Wednesday, December 18, 2013

New Business Card Design

So I use Vistaprint for my business cards.  I like it because it's a Canadian company and they're really affordable - plus, they have pretty good editing options, and the website and interface is really user-friendly.  Since I don't really have the skills to be a graphic designer, and cheat and use a combo of 'stock' design cards and my own images. 

Have I mentioned how I do everything in Word?  Yes.  I'm pretty ghetto over here.  Deal with it. 

I created the blog header above in Word.  Fancy!  I decided I liked the design so much I transferred it to the new business card design. 

"But Emily, didn't you just order new business cards a few months ago?"

Thanks for asking.  Yes, yes I did.  I love them.  They looked like this:

I thought they were pretty snazzy...and I loved how I'd managed to place the text just right...

Then I went to a local craft fair a few weeks later.  One of the vendors had chosen the same card style as me!  Quelle domage!  But I figured, 'hey, what's one similar card?'  ONLY IT WASN'T!

Then we moved to Picton.  And the cool coffee shop down the road has business cards this style.  *blergh*  Then I dropped my card off at an antiques shop that needs some refinishing work done....and they thought they recognized my card (cool!).  ONLY NOT COOL!  Nope, it was some other jerk's lovely individual's card.  *double blerg*

Needless to say, I went back to the drawing board....or, should we say 'chalkboard?'  I'm jumping on the 'chalk' trend...we'll see what happens.  It's not like I've really got a 'brand' established.  Or, like, a real business, so no sweat! 


Here's the new style.  What do you think?

It's reversible!  And yes, it's kinda purple...see, the stock card that actually worked with the image I wanted to use was sort of I adapted.  Trust me, I tried a lot of other options.  This is the best so far.  Also, I can get 250 of these for $30. 

Somebody show me a better deal!  I dare you! 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Felt Flower Bouquets

For my wedding in 2011, I ditched the typical flower arrangements and made my own  brooch bouquet.  I'm going to let you in on a secret: making a brooch bouquet, from vintage and other found brooches, even when you're frugal, is not really that inexpensive.  I probably spent just as much on my brooch bouquets for my sister (my maid of honour) and myself as I would have on fresh cut flowers.


Felt & button flower bouquets are adorable, funky and much more affordable!  I made these bouquets for a friend's wedding for much less than we would have paid for fresh cut flowers.

We even made felt & button flowers which played double duty as table centrepieces and wedding favours at the end of the night.  Each flower had a handwritten 'thank you' note attached with the wedding date on the reverse.

I'm not going to say these took no time at all...they were pretty time consuming, but it was fun and affordable - and unique!

And these are my lovely friends on their wedding day (sorry, don't have one of them with the flowers yet!).  
Aren't they gorgeous?!  

Friday, December 6, 2013

Chairs! Chairs! Chairs!

Brace yourself, I've got lots of before & afters coming at you....

Funky, right?  This chair was sponsored by a really eclectic store that sells unique home furnishings and other oddities collected from across Canada & Europe...I guess that inspires antlers?  And sweater-chairs? 

Beautiful butterflies!  There are two of these beauties, refinished by a colleague of mine, and they're stunners. 

These farm stools are pretty awesome - they even spin!  I made it so that the 'stamp' can be customized for whoever wins these.  They can choose their own letters/numbers to personalize it. 

Faux fur throw and Hudson Bay inspired print on the pillow - this chair is sponsored by the New Canadians Centre, obviously! 

Not really much to look at when it's 'full frontal' (in buff beige, no less!), but a peek of colour on the back.  Surprise!  Not so boring after all. 

And I can't remember if I shared this "suit-able" chair's covered in a wool suit fabric salvaged from a charity shop in town.

All the chairs are rescues and salvages, most from my trolling on Kijiji (good times!), and then lovingly refurbished.  They're auctioned off to support the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign - auction is Saturday night.

Can't wait!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

So you don't know anything about drafting (and that's OK!)

And you don't have Photoshop or any other cool editing program...

