Category Archives: DIY projects

flower letters - square

make these: DIY flower letters

1st October 2015

When I made a bar cart a few weeks ago, I thought it would be fun to make a little ‘BAR’ sign to go with it. Ultimately my permanent spot for this whole little bar cart setup will be my third floor loft studio (for you know…. clients?… ha!). I thought it would be really cute to have a little sign to make my bar area, and had the supplies on hand to do it. Here is the scoop on how I made some DIY flower letters out of wire, tape, and dollar store flowers.

make these DIY flower letters - an easy and sweet project for under $10!

First up is to create a wire background to use for your letters. We had a coil of wire in our workshop, but you can get some from any hardware store for next to nothing. Use pliers to cut the wire to the lengths you need, and then bend it around until you get the right shapes. Wrap it around on itself where you need to. None of this will be visible, so it doesn’t have to be perfect. I wanted long, skinny letters, and so made them as such.DSC_1425Next up is to wrap your wire letters with masking tape. Basically you want to create more surface area to be able to glue your flowers onto. The alternative to using wire and tape is to purchase pre-made letters from a craft store (cardboard, wood, etc), which would be easier but a little more expensive. You are also slightly more restricted in the shape/style/size of letters you can go with if you’re using pre-bought, but it’s a great and easy option.
DSC_1430I had a bunch of fake flower stems from the dollar store – about $8 worth. I popped all the heads off and threw out the stems. The flatter the base of the flower, the better. See those smaller pink ones that still have long-ish stems? I ended up cutting them down with scissors even further so that they would sit more flatly on the letters.

Take your hot glue gun and glue the flowers down on each letter. I found it easiest to put glue on the flower, then hold the flower down on the letter for a good 20 seconds before moving onto the next. You don’t want to leave much space between flowers, as you don’t want any of the masking tape to show through. DSC_1445It’s kinda fun to use a mixture of flowers – styles and sizes. It starts filling in and looks all kinds of sweet.

make these DIY flower letters - an easy and sweet project for under $10!p

To affix them to the wall, you can just hang a small finishing nail for each letter and hang them from it (the letters are super lightweight), or use a double sided tape meant for wall hanging.
DSC_1443 (2)I loved the way these turned out, and it was a project you could totally do in an evening in front of whatever Netflix show you’re binge-ing on (speaking from experience – hello, Party of Five!).  These would be super cute as a monogram for a door, or to spell out a name in a kids room, too. So many options!

Step by step tutorial on how to DIY a cedar lined porch ceiling

how to: a DIY cedar lined porch ceiling

15th September 2015

There have been a lot of outdoor projects on our “to do” list this summer. After (more or less) completing the renovation/build on our home over the winter, once the snow melted, there were so many things in our front and backyard that needed addressing. Grass, for instance. A new driveway. A porch. You know, pretty crucial stuff. You can always close the door on an unfinished room inside your house, but when the exterior is in such rough shape, it is hard to hide!

When we were completing the reno of our house, we had our main contractor build the structure of the porch, lay composite decking, install railings, and the columns. I’ll get into more details about those choices in another post soon, but one of the elements of this porch that we DIY’d (that “we” is pretty liberal… it was all Dan and my Dad on this one) was the cedar lined porch ceiling.

Step by step tutorial on how to DIY a cedar lined porch ceiling

I have swooned for ages over those cedar ceilings that you see in porches and outdoor rooms. They smell and look amazing, right? With the dark gray siding that we chose for our home, plus the white accents, I knew that all the elements would work together and that the wood would add some warmth to the overall scheme. We really want to make the porch somewhere we actually sit and hang out and enjoy.

Here was our starting point: a freshly built, but still “naked” porch ceiling. We have been living with it like that since we moved back in in January (7 months and counting…)!


What we used:
>> 6 foot lengths of tongue and groove cedar (our area was roughly 5 x 20), purchased from Home Hardware
>> cedar cove moulding to wrap around the edges
>> 18 gauge two inch brad nails
>> 1×3 strapping
>> 2″ wood screws

Total cost was around $500 for all materials. We had been quoted $1000+taxes for materials and labour by a contractor, so we definitely saved on doing this ourselves.

Let’s break it down into steps.

Step 1 // Before you starting putting any boards up, you want to ensure that your strapping was all done correctly, that you have marked out where your lights are going to go, and all wiring is complete. For our porch, Dan needed to add some 1×3 strapping to bridge the gaps where the electrical cutouts were needed for potlights. He cut the strapping using this RYOBI cordless circular saw. This saw is great for quick rough cuts, very light and easy to use.


And then put it up using his RYOBI lithium drill.


