Decor Scheme for My Backyard Update

Good Morning!

I’ve been working on getting my backyard/patio cleaned up over the last few weeks, and I’m making some changes to the space. Nothing drastic, just some updates while using the furniture I already have.

You may have seen my recent post about painting my exterior door. After getting lots of opinions from you (thank you!), I’ve decided on the blue, more specifically Para Paints Bluenose (P2116-03).



 That decision led me to a create a nautical-ish navy/red scheme. I’ve done a round-up on what I have already and what I will need to complete my look.

backyard copy

What I have (clockwise from the top left):

1. Red and white cushion by Colin and Justin from Marshall’s, which goes with my…

2. ÄPPLARÖ bench from the IKEA  

3. Blue Cynthia Rowley table runner, which will go on my…

4. ÄPPLARÖ gateleg table from IKEA.  

5. 2 rattan lounge chairs from IKEA which they no longer carry but look similar to these ones, and have creamy white cushions

6. 2 Nisse white laquer folding chairs from IKEA

What I need (clockwise from the top left):

1. Patio lights!  The string kind. Simple ones I can drape around my patio or in my garden for extra light. Like these Allen & Ross ones from Lowe’s.

2. I have some throw pillows but I need some fabric to make new covers. And these 3 fabrics from Tonic Living will be perfect! (Small Ikat Dot in Navy, 10 oz Canvas in red, Starfish in Navy)

3. My door painted in Para paints bluenose

4. Good quality stake lighting for my garden. The solar ones that I currently have are terrible and don’t emit enough light, but I don’t want to have to run a cord across my yard from my deck so I’m stuck with solar.  I like the look of these copper ones from Westinghouse. But I’ll definitely want to be sure the ones I buy give off sufficient light.

So what do you think of the scheme?  Any suggestions?  Any recommendations for good stake lighting that actually gives off good light?  Let me know!

Have a great day!


Signature- new


Backyard: To Paint or Not to Paint

Good Morning!

The weather has been beautiful in Toronto the past few days so the past weekend I was working on getting my back deck in order.  As you may know, this spring my landlord removed the second floor deck that used to partially cover my deck, so I now get a lot more light.  With the additional light I’ve become more aware of the fact that my door is in need of new coat of paint.


Since I took the pictures I have done a solid cleaning of the doors which helps but they still seem ruddy and worn.  Also, did you notice the sweet art deco inspired glass in the door on the right?  Just in case you need a second look at this beauty…

artdeco door

Oh yaaa.  In fairness, it actually might look good on a modern home but is totally random here given the style of the house.  But I digress – back to the painting.  My first thought was I would just repaint the doors white.  White goes with everything, is clean and classic.  Then I got to thinking, if I’m painting anyway, why not add some colour?  Any colour I use would need to be dark or bright to contrast the muted beige of the siding.  So, I rounded up three colour options from Para Paints and did a little (rough) photoshopping to see how they look on the door.

All doors copy

Option 1 is called Bluenose (P2116-03) from the heritage collection and is currently in the lead for me at the moment.  Option 2 is Nitelife (P5074-85). I choose this colour because it is similar to the colour that the landlord recently painted the front door.  I like this one, but it’s not my favourite of the three. However, it may end up being my only option for colour as I will have to get the landlord’s buy in before painting.  I also really like the Option 3 red colour, which is called Gingham (P5083-73).

This is where I need your help.  Which do you like best?  If the only colour option was #2 would you still paint it  or leave it white?  I welcome some help with this decision!  Let me know what you think!


Signature- new

Backyard Changes


There are some big things happening in my backyard this spring.  First and most notably, I’m gaining some sunshine.  A portion of my deck used to be covered by a second floor deck .  However, this past weekend the owner ripped down the upper deck (long story), which means I’ll be getting ALOT more sun on the deck.  Woohoo.  Here is a little before and after…

deck Still lots to fix up where the deck used to be but a big improvement. Also, I had a wooden shelving unit which was left from the last person who rented this place which I decided to keep for deck storage.  Four years ago it looked like the picture below, but it has deteriorated significantly since and so I had it removed with the other deck materials.  (Also, this was taken EARLY in my blogging days and wow, my photography and photo-editing skills were weeeeeak).

