Sep 112014
 

About 12 years ago, when my daughter first began dancing competitively, I made her a ribboned memory board for her room.  It was perfect for displaying ribbons, pins, photos etc from the competitions.  Over the past decade, the board has collected so much memorabilia, I am surprised it can stay on the wall.

Here is the state it is in now. 

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There are YEARS of memories on this board!

After I made this one, she and I made several more to give to her friends as Christmas gifts.  Instead of cork, which is expensive, I used a product called Homasote.  It comes in 4 ft x 8 ft sheets from a building centre.  Builders use it to sound proof walls.  It’s relatively light and soft enough to allow the use of pushpins. 

Here is the one in my office:

My Board

Oh my! I need to add more recent pictures!

It is 48″ x 36″ and I love it!  ( I won’t be sharing the state of the desk below this any time soon!  It looks like my office was ransacked by burglars!

At the end of August, my lovely daughter moved to Kingston, Ontario to begin her new adventures at Queen’s University.  Miss Nice is not overly sentimental so I was surprised when she asked me if I would make her another memory board.  And two of her friends wanted one too.  They do have bulletin boards over their desks but they wanted something “pretty”.

I realized I had a problem and could not make them the way I normally did.  You see, the walls in her residence / dorm room are cinder block so no nails can be added.  Although the Homasote is light, it would most likely be too heavy for a Command Strip.  So I needed to put on my thinking cap.

Michaels just happened to be having a sale on canvases in a 2 pack.  So I picked up four 18″ x 24″  Then, I dropped by Dollarama, where I knew I could get two 12″ cork tiles for $2.00.  I had the rest of the supplies already.  I have so much fabric stashed away as well as quilting batting, ribbon and boxes of the nice upholstery tacks.  I picked up the stash of ribbon 12 years ago when a large Canadian craft store chain went out of business.  Why I bought so much is beyond me.  Perhaps another sign of OCD ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Instructions below

Here are most of my supplies. (Note:  there are NO affiliation links in this post.  Just links to products I used).

Supplies

Gather supplies

ribbon

Cork and ribbon

tacks

Upholstery tacks

Here is the process I used:

  1. I glued the cork to the front of the stretched canvas using a general purpose white wood glue.  I had to cut some of the cork pieces to make it fit. I needed three squares of cork for each board
  2. Using spray adhesive, I attached a layer of quilting batting to the cork.  This will make the board look more tufted.
  3. After cutting and ironing the cream on cream damask table cloth fabric I had, I covered each of the boards by stapling the fabric to the back of the wooden frame  with my power staple gun.
  4. Then I measured out where the ribbons would go on each edge and marked the spot with a straight pin.  I had the ribbon meet at FOUR spots on each side.    I attached the ends of the ribbon to the back with the staple gun.
  5. Finally, where each ribbon crossed, I added an upholstery tack as well as tacks along the outside edges.

Voila!  Three very light-weight memory boards.  It took me about 3 hours.   

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I love the colours!

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The tack on the outside edge is a great touch

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I used brass tacks for the navy ribbon and silver for the others.

Cost:

Canvases: 2 for $16  x 2 = $32 — I still have one canvas leftover so the real cost is $24
Cork: 2 for $2 x 5 +=$10 (I have one cork square left)
Fabric, Ribbon, Tacks, Glue and Staples = $0

Each board cost less than $12.  Bargain!

However, the Command Strips were $6 each!!

Regardless the girls were thrilled and Miss Nice’s board looked pretty in her room. Howeverm it did look small on her long empty wall.

What I would do differently is:

  • use a far bigger canvas
  • make the diamonds larger

Other than that, I loved the way they turned out.  Homasote does warp a bit but these frames are  nice and square.

Have you ever made a memory board?
What materials did you use?

Joan

Jul 142014
 

Earlier this summer, I decided I would give Container Gardening a try on my second story terrace.  After doing some research, I came up with some great ways to re-purpose containers I already had.

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I wanted to try my hand at growing a  tomato plant, a pepper plant and a bunch of herbs.   In the past, I tried to grow herbs in my little garden behind the house but because we live on a ravine, critters got into the tasty plants.  Ground hogs just LOVE herbs as do deers.  So a container garden on the upper terrace was the answer.

