Wednesday, April 27, 2011

We-Design-Day: Project Design Boards

This week, I want to show you a set of complete design board from my final project at design school. I scored very high on this project (my recollection is 98%) – it was a combination of good design, adhering to the clients “Wish List”, a strong presentation, eye catching theme and striking design boards. This is one of my key portfolio pieces – although I’ve worked on commercial, residential and institutional projects since my graduation, this project is still one of the highlights of my career as a designer. Perhaps it was because I’m very outdoorsy and I “clicked” with the project (Jasper National Park is my second home) or because I truly believed in what I presented. For me, it captures the intent of creating an accurate and realistic portrayal of Jasper 400 kilometers away in an airport terminal.

Revisiting these boards, there are a couple things I’d change – mostly, it was in the presentation. First, if I could do it over, I’d change the title block. My lines around the board aren’t all even (which really bugs me now) and I’d include my updated logo. I think I’d also upgrade the finishes, however, I do recall being limited to what was in Sample Library at my college. I think I’d also remount the menu – the interior isn’t captured here – the interior is linen paper with torn edges that I carefully stained to present an antique look replicating what kind of menu may have been available 100 years ago at the Jasper Park Lodge.

That said; let’s go through the boards and explain what each one is and why it's important to a project.

Floor Finish Plan: There are various types of flooring used in a commercial space, all of which must be durable, resilient and aesthetically pleasing. Transitions should be seamless and it’s important to get the flow correct from space to space.

Furniture Layout: I had a programme that defined how many seats they needed. The client also expressed a desire for different groupings, enclosed/private rooms, bar seating and a ‘dining’ zone as well as a more formal, longer stay dining area.

Reflected Ceiling Plan: This included architectural design with transition and elevation changes coupled with fixed ceilings and dropped ceilings. I also had to add mechanical components (return and supply air, fire and safety) and electrical details – lighting (ambient, task and accent) and communications systems.

Elevations: Elevations are flat, two dimension drawings that further work to illustrate your design. Again, this can all be CAD generated and now, CAD rendered too. They can be further tweaked with other graphic software too (Illustrator comes to mind). They are an important tool for helping your Client realize and understand your proposal. I have two boards in this project with elevations and I even snuck on an extra perspective drawing. If I recall, part of the reason was the river stone ceiling – my prof wanted “proof of concept” – she needed to make sure what I was proposing was feasible and wouldn’t look “weird”. With new faux-stones, it is a very real and plausible application.


Design Tip: Think outside normal – that’s how trends are built.

Perspectives: This where your design can “pop” and sell itself. All the finish boards and floor plans can’t sell your design like a three dimensional image. Frankly, I’ve done better perspectives than these – drawing isn’t really my forte but they were strong enough to “sell” the concept. Now, with CAD and great 3D modeling programs, doing things “by hand” are virtually a thing of the past. However, the know-how of hand drawing perspectives or isometrics is invaluable if you are trying to help a client understand something on the on the spot. A quick 3D sketch in a notebook can finalize a Client’s understanding of your concept.

Fixtures: This is where you are making your design concrete. Here you want to illustrate real, available products or concept sketches to have millwork fabricated. If you can’t find it – design it – but make sure your budget will allow for the special costs of creating a “one of”.

Finishes: These are the most commonly seen and used boards in interior design and interior decorating. This board is valuable in the sense that it provides the Client with a touchable product. Many people are very tactile and having this available to them is important. Most of the government projects I’ve worked on develop three of these – one for the client, the property manager and one for the architect who uses it to specify the finishes to the trades people.


Other: Depending on the project, you may be asked to do anything from logo creation to menu design. I've done merchandising for a couple of projects - do only what your are comfortable undertaking and know when it's best to refer the Client to another professional.

If you'd like to see the boards in more detail, I've created a slide show of the larger photographs of the boards. Just click below to take it to a full screen image.

A big thank you to my husband who photographed the boards for me! Images and the work contained on the boards are protected by Copyright. No reproductions or recreation of the work should be done without consent of Blue Door Interiors Inc. or Blackstone Images Ltd.

