The time was finally right to plant my impatiens this weekend. No more risk of frost, a break from the rain and a successful trip to Connon Nurseries. I like to plant white impatiens in the garden at the end of our patio. We spend a lot of time on the patio, even after dark, and the white flowers really stand out in low light. They are small right now but, as the experts at Connon advise, with some slow release fertilizer and proper care, they’ll spread out beautifully as the summer progresses. I may be stuck in a white blossom rut but annuals like impatiens give gardeners a chance to experiment with colours and textures each season.
Home and Garden
When we bought our house 14 years ago, we were concerned about the fact that it had aluminum wiring. In order to get house insurance the connections and receptacles all needed to be replaced. Used in homes from about the mid ‘60s to the mid ‘70s, aluminum wiring is not unsafe, it’s the connections that can cause trouble. When I was speaking with Lindsay Harvey of Defender Electric, she said that home buyers should have a qualified electrician check out the home. If aluminum wiring is identified and you decide to buy the home, hire the electrician to replace the connections and receptacles to eliminate the potential for arching and the possibility of a fire.
Potted spring bulbs, Easter lilies and my all-time favourite hydrangeas are one way that I bring spring into my home. I love the blue and pink hydrangeas and one day I would love to have a hydrangea bush in my garden. It’s not like I haven’t tried. I have a beautiful white Annabelle hydrangea that thrives next to my arbour. Its colourful cousin just doesn’t survive. I felt a little better about my lack of success when Alex Henderson, Curator of Collections and Horticulturist at Royal Botanical Gardens assured me that the blue and pink varieties are harder to grow. I noticed some on sale in a recent flyer and started thinking about a location that might work.
Every year, tons of textiles end up in landfills. Cheap imported clothing makes it a disposable commodity that can be worn a few times then trashed and replaced with the next trend. I like to wear something new, most people would agree that it’s a pleasure. I recently bought a white cotton turtleneck on sale, thinking I needed a new one, only to find at the bottom of my stack of turtlenecks, a white one that I bought at the end of last season – on sale. Keeping clothes organized is a great way to avoid wardrobe pitfalls like this. You might have some treasures hidden in your closet that a session of purging and tidying could reveal. Pulling everything out of your closet might also inspire some new pairings that you hadn’t considered before. A few stitches to fix a pant hem or sewing on a button will revive clothes that been relegated to the back of the closet. If tackling closet organization is too daunting a task, bring in the professionals. Samer Rahwanji’s owner of Closet & Storage Concepts in Oakville says he’s in a happy business because that’s how he leaves customers. Companies like his can revive a dysfunctional closet by adding shelves and rods based on personal requirements. Spring is coming, a great time to clean out the closet and get reacquainted with my wardrobe.
I’m not sure what style of kitchen John Vanderkolk, owner of Kitchen Designers Plus would say that I have. He suggests that there are basic four styles – traditional, Canadian contemporary, country and transitional. Of course it’s important to choose a style that ties in with the rest of your home’s décor. That’s likely a good starting point. Also consider how it will be used. When we remodeled our kitchen, we replaced the ancient cupboards. We now have no lower cupboards, only drawers. They are so much easier to organize and access than cupboards with shelves. As for how they look, I found my style by perusing the pages of home décor magazines and tearing out the pages that featured kitchens that I liked. It’s also a good idea to visit showrooms like John’s and even builder’s model homes for inspiration.
If you are in the market for a new washing machine, strongly consider a front loader. They aren’t as expensive as they once were and pay for themselves in water savings over the years. Combine this with the fact that they require much less detergent and spin clothes so dry that they need to spend much less time in the power-sucking dryer. Clothes even last longer thanks to the gentle motion of the machine’s tub. Unlike a top loader, there is no agitator in the tub, pushing clothes around. I was given our top loader by a friend wh ose mother was moving into a retirement home and no longer needed it. We had recently purchased a top loader when our old one broke down for the last time. We bought what we could afford at the time. Had I known what I now know about the advantages of a front loader at the time, borrowing the difference would have been seriously considered. Dan McKinnon of Hamilton’s Water and Wastewater Department is on my side, extolling the water saving benefits of the front loader. That makes me feel good. A front loader also makes the chore of doing laundry a little more palatable.
I just watched a video on DailyWebTV.com that features the stunning kitchen in a Marz Homes model called Aquamarine located in Stoney Creek. I was at that shoot and before host Tracy Bezeau started her interview with Chef Daniel Mamodeiro, I had a chance to tour the home. Every aspect of the home was designed to exquisite standards, including the kitchen. We’re just about finished a DIY kitchen renovation at our house. While it doesn’t compare with the Marz model, certain elements were inspired by it. One of my favourite features in our kitchen is the pretty chandelier above the eating area. The Marz kitchen had two chandeliers lighting the massive marble-topped island. I’ve also gone with the same colour palette of black, white and a warm, brownish grey. The only marble in our kitchen is the motor and pestle that sits on our granite-look black and grey counter. I don’t have Chef Daniel in my kitchen either, but he’s welcome any time.
As a teenager, my 10-speed bike was my main mode of transportation. I had the leg muscles to prove it. I still enjoy cycling. I like to ride fast, a habit developed from racing home to meet curfew. If I were a house hunter in Niagara-on-the-Lake, I’d borrow one of the antique bikes that Brookfield Homes offers to prospective buyers so that they can check out The Village, the builder’s new neighbourhood. The Village, located in the heart of Niagara-on-the-Lake, has been designed to blend with the small town atmosphere. It’s already won some awards. While in the neighbourhood, I’d also visit one of the area’s wineries and if I planned the visit far enough in advance, take in a Shaw Festival performance.
In my closet is a beautiful piece of brightly striped fabric that I bought last spring with the intent of recovering the pillows on the wooden bench in our entry hall. I wasn’t even looking for fabric the day I bought it. The price was right and the gorgeous blue, fuchsia, apple green and white stripes spoke to my desire to welcome the warm weather. It’s not the first time I have purchased fabric for a project that didn’t get finished. Lovely fabric is one of my weaknesses. It took extreme discipline to resist the amazing fabrics designed by Amy Butler at Sewing Machines Etcetera in Burlington. The display drew me in like sale rack at a clothing store. I couldn’t figure out how to incorporate any of the retro designs into my décor at the time. Now that I’m redoing our bedroom , I’m thinking accent pillows. Not until the bench pillows are done though.