Upcycling/updating our furniture

shabby chic garden

Hello bloggy friends,

Check out day 6 of my Quit Smoking Challenge on the Quit Smoking Challenge page of this blog.

Well, now that life has settled down a little and I have more time in the afternoons – at least for the next 6 weeks, I am finally going to get around to renewing/updating/upcycling my furniture. I’ve been planning this since, oh, maybe last summer, but something always seems to get in the way. I don’t have a garage or any other kind of closed building to sand or paint my furniture in, so I have to wait until the sun shines so I can sand outside. Living in Vancouver means that waiting for a sunny day at the beginning of winter could be a long wait. But today I was in luck and the sun shone beautifully, so I got started on this

docking station after 2

I’m not sure what it used to be – I got it from my in-laws and I think they had plants on it or something like that. I’m currently using it in my dining room to hold all the stuff that usually lands on the dining-room table making it impossible to eat there until all the stuff has been cleared away. I still need to add another coat of white to the legs and this photo’s not very good, but you get the idea. I’ll post the finished product tomorrow.

kitchen stand

And then I’m going to re-paint this on the weekend.


We originally bought this to hold the many books Mr. thisupcycledlife has accumulated over the years, but it ended up being totally wrong and a complete mess (in my opinion)


Awful, don’tcha think?

So I turned it into shelving to hold our appliances, dishes and table linen. That was 3 years ago and the colours don’t seem to “work” anymore. I’m going more for a beach cottage feel these days and so “whisper white” (which is actually a very pale gray) and that aqua blue that you see on our TV stand should do the trick.

That and preparing and planting our vegetable garden should keep me busy for a while.

Check back here soon for updates on these projects.

Bye for now



A Litte Background and 2013 in Review

garden table

Hi there,

Here’s a review of how all these changes came about. It started in May last year when I was suddenly laid off from my job. Looking back, I should have seen the so-called writing on the wall, but, hey, I’m a little slow :). I decided then, to enroll myself in a 6-month course to further my career and to relieve the boredom while waiting the 5 months for my course to begin, I did little reflection. I needed, and wanted, to change so many things from my attitude towards life in general, to quitting smoking, to upcyling my furniture, to moving house – everything. I knew this would take some time, so we began with moving house, a little upcyling and even dabbling into some hand painted linens.

My “quit smoking” plan date is tomorrow. I will be posting a day by day account of this to perhaps encourage others – or just provide a good old fashioned laugh for the rest of you! You can find this on the Quit Smoking Challenge Page of this Blog.

So, to bring you all up to speed, here’s a review of life so far …

Rose bottles

I opened an Etsy Store in February called CottageHeaven50. Initially, it was going to be for selling repurposed/upcycled items like this chalkboard that I made from a dresser door

Chalkboard (2)

                          I actually sold this one! 

This beach-themed clock made from a wooden fruit bowl I found at a thrift store. It’s now part of the decor in my workroom.

Beach Clock

and this end table which I painted and added a French addresss to

French Table2

But items like these were expensive to ship and I wasn’t really set up to ship such things. So I started experimenting with lighter items. I love table linens – well, linens of all kinds – so I started fabric painting place mats. This sea horse was my first attempt.

Seahorse place mat

These French-country place mats became a best seller

Paris Place Setting

and I had such fun with them, that I made a matching table runner

Paris Table Runner

Paris Table Runner closeup Edge

I made various tea towels

Hanging Tea Towels2

Launay Tea Towel Marguerita Tea Towel Bird Tea Towel Tea Set Tea Towel2

In between the many forms and research involved in applying for Government funding for my International Freight Forwarding Course, some of it quite frustrating, we decided to move house! We found a lovely little two-bedroomed 1945 house on half an acre, and on one very hot weekend in July, the moving nightmare began

Living room - moving day Living Room

I loved this little old house, but it needed some tender loving care for sure, and the first order of business was to clean up the very overgrown and long uncared for garden. But first things first – set up the garden furniture and have a nice cold drink!

