Friday, August 23, 2013

Think and Drink Local: A Review of Motts Landing Wine

As I get older I think more about what great things we have right here at home and in this case, I say "think local and drink local" after tasting the wines from Motts Landing.

While on our "staycation" we visited Motts Landing for a tasting.  We tasted five wines in total and here is what we thought:

Image courtesy of 

1.  Frontenac Reserve -  This $17 bottle of wine is smooth and full bodied and full of flavour.  It is fantastic with lamb.  Yes, we bought a bottle and yes, we will buy more.

2.  Frontenac - For $15 a bottle, this would also be a good buy.  It was also very pleasing to the palette and while we didn't buy this time, I would buy it in the future.

3.  Prairie Star - This was a nice light wine and for $17 a bottle it is a good buy.  Would be great for a hot day.

4.  Frontenac Gris - This $16 a bottle of wine was surprisingly my favourite.  I usually gravitate to the drier wines, but this one being a little sweeter was really, really nice.  We bought two bottles of this one so that tells you it was my fav!

Image courtesy of

5.  Wild Rose - If you like rose wines, this $15 bottle will likely please.  We are not big fans of rose wines so this was a miss for us.  In fact, I have to be fair and state this as a bias and would recommend that people try this wine for their own assessment.  After all, we enjoyed all the other wines that we tasted.

In addition to the tasting, the location is beautiful.  It is a must visit in my opinion.  The only caveat is to drive there via the Jemseg route.  Don't go via the Cambridge Narrows route, unless you want to tear the bottom of your car out.  The road is in desperate repair and despite many appeals from many people, the call to fix that road seems to be missed.  

Over and above the wines we tasted, we also bought a bottle of the Cranpagne.  Can't wait to try that out.  I am expecting great things based on what I have tasted thus far.

So, as I think more about buying local and supporting local businesses, artisans and craftspeople, I can see that Motts Landing wines will be on the list for gift giving this Christmas.

I want to thank Sonia for making us feel very welcome and telling us all about the wines and the history of the vineyard!  I wish that they had a social media presence, but do not. In fact, my only suggestion for improvement for them is be on social, or at least remove the Facebook and Twitter icons from their website.  The icons actually take you to someone else's social channels, which is just bizarre.  

Monday, August 19, 2013

5 Considerations When Decorating With Colour

Recently a friend asked me for advice on picking colour.  She is completely lost when it comes to what works and what doesn't.  So, of course I couldn't resist helping.

Those that know me well, know that my favourite colour is blue. It has been since I was a little girl.  Those same people who have been to my home over the years might also realize that my colour palette has changed over that same time.  Shortly after moving into our house, more and more things became blue.  Now, those things are now warmer jewel tones.  So, what changed? My favourite colour has not changed, so why did my colour palette in my house change?

Over time, trends change and even colour preferences change in terms of what inspires you, what is available and what looks good in your home.  Style of home, natural light available and actual function all impact your choices for your home.  The key to making the change easily and cost-effectively is choosing colour and knowing where to use colour.  Here are some easy tips to keep in mind:

1. Don't Go Overboard with Colour

Loving a colour doesn't mean that you need to add it to every surface in a room.  In this pink bathroom, the pink in my opinion is overwhelming.  While it is very retro, should the respective owners decide to change this bathroom, they will have major job on their hands.  If you have the budget for a gut, no problem.  If your budget is more reserved, some ways to tone down this bathroom include stripping the wallpaper and painting with one neutral colour. In addition, curtains, blinds, towels, etc. should be the same neutral colour.

Photo Courtesy of

2.  Choose the Right Surfaces for Colour

Keeping mind that tastes and trends change, apply colour to the things that are easy to change and cost-effective.  For example, wallpaper, paint, curtains, rugs, etc. for colour.  Go neutral colours for appliances, sinks, toilettes, tubs, tile, etc.  These are the things that are not easy to change and cost a whole lot more when you tire of the colour or style.

3.  Love It!

Be sure when you choose colours that you absolutely love it and want it for awhile.  Even though you are applying colour to the things that are easy and cost-effective to change, you want to have them around for a little while.  So, be sure that you won't tire or be bored with the colour in a couple of months or even a year.  That too can become expensive.

4.  Consider Your Other Visuals

There are a lot of "rules" around choosing colour and using different colours in rooms that flow into one another.  I say phooey to most of them.  I use different colours in different rooms. I can see the colour from different vantage points and it differentiates the rooms.  I do try to keep the weight or the value of the colour the same from room to room so that one does not overpower the other though.  

5.  Consider Existing and Future Purchases

Don't forget what you already have in terms of colour. Will your new choice work with what you have.  It doesn't have to match perfectly, but it should "go" with what you are doing.  Also, are you planning on buying new furniture?  If so, be sure that your new colour choice "goes" with the intended purchases.

These are just some colour tips from At Home At Evergreen Cottage.  What are your tried and true tips?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Product Review: Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations

Like many I have an older kitchen, but I am not yet ready to gut the thing.  So, I have done my own renovations to my kitchen.  Yes. Me.  I have quite a few cabinets and years ago, when hubby was at the Lake, I had this brilliant idea of how I was going to make the bulk of my cabinets look good.  That is a different blog post. I am still happy with "them".  The remaining cabinets however, were a different story.  I liked them for years in their pretty Wedgwood blue, but they really didn't match the rest of the kitchen now.  So, that is were my product review for Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations come in!

