27 Feb 2013

The Last Great Penny

It's that time again! Pinterest Challenge time!

I was such a space cadet that I missed the Pinterest Challenge the last time around, so I was going to be sure to get my head in the game this time.  Actually, if we are being completely truthful (and this is a place for truth!), I did this project a couple of weeks ago and have been hanging onto it specifically for the Pinterest Challenge.

I was inspired by this keychain that I pinned a while back.

It's a dead link, so unfortunately I can't link back to the original source.  The description of the pin said to use pennies from your birth years, the year you met, the year your baby was born, etc. 

I was on the hunt for something manly to make Mr. Swell for Valentine's Day, and this seemed to totally fit the bill.  Plus...if you haven't heard, Canada has stopped production of the penny.  The penny was costing more than 1 cent to produce, so it was no longer worth it to have them in circulation.  A couple of weeks ago, stores stopped giving back pennies if you paid with cash - they now either round up or down to the next 5 cent increment (most round up....which annoys me!).   Anyhow, since pennies were going the way of the Dodo bird, I figured it was high time that I did a project with them.  

I really did want to drill holes in the pennies so that I could put them on a keychain, but after much researching, I realized that I did not have any of the correct tools to take on such a task.  I even searched the jewellery making aisles of Michael's to try and find a solution, but kept coming up empty.

I eventually gave up on the keychain idea, and instead decided to frame the pennies. 

Easy Penny Art

I dug through all of the change we had hanging around, and managed to come up with pennies from both of our birth years as well as the year we were married.

Penny birth year art

I glued each of the Pennies onto some brown craft paper, and then also glued on a red heart.  The heart is actually from one of our anniversary cards this year, so it has special meaning too.

Penny Art

I dug out an old frame that we had laying around that were weren't using and just popped the paper in it.  

Framed penny art

Easy peasy.  

DIY Penny Art

It was totally unintentional, but I love how the pennies have a bit of an ombre effect.  And I'll be honest, I was very, very tempted to paint the frame hot pink.  But since this was supposed to a manly gift I restrained myself.  One day maybe....

Easy DIY Penny Art.  Use a penny with each of your birth years and the year you were married.

Since I am a bit of a hoarder, I already had the paper, the frame and the old card, so in total I guess this art cost me 3 cents!  Don't worry...Mr. Swell got more than just 3 cent art for Valentine's Day.  

I'll be linking this project up at Young House Love, Bower Power, Decor and the Dog and The Remodeled Life.

p.s. from the comments on last week's post, it sounds like you guys are game for starting a de-cluttering revolution!  I'll post the first 5 spaces on Friday and we can kick off March with a nice clean bang.  

Conquer the Clutter // www.aswellplacetodwell.com

24 Feb 2013

{How You Doin'?} Painted Kitchen Cabinets

We painted our kitchen cabinets over 6 months ago, so I thought it was about time for an update on how they are doing.  

Benjamin Moore Advance White Dove

I am happy to say that the paint on the cabinets has actually held up much better than I expected.  When we decided to paint them, I had a feeling that I would need to get the paint brush out every few months and touch up a few nicks here and there.  So far though, I haven't touched them up once.  After the Advance paint cures it really is rock hard, and it takes a lot to pull it off.  

The front of all of the cabinets are still in perfect condition.  

Some paint has peeled off on the edges where the cabinet rubs against the base.  Because it's on the edge, you only see it when the door is open.  So far it hasn't been enough to convince me to haul out the paint.

Update: Painted Kitchen Cabinets 6 months later

Fin's really into colouring these days, and sometimes the colouring gets so intense that it migrates onto the walls.  

Wiping Crayon off cabinets

I scrub the crayon off with a Magic Eraser and it comes right off.  Some cabinets have been scrubbed multiple times and there hasn't been any paint pulling off.  I find that the Magic Eraser pulls paint off the walls, so I am really impressed that it hasn't started coming off the cabinets with the scrubbing.

The spray painted handles haven't faired quite so well.

spray painted cabinet handles 6 months later

The majority of the handles still look great, but the ones on the cabinets we use all the time (cutlery drawer, under the sink where the garbage is) are starting to peel a bit.

