TGIF! Hope you guys have been having a good week. Mine has been busy – I was travelling for work and then got stuck thanks to a big snowstorm that hit Ottawa on Wednesday. I got home yesterday afternoon (just a day later than planned), but this girl is tired! It’s amazing how much things tire me out way more than they used to, pre-pregnancy! Anyway, I’m looking forward to a quiet weekend at home with the hubs. I see some winter walks, hot chocolate, and a few crafty projects in my future.
So… remember my no-sew fabric bunting that I whipped up for the Wed by Hand show? Well, that wasn’t the only bunting I put together. The other was a teeny tiny paper bunting for a ‘cards’ box.
Supplies? An old book of sheet music (bought from the thrift store a while back for projects like this), scissors, a 1-hole punch, and some string.
Cut out matching triangles to size. I needed at least 5 to spell out “c-a-r-d-s”. Then it’s super simple (well, the whole thing is super simple, frankly) – just hold punch in the top corners, string the string through, and write out whatever you want on the triangles. I used a black sharpie and free-handed “CARDS”.
Here is the final product! Cute, right? I just used a bit of scotch tape to tape the bunting on the back of the box.
The old toolbox is one part of the inventory for my Pieces of Love business, and I think it makes such a sweet box for cards or other stationary at a wedding/event.
I know I’m a little bunting obsessed… they are just too sweet. Have you guys done any paper ones? Have any other good ideas about collecting cards at a wedding? Or cute card signs? Do tell. And what are you guys up to this weekend? Anything fun?
Still on the to-do list for this phase 1 makeover? Addressing the lighting. It had a bad case of dated lighting syndrome. Not only was this was one of those small brass glass-covered chandeliers, but the glass was actually etched with some sort of floral design. Barfity barf. Let’s take a look back at where we started.
Since we were trying to keep the budget to the bare bones for this project, I had to get creative with the lighting. Imagine my delight when I uncovered this oversized pendant at the thrift store. My sister, nieces, and Mum looked at me with a bit of a puzzled look when I was totally squealing, but I knew this guy had potential. Plus, at $4.99 I couldn’t beat the price.
Although I’m kinda digging brass and gold tones these days, this brass was scratched pretty badly and beyond repair (it was worse in person than how it looks in the photos). Spray paint for the win! It took several thin and even coats, but I turned this bad boy into a matte black beauty.
Hubby got up on a precarious ladder (leaned up against the door – giving me a heart attack), to remove the old fixture.
I was in charge of shining the flashlight (and taking photos – ha ha). What would I do without my handsome man?
Bye bye dated lighting, hello sweet pendant. It sort of has a schoolhouse vibe, don’t you think?
I like the way the black sets off the space and doesn’t try to compete too much with the other stuff going on. It would have been totally fun to spray the pendant a bright yellow or electric blue, but it would have been just too much with the aqua wall and yellow door.
And although we moved from the four chandelier bulbs to the one in this pendant, it still provides tons of light.
So phase 1 of this little makeover is officially complete. We’d still love to tackle the stairs (new paint + runner), paint the handrail, spray the door hardware and other little tweaks. Another phase for another day. I think we’re putting a cork in this one for now!
What about you guys? Had any great lighting finds lately? Other fab snags from the thrift store? Or get up to something fun over the weekend? Do tell.
We haven’t done a Christmas tree this year (I know – grinchy!), so I had to come up with a different idea for some sweet ornaments that I had ready to hang somewhere. The alternative? A twig “tree” in a vase. I was originally going to just grab some twigs from one of our trees outside, but then I came across these faux pussy willow stems at the dollar store. I thought they might turn out to be rather pretty, so I shelled out 3 bones and grabbed a couple.
First up was to place the stems in a tall vase (sorry for the crappy light time lighting – it gets dark too early these days!).
Then you just hang your ornaments. This two-step “project” reeeeally doesn’t require much!
I didn’t pull out all of our ornaments (they are stashed away in a tupperware bin in the garage), but these few crafty ones are totally quaint.
Doing any last minute decorating at your place? Done all of your holiday prep? Still have anyone left to buy/make a gift for? We just mailed out our Christmas cards (hopefully they make it in time!) and have all the gifts ready. Still some wrapping to do, but we’re getting there!
I am pretty embarrassed to admit that this project has taken us 3 years to do (granted we didn’t live in the house for a year of that, but still!). You know our main floor bathroom that we renovated earlier this year? Well, you might have noticed that there is a window… and that that window has a great view out to our driveway and our neighbours house. Right into their kitchen window. Well, hello there!
