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Monday, 23 September 2013

7 Easy Fire Safety Tips for Your Home and Some Really Neat New Smoke Alarms from First Alert Canada!

Did you know that October is Fire Safety Month?

Every year when I start hearing the commercials for Fire Safety Month, I try to make a conscious effort to do a little more thorough check of the Fire Safety situation around the house. This year, I get to help you to do the same and I've got some fun new smoke alarm products from First Alert Canada to show you as well to make it a little more interesting.

Really. Fun and interesting smoke alarms. That's a thing now. These aren't your same old round puck smoke alarms!

Today I'll be showing you two different fancy shmancy high tech alarms that can help to make your job for Fire Safety Month a little easier.

But first, let's look at the current fire safety situation in  my own home. Just for fun.

Well, we have a few smoke alarms here and there, so that's a start. But we also have a lot of this:

and this:

We have a lot of smoke alarm mounting hardware, without the actual alarms. Sometimes multiple times in the same room. I know this is an old house so some of this is bound to happen, but really, what's going on in here?

And this!

Yup, that was set up in November of 2004 and then never touched again.

All these things have been like this since we moved in 2 years ago and it's high time we get things set up properly.

Let's take a look at the Designer Series Alarm first.

This one is really neat. It's actually a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector in one! And it's so small and sleek too!

I love that it's got all that high tech safety goodness all wrapped up into one little package. It really saves your walls from a lot of damage and keeps your decor as the main focus.

It even talks to you! It will tell you whether it's alerting you to a potential smoke/fire hazard or if it has detected carbon monoxide AND you can program it to tell you which room of your home the issue was detected in. It's the stuff of the future, I'm telling you.

Next, let's look at the brand new Atom Alarm.

This is First Alert Canada's brand new state of the art smoke detector and it will be available in Canadian Tire, Lowes, and Walmart stores in just a few weeks. Keep reading! There will be a chance for you to win one of these to try out for yourself at the end of this post!

Seriously, you've never seen anything like this alarm before.

It's got all the latest technology in smoke detection and it's just a little bigger than a speck.

OK, a little bigger than that, but you get what I mean.

I'm sure you've heard that you really should have a lot of these things around your house for optimum fire safety, but that can really mess with your style sometimes. Now you can have these good-looking little guys in every room and you'll hardly even notice them at all.

We realized that the master bedroom was missing an alarm, so we gave it the place of honor in my (soon to be) favorite room of the house.

We placed it in an area that wasn't considered "dead air" according the package directions and you can see it really is so much better to live with than traditional smoke alarms.

So are you ready to get into the Fire Safety swing of things with me next month?

First of all, I made up this easy to follow little printable for you (and me!) to use to see where you might be able to make some improvements in the fire safety situation in your house.

Just click here to get the list so you can print it out.

If you have kids at home, go over the list with them and have them help you to find if you're up to standard in all of these little areas. Look at that! You're getting your home more fire safe and you're teaching the next generation all about proper fire safety practices too! Look at you go!

The next thing you can do is enter to win your own Atom Alarm from First Alert Canada to help you (stylishly) fill any alarm gaps that you might find in your home!

Just use the Rafflecopter widget below to get started!

AND make sure to pop over to the First Alert Canada Facebook page where they'll be giving away one atom alarm every day for the month of October!

Please note: This giveaway is only open to Canadian residents.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck to everyone who enters! Whether you win or not, we can all benefit from taking a little time to look at Fire Safety this October!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

How to Pick the Perfect Light Fixture for Your Room

Thank you so much to Everything Primitives for sponsoring this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Picking the right light fixture for your room can be kind of a big deal. It can make a big impact on a space, whether negative or positive, installation can be a new thrill if you've never tried it before, and it can be a costly investment as well.

So how do you get it right and pick the right one? I'm a big fan of installing new light fixtures in rooms, regardless of whether they're "ready" for them and fully renovated or not. A new light fixture can completely change the feel of the room in a matter of minutes and give your room's sense of style a big boost. They can be moved, reused and enjoyed over and over again so they make a great style investment. Since my house is in that "not so renovated" stage right now, I've gotten pretty good at narrowing down how to pick the right light fixture so that I love it and the style lasts for years until we're done with those renovations.

Pick a Style

You know how when you're planning out a room's style, there's a certain way it's worded in your head? It's never just "I want my room to be a modern room." It's usually something like "It will be modern, but with a touch of vintage and a hint of coastal." Well, all those parts are important to the overall design, but your main light fixture is the place where you should get in your main style statement. The light fixture sets the main tone for the room.

