Tag Archives: DIY


Picture This in Your Home!

Most of us have a pretty nice camera by 2013–whether it’s on our smart phone or a DSLR. It’s easy to snap a lot of pictures, the real challenge is to get a great photo that makes it past facebook and into your home decor! I am by no means a professional photographer, but here are some tricks my photography friends have shared with me that I have found helpful!

1- Framing the Shot

There are a lot of great tips online to help you prep your camera for that perfect shot, but the most basic thing to look at is the rule of thirds. A general rule of photography is to divide your photo into three sections vertically and horizontally. Just like this:
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Most cameras will have a setting that puts this lines in your viewfinder. Anywhere that these lines cross is a visually appealing place to have your focus (what your shot features). Of course, the rule of thirds can be broken, but you need to know the rules to break them! Here are a few examples from pinterest: lighthouse-rule-of-thirds 8951615e65febc0adf0b87fe60fab181 c5f685d5d0c945c34525feb8a80f9396

2- Flash Photography

Flash is overrated. Have you ever painted with water colours? You get so excited to use such vibrant colours, but once you start painting you realize the colours all show up really transparent? That’s what flash does. It washes everything out. Your skin looks paler and your environment looks harsher. Sometimes when your camera isn’t all that great, flash can be a lifesaver, but if there is any other way to light the shot–use it! Always try taking a picture without flash to see if there is hope. If you have an SLR, turn your aperature to a lower setting. This will let more light into your lens. For more info on aperture settings check out this site! If you must use flash, try putting a business card at a 45 degree angle over your flash. This is will direct the light above your subject and help keep them vibrant!

Here are two examples of the difference flash makes on quick, automatic shots in a dimly lit room:

With Flash:

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Without flash! No squinty eyes and warmer hues!

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With Flash:
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Much more Christmas-like without flash!

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3- Printing!
Once you’ve captured a few great shots, it’s time to print some photos! You can do this at places like Walmart of Costco, but when you print at photography focused shops–like Black’s or Ivan’s Camera–you’ll get higher quality prints! Don’t be afraid to print weird sizes either. Not all pictures have to be 4×8! Your arrangements will look much more professional with different sized photos. Here is one of my favourite size guides!

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4- Print snaps from your phone!

There seems to be this unwritten rule that you can only print photos from high megapixel cameras, but one of my favorite photography pins ever was a print out of instagram photos! Instagram’s easy editing tools make for awesome quick shots of some of the best memories.

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I hope these tips help you decorate your home with your own memories! Feel free to share any of your own tricks!

Colour Palette of the Month: April

april cp

 

Even though some of my friends in Montreal woke up to snow this morning, here in Moncton I feel spring! I’ve been getting by with lighter jackets and left the house in sneakers yesterday! Spring is in the air! The grass is green and the birds are chirping. By incorporating these springtime hues, this month’s colour palette should get rid of your winter blues!

rec roomIt just so happens that the basement at my house is a cheery shade of green, so I staged it for you all! I’m really not this clean, but I am excited to share a few tips and tricks for brightening up a basement. Painting the walls green might seem like a terrifying task, but bright walls in the basement really enlivens the space without having to add a crazy amount of windows!

A lot of us don’t have time to fuss with keeping plants alive, but framing large artificial leaves adds some freshness to the room. Most of the furniture is quite neutral, but don’t be afraid to mix and match shades of green. I love that dark green chair against the bright wall!

When you’re trying to create a fresh feel, geometric shapes and symmetrical lines are definitely a go-to feature. Initially, we really wanted to go with a larger tv, but this one matched the size of the window and added to the flow of the rec room. I’m glad we choose it! The circles on the wall keep the airy vibe without making the wall look too bare.

basement

This fresh palette sets the right mood for a brisk walk on the treadmill or a bit of yoga after work. The wall accents are all home made by Heather (the girl who took the photo of the bird in the palette!)  She filled photo frames in with patterned scrapbook paper and made a sunburst mirror out of ties she picked up at second-hand shops! The clean geometric lines make their way into the laundry room as well with a floating shelf holding enlarged photos from vacations.

bedroom

This palette works great in a bedroom! The greys and white tone down the bright hues while keeping the look really crisp and fresh! Once again, framed natural elements add to the vibrant springtime feel of the palette. The framed pictures above the bed are from Superstore (How crazy is that!?) I love the modern take on traditional patterns that the painted white headboard and side tables give!

desk

Lastly, this palette works great in my study space. A large window above the desk allows for lots of natural lighting and helps keep me focused. This space is a bit more cluttered, but I like to keep some of my favorite things on these floating shelves! I find the white keeps the space from looking too chaotic. This desk is made by setting a countertop on top of two short shelves! The plastic storage stack fit perfectly, but the other side is kept open to store larger items.

