Master Bedroom Makeover #5: Pillows, Pillows and More Pillows!

When designing our new space, I originally thought that if we got the painting, feature wall and lighting finished, we could putter away at the rest over time. Initially, our thought was to replace our queen sized bed with a king which would also lead to new bedding. We weren’t really ready to buy a mattress yet, so this was really all about getting the room ready for the new bed. I had already picked out a beautiful navy and white duvet cover, so the entire design was based on the new bedding I would purchase down the road.

Luckily, my current bedding was white, so my new navy and white colour scheme would still work even though we had yet to purchase our new King sized mattress and bedding. Because I didn’t actually have the new bedding, I decided that for the time being, I would just take all of my old throw cushions and make new covers for them. I’m no seamstress, but I’ve done quite a bit of sewing over the years. I made a combination of simple covers….some with an envelope style closure and some with zippers. I’m not sure, but I don’t think there is such a thing as too many pillows…is there?

The surprising part was that through the process, two unexpected things happened. The first being that when we first dismantled our queen sized bed for painting, we discovered that the frame was not only bent, but also had two broken wheels. As a temporary sleep solution while painting the room, we just set the mattress and box spring directly on the floor. To our complete amazement the tossing and turning and disrupted sleeps greatly diminished. In fact, we are sleeping so much better that we are not even sure if we are going to purchase a new bed at all! The second surprise was that my “we’ll make this old bedding do for now” has evolved into…I actually love the new look and colour scheme and am not even sure if I am going to purchase new bedding. Let’s just say that these two discoveries may have just saved us a few thousand dollars…yay!!!

Life Hacks I Love~ Picture Perfect Pillows:

I recently saw this blog post on how to Keep Your Bed Pillows Looking Like New and thought it was genius! Basically, you purchase cheap pillows that are placed inside the shams you use on your made bed. I already did this, but what I didn’t do was actually remove my sleeping pillows from my bed! She suggested removing them completely from your made bed and storing them….I loved that idea! It just so happens that a friend had given me a lovely oversized basket that I hadn’t quite found a home for yet. It makes the perfect nest for our “sleeping pillows”. So now, when I make my bed each day, our sleeping pillows are stored in the basket and the pillows that are placed on our “made” bed are all fluffy and perfect because they’ve never been used! (I also love the splash of yellow on the basket and how it works with the navy and white colour scheme.)

Planning Your Pillows:

When you see the pictures of my “made” bed, you’ll immediately see that I didn’t actually follow any of these pictures to a tee, but there are great pillow decor guides available, like this one I found on Construction2Style. The guides are really great for helping you plan and figure out what to make/buy. This is especially good if you feel like you don’t know how to pull things together.

I decided to use two sets of standard pillows as a backdrop for my decorative throw cushions. (Since then I’ve decided to purchase 3 large Euro throws in navy, to separate the white bedding/pillows from the white shiplap wall. I haven’t found any yet, but it’s on my “to do” list.) The set that’s currently at the back are simple white shams that match my duvet cover.

BEFORE: Vintage Chenille Bedspread

I made the second set of shams from this vintage chenille bedspread that I found when cleaning out my dad’s apartment for his upcoming move. When you look closely, the fabric is a bit worn/thin and certainly not the pure white it once was, but I really wanted to incorporate it into the design. The bedspread was not in good enough condition to be used as intended, but I was able to make a few shams from what was salvageable. I must say they were a bit of a nightmare to make. The fabric had some stretch to it and my sewing machine wasn’t really cooperating. I feel like those shams might win the prize for my worst sewing project ever! In fact, I made so many mistakes on the first one that the design had to change several times to accommodate for the medley of errors. By the time I was ready to make the second one, I was dreading it for so many reasons…but mostly because I had no idea how to duplicate what I did on the first one!🤪 In the end, the shams turned out okay.

AFTER: Vintage Chenille Pillow Shams

Next in line was the navy blue furry pillow. I loved the texture and when I saw it at Home Sense, I just had to get it. One of the things that you always want to think about in your bed/pillow design is texture. As you plan, consider incorporating various different fabrics and textures.

When I decided to re-do the bedroom colour scheme, it was obvious that the coffee table bench I had previously upcycled would need a facelift, as well. Not only would the colour no longer work, but there were some stains/marks on the fabric, so it was replacement time anyway. (First photo on the left.) At first I thought I would give it a fresh coat of white paint as well, but in the end I decided to sand it back to distress it further. Once the fabric was purchased, it was a simple task to remove the old cover and staple gun on the new one. I used left over fabric to make the next throw cushion on the bed.

