Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Place: Christmas 2011 DIYs Edition

Hope you all had fun the past couple of days checking out the amazing stores that inspired me for this year's decorating scheme.  Today, let me show you my DIYs that have truly transformed my place.

DIY#1: tray with wallpaper inlay

I started off with this beautiful basket weave tray in faux leather with bamboo handles.  Thanks Kevin from Chair Table Lamp for this amazing find!  I would have used the tray as is, but thought I wanted to bring in a little yellow & grey to tie in with the overall color palette.  A little quick thinking had me cut to size a piece of leftover wallpaper from my bedroom project.

This creative idea presented itself another challenge: I would need to protect the delicate wallpaper once set in place.  After all, the paper has light colors and I want to make sure the heat from the votives wouldn't result in a "fire" in my living room.  My initial thought was to get a piece of custom glass.  This solution is practical and rather inexpensive.  However, inexpensive glass tends to have a tint of green and that would make my white wallpaper look ... well minty green!  Starphire glass could be my next best alternative, but it has a shocking price tag. The quote for the starphire glass was 10 times the price compared to the regular one, and I wasn't ready to dash out over $100 for a small piece of glass.

Thanks to Jen from Rambling Renovators, I visited Curry's for a piece of plexiglass for just over $8.  It's the perfect solution to my DIY tray project.  A little side note though: it did take me awhile to cut the plexiglass to size, worn out a couple of blades, and my thumb was numb for a few days.  Mind you this was also my first time cutting plexiglass.  I will probably watch a couple of tutorials on how to effectively cut plexiglass before my next project.      

DIY #2: Deer Head Artwork

It was love at first sight when I saw the wood craved deer head at Style Garage last year.  Of course my obsession with all things antler this year totally pushed me over the edge and I was ready to bring a deer head home for the holidays.  That was until Chris told me he found the deer head totally freaky and couldn't believe I would consider the deer head as an "investment piece".

image via Style Garage
As a true problem solver, I searched high and low for alternatives and landed myself this handsome Prince from HomeSense.  As always, well-priced solution often requires a little embellishment before transforming into a one of a kind master piece.  In this case, the deer head was too small as a stand alone focal point above the fireplace.  My solution: build a custom frame to give the deer head added visual weight.

To jump start the project, I headed to HomeDepot for a piece of plywood.      

The guy at HomeDepot cut down the board for me.  I also asked him to cut eight 1.25" strips from the same piece of plywood to build the frame later.  I picked inexpensive plywood because the board would be covered by the woodland wallpaper from Cole & Son, and the face of the frame would be painted soft grey.  For added interest, I left the side of the plywood unfinished, as the layers of wood enhanced the side profile of this DIY project.       

A tip for you all when trying to hang an object: trace out the profile on a piece of paper and mark where the screws will go on the template.

Place the template on the board and pre-drill the board.  Always, always, ALWAYS do a dry run, with screws and the deer head in this case, to make sure the object actually sits correctly on the board.  It's way easier to make adjustment at this stage then after the wallpaper is glued down or the board is painted.

Back to the project: my wallpaper leftover wasn't large enough to cover the board in one piece, so I lined up two pieces for a pattern match.  Remember I asked for 8 wood strips for the frame?  My plan was to glue two strips together for a more substantial look.

Didn't have clamps on hand, I used other trusty objects to weight down the pieces while the wood glue worked its magic.  I love this fab Deer Head DIY!  What's even more amazing is that this entire piece costs only $50!

DIY#3: Kettle Bell Cluster

These were the kettle bells I found at HomeSense.  Not sure if they were intended as ornaments or just as vase fillers, but for me, I used them in a cluster at my front foyer.

DIY#4: Ornament Wreath

Many of you have also asked about my DIY ornament wreath.  Here is what you need: a wine wreath (I got mine from Michaels) and 2 to 3 ornament garlands.  I picked up my ornament garlands from Pottery Barn a couple of years ago, but I have also seen similar ones at HomeSense.

With a little fishing line and about 45 mins of your time, this stunning DIY ornament wreath is ready to greet your guests!

DIY#5: Sofa Transformation

Well technically this isn't a DIY since I didn't reupholster the sofa myself.  However, a great deal of my creative juices and energies were injected into the transformation.  This was what I started with: a vintage mid-century sofa with solid wood frame in worn tomato red velvet.

After my extensive fabric search, I decided to go for a neutral scheme to enhance the versatility and longevity of the piece.  You all know me, who knows what color scheme I'm cooking up next season!  This piece of furniture is here to stay.

A few short weeks later, the new "old" sofa has arrived and I could't be happier!

Gift Wrapping is a must for the holiday season.  Here are a few of my creations this year.  I love these Canadiana cookie cutters from IKEA.  To teach Chris' nephews (from Germany) a few English words, I placed a sticker over each animal and wrote the name on it!  As for the Christmas card, I picked this "post animal" card from MoMA and added a little snow flake for the finishing touch.

I couldn't resist this adorable felt wreath!  To up the cute factor, I wrapped it with polka dot paper.

Did you pick up this salt and pepper shakers set from Indigo? I picked up this stylish duo for Chris' parents.

Chris' parents are more traditional, so I wrapped the shaker set like a Christmas cracker in classic red and green palette.

Gifts for colleagues: I picked up some tea from David's Tea and wrapped them with festive plaid fabrics.

Now for my gift to Chris, I found this German chocolate and a little card of St. Nicholas.

A few minutes of wrapping later, gift to Chris is finito!

Christmas Party at my place always involves baking.  Chris simply couldn't resist another opportunity to show off his culinary skills.  For this Christmas, we baked lavender short bread cookies.

Tasty and attractive looking, these cookies are the perfect take home gifts for our guests.

Hope you enjoy this special DIY edition and perhaps to try some of these DIYs at your own home.


  1. Such FABULOUS DIY's Tim - each one so original and creative! No wonder you place looked smashing for the holidays!

    Sorry to hear about the sore thumb. I should have passed on tips too for cutting the plexiglass! If you do this again, all you need to do is score your line a few times with your box cuttters (or any straight blade tool), and then "break" the plexiglass over the edge of a countertop.

    Wishing you a happy new year!

  2. Lovely post Tim!!! You're so's unreal ;) Hope you have a very Happy New Year! Cheers.

  3. Sarah @lovelaughshopDecember 30, 2011 at 7:17 AM

    That sofa is SO coming to live at my house with Lindsay's desk. I am in love with all of it Tim!

  4. I bought those salt and pepper shakers as well!! So sweet!!!

  5. Thanks Jen for the tip! I will try it again. That plexiglass cutting process of mine was not recommended. And since I had to cut it so hard and so many times, I scratched the top a few times too, and the edges were not as smooth as I thought. Lucky me they didn't show at the end because I used it against a white paper.

    Thanks Amy and Sarah! and Sarah, I found a similar one at Frontier online, but of course it was sold just a couple of days ago :(

    @ Emilija .. . aren't those shakers lovely? I got an extra pair for myself as well!