Category Archives: DIY Projects

Going Girly for Anna

Once upon a time Charlie’s room was well decorated and super cute. Since Charlie moved in with Sofia and his old room became Anna’s nursery, the decor has gradually disintegrated into not so super cute. Read: messy, ugly, disorganized, and not at all suited to a baby girl.

2016-09-09-18-07-02

I don’t feel like spending the kind of time, energy, and money I put into Charlie and Sofia’s bedroom makeover, sorry Anna, so I am going for low cost, big impact, DIY projects. Under the reign of Charlie the room was blue and white with yellow-green accents. I haven’t stopped liking those design elements and eventually the bedroom will revert ownership back to Charlie so I don’t want to do anything too permanent.

Between my sewing machine and a bottle of spray paint I am in the progress of girlifying the room for Anna. That is, exchanging the yellow-green accents for hot pink. FYI, I find pink a terrifying colour to work with. It will probably be the most wild room I have created thus far and at this point I am slightly dubious about the results but excited about my list of simple DIY projects. Here is an idea board with bits and pieces of my inspiration. Wish me luck!

ob-annas-room

Leave a Comment

Filed under Decorating Projects, DIY Projects, Interior Decorating, Uncategorized

Coping with Camping

Every summer we go camping with my in-laws. This summer we are trying out a longer stint. Six nights! (I’m going to try to negotiate it down to five). Camping with children is a mix of chaotic fun, tired shit fits, happy laughter, and anxiety attacks (on my part).

I have a wonderful time during the day splashing around the lake, reading stories at the campsite, and munching on cheesies at the beach. However, at nighttime a veil of anxiety begins to descend on me as it gets closer to bedtime. Firstly, anxiety about getting the kids to go to sleep; secondly, anxiety about waking them up when it is time for me to hit the hay; thirdly, anxiety about waking them up during the night when I have to get out of the tent to use the bathroom (I’ve had three kids, it’s inevitable that I get up many times per night).

This summer I began feeling anxious about our camping trip over a month in advance (it will be Anna’s first time in a tent. We slept in a hotel last summer). Anticipating the panic attacks I asked my doctor to prescribe me meds for acute anxiety because honestly, I’m not very pleasant to be around when I’m experiencing extreme anxiety.

The best, non medicated way, I can think of to cope with camping related anxiety is to glamp. Yes, I’m sure you’ve heard of glamping (glam + camping), which is not actually camping according to my hubby. However, shock of shockers, I’ve been able to convince my husband that the solution to my annual anxiety fest is to buy a second-hand RV. The only condition is that I pay for it myself. For reference, he’s not being stingy, just practical. We need to start saving up our tax returns and any extras from his income for a van.

Thankfully, I have started making custom headboards again along with beginning my interior decorating business and have actually been making some money to put into our special new “Vacation” savings account. You can get a pretty “rad” 1970’s RV for under $6000 and I’m keen to rehab the interior myself after seeing some awesome RV renos (see below). It won’t be this summer but fingers crossed that next summer while the rest of my fam is roughing it in a tent I’ll be tucked away in an RV with a bathroom at my disposal! I see many happy vacations in our future!

 

trailerreno

Winnibegoredo

retrocaravan

renovatedwinnie

Airstream Before

Airstream Before

Airstream After

Airstream After

Airstream Before

aistreamafter

Leave a Comment

Filed under DIY Projects, Eye Candy, From the Heart: Thoughts on Life and Family

Tweaking the Builder’s Basic Kitchen

Remember months ago when I couldn’t stop talking about kitchens and kept promising to show you pictures of my renovation? Well the time has come! Everything is finished and I finally had the time to do a little photo shoot. Hurray for hubby being on vacation!

I started working on my kitchen almost exactly a year ago when Anna was a mere three months old. I don’t know what induced me to take on re-finishing my cabinets at this stage, perhaps a fatigue induced mania, but the end result was well worth any stress it caused. Though, FYI, don’t paint your cabinets during a humid summer if you don’t have air conditioning, the paint won’t set properly and you’ll have to do it again!

