Behind Closed Doors

You may recall my recent main floor powder room refresher where I took her from chocolate to vanilla...

But what you didn't see was what was lurking behind those cabinet doors. I sincerely hope no guest has ever creeped a peek in there...

for obvious reasons.

Oh. Man.

Now, in my defence I'm not a slob. I'm actually a bit of a neat freak. The biggest problem here was the lack of any kind of system. It was just a big space with inadequate containers to hold everything we store in here - mainly my nail stuff, medical supplies, batteries and soaps etc.

But have no fear. It's all under control and now looks like this.

Yes. My retinas can now stop burning.

I'll break it all down for you so you can relive it with me (excited?). After I cleared everything out I gave the cabinet a good clean and accessed what I needed. Most of the storage bins are from the Samla line at Ikea with the exception of the one I used for my nail supplies which is from the Antonia line. 

Basically I just went through each mess one by one and contained them. First up was our medical supplies. How would you like to dig through this for a bandaid?

I used the deep Samla box and added a top tray to help separate everything.

Goody. Now we can all go out and scrape our knees.

Seeing as we have a five year old, we go through our share of batteries. So we keep a box of 'new batteries' under here as well as a box for them to go into when they are ready for recycling.

The old system left a lot to be desired (bonus points if you can guess what kind of yogurt I like).

But the new system is much better. Here is the box for the new ones. The new "to be recycled" one is empty as I'm going to take the yogurt ones to the depot. Everyone loves a good recycled yogurt battery.

My manicure supplies were this breathtaking display of form and function...

But now they too are yogurt free and MUCH better organized (this is my favourite one!)

As for the other miscellaneous stuff we had in the cabinet (soap, wipes, candles etc)...

they all have a new home as well.

But JUST bins just won't do. Oh no. I had to label these suckers! 

I made simple labels and printed them on adhesive laser printer paper. To notch the corners I used a standard single hole punch.

Once everything was put away we had a nice orderly cabinet.

It feels good to get this one checked off my list as it's been bugging me for quite awhile!

And now if my guests do creep a peek in my cabinet they won't be horrified by what they find. Unless of course they are offended by nail polish and batteries. 

What about you? Done any long overdue organizing lately? Have any go-to solutions or favourite tricks? An organized space makes me ridiculously happy - tell me I"m not alone!

Stay in touch!



Drink UP!

Happy Monday! This is an oldie but a goodie! With Canada Day just around the bend I thought I'd repost this July 2012 post (say that five times fast) as I have seen a lot of traffic (via Pinterest) to it over the last week. It's a fun Canada Day inspired drink - enjoy!

- - - - -

This Sunday is Canada Day - which is quite appropriate given that I'm Canadian ;). ... So here's a little idea that you may enjoy tipping back as you tip your hat to this great country.

Now I don't think I need to point out the obvious, but you probably notice that this drink is layered in red and white - just like our amazing Canadian flag. How patriotic! And gorgeous. And tasty!

I can't take full credit for this idea though. This morning as I was feeding my little guy breakfast I had the 'Today Show' on in the background. Given that July 4th is coming up, they were doing a segment on entertaining ideas for the holiday. They featured an amazing layered red, white and blue drink. I thought, "hey, I want to try that" so I went to their site looking for some direction.

What I found was a section linking to favourite pinterest inspired July 4th ideas and I found the inspiration for the drink I saw - which led me to this site.

So, I got started.

What you will need for this is:
Sprite Zero
Cranberry Juice

First I filled my glasses about 1/3 full of ice.

Then I filled each cup about 1/3 full of cranberry juice.

Then I added a bit more ice and begain to layer. I poured in another third of Sprite Zero. The key to layering is to pour your second beverage DIRECTLY on to an ice cube so that it does not mix into the cranberry juice.

You can see the Sprite Zero hitting the ice cube above.

Here they all are with their second 'white' layers.

So then I went to add another layer of red cranberry juice.

FAIL! flopzilla. mixville.

I think what happened here is that the layers mixed because the sugar in my cranberry juice, was denser/heavier than the sugars in my pop. There is a note about drink sugars here. I thought I had covered my bases, but apparently not.

Oh well, on to plan B.

I cut up some strawberries and created a new red layer! They didn't sink down as I was careful when placing them and made sure they sat on top of the ice.

And when that was all said and done we had this!


I must admit, I drank the one that I messed up as I typed this post. Delicous!

