Terrariums: Greenery for Black Thumb’s

Though I love house plants, we don’t have a very good relationship with each other.  I either give them too much attention or not enough… either way the result is usually a dead plant.

When I saw these gorgeous terrariums at Yakuza Lounge in Portland (which is amazing by the way!) I felt inspired to attempt something similar in my home.

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I found a hanging terrarium with a similar feel at Chapters Indigo (though they don’t seem to have it anymore)

It’s a pretty shallow container, so I didn’t exactly follow the proper steps (like adding charcoal and a drainage layer)  I just added dirt, a cactus and some moss… and so far so good!

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Nice to have a bit of greenery in the house during the winter!I found a similar hanging terrarium here, could make a great xmas gift for the black thumb in your life!

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DIY: Vase Makeover

IMG_5895I’m in the phase of my life where I’m attending a lot of weddings.  One of the things no one told me about this phase, is that I would receive one billion vases.  I have been very lucky to walk away from many-a-wedding with a beautiful floral center piece (or 3) in hand.  I probably have at least 10 glass vases stashed around the house.

I saw the idea of painting the inside of a glass vase somewhere on internet (I can’t remember where exactly) and decided to give it a try!

Vase Makeover

Very simple! Just gave the inside of the vase a few thick coats, checking to make sure there were no streaks and left it to dry. Tada! Now the vase matches the decor.

Home Improvements: Picture Frame Rehab

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Over the years my boyfriend has collected a whole bunch of old picture frames.  I love them! They are all different shapes and sizes and colours, the only thing they have in common is that none of them have any glass.

IMG_5839I know you can get glass custom cut and fitted to frames, but I just never got around to it…

However, during a recent trip to Ikea, I came up with the idea of using inexpensive poster frame parts to bring new life to our old frames.

Frame RehabI measured my frame, then cut the cardboard and plastic from the poster frame to size using an x acto knife.  It’s key to use a ruler when cutting to keep lines straight. Also, be sure to score the plastic layer a couple times before attempting to cut through it, it’s pretty delicate and might crack if you’re not careful.

IMG_5949If you get the size just right, the cardboard will be able to stay in place on it’s own, but you could also use some small finishing nails to keep it in place.

So glad to finally make use of the frames and to put some of Mike’s life drawings on display!  One of the benefits of using the plastic instead of glass is that it’s light weight!

IMG_5850Here’s my finished picture ledge!

Custom Furniture: DIY Couch Table

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Our living room is a bit awkward; as soon as you enter the front door you’re standing right in the middle of it. It’s not very big either, so it offered some design challenges when it came to furnishing it.

We searched high and low to find the right couch and finally settled on a cozy sectional that fit the space perfectly, extending the full width of the living room wall and offering maximum seating. Unfortunately there wasn’t any room leftover for end tables and a coffee table would have made the space feel cramped.

I determined that what was needed was a couch table; a narrow table that would fit snugly behind the back of the couch.

After an exhaustive search it became clear that such a piece of furniture was not readily available and would need to be custom built. A combination of frugality and ambition made me decide to attempt this on my own.

I had 2″x12″ planks of spruce cut to the exact measurements of the height and width of the couch at the local building supply store and picked up some wood glue, 4″ wood screws, sandpaper, wood putty and a walnut colored stain.

Couch Table Progress

I laid the top piece of the table on the floor and used wood glue to carefully secure the legs of the table in place. After allowing the glue to dry over night, I carefully flipped it over and used a drill bit to create 3 equally spaced, 4″ deep holes, extending through the top of the table and into the legs. After I’d drilled the screws into the holes, I used the wood putty to cover over the tops of the screws. Next, I sanded the entire piece and once the sawdust had been cleared away, I gave it 2 coats of the walnut stain.

The couch table is a great solution for our living room. Structurally speaking, there’s definitely room for improvement (I will not be dancing on this particular table), but as a surface for a lamp, a few books and a few drinks it’s perfect!

Chair Makeover

There’s nothing I love better than a good before and after.  I will gladly sit though 25 minutes of forced storyline and fake conflicts on an HGTV/TLC/(insert any network here) show just to see the final results.

When I saw these chairs curbside, I knew that what they needed, even more than a landfill, was a makeover.

ImageClearly their seats were pretty beat up, but I really liked their kidney bean shaped back rests, and they are surprisingly comfortable.

I knew I wanted to use these chairs for outdoor seating, so I began a hunt for vinyl in cute patterns.  My search quickly uncovered an unfortunate truth, which was that vinyl in cute patterns is not commonly available, and if it is, it costs more than I’m willing to spend.

This was when I turned to plan B:  pick out any fabric I want, then cover it over with inexpensive clear vinyl!

ImageI picked out 3 different fabrics that all shared the same shade of spring green and used a staple gun to secure the fabric in place. I added the vinyl over top and made sure that the vinyl layer fully overlapped the fabric layer for maximum waterproofing.

Always great to have more outdoor seating, goes to show that one person’s trash is another one’s treasure!

Life Illuminated

There are some tough parts about being in a long-distance relationship that are obvious and there are others that are not so obvious.  One of the latter inconveniences presented itself recently when I realized that there were several dead bulbs in the track lighting. Usually my boyfriend would handle this kind of thing and I’m embarrassed to admit that I, myself didn’t actually know how to do it…

To be clear I’m not talking about your run of the mill bulb here, I’m talking about halogen bulbs which are much trickier to change.

I’m proud to say that I figured it out and the house is feeling much brighter (which makes it feel cleaner actually… Bonus!)

So first thing’s first – make sure the light is switched off! (this is important if you don’t want to electrocute yourself)

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Once you’ve removed the metal ring that holds the bulb in place, the bulb may pop right out, this was not the case for me… I read a suggestion somewhere on google to insert a drinking straw between the bulb and the fixture and and sweep around the circumference of the bulb to loosen it.  This did the trick and I was able to pull the bulb and socket out of the fixture.Image

Once the socket is out, use one hand to hold the socket and one to hold the bulb, turn the bulb counter clockwise, pushing it into the socket slightly as you do so.  Remove the dead bulb and replace with a new one.  Push the socket and bulb back into the fixture and replace the metal clip. Voila! you have light! Yay!!!

Outfit Library

Outfit Library

I am not a morning person. I’ve been known to hit the snooze button until there is barely enough time to throw on some clothes and brush my teeth before running out the door. Getting dressed in the morning is usually a task that results in outfits I don’t really like and regret a few hours later. In an attempt to resolve this I’ve taken to doing a seasonal “outfit day”, where I go through all my clothes and try to come up with some new ideas. It’s great because it usually results in purging things I’m not wearing anymore and also helps me figure out where the gaps in my wardrobe are. The best part? I keep an outfit library album on my iphone so I can pick out what to wear in the morning from the comfort of my bed!