DIY Gold Stripe Tray

When I was considering adding the tulip table to my foyer I wanted to have a little spot to corral the mail, my keys and other things when I come in the door. I knew a small tray would be ideal for that purpose, so I set out to find one that met my criteria – it needed to be rectangular, not too expensive, and it needed to have some colour given the table and the walls in my foyer are white.

To be honest I had absolutely no plans on DIYing anything, and I actually did find a lovely contender for the spot at HomeSense that was just $13. Then of course I went to the thrift store and found a tray for $1.99 and my plans changed.  Given its thrift store provenance the tray was predictably ugly, but it was the right size and shape and I knew that making it prettier would be easy.Thrift store tray before

I’ve been in LOVE with this tray forever, and if it had been the right size I may have been tempted to buy it for my foyer (but only if it also went on sale). Since the original wasn’t to be I decided to make my own version using my thrift store tray and spray paint I already had on hand.

(Appologies for the bad cell phone picture)

(Apologies for the bad cell phone picture)

After spraying the tray white I set out to mark off the pattern on the top of the tray using masking tape. I eyeballed the pattern and used a small piece of tape to help with the spacing between the lines.  I did have painters tape on hand, but it was too wide for the scale of my tray so I ended up using the regular masking tape (I use it in class to tape my drawings to the drafting table).  Thrift store tray painted gold

Once the pattern was complete I sprayed the tray top and bottom with gold spray paint, and when it was dry I peeled off the tape and voilà – a gold stripe tray.DIY Gold stripe tray

There was some bleeding under the tape that more than likely wouldn’t have occurred if I’d used painters tape, but I’m honestly not too concerned.DIY Gold Stripe tray.

Not bad for $2 right?

New Foyer Tulip Table

A few weeks ago Staples Canada emailed me and asked if I would like to give one of their accent furniture pieces a try. Honestly my first thought after reading the email was ‘Staples has furniture?? – I thought they just had paper and pens’. Out of curiosity I clicked over to the Staples Canada site to see what they had and was rather  surprised by the selection.

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but there are a number of items that I could have happily welcomed to my home. If I didn’t already have dining chairs I love I would have been tempted by these Panton chair knock offs and these round nesting tables caught my eye as well.

I’ve been in LOVE with Saarinen tulip tables for what seems like ever (if I won the lottery one of the first things I’d buy would be a marble tulip dining table), so I might have let out a little squeal when I spotted a tulip table among the accent tables on the Staples website. I had no idea where it would go, but knew I’d be able to find a spot for it.

When the table arrived I was pleasantly surprised by how weighty it is. I don’t know why, but I had thought it might feel a bit flimsy – the base is made of fiberglass and the top is wood so I don’t have any worries about it moving or tipping over. Once I got it put together (a super easy 2-minute job) I decided it would be perfect in my foyer as a place to put the mail and my keys when I walk in the door (but only after first considering it as a bedside table, or even a a little bar area in my living room).

I have the rather bad habit of just putting stuff on the floor when I get home, and then not doing anything with it until the next day when I drop a bit more stuff to the growing pile. My hope is that as a table has a much smaller surface area than the floor I’ll be forced to be a bit more organized (Please keep all your fingers crossed for me that this works).

White Tulip table in foyerI love that the table is white, but one small problem I noticed once I put the table in the foyer was that it blended a little too well with my white walls – it needed a little colour. I think one of the easiest ways to add colour to a space is with flowers. I love Orchids as they’re not too expensive and they last forever, however as my foyer doesn’t really get any natural light I opted for some colourful fake ranunculus from HomeSense instead. I also placed a little tray to hold my mail and keys, and then I decided the table needed a little whimsy so I added my Matryoshka-like dolls that I brought back from Australia a few years ago.

Tulip table styledWhat do you think? Do you have a place in your entry to put the mail and your keys when you come home? Or do you do what I used to, and drop it  in the hopes a magical elf would come by in the middle of the night to tidy it away?

Disclosure: Staples Canada provided me with the table and asked me to share how I would use it as an accent piece in my home. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

My DIY Foyer Rug

My apartment has wood floors which I love even though they’re not in perfect shape. What I don’t love is the amount of ‘stuff’ that gets tracked in from outside. Even though I have to walk across my building’s entry rugs, and then climb a carpeted staircase and down a carpeted hallway before I get to my unit a lot of stuff gets tracked in on my shoes and boots. It’s winter here in Canada, so there’s the salt and sand that gets thrown down to treat slippery sidewalks and driveways, and the snow that melts and gets everywhere no matter how hard you try to bang it lose before coming inside. When I moved into my apartment the previous owner left behind an entry mat which I used for the first full winter I lived here, but it wasn’t a really great solution – the above mentioned salt, sand and melted snow made a daily mess of my foyer, and I tired quickly of mopping and sweeping it on an almost daily basis, not to mention the damage the stuff was doing to the hardwood.

My Foyer with it's wood floors and numerous doorways

My Foyer with its wood floors and numerous doorways

I looked high and low for a rug I could use in the space, but I had two problems – the room is small (It’s about 5’x8’ but has 6 doors so a 4’x6 rug wouldn’t work) and as is common in old buildings, the floors are uneven. In my foyer the floor in front of my front door rises a bit, which means the addition of a regular, even flat-woven, rug impossible as the door would get stuck.

After a few trials and errors with various rugs I schlepped home on the subway I came to the conclusion that if I wanted something for my floor I’d have to make it myself. After a while Google introduced me to the idea of floor cloths. While I like to consider myself handy and creative, I’m also pretty lazy, so I figured instead of painting a pattern on blank canvas I’d just buy some fabric with a pattern I liked instead.

