Bedroom Makeover Update

Well, I’ve been working away on our bedroom makeover (introduced here), until progress suddenly ground to a halt. A lot of the parts and pieces are collected, and some DIYing is underway, however this week I was bitten by a nasty cold… All.Week.Long. 😐 So frustrating.

Here’s a little peek anyway.

This is part of the palette that was already in place, and won’t be changing (read more here, here, and here), so it became the jump-off.

Duvet, Drapes, Quilt Rack

You might remember an area rug was part of the new plan. These are the options within the rug budget that made the shortlist, and I’ve since chosen one.

Rug Potentials

Which one do you think I chose? I know, two very different textures, two very different looks!

And you might remember, I showed a long, low MCM dresser factored into the plan. Well, I kind of became a ‘Used Finds’ junkie, scouring the ads like a daily habit, week after week with little to no luck. And then finally one day, there it was!

Used Victoria - MCM Dresser, Mirror & Highboy

{Used Victoria}

A DIY option (at least for me), but definitely along the lines of what I had in mind. This came as a package deal with a mirror and a highboy, because the seller wouldn’t split the set apart. But for the price, it’s a deal that’s hard to beat since they are Honderich pieces c. 1960s, and nice thick walnut veneer.


Did you know the veneer in older pieces is much thicker than now-a-days, therefore a better option to sand? And the base wood tends to be of a higher quality than what you get now. Something to keep in mind if you’re looking for a used find. I say, the older, the better!

Here’s a look at my workshop right now. Notice my other Used Find in the background? Hint: the doors are removed.

MCM Dressers & Cabinet Makeovers 033

Since so much of the space depends on the MCM dresser, I’ve been working on it first, even though I had the glass door cabinet before it.

The top is fully sanded and complete, and this is where I left off when the retched bug decided to take over. GRRRR. So frustrating. Oh, did I already say that?

MCM Dressers & Cabinet Makeovers 047

It feels like the cold is starting to break, so I’m hoping to get the sanding finished up this weekend. You can see I have the the finicky areas left, and I still have the drawer fronts to do. And I’m dying to get my hands on the other Used Finds cabinet, too! These pieces will have completely different finishes, and I can’t wait to get the pretty party started!

Are you working on any projects right now? Any makeovers to do?

Thanks for stopping by!

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Photographs by Sheila Zeller unless otherwise stated.



Tired of Ho-Humming Along!

Well, it’s been a pretty busy last few weeks over here at sZinteriors. For quite a while now I’ve been scouring the USED ads, thrifting my little heart out and just plain visioning in search of makeover pieces for my project ‘to do’!

Here’s a little heads up on what’s got my attention:

Floor Plan - Labelled Layout

Yah, I’ve had enough ho-humming along. Time to move out the pieces that aren’t working, and move in ones that will. This layout is what I have in mind. You can see from the floor plan, we don’t have a lot of options for furniture placement, but that’s okay. We don’t own this home, so will do with this space what we can do!

Here’s one piece that’s just come along…

Glass Door Cabinet - Used VictoriaAnd a look at it right-side up!

Solid Oak Glass Door Cabinet

It’s solid oak with old brass hardware. You can’t really see in this photo, but the bottom of the legs are wrapped in brass – dipping with the real thing!

I have plans for this piece. Oh yes I do! So today I swapped my vehicle to the good outdoors, and set up my workshop in its place to get started.

There will definitely be more to come, but I have to get on with the grunt work first. That would be sanding. I so don’t enjoy the sanding part!

What are your plans for the weekend? Doing anything fun?

Thanks for stopping by!

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Photos courtesy of Used Victoria ad

Painting Gallery Frames: Cheater DIY from Bland to Black!

Not too long ago in one of my treasure hunting adventures I came across this set of four vintage pencil drawings, and knew instantly I wanted to take them home! Vancouver, after all, is my home away from home.

Pencil Drawings of Vancouver, BC

I love Vancouver! But… I wasn’t so sure I loved the blonde wood frames. I propped them up against the wall for the time being, just to live with the frames and see if a clear wax was in order, or if painting the frames black was tugging at my soul.

Lo and behold, on another thrifting adventure a few weeks later I came across two more drawings to this set.

