DIY: Pretty painted glass jars


If you’ve been on pinterest at all in the last few months, then you’ve probably seen all those pretty paint coloured glass bottles. With a rare afternoon off, I decided to give this easy, inexpensive project a try.


What you need:

  • clean glass bottles
  • some paint
  • either a bowl or a ziplock bag to mix the paints

I used some old alcohol bottles but any clear glass bottles or jars will work. I used acrylic paint since it’s easy to find and cheap but if you want to fill the bottles with water, you’ll want to use a waterproof paint.

Used a ziplock bag or a bowl and spoon to mix the colours. Make sure you mix a lot so you don’t run out of paint. Pour it into your bottle and slowly turn the bottle to coat all the surface on the inside with paint.

Hold the bottle upside down once it’s all evenly coated to get rid of any excess paint. You might want to let it stand upside down for 5 minutes and then slowly pick it up and let the paint drip out and then leave it again. I was a bit anxious and ended up spilling paint everywhere so make sure you lay down some paper so you don’t get paint everywhere.

That’s it! Such a simple idea and it’s so easy to match it to your home decor!

Tips on how to knit socks for beginners

quote: toes are happier in hand-knit socks

This week’s feature DIYer: Catherine

Catherine is nature enthusiast, an avid baker, and a force to be reckon when you give her a pair of knitting needles and yarn.

quotes: all you need is tea and warm socksYou’ll often find her curled up on the couch or sitting at a table with her yarn and needles and a cup of loose leaf tea. Hand-knit socks are her latest obsession and If you’ve ever been lucky enough to own a pair, then you know how incredibly comfortable they are!

blue hand-knit socks at sock summitI never thought twice about socks until I worked at Sock Summit in Portland a couple years back. And an adorable pair of red Mary-janes and slouchy blue socks caught my eye. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to learn how to knit my own pair but have always been too intimidated by those skinny double pointed needles.

Catherine swears that knitting socks aren’t as hard as they look so she offered up a few tips that helped her when she got started.

We asked Catherine to give us some tips and advice for beginners looking to knit their first pair of socks

  • Check your gauge! Before starting, practice with the yarn and the needles by knitting a swatch to make sure you can create a nice constant stitch. You don’t want to put in all of that work for socks that don’t fit
  • If you’re using plastic or metal double pointed needles and you find that the yarn keeps slipping off, then try using bamboo needles that are a little less slippery.
  • Pick a beginner pattern to start so you don’t get discouraged. Here’s a great free beginner sock pattern from Virginia Rose-Jeanes available on Ravelry > 
  • For the adventurous beginner, socks are also great projects to try new moves like cables or fair isle
  • Try them on as you go to see if you need to make any adjustments to their fit
  • It’s important to use good durable sock yarn to make sure your socks last for a while. But if sock yarn is a little terrifying, try finding a pattern that uses worsted weight yarn and slowly move your way towards sock yarn. Whatever yarn you use though, make sure there is a bit of elasticity so that it hugs your feet.
  • Knitting your own socks is also a great opportunity to pick some really fun bright colours. Check out some of our favourite fresh hand-dyed yarns:
    ArtisticYarnbyAbi, Sundara yarn, and Folklore Yarns

tips on knitting socksIf knitting your own pair is too ambitious, you could also support a fellow knitter and pick up one of their pairs on Etsy!

Let us know if you have any other great tips for the beginner sock knitter!

Baby showers

With many of our friends and family popping out adorable little babies left and right, it was just a matter of time until I would find myself planning one. So of course, I opted for a tea social theme.



We bought a few rolls of pink and white streamers and hung them down the wall instead of the traditional way of hanging the across the ceilings. This saved a lot of time and made for a great backdrop for photos. And it instantly gave the room a bright splash of colour.streamers

We saw this tutorial on Martha Stewart’s site on how to make giant pom poms. These were super quick and easy to make! The only difficult part was transporting them and hanging them. They were a little heavier than expected and kept falling from the ceiling so we had to reinforce it with a lot of tape.



Bottle race

Of course one of the typical party games is to fill some baby bottles up juice, cold tea, or some sort of adult beverage and have people race to finish their drink.



Playdoh faces

We challenged each team to mould what they thought the baby would look like. We gave everyone a time limit of 10 mins which added to the fun to watch people frantically moulding before the timer ran out. What I’ve learned is that moulding with play dough is a lot harder than I remembered. Some of the faces that were made were just down right terrifying… but it was a fun activity none the less.


Decorating onesies

This is a fun activity that the parents can use afterwards. We picked up a bunch of plain onesies, and various colours of fabric paint and let the guests draw designs on them that match their personalities.


