Saturday, 23 March 2013

My (Pipe) Dream: A Sports Room

Happy Saturday everyone! Philip here. This was supposed to be the latest Friday Phil post, but turns out I bit off more than I can chew with this one. That's why you got Saturday's usual "Other Stuff" post early. That's also why ths'll have to serve as Part 1 of 2 (or more, if I come up with more ridiculous pipe dreams).

Today's post is a doozy of pure Philip-ness, so be forewarned!

Since before I became a homeowner and therefore master of my own decorating domain, I've dreamed of creating spaces that isolate down the most pure representations of my interests. As a kid, I really wanted a Lego room. Not a room made out of Lego, but a room overrun by a Lego universe. And although that still sounds seriously awesome, these days, beyond Jesus/Cass/family/friends, there are two interests that rise above all others: Sports and Movies.

Today, I'm going to talk about my Dream Sports Room.

Okay, before I begin, I admit it: as the title suggests, this is a bit of a pipe dream. The room I'm envisioning is heavily customized and would be horrible for resale (except for someone with the exact same interests as me, who might still hate it). It wouldn't necessarily be kid-friendly. It would take up the lion's share of our basement. It would be expensive. For all these reasons, my wife would hate it. But I share this with you because, if we do not have our dreams, what do we have?

First off, the main function of the room would be a place to relax with friends, to watch sports and play games like pool and table tennis. For this reason, the room would need to be fairly large; a full-size basement rec room should suffice, provided you can convert the pool table into a ping pong table. (Is that a thing, beyond kiddy-sized tables? It so should be. I'm gonna check it out. I'll check back with you in a bit.)

Anyway, the room is divided into half lengthwise and widthwise, as to make four distinct sections? Why do we need four sections? Because my love extends to all four major sports. (For some of you, the horror of what I'm about to roll out here is beginning to take hold.)
The quarters would be distinguished in a few ways. I was going to describe it all for you, but I figured I'd save myself a few thousand words and draw some pictures. Notes to highlight the important parts are included.

Baseball Quarter: Welcome to the Sports Room

  1. This part is modeled after my favourite baseball team of all time, the 1992/1993 Toronto Blue Jays, repeat World Series Champions. 
  2. This corner would serve as the primary entryway into the Sports Room; as a result, the size, level of customization, and usefulness of this area is limited. ("Limited?" you say. "That doesn't look like 'limited' customization!" Just you wait, my friend.) Suffice it to say, I love baseball, but when push comes to shove, it's the sport that most often takes a back seat.
  3. The walls are Blue Jays blue. Obviously.
  4. The walls feature some framed jerseys, which I collect.*
  5. The flooring is again customized: using various colours of carpeting, we would recreate the look of a baseball diamond, particularly the home plate area. I like how this opens up the room using the baselines. I would also find it very difficult to exit the room from the left side of it, simply because you can't go straight home from 1st base.

*At this point, that revelation shouldn't come as much of a surprise.

Basketball Quarter: Ping Pong/Pool Table Area

  1. Modeled after my favourite basketball team of all time, the '97-'98 Chicago Bulls, and their home, the United Centre. It'd be one of the bigger areas of the room, simply because a pool/ping pong table would be a fairly large installation. Plus, as a pre-teen in the Bulls' heyday, those teams rocked my world.
  2. The walls are painted Bulls red. Again, obviously.
  3. The flooring is hardwood. Yes, I'd be tempted to put down parquet, because it looks cool and a basketball-themed area begs for it, but a) I'm no Celtics fan and b) the United Centre doesn't have it so I won't. The hardwood would have lines painted on them to mimic a basketball sideline, baseline, three-point line and key.
  4. You can't see the Table Tennis/Pool table. The photo is taken from where it would be set up. How would it be basketball themed? Good question. There are 6 pockets on a pool table, the same number of NBA titles won by the Bulls in the '90s. Or we could just draw basketball court lines on the felt/hard top of the various tables. I haven't quite figured this part out.
  5. A half-sized hoop and plexiglass backboard would hang on one wall. 
  6. Along the sideline, for those not currently in the (pool or table tennis) game we would have folding chairs designed to look like the players' bench, down to the Gatorade towels hanging over them. 
  7. Hanging on this wall (and on either side of the hoop) are framed jerseys and my framed Michael Jordan: Wings poster, which is currently languishing in the basement, waiting for its place of honour.
Well, that's Part 1 of my Sports Room. Next week I'll reveal the other two corners of the room, which in my humble opinion are the two most creative, as well as a bird's-eye proposed layout for the room, because I know you're clamouring for it already!

In the meantime, use the comments below to let us know if you've ever had a dream for a crazy, resale-unfriendly room based on an interest of yours? Or if you're into sports like me and you made a sports room, how would you customize it?

Friday, 22 March 2013

Other Stuff

This week we're mixing things up a little bit because we've had an insanely busy week evenings-wise and so Philip hasn't had a chance to finish up his post for today. Therefore, we'll share the Saturday post and his post should be up tomorrow (but we'll give him grace if he's still not done). 

For those of you who haven't headed over to our blog on Saturday's, we've been sharing some links to articles and blog posts that we found interesting throughout the week. They range in topic from DIY/house-related, to recipes, to anything that we find interesting and think that our readers might also enjoy. So here goes!

This first link takes you to all the worlds we've grown to love, it shows blueprints for a lot of the apartments/houses of popular sitcoms. Want to see a blueprint of Ted Mosby's apartment? Lorelei & Rory's house? This is where you want to go!

At Making it Lovely this week, Nicole shared some accessories, media stands, etc. to pair together to make a beautiful TV centre. This piece from Target caught my eye because it was so interesting to be a Target item, and pretty reasonable! Target is supposed to be opening here soon, might have to go see if this is still around. I especially like it in Charcoal.

At Our Fifth House, Carmen transformed her dated fireplace into a conversation piece by painting it with chalkboard paint. I'm not sure if I'd be gutsy enough to do it myself, but it looks fantastic!

If meal planning still has you stumped - check out this super informative video where she walks through her weekly meal-planning method. I do something similar, but still have to hone my methods.

Philip has to wake up at 5:30 every day, and while I have a bit more flexibility over my sleep time, I often find myself waking up groggy, in the middle of a dream. This link has you enter the time you need to wake up and it tells you which times you should go to bed so that your sleep cycle won't be interrupted in the morning, leaving you groggy. 

Another Target find over at Mini Manor, but this article caught my eye more with her "One thing in, One thing out" philosophy. If you've read our blog before, you probably know I like to purge. It's so much easier to keep things clean and organized if you don't own a bunch of things you don't use. With Spring Cleaning in full swing, something to keep in mind! (Also if you live in Winnipeg and you're acquainted with us, we're planning for a garage sale this summer that will be open for anyone to join in with us - we don't have enough for a huge sale, so we were thinking we could all pool our resources - something to remember when you're going to purge this Spring!)

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Sanity Will Return

You might remember a long time ago, as in before Christmas, when we finished our master bedroom and office. They were beautiful! You may also have noticed that I said were

Fast forward a few months, and our bedroom has been high jacked by bathroom staging, and our office is where paperwork goes to die. 

Well, since our bathroom is on hold for the moment (due to the insulation in the ceiling needing work, and Winnipeg weather not being ideal for removal of insulation for a few days at  the moment).  I'm retackling these beautiful rooms we created. There are still some decor features we want to add to each, for example I want to make a headboard extension for our bed, hang some hooks, artwork, etc. in the Master Bedroom, but first we have to tackle all this clutter. A lot of the bathroom stuff in our bedroom can't be dealt with until we have a bathroom to put it in, but I can get started on the office. Here's how it looks now (I just took pictures in a circle around the room, moving right for each one, so this is basically a 360 degree view of our office). Excuse the photos, we still need to get a high quality camera - as in higher quality than our iPhone 4's, we don't have a window covering and it was pretty bright, and it's just crazy messy in there.:

The view straight ahead from the door. Here you see the area to the left of our desk,
as well as one end of our desk.

Moving right, you can see the other half of the desk. 

Directly to the right, is the closet which houses our filing cabinet. 

Next up is a console table we inherited from the condo. 

On the other side of the door, is the first of three bookshelves. 

And finally the last two bookshelves. 

It isn't a huge space, but I think we've planned the storage pretty well. Now we just have to get it clutter-free and organized!

Office Sanity a few extras for aesthetic purposes that might happen down the line (run on sentence alert)

Yes we're list case you didn't know.

Create Mail Center/Cass' Area

- Hang White Board  We completed this on Monday night with the help of 4 velcro command strips as you can see in the photo with the console table! P.S. I did this almost all by myself, Philip was there offering guidance but I was in charge. Woot Woot, pink toolbelt here I come.
- Hang Art Gallery
- New Console Table
- Mail/Card Area
- Craft Supplies
- Receipt Inbox


- Set Up Printer
- New Office Chair
- Hang Art
- Storage Solution for Philip's Drama paperwork, temporary papers


- Stain Closet Rod & Shelf
- Organize Games
- Organize Filing Cabinet
- Create Warranties Binder
- Gift Wrapping Supplies
- Paint Closet Door


- Style Empty Shelves
- Go through books for potential garage sale


- Sand, Prime, Paint Door & Rehang
- Window Covering

Some more things might spring up as we go, but this is my initial goal list as far as bringing our once beautified office back to a beautiful state.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

In My Defense...

Last Friday, Philip had his turn, poking fun at Urban Barn. In order to provide a balanced perspective, it only seemed fair to share the photos we took of some of the Urban Barn products we loooved. Yes, we did feature Urban Barn another time recently, and no, it's not the only place we shop, but we love it! Also, we were too early on our Spring product preview, because they only just released their Spring line and it is fabulous! We're obviously biased as lovers of yellow, and their two feature colors this year are Wasabi (green) and Dijon (yellow), with a base of Charcoal to ground everything. So very Spring-like! 

Urban Barn is interesting, because I feel like it's going through  bit of a style change, as am I. When you first get married and move out, you have to kind of find your style. At least I did. Most of what I like is shaped by what my mom decorated with (she has amazing style and probably should have been an interior designer - we will do a house tour there one of these days so you can see some of what shaped our style), but since moving out I've definitely felt a shift towards things with more personality. Philip loves color, especially as someone in Marketing with a knack for graphic design. The move towards more fun items, and towards color, is leading me towards some of the more fun things that Urban Barn has to offer, and before you know it I might even be buying some of the crazy products Jonathan Adler sells. I would definitely say that my style is easily influenced. Often blogs I read, things I see on Pinterest, etc. can have a big influence on what I like. I wouldn't necessarily say that I'm a trend follower, but it definitely happens on occasion. Pinterest can't convince me of all things, I would still say we have contemporary style rather than rustic or country, however I am moving more to the eclectic end of the spectrum. 

Here are some of the great items that Urban Barn has to share in their Spring collection (click this link to view the entire Spring Collection). 

Charcoal base, I love Charcoal...especially when paired with yellow.
You can tell by our wedding invitations! 
Philip made our wedding stationary, including invitations, thank you cards, wine labels, menus, & programs! All with a grey and yellow theme. 

We've been thinking of a clear chair for our small office.
This one is pretty cute, there's also one at Ikea we don't mind. 

I like the graphic pattern of this chair, with the Dijon throw -
it's a match made in grey and yellow heaven! 

I almost always love the placemats & cloth napkins at Urban Barn. These are my new loves, I think they would work for all seasons! Summery with the right table setting, or definitely fall like with settings more in the browns and oranges. 

I don't know if I'm such a fan of the affirmative sayings pillows,
but "Don't Forget to be Awesome" is a pretty good reminder.
Maybe for a wall print?

Color dipping is everywhere these days, I'd be nervous about DIYing it, and the resulting non-dishwasher friendliness. However, I'm thinking of trying this on our martini glasses that we never use (we aren't really big drinkers), it would dress them up in the glass cabinet, and if we used them washing 4 cups wouldn't be the end of the world. 

These cups glow from a distance, they're just 4 tiered cups and up close on their own they look pretty much like normal glass, but from afar they look almost ethereal. 

The numbered items theme is also pretty prevalent these days.
I definitely appreciate a good numbered item. 

A little more rustic than we go for, but spray painted high gloss white?? These squirrels that "press hands" are my cup of tea. 

Yet another set of napkins/placemats that I love. These ones a bit more Spring & Summery. 

Last but definitely not least, this blanket is drool worthy.
If I'm sick and cuddled under a blanket all day - this is what I want to do it with. Mentally adding this to my birthday list (mothers reading this take note).

Disclaimer: We are in no way paid or compensated by Urban Barn for these posts, we just love their products and have yet to find another store that embodies our style so well. Ceramic Gorilla Butts and all - they speak our language. 

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Guest Post: Christine Steendam's Heart Like an Ocean

I met Christine Steendam about 6 years ago or so, when we were attending the same church. While I've moved on to a new congregation where I met Philip, we've recently started talking a lot more again as we've both taken up blogging and as a blogger it's great to have friends who share that interest. Christine has one-upped me though, in that she just came out with her first book! I want to welcome Christine here today to share a little bit about her new book as well as what it took to not only write a book but move and build homes with her husband, Kyle. While Philip can't appreciate the whole horse thing (he's a teency bit scared of horses), he can appreciate the writing world and so we thought we'd share this guest post. Enjoy!