Pencil Drawings of Vancouver, BC

So now, hmmm, a gallery wall with six framed drawings in blonde wood frames? I wasn’t feeling it, not for me. What I did know was I wanted to keep the frames. But here’s the thing. These frames are old, and this is what the back looks like.

Back of Vintage Frame

Tiny little nails hold the print inside the frame, so I wasn’t really keen on removing all the nails from all six prints to paint the frames. In fact, I needed to add a few more nails to push down spots where the prints have warped over time. I just call these imperfections the ‘Wabi-sabi‘ of the find!

So here’s the cheater steps I took to paint the frames without disassembling the prints from inside.

1. Tape off the inside edges of the glass next to the frame.

Taping Off Frames for Painting Prep

My painter’s tape is fairly wide, so I was able to take one strip and cut it in half length-wise to tape off opposite sides of the frame. If you do this, make sure you put the factory edge against the frame. I used an X-Acto knife to cut the end of the tape so it fit snuggly into the corner of the frame. Works like a charm!

2. Elevate frames on empty containers, and brush the first coat of paint on all sides of each frame.

Taped frames for brushing on paint

Don’t worry too much about the back of the frame. Just make sure the paint wraps the back edge slightly…

DIY Cheat - Painting a Frame with Print Inside

Like this. If you paint like me, that won’t be a problem! 😉

3. Apply second coat of paint, and remove tape. TIP: Make sure you remove painter’s tape before second coat dries. 

Brush Painting Frames with Print Inside

I recommend scoring each edge with the X-Acto knife before you remove the tape. This will cut through any paint that’s already dried and help prevent the paint from peeling off with the tape. Remove the tape slowly, and leave frames to fully dry. Even when they’re dry, the paint will still be soft, and will knick easily

4. Once frames are dry, touch up any spots where the paint got away on you! And trust me, this will happen.

Spots for Touch-Up on Painted Frame

I cleaned the glass first just to remove any random paint flecks, and then used a black felt Sharpie with a chisel tip for my touch ups. To keep the felt from marking the glass, place a small, thin piece of paper between the pen and the glass where you’re doing each touch-up.

And voila!

My gallery find went from this…

Pencil Drawings of Vancouver, BC

To this…

Pencil Drawings of Vancouver, BC

From this…

Pencil Drawings, Vancouver, BC

To this…

Pencil Drawings, Vancouver, BC

And the whole set together looks like this!

Gallery of Pencil Drawings, Vancouver, BC

I bet you’re dying to know where I’m hanging this little gallery, huh? I promise, there will be a reveal. Just not today! 😉

The thing to remember with a gallery presentation is it will generally be admired from afar. And that’s why I opted to do a quick brush of paint on the frames with the prints intact. The little flaws from this cheater approach won’t even be noticed. Normally I would remove the print, the glass, and all hardware. And then I would spray the frames for a smooth, even application of the paint. But in this case, seriously, would you pull all those little nails for that?

Thanks for stopping by!

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Photographs by Sheila Zeller

The Macklemore Thift Shop Challenge: Catching Up & Playing Along!

Well… who knew? A Macklemore inspired thrift shop challenge! I caught YHL’s post just after my thrifting outing last week, and had big plans for today’s thrifting. Only the excursion was called off due to a nasty flu bug trying to swarm in. Instead, here’s what I’ve cobbled together from last week so I can play along!

The three things you need to do to play:

1. Go to a thrift store with $20 and take a picture…

Since there’s no pic of me holding $20 in front of the store… but $20 is my normal budget for a thrifting day, I mocked this up with the treasures we loaded up from our adventure. The checked things are mine! Notice the red tool box? It’s the one I just wrote about here and pinned here!

2. Spend your $20 any way you’d like and photograph your spoils…

  • $3 Dovetail Box (it has a great old burnished brass clasp on it!) – I’m thinking of stenciling the box to create a vintage inspired look-alike crate… still deciding.
  • $9 Wine Carboy – not sure just yet where this will end up, but I liked it, even though it’s kind of new!
  • $1 Hoop – this will go into a DIY project somewhere down the line.
  • $5 Vintage Tool Box (made by Climax, c. 1930s to 50s) – you can see what I did with it here!
And the table below. You saw it sitting up-side-down and circled in the first photo! It’s c. 1940s, and in desperate need of a redo. Plans are underway for that to happen, and some of the prep work has already begun since Kaleigh has put her dibs in on it!