The last cushion is one of my favourites. I made a plain white cover for an old throw cushion from an old tab top curtain panel that had a hole in it. (I’m not quite sure why they hadn’t been tossed yet, but the fabric from those old curtains came in handy this summer.) This fabric was used to make several interior pillow slips as well as cushion covers. This shortcut ended up saving me time and money, so I’m glad I’d kept them. I made a plain zipper-close cover and then used the following tutorial as a guide to make my own “quote” pillow. Basically, I used the freezer paper technique to make a stencil that could be ironed onto the pillow. What a brilliant idea! I have a Cricut machine, so I didn’t have to do the laborious task of cutting out the stencil, as it cuts out the design for me. I will definitely being making more of these!

It is amazing how well this technique works. The stencil comes out so crisp and clean!

I also used this tutorial to guide the design of another cushion cover made from the tab top curtain panel. To add a bit on interest to the otherwise plain white pillow, I used this sunburst technique. This pillow is sitting on the Ikea Poang chair and ottoman we purchased on Kijiji for $45. It is a bit of a creamier white than the rest of the room, but I actually love mixing whites!

The navy chair cushion came from a set of napkins/placemats I purchased at a garage sale for a dollar. The set included 6 napkins and 2 placemats all of which were used to make cushion covers. I used most of them in my front porch makeover.

Although throw cushions can be super expensive running from $25 each to well over $100, it is possible to achieve the look you want by making your own, upcycling old cushions or even adding/changing inexpensive covers you’ve purchased (like adding a quote). Sometimes it’s just a matter of patience and determination. I was able to purchase the chair and ottoman, pillows for inside my shams, fabric (thread, zippers, etc.), fabric paint and the new navy cushion for well under $150 (maybe just over $100). The key is knowing the look you want and then having the patience to find ideas that you can manage and then setting aside the time to do the projects. Don’t rush through to finish, but rather embrace it as a process.

Although I’ll soon be revealing the entire master bedroom makeover…. it is not actually done and may not be for another year! I have no art or pictures on the walls yet and am still trying to figure out exactly what I want. I’m okay with letting it evolve overtime. If I rush to finish the room, I know I won’t be happy with it. I’d rather ponder ideas and come up with a plan that I’ll be happy with long term. You can’t rush creativity!!!

They’re Back!!! Try this Homemade Dandelion Killer

This is actually a repost from a few years ago. The dandelions are out in full force and I thought it might be worth sharing this simple recipe again.

Several years ago, I came across this recipe for a homemade weed killer. It was shared by Shell Busey. I love the fact that it doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals, so I don’t have to worry about it being harmful for small children or the neighbourhood pets that like to frequent our yard. The only caution with this mixture is that it will kill your grass and flowers if you spray it on them by accident. He suggests only using this to kill the weeds that may crop up on your driveway, sidewalk or through ground cover.

Shell Busey’s Homemade Weed Killer Recipe:

Mix the following ingredients together:

  • 4 cups of white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of table salt
  • 2 tsp of liquid dish soap

Pour this mixture into a spray bottle and spray it on your weeds when it is sunny and hot out.

Mud Room Mayhem #3: The Shoe-lution!

Having no closet and dreading the thought of using some sort of messy shoe rack, I had my heart set on hidden shoe storage. I had planned this out long before the mud room make-over was ever really in the works. I had seen this idea years ago on Pinterest and knew that someday my mudroom was going to have drawers in the stair risers to hide the vast array of shoes that constantly littered our mud room floor.

Tim had already removed the old stairs from the kitchen down to the mud room. He custom built the stringers and stairs to fit the space between the kitchen door frame and the door leading to the back yard that sits at the base of the stairs. We decided to opt for simple 2″ X 12″ construction for the stairs and then sanded and stained the stairs to match the oak floors. We were super pleased with how the stairs turned out despite the fact that they were made very economically without spending on high end wood.

For the drawers, Tim re-used planks from our old wooded futon frame for the sides of the drawer boxes and then old 1/4″ fir for the base and drawer fronts. The fir was removed from the walls of an old walk-in closet/storage room in the basement when we reconfigured some of the basement several years ago. We had kept the wood for future projects and it came in handy for these drawers. Although the fir has much more grain and an orangey/red hue, the dark stain took beautifully and I actually love the fact that the drawer fronts stand-out from the stairs and aren’t so “matchy”!

