10 Minute Fixture Makeover

My BFF and I have been taking turns working at each others houses lately.  Lots of work that we want to get done so our yards can look #awesome all summer long and for years to come.

Today I found some beautiful lavender and thyme perennials at Costco for CHEAP and that sparked up the want to get some flower beds finished that have been sitting idle for the past 2 summers.  Dilemma – I needed a rototiller to break up the dirt again because it’s been rock hard for a long time so I called my BFF C to come over.  She’s always there for me when I need her plus whatever tools I don’t have she usually has and we tradesies each other’s labour and get our jobs done in half the time.  Our kids play amazing together too so that’s a bonus, it keeps them out of our hair while we work even if they make an entire garden into a mud pie sometimes.

We’re both very like-minded women, we know what we want and when we want something done we do it ourselves; it’s faster than waiting for the Farmer or her husband, the Welder, to help us and it saves them from having to do more work around the home.   She’s a beaut.  I’m so incredibly blessed.  (PS, check out the two creepers in the back of this pic haha, Volbeat brings them all out!)

Me&MyBFF

While I was waiting for her to show up so we could #dowork today, I decided to do a quick change up in our ensuite.  I’ve slowly been replacing things here and there: changing pictures around, hanging new vinyl, touching up paint, making everything new again.  My staircase collage from January has been inspiring me to redo all over this house so I’m making the most of it.

I grabbed a can of matte steel spray paint and some Edison bulbs today because I haven’t been able to find the right fixtures to change out the ones we had (I also love to upcycle anything and everything because it means less goes to the dump and ruins Mother Earth).

I took down the fixtures, cleaned them off, removed the glass and bulbs, plugged the sockets with rolled up paper towel and proceeded to spray them with the paint.  Turns out I had a faulty can and I currently look like the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz but the fixtures look amazing so what do I care.  Once my hand was covered in paint I wasn’t stopping!

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I replaced the standard bulbs with Edison bulbs also.  If you don’t know what an Edison bulb is, it’s a really cool retro bulb with extra filaments that gives a room this incredibly warm and vintage feel.  The extra filaments throw light upwards and outwards and leave really neat patterns on the walls.  They come in lots of different shapes and filament patterns too – some even look like Christmas trees!  I’ll be seeing a lot more of these, especially when we get downstairs and start finishing our basement.

If you’re looking for an economical fix to change up the look and feel of a room in your home, try this before getting rid of your fixtures and buying all new ones.  For the cost of a $10 can of spray paint and some new bulbs (they’ll run you anywhere between $6 and $9 each depending on the style) you can have a next-level look with low-level wastage.  And that’s Canadian funds too so it’s even less for all my American shoppers out there.

And don’t be all “I’m gonna sue you, I electrocuted myself” on me, you need to use common sense and flip your breakers when you do this kind of work.  Be careful and cautious.

More coming soon in the DIY and outdoor gardening departments!  Now get out there and #dowork, Kim.

New Year, New Staircase

Happy New Year loyal followers!  I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas break and are enjoying the first few days of this, the middle year of the decade.

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything but I’m happy to be back in the swing again.  I love to take time off around Christmas to be with my loved ones, decorate, bake and create but the new year always brings about minimalist feelings for me as well as the urge to change up what I’ve looked at forever.

This is my staircase.  The photo is meant to showcase my Christmas decorations on my banister but you can see the framed prints in the background as well and that’s what I’m wanting to point out.

Christmas staircase

I bought these two prints from HomeSense in March 2007.  I saw them and fell in love knowing they would look wonderful hanging along my staircase once our house was done.  When we moved in in October 2007 I hung them and they’ve been there since.  Until two weeks ago when I walked by them and decided they’d had a good run and needed to come down.

I don’t change things up often but every now and then I get an urge and stuff gets moved around.  Never as bad as the Farmer’s Mum who moves cups, dishes and all her kitchen tools around so often I need to flip through 3 cupboards before I can find a water glass.  And it’s not just me because I know the Farmer Sr. has a hard time finding stuff too and he lives there!

Anyways, I digress.  I walked by those prints and decided they needed to come down so I took them down and patched the holes and was left with a blank canvas to work with.

Christmas staircase

It was empty like that for about a week while I decided what to hang there.  I was on Pinterest everyday looking for ideas and inspiration.  I found some neat collages using old barn windows (which I have a collection of), photo canvases, barn wood, vinyl art, and even yarn but nothing that was really jumping out at me.

We don’t have a lot of wall space in our house because we have a bunch of angled walls and a lot (and I mean a lot) of windows; there’s 16 just on our main floor.  There’s been small things hanging in small spaces all around my main floor all these years too so I decided to collect them all and see what it would look like.  Turns out, they all fit together perfectly and I made a large collage with them.

