10 Home Improvements To Make Your Apartment Cozier This Fall

A lot has been written about creating a home that inspires a sense of sanctuary, but these days, the idea has never felt more relevant.

As the Autumn season starts cooling down Ottawa, its a great opportunity to make small adjustments as we enter yet another cold season as we"shelter-in-place."

Introducing "Hygge" (pronounced hue-guh not hoo-gah); a Danish word used when acknowledging a feeling or moment, whether alone or with friends, at home or out, ordinary or extraordinary as cosy, charming or special. It literally only requires consciousness, a certain slowness, and the ability to not just be present – but recognize and enjoy the present. We've compiled 10 home improvements that will make your apartment cozier for the fall season.

 

  1. Signature Candle

Hygge is about being mindful of small moments and really appreciating them. The Danish have candles lit even during the day. It’s about doing small things to make a very mundane experience feel slightly more meaningful and special.

 

2. Wireless Speakers

Setting the mood and creating a sense of contentment can also be done by curating music and sound. New to working at home? Consider selecting a playlist to work by, then moving to a different playlist when work is done to establish boundaries and define blocks of time.

 

3. Adopt A Plant

Now is definitely the time to nurture a house plant! You can find interesting, beautiful plants and support local shops in Ottawa at the same time. A few local shops to consider are Plant & Curio is located at 173 Preston, Scrim's Florist at 262 Elgin & Les Serres Robert Plante Greenhouses for all your succulent dreams come true!

 

4. Upgrade Your Linens

Even though you’re not having guests over, and no one knows you may be living a certain way, it’s important to keep things clean and tidy for yourself. Treat your house with respect by keeping things clean and organized — because you’re going to be there all day! Little luxuries like fresh sheets, a well-made bed, a clean tub for soaking and a kitchen with wiped-down surfaces create bright spots of calm and control.

 

5. Keep Surfaces Clear

Dining tables and side tables can become a vessel for cute accents or pile-ups of letters, keys, and other random grab-and-go items. It is, however, important to rid of any clutter that you do not need as it keeps your mind clutter-free simultaneously. Reducing the visual clutter from everyday surfaces like the coffee table and the dining table can definitely bring a sense of calm.

 

6. Instead, Introduce A Clutter Caddy!

Utility carts are a perfect way to store anything not immediately in use - from art supplies to text books and notepads. This cart is $29.99 at Ikea and aids in keeping your wider-spread clutter surfaces clear like the dining table, for example.

 

7. Elevate Your Dining Experience

 

Indulge in the everyday comforts that you have. If you’re getting UberEats delivery or your favourite local takeout, put it on your nicer plates. Elevate the everyday things that you’re doing. That’s hygge!

 

8. Explore Slow-Cooking Recipes, Cook With A Dutch Oven

When it comes to a cozy kitchen, cook with a Dutch oven. Roast chickens and make broth - the smell of the broth simmering throughout the house all day is the coziest, warmest smell ever and perfect for the fall season. It also saves some money to make your own broth.

 

9. Try Some DIY Home Projects

Not everyone sees the quarantine as an opportunity for home improvement, but avid DIYers may find a silver lining in their sequestration. There’s just so many things that you’re always too busy to do, and now we’ve got a lot of time for projects. It’s nice to take advantage of that and really get stuff banged out.

 

10. Make A Place To Sit In The Sun

In Southern California indoor-outdoor living is a way of life, and whether you have a balcony, a front porch or a big backyard, creating an exterior place to rest and relax is a big part of sanctuary style. Ottawa is gearing up for the Winter months where sunlight times get shorter, but a great way to make sure you catch some rays indoors is creating a space by the window with wicker furniture - to give you those sunny California sunshine vibes in the comfort of your apartment!

 


Things To Do In Ottawa This Fall

The fall season is upon us in Ottawa, and we've compiled an exciting list of virtual events and sight-seeing opportunities that are fun and safe for the whole family! 

 

The Sound and Light Show on Parliament Hill – Northern Lights, takes you on an unforgettable audiovisual journey through Canada's history. The bilingual show highlights the country's important milestones presented in spectacular detail, with stirring narration and an original score, against the backdrop of the Centre Block and Peace Tower. Show start times vary by month due to sunset times. Weather dependent.

