DIY Mini Stepladder

 Somebody asked the other day if bloggers check Pinterest to see if a project they're working on has already been done.   Hmmm.  I spend most of my time trying to copy stuff I've seen on Pinterest - I'm not proud!!!  I love trying to recreate something I've seen and fallen in love with.  I say!!!

Upcycling a Plastic Framed Door Mirror

I did it!  I built a nice wood frame from 1x4 lumber for my yard sale find door mirror.  Total Cost: $8.00 -  $1 for the mirror, $3 for the wood and $4 for mirror clips to attach the mirror to the frame.  What a bargain!!

I'm in the Bloglight!!

I feel like a movie star on the red carpet at the Oscars!! I've been selected as a featured blogger by Hometalk!!

Have you heard of the Hometalk network? It's a place for people to share ideas and projects, ask questions and get answers from professionals and do-it-yourselfers on all sorts of home related subjects - even home repairs!  Anyone can join and there are so many fabulous ideas of things to do to your home and garden that you won't know which to do first!!

So, onto the "Getting to Know You" part.  Here goes!

1. How did you first get into blogging?

After my marriage broke up it took a year and a half to sell our house.  By the time it sold I decided to stay where I was instead of moving back to the city because I had met someone. This is a tiny little town with a population of 7000.  It's cute, it's quaint, the sidewalks roll up at 6 pm, it's Mayberry, USA! (except the Canadian version of it).

I bought a little fixer-upper house.

The blog was born for two reasons:  one, I thought I would share my renovation experiences to encourage others to DIY; and two, I had a whole lot of time on my hands thanks to the fact that my new relationship was a long distance one.  And when that relationship broke up, I began tackling all the renovation work myself and loving my new power tools.  It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. :)

An early DIY project - notice the lack of power tools...

2. How did you decide on the name of your blog?

I chose Design Dreams because I am always dreaming about decorating and changing things up.  Ever since I was a teenager with my own room to decorate, I've been reading home decor magazines and doing things like dragging home furniture found at the side of the road and building bookshelves out of bricks and odd pieces of wood.  The name, however, was already taken, so I added the "by Anne" part to distinguish mine from anyone else's dreams...

3. Is blogging something you do on the side, or is it a full-time job for you? What did/do you do for a living?

This is very definitely a part-time gig for me.  I work for the local municipality as website administrator and social media coordinator as well as being editor of and contributor to a twice-annual community guide.  I also write articles for a local e-newspaper.  

4. What was the first project you ever posted?

My kitchen renovation.  The horrible little kitchen in my new house was so bad, it had to be torn out within the first two months.  The fridge and dishwasher were brand new, so they stayed.  The miniature stove (you couldn't even fit a turkey roaster in it!), the 5 cabinets, leaky faucet, bowl and a half sink and the 4 feet total of counter space were not working for me!!  It was a huge job because two doors had to be walled up and a new door ripped into the bathroom that used to open into the kitchen (ewwwww!).  Of course, had I waited, I would have had a much better layout because now I know precisely how it would work best, but, oh well!  


HORRORS!  I used a flash! and small photos!!  The things you learn when you get past your first six months of blogging.  Natural light is the only way people!!! but apparently you don't need a fancy schmancy camera, point & shoot will do.  Good thing!  lol

5. Which project has brought you the most traffic to-date?

My home made chalk paint armoire.  Although if I add together the number of hits on all three baby greenhouse posts, I think these two projects are neck and neck at this point!

6. What do your friends and family think about your blog? Do they read all of your updates?

My friends and family think I'm amazing for doing all the work myself, the furniture, the bathroom reno, the greenhouse. I've been told by a few of my friends that whenever they're thinking about things for hubby to do around the house, their next thought is "Anne could do this".  Sometimes I think I'm just a glutton for punishment but I do really like knowing how to do these things instead of waiting around for someone else to do them for me.  I don't know how many of my friends actually read my blog, though, since most have gotten the info from my Facebook account or from dropping by the house.

7. Do you stick to a strict posting schedule? How do you keep track of when and how often to post?

I post when I have something to share and I try to have something to share at least once a week.  Thank God for the paintings I do, they're definitely filler material when I run out of cool stuff!  :)   When I got really stuck in a blog burnout at the end of last year, I started throwing out reposts of the most popular things I did.  Nothing like resting on your laurels!

8. What advice could you give to other bloggers that you wish you had known before you started blogging?

Don't hesitate to make friends with other bloggers.  Leave comments on their posts, ask them for advice, join a blog community like Hometalk - the relationships are what keep me blogging.  Without them, this would not be any fun at all.  Well, maybe a LITTLE fun, but I really love you guys!!

Learn how to take fabulous photos, and don't forget the before and during photos!  What I've noticed about the most successful blogs these days is that all the photos look like they should be in magazines.  They're styled and well-lit and well, full of gorgeous things.  I fly by the seat of my pants most of the time, but I've been fortunate enough to make friends with a lot of bloggers along the way so I'm never without comments on the things I do.  I've been very blessed.

Lastly remember to remove all the odds and ends that are lying around the space you want to photograph.  I really do need to build a wagon-for-bloggers so I can haul all that junk out of the way instead of trying to clean up every time I want to take photos.  Even then I always seem to have some cat toy or or animal's tail or extension cord in my photos that I never see until I go to edit them (and by then the mess is back in place again!).

Dog head in lower right hand corner
bloody extension cord - again!
cat tail in doorway
 See what I mean?  and we could talk about the ugly white mini mp3 speakers that are always in my bedroom shots because I forget to hide them.   Good thing it's digital photography.  Can you imagine if we were still using 35mm??  Somebody would be getting rich fast, and it wouldn't be the bloggers!

Thanks so much Miriam and Hometalk for choosing me this week.  I'm honoured to be included in this fabulous network with so many of my blog-idols.  Hometalk Bloggers ROCK!  If any bloggers reading this aren't using Hometalk, you really need to sign up!  Our Google Plus hangouts and Twitter parties are A.W.E.S.O.M.E., but you'll need speed reading and high speed keyboarding lessons before joining one of the Twitter parties, just sayin'.

Thanks for reading!


The Sunflower

So much for getting projects done, I've been painting a closet. Not the most interesting thing in the world to post! Instead I have another painting to share!!! The painting bug has got me again.  I promise to have a DIY project to share very soon.

Here is my brand new painting - and my absolute favourite piece to date:

And now for a closer look.

I'm so happy with this painting!!  I've been trying to paint sunflowers for two years and I think I've finally got it!  I'm doing a happy dance.

And if you want to try your hand at creating your own sunflower painting, I'm adding the link to a Youtube video that helped me immensely!  Happy Creating!!

Have a great day!

Linking to:
Wow Us Wednesdays
Transformation Thursday
Beyond the Picket Fence
Paint Party Friday

Hey Girl Valentine's Linky Party

I had to get in on the Valentine's Day Hey Girl party!  Here's my contribution... thinking more of cute and snuggly than funny.

Well, ok, one more!

Happy Valentine's Day!

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How to Store Tools in Plain Sight

Have I mentioned I have no basement?  No storage room to speak of and LOTS.OF.TOOLS :)  I'm a tool junky and I'm always working with them so I need to store them someplace where I have easy access to them.   Enter the shipping crate I found at a garage sale a while back.