Archive for April, 2012

April 30th, 2012

How to Create Vignettes in your Home

In literature a vignette is a short scene, however in the home a vignette is a collection of items arranged in a visually appealing pattern to create a scene. You can create vignettes in your home to give any room a polished, finished look. It is a great way to display your favourite items, while simultaneously injecting your own sense of style and personality into the setting.


Design a theme for each vignette or cater to functionality for areas like the kitchen or the bathroom. A theme can be as simple as using one colour, or grouping similar objects such as vintage collectibles. For functional areas, incorporate quirky pieces with everyday items to create unusual scenes that will define your living environment.


Items you can use to create a vignette include:


  • Mirrors
  • Art, pictures and photographs
  • Decorative dishes
  • Candles and lamps
  • Vases and other glass specimens
  • Plants
  • Flowers
  • Seasonal items
  • Books
  • Random pretty things
  • Anything that makes you smile or feel nostalgic
  • Stuff you love


Vignettes can be pulled together anywhere you see a blank space, or an area that needs an uplift—tabletops, a shelf, a mantle, a counter top, in a nook, just to name a few. Scenes can be created, re-created, moved and mixed with other vignettes according to season or whim. Remember odd numbers are pleasing to the eyes, so arrange things with the number of objects, and their height and shape in mind. Think of how you decorate for Christmas or Halloween to get into the spirit of vignette creation!


Living Area


In the main living area there are several possible candidate areas for a vignette, like these coffee table here. Work with the style of your home and showcase your treasures. One idea for the coffee table is to stack large books or magazines alongside a low floral centerpiece (it doesn’t have to be big, in fact a single bloom in a bowl will do the trick!) and an unexpected item. Unexpected, you ask? That depends on the style of your home. A piece of driftwood, a decorative bowl filled with your kid’s cars, colourful gumballs or something beautiful!




My present kitchen does not have a window over the sink (a feature I long for!) so I placed a few special items at the corner of the sink to make me smile as I clean up after dinner. My mini vignette consists of two plants in colorful pots, a sparkly white dove and a tiny frog-shaped planter, which my kids stuff with tiny jewels and treasures like marbles. It looks pretty and makes me happy and that is all you need to create a vignette in your space!


Other Ideas


Work with your favourite items in each space. In a nursery, hang a favourite onesie (or an heirloom item like a bonnet or a gown), on a decorative clothes hanger with a handmade toy and a vintage rocking chair. Choose all white items against a colourful backdrop for contrast. In a windowsill, arrange translucent items like glass balls and vases with plants and other items that will reflect light. Don’t forget to create vignettes to spice up shelving like what has been done here. The options are endless if you play around with placement and do what feels right for your space.


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April 19th, 2012

DIY Wooden Headboard Makeover

White Painted Wooden Headboard

Yet another relic that survived the traveling ways of my family is a sturdy wood bed which my parents bought in 1979. It had been passed around for many years until I decided to give it new life with a DIY wooden headboard makeover. While I could have chosen any colour, I decided a bright white would be the right shade to usher the bed into its next incarnation.  The bedroom it rests in is a stormy gray blue room with white and silver accents, so white was a natural tone to include in my sky-themed palette. I am not a psychic per se, but I think this bed might one day take on a bolder hue. Time will tell.


While I had this bed on hand, you can create your own DIY headboard makeover with any sturdy wooden headboard. Look for headboards with interesting lines, silhouettes and decorative details. Browse antique stores, flea markets, garage sales, other peoples attics (providing they are okay with it!) and online market places to find a headboard for makeover.


Another idea for a diy wooden headboard makeover is to paint a pattern on the flat part of the headboard as seen here at Mint Peach. And I adore the first two blue beds in this post at The Cottage Chick! Or, check out this idea for refinishing a headboard that has a wicker panel in it, here at Decorology.


Choose the colour for the headboard according to the existing decor of the room. Or, choose a wild colour and use it as a focal point to design the room around. Bright statement colours like red, purple, blue and green can bring a room together if you unify the look with accents and collectibles in the same colour family.


Here is what you need to complete this project:


Screw driver

Orbital sander

Varying grits of sandpaper 100-400

Dry rag

Primer (spray or paint)



Partially sanded headboard and footboard


1.Take the bed apart and set the pieces you will be refinishing in a well-ventilated area that can withstand dust and paint drippings.


2. Sand the entire bed using the orbital sander wherever you can. Depending on the details of the the headboard, you will need to switch between the orbital and doing it by hand.


3.Begin with the heavier grit sandpaper (100 or whatever you choose for your individual project), once satisfied switch to the lighter grit for a smooth finish (I used the 400).


4.Make sure you use a dry rag to wipe away the dust created by the sanding process.


5.Paint the entire headboard with a coat of primer and let dry.


6.Paint the headboard in your chosen hue. Let it dry and give it a final coat of necessary.


7.Reassemble the bed in its resting place and dress it up!



Dress your bed with a variety of textiles in a range of patterns. The solid backdrop of the headboard will take texture and pattern well. For a bright headboard dress it in all white bedding for one look or mix neutrals with different textures for another look. Or, if you paint the headboard all white like I did, dress it with bright cheery colours and a combination of prints and solids.

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April 12th, 2012

Alice Cantrell’s Bookplates

Bee Bookplates

Bookplates combine three of my favourite things: books, art and DIY crafts. How many times have you lent out a book to never have it returned? Gently remind friends and family to return your precious reads with the use of quirky bookplates. Whether you make your own, or purchase some, many options are available like these super sweet ones I found on Etsy at Alice Cantrell’s shop. Alice Cantrell’s bookplates are whimsically designed with images like seedlings, bugs and vintage cookware.