And then of course, we served a lot of little treats and a nice variety of tea. Remember to include some non-caffeinated herbal teas as most pregnant moms try to avoid caffeine. Let us know if you have any other fun baby shower ideas! Or send us pictures of your own baby shower tea soiree!

DIY framed map hearts

This week’s DIY project is a great gift idea for a travel loving couple.

One of my closest friends had met her husband, got engaged, and got married all in different countries. The two of them are big travellers so when I saw this picture frame craft on Pinterest that incorporated different maps, I just had to make it for her.


Here are some instructions if want to make your own framed map picture.


1. Find a picture frame that you like. I always gravitate towards black and white frames but I decided to be a little wild and pick up this blue frame that would compliment the colours from the map. Shadow boxes work really well for this project but I could only find them in square shapes which wouldn’t work as nicely with the composition. Decide how many areas you want to incorporate into your frame and do a rough sketch so you have an idea of what frame shape would work best for your project.

2. Find a background. You can use scrap book paper, gift wrap, or anything else you can find. I wanted to personalize it a bit so I designed a background and had it printed. I love how the maps stood out on yellow so I used that for my base. I used one of her favourite travelling quotes and repeated it in the background and added a little quote that I thought represented them well along the bottom. If you want to use this background for your picture, leave me a comment or email me and I will send it to you.

3. Find maps of all the places you want to include. Since this was for a wedding, I decided to include 3 significant places from their love story. Where they met, where they got engaged, and where they got married. If you can’t find maps, you can take usually find different maps of areas online. I decided to cut the maps out in heart shapes. But whatever shape you want is up to you. I’d recommend cutting out the shapes on scrap paper so you can play around with the sizes and placement before cutting into your map.


4. Once you are happy with the placement of your hearts, use glue, or double sided tape to stick them down. I wanted to add a bit of depth to the picture so I used foam double sided tape to raise the maps off the background ever so slightly.


5. TA DA! There you have it, a perfect gift for your travel loving friends!

Let me know if you’ve done a similar project. Or if you’ve made any other travel themed DIY projects!


DIY: How to reupholster a bench

michelle drinking mode and honey teaThis week’s post is courtesy of Michelle. After seeing some of her projects on instagram, I was very excited when she agreed to do a tutorial on how to reupholster a bench. I admire her simple, and whimsical style and love her taste in fabrics. Follow along as she shows us how to turn an old foot stool in to an adorable children’s bench.


What made you start refinishing furniture?

About three years ago, I jumped on the mid-century teak furniture-craze bandwagon. When my husband and I moved to Toronto and settled in to our new apartment, I desperately wanted a teak chair to complete the living room. After scouring Kijiji, Craigslist, and local garage sales, I finally found a piece that was almost perfect; $10, teak arms and legs that were in great shape, and just the right size for the space. The only problem? The fabric smelled like it had lived in a dumpster for the last 50 years, and it looked just as bad. I called around to a number of upholstery studios in town for quotes to have the chair re-upholstered, and after deciding that $600-$700 was just too steep, I decided to give it a shot on my own.

How did you learn?

I learned the basic techniques for furniture upholstery from Andrea Ford, owner of Re:Style Studio. Re:Style offers weekend workshops that are interactive, hands-on and a lot of fun. I did two of the BYOP (Bring Your Own Project) workshops – in the first one, I re-upholstered the teak chair (which now lives happily in my living room), and the second workshop I did was as a fun “girls weekend” with my mother-in-law. Andrea is so knowledgeable and helpful (and you might recognize her from segments on Steven & Chris!)
Since then, I’ve been having a lot of fun experimenting with small upholstery projects. I think it’s a great way to relax, and it gives you such a great sense of accomplishment to take something that’s in a rough state and turn it into something beautiful.

The project: DIY Old, second-hand footstool converted into a sweet little children’s bench!

diy re-upholster a bench
Note: this technique can be used on footstools, or basic wooden chairs with upholstered seats.


  • Staple Lifter (Lee Valley) 
  • Scissors 
  • Staple Gun (I use a Paslode Pneumatic staple gun hooked up to a small air compressor, but a simple, manual staple gun will work just as well!) 
  • 1.5″ thick foam (available from some fabric/craft/flooring stores)
  • Polyester Batting, in sheet form (available at fabric stores)
  • Fabric 
  • Sand Paper
  • Paint (for simple colours I use spray paint, for more variety, simple latex paint in matte finish with a durable, clear top coat) 

Tools to upholster a bench

Step 1: remove the seat (some are screwed down, others will just pop out) and begin removing staples using your staple lifter. For particularly tough jobs, I like to wear a pair of simple gardening gloves to spare my nails/fingers.