Staircase decor

There’s photos from our family photo shoot last fall, our trip to BC this summer, candids of the four of us from special weddings and events we’ve been a part of, the Farmer with his elk Norman, me with Harriet and Tess on my way back from Radium, our old barn, and special trinkets like our John Deere licences plates, what I like to call the “Farmer’s Creed” sign, and a few old boards with sayings I’ve collected throughout the years.  Oh and my super cool rustic star I bought from a silent auction this Christmas – love that star.  The only thing I’m missing is a large “D” to hang under the photo of the Farmer and Norman and I just haven’t had a chance to head into town to take a look for the right one yet.

I laid everything out on the floor first and moved things around as I needed to then started by hanging the Farmer’s Creed in the centre of the staircase and worked my way out from there.  I used a variety of colours, shapes and styles of frames and items that I collected from around the house which made it so easy to put together.

I’m sure there will be people out there that will look at that photo and say “what was she thinking?! That arrangement looks horrible!” but to me, it’s us.  It’s our family.  It’s our adventure.  It tells the story of our lives and I love walking by it everyday and enjoying all the memories displayed there.

What a wonderful year 2015 is going to be for me and our family.  Lots of exciting things on the horizon for my brand and for our farm plus we’re finishing our basement so there’s a lot of DIY in my future!  I can’t wait to make even more memories to post on my gallery wall and I wish for all of you the very same.

Make the most of this new year.  It’s a fresh canvas waiting for you to paint, don’t waste a day!  Set measurable realistic goals for yourself and work towards them everyday.  Eleanor Roosevelt said “the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams” and I couldn’t agree more.  Life is so much more exciting when you’re working with a purpose, enjoy!

Best regards for a happy, healthy 2015 from My Husband The Farmer and our family!  Kim.

Creativity: What Inspires You?

Because my work/life situation isn’t as conventional as most, I have the opportunity to use my surroundings a lot more than the majority of the population.  Although I have an office that I love to work in every day, I’m not chained to it and can shuffle between a few different spaces to maximize my grey cells.  Being able to have the freedom to choose where I’m working (even if it is just my bedroom, my garage, or my office) helps my creativity a great deal.  And since I work out of my home I can have my friends and family over whenever I’d like to host workshops for or bounce ideas off of.  Freedom – it’s an amazing catalyst for creativity.

For us, everything we need is right here because we’re a family unit of four; we all work together to achieve our goals.  For organizations with more employees, it’s a little more difficult to harbour a family-like environment in an office with walls of separation dividing everyone.  Until now.  In the early fall I was introduced to a company called WeWork, they’re huge proponents of “do what you love” and the basis of their company is to promote flexible, enriching environments for small and large businesses so resources are better utilized for entrepreneurial spirit, creativity and advancement.  They’re creating the family unit environment in offices in major cities all over the United States and Europe and organizations are knocking down their doors to get in on the action.

For entrepreneurs or freelancers that are only required to be in one place temporarily and don’t want to tie up funds with permanent office spaces, WeWork is the perfect solution.  They’re offices are accessible 24/7, they have a range of desk options to choose from as well as health benefit offers, and they co-brand with companies like Zipcar (the world’s largest car sharing company) and offer it to their customers at a reduced rate.  In a world where e-commuters are steadily on the rise, WeWork is an ideal solution for any business that requires flexibility.

All of my employees are four-legged so right now I’m not in need of these services but when I heard about it I loved the idea so much I had to share.   Just look around, maybe four walls isn’t what’s good for your business anymore.  Do you want to be inspired?  Maybe it’s time for you to leave it behind too.

Since I’ve been home and really embraced my role as the Farmer’s Wife, I’ve been working more and more towards my goals of live to work and not work to live just like WeWork does.  Living to work means loving what I’m doing and what I love is being creative.  And I’ve been told I don’t suck at it either.  I think it comes partly from genetics but partly from being able to look around and come up with more than one purpose in everything I see.

Example.  In the spring, I came across this old house.  It was abandoned but still had so much character.  The siding was painted red and all the doors and windows were intact (for the most part).  I’d guess it was built in the 1940’s or 1950’s, small a-frame with a quaint front stoop and 45 degree ceilings upstairs; I could just see a Farmer’s Wife from bygone days ringing a dinner bell on the porch.  I’ve always loved anything with character and antiquity that’s well-crafted so I wanted to save a little bit of this farm history.

We live in a small community so it wasn’t hard to track down the owner.  I found out the little house was scheduled to be demolished.  I would have loved to save it all but that was impossible so I asked if I could at least have the window frames and doors to repurpose and the owner agreed.  I didn’t know what I wanted to do with them yet but I just knew they had potential and I wanted to save them; there were many years left on their lives and I didn’t want a backhoe to cut them short.

