Drum roll please..........and the winner is......

Alison from "inside my so called life"! (#22)

Congrats Alison!!

Please email me at livingbeautifully1@gmail.com to claim your prize!
You have 1 week to claim your prize, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

Thanks for participating everyone, and if you didn't win, don't fret- I have another giveaway coming up in the new year!


Hi everyone!

Thank you so much to the overwhelming response to our giveaway sponsored by Tonic Living!!

The contest is now closed and the winner will be announced later today! (Winner chosen by Random.org) Contest rules and regulations can be found here.

Thank you to all who entered!


Giveaway Update and some Fab Features from Tonic Living!

In the spirit of the giveaway that is happening right now, I wanted to share a few creative ideas with you, that might inspire some of you to come up with some projects of your own!

Each of these projects was done with fabric from Tonic Living and I hope they inspire you all!

Before I showcase some of those projects, I wanted to show you all a few things we've done with some fabric from Tonic Living:

Pillows for our office:

Recovered seat cushions:

Now here are some of my top picks from some of my favorite bloggers:

Curtains (using Flatiron Grey Fabric) by Christine for her nursery (and adorable baby girl!), over at Just Bella blog:

Rambling Renovators used fabric from Tonic Living for their curtains and they look amazing!


Now, onto the giveaway update! In the spirit of Christmas, we want to make this giveaway even easier for you to win!

All you need to do now, is go to the contest link here (please do not leave comments for the giveaway on THIS post! or they will not count), and do the following 2 things to enter:

1. Become a fan of Tonic Living's Facebook page here and leave them a comment!

2. Become a fan of Living Beautifully either through Google Friend Connect (on the blog), OR Facebook!

Bonus entries:
- Become a follower of Tonic Living through Twitter
- Become a follower of Living Beautifully through Twitter

That simple! The more things you do the more chances you have to win (leave a separate comment for everything you do). For those of you who have done ALL these things, you've just got more chances to win :)
For those of you who haven't entered, its so easy now, how can you not enter?!

Contest closes on Monday December 19th and winner will be announced the following day!

If you are planning on ordering from Tonic Living, dont forget to enter the code: LIVINGBEAUTIFULLY on the Tonic Living site to get 10% off any purchase!

GOODLUCK to all and a huge thanks to Tonic Living for sponsoring this giveaway!


Master Ensuite- Paneling

When designing our bathroom, one of the things we really wanted to try and incorporate was a little bit of architectural detail somehow.

We had seen paneling done in a varitey of different forms, and knew we wanted to incorporate it somehow into our house. Since the bathroom wasn't very large we figured this might be a good place to try it out.

The first thing we needed to determine was the style of paneling that we wanted to incorporate. There are actually a lot of different ways you can do paneling, but we chose our style based on the style of our home and our tastes in decorating. We didn't want anything too modern, and wanted more of a classic look- something that would still look good years from now (or maybe come back in style again many years down the road!).

One of the first styles we debated on was beadboard. We felt it has more of a casual/relaxed look to it and a bit of a country feel. We liked the look, but weren't sure if it was the right style for the for us, based on the other elements we had already chosen for the room. There are tons of different styles of beadboard, but these were some rooms with beadboard that inspired us:

If you are planning on installing beadboard, make sure you determine your desired height of the beadboard, the surface area to cover and get familiar with how to install it. HGTV.com provides some great instructions on installing beadboard here.

You could also do some really substantial paneling, like Rambling Renovators did (read the rest of their post on how they did it here), to their stunning master bedroom:

However, we had some obstacles with the walls in our bathroom, and felt that the bathroom didn't really need that much work done to it.

We ended up choosing picture frame style wainscotting. Here's a picture of our bathroom twins over at Life Begins at Thirty and their bathroom wall paneling (I feel we should have shared notes on this while we were doing it...probably simultaneously!)

and here's our finished product:

Here's how we did it.

Step 1: Ensure your walls are straight. At the beginning of the process, we discovered that one of our walls had a bowed stud behind the wall, and the chair rail would NOT lie flat:

Ya. See that wobble? We tried nailing the chair rail to the wall, but there was no way we could leave it like that. We actually had to rip down the entire wall, re-drywall and replace the stud behind the wall. So make sure you look into that before beginning a project like this- it might not be worth it, if you need to rip down walls!

