Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Featured: Union Jack RAST Hack

Anyone heard of -


You're about to.

Yesterday, Barbara from Hodge : Podge by Markova Design, featured my Ikea RAST hack on her amazing blog. You'll probably remember that one of my inspirations for the project was originally featured by her, so we've now really come full circle!

I hope that my project can now do the same for some of her other readers.

I think that it would be great if I could send her some readers for all her trouble. She has a great series called; so Canadian, eh? Which is a wealth of Canadian bloggers, designers, etc. that has really captivated me for the last few days. I've certainly added to my reader after it all. Now I officially have NO free time. Maybe all the bloggers could stop being so captivating?

Anyhow, please go check out my work at Barbara's - ttp://, and leave her some love while you're there?

In other news, I am working on a facebook page for my blog because I'm told that it won't be in vain. I guess it's time to seperate blog from real life in an effort to allow those that actually want updates to seek them out and not pollute other friend's feeds. I'll keep you posted. :)

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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Nursery Details: Ikea RAST Hack - Union Jack Nightstand

It's time to share the specifics of some of the diy projects in our nursery. First up is my first Ikea RAST hack, which I turned into a travel-themed piece of furniture by painting a Union Jack on the front.

I was inspired by the many RAST hacks floating around the blogsphere and Pinterest. Some of the main ones were -

I loved the way they stained the surrounding dresser and the pulls they chose, so that's where those elements came from.

This Union Jack done on an actual vintage dresser was sublime! In fact, this was the second one she did... so talented! (Umm, did I mention that it's freehand?)

and finally...

Hello? A RAST (well, two) decorated with a Union Jack? Be still my heart!

Which brings me to my project.

I assembled the RAST dresser except for the drawer fronts. I set them up as they would be once they were on the actual drawers, and taped for paint. I wanted everything to look a bit rustic, though in retrospect, very clean would have been good too.

Step one - Before taping, since the RAST is untreated wood, I primed the drawer front with Kilz spray primer. During this time, I also stained the rest of the dresser with Minwax #230 - Early American (which was rumoured to be the stain that would match the other furniture in the room).

Step two - Spray Krylon gloss white all over the drawers concentrating mostly on the areas that were going to be white. Since the entire background was being painted but only certain small areas were going to be visable, those needed the most attention.

Next, I taped out my lines-

I followed some images of Union Jacks that I found online. It seemed that each portion was not to be uniform, so I used various thicknesses of tape accordingly.

Step three - I folded pieces of newspaper to fit in the areas that would be painted blue, and sprayed my red portions with Krylon Banner Red.

Step four - Finally, when the red portions were dry enough, I covered and taped them however I could to protect them as much as possible and sprayed the blue portions with Krylon Navy Blue (which I don't see on the website anymore and that makes me sad).

Keeping in mind that I was going for the rustic look, I both expected and wanted some paint bleed. If this is not the look you are going for, you'll want to meticulously tape... because I did have paint runs.

Here is what she looked like, after I peeled all the tape off -

Before assembling everything, I just gave the fronts a quick sand with a fine grit sandpaper, to rough it up ever so slightly. Once assembled, I added these ring pulls that we purchased from Lee Valley to update all of the drawers in the room and tie them together.

Finally, a reminder of what Mini-Mister's nightstand looks like, all assembled and put to use in his nursery -

Good luck to any that try it!

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Book Review: The Queen's Secret by Victoria Lamb

They tell you that when you bring a child into your life that everything is going to change. I can attest to the fact that there have been big changes, the most obvious of which is that we now have a child in our lives. As far as other changes are concerned though, I have to admit that so far Mini-Mister has been added to our lives as opposed to having changed them. There are absolutely certain things that we can no longer do on a whim, the most obvious of which would be our trips to the cinemas, but we are tremendously lucky in that we have friends and family who encourage us to do just that, while they get their own 'baby fix'! There has been one other fairly large change for me in particular, as I am an avid reader and would generally fly through whatever book that I picked up. Now, once I've made it to bed and snuggle in to start reading, I usually get through about two or three pages before I fall asleep, book in hand. It would seem that I'm tired! I will admit though, that this seems to be getting better, so we'll see what the future holds. I'm telling you this because several months ago, I received 'The Queen's Secret' a historical fiction Tudor novel from the publisher that I was very excited to read. It has taken me this long to do that, but please believe me when I say that it is all baby and not at all novel related, because it was great!

I've never hid the fact that I love me some fluff. 'Chick lit' makes me weak in the knees, but I wanted to expand my horizons by reading other sorts of fiction. Truthfully, I see many similarities between this historical fiction and my usual girly fiction - just the era has changed! Because I have never read any historical fiction before, I didn't know that 'author's notes' were commonplace. I have to admit, this addition to the end of the book, really sealed the deal for me. Reminds me of when I am visiting a historical place, and how I want nothing more to feel what it was like during that time... this story, coupled with the author's notes, brought me there and of that, I'm a big fan!

Let me tell you a little about it-

'To unlearn honesty was the hardest thing in the world' - Lucy Morgan

The story is of Elizabeth I in the summer of 1575 and her visit to Kenilworth Castle, the home of the Earl of Leicester. The Earl, Robert Dudley, known to the Queen as her 'Robin', is held dear by Elizabeth. Dudley's goal in hosting the court this partcular summer is to convince her to accept his marriage proposals. However, she simply will not give into him, however disappointing to the both of them.

Enter the pious Lucy Morgan, a moorish court entertainer, who catches the eye of both the Earl and the Queen. She sings like a bird and is as pure and innocent as they come. Both of the novel's powerful figures take to her and recruit her to basically act as a 'spy' of each other. Robert simply wants to win the Queen's hand so he can finally gain his throne. The Queen on the other hand, though she loves 'Robin' dearly, wants Lucy to report back on his 'dealings' (and by dealings I mean, rolls in the hay - sometimes quite literally) with Lettice Knollys, the Queen's younger, prettier, and married Cousin. This is quite the triangle, as you can undoubtedly imagine.

During the Queen's stay at Kenilworth, she is hosted by the Earl to the point of his near bankruptcy. Lavish festivities and impressive banquets, are held to show her Highness his worth and promise as her potential husband. All in the name of impressing the Monarch!

Unfortunately for the court but fortunately for us readers, there is one more story line in this novel to keep us interested (not that we weren't)! Elizabeth I's life is in danger. There is a plot on her life but the source (or the plan, for that matter) is unknown. Lucy's former Master - Master Goodluck, acts as a spy for the Queen (unbeknownst to her) and spends almost the entire book, watching and waiting for this plan to materialize. We are entertained by this extra 'leg' of story through Goodluck and his team, in addition to Lucy's interactions with them. This becomes clearer'ish' at the conclusion of the book. We never do know everything!

Kenilworth was a busy place in July 1575, and after reading this book, I find myself completely enamoured with it! I'm really happen to have had the chance to add this to my bookshelf! (Which is BIG and new, I'll share as soon as the basement/family room, is complete)

The Queen's secret (paperback) will be available in Canada in March 2013, according to Chapters.Indigo and It seems that the hardback can be purchased now, not directly from Amazon but from third party sellers here. I encourage you to read this book through whatever means necessary, you will not be disappointed.

**Editor's note: I was sent this book for review, by Transworld Publishers (Random House Group), however all opinions are my own.**

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