Browse Category: Do It Yourself

Estate Side Table Flip

If you haven’t checked out the Estate Sale Finds post and video I recommend reading those first as you’ll get more of the back story on these two matching side tables.

The paint I used for all my previous flips was the wall paint I picked up for $18 at Walmart, the Glidden brand in three colours. It worked exceptionally well at the time and now I realize that was probably as I was painting all the items outside in the heat of summer and they dried fast. I bought the same white paint to try to cover these end units and it was a complete disaster.

First I removed all the handles and hammered out the damaged ones that were stuck on the drawers. Once it was just the bare unit I was able to do a light sanding over the entire thing. Wiping them down afterwards to remove all the excess dust.

These units had a fair amount of dings from regular wear and tear, one had a faded cup stain burned into the wood surface. If you want the finish to be pristine I would recommend using wood fill to fill in all the chunks missing but for me I feel like it adds more character. The hutch I redid in my living room actually has fake “intentional” dings in it to look more rustic… it would be believable if they weren’t so symmetrical haha!

One unit had two coats of the barely-there white paint I had bought originally, very faint and a waste of time to be honest. So I scratched that idea and decided to use the exterior Tremclad that I was using for the oil tank and mailbox outside earlier in the day. Normally I go for a standard white so that all the furniture can be interchanged in any room at any time… but lately the grey has been popping up throughout my house, especially in the bedroom where these two pieces are going to go.

Now this paint includes a primer base within it and I think that makes a world of difference, its thicker and has better coverage. Much like makeup, its better to coat with a primer first. I applied two coats of the Tremclad paint over the exterior of the unit letting it get a bit thicker overtop of any nicks in it as the paint is thick enough that it will fill in any flaws. The finished ended up very smooth and solid. Finally I applied new handles and knobs, the same ones I buy in bulk from Walmart that I have used on previous flips. This keeps with the flow of my furniture too even though the colour is different.

I created a video while doing this flip that will be posted this week, stay tuned!

Flipping a 100 Year Old Desk

For a few months my sewing and jewellery studio has been in shambles as I wanted to repurpose the hutch I had refinished into two separate pieces. The base was far better suited for me as a computer desk now located downstairs in my bedroom. The top half of the hutch stores my bead containers so I needed a surface for that to sit on. Its rather large but I managed to find a simple base table for it.

Then came the issue of needing a table or desk for my sewing machine and newly added serger (a gift from my mother’s friend Margaret). I had been distracted with other things for a few months and would pass by the room, look at all the bags of things on the floor and immediately walk back out.

One day it came up in conversation that I was still waiting for the right piece of furniture for the space that wasn’t too big that could work for a sewing desk. My dad mentioned a piece of furniture that was pulled out of an old Masonic Lodge building that had closed that he was using out in the barn for woodworking materials.

We went out to look at it and I thought, hmm that could work! Naturally he said I could change it any way that I wanted, you had to know that would be my first question. The surface was very scratched and rough from 100 years of use in the main foyer of the lodge. I’m always attracted to the unique shape of older furniture so I could see definite potential!

I grabbed the only can of white paint left in the house and began to work away at it. The tricky part about painting a dark stained piece of furniture stark white is that it bleeds through. About three coats were done, to be honest a fourth couldn’t hurt. The drawer is still a mystery to me as in two places it is leaking through the white bright blue.

Its honestly the strangest thing no matter how many layers of white paint it still leaking through blue! Oh well, adds character right?


Basement Renovation

Let’s take a break from clothing for a bit and discuss the heavy stuff. When I looked at the house in the spring I knew right away that the awkward wallpaper was hiding things, as the choice in paper, especially in the basement – didn’t suit the room and looked to have no real purpose. The previous owner chose a very bold black and white damask print, that super thick sticker wallpaper to hide all manner of sins. The house had been professionally painted (except the door frames where you can see the original colours) and behind wall fixtures they suspected would not be removed. The basement was painted a soft khaki beige which didn’t go with the harsh black and white print, but they tried to make the staging look like it was there purposely.

