Monthly Archives: August 2013

DIY Upcycled Headboards

From a thrifty standpoint as well as an eco-friendly one, I am a big fan of re-purposing building materials and pieces of furniture. Not only is it often cheaper and better for the environment, these pieces also tend to add interest and texture to a room. After making my old headboard from a coffee table that we sawed the legs off of, (see Shebajoux Headboards) I became interested in what other things could be turned into one of a kind headboards. Here are some that I found:

Vintage door with upholstered panels. This is a similar look to the coffee headboard I made.

Vintage door with upholstered panels. This is a similar look to the coffee headboard I made.

Headboard made from old curtain and vintage picture frame

Headboard made from an old curtain and vintage picture frame

Headboard made from old shutters

Headboard made from old shutters

Headboard made from vintage fireplace mantel. Paint it if you want a more refined look.

Headboard made from vintage fireplace mantel. Paint it if you want a more refined look.

Headboard made of books! This would be perfect for my brother!

Headboard made of books! This would be perfect for my brother!

Headboard made from old wrought iron and sprayed red

Headboard made from old wrought iron and sprayed red

Headboard made from old oars.

Headboard made from old oars.

Headboard made of old doors.

Headboard made of old doors.

Headboard made form vintage windows

Headboard made from vintage windows

Headboard made from a collection of vintage frames.

Headboard made from a collection of vintage frames and shutters

Headboard made from old skis

Headboard made from old skis

Headboard made from molding and scrap wallpaper.

Headboard made from molding and scrap wallpaper.

Fancy a go? Here are some sources for materials in the Greater Vancouver Area:

Front Street Emporium: 617 Front Street, New Westminster, BC for all sorts of materials like vintage windows and doors.

Surrey New and Used Building Materials Inc. for iron gates, antique doors and windows.

Vancouver Timber services for reclaimed wood.

Demolition sites, Craig’s List, garage sales and even the side of the road are all good options too.

615 Front St., New Westminster, BC, Canada
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Filed under DIY Projects, It's easy being green

Better than Expected

I’ve always been a planner. At fifteen I already had a ten year plan for my life. I had decided to become a missionary in the jungle and that I would go to school to become a nurse in order to have a practical skill to offer. I would not get married until my late twenties and I might have kids then.

I went on multiple missions trips to Mexico to build houses and to help in an orphanage and spent a month in Botswana, Africa with an organization called Teen Mania. I did a year at Bible College then I trained as a nurse at UBC, just as planned.

I snubbed the advances of a young man named Stephen whom I met in my first year of University because he didn’t fit into the plan. I told him that after I graduated I would be doing something to change the world like working for the Peace Corps or living in the jungle.

Going into my third year of University I started dating that same man. Half way through my fourth year I married him. At the tender age of twenty-two I became a wife but this change did not alter my ambitions, I had simply decided that I would bring Steve with me and he tried to be open to the idea.

I am now twenty-seven and certainly not living in the jungle. I have a husband, two cats, two beautiful children, and a mortgage. This was not my plan. I had held on so dearly to those plans and I have spent the last three years since I was pregnant with my first fighting with guilt over this fact. I felt ashamed that I wasn’t doing something more “noble” with my life.

I told everyone my plans. My great ambition to change the world for good. To heal the sick and bring the good new about Jesus’ forgiveness and grace to the far corners of the earth. I felt that all who knew me and knew my ambitions would think I was a cop-out. I felt like I was somehow living a lesser life than I had planned, that my simple day-to-day mom at home existence was less important.

I see things differently now. The guilt has lifted and I can clearly see that I am where I am for a reason. God has a purpose for me right here in Vancouver. It may be simple but it is one of the most important jobs in the world: being a wife, mother, daughter, sister.

Life has not been easy. My family has experienced many challenges in the past few years and they have climaxed in the past few months. I know that I am here for such a time as this. My family needs me and I need them. We are close and have grown closer through the challenges and joys of the past few years. My place is among them so that we can walk along together through these struggles.

Not only have I been here to walk along the rough road but to share times of great joy. Over the past four years my family has welcomed six beautiful children into our fold and we eagerly await a seventh (FYI, not mine). It has given me immeasurable joy to get to know my nephews and niece and to share the experience of raising children with my sister and brother.

