There are a couple of big projects that have been lingering around my house for quite sometime. My backyard, also known as the abandoned void behind my house, and my kitchen eat in area, also known as the place where all junk in my house congregates. I’ll be honest; I’ve been avoiding them for a long time because I’m scared, especially of my backyard after my failed garden bed project from last year.
With spring in the air I’ve been consumed with thinking about my backyard. This year I’m determined to make progress and have a usable backyard for summer. Last year I waited too long to get started and suffered from a wet rainy spring, not this year! I’m close to finalizing my plan and determining the time frame and stages of the project. This is the single biggest project I’ve ever taken on so a plan is essential for my success and budget!
Let’s go on a tour!
This is the entrance into my backyard between my house and my neighbour’s house.
Before any fun backyard projects begin I have to do some general upkeep. In the big wind storm a couple of weeks ago my fence broke, my apple tree has been suffering a long slow death since I bought my house 2 years ago and my disaster DIY garden bed was lacking from the beginning and took a beating over the winter. All must be fixed/ removed. Lesson I learned from the time consuming disaster DIY- strive for simple solutions to landscaping projects and if you realize it isn’t working change your plan!
This is the view of the back of my house. I tried to show roughly what the plan is. Upper wood deck in a triangular shape following the line of the existing cement path, lower stone patio for patio table and chairs.
View from standing on my current “deck.”
View from further back in my backyard.
View from behind my back fence looking towards my house. Currently this space is useless and overgrown but my plan is to convert it to extra off street parking.
I’m so fortunate to have a big backyard. It has so much potential to be awesome! Have any of you tackled a big landscaping project? Any words of wisdom that you can pass along?
Check out my Backyard Inspiration board on Pinterest for some pretty backyard ideas that may or may not be incorporated into my spring project.
It’s B-A-C-K! Turn your awesome abilities or quirky collections into beautiful modern furniture! The Blu Dot Swap Meet has returned. Make sure to watch the very erotic video. Is it just me or does Har Mar Superstar (he’s the dude in the video, thanks google) have a slight resemblance to Ron Jeremy? Two bids have already been approved, will you be next?
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Map related design has been a trend for quite awhile but this is the most inventive and impressive use of maps I’ve seen. “Made in America Pans” are cast iron pans made to resemble each state in the USA.
How cool would it be to have an Ontario pan? Cooking with it over an open fire while camping in Algonquin and admiring the beauty of Ontario? Only in my dreams as I won’t be bringing a $300 pan made of cast iron back packing anytime soon but I’m sure you can imagine the awesomeness of that imaginary photograph!
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Erik, don’t leave me alone with my credit card and computer I can’t be held responsible for my actions these dresses are just too pretty! Shabby Apple is a lovely online boutique specializing in vintage inspired designs. With collection names like Mad Hatter, Tinsel Town, The Silk Road and Yosemite my imagination started to run wild when browsing their beautifully photographed collections. Check out my Pinterest board for more inspiring looks.
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Have a Great Weekend!
Two years ago I made a relatively expensive bed and bed frame purchase that turned out to be a nightmare. After many trials and tribulations and failed attempts at getting it covered by warranty I finally pulled the plug in December and accepted the fact it had to be replaced. My goal was to come up with an inexpensive and fashionable bed frame and headboard. To keep my costs low I decided to go with a traditional steel bed frame and build my own headboard.
With almost perfect timing my dream headboard appeared in a blog post by Jenny Komenda in early February. This isn’t a beginners do-it-yourself project but is easily doable for an intermediate crafter with some pre-planning and time.
All prices are based on my experience and may differ based on location. Plan ahead and watch out for sales. I purchased all my foam, batting, buttons and fabric at Fabricland at their 50% weekend.
1/4″ x 48″ x 96″ Peg Board ($19.99)
Spray Adhesive ($6.99)
3″ thick foam x 24″ x __” ($30)
High loft Batting ($10)
Fabric Covered Button Kit & Refills size 7/8″ ($1.25 for a 4 pack)
Upholstery Twine ($0.29/ meter)
4 x Flush Mount Brackets ($0.89 each)
3 m Solid Colour Material
3 1/2″+ Long Needle ($0.99)
* A note about buttons- I thought I was going to break my thumb upholstering the buttons and it was the worst part of the project. Two days after finishing my project I was chatting about it with a friend when a nice woman overheard my pains and offered a great tip. She told me that you can get buttons upholstered at local upholstery shops very inexpensively. She also told me that they tend to have a nicer finish and be more durable. Next time I will do this.
** A note on thread/ twine: At first I was using heavier weight thread but when I pulled on the buttons it just kept snapping even if I had it doubled up. I did some research and learned about upholstery twine. They sell it by the meter at fabric stores and it make tightening the buttons much easier.
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Ready? Set? Let’s Make a Headboard!
Measure your space and decide on the dimensions of your headboard. I marked mine off with chalk so I’d have a good visual to work with especially because I decided to mount mine above my baseboards and cut out an area over an electrical outlet. I also marked the height of the mattress against the headboard once it was installed.
