light and bright guest bedroom now.
Here’s a peek at my nearly complete guest bedroom… as soon as I finish getting some artwork up on the walls, I’ll share the before & after of the room with you too!
OKAY, it’s time for a recap! The BEFORE….
….and the AFTER!
This project was so satisfying…this solid wood dresser was free and for the cost of the paint and topcoat ($80) and the new pulls ($30), I was able to make it work perfectly for our guest bedroom.
I hope you enjoyed following along with my DIY dresser makeover project!
Last summer and this summer our family was very fortunate in that we had two very special (and rare) occasions occur that called for parties to be thrown! Both my parents and my parents-in-law celebrated their 50th wedding anniversaries with much fanfare (ok, so it was mostly from their family and close friends).
While I love to plan a party, and especially one for such loved people, I always find it difficult to decide on a gift idea for those who have everything, and need or want nothing. Even though these celebrations are meant to bring family and friends together and are not for receiving gifts, I do love to bring some sort of token of appreciation and love, especially if it is something that may bring about special thoughts and significance to someone.
For my parents and my in-laws, I knew that they would think it was pretty neat to have their special occasions recognized by the leader of our country, Canada, which is our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. By simply planning in advance (approximately 6 weeks), and filling out an online form found here, you can request free birthday or anniversary greetings from the current Prime Minister (note that this is not just from Prime Minister Trudeau; any currently serving Prime Minister would offer the same greetings).
Birthday greetings are available for 65th birthdays and up, at 5 year intervals. Wedding anniversary greetings are available for 25 years and up, also at 5 year intervals. If you are planning this as a surprise for someone, you can even have it delivered to you so that you can present it yourself on the date. You can get more information on the Prime Minister’s website.
Because the certificate is not a typical photo-size, I had to find a document-size frame for it, which I did easily at Walmart for about $22.
Another celebratory greeting that can be requested for free for Canadians is from our Governor General, and you can do this online as well at this link.
“The Governor General sends messages to Canadians who are 90 years of age or older and to couples who are celebrating an anniversary of 50 years or more.”
Our current Governor General is His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, and his role as Governor General of Canada is to be the representative of the Queen in Canada. This fall, Julie Payette will be sworn in as our new Governor General.
And for those very very very special occasions, you can even request a free congratulatory message from the Queen!
“Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II sends messages to Canadians who are 100 years of age or older and to couples who are celebrating an anniversary of 60 years or more.”
On the other hand, for your religious loved ones who would appreciate a blessing from Pope Francis, you can also request a Papal Blessing Parchment right from the Vatican!
Papal Blessings are available for a variety of celebrations; as per the website:
“The Apostolic Blessing is granted for the following occasions:
1. Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation
3. Priestly Ordination
4. Religious Profession
5. Secular Consecration
6. Ordinations of Permanent Deacons
7. Marriage Anniversaries (10, 25, 40, 50 , 60 years)*, Priestly Ordination, Religious Profession
8. Birthdays (18, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100)*
9. Catholic individuals* or families* (with name and surname of the spouses united in a religious marriage).”
You can download the request form from the website and then fax it in to the Office of Papal Charities. You get to choose from 7 languages what language you would like your Papal Blessing in…I chose Portuguese, as I figured my parents would love that.
Make your request at least a month in advance, as it does get shipped to you from the Vatican, and then you will need time to frame it as well. The parchment is not a standard size, so I found a simple gold frame that was big enough for it and then I had a custom white mat cut for it, all at Michael’s.
Although the Papal Blessing gets sent to you for no fee, included with it will be a suggested amount for a donation to the Papal Charities. The amount will be to cover the costs of the parchment and the courier fees. I believe my amount was approximately 30-40 Euros, which can be paid online.
Getting all three of these envelopes in the mail sure makes for a fun mail-week! (I felt super important even though they were totally not even for me)
Once you have all of the lovely messages framed, you can then use them as decor to decorate your party space! After the party, they can go adorn the walls of your loved ones’ home as a reminder of their special day…
My smart sister had another idea for a unique gift that can be useful (because who doesn’t need more pillows, right? Give me all the pillows!)…. These fun personalized pillow covers from Thirty-One Gifts were a hit!
You get to choose the colours you want and what you want it to say, and you can preview how it will look online before you order! Check out these personalized pillow covers here.
The pillow insert was a perfect size and a great price from Ikea.
Don’t forget the balloons!! You always need balloons for a party!
Happy celebrating!! xoxo
This year of 2017 marks the 150th birthday of my birth country of Canada!
Although Canada’s birthday is July 1st, just like we like to celebrate our own birth weeks, or birth months, we can and should celebrate Canada’s special 150th birthday all year. And what better way to celebrate our glorious country then by travelling through it and marveling at it’s gorgeousness?
