Blue & White Transferware Tablescape

Hello Everyone,
    It was a sunny but cold day here today but with February almost over, spring must be just around the corner! Well not quite- we did get about 15cm. of sparkly white snow yesterday and I am noticing that it is starting to accumulate. 
   Anyway, as many of you know I love transferware and although I have more red and white then any other color,I thought I would use my blue and white transferware today.

As usual I have a mix and match set.
I love soup tureens!
My husband gave me this teapot for my birthday a few years ago along with the creamer and sugar bowl.
I enjoy my tulip bouquets while waiting for our own to bloom.
My daughter had several of these teacups and passed them on to me.

I found 6 of these plates at a thrift shop.
These pretty plates came from Homesense which is the same as Home Goods in the U.S.

In the last couple of weeks I found a couple of lovely red and white transferware pieces that I am happy to have so I will have to show you those treasures soon.

Our bedroom is getting a makeover and when it is done I will also share those photos.However,it will be a week or so before it is done.
   I hear that March is coming in like a lamb tomorrow so I guess that means out like a lion!

I am joining Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday.

Thank you for visiting,


Living Off Grid in British Columbia

Going off grid is becoming increasingly attractive, especially to people who haven't done it yet. There are ls of reasons to consider going off grid.
First, it's more sustainable and has less impact on the environment (most of the time) than modern, urban living.
Second, it offers a simpler lifestyle.
Third, it requires less money.
Fourth, it may offer more security, especially if the current financial crisis becomes worse.
Fifth, its kind of romantic.
All that said, its not easy. If you're ready to take the plunge, British Columbia is a great place to do it if you like fantastic scenery, you aren't afraid of bad weather from time to time, you like wild and remote areas, freedom and hard work.
BC has many different areas where you can go off grid. The first is the coastal area, either on the Mainland or on Vancouver Island. You can be by the sea and enjoy a moderate climate. Temperatures will seldom go below freezing, but there will be lots of rain coming in off the Pacific during the winter. As a plus, marine scenery is outstanding, and there is plenty of opportunity to enjoy crabs, salmon, cod, halibut and prawns (you'll need a boat).
Once you cross the Coast Range and get into the Interior of the province you will experience more blue sky, but in the winter you'll also get colder temperatures, and in some areas, much more snow.
The Okanagan/Kamloops area is dryer, and warmer, year round, with the understanding that as you climb in elevation it will get colder.
The Kootenays are snowier, generally, and more remote. Large valleys between mountain ranges define this area, which is fairly remote even though its in the southern part of the province.
The Cariboo/Chilcotin is in the center of the province. Winters are long, but the area is huge, with thousands of lakes and rivers. Its great cowboy country. If you want horses and a log cabin, this is the area for you.
North of Prince George the province becomes very remote, in ways that someone from the Lower 48 of the US or Europe might find hard to imagine. Let's just say its really remote, with few roads, and really long winters.
Let's say you pick an area. Now what? If you're going to live off grid you need shelter, heat and water, not to mention food. Water and heat aren't a huge challenge in most of BC. There is lots of fresh water and that creates lots of potential heat on the mountain side in the form of trees. That means lots of wood cutting, however, and splitting and stacking. Wood that you cut in the summer and let dry is more enjoyable than wet winter wood.
Shelter is a different challenge. No matter where you are in BC you can die from the cold in a few hours during the winter if you are not prepared. You absolutely require somewhere to get warm and dry. That could be a tent, or a trailer, or a camper, or a cabin, or a yurt, but you will need something. If you don't bring it you'll have to build it. Building off grid is very hard.
Here are a few things to remember: most off gird sites in BC are not within walking distance, or for that matter, easy driving distance, to a building supply center. If you're driving off grid in a pick up truck with a trailer, then you're halfway there. You can load up on tools, nails, chainsaws, generators and redi-mix. However, if you're using a boat to access your build site, or worse, a horse, a plane, or walking, it can be very hard to get heavy stuff where you need it to be. You'll either do without or be very creative.
Don't get me wrong - people have done it many times, and you can too, but its hard, and progress will be slow.
Some options are:
Finding a property with existing buildings.Building in stages before you take up permanent residence.Using a trailer, bus or camper as a base.Making a small shelter that is weather tight and then making use of tents and taps to keep equipment and supplies dry.
Other things to consider are that you won't have power tools off grid unless you bring a chainsaw or a generator, at least until you get your micro-hydro, solar or wind system set up. You also won't have electric lights or satellite access to the internet to get questions answered (unless you plan for that).
On other words, don't under estimate the challenge.
If you're still willing to try it you have to ask: where do you get the land?
Can you just squat? As a matter of fact, yes you can. BC is huge, and you can easily get yourself lost. However, if someone owns the land, or wants to log it, or guides in it, you might get kicked out. Its a risky business.
You can also rent a place, but the market for that is very unorganized. It isn't easy to find someone who has property who will rent it to you for a long enough term for you to make the improvements you'll want.
That leaves buying, which you can always do. The issue is price. Waterfront properties can be expensive, but they can also be very reasonable. Smaller places cost more per acre, but large remote acreages can sell for less than $1000 per acre. You can find out about property for sale by simply starting with Google. There are lots of for sale by owner sites catering to rural BC. You can also contact me for help - again, google me; I'm easy to find.
Rob Chipman is broker owner of Coronet Realty Ltd,a Vancouver BC, area real estate and property management company specializing in residential rental real estate and non-resident taxation for offshore investors.
He also specializes in off grid, fly in, waterfront or otherwise unique properties in the Cariboo Chilcotin region of British Columbia. He has a blog at Off Grid BC as well as Bush Pilot Properties.