Before:

2015-07-25 09.53.11

The white and grey cabinets and sleek new knobs were a vast improvement over the previous blonde wood cabinets and builder’s basic pulls. So much so that the beige counters and cheap ceramic back splash looked ten times worse. Here it is after just painting the cabinets (this shows the original lower cabinet colour. It was too purple so I painted them a second time with a more charcoal grey):

2015-08-17 20.23.49

Notice at the forefront of the picture the bar height portion of the island. It caused a visual disconnect between the kitchen and the play room and served as nothing more than a drop spot for junk (as seen!).

Thank goodness for tax returns! We were able to replace the back splash and counters this Spring and Voila! Here is how it looks now:

IMG_4903.

IMG_4909

IMG_4846

The kids love that these Ikea stools can spin around! Hazardous for a baby who is still crawling and likes to be close to her siblings!

IMG_4694

Vase and Cutting board from Walmart. Hexagon Penny Tile tile from Ames Tile.

Forever ago I mentioned how I had planned a slightly innovative use of the empty space above the upper cabinets. For a mother’s day present I had my hubby build planter boxes so that we could grow herbs in our kitchen and make use of this otherwise annoying and useless gap between the cabinets and ceiling. Maintenance is not my strong suit so Steve also ordered grow lights and a watering system for the herb garden. Now if you walk by our home at night you will see a purple glow emitting from our kitchen windows. No, we do not have a grow op.  I love this idea and the aesthetics but even with the lights and watering system I have been killing a lot of herbs. I’m still hoping to figure out how to keep them from keeling over but I may end up replacing the herbs with something hardier

IMG_4764

IMG_4709

Votive holder from Premium Olive Wood on Etsy.

 

IMG_4887

“Lord give me coffee to change the things I can change & wine to accept the things I can’t” Print from Twinkle Me Designs on Etsy; Picture frame from Michaels; Tray from Lowes; Crystal vase from Safeway.

 

IMG_4895

I added some cute herb prints from Beach House Gallery on Etsy to beautify the bulk head containing the vent above the stove. Picture frames from Ikea.

IMG_4840

IMG_4906

The kitchen feels twice as big without the bar height counter and now I can actually watch the kids while they play (and see who hits who first!). We also use this space twice as much now that we have a place to sit at the counter. The kids eat their breakfast and lunch in the kitchen and love to colour or paint when I am cooking or cleaning. It sounds cliche but this renovation has truly enhanced the way we live our life as a family in this home.

IMG_4947

IMG_4860

IMG_4980

Anna thoroughly enjoyed the chocolate cake I made for staging purposes.

I adore the final look and those in my complex with the exact same kitchen can attest to what a difference a few well place tweaks have made to this builders basic kitchen. I have to admit though, this reno probably isn’t done.  I like the colour of the lower cabinets but it got banged up when the guys were installing the counters so they need to be touched up. So why not try a whole new colour? I’m considering navy blue. I’ll test it out on one door and see how I like it but not until after Christmas. I used monomal paint from Sherwin Williams to paint the cabinets and though it has been hardy enough for my bathroom cabinets, it is not standing up to the constant wear and tear the kitchen receives.  I’ve officially requested that my hubby buy me a proper furniture spray painting machine thingy for Christmas so that I can give the cabinets a proper finish.

The counters and back splash however…perfection! Thanks again to Daniela at Counters and Decor for sourcing materials and coordinating all the trades for this renovation. I couldn’t have got it done without your dedication and hard work!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Decorating Projects, DIY Projects, Uncategorized

Dreams Come True and Dining Room Reveal

I have had little time for blogging this week because my two eldest have been little monsters and I’ve had to take away Netflix privileges (little do they realize this is more a punishment for mommy than them!). I am stealing this bit of time while they are at preschool and Anna is napping to finally sit down at my computer and catch up.