Hey, that's OK!  Neither do I! 

I do all my photo editing using a MS program and created these Farm Table table top designs using MS Word.  Sometimes, you don't need the fancy stuff (although I've heard it's nice....real nice). 

  • The first step was to turn on the 'grid' function so that I had what looks like graph paper (you can find that under 'View').  I also had to change the orientation of my page to landscape, and change the paper size to 11x14 to fit it all in.  
  • Using the grid lines I went to Insert>Shape and selected a box/rectangle.  Then I counted out the size of my pieces of square = one inch.  The light grey rectangles vary in length but are 6" wide. 
  • I made a bunch of 'wood planks' out of boxes and then I had fun playing around with patterns and designs. 
  • Make sure you count out the proper sizes by using the grid as a guide!  The pieces  in option A are 6"x48", 6"x36", 6"x24" the short are 6"x12".  You have to count - otherwise you won't know how long your pieces are, or what to cut when you get to that part. 
  • I added 'nails' by creating teeny tiny circles and then using copy & paste a lot.  *Hint*  It's easier if you create a row, then 'group' the individual circles, and then copy & paste the rows.  You can rotate the rows to get them running in the direction you need (ie: horizontally or vertically). 
That's pretty much it! 

So the farm table I made using Ana White's plans has been popular, and I have a request for another. 

This time I'm offering a couple of options for table top 'layout.'  Here they are:

Option A is a little more 'rustic' perhaps, giving the impression of more 'salvaged' wood, while Option B is a bit more 'streamlined.'

They're ready to send off now. 

Easy peasy!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Union Jack Chair - sponsored by the UK Shoppe

Check out this before & after! 

She's a beauty!  This year's YMCA Chairs for Charity event is keeping me extra busy.  I love all the chairs, but gosh, they take a lot of time!  Hug an upholsterer today - they deserve it! 

My Union Jack chair is made from an old shower curtain (the black & blue stripe fabric), an old velvet shirt (red stripe) and some damask print white fabric.  The black fabric is left over from last year's event and is a lovely, thick and heavy, black fabric. 

Hours of sewing at my vintage Singer (oh yeah, I finally got a sewing machine that [mostly] works), lots of staples, and all new foam padding inside. 

Jolly good!

Oh, and the cute little pillow I also made myself using my trusty Mac-Tac paper-and-paint technique. 

Ta-ta for now!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

2nd Annual YMCA Chairs for Charity Event

Another excuse reason why my blog posts have been few and far between, recently, is that I've been pouring lots of my time into the YMCA Chairs for Charity event.  Old chairs get new life and are auctioned off in a fun evening event. 

The event raises money for the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign which helps to subsidize youth programming for families that need it and kids who want to play! 

I have a couple of 'before and after' photos to post for you, and also think you should check out my post on folding upholstery corners since it's still one of my most popular! 

Local businesses sponsor chairs (to cover the cost of the refurbishing process) and we create chairs that represent the 'feel' or 'theme' of the business. 

For more pictures and sneak peeks into the refurbishing process, visit the Facebook event page

Sunday, November 10, 2013

DIY: Pine Farm Table


After a loooong hiatus (oh, you noticed that, did you?), I'm back!

We moved, in a bit of a whirlwind affair, back in August and I finally found a workshop space in October and got the keys on November 1st!  I'm busy setting up shop now - and getting ready for another custom table order. 

Here's the first table I built from scratch.

I used the plans that Ana White offers on her website.  She calls it a Farmhouse table and the instructions are amazing! I printed mine out and added inches when I needed to - planning is the most important part!  I plotted out all my cuts so I knew what wood I'd need to buy and then I headed to Home Depot to pick up what I needed.  Ana's got a whole list of 'materials' as well as 'tools' and even a 'cut list.'  Could it be any easier?  No, is the answer, in case you were confused.

I assembled the table, filled all the holes, bashed it up with a hammer, and sanded the heck out of it! I stained the top with two different colour stains - Minwax's Espresso and American Walnut.  The final finish for the table top was about 5 coats of Varathane Diamond Floor Finish. 

