Finds and Favs

What I’ve bookmarked/pinned/loved this week:

30 Minute DIY Dress Tutorial

An amazing simply tutorial to DIY a cute dress with a tiny budget. I love that you can make it the length you want (I’m a tall girl and constantly have to walk away from adorable dresses because they make me look like I just stepped off a street corner). Another reason I need to find a sewing machine ASAP!

 
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 DIY Paper and Linen Art from Bryn Alexandra

Another simple, low cost tutorial with high impact results. Bryn has amazing taste and this project is no exception. I love that this could be easily recreated in any colour scheme or size by visiting a local art store.

Beer Mac and Cheese - How Sweet It Is

The perfect way to ruin your plans for healthy eating this weekend, Easy Beer Mac and Cheese from How Sweet It Is will definitely be making it to my table this weekend. I may have to eat the whole thing since the boy is SUPER lactose intolerant…what a shame really. Tons of other amazing recipes on the site too if you’re looking for something less cheese heavy (but why would you be??? Just accept the cheesy goodness).

I know what I’ll be doing this weekend! Any other recommendations of great projects from the interwebs this week?

Happy Friday everyone!

-C

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How (Not) to DIY: Dip Dyed Pillow Cases

 When I originally decided to create a project based on a Pinterest image, I told myself this was a good opportunity to try something new. Challenge myself. Broaden my horizons and all that. I saw this image:

And thought it was the perfect choice. Something fun, looked like I probably couldn’t screw it up, and it gave me a change to try dip dying! Something I’d never done before.

So I headed out and picked up a couple plain white pillow cases, and a package of fabric dye in royal blue. Here was my chance to inject a little pop of color into my white and grey bedroom!! Little did I know what was to come.

I mixed together the dye as per the instructions, using an old plastic container that I didn’t mind ruining.

I put down a layer of newspaper on my outside table and went to town. This is where I ran into the first of my many issues with this project – no gloves would protect me from the dye.  Well, in the name of full disclosure, I started out with no gloves. I had a vision of myself lowering the pillow cases gently into the dye, then pulling them out with ease! Why would I need gloves?? This was going to be simple!

Turns out it was the opposite of that. The cases rested on top of the dye awkwardly and forced me to try and poke them in evenly with my fingers. Once I had turned my entire left hand blue and the pillow case was still floundering on top of the dye, I switched to rubber gloves and thought I had this in the bag.

Still no. I guess the gloves were either faulty or not completely waterproof to begin with because I then dyed my right hand blue as well. At least they matched, right? Once that happened I gave up trying to fight the dye and went with it. At this point I also gave up trying to achieve the even straight lines from the inspiration photo and just let things happen as they would. I figured I’d call it abstract art and be done with it.

Once both cases were dyed, I hung them on some old chairs in the garden to dry. I was fairly happy with the way they looked. Sure, not what I had intended, but kind of interesting none the less. I didn’t want to have blue hands and nothing to show for it, so I figured I’d give them a chance.

Once they were dry, having learned my lesson about the pervasiveness of fabric coloring, I washed them thoroughly to get out the excess dye. Well, this was the end of the line for my poor pillow covers. It seems like somehow fabric dye will stay on my hands for weeks (!!) but will wash out of fabric with the slightest amount of water.

The pillows lost so much of their deep vibrant color when I washed them. I know it was a necessary step since if I hadn’t, I would have been waking up with blue face for months to come, but still. Bummed. I’m thinking I could try and dye them a second time and hope for better results but honestly I still have nightmares of further efforts forcing me to leave society and join the Blue Man Group.

So this is my ‘lessons learned’ DIY. I’ll be stepping away from the fabric dye and into safer territory from now on. I even used a wet saw this weekend and it was AHH-MAZING. I guess we all have our projects that don’t turn out the way we imagined them, right? I read so many of these amazing blogs where people seem to execute one excellent project after another without breaking a sweat. It can be hard not to compare your own little life with all the seemingly perfect bloggers out there. I guess my point is, sometimes things don’t go as planned, sometimes the bed sheets aren’t ironed, you just gotta put it out there, let it go and move on.

Wishing you all better success in your endeavors this week.

-C

Easy DIY Birthday Cake Bunting Banner // Pinterest Challenge Part 1

I’ll admit it, I’ve been won over by the bunting craze that seems to be everywhere on the blogs these days. The cheery little flags make everything a little more festive and upbeat.  

I’d been looking for an excuse to try my hand at creating some bunting banners after seeing so many beautiful and seeming simple tutorials on the blog. My chance came this weekend when I hosted a birthday party for my oldest friend, and of course provided the all-important birthday cake (a poppy seed cake with blueberry glaze, more on that in a later post!).

This beautiful bundt cake was the perfect place to add in some bunting, and after spending so much time on Pinterest for the Pinterest Challenge, I knew exactly how I was going to decorate my little cake.

I took inspiration from this pin:

Source: etsy.com via Christine on Pinterest

It seemed like a quick and easy way to gussy up my little summer celebration.

