Drop the Cloth and Back Away…

IMG_1265Ta Da!  Check out the new drapes.  “What’s so special about these drapes?” you ask.  Well, I’ll tell you.  If you venture on Pinterest at all, you will have seen countless examples of paint drop cloths transformed into art.  I tried to do that. The Pinterest inspiration for me was the pink fork and knife someone painted on their drapes.  Perhaps you saw them yourself.

If you follow me for any length of time, you will be assured that you are dealing with someone in love with whimsy. And colour.  And frugality.  Always.  So here’s my take on those things.

IMG_1245  These “before” drapes barely cover the fact that the big black BBQ is old and ugly, and although we have a private backyard, I didn’t like the fact that you could see in the house if it was dark out and the lights were on inside.  Unfortunately, one too many horror movies have made their way into this over-imaginative brain….

IMG_1212  Here’s how it went down.  I purchased a $14.00 drop cloth for hallways.  The French doors are only around 4′ wide each, so I didn’t need much width.

IMG_1214  IMG_1215  IMG_1216  I laid it out, keeping it in half vertically,  folded it in half again horizontally and cut it in the middle.  I didn’t worry too much about how straight it was since I’d be “hemming” the panels anyway.  I say “hemming” because as a poser seamstress I feel using sewing terminology gives you the wrong impression of my skill set. Just keeping it real, people.

IMG_1224  I taped off the edge for a stripe. I’m no fool, I know when BBQ sauced hands grab the drapes they will sully that canvas panel in no time flat.  I am so not interested in washing these that much.  As a matter of fact, I noticed that a lot of the directions for drop cloth transformations called for washing the cloth first. Why? beats me. So I didn’t.

IMG_1225  Here’s my inspiration, taken directly off my great wall of China.  I love it so.

Fork.   IMG_1229 Knife.

I copied a real- life knife, but drew an imaginary handle. Isn’t copying awesome? Just modify it till you like it!

Paint it.

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IMG_1268  Peppertree (the kitchen accent wall colour), with accents of white, black and gold.

Once that was done, I pulled out all the stops and inserted grommets.  Do NOT be intimidated by these things.  Super easy directions to follow, taking no time at all.  The hardest part was figuring where they should go and how many I’d need.  Remember, math and I are not on speaking terms.

IMG_1236 IMG_1238 IMG_1240 IMG_1242 IMG_1241  Next I hung the drapery panels up and saw how they fell and how long they were, to decide on how much “hemming” was needed.  I prefer drapes to just touch the floor…not too short, not too long, just right.  Thanks for the gauge, Goldilocks.

Get yourself some of this iron on hem stuff and you will love “sewing” again.IMG_1243   IMG_1246  The green tape is my version of basting….I did actually fold over and iron down a double edge for a cleaner, tidy-er look – I’m not a complete savage, and I ironed out the creases where needed.

IMG_1247  And that’s it!


You can keep the design simpler by just doing stripes, random polka dots (trace cups, bowls etc.), paint splatter or a graphic stencil all over or just around the border. There are so many options.  You could actually sew fabric of your choice for the hem or border.  If  you hate them when you’re done, just revert them back to what they were originally made for. No major loss there.

*Readers – if you try this project, or any other project you have seen on this blog, please let me know and I will link my post to yours.  We can share readers!  Yay, sharing!


Seriously, What Was I Thinking?


To put a brand spankin’ new WHITE spotted Ikea rug at the front door!  Yes, the rug is indoor-outdoor worthy, yes, it cleans up pretty well, yes it hardly cost a thing…but those white spots still didn’t stand a chance of staying white.

If you need it, here’s proof that walking in and out all summer on the rug, could only get worse during the rainy winter coming up.


So I started to think of ways to solve this problem in the fashion I do all my solving – over coffee with a paintbrush in hand.

If you think about it, how do they dye these things in the first place?  Usually a watery type substance.  If I used straight paint, I ran the risk of the spots being crunchy and hard.  I needed the rug to stay pliable and soft.  I started testing by using mostly water and just a blob of black craft paint.  See that little half circle at the top of the rug?

You could use any paint you have around btw.  I’m confident this would work on any type of rug, but if you have something heirloom-ish or expensive, think twice on this permanent solution, because once it dries there’s no going back.  If you panic after starting and change your mind, flush it with lots of water before it dries and sponge up with a white towel or paper towel, pressing, not rubbing.


