Leaside Holiday House Tour (Part 2)

Today was a fabulous day for the first annual Leaside Holiday House Tour!  I left with many decorating ideas and inspiration and I'm excited to share some photos with you.  Remember to join us next year, since all proceeds support the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation.

Our day began in The Leaside Gardens where we had coffee and muffins and were able to bid on some items in a silent auction.  The entrance was decorated by Adrienne Dhima.  I loved the use of rustic neutral colours and fabrics paired with black and white.  It felt rustic but modern.

There were some beautiful things available for purchase.  I had my eye on these stunning gem inlaid charcuterie boards by Stone Water Studio.  My mother may have picked one up for me for Christmas.  I'll show you later.  ;)

We were treated to a talk on holiday decorating tips by Evelyn Eshun.

Next, we set off to tour six professionally decorated Leaside homes.  Each was beautiful and very unique.  I'll share a few photos from each house.  My amateur photography skills probably haven't done the houses or the designers justice (the reason I use a pro for my listing photos) but I am sharing my favourite pops of colour, ideas and vignettes from each house.

I bet another person would leave each house having photographed entirely different scenes (there was SO much to see in each house) but this is what I saw and loved.  I'll let you enjoy the photos without captions.  Maybe you'll join me next year.  :)

The first house was decorated by Erica Gelman.  My favourite room in the house was the Christmas morning scene in the family room.  I especially loved that is was staged with classic toys.  The metallic hues kept the room feeling glamorous but all the texture made it feel cozy and homey.

The second house was decorated by Evelyn Eshun.  There was so much to see in this house but I really loved how many of the pieces could be used year round.  I especially loved her use of berries and her mixing of throw pillows on the sofa.  Everything felt eclectic yet still pulled together.  This house gave me so many ideas!

The third house we visited was decorated by Jacklynn Little Interiors.  This house combined two very different styles.  I loved all the modern metallic hues in the living and dining rooms.  Those rooms simply sparkled and would have been equally appropriately decorated had it been new years eve!  The family room and kitchen were so festive and all the red made me feel like I could almost smell the peppermint!  Gorgeous!

The fourth house was decorated by Barbara Nyke of Nikka Design.  This house was elegant and colourful and I loved everything about it!  I would love to replicate this in my own home.  I may actually borrow the palette of silver, gold and rich jewel tones!  I'm actually thinking of picking up those blue plates at Crate and Barrel!

The fifth house was decorated by Set the Occasion.  I loved the mix of traditional and whimsical accessories.  The rich colours reminded me of my childhood Christmases and the polar bears on the tree were adorable!  I also loved the little collection of nutcrackers!

The sixth house was decorated by Emily Rivard of The Next Stage.  This house was so fragrant from all the cedar and pine inside that it inspired me to use some real cedar in my own decorating.  This house was filled with nature and it felt more subtly decorated than some of the others, but every bit as beautiful.  I especially loved the place settings.

Thanks for joining me.  Which home was your favourite?


A Good Idea

With recent tragic events worldwide, sometimes it's easy to feel helpless about the state of world.  As a family, we have our troubles like everyone, but overall we feel incredibly lucky and we make a point of reminding ourselves of all we have to be grateful for.  Still, it's impossible not to think of all the other people with larger, scarier struggles and bigger mountains to climb and I know that reading the news last week has brought me to tears several times.

One thing that makes me feel a little less small and helpless is to try to be more empathetic and helpful on a small scale but on a daily basis.  I saw a great idea online a while ago that involved making little care packages to keep in the car to give to those less fortunate.  At least a few times a week, I find myself stopped at a traffic light and see someone on the median with a sign asking for spare change.  Instead of spare change, we put our heads together and thought of what might make someone's day a little easier if they were living in a shelter or on the street.  Then we hit up the dollar store and Walmart to put together our packages.  We wanted to keep them light and compact so they could easily be carried in a backpack.

Here's what we came up with and we put everything in large Ziploc bags, which could double as a waterproof container.:
  • Warm Socks
  • Gum
  • Hand Warmers
  • Tide To Go Packs of single use laundry detergent (I've used these to wash clothes in hotel sinks while on vacation.)
  • A Couple of Snacks (Cereal Bars, Chips, Apple Sauce, Oatmeal to Go, Trail Mix)
  • Nail File
  • Moist Towelettes 
  • Throat Losenges
  • Chapstick
  • Travel Toothbrush and Toothpaste
I found that even the exercise of trying to think of what I could receive from a stranger that might make life a little easier if I were struggling, was a lesson in empathy.

Last week, a situation in my personal life didn't go my way.  I think it's going to end up working out but I found myself really stressed out and really immersed in my own life's worries.  I was feeling sorry for myself.  Sometimes a change of perspective is really healthy and working on this small project has helped me to remember to count my blessings.  Would you try this?

Walnut Wreath DIY

With the holidays nearly upon us and our porch renovation (which I'll be sharing soon) complete, I am excited to do some holiday decorating.  While we're waiting until after we celebrate Rudy's birthday to do anything inside, I thought a festive wreath that would be appropriate for both fall and winter would be nice to hang on our new front door.

I've seen wreaths made with natural items like nuts before and I loved the idea.  I bought a compressed foam wreath form at a craft store and spray painted it black.  I also bought some ribbon and then headed to Bulk Barn for some walnuts.

I used a glue gun to secure each walnut in place and then reinforced them with superglue, which is better for extreme temperatures.  I secured a long ribbon in place and secured it before covering it with more nuts.

Initially, I thought I might spray paint the wreath in a bright colour but I ended up liking the natural look so I waited for the glue to dry and then sprayed it with a matte UV protective coat.  My hope was also to make the wreath unappealing to the squirrels who lived on our porch when we first moved in.

I had also intended to finish the wreath with a large bow in the centre but decided that I preferred it without any embellishments.

We actually like the finished product even more than we had expected!  We secured it with ribbon wrapped around the wreath and hung from command hooks on the inside of the door.  What do you think?

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