And then there are Sofia and Charlie. Being a mom is so hard but what more important job could there be? To teach these little individuals how to live life, how to love, how to play, how to create. This is my missions field. My work is here with my family.

I am where I am. It is hard. It is beautiful. It is better than expected.

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Filed under From the Heart: Thoughts on Life and Family, Uncategorized

Walk the Line

There are five elements of design, that is tools used by designers to implement good design. In this post I will be talking about one of my favourite tools, line. It is not something I had thought about previous to taking my course on Basics of Design but ever since the importance of it has captured my eye.

The six different types of line used in design are vertical, horizontal, diagonal, jagged, spiral, and curved. All these different types of lines guide the movement of our eyes in a space and help to create the type of atmosphere the designer is trying to achieve. For example, vertical lines are more formal and masculine whereas curved lines are more restful and feminine.

Here are some pictures of different rooms. I have noted some of the different lines represented in the pictures but if you are interested in the concept take a look and see what other ones you can find.

The chairs, side table and coffee table have examples of curved line.

The chairs, side table and coffee table have examples of curved line.

Spiral lines are most common in traditional design as shown here on the stair railing. The furniture in the living room also has good examples of curved lines.

Spiral lines are most common in traditional design as shown here on the stair railing. The furniture in the living room also has good examples of curved lines. Diagonal line is represented by the tufting on the ottoman.

Zig zags are a good example of jagged line. You also see jagged lines in the design of some more modern furniture pieces.

Zig zags are a good example of jagged line. You also see jagged lines in the design of some more modern furniture pieces.

The columns and window pains are examples of vertical line. Vertical lines increase the visual height of a room.

The columns and window pains are examples of vertical line. Vertical lines increase the visual height of a room. The base of the floor lamps are another example of spiral line.

How awesome are those shelves! And a great example of diagonal line. The drum stools and lamp shades are examples of circular line and the sofa an example of horizontal line.

How awesome are those shelves! And a great example of diagonal line. The drum stools and lamp shades are examples of circular line and the sofa an example of horizontal line.

The shelves are examples of horizontal line.

The shelves and stripes on the wall to the right are examples of horizontal line.

The use of different types of lines helps to balance the appearance of a room. For example, even if you are wanting to create a very masculine space it is good to have some gentle curves to rest your eyes on or the room may feel too rigid.

If there are too many vertical lines in a room that sense of rigidity is palpable for me and I feel ill at ease. Especially in new construction where homes are often quite boxy I need the softness of curves to balance out the strength and rigidity of the hard lines. Part of the reason why I like vintage objects is that they tend to have more interesting lines and add softness to a contemporary setting. For example I have a curvy old fashioned rocker and a vintage mirror in my sons room which helps to balance out the otherwise straight lines.

The curve of the flag pennant and the base of the lamp also adds softness.

Line can also increase the visual size of a space. Vertical lines lead the eyes upwards and visually increase height whereas horizontal and diagonal lines visually increase the width of a space. If you live in the Greater Vancouver Area you know the importance of making a small space seem as big as possible. Painting strips on your walls is an easy and inexpensive way to create the look of more space. You may have mostly seen this done in children’s rooms but it can be done beautifully in adult spaces as well:

lilac-living-room gray-living-room-with-horizontal-striped-wall

I could go on and on about line but I don’t want to prattle much more. I hope that this has been interesting and informative and given you something to consider as you look around your own space. I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to loving lines but next time you are flipping through a design magazine consider the impact the lines of the room have on the atmosphere and visual size of the space. It’s a truly fascinating aspect of design (or as I said, I might just be a design geek).

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Death by Digger

I’m a nature loving mama. I may “camp” in a hotel room once in a while and be terrified of spiders, but I love trees, flowers, frogs and crickets etc. God said it Himself. He made it good.

We moved from Vancouver to Queensborough in April and our new location has an abundance of wildlife to enjoy. I take great pleasure in pointing out the ducks, frogs, crickets (and occasional rat) to my daughter on our frequent walks.