(you can see more of my 2010 backyard reveal, here)

However, now that I’m rid of it, I’ll need to get something store the things that were in it. Enter mi familia.  My parents are coming to visit this week for Easter and they always like to have a project when they come.  They also like to give me practical gifts. So, for my belated birthday present they have decided to get me new storage unit of some kind .  Now, I’m pretty sure they are thinking that it should be for ON my deck but I may not want a big storage unit on my deck.  Firstly, my deck is pretty small so now that I’m rid of the wooden monstrosity I might want to use that extra space for seating or planters. Secondly, most big storage units are pretty unattractive, particularly ones that can survive the winter elements.  So, I’m going to propose a little combo of sorts.

First, I need something to store my cushions in.  I like this one from Ikea because it has wheels on it.

While this one (Keter from Home Depot) looks a bit more durable for winter and could fit all my cushions. However, it  might be harder to move around if I wanted change things up.,

I also want something to store my small gardening tools and supplies. A small practical potter’s bench of sorts that will withstand the winter.  Perhaps something similar to this Rubbermaid storage cabinet which has shelves and a standing height usable surface.

I know what you are thinking.  What about rakes and shovels and all that tall stuff?  Well, there is a tall storage unit at the back of my garden.  It doesn’t work fabulously, and lacks shelving, but it works ok just for the tall stuff.

Would it be nice to have a large storage unit that would store everything in one place?  Sure.  But not at the expense of a huge chunk of my deck space. Maybe if I found a gorgeous one that could also withstand our brutal winters I’d consider it. But I don’t suspect that is something I can find within a reasonable budget. But I’m ears if you have any suggestions!

What do you use for deck storage?


Signature- new



Smooth Bedstraw

Good Morning!

Isn’t it weird how you can spend a significant part of your life somewhere and yet miss things about it entirely? On my recent visit to my cottage in New Brunswick, I was out picking wild flowers which I’ve done a million times before, and my bouquet included some of these flowers….

IMG-20130707-01283 It’s a flower commonly found along our road which I have picked many, many times over the years. However, what I hadn’t noticed before was it’s scent. It has a subtle yet absolutely delicious scent! As we walked by it, a breeze would blow and you would smell the sweet aroma. So I needed to find out, what is this flower?

My mother calls it sweet hay while my father thought it was called sweet grass. I did some searching using that but neither name came up with anything in Google or Google images that matched. I used my own photo in the Google image search tool to try to find a match, but no luck. Eventually, after trying a lot of different searches, I was able to figure out what it is….Smooth Bedstraw! And, not surprisingly, I also found out it’s a WEED.



Smooth Bedstraw or Galium Mollugo (also called Hedge Bedstraw in the UK), is a scrambling perennial, with smooth square stems. It can grow up to 1 m high, and has white clusters of flowers. Here are some bedstraw fun facts:

  • The genus name, ‘Galium‘ is from the Greek word for milk and refers to an old use for the plant to curdle milk in making cheese.
  • The common name ‘bedstraw’ is said to originate from medieval times when a particular variety of this plant was dried and used to stuff mattresses
  • The stems can be used to produce red or yellow dyes
  • Some variety’s have been used as an ingredient in perfumes

galiummollugo5961liosi1349901149794 via

Sadly, it’s not just a weed, but a pretty invasive one that is bad very bad for farmers fields. Most of the documentation I found on it is was about how to control it or get rid of it!


So, while I would like to add this sweet smelling weed to my garden, I don’t want it to get overrun with it. There are many varieties of this species and one common garden variety is sweet woodruff, which is used as ground cover. I might have to add that to my garden next year and hope it smells as nice as the smooth bedstraw.

On another note, I would love to find a smooth bedstraw scented room spray or candle.  However,  even though the shoots of these plants have been used to make perfumes in the past, these day there aren’t a lot of people marketing “invasive weed” scented products (big shocker).  Sigh.

Regardless, I’m happy I was able to figure out the origins of this sweet smelling plant, even if it is a weed.

Have a great day!



Creative Outdoor Planters

Good Morning,

As you might have heard through Twitter, at the end of March my landlord who lives in Calgary decided he was going to sell the house I live in. I was very sad because knowing the market in my neighbourhood, the chances of a new buyer keeping it as rental units was extremely low and I was likely going to have to move. The good news is that the guy who lives upstairs decided to buy it (and keep it as rentals)!  So, I get to stay!  Woohoo!

When I was faced with the possibility of moving, I was most upset because I knew I wouldn’t find the same beautiful backyard space somewhere else (at least not for the rent I’m paying). But now that I get to stay I’m vowing to use my outdoor space at every opportunity this spring and summer.  I’ve started my garden and recently I’ve been thinking about planters.  You know a I love a good old to new story, so today I’ve rounded up some great upcycled planter ideas!


