Friday, June 29, 2012

Cheap, Fast and Easy: DIY Kid's Room Makeover

It was time, 7 years of purple walls (make that 'Smokey Lilac'); from babyhood, through toddler mayhem, straight on to little kid...there's bound to be a bit of grubby on them walls. It was time for a makeover. The criteria was strict; it had to be cheap, fast, and easy. It also had to be transitional, 'cause we may not be long for the little green cottage, it looks like we just might be moving on - more on that later. So there's that, and of course I had to consult Pony Girl.
She has told me that I may continue to call her Pony Girl "It's fine, whatever." But only until "The Muse strikes and something better comes along." Yeah, she said that.

She's going through a 'Red Period'. After I vetoed the red walls, I asked her for suggestions, "What do you want in your room?"
She said, "Butterflies, Surfer Girl, Animals, and Music."

The Mission:
Kid Room Makeover

Time Frame:
One Week. If you had the luxury of long uninterrupted days, you might be able to do it in 4.

After painting expenses I allowed myself a budget of $50. If I had more time I would have lowered the budget by making more items.

The Vision:
Butterflies, Surfer Girl, Animals, and Music...and red.

O.k. I can do that; bring all those favorite things to life in one room - easy peasy. The key is color. I began by painting the walls a fresh light cream color.

Then we have the Neutrals: wood floors, wood furniture, cream and white, and a little gray. Then we bring in the main accent color RED. Then I added one more little pop of color with Turquoise.

Let's start with butterflies shall we?

I made a sort of draping butterfly net over the bed by using 2 sheer tab top curtain panels that I had in my sewing space. I screwed a few hooks in the ceiling over the head of the bed and simply hooked the tabs onto to them. Then I found some red butterflies at my local craft store. The butterflies had long wires attached to them which I simply clipped short and stuck them into the curtain panels. Done!

If you don't have sheer curtains laying about, you could use fabric or even an old sheet cut in half length-wise, then sew some loops of ribbon to the tops. Not into butterflies? You could easily cut your preferred shapes out of felt or fabric and baste them on. Sea creatures, planets, birds, leaves, etc. would be pretty cool too!

Now for 'Surfer Girl'. This was easily accomplished with a couple lengths of red and white Hawaiian fabric that I bought on the islands and have been hoarding in my stash. Now we have curtains!

For the window curtain I cut the length of fabric in half, quickly hemmed the cut ends and sewed loops to the two tops using bias tape/binding, you could use ribbon or twill tape as well. For the closet curtain I hemmed the cut ends of the fabric and used a spring loaded curtain rod with curtain clips. Done!

For the other window curtain it was pretty much the same process. I had some sweet white and red vintage seersucker fabric, but there wasn't quite enough to achieve the right length of curtains. So, I sewed some vintage white cotton eyelet to the bottoms of the curtain panels and Done!

The inspiration for the Turquoise came from Pony Girl's dollhouse furniture. Plus, red and turquoise look great together.

Dollhouse handcrafted by the Engineer

Where were we? Oh yes, Animals!

I can not tell you how much I love this chicken! Collage is one of my favorite projects to do with kids, I love the endless art that can be created. Just grab some colored paper and have at it! This picture already had the perfect color scheme and it's gorgeous; I just popped it into an old inexpensive frame I had around the house, instant art!

Animals and music over at the desk. The desk was originally found for free on the side of the road, given a fresh coat of paint and has plenty of drawers for storage of art supplies and such.

I spy 2 easy DIY projects. The wooden cut out of the state of Oregon was made by a family member. Simply trace your state, province, continent, onto a piece of wood, cut out with a jig saw, a little sanding and varnish and you got cool art!

I made the deer head by stenciling fabric paint onto a square of fabric scrap and stretched it over a cheap artist canvas and used a staple gun to secure it in place.

And of course I never tire of finding uses for spray painted food tins.

Next to the bed I placed an old end table with my grandmother's mirror. I used some vintage tins on the table to hold her rock and found treasure collections. Below the table is an old school locker basket to hold all of the current library books in one place (I realize that this may be a dream in the straw, but I'm hoping there will be less mad scrambling to find our library books come the due dates.)