A few exciting things have happened this week among the chaos of parenting, namely Apartment Therapy published an article on the re-decorating I did in Charlie and Sofia’s room. I enjoyed a few hours of fame on their front page before the next “just in” came through and I was shoved into cyber space 🙂 Here is a link if you are interested: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/a-diy-shared-bedroom-space-for-two-kiddos-complete-with-closet-play-loft-231692

Having Apartment Therapy post my kid’s room was a dream come true. Another dream that is in the process of coming true is having my own decorating business. I have officially been approved for my new name (Fabrictherapy is a bit too narrow a name though I loathe to depart from my roots). Hopefully sometime in the next few weeks I will be launching my website for “The Best Nest”. Cute right? Do you get the reference?

And since I’m home alone I finally had a chance to take some pictures of my new dining room. “New” as in I re-decorated it a year ago but had a baby at the same time so I never showed it to you.

A before with our old dining set, paint, mirror and light:

100_1684

I’m a fan of a neutral envelope with pops of colour but before the dining room was beige on white on beige on falling apart dining furniture. I kept my plate wall which is a favorite element of mine but added pops of colour by having the drum shade re-finished with blue slubbed silk and a banquette custom made with kid friendly navy faux leather (FYI, not so cat claw friendly). I also made funky new covers for my Craigslist find, Chinese Chippendale chairs (do you remember their previous lime green corduroy covers?). The dining table we had custom made by Lalji home. Having the pedestal base rather than legs at four corners makes it way more comfortable for jamming people around the table when we have guests over.

IMG_4420

IMG_4443

IMG_4452

I love, love, love our new dining room and how it now relates to the rest of our house and I’m so happy to (finally) share it with you!

Source List:

Dining table: custom from Lalji home

Dining Chairs: chairs vintage, fabric from Fabricana, foam from the Foam Shop

Light fixture: Home Depot, recovering of drum shade done by The Victoria Lampshade Shop

Banquette: custom design, faux leather from J.Ennis, made by the Quality Sofa Makers,

Paint colour: Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore

Mirror: vintage

 

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under At home, Decorating Projects, DIY Projects, Eye Candy

The Statement Headboard

Every room needs a focal point. Unless you have a fancy pants bedroom with a masterful fireplace and/or stunning view, the default focal point for the bedroom is most often the bed. My favorite way to draw your eye towards the bed is a statement headboard. I used to make custom headboards and I always bemoaned the fact that people seemed to always choose solid, neutral fabrics. Boring! Okay, a neutral headboard has its place, but pattern is so much more fun. Here are some rooms that go bold with gorgeous, patterned headboards:

headboardblack

With this room you keep the neutral feel but add some oomph with this black floral headboard.

headboardgreencirlce

Now that’s a statement!

headboardgreentall

The dark wall behind this bed makes the gorgeous fabric of the headboard stand out even better. So pretty!

headboardredfloral

Headboards like this are a super simple DIY.

headboardblue

headboardblue2

headboardbrightblue

headboardgreen

headboardpink

headboardredpagoda

headboardredrobertallen

All you need is a staple gun and an inexpensive jig-saw to DIY this style headboard.

headboardskellygreen

Okay, so this one isn’t patterned but it is kelly green which is statement enough!

So pretty! One of the rooms I look forward to decorating most is the bedroom because there are so many places to use fabric. Headboards, throw pillows, blankets, curtains, it’s a fabric extravaganza!

I’m working slowly towards opening my own small interior decorating business (under a different name than Fabrictherapy (!)). It turns out that all the nitty gritty details of starting a business start to add up in terms of cost so I am digging “Shebajoux Custom Headboards” up from the grave for a bit to try to raise some funds for my business license and such. Here is the posting on Craigslist if you are interested: https://vancouver.craigslist.ca/bnc/fuo/5580461512.html

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under DIY Projects, Eye Candy

A Playful Shared Bedroom

Not too long ago I decorated Sofia’s room and was very happy with the soft, pretty appearance I created for her. However, it was by no means gender neutral and with the advent of Anna, the need for Charlie and Sofia to share a room arose.

Steve and I shared our bedroom with little Anna for the first eight or nine months of her life in a desperate attempt to avoid putting Charlie and Sofia in the same room (Charlie is an excellent sleeper, Sofia, not so much). Around Christmas time my sister gave me a talking to and told me that I needed to be excited about them moving in together because if I wasn’t, they wouldn’t be. How did I get myself excited? By re-decorating of course!