Step 2: Measure the walls, and determine how much space you want between each box (we felt 4 inches between each box was a good amount of space). You may have more or fewer boxes on each wall, depending on how long the wall is.

Step 3: Figure out (based on the length of your walls) how many boxes can fit on each wall (keeping in mind that you will need space between each box, and it will look best if the boxes are all approximately the same size).

Step 4: We drew all of this out on a piece of paper first (scalled down to size) so we could see how it visually looked.

Step 5: Measure out how big each box would be and calculate the amount of wood you will need for the boxes, plus the wood required for the chair rail.

Step 6: Purchase your chair rail and wood required for the boxes themselves (we went with a style we liked in 1 inch wide pieces of wood trim).

Step 7: Put up your chair rail as a starting point, we measured up 42 inches from the floor (which gave us enough space between the top of the chair rail and the counter top).

Step 8: Start in one corner and measure and mark out ONE box to begin with.  Measure 4 inches to the edge of the box to the wall, and also measure 4 inches from the top of the box to the bottom of the chair rail (basically 4 inches all the way around is what we did). We then measured out the box on the other end of the wall (so the boxes on either ends of the walls were done first, and we could space out the middle boxes easier). **Keep in mind that if you are working around windows, or other obstacles, you might need to change the height or width of your boxes depending. We ended up doing that, as you can see, under the windows in our bathroom.

Step 9: Once you have one box marked out onto your wall, cut your trim pieces to fit the measurements. We actually figured out how many pieces we needed and cut them all the same size, but we did have to make multiple re-cuts throughout the process.

Step 10: Begin to nail your pieces one by one onto the wall, forming the box. Nail the side piece first (to make sure you have your 4 inch space between it and the wall, or it and the next box) and then do the top and bottom, and lastly the other side piece. Then you can measure 4 inches over and start your next box.

Step 11: Once your boxes are finished use caulking to fill in the edges of the boxes- around the outside and inside.  Use spackle to fill in the corners. Once it is all dry, sand everything smooth.

Step 12: Now the boxes are ready for painting!

Overall, this process wasn't as difficult as it sounds. Once you have the boxes measured out and your pieces cut, its just nailing them into place. We had to make a few re-cuts here and there but overall, its a pretty easy project you can do yourself to add interest to a room.

We love this feature in our bathroom and think it goes really well with the style of the room.

Goodluck with your paneling!!



We are so excited to announce this giveaway!

Our favorite fabric supplier- Tonic Living, is offering you an amazing giveaway ( I wish I could win it myself!) lol!

For those of you who aren't famililar with Tonic Living, here are a few things we've done with their fabric in the past:


and we are working on a few projects for our guest room with these fabrics from Tonic Living:

Tonic Living is definitely our go-to source for fabric for any projects and custom curtains and pillows.

The have great prices, amazing selection and the customer service is incredible. Best part is that they ship to both Canada and the USA!


Here's the best part- Tonic Living is offering a $50.00 Gift Card to one lucky reader! So you can get started on buying some fabric for that next home decor project, or use it towards anything you see on their site!

So how can you win?! Here's what you need to do (and leave comments on our blog to let us know what you've done):

1. Check out Tonic Living's amazing site by clicking here and let us know what you would buy if you were to win!
2. Join our site/become a fan through Google Friend Connect
3. Become a fan of Tonic Living on Facebook and/or Twitter (counts as 2 entries if you do both!
4. Become a fan of Living Beautifully on Facebook and/or Twitter (counts as 2 entries if you do both!)

and for a BONUS entry:

5. Post a quick link to this giveaway in your status on Facebook and/or Twitter!

Once you've done that, please leave separate comments on the blog for each thing you have done! Easy peasy! Can't wait to see what you've all been eyeing up on the Tonic Living site!

The winner will be chosen on Monday December 19th, so get those entries in! Please review the contest rules here.


And one more BONUS for our readers! Use the code: LIVINGBEAUTIFULLY on the Tonic Living site when you place an order to get 10% off no-minimum purchase!!


O Christmas Tree

One of my favorite parts of the Christmas season is to decorate the tree with my family. Last year, Ian and I decorated our tree in our new home for the first time. Even Clover joined in on the fun (aka we put reindeer antlers on her :D). I love that time together.

