DIY Birdfeeder

One of the classes I took last semester was Design Fundamentals, and one of the major assignments of the course was to design either a birdfeeder or birdhouse. When my instructor first told us about the assignment I wasn’t worried – I birdhouse couldn’t be too hard right? I mean, kids build them all the time in scouts and girl guides. It turns out I was a little misguided in my assumption of the project’s ease. Our projects had to be created out of materials that weren’t originally meant for either a birdhouse or feeder (this of course meant that we couldn’t buy a kit from the craft store and simply paint it – drat!).

Once I put my thinking cap on I came up with an idea I thought was pretty smart. My plan was to take a vintage suitcase and turn it into a birdhouse – I’d cut holes in it, and create vintage looking travel stickers depicting bird migration destinations. I ran into an unexpected problem however – have you ever tried to find a reasonably priced vintage suitcase in Toronto? I have, and I can tell you it’s not possible. I blame the hipsters.

Anyways, when it became apparent my genius (if I do say so myself) plan wasn’t going to work I had to come up with something else, and by then I had just a week to source materials and construct it. Unfortunately I faced a rather large problem – I had absolutely no idea what I was going to create. Searching the internet for inspiration was no help, so I did the only other thing I could think of – the weekend before the project was due I took an epic shopping trip to every thrift shop I could find between Toronto to Burlington looking for ideas.

I have no idea how many shops I went to. I bought random things here and there hoping I’d eventually be able to make them into something, but I still hadn’t had that ‘light bulb’ moment. Before heading back to Toronto I stopped in Ikea (on a Saturday afternoon – this should tell you how desperate for inspiration I was) and I found an item that finally looked hopeful.

I bought a white Skurar candle lantern and planned to turn it into a bird feeder. A few more stores over the next few days and I had all the rest of the materials I needed.

With just two days to complete the project I got started. I wish I could say I took process shots, but I was more worried about just completing the birdhouse which was worth 20% of my grade. The idea was to use the sippy cup to hold the seed and then attach it to the plate as the base of the feeder. The plate would hold the seed to also the birds to eat it, and give them a place to perch. The lantern would be tuned upside down over-top of the sippy cup to protect the seed from the elements and make it pretty. I also loved that the cut-out in the lantern would allow some of the colour of the sippy cup to shine thought – especially when it was sunny outside.

My first step was to drill a hole in the middle of the bottom of the lantern. I’d use that hole and the hole in the sippy cup lid where the straw would normally go to bolt the two pieces together with an eye bolt. The eye bolt would also be used to hang the bird feeder. Bolting the lid of the sippy cup to the lantern would allow the bird feeder to be easily refilled by simply unscrewing the cup bottom from its lid. My next step was to drill a series of holes around the base of the sippy cup to allow the birdseed to escape. I also drilled a hole in the middle of the bottom of the cup – my plan was to bolt the base plate to the bottom of the sippy cup. All of these steps, while a little time consuming were fairly straightforward and I started to believe my plan would work.

The last part of the plan was to drill through the dollarstore plate to allow it to be bolted to the bottom of the cup. I’ve drilled through some ceramic tile before so while I knew it would take some time I was confident it could be accomplished. I was wrong. I drilled, and drilled, and drilled, and drilled some more. My neighbours must have thought I was nuts. Over an hour later, and I’d only just managed to get through the plate but I still had hours of drilling left to make the hole big enough for the bolt. I gave up, and decided to take a chance with gluing the plate to the cup. I picked the plate up out of the sink where I was was drilling (I was using a bit of water to keep the bit cool), and started to dry it off.bang

I could have cried. There I was, on a Sunday night, and I’d just dropped and smashed the plate I’d just spent over an hour drilling, and I didn’t have a spare. Class was on Tuesday so I had just 24 hours to get another plate and hope and pray that gluing the plate would work as I no longer had any time to come up with an alternate plan.

DIY BirdfeederThankfully it turns out that two-part epoxy works really well at attaching plastic and ceramic together and my DIY bird feeder ended up looking like I had imagined it would. More importantly my bird feeder was appreciated by my instructor, and I got an 18/20 on the project.DIY Birdfeeder.DIY Birdfeeder in the sun.What do you think? Have you ever made a DIY birdfeeder? How did you do it?

Monday Morning Love – New Greatness From Ikea

Morning everyone! I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe we’re at the start of another week already! I had a very busy weekend – I attended BlogPodium on Saturday, and had class all day Sunday which means I’m writing this at 2:30am – apologies in advance for any spelling or grammar mistakes.

I have to say that my Saturday was amazing – I’m hoping to write-up a full post on my experience, and the wonderful bloggers I met, and the tonnes of stuff I learned, but for now I’ll just say that the keynote speaker was the lovely Sarah Richardson (yes, that Sarah Richardson) which was a thrill in itself. Sunday’s class was Kitchen Design. It’s only a four-week course, but it runs from 10am to 5pm, so it makes for a long day. Yesterday’s class was in a furniture showroom, and I have to say I never knew there were so many rules when it came to where everything in a kitchen is placed.

Today’s Monday Morning Love post is a little different because I honestly didn’t have the time to search the web for an inspiring and beautiful space – instead I went to my inbox. Because of this wee hobby of mine I am periodically sent media releases from companies promoting their new products. Ikea sent me an email about a week ago with some new products for October, and I thought I’d share – I think you’ll understand why.

