Month: December 2013

Year in Review 2013

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I was looking back through this past year’s posts as I was working on this year in review entry, and I was amazed at how much we’ve accomplished in the past year. Sometimes, with a fixer-upper house, I’ve felt frustrated at what I feel is our lack of progress, but really, we’ve done so much in so little time, especially with me being a full-time mom to a rambunctious toddler and Chris working full-time as well.

I’m so thankful that we have the opportunity to work on this house with our own hands. It is so fun and just so pleasurable for us to create and to beautify, but it’s also important for me to remember that a house is just a house. Of course I would be devastated if it burned down tomorrow and we lost the two years of hard work we put into it, but it is just a house. What matters are the people, the Spirit, the love inside the house.

But this blog is about DIY and home renovation, so without further ado…

Spring 2013

spring

Spring started off with quite a few major updates. We finished our renovation of the family room, which included pretty much a total gut job. Removing the old floor, fixing leaks, patching drywall, painting walls, trim and ceiling, tiling the fireplace, and finally moving our furniture back into the room — it was a big job but the final result is so comfortable and cheerful.

Spring is also when we worked on our most popular project on the blog — the DIY L-shaped console table we built for behind the sofa in the living room. We even made plans to help you all build it because we had so many requests for detailed instructions!

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Later in the spring, we took a trip to Yosemite with our 1-year old and worked on a few outdoor projects including painting an old metal patio table yellow and sewing outdoor pillows. We refreshed the floor of our guest bathroom by painting the dingy grout lines.

Summer 2013

summer

In the summer I posted a tour of baby Brownie’s room and we completed a big project — installing a glass sliding door — over just one weekend.

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This summer I also revamped an old dresser by painting it a rich emerald green and adding brass hardware. We refreshed the kitchen nook by painting the old wood trim glossy white, the walls a cheery blue, and making a DIY roman shade. We took a trip to Toronto and I made Baby Brownie a travel felt board to bring along, which was a big hit (both with Baby Brownie and the online community).

Fall 2013

fall

Fall was the time of the tables. We designed and finally completed our rustic dining room table (plans are still to come) that Chris built out of doug fir from Home Depot. We refinished and painted the pedestal table in the breakfast nook. And I painted a little bench and turned it into an activity table for Baby Brownie.

Winter 2013

winter

Finally, this winter we did one of my favorite updates to the house — painting a navy blue accent wall in the foyer. It is one of the most dramatic focal points in our house and I love coming in the front door and seeing it every day. I also worked on a few Christmas crafts such as the Christmas tree skirt, and Chris made me an awesome wine rack as a gift.

Those were just a few highlights and major projects from 2013. My mind is still boggled by how much we did in just one year. I haven’t even started going into the siding/insulation project that is still ongoing on the exterior of the house. Or all the little un-glamourous things that took so much time (ie. wiring up new light fixtures/switches, installing new doors…). There is still so much to do but it is encouraging to see how far we’ve come.

Thanks for reading, folks. Really appreciate all of you who come here regularly to see what I’m up to. Your support means so much to me. I’m not planning to disappoint you in 2014, so stay tuned for lots of fun DIY projects to come!

XOXO,

Camilla

DIY Wine Rack (Riddling Rack)

diy wine rack

UPDATE: Instructions and diagrams for building your own DIY wine rack are here!

We still have family in town so things are still a bit crazy, but I’m taking a few minutes to tell you about the awesome Christmas present my husband made for me. I love getting handmade gifts — the thought and effort behind them make them so meaningful.

I had wanted a way to store wine for a while and I had been trolling Craigslist for wine cabinets, but the problem was, we just didn’t have a good place to put a wine cabinet. Chris solved this problem by building a wine rack and mounting it to the wall. It took him a couple afternoons to build, sand, and finish it, and then he wrapped it and hung it up like this (sorry about the grainy pic):

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I got to tear the paper off on Christmas morning and reveal this beauty:

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This style of wine rack is called a riddling rack. It’s how wine bottles were stored when making sparkling wine — the wine bottles were turned and the angle increased every day, although nowadays few winemakers do this manually anymore.

