Where I Make Stuff

DIY Wall Treatment- Stencilling





I had a very tired wall that I decided to tackle mid-renovation, cause you know, I did not have enough projects happening. The before picture below was taken in July.

“Happy Easter”…..in July.  Clearly this chalk board had lost it’s purpose.

There was  a block of wood shoved under the shelving unit, acting as an additional leg,  to help keep it from collapsing under  the weight of all the toys shoved into those tired old bins. This area needed an intervention.





I wanted to do something interesting on this wall. My first thought was to wallpaper, but I was too impatient to wait for samples to arrive. Then I found  Royal Stencil’s site. I think it might have been on Pinterest.

Let me tell you, stencils have a come a long way from the days of chickens and ivy. So after much deliberation, I place my order for the Bombay Paisley.




I had loads of left over paint in my garage. So I used a white back ground and the grey is Benjamin Moore Collingwood Grey. (note, my BM paint was kind of thick, I should have thinned it, but I’m lazy. It made keeping my stencil clean difficult.)

Now, I am not going to say this was easy. I kept lining it up wrong and having to repaint the wall white. I did this in the same spot three times. To fix, I would have to re-paint over the grey with the white, wait for it to dry and start over.

I ran out of the white paint before I could cover my last mistake, then discovered that brand I has using was discontinued.  Ever try to colour match white?

I think my Facebook status at the end of the night read something like this.

“I want to punch stencils in the face.”

But it is amazing what a glass of wine and good nights sleep can do for your optimism, and the next day I finished the project. High fives.




It’s not perfect, but honestly, that is what I really love about it.

To complete the space, I resurrected a dodgy side board that was in my basement and refinished it using Annie Sloan Chalk paint. You can read about that here.




Regarding wall art, there was a lot of deliberation with my twin sister. I discuss all my home decorating ideas with her because she is a genius.

She completes me.

She thought I should get a black and white print of a shark. I liked that idea; rooms are much more charming with a little quirkiness.

But, I really needed somewhere to store some of my serving dishes.

So, after six months of staring at my wall, I finally decided on high gloss white shelves from Ikea.

I love them. And they compliment the cabinetry on our  fireplace reno.




I reused a lot of things in my house. The chalk paint and wall paint were left over in my garage, I had the sideboard in my basement. So my biggest investment was the shelving, which cost about $80. The cost of the stencil was $36.95.

A pretty big impact for such a small budget.


Alright…..have I made you a believer?

Don’t judge by my errors during this project, I can be a bit of a knob.






For The Love of My Home – The January Cure


I can’t believe I am showing you these photos. 

I have joined Apartment Therapy’s January Cure.  One month to house zen. Each day they email you a task for the month of January to get your home clean, organized and beautiful. Sigh,  I wish I could genie blink myself to February 1st, where I will sitting surrounded in organized beauty, sipping tea and feeling super fab.

I would love if you joined up with me? Anyone up to the challenge? We are only a little late with plenty of time to catch up. Here is the link if you feel inspired! Apartment Therapy: The January Cure

There is stuff, stuff, stuff everywhere in my house. So many unfinished projects, but what a great big thought to conquer and leave the next eleven months to focus on new projects.

The first task was to write a list. Shudder. My list is very hefty due to general procrastination, avoidance and lethargy. It would be great to finish everything this month, but I need to be realistic. Unless I hire help?   For now, list writing has made me very tired and  I require one more coffee before I conquer todays task, washing  and vacuuming my floors.  It’s a demotivating task when you have boys dripping and spilling behind you as you go. My life is a hamster wheel.

I WROTE A LIST! Mark this day…

Kitchen/Eating Nook

  1. Clean out pantry
  2. Organize under sink
  3. Figure out a better garbage, recycling, compost system
  4. Clean out scary sideboard and put shelves above for serving dishes and instant fab.

Front Room (Starred item to be completed during spring)

  1. Organize Office/Writing  Area
  2. Decide if I am going to paint dining furniture*
  3. Put art on walls.
  4. Paint bookcases*
  5. Make cushions*
  6. Slipcover ugly chair*
  7. Revamp coffee table (ottoman?)
  8. Purge book cases


  1. Clean out coat closet
  2. Buy entry rug
  3. Buy boot tray for front door
  4. Add hooks for kids coats.
  5. Do new chalking
  6. Paint door
  7. Add  DIY book shelves to useless wall niche and make it useful

Family Room

  1. Wash sofa cushion cover (again)
  2. Finish baseboards
  3. Touch up paint
  4. Create a better play area for Oliver’s toys
  5. Source/make candle sconces

Powder Room

  1. Fumigate pee-pee off the wood floor (seriously consider one of those toilet shaggy rugs…)
  2. Pick a new paint colour or wallpaper*
  3. Source sink cabinet
  4. Paint mirror


  1. Finish painting
  2. Clean ceiling fan (or burn)
  3. Start hitting second hand stores for frames for gallery *

Upstairs Galley

  1. Paint
  2. Organize book cases
  3. Clean and paint laundry cabinet*
  4. Hang Mirror

Master Bedroom

  1. Clean out and purge drawers and closet
  2. Refinish bench at end of the bed*
  3. Pick paint colour
  4. Touch up trim
  5. Get rid of fireplace*

Master Bath

  1. To be reno’d later this year, so let it be.

Kid Rooms (Goal: Rooms are for sleeping and quiet activities)

  1. Purge toys.
  2. Purge clothes
  3. Take everything to goodwill
  4. Revamp some storage (Ikea? Yes please.)

Main Bath

  1. Clean out cabinet
  2. Paint*
  3. Convince Ryan we should replace floors in here while when we do our bathroom


  1. Go through all toys and get rid of at least half.
  2. Come up with a design plan
  3. Pick paint colours
  4. Decide on how to put art on massive walls with out spending a million dollars.
  5. Organize theatre area
  6. Play area needs better storage and furniture.

