Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Some Distractions

Thank you all for you lovely thoughts and emails! I am crossing my fingers that today is a better day (she isn't awake yet). If only for myself, I need a little distraction this morning so I thought we could talk paint!

Remember how I told you to stay away from anything needing repairs in our FAQ section? Sometimes I get a little big for my britches, which I am told are pants (this saying might be a little too literal for me after this winter), and I bring home items that I convince myself are just a few minor touch ups.

Like this dresser for example. LOVE the style, and it is always one of my most popular styles with customers. And I loved the price, and the cute wooden knobs, but the drawers? not so much.

I have no idea who was using this thing or what they thought it was intended for but it seriously looks like they must have been housing small animals in the drawers. And most of the tops of the drawers had been knocked off.

Structurally speaking, the dresser was solid and the drawers actually slid nice and smoothly, but the missing and uneven drawer fronts just weren't that appealling to the eye. I toyed with a few ideas, but on the second day of seeing sitting so sad in the corner I whipped out my planer and started scraping away the rest of the drawer fronts.

Now it might be unconventional, but at least it is symetrical! I personally hold these unique and especially unlovable items close to my heart. But I know it isn't often that others appreciate these same qualities. Plus I painted it pink, so I am sure that was a hard sell on any husband.

So my tip today is be sure to not get caught up on the price tag, or the potential. Often these are the dressers that eventually find their way to WhiteBerry for custom jobs because so many fabulous ladies know they have potential but get them home and realize they require tools and time they don't have. But more often they end up on the curb!

And if you do have the know how to give them new life, congratulations!! You are a furniture angel my friend.

And because it was a quick and easy little one, thought I would throw in a coffee table.

Of course I took the 'before' closer to mid-way, but these tables are one of the most frequently seen pieces. They are HIGHLY lacquered and aren't all that old, but have great lines. They do require a smidge more sanding that other projects, but I often see emails from readers asking what to do now that they've sanded the old finish off. And I want to tell everyone and save a lot of sandpaper in the process:

YOU DON'T HAVE TO STRIP the furniture. Honestly you probably will spend 3 or 4 times more energy, money and effort on it if you do. Some processes will require it, but for simple painting just really really scuff that old finish up. And if it is lacquered you will obviously need to do a little more.

A couple coats of warm grey later and she's a regular old beauty!

If you are looking for more tips on tools and what I use to paint, be sure to check out the FAQ section, and let me know if you have any suggestions for topics to add.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sun, no fun, and cheese buns.

Hello and happy belated Easter!!

I didn't think I would find a moments to log on today, but am happy to quickly stop in and let you know I haven't fallen off the face of the earth or anything.

We have had a rough few days here at casa Baker! It all started on Friday when my Mom, Aunt and I hit up the massive Wild Rose antique fair. Midway into our excursion Sean calls us to let us know that Wren has been throwing up repeatedly in the few hours since we left. He seemed to have the situation under control, but we scurried home not long after.

When we arrived she was still sick and running a temperature, which steadily increased all night despite regular tylenol doses. By Saturday morning she was talking gibberish and was burning up so we took her to the Stollery Children's Hospital. Turns out she has a gastro-intestinal bug/virus. The poor little thing is still sick as can be. This has really been our first encounter as parents with the whole barf situation. Not fun!! It is just heartbreaking to watch her when she is feeling sick because she doesn't understand what is going on and is so helpless. THANKFULLY (knock on wood!) neither Sean nor I have caught it, but we are both pretty much walking zombies since we have been up nightly with her since Friday.

So yeah, that's where we've been at!

Besides running a sick house I did head outside briefly this week when I could because I am SOOO happy to report Spring has finally arrived. It really has me itching to get out in the yard!

Despite all the amazing finds at the antique sale last Friday, I only brought home 1 bag full. A couple of fun antique science beakers and a pile of neat old glass jars.

While it may have taken a while to arrive I am just happy that Spring kicked into high gear quickly. I brought in my first garden clippings of the year (crocus flowers), meagre as they are, to put the old bottles to use.

A big thank you to Mr. Sun for bringing me those, they were sorely needed this weekend to keep my head up!

And now I am off to enjoy a dinner consisting of 1 semi-toasted cheese bun. I've learned that with sick kids finding time to cook dinner is the first casualty...

