Thursday, 28 February 2013

String Art

And guess what! I did it! Working alongside others and telling the world that you will do something before you do it is very motivational. Even if I was a day late.

I decided to attempt the very popular string art. I read a bunch of tutorials from Pinterest on this project but ultimately it was Dina at Honey and Fitz who gave the best tips.

Didn't hers turn out so gorge?! I love that she didn't end up nailing it directly to the wall. I don't know if I can commit to something that permanent. And the cork she used is much lighter and easier to work with than wood.

Here's my complete list of materials and supplies that I used for this project.
          - 2 rolls of cork, 2' x 4'
          - glue gun
          - paint
          - roller
          - white duct tape
          - nails, 3/4"
          - hammer
          - some cardboard scrap
          - white yarn
          - 3M adhesives

The cork is super duper curly when taken out of the packaging. I let it sit flattened out under textbooks for 3 days and it was still pretty rolled up. One roll of cork is definitely not thick enough for even the smallest nails (3/4" are the smallest I could find) so I bought two rolls and glued them together with a hot glue gun. I used leftover paint from my living room accent wall (SW Gleeful) to achieve the green background (it looks oddly yellow in a few of the photos).

And let me tell you, that cork was thirsty!! It took 3 coats before it was patchless. So far, these two steps (uncurling, painting and drying) took the most time. Everything from here on was a breeze.

Next I taped the edges with white duct tape from the dollar store to get cleaner lines. Hubs was integral in this for measuring and ensuring I didn't get tangled up in tape. I suggest you do this step with a partner if your canvas is as large as mine.

The next step was to create a template for the image. I used Bart Handschrift from (free, woo!). I typed in a huge (bold, outlined) F (for our family name) in Microsoft Publisher, printed it out on several sheets, cut it out, and taped it together. I used a screenshot of the print screen to help me piece it together. I didn't want to spend hours (or anything more than 3 minutes) doing a puzzle.

At this point, I put the adhesives on the back because doing it after it becomes 3-D would be difficult. And no one likes difficult. I made sure to cover as much area as possible to make sure this sucker stays up. My nails were pretty thick so I knew this would be on the heavier side despite not using wood. In hindsight, maybe Velcro command strips would have been even better? So far there have been no reports of any falling.

Next come the nails. I wish I counted how many I used. There were a lot! But luckily I had enough for the whole outline and didn't have to ask Hubs to come with me to get more. Given how thick my nails were, I found it difficult to push them in by hand. I used a hammer to give few gentle taps on each. I stuck an old piece of cardboard underneath in case any of them went to far (and into my dining room table). Instead of calculating the space between each, I used the tried-and-true finger spacing method and hoped for the best.

See how I didn't go directly on top of the paper? This way will make it much easier to take the paper out later. A billion nails and a metal-smelling finger later, my outline was complete.

Fiiiiiiiiiiiiinally, it was time to string it all together. I had great fun with this. I tied one end of the string to a random nail. And then weave away! I didn't use a specific technique other than slow and steady. I agree with Dina that this is very therapeutic. The only thing I struggled with was when to stop. Eventually, each nail was yarn-ed about 3-4 times and the Big Brother Canada series premiere was starting so I stopped and called it a day.

Hubs and I spent quite a while deciding on the ideal spot for our huge F (lol). Eventually he went up on the upstairs hallway wall.

He turned out great and he's perfect and I love him! I feel seriously proud of myself for actually following through on something that I didn't think I would ever start. And isn't it so much better to look at something you DIYed rather than bought?

xoxo, E

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

My Spray Painting Obsession

I know you are all expecting the result post of the Pinterest Challenge. Well you're not getting it. At least not today because I am a day behind. I overestimated the amount of free time I would have with all the supplies I needed to gather and the wedding I had to attend. I am very ashamed and pinky promise to have a post by tomorrow. It's coming along nicely though!

The good news is that I was able to put the final coat of spray paint on a few more thrift store finds. A while ago I snagged an owl figurine and a nice oval frame for my future gallery wall. Here they are in their sad natural glory.