This morning on our walk to the community center we stopped by the construction site next door (see “For the Sake of Progress: Ode to the Cotton Wood Trees” for thoughts on that). The land is surrounded by ditches and used to be good grounds for scoping out ducks. The ducks have wisely moved on due to the construction but this morning we were enjoying watching the frogs hop around the ditches and munch on the dandelions we threw towards them. It made my heart happy and my daughter was thrilled to watch them in action.

I walked on toward the community center with a sense of contentedness. What a great place to live where my daughter can experience things like this. I’ve dreamed in recent years of living in the country but this is as far away from downtown as we are going to get and it is a great alternative.

On our return walk I was dismayed to see that the diggers had moved on from their previous task to digging out the ditches. My stomach sunk at the site. I quietly hoped that the frogs were moving out but when I stopped to talk with the traffic control lady she confirmed my gut sinking fear. She had been standing there for the last hour trying to save what frogs she could but watching the rest be crushed and buried.

My next door neighbor was thankfully able to save some large cotton wood trees on the property by presenting proof to city hall that there is a hawk’s nest in it. Frogs may not be endangered but they are harmless little singers who we enjoy and are sad to see harmed. Here is my proof, a downcast heart. Too bad that won’t get any reaction from city hall. Call me a bleeding heart but it makes me sick.

Will any of the peaceful beauty of our community be left for my children to enjoy when they are old enough to hold onto the memories?

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Filed under From the Heart: Thoughts on Life and Family

Brushing Up on FAT Paint

2013-08-17 15.38.25

When driving down Front Street in New Westminster, which I do on a weekly basis, I have a hard time keeping my eyes on the road. I’m always keen to check out which antique stores are open and what I can see of their merchandise while I drive.  In the last few months a new distraction caught my eye. A stunning storefront with gorgeous vintage lights hanging in front of the windows, and old chairs, painted and re-purposed as plant holders, set outside the door, beckoning walkers (and drivers) to enter.

Last weekend I finally had the pleasure to enter this mystery store and speak with the owner. Contrary to my belief, it was not just a cool store selling re-purposed vintage furniture, but the flagship store for FAT Paint.

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FAT Paint opened their location on Front Street in March and their paint is now for sale in 18 stores across North America (lucky for my readers from out of town).

Maybe you are wondering like I was…why “FAT” Paint? There happens to be a whole story behind the name, which Victoria, who co-owns the store with her brother, can relay to you when you visit. The simplest answer she gave me though, was that is refers to the viscosity of the paint.

FAT Paint is a new (might I say improved?) brand of chalk paint, which the owners make themselves. At this time in my DIY life, I know about chalk paint more in theory than in practice. It is used by vintage furniture enthusiasts for painting old furniture and is specially useful when seeking a shabby chic look. However, if your preference is more chic and less shabby, FAT Paint can still meet your needs, it just requires a different method. FAT paint is not for furniture alone, it works great on many different surfaces including wood, iron, glass, metal, etc.

The store has stunning architectural detail. The exposed is throughout the store and is stunning.

The store has stunning architectural detail. The exposed brick throughout the store is stunning.

The store not only sells their paint but has a variety of furniture and accessories for sale that they have re-done with FAT Paint. You can only tell so much from looking at a coin sized sample so it is great to check out their variety of colours on these pieces. If you aren’t into DIY, the furniture and home accessories are all for sale at reasonable prices.

This stool was painted with Fat Paint's "Pumpkin".

This stool was painted with Fat Paint’s “Pumpkin”.

They use the upstairs loft space as a gallery for art (also for sale).

They use the upstairs loft space as a gallery for art (also for sale).

This retro side table had a matching iron head and footboard but my pic didn't turn out.

This retro side table had a matching iron head and footboard but my pic didn’t turn out.

Expect to hear more from me about FAT Paint. I just bought two vintage frames and I’m eagerly waiting for the store to re-open on Thursday so I can get to some DIY. I have two chairs I plan on doing as well but I’m going to wait for one the workshops that FAT Paint offers before I attempt that.

For more information on FAT Paint or their workshops visit their facebook page or stop by, 623 Front Street, New Westminster, BC.

