Ikea Idea - Wood Therapy

Posted on August 18, 2016 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (0)

This morning I was able to enjoy my usual (but belated) cup of coffee on my balcony at my new table and also my view of 3 Victorian houses and the gorgeous trees (well over 100 years old) opposite my building. Yes, I admit to being a treehugger, literally. Must have been one in my previous life. Maybe they're kinfolk!

Anyway, the houses sit in the canyon of high rises where I live in downtown Ottawa. This morning, amids the morning cacaphony of delivery trucks, police car and fire engine sirens, and other noises that never cease, I worked out my plans for my first Halloween workshop.

After my coffee intake, I took a gander over to Ikea's Livet Hemma hoping to find an idea I could share and luckily there was one if you're in the need of a coffee table, which I am.


The whiz kids over at Ikea built a coffee table using their own Knagglig crates (approx. $15 CDN each) and one of their tabletops. I like this idea because the bottoms of the crates serve as storage. However, I don't know about your area, but vintage or vintage reproduced wooden crates are like gold here - costing a small fortune, so the Ikea ones are reasonable in comparison. Of course, you can always go looking for wood and build your own. 

Once you've found your wood, this guy over at Woodworking for Mere Mortals has a tutorial you can follow to make your own wooden crates. As for the top of your coffee table, an old door, sanded and stained, would complete the project.

For the tutorial, click here.

Next trash day I will be on the lookout for an old door and more wooden drawers. 

Street Finds - More Goodies on the Street

Posted on August 16, 2016 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Yup, another day of great street finds. It's been pouring rain today but I had to run out to finish up some chores and, to my surprise, stumbled upon another treasure trove at the same location where I found the discarded Ikea drawers. Among the items on the curb were things I actually needed. It's so weird that I'm beginning to think I'm either the luckiest gal around or someone somewhere really likes me.

I dragged home a black patio table, a white plastic garbage pail ( just what I needed for storing my plant pots once my balcony garden has been shut down for winter), a small black and rusted watering can, and what I originally thought was a Victorian mirror frame.

The patio table is a perfect replacement for my large round patio table, which I recently sold. It was just too big for my balcony and took up too much room inside when I brought it in once summer's over. When I sold my original table, I figured I could find something smaller at a charity shop but never seemed to have the time to go and look.

And there it was this morning: small, dark, and handsome, leaning so casually against a tree. Just what I needed so how could I resist. I was missing my early morning coffee on the balcony and now I can enjoy it once more before the weather changes.

The round 'frame' turned out to be the metal bottom of what I think was a lampstand. When I saw it I knew what I could make with it despite the fact that it's not really a frame. People will freak out when they see what I'll be doing with it for a future workshop.

Not exactly a street find - I pilfered these apples still attached to branches from a crab apple tree in the park. The groundskeepers saw me and merely shrugged and then laughed when I told them how I planned to use branches of apples - again for a future workshop. 

The real reason why I went out this morning in the torrential rain and again, not really a street find. I find that shoe boxes are just perfect for Christmas gifts and decided to head out to beg for a few from local shoe shops. Little did I know that nowadays, the shops no longer keep the empty boxes customers don't want when they purchase shoes. They're flattened (the boxes, not the customers) and destroyed. I think shoe manufacturers instruct shops to do this because they're are afraid counterfeiters will use the authentic boxes for their counterfeit knockoffs. 

However, once I explained why I wanted them, a few shop employees were gracious enough to give me what they had - even providing me with bags to carry the boxes in. They all asked me not to name them in my blog as they were afraid, I think, of crowds coming and begging for the same. But I am grateful they did give me what they could.

Street Finds - Wood for Cutting Boards

Posted on August 13, 2016 at 8:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Do you ever find that you think about something you need, then put it out of your mind to find it arrives at some unexpected moment? It happens to me a lot and again yesterday. 

It was garbage day and across street from my building I spotted a some interesting materials put out ready for the taking. So, of course, I dashed over to see what I could pick through and found an Ikea chest of drawers that had been taken apart and set out on the curb. 

