Thursday, December 31, 2009


I'd like to raise a glass of champagne and wish you all a very Happy New Year! I hope you have a wonderful night no matter where you are or what you are doing. Just be careful and try not to fall in the bathtub at the end of the night! Cheers!

Photo by Pamela Hanson

TDC Top Ten!


Well, here it is folks. The end of another year. I can hardly even believe it. It went by in a blink, didn’t it? I for one am really looking forward to 2010! :)

So here is the list, in all it’s glory. This was my first full year of blogging, so I had more to pick from compared to last year’s list. I was going to go in order of comments, lowest to highest, but I’m running out of time today. I’d really like to publish this before the new year. ;)

So let’s just go randomly, and I’ll end with the post with the most comments.

First off, my dining room redo was oh-so-popular. I was such a brat and kind of strung you along for the whole redo, so I really appreciate that you all hung in there with me!

The DIY centerpiece post can be found here.DSC01649

The table setting made up of items from Pier 1, Stein Mart, Target and HomeGoods can be found here.


And the reveal of the whole room can be found here.


All that’s left to do in here is take it all out to install new floors! Easy, right?! Crikey.

You all loved my insane obsession dislike for icky cords:


You Squeezies totally get me. You can find out the method to my madness here.

I took a couple $20 lamps and customized them with spray paint and wall paint:


You can find out more here.

I grouped a few of the holiday posts into one entry. There are really going to be about 20 links on this post, but whateva whateva, it’s my blog so I can. :)

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The ornament wreath can be found here, the Christmas dining table here and the fall door decor ideas here.

YES, I decorated above the pot-tay. And YES, I did it with a table runner:


You can see how I did it here. ;)

One weekend I decided I would teach myself how to tile. It happened to work out pretty well:


You can see the process here.

We transformed our deck this summer, finally. It wasn’t necessarily cheap, but we weren’t using the space every summer, and now we do!


We actually added a fire pit as well, I’ll show you that next summer. :) To see more, go here.

You all loved how I harassed my sister repurposed an item I found in the neighbor’s trash:


I love to boss her around. I don’t care if she’s not five anymore. You can see the process I went through with this piece here.

I droned on and on and ON about my beadboard island earlier this year. I just love it, I can’t help it!:


You can see how it looked before here.

I like to yell at you a lot about GETTING RID OF YOUR CRAP! In the nicest way possible.

My love of decluttering and organizing is shown in these two posts that you loved too:

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Our unfinished basement transformation can be found here. And I brag about my closet here. Don’t worry – they don’t always look like this. Just most of the time. Hate me.

This year I plan to purge a TON more from the basement, and we are really hoping to finish it off too, but we’ll see. And I hope to show you our master closet soon too – it’s the one spot in the house I cannot keep clean and organized to save my life.

You know what I love? My posts I label “love” are some of the most popular, by far.

The top five from this year were:

1. A post about rocking my baby found here.
2. Where I share all I know about blogging here. (A second edition is coming soon!)
3. I decided I would have No More Mondays here.
4. You all sending your love to my family here.
5. And probably my favorite post of the year -- your life and home does not have to be perfect to be perfect for YOU. You can find it here.

The “Perfect” post was my most popular of the year with 175 comments. I’m glad you all found it worthwhile to read, and I am so happy I wrote it.

THANK YOU SO MUCH for a fantastic, fun, inspiring year! I can’t wait to share more with you in 2010! I hope you all have a happy and safe New Year. We are staying home and clinking Pepsi cans. ;) OK, maybe a margarita. I’m going to make some fondue and popcorn and we’re all going to relax and enjoy being together.

Happy New Year!!!

Chic Cards

If you still have thank you cards to write for all the Christmas presents you received, then I suggest that you order these stunningly beautiful notecards featuring the artwork of Jeremiah Goodman. I received a lovely email yesterday from gallery owner Dean Rhys Morgan about the notecards after he found my blog post on Carolina Herrera and Jeremiah Goodman. Her sitting room (above) is one of the 16 different images included in the set that he sells on his site. I was also excited to discover that Mr. Rhys Morgan also sells prints by Jeremiah Goodman, Kenneth Paul Block and Jay Hyde Crawford among others. They would all make a chic present to yourself to start the New Year or to apologize to someone if your behavior gets out of hand tonight! Happy New Year!