I have fond memories of my mom putting on the chipmunks christmas tape (yes audio cassette!) "I just want a hooola hoooop", wearing comfy clothes, my brother and I looking at old ornaments (that all seem to have a story behind them), and spending the day decorating the tree.

My family always had 2 trees- you know, the "kids" tree and the display tree. The kids tree always had all of the ornaments my mom collected over the years, ones my brother and I had made- glued popsicle sticks with felt and glitter, candycane reindeers, pinecones on a string, etc. Plus all of the brightly coloured ornaments, old family ornaments and ones that didn't seem to "fit" on the display tree.

The "display" tree on the other hand, was white. My mom always decorated it in a colour theme- for many years it was pink and blue, then it changed to gold and silver. All of the ornaments matched and were much more delicate- glass, etc.

Heck, why not have 2 trees? The more Christmas spirit the better :)
This weekend our family will be decorating the tree together again. Ian, Clover and I will be spending one day together decorating our own tree, and the other day will be spent decorating at my parents place (it was one of the items on my mom's Christmas list this year :) I think we are all looking forward to it- and maybe a few "festive specials" will be thrown in there for some fuel :)

In the spirit of tree decorating, I wanted to share some Christmas tree's I think are fabulous:


I hope you all have (or are looking forward to) fun spending time with family and/or friends decorating the tree or whatever other Christmas activities you plan on doing together :)


Let there be Light!

We've got light in our guest room! Finally!

For a while, it was getting difficult to determine which fabrics would work well in that room, by flashlight :S

So we finally found the perfect fixture. Best part? We got it on clearance for $32.00! BAM! It was originally $120, marked down to $80, then $60, then $32.00! It must have been fate, as it was late one evening when I poped into HomeSense to return a throw we had bought, and based on a super long line at the cash, decided to walk around the store (just once) before heading up to the cash.

I saw this beauty sitting in the lighting section.

It had obviously been returned (as the box was pretty ripped up) and there was just one sitting there. I grabbed it (and good thing I did, as 2 people in line asked me where I found it and the cashier told me she had actually thought of buying it earlier that day!).

We were looking for a very specific style (something rustic, cottage-y and that added a natural element to the room).

We had already bought 2 lights: this one from Rona (we loved the design and size, but it was just a bit too dark for the space):

and this one from Urban Barn (loved the colour, but it was too big for the space):

strike two. So we brought this one home and took a chance- perfect! Perfect size, perfect colour and best of all, perfect price!

Guest room is coming along nicely! (Sorry for the fuzzy photo and lack of colour- a better photo will come once we get some fabric into this room!)


Master Ensuite- Sourcing Tile

When planning out the Master Bath, one of the most difficult parts was sourcing out items for the room that fit in our budget, looked nice and worked with the style of the space.

Tile was probably one of the most difficult aspects of the room, as it is an element that adds major impact and really can't be easily changed once its installed (so you really have to make sure you choose correctly).

We had decided that marble was an element we really wanted to incporate. Most of the bathrooms we found that we had liked and added to our scrapbook of ideas, were light, bright, white and contained marble! So that made it easy for us.

Some things to consider when choosing tile/stone.

1. Make sure you read about stone before buying it. Marble, is a very porous stone and honestly, its not a great element to have on counters or kitchens. It absorbs liquid and this can change the actual colour of the stone permanently. You need to seal it every couple of years and requires specific cleaning as well- really just soap and water should be used to clean it.  So even with that in mind, we decidede to go ahead and use it in our bathroom on the counter and floors (yes we're risky-lol). We just knew we wouldn't use it in a kitchen, but figured if it was in our bathroom we would take the time to care for it.

2. Tile can break the bank. Seriously its one of the most expensive elements to a room, but can add the most impact. You want to make sure you can find AFFORADABLE tile that will:

a.) Stand the test of time (unless you have a money tree in your backyard and can afford to re-do your bathroom in a few years...) p.s if you do have a money tree, call me.

b.) Tile that will be good for re-sale (if you ever sell your home). You all know those shows on TV where the people go into a bathroom and say "ewwww! pink tub, blue and purple tiles? what were they thinking?" Its best if you pick tile that you love AND that will generally appeal to future buyers.

c.) Mix and match a few nicer tiles with some less expensive tiles which will essentially give your bathroom a custom look as well.

