How to Train Clematis Now for Beautiful Blooms By Summer

We inherited the clematis that is growing in our front yard when I bought the house, but it was obvious that the structure wasn’t allowing the plant to reach its full potential. You may have seen that we built a new trellis out of cedar to give the plant more structure to grow width and height-wise (more about trellises and privacy screens here and here).First Trellis Project_measuring

The one thing that I didn’t touch on in those posts was the best way we found to train the clematis onto the trellis. Left without proper support, clematis can tend to flop onto the ground and grow out from the sides leaving it in unattractive lumps – and sometimes even lopsided when left to its own devices.

Each spring when the new growth reaches about a foot, I cut short and long lengths of a velcro product made just for the purpose of tying and supporting plants. I loop and fasten them onto the trellis when it’s still bare so it’s ready-to-go. You may think it looks ugly to have loops of velcro hanging from an empty trellis, but trust me – the plant grows so fast, it doesn’t stay this way for long and the green blends right in once it’s covered.

Note that once you’ve cut your lengths of plant tie velcro initially, you can reuse them again next year!

In the past, I find if I don’t prepare the trellis in advance by adding the ties to the empty trellis, then I won’t be  likely to get out the scissors, roll of velcro and maintain the clematis every time it needs support… which ultimately leads to a messy outcome.

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Here’s how the bottom of the plant looks in the spring when the bottom growth is fastened onto the trellis with the velcro. It’s neatly arranged and tied off so that the trellis will get full coverage once the plant grows further.

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I make sure to have a variety of velcro lengths because I use the shorter ones to attach initial growth and the longer ones to corral all the offshoots (these get looped through the plant itself and not the trellis).

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In the blink of an eye, the clematis can grow several feet in a day so if the velcro is already there and waiting, it’s just a matter of arranging the new growth into columns and fastening it into place by unlooping the velcro from the trellis, placing the vines in between and then re-fastening it. It literally takes a few minutes whenever I’m coming or going to finesse the plant for greatness. It couldn’t be easier!

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Once established after just a few days, you can see that new growth tends to flop outward as shown in the next two pictures.

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This is where you’ll use some of the longer loops to reel in the plant and fasten it onto previous growth – where there’s no exposed trellis left to attach to as shown below.

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Just bundle it up and secure it on by looping the velcro through the plant and around the new growth. Don’t worry that it looks too clumped together. The velcro will be completely hidden as it continues to grow.

Continue to utilize the shorter pieces of velcro to secure clematis onto the sides and interior of the trellis where there’s still exposed wood.

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Before you know it, your clematis will reach the top  (this pic is from a previous year as it’s not currently at that point yet!).

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When the clematis runs out of trellis, it will fold over on itself and start to bloom.


Since mine hasn’t reached the point this year where it’s fully grown yet, here’s how it looks once it’s trained and blooming (again, from a previous year):




The blooms are so pretty and add beautiful curb appeal to the front entry. At the end of the season, don’t forget to remove all the velcro ties to re-use for next year! Our particular clematis gets cut down to about a foot or so to overwinter and always comes back like a trouper every spring 🙂

If you enjoyed this post, please pin and share. And don’t forget to follow us here at Birdz of a Feather Home (link in the footer) or on Bloglovin’ (link at the end) if you’re interested in seeing other DIY home and garden projects. Also check out my new blog, Birdz of a Feather ~ Craft Rehab, dedicated to sustainable crafting. At Craft Rehab, you’ll find ideas and videos for unique craft projects such as this cool Austin Powers Cardboard Portrait and more!


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How to Hide an Electrical Panel in a Finished Basement

Some electrical panels are perfectly fine hidden behind a metal door but when we finished our basement and had to increase the size of our the panel even more to accommodate the electrical needs for my craft room and the mancave, it looked horrendous.

Here are a few pictures of the ‘before’:



The electrical panel ended up in Hub’s mancave and he claimed responsibility for making it presentable. With the drywall installed however, there was still a large gaping hole – ugh!

