October 18, 2012

Thoughts ~ TLC's 'Extreme Cheapskates'

I believe it was Tuesday night that I was flipping through the channels during  HGTV commercial breaks and stumbled upon the season premier of  TLC's 'Extreme Cheapskates' (Season 1). As with most (OK all) TLC shows these days it left me just shaking my head. But the difference with this particular show was that it was still bothering me the next day.

Now what I am saying is purely my opinion and others may definitely have different thoughts and feelings regarding the topic. Also there are always two sides of every story and folks that choose to become extreme cheapskates I'm sure all have different reasons and mindsets.

The thing that bothered me from watching parts of this show was that for some reason I felt personally offended by it.

It wasn't that Kate ate dumpster food or that she washed her clothes in the shower. It wasn't even that she never bought toilet paper or used her dishwasher as a storage unit. Some of the things she did to save money I totally agree with. Such as signing up for free samples and jogging to work. I'm all for spending as little money as possible and saving the planet at the same time!

The one thing that really bothered me was the way she chose to live in her apartment and the portrayal of that living on an extreme budget equals not having nice things.

The apartment was a complete mess and it seemed it wasn't important to Kate to have a decent kitchen table or even a proper bed. Which could be a very true statement in Kate's case.

Now hear me out....it could also quite possibly be that she isn't aware that good quality furniture is available for free if you know where to look and have a creative eye. I must say the wooden slotted chair she pulled out of the dumpster was a great score. But that was after she turned down the other chair because it was 'dirty'. A bit of soap and elbow grease could have done wonders to that piece of patio furniture.

This is where I start harping on about Craigslist and other sites that are out there with FREE sections.  I am always blown away by some things I find that others are getting rid. I have scored many great pieces of free furniture either from friends, family or online (mostly vintage) and I'm damn proud of it.  The reason they are free is usually simply the owners don't have the time, resources or energy to hold a garage sale, take items to the thrift store or have a large enough mode of transport. During this last move we put our entertainment unit up on Craigslist for free because it was large, heavy and we didn't want to break our backs moving from one place to the other.

Now that being said, Kate does live in New York and doesn't have a car but if she put her mind to it she could definitely furnish her apartment for free or close to it with quality items. To add a little decor she could use waste paper from the office to make paper mobiles to hang from the ceiling or pick some greenery from a local park to put in an empty glass jar.

Nature is actually a wonderful resource for those that don't want spend a lot of money on their home furnishings. An old tree stump can be made into a side table, dead branches can be used wall art, even stray rocks and bricks can be put to use.

In the second episode that aired right after the first we take a tour through Terence's house who lives with his wife and two teenage kids. This one bothered me even more than Kate's apartment because Terence didn't even bother to acquire furniture for his family. The house was practically bare with a single TV placed in the living room on the floor. The only other items in the room were a small table and single chair. There is absolutely no reason why this family couldn't have found or even made a TV stand using scrap lumber if need be. The kids and wife joke in the episode about how Terence won't allow them to get anymore furniture but I'm sure it's not an enjoyable environment to live in.

All said and done, I would rather see a show produced where folks' homes are furnished using only recycled and/or free items. Because I love a good design challenge show, such as HGTV's Design Star, you could have two designer's spar off to decorate two homes of families in need with an extremely minimal or zero budget!

OK rant over ;) And because a post isn't fun without pictures.....here are a few wonderful FREE items I spyed on Craigslist today.

Sofa (Tsawwassen)

Desk (Main St )

Free furniture (White Rock)

Ikea wall unit and television (Richmond) 

What are your thoughts and feelings towards Extreme Cheapskates?
Do you have any creative ways of saving money without sacrificing style and comfort?

October 17, 2012

DIY ~ Tape Art

Our window seat at the top of the stairs is still a work in progress. We have been busy with painting the kitchen cabinets, working on the yard, and um, life in general.