To create our design on the shower walls we chose to use:
- Glass marble mosaic tile in the shower
- White tile chair rail
- 8x10 square white tile

*Note, you want to make sure that your white wall tile and white chair rail are very similar 'whites' otherwise one will tend to look dirty when placed next to the other if they aren't the same whites.

The glass marble mosaic came in at $12 a sheet, however we only needed 6 sheets and the chair rail was $3.95/tile. Those 2 accent pieces weren't cheap, but since we didn't need many of them, and they added a lot of interest we splurged I guess you could say. Where we saved was on the white square tiles, which were only $.69 each. Those we needed the most of, but cost the least.

On the shower floor we used a combination of:
- 2x2 white non-slip tile
- 1x1 square marble tiles as a border to add interest

Again, the white 2x2 tiles were not very expensive and we felt it was important to have a tile on the floor that had a non-slip surface. The marble square tiles around the border were a bit more expensive, but again, we only needed 8 sheets.

We also chose to use marble jambs all around the entire shower, rather than just on the floor on the shower. We felt it outlined the shower nicely, and overall liked the look of how it tied in with the floor jambs.

The marble floor tile deserves a post all on its own....

Let me tell you, we drove pretty far to get this tile. We saw a sale, and managed to get the tile on sale for $5 a sq/ft (1/2 price). We ordered the tile right away, and when it came in, we were a bit disappointed to say the least. We were very aware of the fact that there is a lot of variation in natural stone, but to us, it appeared that the boxes of tiles we got were from completely different dilots- some were even a dark, dark grey, while others were stark white. I was pretty horrified, and we couldn't return the tile.

So I spent days...yes days, laying out each piece of tile in a pattern that seemed to work. I actually measured our bathroom, taped off an area in our basement to the exact measurements and layed down each piece of tile in the exact spot I wanted it layed in the bathroom. I spent hours re-arranging until I finally felt OK with the tile. I wasn't completely convinced yet, but I was starting to adjust.

The day our contractor decided to start on the floors, I happily showed him my tile display in the basement with everything easily layed out in the exact shape of the bathroom. I ALMOST numbered each tile for them, but figured they could do that if they needed to. Big mistake...should have numbered them. Sigh.

I got home that day from work, and Ian met me at the front door. "How'd the tile go?!" I asked. "Ummmmm, ok" Ian says. Oh god...my heart sank. Seriously, how could my plan not have worked?! It was fool-proof. Days spent in our musty basement laying dusty tile with random spiders crawling around me....grrrrrr....not impressed this didn't work out.

I raced up to the bathroom to see all the tiles layed in a random pattern. The contractor claimed he followed my plan. Um NO. I literally knew each of those tiles so well, I could have named them. I knew right away it wasn't right. There were about 20-30 tiles layed in spots that didn't work. Now normally, this wouldn't be that big of a deal, but with the variation in the tile, it looked odd to have 2 stark white tiles beside each other and 2 dark tiles right next to them. We had no choice. We had to chip out some tiles in order to be happy with it. We finally decided we could live with most of it, but 5 tiles needed to be replaced. I MIGHT have had a minor breakdown that day. MIGHT.

Anyways, it turned out great in the end, and we are super happy with it now. The moral of the story? Never buy tile you can't return, and make sure you watch your contractors like a HAWK. Especially when something like tile is being layed that you cannot easily fix. Keep in mind that variation in natural stone is going to happen, so be prepared for that as well.

We love the look of the marble and even with all the challenges we faced, we think it turned out great and love the look.

Source list for tile:

Mosaic Glass Tile- Tile Master
Chair Rail Tile- Dante's Tile
White Square Tile on Shower Walls- Dante's Tile
2x2 White Tile- Dante's Tile
1x1 Marble Mosaic on Shower Floor- TileMaster
Marble Floor Tile- TileMaster

Our marble countertop was actually part of our vanity, and I'll be posting about the major elements to the room next :)

Happy Tiling!


Ribbit...Frog Tape

You must buy this tape.

If you are planning on painting and using painters tape, buy frog tape.

We are in the midst of painting (a LOT) in our house and the dollar store painters tape wasnt cutting it anymore.

In the past we've had it rip chunks of paint of the walls, bleeding, tape breaking up. Not fun when you have to go back and re-paint everything.

So I saw an ad for Frog tape and thought we'd try it.


So there you go, if you want a referral for it, Im your girl! Worked great, no bleeding, no paint ripping, nothing!!

Happy ribbit :)

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