A very dear friend of ours had his birthday coming up. We were at a loss when it came to what birthday gift to get him. We wanted it to be something truly unique and still cool and hip and reflecting his vibrant personality.
So, I set out to create a painting themed after his favorite recreational sport: biking. Here is a step by step description of what I did. In the end, I liked it so much, I created three similar paintings that are now hanging above our couch in the living room!
I have been fascinated by the newest trend in interior design to use poufs as seating furniture, ottomans, and foot stools. There are some options to purchase online, such as the lovely ottomans by Christien Meindertsma featured on my homepage. A more affordable option are the cb2 poufs that offer similar texture and are offered in two colors (orange red and grey). Either options were out of my price range as I was determined to not spend over $50 for additional seating in our living room. As I was researching my next DIY project, I came across this wonderful blog describing how to make a pouf at home (you can view it here).
What a delight! It took many hours, several hundred yards of natural jute, sore arms and hands, and an hour of tugging and pulling, and voila! I have my very own pouf.
Some 20 years ago or so I was taught by my all-loving grandmother how to knit. Given I am now 25, my memories were quite elusive. However, being determined as I am, I looked up basic instructions on how to knit (see them here).
I wanted to make sure that first and foremost I will not be spending money on a project I have no capabilities to finish. So I knitted a mini version of the future full-sized pouf...
This mini is now proudly Kirra's toy. At the time, however, it gave me enough evidence to go on to step 2...
Knitting, knitting, knitting......... You get the point. 50 inches of knitting later, I had a decently sized and looking rectangle.
Hands-down the most challenging part of this project is closing the pouf. It very well may be because of my lack of understanding of the instructions. Or, maybe it is just hard. But it took a lot of pulling and stretching. And a very bruised hand the next morning. But it was all done in the name of great DIY projects!
I filled my pouf with one comforter and two pillows. I was under the impression that my one comforter would be plenty to fill it. I was wrong. Nonetheless, the pouf is now sturdy and comfortable to sit on, or use as a foot stool.
Yesterday I tried my hand at making jewelry for the first time.I got easily inspired by the miles of gorgeous beads and chains at the local hobby store (which I visited in order to purchase more natural jute for my pouf project).
One thing led to another, and I found myself checking out with a handful of jewelry gadgets and beads. I am definitely not great at it yet. Still have to discover how to bend and twist those wires in a neatly looking way. However, I had fun and today I am wearing my first creation to work.
Our townhome stairs had seen a lot of lovin' and the carpet truly showed it. Even though the design of the stairs was perfect (minimalist and clean), the carpet was an immediate turn-off.
We had already installed hardwood floors on our second floor to replace the original carpet of the house. The only carpet remaining was hugging those lovely stairs. It was a logical decision to get rid of it,right? So I did it (without my husband's knowledge). One Saturday morning, while he was coaching climbing, I tore all the carpet off the stairs.
Better ask for forgiveness than permission. Needless to say, I was not aware what I was getting myself into. It seemed like a two-day project at the time: remove carpet, prep stairs, paint, be done. It turned into an 10-day project with long nights and other "pleasant" side effects such as back pain and muscle soreness. Nonetheless, I could not be happier with our final product.
Here is how it went down:
1. Removing the carpet: fairly easy. It is a pretty straight-forward but messy job. I was glad to see it gone, especially after I saw how much dust and particles were embedded in it.
2. Removing the staples: not-so-easy. I was dumbfounded to find out exactly how many staples and nails went into carpeting these stairs. There must have been thousands of those suckers in all 14 steps. That was perhaps the most challenging and labor-intensive part of the project. Or so I thought until we got to step 3.
Unable to relax is something I am often called (primarily by my own husband). Perhaps because I have multiple projects happening at once, I have garnered a rather restless reputation. As I keep working my way into completing all those projects, I will share my progress here.
let the stairs shine through
design by Katya Popova-Sicilian © 2011
3. Routing slots for carpet tiles: definitely not easy. As I was looking at my bare new steps, I came up with the genius idea of embedding carpet tiles within each step (because laying them on top is just not enough). For this step of the project, we decided to buy a brand new router which my husband was supposed to master within a few minutes of using. Of course, he did... And then, three days later and 14 steps worth of routing, we had the slots we needed. That cost my husband about a week worth of intense core pain.
5. Painting: easy. One coat of Kilz primer and two coats of water-based trimming paint did the trick easily.
4. Embedding carpet tiles: fairly easy. I ordered some wonderful FLOR house pet tiles (you can find them here) and cut them to size. Then, all it took was placing them in their corresponding spots and the stairs were done!
5. Total project cost: primer $15 + paint $48 + router $89 + wood filler $6 + carpet tiles $87 = $245.
When we first bought our house, my husband and I were ecstatic that we had two old oak trees in our backyard. For such a small backyard, they provided enough shade for pleasant summer days without taking too much space.
However, after several hurricane seasons, it became clear that one of our beloved trees was practically dead and we had to act fast before this year's hurricane season. It was sad to see the tree leave. I was fairly upset we had to cut down such an old soul.
However, after cutting it down, it was very obvious the tree wasn't healthy and could have done much more damage. And, surprisingly, I loved not having a tree in front of our dining room sliding doors! I never realized how much sun was blocked by its sizeable trunk.
Taking down the tree was a messy business that left our yard in pieces. So, even though we were not exactly planning on it, our next major project ensued. We started the renovation of our yard!
Here is what we have so far. The project has long ways to go but I wanted to show our progress as we are moving along!