DIY Log Planters

Hi Friends! Sorry I’ve been quiet this week, came down with the stomach flu, worst 24 hours in a long time.  Good news is I’m feeling 100% better and I’m ready to get back at it!

Today I thought I’d show you a little project that my husband dreamt up and implemented.  Now I’m not sure if you realize how big of a deal that sentence is.  My husband is an amazing carpenter.  Years ago in his home country he was trained from a very young age in furniture carpentry.  He learned how to build beautifully ornate furniture, then he moved on to concrete forming and excels at that.  You’d think with having such a handy husband that I would be able to get lots of my hands on – power tools needed projects completed.  That is not the case.  While my husband is very good with his hands he really doesn’t like to do anything carpentry related at home – I can’t really blame him but sometimes that’s uber frustrating for me.  BUT this project was his baby and it turned out so lovely!

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This is my new upright planter on my front step that is made from a hollowed out log and I adore it!  In case you didn’t notice we love to use things found in the outdoors to repurpose and decorate our surroundings – outside included.  We also LOVE flowers and plants.  I have no idea how Carlos came up with this idea but once it entered his mind he was obsessed with finishing it.

We started by sourcing out the stump.  We actually found one when we were camping in June but my parents also found two really great stumps and brought them for us to use so that’s what we ended up using.

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Carlos was so obsessed with finding these stumps that while we were camping we drove off to the middle of nowhere and he got out and walked forever by the road farther into the forest to find trees that had already been cut down.  This is him after finding what we thought was a perfect stump – he’s obviously excited.

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The next part was the most time consuming – hollowing out the log.  I don’t really know if there’s a better way to do this because this took a long time and was super hard on our power tools.  Carlos bought a large spade style wood bit and just drilled holes all around.  He did shallow drilling all the way around and then drilled deeper until he reached the depth he wanted.

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He also drilled diagonal holes from the inside to the outside to let water drain through.  Then we simply planted the flowers!

IMG_8833He also made two of the long planters for either side of our steps and I’m so in love with those as well.  They make great conversation pieces for people walking by our house. The only problem I see with these is that eventually the wood will rot out.  The large stumps will last longer than the long ones for sure but I’m trying to brainstorm how I can make them last.  I may use some sort of epoxy on them next year.  Definitely we’ll have to store them somewhere dry over the winter but I’m not convinced they’ll last very long at all.

What do you guys think? Is this a project you’d be willing to invest your time in? It really cost us nothing but time.

Patio Lovin

When my husband and I bought our house there were so many things that made us fall in love with it but one aspect in particular that I’ve been dreaming about since we moved in is the patio just off our master bedroom.  I’ve been dreaming about morning coffees and evening conversations sitting on the patio.  I’ve been dreaming of comfy furniture and pretty flowers to decorate with.  Sadly up until this point we just hadn’t done anything with it, we could never justify the cost of the furniture.  I’m happy to tell you that we have remedied that!

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More and more we are realizing that our decor style is “natural” lots of white, lots of plants and lots of reclaimed wood. For this space what we really wanted was a place to relax at the end of the day.  This was the easiest thing to do and it is unbelievably comfortable!  We got 4-4×4 pallets and stacked them two high and two long.  Then while I was shopping for groceries at our Super Store I noticed that all the outdoor and patio stuff was on sale so I searched for the cushions.  These are actually lounger cushions and are the perfect size to keep some pallet exposed on either side to act as a side table for drinks etc.  The best part is that they were all 50% off.  We did put an egg carton mattress topper underneath to add some extra comfort and now this pallet couch is more comfortable than my bed!  Next year this will be full of flowers as well.  Unfortunately it’s been raining since we did this and the patio is not protected from the rain so we haven’t been able to enjoy it.  Today is looking like it will finally be sunny and warm so you’ll find me laying on my new couch after work.

Slowly but surely we are checking things off of our “house to-do list,” but we’ve still got a long way to go.

Table Center Piece DIY

Today I’m going to show you a super simple, super budget friendly DIY.

I think I’ve mentioned before how my husband and I enjoy natural decor – lots of plants and wood, and white.  We have so many visions of what we want to do with our house and our decor and slowly but surely we are getting there!

In June we took a trip with some friends to Cypress Hills in Alberta, Canada for a weekend get away.  While there we did some scavenger hunting for some cut down trees and luckily for me I found a fantastic piece of driftwood.  I was actually looking for it for some baby shower decor for a shower I was throwing later in the month.  After the shower was over I brought the piece home and brainstormed what I could do with it now.  I got the idea to use it as a centre piece and put some succulents in it. I’m so happy with how it turned out!IMG_8829

First my husband used an electric planer to plane both sides so it sits evenly (for the baby shower I used it to place mini cupcakes on).  Then while my parents were visiting he used a large drill bit to hollow out 5 holes – three larger ones and two smaller ones.  At that point we needed to brainstorm how to now plant the plants.  You can’t just plant right into the holes – first it would rot, and second there are some holes in the side where the dirt would fall out.  My dad – being the mr.fixit and problem solver that he is, searched the house high and low to find appropriate sized containers.  Eventually he found pop cans that fit perfectly! Brilliant!

Next was to make the look acceptable.  He cut them down and then snipped all around the top and folded the metal in to make the edge dull instead of sharp – sorry I don’t have any process photos of that, hopefully that’s a good enough explanation!  In the photo below you can see the inside edge folded over


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This weekend I spray painted two coats of white Rustoleum to make them look a bit more aesthetically pleasing.  I went to a small local plant shop that I absolutely adore and picked out some tiny succulents and airplants.  I repotted the succulents into the cans and placed them in the driftwood.  In the smaller holes I put a bit of preserved moss I had left over from a Terrarium I had made and put the airplants on top.
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IMG_9077 IMG_9078 IMG_9079 IMG_9080I’m seriously so in love with the results! It’s taken a little bit of attention to make sure my toddler doesn’t touch, thankfully he’s used to momma saying “plants are to look at not to touch” and he’s fairly good at listening!  All in all this cost $20 for the plants and that’s it, the rest of the supplies I had on hand.  You could even recreate a smaller version, and I definitely plan too.  It’s amazing the beauty you find in nature that can accent your home decor! 

DIY Chair Refurbish

I’m gonna be honest with you.

I love DIY. I’m inspired by DIY.  I long to be a DIY person.

The reality?

Unless I jump on the project the moment I become inspired, and finish that project right away, it will sit for ever and a day before I finish it.

Like most things in my life, I’m easily inspired but have a hard time to start and finish.  Whether it be because of time, money, energy or lack of materials for me to actually get a project done is a miracle. My sons room is a perfect example of DIY for me, it took until a little over a month ago to get it finished and I started in August 2013….. excruciatingly slow!

My friend Renee though?

She’s a go getter (along with her husband).  They have an incredible gift of creativity marked with amazing talent and motivation.

They.Get.Things.Done.

Today with Renee’s permission I’m featuring a DIY chair refurbish that I had a (very) small hand in helping with.

In fact, I have a chair that is going to be handed down to me from my father, which was his fathers that is similar to this one and although it may take a LONG time to get it done, I’m planning on doing a similar refurb.

This was done months ago, before this blog or the thought of this blog so this isn’t going to be a proper tutorial because I didn’t photograph each step in detail.  It could probably serve as a very rough outline of how to accomplish it, paired with some youtube tutorials you could get this done as well! We used some Youtube videos as a guideline, and were very happy with how it turned out.  It was definitely a lot of work, but well worth it!

So without further ado:

This is what the chair was before she started.

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They took the chair completely apart, sanded down the frame and re-stained it, the reassembled it with better reinforcements then was there before.

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This is when I come into the picture.  One summer day we set aside the entire day to drink coffee and work on getting this project finished.  Renee brought the chair and all the materials over and we got to work.

