Holiday garlands

I was visiting a friend over the weekend and noticed a gorgeous red bunting hanging across her white mantle and fireplace. I immediately decided to try something similar with my mantle this year (thanks Em!). The past few years I've decorated my mantle with tree boughs, lights, ornaments, candlesticks - the whole shebang. But this year I want to try something different and pared down (that goes for Christmas decorating in general). Here are a few garlands that I think would do the trick. Are you feeling the need to change up your decorating this year, or are you sticking with what you love?




Glitter pine cone DIY

With last week's snow storm and December right around the corner, I was in the mood to start my Christmas decorating over the weekend. I started by adding some tall branches with bright red berries to my mostly-white mantle and then decided to try an easy and inexpensive holiday craft I'd spotted around the internets: glitter pine cones.

I picked up a few packs of cinnamon-scented pine cones at the dollar store ($2 for a pack of five pine cones) and a small bottle of gold glitter ($1). With a small foam brush, I applied glue to the edges of the pine cones, then sprinkled them with glitter and left them to dry. I had a couple of hurricane vases we used to display flowers for our wedding, so I filled them with my sparkly pine cones and - instant holiday decor! It's also a great craft for kids - provided you don't mind a house full of glitter :)

Linked up to:


All I want for Christmas...

I'm not a Black Friday shopper because a) I live in Canada and b) I would pay almost any amount of money not to battle a crowd and stand in line (yup, not a huge fan of amusement parks), but hats off to you if you braved the fray to score some amazing deals today. With the gift-giving season underway, here are the items on my wishlist this year. What's on yours?


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"Framing" children's art

One of the best wedding gifts we received was handmade art from Adam's nephews, who specifically directed me to hang them next to our bed. With our walls painted, they were the first things to go up:

To "frame" them, I decided to paint the edges of the canvases black. I just taped around the front of the canvas, painted the edges with acrylic paint and removed the tape.

We were married on a lake, although Adam's parents' driveway is definitely the focal point in the top painting :) The painting on the bottom says, "Dear Adam and Amy, I hope you have a gret wedding. Love, Evan." How could we not want to wake up to these everyday?

Painted closet doors

I know what you're thinking: "Is she seriously blogging about painting a bi-fold door?"
Yes, yes I am.

Sure, closet doors aren't all that exciting when you have them. But imagine that you've been staring at a mess of your husband's clothes and a basket of dirty laundry for the past 9 months, and now you have a way to hide those things behind a door. Closet doors are suddenly more exciting than all-you-can-eat sushi.

When we moved in, our bedroom had lots of closet space (yay!), but no doors (boo!). I found them stacked in our garage. So, this is what I've been doing most evenings (door #3 from last night):

Each one takes two coats of primer and 3-4 coats of paint, which has taken me through all three seasons of The United States of Tara and several episodes of the new 90210 (don't judge, netflix.ca's tv selection is severely lacking). I picked up replacement hardware to hang the door (around $10 per door at Home Depot), which I was able to do all by myself (I heart my powerdrill). I also added new knobs:

Still can't imagine yourself jumping for joy over a closet door? Here's a little before and after:

I still have to finish painting and hanging the doors for my closet (it's a double, woo hoo!), but progress is a huge motivator (and I've got two more seasons of 90210 to get through).


Striped dog bed DIY

That's Maddie, enjoying the dog bed I sewed for her this weekend. It was super easy to make and suits my taste (and budget) much better than dog beds I've seen online and in stores. This was my first time working with piping and I love how it "finishes" the look (I watched a few unintentionally funny YouTube tutorials first - like this one - but I purchased, not made, my piping).

In terms of steps, I sewed the piping onto my striped fabric first, then sewed my two fabric pieces together (you may have noticed that the bottom is leftover fabric from my slipcover project). I left a small opening on one side so I could stuff the bed and then finished it by hand. The stuffing is completely washable, so the whole thing can be periodically tossed in the wash (an obvious must).

In other news, Adam is home! It's so true that absence makes the heart grow fonder - we even happily survived a Costco shopping trip yesterday (Adam and shopping usually don't mix haha). So, what did you get up to this weekend?


Sewing a chair slipcover

Remember this chair I found on Kijiji for $20?

(photo from Kijiji posting)
Admittedly not so pretty, but I loved the lines and the price was right. Last weekend I went to Fabricville to look for some slipcover fabric and found a white cotton/linen mix on clearance for $4/metre. Since it's only my second slipcover (this reversible ottoman slipcover being my first), I decided against any kind of pattern, which I'd have to worry about matching up. I also didn't want to spend a lot of money on fabric in case my project was a total bust (not the strongest sewing skills over here). I seem to always overestimate the amount of fabric I'll need, and of the 6 1/2 metres I bought, I probably used somewhere between 3 and 4, which puts the total cost of the chair at around $35 (and it should be easy to find other uses for the leftover fabric - I've already got a project in mind).

Anyway, here's how it turned out (I know, it desperately needs to be ironed):

In addition to a good ironing, it needs a throw pillow or two, and I have to finish sewing the cushion covers (one side is still open while I try to work up the courage to try sewing in zippers).