Note: Due to COVID-19, the Sound and Light Show on Parliament Hill – Northern Lights will be hosted virtually.

 

Almonte Fibrefest - Join us online on Fibrefest weekend, September 11th to September 13th to shop, browse, and support your favorite fibre artists all while supporting the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum.

Asinabka Festival -The Asinabka Festival aims to highlight works that examine Indigenous issues and topics; to support media artists and filmmakers; to promote Indigenous cultures and languages; to educate people about First Nations, Métis, and Inuit issues in Canada, and about Indigenous issues internationally; to provide a space where Indigenous peoples can tell their own stories and see their own cultures reflected back at them; to entertain, to be innovative. and to present the best in Indigenous film.

Ottawa Artisans Virtual Craft Market -Ottawa Artisans is hosting a virtual craft market which will feature more than 100 handmade artisans from the region. From soaps, to clothing, to jewellery to kids' items and facemasks, discover what local makers can do! Shop online and receive your entire order for a flat-rate or pick it up for free in town. Support local and discover amazing locally produced goods!

Ottawa International Animation Festival -Note: Due to COVID-19, the Ottawa International Animation Festival will be hosted virtually.

In September, downtown Ottawa will once again be the stage where you can enjoy the world's most cutting-edge, thoughtful, funny and provocative animation films while mingling with many of animation's most celebrated stars, studios and characters. The Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF) is one of the leading events of its kind in the world. It's an annual five-day event that has been bringing the animation community together in a vibrant hub since 1976. With a total attendance of 28,000, it attracts artists, producers, students and animation fans from around the world. Check out the 80+ screenings, talks, and exhibits presented in venues across downtown Ottawa.

 


6 Must-Haves For Your New Apartment

You did it! Finally, after months of searching and planning and filling out acres of paperwork, you finally have your own place. Now comes the fun part – figuring out what you need. Don’t wait until you’re in your apartment to realize you don’t own a spatula (or a frying pan, for that matter).

 

Here are six must-haves for your new place:

 

A bed. If you’ve ever played the Sims or Minecraft, you know step one is setting up your bed. This goes beyond having a mattress, box spring, and frame, though. You’ll need a fitted sheet, a top sheet, pillowcases, blankets, and a comforter. You’ll also have to put the bed together, which brings us to item number two.

 

Item number two: A toolkit. Even if you don’t consider yourself handy, you’ll need a toolkit with:

 

  • at least two screwdrivers (Phillips and flathead, and a hex key might come in handy as well)
  • a hammer
  • nails
  • wall hooks
  • a tape measure
  • pliers
  • an adjustable wrench
  • a utility knife
  • a level
  • a ruler

 

 

Third Item: Kitchen supplies! You need:

 

  • plates (you can purchase a table setting for four, which usually includes coffee cups and even bowls)
  • Glasses (water glasses, wine glasses, maybe some plastic cups)
  • Silverware
  • a can opener
  • a sauce pan
  • a frying pan
  • knives
  • a cutting board
  • a spatula
  • measuring spoons and cups
  • dish towels
  • toaster
  • a coffee pot (if you drink tea, a kettle)
  • scissors
  • a vegetable peeler
  • if you cook a lot, thermometers (meat, candy)
  • garbage bags
  • paper towels
  • dish soap (and dishwasher soap if your rental has a dishwasher)
  • spices (at the minimum, salt and pepper)
  • pantry basics (bread, milk, sugar, eggs)

 

Number four: Bathroom supplies: soap, toilet paper, towels, a shower curtain, bath mats or rugs, a toilet brush and cleaner, and a toilet plunger (don’t wait until you need one to get one)

Five: A sofa and chairs for the living room

And finally, number six: A television (unless you are fine watching everything on your phone or iPad)


7 Important Home Office Organization Tips

 


How to Plant Succulents in Your Apartment

If you’ve been thinking of using plants for decoration in your apartment, may we suggest succulents? What are succulents, you ask? Only the hottest new trend in the plant world, of course! But if we’re defining the term, succulents are a type of plant (often associated with cacti) that store water in their leaves, so you’ll notice that their leaves are thicker than most plants. They thrive in dry climates and need about six hours of bright, indirect sunlight each day, so they’re perfect apartment plants (if you place them near a bright window).