The materials we used were (I’m not sure of all the technical names, so hopefully you get the drift with the pictures haha):

  • Staple gun
  • Small nails
  • Foam
  • Batting
  • Vinyl
  • Burlap
  • Nail spacer (the white spatula looking tool)
  • Hammers.
  • The metal strip in the picture was for the back of the chair – no idea what it’s called but she bought it at a furniture refurb supply store.

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The night before coming over Renee made some piping for the back of the chair out of the vinyl material.  She also made wide strips of the burlap for the back of the chair.

The first step was covering the seat and the back with burlap.  We used small nails to secure it.  This doesn’t have to be nice or fancy, it’s all getting cover anyway.  The important part is making sure it’s tight and secure to provide some resistance when sitting on the chair. To get it tight enough we secured it to the outside of the frame.

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Next we cut out the foam and covered that with batting.  The batting was secured with staples. Chair Refurb Chair Refurb

Then we weaved the strips of burlap onto the back of the chair, taking care to make them as tight as possible.  Again this doesn’t have to be nice or fancy, just tight and secure. We used staples for this.

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Now onto the vinyl.  This is when you’ll need to refer to some youtube videos or other tutorials for a real good step by step.  I’m missing several step by step pictures because we were so focused on getting it right I forgot to take pictures!

It was hard for us to cut the corners of the vinyl and understand how it needed to be cut to be able to lie nicely and look good.  We watched and re-watched this video to help us.

First we laid out the vinyl to get a rough estimate of where to cut it down to a better size for the seat of the chair. Then we put some anchor staples in the front and back.  You’ll want to secure it to the bottom of the chair. After securing the front and back make the cuts in the corners and tuck them in at the frame.  Once that’s done, alternate pulling the fabric and securing it with nails or staples on each side.

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We weren’t sure how to do the back of the seat around the frame so we left that until the end.  Next we did the back of the chair.  We put foam and then the vinyl.  Again we put some anchoring nails to hold it in place while we figured out how to secure it.  This was tough because of the rounded top and the arm rests.  We decided to take the gap out of the bottom back of the chair and extend the material to the bottom of the seat.  We had to do a lot of playing around with the vinyl to make it lay in a way that looked good.

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Next up was placing the metal band with the piping around the back.  We used the staple gun and stapled it every couple holes.

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Then cover the back with batting on the inside of the metal band.

Chair RefurbThen putting the vinyl on the back.  This is where the metal band comes into play, the side of the band sticking out has teeth on it to catch the fabric and secure it again the chair.  Starting at the top middle place the edge against the teeth and use a rubber mallet to gently (very gently) bend the teeth in.  Do this all the way around the back.

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Once that’s done flip the chair and secure the bottom.  Then we used black fabric to hide the bottom of the chair and make everything look polished.

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The final step was putting some embellishments along the legs.

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That’s it! Here’s the finished project.

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This chair is so comfy and one day it’ll look great in a nursery!

Chalkboard Wall

Chalkboard Wall

Since moving into this house I’ve wanted to have a family calendar and menu.  For the past year I’ve debated several ways of doing that, I’ve looked for vintage frames to re-purpose but never found anything that was the right size or that I fell in love with.  Last week I had a light bulb moment – chalkboard wall! Genius (not really my genius, I give all credit to Pinterest). I thought about it for a couple days and decided to just dive in.  I was pretty hesitant at first because my experience with painting walls back in high school wasn’t great, and I have disliked painting walls since then.  But with going back to work I was getting anxious to have a calendar and menu as a sort of family command center to put us all on the same page.

So off to Benjamin Moore I went.  I decided that I was going to paint the wall the same color as I am planning on painting my whole house – white and I am an avid Benjamin Moore lover so I wanted to make sure to buy the paint there to ensure everything would match.  I came home and set to work taping off the pantry door, the baseboards, cupboards, and ceiling.

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Then I laid down some plastic to protect the floor from my mess.

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Then I began painting.  I used a brush to do around the edges and then used a small foam roller to do the rest.  I don’t know if it was necessary, or maybe I was too scared to mess up and was rolling on too thin of a layer but I used 4 layers of paint for this.  It ended up taking a day and a bit because you have to wait 4 hours between coats.

