Ikea Hack…. cell phone holders



I picked up these metal flower pots at IKEA the other day and hung them on the fence around the pool. They are the perfect spot for holding cell phones (and keys/wallets) away from the splash zone.I posted it on my FB wall, but it can’t be *pinned* from there and I had a request, so here goes!


Before and After: BB’s room and new roman blinds

Once upon a time at the Kibutz of the North, we had a bonus space, a mezzanine above the living room:


Take one very handy brother and his contractor-friend, slap up some walls, add a window on the staircase side to keep the staircase from becoming a dungeon, punch a hole on the living room side tolet in some light and hang some wodden shutters to make it easy to close at night when mommy and daddy are watching TV and you have a perfect little room for a perfect little girl.

For a while, there were vintage circus-themed curtains, but they were useless for keeping out the early morning sun and they were way too baby-ish for this now very big girl….

IMG_7907 (really, those are just embarrassing!)

We happened to have an IKEA comforter cover still in the package. We liked the colors, but it too had childish animals on one end as a border. We are planning on getting her a big bed next week, but I think we can do better as far as comforter cover goes. However, the fabric was great, the colors were perfect for the rooms, so I hacked off the animal border, lined it with an old orange curtain panel and we now have roman blinds that look like fun summer awnings. And a finished room, minus the big girl bed.


she likes it. She really likes it.


Before and After: BB’s Dresser

Poor Beach Ball. Stuck with hand-me downs all the time. Her first winter here at the country house, she didn't have a bedroom… she had to bunk with us, with her crib in the corner of our room. But this summer, my brother took the rather useless Mezzanine Den (which is right above the living room, thus useless) and walled it in to create the smallest yet super cozy bedroom for Beach Ball.

Since having her room, we've painted it a cheery yellow but that's about it, it's remained unadorned. We were sort of waiting for her to graduated from crib-as-a-bed to full-size bed before seeing what else we could fit in there, but poor kid really needed a dresser. I tried my best to find her a cool vintage piece that I could fix up, but the good antique places aren't opened in the winter and frankly, it could not wait til next summer.

So here you have the before, a 100$ WallyWorld pressed board atrocity


Add 2 hours of my time, a pair of scissors, one sheet of pretty wrapping paper and a jar of modge-podge and we have a much less atrocious storage solution:


I know it's hard to tell by the crappy picture, but it's a cherry-blossom of sorts.


Get your mind out of the gutter people!!! (though after a post on stripping, I can only imagine the Google hits on this one!)

I found the Online Rasterbator a few months ago. I was immediately tempted to try and rasterbated (see, it’s a word!) a few pictures, but never printed anything out. With our week at the cottage seeming like a month, I bought a cheap picture printer at The Wal of Marts and extra black ink cartridges and went to town with a pic of the girls.



I hung it in the staircase going up to the top floor. I’m not entirely satisfied, for various reasons. First of all, the white snow in the window turned into a just plain white square, which makes it look like something didn’t print. I would need to re-crop or resize the picture to eliminate the right-most part of it. Also, the printer didn’t allow for border-less printing, so I had to trim, which is fine, but I didn’t do an exact job and there are slivers of white in parts that should be dark.

But all in all, I’m really happy that one pack of matte photo-paper and a roll of double stick tape can produce a pretty impressive staircase filler. The girls are thrilled to be able to sit in the mezzanine and look at their giant selves! it’s 36 sheets of paper (6 by 6 for the math-challenged!) so it’s a decent size. And when you go up the stairs and look at it, you can only see the dots and not really make out what it is until you get to the top and look at the whole thing.

So go ahead, Rasterbate!

Telephone Bench

When we got the country house 2 winters ago, we took a bunch of extra furniture from our house and brought it up there, then we filled in the holes with inexpensive antiques (ie nice used furniture!) and flea market finds. We got spectacular school desks to act as nightstands, a vintage green tweed couch, an old stereo credenza that we use as a TV unit…. you get the idea. One of our finds was this telephone bench, which resides on the little wall between the entrance and the kitchen.

Before_1 As you can see, it had seen better days. I liked the lines of it and the pure utility of it. The kids could sit on it to put on their shoes (or rather, to have us put on their boots!) and we could keep a few key items, like the phone book and scotch tape. My original thought had been to strip it and re-stain it or just wax it. But there is plenty of wood in this house already. And I’ve been noticing on lots and lots of design/decorating blogs people painting old furniture in really funky, bright, shiny colors, giving it a completely different look. Not shabby chic with wood showing through, just really bright, almost lacquered paint.