On a sad note, or biggest little lady, Olive, went missing on October 26th.  She hasn't turned up and we miss her every day.  When we adopted the kittens, 'Miss Thing,' as we sometimes called her, was a fantastic mother.  She had so much love in her little heart, and we hope someone else might be sharing it with her today...if not, we know she lived a life full of love (and lots of cuddles!)

Olive can best be remembered as needing to have everything 'just so,' and demanding to have her belly rubbed with her signature 'stretch and roll' move, at least twice, daily. 

We miss you, Olive-branch.

Monday, July 29, 2013

DIY Subway Art Coffee Table Set

This table set turned out just as I'd imagined!

OK...I'd like to recommend you try this at home, but I've got to say....only try it at home if you have a) loads of free time or b) a Cricut or Silhouette or similar type machine.  I'm not blessed with one of those fancy machines so I do everything by hand.  I use lots of Contact/Mac Tac paper (the kind you can get at the Dollar Store for lining shelves or covering books) and teeny tiny nail scissors (or sewing scissors - even better!)  And I have a really steady hand.  If I'd had higher aspirations, I guess I should have been a surgeon.  In my next life.  You can read about how to create your own stencils when I used them on burlap pillows or my reproduction coffee sack chair

I've had a crush on subway art dressers and plaques for a while and wanted to use the style on another piece of furniture, so this little set fit the bill. 

I live in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada and decided to make a word map based on our city.  I love it!  At first I wasn't sure if it was worth the effort, but when I sanded and distressed the lettering I knew it would work out as I imagined (trust me, sometimes it doesn't!).

I'd love to sell these tables as a set, but I already have someone interested in the coffee table (seriously, minutes after I posted it for sale!), so I'm happy to sell the separately. 

The two end tables are $65 each, or $120 for both.  Get 'em while you can! 

I'm linking up here:
  Madcap Frenzy

Friday, July 12, 2013

Make room for something new

I finally pulled it together to clean out my garage last Sunday.  I've been putting it off since the spring.  You'd be amazed at the creative excuses I could come up with to avoid it! 

"I couldn't possibly clean the garage, it's going to be dark in three hours!"
"15 degrees is still too cold to clean out the garage.  It's freezing!"
"Right after I finish Season 2 of 'Game of Thrones.'"

At any rate, it was getting out of control, and I have a custom order for a harvest table to work on, and it would no longer fit in the sunroom.  So, I bought a new lock for the shed, moved the bicycles out of the garage into the shed, and then started moving furniture and stacking wood! 

First, I moved this amazing bureau I got for free a few months ago:

I can't wait until I have a chance to work on it.  I've fixed some of the inner workings already - it needed a new drawer slide so I cobbled one together from some scrap wood.  I still need to plane the drawers a bit...and then painting!  Any colour suggestions?

Then I got some help to move this huge vintage cabinet into the house.

I work from home and have been storing my work equipment and folders in an old plastic tote. 

This is a much better solution!

Originally, I wanted to make this into a '50 Shades of Grey' cabinet, but I stalled out on it in the Fall and then the winter hit....and I was living in a landscape of shades of grey and wasn't inspired to finish it (plus it was freezing in the garage in minus 20 degrees!). 

I finished the coats of paint after it was moved inside (although most of them had been done in the garage), sprayed the long mirror (which has smoked over the years) with blackboard paint. 

I still need to do something with the smaller square mirror, but maybe I'll leave that to another season!



I've collected quite a stash of scrap lumber on pallet wood and was finally able to finish these signs for a wedding later in August.  Just making things happen and getting things done!
And if you're looking for a unique, ultra feminine dresser and bedside table set, I've got what you need!  These lovely pieces are for sale for $295 (for the set).  


