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Archive for the ‘DIY’ Category

C’est l’halloween

Halloween has to be one of my favourite holidays of the year, second only to Christmas. I didn’t do much decorating last year since I had moved in only a few months earlier and was still overwhelmed with running a household singlehandedly (albeit, a household of one). I just didn’t have the energy to devote much time to decorating or crafting for the season, so this year I vowed it would be different.

My aim was to create some spooky decor in the entryway and the front porch, since those will be the main areas that guests and trick-or-treaters will pass by. Another goal was to achieve major impact, with minor damage to my wallet, and this was the result:

Entryway

I tried to create a “curio” type of arrangement using things I had around the house as well as a few inexpensive crafts and Dollarama items.

Spider

I created the mounted spider specimen out of an old box, toy spider, frame from Dollarama and some scrap paper, strait pins and black paint. Total cost: $2.25.

Apothecary jars

The apothecary jars were made from glass jars and candlesticks from Dollarama and Buck or Two, using a tutorial from Dollar Store Crafts (my new favorite website). I used two packages of plastic skulls to fill the larger jar and a package of rubber worms for the smaller one. Total cost: $8.25, plus $6 for a tube of glass-friendly glue (which will last me for a long time). The catchall dish was about $2.50, on sale at BouClair Home.

Frame

I already owned the IKEA Ung Drill frame, and I made the “mirror” in it using instructions from Martha Stewart.

Books

And last, but not least (and my absolute favourite thing in the collection) I created Halloween-themed dust jackets using GIMP (an open-source and *free* program similar to Photoshop), and then wrapped them around hardcover books that I already had in the house. The owl statue was purchased a few weeks ago from a store in Manotick for $10, pricey, but far cheaper that similar items I’ve seen elsewhere. The mini-pumpkins were left over from my Thanksgiving decor.

I have to say, I am really happy with how the entryway turned out, and how inexpensive everything was. We’re doing a bit of outside decorating in time for Sunday, which I’ll post sometime next week – pumpkins and all!

Do you decorate for Halloween? Or is it just not worth it for you?

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After falling for the new Edland nightstands from IKEA, but not being in the position to afford their $129 price tag, I decided to try my hand at an Edland inspired makeover.

Nightstand01

I bought the pair for $30 off Kijiji a few months ago from a pair of Carleton U students, I likely shouldn’t have paid more than $20 for them, but I was dealing with a tough seller.  I decided to go for it even though they were dusty, reeked of smoke and one had scorch marks on the top. Ew.  But, recognizing a good foundation and overlooking a nasty faux-wood finish straight from the 70s led me to a set of nightstands that I couldn’t be prouder of.

After living in my parents’ basement for a few more months, and then enduring the move to my new place, I was finally ready to give them the makeover they so desperately needed.

Nightstand02

First step was to wash both nightstands, as well as the drawers with TSP in order to remove anything that might prevent the paint from sticking.  Following the directions on the package, I mixed a solution of 20 parts water to 1 part TSP and then wiped down all the surfaces that I would be painting.

Once all the surfaces were dry, I used fine sandpaper to sand down the cigarette burns on the tabletop, as well as a few other trouble spots as best as I could.  Since the tops are made from MDF, I could only do so much, but I wanted to reduce the visibility of the raised areas as much as possible.  Once the sanding was complete, I wiped everything down with a tack cloth to remove any remaining dust.

Since I was painting over an unknown finish, I opted to use Benjamin Moore’s Fresh Start as a primer.  It worked really well, despite the fact that I didn’t do anything else other than wash the drawers prior to painting.  Using an angled 2″ brush, I “cut in” all the nooks and crannies and then used a foam roller to apply the rest.  After some agonizing, I decided on a smoky charcoal colour for my paint, which I applied using the same process as I did for the primer.

Nightstand04

To mimic the Edland’s beautiful Louis XIV legs, I found some smaller but more appropriately proportioned Queen Anne legs from RONA.  At $10 each, they were pricey, but they also happened to be the exact same height as the old boxy ones.  Compromise: I used the expensive legs for the front of the table, and kept the rear legs the same.  They aren’t visible, and it saves me money.

Nightstand05

Also while at RONA, I found a pair of porcelain drawer pulls, that reminded me of the Edland’s teardrop ones.  At $4 each, they were also pricey but worth it.

The final result?  A set of fancy-pants nightstands, with a not-so-fancy price.

Nightstand03

So, how was your long weekend?  Do any DIYs?

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The past few months…

So where have I been?

When I started this blog back in April, I didn’t fully realize how difficult actually doing all this house stuff was going to be.  Soon after, appointments needed attending, forms needed filling and things needed to be signed. I was fortunate that I had a great group of family, friends and co-workers to support me, especially during the final days before closing.  I *literally* couldn’t have gotten through everything without them to help me along the way.  A strong support system is invaluable.

But support or not, I was overwhelmed, and the blog just fell by the wayside.

But no more.  The house closed just over two weeks ago, and I moved in a few days later.  Things are starting to calm down, and I finally have an internet connection again, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to start writing again. 

My house might be brand-spanking-new, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t projects and DIYs to undertake. I’ve already started by painting a pair of bedside tables for the guestroom, and I’ve already changed the light fixture in the master bedroom. I have tons more ideas waiting in the wings, so there is lots to write about. Stay tuned…

How did you deal with the stress of buying your first home?

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