Sunday, April 29, 2012

There will be a disruption in this weeks posts...

So this weekend I am busy painting and taking lots of photos for you guys, but then on Saturday night my computer broke! Le sigh. So while I am still able to access the site on my iPad, writing posts is time consuming and have no way to upload photos on this baby. So I am afraid there isn't much I can do about getting posts up! Makes me sadface :( I wanted to upload a sneak pic, but blogger won't let from this iPad. Boo

Friday, April 27, 2012

And the winner is....



Yup, some of you guessed that I was going to choose this one! But instead of me telling you why I chose it, I decided to interview Touch of Grey to get it's opinion.

Casey: Why do you think you won out against the competition?
TOG: Well, I think I just brought my A game. I knew you had a small condo and that you wanted to add colour to the walls without making the place seem smaller. Fine Silver was just too dark and Snowfield (while a close competitor) wasn't quite as reflective as I plan to be.

Casey: Of course, you be the winner has nothing to do with me having seen you in action, does it?
TOG: Guilty as charged! Your friend Sarah did paint her bedroom in me so you knew I was a pretty darn good grey!

Casey: So what is the plan of action? Where are we painting?
TOG: We are going to about 90% coverage! Front hall (but not closet), hallway, kitchen, living room, bedroom. We are even going to paint the bulkhead and prim and paint over the current accent wall in the living room. However, the bathroom will be staying the pretty colour it is now.

Casey: Wait- why would you paint the bulkhead? Some people think they should be left white, or the underside left white (as it is a "ceiling").
TOG: I know the arguments, but if I they are the same colour of the wall, it will hopefully make the real ceiling look higher.

Casey: Who is going to do all this work??
TOG: You are! And maybe a friend or two if you can ply them with pizza and beer (though, I recommend the beer AFTER painting). It might be a large space, but if you focus on one wall at a time, instead of trying to punch out the whole place in one day, then it is much more manageable. Plus painting yourself is a great way to save some money to put towards other fun things!

Casey: Ok, I guess I can do that. When should we get started?
TOG: I think you should start right away! You don't have plans this weekend! Let's pick up supplies after work and get 'er done!

Casey: Well, I guess that means we should wrap this up and I need to get started taping! Thank you for the interview, Touch of Grey. I look forward to spending every day with you!
TOG: Thanks! I look forward to going up!!!

Haha, okay, I am pretty lame. But yes, I will be getting started on the painting this weekend. Who wants to join in???

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Shoo fly, don't bother me!

Back in university I lived in a townhouse with three awesome ladies. One day we began noticing fruit flies in the house. Over the next week the population of fruit flies exploded and our whole downstairs was blanketed in tiny brown dots. We could not get rid of them! The culprit (a bag of rotten apples) wasn't found for a week, because for some inexplicable reason it was in the cupboard under the stairs. But even removing the source of food didn't help.

Eventually I researched the best way to get rid of these creatures and I came up with my patented (haha) Fruit Fly Trap Extraordinaire! In a couple days we were fruit fly free without any chemical use.

So lately in the condo, I have been having a fruit fly issue again. This time there is not obvious food source for the little buggers, as my compost is kept in the freezer and there is no food out in the condo. But for weeks now I keep seeing one or two flying around the condo like they are all that and a bag of potato chips.

Therefore I busted out my Fruit Fly Trap Extraordinaire and I hope I can catch the last few stranglers and wrap up this problem. Here what you will need to create a trap of your own:
1. An orange (and a guess a knife and cutting board to cut this orange)
2. Saran wrap
3. Small tupperware or dish with a lip
4. Elastic
5. Fork

I find an orange works best because fruit flies like citrus and it has a bit of a stronger smell to attract them (aka, you don't have to wait for something to rot).

First thing you want to do it cut up your orange and place a small piece into the tupperware.

Feel free to eat the rest of the orange, because oranges are delicious and healthy for you. This project results in vitamin C baby!!

Cover the tupperware in saran wrap and wrap the elastic around the outside to secure. You don't want a way for a fly to get out.

Next, poke some holes in the top of your trap with a fork. You want these holes to be small, so don't start ramming it.

Finally, leave the trap somewhere near the source of the problem. As I don't know where my problem arises from, I just chose the counter.

After about 24 hours, check your trap. You will hopefully find some little buggers in there chowing down on that orange! At this point you can take it outside and dump it, or just leave it open and the flies will eventually fly out (but NOT in your house!).