Remove staples from the seat

Step 2: when all the staples are removed, remove the fabric and check to see if the foam on the seat is usable; if so, leave it as-is. If not, pull the foam from the wood (it might be glued down.)
Step 3: if you need new foam, cut a piece of 1.5″ thick foam to fit the wood.


Step 4: lay out your fabric (right side down to the floor), a layer of polyester sheet batting, foam, and then the wood on top. Pull one edge of the fabric up around the wood, and begin by stapling in the middle along one side. Pull tightly as you make your way around the wood, stapling 1-2″ between each staple. Fold corners in like you fold sheet corners when making the bed. Voila! The seat is finished!

cutting batting foam for bench

Staple fabric to the seat


Step 5: lightly sand the wood; depending on what paint you’re using, you might need to prime the wood before painting. For this footstool, I used some two-in-one primer and paint (Rustoleum oil-based spray paint.)

sand and spray paint bench legs

Step 6: when the paint has dried, re-attach the seat. Sit, have a cup of tea and enjoy!

Finished reupholstered children's bench

How cute is the finished product!? Michelle made it look so simple that I’m now hunting through the classifieds to find an old storage bench to reupholster myself! Good luck with your own projects and let me know how they turn out!

DIY: Turn an old bottle into a pretty gold vase

After a trip to the market and coming home with more sunflowers than I have vases for, I had to whip up a quick solution. After digging through the recycling bin, I found an empty tequila bottle that would be perfect. Make sure you peel off any labels so that your finished project is nice and smooth. I use hot water and steel wool to get off the stubborn labels.


Gold spray paint has become a staple around the house so I grabbed a can, an old pizza box and some paper and set up shop on the balcony. If it’s a windy day, I’d recommend taping down your cardboard/paper so it doesn’t blow on to your project.

IMG_0071 copy

I used Krylon Premium 18k Gold plate spray paint. When spraying layers, multiple thin layers works much better than trying to cover everything in one coat. When you spray on a layer that is too think, the paint doesn’t dry as quick and it will start to drip down the bottle.



The whole project took a little over an hour and I think it’s a nice addition to my desk.


DIY Spray painting a picture frame

rachel spieceMy lovely friend Rachel celebrated her once in a lifetime champagne birthday last weekend. I knew I wanted to frame one of our travelling photos for her in a bright yellow (her fav colour) frame. After much searching, I quickly realized that bright yellow frames are ridiculously hard to find. Instead, my spray paint addicted roomie inspired me to go with the DIY approach.


Picture frame – I picked up a 24×36 Umbra one from Blacks.

Spray paint – I just grabbed a can from Canadian tire. I used Rust-Oleum 2x cover and it worked out pretty well.

A hi-res photo – I decided to pick a photo I had taken of the Eiffle Tower in Paris that had Rach discretely in the corner. I then asked all of our favourite travel friends to send me messages for me to incorporate into the picture.

Garbage bags – to protect your flooring as the spray paint goes everywhere

Tape – to take your garbage bags down

How to spray paint a metal frame:

1. Tape down garbage bags. It’s best to do this outside where air can circulate as the fumes from the paint are toxic.

2. Take the backing and glass out of the frame. Just lay down the parts that you want painted.

3. You can use primer as a base, or sand down your frame slightly so that the paint will stick better

4. Read the instructions on the back of your can to know how far away you should be spraying

5. Let it dry and repeat if you want the colour to be more true, or if you noticed that you missed some spots.


  • Avoid painting on a windy day. I had some issues with dirt and residue blowing around and sticking to my frame.
  • Avoid spraying to closely as the paint will go on very thick and will be more likely to drip down the frame.
  • Make sure you give yourself enough time for the frame to dry. I ended up having to wrap up a frame that was still a little ‘tacky’.  

The photo

I typically print my photos at Blacks, but it will usually take them 5-7 business days to print a large poster size. If you’re in a rush, most print shops that have printers on site are able to do it for you in a couple of hours. Note: Often they will charge you a service fee if you bring the file in on a USB/CD to print rather than uploading it yourself online.

Since I was using a photo from when we were in Paris together, I thought it woudl be fun to ask our friends that we met there to include little messages for her to personalize it a little bit.

paris poster gift idea

The finished product!

DIY spray paint picture frame travel poster

Of course I had to wrap it in bright yellow wrapping paper. 

IMG_6058 copy

My bestie LOVED the gift! Thanks to our awesome friends Jeff, Katie, Alex and Liam for helping me put a smile on her face!

DIY spray paint picture frame travel poster Ngoc Nguyen DIY spray paint picture frame travel poster

I also pulled out my trusty kitchenaid mixer to whip together some yellow cupcakes. Fun tip: Use a package of pudding mix to make the cake extra moist.

colourful cupcake wrappers

I love these brightly coloured cupcake wrappers.. however does anyone else notice that after baking.. they all turn into muddy ugly colours?

colourful cupcake wrappers

Best part about baking? Definitely licking the batter!