To be honest, they weren't all that bad. They just aren't the colour scheme I have going on. See that little chippie on the frame? I was hoping the new colour would hide the little imperfection and it definitely won't be visible among a bunch of other frames in the future gallery wall. So it's our little secret.

So I grabbed my favourite makeover weapon: a can of white spray paint. The owl took what-felt-like hundreds of coats because of all the crevices in the design. It's super important to do several thin coats than one or two thick goopy ones to avoid drips. I was as patient as possible and visited the spraying station in my garage a few times every evening to get good coverage.

Better, yes? Much. I was going for the ceramic vibe. And the chip is barely noticeable! Woop woop!

And let me surprise you with another fun makeover! I got this ORB jewelry tree a couple years ago from my old job. It used to match my teal-white-brown bedroom perfectly but since then I have moved and the decor has changed. So Mr. Tree needed a change too.

Here he is all white and cheery.

Maybe he would be even more cheery in a bright colour! Hmmm... Most of my jewelry is gold or silver so a bight colour would pop nicely I think. Thoughts? Coral? I love the idea of making something over to fit your new style instead of trashing it. Recycle reduce reuse, baby!

Anyway, come back tomsies for the GRAND REVEAL of my Pinterest-inspired nail  & string art! Here's a little teaser:

Looks cool, eh? If it's not done by tomorrow, come back anyway for a swim in the puddle of tears I will have cried out of disappointment.

xoxo, E 

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Twine It Up!

One boring rainy day, I felt crafty. Actually I feel crafty in all weather. Enter empty wine bottle. ...from a while back. This craft is not a result of an empty wine bottle. Well I guess it is but uhhh... you know what I mean.

So I have an empty wine bottle, a glue gun, and some twine. Put all that together and I have a decorative vase-y thing.

All you need to do is wrap the twine and stick it onto dabs of glue as you go.

Continue until the whole bottle is wrapped and ta-daaa! Easiest DIY project ever. I thought it gave a nice natural-looking touch to our decor. I also wrapped a little vase with a cute shape and together they live on the mantel and pose nicely with other accessories.

The red and orange flowers were for autumn, the gold sparkly palms were for winter, and the elephant/book combo was there as a location test. The last photo with the flowers is the most current. I am excited for spring and these lisianthus just look so cheery!

You can swap out the wine bottle for any other bottle or container for this project. A Perrier bottle, a beer bottle, a mason jar, a boring vase, etc. The twine can also easily be spray painted or dip-painted for more interest. So far I love the natural look but you never know when I might be bored on a rainy day again!

xoxo, E

Monday, 25 February 2013

Wedding Crashing - A Fun Winter Affair

Hubs and I were honoured to attend my friend-slash-coworker's wedding this past Saturday. It was a lovely winter wedding and I am here to share all the too-cute-to-handle details of the day!

Right off the bat, we knew this was going to be a fun wedding. The couple set up a Jenga game where each guest would write their well wishes on a wooden block. I thought this was such a nice alternative to the typical guest book. This way they can have some fun with it afterwards!

Beside the "guest book" was the favour table. Each guest received a lovely lace-wrapped mason jar filled with hot chocolate powder, peppermint bark, and marshmallows. So sweet! (Pun intended!) I couldn't wait to go home and whip up some yummy ho-cho by the fireplace. It was such a fun thoughtful gift to take away. Thank you!

Even the card box was adorable! I especially liked it because it was ...*building suspense*.... it was on loan from yours truly! We used this as the card holder for our wedding 7 months ago. The couple loved the lantern style which worked perfectly with their centrepieces and I was so happy to help.

The ceremony was very charming. The bride looked beyond gorgeous and the groom was  over-the-moon happy watching her walk up the aisle. I won't post pictures of the newlyweds to allow them some privacy. But here were a couple of my favourite details from the ceremony.

I think my favourite decor item is this chandelier that hung over the entryway to the ceremony. There were others hung in other areas but this one is so perfectly placed. It really set the mood of a romantic yet fun one-of-a-kind affair.

The bride didn't miss any details when organizing the big day. These purple pomanders lined the aisle above a striking white runner. I know for a fact that they took hours and hours for the bride and her bridesmaids to make. (I also made some for my wedding and it was a very time-consuming DIY!)