Happy Holidays!

From my home to yours, wishing you all a very happy holiday!!
It has been a great gift to travel this road with you.
Thank you so much for reading, commenting and continuing to inspire me.
Wishing you peace and happiness in the New Year!

Work table for sound equipment

Day 365. Phew. I made it.

It's been a good but exhausting year for me. Working solo from home is not as easy as I thought. But still, I wouldn't have it any other way. I've learnt lots running my own freelance writing business. Mainly, how not to be so hung up on work. Ha. To realise that other things are just as important as the next paycheck. Getting my health and fitness back on track, strengthening ties that matter, getting enough sleep ... they are easy to overlook when a deadline looms.

Anyways, a woman needs to pamper herself so I will be packing my bags and stretching my legs over at Siem Reap, Cambodia. For a change, I'd usher in the year with a good dose of peace, serenity, and hopefully, a fine flute of champagne. Aaah, sipping the bubbly while my eyes feast on the sight of the sun setting over the famed Angkor Wat. A perfect end to a year well spent.

But before I scoot, thank you for sticking with me through the years. For sending in your hacks, for commenting, for cheering me on, for feedback, for constructive criticisms, for writing to me with your funny Ikea stories, for sponsoring this blog, for making Ikeahacker happen. Big hugs and kisses.

With that, I give you the last hack of 2009. This one's from Magda of Montreal who sends in her husband's handsome desk hack.

"Here is another Ikea hack made by my two handymen (my husband and my father) and designed by my mom. We needed a work table for my husband, who is a Mac lover and also a sound designer, so he has tons of cables and some weird machines to do sounds. Our house is really small and we don't have a room for all that stuff. So we just made a great working space in our family room. It was really cheap since I'm a queen of our Ikea store "as is" section.

The top of this table is made with a headboard of a white Malm bed  (found at "as is" section for $10 Canadian!) As you can see on the top (right corner) we drilled a rectangular hole to fit one of my hubby's weird machine.

The leg is made from an Akurum basic kitchen cabinet. With some shelving inside we were able to hide all our electronic stuff, such as a printer, camera and all the cables needed by my husband. The inside shelf for the printer is a sliding one just to make it easier to print.

Just to make it more appealing in design we placed an Imperativ stainless steel wallpanel (also found in "as is" section) at the front and an Antonius shoe rack (yes, an "as is" item also..) at the back, just to have easy access to our computer and to ensure some ventilation for all the electronic equipment.

The work space , front view.

Sliding shelf for the printer with the stainless steel wall panel on the front part of the kitchen cabinet.

The back panel made of the shoe rack and installed on the back side of the kitchen cabinet (leg of our work station)

Top of the work station with my hubby's weird machine installed in the rectangular hole made especially for it.

Some additional views...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Low Key New Year's Eve

Every year, about a million people crowd Times Square to watch the ball drop at midnight on New Year's Eve. And yes, I said a million. I looked it up. As you can imagine, that creates a bit of chaos in the city even beyond all the street closings. That's why my friends and I usually prefer to celebrate at someone's apartment for either drinks or a dinner party. If you plan on doing the same, here are a few ideas and images to help inspire you! Happy New Year!

When you think of New Year's celebrations, usually silver comes to mind but I think gold is a lovely alternative. It has a warmer feeling and the table designed by Carolyne Roehm above and top has a beautiful mix of colors that adds to that warmness. I found a set of gold rimmed wine and champagne glasses at Housing Works last year that would be perfect for this type of table.

Martha Stewart decorated this mantle with a collection of clocks to remind everyone of the passing of time. If you don't have enough to display this year, you can always plan for next year!

I feel in love with this image last year when I saw it on Style Court. What a beautiful way to greet your guests for the evening.