Step 2 // Time for the fun part – actually putting the cedar up! First up is to cut the wood. You want to do this with the Ryobi circular saw, or even better, with a chop saw like this one from RYOBI’s One+ system (it’s on Dan’s wish list!!). Safety first, guys! Always make sure to wear your goggles and whatever other protective equipment you have.

Start at one end and nail gun in the first piece. We did this using our new RYOBI 18-gauge brad nailer. You want to nail angled into the tongue so that you don’t see the nails.


Step 3 // Continue by adding board after board until you have covered entire area. Dan and my Daddio were working on this project together, so my Dad cut and Dan nailed each piece in. It went SO QUICKLY! My Mum and I took Maya for a walk and coffee date, and then by the time we got home, they had finished putting up all the pieces! Couldn’t believe it.


For the very last piece, Dan found that he needed to cut it a bit shorter and then wedge it in. Overall, he left a 1/4 inch gap all the way around the ceiling for any potential expansion and contraction (don’t worry – this gap gets hidden in step 4).


Step 4 // Last step was to measure and cut the cedar cove moulding. The fellas used a chop saw for this, and and cut the moulding on a 45 degree angle on each end. It doesn’t particularly matter where you start with the moulding – long side, short side, no difference. Once they cut the piece to size, Dan again nailed it in with the same brad nailer, straight up.


It was amazing to see it go on so easily and quickly. Honestly having a nailer that doesn’t require a compression is a total godsend. No fiddling around with any cords … just charge the battery and go!


Cedar is a very soft wood, so you may need to adjust the brad nailer based on how far in it drives the nail. Instructions on how to do this come with the tool. You want to test this on a scrap piece of cedar.

Want to see the ceiling in all its’ glory? Ta-da!


We have put out our plastic Adirondack style chairs that we’ve had for years, and an outdoor throw rug my Mum gave us, but ultimately I’d like to be able to eventually invest in some better pieces for out here. My vision? Some red Adirondack chairs (actual wood ones or at least better hard plastic ones.. ours are the $20 kind that are now pretty worn!), an outdoor rug that looks like jute or sisal, some side tables, plants in big planters, and some throw pillows. All in good time!

Because it’s cedar and it’s not directly exposed to the elements, we have decided not to stain it or put any kind of sealant on it. Cedar ages beautifully and continues to give off that amazing smell. If you were worried or wanted a shine, you could of course use some kind of clear sealant – totally a personal preference! DSC_1518

We still have one thing to do which is to cut out the circles for the potlights. Dan needs to grab a special tool to do that and we just haven’t gotten to it quite yet — the “to do” list never really gets shorter, you know? Either way, it’s lovely to look up at this every time we leave the house.DSC_1519

All of the tools we used (aside from our chop saw) are part of the RYOBI 18V One+ system. You guys might have come across this snazzy looking neon green line of tools at the hardware store? Well, I can safely say that Dan is totally obsessed with all things RYOBI now. They are all cordless and have interchangeable battery and charger systems, so everything works in combination with everything else. Plus, the batteries are the latest technology in lithium-ion and basically run longer, have better power, and are lighter than anything else on the market. Win-win. My Dad was looking pretty longingly at Dan’s new collection of tools, and Dan is already trying to hint at the other RYOBI tools he “has to have”. Honestly though, they are perfect for the weekend DIYer. Keep your eyes peeled for the #RYOBIDays promo happening at Home Depots across the country.

And because they are such a sweet company, they offered to run a giveaway for a lucky reader!! The prize? A prize pack of tools including: Drill P818  ($129), Circular saw P506 ($89.99), Nailer P320 ($149), Trimmer P2210 ($139). Pretty amazing, huh?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A bunch of my blogger friends are also taking part in #RYOBIDays. Check out their unbelievable projects here. Seriously.. there is some good, good stuff in there! Go be inspired!!

AKA Design
DIY Passion
Fynes Designs
Satori Design For Living
Setting For Four

Have you guys had outdoor projects to tackle this summer? Done any building? Feeling incredibly thankful for a handy hubby/friend/Dad like I am? 

Disclosure: Thanks to RYOBI for partnering with us on this project! It was most definitely Dan’s favourite blogger collaboration since I started writing this blog 5 years ago. Ha! All opinions, as always, are totally our own.

