Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Just saved myself A LOT of work!

Covering over a full wall mural. It can be done. It's a lot of work! To cover the Finding Nemo mural in my daughter's room I had this image of me in grubby clothes wearing a dust mask and eye protection, room cleared out, furniture covered - dust EVERYWHERE while I sanded the paint down to a smooth finish. It's winter. It's Canada. It's cold here! Having a window open while I do it means I need to add gloves and a toque to the image!

An entire weekend's work? Maybe. If I'm going to do wainscoting around the bottom half of the walls then that will cover the bottom half of the mural, all I need to worry about is the top half. Today I had a light bulb idea! I started thinking along the lines of wallpaper. But, as usual I had an image in my head and couldn't seem to find what I wanted online. Then I found this from Sears:

Textured, PAINTABLE wallpaper! It's perfect! IT won't be overpowering. No crazy pattern in a bunch of colors, just simple, classic and best of all! I can just put it right over the mural and not have to worry about any ridges from paint! I will paint it the same color as the rest of the room and voila! I just love the damask pattern, too!

Best of all - its very reasonably priced!

Not having to worry about the mural is what is really going to give me the motivation to start this room!

Has you every used a similar product? Do you like it?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Wainscoting - Yea or Nay?

Photo courtesy of Project Nursery

I'm in the process of coming up with a design for my daughter's room renovation and I'm contemplating putting up wainscoting. I love the look of it and can imagine it well with the design I have envisioned but I'm a little hesitant when it comes to function.

Will it make it difficult when it comes to furniture placement or any type of wall hangings? ie. growth chart, hair bow holder ect. Is it too limiting??

Do you have wainscoting in any rooms? Do you like it? Did you put it up yourself? Thoughts? Opinions? Suggestions?

I appreciate the feedback!

Friday, December 10, 2010

$100 Gift Certificate Giveaway!

I will take some time to enter everyone in and then I will contact the winner privately before announcing who they are.
Good luck!


I was originally going to just do a random draw off of my Bouncing Off The Walls
Facebook Page, but as of December 1st, 2010, Facebook changed some of their promotional guidelines so I can no longer do it that way.

No big deal! I can roll with the punches! We'll do the draw here instead! So, HOW is it going to happen you ask? If you're reading this then you already know I posted the link to this blog on my Facebook Page. The next step? Simply comment below! I will do the draw from those that comment. Simple as that!

Now, for the bonus entries that I mentioned for those who's friends commented on the wall that they were sent by you - I recorded your names and how many times you were mentioned so you will still get your bonus entries!

From the time we reach 2,000 *LIKES* I will keep this blog post up for 5 days following and do the draw then. Hopefully that will give everyone sufficient time to see that it's here and be able to make their way over and comment.

If you have any questions you can email me directly:

Good luck and thanks to all of you for your amazing support!


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Time for a change!

People say to me all the time, "your kids must have the most fantastic rooms!" It's obvious why one would think such a thing but the reality brings back the old saying, "the cobbler's kids have no shoes."

Although I have spent time on their rooms and they both have wall letters spelling their names and a few other various items I've painted I've never really taken the time to really plan them and make them magazine worthy! Time is ALWAYS an issue for me!

My son who is the oldest did get a new "big boy" room when his little sister came along but it still needs a few finishing pieces that I just never get around to. But, for the most part, his room is pretty awesome and he does like to show it off.

Now, my poor daughter. That is what sparked this blog post! Her room was never made for her. It was my old office turned nursery. Before kids when I was still starting out in my mural business I painted a Finding Nemo mural on the wall in my office. When I got pregnant for the first time we didn't find out what we were having so we left the mural and turned the room into a nursery with gender-neutral colouring to match the Nemo theme.

My kids are only 19 months apart so my son wasn't long in the Nemo room before it was time for him to move. Again, we didn't find out what we were having and kept the fish for baby number two!

Well, my daughter is now 2 1/2 and it's time for a change! Nemo and his friends have got to go and we need to change this space into something a little more girlie, a little more "Devyn!" The letters I painted for her, although nice, were painted solely to match the colors in the room. Her growth chart I did because I needed a girl theme growth chart for a trade show! I did have a bow holder for her room but, bad mommy, I sold it to save myself time saying I would make her a new one soon.

So, I'm going to start from scratch! Get rid of the mural. Repaint. Begin with a blank canvas and document it here to share with you! (You'll all help hold me accountable for finishing!)

Here's a peak at the Before (right now) pictures:

I know what you're thinking! What kid wouldn't LOVE this room, right? And she does like it. But, It's been the same way for 6 years and I really do want to make a room just for her.