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Filed under DIY Projects, Eye Candy

Will she be like me?

Recently my daughter had an accident on the living room floor. She started to splash her feet in the urine like in a rain puddle and I sternly told her to stop. She kept saying “I’m sorry mommy, I’m sorry mommy”. I tried explaining that the accident was okay, it was splashing in the pee that was naughty, but she kept apologizing. She kept this up until I broke into the song “Accidents Happen” from Thomas and Friends (I must admit, I break into song on a fairly regular basis). In response her face broke into a smile and she leaped into my arms for a hug.

I too was a chronic apologizer as a child and well into my adult years. Will she be like me?

Having children is like seeing a mirror of oneself and far too often I don’t like what I see. I see impatience, selfishness, pride, and my own mental struggles. I don’t want her to be like that. I don’t want her to struggle like I have.

What’s to be done? Worry? She is mine, by blood and for life. But who of us by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

And so, I will nurture all that is beautiful in her, and correct her when she strays, and pray, with every ounce of my being, that she flourishes into the woman that God intends her to be. That she will will be spared from my faults and not hindered by my genes. I will be watchful and aware, and if she faces the same struggles that I have, I will be thankful that she has a mother who understands.

Will she be like me? God knows. God sees. We are in his hands.

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Filed under From the Heart: Thoughts on Life and Family, Uncategorized

Teal and Coral: Aquarium Inspiration

Yesterday I went to the aquarium with my children and lovely mother-in-law. It was beautiful to watch how excited my daughter was at ever new site and even my seven-month-old son was transfixed. I too was inspired.

The Vancouver aquarium is feauturing different species of jellyfis right now.

The Vancouver aquarium is feauturing different species of jellyfis right now.

Coral and starfish

My mind is always working at how to relate my daily experiences to interior design and today the question that came to mind was, “what does an aquarium themed room look like?” As soon as the word “theme” crossed my mind I shuttered. To me, themes are for kids rooms, and even then I don’t like them.

So I changed my question to, “what does an aquarium schemed room look like.” And by scheme, I mean colour scheme. Immediately the colours teal and coral came to mind (a direct complementary colour scheme: blue-green and red-orange). Ah, much better than gluing sand to a wall (trauma from my childhood). From subtle to bold, these rooms are beautiful:

The subtle coral accessories are great and would be easy to change out if you wanted a different accent colour.

The subtle coral accessories are great and would be easy to change out if you wanted a different accent colour.

Bold and beautiful. I love caned chairs.

Bold and beautiful. The wallpaper is stunning and those chairs with the geometric back, loving it.

I'm inspired. I want to do something like this in a few years for my daughter's big girl room someday.

I’m inspired. I want to do something like this for my daughter’s big girl room someday.

Simple but elegant. A room after my own heart. So easy to change your colour scheme when it's just art and pillows. Perfect if you are a  colour-phobe like me.

Simple but elegant. A room after my own heart. So easy to change your colour scheme when it’s just art and pillows. Perfect if you are a colour-phobe like me.

I love round pedestal tables, especially with chairs that don't match.

I love round pedestal tables, especially with chairs that don’t match.

Here are some gorgeous accessories I found to go with the colour scheme.

Decorative orgigami ball from Meligami on etsy.

Decorative origami ball from Meligami on etsy.

Love these vintage painted frames for a gallery wall.

Love these vintage painted frames for a gallery wall.

Throw pillows from etsy (tons of different coral and teal prints to be found!)

Throw pillows from etsy (tons of different coral and teal prints to be found!)

Have I mentioned yet that I'm in love with painted vintage finds like this mirror?

Have I mentioned yet that I’m in love with painted vintage finds like this mirror?

Even unpainted vintage rocks sometimes.

Even unpainted vintage rocks sometimes.

With images of lovely coral and teal flitting through my mind it was easy to pick my outfit for my dinner and dancing date with the hubby last night. They say that your dress is a reflection of your decor taste. I guess its true.

The coral is there,  just subtly on my lips, eyes, nails, and earrings.

The coral is there, just subtly on my lips, eyes, nails, and earrings.

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