Friday, 25 April 2014

Ideas file- a homemade fruit bowl and dog feeder.

I am a dreamer and a diy junkie as is obvious by this blog! I am always dreaming up new projects and am thankful to have people in my life to help make these dreams a reality. There are some things I needed and I wanted to create items that would be unique and lasting in our home. Two items on my want list were a nice fruit bowl and a dog feeder for Maisy as her current bowls were cracked and very old. 

1) the perfect fruit bowl. 
I was after a fruit bowl that could hold lots of fruit and would look pretty in the kitchen. I also wanted to have a bowl that had a homemade unique feel.
My Grandpa went through a stage a while ago where he just used to make lots of wooden bowls. After raiding his stash, we found a large wooden bowl and a smaller one to turn into a fruit bowl. I decided to make the fruit bowl double layered as that way I could hold more fruit and fruits that age each other when put together could be separated. Grandpa looked through his random wood pieces and found a piece that we could use to join the bowls together. Then we used wood glue to hold the three pieces together until they had set and stained the wood piece in the middle to match the two wooden bowls. I love this fruit bowl in the kitchen.
* The jam pictured next to the fruit bowl is quandong jam that grandma and I made on Tuesday- it's so delish.

2)a homemade dog feeder.
This was designed with Maisy's habit of pushing around the bowl in mind and also the problem we had with ants always getting in her bowl.  I purchased two white bowls for $3 each from neds. We (Grandpa and I ) used the bowls as measurement and cut two holes out of a piece of wood and then added little legs. The feeder worked out so well that then we had to make one for mum's dog too as she was envious of how nice it had worked's always flattering when someone likes your idea and wants to copy it :-)

Clearly Maisy enjoys eating from her new feeder...and just eating in general really :)
Two items to check off the to buy list and since they used supplies already owned, only $6 to make them- I do love some thirfty home decorating, especially when it ends with unique items I can treasure. Have you been dreaming up any new home ideas lately?
Lisa x

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Small budget changes to the laundry.

I am pleased to show another room reveal today of some pleasing changes to our laundry. The existing laundry was a dirty and unappealing room. I know no matter how pretty my laundry becomes, it will always be just a laundry, but with a baby coming I will be washing a lot more, and it should be a pleasant place to be.With a very small budget to play with it wasn't possible to gut the laundry and get a new trough and cabinets but I tried to make the space more livable for the now. I guess you could call this makeover a stage one makeover as we save for a future makeover that will hopefully include adding an additional toilet to this room. Let's have a look back at what it looked like when we bought it. There were sunflower tiles, dirty flaking walls and a scratched worn blue trough.
Since we had a lot of taubmans sea bubble paint leftover from the bathroom and nursery, I decided to use it in the laundry too. It is such a calming, light, fresh colour that I could see it working well.
We began by removing the sunflower tiles (don't get me wrong, I like sunflowers but these just weren't working for me). Once they were removed it was clear that the wall needed a heck of a lot of patching and cleaning before it was ready to paint. In fact the whole laundry demanded a deep and through clean. Once painted the room was starting to look a lot better.
We then used caulk to fill in the gaps in the laundry bench and cut out a shelf in the underneath cabinet so the laundry had somewhere to store a washing hamper full of dirty clothes.

