DIY Wedding Gift

We are headed to a wedding tomorrow for my dear cousin Lindsay and her fiancé Mark and it’s going to be a fabulous day with picture perfect weather. Lindsay and I spent many hours as little girls playing “wedding” in my Mom’s wedding dress, so it will be amazing to see Lindsay walk down the aisle. I’m sure there will be tears!

With weddings on the mind, I thought I would share a DIY wedding gift idea that I gave two of our friends, Lisa and Pete, on their wedding day back in November — a wedding invitation keepsake.

Lisa and Pete’s invitation was gorgeous — it featured a unique design in black, yellow and maroon. I wish I snapped a before photo of the invite. It was so them!

To make the keepsake, I simply cut the wedding invitation in small strips (approximately 1 cm each) using a sharp craft knife and ruler and curled the pieces around a pencil. Next, I inserted the invitation curls into the circular glass ornament being very careful not to break the delicate glass.

To personalize the ornament, I used my Silhouette machine and black vinyl to add Lisa and Pete’s names and wedding date on the ornament.

To top off the piece, I added some charms that I thought represented their union: trust, faith and love. A simple black ribbon was looped through the top of the ornament for hanging.

I was really excited to give this personalized gift to Lisa and Pete, especially since they both have an appreciation for hand-made items. It is currently hanging in their living room as a special reminder of their wonderful wedding day.

With wedding season in full swing, do you have any DIY wedding gift ideas that you like to give? I’d love to hear about them!

DIY Spice Rubs for Father’s Day

My Dad is a great cook. In fact, he’s amazing! He has this knack when it comes to building delicious meals. Not one to follow a recipe, he tends to turn to his ingredients for inspiration and crafts dishes with what he has on hand.

With Father’s Day just around the corner, I thought I would share my gift for my dear ol’ Dad from last year — DIY spice rubs in mason jars.

My Dad loves to barbecue all year-long, so this was the perfect gift idea for him. I know that he likes to grill a variety of meats and poultry, so I made this my focus, but I also included some spice rubs that would be suitable for fish.

This is an easy DIY project to start and complete in an afternoon — all it takes is a little research online for suitable spice rub recipes and a trip to the grocery or bulk food store for ingredients.

I chose to package my custom spice rubs in mason jars, complete with grey striped fabric and colourful ribbon. To identify what each spice rub was and its suitable uses, I designed and printed labels on cardstock that I attached to each jar.

I’m happy to report that this Father’s Day gift is Dad approved — he loved it, as I’m sure most barbecue-lovin’ Dads would.

Do you have any great DIY Father’s Day gift ideas? I’d love to hear them!

Linking up with…
Home Stories A 2 Z
Tip Junkie
Liz Marie Blog
{aka} design
House of Hepworths

I’m on a roll!

After a full day of work in the office, I was itching to get home and sew like a mad woman. After giving Mason a pat hello (and a quick break outside), I ran down to my make-shift sewing space (read: TV trays in front of the couch) and got busy.

On my lunch hour, I found the perfect woven fabric in navy to complement some ikat-inspired fabric that I picked up in Buffalo at Jo-ann’s. I love a deal — and the woven fabric was exactly that at just $2/metre from Fabricland. Score!

I’m very pleased with the finished product, especially the custom piping.

I love how the navy fabric on the back highlights the piping and gives the pillow an entirely different look. I’m also loving the concealed zipper — it’s very forgiving and looks rather sharp.

I’m very pleased with how the textiles for our living room/dining room are coming together. The space is now bursting with colour — navy, orange and white.

Since I started undertaking this project and sharing it on this blog, Twitter and Instagram (you can find me by searching: The236), I’ve had a few requests for custom sewing work. Such a lovely compliment — I just wish I had more hours in a day to sew for others! Maybe one day! In the meantime, I’m having fun scouring fabric shops and sewing to my heart’s content.

In case you are looking for me…

…I’m still trapped behind my sewing machine.

I say “trapped,” but, really, I’ve been gleefully sewing away. Every spare minute of my weekend was spent behind that machine. And, of course, I made sure to have some trashy TV on the tube.

