Are you more eco-conscious than you used to be when it comes to paint? So are we! Many manufacturers are touting products that are made to be low in VOCs (volatile organic compounds), but did you know that there’s an ancient product still in use today that’s been low VOC all along? It’s milk paint!
We love milk paint because it’s all natural and eco-friendly – and because it comes from the earth, there are no chemicals in it. Milk paint is created today using traditional ingredients such as limestone, clay, casein (milk protein), chalk and natural pigments such as iron oxide. Because there are no VOCs, it’s the ideal product to use when painting indoors. And because it dries so fast, you can get a project done in just a few hours!
Milk paint is so versatile, we even incorporated it into our wedding day (we’ll show you an example of something we did for our wedding day at the end of this post)!
As eco conscious DIY’ers, we wanted to learn more about this outstanding product. We were also ready to discover new faux finish and crackle techniques, so a few years ago hubs and I spent a ‘crafternoon’ doing a milk paint workshop at Homestead House Paint Co. in Toronto.
With spring on the horizon, it’s time to start thinking about the garden again.
When we first landscaped our garden, we placed a Blue Danube Juniper by our pond that was pre-shaped into pom poms.
It’s amazing to look back on these early pictures to see how small it once was!
Whenever I look at the recycle pile, I see untapped potential. Little did I know that when I had an epiphany about the tuna can one day while making lunch, creating tuna can swing outs would be so addictive! I had never seen it done anywhere before, so it was quite an interesting challenge to figure out the mechanics of it.
You may have seen the two I did previously to corral hot drink supplies and to store costume jewelry. I’ve since created two new ones: for office supplies, like push pins and paper clips, and even one for a little friend to house his collection of hot wheels!
My husband and I have always been compelled to create using garbage finds and unexpected materials, so it was a natural progression to expand our blog to include crafts. We called our new craft section ‘Craft Rehab’ because our goal is to encourage others to try sustainable crafting. It’s all about the 3 R’s – reduce, reuse and recycle.
All good intentions aside, as much as we love to do our small part to divert waste, we’re also mindful that a project has to be easy to do and that the materials have to be readily available – or who’s going to want to replicate it? But it also doesn’t hurt to work in some ‘wow factor’. I think we accomplished those goals with this unique upcycle.
Along with the tuna cans, we’ve used recycled scrap paper for the labels, smoothie straws we had in the pantry, a plastic straw from a broken insulated cup, the end of a dried-up pen and leftover black iron pipe from another project. The Tuna Can Swing Out is both sustainable and practical: each can opens fully to reveal its contents then closes right up again for dust-free storage! You can use it for anything small: you’re only limited by your imagination.
We hope you use this tutorial to inspire your own sustainable craft project because, as our motto points out, good planets are hard to find! Continue reading
Many years ago, we applied to be on one of those home reno shows and they chose to renovate our basement! – or so we thought. In the planning stages of the reno, the show’s contractor discovered that the slope of our basement floor was too steep to build on. The floor was inconsistent and out of level by over half a foot in some areas! There wouldn’t be enough time in the production schedule to fix it properly so they were going to have to take a pass on us..
At first, we were disappointed: who wouldn’t want a crew to come in and take care of a major renovation while we sit back and let them do all the work? But on the flip side, as avid DIY’ers, it was going to be hard to give up full control of the project. In the end, it worked out in our favour because there’s no sense in finishing a basement when there’s still things to renovate on other levels of the house (i.e. our kitchen still needed to be renovated). You really need open access to the plumbing and electrical in the basement before closing those things off forever once the basement is done!
Anyway, since we had cleared our stuff out of the basement for the show, it seemed like a prime opportunity to level the basement floor and get it over with. Once that was done, we could take our own sweet time to renovate the basement ourselves when we were ready. But with 700 square feet of space in our basement, it wasn’t going to be something that we could tackle ourselves. We needed an expert.
Last summer, I made it my mission to create and craft using nothing but items I found on garbage day within a few block perimeter of my house. Unfortunately my mission was prematurely cut short after my craft studio sprang a leak and I no longer had a place to work and store my finds 🙁 I did however, score a few great things before becoming water logged and having to put my projects on hold!
It’s amazing what you can find kicked to the curb every week. It breaks my heart to see the abundance of waste that goes to landfill when there’s much that can be done to breathe a second life in it! As I walked down the street on this particular day, I spotting something in the distance.
When you think of wall art for the bedroom, stained glass probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind, but I think incorporating a piece of stained glass can make a stunning addition to any bedroom decor!