The blue trough looked terrible with the new walls so it was painted in two coats of enamel white paint and looks like a completely different trough.
The laundry was then ready for a little styling and I added a few thrifted green tins as well as painting my old peg bucket the same white colour as the trough ( it was originally a dark blue).
The ironing board was mounted on the laundry room door using a cheap hanger from mitre 10 and this is great for keeping it out of the way.
We also changed the lighting which greatly affects the feel of the room.  While the existing blue pennant was quite industrial and funky, the blue was really clashing with the newly painted seabubble walls. I bought a lampshade on sale and just love how the new lamp shade casts web like shadows all over the walls.
The final task I did was to sew a little curtain for the laundry cupboard so you can no longer see the clutter behind it. To make the curtain I purchased some green fabric (on 30% sale at spotlight). The space between the cupboard was 54cm so I used 80cm of fabric. I've never sewn curtains before but this fabric was easy to line up due to the linear pattern. I used heat and bond lite (cut into thin strips) to hem the sides of the fabric. To use this you simply iron down the heat and bond lite. Then peel off the top and the two fabric sides will stick together once ironed. This made it easy to get the hem straight and then I used the sewing machine to stitch down the hem except for the top. I double measured the length and hemmed the top, leaving a gap big enough to threat through some stretch plastic. I used hooks to hang the fabric and then had a cute little curtain which really completed the neat look of the laundry.
As we used supplies that we already had, I only had to purchase the lampshade, curtain fabric and ironing hook which made this makeover cost less than $80 for the whole update. While the laundry is already a massive improvement there are still a few plans on the horizon.
Future ideas:
-Add some more artwork.
- Look at cabinet options for above the machine/trough
- Possibly buy a dryer (a baby is going to make a lot of extra washing)
-Maybe one day add a toilet to the room so our house has a second toilet.

Washing just got a whole lot more enjoyable :)
Lisa x

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

White kitchen shelves.

We are in full swing in our house trying to get to as many rooms as possible painted before the bubs arrived. There's still over 2 months but high on the list is the kitchen/lounge area and main bedroom. We can always paint the craft room, guest room and library later on but these rooms are used so much and really need some painting. Our kitchen is pretty average. It's not so awful that it needed to be gutted but it wasn't really my style. We also bought a kitchen dresser as we needed more storage. The kitchen layout actually functions well, especially as the kitchen, lounge and dining room as all one very large room. When we moved in we also installed a dishwasher, a knife holder and removed a hanging wooden shelf above the bar.
However for the last four months we haven't added any paint to the walls (as I add that up I'm like wow have we been here four months already!) and I just felt that some white might brighten the kitchen up for the time being and make it feel a little fresher and cleaner.

Before. In this photo husband is removing the final part of a wooden bar shelf.

Time and money means that we aren't really able to tackle other things we'd like to do in the kitchen but they will happen over time once we save a bit.
-We like the existing design but would like to extend the kitchen island.
-New grey, wooden or white benchtops. 
-A new stove
-Paint the cupboards (white or possibility grey)
-Add some subway tiles.
-Replace existing fans with something a bit more modern.

Back to the shelves. I needed to remove them to paint it was too awkward painting them while they were up. Once the shelves had been removed the walls were given an undercoat and two coats of antique white USA paint....goodbye peachy walls.
The shelves were painted outside with two coats of an aqua enamel (so they shouldn't chip easily before being placed back. Once they were up, the whole kitchen just looked more open and fresh.
It was time to replace some of the items. While in the above photo you can see many brightly coloured utensils and cooking items, I decided to restrict my colour scheme to yellow, black and white and see how this would work in the space. I could have chosen any other colour apart from yellow but it's just such a bright happy colour and I own a bit of yellow kitchen gear. The other kitchen items were just packed away into the cupboards and no longer on display.

We also moved the kitchen dresser (pictured next to the fridge in the before photo) to another wall. I kept the same white, black, yellow colour scheme going with the dresser and have decided to turn the area next to the fridge into a little office nook (more info to come). I love having the restricted colour palette for display items but may need to thrift/buy a few more items to finish off the shelves and give them a slightly fuller look. There are a few other small inexpensive changes happening in the kitchen too which I'll share soon which should make the room even nicer as we save for a one day phase 2 makeover.
Now just to wait a few more hours for my slow cooker lamb stew to be ready :)
Lisa x

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Making a window seat for the library.

