Tuesday, 23 January 2018

C's Room: Refinished Jenny Lind bed

One of the most commonly asked questions we get is where we got the Jenny Lind bed in our sons room, so I figured a quick post about it was needed! It's often assumed that we purchased the bed from the Land of Nod or another retailer, but we actually purchased the bed off Kijiji for less than $100 and refinished it ourselves.

When we first bought the bed it was in its original state, was missing a spool and was badly damaged in many spots. The frame of the bed was also cracked so it needed to be reinforced on the bottom. The original owner had also waxed and oiled the frame.

Since the bed had been damaged and was missing a spool, we knew we had to do something to it. Rather than trying to sand and stain the bed, not knowing how it would react since it had been waxed and oiled, we decided to sand and paint it. Our original choice was a high gloss, but we decided on a satin finish since high gloss tends to show more finger prints and marks than a lower sheen.

We found an old chair at a second hand store that had the exact same spindles as the bed and took one of the spindles off the chair for the bed frame.

The original frame has slats, but those were missing so we needed something to support the mattress.  We bought a large piece of plywood to act as a base for the mattress and reinforced the frame with extra screws. We chose to spray the bed, rather than use a brush to paint it, but either would work just fine. We went with a true black colour, as I didn't want the black to have any colour tint to it.

I'll go over how we did the bed rails in another post, as we custom designed those for the bed and added them on. The best part is that they can be easily removed when we're not using them anymore, and/or painted another colour if we want to use them on another bed at some point.

You can often find this style of bed in thrift stores, antique shops and online. If you're willing to put in the work, they can look fantastic.

If you have any other questions about the bed or how we finished it, just leave a comment below and I'll do my best to answer!



Thursday, 18 January 2018

Successfully shopping consignment...for your littles!

Hi friends!

I'm excited to be collaborating with my friend Marissa on a topic that we are both passionate about: shopping second hand/consignment. This post is part 2/2 in this series and I will be focusing on buying (and selling)  second hand for your littles!

There are many positive things to buying (and selling) second hand, saving the environment and cost savings, being the two most obvious, but it can also bring about a feeling of satisfaction when you are able to find that great one-of-a-kind piece you may not have found at a typical big box store.

Second hand shops are popping up more frequently now as online shops have grown in popularity, so there are many options to choose from. A large majority of the clothes I buy for my boys (and occasionally myself) are from second hand shops and small independently owned shops. Of course there are times I will buy from other retailers as well, but I feel I have developed some great strategies to finding great second hand pieces. Also, I love the hunt and the search for those "great finds".

Here are a few tips to help you to be successful at shopping second hand:

1. Look...and then look again.

Often times I have people say to me “well I go and I never find anything”. I do agree that there are times I’ll pop into a second hand shop and its just not my day. Nothing jumps out at me, and I don’t see anything valuable. However, stores like this are constantly changing. Someone could drop something off the afternoon after you’ve looked and you just didn’t happen to be there at the right time. So check frequently.

2. Focus on good quality brands.

Good brands will often last long and have better resale. You may be able to find a pair of good quality used Nike runners and pay $15 for them. Sure this might be comparable to a brand new pair of a no-name brand, but they may not last as long and they have no resale value. On the other hand, the Nike's you'll likely be able to resell for $10. That means you're really only paying $5 for good quality shoes, that will last. I often get asked about buying my kids Hunter brand rainboots. I've often found them used and know they are worth the cost (even second hand). The quality of them is fantastic and I know I'll be able to use them for multiple kids. They have fantastic resale value as well. Think of it this way. Even if you were to buy a pair new for $60, have 2 kids wear them and then resell them for $30-40, you've only paid $20-30 for them in the end (and had 2 kids wear them). In many cases, it is true that you get what you pay for (you just need to find ways to pay less for great brands...boom, buy consignment!)

3. Compare prices.

I have found that sometimes big box retailers will have great sales where you can get basic pieces (undershirts, plain shorts, etc) for less than $5.00 a piece. Decide what's worth it for you. These might be items that make sense to buy new, since you know finding a good quality used pair of undershirts just isn't worth it to you. You may find that the odd time it does make sense to buy some items new, but often times you will get more for your money, buying second hand.

4. Focus on fabric quality.

I was taught to shop this way as a child, so by this point I can literally walk into a second hand store and recognize good brands by the fabric quality alone. The more you shop at these stores, the more likely you will begin to develop an 'eye' for good fabrics and pieces. Feel the fabrics and compare. Look for fabrics that will wear better and seem to be in the best condition. If something is ripped, stained or teared, it may not be worth your money. Young kids clothes (especially babies) often don't get the wear and tear that older kids clothing can get, so as your children age, it gets more important to focus on the condition of the item.

5. Look everywhere.

Regardless of whether or not you are buying for a girl or a boy, you need to look everywhere. I have found fantastic items for the boys in the girls section (plain pants, cardigans, shoes, etc) and vice versa. Gender neutral items can often be placed in both sections, so look everywhere (i.e Converse shoes). I often look in the girls section for pants, shoes and sweaters and have had good luck, You can also find plain undershirts, leggings (for under snowpants), and other items in both the boys and girls sections.

6. Make note of the best times to go.

Going on a weekend is going to be busy and you won’t get the best selection. If you can, consider going in on a Monday or Tuesday morning or evening. People will usually drop off their items on a weekend and these items will usually get put out on a Monday or Tuesday so I’ve always found there’s good selection on those days. Secondly, go ALONE. Bringing your little one with you on a trip like this is often torture for them (its like making your husband wait while you scour Winners- they just can’t appreciate the hunt!). If you're buying online, take note of when these shops post their new items. Some shops only post new items on certain days, so make note of when they post and watch the site! Good items always go fast. If they post continuously set your Instagram page to get notifications when these shops post.