Considering that the hardware makeover cost us $7 (the cost of spray paint), I am really not too upset.  In the summer I will probably take them all off and give them another coat of spray paint.  I have enough paint left in the can that I most likely won't even have to make a trip to the store.  

I am so happy that we made the plunge and painted the cabinets.  It makes such a difference in our kitchen and makes it feel so much brighter.  I would do it again in a heartbeat.  I also can't recommend Benjamin Moore Advance paint enough.  I just love it.   If you missed our kitchen makeover, you can catch up on all the posts here.

painted kitchen island: BM Advance

Since this series is inspired by the show Friends, I like to end each post with a Friends clip.  The clip below is the one with Ross and leather pants.  I can actually remember watching this episode and laughing so hard.  "It's forming a paste!!!"  

Fin is really into cooking these days, and she wants to be up at the counter with me whenever I am doing anything.  The other day I was making pancakes and she really wanted to help.  I brought a chair over to the counter and gave her the bowl with the flour and she was in charge of whisking.  It didn't take me long to realize that this was going to be a big mess.  She was having fun, but flour was flying EVERYWHERE.  I couldn't handle it any longer, so I decided to move her over to the sink and let her 'wash' dishes, which she also loves to do.  Well, before long there was water splashing all over the chair and the floor and it was mixing with the previously tossed flour.  While I was cleaning it up, and it was forming a paste, all I could think of was Ross and his leather pants.  That is how my brain works people....it's very strange sometimes. 

So if you haven't seen this clip before...enjoy.

22 Feb 2013

Can We Organize Together?

So I have an idea...and you guys have to tell me if I am crazy, or if it's something that you'd be interested in.

You know I hate cleaning and organizing, right? It's so not my thing.  I have many other things, but organizing is not one of them.  BUT....I have to get our house under control.  It's not a total disaster, but there are areas that have been neglected and they need some serious attention.

What our living room looks like after Hurricane Fin.   Even the dog doesn't know what to do!
I am guessing that I am not the only one out there who has this issue.  Please tell me that there are other people who do not dream about alphabetically organizing their canned goods?  Who would rather sit and watch an episode of Sons of Anarchy (and swoon over Jax Teller) before labelling shoe boxes using Polaroid pictures?

If you do actually love organizing then we can still totally be friends....in fact...maybe you'd like to come over and visit for a while and help me....maybe?

So here's my plan.  I am going to tackle one little area in my house each weeknight for the next 4 weeks.  And by little, I really do mean little.  One night will be the utensil drawer, one night will be the front entry closet, one night will be wiping dust off of baseboards....you get the picture.  After 4 weeks there will be 20 beautifully organized and cleaned areas.

The goal is to purge, organize and clean.  Minimize, minimize, minimize.  If I haven't used it in 6 months and it doesn't have serious sentimental value then it is gone.  I am no longer keeping stuff just for the sake of keeping stuff.  I tend to keep things thinking that I will use them some other day for some other project.  No longer.  Stuff will either go to the garbage or go to the thrift store.

I'm going to try really hard to use what I have.  I loathe spending money on organizing stuff (just ask my husband...he begs me to buy Tupperware and Rubber-maid bins).  I'd much rather spend my money on clothes or a new lamp instead of plastic storage bins.  My plan is to use containers we already have, old cereal boxes cut down, washi tape, scrapbook paper, etc to try and make things pretty, but still easy and quick.  If I have to go to the store then I am just going to get distracted and forget what the goal is - and we can't have that!

So...here's my real question....and the whole point of this post...

I think things are more fun together.  Working in isolation is boring and makes it too convenient to stop.  It's easy to not do the task if you don't have to answer to anyone.  I need motivation.  And maybe you do too?  Would you be up for doing this together?  A club of sorts?  A club that is dedicated to stocking thrift store shelves over the next 4 weeks all while gaining control of our forgotten spaces.

Be honest.  I promise you won't hurt my feelings if you say no.  If you'd rather organize in isolation that's fine.    Or maybe you are already an organizing maven?  In that case you can always cheer the rest of us on.

I'm thinking that every Friday I will post a list here of the spaces to tackle the following week.  5 spaces/tasks.  The goal is to keep every task under half an hour, although the odd one might be a doozy (i.e. the linen closet).  If Monday-Friday doesn't work for you that's fine, you can adjust accordingly   For me though, the weekends are busy with other things and are usually left for regular house cleaning, so I like to have them free.

