I cannot believe that my baby isn’t a baby anymore.
It went so much faster than I thought it would. I wish I could go back and do it all over again, much, much more slowly.
This is Liam and my husband, Mike, on the day Liam was born, 13 years ago today:

I was very sick after Liam was born, so the nurses took him to the special care nursery. They told me to buzz them whenever I wanted to see my baby. I buzzed them so often during the first 24 hours that they finally gave up trying to keep us apart, and let me keep him in my room!

We were so excited to be parents!

Here are a few pictures of Liam as he grew:
Liam giving me my birthday cake. I was turning 22. Twenty-two.

He just loved his car bed! This picture was taken right after we finished setting it up. He was so excited! It was a sad day when we had to say goodbye to it.

Liam helping his daddy to put together his new book shelves.

Liam in his He-man halloween costume:

Liam at the park. We spent so many countless hours wandering through the forrest and playing at that playground.

Liam at the beach.

Mike, Hayden and Liam at the Toronto Zoo.

Mike, Liam, Hayden and Ewan at the beach.

Ewan, Liam and I at the beach.

Ewan, Liam, Hayden and Abigail on Christmas morning, 2004.

Liam dressed up as Harry Potter. Liam was obsessed with Harry Potter at one time. Mike once made Liam a realistic looking invitation to attend Hogwart’s, and left it outside his bedroom door. We figured that Liam would know that it was just pretend. We heard him rustling around in his room shortly after he found the invitation, and went in to find him packing his suitcase! He was so furious when we told him that it wasn’t a real invitation, and that it was just to play with, that he cried and freaked out and slammed his door! We felt so terrible!

And here he is now.
Good God, how did he get so big?! He is only an inch or two shorter than I am, and his feet are 3 sizes bigger than mine! This was the closest I could get to getting him to smile for the camera:

The kid doesn’t like getting his picture taken. What are you gonna do?
Today I am filled with a mixture of emotions; sadness that he’s not a little boy anymore, fear of what lies ahead, but also excitement, pride and joy. I was so very young when I had him, but I loved him ferociously from the moment I laid eyes on him.
Happy Birthday, Liam. I am thankful every day to have you for my son, and proud of the young man you’ve become.

I have a confession to make.

I am a hoarder.

Not this kind of hoarder…..

Or this kind:

More like this kind:
Ok, so maybe I don’t have quite that much food, but with 5 kids and a husband to feed, there’s more than our cupboards can hold.
Here are the 4 who will be seen with me in public.
Also, I get a warm fuzzy feeling when I see the fully stocked fridge, freezer and cupboards after I grocery shop. I know. I’m sick.
Fortunately for me, our house has a cold cellar which we currently don’t use. Why don’t we use it, you ask?

Because it looks like this:

The time has come to fix up this mildewy spider hang-out. So I’ve been scouring the internet for inspiring pantries.
Like these:
Just look at all of those perfectly lined-up canisters!
I’m dreaming about what I’d fill those drawers up with…..
Baskets and canisters? Is this heaven?
I wish we had a room this big to hold food!
Ideally, if I actually owned this house, I’d be ripping the shelving out and replacing it. But there are other things that need to be done around here more urgently, like painting the carport and black-topping the driveway. So the shelves are staying, and I’m going to spruce them up. A lot. So now you know how I’ll be spending my day; painting.

And in preparation for having a new food storage area, today I went out……

And joined Costco!
Look for me soon on an episode of Hoarders.
And come back to my blog to see the finished project!
It was a fantastic weekend for treasure hunting at all my favourite thrift shops! Check out what I bought:
White Ceramic Bamboo Canister Set
Cost: $7.99

White Leaf Dessert Dishes (6)
Cost: $1.99 ea

Colourful Crocheted Chevron Throw
Cost: $6.99
(Ruby approves)
Flower Pot
Cost: $3.00

Desk Lamp
Cost: $7.00
(the red part is actually stained wood – it just looks like plastic in the picture)

Huge antique mirror
Cost: $15.00

And now for the pièce de résistance:
My cow hide!!!
I was shocked to find it on Kijiji; just a 10 minute drive from my home! It’s approximately 9′ ☓ 7′, soft, clean, and luxurious! It’s so big I had to spread it out on my driveway to photograph it! At $150.00, it was half the price of buying a new hide. I wish that I could’ve found one for a little less moulah, but I have never seen one on Kijiji in my area, and I did save about $180, once you factor in what the taxes would’ve been. The only thing I didn’t like was that it was laced with rawhide along the edges, but that was quickly fixed with my sharp sewing scissors. And, as I’ve already pointed out to my husband countless times, it will last virtually forever. Here are a few more pictures of my beloved:

Anyone else get any great deals this weekend?

