Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Quick Cabinet Refresh

Ever since I met my husband's little china cabinet, I always felt that it needed finishing. It's cute and functional, but the bare pine wood was calling for attention.

It wasn't until we brought in the dining room set that I realized there were far too many competing wood finished in the room. Someday, I'd love to re-finish the table and chairs, but that's a pretty big project and it's tough for me to be so ambitious about a project that involves a room that we use frequently. Is it just me? I'm not even sure that's a good reason!

Anyway, I already had the stain (which I had purchased for the guest room pallet headboard project), so I just got to work emptying the cabinet and cleaning all the dust off. I'm pretty impatient, so I didn't even bother to sand the wood. Frankly, I just wanted to quickly tone down the yellow in the wood, so I wasn't too particular.

I used Varathane Wood Stain in 'Sun Bleached' and used a rag to wipe it on. When you are staining anything, be sure to stir the stain. You'll be amazed at how much gunk lies at the bottom of the can. That's where all the colour hides! For nooks and seams, I grabbed one of the kids' cheap art brushes and wiped the excess off.

Up close and personal.

Cabinet: before & after. It's subtle, but trust me ... in person, it's a lot less yellow and in-yo-face.

Mint & Gold, Oh My!

Something lovely came in the mail last week and since I'm so pleased, I wanted to give a shout out to its creator.

Check out these adorably perfect mint & gold (plated) pyramid drop earrings! They're from an Etsy shop out of Honolulu, Hawaii called twin pearls. You can visit their shop HERE


While we're on the topic of Etsy and jewelry, a pal of mine opened shop and specializes in making super pretty beaded pieces. Check out essCreations' shop HERE

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The "Final" Product: Guest Room Edition

It's done! It's done! Sort of. No room is ever really done, but all the heavy lifting is complete and I'm at least satisfied that an actual guest could enjoy a night or two spent in this room. Actually, I sort of want to!

Alrighty. So, the project that got this whole room started was undoubtedly the headboard that I decided to make from pallets. I know, I know .. we all have DIY ambitions that involve pallets and if you're anything like me, you have a number of Pinterest pins dedicated to it. So I scoured the ... back parking lots ... of hardware stores ... wow, that sounds creepy. I also did it with a toddler in tow and felt pretty much like I was dumpster-diving. Which I was. So I picked the best one I could find and threw that puppy in the truck. I might go into that project in detail in another post, but for today, I'll let it slide.

The inspiration for this room was simple enough: I wanted it to feel super relaxing and bring in some outdoor details. Here's a rundown of what direction I wanted to go in before I started:

1. Colour board, using the CLR Concepts App for iPad.
2. Turquoise coral decor, from Z Gallerie.
3. 'Leaves' print, by Frank Tschakert.

1. Sheepskin rug, Eva Designs.
2. Natural grey driftwood.
3. Premier Prints 'Chipper' in slub/twill, available here!
4. Honeycomb lamp, Marks & Spencer.

Quickly, the decision was made to paint the walls grey, though in hindsight, I would have liked the colour to finish a little darker than it did. I painted all four walls SICO Classique (RONA Collection) in 'Barley Beige' (VOC-free!). The rest fell into place through brainstorming for natural accents, textures, and prints. I already had the Premier Prints 'Chipper' fabric leftover from the dining room curtains mom made a few months back, and knew I wanted it to appear in the guest room, too. You'll see those ikat blobs pop up here and there. Let's take a peek:

Honeycomb lamp, $39.99 from Winners (this was the room's only "splurge"!). Original black/white photograph of a local dive bar. I mounted a peacock feather  right on the stock paper that came with the frame. All the books came from my bookshelf in the living room - a mix of grown up and children's books, because my nieces use this room the most.

The little dude and I often collect things while we're out walking - that's where these bright yellow leaves  came from. I pressed them in a book for a few days and put them behind glass. The lamp was a quick and sloppy DIY job that I did a month or so ago - see HERE

I had purchased two sets of embroidery hoops at Value Village last year for 99 cents and used some leftover fabric to make cheap art. See? I knew I'd use those hoops! The clock has been with me for ages - I'm pretty sure it was in my first apartment.

This grey striped throw was one of those finds that made me gasp in delight! A hilarious and wonderful friend of mine runs a local antique and collectible shop (The Queen's Cupboard). I stopped in to visit her and this throw made me swoon. I have no idea its age or origin, but I do know it cost me a mere $5 and that it unravels in the wash (oops).

The pillows are the main source of colour in the room. The turquoise pillow cover on the left was purchased from Fabricland (50% off!). The turquoise one on the right was picked up last year at this awesome store called FabIndia in Bangalore. The zebra pillow, again, came from my last apartment - there is a matching one in the little dude's room. And finally ... the big deal ... the yellow throw pillow! I sewed it myself. My very first solo sewing project. I know that's not a big deal to a lot of people, but I battled that machine like it was Mount Everest. I even called my Grandma for help at one point. Truth.

