master bedroom: before and after

Today, I will be sharing our master bedroom makeover with you all! 

When we first gained possession of this acreage in March 2019 we were paying two mortgages. We therefore decided to hold off on renovating until our house in the city sold. On top of that, it seemed like everything was breaking and so any extra funds that we did have went towards repairs. 

We ended up selling our home in July. By then the weather was too nice to stay indoors and so we pushed back the renovations again. We instead focused our attention on fixing up the yard. We said that we would start painting inside once it got cold again. That finally occurred in October!

Why we did start with a master bedroom remodel? In the past, I have always made our bedroom the last room that we touched. I feel like no one sees it except us, so why be selfish and make it a priority? This time, I really wanted to put more of an effort into honouring the marriage that Geoffrey and I have spent the last almost decade living, loving, and fighting for. 

Coming out of the fog of the newborn stage, I feel a renewed sense of self. Almost like I’m allowed to focus on things that aren’t just baby-related. I have finally started working out, I have gone to a real hairdresser for proper shorter and blonder hair, I have made appointments for just me, and I have started doing photography for clients again! With this also comes a desire to have fun with Geoff, to go on dates, and to grab as much alone time as possible! Hence, a need to pour that attention into a physical space like our bedroom as well.

From the above before pictures, the room didn’t look that bad. Up close, it was a different story. The house was previously rented out to someone who basically let their three massive dogs destroy it. The bedroom doors were torn to shreds, the handles were chewed, the floor and window trim was completely scratched, there were several toll-free phone numbers written on the walls in pen, screw holes everywhere, a ceiling fan covered in fly poop, and decals of soldiers with guns and parachuting out of airplanes. Like what the heck?

The first thing that we did (after months of hanging a blanket in the window to block out the sun) was purchase blackout blinds. Our bedroom window is south-facing so it catches a lot of heat in the afternoon. I cannot believe that we have waited this long to buy them! They work like a dream and look very nice. If we were to ever move again I wouldn’t hesitate in buying the same ones from Home Depot.

Upon hanging the blinds, we set about painting the walls. I went to Pinterest for inspiration and after seeing how beautiful one black wall looked in a white bedroom, I couldn’t resist. My boring self never seems to stray far from black and white walls. I am trying to venture into new colours, but for now, I couldn’t be more pleased with the way it turned out!

After the walls, trim, and doors were painted, we needed a shelf to display everything that I had been hoarding in my closet for nearly a year. It was going to be a shelf dedicated to our marriage and our three babies. Again, my love for all things familiar got the best of me, and I returned to Home Depot to buy the same knotty pine board and black brackets that we hung in our old house, and even the living room of this acreage! One day I might stumble onto a different solution, but until then, this is what a prefer with both the price and look.

Up went Remy’s newborn pictures, Wilder’s birth announcement, Rowen’s only sonogram, and our wedding photo. This shelf sparks love and joy and sadness and everything that my life has been over the last decade. I feel privileged each time I glance up at it.

I also replaced the old plastic switch plates with brushed metal, and the junky register with a black metal one.

Time now to focus on our bed, which I felt was missing something. We upgraded from an old wooden queen frame to a new metal king about one year prior. It was during that time that I also had to buy new bedding to fit the bed. Again, lack of imagination over here, I had zero ideas as to colour scheme. I went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond and felt completely overwhelmed and out of my element. What I ended up walking away with was white everything! Sheets, pillows, pillowcases, quilt … I didn’t know what else to do.

This time round, I felt such a desire to add a pop of colour. I went to my favourite new store, Home Hardware in Warman, SK and browsed their beautiful aisles of home furnishings. What I ended up buying was an orange pillow (is that orange? yellow? rust?) for $50! It was way more than I intended on spending on one throw pillow, but goodness it was worth it. Remy calls it an owl pillow for some reason, and Geoffrey knows that he’s not allowed to touch it. The blanket at the foot of our bed was crocheted by my late grandmother.

Finally, we needed to replace the “crappy” ceiling fan. When I was at Home Depot I browsed their selection but didn’t see anything that I thought would work. Next I went on Amazon and spent the better part of an evening searching for a black ceiling fan. Again, I couldn’t find one that I really liked. I was so disappointed and was about to give up for awhile. Suddenly, I thought to check Canadian Tire’s website (that is where we bought the fan for our previous master bedroom). As luck would have it, it was the pre-Black Friday event. I immediately saw one that excited me, and it was on sale for $149 from $249. I went the very next day and after using my Canadian Tire money, it came to $130 including taxes. I was so happy, and it’s the cutest darn thing!

One of my goals in making over our room was to transition Wilder into sleeping in Remy’s room, or their shared room. That didn’t happen. While I will eventually replace his crib with a black mirror and a tall plant, until I paint and design their room, he’s going to keep sharing with us. No matter, I will miss him too much if he leaves me.

Thanks for reading! Please leave any questions or comments below.

