Monday, June 27, 2011

Laundry Room - Progress Report

Last we left off we had mitigated the insane yellow and were moving on to better cabinets and curtains. What fun!

Clutter and untidyness (new word) drives me bananas, so a driving idea behind this laundry room makeover was to create more usable storage space and hide the rest of it. The first problem we had was the water heater and furnace - every home needs them, but they ain't pretty to look at. Case in point...

So gross. The annoying part is that these units need air to circulate so I couldn't really put permanent doors on this little nook. The solution? Curtains obviously! We can pull them closed when I don't want to look at ugliness and open them in the winter when we use the furnace more. Once again I looked to Tonic Living and found this beautiful fabric called 'Joy, Pearl' which went great with my ironing board fabric 'Tempo, Mambo'.

It was a pretty easy sewing job; a little heming, a little pocket for the DIGNITET curtain wire we picked up at IKEA.

And voila! No more gross utility nook...

You can also see the awesome new cabinets we installed. Lowe's was having a 20% off sale which made them cheaper than IKEA cabinets. Bonus! And just to prove how awesome we are, this is how we hang cabinets...seriously.

There's still some work to be done, like figuring out a countertop solution that won't cost a million dollars, but we're so close! Also, just because I want this blog to be as truthful as possible, I should mention that while we've been working on our laundry room our basement den looks like's an obstacle course and no one is the winner.

Monday, June 20, 2011

DIY Project: Paint Chip Art

First off, I cannot take full credit for this project. I found it on Curbly (which is a DIYers paradise), and then linked to the original tutorial on the 3 R's blog. I was looking for inspiration for our 'in progress' laundry room and this project was calling shouting my name.

This project was so easy to do and the best part is that the plans are super versatile and can be changed according to any colour scheme.

What You'll Need:
  • Cutting Mat or Board (something heavy that the knife won't penetrate and scratch your table)
  • Straight Edge (metal rulers work well)
  • Boxcutter or Exacto Knife
  • Glue Stick (try to get a clear one, not the blue or purple kind)
  • Lots and Lots of Paint Chips
I chose the paint chips I used based on some fabric (that I later turned into a ironing board cover, which is a DIY post for another day). The fabrics had some great colours; pumpkin orange, pea green, teal, grey and sunny yellow. I wasn't too concerned about the chips matching exactly, they just needed to be in the same family.

After choosing the chips you want to use, slice them into sections. It would have taken too long to measure each slice so I just eyeballed it and everything worked out fine. Repeat this step for every paint chip you want to use. I just threw a movie on Netflix and went to work. It probably took me an hour to slice all the chips.

As a 'base' I used a single sheet of plain old computer paper. In retrospect I would have preferred something a little heavier (like cardstock) but I was just working with what I had. Next thing I did was decide the angle I wanted the strips to be on. For easiness sake I went corner to corner...however, there was a slight problem. A single strip wasn't long enough.

An easy enough fix was to join two strips end to end so that the gradient continued in both directions. I just cut off the last colour on one of the strips and laid it down to continue the line. Once it was glued in place you can't notice the seam and the effect is neat.

Repeat. Approximately a billion times.

I didn't really follow a pattern when choosing which colours I laid down. I tried to make it as random as possible. I think the hardest part was the sticky fingers caused by the glue stick. I kept a damp cloth on hand to help keep my hands (and worksurface) from getting too gummed up. When all your strips are laid down, trim around the edges and you'll be ready to frame.

Walmart had a surprising selection of good quality, wallet friendly frames. We picked up these brushed aluminum pair for $10 each and wasted no time hanging them. I love love love the way they turned out. So cheerful and a perfect accessory to our laundry room - which is still being worked on but I hope to share pictures soon.

And the fabric that started it all?

The ironing board and pictures are a lovely match! Can't wait to share the DIY tutorial for this project too!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Proud Mama

You may have noticed a sweet little face peeking out from our bookshelves in this Living Room Reveal post. If you blink you'll miss her, but she's there and she's lovely.

Yes, it's an itty bitty painting of our little kitty Kuro. Adorable, no?

It's custom pet art from Yellow Brick Home. Kim and Scott are a pair of awesome bloggers and pet artists (well, Kim is the artist) and they provide an invaluable service to all the proud pet parents out there.

After you place your order you send them a gushing email all about your pet and why they are the most awesome cat/dog/bunny/porcupine out there.  They request a couple pictures (I sent 10) and then Kim works her magic. Each custom work of art is painted with acrylics on a 4×4 inch canvas and wood panel with a 3/4 inch profile. After about a month you receive a beautifully wrapped, totally one of a kind tribute to your furry baby.

And yes, I do refer to Jeff and I as Kuro's parents. It started as a joke and never went away.

Here are some other examples of the amazing work that Kim does...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dirty Little Secret

Ok, here we go. Confession time. Even I make mistakes *gasp!* Shocking right?

I have a terrible time choosing paint colours. I pick one. Second guess myself. Pick another colour. Second (or third?) guess myself. Then I pick a completely random colour and slap some paint on the walls (while crossing my fingers and hoping for the best). Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

I was inspired by these gorgeous, sunshiney laundry rooms...
{from Real Simple}
{from BP4}
We went through our whole 'paint choosing' process which involves grabbing a bunch of samples and taping them to the walls. We immediately eliminate the ones that we don't like and then check out the remaining contenders at different times of day. I wanted a happy yellow, but not too crazy. A cheerful and energetic yellow, without being too bright.
{such a sweet, innocent colour}
I ended up choosing Bicycle Yellow. Sounds fun, right? The paintchip was a warm, buttery yellow - and it looked like a pretty good match from my inspiration rooms. Let's just remember where we started - the laundry room as we saw it when we first viewed the house. The green carpet and disorganization drove me bananas.