Ikea Ovre Toddlre bed - $96 (frame)

Ikea Ovre Toddlre bed – $96 (frame)

I don’t have kids, but most of my friends do. There’s some debate as to the value of a toddler bed, but this one (called Ovre) may sway some opinions. I think it’s adorable, and the bunting makes it even cuter (and I would love that stuffed shark).

Ikea Ranarp Lamps - Desk Lamp and Pendant lamp - $40ea.

Ikea Ranarp Lamps – Desk Lamp and Pendant lamp – $40ea.

I think these new Ranarp lamps are simple and classic, and therefore beautiful. It’s available in a desk, and a pendant lamp, as well as a floor lamp that I think I may need to own in the near future..

Ikea Fjallberget Chairs - $199 ea.

Ikea Fjallberget Chairs – $199 ea.

My office has some very typical ‘office-style’ chairs in the meeting rooms. These new Fjallberget chairs are oh-so stylish, and now every time I sit in a meeting on the regular boring office chairs I’ll be a bit disappointed.

Ikea Fjalkinge shelving units - $189

Ikea Fjalkinge shelving units – $189

I have a feeling these Fjalkinge shelving units will become a new blogger favourite. They come with four shelves, and you can add drawers. While they’re lovely in white I know that the blogoshere will soon be filled with these shelved spray painted gold, and every colour of the rainbow.

Will you be hoping to see any of the above in person? I know I’ll be using the lamp as an excuse to go to Ikea next month (although I don’t honestly need an excuse to go – the meatballs and icecream are usually enough inducement for me to go).

*All Images by Ikea

My First Attempt at Pinch-Pleated Drapes

I’m going to let you in on a little secret – I’m a bad blogger. I start all sorts of projects (sometimes I even finish them) and then don’t blog about them until months later. Here’s one such project which I first mentioned in March.

You may remember last year I asked for a little help in figuring out how much fabric I needed to makes drapes for my living room. I was planning on buying some lovely fabric and wanted to make sure I bought enough given there was a pattern, and the window is rather large. I bought the fabric and then had a bit of a nervous breakdown at the thought of trying to actually makes drapes as I’d never attempted them before. Adding to the panic – I wanted to make pinch-pleated drapes – not the easier tab or rod pocket style, and I wanted them to be fully lined. I decided a trial run was needed to assure myself that a complete novice could do it.

My bedroom windows were elected for my first foray into sewing drapes, and I collected my supplies. I decided to keep it as simple at possible and stuck with a plain white fabric (I think it was this, and this was the lining). While it wouldn’t allow me to practice matching a pattern, the plain white best suits the design plan I have for my bedroom. I also wanted simple drapery hardware so I chose this rod and finials from Ikea because they were simple and inexpensive.Bedroom Curtains - pleats

Bedroom Curtains - touch the floor

Just touching the floor

This isn’t a how-to post simply because there are a lot of really great tutorials on the web about how to sew drapes. I mostly used this one by Kristi, and I relied on YouTube to teach myself how to sew a blind hem. This tutorial video was pretty good, and I practiced for a while on scrap fabric.

Bedroom curtains

My new 8ft tall pinch-pleated drapes

My new 8ft tall pinch-pleated drapes

It was a lot of work, but in the end I’m quite pleased with the result. More importantly I’m not quite as nervous to try making drapes for my living room. What do you think? Do they look okay? Have you ever sewn pinch-pleated drapery panels, or other types of window coverings?

Scenes From My Weekend

I went into this past weekend with rather grand plans to get all sorts of stuff accomplished.  Friday night started with me deciding at 11pm to do this:Instagram - Stripped Louis XVI chair (1)That’s one of the ugly green chairs I talked about in my last post – it’s looking better already isn’t it? I only did that to one chair though (I’m sitting in the other as I type this), and I still need to clean it up and fix some dings and marks, but at least this project is finally moving in the right direction – right?

Saturday morning found me going completely crazy and heading to Ikea to pick up something I needed for another project I’m working on. I knew what I wanted, so while it was busy, I managed to cruise through pretty quickly and get out relatively unscathed (with only 2 unplanned items coming home with me).Instagram - Ikea Flags

That other project? Making some drapes for my bedroom. In the fall I bought some gorgeous fabric for drapes for my living room, but I’ve been too scared to touch it since I’ve never sewn drapes before. I decided that a trial run was in order, and the bedroom got elected as my guinea pig. I’ve never sewn anything more complicated than a straight line, but I’ve gotten rather ambitious – hopefully at the end I’ll end up with some fully lined, pinch-pleated drapes. To that end I spent a good deal of Saturday watching YouTube videos trying to figure out how to sew a blind hem. Instagram - Youtube - how to sew a blind Hem

So far the project has elicited some sailor-approved language from me and I’ve run out of band-aids for all the times I’ve stabbed myself in the fingers with pins. Also – I now completely understand why custom drapes as SO expensive!

Sunday was St. Patrick’s Day, and while out running errands I spotted this cool ride:Instagram - Emerald Green VW Van

I then headed for my home away from home – Home Depot. I was there on Thursday, and then back on Sunday. Two trips for two completely different reasons, and both times I  spent more time there than I should have. Am I weird to like exploring there? I always seen to find new things to look at.Instagram - Home Depot Canada

I had planned to going home after that to work on my drapes, but a little something happened to derail my plans.

My boyfriend D became an uncle for the second time, so we headed to the hospital to welcome the new bundle into the world, which I think is a perfectly excellent reason not to have gotten the drapes completed.

How was your weekend – any projects started or completed? Did you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?