Thanks for turning me onto bluntcards, Loretta!

These are some of the articles I enjoyed reading this week:

Beach House Lust – I want to build a little artist’s cabin in the wooded area of my backyard, and loved the ones featured in this article!

100 Abandoned Houses – Some of my fondest childhood memories are of exploring abandoned houses. It always fascinated me to see what the families who once lived there left behind. Oh, how I would love to wander through these houses!

A Glass House -Beautiful pictures of a beautiful home!

The Waiting Nail -This is so cool! Me wanty!

Friends Forever…or at Least Until Your Kid Shits on my Carpet -I literally laughed my ass off while reading this post! Ok, well maybe not literally, but you know what I mean. 😀

Make It! Hardware Store Décor -Purchase the PDF plans to make cool stuff. My favourites are the light fixture and the desk.

Jewelry Storage Ideas -Great ideas to store your sparkly stuff.

Office Update – Check out this great office space.

Refreshing Vintage Wood -Another useful post by my favourite blogger.

Tina Sparkles Q & A and Little Green Dresses Giveaway -An interesting interview and a chance to win what looks like a fantastic book for those who love fashion and eco-friendliness.

No, not me, my new chair.
Last year I picked up this brown velvet upholstered slipper chair from my local St. Vinny’s. It was a steal at $15. I probably could’ve gotten away with just cleaning the upholstery, but I wanted the chair to make a statement in the room. Preferably the statement, “Throw your dirty clothes here and die.”
This is what the chair looked like when I first brought it home.
I happened to have some fabric remnants purchased at Value Village kicking around, and got the bright idea to marry the chair and fabric. The cost of the fabric?
I know. Awesome.
I worked for a brief time as an aircraft upholsterer, so I do have a basic knowledge of the trade.
I began to strip the brown velvet and found….

….extremely dirty-yellow-scratchy-ugliness. The only good thing about finding another layer of fabric to strip was that it was the original upholstery, and was done differently than the brown velvet layer, aka done correctly. So I used the ugly yellow fabric as a rough template for my new fabric. And voila! Chair magic!

I really prefer the sewn-in side panels that both the original, and my reupholster job have, as opposed to the no-sew, wrap job that was the brown velvet. I also sewed out the corners of the back of the chair, which is much more durable than just wrapping the fabric.
Napping when the baby naps is for chumps. I prefer to upholster. 😉

This was not the post I had planned for today, but unfortunately I don’t seem to know the difference between “P.M.” and “A.M”, because I accidentally scheduled todays post to go up tonight.
So now you get my awesome post’s ugly stepbrother post.
This was the light fixture in our master bedroom:

Can you believe they still make these pieces of crap?
I picked up this boring little chandelier at a thrift store for $5, and after a few coats of Krylon Fusion….

….my bedroom has a new fixture!

I may further snazz it up with a large drum shade over the entire thing… not sure yet. For now, though, I should probably focus on touching up the ceiling paint and removing the masking tape from around the ceiling. What did I tell you about never finishing anything?
Not bad, though, for $8. Or at least, better than the ol’ builder’s standard fixture.
Stay tuned tonight for more on our master bedroom makeover!
About a month ago I found a roll of vintage vinyl shelf paper at my local St. Vincent de Paul thrift shop for just 50¢. I had no idea at the time what I was going to use it for, but the pattern was so lovely, and the price was right, so I figured I’d find something to stick it to eventually. Around the same time I picked up a little vintage bedside table with cascading drawers, similar in style to this one:
I have a really bad habit of not taking “before” pictures. I am aware of this flaw in my character and I’m working on it.
Anyways, I had planned to paint or stain the dresser, and cover the drawers with vintage maps from an old copy of The Reader’s Digest Great World Atlas. Then it dawned on me…. Why not cover the drawers in the vinyl shelf liner?
A few coats of polyurethane, a moderate amount of frustration, and a handful of swear words later, I had this:

I stripped and polyurethaned the top of the side table with this:
Then I lightly sanded and cleaned the drawer fronts, and tediously covered them with the drawer liner. I then gave them three coats of this:

The Minwax I polyurethaned the wood with has a yellowish tint to it, while the Minwax I used to polyurethane over the vinyl with is clear. I learned this the hard way on another project when I tried to use the former on white drawer fronts. Yeah. Not impressed.
Here are some more pics of my new bedside table:

I was a little worried that the drawer fronts would end up looking like crap, but surprisingly, they look as though they were hand painted.
Another project crossed off the master bedroom makeover checklist.
Disclaimer: No children were exposed to inappropriate language during the completion of this DIY project.
Hi, my name is Chrystal, and I am a thriftaholic. I cannot make it through a week without at least one visit to a thrift store. I don’t always buy something, but I almost always want to. And if I don’t find anything interesting or exciting, I leave feeling sad and let-down.
Here are a few of my recent finds for my fellow thriftaholics.
Vintage Desk Set
Cost: $10

Two Small Vases
Cost: $1 each

Framed Print
Cost $3

Small Framed Print
Cost: $1
Elephant Tea Pot
Cost $3

Small Metal Tray Table
Cost: $3

Elephant Planter
Cost: $6

Picture Frame
Cost: $1
Anyone else obsessed with thrifting?

