Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Welcome Walter

I'd like to introduce you to Walter...Walter Concrete.  (He's a distant cousin of Walter Cronkite...)

I picked him up at TJ Maxx in New York when I was there last November.  He has sat in my front entry since then to greet me when I arrive home.  He's actually made of concrete...maybe he's meant to go outside...I'm not really sure... He was in the clearance section, but I didn't want to hurt his feelings so he doesn't know #itsasecretdonttell.

For my birthday, my sister got me a cute little sweater for him to wear.  Now Walter is ever so dapper!  I thought about painting him, but can't bring myself to do it just yet.  So for now, he stays as Walter Concrete, my guard dog.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

How to Transfer an Image to Wood

If you read my last post on my balcony updates, you saw my wooden Littlefoot Gardens sign that I made. As promised here is the super simple tutorial on how to do it.

I based my sign off of the tutorial from Crafts Unleashed.  If you'd like more photos of the step-by-step I suggest you check out their site!  I was mostly trying to see if I could get the process to work and not mess it up (since I only had 1 piece of wood!) so I didn't take as many photos as I probably should have.

Supplies Needed:
Images (printed with a laser printer)
Mod Podge
Clear outdoor varnish

My piece of wood came from a pallet my sister picked up from the side of the road.  She was making some planter boxes for her balcony and she saved the scruffiest piece for me!  I stained it with one coat of wood stain.

Next, I found images and created the text I wanted to use on my sign.  If you want words like I did, make sure you reverse them in a photo-editing program, otherwise your words will turn out backwards on the finished product.  It is VERY IMPORTANT that you print your images on a laser printer.  An ink jet printer won't work, as the ink will run when you try to transfer it.  If you want a colour image, you can print it on a colour laser printer, do a colour photocopy of your image, or simply paint the final product!

Cut out your image and apply a very generous coat of mod podge over your image.  I put so much on I could barely see the image anymore.  Another tip I discovered was make sure you cut as close to the image as possible.  I just cut a square around mine, and if you stand very close to my sign with your head tilted at an awkward angle, you can see the old outline of the paper.  Press the image, photo side down, to the wood. Smooth it out to eliminate any bubbles.  I used my library card for this step :)

Let it dry completely overnight.  Once it's dry, use a damp cloth or sponge to gently rub off the paper.  If you use too much water or too much pressure, you are liable to rub off the entire image so be careful.  Once you rub off all the paper you are left with a transferred image!  (You can faintly see the square around my words that I mentioned before, in this picture)

It is impossible to remove all of the paper.  You will be left with little "fuzzies" over your image.  I simply coated the entire thing in mod podge and they disappeared.  I then coated the entire sign in an outdoor spray varnish.  I did about 4 coats since it would be in direct sunlight most of the day and would get wet in the rain.

I attached an eye on either side of the wood and tied a piece of twine to hang.

I love the end result!  It was so easy to do and relatively quick too.  It looks like the image is a part of the wood rather than just glued on.  The possibilities for this technique are endless!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Summer at Last

At long last summer has arrived!  I didn't think it would ever get here.  My last day of school was yesterday and it was filled with graduation and goodbyes as I'm moving on to a different school next year.  I'm looking forward to a bit of a break and only working one job (at Ikea) this summer!  My last blog post was over a month ago and I definitely want to change that!  I've done lots of little things around the house in the last few months that I need to document and share.  I thought I'd start with my balcony since outside is where I want to be these days!

Littlefoot Gardens is going strong again this year! I have green onions, lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers, jalapenos, sweet pickle peppers, and raspberries growing.  I also have my pot of flowers and a little rose bush that my dad gave me for my birthday back in March.  It was pretty much dead by May.  It is so hard keeping a rose bush alive during cold winter months, even when it is indoors!  But ever since I put it outside it has rebounded and is even producing a few flowers buds!

I got two new blue bird cushions from Lowes.  The ones I had from last year faded REALLY badly and got mouldy... These ones are really nice and plump.

I also picked up a new outdoor rug from Target.  I spent a little more on it then I wanted to, but it was a necessity.  My favourite blue and white, Moroccan-patterned one from last year completely disintegrated. There were little pieces of blue plastic EVERYWHERE.  It got to the point where I had to leave a separate pair of shoes outside to only wear on the balcony.  This one is soft on the feet and feels more durable than my last one.  I was bummed I only got a year out of my previous one, but I guess that's what you get when you only spend $12!  And I learned my lesson of never purchasing a plastic rug again!

You may have noticed my Littlefoot Gardens sign hanging on the wall.  I made it out of a piece of wood from a pallet and some laser printer images.  I'll share a tutorial this week on how to make your own wooden sign. It was really easy!

Enjoy the long weekend to all my fellow Canadians!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Ikea Hack: Quilted Rast Dresser

My last Ikea Hack was so popular, that I wanted to try another one!  (You can read about my Lack Corner Shelf Hack here.)

