Friday, September 26, 2014

Easy DIY Charging Station

Technology...I love it, but hate all the cords required for it to work!  I needed a place to corral the charging cables for my phone and various other electronics.  I know there are proper charging stations you can buy, and there are even some DIY's out there online too, but I wanted something cheap and easy.

So I took a walk over to my local Dollarama and lo and behold found this great turquoise box.  It even had a lid. I transformed it into a decorative charging station using nothing other than scissors.

It's made of cardboard, so I cut a hole in the back just large enough for the end of the phone charger to fit though. 

Then it's simply a matter of plugging your phone in to charge!  I tend to leave the lid off when my phone is charging, just to let the heat escape.  But otherwise the lid goes on and it looks just like a normal box.  

Is it the most glamorous?  Probably not.  Was it cheap? At $2.50 I'd say yes.  And I love the blue.  It matches Stevie Bird's feathers!  For now, it's a solid win on organizing my charging devices.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Dominoes - The Oversized Pieces Edition

Alas, it is the first day of September.  I'm always a little sad on this day.  It means the warm days of summer are almost over and winter will be here before we know it.  It means back to school and back to the crazy pace of normal life.  Labour Day weekend is our busiest time at IKEA since we are in a city with 2 universities and a college, so I'm grateful that Labour Day is a holiday and I get to enjoy the outdoors one last time.  I'm currently cooling off on my balcony after a hot morning in the sun :)

I wanted to share with you a project I completed a few weeks ago when I was up visiting at my parent's trailer. I was bummed that summer was almost over and I had not completed 1 thing on my summer to-do list yet (I had grand plans, haha).  So I took my supplies with me and completed it with my mom, and I am sooooo pleased with how it turned out.  I present to you, my new set of dominoes.

I got the idea from Shanty 2 Chic and had pinned their domino tutorial before I'd even moved in.  I won't give you the full tutorial as theirs is fantastic, I'll just show you some pictures along the way!  (I did this at the trailer don't forget, so enjoy the backgrounds of the lake, fire pit, picnic table, etc!)

I started with a 2 x 10 piece of lumber I got at Home Depot for under $10.  I had it cut there into sections 16" long.  This gave me 6 sections and I picked the best 3 (now I have 3 extra pieces left to make something else!)

We sanded them down, with the sander and by hand, to get nice rounded corners like a domino.

I gave each one 2 coats of paint.  I used Cozy Cottage by Behr.  They no longer carry the paint chip, but if you ask, they can still make it for you.  I just got a little test pot.

Then, I took some coarse sandpaper, and roughed up the edges again, as well as the corners, removing some of the paint.  I applied a Red Mahogany stain to the newly sanded areas.  This step did not work like I thought it would.  The stain went on purple and I was worried I had ruined them.  Not only that, it stained the areas that were still painted, not just the sanded parts.  So after I stained the edges, I went back over them with a very fine sandpaper and removed the yucky parts.  You can't even tell now!

It poured rain for the next few days so I finished off the painting of the dominoes in the trailer.  I marked off the centre line with some painter's tape and dry brushed some black paint on.

Then came the hard part - how do we draw on the dots so they are symmetrical... My mom came up with the idea of making a stencil. But we weren't sure how to do that, and I didn't bring supplies for stencil creations... so we used the back of a magazine cover, and traced the bottom of a plastic cup.  We broke our brains a few times trying to figure out the math, but after one failed attempt we ended up with a kick-butt stencil that would work for any number.  Like the centre line, I dry brushed the dots in black.

Shanty 2 Chic's tutorial mentions using a glaze as the final step.  I couldn't find the glaze they used (Home Depot no longer carries it) and after researching glazes, I wasn't sure I even wanted to do the next step. Making your own glaze sounded way too complicated.  But the dominoes were also too "white" looking. They didn't have the vintage, aged look to them I was going for that the glaze would have provided.  So I took them home and pondered this for a few days.  After my sister saw them, she suggested using a wax finish.  I had never heard of this either, so I researched wax finishes as well.  It seemed much more user friendly.  I found one brand of wax that was carried by Home Hardware that had a dark finish to it.  I could only find clear finishes at Lowe's, and Home Depot, but you may have better luck than me!  I picked up a small can of Minwax Finishing Wax for Dark Surfaces.

Basically, you put a ball of it in a cloth that is not woven tightly (they suggested cheesecloth, which I didn't have, so I used a Jay cloth instead).  Then when you press the cloth on the domino, the wax oozes out the holes in the cloth.  It's simply a matter of rubbing the cloth over the entire domino until you get the effect you are looking for.  More wax + more pressure with the cloth = a darker finish.  FYI - this stuff smells bad and is pretty messy so I suggest doing it outdoors or in a well ventilated room!

Here you can see the difference between the original domino (left) and the waxed domino (right).  

I attached a saw tooth hook on the back of each for easy hanging.