What a surprise. I've been thinking about Christmas and what to give my friends who have EVERYTHING already. There was a post on Ikea's Livet Hemma site about dressing up cutting boards with leather. Of course, they were flogging their own cutting boards but I thought, AH HA, there's an idea. Why not gift my friends this year with custom made cutting boards? All I needed was some wood. 

Et voilà! I dashed across the street and found a motherlode of wood. I nabbed one of the drawers (heavier than I thought but heck, it was pure pine!). Once home, I took the drawer apart and found I had enough boards to make at least half a dozen cutting boards. Now I'm just am waiting for a friend to bring over some tools I can use. 

To top off my day, I found esy-to-follow DIY instructions for making your own cutting board over at A Beautiful Mess. Yay! For instructions, click here. 

I'll be showing off my own cutting boards soon. First, I have to find a saw!


Recycling a Sweater - Riciclo un Vecchio Maglione

Posted on August 5, 2016 at 2:45 PM Comments comments (0)

I think I've mentioned my fondness for Italian films in past posts. When I can I watch them Sunday nights on the OMNI channel here in Ottawa and have even managed to learn a bit of Italian along the way. I especially like answering my phone with a 'Pronto' instead of 'Hello'. Surprises my friends no end!

I have since discovered a bunch of lovely Italian blogs and websites that I'm following. Currently the site Casa e Trend is one that I've been exploring and that's where I found this cute little DIY for turning a sweater into a jolly whale of a soft toy! 

What kid (big or little) wouldn't want to snuggle up with this little fellow? Yes, it's in Italian but the tutorial photographs provided will even allow an all-thumbs gal like me make one.

For the easy and colourful tutorial, click here.


Himmeli Mobiles - Upcycling Drinking Straws

Posted on July 28, 2016 at 2:10 PM Comments comments (0)

What do paper drinking straws and a Finnish Christmas ornament have to do with each other? Since I first spotted himmeli mobiles at Ferm Living last winter, I've become somewhat fixated by these sophisticated mobiles. 

In case you didn't know, himmeli is a traditional craft from Finland that is normally created out of real straw and has various levels of intricacy. Himmeli are put up every Christmas to bring good luck to a household. I fell for this craft for its geometric and minimalist simplicity. Now it's making a comeback but in a more modern guise.

I think the idea clicked for me while I was checking out my kitchen cupboards for a snack and spotted my stash of drinking straws.

Yes, I save drinking straws. Whenever I or anyone I'm with buys a cool drink or milkshake when we're out and about, I grab the straws because I know that MILLIONS get tossed out EACH DAY and end up in our landfill. 

I can't understand why folks just don't bring them home to reuse. I wash out mine thoroughly and then keep them (fittingly enough) in a drinking glass to reuse or until an upcycling idea pops up.

Now that I've got several dozen, I thought, why not put them to work? Himmeli mobiles fit the bill perfectly.

To get started with your own himmeli, click here.

What's Been Going On ...

Posted on June 10, 2016 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)

It's been a busy time here in Ottawa. The weather fluctuated from tropical heat to winter cold (well, almost) within days. I have had to take in my tomato plants at night because of the cold. 

Here are a few interesting things have been going on. Dairy farmers took their cows to Parliament to protest for stricter controls on cross-border trade and compensation for international agreements dairy farmers say have left them at a disadvantage. And I tend to agree with them. On a lighter note, there was a classic car show on Sparks Street which brought a smile to me face as I recalled my late Eon's love for his 454 Chevelle. We've had a tulip festival as well as hundreds of folks running marathons for a number of causes (and more to come). A lot of this I was able to enjoy from my 3rd floor balcony. On top of all this a huge sinkhole appeared (I should say, dropped in) on one of our busiest streets - no one was hurt but one car did disappear. But all is well now. We have a great recovery team here in Ottawa.

For those who are pestering (thanks, really) for more ideas for clothes hangers, here are two more uses. 

So simple, so easy. Why didn't I think of it? Find it here.

Not all wall decorations have to be art. So say the bloggers over at Food52. It's a food blog mainly but there are more how to tips there if you care to have a look. Click here.

Ciao bella!