My Nursery Reveal

I think this will be my last "official" post about my nursery! I still have frames that need to be added to the shelf and my ceiling pendant hung, but overall it's finished and I'm in love!

Here are some of the "reveal" photos...can you spot my inspiration board above the bookcase? My class project really has come to life!

Most of the pieces are from PB Kids and Potterybarn. The pillow on the chair is from Marshalls but is the fabric I sourced from Calico Corners. The little stool is from Target, but is temporary as this will be replaced by the changing table/dresser.

The rhino book ends are from Urban Outfitters. The monogrammed piggy bank is from Nordstrom. Orange Chevron rug is from Urban Outfitters.

This weekend I washed all of his 0-3 month clothes and hung them back in his closet. His 3+ clothes are separated out into sized boxes and stored in the attic for now. I'm thinking of doing some sort of closet organization to take advantage of all of the space below the hanging clothes. Plus we'll need some additional storage for diapers, blankets, towels, etc. So I'll be posting any great finds later...

Do you remember this space before? Here's what it looked like when we moved in...

Here's the same room set up as my office...

And here's the same room set up as the baby nursery!

Now we just need to wait patiently for the bambino...

More Beauty!

Hello everyone,
      Today, I have  more beauty to share with you as a follow up from my last post. As, I mentioned in my last post a reader of my blog sent me some beautiful photos of her home and all the beautiful treasures she has collected over the years and I have been given permission to share them with you.

I love the tea set above-the color is so pretty..
Lots of pretty things to see here-the doll and cradle really caught my eye! This is such a pretty bedroom.
Love this feminine chair!

Can't help but love this too!
Beyond beautiful!
Delicate and pretty!
Another beautiful antique dress.Did all the ladies have such a tiny waistline back then???
Adorable hats and a lovely glass cabinet full of more treasures.
A pretty teapot with a spout strainer-I have never seen one of those before.

Antique lace

This is just the beginning of the most beautiful collection of china I have ever seen. I will share the rest of it at a later date. I have so loved seeing  all the beautiful china,lace etc. and I hope you have too! Thanks once again to my friend for sharing with us!

As March is getting closer I am  in the mood for spring cleaning and getting some little projects done so  my camera/computer time has been slashed dramatically! I hope you will be patient with me as I may be a little more sporadic for awhile.

Thank you for visiting,


What Is the Correct Way to Make Green Homes Increase in Value?