I hope you guys enjoyed this mini-tour of the basement! I’d love to hear how you guys brighten up your gloomy spaces!

 

Snow Day DIY

Ever wonder what to do when 400 000ft (maybe a little less) of snow is holding your car hostage and the kids–or you–are getting a little too anxious for Christmas? Here’s our suggestions!

1. Sugar Plums

First of all, do any of you have any idea what a sugar plum is? I did not, but when I googled them I realized that I make them all the time! Technically plum is a traditional word for any type of confectionary. The sugar plums we hear of in the “Night Before Christmas” are pretty much Lara bars made into orbs! Here’s the recipe for the sugar plums I made this year (not knowing that’s what they were!) They’re super healthy and delicious!

Ingredients:

1 cup of dates
1/2 cup of nuts
2 Tbs of Peanut Butter
1/4 cup of coconut

Mix in a food processor and roll into balls. Refrigerate.

* This is my favorite combination, but you can add almost any kind of dried fruit to get different flavours.I know some people love dried kiwi and coconut. If someone is allergic to nuts, you could add some seeds or chocolate…m&ms…whatever you want!

2. Glitter.

Glitter can make ANYTHING christmasy and everyone (except the cleaner) likes sparkle!
-Draw a picture or write a phrase.
-Paint over your artwork with modge podge or clear liquid glue.
-Add some glitter. Shake it off and you’ve got a gorgeous Christmas decoration!

You can do the same thing to glitz up some tree decorations!

3. Old-Fashioned Decor

There’s something timeless about stringing popcorn and cranberries, making designs on oranges with cloves, or cutting paper doll chains! Why not make a few on this snowy day!

Popcorn and cranberry garland:

– thread
-needle
-popcorn
-whole cranberries

Thread your needle and stick it through popcorn, periodically adding a cranberry. It’s that easy!

Orange with Cloves

Take an orange and stick cloves all over it! You can spell a holiday word, make a pattern, or whatever you please! These will make your house smell so festive!

Paper Chains

Traditionally, these are made by folding paper, drawing little girls and boys, cutting out your doll shape and hanging them on the wall. I took a bit more modern approach, but it’s easy to adjust to your own style.

Find a large piece of scrapbook paper.

Fold it

Draw the shape of your choice. I went with Christmas Bulbs. I was wanting to use string, but if you don’t make sure you draw to the edge of your paper and don’t cut the edges! See the last picture for an example.

Cut them out!

Do any decorating you wish. I drew the top part of the bulbs.

Make little holes using a hole punch or needle and thread your string through the holes!

Hang them up!

Here are my trees made without the string!

I hope you have awesome snow days!

Top 7 Homemade Halloween Decorations You Can Make for Cheap!

Jack-o-Clock

(Source and instructions)

Last year, we gave you an article about cheap homemade Halloween costumes that were creative, unique and easy to make. This year, let’s take a look at some of the best homemade Halloween decorations you can make that are also super-creative and easy on the wallet.

Owl A Glow - Homemade Halloween Decorations

This owl might be more cute than scary, but it’s still an awesome-looking decoration worthy of making our list. For this project, all you need is a paper lantern (found at most party supply or craft stores for cheap), some paper, twine and glue dots. Visit Disney Family Fun for full instructions.

Tombstone Halloween Decorations for Your Lawn

Made from paper bags and cardboard, these tombstone lawn decorations will make a great addition to your Halloween décor – just as long as the forecast doesn’t call for rain! For a full list of what you need, complete instructions and tombstone/epitaph templates, visit the Martha Stewart website.

Vampire Lollies - Homemade Halloween Decorations

These little lollipop vampires are working double-duty; they’re fantastic Halloween decorations, and also the treats to hand out to either trick-or-treaters or your party guests. In addition to the lollies, all you need is some cellophane and a few other super-cheap supplies that you probably already have lying around the house. Full instructions can be found at the Kaboose website.