About the same time I was planning this little garden, my neighbours put two large fiberglass plant pots out on trash day.  As one who does not like to pass up FREE stuff, I wandered over on the pretense of taking my dog out and had a look.  They were big and blue and had no drainage holes.  The latter two features could be easily remedied!  They became MINE!!  One of them would be perfect for the tomato plant which I understand needs good soil, space and lots of light.

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Big and baby blue.

 I also remembered I had a RED Christmas-y wine bucket in the basement that I was using for a garbage can.  Being oval and with a medallion on the front, it would add some interest.  It was part of my Spray Paint to the Rescue post and it looks great in it’s new colour.

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Red to Dark Bronze in minutes!

Lastly, knew I had large EMPTY Rubbermaid bins in our storage area.  These are left over from dance costume and dress up clothes storage.  A phase in our family life that is now sadly long gone!

Using my drill I made holes in the bottom of these containers.

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Made good use of my trusty drill

The best find I came across was at our local Dollarama (Canadian dollar store that is EVERYWHERE!) !  They had these PERFECT flower pot supports with CASTERS for $2.50 and $3!   Bargain!

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These pot stands were PERFECT and so affordable!

So, I used the big, previously blue pot for the tomato, a saved poinsetta pot for the pepper and the ice bucket and Rubbermaid container for my herbs.  Best of all, they are now all on wheels!

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I love this little plant corner!

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If these end up ripening, they will be pricey but de-lish!

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This is such a tiny plant! Not sure how big these peppers will get!

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The herbs are doing great!

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The time is a bit skimpy but I added compost recently so hopefully these will florish.

So now I have TWO two natural vignettes to look at while I rest my broken tibula, drink my tea and read the news and my books! 

I am LOVING this space more and more this year.

I have been very successful with my perennial gardens but I am not too sure about this new adventure with containers.  I don’t think the terrace gets quite enough sun for the tomato but the herbs with the exception of the thyme are thriving. 

Do you do container gardening? 
Do you have some suggestions for successful container gardening. 
I plan to try it again next year too.

I love comments and read each and everyone so drop me a line!

Joan

 

NO Affiliates in this post.

Apr 102014
 

I have replaced damaged caning in both wicker and wood furniture and thought I would share my not so sophisticated method with you.

In all cases, the cane I replaced was a seat, surrounded by a wood frame.   Many people, seeing damaged cane like the photo below will cut a piece of wood and simple cover the seat.  I suppose if it always has a cushion hiding it, it doesn’t matter.  Personally, I love cane and  replacing it is far easier than you may think.

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Original Damaged Seat.

The first step is to remove the old caning.  Depending on the age of the piece, this can be easy or very difficult.  In the case of a wicker chair I refinished, it was easy.  With some coaxing (chiseling) at the spline, which holds the cane in the groove, I was able to pull out the old caning relatively easily.  In the case of the antique rocker above, the glue used in days gone by was like titanium!   I needed to resort to nail polish remover and a drill.  I even broke a couple of bits in the process!  I am sorry I have no pictures of this task.  It was a frustrating adventure where photos were not foremost on my mind ๐Ÿ™‚ 

Once you remove the old cane, be sure the channel / groove is clean so the cane and new spline can be inserted. 

I purchased both the sheet of pre-woven cane material and the spline at Lee Valley Tools, which, luckily for me is a 10 minute drive from my home.  You can also order it online here.  (Note:  I have no affiliation with Lee Valley Tools.  They are just a great store!)

Before you begin,  the caning and the spline both need to soak in water for a few hours or in my case,  if you get busy, a day or two!  Regardless, it needs to be soft and pliable.

I began by testing that the spline will easily go into the groove and cut the spline to size with an additional 1/2 inch.  In my first attempt at replacing a cane seat, I cut the spline about 1/4 inch too short and I was very annoyed to see the tiny gap.

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Measuring the spline. Add a bit extra and cut the excess once inserted

Once you are ready to work, cut the caned sheet roughly the size of the opening with a good 1.5 t0 2 inch border all around.

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Lay the caning sheet in place, centered.  Begin on the straight sections of the groove and insert the caning into the groove.

THIS IS WHERE WE CAN GET CREATIVE!   There are tools for this.  But I used what I could find at home.  For one project, I used a metal spatula to push the cane into the groove.

For this chair, I happened to have a pack of SHIMS on hand and they definitely fit the bill.  I simply cut the thin ends off to the appropriate width and tapped them in with a hammer.

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Cut the shims to an appropriate with and tapped them into the groove.

