Wallpapered dressing table - after

Wallpapered dressing table - before

Introducing a new guest nester! Australian Abby Matthews blogs about the things that inspire her at Two Little Dicky Birds. Abby’s remake of this tired, chipped pine dressing table reminds me of my wallpapered cart, but she used an entirely different (and better?) process, so I had to share it with you. Abby writes: “I was inspired by Bryonie Porter’s wallpapered furniture, but wasn’t confident that I could carry off wallpapering the entire table, so I decided to just apply the paper to the top. It was just as well, as I botched the first wallpaper application and used up the bulk of the paper the second time around. The wallpaper I used is a Florence Broadhurst design from an offcut won on eBay. It’s currently used as a writing/computer desk in our living area and is definitely my favourite piece of furniture.” Thanks, Abby! Read more »

Wine cork sealant test

For the record, I’m against sealing my wine cork bath mat. I mean, corks are exposed to the moisture of wine for decades and seem to hold up fine, right? But several readers insisted cork needed to be sealed, so I did some research on sealing cork. It seems the best option is probably a sealant that’s made for protecting the cork footbeds of sandals such as Birkenstocks. I bought a 2oz. jar of Sure Foot’s Cork Renew for $5 at my local shoe repair shop. Other brands include Birkenstock Cork Life, Kelly’s Cork Renew, or U-40 Cork Seal, which is designed to prolong the life of cork fishing rod handles.

Today I started applying the sealant one row at a time. I didn’t like the glossy, tacky feel of the sealant, so I was hesitant to keep going. My compromise: I painted the cork sealant on only half the bath mat, and I’ll compare the results in a few weeks. After letting it dry for a day, I’ll start the test on Monday and keep you posted with the results.

Wine cork bath mat sealant test results

UPDATE 4/2010: It’s four weeks later, and the unsealed side of the bath mat looks and feels like new. The sealed side started out quite sticky. Gradually, the tacky feel went away—only because everything stuck to that side. It acted like a giant lint roller. The sealed side isn’t sticky anymore, but it’s darker than the unsealed side (the difference is more noticeable in person). Btw: This photo was taken after I vacuumed as much of the stuck debris away as I could. I rotated the bath mat halfway through the trial to be fair to both sides.

UPDATE 8/2010: Still going strong. One cork popped off the corner. Hot glued it back on. Good as new.

UPDATE 9/2011: I recently tossed out the bathmat because the sealed side got too gross (with lint and debris sticking to it) and because the corks started popping off more frequently. No sign of mold. It lasted 18 months. Not bad. I plan to make another (unsealed) cork bath mat with better glue soon.

CONCLUSION: Unless you are in the habit of creating a swamp of your bathroom floor every time you shower (and you know who you are), unsealed wine cork bath mats can be expected to hold up as well as most store-bought bath mats. Because common sense isn’t as common as one might hope, I’ve put together a mini tutorial for keeping your bathroom floor dry, and thus lengthening the life of your bath mat. Read more »

DIY Wine cork bath mat

CB2 bamboo bath mat

Inspired by CB2's bamboo bath mat

I’m evidently on a hot-glue kick lately. This bath mat requires just three materials: shelf liner, hot glue, and 175 wine corks. How did I gather 175 wine corks, you ask? Working at Sunset had its perks. With all the wine tastings in that office, collecting corks was a cinch. So far, I’ve made a wine cork trivet with them and now this cork bath mat.

It was inspired by CB2′s bamboo bath mat, which is perfectly lovely and affordable but too big for my tiny bathroom, hence this equally eco-friendly version. My sister Christy gave me the genius idea of using non-adhesive shelf liner with a grip bottom, so it stays in place. The cork feels good on my bare feet, plus it goes perfectly with the natural color palette of my bathroom.

Yeah, but how durable is it, you say? Hmm. I’ll test it out for a few weeks and let you know how it holds up. UPDATE: Check this post for updates on the bath mat and to read about whether you should seal yours. Read more »

Patchwork pin board - after

Salvaged bulletin board - before

Pottery Barn Style Tiles

Compare to Pottery Barn Teen's fabulous but expensive Style Tiles

Whenever I speak to my dad on the phone, he always asks, “Miss me?” This past month I’ve been getting concerned emails, so apparently some of you missed me—or at least my weekly blog posts. I’ve missed you too. I think I just needed a break. But I’m happy to say I’m back. I’ll be posting every week again. And sending long overdue responses to your emails and comments (my apologies!). This pin board project started with a friend’s broken, holey bulletin board and some free fabric samples. I just added copious amounts of hot glue and some white paint. It reminds me of Pottery Barn Teen’s Style Tiles—which are $340. Mine only cost me about $7. Read more »

Zappo Bz floral paper lanterns

Hi everyone! Bet you thought I fell into a hole somewhere. Nah, just job hunting now that I’m done with school. Anyone want to hire me? :) Anyway, I attended the San Francisco International Gift Fair last Saturday, and I ran across these flower-covered paper lanterns at the zappobz booth. I begged to take a picture so you can see them. I still like my floral paper lantern best, but I thought the bright colors were fun too. By the way, my favorite booth at the fair was roost. Love, love, love their stuff.

DIY paper lanterns — flowers and pom-poms

I planned to make a flower-covered paper lantern for months. Not until I found a white poinsettia garland at a Michael’s after-Christmas clearance did it become a reality. Normally, I’m not a fan of artificial flowers, but I think this is a great way to use them. After making the floral paper lantern, I had some leftover pom-pom fringe, so I festooned the second lantern with pom poms. Now I can’t decide which one I like best. I bought these white 12-inch paper lanterns at Ikea years ago. Raise your hand if you don’t like the cheap white paper lanterns that Ikea and World Market sell these days. Me too. Read more »

SunRun holiday lights contest photos

I just wanted to thank SunRun for the opportunity to be a judge this year’s Customer Holiday Lights Contest. Congratulations to the winners! Judging the contest was fun, and I’m happy to promote the use of solar energy anytime.

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