As you can imagine, there was a lot of quickly-hopping-into-the-shower-so-that-the-neighbours-don’t-see-me behaviour. Doesn’t really make for a peaceful, relaxing space. Haha.
So out came some of the peel and stick frosting you can get from most hardware stores (ours came from Home Depot). We got the plain stuff – so nothing with any kind of pattern or special texture. It comes in a big roll, so you measure out your window and cut it down to size using an exacto knife. Just make sure to cut on some sort of hard surface underneath (I used that brown board you see in the photo).
Next step is to give the windows a really good cleaning. Luckily my lovely mum had just cleaned our windows for us with vinegar and water (I know, I have the most amazing mama!). Right before applying the frosting, you want to give the windows a good spritz of a water and soap mixture – I used a few drops of dishwashing liquid in my spray bottle.
Then peel the backing off the frosting and stick it on the window. Follow that up with a second, liberal spritz of the water + soap mixture on top. At this point you will see lots of bubbles… don’t panic!
Take a credit card out of your wallet (or air miles card in my case) and smooth out the bubbles. I found it was best to work from the middle out towards the edges. You’ll get quite a bit of water coming out from underneath, so I found it useful to have a small towel nearby to wipe it down as I went.
Once it’s all smooth, give it a last wipe down, and let it all dry. They say it’s good to leave a gap between the edge of the film and the window. Mine is probably slightly bigger than what I needed to leave, but I figured since the screen would be on top, it wouldn’t be too noticeable.
And here it is the next day. Look at all that privacy! I could even start to do some air drying in here… hahaha.
I was a little worried that the frosting would look ultra tacky, but actually it’s pretty inconspicuous and doesn’t really take away from the window or the light streaming through.
Have you guys used this peel ‘n stick frosting stuff before? Have a window directly into your neighbours pad? Feeling a little too ‘out in the open’ like we were? Have a great weekend!!
Ever since we finished renovating our bathroom (check that out here), we had a super ugly soap dispenser that just wasn’t cutting it. A plastic dollar store dispenser next to my beautiful carrera marble floor and floating vanity? Yeah, I don’t think so.
After seeing tons of mason jars turned soap dispensers on Pinterest that looked oh-so-sweet, I figured it was high time I took a crack at this project. I found an old mason jar that fit the lip of our sink perfectly, and removed the pump piece from our previous dispenser.
DIY Dan used his drill to drill a small-ish hole in the lid. You don’t want to make it too big, but big enough that the dispenser mechanism can slide right in.
Then I grabbed some flat white spray paint for the lid. I figured that spraying the lid would give the jar a more clean, finished feeling.
A couple of light coats and lots of time to dry (I tried bringing it in too early and smudged it… and had to go back to the drawing board.. ugh!).
I slid the dispenser mechanism onto the lid and dabbed some super strong clear glue onto the bottom of the metal piece. I held it in place on the lid for a good couple of minutes to make sure it was completely stuck down. You need that pump to be on there pretty solidly, since it’s going to get pulled and pushed so often.
And the finished product? Ta-da!
I love the way the white came out – the flat finish gives it this sort of chalky texture.
The little guy fits snugly on the back lip of our sink. It’s the little details like this that make me cheery. Just some thought and love for the small stuff.
After struggling a bit to move in the table (this thing is solid… !), I got to the really fun part – styling. In case you missed it, check back here to see how I used Ana White’s plans to build this table (with help from my Daddio), and here for all the sanding + staining info.
Let’s take a little trip back down memory lane. This is how the dining room was looking a couple weeks ago. We liked our white table (it’s a hand-me-down from family), and hope to use it again down the road, but I had always dreamed of having a rustic farmhouse style table.
And, well, now I do! Here are all the ‘after’ shots.
I love the honey colour that the stain gave the table. It’s warm and really ties in nicely with the other elements in the room (like the pine cupboard which is a really similar shade).
I love the way the knots really came to life with the stain, and the screw holes that we filled and stained over look totally fine. They just add to the character of the table.
With our old table, even though it was the same size, we could never comfortably get 6 chairs around it. The way the legs crossed underneath meant you could only tuck in 1 chair per side. With our new table, we can definitely accommodate 6 (hence my setting for 6 in these pics). You know what that means?? We need new dining room chairs. Help me convince the hubby, k?
I feel like the whole room seems more grounded now. Sitting on our sofa and glancing over at this table makes me oh-so-happy.
The budget breakdown for this beauty?