The budget for this room was pretty much nil so I relied on my sewing machine, paint, and some DIY art to bring the room to life. My mother’s day wish was that I would have time to stage and photograph Sofia and Charlie’s new shared room. Wish granted. Thank you husband!

First, a before of Sofia’s girly decor:

sofiasroom

For the new decor I departed from the fairly neutral overall scheme of our house and went wild with aqua and pops of red.

IMG_4273

FYI, Walmart has the cutest and least expensive lamps, like this red one here.

IMG_4283

Curtains, bed, red pillows, Ikea; Faux fur pillow fabric, Fabricana; Fox print and zig zag prints fabric, Fabric.com; Cellular shades, Canadian Blind Manufacturing Inc.; Drawer knobs, Anthropologie; Side table, Home Outfitters; Toy storage bin, Homesense.

I sweet talked Steve into replacing the seldom used closet with a loft space.

I sweet talked Steve into replacing the seldom used closet with a loft space. Now looking at the picture I’m thinking it is a bit too red. I might paint the ladder and front of the loft cloud white to lighten it up.

I gave these inexpensive Ikea curtains some pizazz with a red and white zig zag trim to match the homemade window cornice.

I gave these inexpensive Ikea curtains some pizazz with a red and white zig zag trim to match the homemade window cornice.

A collection of mismatched Value Village pictures frames are unified with red paint and filled with DIY art.

A collection of mismatched Value Village pictures frames are unified with red paint and filled with DIY art. And wow, really could have hung those pictures straighter. Quilt by Grandma LaRoy.

It is a tight squeeze but we make it work. I'll keep Charlie in a crib until he's ten if it means he won't wake us up at night.

It is a tight squeeze but we make it work. I’ll keep Charlie in a crib until he’s ten if it means he won’t wake us up at night.

This is how Charlie gets into his crib.

This is how Charlie gets into his crib.

My favorite part of this room is the gallery wall. Not because I think my drawings are so fantastic or because the frames only cost $20 total, but because the pictures tell a story. You see one night Sofia asked me to “tell them a story with my mouth” and so I made up a tale about an orphan brother and sister, Barley and Bofia, who went into a cave and found a secret underground land of talking dinosaurs where they met a family of triceratops who adopted them. It was a hit and they have been asking for Barley and Bofia stories every night for two months since. If I knew that it was going to turn into such an epic series I probably would have chosen better names! I love coming into the room and catching the kids just standing there, staring at the pictures which feature different characters from the stories.

I think the kids probably like the addition of the loft best (what kid wouldn’t?). We have dubbed the lower section Charlie’s “man cave” and the loft portion, Sofia’s “lady loft”. They’ve ended up sharing both spaces and overall the transition from separate rooms to a shared room has been a good one. They are constantly fighting but they are also the best of friends and I am thankful that their sharing a space has contributed to this.

I used to do more DIY posts with instructions but there are so many good ones out there already so I’ve included some links to tutorials for how to do some of the projects I took on for this room: the closet loft, curtain trim, fabric window cornice, fitted sheet (in loft).

Hope you enjoyed the pictures! Next up is giving Charlie’s old room some girly flair to suit my Anna baby!

4 Comments

Filed under At home, DIY Projects, Uncategorized

The Bucket List

Have you seen the movie The Bucket List? Hilarious, no? Though I’m neither advanced in years nor dying I’ve started adding things to my own bucket list, though it may more aptly be called the things-to-do-once-the-kids-are-older-and-I’m-less-exhausted list. There is nothing particularly poignant on my list as of yet. So far it looks something like this:

– Spend a week  at the stunningly decorated Gilded Hotel in Newport Beach and enjoy breakfast tapas (Seriously, check out the link. The decor, as well as the food, are worth drooling over)

– Go shopping for vintage and antique decor items in Toronto and meet Sarah Richardson while I’m at it

– Hike the Chilkoot Trail

– Go on a child-free girls trip with my mom and sister

– Get one of my designs published in a magazine (on-line or print, I’m not picky!)

