Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Welcoming Hummingbirds

Every year I dig out our hummingbird feeders, clean them, and hang them. We hang one from the eave in front of our kitchen window and the other in front of Abigail's window.

The whole family enjoys watching the hummingbirds feed from the feeders as they fill their tiny bellies with the nectar we have made for them.

Here are a few tips to help you maximise your hummingbird experience this summer:

You do not want the nectar or your feeder to get mouldy as the mould is fatal to the birds. I scrub my feeders weekly with hot water, vinegar and a scrub brush making sure to rinse all parts of the feeder before filling and rehanging it again.

Since most feeders have red or pink on them to attract hummingbirds, you do not have to dye your nectar red. The birds will find the feeders without it.

Older style feeders are difficult to fill so if you can hang the feeder from something that you can easily remove to fill your feeders you will be very thankful. I can attest - pouring sugar water down your arm a couple of times a week all summer long is not something you will look forward too.

Hummingbird Nectar

1 cup sugar
4 cups water

Mix sugar and water together, heating mixture on the stove until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool. After the mixture has cooled, fill your feeders.

You will be watching the hummingbirds in no time!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I Love Herbs!

Hi! Hope you are having a great day! Thanks for taking a few minutes to spend with me.

At The Rustic School House we have a half wall in our kitchen. For what seems like forever, I have placed stainless steel canisters on it that held flour, sugar and tea. While I was enjoying a cup of coffee one morning I planned how I wanted to change the styling on it.  Since the ledge gets a lot of natural light, I thought potted herbs would be a good start.

I spotted three pots at my local home improvement store.

They had everything I wanted:
  • a saucer 
  • cheery butter yellow color 
  • texture
  • size

They are simple but classic.

I transplanted the herbs from the plastic pots the plants they came in, loosing the root ball before placing them in the new pots with good quality potting soil. I watered them and continue to every couple of days.

There is nothing like smelling the fresh herbs as I pick and cook them. I enjoy the flavour even more knowing that I grew them. I should have done this sooner!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Pets and Decor

Pets are family in so many homes across the country and although at times things can get a little hairy, a home with a pet can bring much love, joy and companionship. Between beds, dishes, and everything in between decorating with pets can bring its own set of challenges. Here are some ideas for sharing your space with Fido.

Pet beds. Recycling and re - purposing items not only is friendlier to the environment but it also helps bring character and interest into a space.

This cat bed was made from a pallet and is oh so adorable. It would fit very nicely in rustic or country decor.

This is a great idea and can fit in any decor scheme based on the color of the case, and the legs. You could add chrome legs here and it would work in a modern setting.

If a DIY project isn't in your future, you can opt for something covered in a really great fabric that fits your decor .

Pet dishes. There are lots of options on the market that really up the style quotient. Some owners even opt to build in their pets dishes.

As all of us that have pets know, corralling their toys and treats can be an issue. I say bring on the baskets! They are so versatile, relatively inexpensive and depending upon your decor you can go with a natural textured basket or if your digs are more contemporary a metal finish will fit right in.

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Citrus Dominates

This spring, I am seeing lots of vibrant shades of citrus green, yellow and orange everywhere I look - in home decor as well as fashion. And considering Pantone, which is the authority on color has named tangerine tango color of the year its no wonder!

Citrus colors are happy colors that tend to energize and promote happier states of mood. Citrus can be introduced through paint on the walls or furniture, through fabric such as drapes or if you want your citrus in a smaller dose you can incorporate it through home accents such as a vase or a floor mat.


In the above photo, an accent wall was used to showcase a vibrant orange hue that was used in another application in the room by incorporating it on the sofa. This space works so well because the color was used not only on the accent wall but also as part of the pillow story so the use of color looks intentional and connected.

As the above picture shows you can add the trend colors and shades in your decor to help keep your home current but you don't have to commit to any color in large applications. One can easily change the throw and cushions without a lot of time or money.

I love when an opportunity presents itself for us to step out of our comfort zones and incorporate color in hues that most of us tend to shy away from, lets embrace all that is citrus!

Have you introduced citrus into your home decor this season? If so - in what ways? If not - what is holding you back?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Displaying Children's Artwork

Sharing a home with a toddler means you will have lots and lots of drawings to display. I have collected a few ideas to help you display your child's masterpieces with style.

You can use vintage frames and paint them in a color that works with your decor, or you can pick up new frames for very little money. If you plan on changing the artwork regularly you can leave out the glass and simply use the frame.