I installed my flush mount brackets at the end of the project but mapping out their placement in relation to where the wall studs were was a pain once the headboard was built. I’d recommend doing it now. Use a stud finder to locate wall studs where your headboard will be mounted. Use a sharpie to mark where the studs are on your peg board. Make sure to mark the edges of the wall stud so all screws from the flush mount brackets screw into the studs. Securing your headboard is important, you don’t want it to come crashing down at an embarassing time now would you. Measure, mark, verify and repeat.
Next comes math time! The holes are 1″ apart on a peg board which makes it easy to map out once you’ve decided on the size of your tufts. That being said I recommend chalk so you can erase and re-plot your grid if your elementary school math fails you. I did every 10th hole, meaning 26 buttons. 2 rows of 6 and 2 rows of 7.
Now that you know how many tufts you will be doing you can do the fun part. Or enlist someone else who will be benefiting from this project to help you (thanks Erik). Time to cover those buttons.
Lay foam directly under your peg board. Use a sharpie to mark where your tufts will be. When you have your sharpie out, mark the tuft holes on the opposite side of your board. This will make life easier down the road.
Use a knife to cut holes in foam. I used the stab, twist, pull method.
Next spray the top portion of the peg board (where the foam goes) with adhesive. Line up your foam carefully to make sure your holes line up with the peg board holes you marked off. Stick it.
Spray foam and layer batting on top. I doubled up the batting to ensure there was enough thickness and to create a more pronounced tuft. I also glued strips of batting along the bottom edges to give a nicer finish to the exposed lower edges since my headboard is a few inches wider then my bed on each side.
Arrange fabric on top of the batting. I used a fake velvet like material with just a bit of stretch in it. I’d recommend avoiding stretch I think it resulted in some additional puckering around the edges at the end. 3 meters gave me plenty to work with and some extra.
Start in the middle of the headboard and work your way out. I found it was easiest to stand the head board up against a couple of chairs to thread the buttons. Find what’s most comfortable for you.
I found it easiest to aim to go in one hole and come out another so I could just tie off the twine versus using the staple method. At first, I found it difficult and painful to pull the needle through the foam, batting and fabric. I tried using a set of plyers to pull the needle through and it was much quicker and easier.
Once all the tufts are done you’ll move on to folding the fabric and stapling it in place. I’m actually planning on redoing the edges of mine because I don’t think I payed enough attention to folding and tucking the fabric nicely. I should have referred back to Jenny’s post at this point because she demonstrates it well.
Next, install the flush mount brackets to the headboard and wall if you have not done so already. Mount headboard. Then….
Admire your masterpiece!
Then go brag to everyone who will listen that you built an awesome headboard for around $100 in about 5 hours!
Now that I have my bed sorted out, I’d really like to find or make some new art for above the bed and find some new linens. Any suggestions?
Sunday dinner at our house is often a assortment of leftovers from the week. This week I think I hit it out of the park. 5 minutes of easy prep work and 15-20 minutes of cooking depending on size and you have a delicious beautiful dinner. I’m thinking about serving a variation of this for my next dinner party.
5 minutes prep
18 minutes cooking time (depends on size of pork tenderloin)
- Pork Tenderloin
- Garlic (peeled, pressed)
- Roasted Red Peppers (bottled in oil)
- Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- Olive Oil
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Salt and Pepper
Step 1: Stuffing
Finely chop mushrooms and arugula. Combine mushrooms, garlic, arugala, shredded mozzarella in a small mixing bowl. Add a splash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add a dash of cumin and salt & pepper to taste. Mix.
Step 2: Meat Prep
Slice pork tenderloin lengthwise leaving one side connected. It should open like a book when done. Lightly salt pork. Place in baking pan.
Step 3: Stuffing
Spread mixture onto pork tenderloin. Place pieces of roasted red peppers on top. Fold over tenderloin (like closing a book) secure with toothpick if necessary.
Step 4: Bake
Cover loosely with tin foil and bake for 18 minutes (adjust according to size).
Remove from oven and let sit under tin foil for 5 minutes. Slice and serve.
*Sorry about the poor quality of the last photo. The red cutting board gives the pork an odd pink colour in the photo. Unfortunately we ate it all before I realized the photo was less then ideal.
I was pleasantly surprised with how well this turned out and plan to experiment with more stuffing ideas. What other stuffing combinations do you think would taste good?
Have you ever noticed that when your mind opens to something, you can’t help but notice similar inspiration everywhere? I’m having one of those weeks. The Friday Files is a weekly roundup of my favourite things and it just so happens that this week’s installation is motivational heavy. Guess there’s something in the air.
Do you know Jesse Thorn? He’s a man of style, podcaster/host extraordinaire and creator of the maximumfun.org empire. This week he published “Make Your Thing: 12 Point Program for Absolutely, Positively 1000% No-Fail Guaranteed Success” over on Transom.org. Jesse has a straight forward and informative style, filled with humour. He has had a lot of valuable experiences, the opportunity to meet and work with a lot of remarkable people, like Ira Glass and John Hodgman, and because of this he definitely has both a unique point of view and valuable insight to share. I’ve now read his short manifesto twice, and would love to see him expand on this topic. Maybe as a book or a podcast interview series? Anyone who dreams about making things or wants a small shot of inspiration should take ten minutes to read through this.
