Thrift Store Keepsake Box – Para Paints Blog Crew Spring Fever

When the idea of a Para Paints Blog Crew Spring Fever Challenge was hatched I must admit to being a bit hesitant – I mean what would I paint? Sure, I still live in a condo with all white walls but, while I have vague ideas of what I want to do with the rooms, with school and work I simply haven’t had the chance to sit down and really figure out what colour(s) to use. I wish I was one of those people who can pick a colour out of a fan deck and immediately know that it’s the perfect colour for the space. I take a while pondering and second guessing myself and I didn’t have that much time for this project.

Anyways, once I committed (along with Meredith and Susan of Newberry Sykes, Tash and Kes from The Dream House Project,  Sabrina from the Pink Little Notebook, and Sara from Saige Wisdom) I decided that as this was a spring themed project I would try to do something fun with a used item – a renewal of something old which I thought was appropriate as spring brings a renewal of life (both for plants, and for us unfortunate humans who’ve been hiding from mean Mother Nature for months). I thought of reworking something I already had but in the end I found the perfect item at Value Village for just $1.99. Thrift Store Painted Wooden boxI’ve wanted one of these keepsake boxes since I first saw them a few years ago, but as they’re priced from $95 to $145 (US) each they are a bit too pricey for my ‘tuition-is-expensive’ pocketbook. When I saw this wooden box sitting on the shelf at the thrift store I knew what I would do with it. The box had been the recipient (victim?) of someone’s artistic touch, but I figured a bit of sanding and some primer and I’d be good to go. Famous last words.Thrift store wooden box insideI used Para BlockOut primer which worked wonders on the untreated pine of the box including a couple of knots, but strangely the little blue dots thwarted my efforts to remove them. I have a feeling the only thing that would have blocked the ink was something oil based which I didn’t have on hand since it tends to be smelly and I was painting in my dining room. As I planned to use dark paint on the top of the box and the worst of the dots were on the inside of the box (which would rarely be seen), I decided they just add a bit of character to my project. Besides – polka-dots are ‘in’ right?Wooden box painted whiteOnce I’d primed the box I added two coats of Jo Jo Whitewash (PF 17), and then it came time to tape off my borders.

I debated the size of the borders a bit, but eventually I decided that 1/2″ was the perfect size as the box is 14″ long. Taping didn’t take as long as I thought it might, and once it was completed I used an artist’s brush to paint some more Jo Jo Whitewash along the edge of the tape to try to eliminate any colour from seeping underneath. Painters tape added for the borderThe colour I chose for the box is called Rubber Boots (P5027-73D). I love the colour, but I think it was the name that sold me – can you think of a paint more perfectly named for a spring project? A couple of coats later and it was time to peel of the tape. I’ll admit to being nervous, and wondered if painting over the tape would make it hard to remove, or worse remove some of the paint entirely, but I had no trouble when I peeled it back slowly, and it revealed a crisp line.My new keepsake boxI’ve decided I’m going to store various keepsakes in the box. I’ve got some ‘First Home’ cards from when I moved into my condo, some recent birthday cards, pictures of friends and family, and a couple of pieces of jewellery (a bracelet from my Gran, a ring from my great aunt, and a bracelet I got for my first communion) that I don’t wear (but want to keep) and I think this will be the perfect place to store them all instead of in a few different places. For now my new keepsake box is sitting beside my TV, but I don’t think that will be it’s forever home I’ll probably move it to the bookcase, or maybe my bedroom. What do you think? Not bad for a thrift store box right? Wooden box Storing special keepsakesNow that you’ve seen my spring inspired paint project, I hope you’ll check out what each of the other members of the Para Paints Blog Crew created – click on the banners below. spring fever newberry sykes bannerThe Dreamhouse Spring Fever ChallengePinkLittleNotebook_SpringFeverSaige Wisdom Spring Fever Challenge BannerOnce you’ve been wowed by their projects I hope you’ll share one of your spring painting projects in the link-up below (You just have to share your project once, and it will appear of each of our blogs).

