Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Window Shutters: When your blinds just wont cut it

I hate blinds. I especially hated them when I was a kid. In my parents old house we had Venetian Blinds, which are the skinny metal blinds that were probably popular in the 80s and 90s. I think I hated them for a number of reasons.

Photo by David Chung
First of all, as a teen, the cool thing to do is to sleep till noon in the summer and on weekends. Blinds do not keep enough light out of the room to sleep until noon. You need to have curtains if you want to keep a substantial amount of light out. I'm sure there is a logical reason, that I have yet to discover, why a person would want both curtains and blinds. In my mind they serve the same purpose, why have both. Since my parents made the choice for blinds, which are not effective at light blocking, I didn't like them.

Another reason I don't like blinds, is because of the amount of dust they collect, and the difficulty to clean them. When I was a child I cleaned my blinds when I would get in trouble. I was a bit odd that way. I didn't clean them as a punishment, I cleaned them out of guilt. I would get in trouble from doing something that I knew was wrong, and I would just feel so guilty, that I would go to my room and clean my blinds(and other parts of my room). Now, looking back, I wonder if I was subconsciously trying to get back into my parents good books. As a result, I don't like blinds now, probably because I associate them with getting in trouble.

Photo By David Chung
Finally, I don't like blinds, because they are hard to use. I moved to a new place when I was about 16. I was not a weak 16 year old girl, I was unusually tough. However, the first time I tried to open my blinds, I actually couldn't do it. I had to have my brother come into my room, and pull on the cord as hard has he could,  just to open my blinds. I don't know if they were stuck, or the inside parts were rusty, but never the less, I could not open them. There are many other frustrating time I have had with broken blinds, such as when you pull on the sting only one side goes up(which is why I cant open the blinds in my room right now), or you  try to lower them and everything is too tangled to figure out what happened, and other annoying things.

As a result, when I moved into another room in my parents house, I immediately took down the blinds, and started to look for a solution  One day shortly after, my Mom came home with four random shutters from an antique store.  We decided they would be my new window coverings. To be honest most of this was not completely my project, but my dad's, because I cant use the table saw.
Photo by David Chung

What I did:

I started by giving the shutters a bit of character. I sanded the corners and some of the slats to give it a bit more of a worn look. I painted the blue one because it was red originally, but I didn't need to paint the others because they matched the colours of my room.

My dad had to build a frame around my window to hang the shutters on, because the window didn't have a frame to start with. I painted and sanded parts of that as well so that it matched the shutters.

We put small hinges between the two shutters so that they would fold in half. Then, we put larger hinges onto the shutters and the frame, so that the shutters would open off the window. 

The project was not particularly complicated in the end, it just took some time trying to figure out which direction to put the hinges on, so that it would open properly. 
Photo by David Chung

Monday, March 25, 2013

Medicine Cabinet: Long over due

I went to this garage sale because it was a fundraiser for some friends going to Seeds of Hope, an orphanage in Zambia. Since I had been to Seeds of Hope with them before, I had a soft spot for the ministry, and was defiantly going to check out their garage sale. Also, I just love garage sales.

It was a huge garage sale that took up our entire church gym. Being that I lived with my parents at the time, and was in university, not only did I not have money to spend, but I didn't have a lot of space to put things. I saw this beat-up medicine cabinet that was missing a mirror, and knew it had potential. I bought it for a very discounted price of $1. I was busy in school at the time, and didn't have a specific plan for it so I put it in my parents garage for the time being. 

Two years later my Mom asked if she could throw it out because I wasn't using it. I obviously protested! I was going to fix it up immediately! Again a year or two later when we were having a garage sale at my parents house she asked if we could sell it. Though I successfully convinced her that I would fix it up, I knew I needed to get on it soon. 

Six months later, it was summer, I was done school, and I was ready to finish up (or in this case start) some of my old projects. 

What I did:

Since the Medicine Cabinet was small I decided to sand the whole thing by hand. It was tough, but really only took about hour. I made sure to sand some areas alot more than others so that it would have the worn look. Around the handle and on the corners mostly. 

There was a lot of nice wood grain on the sides so I didn't want to paint over that. Again I wanted it to match my other furniture in a way, but I didn't want it to blend in. I did a nice dark varnish as the base coat and then added a bit of white paint in the second coat, as I had done before, to give it a beach look.

I found a spare door nob and put that on in place of the broken one that was there.  Since I had no intention of putting it in my bathroom and using it for medicine I didn't feel a need to put a new mirror on the front. I wanted to make it a chalk board. I love being organized and writing lists, so chalk boards appeal to me. 