To give you a little sneak peak into the direction I'm headed, I bought these beautiful water colour prints from This Little Piggy Prints on Etsy and they are what we're starting with. The rest of the room will come together based on these.

Can't wait to get started!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Patchy Patch

My son whojust turned 4 years old was diagnosed with extreme farsightedness and amblyopia right around his third birthday. In my son's case, his vision was so different in each eye that his brain started to shut one, weaker eye, in his case his right eye, down. As a result, the eye starts to turn in from not being used. With his glasses on you don't notice it as much but with his glasses off it's quite bad!

Now the process to correct this is not that easy! Surgery to straighten it at this stage would only be temporary and pointless because without the vision being corrected the eye would just revert back to not being used. So, before any surgery can be done we have to improve the vision. How do we do that? Well, aside from the obvious - glasses, we have to patch the stronger eye to make the weaker one work harder. By patching the "good" eye, the "bad" eye is forced into use. Our end goal is to make the eyes even out in vision so we can do surgery to correct the weakened muscle.

Well, this all sounds so easy. Unless you're 3 going on 4 and you don't want to wear a patch! In our case it was quite a battle. We bribed, we bargained, we threatened, we tried reason (ya, right!), we played pirates, we all wore patches too - everything we could think of to no avail! I couldn't blame him. Who wants to walk around using only one eye? But, it had to be done. We were at a point where the patching just wasn't going well so the doctor prescribed Atropine. Atropine is an eye drop that will essentially blur the vision in the good eye, taking away the need for a patch. Well, I wished we'd tried it sooner.

On mention of putting a drop in and my son has now been wearing his patch on a regular basis for about 6 months! He even asks for it some days!

Now that you know the back story - here's the real reason for my post; I was snooping around and found this wonderful Etsy shop filled with hand made dolls for kids. What's so great about them? They have glasses! AND patches! If there's one thing I've learned through this whole process is that even young kids want to know they aren't alone in their battles. To have a doll with a patch just like them is WONDERFUL!

Shannon's shop is called Warm Sugar and she's based out of Peoria, Illinois. THANK YOU , Shannon for making such wonderful creations! These dolls got me thinking about other famous be speckled characters. Well, there's not a lot of them that aren't classified as a bit "nerdy!" Come on Disney! Give us a Princess or hero with glasses!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Shop Local!

The Christmas season is upon us and with it brings lists of gifts to buy for families and friends. Coming up with ideas for WHAT to buy someone can be tricky, but how about WHERE you buy it?
How much of your shopping is done locally? Just a few last minute items? Where do you do the bulk of your shopping?

According to Michael H. Shuman, author of Going Local, "Going local does not mean walling off the outside world. It means nurturing locally owned businesses which use local resources sustainably, employ local workers at decent wages and serve primarily local consumers. It means becoming more self-sufficient and less dependent on imports. Control moves from the boardrooms of distant corporations and back into the community where it belongs."

Being a small business owner I'm perhaps a bit biased, but I'll give you ten reasons WHY you should be shopping local and keeping your business where you live!

  1. Local business owners will invest more in your community. Generally, they live in the community themselves therefore having more interest in the welfare and future of the community. They'll contribute to sports teams, donate to charity events and take part in activities.
  2. The customer service is better. Period. Because they care about the community they care how you feel when you walk out the door. Their business is a reflection of themselves and as they are highly likely to come face to face with their customers while they're out and about they are less likely to be rude or brush you off. They build relationships with their customers. They get to know you personally, helping you find what you need, ordering things in or calling you to let you know about specials, sales etc or returning items that are broken or don't work.
  3. They provide local jobs. Most local businesses will hire within the community first.
  4. It helps our environment! If you shop local you can walk, not drive to shop and I don't have to tell you the impact that can make! Saving gas money and mileage on your vehicle, congestion and pollution all at the same time!
  5. You're keeping your money within the community when you shop local. Local businesses will often purchase from other local businesses and service providers themselves which helps grow other businesses.
  6. They offer unique choices. Smaller businesses often have a great selection of unique items that you can't find elsewhere, are hand made or are exclusive to them. When you're looking for just the right gift for someone that seems like it was made especially for them then buying local might be your best bet!
  7. Competitive pricing. It's a common misconception that smaller businesses are more expensive but this is not always the case. A lot of brand items have suggested retail prices that most will adhere to which means businesses that carry those items will have them priced the same as the "big guys." When you factor in the saved gas money and customer service you have to wonder why you'd buy from the "big guys!"
  8. Quality! More unique, local items are often better made and come with great warranties or refund/exchange policies that you may not find elsewhere.
  9. Put your taxes to good use.Local businesses in neighborhoods need comparatively less infrastructure investment and make more efficient use of public services as compared to nationally owned stores entering the community.
  10. Character of the community. A lot of smaller communities have specific characteristics that make them unique. Local business owners are usually more interested in maintaining that character.
So before you set out to do you shopping this Christmas, or any time of year for that matter, take a good look at the stores that are right at your door step and see how much you can do without even leaving town!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Clean up! Clean up! Everybody Clean Up!

