A Small Front Stoop With BIG Curb Appeal





If you have a sprawling front stoop or a large porch your outdoor decorating options are almost endless.  However, those of us with only a few square feet can still add big impact.  The key is to choose carefully and to not let the fact that you are working with a small space make you believe that you have to buy only small accessories.  In fact, the opposite is what will give you that wow factor!  (Of course, do make sure that guests can comfortably make it to the front door without having to squeeze or step around a large awkward chair or planter).

lion head wreath

If you follow me on instagram then you might have seen the collage pic of how I put together that lion wreath.  The boxwood wreath is from Smith & Hawken for Target and the oversize (and totally awesome!) metal lion head door knocker is from HomeGoods/HomeSense.  I also swapped out my plain door mat for one with a pattern which I purchased at Jysk.

pattern door mat


lion head wreath

Next, I wanted to replace my planters.  I used to have short square black ones on every other step (for a total of 3 planters) but they were starting to chip and even though I could have spray painted them to give them a little facelift I wanted ones with more height.  The month of August  is a good time to check out the sales or clearance in the seasonal and gardening shops:  I scored the heavy black clay planters at Walmart for only $30 each and the palms trees were a mere $10 buck.


The look is unique and a lot more dramatic – exactly what I was going for!

HOW TO GET THIS LOOK: just remember these four words while shopping for your small space: BIG. TALL. TEXTURE. PATTERN.  I went for a big wreath, tall planters, added texture with the boxwood wreath and palm trees, then added a pop of pattern with a new door mat.  Another reason this all works together is because the color palette neutral and natural.

Share your front stoop pics with me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!

*The outdoor light fixtures are from Canadian Tire.

Thanks for checking in!


DIY Modern Industrial Light : under $20



Several years ago I scored a small mint green accent light for five bucks.  I liked that it was vintage, metal and thought it had real potential.  Only recently however, did I find a spot for it -and even then it felt too ‘pretty’ for the space.  I wanted a more tough, industrial look.


I got my inspiration when I spotted a new line of ‘Edison’ style light bulbs at the hardware store from a company called Globe Electric (who operate right here in Montreal).  These kinds of light bulbs have been gaining in popularity but up until recently were hard to find unless you ordered them online and even then you needed a light fixture that would be all about the bulb (you don’t want to cover up these beauties with a lampshade).

Before vintage light
I thought my old little vintage light would be perfect for the ‘squirrel cage’ style bulb I chose, the only problem was that the existing socket was for a candelabra style bulb not the thicker (what you normally put in your table lamp) ‘S’ type light bulb.  However, for about $3 I knew I could fix this little problem.  I headed to the next aisle over (miscellaneous electrical and lighting parts) to find a new socket.

tools what you need / updating vintage light to industrial light


  1. Back home I (obviously unplugged the light from the wall!) removed the old socket, opened the package with the new socket and carefully read the instructions.  Using wire cutters, wire strippers and a flat head screw driver I was able to install it in under 5 minutes without an issue (honest, it was very easy – just be sure to triple check your instructions and wire connections to be extra safe).
  2. Then I gave the whole thing a couple of coats of mate black spray paint which I already had left over from another project (I stuffed the inside of the socket with newspaper to prevent any paint from going inside).
  3. Once the paint was cured I removed the bit of newspaper from the socket and screwed in my new light bulb and plugged it in.  I liked it, but felt it was missing something:  it needed a glass shade.  The shade that came with it had some texture and was not perfectly clear  (I wanted to see the detail of the light bulb) plus it was too cute for the industrial look I was after.  I rummaged through cupboards and found a simple glass food storage container, slipped it over top and was pleasantly surprised at how good it looked.  Done!



$5 for the vintage metal light fixture + $3 for the new socket + $9 for the fancy light bulb + $0 for spray paint and glass storage container =  an industrial light for under $20.

industrial light DIY

DIY industrial light fixture / modern table lamp

industrial light fixture, art, shelf

edison light bulb squirrel cage light

What do you think?  Is this something you might tackle?  Feel free to share your comments below.

Thanks for checking in,


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Happy Valentine’s Day!

I Like What I Like

Husky Happy Valentine's Day

Last year, you might remember that I made the kids a fun photo collage (you can see it here) using Pixlr.com and they absolutely loved it.  I decided do it again this year …of course it’s always difficult since Kaya absolutely HATES the camera.


I scored some unique large white heart shaped ceramic plates at the dollar store of all places!  I bought the last 7 they had in stock …so cute! I will use them all year long!

heart shaped bowl

This year I whipped up some red velvet cupcakes which I topped with little chocolates – they look so professional! The pretty paper cupcake liners and little chocolates are also from the dollar store (triple score!).

red velvet cupcakes

Hope your Valentine’s day is better than Kaya’s!!  LOL!