DSC_1473 - Copy

easy DIY rope coasters

3rd September 2015

I have a really easy little DIY project for you guys today. It’s one of those ones where you need very few supplies and can do in front of your fave Netflix show in an evening. Speaking of Netflix, what are you guys binging on these days? We just started Wentworth (like the Australian version of Orange is the New Black). Sans Dan, I’m re-watching all of Party of Five. DAMN I love that show. Loved it when I was 14, love it now. Nothing like a good, angsty teen drama, right? I’m always on the lookout for new good shows to watch though, so give me the scoop. Anyway, back to the project: easy DIY rope coasters.

make these DIY nautical chic rope coasters - super easy DIY project!

What you’ll need:
// some thick sisal rope (you can get this from any hardware store – it’s the stuff you’d picture boaters using) – you could use 1/4, 3/8, or 1/2 inch .. depends on what look you like
// hot glue & glue gun
// scissors

That’s it! It’s really easy.

DSC_1426b In terms of actually putting them together, again, SUPER simple. Start with the inside of your coil and give it a good dollop of hot glue so that it holds well. Then slowly add glue to the rope and twist it around on itself, creating the coil. You’ll want to put your glue on, then hold your rope down on top and wait for 20 seconds or so to let it set. Then move on to the next section. Keep going until you get the size you want, trim your rope, and give it a another good dollop of glue at the edge to ensure it ain’t going anywhere. And that’s it! DSC_1429b They definitely have a nautical kind of vibe to them, which I love. Would be great for the cottage or any beachy aesthetic. And they are really sturdy, I think because you’re using such thick rope, they don’t really bend at all and there is no need to line the bottom with anything. DSC_1473DSC_1468Make a set of 4, pair them with a bottle of wine, and they would make such a cute gift! Maybe bookmark this for some budget-friendly handmade Christmas gift ideas…?!
DSC_1480That’s it! Easy peasy. Have you guys DIY’d any coasters before? Any other great versions I should try? These really do make the nicest little gifts!


Want to try hanging wallpaper? Here are my tips as a first time wallpaper-er! Isabelle Blue paper by Graham and Brown.

wallpaper hanging tips from a beginner

26th August 2015

So I know I said I was focusing on getting our bedroom closer to done, but I got side-tracked with Maya’s closet. “Oooop-ieeees” as Maya would say (apparently I say “oopsies” more than I realized…ha!). All of our closets have been pretty much a disaster since we moved in. We made sure there was a rod and a shelf in Maya’s closet, but then just shoved things in, including two small dressers we had from the old house. In all honesty, it was still probably the best closet in the house so far – some don’t even have shelves in them yet. Mine just has plastic drawer units and some old clothes racks.

Anyway, I wanted to do a few things in tackling this closet:

1 // Make it functional. We need smarter storage in here. Baskets, shelves, etc, with a dedicated spot for everything. Right now, random stuff is just shoved into drawers and stuck up on the top shelf with no order.

2 // Make it pretty. I LOVE a gorgeous closet, I really do.  I haven’t ever had the opportunity to actually decorate the inside of one, so I want to have fun with this guy. I want Maya to love it, and have it be something that will grow with her.

3 // Test out my wallpapering skills. So you guys know that I’m working as a brand ambassador for Graham & Brown this year. Well, I have used their papers so far in small scale projects (my IKEA Latt table hack, and this shadow box art project), but I hadn’t actually pasted any up on the walls yet. It was time to start, but since I’m a total novice I figured that starting somewhere like a closet would be a good idea. If there was a slightly imperfect seam, well, you won’t be starring at it from your bed day-in and day-out, you know?

wallpaper application - tips from a first time wallpaperer

Here is how the closet was looking from the outside….

nursery room reveal - 4

But the inside was a whole different story.

closet - before

First step was to take everything out (you really don’t want to see the state of our guest bedroom right now… it’s straight out of an episode of hoarders!).

closet - before1

Once that was done, we gave the shelf and baseboard a coat of PARA paint’s Whitewash White (the door & trim paint line). We hadn’t gotten to it earlier when the closet was being finished, so it was still just the raw MDF. All of a sudden the closet already started to feel so much more fresh.

Next up was the wallpaper. I chose the ‘Isabelle Blue’ paper after using it for the Latt table. It really is such a beautiful pattern, and the colours went beautifully with the mint accents in Maya’s room.


My adventure in wallpapering actually went pretty well, all things considered. I had heard that it can be a frustrating and long DIY, so I was a little nervous. Including the prep and clean-up though, I’d say the closet took me about 2.5 hours in total. And I wasn’t totally wanting to pull my hair out at the end of anything. Not bad!

Here were the things I learned about wallpapering along the way:

// Start with a perfect line: The first step is REALLY important. You want to draw a vertical pencil line on the wall surface at your chosen starting point. You are going to line up your first sheet of paper along this line and all the rest will follow it, so if it isn’t level, then everything is going to be off and potentially look crooked. Check that your line is perfectly level a few times before you get started.