But I’m kind of cheating to include the table in my $20, because I actually saw it three weeks ago, just didn’t buy it at the time. I kept thinking about it, so when we popped back to this thrift store last week and it was still there, well I decided to make it mine! I paid $20 for it, a little too much, I know, but it was one of those pieces that was calling me. Besides, I saved my $20 three weeks ago!

3. Find one item (or more) referenced in the song and snap a pic.

Well, I figured you might find a few of these things in grandma’s closet, and maybe, just maybe the leather boots would be in grandpa’s!

Even though I didn’t get to play completely by the rules, it was still fun to pull this together from our outing last week. Whew, good thing for phone pics, isn’t it? Like I said, who knew?

I’m linking up over at Young House Love...

You seriously need to pop over and check out all the other Macklemore inspired finds!

Thanks for stopping by!

Photos by Sheila Zeller 


Organizing My Sewing Stuff: A Blend of Gran’s Vintage & My Semi-New

I inherited my Gran’s sewing box years ago, and believe it or not, left everything in it. I’ve used a few things over the years, but have always just left it the way Gran had it. Well, maybe not exactly the way she had it… it’s a lot less orderly now!

And if you think this is bad, here’s a peek at the mish-mash of my own sewing box!

Enter the little red vintage tool box that inspired me to take charge of all this chaos.

Yes, this was a thrifting find from the other day, and for some reason I saw it becoming part of my sewing mix… even though this is what it looked like inside.

Some soaking, Goo-Gone, lots of elbow grease and a little steel wool took care of this, and then I lined the bottom with rubber shelf liner and red felt.

It’s actually this I was more worried about!

Sorting and organizing all the random contents of my sewing stuff along with my grandmother’s to become one! Eeeek. And getting better systems in place to boot.

My thread and bobbins were a tangled mess.

The idea behind this thread/bobbin caddy isn’t so bad, but it’s one of those organizers that doesn’t really work. I’ve moved my bobbins to this little case instead…

I still have to decide on storage for my thread. Do you have any favorite solutions to share?

And buttons. Who saves them in all these packages, anyway?

Well, that would be me! I’ve now sorted my buttons and separated them into little jars of darks, whites, metallics, mixed colours, and kid inspired!

My Gran made her own dresses, and she loooooved rick rack, seam binding and elastic. I wrote about a quilt she made here.

Did you notice the vintage labels with their vintage prices?

I corralled all the rick rack and seam binding into a small box, and placed it with the rest of my craft supplies.

No need for this factory supply to be kept in my sewing box, right?

I did put all Gran’s elastic into a pretty little box, and it along with some other things you saw on the table now live in the bottom of my sewing box.

I also sorted and organized more things from the table into the top tray of my sewing box, and this is what lives there now.

The pink seamstress tape belonged to my Gran along with the very burnished thimble beside it. The tape is only in feet and inches, and it’s so old I’m afraid it might crack and break if I handle it too much. I have two of my own, but there’s no way I want to part with Gran’s, so it gets to take up a cubby of its own! Hey, do you know of any DIY ideas where I could showcase this special tape instead?

Remember all those envelopes containing spare buttons? Here’s how I used some of them for my larger needles and pins.

They’re now tucked down a side compartment in one of the trays in the top of my sewing box.

And by now I bet you’re wondering where on earth the little red tool kit comes in.

Well, tools of course!

Between my Gran and I, we had a few tools of the sewing trade…

Believe it or not, the wooden handled tracing wheel, seam guide, and large seam ripper were mine in high school! Never mind, never mind – I said my stuff was ‘semi-new’!

Here’s something of Grannie’s I never had! A scissors sharpener.

Do they even make these anymore? The scissors you see are mine… would you dare use them to cut paper? No, my family doesn’t either 😉

Anyway, I thought the little red tool box would be perfect for our sewing tools!

I slipped the sharp objects into the little leather pouch on the right, just to protect them and the red paint that’s still in tact!

Everything fit perfectly.