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After letting the paint cure for 3 days it was time to season the wall.  I rubbed white chalk horizontally and vertically all over the wall.  This ended up being the most frustrating and messy! The chalk kept breaking and there was chalk dust EVERYWHERE! Plus a little man scooting around in a walker tracking the dust even further.

So then it was just a matter of getting the calendar and menu up on the wall.  Initially I planned on getting some colored tape to tape off a calendar grid.  I tried that and ended up hating it.  Then after some contemplation and browsing products I came across Chalkboard Markers at Michaels.  It seemed like a perfect solution, you draw on the wall and when it dries it would only come off with a damp rag so you can use regular chalk everywhere else and erase it with a dry cloth without ruining the calendar.  So off to Michaels again to find these markers.  On the package it says that it works best on a non-porous surface but that it can be used with chalkboards.  I was worried that they might stain my wall since it mentioned non-porous surfaces – but it seemed ridiculous to have CHALKBOARD markers that wouldn’t work for chalkboards, and I even discussed it with the store manager who seemed to think everything would be fine.  I bought a pack of 2 (black and white) and a pack of 5 colours but they were very pricey and I was still worried about my wall.  So when I came home I opened the small pack and tested the black marker and my fears were realized.

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I was so disappointed! But on the bright side I can return the more expensive pack.  I just have to patch this part with a small amount of paint.  Since the calendar is going to be a more permanent fixture on the wall it wouldn’t be so bad to do the calendar grid with the black marker but since I wasn’t completely sold on the idea I decided to make the calendar with regular chalk.

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I’m going to keep it this way for a while and see how much I like it and then decide what to do.

Then I made our menu.

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I’m really enjoying it, and the best part is if we get tired of it I just have to wipe it down and it becomes a regular wall!

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I’m very optimistic that this will make our lives run a lot smoother when I get back to work!

DIY Natural Air Freshener

DIY Natural Air Freshner

Yesterday was pretty much fail central for me.

I thought I had an appointment at 1030.  I woke Ezekiel from his nap and rushed out the door, drove 30 minutes only to find out that my appointment wasn’t until 3 pm.  I actually wasn’t even mad, although I did feel quite foolish when I looked in my phone calendar and saw that, YEP I had marked it as 3 pm.  Why was I so confident that it was at 1030? No.Idea.

So, I drove the 30 minutes home. Not without a stop at Bulk Barn to pick up some pick-me-up snacks of course.

When I got home I had a great idea to make a soup that I had purchased from the Farmers Market last month.  It’s made up of dry ingredients packed in layers and then you cook it all in water.  Well this particular soup, you take the top two layers and boil them in 11 cups of water and then add the rest of the ingredients after 45-60 minutes.  So I brought 11 cups of water to a boil, dropped in the first two layers and covered the pot.  I left the burner on high because the instructions said to “hard boil.”  I fed Ezekiel lunch and after 40 minutes I smell something funky.  I rushed to the stove and saw that the entire 11 cups of water had evaporated leaving a very big burnt mess on the bottom of my pot.

Le.Sigh.

Such is life I suppose. I had big plans to bake some really great Banana Bread and post the recipe, but after such epic failures I thought it would be better to hold off on that. Instead I made this DIY Natural Air Freshener to take away the burnt smell in my house.

A couple weeks ago I bought some oranges that were really not good (can you sense a theme to this failure post? Ha!).  Instead of throwing them away, I decided to cut them up and freeze them to have on hand for air freshener over the fall and winter.

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Today was a perfect day to grab a few slices, and add them to a pot of water with 1 tsp of vanilla extract and a cinnamon stick.

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My house smells divine right now.  You definitely need to try this, you could dream up your own concoctions.  Who needs that $25 three wick candle when you can grab a few ingredients, throw them on a pot on the stove and let it simmer for the day.

Simple and cheap.  Just the way I like it.