Saturday, 9 April 2016

Sights and Sounds

Mornings are usually calm and bright at the lake, but on Easter Sunday it was a bit more colourful than usual. An ice storm on Holy Thursday coated everything in ice - cars, roads, branches and power lines. It also left me without power for 36 hours, which meant no heat, water or electricity. Luckily I had a stocked pantry, flashlights and lanterns, and I was able to haul a pail of water from the lake. In the summer a power outage is no problem at all, but having no heat was a bit inconvenient.

One of the good things that came from the storm, however, were these photos I was able to capture on Sunday morning. I was quietly cooking my breakfast when I noticed the pink sky behind me, so I threw on a coat and boots and headed out with my camera.

Everything was still coated in ice, so that the trees were white, which softened and muted all the colours. The lake was glass, reflecting the sky's colours back to it and as the sun rose, the sky was a living, ever-changing thing, in that way that sunrises have. Fifteen minutes and you might have missed it. No one out but me and the birds, crows and doves and smaller ones chirping and calling.

It made me think of lines from a hymn - Morning has broken, like the first morning. Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird.

Some days you get walloped with an ice storm and other days bring mornings like this.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Living Lakeside - Living Room

Over the past few weeks, most of my creative energy and spare time has been spent on home decor. Instead of furnishing beds and backs of couches, I've been working on shelves, walls and floors. Now that most of the work and decor is finished (for now), I'm ready to share some before and after photos. I've always loved a good makeover, so it was exciting to get to do one of my own. After living here for only a few weeks, it's hard to remember what it looked like before. It already feels like home. After looking through this post, I hope you'll forgive the quiet winter on the blog. This is what I was working on.

My house has an open concept living space and the living room flows into the dining area, connected to the kitchen and a countertop bar. French doors replaced the original sliding doors to lead onto a deck. On either side of the doors, on adjacent walls, two big picture windows overlook the deck and the lake beyond.

Blue is my favourite colour and getting to make all the house decisions myself meant that almost the whole place got painted blue! I wanted the space to be light and to take advantage of all the natural light coming in from the big windows. I used Behr Premium Plus Ultra (paint and primer in one). The living room got two coats of Beach Foam while the dining room and kitchen got one shade darker on the paint strip - Sea Wind. I went with white baseboards and trim everywhere, which really brightened the space when combined with the new windows, also framed in white.



It's easy to admire carefully styled bookcases in magazines and articles, full of sculptures, frames and vases, but this is real life. Bookcases are also for books. I love to read and own a lot of books, so I needed bookcases that were functional and affordable. I went with Hemnes bookcases and a TV stand from IKEA, choosing two wider units and two narrower units to maximize the space while keeping it symmetrical. I debated going with natural wood and staining them myself, but finally decided on white, to keep the room light. I'm very happy with the choice. For now, an old TV works fine sitting on the stand, but a flat screen secured to the wall will likely replace it in the future.

I admit I was a bit worried while packing up my books that there wouldn't be enough room for them. So I was happily surprised when there was lots of extra space, allowing my collection to grow. I was able to add magazines and other papers in magazine files. Then I even had room for decor, choosing objects and souvenirs that were in my old bedroom, like my music box from Sorrento, my boomerang from Melbourne and a wooden kayak from Lunenburg. A few new flowers in pails and flameless candles completed the shelves.



I'm also a big fan of grey and used it for my furniture. It goes well with the blue, matches my cat's hair (ha!) and provides a nice, neutral backdrop for quilts of any colour. (Yes, this was a consideration). I found this sectional at the Brick. There were 21 sections to choose from when creating a sectional and I customized this one a bit by eliminating one of the centre seats so that it would fit the room. This combination has a chaise, an armless chair and a cuddler section that angles towards the lake. I also chose an armchair in matching fabric. My reupholstered ottoman turned out to be the perfect height for the chair. 



For lighting, I chose two table lamps and a floor lamp, and a ceiling fan with a light kit is set to replace the existing fan. The lamps work quite nicely in the evenings, but it will be nice to have the overhead light for those grey days. One lamp sits on the trunk I refinished this past summer, while the other sits on the dresser I refinished. Both furniture pieces are stained in Miniwax's Early American. 

To keep the light out, I went with plain white sheers for when I want privacy and two-toned grey blackout curtains for when that morning sun tries to heat up my house in summer. 



The living room is long and along with all of the windows and doors, it made sense to put the sectional in the middle of the room. That way, it's a reasonable distance from the TV and doesn't block any windows. The sectional sits close to the right door, but still allows easy access to the other door and a pathway across the room and down the basement stairs. With an area rug and two chairs, I created another sitting space behind the couch, by the window. The rocking chair that came with the house is Oliver's favourite spot, so beware its furry cushion if you're ever over for a visit. The black recliner, passed on to me by new neighbours, also swivels, which I think might be useful when friends are over and I'm cooking dinner. 

I have a feeling that there will be an ever-rotating selection of quilts in this room. I've already moved them around since these photos were taken. Front and centre, though, is a new pattern I designed that will be released soon, called Ocean Sky. It's my first quilt made entirely of batiks and I picked out the fabrics months ago, long before this room was put together. I must have clearly defined tastes. I had enough scraps to make pillow covers and inspired by Johanna's pillows, went with Alyce's Tic Tac Toe block. The block style matches the quilt design well.  

Anja was one of my pattern testers for Ocean Sky and you can see her version on her blog.

I hope you enjoyed the living room tour. I've got a few more rooms to show you in the upcoming weeks, along with a few baby quilts, the Ocean Sky pattern and other little things.

Happy creating!

Linking up with Can I Get a Whoop Whoop and Fabric Frenzy Friday.