I’m on a roll, folks! I shared a sneak peak of my living room drapery last weekend (more on that here) and this weekend was dedicated to throw cushions. Glorious, feather-filled cushions with piping and hidden zippers.

If you are interested in learning how to sew throw cushions with piping and hidden zippers, Anna from Shiny Happy Art has two great tutorials on YouTube that I found very useful:

Sewing a Cushion Part 1 – Piping and Zip

Sewing a Cushion Part 2 – Zip and Finish

Now, if you will excuse me, I have more sewing to attend to.

Use What You Have: Bathroom Wall Decor

In an effort to finish up work in the bathroom and finally share the reveal, I’ve been considering what type of wall decor to include in the bathroom and where to hang it.

There was some empty wall space behind the bathroom door — it looked like it “needed something.” I’ll admit, it’s not the best place to hang decor because it will only be seen about 50% of the time. Knowing that, I didn’t want to shell out a chunk of change on a new piece, so I shopped my house first.

What did I come up with? A set of four raised botanical wall tiles that I bought at Kitchen Stuff Plus about three years ago. Originally, they were supposed to hang in our basement living space, but I didn’t love them down there. While the colour is all wrong, they are the perfect size for the wall behind the door.

To make these worthy of being displayed in the new bathroom, I took them outside (on a unseasonably warm February afternoon) and sprayed two light coats of Kylon Indoor/Outdoor Primer in white.

Once the primer was dried, I sprayed a few light coats of Kylon Indoor/Outdoor Paint in satin white until a nice, smooth application was achieved.

Before hanging, I let the wall tiles sit and cure for a few days. An important and often overlooked step to ensure the durability of the spray paint (who likes scratches and fingerprints on a newly painted piece?)

Installation was easy. Just four simple nails and voila!

Essentially, this project was free since I used what I had — including the spray paint, which I found in my ever-growing stash.

And, one last side-by-side before and after comparison for good measure…

Do you every shop your house before you purchase something new for your space? Is spray paint also your BFF?

Linking up with…
Thrifty Decor Chick
Liz Marie Blog

One Step Forward, Thirteen Steps Back

After my relaxing weekend up north, I felt refreshed to tackle another busy work week and inch towards finishing the bathroom renovation.

On my to do list this evening was the quick and easy installation of this soap dispenser in the shower from Home Depot.

We have one in our basement bathroom shower and we love it — no more bottle clutter! In fact, when I purchased the dispenser for the basement bathroom, I bought a second one as well for our future upstairs bathroom renovation.

Fast forward, oh…..a year or two (okay, fine, maybe three…), and tonight was the night that the upstairs soap dispenser would finally be unboxed and installed! I was excited to cross this item off my long and ever-growing to do list!

Before I started gluing up a storm, I wiped down the shower tile with rubbing alcohol to ensure that the dispenser would adhere well. Then, as I was finalizing the placement of the dispenser on the wall, I noticed that one of the nozzles was lose broken right off.


My one step forward to finishing the bathroom has now resulted in:

  1. Cramming the parts back into the opened box (why is this always a challenge?!)
  2. Finding the receipt from three years ago (ha….good luck with that one, Michelle!)
  3. Changing out of my PJs and getting into the cold car to go to Home Depot (today was a work from home day, hence the jammies and the cold car)
  4. Walking allllll the way to the back of Home Depot (where they keep these damn dispensers) and retrieving a new one (they better not be discontinued!)
  5. Opening the box to ensure that the dispenser isn’t broken
  6. Cramming the new dispenser back into the box and swearing under my breath in the store
  7. Walking alllll the way to the front of the store to dig the receipt out of the depths of my purse to exchange the dispenser
  8. Getting back in my now semi-cold car
  9. Stopping at Tim Horton’s for a coffee (because at this point I’ll likely need one)
  10. Unboxing the friggin’ dispenser AGAIN
  11. Determining the exact placement of the stupid dispenser, because at this point I have already forgotten where I wanted to install it
  12. Wiping down the G-D shower tile wall AGAIN because I’m OCD like that
  13. And, lastly, installing the *insert foul word here* soap dispenser for once and for all


So, no. Sorry. No photos of my installed soap dispenser tonight. You’ll just have to wait.