The trap is very simple: attracted to the smell of delicious orange, the flies will land on the top of your trap and eventually crawl in through a hole to reach the bait. However, once they are in, the flies have a difficult time getting back OUT of the hole (this is why we keep them small). If you haven't gotten all the flies in one go, just make a second trap (more oranges for you!) and set it out again.

This trap has not failed me yet!

Not two hours after I wrote this post I found this:

See that little dot in the upper right corner (well, not a corner, cause it is a circle, but you know what I mean)? MY FIRST VICTIM! mwahahaha. And considering I think there are only 1 or 2 fruit flies in the condo, this is a pretty darn fast catch.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Feeling a little grey today

Or rather, my walls are!!! Yep, this past weekend I finally bit the bullet and picked out three possible paints for my condo. I am very excited to show you the top 3 competitors in project "Paint Zee Condo!"

From the left: Snowfield, Touch of Grey, and Fine Silver.

Let's pop them open and check out the beautiful colours within!!

Ummm....they all look white! That was my reaction in the store when the paint guy showed me the final product. But I took them home and hoped that I had not been ripped off and that these actually contained grey paint.

And luckily they did! Here are the three contenders on the wall!
By the bed in artificial light: Top is Snowfield, corner is Touch of Grey, and right is Fine Silver

It is a little hard to see this as I did it at night (what can I say, I am impatient). The top sample is Snowfield, the one in the corner is Touch of Grey, and the one on the right is Fine Silver.

I took many photos in different areas of the condo and in various lighting (natural or artificial) and I want to share them here so I can get some opinions (unfortunately computers aren't the best for viewing colour, but let's try our best!)
Over the cupboard with artificial light: Left is Snowfield, middle is Touch of Grey, and right is Fine Silver

In the hallway: Top is Snowfield, middle is Touch of Grey, and bottom is Fine Silver

By the bed in sunlight: Top is Snowfield, corner is Touch of Grey, and right is Fine Silver

Over the cupboard with artificial/natural light: Left is Snowfield, middle is Touch of Grey, and right is Fine Silver
I find Snowfield to be a very warm grey compared to the other two. Touch of Grey is VERY similar, but it is cooler in tone than Snowfield. Fine Silver is darker than the other two, but also cool.

I am currently leaning towards one, but I would be interested to hear what you have to say! Which one is your favourite?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Colour Inspiration Continued

So after writing yesterday's post, I was putting away my laundry when this caught my eye:
This is what I keep on top of my dresser- lamp, vase, and a collection of books that I really enjoy (The Number One Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith). Most of my books are in my ottoman because I am sans bookshelf at the moment. However I kept these ones out because I think they are pretty!

It wasn't until well after I wrote my post of my inspirational photo and the colours I liked for the condo that I caught onto WHY I always liked these books and WHY I liked my inspiration photo.

Shall we revisit?
Inspiration Photo

Pretty Books
Haha, do you see it? It is practically the same set of colours! Maybe I should just accept that I love the rainbow and leave it at that?

Well, at least now I know that my favourite books will always match my condo!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Colour Inspiration!

I think it is very important when trying to pull together a cohesive home, that you find a set of colours that you love together and work to find pieces in those colours. You definitely want a few choices of colours so that it isn't matchy-matchy. Now, it is not a perfect art, because of course you will love items not in your "colour range" but I think it is ok to accessorize a little outside of the box if the core items reflect the theme.

You may find inspiration in a lot of different ways. Perhaps it is in a favourite painting, quilt, or just some inspiration photo you cut out of a magazine. YoungHouseLove (one of my favourite blogs) uses a napkin they love as a key tool to base their colours around.

I have been thinking hard about what my inspiration should be. My condo used to be very red-black-white. But as I have established- I am sick of red-black-white!! Well, maybe not white. White is still my home-girl. :)

However today I came across a photo on Pinterest that I think may become my inspiration:
Photo source
I really like this photo! I definitely have the white going on in my furniture, and the grey will be coming in soon in a big way! I am loving turquoise and it currently can be seen in my armoire. I have been feeling greens and yellows lately too! I am not too sure about the pinks, but I certainly don't think an inspiration photo needs to be followed to a T.