Throughout the week we can stay connected via Facebook.  You can post your successes, we can cheer each other on, you can show off your nice de-cluttered space so we can all oohhh and ahhh and cyber applaud.

My plan isn't to post every space that I organize here on the blog.  I am sure that you don't really care that I managed to toss out 4 random forks and make the rest nice and straight in their holder.  It's more about sharing successes, and knowing that while you are purging your tea towels and shredding your old bills that someone else is doing it with you.  Share your photos with me and I will some of them here on the blog (so that more peeps can cheer for you!).  I bet you all have better thrifty organizing ideas than I do.

Let me know in the comments below (or via email) if you are in.  Depending on the response, I'll then solidify a plan.  

**from the comments below it looks like there is a fair amount of interest, so it's a go!  I'll post the kick off next Friday (March 1) and then we can organize our little hearts out.

20 Feb 2013

Raise the Roof (also known as how we FINALLY finished our ceiling!)

Ok I have to be honest....I debated for a long time if it is even worth posting this.  It's a ceiling for crying out loud.  Who cares?  I can tell you that I don't even really care any more, I am just so freaking happy that it's done! But, since DIYing isn't always all pretty and fun (hello horrible baseboards and caulking), I figured I'd post about our basement ceiling....if nothing else than to declare my happiness that it's finally finished and to maybe help some other poor sap who's stuck doing their own basement.

The back story....

When we bought our house the basement was semi-finished.  It was framed in and drywalled.  We were stoked.  We figured we wouldn't really have much to do to finish it off.  WRONG.  Bit fat WRONG.  Yes, the drywall was up, but it was done horribly (a little fact we didn't notice before we moved in).  The seams were horrible, the plugs were done wrong, not a single wall was straight....I can go on and on.  We said more than one time that we should have just ripped it all out and started from scratch....but we didn't....we worked with what we had - which was a crappy start.  

We ripped off all of the upper drywall and fixed it all up.  Mudded, taped, sanded, sanded, sanded (I will NEVER do this again).  We hung doors, layed flooring, caulked, painted....and then...we ran out of money.  We had a mostly finished basement, but decided to leave the ceiling for a while until we had the money to finish it.  All renos we do in our house are paid for 100% in cash, so if we don't have the  money we just wait.  After recovering from a baby and maternity leave (which is a year in Canada), we finally had the money to finish off the basement.  

A hung ceiling was NOT my first choice. Actually, I did everything I could to resist it.  I really, really, really wanted a drywalled ceiling.  But as I already mentioned, the walls were already up, and if you are doing it correctly, a drywalled ceiling should go up before the walls.  If it goes up first the ceiling drywall can rest on the wall drywall.  Plus, I was so sick of taping and mudding that the thought of doing it above my head made me want to just curl up into the fetal position and stay that way for a while.  So, hung ceiling it was.  

Mr. Swell really wanted to contract the job out.  We actually had 2 guys come and quote, but it was just too expensive ($2K plus).  After much convincing, I finally wore him down and had him sold on doing it ourselves.  

We decided to go with 2' x 4' tiles simply because they were affordable.  I picked out the least ugly pattern that I could (there are some seriously hideous ceiling tiles out there!!).   We bought all of the tiles last spring during a huge sale at Rona.   

Mr. Swell worked away at the office side of the basement last winter while he was on his parental leave.  It was easy to do while Fin was napping, and was thankfully a relatively quiet job.  The summer rolled around and we decided to give the ceiling a break and to work on more fun outdoor projects.  Then the snow started flying again and we knew we had to get back at it. 

It took us another few months, but I am so happy to say that it's now done!  Thankfully I don't totally hate it.  Yes, it's a hung ceiling, but at least it's nice and plain...and it doesn't remind me of a school or a hospital, so that's a bonus.

Mr. Swell really did all of the work.  I held the level a lot and was the go-to snap line holder and measurer.  He did all of the hauling, cutting, actual hanging, grid figuring, etc.  

