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So, I've had these foam balls kicking around my craft box for awhile now. More than a year, actually. I ran out and bought them from Deserres after seeing a project in Martha Stewart Living that I just had to try. Crepe-paper spring birds, like so:
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Soon after I got home, I set to work. 

Thirty minutes later, I gave up.

Effing Martha Stewart and her effing complicated crafts.

The foam balls went back into the bag and the bag went deep into the closet and I tried to put the whole sorry thing out of my mind.

But I couldn't. Those styrofoam balls, light as they are, weighed on me. I didn't want to waste them. I'd paid for them, after all. And it's not like they'd biodegrade. I'd have to come up with something.

And finally, almost a year later, I did. Inspiration came in the form of a photograph of this incredibly beautiful room by Emma of The Marion House Book.
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See those two little globe-like flowers on her bedside table?

I believe they're a kind of Craspedia - a sort of round daisy. They're sometimes called billy balls, billy buttons or wooleyheads, and they're pretty hot with the hipsters these days. I'm always seeing them in shelter mags and on sites lke Design*Sponge.

And at weddings. I've seen them at a lot of weddings. (Sigh. I hate weddings, by the way.)

Anyway.

I had some heavy-guage wire kicking around from my painted pears project (already pre-covered with handy brown paper) and perfectly suited to being "stems."

Here are the faux Craspedia in progress.
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 Now all I need to do is paint the balls  yellow. I am going to wait until they're absolutely perfect before posting about the finished project, but in the meantime, what do you think? Billy ball bliss?
 
 
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A couple of years ago, I bought a small glass snail from Goodwill. A paperweight sort of thing. It caught my eye in the knick knack section, (generally, a dangerous place to be if, like me, you tend toward hoarding and aren't must of a duster).

Nonetheless, I bought the snail. I popped it onto my mantle and promptly forgot all about it. I never imagined it might be worth something.

Interestingly, I discovered the origins of my snail purely by chance. Last week, I was reading an old novel by Carol Shields - Small Ceremonies. It was published ages ago, but I was completely unaware of it before I picked up my copy at the Parkdale Salvation Army. And in the book (which is quite good, by the way) is a reference to a "Steuben glass snail." As soon as I read that phrase, I wondered about my own snail, and I set about Googling.

Apparently, genuine Steuben glass ornamentals are worth quite a chunk of change. The Steuben Snail first appeared in about 1949 and was designed by either George Thompson or David Hills (there is conflicting information in the old Steuben catalogues as to the designer). The snail is approx. 3.5" long and I've seen ones like mine priced at $300 online.

Crazy, right? $300 for a silly little glass snail?

Silly, maybe, but true.

Alas, the downside is that I'm not sure mine is authentic. My wee snail is unsigned. Here's what the signature is supposed to look like. The pics are from the Mallaries website. Mine is unmarked.
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That said, my research tells me that some Steuben Snails ARE unmarked, so I didn't lose hope. Alas, I've found that there's something off about my snail's antennae.

While the Steuben's I've seen online have antennae with rounded, bulbous tips, my snail's antennae taper to a point. I'm no expert, but I'm guessing that might signal a fake.

Still, I'm happy to know my fake has a bit of a history, a bit of pedigree, even if it's only a copy. And since it only cost $2.99, I'd still say I got a deal. Thanks Goodwill.
 
 
I love going to IKEA at this time of year. It's not crowded. The new catalogue won't be out for a few months, but new stuff is already arriving in store. Here are just a few new items I've noticed lately, both in-store and via the "new" tab online.

(I SO wish I needed furniture.)
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The NYVOLL line is the first thing that caught my eye. You can get a three-drawer chest (as shown, $199 CAD), a six-drawer chest, night stands, and/or a bed frame. So chic! Love the glossy white and the contrasting wood. Of course, I think IKEA is capitalizing on the fact that pieces like the RAST have been "hacked" in similar style, as is the case in the photos below. (The first is from Aubrey and Lindsay's Little House Blog and the second is from Eric Teng at DMD Insight.)
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In a way, it's annoying. Now that IKEA is offering a piece that so similarly mimics the style of these hacks, the fun kind of goes out of the hacking. Oh well. I digress. 