My first piece overlapped a corner (you always want to do that in corners, rather than having a seam there). It looks a little crooked in this photo for some reason, but it was actually a fairly good plumb line.


// Seams are important, and work with a partner: The seams of side-by-side strips of paper should butt against one another, not overlap. Particularly if you have any kind of pattern in the paper that has to match, you don’t want to have overlap as the pattern will look off. You also don’t want any kind of space between your two strips. Getting things lined up perfectly is what I struggled most with. If you can wallpaper with someone else, then I think that would make it a lot easier (one person holds the paper up top, while the other carefully lines it up down the seam). That was a lesson learned for me. Doing it on my own = not the best idea.


// Dealing with bubbles: Carefully push any bubbles out toward the borders. You want to use whatever smoothing tool your wallpaper kit provided you with. The one from Graham & Brown was nice and big and I was easily able to smooth out the paper toward the edges, then wipe away any excess glue with a damp cloth as I went. I got no bubbles or wrinkles in my paper and was actually surprised by how easy that part was.

// For cutting edges: I used a good quality exacto knife to trim the excess paper at the top and bottom edges. I would hold up my smoothing tool, which held the paper nice and tightly against the trim seam, and then ran my exacto along it. This ensured a crisp line and was pretty easy to do. Going around any corners or wonky areas can be a challenge, so take your time to make sure you get a good cut.


// “Paste the wall” wallpapers for the win: This is obviously my first time at the rodeo with wallpapers, but I have to say I’m a huge fan of the paste-the-wall type that I used from Graham & Brown. You mixed up the glue, and apply it on the wall with a paint roller. Then you take your strip of paper, place it on the wall and smooth down. I imagine it would have been a whole bunch trickier to be holding wet gluey paper and trying to get the placement right on the wall, without getting glue all over my hands and making a mess. Maybe some of you other seasoned wallpaper-er’s will disagree with me — let me know! I’m curious.


All in all, I’d say my first shot was OK but not perfect. There are a few seams that bug me, and a corner where I was trying to go too fast (you can see it in the photo below). However, it was all in the name of learning and I feel like my next go will be better!


Now that it’s looking all kinds of pretty in there, I can’t wait to get it organized! We had been talking about custom building some shelving, but we just measured out some IKEA stuff and think it’s going to be a good option. Look out for a post next week – we plan on shopping this weekend!


Closet Door paint color: ‘Baffling Behavior’ by PARA paints
Trim paint color: ‘Whitewash White’ by PARA paints
Wallpaper: Isabelle Blue by Graham & Brown

You guys done any wallpapering before? Any tips or tricks to share with this newbie? Seriously, I plan on doing a bunch more in our pad, so I’m all ears.


DIY bar cart: an old bookcase transformed

12th August 2015

Have you spotted the chic bar carts all over the DIY blogosphere? From IKEA hacks to industrial looking carts made from plumbing parts, there are a huge variety of them out there that have all had me inspired. I recently said yes to being a part of the #LoveYourWood challenge. The scoop? 8 DIY bloggers across Canada were asked to re-furbish or build something out of wood, using two Varathane products and 3 (of 5) “mystery products” that would be sent to them in a challenge box. I figured that this was the perfect opportunity to tackle this project that had been on my wish list for a while, turning an old bookcase into a DIY bar cart.

Transform an old bookcase using stain, paint and casters to make a chic DIY bar cart - via the sweetest digs

Here is how things started out. I already owned this bookcase, which had seen better days. It was made beautifully by my Daddio for my University dorm room, when I needed a space to store textbooks, but sadly it had been pretty neglected the past few years and it was showing. The wood had really yellowed and there was nowhere in the house where it made sense to use it as it was. Even painted, we just didn’t need a bookcase that sort of size anywhere. And so, it made the perfect jumping off point for my new bar cart.

gemma varathane project - BEFORE

I started out by sanding down the bookcase to remove some of the old finish that had been on there. Once I had roughed up the wood and removed the old top layer of polyeurothane, I was able to apply the stain I had received in my “challenge box”. Lucky for me, the colour was AMAZING and something I totally would have chosen myself at the hardware store. It’s the Varathane Ultimate Stain in Sun Bleached and it is a milky gray colour that gives the wood a beautiful white-washed, beachy kind of aesthetic. Even this super yellowed wood was muted down to a cooler tone. I love it.

My stain process? Applying with a paintbrush, letting soak in for 2-3 minutes, then wiping off with a rag. Let it dry for at least 6 hours and then do another coat.

