Quick and cheap Halloween decor

Although the rest of our apartment remains relatively neutral throughout the seasons, its always fun to change things up, especially for holidays! I am not much of a fan of the really gory or creepy Halloween stuff, so instead I went for a more toned down look for our door decor:

ghost3ghost4

The spider garland and ‘boo’ ghost were $1.25 each from dollarama.

The rest of the shapes are paper cut outs- just regular printer paper- so free!

The whole thing was $2.50 !!!

How are you getting your space Halloween-ready? 🙂

 

New Dining Room!

With our move to the new place, there were plenty of opportunities to re-work and re-arrange the way each room looks and feels. To add to that, the apartment we bought came fully furnished- so we had 2 of everything! One of the rooms we finished first was the dining room, as we love to entertain and couldn’t wait to host our friends and families. After some discussion, we decided to give away our old wooden dining table (last seen here), in favor of this oval glass table and set of 4 upholstered chairs that came with the apartment. I was originally not a fan, as I don’t like dark wood color, and thought the “wine rack” base looked a little funny. Add to that the fact that I’m terribly clumsy, which is not a good mix with glass anything! But, the larger size meant we could host more friends comfortably, so function won over preference 😛 With the dining set also came a little glass bar/ side board, and I’m still thinking how to make it more functional with a tray on top- suggestions welcome!

dining5    dining3

We kept our “Red City” canvas, even though it doesn’t 100% go with the rest of the room, but until we decide on something else, its a nice focal point!

We also recently painted the walls a cool gray, to help make the space feel more modern. It looks a bit blueish under certain light, so I might have to play around with the light bulbs in the hanging fixture!

dining6

One of the major project we undertook for this room was having a focal wall covered in wallpaper! Selecting the wallpaper was the easy part, we both loved the chevron print and the subtle shiny stripe. I have never applied wallpaper before, so it was a learning process, but after watching a bunch of YouTube how-to videos, I felt confident enough to tackle it! I think it came out great!

dining1     dining2

So glad this room is done! Still a few decorative pieces I would like to add over time, but I generally go for a more clean and modern look, so I much prefer it uncluttered!

diningroom Collage

Let me know what you think in the comments! ❤

Coloring for grown ups

Recently I have been hearing about coloring as a meditative hobby, and running into a few gorgeous coloring books for adults in stores. Needless to say, I had to try it! But, as I am currently on a “no spend” in my attempt to smash my stash, I could not bring myself to buy any of them 😦

So, I looked for a free option! This first one that I tried is a free app called Colorfy. There are in-app purchases for extra colors, or to unlock extra pages (which I’m not going to buy!) but even with the free version, you get lots of coloring options, and some very intricate and beautiful pages.

Admittedly, it doesn’t give the same satisfaction that you get from putting pencil to paper, but for now (or at least my birthday next week, hint hint nudge nudge!…) it will do to quench my coloring cravings!

I recommend you give it a try since its free, here are a few pages I colored, pretty happy with the outcome!

kkacmand1mand2birds

 

Painting Laminate- My First Experience

Do you have an old, tired looking piece of furniture at home that you would love to make useful and pretty? Do you need to add an extra piece to your home, but don’t have the budget to splurge on the bright and modern piece of furniture you dream about? Well, this might be a good solution for you!

We needed a small storage unit for our entry way, for things like keys, purses, scarves, etc. We wanted a modern piece, that will stand out from the gray walls and white tile (while I am a fan of monochromatic looks, I prefer more contrast in my own space). Our options were- a) get an expensive piece that we are in love with, but break the bank, or, b) get a cheaper piece and fancy it up ourselves.

We went with option B. After week of going through every thrift store in our area, and not finding a piece to our liking, we folded and made a trip to IKEA. After much deliberation, we picked the Brusali TV bench, as it was narrow enough to fit the space, and cheap enough to fit our budget. I assembled it without the backing piece, to save on paint.

brusali-tv-bench-brown__0354125_PE543686_S4

Our next challenge was- how to paint over the ugly dark laminate finish? Spray painting was out of the question, as we don’t have a balcony or any outdoor space, so it had to be something relatively clean and low-fumes. Painting with regular latex paint was an option, but has to be preceded by long steps of prepping the piece, and sounded a bit daunting. After hours of googling and youtubing, I landed on using chalk paint, as it saves some of the sand-prime-sand-paint process. According to what I was reading, chalk paint is self-priming, and can stick to pretty much anything, even completely smooth and non-porous surfaces like glass- sounds promising! I read a few personal accounts of people who successfully tried it, and figured it would be worth the shot. I picked up a container of Americana Decor Chalky Finish paint in Treasure.

treasure-chalky-finish

And let the painting adventure begin! I did not sand or prime the piece prior to painting, and just started to slather it on in long strokes using a synthetic paint brush. Here is a before shot:

console1

Some of what I was reading online recommended sanding between layers of paint, to even out the surface texture and minimize brush strokes. I was too lazy for that, and didn’t really mind the look of brush strokes. If I wanted it to look perfect I would have spray painted it! The chalk paint that I was using had pretty good coverage, but I still needed 3 coats to get an even finish. The 8 oz container I got was just enough for that! Chalk paint dries very quickly, and by the time I was finished the first coat, the spot where I started was already dry and ready for a second coat, which made the process go by very quickly. Here is what it looked like after the second coat of paint:

console2

Since Chalk paint is porous, it needs to be finished, or sealed, in some way. Most sources recommend applying the corresponding wax, but my local store was out of stock. I also wanted the finished piece to have a shiny glossy finish that is very durable, so I ended up choosing a polyurethane varnish in clear gloss by minwax.