I admit, I have so much to see still of our country. I have yet to travel to our furthest west and east coasts, as well as to so many provinces in-between. So while I haven’t seen the rest of Canada, currently our capital city of Ottawa holds the number one spot on my list of favourite Canadian places to visit.
So….what awaits you in Ottawa? Well, it definitely makes for a family-friendly trip, and I think it’s an important visit for any Canadian, whether you were born in Canada or not. Spending time in our capital city and touring the glorious buildings and monuments really brings out your Canadian pride, and it’s a great history lesson for young and old.
Now, where to start? I recommend spending at least 2 to 3 days in the city or area of Ottawa/Gatineau, as there are so many superb sites to see, you don’t want to be rushed through your visit. If you plan your visit for during the summer months, there are more events happening on Parliament Hill and surrounding area. But if you go outside of the summer, Ottawa still has lots of other fun things to offer as well!
For our visits, we wanted to stay as close as possible to the centre of the action, and without too much of a walk (for my spouse’s and parents’ knees!)….and on a budget! However, Ottawa is best seen by parking your car and walking around. We chose to stay at Capital Hill Hotel & Suites as it had the best location without being extremely pricey. It definitely wasn’t the fanciest hotel, and was quite dated, but it suited our needs. There was plenty nearby for breakfast options (Tim Horton’s, Starbucks, etc.) and the best part was the central location on Albert Street, just 3 short blocks from Parliament Hill.
When we arrived into Ottawa, we chose to first visit the museums that were not within walking distance from the hotel, so that once we checked into our hotel we could just park the car and leave it until our departure. The first museum we went to was the Canadian War Museum.
This museum is a treasure and is filled with the military history of our nation. It was definitely poignant, thought-provoking and reflective. It wasn’t a “fun” museum for play, but still really resonated with our family as it gave us time to reflect on our country, our armed forces, the role we played in major events in the world, and how that affected our people and our freedom. The exhibits were for all people, young and old, to remind us of the sacrifices our veterans and current serving personnel made and are making.
This photo below shows a segment of the Berlin Wall which is on display at the Canadian War Museum.
It was emotional just wandering through at our own pace, reading and reflecting on the pieces on display as well as the thought-provoking messages, such as the one below…
By far, one of my all-time favourite museums is the Canadian Museum of History (previously known as the Canadian Museum of Civilization). This museum is found a very short distance away on the Gatineau, Québec side of the Ottawa River. If you go to the War Museum first, then all you have to do is just cross the Portage Bridge over the river and take a right on rue Laurier.
The magnificent and stunning grand hall has spectacular views, and hosts many events. If you’re visiting on a weekend, don’t be surprised to see a few brides and their wedding parties around and inside the museum as it is a fantastic place for wedding photos!
And for the children, there is even a Children’s Museum right inside the Museum of History… The kids can have lots of fun travelling the world, wandering through pyramids…
…running a bookstore….
…or working in a tailor shop!
Wander out behind the museum and you’ll see the beautiful views of parliament across the river!
Another tip if you are visiting during the week: every Thursday from 5pm to 8pm, both of these amazing museums offer free admission!
Back on the Ottawa side of the river…. you can’t go visit our capital city and not go for a free tour of our Parliament Buildings. During the summer months, the tickets can get swooped up pretty quickly first thing in the morning, so your best bet is to be at the ticketing office right before they open. This way you can get tickets for the tour which are for a specific time of day, and then you can go visit other attractions and come back to Parliament in time for your tour.
The ticketing centre is located directly across the street from Parliament Hill at 90 Wellington Street, and they open at 9:00am. Be sure to visit their website here to plan your visit, and get your Centre Block and Peace Tower tour tickets!
Here is “the House”! (aka The House of Commons):
And the most beautiful Library we’ve ever seen… the Library of Parliament:
Make sure to go up the Peace Tower for spectacular views of Ottawa & Gatineau!
If you’re lucky enough, you may spot the flag master going through a secret door in the Peace Tower to go up and change the Canadian Flag on the tower! Did you know that the Peace Tower flag is changed every day from Monday to Friday???? Did you also know that you can put your name on a very long waiting list to one day be the recipient of a flag that flew atop the Parliament Buildings? Click here to get more information on the flags and on adding your name to the list (FYI: the Peace Tower flag waiting period is currently 73 years!! Order one now for your babies!)
All around Parliament Hill are bronze statues of historical figures… take the time to explore the Hill and see them up close.
This statue below is of Queen Elizabeth II on her horse Centenial. One of the newer statues on the Hill, this one was unveiled in 1992, during Canada’s 125th anniversary celebrations.
Sir John A. MacDonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister:
William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canada’s longest serving Prime Minister:
The West Block was under construction during our last few visits, and so was not open for tours.
The East Block was open for tours however, only during the summer months. The Changing of the Guard ceremony happens every day on the Hill in July and August at 10:00am!