Hope you have been having a MUCH better week!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

French Side Board

I have to dedicate today's post to a wonderful gentleman who contacted me a couple months ago. His mother had an absolutely beautiful dining room suite that needed a new home and thought I might have some use for it. The only catch was that he lived about 3-4 hours away in Calgary, but it just so happened that Sean was passing through that weekend to go snowboarding in Banff with his sister. The stars were definitely aligned!

Charles decided that it was more important to him that the furniture get a reinvention than trying to sell them or refinish them. I am sooo humbled that he thought to contact us with such a fun opportunity! Sean literally had his truck the fullest it has ever been, and I have yet to see another set with so many pieces. Side boards, china cabinet, a HUGE table and a load of chairs all crammed together for the journey!

They are in beautiful shape, but have seen some wear and tear like most antiques.

But today it feels fresh as a daisy!

{the remainder of my $1 auction jars and containers}

I was hoping this one would stick around for a while so I heavily distressed it to contrast with our glossy pink table.

On a different note, I am THRILLED to have tracked down a large enough glass lid for my cake stand! I picked up the cake stand last summer at a garage sale for a couple bucks, but it came with a foggy old plastic lid. I have stayed vigilant during my travels to find a lid that would fit an oversized stand like this and about 2 weeks ago I finally found it!

In case you were wondering it probably was the highlight of my week. Because yes, I am that lame. I need to get out more...

Back to the side board.

I think it is important to make sure that distressing is a little unexpected and not too predictable. Like real distressed items! When you only sand you tend to get a much too even and worn down look, so I like to scrape and bang up things in spots to keep it authentic...

I have been working on this sideboard's big sister, a MASSIVE china cabinet, so even though this guy has a loving new family to call it's own I should have my blank wall filled soon.

even if it is only temporary!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

New Layout

I wanna send out a big, HUGE thank you to my little sis, Torri! She designed this beautiful blog layout for her own blog design site, digital confections, and when I saw it I just knew it was the perfect spring/summer look for our little old blog. And she graciously offered to fix it up and put it on our blog... sisters are really awesome (when they aren't stealing your clothes).

Definitely check her out if you are in the market for a custom blog design!

You may notice that we are no longer "Life in the fun lane", but now just In the Fun Lane. I decided to drop "life" for several reasons. The first being that our email and domain are just inthefunlane, so this will be much more consistant. And the second being that I like the idea of alternating whatever it is we are doing in this hypothetical fun lane. Be it decorating, painting or fashion it is all in the fun lane now! Life is a pretty darned broad term, so I decided to ax any ambiguousness and get specific. I will be attempting to label past posts as well as all future ones so that you know exactly what we are doing in this fun lane of ours.

And I also want to point out the long awaited return of our Frequently Asked Questions link. I have had a lot of emails about it being absent from our last header, and while it still existed, it just wasn't easily found without a blog search. I plan on updating the questions and adding any new ones that pop up regularly through email and comments that aren't already answered. So be sure to let me know if you want anything addressed that isn't yet!

Hope you had a lovely fin de semaine!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Jar Stars

I think Wren deserves the best kid award this week. She has been sick and just not her usual self, but she manages to make her mom smile a lot! Usually reading or running around, her favorite perch has been this chair and blanket.
She even fell asleep on my shoulder yesterday while we were running errands... my first thought was "Seriously, who's kid is this?" I usually even can't bribe her to take a nap or lay down at bedtime for that matter! But I think she is almost back to her usual unstoppable self. I'm just hoping her hearing returns because it has become mighty selective lately...

I think I have also managed to create an auction monster. My sister came with me a few weeks back and she is thoroughly hooked now! It is sure a lot more fun to have a partner in crime with, specially because she is a pretty frequent bidder. And we have managed to pile up quite the assortment of randomness, hers ranging from hunting knives to fireking dishes.
Mine ranging from t-squares to stoneware. A recent auction we were at didn't have a lot of interest so most items were not selling. The solution? The autioneer just combines the unsold item into the next lot, so while you may want to bid on that cute cake plate you may just end up with a box full of jumper cables and an old radio as well.
That same scenario happened to me recently when a cute old Crown Jar came up for bid. I've paid $12 each for a couple at antique malls and their beautiful old crown emblem steals my heart everytime. But by the time the jar came up a whole box of other jars had no interest along with some old stoneware bowls so I was thrilled when I threw up my paddle to bid on 1 jar and got a whole box of goodies for $1. Then reality set in. I don't make jam, I don't pickle... what do I do with a box of old jars? I locate a basket of course and fill them with candles!
Candles are as plentiful in our house as water in most houses. And I am always trying to find new ways to keep 'em wrangled up, so this was a blessing in disguise.

