Jun 28, 2012

Oh Canada!

We're gearing up for the Canada Day long weekend around here. Basically we'll be doing projects around the house like any other weekend, but the dogs will be showing their national pride gosh darn it!

I stopped by the dollar store the other night to see what kind of dog-friendly (i.e. not easily destroyed) costuming I could find. One of the things I found was this lanyard for keys or an id pass that had Canadian flags on it. 

What caught my eye was the quick-release buckle. Just like a dog collar. 

My plan was to cut one side of the longer loop, feed it through the other buckle (after removing everything attached to it) and then sew it back up.

I used the dogs' current collars to measure the length at which it should fold through the end. That's not the spot I cut it at, it just gave me a reference point to make sure it wasn't too short. 

I fed the strap through and then pinned it in place. 

I used my sewing machine and sewed back and forth several times. 

I ended up sewing three different lines to give it some strength. 

I then took two metal loops from some unused lamp chain and added them as rings for dog tags. 

Here's Little Dog showing hers off. She was much better at having her picture taken this time. 


Chloe acted the petulant teenager and gave me the eye-roll.

She then got distracted by a Febreezed carpet. Or else she has narcolepsy.

I also bought some Canadian flag headbands (hairbands?) for them to wear. They sit really far back because we have to put any bands behind their ears or they just paw them off. Again Sasha was so well behaved. I'm suspicious.

After a round of photos I realized that the lanyards had come with much better rings (and a clip) for attaching tags. So I removed the chain loops and strung the other ones. That looks much cleaner and prettier!

But then no one wanted their picture taken.

I got this:

And this:

We are not amused.

Happy Canada Day to everyone celebrating this weekend! 



I'm linking up here this week!

Jun 24, 2012

Duffy's - Handpainted Sign for the Bar

I did some tweaking to the outdoor fold-up bar this weekend. Made it a little more personalized if you will.

Tom and his friends have this running joke where either they'll call and ask for "Duffy" or he'll answer the phone, "Duffy's Bar, Duffy speaking". It's been going on for years. So I decided that this was going to be Duffy's Bar.

This is what I came up with for the fold-up cover:

I played around with font styles in Photoshop, and then pasted in a palm tree graphic that I found online (after I copied and flipped it). We made it Bar and Grill because, well, the bar is next to the grill. And I added palm trees since we want the space to have a relaxed feel, and our favourite vacation spots are tropical.

I did try my freezer paper transfer method to get a stencil on the wood that I could then paint over, but the bar is so heavily lacquered that the ink ran right off. So I printed each of the words and the trees individually on 8.5 x 11 paper and set to work cutting it all out by hand with an X-acto knife. I sometimes think about getting a Silhouette machine but I don't really do a lot of lettering, so I've never felt it was worth the money. But after cutting out 15 letters and two trees (plus an apostrophe!) I sure was wishing I had one.

I taped down each word and used a sponge brush to dab the paint onto the wood. One tip: if you're using letters with closed loops (like B's, A's, P's, etc.), leave a little bit of the letter uncut so that the inside of the loop is still attached. You can then paint in the missing part afterwards with an artist's brush.

Also, dabbing the paint on rather than brushing it helps to keep paint from seeping under the paper.

I just kept layering on paint until I got the coverage that I wanted. I used the same paint colour as on the walls in my craft room (which I don't think I've officially posted about).

Once that was dry I hand-painted the detail on the trees with an artist's brush. That was stressful as I am by no means an artist.

The two trees aren't exactly the same since it was done freehand, but I think that gives it a bit of a homey appearance. The letters are also a little rough around the edges but I like that too.

I also added some fine lines to each letter to give them more dimension.

The colour I used for the detail work was the same as the background but with a little black, brown, and yellow acrylic paint added in to darken it.

Here is our finished product. 

I love it. And more importantly, since it was for Tom, he loves it. He can hardly wait for his friends to come over and see the sign. He's not going to tell them, he's just going to let them discover it.

I was going to sand it for an aged look and then lacquer over it, but I've decided to just let it fade on its own.

So, to recap, here is the before:

And here is the after (we lost the flowers in a wind storm):

The bar is now open! 
(Well actually it`s closed, but you know what I mean.)


I'm linking up here this week!

Jun 21, 2012

"Future Projects"

Every day I stumble upon other people's fantastic ideas. I bet you do too. Thank goodness for Pinterest, right? Or else our hard drives would be overflowing with strangers' pictures. I have a board on Pinterest called "Future Projects" and I'm proud to say I've actually completed a few of them. I've made a pinecone map ornament, yarn and twine Easter eggs, and most recently the backyard bar.

Here are some of my recent favourites.  