Here are some inspiration rooms that have a similar theme:
Photo source

Photo source
Photo source Pinterest (link didn't work)

Photo source Pinterest (link didn't work)
See? It can be done in different amounts of impact! The first photo is a bit over the top for me. Since my place is only one room, it needs to be a bit more neutralized. The second photo is too much white for me. It is adorable in this small photo, but I think across a large room it would get boring fast. The third photo happened to incorporate a bit of pink too! I think they stole my inspiration photo. This is closer to how I could see my place turning out. Neutral, but with pops of colours. However I hope my pops are a bit more dominating than the subtle look here. The last photo is total eye candy to me, so maybe I will end up closer to this? I love that there is an owl in there too!

I am hoping that now that I have my colours picked I will be able to make choices quicker and not have to worry so much about how a new item will fit into my condo aesthetically.So look out for some new stuff showing up in this theme! Except for yellow because I find it IMPOSSIBLE to find. Grrr.

What colours do you like in your home? Does anyone else crave some happy colours now that summer is starting to show up?

Friday, April 20, 2012

If I had some money, honey

I think that no matter what condition the home you live in is in, you often play renovator in your mind. There are always upgrades to be had, even if the only way "up" is to buy a $12,000 bathtub or something. At the same time you need to balance resale value vs the cost of these upgrades. If you plan on staying in your home for many years, the return on investment might not mean much for you. However, if you know this is a starter home or an investment property, then you want to carefully price these things out.

In my building, not many units have upgraded kitchens or bathrooms. I am fairly certain the things you see in new condos today (granite, stainless steel etc) are almost standard! But I actually think these options weren't offered to the original buyers in my building- I have rarely seen fridges that aren't white or black, and we all seem to have the same brown speckly laminate countertops.

I do think my condo is aesthetically pleasing, and certainly nothing is in NEED of repair, but I often think of various upgrades that I would like to do. I would need to be careful (you don't want to be the nicest house on the block) and I would have to understand the values of properties for sale in my building and the potential buyer of a condo as small as mine.

That being said, there are things that I think would be a positive upgrade in my condo:

1. Continuing the hardwood all the way to the front hall.
It is a little hard to see in the picture (I don't feel like cleaning to get a better one), but you can see all the floors going on by the kitchen over there (hardwood, tile, carpet). I have no idea why carpet would be in the FRONT HALL. Yes, it is dirty as sin from all these years. I need to deep clean it, but I have been putting it off cause I'm super lazy. I would love to extend the hardwood into the front hall. The current flooring is engineered hardwood so I am confident it would hold up well to dirty boots and such. I have no idea if the current wood and new wood would match, and stripping and staining is a daunting thought as I have no other room to move furniture into!

2. Replace kitchen countertop and sink
I realize that in straight up material, but countertop wouldn't cost much, but labour costs also have to be factored in here, people! I can't cut stone myself! I think I would go Corian in here, but I would need to fully research stones before I can commit to that choice! I would also do an undermount sink and investigate the option of having a piece of stone fit to cover half the sink (so I would have more countertop, but still a double sink). I am sure I saw that somewhere before! As for the appliances, stainless steel would be too jarring in a tiny kitchen, but I would like a countertop depth fridge so it sits back a little bit.

3. Redo the bathroom sink
I would love a new countertop and sink in this room too! The countertop on this vanity actually IS in rough shape. I find it looks cheap and poorly constructed. I am not sure what kind of option I would put in here. The vanity is in good shape and I haven't decided how I feel about it.

4. Make the front hall more usable

A lot of my square footage is wasted in this front hall. I would like to install sliding doors for the front hall closet and laundry closet. I always have shoes and random things hanging out here and it can sometimes be difficult to open the doors to access the laundry. However, I would lose the storage on the back of these doors- so that is a consideration. I would also like to replace the shoe dresser with a nice built-in to store boots, shoes, and other things.

5. Zee Patio!
I know I have mentioned this before, but I would love to install nice wood flooring out here. It is just a lot of cuts (dang triangular balcony) and I don't have a means of making those cuts any time soon.

