Sunday, February 20, 2011

Show and Tell: Birch Tree Mural

Birch Forest wallpaper mural
During my inspiring walk through the home show today, I stumbled upon a company ( for prepasted mural wallpaper.  The murals are designed from original art work/photography of Canadian artists.  I fell in love with the birch forest mural above!  I plan on adding the mural to a small accent/feature wall in the man cave (also referred to by myself but never my husband as the "mom cave").  At the top of our property on Rice Lake, there is a small birch forest.  This project will bring a little bit of our island property into our home.  A nice merger of the two worlds!  Love to bring the outdoors in!

I will update this post once the project is complete.  This will most likely by a Fall project as cottage season is just around the corner and property projects will prevail!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Show and Tell- A short film on the most Canadian of places, an outdoor skate rink

The ice rink I stumbled upon on Rice Lake, on the way up to the property
Last night, I watched a screening of Jeff Bird's documentary RINK (  performed with live music to accompany.  The documentary, filmed in Guelph, ON, captures the life and death of the most Canadian of places, an outdoor neighbourhood skating rink, made and cared for by a man named Udo.  Beautiful images and a wonderful depiction of a gathering place and how communities and people of all ages can come together, even on the coldest of days!  I had to share this short film!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

DIY Projects for 2011- The Master Plan

With careful planning, by the age of 35, my husband and I are hoping to own a waterfront cottage.  Our goal is to build a 800-900 square foot, open concept cabin for $50 000 and have this complete in the next 5 years.  The building bylaw for the municipality states the minimum square footage for a new build is 800 sq feet, which is more than enough space after having lived in a 600 sq ft condo in downtown Toronto for 6 years.  We're approaching this with the perspective that bigger is not necessarily better.  We want a low maintenance cabin close to home.  From doorstep to dock, the total drive to our property is an hour and a half. We want to waste as little time on the road, with the other thousands of cottagers migrating from the hustle and bustle of the city, as possible.

This cottage season we are focusing on the following:

Building a 10 x 16 Cedar floating dock: We'll need a place to dock our new (used) pontoon boat and a place to unload our building supplies in the future!

Landscaping: Clearing the brush for the cottage will make a huge visual change in the interim.  Most of the work can be done with a chainsaw with the help of a back hoe to excavate the trunks and smooth out the land.  Every year, we are also trying to plant a few seedings.  I love evergreens and these are a good choice for our property as they are less appealing to the beavers who seem to thrive on birch and other softwoods!  I loved beavers until we purchased the property and than I soon realized, they can quickly chew their way through a forest!

The Beaver Dam
The Beaver Tree

Running water- We are currently researching which Jet pump with tank to choose.  We are also considering an outdoor shower (what a luxury!)

Photo wall for outhouse- This is my project! The photo wall will display all our progress to date!

This is enough to keep us busy for the entire season.  It's been go go go to get to this point and we also want to build in some time to relax and enjoy the property and lake.  I hope this post will give you an idea of what to expect for future blog posts and hopefully a reason to check back in on our progress!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Camping with a baby: A whole new adventure!

Before having a baby, we weren't sure how portable a baby would be and how easily we could incorporate our little one into our lives and ambitious dream of one day building a cabin on our boat access only waterfront lot.  We know how to navigate the waves to our property, build a fire with damp wood, and cook a meal on the bbq but we know nothing about doing it with a baby!

As we plan for this year's summer season, I wonder how our newest member of the family is going to adapt and how we will adapt as outdoor parents!  Will this early exposure to the outdoors help her to grow and love nature?  Will she grow to make a connection with the natural environment like her parents?  I wonder what impact it has on a baby to spend so much time outdoors, close to the elements, looking at the trees and open water.  Although we're only a 1 1/2 hour drive from home, this isn't going to be the urban city that she's used to.

As I start to think about her first steps with nature, I get overwhelmed with excitement and anxiousness!  It's much different for those that are bringing their baby to an existing cottage (vs a cottage dream)!  We are still roughing it!  How do you babyproof the outdoors?  It's arguably impossible but I am inspired and calmed by my memories of camping at national parks and seeing other young couples tent camp and backcountry hike with their new additions..... proof that it's possible, that it can be done, and that we are going to do it!

Keep checking back for more stories, perspectives, and reflections of our new adventure at our waterfront lot with our baby and for DIY ideas and pre-construction planning updates!