Monday, April 25, 2011

MPM # 50


It's a holiday here in Alberta (or at least for some of us) - Easter Monday... It's a good thing too because I need to recover from yesterday! Although we only had 10 for dinner, I spent the day cooking and prepping - which I love! We had a typical dinner - turkey, potatoes, gravy, stuffing with broccoli and corn (yum) but for dessert, I tried two new recipes - Coconut Cream cheesecake pie and Chocolate Cream Cheesecake pie! Toss in the Belgian waffles and whipped cream I made for breakfast and it meant I spent 3/4 of my day in the kitchen! Although I don't need to eat that well everyday, I do enjoy spending my days creating and cooking. Now only if I had a bigger kitchen... ;)

We also were able to unearth our barbeque this week and we enjoyed a fantastic steak and Gramma's Potato Salad dinner followed the next night by BBQ hamburgers with vegetables and dip. TroubleMaker and my husband were in food heaven!

Another month is soon to wrap up so I'll be planning another monthly menu this week. I'm still working on my easier, greener method but it's taking a bit of time to get it all together. I'm hoping to be able to share it for my one year "blogiversary" so I better continue to work on it!

Here's what's cooking around our house this week...

April 25 to May 1
Monday: Hot Turkey Sandwiches with Poutine
Tuesday: Weeknight Lasagne Toss
Wednesday: Chicken, rice and vegetables
Thursday: Tuna Melts with vegetables and dip
Friday: Sweet & Sour Hamburger with fried rice
Saturday: Pizza Party! (with this crust)
Sunday: BBQ Chicken with Frog's BBQ Sauce

For more great ideas, check out the Org Junkie's Menu Plan Monday! Thank you for stopping by and we'll see you again soon.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

52 Week Challenge: Week 16 Cupboard of Doom's Neighbour

First, I'm a day late in doing Week 16 but I did manage to tackle what I set out to do last week...

The Cupboard of Doom's neighbour "Closet of Dread". I know that sounds dramatic but I must confess (being it's Easter Weekend and all, that seems oddly appropriate) - I am not organized nor am I really tidy and today's organizing task kind of proves that.

The Closet of Dread

You see, I found some fur balls which gave way to other fur balls which, naturally, had fur ball babies. By the end of it, I think I pretty much vacuumed up a cat. Which is truly only funny if you know that we have a cat that doesn't shed much... Little Miss B And that I've only seen the business of a vacuum a couple of times since 2003... (my husband can and will attest to that - but I still adamantly insist that it is because of my back surgery in 2003...). :P It also just goes to show you how long it's been since I've seen the floor of this particular closet...

None the less, I had a plan and a purpose. Spring may have finally arrived in Alberta... I saw a robin today and it hasn't snowed in a week! This inspired me to action.

Photobucket The Floor (before)

There are things in there I don't remember putting there... But I'm proud (?) to admit that I did finally unpack the last box (from our 2004 move) a couple of years ago, so at least that still wasn't sitting there waiting for me!

Photobucket The Shelf (before)

I always thought the shelf was reasonably organized with our disposable dishes. Until I began to understand the organization was not just about having things all located in the same place.

Photobucket The Shelf (after part 1)

First, I put all the decorations from TroubleMaker's birthday party in the bag to give away. I mean really, why do I need seven dinosaur hats?

Photobucket The Shelf (after part 2)

Hey! Look - there are the special napkins we need for the napkin holder in the motorhome! I just knew I had bought an industrial sized back a few years ago!

Photobucket The Floor (after)

And now I know where my steel toed boots are too! And those heels - OMG - they are THE BEST! And they were only $40!

Photobucket The Finished Product

And now, winter is safely tucked away for another year... However, my mother in law reminded me that on May 4, 2010 we had a wicked snow storm and perhaps I had put things away a little too early...

Having concluded another task, I, of course, went to brag and look for praise from my husband... As he was stuffing his new summer clothes in his dresser drawer, he said "I really need to clean and sort my dresser drawers!". How apropos? Week 17, anyone!? We decided, as a family, to go through our dressers on Monday and all work on Week 17 together!