Beachy Photo in a Bottle
I already have several bottles (and photos) in mind.

Upcycled Kleenex Box
Do you think I have a thing for twine?

Stones & Leather Bracelet
This looks complicated but the instructions make it seem easy.
Happy Hour Projects

Gardener's wreath
I need to start making more interesting wreaths. 
This one looks simple yet all of the different textures 
keep your eyes busy discovering new features.

Travel Cases
I'm always replacing mine because the lids break off my eye shadows 
and the powder gets everywhere. 
I'd love to make my own, and I also love the double-sided fabric.
Decor and the Dog

So what's caught your fancy lately?
Do you think you'll ever make your favourites?

Jun 19, 2012

Next On the List? Bathroom!

Now that the backyard bar and the seating area are done, we can move on to other things on our list. Though there was a storm today and I came home to find the patio umbrella almost on its side, and cushions all over the place, not to mention I have no idea where the flowers that were on top of the bar went to. They're probably in a neighbour's yard.

This is our "to-do" list. It's pretty long and not much has been crossed off. We started off double-spacing and then had to start filling in those spaces when we realized there was so much we wanted to do.

But having this list keeps us focused, and when we have a couple of free hours we can look at it and find something small to do (or something larger to start on).

We've decided on my bathroom as the next project. It probably could have been put off a bit longer, but then I started some renovations on my own. It's "my bathroom" because that's where I get ready for work in the morning. I shower in the ensuite (dubbed "Tom's bathroom") and then go to my bathroom to finish getting ready.

This is the bathroom decorated by the previous owners. It was their daughters' bathroom so we can't fault them for making it fun and whimsical.

But once the shower curtain was gone it lost its whimsy. I should mention, I really dislike turquoise. Some people adore it - the colour and the stone - but I'm not one of those people. Somehow I've lived with it for 3+ years though. The problem was that I didn't know exactly what colour I wanted. I love the grey tile, but I hate the blue countertop. I didn't want the walls to be a pale colour like white or grey, but since there's no window you can't go too dark either. A conundrum.

I also wanted to replace the medicine cabinet with something made of wood, larger, and that looked a smidge weathered. Probably more than a smidge. I also need a place to hang my "tools", i.e. the hairdryer, flat iron, and two curling irons. Right now they hang on the door knob and it's annoying when you try to close the door.

Then we had a yard sale. I thought it'd be the perfect time to get rid of the white medicine cabinet. So I ripped that sucker off the wall.

Okay, that's an exaggeration, I actually used the cordless screwdriver to remove the screws properly, but I wasn't too concerned about what happened to the wall. Aaaand we were left with this.

Since I now have nowhere to put anything, my bathroom is looking like I live in a dorm. (And to anyone who can't handle the open toilet lid - oh well, too bad for you.)

I should also mention that we had a roof leak last year that did some damage to the ceiling above the shower. Luckily it was just some vent flashing that wasn't attached properly so we didn't have to replace the roof.

We just decided to sand and spackle the area rather than cutting out and replacing the drywall. Since we never use that shower, it should have plenty of time to cure (yes, I will repaint the ceiling).

We're going to replace the welded on towel rack and toilet paper holder so Tom took the pry bar to it.

And now we have this. More spackling.

I've been spackling and sanding the last two days and I think we're just about ready to paint. Oh, I didn't mention the paint! I spent 20 minutes at Home Depot driving Tom crazy trying to decide on a colour. His solution was to take the tile colour and the counter colour to Benjamin Moore and let the lady decide for us like we did last time.

Then we were at Rona (Canada's version of Home Depot) and I found a gallon of oops paint for $10. It's that taupe-y colour that I'm always drawn to. I figure for 10 bucks, why not?

If I don't like it I'll just paint over it.

So here we are, all ready to go. I'm going to paint the ceiling and trim tomorrow night and then hopefully I can get the walls done on Saturday.

Look out list, I'm coming for ya!

Jun 17, 2012

It's Five O'Clock Somewhere (DIY Backyard Bar)

We have a very tiny backyard, but we've tried to make the best of what we have to work with. Last year we expanded our deck and this year we've been focusing on making it an inviting space.

The last couple of weekends have been spent building a compact, fold-down bar. One weekend to build and stain it, the second to give it a few coats of poly. This weekend we finally were able to hang it up and put it to use.

DIY fold down bar

Just in time for summer, Sherry from Young House Love and Katie from Bower Power are challenging all of us in blogland to get going on some of the projects we've pinned on Pinterest. I thought our outdoor bar would be the perfect thing since we've been wanting to make it for so long.