So if it's a modern style room with blah blah blah, the light fixture should give off a strong modern statement, for example.

Sometimes, you may not be able to even word it correctly, but you'll know it when you see it.

My plans for the style of my master bedroom were something along the lines of "Farmhouse with a hint of current cottage style trends and a bit of traditional". For a light fixture, you can't get much more authentically Farmhouse than this Shopkeeper Shade Light from Everything Primitives.

I followed my light fixture picking rules and it turned out absolutely perfectly. Even if I'm not totally sure the rest of the room lives up this light yet, the right light fixture moves everything in the right direction.

Make a Statement

Before adding in your new light fixture, your room may seem pretty neutral in style. You may be worried that a bold light fixture will stick out like a sore thumb.

My main bathroom was feeling rather "blah" until I added in these shaded scones. They may seem a little unusual for a bathroom, especially these days, but they gave just the nod to the traditional feel that was popular when my house was built that I was looking for. The lady at the lighting store thought I was a little nuts, but for me, they made the room.

A light fixture is the crowning jewel of a room. Even if everything else around it seems plain by comparison, don't be afraid to go bold. Go for it! You won't regret it.

Think About Scale

Think about things like your ability to walk under a light, or to place items on a table under a light, but throw out all the other "rules" that you've heard about choosing the right sized fixture.

The size is really up to you. I just use what I call the "in your face" rule. As in, how "in your face" do I want this light to be? Do I want it to subtly influence the way people feel about the style of a room without them noticing it or do I want people to literally say "Wow! Look at that light fixture!" There's absolutely a place for both in every house. :)

Up Lights vs. Down lights and the number of bulbs

The direction that the light shines out of a light fixture can really change the way a room feels. If you currently have a chandelier, for example, that shines downward on a table, switching to a lantern style light that bounces light off of the ceiling can really change everything. It can give you a feeling of a fresh new perspective, and it can also make you notice imperfections in your room that you never noticed were there before. :) So just something to think about.

In general, lights that shine upward give a room a brighter, higher energy feel and lights that shine downward create an instant intimate and cozy mood.

Obviously, the number of bulbs in a fixture will greatly impact its brightness as well. Three bulbs in a chandelier in a small hallway will feel extra bright, while the same light fixture in a large kitchen will create a medium light brightness and you may require extra lighting in the room for work spaces. In a bedroom or living room where a cozy feel is the way to go and extra lamps are available around the room, a single bulb pendant light can be just perfect.

Consider Your Source and Quality

In the world of lighting, there are definitely places for both standard quality light fixtures that you may find in a big box store, and higher quality investment type light fixtures that you will get from a specialty retailer.

It can be fun to play around with bargain priced lights in some areas of your home, but consider spending a little more time and enjoying the process a little more when choosing something like an over-the-bed light that you'll be waking up to and staring at every single day.

There's something to be said for the experience of shopping with a specialty retailer. The instructions and extra materials for my light from Everything Primitives came wrapped up in a brown paper bag with a matching tag and for me, that just added to the fun. Pulling out this amazing rusted-finish chain that went perfectly with the fabrics that I've chosen was a little more exciting that way. :)

 Needless to say, I love light fixtures and I've put a lot of thought into them. I'll probably still pick mine up from the big box stores every now and then, but I haven't regretted spending a little more to get the great quality finishes and bold styles on lights from specialty retailers likes the ones I've shown you today.

So go ahead! Make a statement and set your room's style with a new light!

P.S. If you happen to catch yourself oggling all the stunning light fixtures and other fine country style wares at Everything Primitives, like I always do, we have a coupon code for you! Use the code creekline to get 5% off of any order, with no minimum purchase necessary.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Making County Fair Candy Apple Jelly with Bernardin!

I was so excited to finally fulfil my dream of learning about canning with the help of Bernardin recently!

They gave me one of their starter kits to try out and I have to say it was just perfect. It's everything a beginner needs to get started, but it has all the tools you need to take you through as you learn more and more about canning and get more and more adventurous.

You'll want to hang in until the end of this post today because I'll be sharing a really fun recipe with you and one of my readers will even get to win a kit of their own!

Of course I had to come up with a fun recipe to try, even though it was only my first time. I mentioned the idea of this jelly recipe to Kennedy and she was so excited! So that settled it. This is a perfect no mess, no fuss type of jelly for when you're just getting your feet wet.

I also think it's perfect for this time of year. It has great end-of-Summer-and-into-Fall flavors and now I've got a whole batch just waiting to be enjoyed once the weather starts to cool down.

Here's the easy-peasy recipe!