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I worked around the opening, making sure the cane was taunt

(BTW:  that hammer was my dad’s and it’s over 70 years old!)

Once you have pushed the cane material securely into the groove, you need to cut away the excess, just below the top of the groove.  This is a daunting step.  You need a VERY SHARP exacto blade or box cutter.  The caning can begin to unravel a bit so it is important to get a nice clean cut.  Try very hard to make sure the cut is just below the top.  The few stragglers still sticking up can be trimmed later.

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Cut the excess cane away, just below the outer lip of the groove.

Now it is time to insert the spline.  Use a wood or all purpose glue, one that dries clear and run a generous bead inside the groove, on top of the cane.

Then begin to insert the spline.  Start at the centre of the back and work your way around.

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Insert the spline, starting at the centre of the back of the opening.

I wrapped a rag around the hammer so I would not damage the wood when I tapped in the spline.

Once you reach the beginning, cut the spline to the correct size.   Be sure to tap all around to ensure the spline is well inserted and then let the glue dry!

That’s it!

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Not counting the terrible time I had removing the old cane seat, I think this job took me just over an hour to complete!

From what I have read, cane is meant be left natural and colour with age.  However, it can be stained but only on the top.  It needs to breathe.  I am thinking of staining this seat since the chair is so dark. 

What do you think:  stain or leave au natural?

Have you ever replaced a cane seat?

If you try it, let me know how it goes for you. 

Why cover the damaged seat with wood when replacing the caning is so easy!

I think this chair is definitely Nicer Than New!

Joan

 

Mar 202014
 

Monday, while walking my big doofus of a dog, I saw this table curbside.  It had an interesting top but was in BAD shape!  The base was broken and it was really beat up with nicks and gouges.  Tuesday is trash day so I walked home figuring it would be gone by tomorrow.

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Nice top but beat up and damaged.

All day Tuesday, I thought about that table.  However, my daughter had taken my truck to a school function and I could not go and pick it up  even if it was still there! 

Along comes Wednesday morning and my time to walk the dog.  Lo and behold, it is still there.   Toronto garbage pick-up is very particular (read: “union”) and this table was not “tagged” nor was it at a true garbage pickup spot.  Regardless,  I took a closer look….

“Hmmmm… Big round table top and 4 nice legs…..” 

“Hmmm FREE.”  Shall I repeat “FREE!!” 

My DIY persona got the best of me!

Yes of course I took it home and dismantled it! 
The drawers were also there but rather useless without a solid frame.

Dismantling took about 20 minutes

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Thank goodness for my drill, allen keys and crow bar!

This is want I am keeping.

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The top and the legs. I am sure the curved bits could be useful but I just have TOO much stuff!

I do have a plan for the top and I am thinking the legs could be used to build an upholstered bench!

Stay tuned!  It may take me a while but these lovelies will make an appearance in the near (or far) future and I am sure they will be

Nicer Than New!

Would you pass by this broken, cruddy table?  Or are you a true “curbside rescuer”
or “dumpster diva” like me??

I would LOVE to hear from you and your tales of random finds on the side of the street!!

Joan

Mar 132014
 

I seem to be drawn to pedestal tables.  They are pretty, don’t take up much space and can be used in various rooms.  In my recent on-line auction haul I picked up a slew of side tables…EIGHT to be exact.  Included were two small matching  mahogany tables from Bombay Company.  When I got them home,  they not only needed the tops refinished, the legs were wobbly and needed to be glued.  The gluing part is not issue.  The issue is how to clamp them!

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Yup! We still have snow!

Have you ever tried to clamp a tri-legged table?   There are ways to do it but it can require bar clamps, blocks of wood and  numerous other devices I just don’t have.  And there was no way I was going to stand there for an hour and press the legs into the slots. 

So I got creative.

First, I used a spare plastic syringe we have for administering a drug to our dog, to help squirt the glue into the gap.

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The tip could have been smaller but it did help to get the glue into the gaps.

Then for the clamping!  How about
ELASTIC BANDS??!

I rummaged in the kitchen for thick elastic bands which I then stretched and wrapped around the legs to pull them inward. 
I still stood there pressing for 10 minutes or so and

IT WORKED!!!! 

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The legs were not super loose so the gaps were small. 

For the second table, I placed a tray with a full can of wax on top of the overturned table and that worked even better!

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The full can supplied just the right amount of pressure.