**the techni-coloured play mats are a lovely addition, right?  I loathe them...but they keep Fin's feet warm.

If you are ever in the situation of having to hang your own hung ceiling, here are a few of his tips:

Mr. Swell used the Armstrong ceiling planner tool to help him with the grid.  You just enter your dimensions, and it will show you how to hang your grid the most efficiently.  After manually planning out the grid on the office side of the basement, he discovered this tool and it saved him oodles of time. 

Using these corner caps made the whole job a lot easier.  After cutting a few corners without them and trying to get the perfect 45 degree angle with tin snips, he discovered these corner brackets and was one happy guy.  They do make the grid have more 'breaks' and lines, but in the end I think they make the whole thing look cleaner as every outside corner is consistent.

It can be done with a simple laser level.  Mr. Swell really wanted to rent a fancy laser level from The Home Depot that would project one line across the whole room (from the centre of the room), but it was going to be $70 for the day.  We were so close to renting it, but cheaped out and just kept using our small laser level.  We had to hold it against each wall and mark the line with a snap chalk line, but it worked and it saved us some cash.

Plan your lights.  We went with pot lights in all of the main areas.  They take some planning to make sure that they don't end up wonky places in the tiles.  You want them to be even on all of the tiles.  You also want to make sure that all of the lights are at least 2 feet away from the walls to prevent strong shadows being cast on your walls.

In the stairwell we installed 2 ALANG ceiling lights from Ikea.  They were affordable at $30 each and were super easy to install. 

Since we watch TV in the basement, they give off a soft glow that isn't harsh on your eyes while watching TV.   They are a little strange in that they are held together with magnets and zip ties, but so far they haven't fallen off the ceiling (that's how they are supposed to be assembled, we didn't choose to use zip ties....).

We bought one track light at Ikea (the TRAL for $30), to position above the fireplace.  Again, it was really easy to install, the only trick was to get it centred right on the fireplace.

So after almost a year and half of working on it off and on, we now finally have a mostly finished basement.  My plan for the next couple of weeks is to finish off the stairs (they need nosing and the baseboards need to be painted) and then I can show you the whole COMPLETED basement.  By the way, the ceiling (including lights) cost us just over $800.  

**On a side note....taking pictures of the basement has been quite the challenge, so my apologies ahead of time about some wonky colours.  I don't have a tripod yet, and getting a nice bright shot in a dark area is challenging   Have you also noticed how much our wall colour changes with light?  It is so much greener at night and in the darker areas.

Tell me, do you have a hung ceiling in your basement? Do you watch tv in your basement?  Do you sort of want to throw pencils into it while watching tv and see if they stick?  Or is that just me? (although I wouldn't dare put a hole in our brand new ceiling).

Linking to:

TDC Before and After

17 Feb 2013

Master Bedroom Mini Makeover

I reupholstered the valances in the master bedroom and then I stood there for a while.  We had a few pieces of art in the room that were no longer working on the walls they were on.  Plus, one of our pictures had fallen off the wall, taking a chunk of wall with it and breaking the glass in the frame (that frame later became vintage pin art).  Nothing was working.  I wanted to move pictures around but they were either too small for the wall, or not the right colour, orientation, blah, blah, blah.

You know what happens next, right?  One thing leads to another and before you know it you are begging your husband to take apart the bed so that it can be moved.  That happens to everybody, right?  Not just me?  I can't be the only one who does things on a whim like this.

In my hurricane of rearranging energy I totally forgot to take any decent before pics.  I had an idea and I didn't have time to stop and grab the camera (which just happened to be 2 floors below in the basement!).  Basically though, the bed was up against the windows and a high dresser was right by the door.

Rearranging the Master Bedroom.  Urban Barn bed frame

Rearranging the Master Bedroom.  Urban Barn bed frame

Our room isn't big.....and is FULL of doors and windows.  You'd think it would be nice to have lots of windows - and it is, but it also presents some furniture placement challenges.  There are 4 doors in the room.  One that is the actual entrance from the hallway, one to our ensuite and one to each of our closets (yes, we are lucky enough that our clothes do not have to mingle....man clothes stay in one place and girly clothes in another).  And then there are the windows.  In our actual bedroom you can see 3 of them.  There is a 4th identical window in Mr. Swell's closet (and oddly enough it is one of the ones that open....totally NOT practical!).   There has to be one in the closet so that our house looks symmetrical from the outside.