Every once is a while I get to appraise some type of energy efficient home with built in solar panels, wind turbines, light bulbs, furnaces, and home construction. Most of the time, these types of items will bring you nothing in extra value to your home in the Northwest. Do you know why? There is a disconnect from the Realtor databases and a lack of data in the MLS databases, and a sheer lack of similar sales for these "green" items.
I understand that the market will consider these types of improvements positive. With my professional appraisal experience and after speaking to several Realtors that have listed or sold these types of properties, it is clear that is could take the home owner 8 to 20 years to get their money back out in the terms of energy savings.
In terms of home value, your home will be appraised like any other home. If the real estate appraiser can not prove that the market is willing to pay for these types of homes, the value will not increase, nor decrease. In these cases, green homes are trumped by the next best thing in the market, similar homes.
Here is one of the few ways I see green homes increasing in value. There must be an entire development that is significant is size that makes up an entire community of green homes. Let's say a developer put together a development that only offers green homes. One part of the land is used for both RV storage, but on top of each building there are solar panels. Around the entire perimeter of the 10 acres development, there were wind turbines. On the roofs of every home in the development, there will be more solar panels. All homes in the development are made from green products and energy efficient items. Do you get the idea? With a big enough development, hopefully, there will be at least one or two sales to support the value.
The cost of the initial development for this type of development may be 30% more than the cost of a regular built home. If the market is willing to buy into a development like this, they will pay more for homes like this. There benefits will be energy reduction, environmental reasons, and money savings. The negatives may be ugly wind turbines around the property and acceptance of solar panels located on everyone's home and the cost to maintain something like this.
But when it came time to appraise homes like this, there will developments that support this type of technology. There will be comparable sales to select and compare to the subject and an appraiser can clearly conclude what the market is will to pay for homes in this type of development and outside the development. In other words, the appraiser can prove it. That's how to make green homes increase in value.
Would you like to learn more about buying, selling, and refinancing a home from a real estate appraiser

It's been way too long...

Ahhhh I can't believe it's been two weeks since I last posted! This is the longest I've ever gone and I have missed it! Plus I got a stern warning from my Aunt that I need to start posting again...and I can't disappoint her :) So I promise to get back in the saddle again this week.

Things have been crazy to say the least in the Heather / Ryan household these past few weeks. Ryan has been in Las Vegas a total of 3 separate times + Arkansas in the last 30 days. We've had two wonderful baby showers, plus family and friends in town, a crazy work schedule...oh and did I mention I only have 5 weeks left before the baby arrives!! Ahhhh!

Good news! The nursery is finally done--well almost. Is anything ever really done? We still have to hang the light fixture but to be honest I just don't know how this will happen. This super cheap and super awesome brass light fixture from Urban Outfitters has stumped all of the handy men in my contractor, my father, and my brother-in-law! (No I didn't forget to add my husband's name to this list :)

We also had a small snafu with our dresser. The snafu being my eyes were bigger than my room and my dresser is too large. So we had to order a more narrow dresser--so we are hoping this arrives in time for the bambino! But everything else looks amazing! Curtains-up. Bookcase-stocked. Closet-full of washed super cute clothes hanging on the tinniest hangers ever! I'll post complete pics this week!

In the meantime, I have three more home projects I would love to do--maybe after the baby is born--because I will have so much time right? :)

#1 is painting the guest room. This is the last room in our house that hasn't been painted and is still in that awful builder's beige color they dipped our house in before selling.

#2 is painting my office downstairs. I'm still thinking green?

#3 is updating my foyer. Now that I'm totally obsessed with board and batten (from the nursery) I'm thinking this would look perfect on my awkward wall next to my front door. Sorry for no pics. But basically my front door opens up into my living room and we have this weird long wall where we can't put any pics behind the door so it always looks lopsided to me.

But then I came across these awesome (and similar) foyer solutions--and I think this would look perfect!

Also check out this amazing redesign I found on Young House Love via Jenna Sue Design.

Are FITs Going To Pay Long Term?