Check out some other great projects at the Org Junkie's 52 Week Challenge! Thank you for stopping by and we'll see you again soon!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

We-Design-Day: Ceilings, lighting and power - Lighting 101

I'm still working on getting my boards together to present to you, however, after meeting with my step dad this past weekend to talk "power", I realized that I needed to complete a couple of additional drawings before moving forward too much more.

First, one very necessary part of this basement renovation is to add more power outlets and upgrade the lighting. And as troubled as I've been with the storing of my craft stuff, the other issue I have is not being able to see what I'm doing! There was a time, when I was much, much younger, when colours did not bleed together but now navy often looks black and black can look like navy. Furthermore, I believe about five years ago, they started making the eye on my sewing machine needles smaller... ;-)

Let's look at the basics of lighting.

There are three types of lighting generally used in an environment (home, office, etc). The first is ambient - or the overall level of lighting. Ambient lighting is the lighting that provides general light for seeing where you are going and for basic activities (most kitchens have only 'ambient' lighting). They do not specifically highlight an area but rather work to just light the area. Think of the ceiling mounted fixture in your bedroom and that will give you the idea of the task ambient lighting performs. It can come in many varieties - ceiling mounted, sconces, recessed, etc.

The second is task lighting. As its name suggests, task lighting is used to highlight work being done in a space. This doesn't necessary mean focused spot lights but lighting that will enhance and highlight a work area. Under cabinet lighting, lamps (if used in conjunction with other ambient light), track or recessed are all examples of task lights. Keep in mind that the main function of task lighting is to reduce eyestrain so the lighting type selected should not cause glare or harsh shadows.

Finally, we have accent lighting. Accent lighting serves to highlight a feature - often artwork, architectural detail or focal points. For accent lighting to be most effective, it needs to considerably brighter than the lighting that surrounds it. The rule of thumb is three times as bright so that it creates drama and interest. Generally, this type of lighting includes track, recessed or art lights.

Want to know more about lighting? Check out these sites for tips, ideas and more information...
American Lighting Association
Lighting.Com - your source for everything lighting

In basements, the easiest method of ceilings is T-Bar or dropped ceilings. A dropped ceiling uses acoustical panels suspended in a grid (t-bar) system. It provides the most flexibility as often, in basements, there are ‘things’ that one needs to access in the floor joists above. In our basement, I know we’ve got two different points we need to get to – the underground sprinkler system and the outside water taps.

Furthermore, when wiring in basements, one must ensure that there are no concealed junction boxes. A T-bar ceiling is not considered concealed, therefore, it isn’t as difficult or costly to run additional power and lighting because junction boxes can be installed to carry the power where needed.

Design Tip Be sure to check all local building codes for your area before commencing any work. Additionally, most home improvements require permits before work can commence. Check with your local government for information on permits and the laws specific to your area.

One complaint people often have about grid ceilings is the lack of aesthetics. However, there have been huge leaps and bounds in the availability of different ceiling tiles – many are far more pleasing to the eye than any style of gypsum ceiling! Check out Armstrong for some of the most recent innovations and perhaps the most excellent variety of available patterns and designs. The only limit is your budget! And mine is limited – I know what I want to install but unfortunately, our budget will only allow me to patch the ceiling between the two rooms. I did think about doing just my studio, but to have it look proper, I’d need to redo the entire ceiling and there is just no money for that! Maybe one day…

Photobucket Partial Reflected Ceiling Plan

“How’s your power? Your juice? You know, your amps? Do you like your current direct?!” This is the first few lines from a recent television for the Alberta Utilities Commission. I like it because I like power, my favourite symbols on my drawings are usually electrical. Mostly because it’s easy for me to say I want power here, here and there. But then it’s up to the electrician and the electrical engineer to make it happen – and they always do!