My Turquoise weekend bag was sacrificed to Barbie storage. An old collapsible peg rack found at the local thrift for $1.50 was ugly, but nothing a little paint couldn't fix.

Galvanized tubs at the foot of the bed make for great toy storage. You could hunt down some great baskets from a thrift store too.

And a little extra pop of color on the dresser with my grandmother's blue canning jars will become storage for my girl's bead collection.

So, what I bought for the makeover:

Butterflies from the craft store $7.00
Galvanized Storage Tubs from the big home hardware store $15.00
Hat Rack from the local thrift $1.50
I splurged on a new muted red and white stripe Duvet cover from Ikea since I didn't have time to make my own $15.00

Grand Total: $38.50

Not too shabby!

I hope that maybe some of these Cheap, Fast, and Easy DIY ideas have inspired you!

Do you have any Cheap, Fast, and Easy DIY projects that you love?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Silly old bear

Meet Mr. Whiskers

Sometimes you get lucky and meet someone through this wild and wonderful world of bloggers that becomes a fast friend, even though you may be geographically challenged and sharing a cuppa face to face is not possible, you feel as though you have known each other for ages. I have been so lucky in this respect, I feel as though I have received a gift of great bounty in friends from far away places. The fact that these friends are also incredibly talented, terribly creative, and makers of magical things, is truly inspiring.

Jess from Teddy Bear's Wednesday is one such remarkable friend. She is a maker of extraordinary creatures, most notably of the bear variety, but she is hardly limited to just one species. You can take one look at her Etsy shop to see she has a gift for creating critters with personality and panache!

One day whilst perusing her instagram feed, I spied the beginnings of a bear, he was just a head at this point, but I knew he was going to be quite special. Later I saw that she had posted about him on her blog and I knew he had to come live with me. So, I promptly put in my application for adoption and was thrilled to be accepted. Fashioned after the old Steiff bears, Jess hand dyes the mohair, stitches all by hand, meticulously ages the bear and gives each one his/her own unique personality.

This is Mr. Whiskers settling in to his new home having a bit of jet lag and a laugh with an old straw hat he found in one of my closets.

Here is what Jess had to say about him:
"The moment Mr Whiskers became a head, i knew he was a Pop, he was a bit of an old man bear. And as he grew into more and more of a whole bear, i knew that he He likes his mocassins, his cups of teas with 4 sugars, tinkering in his shed and is a bit of a dunker ( biscuits/cookies in tea).
That every Saturday he likes to buy a lotto ticket, he's a long suffering Richmond supporter and is fond of the ocassional punt on the horses."

I have since discovered that his first name is Otis and he is a brilliant addition to the little green cottage. From the moment I held him in my hands, the perfect feel and weight of him, his funny old pop ways, his blue cardi...well, it was love.

Thank you Jess, you are an artist!

Oh, and we may be having that cuppa face to face after all!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hello Monday Mail Call

Silver pail necklace from Silverpebble Jewelry

There has been some rather exciting mail coming in to the little green cottage recently. There is nothing quite like receiving a parcel in the post, savoring the opening of the package and seeing the magical things inside. Since I began this blog, I have received such amazing things from far away places and fabulous friends. Hooray for that!

First, let me tell you, it was quite a thrill to get a note from the lovely Emma Mitchell of Silverpebble asking me to make a prairie dress for her sweet girl. Would I? Oh indeed I would! We came to the amicable arrangement of a swap, such a good idea you know considering she makes the prettiest jewelry. Oh, and did you hear? She was featured in Country Living Magazine UK along with her wonderful studio and garden!

While I sewed away here in the verdant green of the Northwest United States, she created away over there "on the edge of the watery fens in England." Off went our packages across the sea and landed on each other's doorsteps within a few days of one another.

I could not be happier. I spied this little silver pail necklace some time ago and I was smitten. It is gorgeous and a little quirky so of course I wanted it. Now I have one of my very own made with love and care by Emma. She was very kind and sent along a few little extras in the way of wee vintage doilies and buttons, yes I think she knew just what I would like.

Please go take a look at the Silverpebble shop, she has a whole array of beautiful jewelry to choose from.