Fold-up Patio Bar

This edition is also being hosted by Kate at Centsational Girl and Michelle at Ten June. Head on over to all four sites to see what everyone has come up with and to add your own project.

Now back to our backyard bar........

Fold-up Patio Bar

Fold-up Patio Bar

Fold-up Patio Bar

I first saw this bar on Pinterest last winter, and saved it as a "must do". We substituted rustic rope for the chain - it seemed more our style. And we have limited wall space so ours is a little narrower than the original.

The construction was very simple. There weren't any instructions with the original picture so we just had to make it up as we went along. I didn't take many pictures while we were building it, but I'll try to explain it as best I can.

Ours is built of pine, stained Minwax red mahogany, and I gave it three coats of polyurethane to protect it from the Canadian weather (Update: it's already been rained on several times and is holding up great!)

Fold-up Patio Bar

Here is a simplified picture of the pieces you'll need. The frame is made of 1" x 6" pine select and the fold-down shelf is a cut down 20" pine shelf.

DIY fold down bar

The side pieces are 22 inches long at the back. Tom routered a curve into the top so it is slightly shorter at the front. He cut a slot (dado joint) into each side board about two inches down so that the top shelf could slide into it and have more strength.

DIY fold down bar

The top shelf is 24 inches wide at the front. The shelf has a cut out on each side so that it fits into the slot, but there is an overhang at the front so that the edge of the shelf is flush with the sides. The board ends up being a wide, upside-down T-shape.

DIY fold down bar

The upright board at the back of the top shelf is 3 inches deep by 22 inches long and drops in behind the shelf.

The interior vertical piece and shelf are slightly shallower than the outer boards so that the rope can hang freely inside and not get caught up when we close the door.  The vertical board is 19 inches long, and the shelf is 10 inches long. The bottom board is 24 inches long. All of the boards are joined together with counter-sunk screws, and the holes were then puttied.

DIY fold down bar

DIY fold down bar

The corners were reinforced with brass corner brackets and then Tom mounted the frame to the brick wall with tapcon screws.

DIY fold down bar

Fold-up Patio Bar

We also used brass hinges to attach the fold-down shelf to the base.

Fold-up Patio Bar

The fold-down shelf is 19" x 24".  When folded up, this board ends an inch before the bottom shelf because, when it's folded out, it has to meet that bottom shelf in a way that keeps it flush. 

DIY fold down bar

We used sisal rope to suspend the shelf when it's open instead of chain as in the original. The side ropes keep the shelf from dropping below horizontal and puts less stress on the hinges. We drilled holes in the fold-out shelf and in the bar sides near the top, fed the rope through the holes, and tied each end in a knot to keep it in place. A tip: if you tape off the end of the rope first, it's easier to feed through the hole.

DIY fold down bar

DIY fold down bar

To keep it closed when it's folded up we attached a hook and eye on each side. It's very secure yet easy to open. And when it's folded away it barely takes up any room. You'd hardly even notice it was there!

Fold-up Patio Bar

Fold-up Patio Bar

Update: Our bar has a name! Go here to see what we painted on the outside.

There's space on one side for bottles (alcoholic or otherwise) and shelves on the other side for glasses. We're a little partial to coconut rum and banana liquor. That bottle came home with us from our last trip to Cuba.

Fold-up Patio Bar

Fold-up Patio Bar

Meanwhile, over on the other side of the deck...

Last year we sold our patio table and chairs and replaced them with a more casual seating area.

Backyard Patio small spaces

Backyard Patio small spaces

Backyard Patio small spaces

Backyard Patio small spaces

What do you think of the tea towel pillows?  I started out with just two for the love seat, but they're perfect for the chairs as well.

Backyard Patio small spaces

Our deck has a lower level also. We created a second seating area with an Adirondack chair, pillows and a blanket. That's the hammock folded up and hanging beside. The area is always in the shade so it's the perfect cool spot for reading a book.

Backyard Patio small spaces

When the chair is not in use we also use this area for hanging out in the hammock. Perfect for reading or just taking a nap. It's nice to be able to step down from the upper deck right into the hammock. (Notice another tea towel pillow?  Yep, it got out of hand.)

Backyard Patio small spaces

Backyard Patio small spaces

And we're not the only ones who like to spend time there.

Backyard Patio small spaces

Yesterday was hot and sunny so we poured cold drinks and enjoyed some fresh strawberries. The stacked pots in the middle are leftovers from our wedding reception centerpieces with dollar store flowers and leaves filling in the spaces.

Backyard Patio small spaces

Backyard Patio small spaces

Fold-up Patio Bar

Backyard Patio small spaces

Backyard Patio small spaces

Backyard Patio small spaces

Bring on summer!


I'm linking up here this week!

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