Succulents are trendy, decorative, and overall a great plant for any household. If you don’t want to go out and buy a pre-potted succulent at your local nursery, then you’re going to need a little bit of DIY magic – don’t worry, we’re here to help! Even if you don’t have a green thumb, you’ll be able to plant your own DIY indoor succulent garden in no time. So, how do you plant succulents in your apartment?

Steps for Planting Succulents.

To make sure you get this right the first time, join us on a step-by-step journey of the planting process, from what to buy to how to care for the plants! And since you’re planting succulents, why not turn it into a succulent fairy garden while you’re at it? Let’s begin!

    1. Make a list of the necessary supplies.

      Making a list is always one of the first steps when it comes to DIY projects for your apartment, so this should be easy! As a matter of fact, let’s do the hard work for you, including your list of supplies and the approximate cost for each item:

        • Cactus potting soil (Approx. $5)
        • A pair of potting gloves (Approx. $5-$15)
        • A variety of succulents (Approx. $4-$12 per succulent – depending on type and size)
        • Terrarium for the succulents (Approx. $5-$10)
        • Decorative rocks (Approx. $3-$6 per container)
        • Fairy garden miniatures and décor (Approx. $2-$10 per item – depending on size and quality)
    2. Set up your planting station.

      We highly suggest that you either plant your succulents on your patio/balcony, or lay out newspaper or some sort of plastic cover in your apartment where you want to pot your new plant décor. This will keep soil and other potential messes off of your clean floors!

      • Time Required: Approx. 5 minutes

    1. Place your rocks and soil into your terrarium.

      What’s the purpose of the rocks? The rocks (the size of a pebble up to the size of a quarter – depending on your preference) help with drainage in your new planter (and they look cute). After you’ve placed a few handfuls of rocks into your container, it’s time for the cactus soil! You want enough soil to where your succulents will have their entire root base covered, but not so much that the soil overtakes your container.

      • Time Required: Approx. 5-10 minutes
    2. Make wells in the soil, and prepare the succulents.

      When you make wells in the soil, you’re digging out the new homes for your succulents – you want to give each succulent and its root base its own space in the soil. Just make sure not to plant them directly on the rocks. Speaking of roots, you’re going to want to open the root base of your succulents after you remove them from their plastic containers. This is often referred to as “teasing the root,” which you can do gently with your hands, combing your fingers through the roots to loosen them so that they will adapt easily to their new home.

      • Time Required: Approx. 5 minutes

    1. Place the succulents in the soil, and properly secure them.

      After you tease the root, place the succulents into their wells in the soil, and make sure the entire root base is covered in cactus soil. Feel free to add a little more soil to your container if necessary.

      • Time Required: Approx. 5 minutes
    2. Lightly water your succulents.

      Succulents only need to be watered every two weeks, so just remember to water them twice a month, and you’ll be good to go. You only need a little bit of water – mainly focus on the succulents and right around the root base.

      • Time Required: Approx. 2-3 minutes
    3. Decorate with any rocks, marbles, moss, and miniatures.

      After your succulents are safe in their soil, this is where the real fun begins! Decorate your new planter with any marbles, leftover rocks from the planting stage, moss, fairy garden miniatures, and anything else you have in mind!

      • Time Required: Approx. 5-10 minutes


DIY Secretary Desk for a Small Space

If your home does not have a dedicated office, you might find your “office” spread throughout your home. Your dining room table is your desk, the nearest bookshelf contains some binders, your kitchen drawer holds office supplies and the hallway houses your file cabinet. Just because you don’t have the one room to bring it all together doesn’t mean you can’t be organized on a smaller level. A secretary desk is the perfect solution for bringing all these items into one space.

A typical secretary desk has a fold-down desk with plenty of storage above and below in the form of cabinets or open shelves. You can easily find your own secretary desk and make it fit in with your style through some simple alterations. This Hemnes secretary desk was purchased from IKEA. Labeled storage boxes fill the shelves, leaving plenty of room for a fabric-covered cork board. The cabinet below the desk houses the home printer, more office supplies and a file folder box. An entire home office consolidated into one small space!