(Adapted from Taste of Home)

4 cups of Apple Juice
1/2 cup Cinnamon Heart Candies
1 package of Bernardin Pectin (57g)
4 1/2 cups of Sugar

That's it!

In a large saucepan, mix the juice, candies, and pectin. Bring it to a full boil, stirring constantly. Stir in the sugar and bring it back to a boil. Boil for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and ladle into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch of head space. Place the new lids on top of your jars and close them up with the metal bands until they're just finger tight. Process in a boiling water canner for 5 minutes. See how easy that was?

I only made 4 jars because I had these really pretty little jars that came with my kit, but I could have probably made 6-8 little jelly jars from this recipe quite easily. I just put the extras in the fridge to enjoy right now.

It really only took about 45 minutes including clean up! I can't believe I waited so long to learn about canning!

Here's how it all went down:

The kit arrived just like this all together in a big happy box.

Really simple, straightforward instructions were included. They really made it seem easier than anything else I've read online. Look how happy those ladies are on the front! It can't be that hard if they're laughing like that!

They also included a whole bunch of goodies for decorating the jars for gifting with my kit. Bernardin will be selling jar decorating kits at Canadian Tire stores in Canada starting in the fall. That's how I managed to get my jars looking so cute, in case you were wondering. No decorating skills needed!

These cute jar labels are included in the kits too!

Speaking of jars, here's a close of up the jars included with the kit.

I washed them and then warmed them up in the canner just like it said to in the instructions.

And speaking of the canner...

Isn't it a beauty? I thought I was a little strange for being so in love with a big pot, but then Kennedy came home from camp and said "Oooo! Pretty! Did they really give this to you?" So the love of canning must be genetic.

I mixed up my simple recipe and got my canning complete in no time flat.

I may have stolen a candy or two along the way...

Here's how it looked when it was all done! It really looks like it was done by someone who knows what they're doing, doesn't it? That's the power of having the right tools!

Bernardin will be hosting an event called National Can it Forward Day on August 11th at 1pm this year. Whether you're an experienced canner or are just looking to try it out, they have a whole day dedicated to getting you excited about canning! You can follow along with the event hosted by the Bernardin head chef Emerie Brine and even ask questions in a live chat or on Twitter! You'll have to check it out if you're at all interested in learning about the art/craft/awesomeness of canning!

So are you ready to win a kit of your own and get started on a lifetime of canning?

Just fill out the form below! The winner will be announced after National Can it Forward Day on August 11.

Please note that this Giveaway is only open to Canadian residents.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you so much to Bernardin for sponsoring this post and for providing me with the kit to help me achieve my canning dreams!

Good luck everyone!

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Spring Fantel (Fake Mantel) Decor with Rubino Fine Art!

I have just been craving green like crazy these days. When Rubino Fine Art sent me this amazing painting featuring all different tones of green, I couldn't resist putting it front and center in my living room for the season and decorating around it on the fantel (that's the sawhorse-like structure I use to decorate like a mantel, for all you newbies around here).

Green, green, and more green! I love it!

First a little bit about this painting:

It's called All The Presidents Signatures, and that's exactly what it is. You can get lost staring at it for hours trying to decipher all the scribbles and see if you can read who's who. It's a real conversation starter too!

The neatest thing about this painting though, is that it originally looked like this:

Then this:

Then this, this, and this:

In fact, Rubino Fine Art can change the color tones on ANY of their paintings to match your decor exactly! How fun is that?

And you can order it in whatever format fits your budget, whether it's a canvas print like mine, a framed print, a standard print, or even a greeting card!

So you can get the perfect art at a pricepoint you can afford. I just love it. 

You can see the quality of the canvas print is great and the colors are so vibrant!

I have a feeling that this painting may end up as the inspiration for the decor in the room we're working on upstairs, but for now, I just wanted to have it here and enjoy it everyday.

Flowers in green and white.

Hand painted "Hoppy Easter" signs in green. Yes, my sense of humor is that lame. Kennedy is so embarrassed! 

Fresh green ribbon...

Holding up a real egg garland. (Tutorial coming soon!)

I love how thick and chunky the canvas print it. It will look great on a wall, but it can also stand up quite happily on its own.

All in all, it's just the hit of green I need to get me through these last days of Winter! 

What do you think? Are you loving the green or do you have a different favorite version of this painting?

Check out Rubino Fine Art and see if something there catches your eye! 

Disclaimer: I was compensated by Rubino Fine Art for this post, but all opinions, and the pleasure of getting to enjoy this amazing piece of art every day, are my own! 

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