I found some navy and fuchsia stripped fabric at King Textiles that I quite liked. The only problem was it was a bit stretchy, and not wide enough to fill my odd-shaped foyer. One seam, and some iron-on interfacing and I had the base of my rug. I then quickly hemmed the four edges to make it the right size (I’m a bag blogger and didn’t take any photos – but I’m sure you can imagine it – it’s was very simple).

I could have left it like that, but I wanted my cloth to be somewhat water-resistant as I knew I’d be standing on it in snowy boots. I laid out a big sheet of plastic and then laid my new ‘rug’ on it, and then proceeded to paint it with polyurethane. I had a half can leftover from a previous project and I figured that would be more than enough – I was wrong. The fabric soaked up the urethane like a sponge, so I ended up using another full can.

My next task was figuring out a way to prevent my new rug from sliding all over the place. Traditional rug pads wouldn’t work because they added too much thickness and prevented the door from being opened. I had pinned this on Pinterest sometime last year and I figured it would solve my problem, and it did – sort of.

Martha Stewart - Caulk Rug Tip

Rug slip-proofing tip – Via marthastewart.com

While the caulking did prevent my new rug from becoming an indoor slip ‘n slide it wasn’t ideal for the thin material I was using – after a while the lines of caulk because visible through the fabric, and I worried that eventually there would be permanent wear marks where the caulk was. My rug with the caulk applied to the backLuckily a while after I started using the mat I was at Ikea when I spotted their extra-thin rug underlay, and it works quite well without adding that dreaded bulk.

My DIY Foyer Rug in Place

My DIY foyer rug in place

I’ve lived with my DIY rug for a few months now and I really like it. I sweep it to get rid of the dirt I do track in and an occasional damp mop gets rid of the salt and water marks. I love the bright graphic stripes, and the fuchsia picks up the colour of the flowers in the art print I have hanging on the wall.

What do you think? Would you ever consider trying to make your own rug?

Linked to: Young House Love, The Shabby Nest,

The January Cure – an update

In my last post I detailed the list of things I hoped to accomplish this year in my home. The making of the list was prompted by the Apartment Therapy January Cure. and I though I’d give you a wee update.

Last weeks tasks started off pretty well. After I made my list, and started my outbox I made good use of the rush of energy that comes with the start of any project, but by the end of the weekend my enthusiasm for this month-long project had dramatically decreased.

First up – my front hall closet. Honestly my closet wasn’t too horrific, so it only took about 30 minutes to get this task complete.

My front Hall closet - before

My front Hall closet – before

I’m a BIG believer in using all the same hangers (preferably wood ones – Ikea sells packages for a good price, and so does Homesense) – this by default will make your closets look neater, so I was a bit dismayed to find some other types of hangers when I opened the door and really took a look.

Use hangers that are all the same - it make a big difference

Use hangers that are all the same – it make a big difference

The wire hangers were the first items to get added to my outbox, and were quickly followed by a couple of jackets I no longer wear, an old purse, and a pair of winter boots (I had bought a new pair just before Christmas). While cleaning out the old purse I discovered this which I’d forgotten I had:January cure - Starbucks

Woohoo! Cleaning is making me money!

My front hall closet - organized

My front hall closet – organized

Next I moved a few steps over to get started on my linen closet. I opened the door, and then was completely and utterly overwhelmed. Take a look – see overwhelming (I can’t believe I’m sharing my disaster with the world).Linen closet before I decided to take the easy route and started on my actual linens. I pulled everything out and discovered I had an awful lot of sheets for a home with only 1 bed. I also discovered I had a whole selection of never opened new sheets and pillowcases at the bottom of the big pile. I ended up adding about half my old sheets to my outbox, so that section of my linen closet is looking a lot better. When I looked at the rest of my closet I lost my organizing mojo, so it will have to wait for another day.

Slightly more organised

Slightly more organized

The tasks for the weekend were three fold – I was to mop my floors, buy green cleaning products, and buy myself flowers. If you’ve read this blog for a while you know I don’t have any difficulty buying myself flowers so that task was easily completed. I was less successful with the other two. I only managed to mop three rooms – my living room, the kitchen and the bathroom – my bedroom and dining room currently have random piles of stuff everywhere that I need to find homes for, and I was too lazy to move them to mop. January Cure - first flowersThe last task for the weekend was to buy new ‘green’ cleaning products. I already have cleaning products, and while they may not be ‘green’ I can’t see the point in buying new stuff until I need some – wouldn’t throwing out what I already have be just as bad for the environment as using it? Other than buying some toilet cleaner (because I needed it) I’m putting this task in the ‘not completed’ column. I will commit to buying green products from now on, so this task will eventually migrate over to the completed column.

I case I’ve given you the impression I didn’t accomplish much, by the end of the weekend my outbox had become 4 boxes, one table, a computer monitor and a bag of clothes, and instead of leaving it all to languish in boxes in my living room (which is a classic Michelle thing to do) I actually hauled it all out of my house and donated it – Yay me! January cure - out boxesI also drove out to Oshawa and picked up this Kijiji bookcase which will help me with the ‘get more storage’ item on the list of tasks for my living room, and I’ve decided it will be the project I commit to completing this month (Picking the project was the task for day 5). I really want to paint it (it’s currently black and rather institutional looking), but spray-paint is out since it’s winter, so I’ll have to come up with something else. Hopefully something amazing will come to me soon since it’s already the 11th of January.

The sellers photo

The sellers photo

Are you guys doing the January cure? Are you having any success?