Transform an old bookcase using stain, paint and casters to make a chic DIY bar cart - via the sweetest digs

Once those two coats of stain had fully dried, I then applied a Varathane Poly Effects as a top coat.

For the inside of the bar cart, I grabbed some high gloss white paint I already owned and gave it a few coats. I really like that two-tone look and suddenly, the whole bookcase was feeling so refreshed.

To turn this bad boy into a legit bar cart, we added some casters to the bottom. You can buy these at any hardware store (usually in a pack of two) and then just drill onto the bottom of your piece. You want to put them in the far corners of the bookcase to ensure it’s stable.


The “mystery” products that I had received in my challenge box included rope, a door handle, and some wire. I had to get a little creative with these to have them make sense for my bar cart, but ended up making them work:

The rope I turned into coasters with a little bit of hot glue (tutorial on these to come soon!)…

DSC_1480 (2)

The door handle I glued to the inside of the cart to provide a hook to hang a dish cloth from…


And the wire I used as the back-bone for my floral B-A-R letters that I put on the back of the bottom bookshelf and also tried out on the wall – both ways looked cute (tutorial on these to come soon, too!)…


The most fun part about a bar cart is styling it. A little San Pellegrino, some bottles of bubbly, fun straws, glasses, lemons, bling. All of these things MAKE a bar cart.


My grand plan is to have this piece eventually up in my studio on the 3rd floor so that I have drinks to offer clients when they come over for meetings. And you know, to help me with my workdays. Apparently it’s wine-o-clock over here.DSC_1473 DSC_1480OK so here is where I have a favour to ask of you guys. As I mentioned, this fun project was a part of a DIY challenge called #LoveYourWood. My project is up against 7 other AMAZING DIYs from many of my blogger friends. I would be so, so appreciative if you would take a minute and head over to the Facebook page and vote for whichever project you like best! The grand prize is a whopping $2500, so I promise I’ll take you all out for a drink if I win. Or at least do a sweet giveaway on here of some kind. You can vote once/day for the next couple of weeks. Go vote here (through facebook). Thanks loves! xo.

Oh and P.S. For those of you who noticed that this bar cart was shot in Maya’s nursery (notice the ice cream wall behind it?), don’t worry…. I’m not a ridiculously bad parent giving my 2-year old booze. I just needed a cute place with decent light to shoot this thing! Ha.

Do you guys have a bar cart at your place? If so, do you use it often? Ever come across one of those amazing vintage gold and glass ones? If so, I’m totally jealy over here.

DIY project - frame kids artwork in shadow boxes - via the sweetest digs

how to: frame kids artwork in a shadow box

28th July 2015

Art is one of those things that totally personalizes a house. I love to walk into somebody’s pad and see personal photos, pieces picked up during travels, their own paintings maybe, and artwork that just feels like them. It can really help to turn a bland house into a unique home, you know? We have been slow to put up much in the way of artwork in our house since the reno, because so many of the walls remain un-painted. We’re chipping away at it, but I can’t wait to get a big gallery wall going up our new staircase and Dan’s office covered in some old family oil paintings. One of the things that I’m incorporating more of now (obviously!) is kids artwork. Maya churns out paintings and drawings like crazy, so I plan on making sure these are dotted around the house.

DIY project - frame kids artwork in shadow boxes - via the sweetest digs

For Mother’s Day, Dan took Maya to one of those “paint your own ceramics” places where you can choose from mugs, bowls, etc, paint them, and then they bake them in the kiln for you. I told Dan that I wasn’t keen on a mug (we are overflowing with mugs as it is!), so to surprise me with something else. Let’s be honest – I was expecting a plate that was muddy brown from too many colours mixed together. I still would have treasured that plate, but it might not have been given an ultra prominent spot in the house, you know?

I was pretty shocked when, on the big day, I opened up two ultra sweet round tiles (coaster size) painted in beautiful colours with Maya’s handprints on them. Do you remember my failed attempt at getting Maya’s hand and foot prints back when she was turning 1? Well, Dan totally won on this one. How he got her to do her hands so neatly, I don’t know. Clearly he steered the colour direction (!!), but apparently Maya sat quietly and took her time carefully painting the discs. I can barely picture it – ha!

handprint tiles

I have been wondering how I was going to display the tiles, and realized that a shadow box frame would be perfect. I had one on hand already, but IKEA sells this one that could totally work.

I had a piece of Graham & Brown wallpaper from a sample pack I had ordered, and knew it would make a great backing. This is a fun way of incorporating some extra colour and pattern. Use a piece of wallpaper, wrapping paper, or a sheet of scrapbook paper.