I wish I lived down the lane from her, and not just to hang about in her garden and studio, as she also teaches workshops!

Thank you so much Emma! I love my necklace and so enjoyed our swap!

I'll be back tomorrow with another bit of truly magical mail.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Oh Hello Friday

Goodness me it's been a knock down week in the little green cottage! There was a big bedroom makeover that ought to have been finished by now if it weren't for a nasty little virus that crept up on me and laid me flat. I'm happy to report that today I feel as though I might live through was iffy going for a day or two.

Of course this means that today is all about laundry, mountains of it. I'm afraid that there is also an empty pantry and fridge that are challenging me to create some sort of supper out of wiggly jiggly carrots and Dijon mustard. Fortunately for my clan, I do happen to have the local pizza parlor on speed dial. I know, I know, I should be winging it to the grocery and making some sort of nourishing soup and home baked bread, but my friends, I must choose my battles and the laundry wins because I can sit down for the folding part. This is good because a lightheaded fog still lingers.

The good news is my camera lens has arrived and I can take pictures again, and oh what things I have to show you! There has been some very exciting mail and I hope to show a bit of the room makeover with a DIY you might like to try.

Until then my friends, have a lovely weekend!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Second Hand Hand Made

On my travels this last weekend, I managed to pop into a couple of second hand stores, 'Junk Shops' my mother used to call them. It was she who introduced me to the pleasures of thrifted goodness way back once upon a time. And rather than subject you to a multitude of macro shots of mint, lavender, and yarrow with the occasional wee spider thrown in (as I wait for my new camera lens to arrive), I thought I'd show off my finds using a clunky old lens from days of yore. I don't think camera lenses are meant to make a "ka-chunk" or a "rattle-clink" and also a "wheezing-grind" - still I did manage a couple of shots.

In Lafayette I poked my head into a funny old place with racks of 1980's clothing, overpriced black wrought iron bar stools (also from the 80's I think), and various doo-dahs in ramshackle piles. My eagle eye spotted something delicate and lacy way back in one corner, and there in a basket shaped like a gondola was a sweet collection of vintage hand made doilies, runners, linen napkins, and table cloth. So, for a very satisfactory price they made their way home with me.

At the beach my first stop is always the local thrift, where at first I despaired of finding my usual weekend sweater and book of pulp fiction. Then I spied a flash of red peeking out from the used towel section. Lo and Behold! A beautiful hand knit shawl made from the most gorgeous of crimson wool, be still my heart! Oh and did I mention, $2!

All in all a nice bit of treasure. Hurrah for second hand hand made!

Have you found any treasures recently, I'd love to know!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Last weekend I went off to the coast, my annual solo trip - well almost annual. Last year I missed it somehow, busy lives and all. I loaded up as I always do; guitar, boombox, cds, journals, books, yarn and hook. And as I always do, most of that stuff sat untouched as I spent most of my time on the beach or just sitting in my cottage staring out at the ocean, doing nothing but breathing in and out.

As I sat and stared, I thought a lot about change.

The connection to this landscape is now onto it's 4th generation with my daughter now travelling summers on the two lane highways and dipping her toes in this particular cold water part of the Pacific. Every time I drive around a bend in the road I have this anticipation of what might have changed since the last time; I wonder what remains unchanged.

On Three Rocks Road the cows are there, as they have always been there, or so it seems to me. I roll down my window wave and yell, "Hi Cows!" because I always do. There stands the old barn, leaning just a little more to one side than last time. The fields are still for grazing with a clear line of sight towards the estuary.

As I roll into town I notice a new housing development across the highway from the golf course. There are a couple of new businesses on the main drag, and a couple of old businesses that did not make it through the tough coastal winter. When I check into my cottage I am shaken by change. The 1960's funky faux wood paneling has been painted a sparkling white, the wood burning fireplace has been replaced with a gas one, and the old ugly super comfy Barcoloungers have been retired with more modern and nominally more attractive chairs taking their place.

Ah, but the view! The view is still the same.