front of house

Here's a quick sketch to try and illustrate the door madness....
master bedroom layout
When we first moved into the house we had our bed against the one door-less wall.  At the time we had a queen sized bed, so it fit just fine.  A few years ago we bought a new king sized bed frame (from Urban Barn) and mattress, and moved the orientation of the bed to in front of the windows.  I can't exactly remember, but I think we just assumed that the bed wouldn't fit where it was before.  We lived with it like that for about 2 years....until I decided I didn't like it any longer (that, and I was terrified the valances were going to knock me out and I would never wake up again...). 

So, we got out the measuring tape and checked everything out.  And lo and behold, the bed would fit going the other way.  Woot.  

The only problem was that the room was too small to move the bed assembled, so we had to take it apart to reposition everything. 

Our little helper was totally into this activity.  I had no idea that climbing in and out of the all of the slats could be so much fun! She has since requested that I lift up the mattress so that she can play in the slats....I haven't given in yet.

little helper

* I still have to fix up the baseboards here.  I fixed up the rest of the room a few weeks ago, but this section was behind the bed...that I couldn't move.  And yes, Fin is wearing a very odd outfit...half pyjamas, half actual pants.

Once the bed was moved, we then managed to even squeeze in our night stands   I am still shocked that everything fits this way.

Master Bedroom Makeover at www.aswellplacetodwell.com

You'll notice that we have no fancy throw pillows, etc.  It's just not us.  We are lucky if the bed gets made every day, so throw pillows are just too much for us to handle.  Maybe one day....but now now.  Not with a toddler who loves pillows!

I attempted to keep Mr. Swell's bedside table as manly as possible.

Master Bedroom Makeover at www.aswellplacetodwell.com

He has an vintage book and a little photo album that holds our engagement photos.  The wooden box is special to him as it was his grandfathers.  He has all sorts of trinkets in there that Fin loves to dig around in and look at from time to time.

Master Bedroom Makeover at www.aswellplacetodwell.com

I think the little potted succulent is my favourite part of the room.  It's so tiny right now, but will hopefully grow big enough to fill up the pot.  We've never had a plant in our bedroom before and I just love that it brings just a tiny bit of nature inside.  The pot is from Ikea (it's a steal at less than $4).

My nightstand is also pretty simple.  Sticky toddler hands forces us to limit knickknacks.  I do love how Ferdinand brings a bit of glam to my side though.

Master Bedroom Makeover at www.aswellplacetodwell.com

I moved my high dresser into my closet.  Sorry, I am not showing you my mounds of clothes and disorganized closet - maybe one day, but that day is not today (remember how I loathe laundry???).  By  moving it into the closet though it freed up a ton of space.  Space that we didn't even know could exist in this room!  Why didn't I do that 3 years ago?

We moved up a chest that we had sitting in the basement that wasn't being used.  It now provides a nice space to sit and put on socks, etc.

Master Bedroom Makeover at www.aswellplacetodwell.com

The painting above the chest is one that I bought during a trip to Jamaica (in my single days).  I spent a pretty penny to have it custom framed (I think I may have just about fainted when I heard how much...I was a framing newbie).  I adore it.  It's my favourite piece of art that we have.  I do however find it a bit hard to decorate around since it's so bright.  I think it works now though with the dark walls and the ikat fabric - it gives the room an eclectic sort of vibe. 

Master Bedroom Makeover at www.aswellplacetodwell.com

The wrought iron piece above the bed was originally on the small wall next to the entrance door.  It's a little small for the space above the bed, but since the goal was to not spend any money on art in this room, it works for now.  I contemplated changing the candles out to white, but the orange at least provides a bit of colour against the white bed frame.

Master Bedroom Makeover at www.aswellplacetodwell.com

When I moved the wrought iron piece I was left with a blank wall.  I used a couple of extra frames that I had and finally framed a picture from our family photos that we had done this fall.

Master Bedroom Makeover at www.aswellplacetodwell.com

Below the photos is a printable quote that I just printed from my inkjet printer on some nice glossy paper.   You can find it here.

Master Bedroom Makeover at www.aswellplacetodwell.com

A few more shots to try and give you some perspective...

