Special thanks to Metrie for partnering with me on this post.
When I was just starting out as a young designer, I did not understand interior mouldings. Crown mouldings, baseboards, trim, chair rail- it was all very confusing to me. The vast number of options available when I would visit a lumber retailer would make me go cross eyed. I just found it really overwhelming.
Fast forward a little while and I stumbled upon 90-year old company Metrie and their Then & Now collections. What they have done is reduced the overwhelm that can occur with making selections- and grouped their offerings according to style, making it simple for the designer and amateur alike to pick products with confidence.
Following this crash course in interior moulding education I have fallen in love with the results that happen with gorgeous interior mouldings- and I think you will too.
Here are a few reasons why interior mouldings make all the difference:
With interior mouldings you can design a truly custom look for your home. From French Country to Art Deco style influences, interior mouldings really define a space in the way furniture and art cannot. Mouldings can determine how casual or formal a space will be, and certainly leave the lasting impression of customized design.
In my own home, we applied crown mouldings, baseboards and very simple applied moulding in large windows in my master bedroom. The cost of the materials was inexpensive- but the results look like a lot more. Painted out all the same hue, it is incredible what a small amount of dimension on the walls can do to raise the elegance factor. Since we kept the moulding design fairly simple, we were able to keep the costs relatively low.
3. ADD POLISH TO UNEXPECTED SPACES
In my home gym, I wanted the space to feel polished and elegant- and not so much like a utilitarian home gym. We accomplished this by again using crown moulding, baseboards from the Very Squarecollection, as well as Metrie applied moulding, this time all painted out white to keep the space fresh and bright. The result is an unexpected level of polish in what could have been a boring utilitarian room. I also love if I ever want to swap this room into a bedroom for my growing family, the change will be fairly simple to make!
I love accenting the ceiling- I have done so in the past with a painted stripes, wallpaper and contrast paint. But my favourite way to accent a ceiling is with gorgeous trim details. They sky's the limit to what you can do on a ceiling- from very formal, to very modern, to very whimsical. Interior mouldings are an excellent way to provide understated detail to the often neglected 5th wall.
Even if it's just baseboards- interior mouldings are necessary to make a room feel complete. And always go big on baseboards- for 8' ceilings I prefer a 5" baseboard.
As you can probably tell I am just a wee bit passionate about the impact interior finishes have on a space. If you are overwhelmed like I was, don't fret- start here. Metrie has even made it really simple by providing an online quiz to help determine your style.
Photos of my home gym and bedroom by Larry Arnal. All other trim detail shots provided by Metrie.
Exciting news! After living with a backyard that was essentially a mosquito haven and where you could barely distinguish the grass from the weeds, we are embarking on a fun outdoor renovation- and of course I am going to share it all with you here.
In anticipation for all the work ahead of me I naturally did a ton of research on what I would want to include in a modern, small space, outdoor oasis in the city. If you are about to take on an outdoor project here are a few fun outdoor gadgets your family will love you for!
Outdoor entertaining really does begin with the meal, doesn't it? And in the summer, who doesn't love a barbecue. Now I am no chef- far from one- but I must be honest, I feel like I am Cordon Bleu trained cooking at this beast. Our family got the Genesis Gas Grill model, which has ample grill space for a large family like mine. Food cooks efficiently and evenly and my favourite thing about it is its stylish black colour.
In high heat temperatures, it can actually be a bit hazardous for some people to be outside. At 3 months pregnant, I basically need to live in front of a fan in the summer- so I am thrilled that we are adding an outdoor air cooler to our backyard. We have been using it inside while our backyard is an excavated mess- and it is a pretty powerful beast. Filled with water either from the tap or directly from your garden hose, it cools the air down by ten to fifteen degrees and can cool 320 to 800 square feet. We are placing ours right next to our seating area, which will be so helpful to ward off bugs as well- and keep my small kids and pregnant me cool in high summer heat.
This is just a neat product. Yard work can be sweaty and exhausting- but with this little robotic friend it doesn't have to be. The Husqvarna Automower does as the name suggests- automatically mows your lawn for you while you put your feet up. You establish a boundary line, set the length of grass desired, and the lawn mower goes to work, designed to operate rain or shine. The unit also comes with an anti-theft device incase anyone tries to remove the mower off your property.
