The art of turning "good junk" into "great design"

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Dresser makeover

Well after our little hiatus we are back and although we haven't been posting we have certainly had our fair share of projects.  I am hoping that I can remember them all so that I can share what's been going on at our house.
This fall found us at an almost empty nest stage with only our middle son at home, and he comes and goes, so a lot of time it is just the two of us.  So, more time for diy's.
After Jordan left for school I decided it was time to redo his bedroom.  It had been painted grey with black stripes for his older brother, and it was desperately in need of a remake.  We painted the walls Benjamin Moore, Silver Fox and then it was time to do something with this dresser that was stuck in the 80's.

I used some leftover paint from the walls of the spare room, Benjamin Moore, Muslin, added a  little white grout, to make my own chalk paint, and refreshed this ugly old chest of drawers that I bought for $20 years ago. It was time for a facelift.  
 Originally  I thought that the TV might fit into the space when I removed the doors,  and the top, red velvet lined drawer, but it was just a little too tall. I decided to leave the top the original stained wood, and I am pleased with the overall look.  A little bit of sanding to distress and this piece was almost done.
(I  just noticed the state of this room when I took the before picture. Boys!)

I debated about the hardware for several weeks, but a trip to Lee Valley Tools and we were good to go.  I decided that the dresser could use some femininity so I chose the glass knobs for the upper drawer ( it is all one, but looks like 3) and then  did a hammered finished handle for the bottom two.

This room is very tiny.  That is the extent of the wall space at the head of the bed.  We took the closet door off years ago, and I made a fun patterned curtain instead.  Luckily it is deep and holds a multitude of items.

That is an original piece of art (and I use that term lightly) on the wall above the bed.   Stay tuned for another post.  You won't believe how I created it and you can do it too.  See you soon.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Hallway Goals

This was by far my most favourite thing I had done in this house! I knew the second I saw that hallway that I wanted stripes. This project did take some time but it was more than worth it! 

Remember when I said that the house was painted all a yellow cream... well here it is again, not only the walls but also the trim and ceiling! Best part was painting everything white and not having to worry about trim or ceilings.

Once everything was painted a fresh white it was time to get started. This hallway had been on my mind for a while, it needed to come out. I had an idea of generally how thick I wanted the stripes to be. First I measured the wall starting just above baseboard trim which was 92 inches 
I ended up doing the stripes 9" each. 
92 divided by 9= 10.66
There were going to be just over 10 and a half stripes in total. Try and stick with even numbers so you have the same amount of stripes for each colour. 

This is by far the hardest and worst part of this project; the measuring and taping.
I did not use  a chalk line or laser to do my lines. I did it the good old fashioned way with a yard stick and a pencil. Why?  Because I don't have a laser and I didn't want to use the chalk in case it affected the paint.
Now this house wasn't even close to being level. There were so many times that I wasn't convinced this would work. The key is to put a mark on the wall at 9"above the baseboard. Then with a level on the top of the meter stick draw a straight line. TRUST the level and not the floor or ceiling. 
Once your lines are on the wall its time to tape. This is another crucial part, the tape has to be perfect. 
Make sure you write on the tape with an arrow telling you which colour to paint on each side of the tape. (Grey>    <White) That way you wont accidentally paint the wrong stripe.

Once you have the tape on the wall go over it with your hands several times and make sure it is secure to the wall and there are no air bubbles. Then you can start painting with a dry brush over the tape, insuring you wont have any surprises when you pull off the tape. Two coats and some minor touch ups were needed.

The paint I used for the grey was Universal Grey by CIL. This is a true grey colour and it turned out absolutely amazing!

I was on the hunt for two things in this hallway, a mirror and a map. I got this map that has amazing colours in it from a antique mall for $24.99 before I even bought the house. The mirror is from Target and was $29.99.  Light fixture from Ikea for $59.99.

I love the stripes, but I would like your opinion.  Let me know what you think of the finished project.  

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Nautical Living Room Before and After

Hey guys we are back... again! We have missed you and we are sorry! We promise we will be better this time! 

I am going to start off with posting my previous house, the lake house. I call it lake house but it wasn't on the water, it was steps from beaches, marinas, and parks it was impossible not to be inspired by my surroundings. Thats why I refer to it as a cottage or lake house!I loved the area, it was relaxing and beautiful. The neighbours were pretty amazing, which was a big bonus! I loved living there and still miss it! 
The previous owners had lived there for 60 years and had done very little all. It was dark, dirty, and in need of lots of love. I wanted to go nautical without being over the top, the house is very small so I tried to kept things simple.



Taking down the valance over the window adding Crisp white curtain from Ikea. Painting all the trim and wainscotting bright white paint from Home Depot. I used Zinseer BIN Primer first which covered the lacquered wainscotting very well. The light blue grey walls keeps this space light and airy. 

**Also spot the new door it was free I might add! I will post about that adventure another time! Oh and the coffee table I made that also! We have so much to catch up on.

The mirror and the bookshelf are also from Ikea

This little lake house stole my heart. So happy with how it turned out and how easy it was to do! Keep checking in for lots more to come of before and afters of each room!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Pumpkin Trifle

With Thanksgiving just around the corner in Canada, and our bountiful Fall harvest my thoughts turn to wonderful pumpkin desserts and this is a favourite at our house.  It not only tastes delicious but it is easy and looks fantastic on a Harvest table.  I hope that you enjoy this fabulous trifle as much as my family does.  Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving.

I have adapted this recipe from one that I found in Taste of Home magazine years ago.  It called for gingerbread cake mix, but as I couldn't find that here, I used a Duncan Hines Cake mix instead.  The recipe calls for canned pumpkin, but if you have pumpkin in the garden, why not use a small pie pumpkin instead.

1 Duncan Hines Spice  Cake Mix
1 package cook and serve Vanilla pudding
3 cups milk
1 can ( 29 oz) solid pack pumpkin- not pie filling
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp cinnamon
1 container  Cool whip- or fresh whipped cream.

Prepare and bake spice cake according to package directions using 2 greased 9 in round baking pans.  Cool completely.
Meanwhile, for pudding, in a large saucepan combine pudding mix and milk and stir until smooth.  Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil.  Cook and stir 1-2 minutes longer or until thickened.   Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.  Combine pumpkin, brown sugar and spices and stir into the pudding.
In a 4 quart trifle bowl crumble or place the entire cake layer in the bottom of the bowl- it looks nicer whole, and then I score the top so everything comes together.  Top with half of the pudding mixture, and whipped topping.  Repeat the layers.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.
This makes a lot so is a great dessert for a large gathering.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Risotto Con Parmigiano- Comfort Food

Although the weather has been hot and humid for late August, this past Thursday a rain storm rolled through before dinner that cooled things off considerably and led me to think of comfort food.  Salmon on the BBQ and some cheesy Arborio Rice would fit the bill.  This recipe is a little time consuming but the wait is so worth it.

I prefer the President's Choice Arborio, pictured to the left, and the recipe is actually right on the box.

In a saucepan bring 8 cups of chicken or vegetable stock ( or even half white wine if you wanted) to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and  keep warm.
In a large saucepan heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat add 1/4 cup diced onion and 1 clove minced garlic.  Saute for 5 mins stirring often until soft
Stir in 2 cups rice and 3/4 tsp salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Cook, stirring constantly for 2 mins.
Using a ladle add 1/2 cup hot stock at a  time to the rice, stirring constantly.  Wait until the liquid is absorbed before adding more.  Adjust heat as necessary to maintain a simmer.  Continue cooking and stirring the rice, adding stock 1/2 cup at a time for 20-25 mins or until rice is tender with a firm centre and dish is creamy.
Remove from heat.  Stir in 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese,  and 2 Tbsp butter. Garnish with parsley and serve.

 This dish is a great side for many meats, and I think is even better left over.  Try it, and let me know what you think

Thursday, September 3, 2015

"Wishes"- Pallet Art

Well I had neglected my mantle for way too long.  It was July and I still had silk forsythia in a large vase on the hearth.  It was really time to change things out. You can't still be celebrating spring in the heat of summer.
I went in search of a pallet and of course Jeff's reaction was what are you going to do with that.  Patience my friend, I have a vision.
I asked him to use his power tools and make me a tall piece.  I liked that the heads of the nails were rusty and that they show. Of course he wanted to pull them out. Sometimes we just don't see the same thing.
With a couple of scraps of lumber he fastened the 5 boards together and then it was time for my creative side to get to work.

I knew that I wanted something summery and light, but what was the right saying.
I tried out "If horses were wishes, beggars would ride" but that caused a great debate about what that actually means and because I didn't want to explain my version, that implied that wishes come true if you only wish them, I decided to keep searching.
And when I found what I wanted and a link on Pinterest of how to draw a dandelion  it was time to get to work.
I wanted to try out the transfer technique that I had also seen on Pinterest to  Transfer letters What a great way to get the letters exactly like I envisioned.  Sadly, that day our printer would not print in black.  Now what?
 I enlarged each individual word on my computer screen and free handed the script.  I think it turned out exactly like I envisioned~light and airy, just like that dandelion.  What do you think?

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Pebble Art

I am reposting this little craft project as it appears that it is no longer in our archived posts for some reason.  This is one of my favourite inexpensive projects, and I thought if you missed it, this would be a perfect time for you to make your vacation treasures into a work of art.

A few years ago our summer vacation was a fabulous stay at a cottage on the water in Prince Edward Island, and although not the warmest of summers it was a relaxing week at the sea. Each day we walked the beach at least once and searched the red sand for treasure.

Our Private Beach near Victoria Harbour Prince Edward Island
Having seen a stone picture in a gift shop at a price tag that I could not believe, over, $180 each, the search was on for the perfect stones to create my own pictures.

 Not only are they a reminder of that idyllic week at the beach, but the family "portrait" and the "Laundry Day" art, work perfectly in our home.

The drift wood, and sticks were also collected on the beach to complete these memorable pieces.  I love how the stones in "A Gentle Breeze" really do resemble articles of clothing. 
 I already had the frames at home that I had bought on sale for $4.00 each, a piece of scrapbook paper and the handy glue gun and voila, a new piece of art to hang.

Since then I have found and am addicted to  pinterest and  there are all kinds of other ideas to create a piece of "art" out of your vacation treasures.  Can't wait to create something fabulous with the sea glass, collected on that awesome PEI beach.

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