It’s been a good while since I’ve had the chance to put one of these posts together, so I thought it was time we took a moment to catch up. These very random Friday posts are definitely some of my favourites. 🙂
We rented a cottage for a week in Muskoka! Here in Ontario, we have an area up north of Toronto called Muskoka that’s commonly just referred to as “cottage country”. Of course, people live there, but the area is just dotted with lakes so it’s a really popular place for people from the city to have their summer homes. We’ve always loved it up there, but it’s a bit far from where we live now so we haven’t usually gone there in the summer. This year, when we went to book our usual summer camping trip, all the sites were booked up so we decided to see if we could book a cottage for a week instead. The best ones usually book up a year in advance, but we got really lucky and found a perfect one on the best little lake. We couldn’t actually tell from the photos on the website if it was going to be really nice or just OK, but it turned out to be absolutely stunning. We all just loved the whole experience and I think we’ve found ourselves a new summer tradition. 🙂
I ordered new curtains for the living room and dining room! We’ve come to the sad conclusion that it’s just highly impractical to order a new sectional right now, particularly the light-coloured sectional that I’ve been dreaming of. We definitely spill something on our current one at least every few days and trying to keep a light-coloured one clean would just be a disappointing nightmare. I’ve decided that it might not look terrible though to just switch out the curtains without doing a new couch as well so I’m going to give it a try. I’ve been dreaming specifically of white velvet curtains with black rings and I think that might still work even with the existing charcoal sectional. These curtains from Amazon have great reviews and you can’t beat the price, so I’m starting there. Hopefully they do the trick! If they turn out to be terrible, I’ll have to go with something a little more costly, but if they really are as great as everyone says they are, then I’ll be all set. I’ll keep you posted as this situation develops. 🙂
I finally stained my porches! This has been on my list since last year, and my intention was always to get it done in the early spring this year. One day in April, I decided I was going to do it and headed out to clean the porches off and sand them down to get rid of any stain that was flaking off. I got that done, but then the sprayers came out in the fields and it’s never really a good idea to be outside when that’s going on. And it was a pretty windy day. On top of that, I discovered that my can of stain didn’t have very much left in it. Of course, at that time all the stores were closed for lockdown. I called the paint desk at Home Depot, but there was no answer, so I ended up just waiting until stores opened again. I finally managed to get all my ducks in a row and get it done last weekend and it feels so good! Actually, I think I’m even happy now that we went with wood instead of composite decking because the freshly-stained wood just looks so lovely and the tasks itself wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. It only took me a few hours on Saturday morning and I feel like a whole new person with my clean, freshly stained porches. The stain I’ve been using is by BEHR and the color is Cordovan Brown. I always get questions about it because it’s just such a nice, neutral color.
Jack is really into “running errands” with me right now and it’s kind of my secret weapon for getting things done. Neither of my kids have ever been the kind of people who love an excuse to leave the house for a few minutes. I’m not really sure why, but given the choice, they’d always rather stay home unless we’re doing something really fun and exciting. But they’ve had no interest in just coming along to the store if I need to run out and grab something. Now that our kids have basically not been into any stores for over a year, Jack thinks it’s the funnest thing in the world and it’s coming in really handy. I’m able to get little tasks checked off my list almost every day because I take him along with me and it accomplishes a few things: It gets him out of the house and gives him a change of scenery and an easy no-screen “activity” while Chris is working on editing, it lets me check something off my list without having to find a time where I can sneak out on my own, It actually forces me to find more tasks we can get done that I would normally just put off because it’s just such an easy way to keep him happy and occupied. Enjoying it while it lasts!
This is going to sound crazy coming from someone who has literally written the book on cleaning (or rather a book 🙂 ), but I’ve rediscovered all of the different settings on my appliances. And let me tell you: Life. Changing. “Sanitize” mode on the dishwasher? Astounding. “Heavy Duty” on the dryer? Amazing! For some reason, I’d just gotten into the habit of using the same basic settings over and over again, and then after awhile I just forgot that there were others and was confused when things weren’t working as well as they should. We can really run into issues with our country well water out here, but as I’ve recently discovered, a lot of our issues can be solved just by turning the dial one place to the right. Who knew? Ha! If you’d like to brush up on some of my favourite cleaning methods, like I clearly should, you can find my cleaning book here on Amazon.
News and Finds
- We’re in Country Sampler Farmhouse Style magazine! You can find a little story all about our family’s journey from living in the big city to our old house in the country in the Autumn 2021 issue, which is out on newsstands now! I love that we’re all in there together and I think it will be such a fun little keepsake for our kids to have.
- I’ve been a bit quiet in general with our busy summer schedule, but I’m doing a much better job of updating my Instagram page lately. Follow me over there for day-to-day life and random pretty finds and house projects that aren’t quite worthy of a full blog post, but that are still worth sharing. 🙂
- This new marble chain that I picked up for styling for Art & Spaces shoots has been getting so much love lately. I get asked about where I found it almost every single time I bring it along with me to a shoot. It really is a thing of beauty and just looks so artful and sophisticated anywhere I plunk it down. Highly recommend it if you’re looking for a pretty new accessory for a shelf or your coffee table!
- My inbox has been filling up with all kinds of “fall preview” collection notifications from different brands and I’m trying not to be too fall-minded too early, especially because fall doesn’t really get underway here until October and September still feels like summer, usually. But it’s definitely exciting. One early fall collection that really caught my attention (again, of course) is the Studio McGee line for Threshold at Target. It’s just too much for me, honestly. So many things that have specifically been on my lists for my own home and for my collection of styling supplies for “work”, and of course, all way more affordable than the versions of the same items that I have sitting in all my online shopping carts already. I mean, look at these over-sized ceramic beads! I have almost this exact vase in a shopping cart right now that’s selling for $98! This cute cookbook stand! My dream chandelier! The pendant I’ve been envisioning for the back staircase! Can’t wait to be able to cross the border!
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.