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Vins et Spiriteux Set

I worked on a custom order a week ago.  The end of the story is fantastic, the middle....not so much.  It started out strong...I refinished a long coffee table and two side tables, sanded the tops, restained the wood, and drew the 'Vins et Spiriteux' graphic on the coffee table, and sealed everything with durable Varathane floor finish. 


Then I was asked to do a similar treatment to a pine desk and a 50s magazine holder.  The desk is where things started heading south.  I thought I'd strip the top and sand away some of the uneven paint on the legs of the desk and that would be the end of the story.  Not so. 

I should have sanded EV-ER-Y-THING down right from the get-go.  I have no idea why I didn't.  So, in a make-work project for myself, I finished the desk...but it wasn't right!  It looked pretty awful (or at least not as good as it could) and in the end I had to pull it all back to the pine.  I went through a lot of sandpaper. 

In the end...she's a beauty! 

The [very patient] customer was happy...she said this:
Emily, thank you so much for the lovely job you did on my "garage sale" find! 
We have received many compliments on the desk and are very happy with it.  I
 will be sure to recommend you to others.    Mary Lou R. (Ennismore, ON)

Ain't that grand?!

And here's where she's sitting pretty now

Au revoir!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Vintage Grain Sack and Antique Enamel-Inspired Nesting Tables

I didn't get a chance to blog about these gorgeous, adorable  (gorgable? adorgeous?), tables before they sold.  I absolutely love how they turned out - just like vintage grain sacks and aged enamel washbasins rolled into one! 

The pictures below are what the tables looked like before I finished them - a little distressing and some ubber-durable floor finish to seal everything in. 

And as I said, they're 'nesting' I'll leave you with a shot of everything pulled together!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Land of the Silver Birch: Entranceway Set

I had a Queen Anne style table hanging around in the garage since last October when I was collecting chairs (and tables, apparently) for the YMCA Chairs for Charity event.  I didn't have any chairs to match (they were used for the charity event!) so I held on to this table for a while...

A week ago it hit me - I can separate the table top and use each half for a different project!  Duh!

Separating the tables was super-easy, just a few screws to loosen and remove et voila!  The table skirt came off with a couple of whacks from my mallet, and we were in business. 

I primed the table half (and I really should have primed it in white, not grey....but I wasn't thinking), and then painted two coats of off-white latex paint over top.  After these dried, I set about painting over the base coat with the blue-grey paint, and creating the birch-tree effect. 

Painting a string of birch trees is easy - I free handed the trees in, painted the 'background' behind the trees with the blue-grey colour and left the tree trunks white.  To create the bark effect, use your blue-grey paint and paint in lines of various lengths in random locations along both sides of the trunk.  Easy!

I sealed the paint after I was finished and then I used an awl and hammer to tap in the nickel-plated upholstery nails one-by-one.  Once I got the hang of it, it actually didn't take as long as I expected.  The final touch was adding the coat hooks and the chalkboard banner at the bottom.  Too cute! 

For the bench, I gave it a couple coats of off-white chalk paint and bought some 1-inch thick foam to pad the top.  Once upon a time this bench was a coffee table.  *gasp!*  (OK, it's not rocket science but it's the first time I've done it).  I stapled down a double-thick layer of batting over the foam to give everything a nice smooth feel.  I stapled down the fabric, pulling it as taut as I could as I went. 

Then I repeated the same technique I used on the coat rack to paint the birch trees on the fabric of the bench.  I used latex paint and after it had dried overnight, I used medium grit sandpaper to soften and distress the fabric.  The fabric doesn't feel like cotton anymore, but more like outdoor-furniture fabric.  Perfect for a busy mudroom or entranceway.  It wipes clean and resists water!

The coat rack is meant to hang on the wall above the bench if it were in a mudroom or entranceway.  You could put this in the bedroom, too and have the bench at the foot of the bed and the coat rack could be used to hold hand-bags, belts, scarves and even jewellery! 

This set is for sale ***$150*** and it's yours! 
I'm also sharing this upcycled project over at Fingerprints on the Fridge
Check it, and lots of other cool projects, out here: