Friday, 30 January 2015

The guest room/office project : the desk area

My latest project is the guest room/office and I thought I'd share with you the creation of my 'new' desk. The desk was a little freebie find which was just the right size for the space I had available in the room. Complete with three drawers, it was in reasonable condition and just needed a  few coats of paint.
The before photos show it after a little bit of mending and sanding had taken place- I'm always to eager to get into these craft projects and forget to take before photos.
I'd found some pretty little gold flower handles on a garage sale for $1 each and they looked quite cute on the finished drawers. I just have a thing for pretty little handles and these were so delicate and smart looking. Once the desk had received the usual treatment- repair, sand, prime and 2 coats of oil based paint (seemed to wear better), the handles were attached and the desk was put inside.
While there were three drawers to fill, it wasn't quite enough so I decided to add some shelving. For the shelving my Dad actually cut some melamine he had a home to size and ironed on white edging. For the brackets we used Ikea EKBY brackets (currently sold for $4 each). These don't come in gold so with some gold spray paint they were transformed (and also a chalkboard frame I already owned). I just love the pop of gold- it just feels like a very classy and nice place for me to work now. I have plenty of spray paint left over now so I'm dreaming up other things I can give a gold makeover.

The top shelf houses beautiful brass giraffes I received as a baby, a favourite Roald Dahl quote and  some storage boxes.
 The middle shelf is home to lots of paperwork including my 2014 memory box and also a little elephant from India.
The bottom shelf is home to some special photographs, prints of Henry's darling little newborn feet and a frame from a previous project that I updated using gold spray paint. There is also a little brass piano from my childhood doll's house...can you sense my eagerness to find any gold items I could in the house and give them a new home? You know you are running short on brass items when you have to raid your childhood dolls house... though every room does need a little quirk in it.

Then on the wall is another old project that was updated to suit the new style of this room. The frame was given a coat of gold spray paint and I just love the end result. It really changed the whole look of the frame.

And there you have it, my new little office nook. While the desk is now in full use (I'm sitting at it right now writing this post), I'm still looking to finish off the workspace a bit more by adding more pieces of paper to my pinboard and working out how best to use the desk space. I am also working at finishing off the rest of the room and look forward to sharing other progress around the room soon.
Lisa x

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Henry's dedication.

My husband and I are practicing Christians and had a dedication ceremony for our son, Henry, recently. A dedication is a chance to declare our intent to raise our child as a Christian. It was a special day for our family and I wanted to make Henry a little cross to remind him. I used an existing cross that I had and my dad helped to cut out the cross shape once the lettering had been done.

To make a cross (or other shape) similar to this you will need:
a pencil
a cross shape template
a piece of plywood
a soldering iron
a fretsaw (or someone kind to cut it out for you)

Once I had decided what I wanted it to say I wrote it out in pencil. I have average handwriting but it is a special handmade item for Henry from me. Once I was happy with the text I used a soldering iron to write over the pencil and burn the text into the wood. Since the verse I'd chosen was quite long it took a few hours but is a fairly therapeutic peaceful activity to do while baby sleeps.

My dad cut out the shape for me and we added a hook on the back to hang it with.I hope we can use the cross with Henry when he's older to discuss the meaning and reason behind his dedication. I've also included a few other photos of decorations from the day. They're fairly basic decorations as I'm time poor at the moment but added to the special feel of the day.

Lisa x

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

The clutter catcher.

I don't normally post about things I do around the house but this idea is so easy to implement and has made a big difference. See I always want the house to be clutter free and clean(ish) so entertaining is easy and I don't spend my days putting away things. This year I've set myself some new goals. I spent the first half of last year fixing up our home and trying to make it into a liveable space (and the second half learning about motherhood) and this year I'm committed to maintaining the home and having more free time (void of cleaning and packing away things).
I want to give away any possessions that weigh me down with extra cleaning and organising. 
I want to live without clutter.
I want to simplify our home and be more purposeful with my shopping.

One thing that has helped is setting up a clutter catcher near the front door. Whenever I am cleaning and come across an item I'm not that fond of or look through a drawer and discover something I haven't used in a long time, I place it in the box (aka clutter catcher). When it's looking full I load it in the car the next time I'm going out and place the items in a charity bin. Easy peasy. However this does mean that every item in the clutter catcher must be something decent and worth passing on.