SPRING FEVER – Share your Spring paint projects!

A few simple rules:

  1. We ask that you only link projects that were created by you.
  2. You must link directly to a specific post.
  3. Do NOT link posts that are linked to your link party, shop or giveaway.
    If you do, YOUR LINK WILL BE DELETED

Be sure to follow each of your PARA Blog Crew hosts:

The Dreamhouse Project
Bloglovin’ ~ Twitter ~ Pinterest ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ Google+

Newberry Sykes
Bloglovin’ ~ Mere Twitter ~ Sue Twitter ~ Mere Pinterest ~ Sue Pinterest ~ Facebook

Pink Little Notebook
Bloglovin’ ~ Twitter ~ Pinterest ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ Google+

Saige Wisdom
Bloglovin’ ~ Twitter ~ Pinterest ~ Facebook ~ Instagram

Sweet Suite 10
Bloglovin’ ~ Twitter ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram

By linking up, you are giving us permission to feature your project on our blogs,
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Lastly, PLEASE VISIT & COMMENT ON OTHER LINKS!


DIY Birdfeeder

One of the classes I took last semester was Design Fundamentals, and one of the major assignments of the course was to design either a birdfeeder or birdhouse. When my instructor first told us about the assignment I wasn’t worried – I birdhouse couldn’t be too hard right? I mean, kids build them all the time in scouts and girl guides. It turns out I was a little misguided in my assumption of the project’s ease. Our projects had to be created out of materials that weren’t originally meant for either a birdhouse or feeder (this of course meant that we couldn’t buy a kit from the craft store and simply paint it – drat!).

Once I put my thinking cap on I came up with an idea I thought was pretty smart. My plan was to take a vintage suitcase and turn it into a birdhouse – I’d cut holes in it, and create vintage looking travel stickers depicting bird migration destinations. I ran into an unexpected problem however – have you ever tried to find a reasonably priced vintage suitcase in Toronto? I have, and I can tell you it’s not possible. I blame the hipsters.

Anyways, when it became apparent my genius (if I do say so myself) plan wasn’t going to work I had to come up with something else, and by then I had just a week to source materials and construct it. Unfortunately I faced a rather large problem – I had absolutely no idea what I was going to create. Searching the internet for inspiration was no help, so I did the only other thing I could think of – the weekend before the project was due I took an epic shopping trip to every thrift shop I could find between Toronto to Burlington looking for ideas.

I have no idea how many shops I went to. I bought random things here and there hoping I’d eventually be able to make them into something, but I still hadn’t had that ‘light bulb’ moment. Before heading back to Toronto I stopped in Ikea (on a Saturday afternoon – this should tell you how desperate for inspiration I was) and I found an item that finally looked hopeful.

I bought a white Skurar candle lantern and planned to turn it into a bird feeder. A few more stores over the next few days and I had all the rest of the materials I needed.

With just two days to complete the project I got started. I wish I could say I took process shots, but I was more worried about just completing the birdhouse which was worth 20% of my grade. The idea was to use the sippy cup to hold the seed and then attach it to the plate as the base of the feeder. The plate would hold the seed to also the birds to eat it, and give them a place to perch. The lantern would be tuned upside down over-top of the sippy cup to protect the seed from the elements and make it pretty. I also loved that the cut-out in the lantern would allow some of the colour of the sippy cup to shine thought – especially when it was sunny outside.

My first step was to drill a hole in the middle of the bottom of the lantern. I’d use that hole and the hole in the sippy cup lid where the straw would normally go to bolt the two pieces together with an eye bolt. The eye bolt would also be used to hang the bird feeder. Bolting the lid of the sippy cup to the lantern would allow the bird feeder to be easily refilled by simply unscrewing the cup bottom from its lid. My next step was to drill a series of holes around the base of the sippy cup to allow the birdseed to escape. I also drilled a hole in the middle of the bottom of the cup – my plan was to bolt the base plate to the bottom of the sippy cup. All of these steps, while a little time consuming were fairly straightforward and I started to believe my plan would work.