After the ceremony, we were led to the receiving line to congratulate the newlyweds. On our way, we passed the seating chart which was donned with stunning stationary and delicate lace. I loved the look of it!

The reception room was dressed to the nines! Centrepieces consisted of a charming lantern with a matching purple candle, a couple sprouts of babysbreath, and several cozy votives.

The head table was two-tiered to accommodate their large wedding party (8 on each side!) and I especially liked the rouched fabric in the front and of course the chandelier over where the bride and groom sat (which sadly didn't make this photo but I promise it was there).

One of my favourite parts of the whole night was the maid of honours' speech. No, the location of the apostrophe is not a typo. There were two MOHs both of which were her sisters. They sang their speech to the tune of "Hallelujah" and it was funny, tasteful, and very original. Well done, girls!

One of her sisters was even the mastermind behind the wedding cake-slash-cupcakes! She is an incredibly talented baker and made this deliciousness just a couple days before. I seriously couldn't stop admiring and drooling over the cake table (from a safe distance)! 

The rest of the food was sinfully delicious as well. The butternut squash soup and caramel brule cheesecake were super tasty --- you wouldn't have to pay me to only eat those two dishes for the rest of my life. Both Hubs and I definitely left with very full tummies.

Overall the whole night was very beautiful and every detail was exquisite. I know I said this before, but the couple looked so lovely and overjoyed all night. I can't wait to see their professional photos. Thank you so much for allowing us to share this special day with you!

xoxo, E

Friday, 22 February 2013

Love Your Baseboards!

Prior to moving in, we hired painters to paint most of the rooms in our home. We decided to save some money and had them leave the baseboards as-is. And now they drive me nuts. The rest of the walls are so pretty and fresh and our baseboards just seem perma-dirty to me. I tried so many things to bring them up to par and nothing worked. With much kicking and screaming, I accepted that they need to be painted.

It all started when I painted the stripes in our powder room. The fresh white on the wall made the baseboards look even uglier than before. Once I sucked it up and painted them, I moved to the next smallest room in our house: the master bathroom. And since we had already done some improvements there like put up floating shelves and change the vent (Gusty made a huge impact!), this was just one more step to ensuite Finished-ville.

Instead of taping off the wall, I used a plastic putty knife (I had to look up the proper terminology for this tool) that I picked up at the dollar store. I find taping things off somewhat stressful and to be honest, I just couldn't be bothered for this project. I just moved it down as I applied paint with a paintbrush. I couldn't take a picture of the complete process, but imagine my other hand holding a paintbrush.

Here's a close-up pic I took while applying the first coat. I think the difference is monumental!

This is a wide shot of the before and after. In person, the baseboards pop even more and look very clean and pretty!

I admit it's somewhat difficult to see. So you will just need to swing by for an in-person presentation. I swear they look amazing! And now I'm motivated to attack other baseboards throughout our casa. But before that, I think the bathroom doors will need a face lift to accompany their trim, as demonstrated below:

That's a serious difference right there. Yuckers! Maybe this weekend? No... I have the YHL/BP Pinterest Challenge to tackle. Oh, and a wedding to attend! Busy busy!
xoxo, E

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Thrift Shop Challenge Round-up

Two weeks ago I posted my exciting $20 trip to my local second-hand store, as inspired by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' Thrift Shop. This totally unofficial challenge was organized by the lovely folks at Young House Love.

Here's a quick reminder of what I managed to snag for my $20 budget. A little wooden basket thing, 5 books, and a cute elephant figurine. Here's the original post.

I have something controversial to admit regarding these books: I judged them by the cover. Like, I literally only bought them for their looks. But the idea is that they will sit all pretty in my living room and one day when I'm bored I will pick it up to read and fall in love with my random shallow purchase. (Actually, I am somewhat lying. The book Room by Emma Donaghue is a favourite of mine that was recommended by a dear friend (visit her at The Neon Leopard!) which I had always borrowed from the library. So I am very excited to be an owner and to have rescued it from recycling due to overstock.) Anyway, I took off their covers and arranged them in a cute colourful stack. As for the elephant, he got a couple coats of glossy white spray paint. Sadly the wooden box is sitting untouched.  Here's a pic of the newly transformed Value Village steals:

Then it was time to find a home for them. I tried the fireplace...