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After my craft room was complete, hubs couldn’t wait to move his furniture into his mancave and put up a little decor so he could start enjoying his space too. Hiding the electrical panel fell by the wayside for what seemed like ages. Below you can see the electrical panel in the corner, detracting from the beauty of the space as hubs is installing an airplane propeller on the soffit over the entryway to the mancave.

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Hubs did such a phenomenal job framing and dry walling that it was a shame to leave the panel exposed; I really couldn’t appreciate all his hard work when a big piece of the room was left unfinished. I wasn’t sure how he would execute a finished look, but before the Christmas holidays, I thought I’d surprise him with some artwork until he was ready to come up with a final solution to frame it out.

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If you follow our blog, you know we love our Beetle (it’s even featured on a bank of storage drawers in my craft studio as you’ll see later)! This is what I had in mind for his mancave to cover the panel: it’s a graphic of a Beetle that’s made up of the names of the Beetle in different languages around the world. If you look closely, you can also see in red  the phrase “I do not like them in a car”. That happens to be one of hubs’ favourite phrases from Dr. Seuss (and his e-mail signoff), so I had to include it! However, in the end, he ixnayed my idea 😦

Electrical Panel_Beetle

Hubs REALLY wanted to put his own stamp on the electrical panel, since it was in his space, so I ended up turning the Beetle graphic into a long sleeved T-shirt for him instead (which he loved):

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Anyway, after Christmas, Hubs finally got around to framing the panel with aluminum channel he bought at a specialty metal shop. He drilled holes through the back of the channel, then screwed it into the wood frame with the thinnest screw head he could find so the poster board cover wouldn’t catch on the screws when it slides in and out.

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The gaping hole went from this:


….to this, but only temporarily. I think he was tired of hearing me comment on how it looked every time I passed through to get to my craft studio. So he slid some foam core into the channel; he found posters for two of the three panels. It’s only a interim solution until he decides what he really wants to display there.


Once the final artwork is in place, he’ll close off the end with another piece of aluminum channel. The beauty of it is that it’s easily removable for easy access if we ever need to get into the electrical panel.

In retrospect, there are two things I would change. I wish hubs was able to center the framing over the sofa; we’ll just have to add more artwork to balance it out. Also,  if I knew what hub’s plans were for the metal channel, I would have suggested a double channel so the panels could slide to the side without being removed completely. Two things to think about it when you’re planning your own basement space! However, we won’t have to access it very often, if at all, and he’s happy with the functionality and practicality of it. I’m just happy that I don’t have to look at the wire monster anymore!

I’ve been wanting to reveal the mancave for weeks but because the electrical panel is still unfinished, it thwarted my plans. Hopefully hubs will decide on what exactly he wants to display in front of the panel, but for now, here’s a glimpse of how the electrical panel could look with one of our pictures from a holiday in Niagara Falls. I think the greens and blues are a nice accent to his burgundy La-Z-Boy leather sofa! But if I know Hubs, he’ll just say that water and electricity don’t mix 🙂

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Next week, I’ll be showing you how to make the pipe leg side table shown below. Hubs just finished the top for it!

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The electrical panel makeover is one more thing to (almost) check off our list as we complete our basement reno!  In the meantime, if you haven’t yet seen my craft room (which is also in the basement) and are interested in how it turned out , click on the picture below for the final reveal and tour:


On the renovation front one floor up, we recently knocked down a wall in our dining room and installed shoji screen sliding doors (which we designed and built ourselves):


We also did a complete staircase makeover on the main level:

Complete staircase and landing_BOF

If you enjoyed this post, please pin and share. And don’t forget to follow us here at Birdz of a Feather Home and check out my new craft blog, Birdz of a Feather ~ Craft Rehab. At Craft Rehab, you’ll find ideas and videos for unique craft projects such as this Austin Powers Cardboard Portrait…..


……this soda bottle vertical garden; it’s easy and friendly on the environment too!

Soda Bottle Vertical Garden

…..and for the great outdoors, why not try making your own front porch privacy screen:

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Spring Cleaning a Slipcovered Ikea Sofa: Try This at Home!