This last year has been full of change with even more big changes on the way, perhaps I have got a little dizzy and lost my way in an unrecognizable landscape. Isn't everything changing all of the time? Isn't that how life rolls? Change is good and natural and part of the evolution of our selves. We keep learning, growing, and all that jazz - moving on and up, or sometimes sideways.

Still, I think it is wise to occasionally stop and take stock, to get one's bearings...

...and to preserve some things; hold on to parts of ourselves and our lives that have depth, quality and meaning.

I didn't come to any great conclusions, nor did I have any epiphanies regarding life and change. Like I said, I just thought a lot about it. I know there are things that need to change, some work that needs doing. I also found a determination to reconnect with some old joy, to rekindle some neglected passions, and to set out some sign posts for myself in the midst of an ever changing landscape.

The truth is, even that view - that beautiful ocean view - is never the same, not really. Always changing with the tide, the light, the seasons...
Still, it never fails to fill me with awe, gratitude and peace. It always reminds me of where I come from, helps me to where I am going, and guides me back to myself.

And whenever the ocean sees me, it waves!

You are all welcome for that really lame joke, c'mon you know you smiled!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Hello Monday - Minutiae

Well hello Monday! You came back around awfully quick since last week!

Last week my internet was iffy and my head was a bit undone, so I wasn't able to spend any time here in my shiny place.
Then I went away for the weekend, to the coast and sucked up some much needed salt air and down time. I've photos of that and I'll be sure to post a post beach weekend something soon.

Speaking of photos, done dropped the camera and busted my lens! It's my only everyday lens and already I am feeling a bit lost without it. I've got the instagram in the meantime, but really that's more for a quick fix and I prefer photography from my camera you get a couple of random shots from last week's sewing session.

This week is the last of school days. Tomorrow is a class bowling party - a gajillion first graders walking a long stretch of city blocks to bowl - along with a few of us parents for herding purposes. Thursday is the very last day and then I will no longer have a first grader in the house!

There are some busy back yard projects going on; a fence is going up, a patio is going down, and the pesky squirrels are peskier than ever.

There you have it, my Hello Monday Minutiae.

What little details are happening in your world?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Hello Monday - Sunday Snaps

I do love where I live. I love that on the spur of the moment, at 3 O'clock on a Sunday afternoon, we can decide to jump in the car and go fishing...and only drive 20 minutes outside of the city. We can sit at a lake, under the tall trees, catch our dinner (and some other critters), and have a great time together as a family. Oh, and there were peacocks too!


And a little post fishing snack!

It was a fine, fine day.

Friday, June 1, 2012

You are a Star! or A Bookish Sneak Peek

Happy Friday folks!

As I look at my calendar, I see amongst the scribbles and red marker most important things to do covering the pages, that we are very nearly at the end of our school year. That means Summer break is coming! It also means that 'Field Day' was yesterday, which I have renamed "Day of the Savage Popsicle!'. Incidentally, it was also the day that I decided to start an all girl band (girl being a relative term) called 'Savage Popcicle!' I'll be holding auditions shortly if anyone is up for it. Anyway, back to the end of the school year...much to-doing indeed. On the docket we have the annual Rummage Sale, Farm Fun, End of year Hootenannies, etc. I think Pony Girl and I are looking forward to a little break.

Well, onto today's doings. I am breaking some rules today and giving a little sneaky peek at a project that is in my upcoming book, Simple Sewing with Lola Nova! Sshhh, don't tell.

See this little chook of a skirt, I'm a sucker for a chicken skirt you know? Those groovy star patches take it from just alright to "pretty awesome" so Pony Girl tells me.

In my book I show you how to make your own sew on patches and badges! It is an addictive thing this pretty patch making, because they look so good on all sorts of things; skirts, jackets, book bags, backpacks, aprons, teas towels, Vespa scooters...well you get the idea!

So there you have it, my first sneaky peek from the book! There will be more to come as we get closer to print, so stay tuned folks!

And on the subject of Pony Girl - I have been solemnly informed by the girl that she is no longer to be called Pony Girl. When asked what she might prefer she said, "My name is my name and if you can't use that then call me nothing." This has left me scratching my head and pondering over my little 7 year old no name girl. Hmmmmm...

Have a wonderful weekend friends!