The Farmer, Papa and I went there in June with crowbars and hammers and took them all out.  I brought them home and put them away because I wasn’t quite sure what projects I was going to make with them yet.  I spent most of the summer in the tractor but also was able to take in a lot of things in Alberta and BC on vacation.  I took in a lot of beauty and learned a lot of tricks that this fall I was ready to try out.

Antique Door

With mild difficulty, I brought the old door up to my garage workshop.  It’s solid wood and weighs around 80 pounds so it was a loooooong walk up here with it.  The backside of the door was discoloured from cigarette smoke and the outside was chipping, splintering and cracking from sun damage.  There was one broken window from an obvious “I forgot my key” incident, there were three extra holes drilled in it to house deadbolts and handles that were more burglar proof than the ones originally installed and both the escutcheon and original doorknob were MIA but I could not look past how beautiful the door was and just wanted to display it somewhere; I decided to turn it into a welcome sign and showcase it on our porch.

Welcome Door

 When I was in Radium for the car show this year, I stopped into a quaint, inviting shop in Invermere called The Painted Porch and met the owner, Teresa.  She was incredibly helpful and obliging and told me all about her secrets, techniques and tips for using chalk-style paint.  She repurposes and creates with anything and everything and also retails The FAT Paint Company – a Canadian born company out of New Westminster, BC that’s perfected chalk-style paint and come up with an amazing brand of their own.

I asked Teresa about shipping because I’d never seen or heard of FAT Paint in my area and although she does ship, she told me about Twila from Marmie’s Empty Nest in Camrose, AB.  I called her up when I got home and my BFF and I took a workshop from her at the beginning of October.  I came out of there with all the supplies I needed to transform my door into the vision I had in my head for it.

I started by sanding down the door and then washing it with hot water and vinegar.  I had to scrape a lot of old paint off the windows that had been there from any one of the white, blue, green, or grey paint jobs the door had gone through over time and when that was done I washed it all again.  I puttied the extra holes up so it looked as close as possible to it’s original condition and then I sanded once more.

After that, the fun part began.  I dry brushed the door in FAT Paint Bitter Chocolate and let it dry.  Then I sporadically added FAT Paint Tuscan Sun as an accent and finally, I painted the entire door in FAT Paint Parchment.  Once the last coat was dry, I started to sand it all back and expose the different colours.  FAT Paint is so versatile.  It can be painted onto virtually anything to give it a facelift and there’s a lot less prep work required than with regular paints and stains.  I didn’t need to strip the door of it’s many colourful layers, just sand it smooth and start painting!  The best part was that once I started to sand back the layers, the original white layer came through too adding one more dimension.

FAT Paint - Bitter Chocolate, Tuscan Sun and Parchment

Final touch was the doorknob and, of course, vinyl decals; I don’t do many projects that exclude WordPlay Designs.  I’ve been a consultant for almost 7 years now and I love it because it’s so versatile and can take any project from beautiful to AMAZINGLY WONDERFUL.  I added a custom “Home Sweet Home” graphic to the centre window and a personalized welcome greeting to the panel below the window.  The doorknob was a cool find from Winners a few months ago and adds a great finishing touch and then the entire piece was waxed with FAT Paint Natural.  

Welcome to the Ducherers'

After all that, all that was left was to get it onto the porch and set up the rest of my outdoor decorations.  There is no such thing as too many Christmas decorations at our house.  I love the spirit of this season so much, it warms my heart immensely.  The time I spend with our family and friends, the giving, the decorations, the music, the magic.

Christmas Porch

So there you have it.  An incredibly long post about creativity and how you can increase your creative juice flow.  I hope I’ve been able to inspire you a little bit whether it’s through DIY, upcycling or even corporately.  If any of this interests you, please check out the links embedded in the post.  They’re products I recommend and love to work with and I hope you will too!

Welcome Door

Christmas is upon us and what better time of year to take what’s around you and turn it into something meaningful and festive for the season?!  I wish you all happy creating and hope I’ve left you inspired.  Cheers!  Kim.

The Importance of Family

I love my family so much.  They are really the meat and potatoes of my life.  This week we went for supper and swimming with the Farmer’s brothers and their families and that was just peachy.  The Farmer, the Daughters and I love swimming but it was such a treat to go with his brothers, my sisters and my niece and nephew too.  I just LOVE.  THEM.  SO.  MUCH.

Other than swimming, I’ve been off the grid this week.  You see, I had this evil plan to punish the Farmer Sr. for being the kind, generous, giving and loving man that he is so I decided to switch around the laundry room and the office at their house while they were away playing in Vegas for the week.  Really now, I teed it up as a mega-suprise for my Mum (the Farmer’s Mom) because she’s been saying for at least 13 months that she’s wanted to do it but the reason she’s been saying for 13 months she wants to do it and hasn’t actually done it is because the Farmer Sr. DID NOT want to do it.  Hence, the title of this blog – The Importance of Family.  When you love your family unconditionally, they can’t disown you if you (or me in this case) decide to do something like this.  Plus, this gives him the upper hand the next time he wants something REALLY bad.  (See Dad, I was thinking of you all along!)