Now that Spring has sprung, it’s time for a little spring cleaning! Upholstered couches are great, but washable slipcovers are even better!
Each spring we like to get a fresh start by starting with our sofa and switching up our decor. Our Ikea Karlstad couch is white, so it shows every speck of dirt, and was in dire need of cleaning. However the washing instructions say not to put the slipcover the dryer, so we’d be without it for the full day it takes to dry. What happens when the cover is in the wash and you don’t have a spare in the interim?
The solution? A full-sized (double) fitted bed sheet, the kind with the elasticized corners like the retro one shown below. We just happened to have it in our linen closet and it fits perfectly in a pinch while the slipcover dries!

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In hindsight, another colour sofa might get more mileage between cleanings but I love the fresh look of white. For that reason, I don’t think it’s a hardship for the sofa to look like this for a day while we launder our one and only slipcover:

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Our interim solution allows us to continue to use our sofa while the cover is air drying – and it’s a great repurpose of a full-fitted sheet!
We only removed the seat and back cushion covers – to remove the back and armrests would have meant we’d have to take the entire couch apart to get it all off. Since it was in good shape, we found that a good vacuum with a special upholstery attachment was all it needed to freshen it up again.

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The upholstery attachment has a nubby strip that catches all the dust and lint so it’s definitely worthwhile to invest in one:

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We vacuumed not only the parts we left out of the wash, but also the fabric on the seat cushions and back to get as much dust off before washing. Since they can’t go into the dryer, if you don’t remove the dust first, most of it will still be there when it comes out of the wash.

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I removed the seat and back cushions so I could vacuum underneath them and in all the crevices along the back and sides. Once everything was vacuumed, we unzipped all the cushions and stripped off the slipcovers.

Karlstad Sofa Cover_zippered cushion_fin

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Then we put all the bare cushions back on the sofa and threw on the fitted sheet. I was surprised that it fit so well in both the width and length and there was still plenty of extra to tuck it all in!

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If we had gone to the extent of taking apart the couch to wash everything, I would’ve added in a few regular pillows with matching pillow cases to protect the ends of the sofa while the cover is in the wash, as shown below:

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Once the sofa covers came out of the wash, we had to get creative finding a place to dry them. We used the shower rod in one of our bathrooms and a clothing rack to drape them as they dried. Even if they could be machine dried, air drying is a much more sustainable option and saves $$’s too, so it’s a win-win!

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After they’re dry, the slipcovers will be quite wrinkled so should be ironed. I used a steam iron on the cotton setting and pressed them on the wrong side.
Even after vacuuming, there’s still going to be some lint! To finish them off, I went over each one on the right side with a lint roller to get off all remaining traces of lint.

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At this point you can take off the temporary floral sheet, put the slipcovers back on the couch and your spring cleaning is done!
The floral sheet is great for spring cleaning purposes, but if you have a white Karlstad couch like us, you could even consider using a solid white fitted sheet as a slipcover for everyday use and then whip it off for company. We picked one up at Ikea (Somntuta) and find that using a fitted sheet on a daily basis gives the Karlstad slipcover even more mileage between washings!

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To de-winterize our look, we switched out the artwork and accessories and plumped out the sofa with some seasonal pillows; now we feel ready for the spring and summer season ahead 🙂

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If this project has inspired you to tackle some spring cleaning around your home, please pin and share!

We’ve used Ikea pieces in other areas of our home, but we have more fun when we hack them!  In the kitchen, for instance, we took an Ikea Stenstrop Kitchen Cart and added in removable drawers (in case we ever wanted to convert it back).


At Birdz of a Feather, we’re feathering the nest… one room at a time. Follow my blog here (link in the footer) or on Bloglovin’ (link below) if you’re interested in seeing other DIY projects and hacks, in and around the home.

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Corner Fireplace Makeover

There was nothing redeeming about the house I bought when I was single, and still own today, save for the walk-in closets in the bedrooms (what shoe-loving girl wouldn’t love that)!