Most recently I have added a more here-and-now attainable goal to my bucket list: take a painting class. Yesterday afternoon I had a rare hour to myself so I brought out my paints and a large canvas and painted an abstract painting to fill the void on the wall above my new dining banquette. Is it amazing? No. But the process was exhilarating. I loved mixing the colours, getting dirty, and experimenting with techniques. When an activity makes you feel that good, regardless of how the end product turns out, it is worth investing some time in. And why not spend some of that time learning how to do it better? I’m out of luck for classes this summer but I’m hoping to take a weekend course on working with acrylic paints in the Fall.

My main goal with the painting was to add some more colour to my dining area and regardless of skill level, this painting certainly does that:

IMG_3651

 

IMG_3654

Do you have a bucket list? Why wait, is there anything you can check off this summer?

Leave a Comment

Filed under At home, DIY Projects, Uncategorized

The Accessorized Elephant

The last few months have been a busy time of growing and creating. My body has been busy growing this little piece of heaven:

Anna Kathleen LaRoy. Born May 1.

Anna Kathleen LaRoy, born May 1, 2015.

and my hands have been busy decorating.  I spent my last few months of freedom (that is, having only two children), picking out fabrics, sewing pillows, hemming curtains, and DIYing art for friends and family.

I was delighted when my sister-in-law invited me to help create a “big boy room” for my four-year-old nephew. In the distant blogging past I was brainstorming how to artfully (and cheaply) address a large blank wall above his bed, what I called “the elephant in the room“.  We decided to go with one of the most simple ideas, using pictures from children’s books as artwork. Picture frames can get expensive so we decided to mount the pictures on white card stock and hang them from gross grain ribbon with clothespins.   Super heroes are among my nephew’s favorite things so I headed to Value Village to pick up a couple second-hand books which cost a whopping $1.50. The ribbon cost about $5.00 and I imagine my sister-in-law picked up the paper clips for a couple dollars. Accessorizing a whole “elephant” for under $10. Not bad.

IMG_3648

The card stock acts as a nice frame for the pictures and adds substance to the thin book pages. If you decide to DIY a project like this I highly recommend using a paper craft trimmer for cutting out the pictures and card stock so you have a perfectly straight line lest the art take on a ghetto appearance.  Cutting the pictures to different sizes adds visual interest and allows you to crop out the words.

The big boy room conversion also included painting walls, buying new bedding and accessories, as well as adding some better lighting.  My sister-in-law picked out a stellar grey and white comforter and we worked from there, adding large doses of navy and some orange accents. Convincing my sister-in-law to paint a wall some colour other than a shade of grey was a hard sell, but as you can see, the wall behind the artwork is a gorgeous navy and guess what? She loves it! Here are some before and after pics.

11059923_10155634308440191_2781403903646768327_n

Before

 

IMG_3637

After. I happened to have an orange pouffe sitting in my son’s closet from when I changed his accent colour from orange to green. Score. More closet room for diapers, free pouffe for my nephew…an excellent launching pad for jumpy children.

(In  a perfect world where little children don’t have grabby little fingers we would have done a third row of pictures lower down since odd numbers always look best; but…)

11110976_10155634308350191_3521262148000601768_n

Before

I bought his gorgeous lamp base from Value Village for $7 and gave it a boost with a coat of orange paint and a new shade.

After. I bought his gorgeous lamp base from Value Village for $7 and gave it a boost with a coat of orange paint and a new shade. Adding some navy ribbon to the shade was an easy way of adding some additional pizazz.

All in all a successful project that we are all pleased with. It’s amazing what you can accomplish on a limited budget. I always enjoy the challenge of finding creative ways to stretch a dollar. Thanks Di for trusting me and giving me a space to flex my decor muscles!

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under Decorating Projects, DIY Projects

Fun and Funky Alternative Christmas Trees

Next Saturday my little family will be bundling up against the (likely rainy) weather and heading to a Christmas tree farm for the second year in a row. This year will be extra fun and crazy as Charlie will be tramping around on his own two feet. However, if I find the creative energy earlier this week, I will be adorning our little playroom  with an alternative Christmas tree of its own.