Organizing your young child’s room is a lot of fun…beautiful colors, bold patterns, and cute little bins in all shapes and sizes. Keeping it in order as they navigate their way through changes in clothing and toys is another matter altogether! Before you jump into transforming your little one’s room and spend a load of cash, take a look at these simple solutions to create storage that can be easily maintained and “grows with your child”.

  1. Store books where kids can easily access them, such as under a bench seat in cubbies or on a bookshelf that can also hold small baskets for small items.
  2. A good storage system inside the closet will make good use of the vertical space and eliminate the need for dressers. Add another hanging rod to maximize the space for those itty-bitty clothes.
  3. Label bins and baskets to make finding and cleaning up toys a breeze. Print pictures of the contents for the little ones.
  4. Drawer dividers keep little clothes organized into categories, and prevent those tiny tights from getting lost in a mound of sweaters.
  5. Over the door shoe organizers are a great storage option for anything but shoes. Toys, hats, small books, socks, undies, and stuffies are perfect candidates.
  6. Hanging canvas sweater organizers are an inexpensive way to create shelves for clothing or accessories. Try labeling each of the 5 cubbies with the days of the week for early school goers. Having their outfits pre-set for the week could save many morning meltdowns on what to where!
  7. An under the bed storage bin works great for all the craft projects your child brings home from school or seasonal clothing.
  8. Modular units with canvas storage bins are the perfect storage solution for the bottom half of any closet or in the room itself.

My personal favorites mentioned above are the “shoe organizers” and the “modular units”. How you choose to utilize these TWO FAVS is up to you…the possibilities are endless!

The Mini Stash by Simply Stashed

The Cube Organizer by Martha Stewart at Home Depot


About the Author

Sylvia Daoust is the owner of Niche Designs Inc., a company focused on creating streamlined homes and small businesses. We provide organizing solutions to fit your needs and your budget…with consistent support every step of the way.

Visit for access to FREE “Sorting Secrets” and learn how you can stay on top of everything.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Calm. Fresh. Not Pink!

Lavender is a color that can be paired well with so many other colors, each giving it such a different look. This fall, paired with grey, lavender has become a popular trend for a more sophisticated nursery! If done right this is a color combination that can last through infancy right on up to teen!

I did a little shopping around and found some gorgeous things!

Crib Bedding by Bananafish
Lavender Chair by Serena & Lily

Dresser by Bratt Decor

Chandelier from The Bella Cottage. Clock from The Frog & Princess. Lampshade from Rosenberry Rooms.

Owl pillow doll from DwellDeep.

3 Berry Tissue Poms by Prosttothehost.
Heather Bloom pillow from Rosenberry Rooms.I couldn't find the proper source for this silver jewelry box but I couldn't leave it out - especially since they took the time to engrave my name on it!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto...

Remember this?

This picture was taken back in the summer when our long awaited Robot arrived. In that box is our future. Our helper. Our LIFE-SAVER! That box contained our CNC machine. CNC stands for computer numeric control. To put it in layman's terms - it cuts letters. For me. All by itself!

Ok, it doesn't JUST cut letters but at this point in time that is my main focus! On average I cut approximately 700 - 800 letters a month. Right now I do each and every letter by hand! So, when you combine that with hand painting them all you can see why an order can take as long as it does.

Some may ask why eliminate the "hand cut" aspect of things? Well, simply - so we can not only continue to produce high-quality, original products, but we will be able to produce them in a more timely matter meeting the needs of those who don't want to wait 6 - 8 weeks for an order.

We are also in the process of developing a wholesale program so we can put some of our wonderful products on the shelves of stores all over the world.

Lastly, I HAVE SO MANY IDEAS! Things I can't do on my trusty scroll saw that only has a 16" clearance! Think shaped growth charts, fancy headboards, extra large letters and so much more! The capabilities of this robot are pretty limitless and we are very excited for our maiden voyage.

Our new CNC isn't nameless. His name is Babadoo. So named by our children stemming from a phrase in a book they have that says, "this machine goes quickly from job to job." My son couldn't say job to job correctly so he used to say, "goes quickly bobadoo." Very fitting indeed!