Pretty great, huh?  I thought the shoe hanger one was particularly ingenious because it is space-saving and could easily work on a condo balcony or hanging from a fence.

Cannot wait for my little seedlings to grow to full size so I can get planting 🙂



Fiddlehead Fever

Good Morning!

As I was walking through the grocery store the other day I noticed some of these….


…and was reminded that it’s fiddlehead season! Who’s a big fan of fiddleheads? Um, this girl.  Not only are they totally delish but also, they make me nostalgic for home since I used to eat them a lot as a kid. So, of course I bought a few.  When I got home I gathered up some facts about these little curly-cues to share:

  • The fiddlehead fern is an ostrich fern in a very early stage of growth. The young frond is picked about 2 weeks before it uncurls into a willowy forest plant.
  • The season is quite short, limited to just April and May.
  • Fiddleheads are full of vitamins A and C and can be eaten raw in salads, or blanched and steamed like asparagus.
  • They are native to the eastern half of the United States from Virginia up to Canada (which is why I ate so many growing up in New Brunswick).

info via

Since this is a design blog thought I would throw in some “inspired by fiddleheads” shots for good measure….

via 1,2

via 1,2

via 1, 2

via 1, 2

I’m pretty sure I’m going to try making that fiddlehead gnocchi this weekend….it looks yuuuuumy.

Enjoy your Thursday!


Poppies and Seedling Update

Good Morning!

Ahhhh, Friday….here again.  Love it.  Today I’ve got a little update on my seedlings for you. Yes people, I’ve got germination. I now have little sperm-y looking sprouts coming out of many of my seeds. It looks like starting seedlings in the fridge is working fabulously! Now I have to plant them and try not to kill them…no promises.

Check out my cosmos….

A zinnia sprout….

And the flower I’m most excited about is the poppy…

I’m a huge fan of poppies. They are so delicate and come is such gorgeous colours. Not only are they lovely but they are also highly symbolic and political.  Firstly, in Canada they are a symbol of remembrance for fallen Canadian soldiers and are a common symbol around Remembrance Day in November.  However, the papaver somniferum variety of poppy (the opium poppy) is far better known as the culprit from whom the illegal narcotic drugs opium and heroin originate.  These flowers are more than just a pretty face.  That being said, I’m going to focus on their pretty for today….

Photo sources:  1, 2 (discontinued), 3, 4 (narelle), 5 (sold), 6, 7, 8 (Jamie Beck), 9 via, 10, 11

Love the chair by etsy seller Green Gage Vintage (unfortunately it’s sold), and I’m not big on tatoos but that poppy tat is truly body art.

Have a good weekend!

Starting Seedlings in the Fridge

Hello all!

I am lucky enough to have a have the use of an amazing backyard/garden space with my apartment.  And let me tell you, it’s a real luxury to find that with a one bedroom rental apartment in Toronto.  I had a great sized backyard with the house I sold 2 years ago, post break-up, and it’s one of the only things I knew I would miss.  I find gardening very relaxing and therapeutic and so my backyard is real blessing.  Last year I tried to start flowers from seed and they did ok….for a while….and then their growth stunted, and  they died.  I started a few more earlier this year but most didn’t even germinate.  (The few that did germinate, I didn’t take very good care of and they died).

Despite this, I am determined not to have to spend a ridiculous amount of money on annuals and herbs this year so I enlisted some additional advice from my co-worker Erin. Seriously, Erin is the plant whisperer, her plants flourish and she always has the best tips.  She told me of a method of germinating seeds by putting them in the fridge so I decided to try it out, and I thought I would share it with you today.


seeds, paper towel, water/spray bottle, tweezers, baggies, tape or labels, marker, a fridge.

Step 1: Wet the paper towel

Step 2: make a small square with the paper towel, and spray with more water if needed.

Step 3: Place seeds on the square, if need be space them out using tweezers if they are very small seeds.

Step 4: Place the paper towel and seedlings in a baggie.

Step 5: Make labels with the name of the seed and date.

Step 6: Label the baggies

Step 7: Put them in the fridge

Step 8: Wait…

Once they start germinating and produce tiny seedlings, I will plant them in soil using tweezers.  I hoping this method will get me more germinated seeds than I have been getting. Now this won’t necessarily help me grow the seedlings after that. But I figure the more seedlings I have, the higher chance of getting actual flowers/herbs will survive to plant in my garden. I’ll keep you updated.

Does anyone else have tips or experiences growing plants from seed?

Have a great day,