Friday, 14 October 2016

Coffee and Tea Fabric Dying

Hello there!

A couple of weeks back, when I was planning new pillow covers for the living room, I was hoping to introduce a striped pattern.  You see, as much as I love our quatrefoil patterned draperies, I struggle with what other geometric patterns I can use in the room.  I settled on a stripe as it is a fairly nuetral pattern.  When I was searching for the right stripe I was feeling a little guilty as I have a striped fabric in my stash.

However, it is a white and grey stripe and a little harsh for this room, which really needed a cream and grey stripe.  In the hopes of saving some money I tested a  few scraps of fabric, with some coffee and tea dying.   The just coffee scrap was a little too dark, and the just tea scrap was a little too red.

But the scrap that I soaked in both coffee and tea, was just perfect!  The photos above shows a piece of dyed and un-dyed fabric.

After soaking, I washed, dried and ironed the fabric prior to using it for sewing.

I then whipped up this super quick and easy pillow cover using this process.

All in all, it turned out great and saved me a bit of money and saved Ian the agony of waiting for me to scour the fabric store, yet again!

Have a good one friends!
Ian and Laura

Monday, 10 October 2016

Fall Home Decor Accents

Hi there!

I spent a bit (a very little bit) of time adding a few hints of Fall decor to our living room and dining room and thought I would share.  I was not really ready to say good bye to summer this year, and delayed embracing Fall, in fact we haven't even done any of our usual Fall activities.  However, the changing of the leaves and cool nights are big hints that it is time to embrace the joys of Autumn.

I pulled the tray off of our coffee table in the living room and filled it with the Drop Cloth Pumpkins 
that I made last year, some greenery and a candle tucked under a cloche and resting on top of a wood slice.

I wrapped the candle with some burlap and a piece of scrapbooking paper. I love the added texture it gives.

Gathering a few things from around the house and making a compact vignette is completely meshing with my non fussy decor sentiment for this home.  And it is super easy to move out of the way when we sit for dinner.

I found these stems of cotton at Homesense and could not resist bringing them home.

They remind me of the year my family lived in Georgia.

I also swapped out the throw pillow covers in the living room.   I picked up the grey ones on Amazon.

The green Ikat covers were revamped from covers I made last January (12 Easy Peasy Steps to Sewing a Throw Pillow Cover) to house new square inserts.

Ian has wanted a wool Hudson's Bay blanket for many years.  They are pretty pricey.  And honestly I couldn't see the traditional Hudson's Bay red, blue, yellow and green stripes working into our decor - in any main room at least.

Then we discovered their new "millennium" colour scheme in cream and grey tones! 

And found it for a great deal - so of course, it needed to come home with us!  The Mr. is happy!

Since our coffee table / basket / trunk was naked (because I moved the tray to the dining room) I draped it with a green plaid fabric that feels like Fall picnics.

And topped it with my green ceramic pumpkin! 

Of course my ever present (and growing) stack of magazines is resting beside it. Can you believe the Christmas issues are already starting to come out!

The chair across the room, got a new striped pillow.

The gingham chairs also got new grey pillow covers to replace the cream and green covers (Easy Throw Pillow Covers) that usually adorn them.  They are actually a super soft corduroy and definitely feel like Fall.  Miss Ruby Tuesday approves of the new look!

I think that is going to be all we do to ease into Fall around here, with the exception of lots of Fall cooking!

Thanks so much for visiting today!

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Deck Modification Phase 5 | Decor and Lighting

Hi there!  We are back with a bit more to share about our deck makeover.


When we left off sharing about our deck makeover, we mentioned that we still had to contend with skirting, lighting and decor.

Since it is nearing the end of the season, we kept things fairly simple as far as decor is concerned for this year.  Just a small seating area and a few potted plants.  We added some toss cushions in bright colours to brighten things up, since our furniture is neutral.

We also added a couple of chairs by the hot tub to catch towels and wet butts, that need to cool off.  We have discovered that we will need to add a gate of some sort in this area, to keep our puppy from jumping into the tub and standing on the control panel!

We are loving the open airy feeling of this area now, and with the addition of the little inexpensive table, we have used this space a whole lot more than we had previously.

It is a great space to sit and watch the woods behind us.

We pulled our barn star that hung in our entry way outside and gave it a coat of spray paint that looks like galvanized metal.  It is perfect for filling up the large space over the barbecue and is not at risk of getting damaged from any heat coming off of it.

We can now say we are almost done!  We have to still add the metal grid at the hand rails, but they are safe for now so this will likely wait until the spring.

We also need to finish skirting the entire deck.

You can see how we have begun this process along the right side of the deck.  We love the look and will be working our way around the deck and under the sun room, adding in an access door so we can store a few things under there and get to wires and pipes.

Again, this is another project that will likely wait until the spring, since Ian is now back at work.

We also added in some lighting along our stairs.  It is dark, dark, dark here at night and running in and out to the campfire was pretty scary for me since I have a visual impairment.  He have some lights hanging around the eaves but the stairs were still pretty dark.

We found these lights at Home Depot and Ian installed them one weekend a few weeks back.

You will have to excuse these photos as they were taken with my IPhone, but you get the idea!

They were really easy to install, requiring first a 1 inch hole to be drilled through the riser of the step.  The kit actually came with a drill bit but it was really cheap and Ian tossed it right away, opting for one he already owned.

After measuring and marking each step in the same spot, he drilled the holes and inserted the little lights.

It didn't take long at all to get all of the lights inserted and the wires hooked up and plugged in under the deck.  It is a simple job, no "electrical" work needed.

 We switched them on to check them out, so pretty!

Ian plugged them in to our outlet that is run by a switch inside the house so they are super easy and convenient to operate.

