Monday, 29 July 2013

DIY storage baskets

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Who knew that so many people would be interested in making their own bench cushion?? I certainly didn't.

I noticed all of a sudden that there was a lot more traffic on this little blog here 'o mine, then noticed that they were all coming on over from Pinterest, re-pinning my post about my new colour-crazy bench cushion, and coming to check out what's going on over here. So welcome to anyone who hasn't been here before (and thank you those who regularly check in!). Hope you're inspired to throw some bold colours down around your house and try something that you don't think that you can do. Just go for it. Seriously.

My multiple heart attacks over how bold this bench is have started to dwindle and I'm starting to love the bold colours and bold patterns that I chose. It just makes me happy staring at that thing in my hallway every day.

But on another promised, here is how I transformed those storage baskets from this...

to this.

I had no idea how hard it would be to find white baskets that were the right size and height for this bench. And after searching every store that I could possibly think of, I came up with nothing. That's where Super Dad comes swooping in once again and saves the day. You tell my dad anything that you're frustrated about, searching for, can't find etc etc and he'll find it. Then he'll bring it to you--within literally hours of you complaining about it. Thanks again dad!

He showed up with several different options of baskets for me that would fit the bench, but they unfortunately didn't go very well with the colours of the bench itself. So my crafty mind starting spinning, and I quickly decided that I could make them look great with very little work and for very little money.

A little spray paint, a trip to the fabric store for some dark brown fabric and ribbon and of course my beloved glue gun = new baskets. DIY style.

Here is how I transformed them:

1) Remove the original fabric from the baskets, get outside on a nice day and get your spray paint out.

This is the spray paint that I used, since it was left over from our DIY dresser in Carter's room, but I'm sure any spray paint would do.

2) Start spraying until the entire basket is coated. I started on the corners and worked my way out. Let dry completely, then add on as many other coats as you need until it looks as you'd like it to.

The pic below shows the one on the right untouched, and the one on the left painted.

I didn't bother adding paint to the tops or inside the baskets because I knew that they would be covered with fabric.

This is what they looked like after 3 coats of paint and the original fabric put back on.

3) I measured the tops of the baskets to figure out how much fabric I'd need to cut (to only cover the tops of each basket). Then I cut out my three strips.

 4) I then got my glue gun out, flipped the edges up and put a strip of glue along the flipped-up edge, then glued the brown fabric down, so it would be tucked underneath.

5) Once all of the edges are glued under it should look like this.

6) Fold the top edges over the basket and glue down (inside the basket).

7) The edges inside will look unfinished, so a quick fix for that is to simply glue fabric ribbon over top so that you have a clean finish.

Voila!! Transformed to match my bench--and really easy to do.

If you end up transforming your own baskets let me know (and show pics!)--I love to see what others are doing and get inspired.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Making a bench cushion...and a splash of colour

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I've been stepping out of my comfort zone these days.

It's amazing what you can do when you create that blind (sometimes ridiculous) self-confidence in yourself. It's how I end up starting new projects, trying new things and discovering some skills that I never knew that I even had..cause I just go for it, regardless of whether I know what I'm doing or not.

It's how I got started on my little cake/cupcake business. Jen was planning her wedding and talking about buying a wedding cake, and I all of a sudden spoke up and told her that I would make her a wedding cake. No problem. I got this!

I had never made a real cake in my life.

Blind self-confidence. Ridiculous.

But I did it. Because I really believed that I could--and I knew that I would just figure it out until I got it right.

And that one moment of "I can do this" (even though I had never, and still have never had anyone actually teach me) decision actually started for me what is now a passion of mine, a love of mine and thankfully a little side-business to boot.

You need a cake or cupcakes for an event? Call me. I'll hook you up.

That ridiculous "I can do anything, cause I'll just figure it out...I think" self-confidence is what jump-started my newest project and in the midst of it all, I think that I might have found a new love...just maybe.


My sister is the sewer in our family. She can make just about anything. She's made clothes, baby bedding, oven mitts, bibs and diaper bags, just to name a few. But me? I've only ever made pillows and curtains for our house. I've never even attempted anything else.

Until now.

I bought a bench for our front hall since we really needed somewhere for the kids to sit while putting on their shoes and storage for their summer hats and winter mitts and gear. But the only problem was that the bench that I bought didn't come with a seat cushion, or baskets.

So I had to get crafty.

This is what our bench looked like before I got my hands on it.

And this is what it looks like now.


I'm still having a bit of a heart attack over how bold it is.

Our whole house is pretty neutral and has been since the day that we moved in almost six years ago. But I'm getting tired of it and decided that I wanted to throw in little splashes of colour all throughout. Kind of like saying "Hey! This room is so darn happy, colourful and bright...enjoy!".

So I threw some colour on our bed in our master bedroom.

And filled both Carter's room...

and Mya's room with a few colourful details.