Thank you, Cass and Philip for letting me crash your blog today.

As you may have gathered I’m writing this guest post as a part of a blog tour to promote my new book, Heart Like an Ocean. 

What does writing have to do with home renos and the life of newlyweds? Well, my book has nothing to do with that, but my writing journey might fit in here quite well.

Besides being a writer, my husband and I, married for two years now (still newlyweds, right?), like to build houses. Okay, my husband likes to build houses and I mostly put up with it and enjoy a nice new house for a year or so before we start the process all over again.

As you can imagine, this makes for a very busy life. We started our first house together (my husband’s second house) during our engagement and moved in after our wedding. The house had plywood floors, no railing around the stairs, counters made out of two-by-fours, plywood and macktack, and no doors. It was fun, really fun. Slowly, throughout our first year of marriage we made our way through the house finishing what needed doing, and just this last June we sold it.

Since then we’ve started our second house. It has been an adventure and a half, and somehow between the running around choosing flooring, paint colours, brick, kitchen design….etc… I managed to get my book published. How? Just by getting it done. There is no magic formula or deep dark secret.

Heart Like an Ocean was basically finished before all this craziness began, but editing, submitting and the actual publication process was not. I had a lot of support from my husband, took advantage of my son’s naps, and woke up bright and early to get as much done before he woke up as I could.

Building or renovating does not come without its sacrifices. Sure, it’s great having a nice new home but it’s a lot of work to get there and sometimes you have to give up some sleep or some social time if you have something else you love to do, like writing. If you follow this blog you know that Cass and Philip have their own writing journey as Cass writes to you almost daily and Philip hopes to get some rejection letters this year (I’m hoping he gets an acceptance). I’m sure they can attest to the fact that if it’s something you love, you make time for it. Even though the house, spouse, kids, friends, family can take up all your time, if you care about it you’ll find a way to get that next blog post out or that next chapter written and this goes for any hobby you might have.

If you interested in more of my writing journey you can read the previous posts on writing the first draft, editing and beta readers. And stay tuned for the next post on submission and  publication on March 26th.


Welcome to to the Heart Like an Ocean Blog Tour. It is running from March 1st-27th and will feature a variety of blogs and posts. Please take a moment to visit the previous tour stop and the next one And don't forget to enter the rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win some great prizes.


In a society where she doesn't belong, Senona Montez, a strong-willed and free-spirited woman refuses to follow the path expected of a Don's only child. On the eve of her marriage to a stranger, she saddles her horse and flees everything she knows, only to discover the petty concerns of society did not prepare her for the harsh life on the open sea. She finds an unlikely protector in a reckless privateer, Brant Foxton. Straddling the worlds of independence and privilege in 1600's Europe, this captivating man challenges her in ways she never thought possible, shows her what living to the fullest really means, and allows her to follow her heart wherever it leads.

So excited for Christine! I haven't had the chance to read her book yet, but enjoy this preview and if you like what you read, head over to purchase it at Amazon or one of the other sellers.
Amazon -  Smashwords -  Barnes & Noble -  iTunes -  Kobo

Excerpt Spain-1666 

Senona looked around the room full of swirling dresses of so many shapes and colors. It was like a dream and left her overwhelmed and unable to tear her eyes away. Tonight she was a princess in her new dress with her hair curled, cascading in loose waves down her back. Tonight she was perfect. 

Browsing the room, this time in search of familiar faces, Senona spotted Caton Amador, and Isidro Amato. The boys, although older, were her friends and a welcome relief to the overwhelming nature of her surroundings. She made her way around the perimeter of the room in their general direction. 

 Isidro was never very serious about anything and enjoyed teasing Senona, which annoyed her to no end. Caton was much more subdued and quiet, at least around her. Although they were not as close as they once had been, the families remained good friends, and the three of them spent many hours riding around the countryside or playing games in the garden. When they were younger, Isidro and Caton had been her constant companions, helping her sneak out of tea with their Madres or rescuing her from lessons with her tutor. Now they never voluntarily saw each other, but due to their families’ relationship, they found themselves together often enough. 

“Senona, my Chica! You are a picture of beauty, as always,” boomed Isidro’s obnoxious and teasing voice. 