I’ve always had a fascination with stained glass and longed to own a piece, but the time and expertise that goes into creating these beautiful works of art unfortunately priced it right out of my budget when I young. After purchasing my first house, I was house rich but cash poor so when I discovered a beginner’s stained glass course at my local community centre, I jumped at the chance to learn the art. Several years later I continued taking courses at a stained glass studio, when I moved to a new neighbourhood, where I dabbled with glass mosaic:
If you’re thinking about installing flooring, whether it’s below grade or above, an engineered wood floating floor is the way to go – especially if you’re planning on installing it over a concrete slab. Nothing adds beauty and warmth to a home like hardwood. In this first of our series on how we installed engineered hardwood flooring in our basement (a part of our broader Homeowner DIY Series for 2018), we’re exploring how to shop for it first. We wondered if engineered hardwood would be as good as solid wood and were surprised to learn that neither one is better. Only by weighing the pros and cons of each can you determine which one is a better fit for your own situation.
If you’re not really sure about the differences between engineered and solid flooring, engineered wood is produced with three to five layers of plywood topped by a wear layer of real wood. The wear layer can range in thickness; thicker layers can be re-sanded just like a traditional solid floor. Each layer is stacked in a cross-grain configuration and bonded together under heat and pressure to make it dimensionally stable. As a result, engineered wood flooring is less likely to be affected by changes in humidity and can be installed at all levels of the home. As far as installation is concerned, there are far more methods to choose from with an engineered product: you can staple, nail, click or glue.
Fusion Flooring Classical Elegance Oak Baroque / Dimensions: 9/16″ h x 7 1/2″ w
You may be a little doubtful that you can turn a tuna can into something you’d want to put on full display in the bedroom, kitchen or office, but have a look at the video. My catchall is both attractive and useful – in an industrial sort of way 🙂
Birdz of a Feather will be on Hiatus soon, so with Valentines Day just a month away, I’m resurrecting an old Valentine’s project – which will be new to recent subscribers 🙂
I wanted to make a little something for my sweetie that would have meaning on multiple levels. Since we’ve done so much DIY renos together, I was inspired by a pallet. In keeping with our mission to lead a more sustainable life, and keep things from landfill, I repurposed paint sticks and 1″x2″ lumber to make a miniature version of the pallet that hubs could easily display in his office. It turned out to be a great way to use up old paint sticks amassed over years of painting and renovating past (and present) homes.
I started by designing an 8 1/2″ x 11″ picture using the charicature we had done for our wedding. I superimposed it into a ‘puzzle piece heart’ I drew with the words ‘you complete me’ – the perfect sentiment for any soul mate!
Of course, if you choose to make your own Paint Stick Pallet, you’ll use your own personal artwork to make it unique to you! Watch the quick two-minute video below to see how easy it is (and subscribe to our YouTube Channel while you’re at it!)
Let’s Get Started
Happy New Year everyone! For our first post of 2018, we’re getting down to some serious home repair issues.
Some of you may remember the reveal of my craft studio in our newly finished basement. I was also supposed to reveal the mancave right on its heels, but there was a good reason why that didn’t happen for a long time. One morning I went into my craft studio and noticed a swooshing sound coming from the area carpet underfoot; not a good sign. I then found this on top of my dresser:
The cup was supposed to be empty and now it was full of water! Then I looked around and saw that all of our perfectly fitted and caulked baseboards had warped and popped off the walls. Continue reading
Revamped just in time for Christmas, this post has been totally re-written with better step-by-steps, a supply list, new pictures and variations on the project for gift giving (see Step 9: Variations for an updated colour scheme and versions for a two and three-remote caddy).
My husband spent all his spare time over the span of almost two years building a craft studio for me and a mancave for him in our basement. When he was nearing completion of this challenging project, I knew it meant he would be spending many a lazy weekend doing nothing but watching TV in his mancave. And why not? A little R&R is so well deserved after all his hard work!
But with a new TV, soundbar and blue-ray player, he suddenly had a ton of remotes that kept getting lost. There’s nothing worse than trying to have a lazy day only to be sidelined by spending time looking for remotes! I couldn’t wait to step in to help solve his problem (after all, I had no excuse not to with a brand new craft studio waiting to see some action)!
I gathered up some pipe fittings – some pulled apart from another project I wasn’t happy with. I also scrounged up some scraps of horsehair braid that I had used 25 years earlier to make my sister’s wedding veil. Lastly, I reused some magnetic hooks that used to be on our fridge before we replaced our old appliances.