Master Bedroom Makeover at www.aswellplacetodwell.com

Master Bedroom Makeover at www.aswellplacetodwell.com

Master Bedroom Makeover at www.aswellplacetodwell.com

So there you have it.  That's how one thing led to another, and without any real plan, we updated our master bedroom one Saturday morning.  We go to bed every night now and always comment on how big the room feels.  It's really amazing how just changing around some furniture has made it feel like a whole new room.  The total cost of $20 (for the valance fabric) isn't bad either!

**The wall colour is Behr December Eve in flat.

Linking to:  East Coast Creative
TDC Before and After

14 Feb 2013

Don't Take Off Your Shoes

I have to share this funny story.  

Kijiji (much like Craig's List), is an interesting beast sometimes.  I say it's like a strange parallel universe that has its own rules and some very eclectic inhabitants.  Since picking up furniture here and there over the years, we have met all types of people.  Some have been so fantastic and have shared stories and their house with us, as was the case with the giant doll house Fin spotted when we went to pick up the shabby happy desk.  Others are downright rude and don't show up when they say they will, call at strange times, show up on wrong days, etc, etc.  And then there are others who are just so different from us that sometimes I don't know what to think.

I had been searching for a dresser for Fin's room ever since I pulled out her old dresser, painted it emerald green and then sold it.  We moved the milk paint dressing table (which still hasn't sold) up to her room and it worked well for a while.  The drawers were small though, and every time we did her laundry there wasn't room for all of her clothes (the girl has a lot of clothes) in the small drawers.  So, it was time to find a new solution.  I wanted something smaller than the old one, but bigger than the dressing table, that was under $50.  Then one day I saw it on Kijiji.  It was perfect.  It was $50 and it was only a few block away.  (Sorry, I wish I had a copy of the ad to show you, but I forgot to save it, and now it's gone.)

I texted back and forth with the lady for a while and we settled on a pick up time.  Mr. Swell is the designated furniture picker-upper in our house, so we put Fin to bed one night and he headed out to pick up our new dresser.  I should note that I don't make things easy on the poor guy.  The asking price was $50, but I figured we'd be able to get it for $40.  I made him put 2 twenty dollar bills in one pocket and a fifty dollar bill in the other.  Not much good to show off your $50 when you say you only have $40, so it's very important to keep the money in separate pockets.  The trick though is then remembering which pocket is which.

So, he goes on his way, and less than 20 minutes later he is back with our new dresser.  And it's lovely, and I am totally excited. I snapped this horrible iPhone pic and tossed up onto Facebook to share my joy.  (I'll be sure to take some better 'before' photos before I paint it).

And then I get the whole story. ....

He pulled up to the house and he said as he was walking up it looked like there was a lot of clutter in the house.  He said that he could see driftwood everywhere and stuff hanging from the ceiling.  He was preparing for the worst....to have to dig through a bunch of stuff to actually get to the dresser. 

He rings the doorbell, the lady answers, and he walks in.  But....he can't go very far because there is netting all around the door.  He said it took him a while to figure out what was going on, but then he saw the signs up that said FREE FLYING BIRDS.

And then he noticed them....everywhere.  Birds were just flying around the house, and they needed netting around the door to stop them from flying away.  He said they were peeking out from around the corners. Apparently when he walked in and said Hello all the birds said Hello back to him. "Caw, Hello" 

He asked the lady what kind of birds she had and she said it would be easier to tell him what she didn't have.  Apparently she then went on listing all of the birds.  The only one that Mr. Swell picked up was the Macaw, of which there were a few. His exact words to me where, "Kelly, these weren't Tweety Birds, these were like Tucan Sam".

He stepped in a bit more to help with the dresser, and the kids (who were just sitting there doing their homework very nonchalantly), told him to not take off his shoes.  Then apparently a chorus of bird talk ensued.  "caw, don't take off your shoes", repeated over and over by free flying birds.  This is the point at which I lost it, and my abs were hurting from laughing so hard.  I have mentioned before that Mr. Swell can rock accents.  He can just turn on an accent and out of the blue I am talking to a completely different person.  Through telling me this story I learned that he can do a pretty good bird accent too - a new skill that I didn't know he had.