Once of the worst features was the fireplace. Don’t you just hate corner fireplaces? I don’t understand why builders install them. Here’s how our fireplace looked before we bought the house:

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One day when I was at work, hubs enlisted a friend to make it over. They started by busting out the hearth. Luckily the former owner had left a box of tiles for just such an occasion.


As you can see from the picture above, the brick is just awful; the builder used the same rough brick that was on the exterior of the house.  To combat the lint trap, we refaced the brick with cement board to smooth it out.

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Since the brick was so uneven, shims and cement were used to fill the gaps and provide a level surface for the cement board. The board was set into the wet cement and then screwed into the brick with masonry screws to hold it securely.

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Hubs and his friend did a beautiful job of skim coating over the entire surface after the board was up but forgot about the tape. It’s not necessary to skim coat the whole surface, but don’t be tempted to skip the tape and mud because the seams will crack and ruin your final finish.  I only discovered that little known fact about the missing tape a few weeks later when my beautifully applied venetian plaster developed cracks! I had to tape over the seams and start the whole mudding and finishing process all over again. I guess that’s what happens when a women isn’t there to supervise 🙂

Moving right along, I tackled the disgusting firebox which was covered with years of soot. I started off with soap and water, but had to resort to a chemical cleaner. It was better after scrubbing but still showed the telltale signs of neglect.

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Right after that is when I applied the venetian plaster – the first time!



After a few layers, letting it dry in between, I then sanded it to a smooth lustrous finish:corner-fireplace-makeover-122_bof

Now I had to tackle patching the floor tile.


Demolition is my favourite part; I smashed out areas of half tile so I could add full pieces back in.

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Once the area was cleaned of debris, I started the process of re-tiling. I built the underlay up to the same height as the rest of the floor by inserting a piece of leftover cement board over the plywood.

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I filled in the field tiles.


As I measured the ones that had to be cut, hubs cut those for me as I went.


I let the thinset dry for a day. The picture below is just before I grouted the tile.


You couldn’t even tell the floor was repaired after it was grouted!

Here’s how the fireplace looked for a few years before we got tired of it and moved onto phase II of our makeover:

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The room was ok for a few years, but it was repainted and redecorated to make it more bright and airy! A custom made sisal area rug was cut to the shape of the room to hide the majority of the original ’80’s tile floor, leaving just enough of a border around it so you can still see my tile repair work 🙂


Here’s another reminder of the before:

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Now, it’s so cozy at night when it’s lit:

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The installation of a new gas fireplace is a welcome addition for the warmth (and now I don’t have to look at soot residue either)!

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Looking back on pictures of how the house looked when I first bought it, it has come such a long way. I’m sure the previous owner wouldn’t even recognize it now.

Like so many of our other updates, cosmetic changes can have a big impact.Covering up the ugly brick took the fireplace from dated to modern and was well worth the effort!


For more home improvement and DIY ideas, check out the home page for a listing of projects.

You might also be interested in my new craft blog where I just posted a tutorial and video for this remote control holder I made hubs for his mancave. You can find it here.

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If you enjoyed this post, please pin and share. Follow us either on Bloglovin’ or right here at Birdz of Feather and you’ll get an e-mail whenever we post.

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Duct Tape Pop Art Portrait

Watch the video of me making a duct tape portrait to reveal whose portrait I’m making.

All you need is duct tape in about 9 different colours (the more, the merrier), scissors, a piece of foam core or plastic for the backing and a paper cutter (the paper cutter is optional).

When I get 50 subscribers to my Youtube channel, I will post the full how-to tutorial on Birdz of a Feather Craft (my new blog site dedicated to crafts and hacks) so you can make one too. While you’re at it, subscribe to my new blog too!

Sharing the video in your social media groups will help me get to 50 new subscriptions faster so help make that happen! Hopefully I’ll see you soon at Birdz of a Feather Craft with the full tutorial!