Does anyone have any other ideas for good upgrades I could consider that would have a good return? And no, a Murphy Bed is not in the cards. Does anyone actually fold those up? And what would I use the 6x3 foot space it would free up? I know a lot of studios have them, but I don't see the appeal for me :)

Thursday, April 19, 2012



I don't know if it's cause I have my birthday on the brain (less than a month away, people! woo!) or what, but today I was inspired to share how I store giftwrapping supplies in my tiny condo. Now, if you have ever been a family member or close friend of mine, you would know that I love to wrap gifts. When I was 15 I volunteered wrapping presents at an Indigo bookstore for the MS Society of Canada. While there, I learned many fancy techniques (of which I only remember one now) and from then on I was hooked on wrapping. I think the presentation of a gift shows how much I care about giving you a gift. I probably put MORE thought into my wrapping paper than I do my presents. hahaha

While one day I will share the "after" photos of the cute gifts I put together, today I will focus on storage. You may have noticed some of my wrapping supplies peeking out in this picture:

Hmmm....what's that in the corner?
 My paper!! I actually do not like Christmas wrapping paper. I don't find it as "pretty" and frankly, you can really only use it at Christmas and then you have to store it out of sight for the other 11 months of the year. But if you buy ultra-gorgeous paper like moi, you will have suitable paper for all occasions AND can leave it out in plain sight! And yes, you may get pink polka-dotted paper on your Christmas gift, but that just helps my present stand out against the reds and greens. :)

To keep this paper all corralled, I use the following high-tech technique:
A magazine holder! Be warned that this will really only work if the paper can lean against the wall too. However I love this because the paper stays neat (doesn't unroll) and it is easy to select a roll and then replace it when I am done.

We both know that gift wrapping involves more than paper. What about scissors and tape? They are always impossible to find when you need to wrap. And what if you are gifting something awkward that can't be wrapped in paper? Well look no further than on top of my armoire:
Hmmm, a mysterious, yet beautiful box? What could be inside?

My supplies! Yup, I keep everything neatly stored in this box and I just pull it down whenever I need it. This is actually a boot box from Ikea. (I think this one is the most similar that they have in stock now). I like it because it is relatively shallow but big, so I don't have to dig for anything.

I keep the essentials in this box
- double sided tape (for clean edges)
- back up tape (because you ALWAYS run out at the last minute)
- scissors
- gift bags
- tissue paper
- gift tags
- the odd card
- ribbon and bows
- a wine box

Yup! That is all in there!
And yes, some of my gift bags ARE Christmas, because I always use so many over the holidays and end up buying too many. You can also see the red wine box there too! It fits in the box great.
And I keep my ribbons in it :)

As for where I buy my supplies, basically all the gift bags, tissue paper, and ribbon come from the Dollar store because they have amazing selection and prices. For my wrapping paper, however, I tend to go more high quality. I think almost all of mine came from Hallmark, because they often have buy one, get one 50% sales and their rolls are HUGE and last for years. I also enjoy the fact that some of mine are double sided (twice the choices!) and I even have some self-adhesive gift wrap, which I find IS easier to work with, as long as your present is a simple box.

I hope you enjoyed these ideas and I look forward to all the beautifully wrapped gifts you will send for my birthday *hint hint*. hahaha, I'm just kidding. I prefer cash :P

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Back to my poor broken TV stand. When we left off it had gone from this:

To this:

To this:

Yes, it got a bit discoloured from the sanding of the putty that I used to fill the holes. Last weekend, I finally went to the fancy craft store (aka dollarama) and bought some white paint. Thank god this TV stand wasn't some fancy shade that I would have to custom match!!

I carefully poured a bit of paint and lightly brushed (being sure to blend it as best as I could into the existing paint).

It didn't take too long and in the end I had this!

Ok, so I am not going to win any awards for furniture restoration, but it is NOT noticeable at all now unless you go in really close. The paint colour is fairly seamless too.

I'm just gonna give myself an gold star for this project :)

Have you been repairing anything recently? Share your stories!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Thank you previous homeowner!

You may not know this, but I am only the second owner of this condo. Yup, only one person lived here before moi! It was built in 2008, so I suppose he bought it in 2005 or so and moved in in April 2008 (Hey! happy 4th birthday condo!). But by the summer of 2009, his girlfriend had moved in, things had gotten tight, and they decided to sell and buy a one bedroom. Then this puppy was all mine for the taking!! (See the full story here).

Now sometimes when you move into a pre-owned home there is a lot of work to do. Your previous homeowner may have covered hardwood with ugly carpet, or installed a wall of shingles in the basement. Or even just left the place is gungy state meaning you are whipping out the Vim and Lysol before you even get to settle in. But not my previous homeowner! He was an upstanding gentleman. I came into a perfectly clean home- even my fridge my gleaming white inside.