I’m intrigued to see what will be coming from “a little bit hippie, a tad bit gypsy and still, a whole lotta badass” fashionable Liz in the future. I’ve recently discovered her blog, It’s Unbeweavable, and quickly became a fan, but her search for a specific type of blog is one I’ve unsuccessfully searched for as well. I’d like to buy a ticket on her train, “This Train Is Now Departing From Inspiration Station.”
It’s award season! The 2012 Homies! I’m happy to see many of my favourite blogs getting some much deserved attention. Congratulations to everyone who is in the running this year. The “Best DIY” category has some tough competition; it’ll be interesting to see who makes the final list. A special congratulations to three of my favourite blogs: A Beautiful Mess, Centsational Girl and Little Green Notebook. It was tough for me to decide who to vote for, but in the end my vote had to go to Little Green Notebook.
Who knew makeup tutorials weren’t just a post-Youtube-era creation? Here’s a 1930’s makeup tutorial video http://www.refinery29.com/
This is one of the coolest light installations I’ve seen. Beautiful during the day and at night. http://www.desiretoinspire.
Through the years I lived in a number of different rental houses and apartments, oddly enough most of them had a window in the shower. It always seemed like a weird feature at first, but I grew to love it. There are few things better than showering with the morning sun beaming in. Dana found some beautiful examples http://www.housetweaking.com/
Have a wonderful weekend and thanks for hanging out!
Welcome to the record of my attempts to build the creative life of my dreams filled with beautiful spaces, wonderful music, a gorgeous wardrobe and delicious homemade food! I couldn’t be more excited to finally be able to welcome all of you, or at least hopefully least a few of you, to my online home. Its new, I just built it, not really furnished yet but within a few weeks I’m sure it will be teeming with posts for you to enjoy.
As you might have gathered, I’ll be primarily writing about a number of lifestyle topics- music, home décor, DIY projects, fashion and food. There will also be posts about my day to day adventures like camping, happenings around Hamilton (my beloved city), a planned summer trip to California (never been, can’t wait) and maybe even some guest posts from some lovely and fascinating people in my life.
Listen- I’ll be focusing on expanding my musical knowledge and trying to better define who I love and sharing what I can’t stop listening to. I recently finished a little book about a woman’s journey through music, and it really inspired me to analyse my musical taste. I really love music and can chat about it for hours (this is the main reason why Erik, my partner in crime, was so enamoured with me after our first date) but I realized that I cannot confidently state my favourite artists of all time. It seems like such a simple task, but for someone who is constantly exploring new music I’ve lost track. I can, without a doubt, tell you my favourite album of all time is Calexico with Iron & Wine- “He Lays in Reins” but I don’t even think they’d make my top 5 favourite artists. I won’t be reviewing albums per say, or hunting down the next big thing, but I will be documenting my exploration of music and sharing what I can’t stop listening to along the way.
Decorate- I bought a beautiful home built in the 1920’s about two years ago. A year later I got this pesky house guest with tons of stuff who just doesn’t seem to be leaving. Now I feel like the two of us have somehow outgrown a 3 bedroom house! How this is possible is beyond me, but since I’m not moving anytime soon I better make the best of it and get organized, optimize space and customize our house to better suit out lifestyle. I’ve always been a big fan of home design and come from a long line of DIY geniuses; as a kid I lived in a constant construction zone with my Dad upgrading our home and building our family’s cottage. I hope just a bit of his genius has been psychically transferred to me. In the next few months I’ll be tackling: our bedroom, our dirt pile of a backyard, our dead zone in our kitchen where I swear every item in my life that does not have a home comes to hang out and party, and finally if I build up the courage, our basement.
Make- I am by no means a professional artist but I do love crafting and making things. One of the most satisfying feelings in the creative process is figuring out how to execute something that you have a rough vision of in your head. I rarely make projects based on instructions or books. I’m a freelancer I dream up an idea then play around until it turns out. I’ll be documenting both the successes and the failures because it’s the process and not the end result that I love.
Wear- Like many people there are two distinct sides to my style- casual and corporate (or “Corporate Mar” as my alter ego is commonly referred). My wardrobe seems to be abundant but lacking. My goal is to better blend my two styles into one wardrobe and master the basics, especially on the corporate side of things. I’m striving to figure out how to walk the line between stuffy corporate and eclectic personal style.
Eat- Cooking is more a necessity then a passion in my life. I’m a decent cook, and enjoy cooking and baking from scratch, but the last thing I want to do after working all day is cook for an hour. I’m all about cooking as much food as possible at once then stashing it away for the week, or at least prepping it so that cook time on weekdays is kept to a minimum. I’ll be documenting my adventures with my unused slow cooker, experimenting with the idea of 30 meals in a day and any other whims I have in the kitchen.
I hope that I’ve sparked some of your interests and I’ll see you again soon. Follow me on twitter for regular updates and musings and check out my Pinterest to see some of my inspiration.