I have been thinking about painting these cabinets for sometime.  However, I didn't have consensus on this project.  This past weekend was my chance.  It was time for the Lake visit without me.  So, off I went to Home Depot with plans to buy melamine paint to redo the Wedgwood blue.  Low and behold I am informed that you can't get melamine paint any longer.  So, I had two options:

1.  sand, prime and then paint the cabinets.  
2.  purchase the Rust-Oleum Cabinets Transformations.

The cost was going to be roughly the same for whichever option I chose.  The difference was going to be in the mess, the labour required and the time.  After some consultation and discussion with the Home Depot Rep, I opted for Option #2.  

Contents of the Rust-Oleum Kit, plus the extras needed

What I liked:

The kit is pretty complete.  The only extras you need are plastic, painters tape and paint brushes.  There is also an instructional DVD, which is awesome for those of us who are visual - which by the way is 73% of us.

The instructions were straight forward.  I read the booklet and watched the video. Because this involves my kitchen cabinets I wanted to make sure that I did this 100% accurate according to the manufacturers instructions.  I don't want my cabinets looking like crap tomorrow, next week or even two years from now.  The last finish was durable and looked great, despite the colour.

Cabinets in Blue

The prep work was straight forward and once I had everything covered, taped up, hardware removed, and washed, I was ready for Step 1 - the de-glossing.  That was easy and went well. In all, this took me about two hours.  I then had to wait an hour before Step 2.

Step 2 - applying the paint.  The smell of the product was pleasant at first. I thought it smelled like cocoa.  However, after two and a half hours of painting, I had a headache and this was despite good ventilation.  The next day I applied the second coat and in some cases a third coat in order to fully cover the colour.

Step 3 - applying the protective coat - a.k.a water-based varnish.  This part of the process went the fastest.  

Cabinets (after) that match backsplash on other cabinets

What I didn't like:

I consider myself quite a seasoned painter.  I have been painting since I was a kid and I know how to paint. In fact, I am a careful painter and was wearing a good sweater and skirt the first night I was painting. I am cautious, take my time and precise.  I was checking throughout the process for drips.  When I went to bed that night there were NO drips anywhere.  The next morning when I got up and went into the kitchen my eyes when directly to a couple of areas where the paint accumulated in ugly drip formations.  I would not consider this a product/project for people just trying painting for the first time. I would not consider this product for people who want faster results and don't take the time to do things by the book.

It was a good thing that I had plastic at home.  The Home Depot Rep mentioned nothing about needing plastic to cover "stuff".  She also tried to convince me to buy three new brushes because each step needed a "different" brush.  That is not an accurate assessment at all. Because I clean my brushes properly I could have used the same brush.  Additionally, the de-glossing does not use a brush.  Instead you use the scrubby things provided "in the kit."

The Overall Verdict:

For now, I am giving it a "Let's See" approval rating from the At Home at Evergreen Cottage. Aside from the drip marks, the kit is well done giving you pretty much what you need, including great instructions.  At this point however, I have my fingers crossed that the overall finish on the cabinets will endure.  I am not yet convinced that I won't start to see tiny bits of paint coming off and then seeing bits of my old blue coming through. Fingers are really crossed tightly now.

On a side note, there is also an option glazing process that you can do. Because my cabinets in this area are just plain and have no profiles, I opted not to try this part.  It wouldn't have been an improvement.  

NOTE:  I was neither approached nor paid to try this product or write this product review.  

Friday, August 9, 2013

Product Review: Burt's Bees for Dogs Oatmeal Shampoo

It was Spa Day for Seven!  How Did Burt's Bees Stand Up Against Seven and THE Fur?

Let's face it.  I have a 92 pound dog with more fur than most people would ever want to experience.  A Rough Coat Collie is the epitome of fur and lots of it!  Between shedding, bathing and grooming, I live with fur.  So, when I saw Burt's Bees for Dogs Oatmeal Shampoo, I thought I would give it a run for its money.

Thankfully, Seven is a house dog and doesn't need to be bathed often.  Couch potato dogs just don't get as stinky and dirty as outside dogs.  There is no rolling in the grass, mud or other things that will go unmentioned here.  He is brushed daily, and several times a day at that and spot cleaned if necessary.  The thing you notice sometimes with a dog like Seven is that he gets dry skin.  Really dry skin needs special attention.  That special attention is usually a bath and a good shampoo that gets to the skin and soothes the skin. Burt's Bees you had your work cut out for you between the crazy amount of fur to get through and the dry skin!

Seven During the Bath

Apres Bath and Slowly Drying
So, what is the verdict?  Did we like the results of using Burt's Bees Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs?  YES! And here is why:

1.  The fragrance was nice and not over powering.
2.  Despite having a dog with so much fur, it was easy to get the product to lather and then to rinse.  Rinsing Seven usually takes much longer and requires more water.  It was much quicker with Burt's Bees.
3.  Seven's fur is so beautifully soft.  His coat feels like silk after this latest bath.
4.  The dry skin issue is completely cleared up.  Seven's skin looks nice and clean.
5.  There was no residue left in the tub after Seven was out making it a much quicker and easier clean up.

Seven Bathed and Completely Dry with His New Fav Shampoo!

As you can see by the photo above, Seven's fur has completely dried and has expanded to its full and natural volume.  In the picture is the shampoo that we used (on the right).  On the left is a different shampoo to use if you don't want to bath the whole dog.  We haven't tried it yet, but I am sure that we will. When we do, I will let you know how it goes.  

For the regular Burt's Bees Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs, I am giving it a At Home at Evergreen Cottage Stamp of Approval!  

NOTE:  I was neither paid or approached to do this product review.