You can hang children's art from clips that can help you rotate the artwork as your child makes it. You can affix boards to your wall as seen in this picture, you can affix a metal strip and use magnets to hold your children's art or even a drapery rod to hang the artwork from. 

Turn children's artwork into a book. You can either make one yourself with scrapbooking supplies and creativity or send the pictures virtually to a professional that will work with you to make a book.

I think it is always a good thing to encourage children to draw and be creative whenever possible and when we are able to display their artwork it gives them a sense of pride, and accomplishment - what's better than that?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Simple Country Wisdom - A Book Review

I am a huge fan of Country Living magazine  - Who isn't? I love their decor ideas, interviews and the country lifestyle that the editors at the magazine stay true to every month. So you can guess my excitement when I had the opportunity to read Simple Country Wisdom by Susan Waggoner.

I would describe my design style as country classic and since I live in a rural country area - I guess it fits! I like all things that encompass the country way of life such as: rustic decor, antiques, and home -made baked goods.

I have been a guest in homes that exude the country charm and welcome that I long to achieve in my own home. You know the homes that you just feel welcome in, comfortable in? I have often left wondering what is the homeowners secret? Obviously, they are great, welcoming people but there is something more to it. Susan answers that question for me in Simple Country Wisdom. The truth is it's not one thing that makes a home welcoming - its a sum total of several things.

The author Susan Waggoner gives the reader several (501 to be exact!) ideas to help you make your home feel more tended to, organised and harmonious. The ideas in this book are not limited to decor but also include tips on gardening, saving money on your energy bills to controlling pests and what to do with leftovers.

I hope that you get a chance to read this book and that you enjoy it as much as I did. I believe it is a must have in any well styled book case!

P.S. Country Living and Susan Waggoner have no idea who I am. I simply liked this book and wanted to share it with you.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Groundhog Day Adventure

Hi Friends! I hope you are having a grand weekend so far!

This week I took a couple of days off work to be with the family and basically do what I want to do, when I wanted to do it. Such as get groceries at 11 am instead of the evening, jog at 3 pm instead of 7 pm when it is dark. It's the simple things :)

On February 2 it was Groundhog Day, and as the legend says: if the ground hog sees his shadow we will have 6 more weeks of winter, if on the other hand he doesn't see his shadow we are set for an early spring. Believe me, I was hoping he wouldn't see his shadow :)

We took Abigail to see Shubenacadie Sam - the local groundhog. He didn't see his shadow which means an early spring. Yahoo! As I am typing this it is - 18 c with the windchill - spring cannot get here soon enough for me!

The natural resources park had some activities for the little ones such as face painting, balloon animals, hot cocoa, and free admission to the park that day. If you are in Nova Scotia and you can make it to the wildlife park it is well worth the visit. There is also a really nice trail through the wetlands at the park that we walked last summer and plan to again this spring when the park opens regular hours.

Abigail had lots of fun at the festivities and really enjoyed her doggy balloon animal. Many of the animals were out enjoying the crisp winter air such as the wolves, cougars, foxes and horses which made for lots of excitement.

I hope you have a great weekend! Go Pats!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Doors and Windows Revamped

With people being more conscious of reusing and recycling for the betterment of our planet, it is definitely causing us to look at items that were once regarded as junk in a new light.

I have noticed a trend with repurposing doors and windows into various furniture and home decor items. There are so many different ways one can incorporate this design into their home and in their outdoor space to add charm.

Here's a few I found that I am sure you will really like too:

What a wonderful way to differentiate areas in your garden. And as the years go by, the more weathered and beautiful they will look.

What a great way to repurpose cabinet doors. In my opinion one can never have too many bulletin or message boards!

Don't ya just want to curl up in that bed with a great book? The weathered patina of the doors really fits with the decor and feel of the room.


You can incorporate a beautiful door or frame as in this vignette in your home to add texture and depth and interest.

This decor is not limited to those with a more rustic decor scheme. You can refinish the wood and give it a coat of paint to incorporate it into your decor.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Burlap Wreath

I am a fan of double duty decor. I enjoy having decor that works in my home year round and since I really enjoy making wreaths (feel free to check out my autumn wreath), and Valentines Day is coming up, I thought why not make a Valentines Day wreath?

Here are the steps:
  • Gather materials which include: wire, burlap, scissors, ribbon and pliers.