I probably would have given up on the dresser, but thankfully he hung in there.  He even kept his cool enough to negotiate and remember which pocket the $40 was in!

Amazingly enough the dresser doesn't have a single spot of bird poop on it.  And the lady was so nice, so who really cares that she has a bazillion birds?  And she let us buy a really great dresser for only $40.

Mr. Swell later said that the birds were probably texting me because they wanted to get rid of the dresser to buy a new seed stick.  He kills me sometimes.

I hope one day when Fin grows up and still has her dresser that she can hear the story of the free flying birds.  And yes, this little dresser is going to be hit with a paint brush. I am leaning towards teal, but am letting it stew for a few days. 

Do you have any interesting Kijij/Craig's List buying or selling experiences?  How about birds?  Does anyone have free flying birds?

12 Feb 2013

Valance Make-Under

I am calling this one a make-under instead of a makeover.   You know how on Oprah she used to take ladies who were stuck with their 80's hair and Tammy Fae Baker eye lashes and tell them that they were getting a make-under?  Make them just a little more subtle and toned down? Well, that's what happened to the valances in our bedroom.  

About 2 years ago, when I repainted the whole room navy blue, Mr. Swell made me some super simple box valances and I covered them in Ikea fabric.  They were done in exactly the same way as the valance in our kitchen.

The fabric was a little out there....but I loved it at the time.  It brought a real sense of fun to the room.  But, over time I just wasn't feelin' it anymore.  I found the valances increasingly hard to decorate around.  We also got rid of our dark wood bed frame just over 2 years ago, and bought a brand new white leather one (from Urban Barn), which totally changed the look of the room.  Also, as I have mentioned before, we are thinking of selling our house in the near future, and I figured some calmer fabric might go over better with potential buyers.

While I was at the fabric store a few months ago buying the tomato fabric for Fin's play kitchen, I spotted some heavy weight Ikat fabric in the clearance section.  I honestly can't remember how much it was....I think it was around $5/meter.  I know that I bought 3 meters for less than $20, so it was a pretty smokin' deal. 

Before we move on, let me explain why in the picture above there are only 2 valances.....

One day while we were at work and my Mother in Law was at our house watching Fin, she heard a really loud crash.  She ran upstairs thinking Fin had climbed out of her crib, but she was still napping away peacefully.  She checked our room and discovered that the valance had completely fallen off the wall and had crashed onto our bed.  (How Fin slept through that but wakes up with the creek of the top stair is beyond me....).  Anyhow, when I got home she told me this whole story and I was freaked out.  I kept thinking that if it had happened just a few hours before we would have been in the bed and it probably could have knocked one of us unconscious.

The valances weren't actually screwed into the wall.  They were sitting on L brackets, and were so tight against the ceiling that they didn't budge, so we figured all was well.  DUMB!!!  I guess one of the L brackets started to bend and the whole valance just fell right off.

I was so freaked out that I refused to put the valance back up for months.  I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep with it above me, so it was better to just leave it off.....for 6 months or so....

A couple of weekends ago I finally got the itch to change up the fabric.  I took the other 2 valances off of the wall, ripped off the old fabric and stapled on the fancy new fabric.  It's a really easy process -  basically just make sure it's straight, pull tight and staple, staple, staple.

DIY box valance with ikat fabric

Once they were all re-covered, Mr. Swel hung them.  This time with screws!  We put 2 screws in each of the L brackets into the valance.  It's hard to get a good picture of the brackets once they are up, but here's basically what they look like on the 'inside'.

They are made under, but still have some personality.  I love how they look with the navy walls, and they really brighten up the space compared to the old fabric.  I intentionally made sure that the fabric didn't repeat the same on all of the valances, so that it didn't look like stripes going across the room.

DIY box valance with ikat fabric

After hanging them up though and thinking about some art work, the bedroom just wasn't feeling right.  So, I talked really nice and convinced Mr. Swell that some furniture moving was in order.  (Notice how the bed is in a different spot from the first photo?)

DIY box valance with ikat fabric

I am still working on a few finishing touches in the bedroom and then I'll be back to show you how it looks now, new Ikat covered valances and all.  Let's just say that I'm thankful I don't have to sleep with one eye open any longer.

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