Best of all, the drawers provide ample storage for our shoes, and short boots will even fit when placed on their sides. So thrilled!! Using stair risers for hidden shoe storage might be my favourite Life Hack yet!! Thank you Tim!


Shell Busey’s Homemade Weed Killer

DIY weed killerSeveral years ago, I came across this recipe for a homemade weed killer. It was shared by Shell Busey. I love the fact that it doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals, so I don’t have to worry about it being harmful for small children or the neighbourhood pets that like to frequent our yard. The only caution with this mixture is that it will kill your grass and flowers if you spray it on them by accident. He suggests only using this to kill the weeds that may crop up on your driveway, sidewalk or through ground cover.

Shell Busey’s Homemade Weed Killer Recipe:

Mix the following ingredients together:

  • 4 cups of white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of table salt
  • 2 tsp of liquid dish soap

Pour this mixture into a spray bottle and spray it on your weeds when it is sunny and hot out.



Life Hacks I Love #12: Is your skirt too short?

I have a few summer dresses that I wear out and about all summer and feel perfectly comfortable in them, but feel that they are slightly short for work or serving with the 2 year olds at church. I wanted to wear this dress to work yesterday, but when I put it on, I felt it too was not quite long enough.short dress

I was a bit miffed about the situation and not sure why, but I decided to try to “lengthen” the dress. I found my plain black cotton skirt and pulled it up over my waist and wore it below the dress as you would a slip. The end result was a layered look. I was a bit unsure about this combination at first because my skirt was tapered and longer at the back, but the dress was cut to one even length. (I think tapered over tapered and straight cut over straight cut might be better.) This was not meant to be a blogging topic, but rather just a strategy for getting away with wearing a short skirt to work. I was still feeling a bit self-conscious about my little concoction, but ended up getting a few compliments on the dress throughout the course of the day. Go figure? I’m not suggesting this is the be all end all in the fashion industry, but it did seem to work at least to some extent. See what you think and consider it an option next time you’re faced with a similar situation.

plain black skirt layered dress



Refresh Your Towels

towelsWe have primarily white towels in our house. When we got married, I decided that white would be the best option because they can fit with any colour scheme and can always be bleached to get out tough stains. This proved to be a great strategy and now 17 years later, we still have “whitish” towels. Of course, some have been replaced over the years, but generally speaking, they’ve really held up well. Having said that, they certainly aren’t the vibrant white they once were.

I was intrigued by this “pin” on how to recharge your towels and knew I would have nothing to lose. I actually don’t have before/after pictures for this post as I didn’t think of it at the time. I chose to do one load of older towels that were definitely looking more of an off white/greyish colour than the pure vibrant white they once were. I followed the instructions and was pleased with the results. I think this would work awesome on towels that weren’t quite so old, as I can’t say I noticed much of a difference in the colour after the treatment, but I found that the towels seemed very clean and fresh and I will absolutely do this a few times per year to freshen up older towels and help keep the nice bright colour of newer ones.


The original instructions on Two Little Frills suggested washing the towels twice without any detergent.

  • Using hot water, add 1 cup of vinegar to the load and wash.
  • When the cycle completes add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the second cycle and wash again.

*This can also be done with a front load washer by adding the vinegar and soda directly in the drum (not in the dispenser). Remember to do it in two separate cycles. The poster says this works well on clothes and coloured towels as well.

This was a great tip and I plan to do it again, unless perhaps my next test works better. I found another post that claims to eliminate the nasty dish rag/towel smell forever. I’m completely all over this. Don’t you hate washing your dish cloths and towels only to have them emerge from the dryer as stinky as before. I absolutely hate that and it burns me when I have to toss out what would otherwise be a perfectly good rag. I’m waiting for the perfect stinky load of rags to test this method against the other post I found. I’m actually looking forward to finding the swimming towels rolled up in a ball in the bottom of the swimming bag, just so I can test these two theories out. Three cheers to clean and fresh!