And the lid even closed! 🙂

My Gran’s sewing box is empty now, and all our sewing things combined. You see, I have to do some minor repairs to it, because the screws that hold the hinges in place are really loose, and the drawers are pretty shaky when they’re pulled open.

In the meantime I will just enjoy it for the beautiful piece that it is. Well used, and well loved!

Do you craft or sew? What kind of organizational strategies do you use for all the ‘stuff’ that goes with it? Oh, and if you noticed the old Aspirin bottle in the first photo, pop by next week… I’ll show you some of the other treasures that kind of go with it!

So happy to be featured over at Junkin Joe’s! Thank you, Andrea 🙂


Published in the Home section of Savvy Stories over at Savvy Mom.

Thanks for stopping by!

Photographs by Sheila Zeller. Please link and credit if you choose to use!

Back to the Renaissance: A Day of Learning

On the weekend I had the pleasure of joining the group, Renaissance Women, to learn a new craft to me, but one that has been mastered for years!

We spent the afternoon in Leola’s Studio at Whippletree Junction learning how to dry felt, wet felt, paint and paper weave, and how to weave a rag rug! Now I have to say, I’ve had time to reflect, and if I was to do the dry weave project again, I would approach it so differently. You should have seen some of the incredible creations of the others.

And if you ever thought wet weaving to create those felt balls was easy… well, can I just say, patience is a must in order to succeed! I have a more sophisticated respect for the art behind their creation now that I’ve given it a try.

Here’s my little wet weave ball…

Tell me you can see a red heart, not just a blob! And I thought I’d get 3 balls done. Who was I kidding?

The really cool thing Leola did was have each of us weave a section of the same rag rug as we tried our hand at working the loom. I love that this rug is symbolic of a group of women working together to learn crafts from the past in an effort to keep the art of them alive! I was very grateful to be a part of this, and that the DIYer in me was fed with learning something creative and old, but new 🙂

At the end of the day all our names were thrown into a draw for one lucky winner to receive this very rug! And the crazy thing I still can’t believe is somehow my name was pulled out of the hat! Not a rabbit, but my name!

I was blown away, super excited, and a little in shock.

Isn’t it hard to believe this rug was created by the hands of over a dozen women? 13 sets of creative hands working on one project. I love how cheerful it is, the colours and variations, the solo chevron stretching toward the middle… I think it speaks to the sharing, caring, cooperative nature of the group.

The rug had to be cut off the loom, and most of the ends still have to be knotted and trimmed. Leola patiently showed me how to knot off the ends, and now finishing the rest is up to me!

Leola's Studio - Cowichan Valley

A special thank you to Leola for her patience and guidance while never losing her wit! To Heather, founding member of Duncan’s Renaissance Women for inviting me in, and to each woman in the group for making me feel welcome.

For a collection of photos from the afternoon, you will find an album on Renaissance Women’s FB page. You can even ‘Like’ the page if you like! 😉

Thanks for stopping by!

Photographs by Sheila Zeller

Shou-sugi-ban… I’m in Love!


The ancient Japanese technique of charring wood to preserve it for use as exterior siding. Traditionally, Japanese Cyprus was used, but now we’re seeing this technique applied to cedar, and other woods. We’re also seeing the wood being utilized in new and interesting ways beyond exterior siding.

I first learned about shou-sugi-ban on HGTV’s Kitchen Cousins, and fell instantly in love. No, not with the cousins! With the distinct and unique look of the wood.

Here’s a close-up.

Delta Millworks on Houzz 

The wood is carefully charred, doused in water and cooled. Once cooled, it’s brushed to remove the dust and loose debris, and then cleaned, meaning washed and dried. The shou-sugi-ban can either be finished with a natural oil or left as is.

Anne and the Architects

Why would you want to do this? Well, its cool factor, for one! But actually, the charcoal barrier preserves the wood and is fire, rot and insect resistant!

Cast Architecture Blog

Here are a few examples of shou-sugi-ban in action.

Colin Conces Photography

Such a great panel look without the nastiness of paneling! Let’s not go back the 70s, okay?

This siding is an example of how the wood silvers once it’s brushed, cleaned, and oiled.

Orchard House Blog

And here you see how it looks cladding a fireplace. 

I can’t tell if the wood has been oiled or not. What do you think?

I love this table top burner.

