2016 In Review

2016 was a year of delays.  So many things went sideways that I didn't accomplish much of what I set out to do.  What I did do was to finish up some unfinished projects and I got around to repainting the walls in my living room, dining room and home office.  I'm naming 2016 my "lighter, brighter year".  


Here's my roundup for 2016.

1980s Hutch Makeovers - Three Different Looks

B E F O R E
(CRAIG'S LIST PHOTO)



As you all know, I change paint colours like I change my clothes... When I picked up this 1980s hutch for a song on Craig's List, I had no idea what a painting odyssey I was about to embark upon!

My poor dining room has been remade many times over until I finally had all the right furniture and colour scheme I wanted for my cottage style 1930s bungalow.  Scroll down to see all the different looks this old hutch has been given!


House Number Update



I've been a little unhappy with my house number lately. It isn't really obvious from the street and house numbers are really important particularly in the case of an emergency when police or ambulance are trying to find your house.

When I found a small cupboard door at the dump, I knew instantly that I wanted to use it to upgrade my house number.


Cottage Style Home Office

Welcome to my new cottage style, light and bright home office! I did some major purging of this space and I'm so glad I did. I have half the clutter I used to have and even that doesn't feel as oppressive as it used to feel.  And remember how I left that wardrobe?  When one of my readers mentioned the fact that it was such a contemporary piece I realized I had been taking the wrong approach to the makeover.  Now I love it!



Beach Cottage Spa Bathroom

Sometimes it's nice to change things up a bit. My two bathrooms were decorated in a very similar look and since I made over the main bathroom so many times in so many different colours, I decided to change the 2nd bathroom using things I already had on hand.

I really do love sandy beige and white together.  It makes me think of beaches and sunny weather, so I pulled out all the accessories I had in those colours and swapped out the old look for the new.  What I love about this change is that the sand and white really work well with the sand coloured paint on the walls and the beige and white flooring.

Barn Door Style Storm Door

Another project to deal with an awkward area of my home at the back door...

Thanks to a weirdly low overhang that prevents me from having a proper storm door, I had to come up with a different solution to the usual swing out storm doors.

Not to worry, I had the perfect door to use and with the huge popularity of barn door style doors, I knew exactly how to handle this situation.


5 Minutes to Cleaner and up to 98% Allergen Free Air

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc.and its advertiser. All opinions stated are mine alone. #FRAMFresh #CollectiveBias


#FRAMFresh #cbias #Shop #filters
Did you know that the air inside your car is 6 times dirtier than the air outside your car?

Nowadays most vehicles have air filters attached to the cabin ventilation system.  They're called "cabin air filters" and they are designed to help keep the air that enters the vehicle free of pollen, allergens, dust and dirt.  If you use the vehicle fan, heat or air conditioner frequently, this filter is working hard and all that dust and dirt gets trapped before it gets into your vehicle. This also means that your cabin air filter is clogging up with all that dust, pollen and dirt and needs to be replaced. The dirtier the filter, the less fresh air is getting into the cabin.

Filing Cabinet Hack

I recently did a makeover of my home office (see Cottage Home Office Makeover HERE) and to complete the look of the space, I created a filing cabinet from a set of desk drawers left over from an old metal desk I wanted to get rid of.  I disassembled the entire desk and used the parts for other purposes.  The front desk panel became a tabletop for a potting bench I have outdoors.  The old wood top became the sides and base of the washstand cabinet I built last year.    
                  
                 
The drawers were turned into a tiny filing cabinet for my new home office.

Tips and Tricks to Get the Look You Want

I'm full of good ideas, tips and tricks. They don't always work out the way I thought they would, but I keep at it until I get what I want.

I've been messing around with a lot of paint this year, tweaking my decor to get everything to fit together better.  I've also picked up some things on clearance and made over other things that were sitting in the shed or that I found at yard sales.  Change is good!  Here are some tips and tricks I've used.


Wardrobe Makeovers, Flubs and Being Sidetracked

Well I was all set to share this project several weeks ago except that I wound up not liking the makeover I gave my wardrobe (what else is new??!). But I'm getting ahead of myself...

My home office has been in need of an overhaul ever since I settled on cottage style decor for this house.  For some time it's been that room where I dump all the things I can't use in other rooms because I'm not ready to part with any of it - do you have one of those??  But this year I've been really good at getting rid of stuff that I no longer use or need.  That being said, Izzy decided to sample the arm on my living room armchair and since I can't fix what she did, that chair is now in the office as well.

Table Lamp Makeover with Paint

I need a new lamp for my bedroom.  Since I already have 3 table lamps sitting in a closet, I decided to make over one of them instead of buying yet another lamp...


Spray paint to the rescue!!!!!!  (Isn't paint our best friend??)