Planning power seems simple enough – at least the layout of it. I like to think about the room, what will be used in the room and how I may reconfigure the space in the future. Currently, our basement seriously lacks electrical outlets (want to impress your friends – call them “duplex receptacles”). There are two in the main area and two in each of our offices. Just about everywhere you go is snaked mess of extension cords and power bars. This works for the moment but I know my husband has no space left to plug anything in around his computer! My sewing machines and iron are snaked all the way around the room to the nearest outlet and the electronics in the TV area are fed through the wall, down and into a cord that plugs into the only outlet across the room.

We need power – and lots of it! The problem, of course, is that all the walls I want to add power to are finished. This poses a problem for the electrician as they must then fish and feed. Thankfully, the grid ceiling makes it a bit easier but of course, it all takes time, which adds up. Furthermore, you must ensure you’ve got room on the panel. Again, I would only hire a qualified electrician to do this work. There are some things one can DIY – electrical usually isn’t one the everyday Home Reno Hero should attempt. Its money well spent – especially considering doing it incorrectly could kill you and cause a devastating home fire!

When planning commercial spaces, the ‘rule of thumb’ is to put a duplex receptacle every 12’ for ‘housekeeping’. I know there is a formula for residential too but I believe it’s important to not overload a circuit as well as keep in mind the space use. For my husband’s office, it will be a table top studio – he has lights, equipment, and his needs are high. In our family room, we’ve got electronics, lamps and a phone so it’s more about convenience than need – especially considering the likelihood of the of all the electronic components being on at once! In that space we can optimize what is existing and move it so it has better proximity to the area.
My studio needs some additional outlets too. I'm planning and adding quadriplexes at the locations I need – this will give us four plug-ins at the location which should meet most of the needs we have. I'm finalizing the layout and electrical needs of my husband's studio so I'll post that plan next week.

Thank you for stopping by – if you have any questions about lighting or electricity, please send me a message and I'll do what I can to help and tap my resources for more answers!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

MPM # 49

Ahhhh... Sunday evening - we just finished supper and munched on an overcooked bite-sized brownie. TroubleMaker is watching a new DVD and my honey is sitting with his feet up (napping). I had a fantastic weekend at my Mom's. My sister and niece came up with TroubleMaker and I on Friday. As usual, my Mom spoiled us and it was great to be a kid again... I love going home to my Mom's. She cooks, cleans and takes such good care of us - I really do feel guilty for indulging myself that way! Mom's are great and I feel recharged and refreshed!

Coming up is Easter... And a houseful (I hope) and a revision to the menu I had planned.

Here's what's cooking around our house this week...

April 18 to 27
Monday: Chicken Burgers
Tuesday: Santa Fe Shepherd's Pie
Wednesday:Tater Tot Casserole
Thursday: Pork Chops
Friday: Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Saturday: New Recipe (TBD)
Sunday: Turkey?

For more great ideas, check out the Org Junkie's Menu Plan Monday! Thank you for stopping by and we'll see you again soon.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

52 Week Challenge: Week 15

Week 15 - I can't believe I've been at this challenge for 15 weeks. That's staying power! I'm mostly keeping on track - although this week, my planned challenge did not happen.

You see, it's April - the middle of April and one would think that by this point in the year, it would be safe to change the winter coats for spring coats and winter boots for rubber boots and runners. But Alberta is a tricky place. So, this week, my plan and goal was to clean out the front hall closet. I wanted to pack away the winter coats and bring out the spring wear. Change winter boots for rubber boots and bring out the sandals and runners and stow the mittens, toques and scarves. I wanted to organize the picnic gear and sort the extra things we store in closet (like facial tissue). I had a plan, I had a goal, I even had the motivation.

I went to work this morning, plan in mind for when I got home.

But then it started. And it's been more than 12 hours now and it still hasn't stopped.


I've lived here all my life and the only month I've not seen snow fall is July. April storms are not an unusual, 12 to 30 cm of snow is.


So my planned task didn't get done. However, I have planned a trip to my Mom's with my sister and our kids... And I thought wouldn't it be a nice surprise if I made my "Week 15 Task" an organizing task for my Mom? Since I started the challenge, she's been inspired and has started her own list! So, tomorrow, when we get to Mom's, I'm going to tackle something on her list! Check back tomorrow evening for my update!