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They left Sunday morning and got back Thursday afternoon so I really had about 4 days to get all the work done and if you consider I have to run my own life in that time as well, it was tight but I started planning this about 5 weeks ago so, cross my fingers there were no big hiccups, I hoped it would all go over smoothly.

I have an amazing friend who happens to be a plumber and a good friend from high school who is an electrician plus the Farmer can do anything he puts his mind to (except mudding and taping, but we have another bestie that can rock that) so coordinating the job was done.  All I had to do now was the labour.  No big deal.

So I’ll start with some before pictures, this is the office/toy room when we arrived Sunday morning.

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Lots of light, a really fresh colour and right beside the garage entrance so it’s a great place to have the washing machine, especially when you live on a farm.  There’s a bathroom off this room also but right now it was doubling as craft storage.  I took care of that also.

This was the laundry room/appliance pantry.  A chest freezer, standup freezer, refrigerator, washer and dryer were all in here.

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Really relaxing warm colour, south-facing with lots of light and warmth and the perfect size for an office for one.  The room used to be squared off so it wasn’t so limiting but when the Mum renovated their ensuite they stole a little room from an unused closet in here so the washer and dryer ended up not squared off and it’s become a little tight.

Next step?  Manual labour.  I just started moving things out of here and there and everywhere.  The kitchen and dining area were full of everything and there was a deep freeze plugged in in the hallway for a bit but at 5:07pm Thursday afternoon I (with great help and support from the Farmer) had everything out back together.  Not bad considering they pulled in the yard at 5:41pm.

The plumbing was done Sunday, electrical done Monday and the only drywall that needed to be replaced was a small piece on one wall.  That was also amazing since the electrician wired up a 220V for the dryer and dedicated plugs each for the washer and refrigerator and they weren’t on the same walls.  Only one small piece of drywall came out for the plumbing and that work was done in about an hour.  These two are so professional and I would highly recommend their services to anyone.  And for anyone looking for carpentry or full renovations, please check out Ask Homes & Renos, they’re local to us and I used to work with the owner.  He’s also highly qualified and professional and I built his website so I like showing it off.  How do you like that?  I plugged myself on my own blog, win win!

Push, lift, grunt, haul, repeat.  That’s how the next few days went.  While Mum was being picked on in Brad Garrett’s comedy club and less than 24 hours before they came home, this is what the laundry room looked like.

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Panic attack!  Wednesday night was stressful for me.  That’s when the Farmer came to my rescue.  I had already moved the washer, dryer and the upright freezer but needed to get the desk into the office and the chest freezer out and he was right there to help.  I got the desk in and on a recycled rug that came out of the living room and finished up the office late Wednesday night.

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I put together one of the wicker shelving units that had some parts missing, changed out two really old, dated flourecent fixtures with a flush-mount and a brand new ceiling fan, repainted the shelf in the corner to match the new digs, stole a plant from here and there and a console table from the hallway, hung the pictures and the clock and voila! New office.  Finishing touch?  WordPlay Designs, of course.

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Thanks to the Farmer’s Brothers, the drywalling in the office was done by Wednesday as well but the mudding and taping wasn’t.  I needed that done in order to get the paint on and get the laundry machines into place so we called in a bestie who hates doing it but is amazing at it and he was amazing to help me out.

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 By 3pm I had two coats of paint on, the chest freezer was in place, the standup freezer was in place and I was cleaning and organizing the smaller things in the room.

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The refrigerator is coming and it’ll end up in the corner on the other side of the fireplace.  It’s at our house anyway so it needs a special trip (that’s another long story related to an upcoming blog post on Maytag Ice2O Refrigerators and a defective part they posssess).

Anyway, once I had everything put back together and the wordart up in the laundry room, the only thing left to do was colour on the deep freeze with dry-erase markers!

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These two are the bestest best little helpers.  I love spending my time with them and am so blessed to be able to do so.  I bought them whiteboard markers to doodle on the freezer with since it’s such a big canvas so they helped draw a picture for their grandparents before they got home.

Not a day goes by that I don’t count the blessings in my life and my family is the biggest one I have.  Without their support, love and encouragement I would not be the person I am today.  I love and cherish you all.

So, here’s to you Mum and Dad.  I truly am sorry if I overstepped a boundary with you but hope you enjoy it as much as I hoped you would.  I love you both very much.  You’re beautiful, helpful, kind, caring and the best in-laws, parents and grandparents we could ever ask for.

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All my love to you, enjoy your new spaces!  XO, Kim.