Oven Cleaning 101

I hope I’m not the only one who never knew this, but at this moment I’m feeling pretty dumb. I have scrubbed my fair share of stoves over the years and yet, I learned something new today. Did you know there is a way to clean the glass inside the oven door? I would often be annoyed when I finished cleaning my oven and still had a hard time seeing through the grime on the inside of the glass, despite all of my efforts to have a spotless stove. I honestly had never heard of anyone cleaning inside the door until I saw it on Pinterest this weekend. Sure enough a few screws and the whole thing opens up.

Cleaning Between the Glass on Your Oven Door:

I’m assuming there’s someone else out there who never knew about this and thus I’m sharing the steps for cleaning the glass. I found this tutorial on Mom 4 Real and she claimed it was quite easy to open the oven door up and clean inside. I decided to put my oven on “self clean” this morning and thought I’d finish off the job by attempting to clean the glass inside the door. To be honest, it was even easier than her post implied. Her oven door had special screws (torx screws) that required a special tool to loosen them, but my oven had regular screws that were loosened and removed with a square head screw driver. My screws also seemed to be in different places than her post suggested. I had to remove 3 screws along each side of the door and one in the top of each corner of the door that held the handle on. I literally unscrewed the 8 screws and the door popped open. I then proceeded to vacuum the inside and gave it a good scrub and shine. It was super easy and my glass is now clean. Too bad about the black exterior that never ever looks clean in my opinion. The black appliances came with our house and I would never go “black” again. It looks sleek, but always seems streaky and/or dusty to me!

Let me know if you knew about this and already clean the interior of your door as part of your oven cleaning regime. I’m curious to know if I missed this vital detail growing-up or if few people actually do this?

Dollar Store Hack: Spice Bottle Upcycle

As you know, I finally finished my spice rack project. If you were looking at the pictures from the post carefully, you probably noticed that my spice bottles don’t match. I had upcycled some old ones from an old spinning spice rack, but those that were still hidden in the spice drawer were left in their original bottles. I put the mismatched bottles on the new shelf, but picked up some clear spice bottles with white lids at the dollar store.

Spice Bottle Upcycle:

dollar store spice bottlesThese bottles were only 3 for a dollar. I decided to buy a dozen and then see how many more I needed. (Had I thought of it, I would have counted before I left, but I actually went to purchase baking soda and peroxide for my weekend cleaning frenzy.) I put the bottles through the dishwasher and hand washed the lids and plastic pieces (with the holes for sprinkling). Once they were thoroughly dried, I spray painted them with black paint and printed the spice names on the lids with white Crayola twistable crayon. Here is the original post with the tutorial.

I really love the crayon in lieu of chalk. It gives the same effect, but you don’t have to worry about smearing. If you remember, I have chalkboard labels on my glass pickle jar canisters and the chalk is always smearing. I think I might actually erase them all and convert the printing to crayon. Not my idea, but certainly a great one!!

Here are the completed bottles!

dollar store bottles

Life Hacks I Love # 11: You’ve Grout to Be Kidding!

Okay, I am definitely on a roll now. I was so impressed with the results from the tub tiles that I had to try those floor tiles just one more time. So, you’ve already seen how disgusting my tub was thanks to the oil my daughter used in the shower, but I honestly didn’t think the tub tiles and floor were that bad. They were “clean”, but the solvents I was using really weren’t that effective. Do you know how frustrating it is to expend the time and energy to do a job like cleaning tile/grout and it really look no better than before you started. I knew the bathroom was clean because I had done the work, but I was never left feeling good about it.

Now, some people have told me they feel bad about themselves when they read my blog because it makes them think about all the things they should be doing. So let’s just get something straight right off the hop. I love a clean, organized and tidy house, but mine rarely is any of the above and when it is, it seems to only be a momentary euphoria. Those of you with kids know exactly what I’m talking about. Spend two hours vacuuming and mopping the floor and as you pack up your cleaning supplies, you spot a kid caring a bowl of Rice Krispies to the living room, so they can watch TV while they have a snack. Are you kidding me?? Ahh!! So, if you are thinking I’m so great because I get all this stuff done, don’t kid yourself…ask anyone who pops by unannounced, my house is far far from perfect. In fact, think of it this way…how on earth did I ever let my bathroom get to that state in the first place! (Now in my defence, I had tried many times previously, but to no avail.)

Floor Tile Grout Cleaner:

baking soda and peroxide

Stock-up on baking soda and peroxide.