Evening update... We arrived safely at my Mom's... I set out to organize something and her reply to me... "Well, that would be great but the only thing that needs organizing right now is my cluttered mind..." So, since I'm an Interior Designer and not a psychiatrist, I looked for another task. My talented (yet oddly annoying) sister said if I really wanted a challenge, I should come and organize her house. That is a job not even Laura could (or would want to) tackle...

So this, I tackled my wallet. Sounds simple enough until one realizes I hoard things in there too... Like all the cards marking my prenatal appointments. I was pregnant in 2007...


There were also some requisitions for blood work... So long ago, I can't remember where they were issued. Many, many receipts (dating back to 2008) and the typical things like gift cards, store point cards and my bank cards. Also OLD business cards (mine and others) and remnants of sticky notes with partial phone numbers.


After a brief discussion with my Mom about the age of my wallet, it was unanimously decided that tomorrow, I will be buying a new wallet. For my current wallet is likely 15 years old. Now that it's tidy and organized and purged of many of the pieces of paper, it will be a joy to move it all to a new and shiny wallet!


Laura also asked some questions this week and it seemed to be the week for organizing closets... So my plan for next week is the front hall closet - the snow can't last forever... Can it? And the one habit I've managed to build since starting the challenge is remembering to always try to put things back where they belong. And although I struggle with this, my three year old TroubleMaker handing my wrist watch to me on Wednesday and saying "Mommy! Put this away where it GOES!"

For more inspiration, check out Laura and all the great people participating in the 52 Week Challenge! Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you again soon!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

We-Design-Day: Design Boards - part one

Throughout my interior design education, I had a love/hate relationship with design presentation boards. They have a purpose, I don’t doubt that but what I do doubt is their efficacy to properly present the design solution. It is easy to get caught up by the glitz and glamour of a well created board but miss the entire point of the exercise which is to present the solution to the problem.

If you’ve ever spent much time watching home renovation TV, it isn’t very often that you see a board – and when you do, it’s usually fairly basic in its design; more often, the presenter has heaps of fabrics layered together and some paint chips. The purpose of the board is to illustrate the drawings (of the space) and a few finishes.

The fact of the matter is, no matter how glitzy, glamorous or even how straight your board is constructed will make up (in the end) for a design solution that doesn’t fit those who hired you to create it. The other thing one must factor in is the cost to create lavish boards and all the hours spent (by the designer or tech) rendering, drawing, editing and gluing the thing together. My time is worth money and I’m not going to put together a board for a client that is anything like the ones I did in college. I spent hours – days even, making them – matching marker colours to the paint selections and then working diligently on recreating the patterns and textures. It was insane and no one is going to pay me to do that! Yes, there are places where that is necessary and if you are building a 5 star resort or an executive office tower that may be done. But for the run of the mill interior renovation, it’s not likely going to happen. Furthermore, with the advent of computer generated graphics, often a “3D fly through” (or walk through) will replace the old fashioned rendered drawing.

So what does happen? My usual presentation includes 11x17 black line drawings, perhaps a wire frame 3D drawing and a board with the specified furnishings and finishes. Simple, easy and still allows the design to shine. I may render the elevations and floor plan but it depends on the job and the time I have. It also depends on the clients need – often people have a difficult time visualizing a space from a floor plan. Often a three dimensional drawing can help bring it together and make the space real for them.

But because I have a full time job and because I have a three year old at home, my own projects don’t always get the special touch they require. I’m also having a difficult time deciding on certain finishes. I know at this point it’s about finding the solution but part of my job is to keep the budget in mind. Thus far, I’ve spent (on paper) nearly $800 on furnishings and flooring… It isn’t the flooring I really want but it’s what I can afford and I’m experiencing the same difficulties when it comes to my lighting and ceiling solutions. Honestly, I want really nice 2x2 ceiling tiles in my sewing area with good lighting. The reality is I can probably only afford to patch the existing ceiling and get new lighting. Our basement doesn’t have much in the way of power and it is obvious we need to spend the money where it counts and right now, that’s upgrading our existing electrical needs.