I dried it with my trusty blow dryer to see how it faired. And…SUCCESS!  Keeping the paint super diluted worked like a dye would.  I rubbed in the solution with an old paintbrush.

People, there are lotsa dotsa on that little rug.  It took quite some time to tint those spots.

I decided to go ombre’ and start out darker where you come in to the house and hit the rug, adding more and more water to my mix in order to dilute the gray until the last bit of rug remained the original white.

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And there you have it.  Cost: Zippo, Zilch, Nada since I used about a tablespoon of paint to a lot of H2O.

I thought of adding a word spelled out in dots in a different colour, but I couldn’t decide on the best way to execute that idea or if it felt too cutsie for me.

I’ll let you know how we did over the winter months when the wet footwear tramples all over the rug, but I’m guessing we’ll be just fine. And if not, I’ll just whip out the tools to colour in the rest of the rug. Splendid!


My Bar Cart: Superhero in DISGUISE


My bar cart.  I came upon it at a little local thrift store three years ago.  Of course I considered painting it, as you probably guessed I would.  At the time gold had not made it’s full come-back yet, and I was not on that band wagon, either.  Yet, I still couldn’t do it.

Much like Clark Kent or Bruce Wayne, it has a fairly mild mannered appearance,  pleasant but unassuming, useful but not really practical.

But take off those GLASSES, put on a CAPE and SHAZAM!  Instant party.

IMG_1048IMG_1052  Imagine some kind of jazzy Mad Men music playing in the background ….OR…

Cue Happy by Pharrell, Gettin’Jiggy With It by Will Smith or ANY Jackson Five song and CELEBRATE!



And of course, after the parties, in the morning, dial up the Parisian accordion music and enjoy your croissant with French press coffee, do the crossword puzzle in the paper and just relax.  Ahhhhhhhh,  crime fighting can wait.



You can even cart all those dirty dishes on it after….unless you have an Alfred like BAT MAN….

Et de Deux – Light Fixture Change-Up


There it is – The second of the two traditional ceiling light fixtures transformed!

Jogging your memory for you:

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Lovely if you like traditional.  Not so much if you don’t.

One day, perusing through Pinterest as I tend to do far, far too often, I came across a blogger who made her rental unit more her style by changing the ceiling fixture.  She did a beautiful job, I watched the video, start to finish.  It was veeeerrrryyy long.  She made the shade from cardstock – clamped and glued, covered it with wall paper- clamped and glued, put in decorative brad clips on the seams like cute little buttons.  She made the diffuser (that thing that covers the bulbs so that when you look up you don’t burn your eyeballs ) from a strong plastic sheet of something that she painstakingly taped the edges of and slowly cut so it wouldn’t chip and shard into splinters and then she still covered the plastic with linen fabric and Mod Podge.  All this would probably take quite a few hours.  And then it hit me. I am SO not that girl.  She has patience I could only hope to one day (when I’m dead, probably) attain.

So being the shifty short-cutter type that I am, I began to devise my plan on how to get the look, for less work, less money and less patience!

Here’s how I pulled it off.

Old lamp shade. Can you tell it’s mint green?  Why did I ever buy a mint green shade?  MUST have been on sale.  Again, nice if you have pastel colours in your home.  I don’t.


Let your imagination go here.  You could do any pattern you like.  Stripes are easy.  I eyeballed them but if you care more than me, you can measure.  Big polka dots would be awesome too.  You could just go with a solid colour or divide it horizontally in two and paint two colours, or like my patient fellow blogger you could cover it with wallpaper or a map or fabric.  Whatever you have on hand!.  It’s pretty limitless.


Spray or brush on the paint of choice. I bought this cool little device to help keep that paint from sticking to my fingers.  Works like a charm on any brand of aerosol paint.  Around $6.00. I won’t include that price in my total cost, since I will use it every single time I spray absolutely anything.  I’m sure it would work out to pennies a project.

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Dont forget the bottom rim that you’ll be looking up at – although you probably never will actually look at it.

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For the diffuser, trace the bottom of your shade on some inexpensive core board.  Score the edge first go round, then cut through.  Be sure to use a cutting board or something under the core board so you don’t wreck the table (such a cautionary tale I could tell…).