It's been a joy to go through my parent's old furniture stash and see what items might just work in our new place. It's good for both of us as I get free furniture to fix up and they get to declutter and have more space. One particular item that caught my eye was a chest that was in great condition but not very attractive. It was just the right height and width to fit underneath the window in the library and seemed like a good cheap way to get us a window seat. I love giving life to old things and finding cheap alternatives for finishing off the room.
It was an easy choice to paint the chest white as I wanted it to match my white painted bookshelf. The chest needed a sand down and a coat of primer, before being given two coats of white.Once it was painted white, the next challenge was finding the right materials to change the chest into a window seat. My goal was to get make a nice chair using materials that were comfortable and didn't cost too much.
After looking around at different fabrics I settled on a green gingham print which would go nicely with the reupholstered baroque chair that was already in the library. I usually always go for neutral colours but I'm really getting into different shades of green lately and fell for the fabric (which using a voucher was only $1.30). Foam is never that cheap so I stretched the budget and bought a big piece that fit the top and was about 10cm high. Hopefully I will get lots of use from this seat! Then I cut some old mdf, from a stash in the shed, to the size of the bench top and started the upholstery process.
Cut the fabric to size leaving around 10cm on each edge to staple down. Line the fabric up straight (easier with non gingham print fabric). Then I used a staple gun to staple down the top longest sides. 

Corners are always the trickiest and I'm not perfect at it but I've included an underneath photo to show how I decided to do the corners.

To finish off I put the upholstered bench seat on top of the chest and now I have a new seat. This room is starting to feel a bit more purposeful and like it will actually get some use.  Now four people can sit in the room :) I'm no pro upholsterer but this seat is the perfect size for on top of the chest and looks neat and nice. I would show a whole room photo but we are currently painting the walls (from a hideous shade of dark pink) so the room is not in a photo worthy state- but hopefully will be soon!

Still to do in this room:
- paint walls and ceiling white
-find a lounge or larger item of seating
-hang up some artwork
- find a bigger bookcase for the other side of the chest? (one day I'd love to have built ins but for now this girl is gonna dream).
Lisa x

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Cord clutter no more.

In the last four months I can't count how many times I've tripped over the phone and modem. Visits from little friends have also proved challenging as toddler fingers seem to gravitate to the phone and want to play with it. So to summarise, we had a little bit of a problem with phone and internet cords and it was time to get inventive and make something to solve this. I was sick of this eyesore and wanted a less cluttered look.
Dad and I did some brainstorming and came up with the solution of making two handmade wooden shelves; one for the phone and one for the modem.  Dad crafted these shelves out of some scrap wood he had lying around and we gave them a couple coats of white paint. We then screwed the handmade shelves to the wall and used clips to pin back the wires.
It only took about an hour to make the shelves and then we just had to wait a bit in between coats to paint them up.  It ended up being a simple solution to one more unsightly mess and is an easy way to improve the space. Yay for no more tripping and toddler distractions! This wall is looking more and more cute and I feel like the house is coming together and looking less like we just moved in. I like adding personal functional touches.
*If you're interested there are tutorials on how to make the pom pom wreath and "you are fearfully and wonderfully made" artwork.
Lisa x

Monday, 14 April 2014

I'm living wallpaper free - bathroom update.

Last week, Sue Jason shared with us about creating a minimalist bathroom and now I'm ready to share the start of our bathroom fix up process and how I'm enjoying my bathroom a bit more now. It's cleaner, fresher, emptier and wallpaper frieze free! Hello blank walls.
Every time I had a shower the wallpaper frieze just glared down at me. It was ugly and just made the bathroom feel dirty and dated. I had already removed a lower down frieze and some in the toilet but the bathroom wall is surprisingly high.