Design Tips Be sure your design budget includes a contingency fund to cover any unforeseen costs that may arise during construction. A good rule of thumb is 10% of the expected cost. But depending on the scale of the project, consider having a 25% contingency - if you need it, you have it but if you don't it allows you to do some extras at the end of the project or roll it over to the next project!

Today I’ve got the first board part way to completion. Before presenting, I wanted to ensure I had the storage issues put to rest! After many hours of searching, thinking and trying out different ideas, I think I’ve found one that will work for me and hopefully provide enough flexibility that it can grow with me as well.

Reality isn't always fun... What reality issues have you been dealing with on your projects? Thanks for stopping by and we'll see you soon!

Due to technical difficulties, I'm not able to share the scan of the board... Instead, I'll share one of the elevations while I work towards fixing the problem.

Monday, April 11, 2011

MPM # 48

I'm very mixed up with my days. The new menu planner I used this month has the week starting with "Monday" but Saturday and Sunday are at the end of the week... So all my menu plans had to be shifted a day which muddled me up completely!

Last week we did better at following the menu but some hiccups at home also shifted the shopping day - so we didn't catch 10% Tuesday and I had to shuffle the menu again to suit what we had on hand.

Thankfully when my husband did go shopping, we are getting into good fruit season! I'm very tired of canned peaches and apples so the juicy grapes and even better strawberries made eating a pleasure. I think if I lived somewhere other than too close to the North Pole, I'd live on fruit...

This week sees me shifting from a Sunday afternoon dance class to a Monday evening class. It's also earlier in the evening (which is perfect) but it has me home, grabbing a sandwich and dashing out again, thus leaving the boys on their own for another meal... Mondays are going to become our 'simple Monday' menu for the next ten weeks. No one minds really and this means I can get back to my culinary cooking weekends!

Here's what's cooking around our house this week...

April 11 to 17
Monday: Fried Egg Sandwiches
Tuesday: Honey Dijon Chicken with egg noodles
Wednesday:Beef & Bean Burritos (we had this Sunday - I added lots of bell peppers & some mozza before rolling them up and then baked them for 20 minutes at 350 with the Enchilada sauce poured over top and added more cheese)
Thursday: TBD
Friday: Hamburgers & chips
Saturday: Southern Fried Chicken and Gramma's Potato Salad
Sunday: Ginger beef, Fried rice & vegetable stir fry

For more great ideas, check out the Org Junkie's Menu Plan Monday! Thank you for stopping by and we'll see you again soon.

Friday, April 8, 2011

52 Week Challenge: Week 14 TroubleMaker's Toys (Part Two)

Last weekend, in part because of the new influx of toys from TroubleMaker's birthday and in part because of the We-Design-Day project getting closer to implementation, I decided to tackle the play area downstairs in the Family Room. Replacing the current IKEA bin toy storage has been in the works for a while. The IKEA storage unit I purchased some years ago for my sewing room was destined to be the new toy storage for the endless piles of toy cars, dump trucks, tractors and blocks. The problem has always been getting a path to and from the door of my sewing room to the unit... But that, my friends, is an entirely different post...

Instead of waiting any longer, I started piling my stuff up, clearing a roadway. TroubleMaker and I began moving the unit out of my office. TroubleMaker then climbed on top of the unit and yelled "PULL ME!"

I started my three usual piles - keep, garbage and give-away. It was tough. Really tough - my belongings are part of identity. I'm not sure when I would ever use four packages of mobillion elastic but hey, maybe I'll have a new career sewing underwear or bathing suits... It all went into the give away bin with a bunch of other stuff I'll never use. Including a polishing cloth I bought at a home show years ago. I don't polish - I have no idea why I bought it.

So the toys... I'm not sure how our son ended up with so many toys. We've always been very restrictive with the toys. Theming his parties and having serious talks with his grandparents about how much one kid needs... But TroubleMaker loves trucks and diggers and monster trucks and dinosaurs and cars and... It's like me with buttons and my husband with his magazines. I suppose he comes by it honestly.