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Remove the old light fixture cover, leaving the guts and bulbs in tact.  Attach the lamp shade.  In my case, I used the old fixture’s existing screw-in middle post (bonus!) slipping it through the centre hole of the lamp shade frame and tightened the bolt as high as it would go.

Unfortunately for me, my hallway and livingroom still have popcorn ceiling – the only places left in the house.  Even with protective eyewear, I still managed to get some in my eye.  Be careful, people.  It hurts.

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Insert the core board diffuser.  See how your eyeballs are protected?  Nice.  And a pretty stripey pattern when the light’s on.


Now, Patient Blogger said to leave space for air to circulate so it won’t overheat, but if you look at the old light fixture, it was tight to the ceiling, so I’m not sure that’s necessary.  As it turned out, I had space between shade and ceiling because the lightbulbs wouldn’t let the wire frame any closer.

But here’s what I found, dang it all.  I need to do two coats to have a more solid finish when you turn on the light.  A little too transparent for my liking…but that’s an easy fix.

The total cost of the project, you ask?

Lampshade, left over paint, tape : free – from my stash

Core Board: $4.00

The time invested, you ask?

If you don’t count the time waiting for the paint to dry, maybe an hour and a half actual “labour” – (if you call sitting in the sun painting, labour) taping, painting and installing.

Now all my light fixtures are un-traditional…like me!





Mid Century-Eclectic-Industrial. Is that a category?



Well, if it isn’t, it should be.

Look up, waaay up, and you’ll see my industrial addition.

It started out like this:  IMG_0829

Very traditional.  Nice, but not my style.  Came with the house.  Still confused about that since the previous owners didn’t really have any other finishes in the traditional style.  Interesting.

Hemmed and Hawed for years about what to replace it with.

And then I saw a wire basket. And cup hooks.  IMG_0855

And cool lightbulbs:   IMG_0850

Lightbulb moment (literally)!

Removed the glass and rim and got this:  IMG_0845

Spray painted it with this:




Jumped on my trusty ladder:  IMG_0872

Which turned out to not be so trusty when jumped upon.


Fell off said ladder.  Ladder hit wall.  Added new project to repairs list.  Sigh.

Put it here:  IMG_0853

Screwed in the cup hooks, hooked on the basket,   IMG_0857


IMG_0859   IMG_0860 Industrial Chic!

One for You, Two for Me!



Today I am going to post for you a simple quick-fix Before and After so that I have still offered a decorating tid-bit before I talk about what happened to me!

Here is my coffee table/ottoman in the winter:


And my former bedding :


A little of this and a little (OK, a LOT of ) coffee:


Do this:

IMG_0618  IMG_0666

Get this:


Perfect for summer, and I didn’t cut anything.  Just scrunched, folded, squished, bunched, manipulated and stapled. (Don’t look underneath.) I’m assuming that when I pull out the staples and un-scrunch, un-fold, un-squish, un-bunch, un-manipulate and wash it, all the holes  made from the stapler will magically disappear!  Sounds about right in my head.

That’s the ONE for you.

And now here’s the TWO for me:  I received a beautiful little surprise – no, not a baby – two brand spanking new blogging awards!!

versatileblogger111      sunshine-award11

I am beyond thrilled and I accept!  Upon acceptance, there are rules to adhere to and they are as follows:

1. Thank the person who nominated you :

That would be Harmony’s Pearls. Check her out at http://harmonyspearls.wordpress.com.   THANK YOU!!  She writes with a tender heart and a velvet hammer.  She also writes fantastic comments on posts.  I know this because I have been the recipient of said comments.

2.  Place the award badges on your Blog page :

Oh YES I did!

3.  Answer the 10 questions posed to me :

Will do. See below if you are interested.

4.  Pay it forward :

I need to nominate 10 bloggers too!  That will be fun.

Here are the 10 questions posed to me :

1) What is my favourite food?

- Pizza?  The question mark is because that’s what I think today.  It could very well be something else tomorrow. Or even by the time I finish this post.  I am fickle that way.  It’s food after all.

2) Who is my favourite Actor?

- Sidney Portier in To Sir With Love still makes me swoon. Sigh. Oh and to be fair, Meryl Streep because she can play ANY woman really, really well. (Hey, nobody said I couldn’t pick one from each side.)

3) Favourite TV Show?

- I just finished watching House of Cards with Kevin Spacey on Netflix. No, not actually WITH Kevin Spacey, he was IN it.  I love him. I also hate him. If you watch the show you’ll understand.