Making the Best of a Light Fixture Oopsie



I love Ikea. I get there once a year to shop because the store is 5 hours away, so I shop like crazy while I'm there and drag everything back home to put together and enjoy.  And you can't beat the prices on their light fixtures, plus they have really cool industrial light fixtures that I love.

This year, I was all set to buy a Ranarp light fixture to hang in my laundry room when I spotted a very similar fixture on sale for $14!!!!!!!!!!!! Score!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was definitely one of those "START THE CAR!" moments.


Ikea Hack - Bekvam Stepladder Makeover



I like having easy access to things and a stepladder is a must in my house. This past week I picked up the Ikea Bekvam stepladder because it is the perfect height and it comes with a handy hook for hanging the stepladder.

I want this stepladder hung in my kitchen where it is nice and handy, but if it's going to be on display all the time I want it to be cute...



My Dream Dining Room - the Perfect Chandelier & Chairs

The room is really coming together! I still have one more chair to paint, but 5 are done and I replaced the Craig's List chandelier with one I bought from Lowes. I ordered it online on a Saturday and it was in my hands by Tuesday - gotta like that!!


Do you want to see the room so far??


My Dream Dining Room - the Black Hutch

Phase 1 of creating my dream dining room is almost complete!  I began with the hutch and chairs and I am thrilled with the way this makeover is turning out!

Remember the "before" hutch:

I loved it in the aqua, but it didn't fit with my dream inspiration:

Creating My Dream Dining Room


Another year, another dining room makeover! This time, though, I am getting the look I truly want!

INSPIRATION ROOM

Last week I scored 4 matching Windsor chairs on Craig's List and found one solid oak Windsor chair in great shape at the dump.  Now my dining room furniture is exactly the style I want it to be.  Time to give all the mismatched furniture a makeover to get my dream dining room!


From Dog House to Cat Condo

Last fall I decided I was not going to be getting a dog any time soon (famous last words). So I tore down the ultra-huge dog house my ex-boyfriend had built and made it into a much smaller cat condo.


I didn't spend a dime on this kitty cat condo, it was built completely from left over materials.

How to Make a Latte Without Special Equipment

For my next miracle, I will amaze you with my non-existent cooking skills.

I do  not like to cook or to be in the kitchen, when God was handing out cooking skills I wasn't around.  This is not to say that I don't know how to cook, I've learned a lot over the years and I am quite a good cook when I put my mind to it.  But all that is just a bit of background information to illustrate how ridiculously easy this latte process is.

I adore Chai tea lattes and when I discovered I could make these at home without a milk steamer I was in heaven.  And it's so easy!  (I am sure most of you know how to do this already, but for those who don't I'm thrilled to share.)

The $8 Rustic Bench Project


Here's a simple project that you can knock off in less than half an hour!

All it took to build this rustic bench is one 2x6x10, half a 2x4x8 and a handful of  2 1/2" screws. It now sits proudly on my new front porch!

I've broken this project down into simple to follow images.

Here's how to build it -





Laundry Room Refresh and Keeping the Dog out of the Kitty Litter



Last year I reworked my laundry room for what I thought was the last time... then Izzy came along and suddenly I needed to make some changes. Izzy will NOT LEAVE THE LITTER BOX ALONE!

I also needed to finish painting the laundry since I had done the job in dribs and drabs as I renovated it so moving things around to better suit the dog situation wasn't an issue.  Time to get this laundry done once and for all (yeah, yeah I know, it will never be finished for good).


She's just pretending to be good here.


Installing Thumb Latch Gate Hardware

Another day, another project!  This time I wanted to replace the gate hardware that I had installed on my old door gate.  The hardware I had been using was ok, but difficult to open from the outside so I installed a thumb latch style instead courtesy of D. Lawless Hardware.



Here is the hardware I received:

Extend the Life of Your Deck for Free!

This is a project that worked out even better than I thought it would!  I gave myself a brand new deck surface for free.

How did I do it?  Well, it took a lot of elbow grease but I took my ugly, flaked, checked and cracked deck boards and flipped them all over to give myself a new surface.  With a bit of cleaning and sanding, the deck surface looks so amazing I wish I had done this the year I  moved in!

Installing a Wind Chain on a Garden Door


Why do garden doors open outward???  I'm really not a fan but I'm not in a position to change the door out, so I decided to install a wind chain to keep the door from banging into the side of the house whenever I want to let some fresh air into the bedroom.

My challenge?  This is a metal door so I need to learn how to work with metal to do this.

My bonus?  D Lawless Hardware supplied the wind chain!

Here is what I installed:


My Fave Tulips




I get so tired of winter that I cannot wait until I see the snowdrops and crocuses begin to pop through the snow.  Ever since I moved into my new home, I've embraced tulips as well (mostly due to the fact that I no longer have a back yard that the deer can get into - yay me!)

Here are my favourite tulips. Happy Spring!