7. Shipping.

Many of these online consignment shops want to develop good relationships with their customers. They offer great sales and occasionally discounts on shipping. Andrea at Little Saturday Market offers her customers  a fantastic option that I personally love: the option of combined shipping. This means you can buy an item and pay for shipping, but place that item on a hold. This means Andrea will wait to ship your item until you let her know you're ready, or you've place a second order. So, if you find a few additional items to purchase a few days later, you can ask her to combine all of the items together and you only pay for shipping once. It has honestly led me to buy more items from her, knowing that I only need to pay for shipping once.

8. Volunteer.

I love volunteering to help out at children's clothing sales. Not only do you often get to go in ahead of the crowds to shop in advance, but you get to see each and every item that goes out for the sale. Look for local second hand sales in your area (they are usually held in the spring). They are always looking for volunteers and will often expect you to volunteer for at least a few hours, but its worth it. You get to chat with other moms, while essentially "window shopping" and organizing kids clothes. Sounds like the ideal afternoon to me!

A few tips in regards to selling.

1. Make your stuff look good!

If you are selling to a shop, bring in your items freshly laundered, organized and on hangers or nicely folded.  I like to organize my items by type and size- which makes it much easier for a shop owner to go through. Regardless of what brands and items you are bringing in, any item will look awful to a shop owner or buyer if its dirty or wrinkled. Inspect your items for these things first, and create 3 piles- sell, donate and recycle. If the items are not saleable, there are stores like H&M that will take your items and recycle them. It does not matter if the items have holes, are dirty since they actually cut the clothing up and use it to create new items (mattresses, etc). Plus, for every bag you donate they give you a 15% off coupon. So keep all those socks with holes in them, paint clothes, etc. They can all be donated to these programs and saves them from going to a landfill, helping our planet. WIN.

2. Good quality photos.

If you are selling online (on your own), you NEED to take good photos. Take them during the day in the right lighting. Lay the item out flat or better yet, display the item in an outfit. Buyers love seeing ways in which they can style the outfit themselves, helping to encourage them to buy.

3. Focus on the seasons.

Make sure the items you are bringing to sell are seasonally appropriate. Shop owners wont be interested in your snowsuits in May. Save those items in a bag, and in the early fall, most of these shops owners will be more likely to take these items. Shop owners will always be able to tell you what items they are in need of, during what times.

Hope this gives you some useful info and encouragement to shop second hand.

Happy hunting friends.

Where To Shop:

Kids Clothing (Online):

Little Saturday Market
Little White Sneakers
Washed and Worn
Fresh Kids

Kids (In-Store):

Children's Marketplace
Once Upon A Child
Value Village

Adult (Online and Instore):

Little Saturday Market - maternity
Fresh Kids - maternity
Children's Marketplace - specially chosen women's items
Twice is Nice  - womens and mens
Value Village


Monday, 15 January 2018

Back to the blog

Hello blogland... we meet again. It feels strange to be back here, in this space. For those of you who didn't follow our last blog, this isn't my first go at blogging. My husband and I used to run a home d├ęcor/DIY blog for all of the projects that we did around our home. We loved writing it and it was a great way for us to:

1. Document all the crazy projects we were coming up with
2. Act as a creative outlet (mainly for me)
3. Keep us distracted from the challenges we were facing in our personal lives. 

Those were our sole reasons for posting. However, eventually more people (other than family and close friends) actually started reading our blog and we made some great connections. We were featured on some well known sites/company pages, made a few business deals and most importantly, made some great blogging friends. However, in the end, I don't think we were ready for all that came with blogging. The pressure to be doing projects all the time, taking pictures of every aspect of what we did, posting late into the night, figuring out technical aspects we didn't understand...it was just too much.

Mostly though, blogland was lonely. Unless someone chose to comment on your post (which didn't happen a lot), you didn't feel as connected or the same sense of community that social media brings now. I think our decision to stop the blog, was for the best at the time. We had just had our first child (after a long road) and we wanted to focus on that. Fast forward 4 years and here we are.

Eventually it came to a point where I missed being creative and sharing our love for design (and some lifestyle posts). Instagram has been an incredible tool to connect and for the most part, has been fairly positive. At least, I've started to learn how to channel my energy into the positive things. My goals are simple: to inform, to inspire, to relate and be relatable. I don't want to paint a picture for you of a perfect life without sharing the reality of it all. I love it, but being a mom can be hard. Being a working mom can be hard. Being a woman can be hard. Being a wife can be hard. But it’s also beautiful. In between all the chaos are beautiful moments that I want to remember forever and share, but of course there are challenges as well. We all have them, so why not be honest, share some of these moments and encourage each other. We are all in this together. So together, let’s make this space enjoyable for us all.

Our family is striving to live simply, take things back to the basics and focus on what makes us happy. I hope to share some of that with you- the good, the challenging, all of it. I'll be sharing home design projects, DIY projects, and some lifestyle too. I have a different outlook on this process now, so I won't be doing this the same as before, but I think its going to be even better. So if you feel so inclined to read my posts and enjoy them, I'm happy you're here. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to connect in this space. It's not easy to put yourself out there, but sometimes it's worth the risk. 

Stay tuned friends, so much more to come.