Friday, July 29, 2011

Guest Post - Stephenie from Decorating Addiction

I want to welcome Stephenie from Decorating Addiction as a guest blogger today.  I've known Stephenie for over a year now and in that time she's hatched a baby and done lots of decorating.   You will definitely want to check out her blog after you see read about the transformation she and her husband have done on their home.  And if you want to read a wonderful heart-warming stories you should read this post on Stephenie's blog about the benefit concert that her ten year old daughter organized and performed in.  It will bring tears to your eyes.  Thanks Stephenie!

I am honored to be among the many talented and creative bloggers who are guest posting for Grace while she is away. It's a real privilege to be able to share with you a bit about my home.
My husband Jason and I bought our house about five years ago. It was our first home.  When we first walked in, Jason wanted to exit immediately, but I had vision and saw past the rainbow colored walls.  The previous owners had literally painted every single wall a different primary color.  Don't believe me?
Take a look (and please forgive the poor photo quality . . . I didn't have a digital camera at the time because it was packed in a box somewhere).

My poor husband didn't even own a power tool, but I somehow convinced him that we could fix up this little Cape Cod and make it our home.
Thankfully, he listened because here we are five years later and my house is totally transformed. 
That same room above now looks like this:

This is our sitting room and it is my favorite room in my house.   You can see our dog Maggie loves this room too! She likes to sit up on the couch and take long afternoon naps or watch anxiously for Jason to come home.

I love this room because it is peaceful and serene. There are no electronics in this room so it's a place where I can sit and read a book or knit.  I love the light colors and the antiques we've collected along the way to decorate.  
I also love the picture frame that hangs above our couch in that room.  When we first bought the house, Jason wanted to throw out the old windows and I insisted we keep them because I wanted to turn them into picture frames.  We compromised and some were kept while others were thrown away.  Jason  surprised me one Valentine's day by painting this window and putting a bunch of our black and white wedding photos in to create a picture frame.

Another thing I love about this room is that Jason took the nasty staircase and turned it into exactly what I wanted.  He cut the wall and put in spindles to create a more open look.

Yes, the man who never owned a power tool learned how to install boxed mouldings, crown moulding, tiled floor, wood floor and a whole host of other things he never dreamed he'd be able to do.

When we first bought our house it was in such disarray, we all lived in one bedroom until Jason was able to get our bedrooms in livable condition.  We didn't even let our parents into our house to see it . . . it was THAT disgusting.  You can read all about the transformation here if you're interested.
The house was actually an estate so not only did we purchase the home with all of its bizarre colors and smelly carpets, but we also got a whole life's worth of belongings to boot.  The woman who had owned the house was not wealthy and didn't have much worth anything, but it made me really sad that her children had gone through and taken what they wanted before we bought the house and had left so many sentimental items.  It was disheartening to me to see boxes of letters, journals and poetry left behind.
We didn't know what to do with all of the furniture and knick knacks so we hauled the futons, cigar boxes and other items out onto the lawn and had a big ol' lawn sale the first weekend we moved in.  We made over $1200 in one day. 
We did keep plenty of stuff, including this fireman certificate, which is probably the oldest thing we have in our house. It's dated 1890. 
It was hanging in our spare bedroom, but since we recently turned that into our baby's room, we haven't found a new home for it yet.

I love that bit of history tucked inside this house.
Finally, my two favorite projects that I've done without my husband's help would have to be two things I've made for my children.  The first would be Imani's quilt. I love it because I am NOT a seamstress and had no idea what I was doing.  I gave it to her for Christmas and she was thrilled.  I love that I made something I didn't think I could and that she will have it forever as a good memory.

The second thing I love that I've made is the chandelier that hangs above my new baby Noah's changing table.  It was inspired by a Pottery Barn nursery chandelier and with the help of Imani, we made our own version for Noah's room.

I love the design, but what I REALLY love about this chandelier is how much Noah loves it.  Take a look:

Thanks for coming along on a little journey through my house. I'd love to have you stop on over and find out more about me, my family and our addiction to our home! Visit us at Decorating Addiction.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My Bangladesh Abode

I thought some of you might be interested to see photos of where I am living while I am here teaching in the Speech and Language Therapy department here at the Centre for Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP) in Bangladesh.

We have lovely quarters to live in, because we are two old ladies volunteering as opposed to most of the bright young things that are here.  Our bedrooms have a British colonial feel to them with the wood furniture and the mosquito nets on the bed.

There is also a lovely wooden hanging rack to put your clothes on.  One of the Australian volunteers put her western clothing in the drawers under the bed and a month later, when it was time to leave, they had all turned white with mould, so I will be leaving mine hanging on the rack so there is plenty of air circulation.

We also have a cute little kitchen with a two-burner gas stove that we make our toast on in the morning. It reminds me of camping so I love making the toast and took over that job right away.

There is a water filtration system in the corner of the kitchen.

I love the cabinet that we store our dishes in.  The openings are covered in screening and it is made of a lovely rich wood.

When we first got to Bangladesh we sorted and cleaned the toys we had brought. You can see them in the photo below on our dining room table, which also serves as Kim's desk and I use the table against the window as my desk.  

All the doors have huge bolts to close them that look like something out of Harry Potter and the front door is secured with a large lock and skeleton key.