Then I tried the side table... (Side note: those are my so so pretty Valentine's Day roses from Hubs)

Then I tried splitting things up and brought the elephant over to the kitchen...

And then he ventured over to the TV stand and that's where he stayed.

I'm still not sure about his home. He might just be a nomad and travel all over the house. Whereas the books have stayed on the side table.

I really enjoyed reading other peoples' blogs about their Macklemore Challenge finds. There are so many quirky and interesting things out there! And I'm more than excited that tons of treasures have found good homes instead of the dump. Cheers to recycling!

xoxo, E

PS - Come back soon! I have many more spray painting projects in the works. Toodles!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Pinterest Challenge - Winter Edition

John and Sherry over at Young House Love are back with their quarter-annual Pinterest Challenge (actually it's more like Sherry and Katie) and this time, I'm participating!! (Btw, you should really check out the video of their tots explaining the rules of the challenge. I was waiting for them to explode with cuteness, seriously.)

To give myself some credit, I have done many many Pinterest crafts in my day. Like these yarn-wrapped bottles, something along the lines of these "where we came from" map frames,  this diaper bouquet (here's how mine came out!), a Christmas version of this door wreath,  and many more.

But I have to be honest and say that I have pinned hundreds of other projects that I would like to tackle. So I looked through my boards and picked the least likely thing I would normally do. Not that I don't love it, I really do. It's just the sort of DIY that I need a friendly blogworld push to accomplish.

Without further ado, I am going to attempt some nail & string art! I think Jen at jkjk was the first to blog about this? Here's the pinterest post that got me.

I already have some ideas for how to customize this and Hubs is on board! We have even scheduled a trip to Michael's this afternoon. So excited!

xoxo, E

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Baby Shower Extravaganza

As I have previously mentioned, I have been planning my sister-in-law's baby shower for quite some time. It took place last Saturday and I am here to tell you all the sweet deets about the partay. It was a complete success and I think both guests of honour (it was an after-birth shower) had a ball!

Here's a copy of the invitation that we sent to our guests. I ordered them on PurpleTrail because I had such a great experience ordering my wedding shower invitations there. Everything is so customizable and user friendly. And they ship so fast! Aaaand there are always promo codes! I recommend. Anyhoo, the details are on the back and the circle card is 5.25" in diameter, in case you are wondering.

For the centrepieces, I made diaper bouquets (click here for a tutorial on how to make them) and tied 3 pink helium balloons to each for some added height. They were a huge hit with all the guests. My sister-in-law loved them too and was excited that she could make use of them later!

In lieu of an actual cake, we ran with the theme and made a cake out of diapers. Here's a tutorial for how to put this together and let me tell you, it's FAR easier than baking.

We didn't want to go with a traditional guest book either, so we bought a plain white onesie for guests to sign. We plan to stick it into a picture frame or shadow box and gift it to the new mommy as a keepsake from the day. Here's the signing in action.

Alongside the "guest book" I made up little advice cards for guests to leave their best parenting wisdom for Mommy. The little sign reads Parenting isn't always easy or fun, so leave some advice for how to raise the little one. Guests placed their cards in the box behind which has a photo of baby Harper on top.

Lastly, I wanted a big statement piece to really tie everything together. I made this banner which we pinned to the tablecloths of the punch and coffee tables. They are made out of coloured printer paper and cardboard. Sorry about the less than perfect photo quality.

As for games, we made a couple people race to drink punch (non-alcoholic of course) out of baby bottles. I also made up a quick celeb baby quiz to keep guests occupied at their tables. Most people averaged 4-6 correct answers while our winner got 18 out of 20!! Way to go, cousin Laura! How many did you get right (without cheating!)?

So that just about wraps up the baby shower decor. My niece was super well behaved throughout the whole day and Mom got lots of too-cute-for-words baby clothes and accessories.

I'd call that a success!