What you’ll need:

  • Scraps of paper
  • Writing tool to add the name on the flags (e.g. sharpie, stickers, stamps etc)
  • Scissors
  • Scrapbooking glue/tape
  • Twine or string to hang the flags
  • 2 Skewers  ( I used wooden ones that are meant for BBQ kebobs)

Here’s how:

  1. I went through my scrapbooking supplies and chose a bunch of scrap papers I had leftover from previous projects in a variety of colors – I chose white, pink, blue and purple
  2. I cut out one little flag by folding the scrap paper in half and free handing the size I wanted
  3. I then used this flag as a template to cut out the rest of the flags – enough to write out my friend’s name with a couple extra on either end
  4. I used my silver sharpie to write out the letters on each flag after deciding in what order I wanted them to hang. You could also use letter stickers or stamps, whatever you have on hand
  5. I cut out a length of bakers twine about double the width of the cake, so I had room to attach the flags and tie the twine to the supports
  6. I attached the flags to the twine by slipping them over and then putting a tiny spot of glue in between the two sides so they would stay put. Once they were all glued, I put a heavy book on top of them to make sure they dried flat
  7. After the glue was dry, I tied the twine to two wooden skewers and trimmed the twine before inserting the skewers on an angle in the cake so the bunting hung nicely

And you’re all done! So what do you think, is this bunting thing overdone? Does this count as a successful Pinterest Challenge? Because I also tried a second project which, I’ll be honest, did not go over exactly as planned. Stay tuned for that almost disaster learning experience shortly.

ETA: The projects are rolling out and they are amazing! I’m still in love with my little banner but have got a ton of inspiration to tackle something bigger with my next project. Check out this amazing work: Katie’s, Emily’s, Lana’s, and Sherry’s

-C

The Pinterest Challenge: Summer Edition!

I’m assuming that unless you’ve been living beneath some sort of rock where there isn’t any wifi you’ve heard of Young House Love. YHL was one of the very first design/DIY blogs that I started reading, when I came across their DIY wedding post (they did it all in their backyard! There were lemon centerpieces and cupcakes!), and I’ve been hooked ever since. So when I saw that Sherry and some of her fantastic fellow bloggers were issuing a challenge, I decided that I would actually participate in something (cue every teacher I’ve ever had gasping in shock) and tackle the awesome Pinterest Challenge: Summer Edition.

You can watch the fantastically awkward video by clicking the challenge link above, but the gist of the challenge is pick one of the (in my case) hundreds of pins from your boards and instead of just exclaiming how gorgeous it is for the millionth time, actually make the project happen THIS WEEK! They want everyone to come back next Tuesday, August 2nd and post their completed projects (soooo much repining will be done on that day, I can hardly wait) for all to see.

So, I’m debating between a couple of projects. I’ll either tackle that grey and yellow duvet cover I’ve been talking about for years

 

Or maybe a DIY light fixture for my bedroom? No, that didn’t get done last weekend…quelle surprise.

But the frontrunner right now is a DIY roman shade

What do you guys think? Anyone else joining the challenge? The more the merrier! I’ll be back on Tuesday with my hopefully not disastrous results.

-C

A Red Door, At Last!

Oh, hello. I’m still here! I know it’s been a long time. Let’s just write that off to finishing off my M.A. (woot!) and move on, shall we?

So yesterday I finally tackled a project that’s been on my list since I moved into this house over two years ago. I wanted a red door! I’ve seen so many adorable brick houses with their doors painted a gorgeous red, and I couldn’t wait to add mine to that list.

First off, sorry for the crappy Blackberry photos. In my excitement and enthusiasm I couldn’t be bothered to run upstairs and get my actual camera.

Now, the entryway to the house has always left something to be desired. It has been obviously neglected by the previous owners and, more recently, myself. The frame was peeled and rotting, covered in spiderwebs and filthy.  Here is what it looked like when I started:

The first step was to sand down the wood trim. I used my hand sander to get most of the old peeling wood off, and then went at it with sand paper to get the last little bits off. Then, I cleaned like nobody’s business. Let me tell you, that door was filthy.

Once I had the old paint taken care of, I painted the trim white. The white I used was Behr Polar Frost, in their exterior semi-gloss paint and primer in one. I love the crisp white and somehow it managed to make my old beat up trim look delicious. After two coats, the entryway already looked a million times better.

I cleaned the whole thing up and spent some time considering the door. See, the problem with painting something a beautiful crisp white is that inevitably it makes everything else around it look shoddy. I knew it was time to paint the door. I headed back to Home Depot and picked up my chosen shade of red (chosen after much debate) – Behr’s Apple Polish. Again I chose the semi-gloss exterior paint ‘n primer.

Putting that first coat of red on my white door was definitely a scary thing. It felt so, I don’t know, bold? And the first coat looked like craaaaaap. I figured this was going to be another thing added to petition to get me kicked out of my neighbourhood next to ‘doesn’t mow her lawn’ and ‘skips the Canada day block party’.

Despite how horrible it looked, I knew that there was no turning back. Three coats later and I ended up with this:

And I love it! There are still some touch-ups left to do, I think all told it’s going to take 4 coats to really get a smooth coverage.  I’m going to get that done this weekend and I’ll be back with non-blackberry photos after that. I also spray painted my numbers black, and plan on taking down that light and doing the same to it.

I can’t believe what a difference it’s made in my house, even without being completed.

Some tips if you want to paint your door red:

  • Just go with it. It’s going to look bad at first, but I promise, it will get better
  • Semi-gloss shows every single brush stroke. I did the whole thing with a brush and I think I may do the last coat with a roller to try and even it out
  • Try not to paint at dusk like I did, or you’ll be picking bugs out of your paint more than you’d like

Be back soon with more updates! I’ve got a bunch of things in the works – staining my deck, taking down a wall…can’t wait!

 

-C