Next we went through the toys. Of course, we must keep everything (his rule, not mine) and thankfully, it's mostly just vehicles so they all got a drawer bin on the new unit. I had hoped to be able to put his books on the tops of the units but he has a lot of vehicles so some of the cooler trucks (the eco trucks he has) went on top. His ever growing tractor collection has a special place too.


Over all, it's a good fit. His easel is accessible and he's got lots of room to play and importantly, his toys are contained and don't spread through the major traffic areas in the family room anymore!

For more great ideas and to find more organizing inspiration, check out everyone participating in the Organizing Junkie's 52 Week Organizing Challenge! Thank you for stopping by and sharing my journey.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

We-Design-Day: Decision Time!

Last week, I gave myself a deadline - to finalize the floor plan and to plan my colour scheme. I was successful - mostly. I also realized I was stressing about nothing. Furniture isn't fixed in place so even if my proposed layout doesn't work, it doesn't matter - I can move it! Although that may seem obvious to most, I realized I was creating a hurdle I couldn't get over with the path I was on. I'm expecting a level of perfection from this project because I'm sharing it. I want it to be perfect but as I thought about my colour scheme, I really became aware of the fact that I was aiming for a magazine show piece - not a comfortable family room. I'm about comfortable, flexible design that functions and pleases the users. I'm the user - and as much as I am opposed to reclining furniture, I know there is no comfort like my ugly, huge and very blue reclining chair. Furthermore, the sofa we will be using is green. Not a horrid green but it was purchased for the formal living room upstairs and coordinated with the room (and how I planned the room for the future - not thinking that I'd be moving it downstairs).

So, the basement is really a reflection of how my family uses the space. I've incorporated my sewing and design studio with a family workspace, lots of storage for my crafts and sample catalogues. I've worked in play space for TroubleMaker and storage of his toys and I even managed to squeeze in a music area! And, I realized today, that with some careful planning and incorporating the fiction library in the family workspace, we can have our much desired "games area" - complete with bar table AND stools! And it gets better, if you can believe it - this will also give us a gallery space for my husband's photography!


I’m still struggling with the storage solution but I have resolved myself to the necessity of parting with the small retail store I have grown over the past decade. I simply do not have the room to store everything I have. And as much as I have no desire to part with my things, there is no option. This makes me sad – because I have a little of everything and whenever I want to do a craft of just about any variety; I have most of it on hand. More upsetting is the money I’ve spent. But I also understand that so much of what I’ve accumulated over the years has a shelf life and I’m nearing the end of it with most things. I have an acrylic paint collection (I paint all sorts of things – ceramics, wood, use them for kids crafts, etc) but many of the bottles are starting to dry out. If I hang onto them, I will end up tossing them in the trash. By giving them away, at least they will get some use. And when I have more time to do some painting, I can get what I need.

Colour wise, I wish I could really use some great colours down here but the space is small and has no natural light. When we painted we were covering some very dark brown wood panelling so we used a light colour (it was excess paint from a previous home renovation) and I picked a coordinating sandy colour for the trim. It brightened the space considerably but it lacks flair. Since we’ve used the black-brown furniture from IKEA, I will continue that where I can and use a crisp white to coordinate with my sewing cabinetry. I may purchase or make slip covers for the existing furniture (my blue recliner definitely needs something).

Next week, I’m going to go through putting my sample/colour board together and I’ll document the process so that you can create your own board for your renovation! Thanks for reading and we’ll see you next week!

We-Design-Day Fun With Colour update: Last Wednesday at 11:59pm, the poll closed for the four colours I selected for Paul and Michelle’s feature wall. Can you guess which colour was most popular? Was it the one you voted for?

The colour with the most votes was “Rapture” – the fiery, earthy red! I think Paul actually gave an evil genius laugh when I released the results! I’ll be meeting with Paul and Michelle later this month and will post the update and their decision soon!