So in honour of the condos 4th birthday this month, I am going to do a shoutout to my previous homeowner and all the wonderful "treats" he left for me, besides a clean home (yes, some were in the contract but he still installed them!)
Thank you previous homeowner for installing this medicine cabinet. As you can see, it has been taken over with girlyness, but it does serve me well! It is great storage for all my stuff :). Also, thank you for painting the bathroom such a pretty shade of blue AND leaving me the paint can so I can do touch ups. I get so many compliments on my bathroom thanks to you!

Thank you previous homeowner for installing this mirror in the shower. I don't really get the purpose, because it isn't fog-proof (did you shave in here?) but it's cool.

 Thank you previous homeowner for installing this shelf in the shower. No cheap shower caddy for me- it's all class in the bathroom! Please disregard the copious amounts of body wash shown here- I like to smell pretty.

Thank you previous homeowner for installing this fancy dancy shower head in here. I know you upgraded it because I found the old one under the sink. I love this thing!

Thank you previous homeowner for installing this bar over my sink. I am constantly changing up what hangs from here, but it has been super handy at keeping my countertops clear.

Thank you previous homeowner for installing this amazing garbage caddy under my sink. My garbage and recyclables stay nice and organized and out of the way. I also love how you were smart and cut out the back corner so it would fit under the piping (a technique my dad had to employ when installing his matching garbage caddy at his home!)

Thank you previous homeowner for installing these blinds. It sure gets a lot of light in here in the mornings, and these help (though it still is REALLY bright! Dang sun). I don't know why you didn't put one in front of the other window to the left, but I took care of that. Don't you worry.

Thank you previous homeowner for installing these hooks in the front hall closet. You probably used it for coats because there was no bar installed until just a few months ago, but we both know it was MADE for a ridiculously large scarf collection!

And finally:
Thank you previous homeowner for installing this TV and TV wall mount (not pictured) but then being too lazy to take it down so I got the whole thing for free and then sold it for $160 a couple of years later! Well, the wall mount went to my dad, but I'm sure he could make a few bucks off it. Also, thank you for painting this wall that nice shade of grey (and leaving the paint can)!

Well, there you go, all the amazing upgrades my previous homeowner left me. I sometimes forget they aren't original to the condo, until I see ads for rentals or sales of other condos in my building.

In short, you rock, previous homeowner. And happy birthday condo!!

Monday, April 16, 2012

The light saga

As you may recall, I got some solar powered patio lights for my balcony, and that the box did not come with instructions. Lo and behold three days of sitting in the sun lead to this view at night on the patio:

Yup. NOTHING. They did not turn on. Le sigh. So I brought one in and decided to try and get to the battery pack to see what was going on. When turned upside down, I could see four small screws that seemed to hold the lid on, so I busted out the screwdriver and popped those screws out.
It isn't lit up here, that's just the guide light on the screwdriver.
Pictured: World's Tiniest Screws. I should have put something in the photo for comparison but these things were like half a centimeter in size!

Once I got all those screws off, I was able to remove...a piece of metal. Yup, lid did not budge. I was lost! Googling the brand did me no good.

Eventually, by sheer luck, I realized the lids TWISTED off (this is where instructions would have come in handy!!). It was not entirely evident that this was the solution because once I figured it out, it still took forever to unscrew and it was not user friendly.

Once I had the lid popped off I found this:

AN ON/OFF SWITCH!! WHAT?!?! sigh...the importance of instructions once again...

So I switched that puppy on, stuck the lid back on and stuck it outside!
Yay! Let there be light! The light is definitely not strong (but I don't know if this was because it wasn't in the "on" position for the past three sunny days), but it is very pretty and adds a nice mood to the balcony.

Finally happy with the result, I went out the next night to enjoy them again and I found this.

At this point I am lost. I was in Canadian Tire today and I opened another box of these lights and found instructions (so maybe mine were returned merchandise and the instructions weren't returned) and the instructions definitely indicate to leave them in the "ON" position at all times.

The lights DO work if I leave them in the off position and then turn them on when I want them. So I am conflicted on whether to live with them like that (it's not like I want them on all night since the light will shine to my bed), but they definitely are supposed to work better than this. I also don't know if I even can return them since the poles will NEVER come apart again considering the effort I took to put them together.

Has anyone ever had solar lights this these? Any suggestions??
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