Sometimes when people come round and pass by the clutter catcher, I offer for them to look through and see if there is anything they want (so if you're a friend outside the internet and come by- please take a look). Since starting it a few months back, I have parted with so many items and it feels satisfying to now open drawers around the house and find them to be emptier and only containing useful items.

Do you have any other ways you stop clutter in your home?
I've read about the idea of one thing in one thing out and also turning clothes hangers round when you actually wear items to see if you wear everything in your wardrobe but I'm always on the look out for other ideas.
Lisa x

Monday, 12 January 2015

Upcycling items for our master bedroom.

I shared my master bedroom a few days ago and today I thought I'd share two little  projects that finally have been completed in our master bedroom. At garage sales many months back (possibly years...) I found a wall house and a wooden ladder that I'd been wanting to put up for a while- ever since I worked out how I could repurpose them for use. With fresh paint on our master bedroom wall, I could finally put these items up (once they had been fixed a little).

I love using thrifted finds in unique ways to add a bit of personality around the place- let's be honest I like a little bit of kooky and unusual stuff. This little house seemed like the perfect spot for storing my collection of mini perfumes. I found it in good condition but decided to jazz it up a tad by painting the inside grey before mounting it on the wall.

My mini perfume collection was sparked by my mother in law often going on international flights and bringing back little perfume bottles. Sure they could be shoved in a drawer but I just felt they were a little too pretty to hide away and each one has it's own unique shape. The little ceramic deer on the middle shelf was found at a garage sale a few years ago, and I just can't help it, I'm partial to deer related finds.

I've always wanted a ladder in the room and found a small one very cheaply over a year ago. This ladder was painted white. By attaching some wood to the sides, I could finally mount in on the wall to hold blankets and other bits and pieces and it has proved very useful.
The resulting ladder is probably a bit more bulky than I would have liked and sometimes find itself home to unpacked away clothing. I do love how it shows off my gorgeous thrifted yellow throw- the pattern is amazing!

These two items cost me a few dollars and a bit or paint and now I have some extra valuable storage in my bedroom. I love finding items and repurposing them for new uses, although I am sure that if you wanted to copy these storage ideas, the little house and blanket ladder could be built fairly easily from local hardware shop materials.
For other thrifted upcycles check out my suitcase plate rack and rake wine glass holder. :-)
Lisa x

Friday, 9 January 2015

Master bedroom makeover.

The master bedroom was one room that needed to be fixed up before Henry was born as he sleeps in a cradle in our bedroom and also has a feeding chair in our room.
Our master bedroom is a great size with a connecting walk through wardrobe which leads to a bathroom. For now the walk through wardrobe is staying the same but there's a door to close off and then I wanted to have a tranquil, neat and clean master bedroom. I decided to get a bit more adventurous than my usual love of white walls and below shows the pale green walls were started with.

This before photo is what the room looked like with the old owners furniture. While the room looks in okay condition there were actually cracks everywhere and the curtains were threadbare see through curtains that hadn't even been hemmed and just trapped dust. It did not in anyway feel like a master bedroom although it had a nice sized walk through robe and is actually quite a large room.
Here are some before snaps with our furniture in it which also shows the condition of the bedroom walls.

We decided to work with a few existing items we already had. Husband and I had purchased a four part bedroom suite when we were living in the country that is quite special to us so we wanted to keep our existing bed side tables, tallboy and four poster bed. The bed has a special carving in it that my Grandpa did using an image from our wedding invitations. With these furniture restrictions in place we really wanted to create a calm, peaceful and beautiful bedroom. One dresser wasn't quite enough for my large clothes collection so we also placed my recently upcycled white dresser in the room.

Although the bedroom is still not finished - especially as we are currently sharing it  with the baby, we've made some significant progress.
The first thing we tackled was the long rectangular window on the back wall. When we moved in our old ikea curtains were not a fit and the constant stream of light in our bedroom was not welcome. As the window is an odd shape we ordered a custom blind during a recent blind store sale- 30% off. The blind fills perfectly and really blocks out the light. Because of the length of the window and position of our bed in relation to the window, we are not going to have curtains.There is a second window in our bedroom which still has the old original wooden blind (pictured in the before photo) but we don't quite have the funds to replace it. The reason the bed is not centered in the window is because we needed room for Henry's cradle and also due to the placement of our walk in wardrobe and fact we have a 4 poster bed, it was the necessary position to allow us to watch our television in bed.