Since this secretary desk was going to be placed in the living room, it needed to be dressed up a bit to match the existing décor. The center portion of each top door was cut out with a jigsaw. A sheet of mirrored acrylic was then cut to size and mounted to the back of each door. Fretwork from O’verlays in the Khloe pattern was then glued onto the front of the “mirror” using Liquid Nails. Paintable caulk was added to fill in any gaps and then touched up with white paint.

Once the doors were completed and dried, they were reattached to the desk. The mirrored acrylic was so lightweight that there was no issue with reattachment, unlike heavy glass mirrors! The existing knobs were replaced with glass knobs to lighten up the whole look. The glass knobs blended right in and did not distract from the mirrored fretwork.

Secretary desks are easy to find at flea markets, yard sales and estate sales. A coat of paint and some new hardware can often make an older piece feel brand new. If you do not have a room to dedicate to a home office, you can create the perfect space anywhere by combining rooms in your home.

Maybe you would like to have a guest room but you don’t always have guests. That room can do double duty as an office with a secretary desk off to one side. Or your office might have recently become a nursery. Work can still get done when it needs to by leaving a secretary desk in that space as well. Keep some children’s books or family heirlooms on display to help it blend in. Once the desk doors are closed, it can look like any other storage pieces. Secretary desks are versatile enough that they can blend into any room. They can work hard all day, but when your work is done, you can simply pack up your “office” by closing the doors!


Storage Solutions for Small Spaces

iving in a rental comes with its own set of challenges.  And one of the most common complaints that renters have is lack of storage space.  But with a little creative thinking, storage issues can be solved in unexpected and stylish ways.   I pride myself on the fact that I can create storage out of just about anything.  Today I’m going to share a few easy ideas with you.

 

Go vertical.  Using wall space for storage is a great way to combat a lack of square footage.   Compact bookshelves can help create storage while offering visual appeal.  Try using more than one bookshelf to create a wall unit that has the look of built-in furniture.

Hide storage inside design elements.  The “x” detail on this daybed hides deep storage drawers that can hold everything from blankets and beddings to board games.  You can create a similar storage idea by adding deep baskets under benches or tables.

Use unexpected items for creative storage.  Antlers are a popular design element right now and here’s a unique way to use them.  Try hanging necklaces from the antlers for jewelry storage that is both interesting and practical.

Furniture or décor that does double duty is a perfect way to create storage in spaces that are small or simply lacking in storage options.  By using everyday objects in unexpected ways, you can make your space functional and fun at the same time.  Try thinking outside the box and you’re sure to come up with dozens of ideas that will fit the bill perfectly and that can move with  you from one space to the next!


Confined Dining... A Virtual Spring Soiree!

As a community, Ottawa is facing an unprecedented challenge while we address the spread of COVID-19. Whether we are facing a tornado, flood or pandemic, Ottawa has proven time and time again that by working together, we can rise to meet any challenge!

Like us, I'm sure you are incredibly proud our city's entrepreneurs. Their hard work creates the local businesses that bring culture, tie together and animate our Nations's capital. While social distancing is a vital tool to address this pandemic, it has significantly impacted many of our favourite artists, restaurants, breweries and entrepreneurs.

In an effort to support the many local spots we are privileged to enjoy in the best of times, we would like to invite you to show your love during this difficult time by taking part in a novel event: Confined Dining!

Join on Saturday, May 9th for an evening in support of local Ottawa hospitality and performances. Confined Dining will be a Spring soiree experience from the comfort of your home.

The evening can include a catered or takeout meal from a local establishment, drink pairings and live stream music performances from Ottawa artists.

All you need to do is:

- Register for FREE on the site: https://confined-dining.pagecloud.com/

- RSVP on our event page: Confined Dining

- Order dinner for delivery or pick-up from our selection of Ottawa restaurants and businesses on Saturday, May 9th

- Tune in and enjoy the show & after party!

Let's send our love and show support for the many entrepreneurs and artists that make Ottawa's service industry so great.