Caton turned to look at the young girl. “Leave her alone, Isidro.” 

“Come on, Caton. She’s glad to see us.” 

Caton frowned but said nothing, turning his attention back to the pretty girl standing next to him. Isidro seemed to accept that as permission to continue, and he smirked mockingly at Senona, beckoning her. The small flock of girls that surrounded the two boys giggled, causing her to blush and become hesitant and uncomfortable. She had never seen the boys in this environment, and she quickly questioned her decision that she belonged with them. 

“It’s okay, Isidro. I just wanted to say hello.”

“Well then, run along. There must be some of your friends around.” 

Senona forced a smile and turned to Caton. “Hello, Caton.” 

He barely acknowledged her with a brief glance and nod in her direction, and then returned to ignoring her. Unsure of how to deal with Caton’s rejection, she walked away, her eyes burning with angry tears that threatened to spill over. Why was he being so rude? Not even so much as a hello, as if he were embarrassed to be associated with her. 

As she pushed her way through the crowd, she heard one of the girls laugh. “Caton, I do believe you hurt her feelings.” 

Caton’s deep, unmistakable chuckle cut through the din and his voice was all she heard. “She’s a silly, strange girl. I would rather not encourage her.” 

Senona expected this behavior from Isidro, but from Caton? She had always thought he was honest and simple, but his actions tonight had shown her otherwise. She had been a fool to think that these older boys were her friends. 

Escaping into the shadows, she hid from the sneering glances and mocking laughter that seemed to follow her wherever she went. She had thought that tonight would be different, but nothing had changed. She was just a strange little girl. 

The night was a blur, a blur of swirling skirts and obnoxious voices. To nearly everyone she was invisible. Even her Madre and Padre, who had never been overly affectionate towards their daughter, seemed to have completely forgotten her existence. But that wasn’t so different from normal. They weren’t very affectionate people ever, even towards each other. 

At the end of the night, Senona lay in bed, her new dress hanging in her wardrobe, mocking her. She had realised tonight how far she fell from society’s standards, her own parents’ standards. Any illusion she had of being a princess, of being perfect for one night had been shattered. But that didn't really bother her. The truly odd thing was that she felt a weight lifted from her shoulders. Perhaps she didn’t have to be that way. Perhaps now she had the freedom to do as she wanted. It wasn’t as if anyone cared about her anyway. She was just a strange little girl.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Pastels and Egg Shells

Easter is a mere 2 weeks away, and for us it even seems to be coming sooner because a few of our most key family members are going to be on vacation over Easter so we'll be celebrating early with both sides of the family most likely. Pinterest is especially thrilling around holidays I've found, all of the pumpkin flavoured desserts and wreath DIYs around Christmas...and now Easter, with hip new ways of egg dying and Easter mantels. I didn't know people decorated so much for Easter! This year our house is definitely too crazy to host any kind of Easter gathering, but maybe next year. In browsing the internet for ideas, I definitely wanted to get an Easter centerpiece going! Maybe something like this...

Here are some of my favourite Easter decor ideas I've come across lately.

Martha Stewart shows these beautiful egg ornaments, so elegant for Easter eggs!

One day when we have a frame gallery in a hallway somewhere, it'd be neat to switch out some of the pictures seasonally, and at Easter I like the look of this

These cute Easter eggs to use in an Easter advent are such a cute idea for kids. I would even think about doing 40 of them as a Lent/Easter countdown activity with tasks we can do as a family along the lines of Lent. 

This article on Real Simple explains some of the Easter traditions
we've come to know and love. 

If you're hosting an Easter dinner, what a cute way to fold napkins
What are your Easter plans? Ours is a little bit non-traditional this year so far, my parents will be away as will Philip's brother and his wife, so we're having a Friday night Easter games night with my cousins, and potentially having lunch with our friend and his dad. We'll also have Easter with Philip's family but that isn't planned yet. Is Easter a big deal in your household? As Christians, it's one of our major holidays, but my family hasn't always had a huge celebration dinner. As kids we went to my grandparents and had an Easter egg hunt, but as we've gotten older and everyone has their own families it's kind of fizzled out. Glad my sister is planning something though because it's always nice to spend the holiday's with family, maybe we can even relive our days as small kiddo cousins where we'd have an older cousin teamed up with us helping us to find the eggs in the yard to fill our ice cream pails. Those were the days. 

Next Monday we'll share a few more Easter themed ideas as we countdown the days to a beautiful Spring and Easter celebration.