Then it was time to paint and this time 'antique white' (my usual choice) was just a little too safe. After buying several test posts, we settled for 'hydro' by taubmans.  It's a turquoise, grey colour. That's right, we went colourful! I think most of my previous paint choices have been fairly safe, thinking about future resale and timeless colours but since this a house we really want to make our own, it was time to get adventurous. The walls needed a fair bit of patching but thankful my dad is a patching machine. We removed all existing hooks to get a clean, fresh space but the best change was going from green crown molding and a creamy ceiling to a fresh dulux 'lime white' ceiling. It's amazing how much a white ceiling cleans up a room.

Our old furniture was then put back in place along with items we use often (like my jewellery collection). We also put up the mini hot air balloon and moved in the bassinet we got from my sister in law as well as the rocking chair that orginally was going to be in the nursery.
I also splurged and purchased some new lamps for the room. They suit the room well and I'm loving their pattern. The bases are white and simple so if we ever want to change it up again, we can simply replace the shades. The pattern also ties in with the bedcover that goes on top of my rocking chair (wooden rocking chairs are far too uncomfortable to sit in for hours of nursing and my newborn liked to feed for hours on end).

Henry has a distinctive area in the room and once he moves into his nursery, we'll work out a new use of the space. For now the room is very practical and peaceful to be in.
The lamps and rocking chair were purchased from gumtree, the pillow is from bed,bath and beyond and the bedcover on the rocking chair is from kmart. The canvas prints of Henry were made via canvas factory and the bunting was homemade.

I do have a few future ideas, the main one being to either DIY the fan or replace with something a little more interesting and modern- although it will still need to be a fan as the Australian climate begs in fans in bedrooms. For now it is a big improvement and once the baby starts sleeping through the night (please, please be soon), I'll be on my way to getting a great nights sleep.
Lisa x

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

And so it is 2015.

The end of 2014 passed by in a blurr of celebrations, baby cuddles and far too much food. The house, which we'd spent so much time fixing up over the year, became the venue for a large family Christmas and an 80th birthday party for my Grandmother. Cooking for large sit down dinners and making creative decorations took up lots of time (in a fun way though) and I just felt very thankful for have a home to share with family and friends.

I used pinterest for birthday inspiration making several things for Grandma, including an 80 photo wall.
A koala has made itself home in our side gumtree.
Henry and I made ornaments of his hands and feet at his first Christmas using this recipe (and found it worked much better than the first salt dough ones that we first made).
My little cousin got married and the bombonieres were these lovely succulents.

 I hope you are all having a relaxing start to the new year and I'll be posting soon with some new things I've been working on.
Lisa x

Friday, 28 November 2014

Fabric scrap wreath.

To everyone in the US, Happy Thanksgiving! Here in Australia we don't celebrate thanksgiving so our next holiday is Christmas and I've already started getting into the Christmas spirit with some fun crafts.

I went to these beautiful markets with some friends on the weekend and was in awe of a gorgeous wreath made of scrap fabrics for $120. I really wanted a nice wreath for our front door but didn't have any money to splurge on one but was inspired to try and work out how to make a scrap fabric wreath of my own.
To make this wreath you will need:
a wire coathanger
fabric scraps in colours of your choice (I also used some lace)
a short length of ribbon
fake leaves*
2 fake birds*
fake holly/pinecones*
a glue gun
 *I didn't end up having to purchase any items but these could be bought from your local craft store or you could personalise your wreath using whatever you wish.

1. Cut your fabric scraps to similar lengths- I just kept cutting more until I had enough for the whole wreath. I also used pieces of lace which were so quick to cut up.
2. Twist your coat hanger to make a circle shape and tie the fabric scraps around the outside.
3.Work out an arrangement you are happy with using fake leaves/birds/holly etc. Once happy use a glue gun to stick down the pieces in place.

As a finishing touch I removed some of the berries from some plastic holly I had and now I think it's just right. I am very happy with the end result and think these would also make lovely gifts.

This wreath is super quick to make- it was done in one Henry sleep (app 1 hour).
And there you have it- a freebie wreath that looks fantastic on our front door. Bring on Christmas!
Lisa x