In a similar way to interior design, how you light a place can really enhance and highlight the design. We're putting in inexpensive pathway lighting that operates with solar power and automatically turns on when it gets dark. The result is ambient lighting where you need it. Solar lighting has also come a long way in its design with decorative pendants in clusters like this one. And of course, when your decorative accents are priced so affordably like they are at Walmart, that is always a bonus.
Stay tuned as I share the progress of my backyard- I cannot wait to get out there with my family!
Special thanks to the brands mentioned above for partnering with me on my backyard renovation. After doing lots of homework in the area of outdoor renovations, they are brands I am enthusiastically excited about and happy to share with my audience.
Today's post topic makes me laugh out loud because I really need to be reminded of this advice. If you follow me on instagram (or you heard it from my mother) you might know we are expecting baby Canning #6! New life in our house is a really exciting thing- I love what God is doing in our lives with this new baby.
But of course, pregnancy and child raising isn't always an easy task. This time around- very much a first- I am so incredibly nauseous at night time. Night time, incase you aren't aware, is sacred time for moms with small kids! It is QUIET, SANITY RESTORING, NO ONE IS WHINING TIME. So to feel sick when I typically recharge the batteries has been a bit of a transition. And a big time challenge.
So if you are a new parent- or are currently pregnant and exhausted- I am with you. And you are awesome. And today's post is particularly aimed at new parents who are feeling overwhelmed- from a fellow mom of soon-to-be 6 who needs these reminders all the time. I hope these small tips help to reduce your overwhelm.
1. BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF
I think a big challenge that comes with being a new parent is feeling like you are in such unfamiliar territory. There is no rule book when it comes to parenting- but when you go online or join a motherhood Facebook group SURPRISE! there appears to be a million rule books that you somehow missed the memo on.
Another big challenge today is that comparison is so easy in the land of digital perfect-ness. I find instagram particularly dangerous for this- as while everything might be glamorous and oh-so-put-tgoether in 9 little squares, it can be easy to forget that there might very well be a whole other story unfolding behind the camera lens.
Parenting is a skill- and like any other skill, can take time to develop. Some people fall into parenthood with ease. For others the learning curve might be higher. The key takeaway here is to be gentle with yourself and not compare yourself too much to other people. You can do this.
2. FILTER THE ADVICE
You will get SO MUCH ADVICE as a new parent, or newly pregnant person. Don't eat this, don't do this, this will harm your child, this will harm you, you're not doing enough, you're doing too much, blah blah blah blah blah blah. And while there is a lot of really great advice out there- I really recommend you filter it. As I mentioned above, when you are a new parent you are in unchartered waters. You don't have the confidence that comes from doing things with experience. So while advice is great and can often be helpful, my suggestion is to filter it. Take the advice, welcome the advice, but then filter it on your own.
At the end of the day it is YOUR child you are raising, and YOU, not a collective group of people, are responsible for their safety, development, and character at the end of the day. So the decision to act on advice is yours, no matter how loud the voices.
3. TREASURE THIS TIME
The very early days of new parenthood can be a bit of a groggy mess. Your body is getting used to a new normal, your schedule is totally different, your entire existence has changed- and this is a great thing. You are now a mom. You MADE A PERSON. And that is pretty incredible and such an accomplishment.
I remember talking to a friend of mine who lamented that they felt like all they did that day in terms of productivity was changed a diaper, took and shower and unloaded the dishwasher- and what a stark comparison this was to the fast-paced productive life they lived prior to having their first baby.
Boy can I relate to this- as someone who has Acheiver in my top Strength Finder strengths I can attest that it can feel like your level of productivity goes way down. But this is simply not true. The mere act of bonding with your baby, being present to them, giving them the security, the comfort, and presence ONLY YOU CAN GIVE THEM AS THEIR MOM is being productive. Sure, it can feel like you did not do anything all day but let me assure you that being this babies' mother is the most important thing you are doing right now AND ONLY YOU CAN DO THIS.