The company I work for owns the building, and one of out tenants is a Tile company. I went over there with a plastic container and asked if they had some fine tile grout left over. They did and filled up my container for free! To make the chalk paint I mixed 2 TBS fine tile grout with one cup of paint. I painted onto the empty space and let it dry.

I am finished. I have it mounted on my wall, and am very pleased with the finished product.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Photos: Why I dont take my own

Im going to start by saying: I like to think I can take pictures. But, really I'm lying to myself. Taking pictures is cool, and in the Vancouver area its the "Hypster" thing to do. Especially in the circles I run in. I'm pretty sure I have 10+ friends who are "professional" photographers. Not to say that they aren't good. Some of my closest friends are really good. I think they are at least. 

My profile picture is me holding a camera, because that cool and trendy. I didn't take the picture, so how do you know I'm a photographer. Sneaky I know.

There are times when I want to be a photographer. Not semi-professionally, I just want to take nice pictures of my life. I got a decent camera for Christmas one year. Its not amazing, but its not a point and shoot. Some times Ill take pictures, then other times, I just want to enjoy the moment. 

I am currently not in a photographer phase. I got engaged on an amazing date in Victoria  BC a few months ago. It was a beautiful day, and I brought my heavy camera around with me everywhere. I didn't take even one picture. 

In the end, weather I like taking pictures or not, does not make my pictures any good. I am a crafter, that doesn't mean that I'm good at all things artistic. I like to create things, but technology generally is not the easiest for me.

In short, I'm writing this blog today to say thanks to my brother. He, so far, has taken almost all of my pictures. He likes it, and is pretty good. He is not a professional, but really enjoys taking pictures, has so talent, has a really nice camera. These are some other random cool photos taken by +David Chung:

Photo credit: David Chung

Photo credit: David Chung

Photo credit: David Chung

Photo credit: David Chung

Friday, March 8, 2013

Necklace Holder: I Need Two!

The Necklace Holder is common right now. You could probably find 10 tutorials on pinterest that look exactly like mine! In fact my sister-in-law-to-be has a tutorial on it on her blog called I can eat that. Regardless I wanted to switch up where I put my necklaces, and I thought it was cute.

I now realize, looking back, that I did not make it big enough. I have way too many necklaces for just four nobs. Maybe the problem is that I have too many necklaces that I never wear. I should probably recycle some of those necklaces. Who am I kidding, that is never going to happen.

It took me a while to get started because I needed to find the perfect piece of drift wood. It was late fall when I decided to start this project, and trips to the beach are just less prevalent when its cold outside. I eventually made it there, but of coarse it was dark outside so the search was not much easier. I found one that I liked. It was so perfect. The right size, the jagged edges, extremely worn, and everything I hopped for! Then, I turned it over, and it was burnt on the bottom. It was too bad, but I was already in love with it. I decided to make it work.

What I did:

I started by drilling 4 holes through the drift wood. The holes were in the middle viertically, but not to the edges of the drift wood, because I wanted the sides to stick out.

I choose a random collection of nobs to put on. This was partly because I liked the eclectic style, and partly because there were not four of the same. I placed the nobs through the holes and ran into my first problem.The screws were not long enough to make it to the back.

I took it to the shop, and used the table saw* to make the piece thinner. It worked for the most part, except for one screw that was really short. I had to drill a larger hole in the back to fit the bolt into. I got the screws in and I was happy with it! I knew, however, that my landlord would not be happy. If I hung it on the wall the way it was, the screws would scratch the wall because they stuck out the back.

To fix this it was not hard at all. All I had to do, was put two small wooden pieces on the back, that stuck out further than the screws. That was a quick and easy fix. Finally, I just had to hang it. I cut a long piece of rusty wire, because I wanted the rustic/vintage look. I wrapped each end around the screws tightly to hold it in place. I put a nail in the wall and hung it on the nail. That's it!

*My Dad used the table saw. I would kill myself if I tried.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Necklace: Inspired by Octopus balls

One of my favourite ways to spend a summer weekend evening, is at the Richmond Night Market, or is it the Summer Night Market. Ill be honest, I get so confused which is which. Regardless, there is so much great stuff. I always used to buy all my school supplies such as pens, notebooks, pencil cases, ect. there. I also bought my phone case, some pants, jewellery, movies, and a LOT of food from there.

My favourite part of the evening, is when we walk through the food isle. It smells so good, and I get so excited about all the food that I want to eat! Its so crowed in the food isle that I often consider taking a squid leg out of a stranger's bowl and hoping they don't notice. I haven't done this yet though.

