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Monday, February 28, 2011

Create a Spa Party

On Saturday we turned our house into a day spa and hosted a birthday party for my soon to be 10-year-old daughter.


No party is complete these days without the Martha Stewart inspired puff balls.  Turns out my non-crafty husband has a special skill and I was demoted while he took over.


Decorating for a spa party doesn't get any more simple.

Mirrors, headbands and jars of bath salts made by the girls all get popped into bags and go home as loot bags.

 First up was the bath salts.  We used a simple recipe that I stole from Karen at Strictly Simple Style (thanks Karen!).


We set out all the chocolate facial mask ingredients in bowls with the proper measuring tools and the girls set to work mixing their mask.

They applied the mask with their fingers and had the best time getting chocolaty and gooey.  We let it sit for about 10 minutes until it started to get dry and then we used a cloth and warm water to remove it all.  They all claimed their skin was smooth and soft afterwards although I doubt that any of them know anything other than silky soft skin.


On to the foot bath which was as simple as warm water and epsom salt with a drop of essential oil.  The girls soaked their tootsies while they treated themselves to manicures.  I thought this would take up 15 minutes but they finally had to be kicked out the of foot bath so I could set up the food.

Spa food is as easy as sushi and crustless sandwiches but we threw in some gyoza and green olives for good measure.  Ginger ale was served in crystal champagne glasses and while I swore to my husband that it would be fine, we did end up losing one.  

We also set up yoga mats and had the girls take 10 minutes to give a partner a massage and then switch for another 10 minutes.  Cupcakes and chocolate covered strawberries were served for dessert followed up by opening presents. 

This year and last my daughter has asked that in lieu of presents her friends bring a donation to the local SPCA.  I have been swearing to my family for a couple of years that I won't get a second dog so I was hesitant to tag along for the donation drop off last year.  As soon as I stepped foot in the dog area I fell in love with Baron, a very large, very strong German Shepherd/Rottweiler mix and and went back for a second visit the next day to make sure it was love. During that visit I  made an appointment to take my new love for a run with me to see if I could actually handle his strength.  Before that run could happen I developed a flu that left me in bed for 5 days which is apparently the number of days it takes to bring me to my senses.  Sadly we did not adopt Baron although he did get adopted very quickly.  This afternoon after school we will be going to drop of this year's donations.  Am I worried?  Just a little!!!!!

Molly is in heaven with all the good smells and I couldn't get her out of the photo!


Recipe for Bath Salts
I cup epsom salts
1/2 cup sea salts
a few drops of essential oil

Recipe for Chocolate Face Mask
1/3 cup cocoa
2 tbsp heavy cream
1/4 cup honey
3 tbsp ground oatmeal

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Painted Bookcase

This has been one of the more difficult undertakings in my furniture rejuvenation adventures but at long last the bookcase is complete.  My struggle with the crown molding  was a lesson in patience and there was a moment when I threatened that this bookcase would not be treated to crown molding after all.  I am so glad that I persevered because I love the look but as I initially planned, it will be home to tiny white lights that will help cast a warm hue in this dark area of the room.  


Here's the before.  I think in a sad turn of events my usually lacklustre photography skills have somehow managed to make this guy look better before than he ever really did look.

 The handmade stencil turned out just as I had hoped.





In unrelated news Barb from hodge:podge and I went thrift store shopping today and both came away with something great.  It was a good day for furniture.  Here's Barb with the dresser that she didn't end up buying (oooh, it was close).

Here's the dresser that I kinda wish I had taken.  I may go back tomorrow but we all know how much luck you have doing that:(  It even had a mirror that gets attached to the top.  

This behemoth sofa is only one part of a 4-piece collection.  I'm thinking The Salvation Army is wise to the popularity of savvy design thrifters.  This baby was $899.00!


My next project awaits me.  I need to get organized for the spa party we're having on Saturday for my daughter's birthday.  Happy weekend everyone!

Carol

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

How to Make an Easy Stencil

I fear using the dreaded B word because I am quite sure you are very tired of hearing about it but the bookcase is almost complete.  There is still one coat of Polycrylic needed and then I will show it to you and we will never speak of it again.  I promise.

I mentioned that I wanted to create a stencil and it turned out so well and it was so extremely easy that I thought I'd share.

I have made stencils in the past using transparencies like the ones teachers use for overhead projectors, an exactor knife and a sharpie but this one is even more simple.



I started with the same transparency, exacto knife and sharpee but added a hole punch with a 2" extension that I bought at Michael's.  The long extension allowed me to get to the inside of the spiral.  
I drew a spiral and then layed the transparency on top of that and used the sharpee to create a series of dots in a spiral shape at equal (or as close as you get when eyeballing) distance apart.



Using the punch I popped out the dots.  In this case I only needed the exacto knife to make sure my outside lines were square before laying it down to be stenciled.

I used 3 different paint colours and just laid the stencil down in a random pattern.  There are 2 shelves going in to the bookcase so it didn't need a uniform pattern.  In fact, I thought the random pattern would work better for displaying objects in front of the stenciled back.