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Curvaceous Calves

14732280_975973969199075_3060862929111866196_nIf you are one of those lucky individuals that is the right height-weight-muscle ratio to fit most tall boots, stop reading this post. If you are me my calves are considered “too big” for the average tall boot width perhaps based on my 5.75 shoe size and 5’3 height. I spent 15 years of my life dancing twice a week so the muscle is certainly there hiding underneath. I hear it at the store all day long, women asking “who did they make these to fit?” then you see a tall slender woman walk by with minimal meat on her legs and the light bulb goes off.

Most are made to fit models so that it looks flattering in the magazine and on the website. It also depends on where the company is based, what their general sizing is. These Fly London boots came into the store, much more worn than what we would typically accept but I knew I was buying them regardless of the wear and tear. The issue came instantly when I realized I couldn’t get the boot on without an alteration thanks to my curvy calves. 14720622_975975602532245_6367736462522267529_n

I popped over to Fabricland and bought a thick black elastic that I hopefully could insert down the back of the boot. Fortunately the seam is straight centered down the back of the boot which made it easier to open up and insert the elastic. I stitched the elastic in place by hand and tied the laces back up. They would look better with a longer elastic so I could do up all the grommets but that’ll be for another day.

I tried them out (along with my new hairstyle) yesterday at the store and to be honest that’s the first day I didn’t have sore feet. Apparently two insoles and thick socks did the trick!

 

Home Renovations

If you would like to follow my new home renovations I will be uploading images here as time progresses. I purchased my first home on June 17th, 2016 and have begun the process of updating!


Kitchen

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Downstairs

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Laundry

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2 Big Hutches

The Kijiji Hutch



What I like to call the “big hutch” when in actuality they are both essentially the same size. Surprisingly light weight too! This one I found on Kijiji in Belleville (a solid hour’s drive from my home) for $75. My parents frowned when I showed them the image but it was my decision. I could see the potential in it. If I could I would remove some of the bulk in the front that is just decorative but I am not skilled enough in wood-working!

I do not yet have finished photographs but you can start to see the progression. This particular pieces I sanded down prior to painting. A word of caution about something you may come across if you are refinishing thrifted furniture – sometimes the varnish dye used in cheaply made furniture will run when paint touches it. This one for example required more coats than expected, A) because its very dark but B) the finish blended with the white paint and became yellow. It was almost as if the dye was mixing with the paint. The first time I noticed this even with all the furniture I’ve painted over the years.
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Finding My Home

As you may know I am a first time home buyer right in the thick of it, busy spring buying/selling season and competition unlike any other I’ve ever experienced. To date I have looked at 6 houses which in the grand scheme of things is not a lot, some people look at 100, others 20… I knew the distance radius I wanted to be in based on my 12 hour work days and social life I wanted to stay close to Kingston’s boundaries without actually being right in town.

I had no idea that buying a home was going to be such a competition, but now that I think about it, I probably should have. Anyone of my age group or younger tends to have a more limited budget, and myself being a single woman I need to have a home that is suitable for one income only. The price point is what makes it competitive, basically $250k and under as there is so many needing an affordable home and so few options.

The first home I looked at on Realtor.ca was the one I am buying. Curious isn’t it? I actually ruled it out early on because of the price point, but after months of looking at my ideal price point ($175-$200k would put me in the same payment category as my rental property) I realized what I could get for that price was a phenomenal amount of renovation and in the end, a much higher price tag. I love old character homes, unfortunately a girl of my income and ability, cannot manage to flip a house like that as much as I would dream to. If I could save all the abandoned homes I would. Continue Reading

Saying Goodbye to Union Street

Since paying off my car in November (or realizing I could go ahead and pay it off at any time without penalty!) I realized that with the help of my budgeting system I am able to save decent money and live off a smaller amount of income. I am working very hard at a few jobs and doing my best to live comfortably. I decided recently that I was close enough to start the process of looking for my first home.