If you enjoy home and garden projects, follow us right here on Birdz of a Feather Home (link in footer or on homepage) or Bloglovin (link below) and you’ll get an e-mail next time I post a new home-related project.

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Industrial Bottle Display Shelf

A few years ago, we took a trip to Dundurn Castle on a beautiful summer day and I snapped a shot of a car that was being used for a wedding taking place on the grounds. On a whim, I posted the photo to the Jones Soda site on the off chance they would use it for one of the labels on their pop bottles.

I soon forgot about it and about 8 months later, I got a letter in the mail congratulating me on being chosen for one of their production runs and a few copies of the actual label with my photograph of the car on it!

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Hubs was so excited he went on the hunt to find my lable on the myriad of bottles being sold in convenience stores and he was able to find four of them over a few week period! We’re not soda drinkers, but the color of the pop in the bottle was a stunning yellow so we put them away in the cupboard for an idea to strike on how to display them one day.

Now that my craft studio is just about complete, the entryway was looking a little boring and bare – with the exception of the awesome chalkboard hubs made for over the pocket doors and surprised me with! That sliver of wall was going to be the perfect spot to display my bottles.

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You can watch the full video before you read the how-to:

Hubs gathered up some items:

  • Green painters tape
  • Screws
  • A scrap piece of cedar upcycled from a fence project. It was cut down to 20 1/2″ long and was 4 3/8″ wide by about 5/8″ thick.

He drilled three circular recesses into the wood to hold the bottles and spaced them 5 1/4″ on centre from the middle. Each circle was 2 3/8″ wide by 1/4″ deep; just deep enough so the bottle would nestle into the recess and not tip over.

Then some gas pipe fittings. He worked with 1/2″ material:

  • Two flanges
  • Two caps
  • Two clamps
  • Two pipes measuring slightly longer than the width of the board (ours measured 5″ long)

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Hubs mapped out the studs on the wall and prepared all the measurements. He also marked the centre of the board and approximately where the supports would be located.

To tie it all in, I enlarged a picture of the actual car I had shot to 18″ x 24″. I framed it so we could hang it above the bottle display shelf.

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For the supports underneath the shelf, we used the 5″ gas pipe, a flange, a cap, some screws and a clamp for each one. Hubs used some bluing liquid to turn the screws and clamp black to match the pipe, then cleaned the pipe with mineral spirits and sealed everything with spray lacquer, as he did for the industrial inspired table he recently did for his mancave.


I was originally going to hang the picture at eye level and we even put it up on the wall, but then we realized that it had to be much higher to make the proportions work once the shelf was in place. Oh well, luckily the hole gets hidden by the picture!

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Once we found the height of the top of the picture, we marked it with some green tape. Then it’s just a matter of measuring from the top of the frame down to the hanger wire on the back of the picture.

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Our measurement was 2″, so that determines how far below the green tape on the wall the hanger will get nailed into the wall. Don’t forget to also measure for the horizontal centre of the wall to position the picture hanger.

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Then nail the picture hanger into the drywall:

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Once the picture was hung, we turned our attention to the shelf. My husband predrilled holes for the flange in the drywall and then screwed them into place. Note that if there are no studs beneath, you will need to add drywall anchors to support the weight of the shelf on the wall. Then he placed the shelf over the supports, positioned the clamps over the pipe and marked the underside of the board so he could also pre-drill the holes for the clamps.

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Once the holes were drilled, he then positioned the shelf onto the supports again, popped the clamps over the pipes from below the shelf and screwed the clamps onto the underside of the board.

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As an aside, because we had access to the wall in between the pocket door and we didn’t hit a stud on the side closest to the door, hubs was able to add a piece of plywood behind the drywall to screw the flange into. Otherwise, we would’ve had to add some plugs to the wall before we added the flange.

It was only then that we realized that the car on the lable was a mirror image of the picture I took – how cool is that!

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Hubs likes to restore vintage heaters and has a collection of them. Our last bit of staging was to add one of them in the corner underneath the shelf. Given the black and yellow colour, it was like it was all meant to be together! He gave the heater needed a bit more height by placing a wine box underneath it (a good call on his part!).