I wanted a new nightstand for my bedroom that was a little bit bigger and provided some more storage.  The one I was currently using I'd had since I was a child and it was getting pretty squishy.  I only had room for a lamp, my clock, and a phone.  Anything else, like books I was reading, had to go on the floor.  I immediately thought of the Rast dresser from Ikea.  It's cheap and easy to customize.  I did some Pinterest searching, and came up with lots of ideas.  I loved the idea of covering it in a faux ostrich fabric like I'd found at Simple Details, but I also liked the idea of trimming out the bottom to make it look more expensive, like The Accent Piece had done.

I purchased the Rast over March Break.  I had every intention of making this my March Break project...that totally never happened considering I only just finished it!

Here is what my bedroom looked like before, and what the Rast dresser looked like before:

I'd say it was a pretty significant transformation!  Here's how the whole process went down.

I purchased the Rast model for $39.  It was super simple to build - took probably 20 minutes.

When you build the dresser, the piece of wood that runs along the bottom does not sit flush with the front of the two side pieces (you can see what I mean in the before picture above.)  My dad helped me out, and we drilled new holes above the pre-existing ones so the front would sit flush when assembled.  This ensures that you have no gap when you install the moulding.

Next, we measured and cut the moulding to go along the bottom.  (I will leave out the gory details we encountered in this true DIY fashion there may have been a lot of arguing.  We even contemplated not doing the moulding anymore.  The moulding I picked was too large for our miter saw and couldn't be cut properly.  Lessons learned: measure how how high your saw can cut before purchasing wood, and don't start this step at 10:30 at night...)  We were going to nail the moulding to the bottom, but, of course, the nails were not cooperating, so we just decided to glue and clamp.  The glue worked, I recommend that!  We also measured and drilled for the new handles.  I didn't bother filling in the old holes as they were going to be covered by fabric later anyway.

I let the glue dry overnight, and the next morning I had some serious filling and sanding to do!  (I told you the cutting was pretty bad!)

I had two test pots of paint mixed at Home Depot for about $5 each.  One was colour matched to the fabric I chose, and the second one was just plain black.  I primed everything first.  Then I painted the edges of the frame black as well as the moulding along the bottom.  (Once it was painted, you couldn't even tell the moulding had been so crazy! yay!)  I painted the edges of the drawers, as well as along the inside of the frame, the fabric colour.  This ensures that when the drawers are closed, you don't see any of the original pine. Everything received 2 coats.

The splurge for this project was the fabric.  There are not a lot of fabric stores in Ottawa, let alone ones that sell quality vinyl.  I didn't want to go with just regular fabric as I was worried it would pucker once it was glued. I ended up finding some nice quilted looking vinyl.  When all was said and done, it cost about $56 for one yard.  Definitely more than I wanted to spend, but I realized I was going to have to if I wanted to achieve the look I was going for.  I measured and cut pieces for the front of all three drawers, the two sides of the frame, and the top.

I used some spray adhesive to glue the pieces down.  **Note: after about 24 hours the glue started to not adhere and the corners of the fabric were peeling off.  I recommend using a light coat of white glue instead of the spray.  I ended up having to go back and touch up the glue.

Then it was simply a matter of piercing through the vinyl to attach the new handles (I used a needle) and reinserting the drawers.  I wanted to purchase a piece of glass to put on the top to protect the fabric.  I shopped around for some quotes, and it was going to cost almost $80 to have a proper piece cut!  So not worth it!  I was palletizing a kitchen while working at Ikea the other day and noticed that the glass shelves we sell looked about the same size.  I purchased one of the Rationell 24x12" glass shelves and it fits!  It's a bit small, but I just centered it on the top and it looks fine.  And at $10 ($20 for 2) it was way better than getting glass custom cut!

I love it.  It finishes off the room really nicely.  I just have some accessories to tweak in the room and I think I can call the bedroom complete!  I'll add it to my house tour once it's done!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Classy Closet

I've been slowly plugging away at my bedroom...and I do mean slowly!  Last Christmas it was painted, then I purchased some new accessories in February.  Over March Break (wow that feels like a long time ago!) I painted my closet doors.  I LOVE how they turned out.

Here's a before of what the doors looked like.  Plain, builder white.  Don't mind the blue tape.  The photo was from back when I did my pre-delivery inspection.

Here's what they look like now!

All that is required for this project is some painter's tape, a pencil and ruler, and your wall paint colour. Super simple!

I measured 3 inches in from all my corners and made a mark on the door.  Sorry for the grainy, phone photos. I took them on a snowy, blizzard day in March so the lighting was pretty bad!

I made a few marks down the sides as well to line my tape up.  I pressed the tape down to make sure it was sealed REALLY well.

Then it was simply a matter of painting over the entire door, tape and all!  I did 2 coats on each door.

I was nervous when I peeled the tape off since I wasn't sure if the paint had bled through.  Luckily, it wasn't too bad.  The worst spots were the corners.  I took a small razor blade and lightly scraped off the paint splotches that seeped under the tape.  Lesson: make sure you press the corners down really firmly!  

The doors now blend really nicely with the wall and don't seem so huge.  The pattern is simple and very classy looking.  It really draws your eyes up and reinforces the high ceilings!  I LOVE them!!  If you are looking for an easy way to spice up your boring doors, this is the project to choose!