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Chris made this out of redwood fence pickets that he cut, nailed, and sanded. He finished it off with his own homemade Danish oil mixture (1 part oil-based polyurethane, 1 part boiled linseed oil, and 1 part mineral spirits) which gave it a protective finish but kept the natural look of the wood.

It’s not perfect, and the bottles sometimes hang at slightly different angles because of the different bottle shapes, but it works, and I really like it. It is hung on the wall near the “bar” area (although we only have whiskey right now).

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I experimented with moving the “bar” table under the wine but it made the sofa seem lopsided on that wall, so I went with it as is. And we finally hung some art and our wooden masks from around the world in that corner.

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Chris has promised that he will walk me through the tutorial on how to make this riddling rack soon…so stay tuned for that!

UPDATE: Instructions are here!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas/winter holiday. We didn’t host any big events this year…only Christmas breakfast, so I kept things simple:

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Just a red and white runner, some mercury glass votives, and my everyday white plates. It was a beautiful morning and the light coming in through the sliding glass door (that we recently installed) was lovely.

Lots more projects to work on in 2014!

Sharing at Remodelaholic, ThriftyDecorChick and TatertotsandJello!

DIY Glitter Monogram Ornament

I was doing some Christmas shopping the other day at the mall and I saw these cute glitter monogram ornaments — I thought they would be an easy thing to recreate at home. Speaking of Christmas shopping, I picked up a BUNCH of super cute Jonathan Adler stuff from JCPenney on clearance at 50-75% off today! I did buy myself a little something but got a few gifts for friends as well. I love that feeling when you get a great deal! Go get yourself something cute from his Happy Chic line at JCP before they’re all sold out!

monogram ornament

So this ornament. Super easy to do with just a few materials from the craft store. I bought these wood letters from Michaels at about $1.50 each. I used some Mod Podge, gold paint, and glitter that I already had on hand for a frugal but pretty project. These monogram ornaments would be a sweet host/hostess gift or pre-Christmas present too.

The cast of characters: Martha Stewart’s Specialty Finish in Vintage Gold from Home Depot (or any gold craft paint), Mod Podge, Glitter, a paintbrush (a 1/2″ chip brush works well), wooden letters, sandpaper, and a power drill.

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Drill a hole in the corner of the wooden letter using a power drill. Then sand the wood lightly to remove any rough spots.

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Paint a coat of gold paint on the wooden letter.

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Allow the paint to dry (about 30 minutes). Important: prop the wooden letter up on something so that the paint doesn’t make it stick to the paper. I used some…chocolate that I had lying around.

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When it’s dry (about 30 minutes) the paint is shiny and beautiful. But it only gets better.

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Paint on a thin, even layer of Mod Podge over the whole letter.

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Prop it up again on some chocolate 😉 so the Mod Podge doesn’t stick to the paper as it dries. Then sprinkle, sprinkle, sprinkle, glitter to your heart’s content.

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Try to cover the letter evenly. But don’t worry about any white parts that might still show through — the Mod Podge will dry clear, and the gold paint underneath will camouflage any thin areas. Let it dry until the Mod Podge is clear and dry (about an hour).

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Tap off any excess glitter (you can pour it back into the bottle of glitter for next time). Thread a ribbon or string through the hole and tie a loop (I find it helps to put a piece of tape on the end of the string before pushing it through the hole to help it go through without fraying). And you’re done!

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It’s a super easy project that requires next to no artistic skill! This DIY glitter monogram ornament takes very little hands-on time — you just need a safe place to put it as it dries. Make a few for your family and friends!

monogram ornament

 

Don’t forget to check out my other Christmas crafts!

