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Simplifying Mantel

I’ve been busy doing a big January purge this last week, as I’m sure many of you are. I actually cleaned out my fridge for the first time in…well, let’s just say, WAY too long. I purged a bunch of clothes (mine and the baby’s), cleaned out one of the master bedroom closets (and we built shelves for it, which has given us a LOT more storage), cleaned out my pantry, and started clearing out space in the “attic/loft” storage area.

As part of this purging process, I’ve started to crave simpler decor. I mean, having lots of knick-knacks is nice but sometimes the best-looking house is just a minimal, neat one. So for example, in the family room I changed up the decor on the fireplace mantel to make it a bit more monochromatic and simple. This is how it looks now.


Whereas this is how it looked before:

roman shades

It’s quite a bit less busy now and more restful to the eyes.


I pared down my milk glass collection to just a few favorites.


I’m not a fan of fake flowers in general but these gold eucalyptus branches don’t even look like they’re TRYING to be real, so they’re ok (plus they were $1 a stem on clearance at Michaels).



As some of you may have noticed, we got a new chair. The “modern” wingback is from the IKEA as-is section marked down from $300 to $150. It was in great condition and we wanted a chair for that corner so we got it. After several parties where we had people sitting on the FLOOR in that corner we realized we needed to get a chair there.

It is definitely quite a bit darker than I would like, but with a toddler using this room as her playroom, it’s just safer and more practical. Crayon, pen and food stains practically disappear into the dark fabric. The family room is our “comfortable” room, not our “showcase” room haha. Plus I can always sew a slipcover for it someday if I decide I want to brave such a big project =). It is actually a really sturdy and comfy chair.

Chris is totally going to roll his eyes at me, but I’m thinking of switching up the pillow covers to keep them a little more consistent with each other in color. I might head over to Home Fabrics this afternoon to see what they have.

Do you feel an urge to purge in January? What have you been doing?

Sharing at Remodelaholic!

DIY Bed Frame Plans


After over a year, our DIY Bedframe continues to be one of my most popular posts, and finally I’m getting around to putting plans and dimensions up to help you build it.

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to be better about providing tutorials and plans when I promise them. I won’t always be able to provide detailed instructions for every project, but when I say I will, I should do so in a timely fashion. I’m finding myself playing catchup from last year’s projects, so please bear with me.

I’ve been pretty intimidated by Google Sketchup in the past but my patient husband is slowly teaching me so I’ll be able to create better and more accurate drawings. It is really an amazing program (and it’s free) that allows you to visualize something you’re building (even draw a 3D model of an entire room to scale).

Anyway, I’m sure you’re all eager to stop hearing me blather on and get to the good stuff.

The Bed that Chris Made

Step 1: Create inner frame

Bed frame 2 interior dimensions

The structure of the bed was created using an inner frame of 2×6″ and 2×4″ lumber (although in reality lumber measures 1 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ and 1 1/2″ by 3 1/2″, as reflected in the plans). The whole inner portion was put together using framing nails and a nail gun. Most of the nails were shot in from the ends. Some of the middle pieces had to be attached using nails fired in at an angle (toe-nailed).

Step 2: Attach outer frame

Bed frame 2 exterior dimensions

The outer frame pieces were attached to the inner frame using screws drilled through from the inner frame. You may need to adjust the measurements of the outer pieces based on how tightly the inner frame fit together, so you may want to hold off on cutting the side pieces until you’ve measured.

Feel free to adjust the height of the legs depending on how thick your mattress is and how high you want to be sleeping.

If you’re using a foam mattress, you’ll want to cut a piece of plywood or MDF to make a solid platform for the bed.


And that’s pretty much it! It’s a pretty simple design, so hopefully I was able to communicate how to do it.

Note: Please double check the measurements against your own mattress and adjust accordingly. We custom made this bed according to our IKEA king-size mattress, which may be slightly different from yours.

Sharing at DIYShowoff!




I <3 ranunculus.

This nook in the kitchen gets the most beautiful light in mid-afternoon. It’s the perfect place to have a cup of tea and do some writing (before the baby wakes up). Sometimes a $10 bouquet of flowers is just the thing to bring some beauty into your life.

Thanks for showing up and reading, friends. Hope you get some much needed peace and quiet after the holidays too.



Year in Review 2013


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 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!

spring 2

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


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.

summer 2

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 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


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!



Simple Peace and Joy Banner

Are you in full-on Christmas mode yet? I know it’s not Thanksgiving yet, but well, as a Canadian my Thanksgiving came in October so I feel totally free to embrace Christmas in earnest.


For some reason I haven’t been crafting much in the last couple of weeks. We’ve done a lot of other projects — painting the front door (pictures soon), installing a new furnace, insulating the house and sealing window frames, and spending time with family. Somehow crafting and decorating have gotten lost in the mix, which is why this project is awesome — it literally takes 15 minutes to do and is almost free.


I just cut up a brown paper shopping bag (this one is from the GAP) into little two-tailed flags. I glued on some silver chipboard letters I got from the dollar bin at Target.


Then I taped the flags to some red and white baker’s twine (also from the dollar bin at Target).


And I used washi tape to hang up the banner in the foyer. (Boy I wish that thermostat wasn’t there.)


Easy, peasy! Total budget: less than $2 (since I’ll be able to reuse the extra chipboard letters and baker’s twine).

Are you getting your holiday decorating on? What have you been crafting lately?

Sharing at TheBlissfulBee!

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