I’ll keep you posted through the month on any stellar moments, but we do not need to talk about how I got the pee out of my hardwood floors in the powder room due to potty training and general bad aim, not me, Oliver), unless you really want to know….

If you decide to join in, let me know in the comment section!!! I would love to keep tabs on my Facebook Page on our progress. Plus I do much better with accountability.


A SheLoves Christmas Party with Confessions From a Neurotic Hostess



I recently had the honour of hosting the SheLoves Magazine Christmas Party. When my twin sister got wind of this event, she immediately started sending me pins for our “Writer’s Themed” party.

And so it began. Planning the perfect party gifts and decor for our writers. We put a good amount of time and thought into making this a wonderful night.


My sister and her friend designed these silk screened pillow cases:



 Gorgeous, right? Sorry, they are not for sale. :( 


We made a book tree and book page table runner…




I contributed a profound chalking:



Very profound..


We feasted, laughed, cried and shared from our holiest of places. When the evening was finished, the last guest had left,  I sat on the couch with this final thought:

I forgot to offer the coffee I made at 6 pm. 

I  served that 6pm coffee at 11pm to my guests. 

I am a hostess failure. 

How could I serve coffee that was five hours old? In fairness, my company helped themselves to that crappy coffee, but I ignored that it was so old. 



 I do this to myself every…single…time. I take a wonderful night, hours of work and find the one thing I did wrong and deem the evening a flop.

Enter Christmas; the time of feast, after feast, after feast. Cue stretchy pant.

I do  love to entertain, but I think I have lost perspective. Messed up priorities. Christmas dinner is not actually about a great Instagram photos (although I do love a good pic!) and Pinterest worthy projects. This crazy shallow view has turned me into a stressed basket-case pre-party and for the duration of the event.  Forty-five minutes prior to the arrival guests arrive,  I start screaming at my family, who have wisely gone into hiding, because they learned what is coming:

 “Where are you guys?” 

“ For crying out loud…….WHO PEED ALL OVER THE TOILET SEAT?”

“NOBODY IS TO OPEN THAT JUNK DRAWER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE!!!”  (Cause you know, someone may discover it does, in fact, hold junk.)

I become a complete lunatic on the verge of an epic meltdown. All to avoid sitting with thoughts of failure at the end of the evening.

 Ina Garten says “The most important thing you can give your guests is you.” When my guests have arrived, there is sometimes only a small piece of me left.

I have an intense fear, that people will realize I have no idea what I am doing. This is because most of the time, I have no idea what I am doing. I  wish an entertaining guru would drop into my life for a spell and show me the way. But then I think of my Gram.

Christmas’s at my beloved Gram’s has left me with so many wonderful memories. She decorated with paper table clothes covered in red and green poinsettia’s. There was tinsel, shiny foil garland and plastic Santa trays filled with bridge mix and nuts. Plates of baking would line every available surface; her work from the last few weeks.  My Gram lived in a humble trailer, it was small and our family was big, but we all fit. She made sure we did.

My Gram didn’t create stunning centerpieces, but did she set a beautiful table in love. She cooked for days, and poured her heart in everything. She managed this all this without Pinterest. I wish I still had her; she would sort me out.

This is where I keep going wrong.  If I  work myself to the point that I forget the point, what’s the point?  GET THE POINT? 

These moments that we set aside in our busy schedules in life are about communing and  gathering. Sinking our toes into the soil a little deeper, birthing traditions and observing the old. We are creating memories. It is the times of  year we come together in dysfunctional glory.

 We were all born a mess, but when we gather, we can become a beautiful mess. That is perfection.

I loved my SheLoves Party. There was a whole lot of love poured into and through that night. I even forgive myself for serving super crappy coffee. Now as I set the table for Christmas, all that little stuff that I am worrying about and will never get to anyways, I am letting it go.

I am letting go of the crazies, and clinging to joy.

And I am going to love what I am doing with everything in me.

And even if my meal is a complete fail, I know sometimes the biggest misfortunes can turn into the best memories (or lessons).

Last night my sister reminded me of when I tried to broil my turkey to hurry up the baking. It was raw on the bottom and burned on the top. This may have been because it was frozen when I put it in.  I have come a long way….

So…do you have any Christmas advice, blunders, best memories you want to share? I would LOVE to hear them. 

I hope you have a Merry Christmas and feel the love.










Welcome Advent…

Advent Collage

This December 1st marks the very first time, I almost have my advent calendar full on time. There are couple of empty boxes, that I still need to fill. Those will be special dates with my kids. I was so inspired today on my Facebook feed with some of how others were celebrating advent. I even saw one with twenty five days of random acts of kindness for the kids, I only have one day designated for my kids random act of kindness….I had a moment of parental fail over this, but I am okay now.

My advent calendar was Pottery Barn inspired, my sister and friends collaborated, I would have loved the real deal, but my budget…

The thing I love about this, is that it is simply  poles, looped together with twine. You could use ribbon, wire, chains… Any pails would work. We ordered our numbers from a decal printer, and I think they were work every penny.




White, Black, Navy and Gold Pails.

As for poles, can’t you just find everything on Amazon?

It may be a bit of a late start for you, or maybe you can file this away for next year. At the beginning of advent I find myself entering this season full of expectation for memories, laughter and love. There are so many opportunities to give and share. Don’t miss them. I have found that the truest meaning of Christmas are in these moments.

As for today, my house is completely decorated and kind of clean. I am going to spend a fair amount of time in pyjama’s and hanging with my boys. Christmas movies will be playing….






Daniela Schwartz © 2013. All Rights Reserved.