A bunch of bloggers have posted slipcover tutorials, so I won't go into too much detail - I basically used kraft paper to create a template by holding it up to the chair and tracing each piece of upholstery. Then there was lots of pinning and re-pinning on the chair to get a tight fit. Once I had sewed the pieces together, I did a test fit on the chair and ripped out and re-sewed any seams that looked too wonky. Then I hemmed the bottom and sewed the cushion covers like you would any pillow. I spread it out over a couple of days, but it could easily be done in an afternoon.

freckled laundry
The Shabby Nest


7 things you (probably) don't know about me

Style-ING w/Children was nice enough to think of me and my little ol' blog for the Versatile Blogger Award! Thank you! I've really enjoyed getting to know other bloggers through this award, so I'm kind of excited to share seven things about me. Here it goes:

  1. I have a Masters degree in Public Administration and work full-time as a small business lobbyist, which means you can sometimes find me in the paper or on the radio advocating policy that supports the growth of entrepreneurship. It's definitely not what I pictured myself doing for a living (my background is in healthcare), but I feel very lucky to do the work that I do. I've found that every small business owner has an inspiring story to tell and I have so much respect and apprecation for the incredible amount of hard work and dedication it takes to run a business. What can I say? I love small business!
  2. I also love Kraft Dinner. I've been known to eat an entire box on my own, with chopsticks (the chopsticks make it better somehow). In fact, whenever my husband's band is on tour (like now) you'll find me with Kraft Dinner and chopsticks in hand.
  3. I'm a dual citizen. My parents are Americans who came to Canada to go to university and decided to stay. I was born and raised in Canada, but I went to university in Massachusetts and lived in Boston until I started dating my now-husband and moved back to Canada to be with him. Now I have family in Nova Scotia, Florida, Wisconsin and New England. Yes, holidays are complicated :) 
  4. I have a serious daydreaming problem and my daydreams include running my own business (hopefully related to interior decorating and design) and making a documentary (topic TBD). Someday.
  5. I'm obsessed with documentaries (hence #4). I'll watch a documentary on any topic, but I especially love crime documentaries (as a teenager I probably watched every episode of A&E's American Justice and City Confidential...I can't believe I just told you that). They're also my favourite thing to have on in the background while I'm working on a project. It's why I signed up for Netflix.
  6. I detest, loathe, absolutely cannot stand the song 'Black Velvet' by Alannah Myles. Just thinking about it makes me angry.
  7. I once accidentally joined a half-marathon while going for a weekend run. As I rounded the corner on my usual route, I noticed groups of people on either side of the road cheering me on. It was slightly embarrassing, but also incredibly motivating (although not motivating enough to make me want to formally enter a race).  
That was fun. So many of the blogs I love to read have already received this award, so I think I'll hold off on passing it around for now. Thanks again to Style-ING w/Children for letting me get in on the fun :)

Update: Beatrice from The Crafty Bee was nice enough to nominate me too. Thank you so much!!

Master bedroom progress

Don't you love long weekends that actually feel like long weekends? Mine was just that; I got to enjoy some quality time with family and friends and I managed to move along several projects on my 'to do' list. Oh, and I finally had daylight to snap a few pictures of my bedroom progress.

The colour on the walls is Martha Stewart's Whetstone Gray. It's a taupe-y gray, with lavender undertones in certain light. I chose a flat finish to hide the many imperfections in our old plaster walls and I love how it turned out, very calm and soothing (plus, no more textured walls!).

I sewed the curtain panels ages ago, initally to cover the entire wall behind the bed to disguise the off-center window, but it turns out I much prefer them this way. They help emphasize the ceiling's height and add to the room's relaxing vibe.

I scored a new piece of furniture for our kitchen on Kijiji last week (more on that later), so I switched out our current dresser for the antique dresser we were using as extra storage in the kitchen. Which means I have to paint a lamp green instead of a dresser (um, happiness).

Of course I've still got a bunch of things on my bedroom 'to do' list:
  • Paint that lamp
  • Finish painting, then hang, closet doors (I wake up staring at my clothes every morning. It does make it easier to figure out what to wear, but I can't wait to have doors!)
  • DIY an upholstered headboard
  • Sew a doggy bed (I'm going to try piping for the first time, wish me luck)
  • Hang art
  • Find an accent chair
  • Add accessories, especially a plant or two
So how many 'to do' lists do you have? Just one, or a list for each room?

freckled laundry

The Shabby Nest


Wishlist Wednesday: Desk Lamps

One day I was sitting in my living room staring at the wall (I do that sometimes), when it occurred to me that we're wasting the space under the gallery wall in our living room (there's a good 6-ft. gap between the back of our couch and the wall). It turns out that a desk would fit perfectly below the gallery wall and I think it's a great spot for a mini-office. Luckily I've got most of the pieces I need already (desk, chair, filing cabinet); they just need a little tweaking (more about that later). The only thing I'm missing is a great desk lamp:


I'm linking this post up with Anna's Wishlist Wednesday. What's on your wishlist?


