Posts Tagged ‘DIY’

Hello folks! I had plans to go to a gig in Glasgow tonight but because of the snow I’m stuck at home. It’s not much snow but it all fell very quickly and the traffic was, apparently, astounding. Most public transport was cancelled, etc. Glad I only work 4 miles from home!!

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to put a post up about the Christmas crafting I’ve been doing. I am not sure what it is about the holidays but they make me want to hot glue gun and glitter out. So I have been hard at work.  Mostly I browse the internet and find something I want for the house and then try to make it myself. I enjoy the mystery involved because it could turn out wonderfully or it could be a complete waste of my time!!

Luckily the projects I have been working on over the past week or so have all turned out perfectly.  Well, mostly!! 🙂

First, and I have to give half the credit to my patient, wonderful husband, I saw this Wooden Christmas Tree on Apartment Therapy, found out if I wanted to buy it from the Etsy seller it would cost me over £100 and decided “I can do that!”. It took a LOT of sawing and drilling, sanding and staining and also about seven coats of varnish, but I could not be more pleased with the final result.  I love our new Christmas Tree SO MUCH!  It sits about 2 feet high, is made of pine stripping, took us about 24 hours to do all told but only cost us around £10 (if you include the fact that we had to buy an electric sander it’s closer to £25!). Tell me what you think!

forgive the lighting, please!


and here it is in its natural environment

Next I decided to take it a bit (a LOT) easier and made these adorable glitter “trees” out of florist foam cores. I got the idea from eighteen25 and adapted it for myself. As you can see in the photo below I do not have lovely fancy candlesticks as “trunks” for mine, just tiny ceramic flower pots turned upside down. I love the way they look on our table and they were so easy! If I had more time I would probably make more and more and more of them until we’re buried in glitter trees! I would love to know what you think of them!

glitter trees!

After scrolling through Under the Table and Dreaming’s fantastic website I was inspired to copycat her gorgeous reindeer. I did the best I could, being both new at this whole crafting craziness and also short on supplies. I love my little reindeer and I plan to make another one tomorrow. I would have made it tonight but I can’t decided to make the new one smaller or bigger than the one I already have.

again with the bad lighting! sorry!!!

On top of all of that I have also turned our cut-crystal centrepiece bowl into a Christmas Baubles Bowl and made my own potpourri:

baubles & battery-powered LED lights!

scratch & sniff? you wish!

The ceramic bowl contains nuts (in shell), chestnuts, cinnamon sticks, cloves and star anise and smells of cinnamon and clove essential oils. I also have one (not pictured) that contains little sprigs of pine and smells of pine (duh!) and cedar. Neither of them are overpowering, but the whole house smells like Christmas. Over the past few years I expect I have spent about £1,000 on scented Christmas candles and this year I said NO MORE!, went to the local health food store, bought some essential oils (enough to last forever!) and made my own.

Together with the Christmas tree and other various decorations I should think our house is properly decked out for the holidays this year. I have cooled my hot glue gun and stowed my crafting box away until I am overcome with the need to make more goodies (tomorrow-reindeer!).

I really would like to know what you all think of our new decorations. I am very happy with them and, considering they cost very little and too even less time to make, I can see myself concocting a home-made Christmas every year!


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Hello people! Sorry I’ve been away for so long. We still don’t have any internet – I am currently at my favourite coffee spot, Cafe Koko, thoroughly abusing their free Wi-Fi!

I thought I would go ahead and post about the redecoration project S and I undertook while we were in Ohio. We transformed my old bedroom at my Mom’s house into a nursery. At the moment the only person young enough to enjoy this nursery is my niece, Natalie, but who knows what the future holds? Either way it very much needed to be redecorated anyway.

First, a few BEFORE pictures. *note, the last time I properly lived in this room I was only 18! so no snide comments!!*

view across the bed towards mirrored closet doors

my old dresser overwhelmed with decorations and stuff!

my bed with posters everywhere, including the ceiling!

Right, so now you know what it USED to look like. Our first task was emptying the entire room, taking down the posters and all the decorations, clearing away every single item of mine including boxes and boxes of my old stuff, then spackleing over the ridiculous number of holes in the walls!! It took AGES!!

