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DIY Faux Fireplace | Every home needs a Mantle

BuildMel Alfred1 Comment
fauxfireplace-fireplace-mantle-diy

People are often surprised just how cool it can get in Southern California. Growing up in Canada, you would think I would be quite hardy and used to cold weather, but that is quite untrue! I have a very small range of temperature which I find ideal, approximately 50º F (10º C) to 75º F (30º C). Temperatures outside of this window usually involve me exclaiming its "SO HOT" or "I'M FREEZING", Ryan has become immune to these proclamations. Enter, our new home. The house doesn't have a fireplace (Fortunately, we have AC) but I wasn't too concerned with the lack of heat source given that it's a new construction and would be much more efficient than our 1920's coastal cottage. I was however, a little concerned about the lack of mantle for our Christmas stockings and set out on a mission to remedy this little problem.

My researched options:

  • Remodel the living room and build a fireplace | I didn't consider this to be a valid option as our home is brand new and we were not interested in starting a renovation project.
  • Electric Fireplace | There are many types include freestanding, inserts, TV stand style, etc. The price tag on these options is upwards of $200, the one featured below is $650 to give you an idea of cost. I didn't think we really needed an additional heat source so I preferred to save the money.
Freestanding Electric Fireplace Source: Ventless Fireplace Pros

Freestanding Electric Fireplace Source: Ventless Fireplace Pros

  • Faux Fireplace | This was right up my alley as it was an excuse to get some new tools (circular saw, miter box, nail gun) and a fun new building project.

A few pins of 'Faux Fireplace' for inspiration...

I have been a big fan of Ana White's building plans, online videos, and forums for awhile now and knew she would have some good ideas for a faux fireplace. Ryobi and Ana White paired up to create the following video tutorial on creating a faux fireplace, Ryobi Nation Faux Fireplace. This fireplace was exactly the look I wanted. I customized the dimensions to fit the living room area in our house and tweaked a few other parts. 

Click HERE for link to Ana's White cut list, blueprints, and detailed step-by-step instructions.

My design was based around the size of our existing TV. I didn't want the TV to overpower the room and be the focus, so I thought by making the Fireplace larger it would be make the TV less of a monstrosity. Ryan was concerned with the TV being too high on the wall as often is the case in order to allow it to be placed safely above a real working fireplace to prevent heat damage. I compromised and made the fireplace a little shorter than I'd like, this worked out well as the TV height is perfect.

I added an elevated hearth to the fireplace as I love the idea of lining up the kids and taking photos sitting in front of the fireplace as I did in my childhood. 

My brother and I posing in front of our Farmhouse fireplace.

My brother and I posing in front of our Farmhouse fireplace.

Another fireplace pose, my baptism. I'm eager to start this tradition with Baby Alfred soon!

Another fireplace pose, my baptism. I'm eager to start this tradition with Baby Alfred soon!

My custom design

My custom design

Another color coded cut list with the dimension changes

Another color coded cut list with the dimension changes

My apologies in advance, I forgot to pause and take photos throughout this build process so I don't have a lot, but the Ana White plans are more than enough if you decide to tackle this project.

Hearth, unstained/ painted

Hearth, unstained/ painted

Frame complete, doors on. Needs paint/ trim.

Frame complete, doors on. Needs paint/ trim.

Starting to resemble something functional. Winston's cameo.

Starting to resemble something functional. Winston's cameo.

I'm still amazed by our builders ingenuity. They placed piping in the wall to allow the cords to be hidden from behind the TV through to the entertainment center/ fireplace/ etc below. Requires some fishing, but it makes for a beautiful, cord free area. And to answer my hecklers (Nathan/ Justin) out there, Yes, I mounted the TV! and it's still hanging solidly!!!

I'm still amazed by our builders ingenuity. They placed piping in the wall to allow the cords to be hidden from behind the TV through to the entertainment center/ fireplace/ etc below. Requires some fishing, but it makes for a beautiful, cord free area.

And to answer my hecklers (Nathan/ Justin) out there, Yes, I mounted the TV! and it's still hanging solidly!!!

I added a Dremel Multipurpose tool my collection which made cutting and removing the baseboard behind the fireplace a breeze. I highly recommend adding this multipurpose tool to your collection as it has so many uses. Buy on Amazon. 

dremel
Mantle stained/ painted and cut into the baseboards to look more polished.

Mantle stained/ painted and cut into the baseboards to look more polished.

Almost complete.

Almost complete.

I decorated with random items I had on hand, but I'd like to find birch logs to bundle and place in the firebox opening. 

I decorated with random items I had on hand, but I'd like to find birch logs to bundle and place in the firebox opening. 

faux-fireplace-mantle-diy
faux-fireplace-mantle-diy

Phase 2 of the project will include the batten board behind the TV. Stay tuned...

I can't wait to change up the decor based on the season or holiday. How often do you change your mantle or fireplace decor?

DIY Gold Moroccan Pouf for the Nursery

CraftMel Alfred3 Comments
DIY-pouf-moroccan-crafting-babynursery

Search "nursery" in Pinterest or basically skim any home decor article and you are bound to come across a "pouf" or soft ottoman adding a beautiful flair to the room it's inhabiting. Now, Ryan will definitely think I am referring to a different kind of pouf, a la mini pompadour I was sporting on our first date, but today I am talking about the former.

Reese rocks this mini pouf amazingly well, this is also a must hairstyle if you are growing out bangs, FYI!

Reese rocks this mini pouf amazingly well, this is also a must hairstyle if you are growing out bangs, FYI!