Ngoc Nguyen baking

I think I’m addicted to spray painting now and will definitely be making a few more big prints for my room. Thanks again to our Paris super group for helping me with this gift!!

Super hero scavenger hunt

Super hero themed party ideas Ngoc NguyenSome of you may remember the super hero party I threw last year for the bf’s birthday. It was a huge success so I had a few friends request that I throw another one. The best thing about already setting a precedence is that no one complained this year about my strict costumes mandatory rule. Instead, they all realized that the more outrageous the costume, the cooler everyone else thought you were. I was so pumped that people went all out on their costumes this year!

To spice things up a little bit, I kicked off the party with a photo scavenger hunt. I made a fun list of things to do, and gave everyone 1 hour to complete as many of the listed items as possible. Although some people were unsure about running around the city in their costumes, by the end of it, everyone had a blast, and now they have all these great photos to show for it. Feel free to download my list for your own party!

Super hero themed photo scavenger hunt ideas

Benefits of a photo scavenger hunt

  1. Great way for people to get to know each other. I made teams at random which forced people to work together with others that they might not normally talk to
  2. Everyone has a competitive edge. And a hunt is a great way to bring that out in people.
  3. Great photos! I’m all for photos and giving people a list to do gives them a reason to be silly in pictures.
  4. It’s fun being a kid. We don’t give enough credit to just doing fun, silly, PG13 kind of activities.

Tips tricks and lessons learned from the scavenger hunt:

  • Give a wide range of tasks in varying difficulties
  • Teams of 4 worked really well – the teams are small enough to easily coordinate and work together, while being big enough that people know that you’re part of a group you’re not a random crazy person walking around the streets in a costume.
  • I gave everyone an hour to complete the list and 2 teams finished all 26 tasks. Next time I’d add probably put at least 30 things on the list with some really hard ones
  • Remember to print off the list beforehand. I was rushed the day of and couldn’t get to a printer in time. Luckily, everyone has smart phones now a days so I just posted it online and had everything download the list to their phones.
  • Picking a hashtag lets everyone post to the same social media channels so they can see how their competition is doing. We used #HeroHunt for ours.
  • If you plan ahead and are tech savy, you can collect everyone’s photos and play a slideshow of all the pictures during the party

Some pictures from the hunt!

Super heroes themed scavenger hunt

scavenger hunt - fireman carry a stranger

Super Heroes doing a scavenger hunt

Super heroes jumping

Super heroes themed photo scavenger hunt

earth worm jim costume

super hero battle in toronto

he man and wonder woman

It’s not every day that you get to party with Sailor Moon and Wonder Woman!

female super hero costume

Or how about Super Dave and Asbestos lady?Super dave costume

And of course the whole crew from Kick-ass decided to join! Kick-ass in toronto costume ideas

Did I mention that I live in Gothum City? 

dark knight and bane costumes

Thanks to Heather from Shameless Vanilla for making these awesome cupcakes!

super hero cupcakes

DIY Despicable me minion cake

With Despicable me 2 coming out this July, I know many kids (and adults) will be hoping for a cute despicable me minion cake for their birthdays. My aunts and I had made a minion cake last year (for my uncle.. he very loudly made it clear that he wouldn’t settle for anything less). Unfortunately, I didn’t really think to document the process that well so here are a few iphone pics that I thought to take during the 10 hour process.

Here are a few photos and DIY tips if you want to make your own Despicable Me minion cake!

You will need to bake more than one round cake that you will use to layer to give the minion some height.

Then you’ll have to carve the cake to give it a rounder smoother more minion-esqe shape to it. We used a lid to help guide us and ensure that it stayed round. It will be easier to cut if you let the cake cool. If you cut while it’s warm, it’s more likely to crumble.

Once you’ve shaped your cakes, you can start the fun part – DECORATING!

When colouring fondant, use a paste or a powder. The liquid food colouring will completely throw off the consistency of your fondant and it will be very difficult to get the bright vibrant colours needed for the minion.

While my aunt covered the cakes with fondant, I started working on the little details like his little hairs and eyes. Make sure you dust your surface with icing sugar to make it easier to remove the fondant after you roll it. Other wise it will stick and all your efforts to roll it out will be in vain. We couldn’t find cookie cutters that were the perfect size so we used drinking glasses instead.
despicable me minion eyes

We used a tooth pick to add the little details like the stitching in the overalls and buttons.
despicable me minion cake
Use a little bit of water to ‘glue’ all the pieces together.

That little tongue is just too cute!
1:15am and we’re finally finished!

Bye bye little guy! You were delicious!