I suppose I should explain that we did all of this in secret not telling my Mom what our plans were at all. This took a good bit of trickery and plenty of lies on our part. We had to make sure that she would be out of the house for the whole day when we were planning all the painting. Think of that TV show Changing Spaces or whatever, and that’s exactly what we did!

We prepared the room, then painted everything white using low-VOC Sherwin Williams Harmony Interior Acrylic Latex Paint in Eg-Shel, including the woodwork (everything except the built-in bookshelves). For any environmentally friendly readers I give this paint an emphatic 10 out of 10. It went on easily and there were no horrible fumes at all. Well worth the extra few dollars per gallon.

We also spray-painted my old dresser white, the only piece of furniture we put back into the room. It turned out lovely, just the refresher it needed – It went from looking old and worn (seeing as it was bought in 1984, I think) to looking clean and brand-new. Excellent result. I know I could have done it better and painted it properly, but we didn’t have enough time.

Luckily neither my Mom nor I ever throw anything away and we were able to find most of the decorations and furniture in the basement and around the house. Some of my old stuffed animals made it back onto the shelves and there were quite a few kid-friendly books lying about, too. In the basement we found an adult rocking chair and also one for kids. Very luckily we had a neighbour with a crib to spare so we didn’t even need to buy one of those!!

Honestly, things could not have gone better.

Now, I don’t want you to think we did all the work ourselves, a few friends of mine (THANKS Alison & Stef!) helped with the painting and more friends (THANKS Matt, Charles & Betsey!) arrived in the afternoon to put the finishing touches on. I can’t express enough thanks to them because we would not have been able to do it on our own.

Anyway, with a few purchases at Toys R Us (foam alphabet flooring & building blocks) and a miraculous mural painted on the wall (unending thanks to my fabulous and artistic friend Matt) the room was complete. I know you are all waiting with baited breath to see the finished product, so here you go:

view from the door

The trees were fantastically well done by my friend Matt Soul. He’s wonderfully talented and I am extremely grateful that he agreed to help us out. As you can see he did a phenomenal job. On the right-hand side you’ll see my hastily assembled colour block made completely out of paint sample cards (free!). The line between the painted trees is meant to resemble a clothes line and has my own alphabet photos pegged to it.

The freshly painted dresser. I love that you can see the mural in the mirror!

The picture of boats was lurking somewhere in the basement and thankfully S discovered it in time to hang it on the walls. On either side are posters of Dora the Explorer because my Niece LOVES Dora more than anything. Most of the other items were things we already had, like my lovely purple butterfly night-light!

The windows and built-in bookcases.

This is the view from the doorway towards the windows. The gorgeous white wooden bookshelves and cabinets were installed in 1996 and were always my favourite part of my bedroom. The black paint between the windows is actually magnetic blackboard paint. Well, actually, it’s 12 coats of magnetic paint (no joke) and a few coats on top of that of blackboard paint. There’s almost a whole quart of magnetic paint on that small section of wall. The tin said “minimum two coats” and we thought it might take a few more than that. It took a LOT more than that before the little alphabet magnets would stick. Looks fantastic, though, and now it’s both magnetic AND a blackboard! Ingenious, if I do say so myself!! The removable stickers on the cabinets were mine but used to live on the mirrored closet doors (as you can see above).

Tree detail and alphabet pictures.

As you can see in the detailed picture above, the tree mural really was ingenious.  And gorgeous. And much appreciated.  You can also see a bit more of my alphabet photos. I took these in the month before our trip to Ohio, using those plastic alphabet magnets.  I am very pleased with myself and glad that they turned out so well.  Here is a sample of my favourites:

Apple, Flower, Rainbow, Yolk, Cat, Ice Cream

So there you have it, our fantastic room redecoration project. I know that my Mom was pleased as punch and I hope that my brother and sister-in-law liked it as well. My niece Natalie adored it and immediately started referring to it as “Natalie’s Room”, which was really nice. It was a lot of hard work and it took a long time, but it was worth it.

So, tell me, what do you think? Wonderful isn’t it!

I promise more posts about our trip to Ohio, probably one tomorrow if I get a chance to get somewhere with Wi-Fi again.


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