My future plan for the jars is to do a flower arrangement with wild flowers come Summer... but in the meantime I will adore my new/old jars like this.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Easter Entry

I don't know why, but we have lived here for coming on 3 years and have never opened our box of Easter decor. I guess when you have a lot of renos happening you just don't feel like doing any more cleaning than you have to... but yet I still find time to decorate for Christmas so this year I decided to stop making excuses. Getting our house Easter Bunny ready has been the mission this week!

When I finally cracked open that container of Easter stuff I liked about half of it and was scratching my head at the other half. So Wren and I did some digging and decided to repurpose various items for a look that was more fitting with our house. We have also been hard at work at a fun craft involving eggs... but it isn't quite at the unveiling stage.

Starting at the front door we decided to welcome guests with something that is bound to please: a chocolate, candy and poetry combo.

Our DIY chalkboard has served us well in so many rooms and seasons, but has taken a little hiatus over the last year.

I think that is my favorite part of DIY projects and upcycling, the frame cost me $2, the chalkboard paint was left over from another project and the mdf was just pennies out of the scrap bin at Home Depot, so you don't feel any guilt or remorse when it doesn't get used for a while.

The quote seemed quite appropriate until just yesterday, and if you live in Alberta you know exactly why I no longer agree with this sentiment. And you also understand why my pictures are so grey. Bleh.

Our box of Easter items had some sugar coated egg ornaments which ties nicely with our wreath on the front door, but I forgot how hideous the matching tree was. So we broke out our little book tree from Christmas Past.

Same tree circa December 2010.

And an assortment of goodies will keep 'em coming back for more! You know what's so hilarious to me? When I look back at all our past decor shots it always appears to be a perpetual "in progress" shot LOL. We definitely need to get our butts in gear so some of these photos don't constantly have unfinished business peeking out. It almost looks silly to be decorating around this stuff!

Ok, enough rambling about our half-finished renos and time to get back to them!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

April Candle of the Month, and our Giveaway Winner!!

This month I have to admit that the container of the candle sold me long before I smelled it. But I am happy to report that the scent exceeds the fun tin. It is call Mad Love ($9.95) and I saw it at Pier 1 when pulling together our outdoor entertaining post. The scent it is a mix of florals with a mysterious fruity touch. The best way I could describe it is romantic, so the name is extremely suitable.

I am guessing it is about 25-30 hours of burn time, and I will be sad when those hours are up. One of my favorite things about it is that the tin has no label so it can be reused easily afterwards to hold jewellery on my bedside table or clips in my office.

Because I have been a neglectful blogger this week (Wren has been both potty training and really sick... all 4 of my hands are full!) we are rolling three posts into one. The second part is a small WhiteBerry table.

The details are so beautiful, and the lines are so graceful that I decided to keep it simple and go with a soft grey paint and no distressing. Sometimes understated and simple makes a bigger splash in my pond.

Another thing I've been really noticing I am drawn to is symmetry. Sometimes haphazard and random accessories are what I'm grooving, but with the sunny weather and green starting to appear I have been drawn to clean-crisp lines and balanced, even accessories. We'll see where that goes and how far I run with it before I change gears again LOL.

And last but definitely not least, I am excited to announce the winner of our Paperwhite Designs PomPom giveaway! declares that comment #145 is the winner, and that lucky lady would be:


Drop me an email when you have a moment Beka!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tickled Pink

Remember when I mentioned that our living room/dining room had already seen some dramatic changes, ones that may surprise you? I thought I might give a little peek!

Huh, what? Where's the white table???

I found this chinoiserie table earlier this winter and decided that it was just too darned neat to go with white. Plus the idea of distressed bamboo just doesn't seem to go together for me. So I let it sit and decided to let the table tell me what it wanted to be.

I worked around it for months and out of the blue I turned, looked at the table and knew that it had decided to be pink. A fun, vibrant pink.

So I decided to just be safe and try googling "pink dining table" to see what the results may look like. Would it be insanely girly, too childish? But to my surprise, I was unable to actually track down a photo of a pink table!! Lots of pink rooms, pink accessories, but not hot pink tables.

It took a little courage, but as soon as the first coat was on I knew it was the right choice.