That being said, I have been working on making some DIY art to hang on the walls in the window seat area. I have three pieces planned. All are ideas I have seen floating around Pinterest lately. 

First Piece: Abstract Art Using Tape

I have seen quite a few DIY canvases using painters tape in different formats but I really got excited about trying it myself when I saw Michelle's tutorial over at Ten June. I loved the grey and white as well as her line placement (neutral colours always speak to me).

I decided I wanted my piece to be black and white.


So I set out and bought a $2 canvas from the dollar store and found some painters tape laying around the house. Originally my plan was to reverse tape my lines because I wanted to have black lines on the raw white canvas. The plan was to come up with a pattern, mask off the lines and spray paint them black.

I started out by taping my line pattern and then masking the areas I wanted to stay white. The top portion went pretty smoothly but once I was at the middle (where the lines are busier) it was starting to get confusing and a lot more effort than I really wanted to put into the project. After an hour of taping and cutting I was also getting frustrated.

After giving myself a timeout I decided to rip off all of my hard work and come up with a Plan B instead. A few minutes later I had an 'Ah Ha' moment and wondered why I didn't think of Plan B in the first place.

What was Plan B? Hockey Tape!!

I always have a roll kicking around at the bottom of my roller derby bag so I ran to go find it. Upon inspection I realized that the black hockey tape was the perfect width and texture of what I had originally envisioned for this DIY abstract project.

And the kicker is Plan B took me all of 5 minutes to complete. As easy as figuring out your design and sticking it to canvas.

Voila, DIY abstract art in seconds flat ;)

October 15, 2012

Diggin' A Hole

Last weekend D and I dug a hole in our front yard. Why you might ask? Cause we were preparing to welcome a new addition to the family :)

A while back I had mentioned that we would like to plant a Japanese Maple in the yard. Our previous townhouse had one in the back patio area and it was gorgeous. I loved watching it grow over the time we were there and am hoping our new tree will provide us me with the same enjoyment.

We dug our hole at the tail end of a two month dry spell. It was quite a process as we wanted to transfer the dirt to another area in the yard. D shoveled the dirt onto a tarp and then I separated the dirt from the turf, removing the weeds as I went. As you can imagine the ground possessed rock like qualities so the digging part was hard work. We also don't own a wheelbarrow yet so we had to transfer the dirt one shovel load at a time. We didn't have far to go, but I'm sure we looked pretty funny walking back and forth across the yard a million times. A wheelbarrow is definitely on our wish list for spring!

We filled the hole half way with water a few times to try to presoak the ground before we planted the Maple. If you don't do this then once the tree is in the hole the surrounding ground can steal the water away from the tree roots. Luckily for us the rain started a few days later and hasn't stopped since. So the ground was nice and moist come planting time. It's funny that now we are home owners with a yard we are trying to beautify, we welcomed the rain with open arms. We were actually quite excited about it :)

Yesterday was the day we had planned our trip to the nursery to pick out our Japanese Maple. I had practice and a game to attend in the morning to mid afternoon so by the time I got home D was itching to go. It was still raining, quite hard I might add, so I had my doubts about being outside. I also thought the folks at the garden center would think we were crazy for planting in the rain but turns out that it was the perfect weather conditions to plant a tree :)

So we chose a 3 gallon tree, grabbed some soil and bark mulch and drove the block home with our new Maple sticking out the back of our hatchback.

We decided to name our tree because we are dorks like that. So let us introduce you to Mr. Roboto, our new Japanese Maple!

And we have been personifying him ever since. Last night we had a discussion regarding if he was missing his friends at the garden center and that now he can watch the traffic go by ;)

We think he's going to be a great addition to our yard and can't wait to see how he transforms over the next few years. 

