August 25, 2015

DIY Round Polka Dot Pot Holder with Heat Shield

DIY heat shield trivet

My Mom and I have been collecting vintage Pyrex together for years, but we never saw eye to eye on the clear Pyrex flameware: clear glass pots, double boilers, coffee makers, tea kettles, etc.  I thought they were boring, but my Mom discovered that they work really well with glass top stoves because their bottoms are really flat.  When my Mom got her glass top stove, I was moving out so she gave me some of her wibbly wobbly pots and pans and started collecting flameware.  Fast forward three ovens, and many years later, and now I have a glass top stove too!  I curse her hand-me-down pots every time I use one - and now I see the appeal of Pyrex flameware.

(The photos below are from Pyrex: The Unauthorized Collector's Guide, by Barbara Mauzy).

Pyrex: The Unauthorized Collector's Guide, by Barbara Mauzy
Pyrex: The Unauthorized Collector's Guide, by Barbara Mauzy

So far, the only flameware I actually have is the tea pot/kettle, which is genius!

Old Pyrex Ad
Turquoise Kitchen with Aqua Pyrex Collection

Boil the water and steep the tea in the same beautiful vessel - perfect for a small kitchen like mine because I no longer need a separate tea pot.  Plus the glass pot looks so pretty sitting on the stove.

The only downside is that the glass lid gets really hot, so I wanted a little aqua pot holder to use with my tea pot.  My Mom and I whipped one up, using leftover fabric from the polka dot laundry room curtains.

How to sew your own trivet

Isn't it adorable?  I wanted a round shape to complement the polka dot fabric, and a small loop so I could hang it up beside the stove.

It was a breeze to make and required only a few supplies:

  • Cotton fabric (this one is kind of similar)
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Ribbon or twill tape for loop
  • Heat shield fabric (also called heat reflective fabric or poly-therm fleece)
  • Scissors
  • Paper for circle templace
  • Round object to trace (like a plate)


First we used a round plate - slightly larger than the size I wanted the finished pot holder to be - and traced it onto graph paper to use as a template.

How to sew your own heat shield pot holder
How to sew your own heat shield pot holder

We pinned our template onto the fabric and cut out three pieces: two circles from the polka dot fabric, and one circle from the heat shield fabric.

How to sew your own heat shield pot holder

With the circles cut, we cut out a piece of twill tape for the loop.

Cream twill tape

Then we pinned the three circles together.  Because the fabric is reversible - and I wanted one side cream on aqua and the other side aqua on cream - we pinned them together so the "right" sides were facing each other, and the heat shield fabric was on the bottom.  Here's a peek at the order:

How to sew your own heat shield pot holder

We tucked the loop between the two fabric circles, facing away from the edge.  We sewed the edges with the machine, leaving an opening to turn everything right side out.

How to sew your own heat shield pot holder

To make the curved shape easier to flip, we cut little notches around the circumference.

How to sew your own heat shield pot holder

We turned it right side out and then sewed shut the small opening.

How to sew your own heat shield pot holder

And, voila, a perfectly-sized pot holder to solve my oddly specific kitchen dilemma:
How to sew your own heat shield pot holder
Aqua polka dot fabric
How to sew your own heat shield pot holder

(I've been itching to make one of these since we made those adorable, child-sized pot holders and itty bitty tea towels for the play kitchen we made.)  

August 24, 2015

20 Innovative + Modern Ideas for Decorating with Rope

While working on my rope side table (have you voted for me??), I had a line from Horrible Bosses 2 stuck in my head: "otherwise we're going to string him up by his pretty little neck with the roughest, coarsest piece of rope we've got in our rope inventory".  Here's a terrible quality clip of the scene:    

Handy Hubs didn't really appreciate why I thought that line was hilarious - or why I'd bust into an old prospector accent anytime I so much as looked at a piece of rope - but, unfortunately for him, we still have some rope left in our rope inventory, so I won't be retiring the bit anytime soon.  I'm brainstorming ideas, so I started a Pinterest board devoted to rope (and also some nautical ideas).

Here's a short-list of my 20 favorite ideas for decorating with rope - innovative and modern ideas to buy, borrow, or make!

This mid-century inspired rope room divider, from The Brick House, is THE best rope project. 

Rope wall; room divider
The Brick House
On a similarly epic scale, this rope ceiling caught my eye:

Decorative rope ceiling
Design Milk
The Wrap Bench from cb2 is gorgeous - of course I'm smitten with the mid-century lines.  I know there's a sad, broken bench languishing in a thrift store somewhere, just begging for a DIY rope seat.

Mid-century modern style rope bench
This rope headboard, from Better Homes & Gardens, would also make for a really easy - if a little time consuming - DIY project.  The idea would be equally pretty as a chair seat or shelf on a table.

Rope headboard - DIY potential
Better Homes & Gardens
This Shades of Light rope and wood table has major DIY potential and at first I was considering a similar design for my table, but the boat cleats were a bit pricey.  While cleat shopping, though, I spotted some white metal boat cleats that I keep thinking would make great wall hooks...

Rope and boat cleat credenza table
Shades of Light
These tables boast colourful rope, which makes me love them all the more.  It took me a lot of searching to find more of the exact width of rope I was sent for my challenge, so I'm now very familiar with every gauge, material, and colour of rope available within 100km.  I know of some super cheery stuff that would be perfect for making something similar (or you could make some fabric twine). 

Colorful rope tables
Emily Henderson
I have seen quite a few DIY rope shelves online, but this one by Burkatron is perfect: simple, modern, white - it's beautiful.