 Disclaimer:  It is so damn hard getting a photo of this because the Polycrylic is gloss and gives a beautiful finish but also a terrible glare.  Apologies:)

Carol

Monday, February 21, 2011

Create a Cake Tray with Thrift Store Items

There are so many fabulous cake trays for sale in the marketplace but the thing I keep finding is that they're larger than what I want.  My friends tend more towards the "cheese and wine" section of the buffet so the "cake" section needs only to be miniature in comparison.  In addition, my kitchen is tiny and I have nowhere to store these lovely tiered displays.

So when a difficult situation arises I solve it by immediately rushing out to the local thrift store and make a cake stand that fits the .  Problem solved!


Here is what we started with:




The original idea was a very light pink flower with a white base but apparently the only pink spray paint on the market is a bright fuschia which is great for lots of other things but not this one.  Yellow to the rescue.  With just a couple of coats of Rustoleum spray paint, the tray is good to go.  
I initially thought I would silicone the top to the base but I kind of like just having two separate pieces that can be put together for parties.  The top actually sits really nicely on the base so it doesn't appear it will fall off but if I find that it does, I'll add the silicone later.









Happy Monday!
Carol

Thursday, February 17, 2011

TGIF

I was planning to post today about the fabulous bookcase that I have finally completed but it's not 100% ready to roll so I'll have to keep you wondering until next week.

Instead I'm going to give you a small glimpse of what the weekend has in store for us.  It's a Pro-D day here in Vancouver which means that the kids are at home with me today.

We're having a birthday party for a good friend on Saturday night.  Until then I'll be cooking up a storm (recruiting help in the form of child labour) as well as mixing up a myriad of different cocktails, cleaning the house, decorating and trying to wrap up the bookcase project.  There's nothing more effective than company to get me motivated to do what needs to be done.   I look forward to taking back our home  that has been invaded by my thrift store projects and is resembling a workroom at the moment.  

My goal is to have every single outstanding project completed this weekend because next week I am going thrift store shopping with the lovely Barbara from hodge:podge and something tells me I won't be coming home empty handed.


Sunday I expect to be lying on the sofa, drinking coffee and trying to finish the fabulous book that I started a while ago.  Is that the life of a blogger?  Too many blogs and not enough time?  I feel like I'm two-timing on books recently but I am promising myself a few hours of screen-free reading on Sunday.  If you're a lover of fiction I highly recommend this humorous and incredibly sophisticated account of the day-to-day life of a Parisian concierge.  I haven't been in a book club for a while and I miss the camaraderie but mostly I miss the great book recommendations.  If you have some, pass them my way any time...please! 

What does your weekend look like?  Flying high or laying low?  Whichever it is, enjoy it:)

xx Carol

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Adding Crown Molding to a Bookcase


Champagne for all my friends.  Maybe you have deduced from the title of this post that there   has been a victory in my end of the ring.  After 2 days, 3 trips to Rona, a bruised ego and a couple of glasses of wine I have made all the cuts I need on the mitre saw and the crown molding has been installed.

I promised to give you a tutorial on how I accomplished this and I will do that in a future post.

Once I made all the necessary cuts I realized that the next hurdle to overcome would be installing the molding to the bookcase.  Here's what I came up with.

I purchased 1x2 strips of wood and cut them to create a base on top of the bookcase.  This allowa me to sit the molding on top of the bookcase where it would be secure and I wouldn't have to struggle so much to get it in place as opposed to attaching to the sides of the bookcase.

It's important to have the molding sitting right at the edge of the bookcase for a seamless look so here's the quick drawing I did to calculate my cuts.

Attach wooden strips to bookcase with screws and then you're ready to attach the molding.  Here's how it looks completed.

I nailed a few nails into the molding with their heads just popping through the back before I got started. Run a line of wood glue along the wooden strips and attach the molding.  Hammer the nails in to keep it secure while the glue dries.  I will use a bradawl later to countersink the nail heads and then fill it in with a little wood filler.  I also ran a line of glue between the seams on the molding and for sure I will have to use some wood filler for the gaps.  

Ta da!

I am having a party at my house this weekend so all this junk needs to be cleaned up and bookcase must be 100% complete and moved up to the second floor where it will live happily ever after.  Just a little motivation is all I need.

Carol

Monday, February 14, 2011

Mitre Saw Hell

I know it will be highly unpopular on this day of love and hearts to write a post about something you hate but I'm doing it regardless. 

I hate my compound mitre saw!  I don't think my saw is really worse than any other (although it might be) but my hate comes from my inability to conquer the concept of compound mitre cuts.

I spent the better part of my Saturday afternoon battling with this king of fancy cuts and I did NOT reign victorious in the end.

Remember the bookcase I told you about last week?  I'm working on this as my current project.  I decided that if I added a hefty piece of crown molding to the top of it that I could hide some white lights on the top and it would give a nice glow and some much needed additional lighting in the room.  How hard can it be, right? 

 This is the pile of leftovers that did not make it to the Winner's Circle.

 These are the 2 sad and lonely pieces that are usable and will hopefully be attached to the sides of the bookcase very, very soon.

I am a stubborn sort and refuse to succumb to the bullying tactics of this saw.  I am writing down all the specifications on some of the scraps where I have accomplished the cut I set out to make.  Once I get a few instructional pieces together I will share with you so that you never have to fall to your knees for a mitre saw.

In the meantime, this is where I'm headed to buy an additional piece of molding because apparently 13 feet isn't enough for this project:(
Enjoy your Valentine's Day!
Carol
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