  • Cut lots of squares of burlap (I didn't cut my burlap perfectly because I knew I would trim the burlap after the wreath was finished.) 
  • Make a circular form with the wire (you could use a clothes hanger)
  • Thread the burlap onto the wire form (This takes some time - I watched Secretariat while doing this task - great movie!)
  • Twist the wire closed with pliers
  • Tie ribbon to finished wreath and hang
A cute and free wreath (I had the materials left over from other projects). I can update year round for our decor by removing the ribbon, adding embellishments or changing the ribbon.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Valentines Day Inspired Decor

Hi! Thanks for stopping by!

As I look at the calendar I can't believe that it is near the end of January already! As January comes to a close, February is quickly approaching and with it comes Valentines Day or as Abigail calls it - heart day :)

Valentines Day has got me thinking about how people use the colors synonymous with Valentines Day - red, pink and white in their decor. The color red is an intense color and is a color that can overwhelm a space. I like to temper the use of red with white and cream.Pink is a color that can take a juvenile turn very quickly. I prefer to use pink as an accent color and as with the color red, I like to add cream or white to the palette.White is fresh, clean and works in either a modern or country application. White looks great alone but it also plays well with others as you can add any color to a palette with white as its base.

Here are a few rooms that I think have struck the balance of these colors and decorated with them beautifully.

Happy Monday!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Hall Closet Reveal!

In our home, we decided not to build closets in the bedrooms. We do however have one hall closet that I used as a catch all/cleaning/linen closet.

We opted from building closets for two reasons : a) we figured we would use open shelving and armories to contain our clothes and unmentionables. That hasn't entirely worked out - more on that in another post. b) generally closets get filled with junk until you can no longer close the door and then something has to be done before you end up on an episode of hoarders.

I decided I have to clean our closet out, organise it and give it a fresh coat of paint. I figure when I have to open the door to get my mop and bucket I might as well have everything in its place - right? Plus it is so much more enjoyable getting that mop and bucket when everything is in order.

The challenge that I had in this closet makeover is that I didn't want to spend a lot of money in here - it is after all a closet and I would rather spend our money on living room furniture (it's all about priorities). I also wanted to have a distinct purpose for this closet so it wouldn't be in a state of chaos again.

This is the closet before the makeover in all its disorganized glory:

I know - pretty bad huh? *hanging head in shame* Please Don't judge!

And here is the closet after the re-do:

Much better!

Now this closet has a defined purpose as a utility/storage space. We have a large laundry room where I will be storing all the linens and such. As you can see we shop at Costco :)

Before the makeover everything was on the floor in a pile of disorganization. I can't even begin to tell you how nice it is to grab my cleaners or paper towel and not have to fight with a mound of clothes.

As I mentioned at the top of this post, I didn't want to spend a lot of money in here and as it turns out I didn't spend any! I used paint that I had used in our pantry makeover and the shelves, trim and hooks were already in the closet - they just needed a fresh coat of paint.

The piece of advice that I would like to share with regard to any space in your home that you may be struggling with organizing is: to clean it out, and define its purpose. Before my closet was a catch all mess. When I was putting things back into the closet, I only put back things that were related to cleaning and storage. It is much easier to keep a space organized that way, and hopefully the producers of hoarders will not be contacting me any time soon :)

Monday, January 16, 2012


Happy Monday Friends! I hope you had a great weekend!

After reading Layla's post on the word of the year, it made me think about what my word will be for 2012. I really like the idea of choosing a word to help motivate and encourage you through the new year. Often times when we make new years resolutions such as to lose weight and don't see the results right away we get overwhelmed, frustrated and give up. I've been there - haven't we all been there?

My word for 2012 is FORWARD. To me, FORWARD is a positive word, one that helps me to remember that I can get through anything, I just have to keep moving. FORWARD reminds me to be accountable for what I accomplish each day, each week , each month. I want to keep pushing FORWARD every day this year, I no longer will live in the past, think about what might have been, what should have been and what I didn't get done. FORWARD will remind me that staying in one place or looking back is not an option. I will not only move FORWARD but pay it forward. I am very blessed in my life and I want to share those blessings with others whenever possible. I will have to move out of my comfort zone, achieve and fail at times, and that will be okay -  one must fail to grow after all.

Moving FORWARD also ensures that I stay positive and optimistic. I desire great things this year personally and professionally and in order to achieve these things, I must check procrastination, and excuses at the door and embrace discipline, optimism and patience.

I hope you will move FORWARD with me in 2012!

All images via.