Kaya: Siberian Husky with red bow tie


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Last week my daughter came home from school and told me about a friend of hers who asked her dad if he could take her to the hairdresser’s to get a new hairstyle. Dad agreed but only on the condition that she lose 10 to 15 pounds. Now, I should tell you that I know this little girl and she is 10 years old, beautiful, artistic, caring, shorter than my own daughter, weighs 87 pounds and is NOT FAT. But what if she was? What kind of parent puts that on their kid anyways? What is she supposed to do with this information? What does any child know about calories, diets and working out? She’s not supposed to know anything. This is (borderline?) child abuse. How about actually parenting?! Educate your child about health, food, the nutrients a growing body needs and why physical activity is important. How about making an appointment with the pediatrician to address your concerns or questions about your daughter’s well being and physical appearance rather than assuming she needs to cut back on food?

My daughter (as well as other friends) told her that she is not fat and that she should tell her mother, but she won’t because she is afraid her dad will get mad at her. Instead she went and spoke to her dad again the following day, asking him if he was serious about her needing to lose weight. He said yes. My daughter asked her what she planned on doing. She shrugged her shoulders and said she would do “sit-ups and stuff every day”.

I would be lying if my daughter never brought up the word ‘fat’ about herself. It started about a year ago. The nine- to 12-year-old range is when a young girl’s body starts changing (for those who don’t know it’s called puberty–duh!). They have to deal with a bunch of new stuff like their hips growing wider, wearing deodorant, bras and being taller than most boys their age. It’s an embarrassing and confusing time. Our daughters need confirmation that there is nothing wrong with them. “…you will find out that these changes are important for your health and they are a normal part of growing up. You will also gain weight during this time. This is normal…” – ChildrensHealthNetwork.org.

So, congratulations, dad! The first man in your daughter’s life. You are supposed to be a hero. To make your daughter feel beautiful and smart, worthy of anything and anyone so that she has those high standards when choosing people in her life, like boyfriends. Now the message is: “What’s the point of even having pretty hair if the rest of me doesn’t measure up? And I don’t… and it must be true because daddy said so.” PIG.

This is the kind of hurt that can never be undone. How does a 10-year-old lose weight with no help or guidance? Will this lead to her googling ‘weight loss’ on her ipod at bedtime? Will she learn to skip meals or become full-on bulimic? This summer, will she still get excited about putting on her bathing suit and giggle through the sprinkler or will she be too self-conscious to wear anything other than a baggy T-shirt? Ladies, let’s make sure we have this talk with our daughters, nieces, girlfriends and sisters…and of course let’s educate our men so that they don’t make the same mistake as this moron-dad!

Email me your thoughts: JulieLovesHome@gmail.com


Published January 22nd, 2014 / Vaudreuil Soulange Gazette

Published February 17th, 2014 / Chelsea Foundation

Interested on finding out more about tween girls and puberty?  Here are some really helpful links:

Dr. OZ answers question: As a teen how can I tell if I’m gaining too much weight? / Mehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answeredThroughout your teen years, you’re likely to gain both height and weight rapidly. Sometimes that may be just fine. For example, girls will gain body fat in puberty, particularly in the hips. The best way to start figuring out if you’re gaining too much weight is to check the BMI Percentile Calculator for Child and Teen. This index, calculated from height and weight, takes into account what is normal for younger boys and girls. It’s not definitive, though, since everyone changes at different rates. If your BMI tells you that you may be overweight, a visit to your doctor can confirm it, and he or she may suggest a healthy weight loss program.

Dr. Phil: How to raise your daughters’ self esteem

Children’s Physician Network: Puberty For Girls

The Daily Mail: Is it right to tell a child she’s fat?

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Budget friendly (and fun!) solution for covering up an unwanted window!



I wear many hats.  Aside from being a wife, mom, freelance writer and interior designer I’m also a volunteer librarian!

I won’t go into all the details …but basically our library is shaped like an octagon with lots of windows all around (even skylights above).  Because of how the library is used now, compared to when it was first constructed (several decades ago) there are a couple of windows that we no longer want or need.  But what to do when we librarians have a very limited budget? The goal is to spend on books for the kids, not on decor, staffing or construction materials, if we can help it.  Then it hit me:  Chalkboard paint!

Not only could I paint it myself but the supplies are affordable enough that I could contribute them.   Plus it would also be visually fun for the kids and a great way for the staff to advertise the library’s theme of the month or upcoming events like our book fair.

To be honest I was a little worried about how the paint would adhere to the windows.  So I made sure to prep them by thoroughly washing them, then using (high grit) sandpaper to slightly scuff up the window followed by another cleaning to make sure they were free of dust.  It took three coats to properly cover.  I let it cure and the next day I wiped the entire dry painted surface with chalk and used a clean dry rag to both rub in and wipe the chalk all over the surface.

I just completed the project yesterday – I apologize for the two bad photos which I quickly snapped using my phone (I will try and get better ones next week), but I think you get the idea.  In our story-time area where we read to the children I drew two popular book characters -yes, I drew The Cat In The Hat and Clifford, not too shabby for someone who is NOT AT ALL an artist!.  The other side of the window is also painted with chalkboard paint, and that’s where the staff can write announcement, events or messages.



Thanks for checking in,


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