Tag Archives: diy

New life, new desk!

Hi there! It’s been a while…

I’m at a turning point in my life. I just got back from a two month trip in South America (Chile, Argentina and Uruguay) and I’ve now officially started my life as a full time freelance writer and translator. Exciting stuff!

In order to get a nice start on this new life, I decided to build myself a standing desk. Of course, being broke and lacking the skills to build a piece of furniture, I decided to take the easier road: an IKEA hack.

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We just decided to get rid of our TV. The poor thing wasn’t getting the love it deserved. It hadn’t been turned on in over a year and was just sitting there gathering dust. Finally, we put an ad up on Kijiji and within hours, some happy couple came to get it.

Underneath the TV, there was a nice TV stand, still in great condition. I didn’t want to throw it out so I went to the hardware store and bought some wood, wood glue and 2 shelves. That’s it. I glued the pieces of wood onto the existing legs and let it dry for 1 day. Afterwards, I built the shelves and put everything up together. The last step was to paint the legs a nice shade of turquoise green. Done! A new desk! (If you’re wondering, yes, it’s very solid)

In life, turning points are always a bit scary but building this desk and having a designated work spot has made it a bit easier to face new challenges!

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Easy crafts for lazy people: Marimekko inspired plant pots

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a DIY project! My latest adventures with a paintbrush resulted in some cute clay plant pots with a design inspired by Finnish textile company Marimekko.

If you’re new to this site, I’ve been doing this series called Easy crafts for lazy people. It’s all about the fact that I’m really into doing creative stuff, yet incredibly impatient about getting to the end result. Sometimes I’m willing to sacrifice a spotless end result, just to get there faster. However, in the hands of someone capable of more diligence, these ideas could give even better results!

Here’s another one of these projects. We just recently decided to green up our place (finally!). Being the novices we are to the world of plants, we started out with some species that are easy to care for: ferns, herbs and succulents. I couldn’t help myself. Instead of getting the 4$ pre-enameled pot covers, I had to get the plain ones, knowing that their blandness wouldn’t last for long.

This is the type of pot we had to start for:

plain clay pot

This is what the end result looks like:

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Cheap art: 9 tips on how to decorate without breaking the bank

Everyone wants to have pretty things on their walls but most people don’t have the money to buy expensive works of art. This lack of funds does not have to mean that you can’t own nice, original art to display in your house.

Here are 9 tips that I live by in order to decorate without breaking the bank.

1. Buy drawings instead of paintings

Drawings are much cheaper to produce then paintings, so the price tag goes accordingly. Some artists specialize in drawing, while others will sell sketches and preparation studies that were done for future artworks.

Where to find some on the Internet: numerous Etsy shops like Old Passion, Amelia Herbertson and Teva Gallery. The Untapped Cities Shop on Society 6.

Where to find some in person: Decorating stores, Art Galleries (In Montreal: Galleries at the Belgo Building)

Etsy drawing poster

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Furniture makeover: the dresser

These last few weeks I’ve been busy working on my home’s decor. I have been gluing, stapling, painting and mod-podging almost non-stop. I’ll be sharing the results of these makeovers with you, because many of these are drastic and I’m quite proud of how they came out.

Let’s start with this dresser.
Dresser before white

It was given to me by a former work colleague who was moving back to France. Even though it looked quite worn out, I immediately saw it’s potential. Besides, who says no to free furniture ?

For months, I left it as is (it was a neutral brown shade). Then I put a few coats of white, thinking it would fit nicely into my decor. Alas, I was still not satisfied, finding that it lacked character and looked unfinished.

After weeks of searching for inspiration, I was just about to give up when I saw a photo of a room with a color scheme not unlike that of my living room, in which one of the pieces of furniture had been painted a pretty shade of light blue.

I haven’t been a fan of baby blue since I passed the age of 12 and stopped liking boy bands and Kangol hats, so I was quite surprised that I liked it in this context. Figuring that I had nothing to lose that another coat of paint couldn’t fix, I went out to buy a few bottles of acrylic paint, along with some easy to install handles.

Here’s the dresser in mid-makeover process:

During makeover dresser

And here’s the final result:

Dresser makeover blue

I’m really happy with how it looks. Oddly enough, I think that if I saw this dresser in a store, I’d find it too classical, but in my decor, it really fits.

The process itself was easy but I’ll recap it for you if you want to do it yourself:

– I started with a coat of white primer. Let it dry (in my case, for many weeks)

– Chose a shade of blue (I used Americana acrylic paint in Baby blue DAO42). I used 4 bottles.

– Got 3 handles at the hardware store. Installed them.

That’s it! No sanding or varnishing was required but it may be in your case depending on the texture and use you will make of the furniture. I’ll let you be the judge on that!

Christmas at home: last minute hosting and decorating ideas

Christmas came so fast and it’s already over.

I learned less than two weeks ago that I’d be having 10 people for lunch on Christmas eve, a challenge that I gladly accepted. It was the first time that I was the one hosting Christmas for my family.

I was psyched, but had a lot of work to do since there were no decorations installed and I needed to prepare a menu. Generally, I do pretty well with last-minute decorating and cooking so the event was very successful and everyone enjoyed themselves.

Here are a few snapshots from that day, along with tips:

Funky paper christmas tree

Funky christmas tree

I have to be honest, Christmas wasn’t really on my mind this year for various reasons that I won’t get into. That’s why we hadn’t decorated at all before December 23rd. I didn’t have the time or money to go out looking for a tree so I decided to get creative with some funky paper that I had in my craft drawer. Does the job pretty well doesn’t it?

Vase with christmas ornements inside

Mason jar christmas decorations

In 2010, I worked for 6 months at a year-round Christmas store. A year-round what????? you ask.

Yep, a store that sells Christmas ornaments and other holiday related items, 365 days a year. It was fun! Amazingly, I never got annoyed about the constantly playing holiday music, or the fact that I was being called an elf. We, Santa’s helper’s, spent our days decorating trees, drawing on glass balls and setting up  Christmas villages worth thousands of dollars.

In those short six months, many funny things happened, like the time when I had to run after Denise Richards into the street when she left half her things on our store counter, or the other time when I recognized and caught a frequent robber (at one of my former jobs) trying to steal a 50$ Stanley cup shaped ornament. Just another day at the Christmas store!

Needless to say, that is where I stocked up on my own (small) collection of Christmas things. I have a few pieces, most of which are actually too fragile to set out because of my cats. Putting a couple of them inside mason jars makes for a nice and safe display!

funky gift wrapping

Tree design wrapping paper

The pretty blue and red wrapping papers were created by graduating design students at Concordia University. They were picked up at a vintage event. For the other gifts I covered them in silver tissue paper, then used pictures that I had cropped out of a local theater venue’s brochure.

Sprout salad Purple dinner table

The food we prepared was about as far away as you can get from tradition. My mom and I forgot to consult each other before we prepared our dishes, so we ended up making something incredibly similar, but everything was good nonetheless. Everyone seemed happy with the food, including my stepbrother, a chef, so YAY!

The menu:

Butternut squash purée

Quinoa with lime and cilantro

Beet salad with tomatoes, lentils and goat cheese

Beet salad with mackerel

Spreads on crackers: Olive tapenade, creamy salmon

Jalapeno poppers (stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon)

Sprout salad

Dessert:

Pear tiramisu (the ladyfinger cookies where covered in apricot/apple jam and apple cider)

Baklavas

What did you guys eat for Christmas? Any tips for last minute decorating?