So treasure this time- it is so special.
This is stuff I wish I had heard when I was a mom for the very first time. If you found this helpful I would love to know in the comments below.
At the end of 2014 I experienced a really low point in my personal life. My career was on a crazy high- I was earning money, I was feeling fulfilled, but the trade-offs were taking their toll. I was leaving the house before my children would wake up, coming home after they were fast asleep. I never saw my spouse and when I did I was always an irritated mess of exhaustion and impatience. I ate so much drive thru food and my prayer life was hanging on by a thread.
I kept telling myself this is only a season. I just have to get through the next few weeks and then I'll be OK. But what was supposed to be a season just kept going as I kept committing to things, saying yes to more opportunities, and all in all not designing my life around what matters most to me.
Over the Christmas break that year we took our family to a cottage we frequent often and I can remember so clearly having a moment of clarity when I realized no one controlled my schedule but me- and it was me that was digging myself into the perpetual hole of "yes, I can do that."
2 years later, while I certainly still struggle with things, I have thankfully developed systems and boundaries that help me achieve more balance. And if you are feeling overwhelmed, like you just cannot keep up anymore- this post is for you. Here are a few questions that I hope can really help to clarify your purpose, save you time, and focus on what really matters to you.
1. What kind of legacy do you want to leave on the world?
In Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy's life planning book Living Forward, they challenge you to write your own obituary. I know it sounds kind of morbid- but it was a hugely challenging exercise for me and it made me examine the way I am spending my time. The exercise basically challenges you to think about how you want to be remembered- what impact do you want to make on the world? When your children or grandschildren google you, what will they find?
As I have shared earlier, writing mine revealed a lot. I want to leave a legacy of helping families thrive at home. I want to help mothers find balance and fulfillment at home and in their careers through my content. And I realized that I really hope a part of my legacy is how I live out my Catholic faith in the modern world. With this in mind, my husband and I and another partner launched a membership site called UEvangelize to help Catholics share their faith more effectively. Now, I am not saying that everyone needs to start a membership site or some brand new venture to leave a great impact on the world- but when you take serious stock of your current activities, and figure out if they are in line with the legacy you want to leave on the world, some major revelations can occur.
2. What fills you with energy?
My friend Lisa Ferguson of the 1000 Watt Life often shares this question when coaching people to figure out their true calling. What fill you up? What makes your eyes sparkle, your body language strong, your energy peak? What activities make you so excited and motivated to get to work and get things done? You might want to ask people close to you the areas they see you get most excited.
In my life, I get REALLY excited when I am living in my top 2 Strength Finder strengths which are empathy and strategy- and I use these strengths often in my 2-hour design consultations. Recently switching my business to focus primarily on 2-hour consults was the best thing I ever did for myself and my family- and I argue for the clients that this is a fit for! The clients I serve get me at my best- and being able to schedule my work in the compartmentalized way I am able to in consults allows me lots more margin for my young family.
3. What can I uniquely do? What can only I do that no one else can do?
Understanding this concept was another huge game changer for me, and it very much came from reading Greg McKeown's book Essentialism. This is an amazing question to ask yourself if you are trying to figure out how to spend your time. What are you best at? What "magic trick" do you have up your sleeve that people are always amazed at? What comes so naturally to you that others might see as arduous work?
Another way to frame this is- what do I do currently that someone else could do just as well, if not better? When I was a young entrepreneur, I did EVERYTHING. From book keeping to graphic design, to marketing to content creation. And that was pretty exhausting. Now, I really do stay within my strengths where possible- which means automating, delegating and deleting a bunch of other tasks from my plate.
4. What am I terrible at?
The final question I think is helpful when trying to determine how to best spend your time is to examine what you are terrible at. Literally, ask yourself what gives you no joy, what do you consistently procrastinate on, what is simply not in your wheelhouse of awesome strengths? And don't do them. Stay away! Your time is so much better spent in the areas you can create the most impact.
I hope this list of questions is helpful to you in clarifying where you should focus your time. I'd love to know your thoughts in the comments below!