Dad and I tried just using a wet warm cloth and scrapper but was sad to discover that the wallpaper frieze had been stuck over another wallpaper which was much harder to remove. This meant we needed to hire a steamer for $39 and get to work removing it. The wallpaper made a big mess as it was removed but it was so nice to see blank (albeit dirty walls).
It was quite a process but then it looked a bit more like this... (I'm not quite sure the photos do justice to how gross the walls were)
I  had always thought I would paint the walls white to be nice and neutral but after thinking about it I realised that the.white paint mightn't be the best choice to make the old white subway tile walls pop and look whiter. I had been eyeing off some minty green bathrooms on pinterest and since I had plenty of sea bubble paint leftover from the nursery I decided to be bold and have a white ceiling with sea bubble walls. I just love how clean and bright the bathroom now feels and looks.
Unfortunately I am still learning how to photograph this space and the wall appear much whiter/apricot in the photos below but they really as mint green as the pictures above.

The bathroom has existing features that I really like- the subway style tiles, added shelf, his/her vanity, large shower with two heads and matching gold handles and hooks. As this is not a finished project yet, I look forward to having shelving to clear away the clutter on the current shelf, in hopes of achieving an even more minimalist look.

I am also considering painting the vanity white as there is a lot of wood in this room. I think painting the vanity might be just enough as painting the two doors and window frame would be too much considering how much other painting is necessary in the house.  I also want to frame the mirrors and add some built in shelving around the his/her mirror to hide the necessary bathroom items that make the space feel more crowded than it needs to be. I am considering getting some artwork too to hang on the space above the other towel rack and give the room a little bit more personality. I know it will be a small picture and need to include white, gold and mint brought together. Right now I'll just enjoy sharing the change with you readers and feeling that bit cleaner and better in the bathroom :-)
Lisa x

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Minimalist Bathroom Decor.

Today I'm excited to have a guest post for you all about how to create a minimalist bathroom. I've been working on our bathroom, toilet and laundry area for the last few weeks and have been keen to soak up any wisdom to improve my spaces. I'll be sharing where I'm at with these rooms later next week but for now let's meet Sue...

Hi my name is Sue Jason and I am a blogger at My-bathrooms blog. You may follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.

Minimalism is a great way to make any room seem bigger and relies on paring down the décor to the bare minimum, keeping only the necessities and those in plain simple shapes with much of the impact of the style coming from the sleek planes and smooth uncluttered surfaces. A minimalist bathroom is attractive, easy to clean and has the added advantage of appearing to be ultra clean and hygienic!
  Color Less

Minimalist décor aims to clear all distractions from view, and for this reason most minimalist bathrooms are decorated in pure white: from the walls to the bathroom fittings. Any accessories – and there will only be a few, with much hidden from view behind doors and drawers – should follow this white theme, to retain the stark and clutter-free look.

Less is Right

Keep toiletries and bathroom products tucked away neatly in cupboards and cabinets. While it is fine to leave a bar of hand soap (or dispenser full of liquid soap) on the basin for guests and family members to wash their hands, try to keep everything else out of sight, as nothing ruins the purity of a minimal look more than a row of toiletries lined up on the edge of the bath or shower!

Signature Piece

If you have the available space a minimalist bathroom is a great backdrop for a free-standing designer bath. Place the elegant bath as centrally as possible (with help and advice from a friendly plumber!) and design the rest of the décor around it to create a wonderfully eye-catching focal point.

Store It

For minimalism to work you need to strip almost everything out of the bathroom, but for the bathroom to work you will need access to towels, soap, shampoo, conditioner and so on. Therefore, your minimalist bathroom must contain plenty of cupboard space so that everything can be put away properly once it has been used! It will take some time and training to get the family in the habit of putting things away after they have finished in the bathroom, but you will be delighted with the end effect once they do have the hang of it!

Minimalism is not for everyone, but if you are keen to try it out in just one room of your home you can do no better than to choose a bathroom for your first effort! Concentrate on removing clutter and opening out the room as much as possible – and do not worry if it does not work at first; you can always tweak the décor until you find a level of minimalism that works for you.

It's great to have Sue share her fabulous ideas. There is so much now I want to think about while planning the items to add to my bathroom and how to keep my bathroom from feeling cluttered.
Lisa x