I'll save the two pretty ones for Chef Kev and Chace :)

Have a wonderful and safe long weekend everyone. We're off to do some fun things around town and celebrate a good friends' birthday.

And probably drink a few more of these no doubt.

Stay in touch!



A new old dresser

Chace's bedroom (see it here) is in a bit of a transition. Although I love his current bedroom, he is growing faster than my dog runs when she hears her treat jar open (FAST!) so his needs are changing. And as with most rooms, space is at a premium.

We had an awesome offer by one of Chef Kev's friends (who is a carpenter) to build Chace a cool loft style 'fort' bed - a five-year-old's dream! It isn't complete, but knowing that it is coming got me thinking. The new bed will be real wood - fir, and Chace's current dressers were fakey mcfakerson wood. They were two Ikea units in a birch shade. You can see them here on the left of this old photo (and look - his old change pad too - crazy!). The dressers themselves are great but it seemed time for a change.

 Knowing that the new bed is going to be tall and take up most of the wall on the right (where you see the shelves peeking out) I thought that a low dresser would look better as the space evolves. I was afraid that his room would really close in with large looming furniture on each side. I think the low dresser will offer a better balance and leave some nice 'breathing room'.

As I've done many times in the past, I turned to Craigslist to solve my problem. I was searching for a dresser that had a low profile (low boy) and wanted something with a bit of visual interest. I really wanted it to have narrow legs (think the mid century modern trend that is everywhere) versus the kind that goes all the way to the ground. And side note, the kind I didn't want are very plentiful on CL right now! Oy. 

Oh, and the dresser had to be real wood. I didn't want to keep the finish wood (I actually wanted to paint it) so I didn't mind if it had a paint finish on it already. Knowing the bed was going to be a stained wood I knew it would be really hard to match that in a dresser that would no doubt not be fir, plus I really like the look of painted dressers in a kids room.

I browsed Craigslist everyday for probably about a month. I wasn't in a hurry so just kept looking for the perfect piece. I kept seeing one post that was catching my eye but did not want to deal with the obvious laminate facing so I kept looking.

But, I kept seeing that same ad.

And the dresser was real wood. And it had dovetailed joints so I knew it was solid. And the price was right. Hmmm. Maybe I could deal with the laminate after all. I did some googling and realized I could work around it. I thought if the rest was in good shape then there was some potential there. 

It really took some imagining but here is a snapshot of the Craigslist ad. The dresser on the right with the mirror is the one I was eyeing...

A real beauty right? I told you it took some imagining! When I inquired about it I offered the seller the $25 asking price but told her I didn't want the dresser on the left. She agreed so I went to see it in person. I didn't actually want the mirror either but knew that $25 was a steal for both. Plus, I knew I could sell the mirror - which I did that same day for $20. So, the dresser really only cost me $5. 

And guess what? The facing isn't laminate after all (I'll show that better later), it is actually just a spray painted finish! SCORE!

Anyway, enough rambling. Here is how it looks now!

Here is how I did it. After weighing my options, I decided to try Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. What really sold me was the fact that I didn't have to sand or prime if using that product. Sold. Plus, I've been wanting to try chalk paint for some time. I've been seeing it pop up over the last few years on blogs and was curious about it.

For those not familiar with chalk paint, you can learn more about it here. Basically it is a new(ish) type of paint that goes on easily and dries in a smooth and chalky finish. After you paint, you seal your piece with either a clear or a dark wax. I used clear.

The colour I went with is called Provence and it is an EXACT match to the teal in Chace's owl bedding. I actually wanted to do the dresser in the green (seen in the bedding) but the green in the chalk paint line wasn't close enough. You can mix the chalk paint to get different shades, but since this was my first time using that product (and I've read there is quite a learning curve) I wanted to keep it as simple as possible.

Chalk paint is also extremely low VOC so it doesn't stink and is one of the healthier options out there. Yay for that.

Once I got the dresser home I set up shop in the living room.

There was one little spot where the wood grain had bubbled slightly.

So I gave that one area a quick sand to smooth it out. I know that I just said you don't have to sand when using chalk paint, but the edges were raised here and I felt it would look better if I did that one extra small step there.

Then I gave the whole thing a good cleaning. I just used some counter spray for this since it's gentle and good on grease and grime.

Nice faux woodgrain spray paint job isn't it?

Here is a close up of one of the drawer fronts. Ah yes, Liberace gold and all. Oh feathering, you're so pretty. Pretty fugly and pretty dated.