Painted nightstands

I'm still working on snapping some photos of my master bedroom progress, so I thought I'd share a few pictures of my DIY'ed nightstands in the meantime. That's my side of the bed in the pictures above (for the record, my alarm clock is 10 minutes fast), complete with my spraypainted Value Village lamp and my copy of Deborah Needleman's The Perfectly Imperfect Home, which is worth purchasing for Canadian Virginia Johnson's beautiful watercolours alone. Anyway, you may remember that the nightstands used to look like this:

I purchased them at a yardsale for $10 each over the summer. I did some light sanding, painted them white and added new hardware (I'm thinking about adding some trim around the bottom to dress 'em up a little too). I found these cool knobs at a local boutique and I love how they add some interest to the nightstands' plain fronts. I used a gift certificate, but I think they were around $4 each, which would still put the cost of each nightstand at less than $25!


Week Two: Colour Theory

First off, HELLO and WELCOME to my new visitors and followers. Thanks so much for stopping by :)

Adam and I picked up our new-to-us car on Saturday, and after going out for breakfast to celebrate, I got to work painting our bedroom! As of this morning, the walls and windows are painted, curtains are hung and my $10 DIY'ed night stands are in the room (pictures to come). I still have a lot of painting to do (trim, closet doors, dresser), along with a few other projects (DIY an upholstered headboard, sew dog bed and hang art), but I'm feeling really good about the weekend's progress. While I was working in our bedroom, Adam - with the help of a friend - got the basement walls and crawl space ready for the spray foam guys, so that project's moving along too. Yay!

In week two of my introductory interior design class we talked about how to use colour theory to achieve harmony in a room. We learned about your basic 12-part colour wheel and the ins and outs of tints, shades and tones.

There are several basic ways to use the colour wheel to create a colour scheme, like:
  • Analogous - uses colours that are next to each other on the colour wheel. Let one colour dominate and use the other two as accents.
  • Complimentary - uses colours that are opposite each other on the colour wheel.
  • Triadic - Uses colours that are evenly spaced around the colour wheel. Just like an analogous colour scheme, let one colour dominate and use the other two as accents.
  • Split-complimentary - Uses one base colour and two colours adjacent to its complement.

I think this is a great tool to use when you start to work with colour - I've already discovered colour combinations I wouldn't have thought of otherwise and it's so simple to use. Mixing colours on the other hand, is not so simple. We ended the class by painting our own 12-part colour wheels using just red, yellow and blue paint. Sure it sounds simple, but it turns out I couldn't mix colours to save my life. Thank goodness for paint chips.

Have you used the colour wheel to design a colour scheme? 


Stained concrete floors

This week Adam became his own boss and started teaching drum and guitar lessons out of our house (he taught lessons as a contract employee for a music store for the past six years). It's great for a whole bunch of reasons, but most importantly because it makes him happy and I love having him home in the evenings, even though he's working.

Now that the basement is his studio, we want to create a more inviting workspace down there (we probably should have done that before it became his studio, but whatever). We've hired a company to insulate the exterior walls and crawl space with spray foam while Adam tours Eastern Canada with his band (you can find tour dates here), which should give the foam plenty of time to cure properly. Once Adam's back and the drywall is up (yes, he'll be teaching lessons upstairs for at least a couple of weeks), I think it's a good idea to tackle the concrete floors (you know, so we only have to move our junk in and out once). And I love the idea of staining them, thanks to this inspiration (and this):



Found on Pinterest here
 I think it's gorgeous, but what do you think? Would you try staining your concrete floors?  


Liebster Blog Love

Katie from Creative Outlets gave my blog some love with the Liebster Blog award yesterday! Thanks Katie!!

The award helps promote new or growing blogs and the idea is to thank the giver and pass the love along to five other deserving blogs. With that in mind, here are five blogs I love to read and hope you will too (if you don't already):
  1. Nette at This Dusty House
  2. Shannon at 8foot6
  3. Heather at Interior Groupie
Hopefully they'll pass the love along to five more blogs and we all find some new inspiration!


Pinterest Challenge: DIY bunting flags art

I was pretty excited when I heard about the Pinterest Challenge, mostly because it was a good kick in the butt to finish this DIY bunting flags art I've been thinking about. It's a combination of two pins on my inspiration boards:

Lindsay's gorgeous DIY bunting flags and...

Emily's cute above-the-bed art.

So over the weekend I grabbed some supplies - including Lindsay's bunting flags template - and sketched a couple of 'strings' across my dollar store canvases with a Sharpie. After cutting out the flags, I used Modge Podge to attach them to the canvases (I applied two thin coats over the entire surface of the canvases). Once the canvases were dry, I used upholstery tacks to attach the twine to the frames and hung them on some rustic-looking nails in our guest bedroom.

I love the colours they add to the room and I think they'd look so cute in a nursery (which we hope this room will be someday). Not bad for a $10 art project and a huge thanks to Lindsay for sharing her inspiring work!
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