So 2 cans of lime-colored shiny spray paint and a fake-vintage tea towel later, I present the new and MUCH improved telephone bench:

After_1_1 After_2_2_2

Img_2290_1 For some reason, it looks milky in the pictures, but trust me, it’s very, very shiny! It just pops off the blue wall and sets off very nicely against the floor. I was going to use one of my real vintage Vera tea towels, but in the end, I just didn’t have it in me to cut one up. So instead, I grabbed a Sukie tea-towel from the UK, something I used to sell at the store. It’s actually perfect, the green in the background of the beach scene goes very well with the paint and I like that it’s a beach shack in a ski cottage!

I did strip it first, because the finish was so old and uneven, I didn’t want the shiny paint to show to many defects. But one evening of stripping and 2/3 coats of spray paint…. not bad, not bad at all!

Kibbutz guest rooms

We are starting our third winter at the country house, better known as the Kibbutz of the North. Last year, I had my very handy handy-man of a brother banish the burgundy and forest green from the main floor, and I painted the girl’s room a cheery green apple color (with lots of pink accents thanks to bright IKEA furniture). I even painted fabulous colors in the basement playroom.

But alas, our two guest rooms were still untouched…. and by untouched, I mean, builders-primer, yucky, dirty, and FULL of pin holes from letting 2 teenage girls go hog-wild with posters and push-pins…. SO! it was time to make our guests feel welcomed! I bookmark a thousand things when I read craft/decorating/design blogs, but two ideas had really been stuck in my head every since I had seen them, namely:

Inke1 Oorbee

The ethnic-inspired circle patters of Oorbee Roy, a local textile designer (see the cabinet, not the ceiling) who was featured on a ton of blogs and both Style at Home and Canadian House and Home, and the wonderful vintage wallpaper animals of Inke Heiland, which I discovered through Daddy*Drama waaaay back when.

The first one was easy. Since I have a thing for orange (see old blog, and guest room at home,  and color of my stores, and store logos, and wedding color…. yeah, I like orange!) and I have been doodle-ing repetitive circle patterns in my school books since I was a kid, I decided to paint the "main" guest room using an adaptation of her technique…. I quickly sketched out my pattern and then Dumpling and I cut some shapes out of sticky shelf liner, which I then applied to the wall in the patterns I wanted to achieve. I covered the entire wall with 3/4 coats of the orange and then we peeled the vinyl back… I present to you, the main guest room:

Img_0681_1 Img_0682_2

Img_0683_3 the bedspread is terrible and doesn’t match, but I actually have a really cool orange and white city-scrape print bedspread that I bought in Argentina a few years ago. It’s usually on that bed but was being washed and I was too lazy to put it back on for pictures! I  promise I’ll update next week!

The second room was more of a challenge. I really wanted to do some sort of animal silhouette, but not safari animals. And a while back, while picking a white for the wood we are about to paint over at the city house (shame on me!), I took Dumpling to the paint store and she picked a dark, bright magenta and made me PROMISE to use it somewhere, someday. So I have been surfing Ebay looking for a roll of vintage wallpaper that would work with the color palette, to no avail. Then a few weeks ago, I bought my daughter a Joe Fresh shirt (I’ll have to blog about my love of Joe Fresh one day) and it had birds on a wire on it. I didn’t even think about it, but I totally dreamed up the room with birds on a wire. I could "SEE" it in my head, and I could not find the paper I wanted. But I happen to sell really great wrapping paper at the store, so I grabbed a few pieces of paper that were in the right scale and colors……

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Img_0696_8 Img_0699_9

As you can see, we did the reverse in the play nook. I painted the rest of the walls with a fresh coat of bright white, which did so much for brightening up the room. In the last picture, you can see how much nicer it’s going to look with a brighter bedspread and some colorful pillows, but I have to hunt those down…. For the record, Dumpling selected the location of each of the Mama birds and the Baby birds…. She was a great help!

And for the record, this is what it looked like before. I don’t have a pic of the other room before, but it was exactly the same….. both of the feature walls are actually recessed 4 inches, which makes a little ledge that goes around the beds, like a built-in nightstand, so it made it easy to pick where the color was going to go.Img_0690_4