Perhaps this makes me look a bit unsophisticated and lacking in the tool department
but I make up with it in
ingenuity!
Have you ever tried to clamp tri-legged pedestal legs? 
Is there a way I didn’t find or think of?
Should I be embarrassed for my lack of tools?

Stay tuned for the transformation I have planned
for these little beauties! 

It is another adventure into experimentation and
I think the end result will be

Nicer Than New!

Joan

 

 

 

 

Mar 042014
 

A few weeks ago, I posted “Do YOU Have a Designer’s Eye?” describing how my interior designer niece spotted a special little table,  in a dark photo of a bunch of tables, in a garage.  She was very excited when I told her I had indeed acquired said cute table and would be happy to give it to her.

sheilagh_06

Auction purchase

From the moment I picked up this table,
all I could think of were the house
the Jetson’s lived in. LOL

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The Jetson’s

Sheilagh, my niece, loves Mid Century Modern for it’s clean lines and simplicity and also because many MCM pieces were well constructed from real wood.  This table is no exception. 

Sheilagh and her husband have only been married a couple of years and they also purchased a lovely but small home.  In other words,  they do not have room for big pieces of furniture AND they are on a tight budget.  The latter must be extra difficult when you are a designer with designer tastes!

I took a peak at her Pinterest “Living Room” board and quickly realized why she spotted the table.  Here are a few of the tables she had pinned as her “perfect” coffee table.

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Image from Yahoo … no Price

I became perfectly clear, why she spotted this little table in the dark photo!  But unlike the tables above, our little table is ORIGINAL, Canadian made by a highly regarded manufacturer and it is much much CHEAPER! 

Given her decor and her plans for a new sectional sofa, she knew EXACTLY how she wanted the table finished.

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Walnut stain and cloud white supports and legs.

What do you think?  Personally, I LOVE IT! 

She and I both have a love for walnut finish so there was no argument there.  It could have been all walnut but the white really modernizes and brightens the look.

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I love the contrast

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The white brightens the look!

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Here is the top when I purchased it…

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And here is the top now!

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The top and shelf are just gorgeous!

I am so happy to help someone so artistic… it’s quite flattering!  The best compliment came from her husband.  Sheilagh showed him an “after” picture and he thought it was another of her designer table “pins”!

This table is truly Nicer Than New!

Joan

 

 

Feb 202014
 

It seems as though all of North America is having particularly cold winter.  We in Toronto have not been without our fair share of ice and snow.  I could gripe on but do you know what?  Let’s just get on with it!  My husband and I were avid skiers and embraced living in a colder climate long ago.  All you need to do is dress for it and winter can be the most amazing time of year.  Note I said “amazing” NOT “favourite”!

So when lst Saturday proved to be a beautiful and sunny day with near freezing temperatures, I took my work outside.  The back and south facing side of our home overlooks a ravine and it quite lovely.  So I dragged my work table (which is actually a dog grooming table ๐Ÿ™‚ ) and stripped and sanded a couple of pieces I have been DYING to get to!  The north facing, unheated garage just doesn’t do it for me so there I was stripping and sanding … IN THE SNOW!

Here is the first table.  I found this last summer on the FREE section of Craigslist.  I was a bit disappointed to find it was not actually a “quality made” table.  In fact, I think it was originally from Walmart.  But what can I say?  It was FREE!  The finish on the top was thick so I needed to strip it. Did you know chemical strippers are not affected by temperature?  Actually, I think it was easier since it did not dry out!    I only stripped the horizontal parts because I was going to paint the vertical parts.  The oak veneer was quite lovely.

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Oak veneer with solid frame… Walmart special!

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Yep! We read the conservative Globe and Mail and yes! there is a report about Putin and the Olympics. GO TEAM CANADA!

I also started working on the Mid-Century Modern table my designer niece is coveting.  This too will have a stain and paint treatment.  Stay tuned!  t reminds me of the Jetson’s … man that must date me!

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Solid Birch. Canadian Made. Mid Century Modern! LOVE!

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Top is a mess but no fear!

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There is grain under the mess!

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WOW! I cannot wait to see this finished!!!!

The moral of this post is:  JUST DO IT!!!! Get  outside and love it when the sun is shining!

(Not recommended when the sun is not shining.  Then it kind of feels like WORK!  LOL!

 Stay Tuned!

These pieces will soon be

Nicer Than NEW!

Joan

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