Holiday Crafts

 

DIY Christmas Tree Skirt

Festive Holiday Wreath

Peace and Joy Banner

Have an awesome holiday season!

Sharing at SavvySouthernStyle and TheBlissfulBee!

Upcycled Tea Canister Gift Box

Here’s a quick little craft I worked on today during Baby Brownie’s nap.

upcycled tea canister

It’s just a pretty gift box that you could fill with candy, small toys, crayons, LEGO, artisanal soaps/bath bombs, special ornaments, etc…

I had this old tea canister and was going to throw it away…

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But it was so sturdy and such a nice little tin that I wanted to reuse it in some way.

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I cut some scrapbooking paper to fit the sides and glued it on with a simple glue stick. I added a few dots of hot glue along the corners just to make sure it was really stuck on there.

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Then I used my handy scrapbooking materials to add some decorations. I added some fabric tape, and a chalkboard label that I stuck on some white cardstock and then cut out. Then I stuck the label on using some foam squares to make it more 3-dimensional.

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I cut out a piece of glittery green cardstock to fit the lid and glued it on. And I added two little stars I punched out of cardstock with a craft hole puncher.

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I wrote my giftee’s name on the label using a chalk pen (she can erase it and reuse the tin for anything, writing the contents on the label), and filled it with chocolate.

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That’s a cute little semi-handmade present that would be perfect for a teacher, neighbor, or friend. You could fill it with anything…stickers, candy canes, homemade caramels, even (gasp) tea!

Festive Holiday Wreath

It’s December! Which means it is time for peppermint hot chocolate, fuzzy slippers, twinkling lights, and cozifying! This is such a beautiful time of year with so much inspiration — I only wish we could capture that feeling of creativity throughout the rest of the year.

Our home is getting cozier and cozier. Last week we installed a heat pump to replace our 40+ year-old electric furnace, which means that now we have affordable heat for the winter! Chris has added rigid foam insulation to most of the exterior walls, which means that the heat stays inside MUCH more than before. We have our Christmas tree up and we’ve had a few wood-burning fires in the fireplace, and I’m starting to get serious with decorating and crafting! There’s less than a month till the big 24, so there’s lots to do!

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I made this simple wreath from a craft store grapevine wreath form, and some ribbon and shiny plastic balls from the dollar store. Anyone can make this wreath with some inexpensive materials, a glue gun, and an extra half-hour. I hung mine on top of a chalkboard that we have in our kitchen and wrote “Tis the Season” inside the wreath.

I love the earthy texture of the grapevine contrasting with the glamorous shiny ornaments. And I’m still in the midst of my love affair with navy =).

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Materials

Small grapevine wreath ($3)
Two colors ribbon, about 2 yrds each ($2)
Shiny plastic ornaments, mini and small sizes ($3)
Glue gun and glue

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1. Wrap the two ribbons around the wreath form, overlapping with each other. Secure ends on the back of the wreath where they won’t be seen, either by tying a knot or by gluing with the hot glue gun. Cut off excess ribbon.

2. Tie a bow with the two remaining pieces of overlapping ribbons (just a simple regular bow, nothing fancy). Hot glue it to the wreath form.

3. Snip off any hanging string from the ornaments and glue them on the wreath, arranging them as you see fit. It looks nice if you alternate using larger and smaller balls. You can remove any ornaments carefully by peeling off the glue after it has dried. When you’ve arranged the ornaments to your satisfaction, add extra glue to secure them.

4. Tie a loop of ribbon at the top of the wreath to hang it. Tadaa, you’re done!

You can use any extra ornaments on your tree and extra ribbon for tying up presents, so this project really comes in at less than the $8 upfront cost. Simple and easy, just the way I like it!

Check out these other holiday crafts!

Holiday Crafts

Peace and Joy Bunting

DIY Christmas Tree Skirt

What holiday crafts are you working on this December?

Sharing at SavvvySouthernStyle and TheBlissfulBee!

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