While I bookclubbed with some lovely ladies upstairs, Jeff put 2 coats on the laundry room walls. And then I went down to see...


And that was as far as I wanted to go into that room. You had to squint it was so bright. And I felt terrible. That paint colour was totally my call and dutifully the Hubs painted 2 coats of it. So it was my job to fix it. But first I needed to lie down because looking at that crazy yellow made me a little dizzy. Oy!

The next morning I made a cup of tea and sat down with Devil Yellow Bicycle Yellow and a can of plain white and started mixing. I added yellow, one cup at a time, to the white paint until I reached a colour that didn't make your eyeballs bleed when you walked into the room. Success! Here's a quick snap we took just after I finished 2 coats of the softer yellow and Jeff laid down our new flooring.

And here's our new washer dryer in their new home!

Sorry for the crappy picture! Trust me, it looks great!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Road Trip!

With the beautiful weather we've had over the last few weeks our attention has turned to our front lawn. And the disaster that it is. There's just no rhyme or reason to it and the weeds have begun to take over.

I'm in the midst of taking out all the little maple trees and those crazy grasses, but we lacked a plan. We knew we needed a little guidance so we went to the awesome Sheridan Nurseries in Scarborough. Yes, it was a bit of a drive but totally worth it. I've found that the employees of the local garden centres are usually either too busy with other customers or lacking in knowledge so we thought it best to go a place that was dedicated to all things gardening.

This place is gigantic (over 31,000 sq. ft!!) and everyone there was super knowledgeable...especially when I asked one of them if they had the 'things that are sorta greenish purple and look like cabbages' (they didn't have them but he knew what I was talking about).

The first couple plants that caught my eye were these neat looking guys. They're so visually interesting and super unique.
{Kong Red Coleus - super neat leaves and does great in the shade}
{Henna Coleus - funky serrated  coppery leaves}
Jeff was a big fan of the grasses section. The low maintenance of some of these grasses would be perfect for us.
{Japanese Blood Grass}
{Ribbon Grass}
{All Gold Japanese Forest Grass & Black Mondo Grass - fun!}
{Variegated Moor Grass - I love how spiky he is}
These succulents were totally my favourites. I'd love to use them in bunches around the front of the lawn in a little planter (I hope to build). They look super cool when they are green and then in late fall they flower - super bang for your buck!
{Autumn Charm Stonecrop}
{Autumn Fire Stonecrop}
{Autumn Joy Stonecrop}
{Angelina Stonecrop}

After all this green we were looking for some fun colour...and boy did we find it! Check out these 2 awesome guys, Ice Cream Banana and Ice Cream Cherry. Why wouldn't you want plants that remind you of sundaes? I was getting a little wonky in the heat so I didn't do a lot of research on these guys but plan on going back soon to find out some more about them (whether they like a lot of sun, their maintenance, etc...)
{Ice Cream Banana}

{Ice Cream Cherry}

I'm not sure how all these different plants will work together, but at least we have a starting place.

Friday, June 10, 2011

DIY Project: Dominoes!

Here's a fun DIY project I recently made for a dear friend's birthday (but I haven't given to her yet so don't tell Carrie). I originally found this project through A Beautiful Mess, which linked from Aesthetic Outburst. The tutorial on there is great, but I thought what the heck I'll make my own.

What You'll Need:
  • Wood (I used a couple pine trim pieces, measuring 2"x36"x3/4")
  • Chop Saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Pencil
  • Metal Ruler
  • Puff Paint (found at any craft store)
The first step is to take your wood and cut it into domino sized pieces. I cut them into 1" thick pieces, but there was a whole learning process to this. First off, we didn't have the right saw blade and it kept ripping up the ends of the pieces.
Instead of going out and dropping $70 on a new blade I improvised. Each piece ended up being cut twice. 1/2 way through on one side, flip the piece and then finish the cut. It took me about twice as long as I had planned, but each cut was nice and clean. And that made me happy. For the set you need 29 pieces, I cut a couple extra just in case.

After all your pieces are cut you're going to want to sand the ends and edges (no one likes getting splinters). I used 120 grit sandpaper because that's what I had laying around. Make sure you use a damp cloth to wipe off all the dust before you start painting.

Measure the halfway mark on each piece and (in pencil) lightly draw a line across.

Using the puff paint make a dotted line across the pencil line. I don't have a very steady hand so I practiced on some extra pieces before I started on the 'good' ones.

Once the paint dried I used this chart provided by Aesthetic Outburst to mark all the dots on each piece and coloured them in using the puff paint.

The puff paint takes about 6 hours to dry so I made sure to put them in an out of the way place where the cat couldn't get to them. I'm super happy with how they turned out and think these would make a great gift for almost anyone.
{Love the detail of the woodgrain}

Now I just need to sew a little bag to hold them...and remember how to play!

Cost Breakdown:

  • 2 pieces of pine trim - $3.50 each from Lowe's
  • White Puff Pain - $2.50 from De Serre's
  • TOTAL: $10 (for a handmade {heartfelt} present)