Emory

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the fruits of my labour

With the change of the season came the need to harvest our gardens. I will be the first to admit that I didn’t plant as wisely as I could have. We moved to our acreage in early March and then created two small gardens from scratch. I planted vegetables late in the season in one, only to uproot them and move them all to the second one a few months later. My husband warned me that doing so would mostly likely kill them. It didn’t, but it certainly stunted their growth!

Negativity aside, everything managed to grow. It was just on the smaller side, or cute side as I like to call it. I was still able to get a haul of everything that we use in the kitchen daily.

Remy and I harvested some white onions, green onions, thyme, and bell peppers. We even managed to cut down one massive sunflower that grew from one tiny seed from the children’s festival.

The afternoon was bitterly cold, and our haul was on the tinier side, but it was a summer filled with growth. All of our hard work paid off in the end. I was able to learn a lot from my first two gardens, which will only benefit me next year! I will start my seeds earlier, plan better, and with Geoffrey’s help, build a larger and raised garden bed on the west side of our property.

Trial and error is never a bad thing. I still call this past season a successful one.

For any gardening tips please leave them in the comments below!

Emory

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we sold big green

Friends, last week we officially handed over the keys to Big Green. After owning it for (one week shy of) three years, it became the longest that we had owned any home. So much happened during that time. We moved in when Remy was six months old. We said goodbye to a dog. We said goodbye to a baby. We welcomed a baby. We celebrated birthdays, wedding anniversaries, Christmases, Easters, and more. Geoffrey changed careers. I became a stay-at-home parent. We made friends. We vacationed a little. We learned a lot.

Mostly, I would say that we did renovations. Oh my goodness, how we renovated. It began with a new mailbox. That year, we also put wallpaper in the back porch and made over Remy’s room.

In 2017 we attempted Remy’s room again, revamped the bathroom, renovated the upstairs hallway, did Remy’s room for the third and final time, our front porch, the main floor hallway, the back porch again, and backyard.

In 2018 we started by redoing the dining room, living room, kitchen, then a little of everything when I was pregnant and nesting, and finally our master bedroom. We ended up tackling every room in our home, as well as the exterior. The only area we didn’t get to was the unfinished basement. Hopefully the next owners can renovate it, thus completing the total home makeover.

In 2019, when Wilder was only three months old, we listed Big Green and moved into our current home. In the end we realized that we are not city people. We both grew up on acreages and farms, moved back to an acreage after getting married, and then finally bought our own this year. We belong in the country.

I will forever love Big Green for what it taught us- even though we experienced hardships within its walls. However, it was a good home and such an incredibly fun project. I will especially miss playing with Remy in her cozy little room.

These were the final listing photographs of our beloved home. I hope that it’s as treasured by its new owners as it was by us. Goodbye, Big Green!

Emory

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our acreage: gardens

When we first moved out here, we didn’t have a garden. Geoffrey and I talked about making a large vegetable garden somewhere in our yard, but we couldn’t agree on where. What we did agree on was waiting at least a full year to think about it and get a feeling for where it would work best before we went ahead and dug up the grass. Then the snow began to melt.

What we noticed first was a small square perimeter of wood in our front yard. As the snow melted more, we began to see sand. Once it completely disappeared, we were left with an old 8′ x 8′ sandbox that had clearly been neglected. Not wanting to keep it a sandbox because of all the stray cats and wildlife around here, I eventually chose for it to become my rock garden.

I envisioned a desert-inspired garden with lots of cacti and rocks. I asked many people what I should do to transform this sandbox into a usable, grow-able space and was given lots of ideas. My sister-in-law was the most knowledgeable, so I listened mostly to her. The first thing I did was stain the wood. I chose a darker colour called “Coffee” thinking that it would contrast our light grey house nicely. I went in blind since I had no idea what exterior theme we would eventually go with- modern, western, etc. I therefore aimed for a slightly more modern look.

Next I dug several 1′ x 1′ holes. I think I started with around seventeen. Then I filled them with soil. It was still too cold to plant anything, so for days I just stared out the window at these holes. To me, it looked much too cluttered. I decided to fill those holes back in with sand and dig new ones. This time I ended up with ten. Much better.

Over the next few weeks, I set about getting everything planted in my garden. I started by propagating a few cacti that were growing in our home. Right away it was clear that they weren’t going to survive. (I was too excited and planted them too early.) Then my next door neighbour gave me thyme to put in my garden. I thought, ‘OK, this will be a thyme and cacti rock garden’. A few days later I went to a greenhouse and came back not with cacti but bell peppers, white onions, succulents, and red Canadian roses. Clearly my desert-inspired garden was slowly becoming a vegetable/flower garden. Oh well!

Have you ever tried growing green onion in water from food scraps? It is ridiculously easy, even for a brown thumb like me! After you buy some from the grocery store and consume the dark green part of the vegetable, take the leftover part (the white bulb with roots attached) and put it in a glass of water. Be sure to change the water every day or every second day. Almost instantly you will see new growth occur. I did this for about two weeks before I transplanted them into my garden. That’s when they really took off! They are over 3 feet tall. I have never seen green onion quite like this before. Geoff and I still laugh about how massive they are.