In the meantime, here is a snap of some gorgeous hydrangeas sitting pretty on the bathroom vanity…


Don’t you hate it when a quick and simple project turns into a major pain in the A? Please tell me this doesn’t just happen to me.

In the Workshop: Custom Wood Sign for a Sweet Baby Boy

When Ted and I found out that our friends Mark and Melissa were expecting their first little one, we were so excited! Mark and Melissa are a truly awesome couple. Mark has a sense of humour and wit like no one we have ever met and Melissa is so sweet, kind and caring — oh, and a wicked awesome baker! They are, hands down, going to be fantastic parents!

For a shower gift, I decided to make a personalized custom wood sign for their soon-to-arrive baby boy named Nole. When thinking of a theme for Nole’s sign, I decided on trains. What little boy doesn’t love a choo-choo train?

To make the sign, I used a 24″ x 5″ piece of wood, a vinyl stencil using my Silhouette Cameo and layers of white, black and red spray paint. After the piece was dry, I distressed the sign to give it some added character.

After gifting the sign to Mark and Melissa, I found out that the theme for Nole’s nursery is airplanes. This little boy is going to be in the know when it comes transportation! Congratulations Mark and Melissa — we can’t wait to meet Nole.


If you are interested in purchasing a custom wood sign of your own, please contact me for details and pricing.

In the Workshop: Custom Wood Travel Sign

“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer” — Unknown

When I first read that quote,  I instantly thought of Ted’s parents — Chris and Bill. As retirees, they love spending their time traveling and planning vacations. Their love of travel is what spurred them to downsize their home (which is now our home) and buy a condo that they could close the door and head off on an adventure without worry.

When I selected Chris’ name for our Christmas gift exchange, I decided to make her a custom wood sign featuring the travel quote.

Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer

To make the sign, I used a 24″ x 5″ piece of wood, a vinyl stencil using my Silhouette Cameo and layers of white and black spray paint. After the piece was dry, I distressed the sign to give it some added character.

Now, when Chris and Bill are planning their next vacations, they can be reminded of all of the riches they collected along their travels and look forward to collecting more. Happy trails you two!


If you are interested in purchasing a custom wood sign of your own, please contact me for details and pricing.

Bathroom Reno: Mood Board

Well, the time has come. The time to renovate our upstairs bathroom is here!

Usually in the spring, Ted and I will save up our pennies to travel to one of our favourite vacation spots — either Orlando or Hilton Head Island. After much thought, we decided to forego a spring vacation and to spend some of our saved up dough on renovating our bathroom. Sure, a vacation would be nice, but renovating the bathroom is the smarter, more responsible adult decision.

Since we live in a bungalow, we don’t have the luxury of having a “guest bathroom” or a “master bathroom.” Sound familiar? You might recall me lamenting about not having a master bath in this post. Alas, this bathroom has to work hard for its money — it has to be functional for both Ted and I (and any future kiddos that come into our life), but it also has to look….well, for a lack of a better word, pretty.

What do I mean by pretty? Well, for one, it needs storage. This is the bathroom where we do the majority of our primping, so I’d like to hide away our day-to-day “things” (for lack of another better word), such as our electric toothbrushes, Ted’s electric razor and all of my products. I don’t want our guests to use the bathroom and see all of our hygiene products and other personal items. Sure, they can snoop in drawers and cupboards to see all that junk (who doesn’t?!), but I don’t want it to be in their faces (or mine either). A girl has got to keep some secrets hidden, no?

For a few months, I have been trolling Pinterest for inspiration for the bathroom renovation. Everything I pinned followed the same sort of formula — light and bright! Here are some inspiration bathrooms that I pinned:




Do you spot a theme? Light blues, crisp whites, nickel finishes, Carrara tiles. So light and bright, calm, soothing and, well….pretty! It’s so unlike any design or decor in our house (which I hope to finally get around to blog about!), but I just love it.