The one thing that I buy most often is Octopus balls. It might not be my number one favourite, but the price is right, there is never a huge line up, and they are very delicious! If you have never had an Octopus ball I will advise that, as long as you like sea food, you try them! They are a doughy ball with Octopus chunks in it, simple and amazing! I was first introduced to this beauty, by my good friend +Anne-Marie MacIntosh. She deserves some cred.

Since I almost always over eat when I am there, the rest of the night is slightly less enjoyable, but still a good time none the less. When the boys are staring at either game or swards I sneak over to the Jewellery booths.

Once I saw a necklace that I loved, but I was short on cash and decided not to buy it. However, I decided to make it! Now, looking back, I am not sure why I loved it. I think I have only worn it once since I made it two years ago. I still like it, but its just doesn't go with my outfits. Maybe someone else will appreciate it more than me.
Photo Credit: David Chung

What I did:

I bought a cheep grey necklace from Value Village with bigger beads. I then picked a green ribbon that matched. I threaded a medium sized needle with thick sewing thread*. First, I strung the ribbon leaving a foot at the end. I then strung a bead, and wrapped the ribbon to the top of the bead and strung it again. Basically you sting the ribbon back and forth, but put a bead between each ribbon string. Follow the pattern until you either run out of beads, or its long enough. Cut the ribbon so that there is a foot remaining after the last bead. Tie a nice bow with the two long pieces of ribbon to close the circle. Finally, thread the sting through the bow a few times to ensure it does not come undone. Tie the sting and cut it off. Its finished!

*I would suggest not using anything with Spandex (stretchy)

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Dresser: More than just storage

It was time to retire my childhood dresser. It was falling apart, and it was so huge, there was not enough space in my new room. I went to Value Village to find a new one. The one I picked was much smaller, but still falling apart. My handy-dandy carpenter father fixed the top so it stayed together. Knowing him, it is now the most stable part of the whole dresser.

What I did:

I didn't sand the paint off the dresser completely this time. I just gave it a light sanding to prep it for painting.

I painted the whole thing the same green as my book shelf. I did two coats of the green, and let it dry for a few days. After it had dried really hard, I pulled out the sander again. I sanded down all the corners, edges, and handle spots. This gave it a nice vintage look. The reason that I didn't sand it down before, was so that the other colours would show through at the sanded spots. You can see mostly white, but in some spots there is a hint of light blue.

I kept it with some Anthropology nobs for a while, but recently decided to update the handles. I went into my box of beach collections, and picked out four shells that were about the same size. I simply drilled through the flat spots where I wanted the screws to go, and then screwed them into the dresser. Since I used old screws that I found lying around, they are noticeable against the white shells.  Maybe one day I will paint the screws white, so they don't stand out too much. Who knows.

Photo Credit: David Chung

Friday, March 1, 2013

Beach Fever: Pencil Case

I have always been a lover of everything beach since I was little. I think my beach decorating started after I went hiking on Nootka Island.

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Nootka is a great 4-5 day hike. I did it when I was about 13 with my parents, good friend Maddie, and her parents. The hike was around the coast with some beautiful views, and a real wild life experience. On the second last day of the hike there was an old fisherman shack that was covered in buoys. We tied a few to our packs to take home with us, and thus my beach fever began.

If I remember correctly the first room I started to transformed was my bathroom. I hung the buoys on the walls, and decked out my soap dispenser and tooth brush holder. Since that time my younger brother took that room, and as a result my crafts have become grungy, so I cant take pictures of them.

I did another craft around the same time that was quite similar. I had an old pencil case that had pictures of Winnie-the-Pooh on it. I was defiantly past the Winnie stage, but still like the pencil case, so I decided to transform it.

What I did:

This was a simple craft, and I think it is actually really common right now. I bought a ball of twine from the dollar store,* and pulled out some old liquid school glue from the junk drawer. I put some glue all the way around the pencil case starting at the bottom. I used my finger to spread the glue around, which I soon realized was not the best choice. I would suggest using an old paint brush to spread the glue. Starting at the bottom I tightly tucked the twine into the edge of the pencil case. I went all the way around the box and started working my way up. 

I found that the slower I went, the easier it was. I would add the glue as I went so it wouldn't dry out too early, but if the glue was too runny still, the twine would move around too easily. Going slow allowed the glue to dry just enough, so that when I would make it all the way around, I could place the new row tightly against the last without having it pop out. 

Finally, to finish it off, I added a simple shell to spice it up a little, and put the pens inside.

Photo Credit: David Chung

*I used hemp on my projects for the bathroom. I like how it looks better because there are less fly-a-ways. However, a ball of twine is about $1 and a ball of hemp is about $10. I thought the fly-a-ways were a great compromise.