If you generate your own green power then you could be earning yourself some cash as well as being eco-friendly. The government feed-in tariff (FITs) was launched last April and allows homeowners the chance to sell their home grown electricity and get paid for each unit that they produce. Payments are around 41.3p per kilowatt-hour (kWh) and this is more than three times the average consumer price. Some investors have taken note of this and bought wind turbines and solar panels to cash in. This has made to levels of subsidy unsustainable; investors have purchased large fields and covered them with photovoltaic (PV) panels. Cornwall council has just granted permission for the first scheme of its kind, the site is a former tin mine near Truro and many more look to be planned. These sort of projects look to be 2,000 times the size of small domestic ones and so there is a lot of money to be made.
The energy secretary Chris Huhne has now ordered a comprehensive review of FITs and so this may change the way homeowners generate their electricity. Homeowners receive payment for the electricity they produce whether they use it or not. Small domestic generators earn more per unit than the larger ones. Of the power that is fed back into the grid, homeowners earn an extra 3p per kWh. In the UK 22,000 households have signed up for FITs and of these 22,000 95% of them are using PV panels.
Payments for FITs do not come from the government but from the levy on electricity bills. A spending review conducted last year placed a cap on FITs at £360million by 2014-15 and so as a result the energy departments are now taking action. It does not just affect solar power but all categories that come under FITs. These are wind, combined heat and power, biogas, hydro and of course PV. They will all be reviewed by the end of the year and if any changes to the tariff will occur it will take effect in April 2012. Mr Huhne has asked for a fast track system, to be completed by the summer, in regards to PV installations and anything over 50kW. The payments may be cut for these large scale projects.
That does not mean that domestic tariffs are exempt, FITs were supposed to be fixed until April 2013 but this has already been brought forward a year. Once you have joined the scheme you will continue to receive payments at your initial rate for the entire time of the scheme, although inflation may lead to adjustments. Therefore the message is that if you are intending to install solar panels it is better to do it sooner rather than later. The tariff for newly fitted solar systems falls by 8.5% every year so by 2021 it may be 18p per kWh instead of the 41.3p until 2013. So as the government reviews its incentives green households may be losing out in the future, even though the government promotes green living as the ideal way.

An Amazing Collection of Victorian Lace Dresses

Hello Everyone,
     I have an extra special treat for you today! A lovely reader of my blog who has enjoyed collecting beautiful lace,linens and  china from all over the world has sent me some pictures of her most amazing collection.She has kindly allowed me to share the photos with you,dear readers! I adore this picture of the beautiful lace dress above.

This lovely lacy bed is also in the room with the dress.I love that pillow also!
This is a quote from my new blog friend.......One of my favorite treasures is this Irish crochet parasol. It came from
Canada through a dealer. It was lined with pink silk that was totally in
shreds. I took a deep breath and totally took it apart, cleaned it and put
it back together. I wasn't sure it would fit the frame when I went to put it
back on so it was a total leap of faith.

I have been drooling over these beautiful dresses for awhile now. Can't you just image the ladies of Avonlea (if you are an Anne of Green Gables fan) wearing these beautiful dresses and carrying the beautiful parasol-so delicious!
I love this one too!!! I see lots of pretty treasures in the background too-don't you?
Oh good! A closer look. Do you see all the beautiful hats too!!!

I have never seen so many beautiful treasures!
Such a sweet collection of baby things too!

I could spend all day just looking and admiring!
So beautiful!
I love how nicely everything is displayed too!

I especially love those shoes on the right!

Hats that even the Queen would be proud to wear!
And one for the Duchess too!
Just a little peek at some of the beautiful china my new friend has. I have some  pictures of her most gorgeous china to share with you next week and I know you will not be disappointed!!!
   Now,I have to tell you the owner of these most beautiful Victorian treasures does not have have a blog- PITY! Oh! well maybe someday.
 Thank you so much to this kind lady for taking the time to share her extensive collection with all of us.

We are expecting a snowstorm here over night with 20cm. of snow and high winds so winter is not over yet!

I am joining The Rose Garden in Malevik for Show off Saturday.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.


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