I had a great time typing random ideas for alternative Christmas trees into Google images and never once failing to find that such a tree has already been created. My favorite, the one I plan on re-creating in mini version for our playroom, is one of the most simple:

papertreecasasugar

I find Christmas decor can be a bit overly colourful at times so I like the idea of holiday decorating with a bit of white. I’m hoping it’s not overly difficult. The instructions can be found here on Pop Sugar. The directions are somewhat lacking so if I make one I’ll try to write out a step by step and post it.

Here are some other alternative Christmas ideas that struck my fancy. Even if crafting isn’t your thing, some of them are quite simple, like the bay leaf tree below.

As simple as spray painting a bunch of bay leafs and gluing them on a cone.

As simple as spray painting a bunch of bay leafs and gluing them on a cone.

I had mixed feelings about this next one but its fun factor won me over.

umbrellachristmastree

Parents of young children will cringe when they see this next alternative but it’s a cool idea for a Bachelor, especially if he happens to have an industrial loft.

christmastreeladderintheloop

One of my favorite bloggers to read is Kate from Kate’s Creative Space. She is an extraordinary crafter/mother/decorator and I adore how she turned this mannequin into a “Christmas tree” for her kitchen.

kate'sfirladytreeAnother alternative that I could see my children trying to scale but is beautiful none-the-less.

walltree

And at the risk of giving your children the wrong idea about Christmas:

presenttree

So unless you happen to be a master metal worker this next one isn’t exactly a DIY project. You can buy it online here.

metalchrstmastree

One idea I love and could not find a picture of is using painted thrift store china plates to make a wall Christmas tree, not unlike the one made from shelves a couple pictures above. I already have my wall of china (see below) so I won’t be experimenting with this one myself but if anyone happens to come across such a picture please do post it in the comments.

We tried out our "new" dining room on some friends for a dinner party.

Have you come up with any of your own fabulous ideas for alternative Christmas trees? Please do share!

Leave a Comment

Filed under DIY Projects, Eye Candy, Uncategorized

Modern Patchwork Pretty

Patchwork? Modern? It might seem like a clash of words in your mind. Patchwork is more commonly seen and associated with country design like in the cozy living room shown below.

Cute. But not everyone's cup of tea, especially if you live are a city dweller.

Cute. But not everyone’s cup of tea, especially if you are a city dweller. Picture via

Because patchwork by it’s very nature is busy looking it fits well with country design where patterns tend to be a bit fussier. In fact, to call any design involving patchwork “modern” is a bit of a misnomer since modern design should be more minimalistic.  I say this mostly as a disclaimer in case my decor instructor ever reads this and thinks I’ve learned nothing. So let’s just say I’m looking at a more modern take on patchwork.

I essentially love patchwork because I love fabric (hence the name of this site) and with patchwork you get to enjoy a plethora of gorgeous fabrics in one object. It also opens up great options for using up scraps of fabric…which I happen to have left over from my living room pillows, my dining room shade, my chair slip covers…etc. I haven’t been able to find an appropriate table runner for my dining room table and I decided that a combination of these scraps would make a patchwork pretty table topper.

This West Elm pillow convinced me that I could take a more modern approach to patchwork which would suit the considerably not country style of my home.

patchworkpillowestelmI haven’t made the table runner yet. That’s another post for another day but now that I’m in my second trimester I’m beginning to find the energy to get off my butt. My hands are starting to itch and once little Charlie gets over his cold I’m hoping to get to some sewing. For now I just have some gorgeous pictures of how patchwork can be used beautifully in modern interiors.

It would be quite the commitment but wow!

It would be quite the commitment but wow!

ab1faa9005b72a5079b5ca814b59fc54

Patchwork isn't limited to fabric.

Patchwork isn’t limited to fabric. Picture via

patchworkpillow1

There’s a variety of gorgeous patchwork pillows for sale on Etsy like this cutie.

This couch has to be my favorite. I bet it costs a pretty penny.

This couch has to be my favorite. I bet it costs a pretty penny.

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under At home, DIY Projects, Eye Candy, Uncategorized