garden furniture

It took two weekends to clean it all up. From this

Back-veg. gdnTo this

Back new

and many wheel barrows full


But underneath it all we discovered somebody had once loved this garden. I placed angels under the blooming Clemaytis


Splashes of colour everywhere

flowers in bloom daisies

And soon we had a never-ending supply of roses all over the house

roses in vase

After that, it was time to assess the house. Whoever last painted the inside had done a terrible job of it, slopping paint all over the place and painting over everything. I discovered the original hardware on a pull-out chopping board in the kitchen

Cutting Board handle - old Cutting Board hanlde - new

And vintage drawer handles from, I would say the 70’s or 80’s

Kitchen hardware - old

Kitchen Hardware - New

And an ugly wallpaper border

Ugly kitchen border - 4611 Smith St.

Which I very quickly turned into this

Kitchen Finished Product1

Not the most professional of jobs, but much more pleasing to the eye.

Over the next few months, we will be doing a few renovations, so keep checking back here to see how it’s all going.

We upcycled and repurposed some stuff – an old TV stand got a new coat of paint

TV Stand

New TV stand

Which got a further upgrade two weeks ago


Our dining table, which we bought at a thift store (along with 5 chairs), was sanded down and stained

Table Sanded

Table After2

A new look for our bedroom furniture

Night stand before

Night stand finished2

months of saving – a new couch!!

Well, just the nightstands. We plan to finish this project in the next month or so.

And then, after

New Couch

We turned the old futon mattress into doggy beds

Cut futon mattress

Doggy Bed from futon mattress-Tiki Doggy Bed from futon mattress-MJ

I did a little reorganization and decluttering

Buffet1 Beach Books Coats DVDs

And, of course, all work and no play … so we managed some outings to make the most of our summer. A visit to Steveston fishing village for prawns and salmon fresh off the fishing boats

Steveston Prawns Steveston

Granville Island for a birthday lunch and a visit to the Farmer’s Market for our supper.

Granville Island Entrance granville island beer and sangria granville island public market

Food market

Bought supper, italian bread & fruit at the local market

The Buddhist Temple

Buddhist Temple - Bridge Buddhist Temple - Chinese Lanterns

Wine tasting at Lulu Island

Lulu Island ice wine2 Lulu Island wine tasting Lulu Island Bar

And of course, no summer is complete without at least one visit to the beach with a girlfriend

deep cove beach log deep cove Life Guard deep cove watr deep cove2 - Jane

Summer turned into Fall and the beautiful colours that go with it. Our glorious sunshine continued and the daisies and roses continued to bloom into November

Knowlton, Eastern Townships, Lac Memphremagog, Quebec

Soon Thanksgiving was upon us and I painted some Thanksgiving and Fall place mats

Fall Collection

And had the family for a Thanksgiving feast of cornish hens and all the trimmings

thankgiving table foodThanksgiving Table closeup

All too soon, thoughts turned to Christmas and I got busy making Christmas things for my Etsy Shop

IMG_20130920_180957 Reindeer closeup Silver Bells setting Reindeer Wine Bottle

A throw pillow cover with a British theme


A slip cover for my living room chair

Slip cover for chair

Winter came early and gave us this a week before Christmas

winter 2013

We decorated our living room. Our tree was too big for the tiny space, so I had to compromise with a smaller tree

xmas tree 2013

Xmas decoration closeup 2013

With money being a little tight this year, I made some of the gifts. Place mats for my daughter

swallows closeup swallows tablescape3

and some mugs

Clare's Tea cup

And before I knew it, Christmas day had arrived and another feast with the family

20131225_175629 Xmas 2013 - Jane & Namee

Silly hats are compulsory!

I learned some things along the way. How to get my family to eat vegetabes

green beans

A whole bunch of things to do with blueberries – we discovered 3 bushes of them in our back yard.

Blueberries IMG_1409

I learned to count my blessings, that there are no wrong turns, just unexpected paths

unexpected path

to choose love – always

love book

And to appreciate my beautiful surroundings, no matter what the season

winter 2013

Tomorrow begins “Quit Smoking Day.” So come back tomorrow evening and see how it went.

Cheers for now