Category Archives: Uncategorized

Loving Local Gift Guide…

I just had to share a local gift guide… There are so many great local products… most of these are from Calgary with a few being from further west… as you know buying local supports our local makers and companies and helps our local economy thrive… if you’re a US reader then be sure to checkout¬†out these great gift ideas because you’re getting some of the sweetest products for a sweet deal with the current exchange rate! ūüôā

Feathering My Nest Love Local Gift Guide

1. Smash + Tess

The Sunday Romper ($86)¬†It‚Äôs a Sunday Funday and what better way to celebrate than being comfortably chic? Oh‚Ķ and maybe another round of mimosas¬†ūüėȬ†You know what they say, ‚Äúa Sunday well spent brings a week of content.‚ÄĚ Mission accomplished.¬†This romper needs no zipper, no buttons‚Ķ nor introduction ‚Äď it‚Äôs that fabulous! It‚Äôs spacious, stylish, and fits in all the right places. Looking for a new staple item? Look no further. Ensure your loved ones are comfy and cozy this Christmas!

2. Lace Brick Design РLocal Girl Brand

Mountain Girl Camping¬†Mug ($32)¬†The perfect accessory for the mountain loving girl in your life!… take it camping or enjoy it snuggled up this winter at home. With this MOUNTAIN¬†Girl Camping Mug from LBD‚Äôs LOCAL GIRL BRAND, everyone will be sure to know¬†that the recipient’s heart is rooted deeply in the soul of the mountains!

3. Heather Buchanan

Enamel Lapel Pins ($9.50 ea)¬†Local artist Heather Buchanan, known for her hilarious Bad Puns, has created a cheeky collection of enamel pins. ¬†From slice of pizza, to Dorito, egg on toast, to boob, cactus and taco! Young or old, who wouldn’t want to wear either of these around!?

4. Drizzle Raw Local Honey

Drizzle Raw Honeycomb ($28) is a rare, seasonal specialty that is 100% edible. It’s the rawest and healthiest form of Drizzle Honey, coming straight from their¬†local hives. The light wax combs are filled with fresh honey and you can eat them directly with a spoon, in a smoothie or paired perfectly with cheese, fruit, meat and breads. Can you say om nom nom nom nom?! Well the recipient of this treat surely will be saying it!

5. Buttercream Clothing

Organic Scarf ($44) These top selling Buttercream Organic Scarves get snapped up as quickly as freshly baked cookies out of the oven! Made with organic cotton, the double cowl infinity scarves are such an easy piece to add some whimsy to your day. They’re 58’ long and 9’ wide and come in the most adorable designs. S N U G G L Y and darling!

6. Tribes + Society

Knot Bangle – Brass (from $40)¬†From beginning to the end, and back to the beginning. A simple, delicate knot bangle, a reminder of the continuity of life, and beauty of tomorrow.¬†Dainty, textured wire, wrapped in a knot and soldered into a bangle.¬†Big enough to slip on, small enough to wear as a key piece, everyday. Perfectly delicate and lovely – I’m off to order one for myself ūüėČ

7. By Lacey Janette

Point Ring ($35 ea)¬†This lovely handmade jewellery comes in a variety of metals. You can also order custom pieces for additional cost… how about kicking it up a notch this Christmas is a custom piece for your loved one!?

Feathering My Nest Love Local Gift Guide For Her

8. Calgary Heritage Roasting Co.

Green Beans (from $12), Roasted¬†Beans (from $18), Coffee Subscriptions (from $87) This company has heart and an immense love of coffee… you can even learn to roast¬†the¬†green beans yourself with guidance from their website!

The company found its inspiration over a percolated cup of coffee on a backpacking trip one morning in the rolling hills of Alberta. Since then, the company’s foundation continues to grow and evolve during backyard BBQs, weekend mountain adventures,¬†and late nights under star-filled skies and scotch-filled glasses. Coffee has never sounded so romantic! Pour up a cup with your loved one and snuggle down for long winter!

9.¬†Lamb’s Soap Works

Manly Man Soap Set ($24)¬†These soap bars are the perfect gift for that special man in your life. Or treat yourself just because… This delicious set include¬†1 Tea Tree Eucalyptus Soap Bar Activated Charcoal,¬†1 Brown Ale Barley Soap Bar, and¬†1 Patchouli Hemp Seed Bar.¬†Lamb’s Soap Works¬†know that each and every product¬†they put their¬†heart and soul into creating, will end up being used on your skin – that‚Äės why Lamb‚Äôs only uses natural pure ingredients in all of their product lines. Because if their¬†family wouldn‚Äôt use it, they don’t expect that yours would!¬†Their natural products range from lip balms, to lotions, scrubs, soaks to soap… and¬†every single one smells delicious!

10. Mammoth Beard Co.

Mammoth Beard oils ($25-30)¬†are handcrafted in Canada with carefully selected ingredients,¬†meaning you absolutely will not find any cheap filler oils, synthetic fragrances, or preservatives in any of their products. Their beard oils are available in¬†two unique base formulas aimed at softening and strengthening beard hair, and conditioning the skin. With six unique scents to choose from (as well as unscented) there is a Mammoth Beard Oil¬†for everyone. Have a bearded babe in your life?! This is the thing they’ve been missing!