To finish it off, I purchased large river stones to cover the sand. I think that it took around eight bags. Then I bought small smooth pebbles to fill in the gaps. I found the large rocks to line the plant holes along the dirt roads that we walk on everyday.

After filling my rock garden with all of the plants and vegetables that I could think of, I felt like that it began to look a little disorganized. Somewhere along the way I lost my vision of a minimalist cacti haven. Following advice from my mother-in-law and mum to start a garden along the garage, I decided to do just that. I removed the rhubarb from the rock garden, then the sunflower plant, then the white onions, then the peppers, and put them in my new garden that Geoff made for me by rototilling a long and narrow patch. We also added the peonies that we took from our other house. Garden thieves.

I tended to that second garden for a few weeks before I began to notice that every night animals were digging in it. After a lengthy search on Pinterest, I found simple and practical fence options that one could DIY in a matter of a few days. Back I went to Geoffrey, asking him to now build a fence around our spontaneous little garden. He was probably hesitant at first, but once I showed him the pictures, he became very excited and said that he would love to do it.

As an added treat, I took the kids to visit an out-of-town friend for two days. Armed with music, beer, and hot weather, he constructed the cutest darn fence that we have ever had. He used cement, chicken wire, and treated 2′ x 4’s and posts. Then I laid down mulch.

We finished it off by adding hinges and a latch on the gate. Beautiful and practical. Yet, we weren’t done.

Once I saw how lovely the treated lumber looked, I knew that my slightly-modern outdoor theme was now out the window. Rustic was the way to go for our acreage. This meant that I wanted to change the stained wood that housed my rock garden. I sent Geoffrey back to Home Depot for treated 2′ x 6’s. He went and picked them up, then came home and replaced the wood, making it much taller as well. I love the way it turned out. This rock garden will forever remind me of my sister-in-law.

Next year we have plans for raised flower beds in an enclosure along the sunnier side of the garage. Until then, these are our acreage gardens.

Emory

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becoming a zero waste household

This post will be one in a series of our new zero waste journey.

Now I have been pretty horrible in regards to taking care of our planet up until this point. We had bins for recycling when we lived in the city. I rarely used them. I gave Truman our table scraps and then threw out what he didn’t eat. I didn’t conserve water. I ran the dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer nearly everyday. I let the tap run excessively when I washed my face or washed my hands. The list goes on.

Since moving to our acreage, we have began to adopt a more waste-free lifestyle. It all began when I read this Instagram post on composting:

In recent years, only an estimated 38% of food was composted in the US. Food scraps make up about 30% of everything we throw out 😱 not only that, when we send our food scraps to the landfill, they decompose with no air, creating the greenhouse gas methane – a gas that is 34x more potent than CO2.⁣

Composting diverts food scraps from landfills and creates rich, nutrient soil that can be used to grow more food- it is truly circular!⁣

Then I went on to read this one:

“So why is it so important to keep organic matter out of landfill anyway? Won’t it just breakdown there? Well basically, no.⁣
.⁣
Landfill areas are so densely compacted that there is not enough microbes, air, light or moisture for organic matter to breakdown. Did you know that they have found 20+ year old intact carrots in landfill!?! Compared to my worms who could break down a blended carrot in a couple of hours…⁣
.⁣
When organic mater does begin to breakdown in landfill, it does so anaerobically (without oxygen), which produces greenhouse gases as a byproduct.⁣
.⁣
So by throwing your organic scraps into your kerbside bin you’re ensuring they probably wont break down – and if they do, they’ll produce green house gases.

After that, I was convinced. I told Geoff that we were going to start composting that day, and he was on board. He went outside a few days later, and built me a bin out of spare wood that we had laying around.

Now we keep a large container with a lid inside of our house where we collect everything. Then once a day, or every second day, we go outside and empty it into our compost pile. I can’t wait until we are able to use it in our garden!

Because we have to get our water hauled to us, we conserve conserve conserve. We have a 1500 gallon tank in our basement. I do the dishes in the sink every morning, making sure to not fill the sink too full. We don’t flush the toilet with every trip to the bathroom. Instead of bathing once or twice a day, I instead have a quick shower every second day. The kids, on the other hand, share a bath once a day. I wash our clothes only once a week, and hang them out to dry instead of using our dryer. We only turn the taps on low and quickly turn them off whenever we are done.

Our liquids get pumped to a spray field in our yard while our solids go to a septic tank.

We are also collecting rainwater from the eaves on the garage for all of our outdoor plants.

At the moment, I am striving towards eliminating all paper towel from our household. Producing paper towel consumes 110 million trees and 130 billion gallons of water per year. I am in the process of cutting up old towels and shirts to use them as rags. I hope to stop buying paper towel by the end of the month!

Finally, because we do not have garbage pickup, we now make a point of separating our recycling and bottles out of our trash. We take those in, and store our garbage in a bin behind our garage until it is ready to go to the dump. For now, that is our solution.

Stay tuned for my next post on further changes toward leading a more waste-free household.

Emory

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  • Welcome, friends! My name is Emory. I am a wife and mother to three (two on earth and one in heaven). This is our life on the Canadian prairies.
    email: helloscarlettblog@outlook.com

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