But our front hall? Well it is definitely now yelling "Welcome! Come on in. Sit down and stay a while. Not having a good day today? Well, have a seat on this ridiculously colourful bench. I promise you'll feel better".

We threw up this chunky white mirror too, just to add even more pizazz.

I'm still having a bit of a heart attack though. Definitely stepping out of my neutral-loving comfort zone.

I was going to write a whole post on how I made this cushion from scratch and how I made that pillow there too. But honestly, as I started step one (of a million steps) to finally complete the cushion, I realized that it would just be too much for me to be trying to figure out how to actually complete each step while taking pics and trying to remember the details well enough to teach someone else. So here is a link to the website where I learned how to make this cushion (amongst many others that I found online too).

But be warned..this is NOT an easy project if you aren't a real sewer. This particular cushion has all of the added details, like the piping along the edges, seven separate strips that you cut to an exact measurement and piece together and an added flap in the back with velcro so that I can take it off and wash it when I need to.

Definitely stepping out of my comfort zone as a want-to-be sewer.

But the pillow? No problem. Great for newbies (and it even has a pocket in the back so you can take it off and wash it too). Definitely a necessity around here. Youtube taught me how to make it. Here is the link if you want to try it yourself.

And the baskets?

They used to look like this.

I'll explain how I transformed them to match my bench in another post. Off to bed I go.

Feelin' pretty happy as I walk past that bench up to bed tonight. Colour will do that to you.

Erica xo


Sunday, 21 July 2013


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I can't even tell you how excited I was to watch this plane land the other afternoon.

And I wasn't the only one.

"Look for the white hat", I told Mya and Oliver as they pressed their faces up against the glass window as everyone piled off of the plane. "That'll be daddy/uncle Terry".

So we waited...and waited.

Until finally we spotted that white hat and cheers could be heard throughout that little airport.

My parents have always taught us that "Love is showing up".

So we show up for people.

We show up for each other.

We make a point of being there for the big moments and being there for the small ones. We change our schedules around, we show up when we might be tired, we show up when we know it will take extra effort. We just show up. Because love is showing up.

And we all did for Terry that day.

This is one very missed guy.

And when he finally came around the corner, it brought tears to my eyes as Mya caught a slight glimpse of him as he came through the doors and screamed "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!" and tore as fast as she could over to him and jumped into his outstretched arms.

This one little girl missed her daddy desperately.

Along with her little brother.

And me too.

We survived the week without him. But man is it ever great to have him home again. 

Unfortunately though, after the excitement and happiness of picking him up from the airport, things went downhill pretty quickly.

As we all piled into our separate cars and headed back to our house for a pizza dinner, the rain began to come down. Slowly at first...just a few raindrops splashing on our windshield. But it soon began to come down harder and the clouds started to roll in and turned a dark grey quickly.

As we all sat down to eat we heard the wind blowing and the rain started crashing down, falling in sheets as the trees outside swayed aggressively in the breeze.

All of sudden the lights went out, all power gone...and we were left eating pizza over candlelight.

But as the rain began to really pour down, Jen went to the back door for a moment and just as she did, we heard her scream.

I came running, not knowing what had happened...but I wasn't prepared for what I saw.

I opened the door as the storm wrapped around our house, and looked out to see our HUGE gazebo hanging over my neighbours shed, completely destroyed.

 This gigantic thing literally flew over the fence, flipped upside down and landed in a pile on top of their shed.

What was once a lovely, shaded sitting area in our backyard turned into a heap of cushions thrown all over the place.

I still can't believe that the power of the storm was strong enough to throw this heavy gazebo right over the fence. Unbelievable.

Not to mention, expensive.

But as the storm settled and we were still left without power, we brought the sidewalk chalk out and tried to make the best of it.

Then tackled the huge job of fixing the mess of the storm early the next morning.

As I sat there feeling sorry for myself for a moment, realizing the expense of a new gazebo and realizing the sheer waste of our old one, I reminded myself of how lucky we were. Thankfully no one was hurt. This flying weapon could have literally killed someone in it's path. It could have caused even more damage than it did. A new gazebo is relatively easy to buy again (minus the fact that this particular gazebo is currently sold out at every single store). But a person is irreplaceable.

Then when I took a drive around our neighbourhood, I realized that we were only one of many who were affected by the storm and it certainly put my feeling sorry for myself quickly in to check.

My parents backyard was a prime example of the damage that wind and rain can cause.

After a fine effort of tackling this beast of a tree with dad's little chainsaw...

and creating this huge pile, ready to be chopped up even further...

they finally gave in, realizing that needing to rent a huge chainsaw was completely necessary (and pretty much impossible with everyone working on their yards this week).

But this mighty little chainsaw, and these two determined guys managed to get most of the job done.

Not exactly the way that we expected to spend our first couple of days with Terry home. But so thankful that this was the only true damage that our family experienced. A gazebo and some huge trees to deal with are nothing compared to what could have happened.

So happy to have my hubster home. And grateful that we have power on again. Hallelujah.

Erica xo

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