11. Justine Ma

Mini Calm the F Down Wooden Flag ($15)¬†How about a¬†darling hand lettered wood flag to help you keep your love one’s reality in check ūüėČ nothing says love like a cheeky little gift for home or office to let them know you’re thinking of them when they’re feeling most aggravated!

12. Natura Soy

Man Candles ($23.95ea) Candles¬†for the guys! Natura Soy Man Candles can transform any space into something more masculine and modern. A perfect addition to any man cave or bachelor pad. Settle back and relax to the mesmerizing crackle and flicker of the wood wick and true scents of nature (no flowers over here!).¬†By swapping out all synthetic ingredients and perfume oils for pure plant-based ingredients that bring us back to what Mother Nature does best, Natura Soy’s¬†hand poured soy candles will light up your everyday moments in the safest and most sustainable way possible. ¬†

13. Friday Sock Co

Beltline Socks ($15)¬†This design was inspired by the many different breakfast restaurants in Calgary’s beltline. Can you smell the coffee? The sizzling bacon and eggs? Nothing like starting your morning with soft combed cotton on your feet and a full belly. *These socks do¬†not contain gluten. Friday Sock Co has a greta assortment of designs with new ones popping up all of the time! ¬†They even have a sock subscription! Now that’s a gift that gives all year round!

Feathering My Nest Love Local Gift Guide For Him

14. Tamara Hackett

Mindful ABCs & Mindful 123 ($23 ea)¬†Author, Illustrator, designer Tamara Hackett had created beautiful children’s books in an endeavour to connect with and teach her own children about gratitude, instincts, dreams… the big things. Her hope is to contribute to the tech-free moments of life to make them even better. ¬†Tamara knows that life is about those moments, snuggles in pillows, conversations about happiness and dreams of flying with hummingbirds in the clouds. Give the gift of incredible moments with these sweetly illustrated and incredibly thoughtful books.

15. LouLouLollipop

The Silicone Donut Teether ($29.50) is Loulou LOLLIPOP’s signature¬†teether loved by thousands of babies. This thing is so stinkin’ cute! You just can’t go wrong picking this up for any baby on your shopping list – they also have other adorable and hilarious¬†shapes… everything from oreo cookies to¬†french fries!

16. My Mila

Striped Flip Rim Toque ($20)¬†The trendiest toques from newborn to adult!… be sure to checkout the darling baby harem pants¬†as well… from newborn to 5T! Then lookout because you’ve just created the most fashionable little person with a gift from My Mila! Kick it up a notch and order one for everyone in the family for the ultimate adorbs factor ūüėČ

17. Justine Ma

I <3 the Sh*t Outta You Onesie ($30)¬†No description necessary for this bad boy!… OMG! It is so fu*kin’ awesome! Sizes 6M to 18M available for your darling bebe’s.

18. Snow Alligator

Model Kit¬†($25)¬†– Calgary Tower, an easily recognizable part of Calgary‚Äôs skyline, is an iconic prairie monument and was created to honour the 100th anniversary of the Confederation of Canada (1867).¬†¬† It is home to the highest 360¬į observation deck in the world!¬† The natural gas torch featured on the top of the tower was first lit in 1988 to celebrate the opening of the Winter Olympics, and continues to be re-ignited for various special events today.

Model Kit ($25) РGrain Elevator’s are known throughout the prairies as sentinels that dotted the skyline.  They often had their community and operators name painted on the sides. These painted names would still appear on an elevator long after the town had either disappeared or been amalgamated into another community.  A grain elevator spelled prosperity for any town that was along the railroad.  Many of these cultural landmarks have been lost but some have thankfully survived.

All pieces are fully customizable! These model kids will give the little people hours of fun while they draw, paint, tape, and glue to create their own mini versions of local monuments.

Feathering My Nest Love Local Gift Guide For Littles

AAAAAAAND There you have it babes! A local gift guide collection of great gifty gifts that you can pickup locally or order online right meow! If I’ve missed some of YOUR fave local brands or goods leave me a comment below to tell me what/who and please share a link to their goodies so that everyone else can fall in love with them too!



That Time We Had Our House Cleaned by Mad Maids…

Between full time day job gigs¬†and¬†growing Feathering My Nest over the past two years we just don’t spend as much time keeping the house in order as we used to… Cleaning the house used to be the thing that I spent at least one full day a week working away on… Now the majority of my non day job gig hours goes into growing Feathering My Nest. I don’t even know how people with kids find the time to clean house! You are magical creatures! Are you already using Mad Maids!?

When the opportunity came up to collaborate with Mad Maids I literally jumped up and danced a jig {I’m from Newfoundland so I can jig}. ¬†Seriously, knowing that a solid chunk of my time was¬†going to be freed up from “chores” AND that someone else was going to do the deep cleaning for us!? YOU HAD ME AT HELLO! And talk about stars aligning… I was just mentioning to the Pickle about hiring¬†in help to do a good Fall deep clean on¬†our house to make it easier for us to keep the house in tip top shape over the winter! Now, not only am I experiencing the cleaning magic of Mad Maids but TWO lucky followers will also receive gift cards for Mad Maids service! AND I have a discount code for everyone compliments of Mad Maids! BAM BAM BAM!