Back to the search engines. I came across this idea that seemed to work well for some and thought I’d give it a try, but I had already used up all of my baking soda on the shower tile. Off to Dollarama to pick-up a few supplies. This cleaning solution calls for peroxide and baking soda. I picked up 5 boxes of baking soda and 4 bottles of peroxide for a buck each. The floor took about 2 bottles of peroxide and 2 1/2 boxes of baking soda. Basically, you pour on some peroxide and work it into the tile with a scrub brush. You then sprinkle baking soda on top and scrub that into the peroxide, working your way into the grout. I then used a paper towel to sop up some of the extra goop and then wet mopped the floor (several times). The only down side to this is that the grit from the baking soda is a bit hard to get rid of. You can’t notice it, but you can feel the texture under your feet. I recommend giving it a few mops, letting it dry and then giving it a vigorous sweeping and/or vacuuming before a final mopping. I know this sounds like lots of work and it was. It took me about 2 hours to do this job, but I am amazed by the results. This doesn’t change the flaws in the grout, but I can’t believe the difference. I honestly thought that the grout colour just faded over time as I never really remember it looking so white.

Here are my before and after shots! These are so disgusting they should come with a warning. I know I am totally sabotaging my image by sharing these before and after pictures, but it’s all in the name of entertainment. I can’t believe that I could never get any of this dirt off before….how embarrassing! Revel in a snapshot of my imperfection!

You must be starting to

Life Hacks I Love #10: How ’bout that Grout?

My spring cleaning spree continued and a I spent most of Saturday scrubbing the bathroom. There is a bit of a story behind our bathroom and perhaps it needs to be explained at this point. In 2010, we hired an independent contractor to gut and renovate our bathroom. This was a huge job and quite pricey for such a little space, but it was literally crumbling down and had to be done. We signed a contract, gave a deposit and were excited that his timeline was 3 weeks. Unfortunately, 3 months later the job was less than half done with no toilet, sink or floor and none of the finishing work completed. He would show up sporadically at best and never answered our calls or emails. When we finally reached our limit and gave him an ultimatum….finish by Friday or don’t bother coming back, he chose the latter. This left us with a huge job to complete and uncertainty about where he was in the process of some of the jobs. It was a huge stress and at this point we just wanted it done. It was so hard to find trades people and at this point we weren’t feeling very trusting, so we decided that Tim would finish the job. This added a lot to his plate because he was working full time and had to do the bathroom around his schedule. In the end Tim did a great job, but there was one major problem.  The tile work. Although I know Tim is capable of doing pretty much anything around the house, he had never done tile before. We weren’t sure if the bathtub tiles needed any kind of sealer on them because “Darryl” had done this job before he walked off. We assumed it was complete and never did any kind of treatment over them. As for the floor tile, Tim took on this job himself, but under the time crunch of knowing our vanity was to be installed in just a few days. He pulled a couple of all-nighters in the midst of a family camping trip and got the job done, but there were issues with the grout. I can’t actually remember what went down, but the result was somewhat disappointing. I can be pretty fussy and especially when we’ve just spent an arm and a leg to get our bathroom done, but my husband had just spent every spare moment working his tail off to get this job done and believe me frustrations were high, so I had to tread lightly if you know what I mean. He knew there were some flaws in the grout, but it has always been a bit of a “touchy subject”.

Over the years, I have attacked the grout on that floor several times, but to no avail. It just doesn’t seem uniform in colour and I have never been very happy with it. Someday, perhaps we’ll get it redone, but for now it is what it is. In fact, some say it is natural looking and looks like it might have been the original floor with the normal wear and tear of a 100 year old house. So, having said all of this, the bathroom tile and I have a bit of a contentious relationship and it has never been “spot on”, even after its initial installation. I’ve had several fights with the tub and floor tiles, but always feel like I’ve lost the battle in the end. Well, for the first time ever, I actually felt pretty good with the results.

Tub Tiles:

I found a homemade mixture for the tub tiles and was quite pleased with results. I have tried several store-bought tile cleaners and feel like the discolouration never really goes away. This homemade concoction worked quite well.

  • 1 part bleach
  • 3 parts baking soda

Mix the bleach and baking soda together to form a paste and spread it over the grout. Leave for about 10 minutes and scrub. Now, I won’t lie…I did have to scrub the grout, but the whole thing didn’t take me longer than about 10 to 15 minutes. There really is no comparison between this method and other traditional cleaners I’ve used. Most of the discolouration came off and I was pleased with the results.