And the irony behind it and the fireplace… you know, charred wood as a feature where fire burns brightly 😉 But seriously, isn’t this burner pretty awesome?

These stools speak for themselves.

Urban Now Design / Nicholas Wray Photography

 Designed by Steve Hamm and Don Wroth of Urban Now Design, in their words, they “Like to create cool stuff, plain and simple.”

I’ll leave you with this last piece, a table by Materia Designs.

Materia Designs

This is a great example of blending ancient technique with modern design, and topping it off with a little vintage statement… did you guess the table top is made of reclaimed barn board? Hemlock, actually.

What’s not to love?

I’m thinking a shou-sugi-ban headboard would be pretty cool. But, I do wonder how long it takes for the the charred smell to disappear!

So how about you? Have you heard of shou-sugi-ban before? Do you love it… or would you rather leave the charring back at the camp fire?

Thanks for stopping by!

 All image sources credited below each image.

No Cost Organizing for a Chest Freezer

Chest Freezers

Where I grew up, chest freezers were a staple in just about every home. As the years changed, so did the freezer styles, but what didn’t was their necessity. Though I’ve moved, I haven’t made the lifestyle change – having a freezer is just part of how I live. And oddly enough, I’ve never made a style switch, either.

Hang on tight for design inspired photos you’ll be dying to pin 😉

Like this one of our freezers in the basement!

Chest Freezers

Okay, I’ll just say it. This post is not photo pretty, but it does have a few tips!

Keeping a chest freezer organized can be a challenge, so what can you do?

1. Sort the contents by group, and place like things together.

Labelling for Freezers

We have two freezers, so I thought these signs would help hubs know where things go 🙂 Okay, they’re for me too! We had a mix of everything in both, and wasted time rooting through each one! Even with one freezer, making a basic list of what’s inside can be helpful. And if you want something super handy, but with a lot more cool factor, placing a chalkboard decal right on your freezer is an easy way to keep things up to date.

2. Tag your frozen goods with dates, and place the oldest items on top.

Here my new and old are placed side-by-side, but I still wanted to make sure we were using the older fish first. Ideally you will want to date your individual packages, but my Dad and his buddy keep us supplied in fish, so we process quite a few at once. That’s where this next tip comes in. And I have to give my Dad credit for this one as he’s done this for years!

3. Contain your frozen packages in boxes within the freezer.

Notice the circle in the first photo. That’s space over the freezer motor, which is pretty hard to maximize. The box provides storage for additional items that would otherwise slip off the tiny shelf.

More reasons I like to use boxes:

  • You can fill the bottom of the freezer, and then optimize the vertical space that’s left, by layering another row of boxes on top
  • You are able to contain like things together, which makes them easier to retrieve
  • It’s easier to move a box, than it is to move a pile of random packages
  • Boxes help protect vacuum sealed packages, like what our fish is in, from breaking open
  • Boxes are easy to come by, and you can cut them down to size
  • This is a great way to reuse something you probably already have!
4. If your freezer is full, take a quick photo of the outside and list what’s on the inside.

Print off the photo on plain old paper, and start writing in what you have and where you’ll find it. This isn’t meant to be all pretty and perfectly formatted. It’s just another way for you to find things quickly without having to search through your freezer. If you want to forget the whole photo thing, draw squares and fill them in instead! Remember, chest freezers are deep, and brrrrrr, cold… do you really want to be searching through that?

More things to keep in mind:
  • Ensure your individual packages are fully frozen before stacking others on top
  • Use thick, strong cardboard boxes, because they will eventually soften and want to bend over time
  • Fold the flaps closed before stacking another box on top, or place a heavy, flat piece of cardboard between the boxes

And… you don’t have to use cardboard boxes. You can use whatever works for you… just remember that plastic gets brittle when it’s frozen, and any moisture turns to ice on it’s surfaces. As for metal containers… well, we don’t even want to go there!

So tell me, do you use a freezer? What are your strategies for keeping it organized? Oh, and how many of these photos did you pin 😉 !!!

I hope you had fun reading this… it’s been pretty rainy here, so organizing something is always a great way to feel productive when you’re feeling kind of house-bound!