Now it all relates; I love how the black, white, yellow and wood tones came together in the end but in an upcoming post, my entry doors are about to get a blast of colour of their own! Come back in a few weeks to see the reveal of the doors; it will be the final project to finish off my craft studio.

Practically, there may not be many of you that would display a pop bottle (unless there are some Jones soda pictures that strike your fancy and you want to display them like I did). However, our shelf idea would also work great to display special wine bottles combined with a picture – or grouping of pictures – of where they were shared!


Speaking of my craft studio, that’s a great segue to remind you that I’ve started a new blog site specifically for crafts. Check out Birdz of a Feather craft at this link. I have a cool industrial remote control caddy coming up, so follow if you want to receive new projects via e-mail when I post! Here are a few of the projects you’ll find at Birdz of a Feather craft:

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Not into bottles, but interested in building your own custom ledge to display pictures? Have a look at this post:


If you enjoyed this post, please pin and share.

Follow us right here on Birdz of a Feather (link in footer or on homepage) or Bloglovin (link below) and you’ll get an e-mail next time I post a new home-related project.

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Bathroom Vanity Makeover

You may recall the bathroom renovation we completed for my Mom last year. When we revealed it, we still hadn’t painted the vanity we saved from going to the landfill.

Here’s how it looked before:

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When the guys came to install the glass shower doors, they could be heard laughing away when they first arrived: undoubtedly, they thought the vanity was going to stay that way!  I have to admit that once we renovated the bathroom, the vanity did look like the ugly duckling. I couldn’t wait to pick a paint colour and breathe new life into it too!

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Hubs tackled this project because painting is his forte. He started by removing all the doors and hardware.


He cleaned the surface of the cabinet fronts and vanity and gave it all a light sanding. He actually did a paint test on one of the doors to see if he would need primer first and determined he didn’t need it. He painted the doors and drawers with a spray gun to give it a professional looking finish, but he had to paint the rest of the unit on-site by hand.

He put down a paint cloth on the floor so he wouldn’t accidentally spill on the new tile.

Then he taped off all the areas he didn’t want to get paint on. The side walls and floor got protective paper and painters tape, while underneath the countertop etc. he only put painters tape.

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Here’s a reminder of some of the tiles we chose for the floor and walls.

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I chose a mid-tone blue paint for the cabinet to coordinate with these colours.


Hubs applied 3 light coats of the paint (he did it over the course two days to let it dry between coats).

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Once everything was dry, he put the doors back on their hinges and hung the doors.


The finishing touch was to install new cabinet pulls in a chrome finish.


In the vanity area, we replaced the mirror, lighting and countertop but I’m so glad we kept the old vanity! Why throw away something perfectly good when a little work and prep can make it look brand new again? Here’s a shot of the before and during….


…and a final reveal of the after. Unfortunately I shot this picture at night, so it looks washed out and you don’t get the full beauty of the colour, but it looks stunning in person! If only the shower glass door installers could see it now!

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If we had only done the vanity area, it would have made a huge improvement to the bathroom, but we did a full renovation for my Mom and it turned out better than I ever expected. To see the full post, where I show you how to maximize bathroom space, click here.


In an upcoming post, we’ll be showing you how we made over our fireplace taking it from this…


… to this:


Other renos we’ve recently completed include removing a wall and installing sliding doors in our dining room…..


…and of course my new craft studio!


There are tons of other home and garden ideas on our home page, so have a browse.

And if you haven’t done so already, visit my sister blog site and subscribe! Birdz of a Feather Craft  is where I showcase inspiring craft ideas and hacks like the one coming up where I take an empty dental floss container that was about to be tossed out and turn it into….. well, you’ll just have to subscribe to find out!

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If you enjoyed this post, please pin and share! If you’re new to Birdz of a Feather, you can follow us  right here (link in footer or on homepage) or Bloglovin (link below) and you’ll get an e-mail next time I post a new home and garden project.

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