Refresh

Kids are back to school. There’s a cool crispness in the air. Fall arrives next week. To me, this time of year always feels like a fresh start. A sort of renewal, a time to hit reset. Even more than the new year does come January, for some reason. I think it’s the back-to-school, back-to-routine, back-to-our-regularly-scheduled-programming that does it. The new school supplies, the new back-to-school clothes. It just feels like the right time to get life back on track and feeling fresh. 

This might explain why I’ve been feeling itchy to get stuff done around the house - finally finish our basement, decorate my office, fix up our bathroom.

So if like me you are craving some change or looking to refresh some areas of your house, here is a piece I wrote with tips on how to decorate like the pros, from East Coast Living’s design blog. I hope these tricks of the trade help you out! East Coast Living: Style your home like a pro

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DIY Sea Glass Art

Summer is drawing to a close, but it’s still nice enough for beach walks to comb for treasures, like sea glass! Back in the spring I met with artist Susan King of Ceilidh’s Sea Glass Creations on assignment for the summer issue of East Coast Living magazine. We talked about her love of this ‘jewel of the sea’; she’s been collecting sea glass since she was a little girl. She shared some info on sea glass and tips on collecting it. She also showed me how to create my own sea glass art.

Learn how to make your own here, step-by-step: Crafty Sea Glass Picture

 
The sea glass King uses is natural, collected mainly in Cape Breton at beaches in the summer. White, green, and brown are the most common colours. Blue, red, orange, and yellow pieces are harder to find.

The sea glass King uses is natural, collected mainly in Cape Breton at beaches in the summer. White, green, and brown are the most common colours. Blue, red, orange, and yellow pieces are harder to find.

 
 
Ensure whatever sea glass you collect is cooked, sea-glass-speak for rounded without sharp edges, says King.

Ensure whatever sea glass you collect is cooked, sea-glass-speak for rounded without sharp edges, says King.

 

Hot off the (online) press

I have two new assignments published this week. First up, my latest for East Coast Living magazine, a step-by-step DIY fresh winter wreath. I paid a visit to Props Floral Design in the Hydrostone and they walked me through the process of making a wreath. I’m planning to make my own this holiday season and will design it to last all winter. I painted the front door navy blue this summer so I am thinking a silver bow, or going rustic with a burlap bow. I think it would look really nice with our warm white Christmas lights. Learn how to make your own here: DIY Fresh Winter Wreath.

Though the Heavens Fall by Anne Emery is my latest book for review over at Atlantic Books Today. I have reviewed books from this series before, and I do enjoy them. I love reading local and having a connection to the setting. (Fictional) Halifax lawyer Monty Collins and his sidekick Father Brennan Burke sure get themselves involved in a lot adventure. What’s not to love about a good mystery? I learned a lot of history about the conflicts in Ireland through this story along with the help of google to keep up, since I really didn’t know much at all. It’s a deep, complicated and still ongoing issue. I thought Emery handled it well with this book. Given the connection to Ireland through Matt’s side of the family, it was neat to learn more about it, and the fictional story is intriguing too.

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No-Fail Ant Solution

With the awesome warmer weather has come the annual ant invasion. I can’t stand having ants in the house, especially in the kitchen. Those tiny, little black bugs running amok over the countertops and clean dishes, in the sink, the dishwasher and all over the floor. This year, they’re even trying to take over the high chair. I became ruthless, taking them all out with one swipe of a paper towel but was quickly reminded this does not work. There are always more where those ones came from.

I don’t like the idea of having ant poison in the house with Bear and the dog running around getting into everything. We’ve tried child and pet-friendly ant traps but they  don’t work. Last year, my mom shared a recipe she found for an all-natural ant killer with me, and it works. It really, really works. And it’s too easy. Here it is:

  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons active dry yeast
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Stir up this sticky concoction and spread it on narrow strips of cardboard or in bottle caps and lids from your recycling bin. Set them out – while it won’t hurt a child or pet if they happen to get into them, it would be a very messy situation, so you’ll still want them out of arms reach of little ones. The molasses and sugar will attract the ants to eat it, and the yeast will expand in their stomachs, taking them out.

Three weeks ago I set out my homemade traps and the next day the number of the little buggers creeping around had drastically reduced. The next day I saw one or two straying around and then that was it – no more ants. The key is to NOT kill them once you’ve put out your poison. You want the ants to take the ‘food’ back to their anthills to share with all their friends. After their feast, they’re toast.

This week I started to notice a few hanging around and all of a sudden it was a mini-invasion all over again. I noticed the poison in my traps had hardened and apparently become ineffective. So I replaced them with a fresh batch. Again, the next day there were one or two hanging around and now there are none to be seen. Hopefully, I got the entire colony this time.