I used some heavy duty double-sided adhesive tape to affix the tile to the piece of wallpaper. Two small pieces did the trick.

DSC_1432Affix the tile, slide into the frame, and call it a day! Shadow boxes are amazing for framing objects – things that are too big for regular frames, but you’d like to somehow display. I have seen cute ones with baby shoes, hospital bracelets, and all kinds of sweet memorabilia.DSC_1436

Graham & Brown’s trend for this month is “Precious”. I thought about what was really precious to us in our home, and it isn’t the furniture or the stuff, it’s the artwork and a few things handed down from family. We have all of our photographs and files backed up and stored online so we are well protected when it comes to pictures, but I would be heartbroken to ever lose some of these handmade pieces by Maya or some of the family heirloom paintings that we have.


Have you guys used shadow boxes before? Do you have any clever ways of displaying your kids art? I saw a project on Pinterest a while ago where a parent took a picture of all of their kids artwork (before recycling at least half of it – I think you would need a second house to store every single piece!), and then created a huge photo collage of the artwork. There must have been at least 50 photos in the square collage and it was such a neat representation of their kid’s creativity that also looked stylish framed and hung on their walls. You could also do a photobook with all of the pictures – cool to see the progress in your kiddo’s drawing and painting ability over time. 


tips for perfectly painted doors

DIY this: gray painted interior doors

16th July 2015

Doors aren’t really one of those things that you think too much about when you rent or buy a house (unless there is something especially hideous or amazing about them), but when you’re renovating or building a house from scratch, doors kinda become a major deal. You usually have to shell out some major dough when there are so many to buy! What style of door are you going to go with, hollow core or solid, doorknob choice, and color. I’ll get into why we chose the style of door we did in a separate post, but today I want to chat color: our gray painted interior doors.

DIY tips for perfectly painted interior doors (we painted our doors gray!) - via the sweetest digs

I knew from the get-go that I wanted our main floor to have totally white walls. I wanted everything to feel bright and airy, and super white walls were the way to get that feel. Once we started to put the doors in though, I realized how they would just fade away into the background and be really pretty dull if they were also white. So… I started to think about colors.

I wasn’t going to go crazy with some overwhelmingly bright hue, as that wouldn’t really fit into my mostly-neutral beach house feel that I wanted for our main floor. Once our IKEA Lindigo (now Bobdyn) gray cabinetry was installed in the kitchen, I knew right away that pulling that color through to the interior doors was the way to go. It would help connect the kitchen to the other areas in the open concept space, and it would definitely allow for the doors to stand out.


I tested out a bunch of different grays to figure out which one was going to be it. The winner? PARA Paint’s “Courtyard”.

I used PARA’s door & trim paint and gave each door two coats. You guys, painting doors is SO MUCH EASIER if you take them off the hinges. Seriously. Do it. It only takes a few minutes and they are simple to hang again.


Here is my door painting method to get a perfect finish that looks factory applied:

1 // Lay the door on saw-horses so that the door is nice and high up (you won’t hurt your back or something having to bend over), you can get at the sides easily, and there won’t be any drips. I was painting brand new doors so didn’t have to worry about any prep, but if you are doing old doors, make sure you have done any necessary sanding.

2 // Either remove or tape off the handles and any other hardware with painter’s tape (I like 3M ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape and FrogTape). I taped ours off because they were really easy to do, but taking them off makes it even easier to get that perfect look.

3 // Paint into any moulding with a regular paintbrush first (I love Purdy brushes, personally. They are worth the splurge and will last forever if you clean them properly after each use).

4 // Paint the rest of the door with a mini foam-roller quickly afterwards so you can blend in those brush strokes (I use this Shur-Line roller with these roller re-fills). Do not apply too much paint at once. Go lightly and evenly.

5 // After letting dry for several hours, repeat steps 3 & 4 for your second coat. Let dry for at least 24 hours before flipping and doing the other side of the door.

6 // Re-hang, and enjoy your new beautiful door!

Honestly, people can’t believe that I painted these doors myself because they look so good. For reals.

DSC_1416 DSC_1431

The paint color match (PARA Paint’s “Courtyard”) with the IKEA Lindigo (now Bodbyn) gray kitchen cabinetry is pretty near perfect, and I’m really happy with the way it helps to continue the colour palette throughout the space. DSC_1425

A reminder of how the space is coming together. Still lots to do, but it’s getting there slowly but surely. dining room 4Officially ticked off the “to do” list – yay. However… I still have all of the upstairs doors to go. SO MUCH PAINTING.

What about you guys? Have you ever painted any interior doors? Or what about your front door? You might remember I painted our front door a super bright turquoise before our renovation. I loved how it looked next to the red brick. Doors can be such a fun spot to inject some personality, you know?