$95 on wood (construction grade spruce for the legs and pine for the top)
$7.50 on screws
$45 on wood conditioner, stain, and polyurathane (and there is tons of this stuff left over for future projects!)
all tools needed to make the table were already owned by my lovely ‘Pa
Definitely not bad when you compare it to what farmhouse tables cost from places like Restoration Hardware or even from local builders. Plus the other really great thing (that is totally priceless)? I got to make this with my Dad. Just he and I, in his workshop. That’s the best.
And since this table idea was born from Pinterest (where I was pinning DIY harvest tables left and right), I have linked up to the fall pinterest challenge. You know the one that Sherry and Katie dreamed up to get us off our butts and “stop pinning, and start doing”?
Alright guys, have I convinced you to go build something? Just go check out Ana White to get inspired. Holy moly, that gal is amazing. I think I’m going to go sit and have a cuppa tea at my new table.
Products from 3M were received free of charge for this project, however opinions are all me!
Do you have any of these closet doors in your house? You know, the sort of flimsy sliding kind? Well I do. And they happen to be in our master bedroom.
They aren’t a total eyesore, but they definitely aren’t pretty either. Oh, and want a glimpse into some real life at the sweetest digs casa? Here is our bedroom in all it’s unmade bed and strewn laundry glory. Just keepin’ it real.
Well, I was ready to do something about these doors. I thought about just painting them out a solid colour, but then the idea for a pattern came to mind. I hummed and hawed about doing something intricate or colourful, but then realized that a simple rectangular box in each door in grey and white (so that it would blend with the walls) would be the way to go.
First step was to wash down the doors to remove any residue or dust. I didn’t need to sand since these doors aren’t wood, but if you have wooden closet doors you would want to use a medium and then fine grit sandpaper to prep the surface for paint (like these 3M Advanced Abrasives). To wash down the doors I just used some basic soap and water. If they had been glossy or had some other finish, a de-glosser might have been necessary.
Then I needed to measure out where I wanted the rectangular boxes to go. I started by measuring out the box and putting X’s where the corners would meet. I marked 3 inches in from the outer edges for each door. See that faint pencil mark in the photo below?
Next up I grabbed my ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape (the kind with the edge-lock paint line protector) and taped out the boxes. I cut the edges of the tape at the corners to make sure they were nice and crisp. Since I wanted to paint the inside and outside of where the tape is (and then take off the tape to reveal a white box), I needed to make sure the corners were perfect.
And then it was paint time. I used my leftover pot of paint from the walls (Coventry Gray by Benjamin Moore), my mini-roller, a paint mask, and got to work. This was an older can of paint (before the low-VOC paints were so easily available), so I made sure to fully open the windows and wear a mask to ensure I didn’t inhale the paint fumes. You can find various kinds of masks to use when painting, sanding, or even cleaning from the 3M TEKK Protection series.
Two coats of paint later and this is how things were looking. You couldn’t even really see the tape anymore.
But after some easy-peasy pealing of the ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape (the stuff came off like butter… soooo smooth), I was left with nice crisp white lines. The pattern totally looks like molding and makes the doors look way much more upscale.
Doesn’t it add a nice bit of pattern without being over the top? It’s simple, but feels classic and adds another layer of interest to the room. The bedroom is slowly getting closer to what I’d like it to look like. I still don’t quite know what that final version is, but it’s fun to add different elements over time and see how it comes together.
They just sort of blend in with the room now and actually make the space feel a bit bigger. Such an easy and quick (half-day) project, with great results. Even if you don’t happen to have sliding closet doors like these, you could use the same technique and pattern on any other kind of door or even a piece of furniture to give it that two-toned/molding look.
And just for kicks, I tried out my very first video tutorial. I feel a little bit mortified about being on camera (who knew I said “uhh/umm” and “so” that often?!), but here you go! It’s got the full play-by-play of the project with some extra tips and tricks. Promise you’ll still like me after watching, k?! Ha ha.
This is the first summer in our pad that the hubby and I have actually had time to think about the landscaping and garden (our first summer here we spent renovating the basement and the second summer we were living in England). So we have been trying to tackle some outdoor projects to spruce up our curb appeal – details on those to come soon! One of the projects that I have had on my to-do list is to build a flower box to hang from our front window.
When we were living in London, since gardens/backyards were pretty hard to come by in the city, people seemed to really try and make the most of any outdoor space they had to add some greenery. Check out a few of these photos I snapped in our old ‘hood, Maida Vale.
Aren’t they pretty? I love the pop of colour and how welcoming they make the houses feel.
I went browsing around on Pinterest to see what other inspiration photos I could find.
Don’t you like the way the greenery crawls over the front of the box, like in the one above? I also love the mixture of plants in that box – some flowers, some shrubby things, some leafy things. Can’t you tell that I know a lot about plants and gardening? Ha!
