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Looking to stay on-trend, but don't want to spend a small fortune? Here's an easy and affordable DIY project from Lark & Linen to keep you in the now. Put two of these bedside tables in your bedroom for a hit of texture on the cheap.

This nightstand is made from wine crates from a local liquor store. Whether you pick them up at the back or place a large order, they come cheap. I suggest glueing the crates together with wood glue to add stability.

Check out the full instructions on Lark & Linen.

Photo credit:
Lark & Linen

For more easy DIY projects, see our DIY & Home Improvement section.


Jessica Howey

I've been searching for some wedding decor inspiration and I have to say, there's a lot out there. It's a bit overwhelming trying to decide what you like and what you will actually use, but most importantly, will it all work together!?

After searching endless wedding blogs, photography and event planning sites, it became pretty clear the direction I was going: rustic ranch with a touch of vintage. I love barn board, burlap, ivory lace, mason jars, soft creams and whites. Hammered metals, bronze vases, white lights, candles, more white lights and more candles!

Here are some of my favourite inspiration photos:

I love the high ceilings and romantic lighting!

Mix and match chairs and an old barn really set the tone for a rustic wedding.

Huge barn doors!

The drapery at the wedding is beautiful, and it might be hard to see, but they've combined round and rectangle tables, which I like.

This barn is in Cambridge, Ontario!

Wow, this space takes my breath away. Only I would swap in burlap tablecloths with lace runners.

These branches and hanging lights go great together.

I love the way the light shines through this barn.

What are your thoughts on decorating for a wedding? Feel free to post your ideas below!

For more wedding ideas, see this simple DIY mercury glass vase project.

Photo credits:
2. Vista Ranch Wedding, Benfield Photography
3. Janelle Stephanie
4. The Becker
5. Weddings in a Barn blog
6. Love & Laughter & Happily Ever After blog
7. Ruffled blog
8. Ruffled blog


Jessica Howey

Over the last few weekends, my in-laws and I have been working on a sign for our new cottage in Harrington, Quebec. We're calling it "Casa Di Tota," which means "home of Di Tota's" in Italian, which they are. We did quite a bit a research into having the sign custom-built, but came to the conclusion that a homemade sign would have the right personal touch. The sign will be a gift for my (soon to be) father-in-law to mark his birthday and retirement. As the cottage's framing and insulation came to a wrap this past long weekend, we were excited to take a break to reveal of our homemade sign and indulge in some much-needed celebration.

If you're interested in making your own sign, read all about our process below.

Here's what we used to make the sign:

Materials and Tools

  • Three red cedar 2" x 4"
  • Exterior wood glue
  • Clamps
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Polyurethane
  • Safety glasses
  • Measuring tape and pencil
  • Shims
  • Circular saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Roter
  • Dremel
  • Sander

Once we finalized our size, shape and design, it was time to get to work. Safety glasses on!

Step 1: Cut the wood

We cut three 2" x 4"s in half to give us an overall size of 24" x 48", allowing for extra space for our final size and shape.

Step 2: Glue the wood together

We placed each piece of wood side-by-side, and made sure the grain on each piece was alternated from the next — grain up, grain down, grain up, grain down. This will prevent the sign from warping over time. After the pieces were glued together (keeping them as level as possible), we used tension clamps to hold the boards tight and left the sign to dry overnight. The next morning we gave the board a nice sanding to smooth out the surface.

Step 3: The design

My fiancé's brother is a graphic designer. He took the design we drafted on paper and made a proper stencil by printing it out on tiled paper. We taped the stencil together, cut out our design and traced it on the board. This was much easier then trying to sketch it out!

Step 4: More cutting

Clamping the board down to the workbench, we cut out the sign using a jigsaw. You can see the cut lines we made here in this photo.

Step 5: Sanding

We sanded down the oval edge to make it nice and smooth. We wanted to keep a squared corner so we made sure the keep the sander as level as possible while sanding around the edge of the sign.

Step 6: Router time

Safety glasses back on! After getting a feel for the tool using a tester piece, we began carving out the letters. We picked a router bit that was the right width for our text, selected an appropriate depth and started carving. We changed the bit to a larger one to carve our little landscape, and decided not to carve the leaves since the smallest bit we had would make them look more like blobs.

Step 7: Dremel the edges

The text style we wanted required squared edges rather than round, so we used the dremel tool to square them off. This took some serious time and a steady hand. The speed of the tool also made it very easy to slip, leaving unsightly marks across the board. We gave the sign a quick sand to remove any frayed edged the tools left behind.