Hanging rope shelf
I honestly wouldn't have looked twice at the Palecek Strings Attached Lounge Chair until I spotted it recovered in a bold blue starburst print, in an issue of HGVT magazine.  Now I've been casually keeping my eye out for some kind of rattan chair to modify for this same look - how pretty would it be on the deck?

Rope chair
via Candelabra
If you find yourself saying, "but none of the furniture pieces you've shown use enough rope," then perhaps this DIY jute wrapped vanity from The Gathered Home might tickle your fancy.  It only required about 1500 feet of rope...

Rope vanity
The Gathered Home
The vanity above is actually a clever Anthropologie knock-off, and I think that this Rope Lace Tiara Chair from Urban Outfitters has similar DIY potential.  Wrapping the design in rope could really update - and perhaps make somewhat less scalding on hot summer days - those dated metal patio furniture sets that practically burn a design onto the back of your thighs. 

Rope chair

I have seen a few thick rope railings but this one, featured in House Beautiful, takes the cake because it's so chunky and makes a real statement.  I also love it paired with the other textural elements.

Rope railing
House Beautiful
Speaking of railings, I keep thinking that there's potential here for a railing or furniture hack...

Rope railing
The New York Times
This bold and colourful kitchen, spotted on the DIY Network, boasts custom rope pendant lights - with great DIY potential!  You'll have to peel your eyes away from that stunning ceiling, for just a second!

Rope ceiling light
DIY Network
Emily Henderson created this cool and mod DIY coat rack, using a bit of rope to secure the centre.  It's wondrously easy to make (I'm talking minutes!), and if I had the floor space, I'd whip one up in a hurry.

Cool coat rack - Easy DIY
Emily Henderson
For someone with less floor space, this suspended rope hanging system is cool, with an industrial, rather than nautical, feel.  It could definitely be warmed up with a wood dowel and copper clips.

Rope hanging storage
Design Milk
For a dose of rope on a smaller scale, this DIY rope basket from Alice and Lois is easy to make (no sew!) but looks chic. 

Rope basket
Alice and Lois
This hanging planter is a perfect way to also use up some wood scraps.  If the wood was whitewashed and the planters were painted a pale aqua or navy, this could look so beachy. 

Rope hanging planter
I kept envisioning a rope wreath, but it turns out that a rope wreath has already been done - many times!  This one is cute, but I especially like the little embroidery floss details on this one:

I've seen rope wrapped around a lot of vessels and shapes - from tin cans to tires - but I love the look of rope wrapped around a gleaming glass vase the best.  It's pretty, but rustic.

Rope vase
Better Homes & Gardens
Last, but not least, is the rope table Hubs and I made - which I hope you'll vote for every day :)

Rope table DIY

If still craving more, check out my Rope + Nautical Ideas Pinterest board - and if you've spotted a really great way to decorate with rope, leave a link in the comments or tag me on Instagram because I'm still on the hunt for some great ideas!

August 20, 2015

New White Glass Sliding Closet Doors in the Bedroom!

Exciting news!!  I'm collaborating with Leon's Furniture on their new blog, Hello Yellow!  As one of the bloggers recruited to create fresh and inspiring content, I'll be chronicling a mini makeover of our master bedroom.  This has been the kick in the pants I needed to finally finish our master bedroom and create a functional, peaceful space.  I'll be sharing all kinds of updates (new curtains, furniture, accessories and art!), but today I'm sharing one long overdue change:

White glass sliding door

That's right: we finally purchased new closet doors - it only took about a year and a half!  Check out my first post on Hello Yellow to relive the exhausting adventure of removing the broken mirrored doors, which mushroomed into repairing the floors and replacing the closet organizer.

Broken mirrored sliding door
The last time you saw it, the closet has been given a colourful paint job (to appease orange-loving Hubby), and a new closet organizer was in place - but our clothes remained on display.  I'm a fan of open shelving in the kitchen, but I grew weary of having a closet without doors.
Rubbermaid closet organizer

But now, you won't know that I hang my sweatshirts like a weirdo, or that I've been to a Coach Outlet store one too many times:

White glass sliding door
Triple Sliding Closet Door Modern

It was surprisingly easy to find modern sliding doors that we liked (we purchased ours from The Home Depot).  I was immediately drawn to the white glass, which felt light and airy - perfect for a lakehouse.

(I think that I deserve a serious round of applause for backing away from the aqua in the bottom row):

Home Depot sliding closet door options
Door Options
While the aqua was certainly tempting, I like the white glass because it's neutral and even though it reads as the softest, palest green, it works well in our house.  If you look around the lakehouse, I've chosen many light reflecting surfaces, like the ceiling fan, the floating credenza and the wall unit.  I wanted to carry a gleamy surface into the bedroom to help create more cohesion between the spaces.  Plus, it's my nod to living lakeside.  I don't do literal lakeside decor (paddles, buoys), but I pick finishes and colours that remind me of beach glass, polished stones, the water - even the choppy ice that forms in the winter. 

White glass surfaces in the home

We opted for frameless doors, for a more modern look.  Our metal options were limited with the frameless style, and I couldn't get the brushed nickel I wanted, so we opted for white metal.  I think the white ended up looking better, anyway, because it blends in with the white trim and walls.

Triple sliding closet door

We chose a triple by-pass door so we can keep the closet configuration we like (with a centre bank of drawers) and still access everything with ease.  You can see more photos on Hello Yellow.

Framless Triple Sliding Closet Door Modern

We're so thrilled!  We've had these picked out for awhile but kept putting off the purchase because of the price tag (just over $800 - having three doors instead of two added a bit to the price).  I'm happy, though, that we waited, kept saving, and upgraded from a "Builder's Basic" style - that's a definite perk of small space living!  Because we only need one set of closet doors, we could pick something we really, really love.

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