The first step in making this decision come to life is giving notice on my rental house, cancelling services and beginning the process of finding out about the legalities of buying a home including mortgage, insurance and fees required. What I am looking for in a home is that of my current rental, a cute older home that has had some renovations done but still holds its original unique character. As I will be living there alone I do not need a ton of space but I do hope to have a decent yard that I will be able to actively use and garden.


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The Living Room

I have rented many apartments in my day, but this was the first real house, a semi-detached 100+ year old home in an old suburb of Kingston. When I toured the space I knew it needed considerable work but that’s never an issue as I enjoy the renovation process. At first glance it needed a solid cleaning, holes filled in and fresh paint.

The living room I’ll admit, is rather busy looking at the moment. I change it around every 4 months which is also when I do a deep clean of every room. I love my thrift treasures, artwork and trinkets so naturally it can look packed very quickly, but I assure you it is nice and cozy when you are physically in the room.

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How to Hem Jeans

If you cannot view this video please view it on YouTube at:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3_lYrfOSN0

I went through all my blog posts and was surprised to see I haven’t posted a tutorial on how to hem your jeans or pants! I have done this basic tutorial in the form of a YouTube video so that you can follow step by step how I change my pants to be slightly shorter. I find most women do not sew anything for themselves, let alone alter their own pants to fit. Unless you’re buying new you can’t pick and chose the length of your jeans! Most times I end up with pants that are way too long. The only time I don’t have to alter them is the boyfriend or cropped style which is mean to be capri length.

I hope you find this tutorial useful! Be warned if you are highly trained in the art of sewing, I do not use correct terminology – technique or fancy bells and whistles. This is a basic, beginner tutorial to get by!

Full Colour or Bust!

brightfloralskirt Ah yes, a new favourite! I’m sure I say this in every post, but its okay to have a ton of favourite newly-created looks!

Much like most of my other outfits, these pieces had to be altered in order to suit my body shape. This New York & Co floral skirt really didn’t fit at all when I tried it on, but every now and then there are pieces that you just have to have no matter how much work they will involve in the end. I took it in two inches to make it a high waisted style and brought up the hem about the same amount so it came closer to the knee. Anything past the knee on my height makes me look frumpy.

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Mad for Magenta

orangemagentamix I saw this top at Value Village once when shopping with my mother and a friend (whom I ran into while I was there go figure!) and as I recall its by Reitmans, a large. Unfortunately it was quite a big large in the shoulders but I began tinkering with it in the mirror at the end of an isle as my mother walks by and nods “Yup its do-able” … she knew what was going through my head.

I still find it amusing and somewhat rewarding that after 29 years I was able to teach my mother something instead of the reverse. In being gutsy and bold, I feel no risk in cutting into an item of clothing, no remorse if I start stitching this and that. Without knowing the official “rules” of sewing and alterations, I am able to do things like this. Now more and more my mother is excited to tell me she altered something thinking like I would!

Just the other day she was fussing with a dress, one of these fabulous multi print – mixed fabric numbers by Desigual – unfortunately with our 5’2 height they can be very hard to pull off without looking even shorter. I came over and started analyzing it after she gave me the few thoughts she had. I grabbed it on both sides below the waist and hemmed it with pins temporarily. “Just needs to go up here so you don’t lose all the bottom details”… “Ha!” she says, “I knew you’d know how to fix it.”

This top wasn’t all that complicated to alter. Yes its a knit, and we don’t “alter” sweaters… this girl does.

Based on having very narrow shoulders and a small frame, I simply put somewhat of a dart down the back of the shoulder equally on both sides. When I wore it to work no one even realized that changes had been made. Yes looking at this photo you can see that the original seams don’t line up the way a normal shoulder does, but its something that only I would notice. Paired with this fun infinity scarf and my favourite bright orange GAP skirt – couldn’t help but wear my magenta pumps to be super matchy-matchy!