Anyway. Here are some more new IKEA items:
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This SOCKERÄRT enameled vase/pitcher ($14.99 CAD) is countrified and adorable.
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This MOLNFRI tin food-storage set is retro and very inexpensive ($4.99 CAD).
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Finally, these FINTORP hardware pieces are pretty neat ($9.99 CAD for a pair of handles, $5.99 for a pair of knobs). Lots of potential.

Anyway, new stuff will likely keep rolling in over the next few months, but like I said, I like to beat the rush.
 
 
Hey yo. So even though I live in a rental, and even though I've already invested way too much into the upkeep of this apartment, and even though my interior doors were perfectly fine as they were... I got my hands on a free gallon of paint...

so I decided to paint the doors.

I painted all of my interior apartment doors Flint AF-560 by Benjamin Moore. I chose a low VOC pearl finish.

Before:
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After:
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Here are a couple more pics, to give you a bit more perspective:
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I think I like it. I'm still not used to the change. Every time I enter the hallway, I feel startled, but I'm beginning to get used to it.

What do you think? Good change?

Now that the doors are painted, the next thing I need to do is frost the back door window. There's a curtain up now, but with the dark paint, it doesn't work. I tried spraying it with a frosting product, but it didn't work at all. Horribly patchy. I had to scrape it all off with a putty knife. Terrible. I'm going to give it another go with a vinyl decal instead. I just have to find the right size.

Anyway. Dark doors. Light days. I feel good about it.
 
 
My bedroom, like the rest of my house, is a work in progress. And this past weekend, I decided that progress required me to make a bench. We've got a basement full of junk - wood off-cuts, old furniture, paint, etc. - so I wanted to use only what I already had on hand.

My bench would be budget-friendly! My bench would be fabulous!

I started with two pieces of old painted pine that lived previously as inefficient shelves in my hall closet. Here's what the boards looked like:
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Next, I rummaged around for some legs. I twisted four (on the right) off a vintage footstool we're not currently using, and the packaged four are an old set from Eaton's that I bought at the local Salvation Army awhile back because they'd never been used. (Only $2.99!) Here are all eight legs:
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Using the screws and mounting hardware that came with the Eaton's legs, I attached four to the first board. Using my trusty drill, I made pilot holes for the second set of legs in the second board and screwed them in without any hardware at all.
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Next, I stacked the two makeshift benches to see what they would look like as a single piece (and I experimented with colour by laying different scarves and fabric samples on top).
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Now, obviously, the project was not looking beautiful at this point.

I decided I needed to make the piece uniform, but I didn't want to go through the trouble of painting. Ultimately, I decided to wrap all eight legs in jute twine from the dollar store (the same kind I used to make my Christmas wreath) to make them look uniform.

Finally, I cut a long table runner in half and upholstered the two shelves with it using tacks. (Had I a staple gun, I would have used that.)

I didn't attach the two shelves together. I decided to leave them modular.

I loaded the whole thing up with shoes and... ta da!
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Initially, I meant this bench for the foot of the bed, but it didn't work well there, so I turned it into a shoe rack instead. More practical. Nonetheless, I'm not completely crazy about how it all turned out. It certainly is budget-friendly, but it's not exactly FABULOUS. It's more 'not bad' than anything else.

That said,  I'm satisfied. What do you think?
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P.S. Check out the size of the dust motes in my bedroom. Somebody needs to do some serious vacuuming, eh?
 
 
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Maybe it's the spring weather, maybe it's just that I was getting a bit bored, maybe I never liked it very much in the first place, but regardless, I was getting sick of the art in my bedroom.

So the other day, I decided to do a little revamp. Here are a couple of the before shots:

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Here's the after:
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I went from a crowded, close-set salon wall to an row arrangement. What do you think? Good change? In the photos, I actually think the salon arrangement looks better, but in real life, it was too much for me. It felt too heavy and busy for our (rather small) bedroom.

Anyway. I like the new look. Always good to keep things fresh, right? Change it up every so often.

One more thing: how do you feel about this vintage tree piece (below)? It's yarn art. You know, yarn, woven through the piece, sort of like needlework.
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I got it from Goodwill recently for $5.99. I really like it, but I can't really explain why. I was a little grubby, but I went at it with my AWESOME fabric shaver which seemed to make a significant difference. It's very retro-looking, I know, but something about it appealed to me. Am I a nutter? A nutter butter?