Winterlude 2020

Celebrate Canadian winter! The annual Winterlude festival in Ottawa begins January 31st to February 17th this year.

The event is FREE! You can view the ice sculptures, skate on the famous Rideau Canal Skateway, and visit some of Ottawa's favourite neighbourhoods featuring food & drink. This is the perfect event for students and young professionals to enjoy and explore the city!

Check out the activities at the following destinations:

Sparks Street

Sparks Street was the first permanent open pedestrian mall in North America. Just a few steps from Parliament Hill, this promenade is a great destination all year round. In 2020, it will be the main hub of the Winterlude festivities in Ottawa, with lighting effects and interactive light structures.

Don’t miss Winterlude’s Kick-Off Party on January 31, featuring Sarahmée, DJ NDN and Virginia to Vegas. The evening will also include a special number to highlight the important role that the Métis Nation played in Manitoba's entry into Confederation 150 years ago.

For the first time, Sparks Street will host ice-carving challenges: the Winterlude International Ice Carving Challenge, the Winterlude Battle of the Americas Ice Carving Challenge and the Canadian Ice Carvers Society’s Ice-Carving Speed Challenge.

 

Bank Street

Bank Street has had a commercial vocation since the late 19th century. People still shop here today, but they also visit the lively street for its good food and entertainment. Shops, restaurants, nightclubs and theatres... You’re sure to have a good time on Bank Street!

Melt away the winter blues as Bank Street hosts its Fire & Ice Festival. Come celebrate the warmth and the chill of the winter season with great food, drinks, dancing and live music.

 

ByWard Market

Established in 1826, the ByWard Market is one of Canada's oldest and largest public markets. All year round, day and night, the area buzzes with activity! Discover pretty shops and various restaurants, and visit the National Gallery of Canada.

During Winterlude, take in the fun with activities such as gourmet tours, the famous Stew Cook-off and the 40th Accora Village Kiwanis Bed Race.

 

The Glebe

The Glebe has a rich and fascinating history. The Aberdeen Pavilion, built in 1898, stands at the centre of Lansdowne Park. Today, shopping, dining and entertainment make it one of Canada's Capital Region's preferred gathering places.

Discover Snowmania and find out why the neighbourhood has become the “snowman capital of the planet”, and warm up with a retro roller disco in the Aberdeen Pavilion!

 


5 Tips for Holiday Hosting on a Budget

Hosting a holiday party is a great way to show your appreciation for those you love, but it can also break the bank. Have you seen how much cheese costs these days?! Budget-conscious doesn’t have to mean boring though. See our 5 tips below on hosting a festive but frugal fête!

  1. Use pantry staples for your main to cut costs
    Who doesn’t love a hot stew or chili on a cold night? A homemade spaghetti sauce with some dried pasta would also work really well here! You can feed a lot of people without breaking the bank and pantry meals come together relatively quickly with just a few pantry staples. Bonus points if you can just throw in the slow cooker, freeing you up to concentrate on the rest of the party.
  2. Make it a potluck
    The classic money-saving party tip! Have your guests each bring something to lessen the load. You can make it a themed night, ex. everyone brings a component for tacos, assign dishes to different guests, or let them surprise you and bring whatever they want! Just make sure you end up with some variety and not five desserts and no appetizers...
  3. Curate your guest list
    Your instinct might be to invite everyone on your friend list, but try to keep it to the people who really bring you joy. Consider the number of people who can fit comfortably in your space, the cost of food for that number of people and if everyone you plan to invite will get along well together. Celebrate the season with those you (actually) love!
  4. DIY the decorations
    Everyone wants to have an Insta-worthy party, but those elaborate centrepieces and name cards can add up. Try to decorate with pieces you already have or with simple crafts you’ve created yourself. Simple is key here, you can spend just as much on craft supplies (or more!) than buying something if you're not careful.
  5. Serve only one signature cocktail
    Fact: alcohol is expensive. Cut costs by offering your guests one seasonal cocktail option rather than a whole bar cart of variety. We recommend something slow-cooker mulled wine or hard cider for that festive feel. Or don’t serve any alcohol at all and just have it BYOB!