How to Install a Door Closer on a Storm Door

Remember last year when I installed a new front door and an old-style wood storm door? Well during a wind storm this past month, the wind whipped the storm door out of my hand and smashed it into the light on my front porch.

I've since replaced the lights (of course both had to be replaced because my current light is discontinued) and added a door closer on the storm door to  make  sure this doesn't happen again.

I ordered the parts from a website called D. Lawless Hardware .  This really is an awesome online hardware site.  The prices are fantastic!  Although since they are a sponsor, I didn't have to pay for the parts.

This was actually a pretty simple DIY, here's the tutorial:

My All-time Fave Projects

Thanks to my new puppy, I haven't had any time to work on new projects... Sigh. My blog anniversary is the beginning of March so this week I thought I'd share my all-time faves from the past 5 years (I can't believe it's been 5 years already!!!). Enjoy!

Click on the Images for More Details!


Shutters for the Laundry Room


How to Buy Tools for Less


Tools, love em or hate em you do need em!  I never thought I would be as into tools as I am these days.  Once you learn how to use power tools, you get hooked pretty fast.  It feels so great to be able to build a piece of furniture or fix something yourself - especially when you'd rather save the money for a repairman or carpenter to spend on something else.

Here are my top 5 tips to easily afford a nice set of tools:

1 - Buy new with a monthly payment plan.

When I first moved into my latest house, I needed a full set of power tools to do all the work.  I went to Home Depot and applied for their credit card.  That gave me an instant 10% discount off any purchases I made.  Because my tool set cost more than $299, I also had 6 months with no interest to pay it off.  I bought during their Christmas tool sale where you get bigger discounts for every $100 more that you spend.  I also got a free shop vac as part of the deal.

Top 6 Power Tools for the Do It Yourself'er

I thought I would share the top 6 tools that I have used the most, that have been the most helpful and that I am oh-so-thankful I bought!

I just want to say right off the bat, that you will want to research the tools before you buy.  Some tool companies make wonderful tools that are designed to last and some use plastic parts inside the tools which tend to break easily.  Good quality tools that are well made are a joy to work with.  The cheaper tools are decidedly NOT fun to work with.  Check out as many reviews from "real people" as you can.  The people who actually use the tools will tell you what using them was really like, reviews on tool websites and Amazon sites, etc. can be bought.  I'm sure there are legit ones out there as well, but I personally would rather hear from someone I know. Just sayin'


Quick Fixes for Sticky Doors, Wobbly Chairs and Doors that Won't Stay Open

Sticky wood doors and drawers, doors that won't stay all the way open, chairs that wobble - so annoying! And not so difficult to fix either.  Here's how you do it.


1. WOBBLY CHAIRS 


I bought a beautiful Italian made ladder-back chair for a song because one leg was a tiny bit shorter than the rest.  I used a glue gun and put a bead across the base of the shorter leg.  Hot glue begins to set up almost immediately and can be chipped back off if necessary, so it's an easy fix.  Just level the glue off with your finger (when it cools a bit!) and flip the chair.  Check if it is still wobbly and push lightly down on the seat closest to the offending leg to finish the job. The glue will be malleable but not sticky. When the glue hardens, the chair wobble is fixed!



My New Puppy - Early Training & Meeting the Cats

Have you discovered my biggest 2016 project?  Two weeks ago today, this little darling came home with me.


So she went from looking like this two weeks ago:

4 Tips for Organizing Your Front Entry

With my small house I'm always looking to incorporate more storage and to organize things better.  My tiny front entry has no closet and neither does my mudroom.  Here are some of the ways I organized those spaces and maximized the storage potential. 


1. Closet Organizer

Did you know that a closet organizer can double or triple the storage space of a closet?  And you don't even need a closet to install one!  Finding the right configuration is the key to success.  The best closet organizers are easy to assemble and switch around as your needs or the seasons change.   You can double your hanging space and incorporate shelves or drawers for things that can’t be hung up.  The organizer shown below is a Martha Stewart organizer.  
 

2016 Wish List


Well 2015 was a great year even though I wasn't able to do some of the things I had planned to.

2016 began with a new addition to my family.  Meet Izzy (Isabelle) everyone!

 

She is approximately 3 months old and had a rocky start to her life.  She was found with her littermates discarded at the side of a road in a cardboard box.  Two of the pups had already expired in the cold and the rest had bad worms and the worst lice the vets had ever seen.  She is a bit underweight still and small for 3 months.  She's only 10 pounds!  From the look of some of the pups, there is husky or Finnish lapphund in the mix and the rest look like border collies.  Izzy is a little darling!

Bear with me as I go through her first few months living here.  I won't have much time for DIY projects...

That being said, I do have three big projects planned for this year.  I am definitely ripping a wider opening in the wall between the living and dining rooms - remember this was on last year's list but I had to fix the front entry instead when the ceiling began leaking.