The last part of the plan was to drill through the dollarstore plate to allow it to be bolted to the bottom of the cup. I’ve drilled through some ceramic tile before so while I knew it would take some time I was confident it could be accomplished. I was wrong. I drilled, and drilled, and drilled, and drilled some more. My neighbours must have thought I was nuts. Over an hour later, and I’d only just managed to get through the plate but I still had hours of drilling left to make the hole big enough for the bolt. I gave up, and decided to take a chance with gluing the plate to the cup. I picked the plate up out of the sink where I was was drilling (I was using a bit of water to keep the bit cool), and started to dry it off.bang

I could have cried. There I was, on a Sunday night, and I’d just dropped and smashed the plate I’d just spent over an hour drilling, and I didn’t have a spare. Class was on Tuesday so I had just 24 hours to get another plate and hope and pray that gluing the plate would work as I no longer had any time to come up with an alternate plan.

DIY BirdfeederThankfully it turns out that two-part epoxy works really well at attaching plastic and ceramic together and my DIY bird feeder ended up looking like I had imagined it would. More importantly my bird feeder was appreciated by my instructor, and I got an 18/20 on the project.DIY Birdfeeder.DIY Birdfeeder in the sun.What do you think? Have you ever made a DIY birdfeeder? How did you do it?

Looking Back, and Moving Forward

Happy New Year! I hope you spent the Holiday Season eating WAY too much with your family and friends – I know I did. Toronto was hit with a rather destructive ice storm the weekend before Christmas but I was lucky enough to have escaped to my parents early Saturday morning before the fun started. My building didn’t suffer too badly with only two large branches down on our property, one of which may have damaged the car port, but I’m hoping that when the limb is removed it’s a quick fix. Unfortunately the power was off for almost three days so I had the lovely task of emptying my fridge and freezer when I returned to Toronto. Mother Nature – you owe me a couple of hundred dollars.

With the arrival of 2014 I’ve been thinking a lot about what I did (or didn’t) accomplish in 2013 and what I hope to do in 2014.  I blogged about my favourite posts in 2011, and 2012 so here goes for 2013 even though the pickings were a bit slim as I didn’t blog as much as in previous years.

In February I completed my DIY foyer Rug, and I’m happy to report it’s holding up pretty well.My DIY Foyer Rug in Place

In August I completed my very first set of pinch-pleated drapes for my bedroom. I’m still quite pleased with them, and hope to repeat the process for drapes in another room this year.Bedroom curtains

Also in August I shared my final project for my Intro. to Drafting course. Going back to school accounts for a large part of why I was more absent from my blog this year. I completed 3 more courses in December (I hope to post about a couple of project I completed for one of those classes soon).Intro to Drafting - LR Elevations

Fast forward to November and I showed you my DIY Boot Inserts. This reminds me – I need to make a second set for a pair of boots I got over Christmas.IMG_5170

In December I finally posted about the wonderful job my parents did in fixing my dining room.My newly repaired dining room

And lastly I shared some DIY Christmas ornaments that I’m quite pleased with.Art Deco Christmas Ball Ornament

As for 2014? I’ll be continuing with my studies this year and have already signed up to take 3 courses between January and April. There are some other courses I’d like to take as well, but we’ll see how these three go first. Wish me luck – it’s going to be a lot of work on top of my 9-5 job.

As for this blog? I’ve got some major plans for it as well which I hope to finish before the end of January. Here’s a hint – remember way back in 2011 when I wrote about not really loving the name of my blog? Well, I’ve made a decision.

In terms of ‘resolutions’ for 2014 I’ve again signed up for the Apartment Therapy January cure. If you remember I signed up last year and I made a big list of the things I wanted to complete. I was only somewhat successful, so I’ll work on the same list this year. If at first you don’t succeed – right?

Is anyone else working on some resolutions goals for the second time? Please tell me I’m not the only one.