Since we have added some colour to our front garden, I’m thinking either a black or natural wood box would be best. I’m also starting to picture some shutters. Too many ideas!
How about you folks? Been doing any gardening yet this summer or other landscaping projects? Ever added shutters or a window box to your pad? If so, got any tips?
Before I get into telling you about caulking our bathroom, let me just say that I have been giggling for more than a few minutes about all of the not-very-appropriate titles I could have named this post. Apparently I’m still in junior high?
Back to the adult stuff… last we left off in the bathroom reno saga, we had just put up the trim and done a fresh coat of white paint on the walls. Next up was to get all of the caulking done. Not a very exciting project, but it’s definitely one of those things that adds that finishing touch. Even if you’re not renovating, it’s good to re-caulk your showers/tubs every so often. You just need to cut away all the old stuff and start with a blank slate.
Here’s how things were looking pre-caulking. See that gap between the back of the sink and the wall?
And this big gap between the tile and the tub? This particular gap is pretty high in some spots as our wall wasn’t level and we laid the tile so that the tile would be level all the way up (we didn’t want to get to that border of aqua glass and have it look crooked).
With pretty big gaps, they recommend that you use this backer rod before you put the caulk in. It’s basically just a long tube of gray foam.
You cut a piece to size and then squeeze it into the gap. It provides some insulation and also acts as a baking for the bead of caulk you’re about to put on.
Once I got the backer rod in, I prepped the caulking gun with a tube of white 100% silicone caulk. This stuff isn’t paintable, so it’s really meant for bathrooms and spots that will get wet (as opposed to around trim).
I couldn’t get a lot of action photos as I was doing this project solo, but here is a shot of the caulk once I had applied it. I stuck the tip of the caulking gun right into the crack and then dragged it all the way along. After this step, I would put the caulking gun down and use my index finger or thumb to smooth out the bead. You need to have some paper towel on hand, as you’re constantly needing to wipe off your fingers. Oh, and make sure you don’t wait long between applying and smoothing – the caulk dries really quickly and get tacky.
And here is the after! Much better, right? Clean and crisp.
I even put some caulk down at the bottom of the tub – there was some grout there but it hadn’t filled in everywhere, so this finished it off.
Caulking is one of those things you get better at with practice, so I think it’s good to start with a more inconspicuous spot and then work up to the really noticeable areas. Caulking around fixtures, like a shower head or faucet for example, can be a bit tricky. I waited until I got the hang of it before I tackled these area in our bathroom.
So that’s it! A really easy peasy DIY project. Now that we have that checked off the list, next up to finish ‘er off is to paint the ceiling and then add in the accessories (the best part!).
Any of you done any caulking recently? And really…did anybody else giggle just a little bit when they read caulk and caulking about twenty five times in that post? Please say I’m not the only one…
Over the span of a few months, I had somehow managed to collect oodles of pretty “scrapbooking” paper. Every time I would pop into Michael’s for some sort of supply, whether it be for knitting, painting or another project, I would pass by the racks of gorgeous papers and couldn’t help myself from picking up a sheet or two (hey, they’re only 99 cents!).
small selection of the growing paper collection
As I was sitting in our office one day, trying to think of a better way to organize all of our pens and other office supplies, I suddenly thought of all of that pretty paper I had out in the cupboard. I pulled out the paper, picked out some bright pinks, yellows and greens to use in the room, and rummaged through the recycling bin for anything that I might be able to re-cover and use as storage. I found a few old coffee/hot chocolate tins (including one HUGE coffee tin care of my co-worker) and a shoebox, and went to town.
tins ready for some DIY action
You want to first make sure to remove all labels on the tins (usually you can just peel them off, but it might require some hot water and scraping if they’re really glued on). Then, once you have chosen which papers you would like to use, you want to wrap them around the tin or box, and cut the paper down to the size. I used a spray adhesive to firmly attach the paper to the tin, but there are lots of other glue options out there. If you do decide to use spray adhesive, make sure to use it in a well-ventilated area and over a sheet or newspaper — the spray goes everywhere and it is a pain to try and remove it (I learned this the hard way… and Dan still points out the “slightly sticky” side of our coffee table..!!).
materials ready to go
Once you’ve sprayed or applied glue to the backside of the paper, you want to wrap it around the tin or onto the box and smooth it down as you go. Let dry for about 24 hours, and then ta-dah!… you’ve got yourself some very pretty storage organizers! They are so much more fun than having those run of the mill organizers from the big business box stores and you can personalize them to the colour and pattern of your room. It also helps that it’s such an easy and inexpensive project. Have fun!