Image: Land of Nod

Image: Land of Nod

Image: One Kings Lane

Image: One Kings Lane

Part of my nursery vision included a gold moroccan style pouf. These are pretty commonly found in bright colors, but I was wanting a more subdued gold rather than the bright one seen below. I was also being quite resistant to the price tag attached to these fabric balls. They range from $89 (Land of Nod) to $350 (Bloomgindale's). My next reaction is to always say "I can MAKE it!" instead, and that's exactly what i set out to do. I searched DIY pouf's on Pinterest and came across 'You are my Happy's blog post on DIY Moroccan Poufs. This was a lifesaver as she also included a template to cut fabric- score! I needed to add a large sized circular template, which I found here. For redundency sake and to give the original blog credit, I won't get as detailed but i will share my experience.

I ordered my fabric from Fabric.com, deciding on Perfecto Gold Leather. The fabric and matching thread came to $43.12. The recommendation was to order 2.5 yards. The leather was 60" wide so I had about 1 yard extra. The approximate cost of the fabric/ thread actually used was $32.00.

A more subtle twist on the bright golf pouf commonly found.

A more subtle twist on the bright golf pouf commonly found.

The template for cutting the fabric can be found here. Be sure to print at 100% and measure after printing to ensure the size is maintained correctly.

I glued the template to cardboard and then used a rotary cutter for all the pieces.

I glued the template to cardboard and then used a rotary cutter for all the pieces.

diy-moroccan-pouf-crafting-nursery
diy-moroccan-pouf-crafting-nursery
Cutting is a bit tedious. It took about 2 hours.

Cutting is a bit tedious. It took about 2 hours.

After cutting all the pieces, it's time to sew!

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Winston was incredibly helpful as my model.

Winston was incredibly helpful as my model.

diy-moroccan-pouf-crafting-nursery
diy-moroccan-pouf-crafting-nursery
diy-moroccan-pouf-crafting-nursery

At this point, the pouf is starting to take shape. I am a moderately skilled seamstress courtesy of my Junior High Sewing Club days, but this was a pretty tough task. The pattern contains a lot of differing degree angles that need to be sewn carefully or it looks wonky. I'd say 40% look great and the remainder are just ok. I could have definitely ripped out quite a few seams and tried again and again to make it look perfect, but I honestly wasn't feeling it. It was a this point that I decided I should have spent the extra money and BOUGHT one, but more on that later. 

I changed the plans when it came to the closure on the bottom. The recommendation was to add a zipper but I preferred velcro, which I conveniently had on hand already. This was much easier to attach and complete in a few minutes. 

I went in search of finding random household items to stuff the pouf with. I had ready that these monsters were bottomless pits and it was deceiving just how much stuffing you needed. Any guesses?!?!

Shockingly, there are 4 moving blankets, 2 fleece blankets, and a duvet cover stuffed in this little guy! Thank goodness I kept these random items, I knew they'd come in handy eventually.

Nursery reveal coming soon.... ;)

Nursery reveal coming soon.... ;)

Overall, I am happy with the color and the accessory for the nursery. I will probably never make one again and would be hesitant to recommend you make one as well unless you are looking for a specific color/ colors or material that can't be bought.  It was definitely a WIN on cost at approximately $32 for materials and a few hours of labor, compared to buying it from a store. And I love the fact that it was handmade with love for my little girl ;)

Have you made a DIY item that you wished you bought instead?

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Showered with love for Baby Alfred

Life, CraftMel Alfred2 Comments

My parents flew in from Canada last week to help us build our deck and to host my baby shower. A few weeks back Ryan and I decided that we rather have them relax on their visit, so we worked like crazy to get the deck done (photos/ blog post coming soon!) prior to their arrival and surprise them with margaritas on the deck instead of a dirt pile and a lot of work ahead of us. They were thrilled with getting off the hook for the deck but I still had a few tasks for them to help with.

My sister in law, Stacey, flew in the next day and the ladies went into full on crafting mode getting ready for the shower. it was difficult not being involved as I am all of these... 1) stubborn and not easy to get rid of  2) LOVE crafting 3) Didn't want to be left out of the action (FOMO!!!)

Winston was confused as to why Stacey was coming out of a bag... She sure is a special gift ;)

Ryan setting up around the neighborhood

Ryan setting up around the neighborhood

The event was perfectly me! Not too over the top and I was truly amazed by all the love and support of my family and friends. Baby Alfred is going to be one spoiled babe. 

Handmade by Stacey! Also, a sneak peak of the DIY Bar.

Handmade by Stacey! Also, a sneak peak of the DIY Bar.

Gift favors for the guests made by Trish (These were made twice due a little accident in production ;) Guests initials etched on the glass.

Gift favors for the guests made by Trish (These were made twice due a little accident in production ;) Guests initials etched on the glass.

Adorable diaper cake. I love the panda hat!!

Adorable diaper cake. I love the panda hat!!

Made by Stacey. This gal really needs an Etsy shop for all her creative talent.

Made by Stacey. This gal really needs an Etsy shop for all her creative talent.

Loose lead tea gift favors

Loose lead tea gift favors

Amazing spread | High tea theme was perfect!

Amazing spread | High tea theme was perfect!

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bonfirebeautiful-blog-babyshower-decor
So much love for all these ladies!

So much love for all these ladies!

Huge THANKS to my Mom Joanne, Stacey, and Trish for organizing this special event. Special thanks to all the SD ladies for contributing and bringing it all together. 

57 days (Christmas Day!) +/ - and counting till little Miss. Alfred arrives....

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