One of the biggest challenges of moving into a larger home has been acquiring enough furniture to furbish each of our children’s rooms. Luckily I’ve found lots of great deals at thrift stores and yard sales, but most of the pieces have needed to be refinished in one way or another. I’ve spent my entire summer stripping, sanding, priming, painting, re-upholstering, and there’s no end in sight. I’ve been trying to do a little on each kid’s room rather than completely finishing one before moving on to the next. It’s good because none of the kids feel left out, but not so great because I’ve yet to feel a sense of accomplishment at a completed job, and the work just seems to drag on and on.

Thankfully, a few rooms are actually nearing completion, Hayden’s room being one of them.

Meet Hayden.

Hayden is smart and funny, and wants to be a fashion designer when she grows up. Yes, I’m re-considering a career in brainwashing.

Hayden and I decided on a monochromatic colour scheme in blue, and painted her walls with Martha Stewart’s Hydrangea Blue.


Here are some of the thrifty finds that I’ve used in Hayden’s room.

Wooden letters from Walmart, painted with white oil paint we already had kicking around.
Cost: Around $6

Pinch pleated drapes.
The terrible vinyl blinds are the landlords. I’m probably going to take them down and store them and install a simple white roman shade in their place.
Cost: $14

A blue vinyl train case, used to hold Hayden’s extensive jewelry collection.
Cost: $5

Framed vintage ballerina prints.
The frames were originally pickled pine, which I actually kind of liked, but they just didn’t suit Hayden’s room, so I had to paint them.
Cost: $3 each

Vintage armoire, re-painted white.
This had two mirrored doors, but because the mirror is so old, one just spontaneously smashed one day. I wanted to have new mirrors cut, but Hayden says that they kind of freak her out when she wakes up in the middle of the night, so instead, we’re going to replace the mirror with a printed blue fabric, similar in tone to the seat cover of the chair that goes with her vanity table.
Cost: $40 + $25 for fabric

Mirror, vanity table & chair.
I found this chair on the side of the road, and gave it a fresh coat of paint, and reupholstered the seat with a remnant purchased from Value Village. The vanity table is made from a wooden bracket purchased at The Home Depot for $10, and the top of an old half-moon table that my mom gave to me years ago, and the mirror is a thrift store find.
Cost: $3 for fabric remnant, $6 for mirror, $10 for bracket



Vintage armchair, reupholstered in dark blue dot fabric.
I am extremely fortunate to have a mother who’s a professional upholsterer, and this chair is just one of the many pieces she’s reupholstered for me over the years. The fabric was on clearance, and if I recall correctly, only cost me around $50! Also visible in this shot is the brand new blue rug. The purchase of this rug was made necessary after the guests at Hayden’s birthday party decided to have a blindfolded group makeover and ruined her white rug. The new rug was only $49, and should hopefully hide any future make-up mishaps.
Cost: $16 for the chair, $50 for upholstery fabric, rug $49

Dollarama frame gallery wall.
These frames cost $1 each, and I affixed them to the wall with strips of adhesive backed hook and loop fastener, also available at the Dollarama. Now Hayden just needs to fill the frames with actual pictures, instead of the stock photo of a lily that came with the frame.
Cost: $6 for frames, $3 for Velcro

Tack board.
This was made with a chunk of Homasote purchased at my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore, and the fabric is left-over from Hayden’s armchair reupholstery project.
Cost: $2 for Homasote

Parasol altered to cover fugly light fixture.
This was purchased at my local Home-ology shop, and I sawed the handle off and wired it to the existing light fixture.
Cost: $6 for parasol

Still on the list to complete the room:

-sand wood filler on vanity top and touch-up with white paint
-replace mirrors in armoire with fabric
-re-paint bookshelf and wallpaper the back of it
-replace headboard

This is the headboard I’m planning on making for Hayden. Did I mention that I moonlighted as an upholsterer for a short time?


Watch for a full reveal of Hayden’s room……eventually.