Amazing DIY! turn the IKEA Vittsjo laptop table into a chic gold and marble side table - via the sweetest digs

chic IKEA Vittsjo hack into a gold and marble table

9th July 2015

Guys, I have a seriously good IKEA hack for you today. Probably my favourite ever. I actually did this project a little while ago and hadn’t photographed it properly until yesterday… but here she is! The IKEA Vittsjo hack into a gold and marble table. It is easy to do and ridiculously gorge.


So here is what you need for the project:

1 // The Vittsjo table from IKEA. It retails for about $25, but I happened to get mine in the scratch and dent section for only $16, so keep your eyes peeled in there.

2 // Gold spray paint. My choice is this Krylon gold spray paint. I really like the deep gold hue it gives (warning: Krylon has quite a few different metallics, so make sure you get the one that you love).

3 // “Instant Granite” in Italian White Marble. It’s a peel and stick paper – not the cheapest one out there, but the quality is good and I really like the marbling as it looks very real. I searched a bunch of these on Amazon, read a ton of reviews, and ultimately settled on this brand. I was super happy, so definitely recommend it!Amazing DIY! turn the IKEA Vittsjo laptop table into a chic gold and marble side table - via the sweetest digs

Start off by assembling your table and then spraying it gold. Remember the cardinal rule of spray paint: thin and even coats. Don’t try to do it all in 2 coats, as you will get drips.


While that’s drying, get out your Instant Granite marble paper and glass top piece. The paper comes in a tube and there is plenty in the roll for a few different projects (I have tons left over!).


You want to roll out some of your paper with the good side down, place your glass piece on top, and cut out the portion of paper you will need, leaving some extra around the edges. Pardon the terrible lighting in these “in action” photos – sometimes trying to DO and photograph a project at the same time does not produce the best photography results!


Then comes the somewhat tricky part. This is easier as a two-person job, having one person hold the edge taught while the other pulls the backing off. I did it on my own though, so no fear, it can be done solo. Just be patient!

Peel off the backing about 1/4 of the way and stick it down on the glass, starting on one side. Then continue peeling the back off slowly as you smooth out bubbles with a credit (starbucks?) card. It’s just really important to do it slowly and get the bubbles as you go. And don’t press too hard with the credit card as you don’t want to damage the paper. FYI that this stuff can be peeled up and re-placed down too, if you really flub along the way.


Once you have the whole surface done and all the bubbles smoothed away, it’ll look like this. Now it’s time to deal with the edges.


I used an exacto knife and cut the corners on an angle. Then I would tightly pull the side around and stick down along the back of the table. Then cut the angle of the next side, and pull down on top. It sort of ends up like wrapping a present.

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That’s the hardest part, so yay – you’re done! Now it’s just a matter of popping your new marble table top back into the table.

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And seriously, the table looks swish and people will think you shelled out big bucks. I get comments on ours all the time.  DSC_1397DSC_1405

If the spray paint ever gets any dings, the great thing is you can easily pop the top off and freshen it up with a new coat. And if you wanted a different look, you could easily do a fun colour. I think a neon pink or bright mint would be AMAZING. In fact, I’m pretty tempted to do a pink one myself for our future upstairs family room….


Total budget for the table was $65, but a lot of that was for the marble paper which I have leftover for future projects.

What do you guys think? Fun, right? Doing any IKEA hacks yourself these days?

IKEA hack: kids bookshelves

nursery hack: IKEA picture ledges as bookshelves

7th July 2015

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that I have used IKEA ledges and spice racks as bookshelves in most (all?) of the kids rooms I have designed. In Maya’s new room, I used the IKEA picture ledges as bookshelves and they worked perfectly.

make kids bookshelves using IKEA ribba picture ledges - via the sweetest digs

Here are the reasons why I love doing these outward facing “libraries” in kids rooms:

1 // Books as art. Kids books have such fun covers and I love being able to put favourites on display. These shelves are perfect for that, and they help to maximize a narrow wall space that might have otherwise been left blank. I like doing at least 3 shelves (4 or more is better, in my opinion) to create height in the room.


2 // Budget-friendly and easy to install. Who doesn’t love IKEA prices? And there is no major assembly required – just drilling into the wall and bob’s your uncle.

3 // Promoting reading. I think most parents out there would say that they really try to encourage their kids to read. We want to create smart, imaginative little people! We read to Maya at bedtime in her room, but also have books dotted around the house so that she can pick one up and sit down to read anytime she likes.make kids bookshelves using IKEA ribba picture ledges - via the sweetest digs

4 // Multi-use. Once your kid outgrows large board books, these shelves totally double as artwork display. Let your kiddo put up their latest masterpieces and you have a rotating art show!