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

MPM # 47

TroubleMaker's Dinosaur Cake - made with love by me, his Mom!

I’m having a difficult time recuperating from the Week of TroubleMaker’s birthday. I just can’t seem to get into my regular groove. It probably doesn’t help that spring has finally arrived in Alberta and the only place I want to be is not inside! We’ve been getting to +7 Celsius during the day and after a long and snowy winter; I’m ready to bare my arms to the sun! We were even discussing the possibility of trying to please the Sun Gods a couple of weeks ago as the sun had seemingly taken a permanent vacation from these parts.

In attempt to “Green” up my menu planning, I started looking for a digital solution that would allow me to plan a month at a time but still give me the flexibility to look at it in weekly sections. My general practice was to use this menu plan I custom created two years ago when I returned to work after my maternity leave. This allowed me to plan breakfast, lunches and dinners a week at a time and create a weekly shopping list that I could take with me to the store so that I could refer back to the menu before checking out and ensure I had everything required for the menu. It has worked great for us. When I do my month, I sit down with four or five copies and plan. This also allows me to bulk shop and hit sales and coordinate it all with our pay cheques.

The problem is that it isn’t very Earth friendly. Although I do write in pencil, I recycle the menu each week with the trash (I could erase and reuse but I need something time efficient too). This practice seems logical but I want a greener option that makes planning easier and still provides me with a menu I can stick up in the kitchen for quick and easy reference. Along with the planner is my spreadsheet of meals with needs updating often (as I try to include one to four new recipes monthly). So here is my needs assessment:

Hard copy-ready

I have looked at various ideas – chalk board, white board, magnetic board but I’ve found faults with each. Chalk dust is an issue for me (both mess and allergy wise), white boards invariable get TroubleMaker giddy with excitement and his hands black with felt and I have a very large repertoire of meals – too many to make a magnetic board with magnetic dinners feasible.

I’m not certain that one specific solution is the answer. I did find many great ‘online’ planners that I can download and use but then there is always the paper print out. Additionally, of the digital planners I tried, I felt they were not flexible enough and too difficult to edit or modify – even with my computer programme saaviness. The answer? Well, I haven’t figured that out yet but I did decide to try and custom create something that will work for me (and hopefully others) that incorporates ease of use with flexibility. No two people cook the same, nor do two people plan the same so I think it be a challenge but definitely worth the attempt!

This week, I muddled through while my husband played the 75th round of “Monster ‘gucks” with TroubleMaker. I rushed through and made a grocery list for them to take on their Shopping Adventure today.

And since I’m writing on Tuesday and not Monday (or Sunday), I can review the Monday night “new recipe” from Monday night. First, I continue to try the recipes from Kraft’s Canada as they are simple and easy. I don’t always like the fact they push their products but I do understand that’s the whole point, but my disappointment doesn’t come from that. It is actually because everything is so bland in taste and they seem to forget key points like adding a little sugar and some Worchester sauce to canned tomatoes in order to temper the acidity. So, as always, I made it as the recipe said and then add my own enhancements to make it palatable.

Just so you know I seasoned my chicken breasts with salt, pepper, basil and oregano (both sides). I also added about a ½ tsp of sugar, 1 tbsp of Worchester sauce and a good amount of the same seasonings I used to season the breasts. I ended up added about a ¼ cup of sour cream too in an attempt to control the heat of the red pepper flakes – I used red chili pepper flakes and it made it a bit too spicy for TroubleMaker. Oh, and added a diced red pepper. We also served it over spaghetti because I don’t care for rigatoni. I used fresh Parmesan, Asiago and Romano blend cheese and some marble cheese (as I was out of mozza).

April 5 to 11
Monday: Chicken Pomodoro
Tuesday: Boston Brutes
Wednesday: Bacon Cheeseburger Roll-upsThursday: Omelets
Friday: Nachos
Saturday: Enchilada Casserole
Sunday: Crock pot roast beef

How do you plan your menu - any tips, tricks or ideas? For more great ideas, check out the Org Junkie’s Menu plan Monday!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...