I hung my dominoes on the wall that separates my kitchen from my bedroom.  I call it my teeny-tiny hallway :)

I adore how they turned out and they draw your attention away from all the thermostats and switches on that wall.  Anyone up for a game of dominoes now?  #Ihavenoideahowtoreallyplay  

PS.  When you do a project at the trailer you sometimes have to improvise when you forget to bring things with you and the nearest store is an hour away!  Some things I used that were/were not photographed:

-Sticks from a tree with their dirty bark peeled off as paint stir sticks
-A rolled piece of tinfoil as a paint stir stick (for the rainy days when the sticks are no longer viable...)
-Firewood to raise the dominoes off the ground for painting
-Fingernail scissors to cut out the stencil
-Plastic disposable cup as a round tracer
-Magazine cover as a stencil
-A plastic bag wrapped and taped around my hand to use as a glove when staining
-A toothpick, a jay cloth, and a tiny piece of jay cloth (basically lint) to use for staining (hence the need for the plastic bag hand cover)

Never a dull moment when you DIY ;)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Bathroom Reveal

My bathroom is tiny with no natural light.  Just enough room for a vanity, a tub and a toilet.  In fact, taking these pictures was ridiculously hard because nothing would fit in the frame of the photo!  When I first moved in, the only storage I had was under the sink.  Needless to say it was a bit of a nightmare.  There were no hooks and no towel bars either.  You may recall that I kept my makeup on the back of the toilet...and I put my makeup on under the ever so fashionable Hollywood lighting.

My bathroom needed some help.  Here's how it looks today.

A lot has happened in here.  First, I added a piece of fabric to the bottom of my shower curtain so it would go all the way to the floor.  I loved this curtain because it had mesh at the top which allows more light in the shower area.  I totally got the idea from a hotel I stayed in!

I purchased glass shelves, hooks, a new mirror, and storage cabinet from IKEA.  Desperately needed them. Removing the builder mirror proved quite a challenge too since it was glued to the wall!

The Hollywood vanity lighting was replaced with a new fixture.

Storing toilet paper is super easy in a clear glass vase.

Here is a resource list for everything in the room:

Paint: Verdigris (Behr)

Mirror: IKEA Lillangen series
Cabinet: IKEA Lillangen series
Hooks: IKEA Lillholmen
Shelves: IKEA Grundtal

Vanity Light: Lowe's

Clear Vase: Walmart
Green Geometric Box: Homesense
White Wicker Box: Bouclair
Shower Curtain: Bed, Bath, and Beyond
Shower Mat: Homesense

Not having to store my toiletries and makeup on the back of a toilet = priceless.  One day I think I would like to change the faucet to one that doesn't stick out quite so far into the sink, but I haven't found one that I like, for a price I like.  I might also consider putting a tile backsplash around the back of the sink. Nonetheless, I'm happy with how it turned out!

Want to read about the bathroom reveal from the beginning?  Here is a list of all the published posts along the way!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Bedroom Reveal

My bedroom has been finished for sometime now, but with the summer here, I couldn't get motivated to sit and write blog posts!  My bathroom is also complete, along with my tiny hallway and a DIY project, so those will also be coming up in the next little while.  I will also be updating my house tour page, so stay tuned!

Here are some before shots of my bedroom after I'd moved in.

Here is how it looks now after some paint, 2 IKEA hacks, some new accessories, and some DIY projects!



My favourite thing is the nightstand that was made from an IKEA Rast dresser.  It provides more storage and more space on top than my previous one!

I created the 4 photos in the black square frames in Photoshop.  They are all either places or memories that are important to me.  I couldn't find square frames ANYWHERE.  My mom ended up finding them in JoAnn's in Arizona when she was there and hauled them back here for me!  The other colourful, flower photos I've had since university but never had any where to display them.  I picked up some black Nyttja frames from IKEA and finally put them on display on the sliver of wall between my closet and the door.

I've always loved the look of a juju hat, but for the price they go for, it was never going to happen!  The juju above the bed was one of my very first DIY projects on this blog.  The feathers blow lightly in the wind when the window is open and add a soft texture to the room.

The corner shelf unit was the first IKEA hack I had ever attempted.  It fills the weird corner space perfectly and allows me to display my giraffe collection, and houses my tv.

I also updated my closet doors with some tape and paint.  Honestly, I can't even remember what they looked like before!

Here is a resource list for the room (if you see something not listed and you're interested, just let me know!):

Paint: Fine Silver (Dulux Paint colour matched to Behr) and Anonymous (Behr)

Light Fixtures:
Nightstand: Winners
Dresser: Base: unknown (had it forever!), Shade: Bouclair

Duvet: IKEA (I think it's discontinued now though)
Headboard: DIY from an old door with added crown moulding
Wool Pillow: IKEA (also discontinued)
Juju Hat: DIY
Wooden Wall Accessories: Third World Bazaar

Reading Corner:
Chair: Kijiji (it's an IKEA Poang, however the cover is discontinued)
Frames: JoAnn Fabrics

Curtains: Home Outfitters
Pull-Down Blind: Levelor from Lowe's

Dresser: Mine from childhood
Corner Shelf: Ikea hack from Lack tables
Nightstand: Ikea hack from Rast chest

It's so nice being able to go to sleep in a room that is relaxing and clean each and every night!

Want to read about the bedroom reveal from the beginning?  Here is a list of all the published posts along the way!