4) Favourite Tear Jerker?

- Nope. I don’t like movies that make me cry. I always feel crummy long after. Case in point, I just watched the new Colbie Caillat music video called TRY and I was sobbing at the end of it. Messy. Snotty. I’m still not over it.

5) Coffee or Tea?

- COFFEE no contest.  It’s what gets me up and at ‘em, through all my DIY’s, good times & bad times, all day long. The blacker and stronger the better.  I am very very addicted. Obv.

6) Favourite Sport?

- Volleyball to play and Roller derby to watch. It’s fascinating. But I can’t watch too long.  I don’t do real well with anticipation situations and unfairness. That sport makes me anxious and the potential for unfairness abounds. This seems like a really extra long answer for a question about sports.

7) What’s my lucky number?

- None. I have the absence of luck. Numbers are not my friend. (read my rope/lamp post.)

8) What’s my favourite Holiday?

- Christmas!! Hands down. For all the obvious traditional reasons. Oh and Jesus is the reason for the Season. Said it.

9) Twitter or Facebook?

- Now, I understand they both have their virtues, but I do neither.  I just Blog.

10) Favourite Christmas movie?

- ELF!!  Makes me laugh every year.


Here are my Nominees:

The Curator’s Collection

Double Whirler

Hello Lady

One Cool Site

The Modachrome Home

Home for Now

Lady Landsdown

This is Our Bliss

American Vintage Online

Apartment Envy


These are my 10 questions to my nominees:

1. & 2. If you could have anyone decorate a room in your house, who would it be and which room?

3. If you were stranded on a desert island what three things would you want to have with you? ( And don’t say a boat)

4. Disco or Ballroom?

5. What’s the furthest distance you’ve travelled?

6. Where do you stand in the family? (First born, middle etc.)

7. Is there anyone you would change places with?

8. Best summer book?

9. What do you put on your french fries?

10. Is Paris always a good idea?

Thanks again Miss H’s Pearls – I’ll still take you up on that offer to Find This, Paint That!



The long and winding ROPE



Check out my lamps!

Here’s a shot of the lamps before – formerly of the living room, moved in their green state to reside in the bedroom.

IMG_0765  IMG_0767

I bought three packets of rope, each 50 feet long, $7.98 each.  At first I thought one package would do it, 50′ sounded like a lot of feet!  I am so very bad at math.  But I bought two packages in case.  Because I know I am very bad at math.

This is how painfully close one package of rope got me.  That right there is 50 feet.  Shocker.  I know. I had to go back and buy another package of rope. Because I am worse at math than I thought.  Sigh.

IMG_0779   I have maybe 10 feet left.  I hoped to have the rope left-overs fashioned into something amazing to act like I had it planned all along, but suffice it to say this didn’t happen yet- but it will, I’m pretty sure.

IMG_0780 The how-to is so simple I didn’t really bother with many pictures.  All I did was wrap the rope around and around, adding blobs of glue gun glue as I went.  I started gluing the rope at the back by the cord.  On my lamps, there is a rib every couple of inches, and I aimed the glue for them.  I did learn by the second lamp that a push, blob, push method was effective in keeping the rope tight against the previous row and held well to the rope (and listening to 60’s French pop music in the sunshine while winding the rope was tres fun too).


Let me say that as fab as they look and as hard as it is to refrain from hugging your beautiful new lamp, don’t.  Very prickly- trust me.  And also surprisingly stinky.  Not horrible, and the smell is fading more every day but I wanted to give you the heads up on that.  No unnecessary surprises for you.  The great thing for me is that once I grow tired of this look or want to use these lamps in their original glory, I just have to pull and unwind.  And then I’ll have 100 feet of rope again, no wait, it would be, lets see, 50′ x 2 plus about …well never mind.  I won’t embarrass myself any further.  You get my drift.

Blinged-up Bar Stools


I almost did this post without any words, just a photo progression of step one to the finished product, but I just couldn’t do it.  With the pics, I could leave you thinking how genius I am and how my project went off without a hitch.  HA!  By now you know that’s not what  happened.  I’m here to expose the underbelly of the DIY world. Well, my DIY underbelly anyway.


Started out with good old cheapie 2 for 1 vinyl barstools.  They survived 5 years in my house.  They were cracked, piping peeling off, scratched and BROWN (they were always brown, but that’s not their fault).   Five years.  That’s pretty good, I figured.