On Bekvam Spice Racks vs. Ribba Ledges: I have done both hacks – the first using the IKEA bekvam spice racks and the other using the IKEA ribba picture ledges.

kids bookshelves comparison- IKEA spice racks and IKEA picture ledges - via the sweetest digs

The spice racks have that slightly higher front rail piece which holds books in a little better, and I think they are a bit deeper too, meaning you can fit more books in. The downside though, is that they are more narrow and you have to sand and paint them, unless you are going for the raw wood look. Good if you want a custom colour, not good if you just want white and find the extra work annoying (me).

With the Ribba picture ledges, you can get them in a few different widths and they come in white and a few other colours. For those reasons and the ease of installation, I prefer them over the spice racks. We can still fit in plenty of books and haven’t had any issue with them falling off the shelves. But ultimately, both options are good ones.


make kids bookshelves using IKEA ribba picture ledges - via the sweetest digs

Have you guys done this project at your pad? Or used IKEA products in non-traditional ways? Gimme the scoop!

IKEA HACK: Latt table

IKEA hack: latt table and chairs

30th June 2015

A few weeks ago when I was garage sale-ing, I came across an IKEA “LATT” table and chair (it was missing one chair from the set). The family was only asking a couple of dollars, and although we already have one table for Maya to draw/craft/play at, I figured it would be nice to have a second (one for her room, one for the main floor). The set was looking pretty worse for wear though, so I knew I would need to pull the old “IKEA hack” on this LATT table.

ikea hack latt children's table and chairs 2- via the sweetest digs

This month with Graham & Brown (the wallpaper company I’m working with) the inspiration is ‘Popsicle’. Aside from sunny summer days at the lake, the idea of popsicles conjures up bright rainbow colours, pattern, and fun. I fell head over heels in love with this floral wallpaper, which I thought embodied the trend pretty spot on.

isabelle blue wallpaper by graham and brown

It’s called “Isabelle Blue” and it’s part of the Monsoon collection over at Graham & Brown.

So to make the Latt table way more fun, I figured an application of this wallpaper would be amazing. 20150610_191835

I cleaned up the table, and then gave the wood part a coat of high-gloss white paint. Once that had dried, I got out my paper and a bunch of white glue. I didn’t have any actual Modge Podge on hand, but knew that regular white glue would do the trick.


I cut a piece of the wallpaper to be slightly larger than my table. Once placed on the table, I went over the creases with my finger to create a natural bend where the paper needed to be cut. Then I used an exacto knife to get a precise cut with the blade (cut the paper right in place). Another option if you didn’t have an exacto would be to trace where you need to cut with a pencil, and then trim along that line with scissors. 20150622_200810

Once I had my piece ready, I gave the top of the table a coat of white glue. Make sure to put on enough that your paper is going to adhere well, but not so much that it might be overkill and you won’t be able to smooth out bubbles.20150622_201318 I placed the piece of wallpaper down on the table, smoothed out bubbles first with my hand, and then gentle with a credit card, and made sure it was perfectly in place. Once that was done, I applied some white glue on top with a paintbrush, to help seal the paper. Again, don’t do too much at once, as you don’t want it to get too goopy. I did two coats of glue, giving a few hours in between for drying. 20150622_201638To tie the chair in, I used the same mint coloured paint that has been used elsewhere in Maya’s room (“Baffling Behavior” by PARA paints). It was a good match with the wallpaper, and helped to tie in with the shadow boxes and closet doors.

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It really works in the space, and so far it’s all been holding up beautifully! The two coats of glue have sealed in the paper well, which obviously was a strong paper to begin with (advantage of using actual wallpaper versus something like wrapping paper). DSC_1282 ikea hack latt children's table and chairs - via the sweetest digsLooks cute, right? The small table and chairs we had in there before, we have moved back downstairs to Maya’s play space on the main floor (where they originally were, anyway).

I’m so loving the wallpaper, that my plan is to paper the inside of Maya’s closet in it. And we may also do a bedroom at our family cottage with it as well. It’s really so stunning.

And in case you’re looking for them, here are the other posts related to this room:
Maya’s room reveal
Ice cream cone decal wall
DIY embroidery hoop art

Have you guys done any IKEA hacks? I love taking items that so many people have and putting your own spin on it, you know? Plus when you can score the furniture from garage sales instead of new, even better!

Disclosure: Thanks to Graham & Brown for sending that beautiful wallpaper my way to use for this project. All opinions are of course my own!