Projects with beauty & purpose

The chalkboard is up and looking beautiful! And purposeful... I hung it beside my front door to help remind me to bring reusable bags as I head out into the world. If there was room, I'd also remind myself to bring my reusable cup but I'm getting better at that one! No day goes by without grabbing an extra jolt of caffeine so really it's a necessity of life for me.


Yesterday I grabbed some chalk from the loonie store by work - for $1.25 I got a box of 100 pieces. It'll take me a long time to use up the chalk but here it is in my new purchase - a funky metal/glass container I bought for $2.

And here are the chairs I sanded and oiled this weekend - they are perfect for my dining room table! Hopefully I can reupholster them this week. I'm jammed with freelance work so it may not happen until the weekend but we'll see!

I also bought this glass bowl yesterday for $5 - its perched on my ugly project update. Both thrift store purchases were found at the Treasure Cottage Thrift Store in North Vancouver. I'm not so sure this works but it's OK for now... Until I find something better! I'll use it for keys, etc. but at least it's not super ugly anymore.

Am I fooling myself or really does it look OK?


The longest post EVER

It's been an epic weekend! Friday afternoon I started my production line - primed my old paintings, worked on some frames and started on my uber ugly project.

I also started on a mirror update. Thursday night I dragged a mirror home. I wanted a chalkboard to go beside my front door and found the below mirror at the Salvation Army. It had tons of potential! It was $8 but the mirror was super scratched up. The frame was close to perfect so I figured I could replace the mirror with particle board, update the frame and have a pretty darn kewl chalkboard in a jiffy.

I lucked out with the donation of a piece of particle board from the Happy Cat Haven garage sale on Saturday. I was in Gibsons for the final clean out of my storage locker and managed to drop off 'stuff' at the Happy Cat Haven and make a big purchase (keep reading to see my latest acquisition)... And get a donation of particle board. Gotta love the free stuff!

My epic weekend started Friday afternoon with a lot of prep work - all those things you do that make you feel like you've accomplished nothing! Then today I managed to get quite a bit done. My chalkboard is good to go! I'll let it sit for a few days then get some chalk, hang the frame and start making pretty chalk drawings.


Buy 2, Purge 1

Awhile ago I updated an Ikea chair from the Gibsons Recycling Depot. And now I need to find a new home for it... Any friends in Vancouver looking for a chair?

My big purchase from the Happy Cat Haven garage sale was 2 chairs. They are GORGEOUS (or will be soon enough) and will fit in perfectly with my dining room table which is why my updated Ikea chair must go. I have no room!

My new to me chairs were $5 each. I won't be making pillows out of my floral Liz Claiborne fabric anymore - pillow covers have been scraped so I can update the chairs. I've got priorities and very little fabric!

As you can see, the chairs didn't originally have cushions so I'm hoping the makeshift cushions will be easy to update and reattach to the chairs. Hopefully I won't have any issues but you never know!

The chairs had some imperfections (paint, burn marks and gashes) but after some sanding then oiling I think they're looking much better! They'll be uber fabulous once I update the upholstery.



Maybe It's Less Ugly?

This project was a definite ugly duckling to begin with. My 'eye' for projects with potential was called into question... Even I doubted this piece could be anything other than ugly (and apparently it was more ugly in person). The consensus was that this was not actually a candle holder but the bottom of 'something'... Not sure what though!


This weekend I primed and painted this piece then roughed it up a bit. Next I'll need to figure out how to finish it... Maybe a ceramic bowl can sit on top or a plant... I'll see what I can do!


Last But Not Least

And finally my Mom updated some plant pots for me so I have these outside my front door.

Lets see if I can manage to keep them alive and healthy... Plants and cooking will definitely be new challenges for me but if I can conquer updating chairs from the dump or sewing pillow covers from recycled wool sweaters - I can easily deal with plants and cooking! Maybe? ;-P


Maybe it's too ugly

Sometimes you see something at the thrift store and know you can make it pretty. I saw a couple of things last night that were tempting but I held back and only picked up this candle holder for $6.99. And really - do I need anymore candle holders? Or chairs? Or tables? No but this candle holder will be something different when it's done... Although I looked at my purchase again this morning and wondered 'Man it is ugly - can I fix it? Make it beautiful?' Well I'm going to try!