Fun fact:

Did you know there’s actually a name for the sign strategy I used to identify the old and new fish? There’s a system in Japan called Kanban. It’s not an inventory control system, but rather a scheduling system. My little cardboard cards are a very basic form of what’s actually quite a sophisticated system. Click here to read more! It’s pretty interesting. I included this to show you how systems can be as basic or as complex as you want to make them, but what matters in the end is that you have a system!

Have a great weekend, and thanks for stopping by!

Photography by Sheila Zeller

Artist Easel to TV Stand ‘Before & After’

Featured by…

TV Cabinet Solutions

 Thank you so much!

You might remember waaaaay back about this time last year I posted in excitement about wanting to turn an artist easel into a TV stand. This was inspired by Vicente Wolf’s very creative idea, and if you missed my post you can catch up on it here. And then in House & Home’s June issue this year, an art easel turned TV stand was a featured DIY project!

This was exactly the push I needed to get back on track and tackle my year-in-waiting project!

Here’s what the easel looked like in its ‘before’ state.

Art Easel

Notice there is just one shelf.

There was a concern that the TV would be too top-heavy for the stand once it was mounted, making it tip forward. A test-run proved this stand to be a lot sturdier than you would think, and with the added weight of the audio equipment on the bottom, it wasn’t going anywhere.

Here’s the TV console we were replacing along with all the audio equipment that would have to make the move. I forgot to take a true ‘before’ of it, so you’ll notice the TV is missing!

Without getting too lost in the details of this project, one of the things we did was add two more shelves to accommodate our equipment.

I had my heart set on painting the stand black, because I wanted the equipment to blend in. I opted to brush rather than spray the stand, and oh boy, what a chore that was! Just the sanding and taping was more than I bargained for! You see, I had to sand off a clear coat finish, and then tape all the knobs and exposed hardware. And this stand has a lot of grooves, not to mention a bunch of knobs, back and front, as well as ample hardware!

I used CIL’s low VOC, low odour DUO paint (Dark Secret, DL51 in semi-gloss), so was spared the priming. I haven’t used CIL’s 2-in-1 paint before, and was curious about its coverage. In the end the stand got two coats, and needed some touch-ups just where the frame was adjusted once the TV was mounted. The frame was tedious to adjust, which is why I didn’t mess with it when I was painting.

Next hubs drilled the frame so he could mount our center speaker for the surround sound right in the center of the stand. Makes sense, right?

The TV, by the way, was mounted with steel strapping.

We used the TV’s pre-existing screw holes meant for a wall-mount bracket to attach the strapping, and wrapped it snugly over the back rest of the easel.

At first, I wasn’t too sure if I liked the outcome.

But then when I went back to the living room ‘before’ photo with the TV console…

And looked around the room with the new TV easel finished and in place…

Well, I decided there was no comparison. I love the sculptural feel and uniqueness of the stand, and how compact the equipment is sitting on the stand. I like how the stand works with the clock, and the decor. But most of all, I like that the stand tucked perfectly into the corner… it’s such an awkward corner. Did you notice that?

This was a case of, if you can’t disguise the TV, then go all out with it instead!

I’m curious to hear what you think! And, I’d love your thoughts on the wall behind the TV, too. Would you put anything there, or leave that spot empty as is?

Today I’m linking up over at Primitive & Proper…

You might want to pop by to check out the other projects. Thanks for hosting, Cassie!

And thank you, my friends, for stopping by today 🙂

PS – don’t forget to enter our special GIVEAWAY here… Giveaway ends Friday, September 7, 2012 midnight PST!

Guest Posting Over At Home Bunch

Wow, can you believe it’s Friday… and August 31st, too? Where did the summer go? I don’t know about you, but I’m not quite ready for our summer to end. My sunflowers just started to bloom!

Although, I have to admit, it is nice to get back into the swing of a regular routine with the beginning of school closing in.

And what better way to end off the summer, and start into the fall than to be guest posting over at Home Bunch? Today you’ll find me stepping in for Luciane with a little Cool or Fool Friday fun…

Luciane is one of my very dear blogging friends who has been with me since the beginning. And right now she’s knee-deep in a big design project, along with being incredibly busy raising her family, blogging five days a week, and just being the amazing woman that she is.

I hope you’ll pop over for a visit, and weigh in with your thoughts… is it cool or fool?