Tag Archives: living room

Easy crafts for lazy people: Ikea Bekvam step stool hack

The title is a bit provocative but is every bit the truth.

I love crafting, but I’m lazy about it. If something becomes too complicated, I try to find another, easier way to do it, even if this means that it will come out mostly pretty but also imperfect.

When I was in art school, the art teacher’s assistant openly critiqued one of my pieces by saying that I always had good ideas but that my final execution of projects was often a little bit botched. I wasn’t mad at that assertion because I knew for a fact that it was true. I’m an impatient crafter, ready to sacrifice a perfect result to settle for pretty good.

All of  this probably has you wondering why you would follow any crafting tips and advice coming from me. Well, because like the T.A. said, I have good ideas, and if you are more of a perfectionist than I am, you might bring these art projects to another level.

Since we are visiting the living room right now, I will be posting 3 examples of simple craft projects that can make fun, unique elements of decor.

The story

Like many people, most of my furniture comes from IKEA. Most of IKEA’s creations are nicely designed but quite plain. I can’t have it that way, it’s not me.

It took me a while to find what I’d do with this Bekvam stool. It’s going to be used mainly in the living room but I need to be able to move it around and still have it fit well with the decor elsewhere. Yellow paint and Robert Doisneau photos make for a winning combination in that sense.

What you will need:

– White paint

– Yellow acrylic paint (I used Cadmium yellow)

– Mod podge  (gloss or matte, depending on your taste, I used matte)

– 2 black & white photos  printed on regular paper, measuring 7.5 inches wide x 9.5 inches tall

– 3 black & white photos printed on regular paper, measuring 3.5 inches wide x 5 inches tall

–  Extra photos just in case some surface is not covered

– Paint brushes

– Exacto knife

The easy process:

Start by painting the whole surface (except the top and the lower step) in a coat of white. Let it dry. Whilst that is drying, if you haven’t done so already, go choose the pictures you’ll be using for the steps. I printed out a bunch of summer themed photos by French photographer Robert Doisneau. Other suggestions of interesting black and white photographers: Henri-Cartier Bresson, Eugène Atget, Willy Ronis, Jacques-Henri Lartigue.

Once the white is dry, paint those same surfaces with the yellow shade. When you are finished that step, go have some tea, read articles on Bored Panda or watch an episode of Golden Girls while it dries. Depending on the thickness and texture, this process shouldn’t be too long. Now cut the photos and fit them so that each part of the desired surfaces are covered with photos (even the hole on the top, we’ll take care of that later).

If the photos fit, you’re good to go. Start by brushing a thin layer of Mod Podge onto the wooden surface. Then apply the paper, carefully, so it doesn’t create too many folds and bubbles. Once you’ve covered the two steps, go make some popcorn and watch The Red balloon. After you’re done with that charming short film, you should now be able to cover the full surface of the step-stool with a thin layer of Mod Podge. Just make sure that everything is dry before you apply that last layer. Once you are done with that, wait once again for it to dry, then use the Exacto knife to cut out the hole that is on the top step.

Done! You’ve got a fun, colorful step-stool!

The apple crate shelf

This apple crate shelf is in the hallway leading to the living room, standing just outside the door to the bedroom. It is, simply, three apple crates pilled one on top of the other. No further installation is required!

The top one holds my collection of CDs that I’ve built up over the years.

Apple crate bookshelf

I love music. Most people love music. I loooooove music. Can’t live without it. One of my great shames in life is that I don’t play an instrument. I intend to fix that shortly.

I haven’t bought a CD in a long time, and rarely do I pop them into my CD player now that I have speakers for my Iphone, but I wouldn’t give up my collection quite yet. Going out to buy a CD was an experience in itself. First, going to the store, finding the disc, buying it, bringing it home, then unwrapping it and placing it in the player for the first time. Buying music just isn’t as special now as it was then.

Looking through this CD collection brings back memories.

Apple crate shelf

Isn’t it kind of ironic that I’m holding my old CD collection in an apple crate, while all of my music now holds in an Apple machine?

Oldest CD in my collection: (CLICK ON THE LINKS TO HEAR SONGS FROM THESE CDS)

Backstreet Boys- Backstreet boys (1996) They taught me about love and heartbreak.

Newest CD in my collection:

Amadou & Mariam- Folila (2012) Soulful couple that hasn’t let their handicap (both are blind) define their life. I’ve seen them twice in concert.

Best guilty pleasures:

Hanson- Middle of Nowhere A boy band that wrote their own sweet pop songs, played their own instruments and are still together 15 years later? Yes please!

Luis Mariano- Les plus grandes chansons Many a dish was cleaned with this CD playing along as a soundtrack. Because of this, the dreaded nightly chore would take twice as much time to complete but turned into  memorable moments for my family. All the men would stand in the staircase crooning along to Mr Mariano while waving their dishcloths in the air to emphasize their already dramatic interpretations of such old time classics.

Everclear- Slow motion daydream This CD, though released in 2003, reminds me of the 90s, angsty and fun as I found them to be.

Top 10 favorite CDs in my collection (so, not counting any albums that I only own in Digital format)

Rufus Wainwright- Want two Most early Rufus fans cite Poses as being their favorite of his albums. Not me. Perhaps it is because I discovered him through this album and brought it with me when I traveled to France. I love the poppy music that plays under those beautiful but often tough lyrics.

Noir Désir- Des visages, des figures Yes, Noir Désir is my favorite band. It isn’t always easy to endorse this because of what happened with the singer. However, this band had such an impact on my teenage years that I can’t let go, so I try to separate the man from his art.

Neutral Milk Hotel- In the aeroplane over the sea  I listen to all sorts of music (from Balkan beats to Gangster rap). I like it all from the most formatted of tunes to deconstructed psychedelic song experiments. I think that last description is close to where Neutral Milk Hotel’s music would best fit. It is epic, at times dissonant but oh so beautiful to me.

Sufjan Stevens- Illinois Simply wonderful music. There are no words that I can think of right now that can do it justice.

Tinariwen- Amman Iman Desert touaregs from Mali that exchanged their fighting guns for electric guitars. Listen to this loudly, with the lights out. The ambiance it creates is so incredibly powerful, it’s breathtaking.

Ella Fitzgerald- Une anthologie 1948-1955 My favorite jazz singer of all  time. I vividly remember when my father bought a compilation CD with her greatest hits, because she died the next day! Her warm, smooth voice has served as soundtrack to many a wonderful family dinner.

Radiohead- Best of See previous article for description.

Nick Drake: Way to blue- an introduction to Nick Drake This compilation of songs by troubled troubadour Nick Drake is the perfect soundtrack for calm moments: rainy days; lonely transportation rides; hours spent watching the sun rise or set….

Vulgaires Machins- Compter les corps A band that hails from my hometown. I’ve loved them for years now and never get tired of them, even listening to their earlier, more juvenile songs. They’re very politicized and I still like the punk sound they have, even though it is getting softer with every album.

Karkwa- Le volume du vent See previous article for description.