Bookplates make a great gift for yourself or for someone else! Alice Cantrell’s designs are hand drawn images you can download and print yourself. Alter the look of the end product by printing the ink drawings on coloured paper or stick to a neutral white, beige or gray for the watercolour versions. Then all you have to do is add your name, and cut and paste them into your books using archival glue for preservation. Leave the book open to allow the glue to dry completely before you close the book.

If you want to gift them to someone else, start with a decorative box, add a small bottle of glue with an applicator brush, the bookplates and a nice archival pen. Finish it with a sheet of coloured tissue paper and a ribbon to wrap around the box and you have a lovely hostess gift or housewarming gift or a gift to add a little cheer to someones not-so-great day!


The cookery set would be darling for cookbooks and the bee prints and seedling plates are perfect for gardening books and fiction of all kinds. In addition to the bookplates at Alice Cantrell’s you can also find  posters, banners, stationary and note cards all created in the same style or visit her website here. Some images are black and white and others are watercolour. Have you ever used bookplates to keep track of your library?

April 10th, 2012

Little DIY Roundup!

On this gorgeous sunny April day as I daydream and browse the web, I have come across several inspirational blogs with a zillion projects of the DIY type, which I would like to share here in a little DIY roundup. I think I might be addicted to remaking and making over things, in fact I’m daydreaming about remaking items I haven’t even found yet!

Pussy willow in the backyard!

With spring finally here and the last blast of winter out of the way (fingers crossed, looking for rain instead of snow here!) backyard projects like desks, chairs and lamps are on my mind. Customization is key to designing a space to suit you and your family, as you will see in the aforementioned tutorials.

These beautiful paper lanterns will add festivity to parties and barbecues and soft summer evenings. My favourites were the pom poms and the circle dot one at the end. And then there are these magnificent paper flowers which can’t help but make you smile!

Inspiration everywhere! Happy crafting and DIY-ing!

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April 5th, 2012

Modern Kitchen: Part Two

Image via


Last week in Part One of my Modern Kitchen post I covered architecture, modern colour choices, glass accents, and natural elements in the kitchen with the intention of creating the perfect modern kitchen with a recipe. This week I will cover the rest of the recipe with accents and finishing touches. Learn how to personalize your modern kitchen space and give it a lived-in atmosphere.


Rustic Kitchen Elements


For new kitchens, a rustic element is essential. Consider what life in a brand new kitchen will be like if you think you can sidestep this element. The kitchen, once finished will be pristine, but kitchens are meant for living. Dents, scrapes, scuffs and other mayhem will render the kitchen a fine mess. If you add a rustic element from the beginning, all else that transpires will bring definition and character and give it that cozy lived-in atmosphere essential to a happy home. Choices for a rustic element include cabinetry, furniture and flooring. One idea is to look for oversized terracotta tiles for the floors or other stones with a rough finish. For the cabinets look for finishes with a rustic treatment or go so far as to have an island made with salvaged wood. Another trendy idea is to install a sliding barn door to divide spaces and add rustic appeal. For furniture look for a rustic dining table, chairs, benches or freestanding cabinets. Pair one or two rustic pieces with elegant modern items for a visually appealing balance.


Vintage or Salvage Elements


Vintage or salvage pieces offer authenticity to the space they grace. An old rusty sign or chalkboard will add a little something extra, a conversation piece at the very least. Look for vintage glassware, tea pots, tea cups and cake pedestals to use for display or to include in your daily repertoire of dishware. Salvage pieces can be used to add interest. Look for corbels, used to hold up shelving, to add detail to a new kitchen island. Or, use salvage boards to create an open wall of shelving to display platters, bowls and other oversized dishware. To tie the salvage wood into the overall design try painting the edges of the shelves the same colour as the walls.


Kitchen Textiles


In a kitchen, the textiles serve many purposes, two of which are to soften the look of the space and to carry the color scheme. A combination of patterns and textures is tantamount to modern kitchen design. If you choose primarily hard elements like wood, metal and stone, opt to dress floor to ceiling windows with flowing white curtains to add softness. Update the curtain with a band of grosgrain ribbon as seen here and here, or create colourful curtain ties. Top the curtains with a valance in a pattern such as floral, geometric, botanical or damask. Mix and match other textiles into the mix for cloth napkins, table cloths, dish towels and throw pillows for bench seating. Another idea is to introduce a bold colour scheme and pattern with the curtains.


Modern Kitchen Lighting


Proper lighting is one of the most important factors in your kitchen. The best plan is to incorporate a combination of light sources. Overhead lighting should be beautiful and functional. A chandelier or a drum pendant are ideal choices for over the island and the table. Choose something with sparkle to add a dazzling finish to your design. Other sources of light include under the cabinet lighting, and depending on the size of your kitchen, you may wish to include sunken pot lights or track lighting. Pot lights are less intrusive, but track lights can be positioned wherever you need them. Another option is a series of pendant lights.


Personalize the final design with quirky pieces you can remove or change if you tire of them. Fixed elements should be designed with materials chosen for their longevity both style wise and quality wise. Finish the modern kitchen design with a plant to add energy to the room. A small plant next to the sink, a hanging plant in front of a window or a large potted plant in a corner will add life energy to the kitchen.


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