DIY Bathroom Scrub

Happy Sunday friends!

Yesterday I managed to get my whole house clean (save the floors which I did today), it had been far too long since my bathrooms had a good scrub.  As I was cleaning using the products I make myself I thought that it was about time I start to share some of my tried and true DIY and toxic free living recipes with you.

I’m going to start with one of my very favourites – my husband was even blown away after seeing how powerful this is! This scrub is amazing for showers, tubs, sinks, stove tops or really anything that needs a good scrub.  I use this once every month or two on our shower when I notice the hard water spots building up.  My all purpose cleaner (which I’ll share soon) keeps the build up at bay for the most part but every so often it needs a bit more of a cleaning. When using this on the shower I make sure to clean it right before I’m going to have a shower.  I scoop it out with a wet sponge, scrub the walls and then to rinse off I just jump into the shower – because of the peppermint oil I use I get a wonderfully invigorating wake up shower at the same time as getting a sparkling clean shower!  I’ve used this on tough to clean bath tub, dull and stained kitchen sinks, caked on and burnt food on stove tops and it’s worked amazing every time.

The recipe:

1/2 cup baking soda
1-2 Tbsp Dr.Bronner’s Castile Soap (I like non-scented so I can add my own scents)
Enough distilled water to make a paste (you can alternatively boil water and let it cool down)
10 drops each lemon and peppermint oil (or essential oil of your choosing)

Add everything to a glass jar and mix well.

Give it a try and let me know what you think! If you don’t have any essential oils (and want to try them out) feel free to contact me via e-mail or leave me a comment and I’ll give you some more info.  If you want to know why I use essential oils check out this post.

A New Hobby

It’s March! Where is 2015 running off to? 

February was a month of sickness in this house.  More and more I’m finding myself wishing spring would come sooner.  We are starting to get stir crazy and I’m ready to get out on walks and play in parks. 

Alas, it is still winter, and we are inside for at least a little while longer.  

Friday my computer charger completely broke and so for the time being I am without a computer. This poses a problem in the evenings when I just want to sit and relax with Netflix in front of the fire.  Friday night I found myself alone after Ezekiel went to bed with two options: go to bed or find something to do.  I am trying to get in the habit of not going to bed so early every night so I began thinking of relaxing things I could do.  Of course there’s always cleaning and organizing I could do but I was wanting something besides my to do list.  Almost instantly I remembered the stash of yarn I have.  A perfect solution! 

So off I went to retrieve it along with a crochet hook.  I’ve known the basics of crochet for years but have never applied myself long enough to learn anything beyond a single crochet.  So I took five minutes to look at a couple tutorials and then I picked up the yarn and hook and just started, and it is lovely. 

My new evening hobby is surprisingly relaxing and gratifying.  I’m hoping to be able to finish a blanket with my entire stash and then move on to something else. 

What are you occupying your evenings with? 

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.


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.

Chair Refurb Chair Refurb

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

Chair RefurbChair RefurbChair RefurbChair RefurbChair Refurb

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.

Chair Refurb

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.

Chair RefurbChair Refurb Chair Refurb Chair Refurb

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.

Chair Refurb

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.

Chair RefurbChair Refurb

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.

Chair RefurbChair Refurb

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

Chair Refurb

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.

Chair Refurb

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.

Chair Refurb

The final step was putting some embellishments along the legs.

Chair Refurb

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

Chair Refurb Chair Refurb

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.

Chalkboard Wall

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

Chalkboard Wall

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.

Chalkboard Wall

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.

Chalkboard Wall

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.

Chalkboard Wall

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.

Chalkboard Wall

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!

Chalkboard Wall

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