minwax poly

I did two coats of that with the same synthetic paint brush, straight from the can. Some sources recommended diluting it with water to make it thinner so that brush strokes are less visible, and to give it more of a self-leveling quality. They also recommend sanding between coats, and doing at least 3 coats. As you can probably tell by now I wasn’t following any of these recommendations anyways, and I think the end result looked perfectly fine. The poly dries very quickly too, but I gave it overnight to cure before touching or putting things on it.

console3

I am really happy with the color, and how it looks in the space! I also love the glossy shine that I got with the poly coat, and actually don’t mind the brush stroke look at all, I think it almost makes it look like a real piece of furniture made of real wood, rather than MDF covered in a thin film of laminate pretending to be wood.

console4     console5

This process would be perfect to do over a weekend, and since it is fairly low fumes, was fine to do indoors. I can see this working perfectly for an old piece of furniture that just needs to be woken up a bit and freshened up, for a totally different look. Its amazing the difference paint makes! Do you have a piece that needs a fresh look? Or a thrift store find with great bones that needs to be modernized? I hope you give this process a try, and let me know how it goes! ❤

 

 

Smash your Stash

smash title

As I was putting away all my craft supplies after our move, I got to thinking- I have A LOT of craft supplies! I have already briefly addressed my habit of accumulating an unnecessary amount of crafting supplies in my previous post, so I got to thinking. What if… for a whole year I didn’t buy any more crafting supplies, and only used what I had? Crazy and extreme, I know! But I think it would be a good idea for a couple of reasons:

1) It will make space for more…. Just kidding! But it would help if it took up less space. So if I use it up without replenishing = more space!

2) It will challenge me to create within restrictions. From my experience, that is usually when I come up with the best and most creative ideas.

3) It will reinforce my “consume less” attitude that I already apply to other aspects of my life.

So- will it be difficult? You bet! But I am willing to give it a try. I know 1 year is a long time, but I figured with the size of my stash it will definitely last me that long. Also, a caveat- gifts don’t count! (Haha you knew there had to be a loop hole!).

Feel free to tag along with me on this challenge, or share your experiences of working from your stash!

Craft-worthiness

Most of the time when I make something, I do so for the sole purpose of meeting a personal need, or satisfying a crafting urge. Maybe I want to try and learn a new technique, or maybe I’m trying to use up some scraps and challenge myself to make something special out of what’s around the house.

Sometimes, I make something with the purpose of giving it to someone else. Sometimes I only realize that after an item is complete, or after I owned it for a little while. When I make something it takes some time and effort, so I want to make sure that the person I give it to can appreciate it and put it to good use.

What makes a person craft-worthy?

Has this ever happened to you- you plan out a project, collect your materials, spend time and effort putting it together, and gift it to someone, only to have them seem unappreciative or dismissive? I will admit, it has happened to me on multiple occasions!

To me, a handmade gift trumps a store-bought one hands down. However, not all people see it that way! I have realized that some people see a handmade gift as a cop-out, a cheaper alternative to actually buying something, or an immature gesture.

It can be easy to feel offended by their perspective, but a much better approach is to weed out those people and only make things for the people who you know will appreciate your effort and cherish the result.

Here’s two personal stories, to help illustrate my point:

Christmas 2014- I was practicing loom knitting and made myself an infinity scarf, and had multiple compliments on it from family and friends (even without telling them I made it). I then decided to knit infinity scarves for all of the women in my family and friends circle. I got a head start and was able to finish all of them just in time for gift giving. My mom loved hers, and wore it proudly throughout the remainder of winter. My SO’s aunt said it is a nice color, then put it aside and never wore it.

IMG_20150711_131908Summer 2015- I made an up-cycled beer bottle vase (featured here) and displayed it prominently on our dining table. Every time my friend would come by she would comment how much she liked it, and when I told her I made it she was visibly impressed. She recently moved to a new place, so I decided to make one for her and give it as a housewarming gift, as I know she will appreciate it and enjoy it in her new home.

What are your craft gifting stories? How do you decide if a person is craft-worthy? Let me know in the comments!  🙂

When your decor budget = $0

Starting from scratch. That’s a daunting thought, right? But what if that was the case: empty space, zero budget, go. How would you make it comfortable, stylish, YOU?

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Up-cycle and reuse: when your pockets are empty, work with what you’ve got! Anything you can get your hands on that can be re-purposed using existing materials will work. A few examples of this are my toilet paper roll wall decor, beer bottle up-cycle, and bunting.

Hand me downs: there is NO shame in accepting previously loved pieces from friends or relatives. They may not be ideal, but they can definitely get you started! Stuck with an ugly hand me down sofa? Here are some ideas.

Learn to love simplicity: I know it can be tempting to want to fill all those shelves, hang something on every wall, and have cushions in every color and pattern. These are the things that make your space YOURS. However, restrain yourself from over-stuffing your space, as it can quickly become cluttered, fussy looking, and dust collecting! I don’t mean go totally zen and minimalist, but leaving your space relatively empty has a calming effect, makes your space feel larger and cleaner, and is great on a budget! Don’t believe me? Check out these spaces:

dorm1     bedroom

living room     dorm2


What would you do if you had to start from scratch with a $0 budget? Leave your tips in the comments! 🙂