First step is to get rid of the paint - the multitude of colour is too darn much! At first I thought I would paint over this piece but I've decided to remove as much paint as possible instead (thank god I have a heat gun - it's going to be super handy for this update). Then I'll see what I can turn this project into - maybe a plant stand. Who knows! It could be neat if I can get it back to natural wood and make it a bit rustic then give it a function.

If that fails then I'll paint it and have ANOTHER candle holder.

This weekend I'll be working on the above project then priming some old paintings I've been lugging around for AGES. These are from my brooding days of art school. Well I wasn't too brooding but these paintings are a little bit on the dreary side.

I'm going to prime my six 12" x 12" canvases and start anew. Use some colour, make them happy then hang them above my couch. I've already started to sketch out some ideas in Adobe Illustrator - no old school sketchbook these days.

And then I'll be searching for free sewing patterns for a tie. Or sewing pillow covers... Or refinishing my dresser... Yup my projects are a bit random these days but the project list is getting shorter and shorter... And shorter.


It's FINALLY done!

That darn magazine rack is done! I've learnt my lesson... Any piece of furniture that's painted mauve is one difficult project to update even if it's only $10. Especially when you want to update it off-white!



Now I've refinished two of my three bedroom pieces... All three will be Art Deco updates with a shabby chic off-white finish. Next weekend is the dresser!

I was able to attain some consistency between piece #1 and piece #2 - I have the off-white theme happenin' plus I have the same drawer pulls on both pieces. I used brass pulls retrieved from the Sechelt dump from months ago.

Bedroom Update #1

Bedroom Update #2

This week I'll do some sewing then next weekend it's all about painting! I'm on a mission... :-)

Slowly but surely things are happenin'

Things are getting crossed off my checklist...

☑ Hang mirrors
☑ Find a good home for the crazy orange magazine rack
☑ Find fabric for pillow covers

It's already been an industrious day... Worked on some freelance stuff, hung my mirrors (thanks to my handy dandy Dad!) and am now on my way out to paint things. It's been a perfect day so far!

Here are my recent mirror updates - I've found good locations for them!

I also think I've find the right spot for my magazine rack...

And then I started to go through my fabric remnants. I have enough of the floral fabric to make pillow covers for the wicker dining room chairs. I also might make a pillow cover out of the teeny bit of Ikea fabric I have (the black and white pattern with the yellow background)...

I also decided to redo my whale pillow cover. The whale wasn't too funsie so I'll use birds instead. Lots to do!


A $15 mirror update in 1 hour

Slowly but surely I'm unpacking and getting settled into my new place. My new home is starting to come together! I'm figuring out the things I need and maybe a few things I should let go of.

Mainly I need 'stuff' on the walls: art, mirrors, etc. Tomorrow I'll be hanging my mirror update from last week... And my $15 mirror update from today! I scored a big mirror for my dining room this afternoon. It was pretty desperate looking - nothing says ugly like shellac.


As you can see from the photo below, there is a shine to shellac that really is icky - hopefully I haven't offended anyone out there!


Thankfully this was another mirror update that was easy - I figure it took me an hour from beginning to end. Not bad! I took the mirror apart then sanded the wood. It didn't take long at all! I then used the Danish Oil Finish that I picked up at the Gibsons Recycling Depot for free. After I wiped off the excess oil, I was ready to reassemble the mirror.


The last step was adding the screw eye hooks to the back and then the picture wire. Tomorrow it'll be up in my dining room looking FABULOUS!

Next project on track for completion is my magazine rack and hopefully my metal cabinet... If all goes well they will be done tomorrow afternoon!


A new adventure begins...

It's official... I've moved out of Gibsons into North Vancouver! This past Sunday/Monday I moved. Sunday was all the 'crap' (aka projects) I had stored at my parents and then Monday was clearing out my storage space in Gibsons. Both were brutal since the weather was super hot - nothing says insanity like moving your bed et al in 30°C temperature!

Slowly but surely I'm emptying boxes and setting up my new space. My dining room table looks uber fabulous! And I like my mish mash of chairs that I've collected to go with it. The dining room table plus chairs cost under $40 - the dining room table was free, the wicker dining chairs were $30, the plain wood chair was $2 and my updated chair from the dump was about $6.

I had my friend Asim over for a bit to help unpack stuff - he dropped by after all of the heavy stuff was unloaded. Talk about convenient!

We ended up having the great dining room chair debate... Apparently I should buy a set of four matching chairs and not use my mish mash. I honestly couldn't believe I was having this conversation with a guy! And well he was wrong... I love having an eclectic mix of modern stuff, expensive stuff (OK I don't really have any of that other than a few pieces of Waterford from my Mom) and then my dump updates/thrift store finds.

Once I finish unpacking and getting organized, my handy dandy Singer is coming out (it's been neglected big time!) because I want to get some funky, colourful pillow covers sewn for my new couch. The couch is the only thing I ended up buying new (it was 50% off the original price of $600 at a place called Moe's in North Vancouver) and it's perfect for my new space!

I've already started to put pillows aside for the couch. This weekend I'll go through my piles and piles AND piles of fabric so I can get a plan in place.

Man sad to say but I'm looking forward to sewing again! :-)


Just because I can

I did an easy breasy update on some cast iron candle holders I found this week. They were $1.99/each - a total deal considering the old price tag was on one of them. Someone paid $33.95 for the pair or was that per candle holder?

They were dark and dreary with some interesting details. I thought I'd try painting them then doing a bit of shabby chic-ing.

Here they are in their 'before' state...

I primed then painted them off-white. Once the paint was dry, I sanded them down a bit. I made sure the metal came through...

Finally I added a layer of varathane and they were done!

I love easy updates that you start and finish within the day or even within hours!

The next project has been a little intense. I got this magazine rack ages ago. I had started to sand it then got 'distracted'. Well now I really want to get it done to go with my night table and soon to be refinished dresser.

I'm close to finishing this piece off. I'm going to tweek the painting next weekend then shabby chic it. Last but not least I'll update the drawer pulls. It's going to be pretty!



Stay tuned - next weekend will be big. I'm starting on the dresser next weekend, finishing off the magazine rack and even spray painting my metal cabinet.

I was going to scrape off the paint but I've decided to spray paint it with Krylon metallic paint - a matte aluminum. It should do the trick in record time (versus hours of scraping and probably using chemicals to remove the current paint).

I'm off to move... Today/tomorrow is not going to be fun but it'll be worth it! :-)


There is a method to the madness

I'm collecting, updating, purging and definitely getting a plan in place for when I move. What stays, goes and where I put 'stuff'.

I did a quick refresh on the mirror I bought this week. It was $15 and only took an hour in total to update... I took out the mirror then painted the frame an off-white. After the varathane dried, I reassembled it and it looks gorgeous - no more gold or dirt or muck.

I have a place in mind for the mirror and am thinking I may try to find another mirror to update. Maybe a larger one for the living room. We'll see.




Lately I've been collecting homeware pieces mainly from thrift shops - you can find some amazing items for cheap that either require no work or very little. Every so often there's a funky teak object or frame or candle holders. And I do manage to practice some restraint! There's only so much stuff you need or even want.

Other Projects On The Go

I've been using my big ole can of tung oil a lot lately too. Slowly but surely I'll use it up! I bought this wood tray for $3 then gave it a quick sand and added oil... The wood grain really comes out and looks FAB. This will sit perfectly on the teak coffee table I updated.



Project Update

All of my lamps have now been rewired. The last one was the metal floor lamp I bought at the Happy Cat Haven garage sale this summer. I kept the old harp and replaced the bulb holder, the wire and the plug.



Now I just need lamp shades! I've decided to head out to Richmond one day and hit the Ikea and the Lighting Warehouse for ideas... And hopefully find something fabulous!