Step 8: Start painting

Once we were pleased with our carving it was time to start painting. We used regular wood paint from a craft store and a small, flat-edge paintbrush. Starting on the bottom of the carvings we then worked the paint carefully up the side edges. We added some contrast to the leaves with two tones of green, and decided to leave the border unpainted for a subtle detail.

Step 9: Finishing coat

For the last and final step we applied a fast-drying polyurethane coat to seal and protect the sign. We started with the outer edge, then filled in the tree and land. We worked our way out with thin layers, being careful not to create any bubbles. After the first coat dried, about 5 hours, we gave the surface a light sanding and applied another thin coat. The next morning we did the same to the back.

I'm so pleased with all the hard work we all put into making this. I only hope it will last as long as the cottage!

Visit our DIY & Home Improvement guide for more fun cottage projects.

Photo credits:
Jessica Howey


Jessica Howey

Finally, after many trips back and forth for this and that, we now have a dining table and chairs. (To see my first dining room post, click here.) We went with West Elm's Arc Base Pedestal Table and Grid-Tufted Chairs for their low backs and comfortable seats.

If you can imagine, this space used to be occupied by a large L-shaped desk fit for an office building — not our apartment. We've since purchased a small desk to better accommodate our needs, which is located at the other end of our apartment.

We are very pleased with our purchases, and although my other half is still halfway across the world in New Zealand, we will surely enjoy dining and relaxing here for many years to come!

Get more dining inspiration in our guide.

Photo credits:
Jessica Howey


Jessica Howey

I came across this great patio on Apartment Therapy and wanted to share it with you all. I truly love everything on this patio and think it all works so well together, even for such a small space.

The wood fence lends a backyard feel, which might be hard to recreate for most condo balconies, but here are a few suggestions on how to get this look.

Start with a fun outdoor rug like one of these from Ikea and West Elm.

From left: Ikea, $20; Ikea, $25; West Elm, $20.

Then, pick out your chairs. Remember that wicker can always be spray-painted to add a pop of colour and personal style to the patio.

From left: Ikea, $90; Ikea, $60; Ikea, $100.

You'll need a place to put those drinks down on a hot summer day, so try one of these round tables.

Clockwise from top left: West Elm, $140; Crate & Barrel, $44 (on sale); West Elm, $84.

To finish everything off, accessorize! And don't be afraid of colour.

From left: West Elm, $24-40; Ikea, $16.

Clockwise from top left: Crate & Barrel, $11; Ikea, $25; Ikea, $20.

If you're concerned about nosy neighbours — or wind and sun — try these privacy shields for added protection. Ikea, $15.

See our Beautiful Balcony Decorating photo gallery for even more ideas.

Photo credits:
1. Apartment Therapy
2a. Ikea
2b. Ikea
2c. West Elm
3a. Ikea
3b. Ikea
3c. Ikea
4a. West Elm
4b. Crate & Barrel
4c. West Elm
5a. West Elm
5b. Ikea
6a. Crate & Barrel
6b. Ikea
6c. Ikea
7. Ikea


Jessica Howey

My older sister is pregnant with her second child and my Mom and I couldn't be more thrilled to throw her a baby shower this spring. We're both big DIY-ers and the first thing on our list (since we've confirmed the date and guest list) are invitations!

Here are some great ideas I found on Pinterest. If you're not already a frequent pinner, you should really check out the website.

These simple and sweet chevron cards from Jennifer McGuire Ink are adorable and could also be made into postcards for a more casual style.

Nichol Magouirk did such a great job with these custom invites. She created her own pattern for the onesie by using two patterned stamps — plaid and floral — and finished off the outfit with a scalloped collar for such a cute detail.

Everyone needs 'Thank You' cards, but just change the wording and you've got diaper invites. So cute!

I adore the baby animals on these invites. Nicole Heady offers up several combinations for the adorable 'Sweet Baby Stamp Set' on her website.

I can't get over these invites! To keep costs down, they would be great keepsake gifts for the expectant mom. Another version of this idea would be printing the shower details on a onesie. Cute and practical!

For more baby inspiration, browse our Nursery Decorating Ideas photo gallery.

Photo credits:
1. Jennifer McGuire Ink
2. Nichol Magouirk
3. Wren Handmade
4. Nicole Heady
5. Bump Smitten


Jessica Howey

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