This is how I discovered that what looks like a tacky laminate finish, was in fact a crazy spray paint job. Laminate is okay to refinish but ideally should have a bit of thickness to it so that when you sand, you don't go straight through to the board beneath it. I didn't know at this point that I was going to use chalk paint so when I tipped the drawer over (at the seller's house) to see how thick the laminate was, that is when I discovered it was actually paint.

See the overspray here on edge of the drawer? Yippee!

I should also note, since this dresser is older, I wanted to make sure each drawer went back in the right spot since I thought there may be opportunity for a drawer not to fit perfectly. To ensure this I took a moment to mark the bottom of each drawer when I was cleaning (R for right).

The hardware that came with the dresser was okay - awesome quality (nice and heavy/solid), but the pulls were a bit too traditional/fancy.  The knobs were fine so I knew I would reuse those, but I wondered if I could find better pulls.

I took one off to check the spacing of the screws and I'm glad I did.

Double dip drill. Seems we had a second hole hiding under the flared edges.

I took a pull with me to Home Depot and took a peek down the hardware isle. I knew it might be difficult to find something that would hide the second set of holes but thought it was worth a look. Since I was going to be spraying them and the knobs black (so they would all match), I wasn't too worried about the colour or finish.

This one caught my eye.

Since I knew I was spraying them, I thought I'd see if they had them in another finish for less money.


Once home, I checked to make sure they would work.

Yup :)

Everything then got a nice coating of matte black paint (that I had on hand).

And now we had a complete matching set!

Back to the painting of the dresser made me realize I didn't really take any in-progress shots. I guess I was just too excited to start and once I get going I'm on auto-pilot. The paint went on REALLY well though. I used a foam roller and foam brushes so that I would not have any brush marks. The clean up was also a breeze. Nice.

Then I applied the wax. I simply used a lint-free cloth and rubbed it on liberally (as per directions and my online research. After that I followed with a second cloth to push the wax in and take off excess.

This is where I think I messed up. I must have put too much on (remember the learning curve I mentioned)?

You are supposed to be able to buff the dresser the next day and get a nice sheen. I tried that.

Whoops. Duller than a grade 11 math class.

No matter how much I buffed it just wasn't getting any better. It was like an ornery teenager. Stubborn.

So I did some googling and found tutorials that showed people using buffing attachments for their drills, so I decided to give that a try.

It was under $10 so seemed reasonable.

Assembly was pretty simple. The screw/drill bit goes through the black ring, then you slip on the buffing cloth, pull the drawstring to tighten it and then slip the bit into your drill and lock it into place.

I buffed, and buffed and buffed some more. And in the end, I still wasn't happy with the finish. I tried a few other things too - slipping a nylon over the buffing unit, a micro fiber cloth and even steel wool - and went to a lot of stores, but in the end I just had to accept failure and take it as a lesson. Chef Kev says the finish is fine but it will probably bug me for a long time. Sigh. Oh well. Luckily you can't really notice it in the lighting in Chace's room. I guess the ornery teenage won.

Other than that, I am happy with the dresser. I'll know for next time - less wax.

Oh, and before I forget, I had one more small fix to make too. The sliding bracket came off one of the drawers.

To fix it I tried some glue that I picked up at Home Depot (called Weldbond) that is supposed to be able to bond most things together - it worked awesome! I've even used it since to fix a broken piece of lego. This glue is a major score.

Application was simple, a bead of glue, brush it out. Wait about 1-2 minutes until it begins to haze, put the glued surfaces together and give them a teeny tiny twist to lock the glue down. Money. Love this glue.

Okay! So I think my rambling it complete! Incase you forgot, here is the BEFORE...

And again, here is the AFTER!

Here are the new pulls...

And the old knobs.

I am obsessed with this wavy vintage detail.

And think he's got some other good pick-up lines too.

As for what went on top, Chace's LeapReader books and his piggy banks (currently hoarding money for Skylander acquisitions). Five-year-old priorities.

And on the other side, his stereo and collection of tunes. And an awesome soccer ball bowl.

You know, to hold your Ninja Turtle watch and boy bracelets as one does.

Oh, and the finish - you can see it here. It's okay. I've hear no complaints from Chace. The perfectionist in me wishes it was better but sometimes you just need to let things go (cue the Frozen song).

And see that lone off-centred piece of robot art? As much as I love him, his days are numbered. Of course I will post what I do there when I do it :).

Has anyone else tried Chalk Paint? What did you think? Painted any new pieces of furniture lately or scored and sweet CL deals? soccer Dish!

Stay in touch!

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