A little about Mad Maids… Mad Maids is a locally owned¬†{love local}¬†cleaning company located in Calgary and Edmonton that started up in 2013…. the thing about Mad Maids that sets them apart from the rest is that they focus on thorough housekeeping mixed with the ease of modern technology. Mad Maids is¬†the very first company in Alberta to offer online booking and flat-rate quotes. With Mad Maids¬†you always know exactly what you‚Äôll pay for the service and you don‚Äôt have to waste time scheduling home visits to get a quote. You can schedule a professional home cleaning in a quick 60 seconds over the computer.¬†This quick book option is¬†incredibly appealing to me… I don’t even like calling to order takeout so being able to setup the service with a few clicks was perfect!… and who has time to schedule a pre appointment to get a cleaning quote?¬†

…So along came cleaning time… I have to say I actually felt a little nervous having people over to clean… most people I know will always hustle to clean before friends come by or they’ll apologize “for the mess…” I’ve done this myself on many an occasion… BUT you don’t need to apologize. ¬†We’re all human, no body is perfect… think about it – cleaning services exist for a reason! ¬†You also don’t need to pre clean before cleaners arrive to clean your house. I asked Mallory, Mad Maids Owner¬†about people feeling this way¬†and she had this to say:

So this is a question we get ALL THE TIME! In many different variations but you can feel the same emotion/anxiety throughout that many people are hesitant to let anyone in to see their house at it’s worst. I want people to know that we don’t judge your home! We really have seen it all and we’re all human too, we’ve all had our homes get out of hand when life becomes busy Рwe know what it’s like! 
One task that many people assume they *have* to do is decluttering before their house gets professionally cleaned (and rightfully so as clutter does need to be moved so we can shine, polish, disinfect, etc to perfection).¬†Any good cleaning service should move things out of the way to clean under them, but when clutter becomes too daunting clients ask themselves what is the point of hiring someone when they will have to scramble to put everything away beforehand. Many of our clients are professionals and busy parents that plainly just don‚Äôt have time for that – and for these clients we now offer an extra organizational service to our work that removes this added annoyance.¬†This way you can leave your house in the state it‚Äôs in and we¬†spend the time organizing the clutter for you, pickup toys, neatly tidy up your papers, not to mention doing laundry and any other small tasks that are needed. This way you can relax and you‚Äôll come home to a truly clean home, no more laundry and knickknacks stuffed under the bed and in closets after cleanings ūüôā
Okay, the only “pre-work” that I did was to purge my house… and this wasn’t to prepare for the cleaners… having Mad Maids coming over was just the push that I needed to get the annual Fall declutter done. Knowing that the house was going to be deep cleaned, it would be a great time to purge the kitchen cupboards and our closet. I love the feeling of an uncluttered closet, and overstuffed cupboards being lightened of items that we’ve not used for months upon months… I did a quick sweep of my kitchen cupboards and closets and created two piles, a donate pile and a consign pile… If you’re looking for a great place to consign gently used clothes in Calgary check out¬†The Clothing Bar¬†{another great local company}.¬†

Okay… Mad Maids¬†arrived… I was home but you don’t need to be home for them to get their work done, Oh! and they’re pet friendly.

Two people came to clean!… what were they expecting to walk into!? I kid, I kid! ¬†They send two cleaners to each job¬†to ensure a speedy service.

They got right to it starting upstairs in the bathrooms and bedrooms after setting my built up oven dirt to soak… They changed the bed sheets¬†as I had bedsheets out for myself to change the bed clothes! Score!¬†Surfaces were cleaned, blinds were dusted, even the cat post received¬†a solid¬†vacuuming!

         mad-maids-tub-1     mad-maids-tub-2

They worked their way down through the house right out to the entryway and on out the door dusting, cleaning, scrubbing the whole way through the house.





Like I mentioned above,¬†Mad Maids services are easy to book,¬†it can be fully booked online… and the pricing structure is easy to understand!… the cleaning is based on number of bedrooms and that bedroom count corresponds to the typical size of kitchen and various living spaces in a home with X number of bedrooms!… there are add ons that you can do which are great time savers for you for just a little more… having a big party?! Book your deep clean and step it up a level (move in/out) to get your fridge and oven cleaned! BAM!… nothing like a freshly cleaned oven and fridge!





mad-maids-7 mad-maids-8

I wanted to get the inside scoop for us, and because hiring in a cleaning service is new to me, so I spoke more with Mallory, Mad Maids owner. I asked Mallory for her top tips to share with you about how to make the most out of a cleaning service. Mallory said:

Upkeep between cleanings is a great topic and certainly something everyone needs to be thinking of when hiring a cleaning service! Off the top of my head for upkeep between cleanings the number one priority is routine. Routine, routine, routine. Instead of tackling everything all at once, we suggest doing some isolated cleaning for a minute or two here and there every afternoon or evening so it doesn’t feel like so much of a chore. Having a small task tied to a daily action is a great reminder and once this habit is developed it becomes second nature. Not to mention each task on it’s own only takes a second here and there rather then setting aside a large chunk of time for them every few days.
What are some examples of these isolated cleaning!? Mallory continued with:

Examples include putting dishes directly into the dishwasher after eating, hanging up towels directly after showering, giving the sink a quick wipe before washing your hands and throwing a load of laundry in as you get dressed/undressed for the day. 


Since having Mad Maids in I give my bathroom sink and counter a quick wipe every night after I wash my face!… It’s such a small item but has such a large impact on making that space stay cleaner longer! Mallory continued with:

If you stick to a routine like this not only will you feel better and less overwhelmed day-to-day, you’ll also reduce the amount of grime dirt and dust that accumulates keeping that precious clean-home feeling we’ve left you with going for longer. As they say, clutter loves company! 

Are there any items that you recommend that we have on hand that help make upkeep a breeze?

Two items that help keep things simple with upkeep are a cordless stick vacuum, for small touchups here and there doing a quick check in corners or under furniture where dust bunnies hide out, and a toilet bowl clip or stick on gel pod to keep build up out of the toilet between Mad Maids visits.

Any final thoughts?

My last suggestion for busier households would be to have an all-hands-on-deck (including kids) cleaning spree every now and again for 10-15 minutes when things start to get a little messy. You can focus on the whole home or even just one room or task (such as dusting or floors). Put on some fun music and you’ll be amazed how much of an impact your family can make even with a short amount of time!

Chris and I have figured this out lately with laundry… it is so. much. quicker. when we tackle putting away laundry together and much more fun than slogging through the task alone!

Okay and now we’ve got a special treat for you!… Mad Maids is giving away a $200 gift card and a $50 gift card to two lucky Feathering My Nest followers! Head on over to the Feathering My Nest Instagram and find the giveaway post and follow the instructions there for your chance to win! All you have to do it follow Feathering My Nest and Mad Maids on instagram, tag a friend in YYC or YEG in the comments and you are entered to win!


AND!… Mad Maids is offering a discount to Feathering My Nest followers who book a service before the end of November – Use Code FMN20 to receive $20¬†off your service!

Good luck to the contest entrants!… and now excuse me while I go and bask in the glory that is my sparkling abode! ūüėČ



Succulent Book Planter

Have I¬†got a conversation piece DIY for you! If you are a succulent lover… if you like getting crafty… then this DIY is for you! ¬†Check out my succulent book planter!… Yep! Those are real live succulents planted in a real live book ūüėČ ¬†I’m sure this will raise the ire of staunch book lovers but let me assure you that I saved this book from the dump… its been given new life as a unique piece of home decor. Are you ready to make your very own succulent book planter?! ¬†Get ready babies because it’s about to go down!…


As always, start by gathering up the project¬†supplies… for this DIY you’ll likely have a number of these things around the house already!… YAY YOU!… I do love a DIY that doesn’t involve buying ALL OF THE MATERIALS to make the thing…


Hardcover book – I picked up this book for $1.00… yes $1.00 from a salvage shop

Tinfoil – who doesn’t have tinfoil kicking around the kitchen?

White glue

Paint brush


Metal rular – metal works best when cutting with xacto knives… we’ll be pressing hard and the knife can cut into a plastic ruler

Xacto knife – I swapped out the normal silver metal blade for the heavier duty black metal blade

Freezer paper – one side is papery, one side is plasticky


Activated Charcoal – you can get this at a plant shop or at the pet supply store in the fish section ūüėČ

Pea Gravel


Succulents – these are so popular now I feel like you can find them everywhere… if you’re in Calgary I highly recommend you go scope out Plant in Inglewood

Moss/bark/rocks/shells – decorative items optional – these are to decorate the top of soil


To get started I chose one of the first few pages of my hardcover book that I want to see¬†as the top page for the rest of time… or for as long as I keep the planter around.


This is where the tinfoil comes into play… ¬†wrap the pages before the top page¬†and the book cover in tinfoil to protect it while we tackle the next step.

    succulent-book-planter-4            succulent-book-planter-5


    succulent-book-planter-6            succulent-book-planter-7

Using the white glue and paint brush apply glue to the page edges around the three sides of the book… a thin layer is all that you need. This will secure the pages together enough to hold the bulk of them¬†together while you are¬†cutting down through the book. Try to be careful not to glue the tinfoil to the book. Gluing the pages while the book is closed helps to keep the pages square… if you like you can open the cover after the glue is applied while it dries but you may have to squish it back into square…


I glue carefully and then set the book aside and wait for the glue to dry… You can stack some other books on top to ensure the page edges don’t wrinkle as they dry.


Once the glued page edges have dried break out the ruler and pencil… I leave the foil on because I found it helps to keep that top page clean and damage free… Using the ruler draw a square or rectangle on the top of the book… the size is up to you {tip: keep the shape at least 1″ from the spine and edges… it’ll make things go more smoothly… trust me… I’ve tested this out for you}


Once you are pleased with your shape, it’s cutting time… this takes a little time to cut¬†down through… throw on your favourite tunes or a season of something on Netflix and settle in!… Starting from a corner of your shape press your knife in and cut down and pull using the ruler to keep yourself on the line… turn the book and work around cutting from corner down each line…


…once you get a little ways into the book you can ditch the ruler and use the edge of the cut pages to keep your knife straight while you work away… take your time… press with moderate pressure and cut slowly… there’s no rush… be safe… take your time… you will be much happier if you take your time and keep your cut work clean….


…as you work down through the book extend your blade to match the depth of your hole… don’t extend too much blade at once as this can increase the risk of cuts… don’t lose patience… if you find it helps to stand while you cut then do so… I find, to get the best out of the elbow grease that I have, standing works best for me when cutting down through a book…


…still with me?!… did you make it down through!? A W E S O M E ¬†J O B!… Y O U ¬†G O T ¬†T H I S!

Now using the ruler measure the width¬†and height¬†of the shape that you cut… and measure your hole depth as well!… we’re going to make a little freezer paper box that keeps the book planter dry when you water your darling little succulents…

succulent-book-planter-14 succulent-book-planter-15 succulent-book-planter-16

It’s freezer paper time… this stuff is great!… papery on one side and plastic coated on the other…


…using the dimensions you took above transfer those onto your freezer paper – plastic side down – papery side up… the depth of the hole is the border that you see below… and the rectangle in the middle is just a smidgen smaller than the length and width of the shape that I cut into the book…


Cut out the outside shape and then fold along all of the lines…


Now we’re not going to get too fancy here… fold up two adjacent sides and pinch that extra piece of paper that ended up in the corner in half… this will make a little triangle shape… do this with each corner…


…then fold those little triangles in and press the triangle to the side of the little box that you are creating…


…like so…


Take out your white glue and paint brush one more time…


…apply glue to the triangle… then glue that sucker to the side of the box… do this with all four corner triangles…


Now there will be some looseness where these triangles are glued to the box from the folds inside… don’t even fret about these… these are inside the book, covered with dirt and you’re never going to see them… the main thing is that we’ve got a little water resistant liner for the hole that we’ve cut into the book… thats it!…


I tend to¬†always make my little liner boxes taller than the hole…


…and then I trim it so that it sits just below the top of the hole in the book…


It’s time for just a little more white glue… using the paint brush apply glue to the sides of the hole in the book… This will hold the paper liner box in place…


Pop that freezer paper liner into he book and press it into the glued sides…


If you have great patience you can wait for it to dry… or you could go right onward with planting… the glue being dry at this stage isn’t imperative to continuing the process…


…also the freezer paper liner¬†in the succulent book planter doesn’t have to be a super perfect fit… you’re not going to see it…

Take out the activated charcoal, pea gravel, soil, plants, and the decorative dressings for the top of the soil…


We’re getting so close now!… its going to get a little messy again before we’re finished… but it’s going to be worth it ūüėČ


Drop a layer of the activated charcoal into the book planter… this will help keep it fresh… really it’s not going to get tons of water but better safe than sorry here… nobody likes a stinky planter… Next goes in the¬†a small layer of the pea gravel for drainage… again it’s not going to see THAT much water but best do it right for the plants…


Then… yep… you guessed it! SOIL! Try to work with fairly dry soil as to not create a muddy mess on your book, which will dirt stain your top pages… if the soil is dry you will be able to brush or blow away the dirt once¬†your plants are¬†planted and the soil in the planter has been covered with your decorative toppings.


It’s time to plant!… give the root ball a little squish to loosen up the roots…


…and then nestle that little babe down into the soil…


Go with one… add in a second… this is entirely up to you… what do you like? a little cluster? just one in the middle?


You can see the messiness that happens… roll with it… if the soil is dry the clean up will be a breeze.


Pull out your decorative options for the top… here I have bark chips and moss… I tried the chips and didn’t like them and opted for an all moss topper to seal in the soil and to add some visual interest to my planter…

Okay, it doesn’t look like much because it is still wearing its tinfoil jacket and there is soil, moss, and bark chips everywhere…


Gently blow, vacuum, or brush away the soil and moss that may have gotten aaalllll over your book planter and likely also aaallll over the place.


Now… that’s more like it… one very fresh and oh so clean succulent book planter!


These plants are oh so easy to take care of… they require just a little water every now and then… how’s that for non specific watering instructions? ¬†Checkout the internet for the specific watering instructions for your particular¬†succulent… then when you water be sure to water the centre of the planter hole, and use an instrument that gives you control of the amount of water that you give to your plants!… a small measuring cup or spoon, or even an eyedropper!


Book planters make¬†great conversation pieces for your home or a unique and thoughtful hostess gift!… or perhaps even a great maker night item to make with your book gang club!


If you have pet jerks cats I do recommend that you use a little bell jar on your book planter to cover the plants… our cats love to pluck the succulents out and bring them to us while we’re asleep! They’re so thoughtful. ¬†The plants are so dry that I’ve never had an issue with moisture under the glass done causing the pages to wrinkle…


So there you have it!… an old book turned new book planter!… I CAN’T wait to see yours and where you put it in your home or who you gift it to! ¬†When you get yours made please come on over to the Feathering My Nest Facebook Page and share a photo of your creation!… and if you would like to receive blogposts like this one right to your inbox pop your email address into the little subscribe box up at the top right of this page! And Hey! Leave me a comment below and let me know what you think of the succulent book planter!

Checkout this video of me showing some of this DIY on CTV Morning Live Marketplace!



Calgary Home + Design Show

I can’t believe that two¬†weeks have passed¬†since the Calgary Home + Design show!… ¬†In July I was asked to create a workshop feature booth at the show for show attendees to come in to get hands on with some DIY projects.

From July until the day the show opened I refinished, and figured out, I planned, and connected with local business and makers, and worked on creating not only a workshop space, but a seating area and gallery wall that looked as if it could have been plucked out of a home and dropped into the booth.

Calgary Home + Design Show Booth Layout

Then came the invite to speak onstage during the Calgary Home + Design Show as the Urban Barn Ambassador… not once but twice during the event!… I felt very nervous and unsure about speaking onstage in front of a large group so I worked with a coach and spoke to professionals and friends about the fears I was feeling, and over the past few months began speaking in front of groups, at work, at toastmasters to build up exposure to speaking in front of larger and larger groups of people… and I’m staying in Toastmasters to keep developing my public speaking skills!

I wanted to recap and share the space with you, my readers, who are not located in Calgary so that you could checkout what I created and to share the amazing companies that came on board with me to make it possible!

Calgary Home + Design Show Workshop Booth Colour Palette

The top photo is a shot of my¬†floor plan!… once I knew the size of the space I drew it out and also all of the furniture, to scale, that I wanted to put into the space to ensure that everything that I wanted to put into the space to share with the Calgary Home + Design Show visitors would fit… I also worked out my colour scheme for the space… I pulled together gold frames, the colour samples, a chair I’d refinished as well as a textured sheep rug… this was the feel that I was going for…

Calgary Home + Design Show Pergola Shop Drawing

That PERGOLA!… I pulled out a roll of paper and started some rough sketching… once I had a rough sketch of that monster I sent it to a dear friend Brett Kostka of Brett Kostka Design¬†who then 3D modelled the structure from my rough sketch and rough dimensions. Brett 3D modelled the pergola and created the cut list for the material to build the structure.

Calgary Home + Design Show Workshop Series Feature Booth

The Cedar Shop¬†jumped onboard with me when I shared my vision and drawing of the structure and supplied all of the wood – delicious smelling cedar – for us to build out the structure! I heard so many people walk by and say “mmmmm… that cedar smell!” I was floored with The Cedar Shop’s support of my space at the Calgary Home + Design Show with their supply of all that wood.

I could have just made the concrete floor work but I really wanted to create something special in the Workshop Feature Booth space. ¬†I connected with Hardwood Direct and installer Mark Chittick of Upscale Hardwood… listen up folks, if you are located in Calgary and need someone to install your floor Mark Chittick is the guy that you want to call. He does quality work and you’ll be hard pressed to find a nicer dude around town… he’s good people!

Calgary Home + Design Show Flooring

When we got into the space the flooring went in first… it was quick! ¬†Above is Mark of Upscale hardwood on the right and the Pickle on the left…

Calgary Home + Design Show Booth Build 1

Pickle was heavily involved in bringing this space to life… physically in setup and building the pergola in the space, packing up the trucks, loading everything in,¬†right down to emotionally supporting me and being my number one cheer leader through the whole thing!

Calgary Home + Design Show Booth Build 2

Calgary Home + Design Show Booth Build 3

Another incredible local company that jumped onboard with me is Out of the Wood Work… they loaned this incredible table to the space for the workshops and then!? decided to giveaway the table to one lucky Calgary Home + Design Show¬†attendee! BAM!… when Solomon offered to also give the table away in the booth my jaw hit my desktop!… These guys are making incredible rustic pieces right here in Calgary!

 Out of the Wood Work YYC

That was all of the big pieces… I was also working away before the setup on all of the decor bits and pieces… I stripped chairs and painted… and worked with Calgary Custom Upholstery to create completely unique pieces of furniture for the space to spark the conversation with visitors how they could take their own worn out pieces and create something unique for their own homes… to make their house their home. ¬†I mixed burlap, with high end upholstery fabric and vintage grain sacks with 100% wool… I’ll be sharing the chair transformations in the coming blogposts.

Calgary Home + Design Show

Speedball Art generously sent a¬†large stack of gold leaf to me, along with adhesive, sealer, and red base coat… stay tuned for an upcoming gold leafing tutorial… I had found a selection of frames at yard sales, second hand shops, and on buy and sell websites and created a variety of gold frames so that I could bring a large gallery wall into the booth space.

Processed with Snapseed.

Calgary Home + Design Show Gallery Wall Prep Calgary Home + Design Show Gallery Wall

Like all gallery wall setups I used the same technique to determine the arrangement of this one… after playing around with a scale drawing of the walls and frames I created a paper template of each frame – making sure to mark the hanger location so that hanging the frames would be a breeze… and it was!