{if anyone knows how to get that white oxyclean residue out of sisal rugs PLEASE share!}

Wren spilt her juice there and I can't seem to get the soapy feel out now!

It may never find another home because I know it is a bit of an unusual design statement, but I am already have SOOOOO much fun putting together our Spring dining room. We are lightening up the drapes, bringing in a new sideboard and have a REALLY REALLY fun tablescape in progress that will be the perfect place to celebrate Easter breakfast and a Mother's day brunch.

And in the event it hangs around for a while, I think Wren and I may hold a very merry un-birthday out in the yard around the table (After 27 years of winter/christmas birthday's I think I want to try a sunny warm one)!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Spring Additions

Happy Friday!! I left the orbit of the blog0sphere for a few days there to enjoy our first real taste of Spring! Who would've thought I could enjoy washing my car outside again so much? It was the highlight of my week to be honest... to know warmer days aren't just on the horizon anymore but a reality.

I am itching to get working on the yard. Those of you with little-little ones know what I'm talking about, weeding and working in the yard turns into a chore of constantly yelling at them to not touch this and don't play with that and don't wander off and don't even consider go near that pond missy!!! This year I think Wren will actually be a big help and at the very least able to amuse herself for a good half hour by my side.

But until I can get out there I have found a lot of enjoyment from my second fake plant in as many weeks. I actually love this little trough of grass so much that I bought 3 of them and have added some green touches to our family room mantle with the other 2. Fake plants?! what has come over me?

faux wheat grass from Pier 1.

I think it adds the perfect hint of spring to Sean's side of the bed. And I promise to try and get the bedroom link updated SOON!

I have also found a few moments to tackle my red vinyl office chair!

I found this grainsack-like fabric from Sunbrella on clearance for $7/meter. It is an outdoor fabric and will wipe down really easily which is good to know for a seat that will be seeing lots of glue and glitter.

I was anticipating a nuclear halocaust-like scenario in dealing with that nasty old foam and filler, but I was pleasantly surprised to have minimal trouble. The real challenge was in using fabric/upholstery glue instead of staples or tacks.

I will admit that I always have a tendancy to over-tighten the fabric on seats which causes slight creases. Does anyone have any tricks on avoiding it in the future? I am not too stressed about it on this chair for two reasons: after a little use it should ease up, and I am also planning on doing a simple seat slipcover for easy cleaning after an afternoon of crafting.

I know a lot of you wanted step by step instructions on upholstering, but this wouldn't have been a very helpful tutorial because it really only involved unbolting the pieces, slathering them with glue, clamping down the fabric and reattaching them to the metal frame. It's what I would guess is an uncommon scenario in the world of upholstery, but easy and fast for a novice like myself!

LOVE all the dented, discolored metal against the fresh cream fabric.

And for those of us who continue our labeling obsession, here is a quick and cheap upgrade to storebought items. Remember my hardware organizer?

Although I loved it before, I thought I could add some extra character and make Sean's life easier when I am yelling into the house from the garage for "the ceramic quatrafoil black knob"

With some of these label holders I have everything sorted and labeled in record time.

Now I just have to hang this thing!

What has your week held? I'm itching for some good ideas now that the warm weather's arrived!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Paperwhite Designs Giveaway!

You guys know how much we love tissue paper pom poms in this household! Wren goes to sleep every night looking up at her "moons". So I was thrilled when the lovely Sarah of Paperwhite designs contacted us to share her beautiful creations. They come in various sizes, unique color combinations and are even made with eco-friendly paper .

Aren't they fun??? I can totally picture these in weddings, showers, and maybe even a backyard picnic hanging from the trees.

That is just a sampling of some of Sarah's pre-coordinated sets, but she also works one on one with clients to create custom packages. And she has generously offered up one of her bulb packages to one lucky reader!!

The bulb package includes 5 pom poms (3 large and 2 small) in up to 3 colors of your choosing, or you can choose an existing set of colors you like.

You'll literally have pompoms flying out of your ears! {doesn't this pile look delicious enough to jump right in?!}

To enter to win the bulb pompom package simply leave a comment on this post telling us what you would do with your pom poms before 8pm (pacific time) on Friday, April 8th.

{ for 1 additional entry become a fan of Paperwhite Designs on Facebook}

and leave another comment here

{for a 2nd additional entry tweet your favorite color combo to Sarah on Twitter)

and leave another comment here for me.

So that is up to 3 chances to win!

Good luck friends and THANKS Paperwhite Designs!!!

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