Glow-in-the-Dark Bat Mobile CenterpieceGlow-in-the-Dark Bat Halloween Decoration

These glow-in-the-dark bats look great in both the daylight and in the dark. Some of the supplies needed to make this DIY decoration can probably be found in your own backyard; the rest of the materials can be purchased at your local craft store. Full instructions can be found at the HGTV website.

Paranormal Portraits - DIY Halloween Decorations

This can be a real creepy display, especially when the photos are of your friends and family. In addition to needing photo frames (which you probably already have), the supplies needed include black craft paint, a sponge, cardstock, glue and red LED Christmas lights. You’ll also need a printer and the ability to convert digital images to black and white (there are several free photo editing programs that can do this for you). Visit the Country Living website for full instructions.

Pumpkin Porcupines - Halloween Decoration Ideas

A list of homemade Halloween decorations wouldn’t be complete without mentioning some cool pumpkin carving ideas! If you want to step away from the boring jack-o’-lanterns that everyone’s carving, consider making this porcupine pumpkin – it’s super creative and looks incredible when lit up. The Martha Stewart website will show you how to make this project, as well as other unique pumpkin critters.

Peekaboo Pumpkins

Rather than carving a pumpkin, you could consider decorating miniature gourds this Halloween. The project calls for three to five small bowls and lidded dishes and, if they aren’t already black and white, it’s suggested that you use spray primer to paint them. If you aren’t keen on the idea of painting your own dishes, sneak into your neighbour’s house at night to see what they’ve got. No, I’m kidding. What you can do, however, is visit your local thrift shop to see what’s available there. You can pick up used dishes for pennies, and remember, you’ll be painting them, so it doesn’t matter if they have tacky grandma-ish designs on them. The HGTV website has a complete list of supplies and instructions.

More? You Want More?!

These cheap homemade Halloween decorations not enough for you? If you check out any of the websites linked to above, each has a plethora of other ideas in addition to what’s mentioned here. So go ahead, check ‘em out, and when you find something really cool, make sure to leave a comment to let us know what you’ve found!

Oh, and happy Halloween!

[Image credits: screenshots have been captured from the respective websites]

Get Your Geek On: 6 Cool Gadgets for DIY Enthusiasts

Cool Gadgets for DIY Enthusiasts

Here are a few cool gadgets that every DIY enthusiast should consider owning. Some of these gadgets are completely useless, but still awesome to have, while others are actually very practical (we’ll let you decide which falls into what category).

Everybody has a little geek in them, and DIY enthusiasts are no exception. So, without further ado, here are six cool gadgets to help the DIY enthusiast get their geek on.

Measuring Toilet Roll

Measuring Toilet Roll

We’re not sure what, exactly, you’ll want to be measuring when you’re alone in the bathroom, and we’re probably better off being left in the dark on that one. Whatever it is you want to size up, this cool gadget has got your back (side).

iPlunger

iPlunger

This sucker (pun totally intended) is a cool gadget made for your iPhone or iPod Touch, although we can’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work with your BlackBerry or HTC if that’s the team you play for. Hey, you could even use the iPlunger to prop up your smartphone on your bathroom counter to make a hands-free call while measuring things with the Measuring Toilet Roll. Multitasking, we love it.

Kill-A-Watt

Kill-A-Watt

This cool gadget enables you to plug in any electronic device to accurately gauge how much electricity it uses. Use this gadget along with these ways to reduce your electricity bill and you’re sure to save some money.

Screwed Up Refrigerator Magnets

Screwed Up Refrigerator Magnets

Forget about using lame fruit and vegetable fridge magnets, these are perfect for any DIY enthusiast.

Instant Switch

Instant Switch

This is, by far, one of the coolest gadgets for DIY enthusiasts. Don’t know how to install a light switch? No problem! Too lazy to install a light switch? That’s cool. Want a device that enables you to turn on a light without removing your arse from the couch? We completely understand. The Instant Switch is a remote-controlled light switch that enables you to turn on a lamp from up to sixty feet away, doesn’t require any tools to install, and includes a dimer-control in addition to the standard on/off switch. Hey Clapper, eat your heart out.

Mike Holmes Make It Right App

Mike Holmes Make It Right App

No product roundup of cool gadgets for the DIY enthusiast would be complete without something to do with our Canadian hero: Mike Holmes. The Make It Right app is compatible with all iThings – iPod Touch, iPad and iPhone – and has been created to assist you with your home renovations. Check out this review for more information.

Get Your Geek On

Do you know of any cool gadgets designed specifically with the DIY enthusiast in mind? Leave a comment to let us know!

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