And don't fret if you don't have a set of matching champagne glasses. As you can see here, a tray full of mismatched glasses can be just a beautiful as a perfectly matched set.

This chic table belongs to one of the designers who works for Sarah Richardson and was seen in Canadian House & Home. The silver setting and pale blue chairs whisper winter and couldn't be more beautiful.

For those who prefer darker colors, this table from Ralph Lauren Home mixes gold, silver and black that would be perfect for a more masculine setting.

This table also doesn't worry about matching china or flatware and as you can see, there are actually two tables. A few smaller tables sometimes with less people make for a better party than one big long table. For fun, you can have people change seats between courses.

There is a simple elegance to this table setting that I absolutely love! It would also be perfect for a New Year's Day breakfast!

I think this table was intended for Christmas but would also work for New Year's Eve. If you are hosting a celebration, you can definitely leave up your Christmas tree but I would change out some of the other decorations around the house to reflect the party theme.

This table is set for a birthday celebration but could also inspire a beautiful New Year's Eve table and especially one in a warmer climate. I also think presents at each place setting is fun and they could be filled with inexpensive gifts or fun fortunes for the New Year!

I hope no matter where you are or what you do for New Year's Eve that you have a wonderful evening and don't forget to take a taxi or appoint a designated driver!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Trofast Igloo

Remo and gang definitely had a white Christmas with an icy hack to boot. The igloo is made out of snow blocks pressed out from the Trofast. Cool alternate use of the storage box and fun to do if you still have snow in your backyard.

"During the last snowstorm we built an igloo in the front yard using Trofast storage buckets as block molds. It turned out really well actually, the only downside is that it was so very temporary, lasting 5 days before the rain turned it into a small sad pile of snow. But while it lasted it was OUR IGLOO.

See details, pictures and a video of Remo's igloo.



One of my sweet bloggy friends, who has a little old blog called The Lettered Cottage (maybe you’ve heard of her? Hmmm?), asked me today to share a few thrifty tips. I was happy to oblige, and as I was looking through old posts for ideas, I was feeling a little nostalgic about some of the cauuute projects I’ve worked on this year.

I will do another recap of the year like I did last December (probably tomorrow?) but I couldn’t pass up sharing a few of my favorite crafty projects that may not make the cut (I determine the recap by posts with the most comments).

Looking back through the blog is like looking at old photo albums. Some of you have seen all of these, but it’s fun to reminisce, eh?

First project I loved – Squishy’s gumball machine casa! I don’t know if this is really considered a craft, but it involves glue and fish, and what craft project would be complete without fish? I mean, really…


To see how I made the gumball fishbowl, click here.

Next up, my placemat and table runner pillows:

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Umkay, again, maybe not so crafty. But easy and cheap and WOW, these have held up GREAT!! I’m so pleasantly surprised. To see how I made them, go here and here.

My jute lurve started when I saw something I had. to. have. in the Ballard Designs catalog (shocker) and knew I could recreate something similar for cheap:


The vase was a project from the spring. I love the natural look of these jute items. Usually I crave more color but they are a great accent, and they are perfect for this time of year – fresh and simple. Want to know how I made them? Huh? Do ya? Go here and here.

I had a ton of fun working on my son’s playroom this year. I used paper to create fun, functional storage. I also took an old tool box from Goodwill and made it into a cute art caddy:


To see more of these project, go here. Or here for the whole look at the playroom.

I’m all about trying to figure out how to fill wall space in inexpensive ways. Inspired by Ballard Designs yet again, I made this wall art for very little cash. I think it was $20?:


To make your own Ballard Designs art, check it out here.

And I can’t forget the holidays. A couple of my favorites are from the past few months. I love the little ghouly votive holders for Halloween, and the Santa craft still makes me giddy when I walk past it!:

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To see the votive holders, go here. For the Santa cones, go here.

Did I forget anything fun?

OH MY GOODNESS, I am soooo itching to get moving on new projects! I have a few lined up, and a list a mile long written down, so there should be plenty of content for 2010. I actually wonder sometimes if I’ll run out of things to blog about! Ha! That’s crazy talk.