Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Making Over the Cave

So we have this room in the basement.  We've hardly touched it since we bought the house over a year ago.  Of all the rooms in the house, it's the one most in need of a makeover -- even more than the kitchen with its yellow flowered countertops (I kid you not).  This basement room houses a couch, a recliner, and a 42" flat screen TV -- hubby calls it the man cave.

Shortly after moving in, we ripped up the old vinyl flooring and put down new laminate flooring.  

We also primed the 70's faux wood panelling on the walls.  In fact, there were two different types on different walls.  Here you can see some unprimed bits and the new laminate:

The old window treatments have to go.

I've finally bought fabric for new window treatments.

The furniture is tan, so using the fabric for inspiration, it seemed to make sense to go with the grey-blue colour for the walls.  I ended up picking Pittsburgh's "quicksilver".  I just hope it's not too dark/grey -- don't want the "man cave" to actually look like a cave!

Right now, hubby is just finishing up the first coat.  The paint is covering really well and, at this point, it seems like a second coat may not even be necessary.  Ugh!  I wish I'd known that before I bought TWO gallons.  Oh, well.  Live and learn...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


The tree is finally up AND I have batteries in the camera.

I meant to cut strips of burlap to use as garland, but I had over half of the ornaments on the tree before I remembered.  I couldn't talk myself into removing them in order to add garland and then putting them all back on again.  So our tree is garland-less this year.  I kind of like it, actually!

Is it completely apalling that I haven't yet decorated the fireplace mantel?  Does it make it more acceptable if I only just finished work on Friday and I've been caring for a sick two-year-old? 

The shopping is all done, so now on to wrapping, wrapping, and more wrapping.  Baking, baking, and more baking.  And some last-minute decorating...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Simple Tree Ornaments

My orange slices are dried.  I used three different ribbons to make loops for hanging:  light olive satin with picot edging, burgundy satin with picot edging, and white "metallic" (sort of opalescent) with straight edging.  My apple slices are dried, too.  I used three other different ribbons:  ivory satin with picot edging, red satin with picot edging, and apple green with picot edging.  Here they are ready to hang:

I also made cinnamon applesauce ornaments.  I used a full pouch of cheap cinnamon (about 1 3/8 cup), about 1 1/8 cup of cheap unsweetened applesauce, and about 2 tablespoons of regular white glue.  I mixed the glue and applesauce first, then added the cinnamon.  Once it was all well-mixed, I decided to add some ground ginger and allspice for extra fragrance.  It would have been much easier if I had added the extra spices to the cinnamon BEFORE mixing it all together with the glue/applesauce.  I managed, but please note that I highly recommend wearing latex or rubber gloves.  I needed to knead the "dough" and the glue makes it particularly sticky.  Without gloves, your hands will smell lovely, but the brown difficult-to-clean gunk under your fingernails will be most unattractive.  I dried them in the oven at about 175 degrees for a few hours.

To glam them up a bit, I followed Emily's lead from Remodeling This Life.  I didn't have any Mod Podge, but noticed some Multi Podge at the dollar store and bought it to use.  It didn't dry clear!  I was disappointed, but not ambitious enough to start again from scratch - so they'll suffice.  I used sisal twine and jute twine for hanging loops.  Here they are:



I finished decorating the tree last night at about 1:30am.  The batteries in the camera have died, though, so no pictures of the tree yet.  Sigh...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Copper Pennies & Orange Slices

Remember when pennies were actually made of copper?  The more they aged, the darker and darker they became until, eventually, they were almost black.  Nannie, my paternal grandmother, used to call those one cent coins "black coppers". 

I'm starting this blog to chronicle the cost-effective DIY projects that I have planned for updating our humble abode.  "Black Copper DIY" seemed a fitting name.

We'll be putting our Christmas tree up this weekend, and with a two-year-old son, I can't help but wonder/worry about the tree decorations.  I think I'll leave most of the "real" decorations packed away this year.  I've sliced apples and oranges to dry and I plan to make cinnamon applesauce "cookie" ornaments.

Here are the freshly sliced oranges:

I'll be sure to post the final product once they're dried, loops are added, and they're hung on the tree.  I'm not sure whether to use ribbon or jute twine for loops.  Hmmmm...maybe some of each!