Mr. Roboto is currently the same height as D. Let's see what the height difference is a year from now. I should also state that the Maple tree is my birthday present (which is today) so we will always know what date to take another comparison photo :)

The final step was to give Mr. Roboto some root booster. Yes, we need an outside watering can as well ;)

October 12, 2012

Sharing The Love ~ Owen's Room Reveal

I couldn't help but share this absolutely amazing little boy's room designed by Nancy over at Owen's Olivia. The room reveal was featured on YHL this week and it is full of many of my favorite design elements.

This is an excellent example of how a toddler's bedroom needn't be frilly and pink (for a girl) or filled with race cars and blue (for a boy). I am so in love with the monochromatic colour scheme. Surprise surprise ;) Nancy has achieved the perfect balance in the room with the small pops of colour in the art, pillows and accessories.

It is also a perfect example of how redoing a room doesn't have to break the bank. With resourcefulness and creativity the entire room makeover only cost $305! The majority of the large items were either found on Craigslist or at thrift stores (the dresser was even rescued from the dump), and Nancy made most of the fantastic art herself. A little bit of paint, an excellent eye for detail and a bit of elbow grease can produce magical results.

Along with the art, Nancy also made the pallet wall, the floating shelves, the chevron curtains, the blankets, pillows and stuffed toys. I truly can't say enough how much I love that crib blanket! It is Ikat, chevron, black, white and grey goodness all piled into one.  

To be honest I could sit here and list off every single item that I love in this room, which would be every single item. To name a few that I feel I can't stop myself from mentioning are....the grey fabric bunting, the acorn pom-poms hanging from the shelf, the pallet wall, the cloud pillows, the antique rocking chair, the nail head art, the Death Cab for Cutie poster, the little brass whale, the.....OK seriously I am in love with it all!

I just want to stare at these photos all day. Find more photos of Owen's Room Reveal along with the full post here.

While you are there you will want to check out the rest of Nancy's blog. She also shares my love of fabric. Actually there are a few things we have in common....procrastination...umm ;)

October 9, 2012


I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving! Our weekend was jam packed with awesomeness and so much to be thankful for. Including:
  • Three Thanksgiving dinners
  • Spending time with family and friends
  • Enjoying this amazing October weather out in the garden
  • Having Minter Gardens Center two blocks away
  • Digging holes (I'll explain later)
  • Walking down by the river in Hope with the evening sun shining on the mountains
  • Having the time to tackle a few more small projects around the house

We've been in our bungalow for a month now and I have been putting off writing about the move. I was initially waiting until the end of September when we had officially moved out of our old townhouse and shop with intention to summarize my thoughts and feelings regarding this moving experience as a whole, but decided not to bore you with the emotional details. Almost everyone has been through a move and knows how it feels right? ;)

In short the month of September was filled with stress, excitement, exhaustion, long nights, anticipation and a few tears. After taking the first week of October to decompress, relax and really enjoy not having to stop at either of the two old places on the way home from work to pick up more junk or clean, I feel much better about the situation and relieved that it is finally in our past. Instead here are a few photos of moving day.

The photos below were taken by D's mum :) 

Before moving into our bungalow we spent an entire day just cleaning and fixing a few things in the kitchen.

We were extremely grateful to have my parents, D's parents, our friends Jon, Ben and Linc, D's sister Cindy, Willow and her bf Dustin help us move. We couldn't have done it without them. The amount of help we received was truly a gift. The day went incredibly smooth and our family members went above and beyond just carrying boxes into the house. My Mum provided lunch for everyone and after the truck was unpacked all family members went to work either cleaning, arranging or tackling the weeds in the front yard.


This photo will be a great reminder of what our driveway looked like before the garage was built (which should be happening very soon)! Permit application is in and our concrete friends are coming to do a pre assessment tonight.

Also do you remember me mentioning the new fence panels the neighbours bought here? They ended up at the end of our driveway. Unfortunately they were installed before we had our survey done so they are a little ways over onto our property which isn't really a big deal. Even so, the neighbours have insisted on moving them into the correct spot once the garage starts to go up.