Faux silk grey curtain panels and wooden pineapple rod finials are both from FabricLand. I already had the rod and hanging hardware kicking around in my basement.

All final decisions about purchasing items for this room fell on the price tag. With the exception of one lamp, all items, furniture, and textiles were either discounted or previously owned. For the millionth time, I'll admit that I am one frugal sonofabitch. But hey, bargain hunting is actually fun, especially when you are really pleased with the final product. Here are some of the (exciting!) deals I scored at FabricLand:

$21.66, marked down from $64.98 - huzzah!
$6.25 down from $24.99 - woot!
Two fabric remnants that were marked down twice - that's $12 instead of $48! I didn't end up using the grey and white striped one, but you can bet I've got a project lined up for that one already.
There are still a few details that need to be ironed out. Literally. The curtain panels still need to be ironed & hemmed. I'm debating whether or not to paint the curtain rod and finials, too. In the window covering department, a shade of some sort needs to be hung. Maybe bamboo, to keep with the natural vibe?

The framed art all meeds to make it on the walls, as I am crazy indecisive about placement. You may also have noticed that one corner of the room wasn't really photographed - that's because it's still a dropping ground for scientists husband's clothes and random crap that collected in the guest room over the past three years.

Anyway, it's amazing how a few key items and concepts can become so ingrained in your mind and drive a project for weeks, or even months at a time. My mind was set to inspiration boards and making creative uses of the things I already owned, or could find on the cheap. I love the feeling of working on a room and looking back at how I came to all the decisions that led to its (almost) completion. Hope you've enjoyed!

Monday, 22 October 2012

Exercise and You: Let's Get Real

Let me start by saying that I love Pinterest. I visit it daily and have pinned my fair share. My boards are organized and awesome. What I don't have, however, are any pins that are exercise-related. I visit Pinterest because it's like mental crack; I get to fantasize and explore creative solutions! No part of me really wants to know how to "flatten that pesky lower stomach pooch". Not that I particularly like my lower stomach pooch that makes me look perpetually 4 months pregnant (oh yes, you know, the stage at which you are feeling like a clumsy blob). I just know that this involves hard work and consistency, which is something I'd just rather not deal with. Plus, I really do enjoy mentally heckling joggers (you crazy bastards).

To set things straight, I'm not a terribly unhealthy person. I've been a vegetarian for something like 14 years. I don't smoke or drink any wine whatsoever (the latter is a dirty lie). I consciously choose healthy food options for our family. I walk the dogs everyday and ride horses a couple of time per week. But, I'm generally non-committal about exercise regimes and drastic dietary changes; this girl doesn't need to make public declarations about my health. I'm afraid of failure, mostly. I did start practicing Pilates when I was 10 weeks pregnant with the last babe and it was awesome. I felt so good and eliminated most of my little aches and pains ... until the time came for labour and delivery, obvi. But, Pilates was so amazing that I returned to the studio when my son was a mere 4 weeks old and added some yoga classes in between.

So, what happened? Horses. They cost a lot. I decided to start riding again and couldn't shoulder the cost of both riding and Pilates classes. Passion won. My back hurts, I'm tired, and I smell like manure and horse sweat. Yum. I do feel the need to clear something up though: equestrian sports are, indeed, sports. Sometimes, of the extreme variety. My inner thighs are usually ON FIRE and my upper body is putting up quite a battle. I might be putting my bones on the line every time I tack up and help my teammate hurl himself over obstacles, but I'm having a good time. So, take your paleo-gluten-free-jogging self-righteousness elsewhere.

K, thx.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Guest Room Sneaky Peeky

The walls are painted and the headboard installed ...

Organizing Wrapping Paper

It's no secret that IKEA is full of unique products and ideas to help make your space tidier and more aesthetically pleasing. One of the greatest pleasures about flipping through a new IKEA catalogue for the first time is spying all the new ways they manage to re-use the old products we already know and love.

Between browsing Pinterest and IKEA, I feel like my ability think think creatively has increased tremendously. I'm sure that the allure of Pinterest has a lot to do with this for many people, especially those who like to DIY in their homes.

I was sick of pulling out my gift bag full of wrapping paper and accessories from the bottom of the guest room closet every time I wanted to gussy up a gift. So I decided to us a few of IKEA RATIONELL VARIERA plastic bag holders to help me out. Because of the holes, I can store ribbon spools in the bottom and unroll as needed. I've already been using these holders for their intended use (thank god for that!), so why not just keep on going?

In the famous words of my mother: "(gasp!) Do you know what you can do with this!?". Sorry, Ma. Shopping with her can be a serious investment of time, but I totally appreciate her creativity. It's people like her who gives us those "duh" moments when we find amazing and easy solutions.

Edit: I just became aware that the inside of this closest is, indeed, pink. Another project for another time ...