And also during the summer months, right up until mid-September, the Sound and Light Show is not to be missed. Bring a blanket and the family, and take a seat on the Hill to experience this truly amazing show of Canada’s history.
I’ll be back shortly with ideas of what to do on Day 2 in our Nation’s capital…
Happy 150 Canada!
If you’re like me, you like to drop gift hints here and there to your significant other ahead of special occasions…hoping to avoid receiving gifts that you really don’t want or need….or like!
So in hopes of the special mom in your life receiving a lovely and thoughtful and useful gift this Mother’s Day, I’ve pulled together a list of spectacular things that I would love, and would recommend for anyone still wondering about what to buy.
- Fragrances – For those women who don’t have fragrance allergies and enjoy spritzing themselves with a lovely scent, these are some of my favourite classics (and they are available at Shoppers Drug Mart, where you can spend points or collect points with your purchase!):
Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel, Eau de Parfum
Chloé, Eau de Parfum
Miss Dior, Eau de Parfum
2. Jewellery – You can never go wrong with new jewellery, and it doesn’t have to be expensive to be nice! Some of my picks include:
Stella & Dot Signature Engravable Bar Necklace
Tiffany Infinity Pendant
3. Books & Accessories – If she is an enthusiastic reader, always looking to get her hands on the newest novel out there, here are some good bets, along with some mugs to drink her coffee/tea/water while reading or travelling; also a unique locally hand-made bag with the best fabric designs:
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Good Morning Beautiful ceramic mug
Kate Spade New York thermal mug
The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking
Anchors Lop bag by Cloud Rabbit Designs
4. Home decor – Beautiful and locally-made home decor signs for your home (or get a custom-made one!), and stunning mid-century modern plant stands:
Wood sign by Spring Meadow Co.
Walnut Wood Plant Stands, made in Canada by Hook & Stem Co.
5. Portuguese Culture gifts – lovely ideas to give much saudade to the Portuguese women in your life or to those who love anything Portuguese:
Earrings from Átrio, Etsy shop – Antique Azulejo Tile Replica
Benamôr Créme de rosto face cream
Mosaic fish platter
Casa Cubista Striped Horizontal Jug
But of course, nothing is so valuable as a tender, thoughtfully-made home-made card, complete with written words of love and appreciation. This gift has no link, no monetary value, but is the best gift of all. I’m sure all mothers would agree.
Happy shopping! XOXO
I recently found myself in the big city with a night free to myself, and to indulge in what makes me happy: a single ticket to a stage show.
What I needed to decide on was what show to see…and I knew that I couldn’t go wrong with any Mirvish production. So I headed straight down to Yonge Street and right to the box office at the gorgeous Ed Mirvish Theatre to buy my ticket for The Bodyguard – The Musical. I had already read some great reviews of the show and had heard that although it was was based on the 1992 movie of the same name, that it actually included many more of Whitney Houston’s hit repertoire.
Although there are no discounts offered for buying a last-minute single ticket, buying your tickets right from the box office means you save on any/all of the additional fees you normally pay when buying tickets online (which comes to about $11.00 per ticket!). Also, because I had seen a deal for tickets on WagJag, I was able to use the promo code at the box office and they honoured the WagJag deal! I was able to get a single ticket for a very decent seat for a great price, so I was thrilled!
The show itself was so much better than I even imagined and I was so glad that I made the choice to see it. The Toronto cast is composed of the West End cast from the London revival production, with the British Queen of Soul, Beverley Knight, in the lead role of Rachel Marron.
Beverley Knight is not only an accomplished award-winning singer and recording artist in the United Kingdom, but has also received the Order of the British Empire from the Queen for her contributions to music and charity work. I thoroughly enjoyed being immersed in her talent and her voice, which lived up to the high expectations of the original songstress Whitney. Listening to her sing such hits as “Greatest Love of All”, “How Will I Know” and “Saving All My Love” gave me chills as it brought me back to the mid 1980’s and early 1990’s, and the great heyday of Whitney. On my subway ride home, I couldn’t stop humming “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and really wished that I had Whitney’s greatest hits on my phone so I could hear them all.
Here is the promotional trailer for the show, where you can get a glimpse of what’s waiting for you…
And just watch this next video to witness the talented Beverley Knight performing “Memory” from Cats for Andrew Lloyd Webber…. (Cats is still on my “to-see” list!)
I wouldn’t recommend taking small children to see this musical, no matter how much you want them to enjoy the music of your adolescence… Some scenes are somewhat “scary” and there are very adult situations.
While the story in the musical varies slightly from the story in the original movie, it didn’t affect my love for the musical at all. I was thoroughly taken by the exceptionally talented cast, the marvellous sets and the music…oh the music…. Cheers and well done to all!
The Bodyguard – The Musical is on stage now at the Ed Mirvish Theatre on Yonge Street in Toronto only until May 14, 2017, so be sure to get your tickets and see this show before it leaves Toronto!