There are huge ceiling fans in all the rooms that attempt to keep us cool. It is a bit unnerving, though, when you lie down at night and look up at these huge whirling blades.  My mind starts to wonder things like how securely fastened the fan is to the ceiling and other charming thoughts.  

Oh and I can't forget to show you our resident ghecko who is about four inches long.  We are very happy to have him as he eats mosquitoes.

I hope you liked the tour and will stay for a cup of tea.  We even have biscuits to offer you that we bought in a little shop along the street from CRP recently and really like them.  I think they live up to their reputation - "crispy and contains a charming taste".

Monday, July 25, 2011

Guest Post - Ann from On Sutton Place

Today Ann from On Sutton Place is helping me out by doing a guest blog while I'm away.  I can't remember how Ann and I got emailing back and forth about blogging, but I do remember it was in the early days of Ann's blog.  You should hop on over to her lovely blog to have a peak into her lovely colourful home (with a recently renovated kitchen) and gorgeous garden.  Thanks so much Ann!


Hello to everyone...

Since Grace is in (of all places...) Bangladesh,
she asked for volunteers to guest post
on her blog to keep the home fires burning, so to speak.

She assigned topics...thank heavens.
Let's get started.

First: What is the oldest thing in your home?
This took some thinking...
I actually had to look around to figure this one out.
Here it is:
This is our guest room.
The furniture was purchased by my husband's grandparents
the year they were married which was 1914.
It's almost 100 years old.
I'd love to refinish it or paint it someday...

Next up is the favorite thing you have made or made-over?
This one was easy.
It's my fireplace.
I wrote about it here.
It went from a very ugly duckling to a lovely white swan.

Last...what is your favorite room in your home and why?
Like most women, I would have to say my kitchen.
It's the one room in our home that truly reflects me.
It's my domain.
I have spent countless hours here...
It's where my kids used to sit and talk to me.
It's where I start every day.

It recently underwent a small face-lift.
I wrote about it herehere and here...if you're interested.

This is my kitchen today.

I'm a relatively new blogger.
When my blog was very new I was lucky enough
to somehow meet Grace.
She was generous, patient and supportive.
It didn't surprise me when I found out about her trip.
I'm glad I could pay her back, at least a little, for all of the times she helped me.

My prayers are with her on this adventure.
May she return home safe and sound.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Colourful Bangladesh

One of things that has struck me the most since arriving here in Bangladesh is how colourful everything is. We tried to do our bit by buying colourful Shalwar kameezes (I"ll show you the other ones I bought later when I have photos taken). 

When I look around me I am amazed at the riot of colours in -




a painted apartment building near CRP,

on trucks,

and rickshaws,

and even our porch with the newly purchased scarves hung out to air.

I'm hoping all this colour is enough to inspire me through our long, cold, dark winter.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I'm Very Jolly-Minded These Days

The schedule is a bit crazy so this won't be a long post, but I did want to show you what I wear here in Bangladesh.  The long tunic and baggy pants are called shalwar kameezes and I had three made on the first day I was here.  The tailor and his three assistants were working in a room no bigger than our bathroom at home and churned out both mine and my friend's shalwar kameezes in twenty-four hours.  They are made from the softest thinnest cotton and are very comfortable.  I soak my scarf in water before I leave for class and spend my time while I'm teaching wiping my face with it to cool down.  I"m not sure that is the point of it, but that's how I make it work.

On another note - one of my students described a happy child as jolly-minded.  I thought it was such a charming way to describe it don't you think!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Guest Post - Joy from Thrifty Parsonage Living

I want to welcome Joy from Thrifty Parsonage Living who has kindly offered to do a guest post for me while I am away in Bangladesh.   Joy is one crafty, busy, creative woman as you will soon see when she shows you around her bedroom redo.  After you have finished reading Joy's post you should head on over to her lovely blog to read more.  Thanks again Joy!


Hi! I’m Joy from Thrifty Parsonage Living   I have a creative/decorating blog where I talk about thrifty living via makeovers, DIY's and thrifty finds. I’m so excited to be here today while Grace and her family are away.

Grace asked me to write a post giving you three glimpses into my home including: The oldest thing in my home, the favorite thing I've made or made over and the favorite room in my house.

I'd love to start out by sharing the oldest and favorite thing I've made over in my home. My grandmother's cedar's almost 100 years old!  It was in very bad shape, and in need of great repair when I received it.  Two legs were broken off, veneer chipped and lid detached. With my husband's help, this old heirloom was taken from trash to treasure!

Here's the treasure!

My largest and favorite makeover (and favorite room) would have to be our master bedroom  makeover.  This room was formerly my husband's office.  It was very dark, and looked too much like an office...not a relaxing bedroom.  Here are a few before and after photos.



Board and batten and new paint really gave the room a new look. 
We also moved the bed to the opposite wall giving us more space in the room.

New DIY drop cloth curtains were added.

A little bit of rustic charm was added to room,
using my grandmother's old step ladder for a side table.

Many second hand and made over items were added
including these Ikea mirrors,

and other accessories.

Why is this my favorite room?

My husband and I love the beach; and I love how we've incorporated that into this room.  The room is now a calm, serene and relaxing room that we can both enjoy!
Thanks for joining me here today, and to Grace for giving me the opportunity to join her on her wonderful blog!