We didn’t stop for any photos of us together during the Calgary Home + Design Show… it was just go go go the full week before until we had it torn down and the contents of the booth loaded back into our home on the Sunday evening!…


The Pickle did make me stop for a moment for a shot if one of my reupholstered beauties… and then I capture a sneaky shot of him while he was chatting with visitors about FAT Paint!


Oh yes!… I also spoke on the Calgary Home + Design Show Main Stage as the Urban Barn Ambassador… I gave 2 45 minute presentations about how one can turn their house into their home… I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous… I did prepare for three months… toastmasters, speaking coach, practicing speaking at smaller events… and then BAM… here I was on the Main Stage speaking to the show visitors!



Marketplace Events printed a HUGE poster of my head… which I received a few photos of ūüėČ Seriously without the support of my friends, family and followers I wouldn’t have made it through the weekend! I am so grateful for the incredible people that I have in my life… HASHTAG BLESSED would be an understatement right here.

I was also incredibly fortunate to have one of the owners of The FAT Paint Company come out¬†to Calgary from New Westminster, BC, for the Calgary Home + Design Show… to hang out with us in the booth to chat with visitors about FAT and to do some FAT paint demos… once we started painting visitor questions started flying!


We all spoke with so many visitors during the event!…


There are¬†hundreds of new FATties in the Calgary now! ūüėČ


I ran a number of workshops out of the booth at the Calgary Home + Design Show… Here are a few of the FAT Paint Workshop attendees with their creations…



We had so much fun!… And the booth also hosted¬†some sweet¬†workshops by Alison Martin of amartincreative, and Maria Arseniuk of femme.broidery… and who could forget the amazing swag provided by amazing local makers in Calgary! ¬†BIG FAT LOVE AND THANK YOU’s to Buttercream Clothing, Sunday Design Studio, Lacebrick Design, Lamb’s Soapworks, Amborella, Natura Soy, Dixie + Twine, Pin It Accessories, Ology Magazine, By Curated., Always Sunny Designs


Did you make it down to the Calgary Home + Design Show!?  What did you think? Leave me a comment below and tell me what you thought of the show!



Best Practices: Paint Brush Care and Use…

With the accessibility of great water based, low VOC, products such as FAT Paint, more and more people are rolling up their sleeves and getting painty in their homes with projects to feather their nests… BUT I’ve discovered something that I find a little shocking… paint brushes are not receiving the respect they deserve!

I’m talking about¬†paint brush care and use… paint brush cleaning!…¬†EEK!… paint up under the ferrule, paint all over the place, brushes left sitting bristles down on the bottom of a container of water!… double EEK!… ¬†This shocked me until I realized that not everyone grew up with a paintbrush in hand or with a mother who taught them proper paint brush care and use as a little… I had to show the brushes respect in order to get to use them… my mom went through a tole painting phase which means that¬†she had some incredibly nice brushes…¬†so she ensured that I had a good handle on paint brush care and use… pun intended

So consider me the collective paint brush mother, here to teach you how to properly care for and use your paint brushes to ensure they have a long, wonderful, and creative life… The following best practices¬†are specific to the brushes that I use to paint furniture and home decor items, but much of it will apply to other paint brushes that you may have on hand.

Lets start with the break down of the anatomy of a paint brushPaint Brush Care and Use

There are the bristles – there are options for you to choose from regarding bristles. ¬†There are synthetic¬†bristle brushes and natural¬†bristle brushes. ¬†Natural bristles can hold excess water which¬†can dilute your paint¬†if you don’t give the brush¬†a good blot in a rag, or something absorbent, before dipping into your paint and the coarseness of most natural bristles will create more or heavier brush strokes in your paint. If you want the real brush stroked look work with natural bristles. If you buy a low quality natural bristle “chip brush” like the one pictured below be prepared to pick bristles out of your paint as you go. ¬†If you are going for a more smooth finish work with a smooth synthetic bristle brush. Personally I prefer to work with a synthetic bristle brush as it gives a great smooth finish to the surface. ¬†I also like working with a thin brush as I find I have greater control over the paint on the surface and the brush doesn’t hold a ton of extra paint.

Paint Brush Care and Use

There is the ferrule – the ferrule connects the bristles to the brush and keeps wood handles from splitting at the end that is in the most contact with moisture. ¬†Typically ferrules are made of a non rusting metal but if you don’t give it a dry off some may¬†still rust and stain the bristles where they exit the ferrule. ¬†Dry your ferrule off after washing your brush and hang your brush¬†up to dry completely between uses.

There is the handle – the¬†materials can vary in paint brush handles, but you will find that the higher quality the brush the more likely it is to have a wood handle, or a painted wood handle. ¬†To determine what handle type you prefer pickup the brush and hold it in your hand, hold it as if you are going to paint with it and feel the balance of the bristles to the handle… does it feel comfortable?… ¬†if not try another!

Now how do you handle that bad boy?

To hold your brush for painting grasp the ferrule like you would hold a pencil with your index and middle finger on one side and your thumb applying pressure on the other. Pick up your brush and try this grip¬†out…¬†if it doesn’t feel comfortable try moving your hand back down the handle a little and test out that location. Play with hold positions until you find one that is the most comfortable for you. Pay attention to how the brush feels in your hand when you start to paint and adjust your grip as necessary.