So. Three fold solution. One: I got me a post idea!  Two: I can fail because 5 years says I can buy new ones if necessary. (It’s MY logic, and I stand by it)  Three: I tried this solution once before and it works.

IMG_0736   I got out the plastic furniture spray paint that I used on my shoe storage project.  See it here.  Gave the chairs three coats to be sure I covered all the angles.  Once dry, I taped off the seat, taped off about four inches at the feet for the dipped look, and went to town with my  gold metallic spray  paint.  Beauty.

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Even painter’s tape can’t promise this won’t happen.  No biggie.

Next I happened upon this stencil that matches the fabric on my dining chairs.  $5.00.  Score.  (Ignore the bottle of gold craft paint and stencil brush. Tried it.  Didn’t work.  New solution needed and discovered).  Here’s something I found impossible to do this project without.  Repositionable spray glue.  Splendid.

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I used good old fashioned wax paper to cover all the parts I didn’t want painted, since even after curing for 4 days, the painter’s tape was untrustworthy – as far as peeling off the paint goes.  I used the same spray glue to hold the wax paper in place.  Easy removal or repositioning.

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And as careful as I was, I still got overspray here and there.  Some of it was easy to fix, but some like in between the pattern itself I had to leave since I ran the risk of ruining the whole design going back and forth with the paints.


The metallic gold on the design has a cool reflective quality but the same paint on the chair legs took on a soft burnished look.  The “dipped” feet add a bit of whimsy which I am always after.  Always.

All in all, a successful solution to a decorating dilemma.  How long they will last is yet to be seen, but I figure all I’ve lost is $10.00 for the stencil and glue (and not even really because I’ll use them on something else in the future) and some time outside in the sunshine.  Which is no loss at all!




A Nod to All Things Nautical



Here I am, another summer coming, and I am back to square one with my outdoor rug.  For those who have been with me for awhile, you may recall the above photo.

And how I started with this:

IMG_0363 For those who care to see, check it out here.

This is how it looked at the end of the season:IMG_0609

Much like waxing the winter leg hairs (minus the pain), I ripped off the white duct tape and was left with this:

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A semi-clean slate.  Still being the tight-wad that I am, I checked through the scads of paint remnants I have, found a few suitable blobs and this thingy:


I don’t recall which painting job I bought it for – I think poly-urethaning something large scale, like a floor since this has a hole to attach a pole on the top of the wood chunk -(do you love my technical jargon?).  I smeared the turquoise and yellow paint all over the rug, drew out a rough sketch and got this:


Did the following, (you know, assume the position, blah, blah blah):

IMG_0621 IMG_0626

I dipped the bottom of my gold craft paint into the paint itself and used it to add gold polka dots randomly on the rug. I outlined everything in white and then gold and piled all the outdoor furniture back on it…..covering the design I just spent all that time on……Hmmmm…..Oh, whatever!  SUMMER’S coming!!



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Great Wall of China


Ok, I exaggerate, it’s not GREAT, but it’s pretty good!

The wall  before was ok, but lacked in any visual punch.  My brother made the large blue plate back in the day, and it’s been on many a wall.  Still loving it.


I always thought I’d put artwork or paint a feature colour to help beef up the wall, but never felt it was quite the right move either way. I even bought a large inexpensive (translate: cheap) canvas to paint and mount there, but then where would the plate go?  (Can you imagine the dither I’d be in with any real world problems?  Good thing I have no  super powers – everyone might just get a pony and lots of penny candy…)

I rounded up the collection of plates we use daily – some were thrift store finds, some were gifts, some inherited.  Confession – I bought the fork and knife plate on a whim – but look at it!  Adorable.



And here some of you will shake your head or roll your eyes.  I randomly stuck push pins in the wall, moved push pins, puttied holes, hung up plates, puttied holes, stood back, adjusted where needed, puttied holes…

My planning method is no planning.  But you probably figured that out from the beginning of my blogging history.  I went with how it “felt” and continued with that process until I was done.

I like that this wall is not just a repeat of the artwork gallery walls I do, that when I look at the plates I think about how I acquired them, and sometimes I’m annoyed that a particular plate is up there if I think I could be using it for something.  I can switch them out anytime thankfully, maybe even adjust them to suit the season.  As long as they don’t come crashing down at any time, it’s all good with me.