And boy do they ever give off lots of light!

So much easier to see where we are going at night!

At this point, we are calling the outside work "finished" for this year and will return our focus to the inside.  We have to replace the flooring in our family room, so that will be a project we work on for the next while. It is also desperate for a coat of paint and the trim replaced.  Plus we are busy fixing up our house where Ian stays during the week to get it ready to sell, once he retires at the end of the year.

Thanks for visiting!
Ian and Laura

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Dining Table Refinishing

Hello and happy fall!

Our much loved dining room table has received a facelift and we would love to share it with you!  We had this table built over a dozen years ago, or so.  The top was made out of 100 year old barn board.  It is beautiful and sturdy and has stood the test of the 90 children that have called our place(s) home, many family parties, holiday dinners, crafting get togethers and a plethora of homework assignments.  It has earned a few scares over the years, but they just add to the patina.

Here is a "before" photo of our dining room which we shared with you last fall.   Over the last couple of years, we noticed that the varnish has "yellowed" making the table look more orange than it did in it's early years.  After talking about refinishing it for a while, Ian decided that the timing was right to work on it one week this past summer.

After taking the table apart he used a belt sander and palm sander to remove the old varnish from it.

It took two days of sanding and fussing over it to get it "naked".  As is often the case, I got the easy job of picking out the paint and stain colours!  You know the "glam" job! As in the job, where I don't stand outside in the heat, covered in saw dust and sweat with tingling hands!  I chose "soft chamois" from Benjamin Moore for the legs and skirt.

We wanted a high quality matte paint, for long life and wash-ability.  This is what they recommended at our local store. Ian says to tel you that it paints on really nice!

 We opted for for an exterior stain (read super durable for a table that is used daily and washed several times a day) in a warm soft grey.  This stain is tint-able in several colours, we chose "Georgetown Grey".

We also decided to give the top a coat of finishing wax, this adds an extra layer of protection and is a fairly quick and easy job to buff on a couple of times a year.

And I have to tell you that we are so in love with the way it turned out.  It is an amazing first step in getting this room looking how we envision it!

It is always a great feeling when things start to come together!  The products for this makeover cost just under $70.00. Not too shabby for a completely different look, and why I always recommend buying "real" wood pieces.  You can easily give them a second life, save money by not replacing them and not add to the land fills.

We are currently on the hunt for new chairs to match the "new" table.  We are thinking of keeping and repainting the two end chairs and adding chair pads of some sort.  Although, I would really like something wicker or upholstered.  We have chairs in mind to replace the back two chairs (which will be re-purposed elsewhere in our home), I am sourcing out the best price. And I am about halfway to convincing Ian that he can and should build me a bench that coordinates with the table to replace the two chairs at the foreground of this photo. Wish me luck!

And hey, thanks for visiting!
Ian and Laura

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Deck Modification Phase 4 | Hot Tub

When we last filled you in on our deck renovation, we had replaced the stairs and started building the extra section of decking to access the new hot tub.

Well as you can see we finished the little deck addition, so we now have safe entry into the hot tub.  We picked up a couple of little mesh chairs (perfect for wet bottoms and towels) at our local home store for only $12.50  piece. They weren't quiet what we had in mind, but it was hard to argue to price tag!

And that is pretty much where we left things for a couple of weeks while we entertained guests.

But Ian was really anxious to get going on the rest of the project. You will notice in the "before" photo above, the decking has large gaps.  They were treacherous to anyone sitting in a patio chair, more than one chair leg got sucked down there. So shortly after our guests left, he started working again.

He used a large reciprocating saw to cut down the old deck boards.  Which were not in fact deck boards or even pressure treated lumber. They were 2x6's!  Then he pulled out the boards, working on half of the deck at a time so that we still had access for us and our dogs.

Once all of the floor boards were out, he reinforced the deck by adding in more joists, so they they were 12 inches on centre instead of 24. He also added in some blocking as there wasn't any before.

Because we could only do half the deck at a time, we were also able to save a bit of money by buying 8' deck boards instead of 16 foot.  Plus we could bring them home ourselves and thus saving on delivery charges.

The planking / decking part went pretty quickly and before we knew it he was woring on the second half of the deck.

Following the same process as before, this picture makes me more than a little nervous!

And once again,he was at the decking phase, it takes a lot of time and sweat equity to get the this point, but it is so rewarding.  He keeps telling me he loves this stuff!

And wow, do we ever appreciate that we have no gaps to fall into anymore!

After the deck, he moved on to railings - safety first you know ;) We wanted a change for the balusters.  As you can see in this before photo (below), the existing railings and balusters really restricted our view. In fact the whole deck felt dark and heavy and enveloping.

 So we explored a few options and ended up coming up with this idea. We love the modern / farmhouse / industrial look they add to the deck. Plus they are so open and airy, it just FEELS better.

The only downside is that they are not galvanized, so we had to give them a clear coat of spray paint. But it was a super quick job.

Most of the posts you see are the existing posts, although Ian did add a couple of extra posts.We also maintained the original rim joists.  The only problem was that they were all covered in thirty year old varnish and stain. Yikes.  We used a belt sander to clean them up and then added a coat of  a brown paint on preservative.  This should help all of these pieces last quite a while longer and now they match the new decking!

We have used the deck so much this summer! It was definitely a great idea to stop working inside and move outside for the nice weather!

Next up is skirting, lighting and decor!  We may be in the home-stretch.  Although we are debating on whether or not to call it quits until the spring. We found out we need to replace the flooring in our 575 sq.ft. family room so we do need to move inside soon!

Thank you for visiting!
Ian and Laura

PS anyone want to guess how many screws we used?