During our discussions on whether to renovate or vegetate, we agreed that if we were going to reno the bathroom that we would hire our contractor Stevie Boy (who has done a lot of the work in our house for us). Of course, Ted and I are both ga-ga over DIYing projects, but we’re also realistic. Between two full-time jobs, commuting, a social life and other responsibilities, it’s just not possible for us to undertake this project. We know that we will be living at The 236 for many years to come, so spending some saved up cash on a quality bathroom that we will enjoy is a smart decision. Plus, we love working with Stevie Boy! Did I mention that he has his own key to our house on his key ring at all times? Yeah. Love the guy!

Before I show you the bathroom before photo, I thought I would share our bathroom mood board.

  1. Our current bathroom has electrical for two sconces over the vanity. We will replace the current fixtures with two Martha Stewart Living, Skylands Wall Sconces.
  2. Rather than just a standard, boring mirror, I’d like to add some sparkle to the bathroom with this mirror – Tangerine Mirror Company, The Beverly Mirror
  3. In the summer, I bought a vanity base on Kijiji for $75. Originally, it was a honey oak vanity that I have sprayed in Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace. I also found some cabinet hardware at the Habitat for Humanity Restore for a buck a piece.
  4. That same summer, I also bought a white cultured marble vanity top on Kijiji for $50. I like how the sink and countertop are one piece.
  5. To keep the straight lines of the sconces in mind, we have chosen Moen’s Boardwalk Faucet (that I scored for 20% off at Lowes!)
  6. Our Kohler toilet, which we already have installed in the bathroom, will remain (we installed the new toilet a year or so ago when our city was offering rebates on new toilets).
  7. Benjamin Moore Gray Mist paint will go on the walls — the paint was another Habitat for Humanity Restore find for $10 a gallon. The actual colour is slightly more blue than the paint chip above.
  8. Here’s the big winner, chicken dinner! Daltile Marcello 12″ x 12″ floor tiles that we scored….are you sitting down…..for 75 cents a piece PLUS 25% off at the Habitat for Humanity Restore! Sure, they are ceramic and not actual Carrara marble, but heck, I’m all for getting a look for less! This was a HUGE score, as the floor tile for the bathroom reno came to under $30 with no tax. Yup, awesome.
  9. Our current bathroom does not have an exhaust fan, which is annoying because we always have to crack open the bathroom window when showering and then remember to close it before we leave the house (and not when we are half way to work – yup, it’s happened). Having an exhaust fan in the bathroom will be a beautiful thing.
  10. While I purchased the sink faucet at Lowes, I also bought Moen’s Boardwalk Tub & Shower Kit for 20% off. Love the lines of this set!
  11. We will be replacing the current shower insert that is in our bathroom with a tub and tile surround. We have opted for the Sydney Acrylic Skirted Tub by Mirolin from Home Depot. Should be just right for a leisurely soak! And, we’ve opted to pass on jets and other bells and whistles. We have a hot tub in our backyard that we can use if we want bubbles. Oh, and it was quite the experience getting the tub home from the store. You can read and laugh about that over here.
  12. While we were at the Habitat for Humanity Restore, we also found some white 3″ x 6″ subway tiles that we will use for the tub surround. An economical, but also beautiful choice.
  13. To break up the subway tile, we will run a row or two of mosaic tile. We are eyeing Sassi’s Arctic Grey Linear Blend Glass Tile.
  14. To match the wall sconces, we will likely also install the Martha Stewart Living, Skyland Bath Kit.
  15. And, lastly, to make the inside of the shower feel a touch roomier, we will likely install a curved curtain rod like the one shown.

So, there you have it! Stevie Boy is going to call us this evening to let us know when he can start on the job. We’re hoping he can start next week to get the job rolling. In the meantime, Ted and I have some additional sourcing/shopping to do. We are heading down to Buffalo, New York, on the weekend to do some cross-border material shopping to help stretch our reno bucks further (the difference in price for a lot of these materials is staggering!)

Check back this week and I’ll share some “before” photos of the bathroom! UPDATE: The “before” photos have been posted — most likely to the chagrin of my mother-in-law! More on that over here.

Linking up with…
Serenity Now — Weekend Bloggy Reading Link Up