Paint Brush Care and Use Paint Brush Care and Use

When you are ready to get to work dip into your paint… now don’t get all dip happy… I’m talking about dipping just¬†the tip of the brush¬†into your paint. ¬†Ideally you want to not dip in past halfway up the full length of bristles… the general rule of thumb is 1/3-1/2 way up. ¬†You want to keep the paint below the ferrule as getting paint up underneath the metal can make fully cleaning the paint out of the bristles more difficult…¬†if you get paint up under the ferrule and are unable to clean it¬†out ¬†the paint can dry in there and distort the shape of your brush. If you are using a CLING ON brush dip the bristles in water first and give the brush a shake before your first dip into the paint as this will help with the painting process.

Paint Brush Care and Use

A general tip for any paint project where you are not going to use up all of the paint is to pour your paint a little at a time out into a secondary container and work out of your secondary container, adding more paint as you use it up.  Using a secondary container keeps your paint can clean and free of contaminants from the water system.  Introducing water into your paint can could introduce bacteria which will leave you with a stinky can of paint. Using a secondary container to dip into will also keep the edge of your paint can clean and enable you to get it closed nice and tight until your next project.

I’ve recently begun¬†to work with the great line of paint brushes known as CLING ON… to learn more about CLING ON¬†check out their page in my shop. These brushes are special and have a particularly great¬†advantage over other brushes in that the bristles have a special coating which makes cleaning a breeze… if you’re respecting them during use that is ūüėČ And those strings that you see just below the metal ferrule!? those help the bristles maintain their shape over time. Taken care of these brushes should last you for years!

Paint Brush Care and Use

Once you have paint on your bristles try to resist the urge to scrape the paint off off the bristles on the side of the paint container!… if the urge is too strong then at the most give the brush¬†a light tap on two opposite sides, inside the paint container, to help push the paint into the¬†centre of the bristles.

Now holding your brush like a pencil and at a 45 degree angle, to the surface that you will be painting,¬†press down while moving over the surface that you are painting, making the longest strokes possible back and forth. ¬†When you arrive at the end of your stroke gently lift the brush up off of the surface… don’t go too fast causing paint to flick from your project and the brush. ¬†Once the paint becomes less movable across the surface pickup more paint dipping only 1/3-1/2 of the bristles, and then applying the paint from the wet edge of the paint that was just applied out to the dry/unpainted surface.

Paint Brush Care and Use Paint Brush Care and Use

Between coats of paint you do no¬†have¬†to wash you CLING ON brush! The magic of the CLING ON is that you can suspend it in a jar of water with paint on bristles… but be sure to suspend it… I¬†use a chip clip and a mason jar. The special coating on the CLING ON bristles helps the paint to slide right off… especially when suspended in clear water. ¬†When you are ready to go onto the second coat give the bristles a shake and a pounce on some paper towels to remove excess water and get back into your paint. Resist the urge to¬†wrap painty¬†bristles in plastic until you are ready to apply additional coats of paint – this can distort the shape of the bristles and will cause¬†unnecessary and premature wear. If you are using another type of brush be sure to give it a wash in between coats of paint so that the paint does not dry into the bristles.

Paint Brush Care and Use

Paint Brush Cleaning

When you are done painting rinse the bristles out under warm running water… you can apply little drop of dish soap to your hand¬†and gently swish the bristles around your palm under the running water while pressing down gently. Don’t fret if you get watered down paint¬†under the ferrule, it will rinse out. Swish and rinse until the water runs clear. Hang your brush to dry or lay it flat ensuring the bristles are not being pressed on. ¬†Even after cleaning you can suspend your CLING ON brush in a jar of fresh water and you may find that additional paint¬†will work itself out. ¬†Hear my plea – please¬†resist the urge to sit¬†your paint brushes bristles down into¬†your container of water… resting your paint brushes bristles down on the bottom of the water container can distort the shape of your bristles, and again lead to¬†premature wear.

Here is my fave¬†CLING ON¬†suspended in a¬†jar of water… the paint literally falls down off of the bristles… eaaasy peasy!

Paint Brush Care and Use

My Favourite Brushes:

So I’ve used my faves to shoot the photos for this post… The flat synthetics and the CLING ON brushes are¬†really the only ones I have around the house now for furniture projects!… I’ve come to love these very flat, very smooth synthetic bristle brushes for large flat surfaces when I’m am chalk painting. ¬†They’re made by Royal & Langnickle. ¬†I do prefer less brush strokes…¬†a more smooth finish, with very little to no distressing, for my finished pieces so these brushes have been great for helping me achieve that look.

Paint Brush Care and Use

When painting smaller pieces, and especially detailed items and spindles the CLING ON round brushes are a dream! I have and do use them for larger surfaces too, they hold the perfect amount of paint and the slick bristles make moving the paint around on the piece a dream.

Thoughts? Questions? What are your favourite brushes for painting furniture? Leave me a comment below!



FB  Pin  Insta  Blog  Email

All Rights Reserved copyright 2016 Feathering My Nest

Terms and Conditions *  Privacy Policy