Here is Babadoo today. He's ALMOST ready to go! It has been a really long process to assemble him. Think Ikea on steroids! Bags and bags of nuts and bolts and an instruction binder about 8 inches thick! He now just needs his dust collection system which is on the way and then all the computer stuff. Programing everything will be a very daunting, time consuming task but in the end it will be so worth it!

I'm excited to share with your our journey into robot land and I will be sure to keep you all posted as we get ready to hit the "on" switch!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Mmmm. Cake!

Betcha didn't know I used to be a cake decorator! Yup! I started out painting on Dairy Queen ice cream cakes when I was 17 and it was my profession for the next 10 years. I worked in grocery store bakeries and even a high-end cake shop. At one time being a cake artist was what I thought I wanted to do with my life, but working with food wasn't on my list of things I really liked to do! I liked the decorating; icing was a form of paint for me - hated the baking and prep work before hand!

Now, the only cakes I decorate are for my own kids. It's something I look forward to with each birthday and now that they're getting old enough to tell me what they want I usually know what I'm doing far in advance!

Since May of this year my son has been telling me he wants a police car cake for his next birthday. Well, his next birthday is finally days away and his big birthday party is this Sunday. I thought I'd give you a little glimpse at my police car creation from start to finish and hopefully make you think a little bit outside the pan when it comes to cake decorating! So, here's Reid's 4th birthday police car cake step by step!

I've never been much of a fan of the shaped cake pans. Too small, too main stream, too expensive! Who needs a special pan anyway? Watch how I make a police car out of two, 9x13 slab cakes!

**Editing to add that I ALWAYS work with frozen cake! It makes cutting so much easier and way less crumbs!**

I start with this:
Two slabs side by side on a board that admittedly I cut a bit too small for what I was about to do!

I looked online for a cartoon style police car that I liked and used it as my guide. With white icing I draw a rough outline of the police car, not worrying about keeping within the constrains of the cake:

Now you're probably scratching your head and wondering how I go from here! Well, I use a small serrated knife and cut out around my outline. Carefully removing the extra cake pieces and setting them aside.

Now I have to add onto the parts that aren't complete such as the bottom of the tires and the front of the car. Using the pieces I cut away, I hold them in place where I need to add cake. Again, I use the white icing and draw the missing pieces.

You should have enough cake scraps to add the remaining parts unless you went ridiculously too large with your original drawing in which case, if you've already cut the cake, I can't help you!

Again, I use my knife and cut away the areas that aren't part of the car. Using my icing like glue, I cover the joining edges then press them firmly together.

Do this for all the pieces and in the end you should have your shape! ( Like I said, I cut my board a little too small, but oh well!)

I clean up my board and get rid of the crumbs and the rest is all just painting! Using a round decorator tip I fill in my colors where I want them.

Now, this is a KEY piece of equipment that anyone decorating a cake should have in my opinion! A small pallet knife! With the angle it has it makes smoothing icing so much easier! After I fill in a section with icing I use my pallet knife to smooth it.

I continue doing this for each section and color until I have the police car done. If you want to go as far as the highlights, I do those by dipping my pallet knife into the white icing and just lightly smearing/smoothing it on. Like I said, icing is like paint. Lots of room to get creative and lots of forgiveness if you make a mistake!

Now you're probably wondering about those exposed edges? Myself, I always end up with a bunch of leftover icing in all the colors I used for my cake. So, I throw them all together into one container and fill up an icing bag. I didn't even mix them! You can use a star tip or a round tip for this (a larger size works best)and in an up and down zig zag motion cover the sides. Easy to do, fills it in and you don't have to worry about trying to smooth it all out! I like it because it uses up all my left over icing!

Lastly, you of course want to put an inscription on there but who wants to write on top of a piece of artwork? I write right on the board! The best part? If you make a mistake you can just wipe if off and start again!

Here's my finished cake! Can't wait to see my son's face when I bring it out on Sunday!

Monday, September 20, 2010

All In The Family

My almost 4-year-old son asked me the other day if he could paint some letters like me. So, I got together some extra letters, some paint and a brush and let him have at it!

Whenever he watches me paint he asks who the letters are for so of course, he wanted to know who his letters were for to which I replied, "oh, a little boy like you." "I think he's going to like these." he said. He concentrated very hard on his tasks and who knows? Maybe one day he'll be right along side me painting up some real orders!

Monday, August 30, 2010

MOM! Where's my favorite hair clip??

Ahhh, September. Back to school time. New clothes, new shoes, new back packs and new hair accessories!
These days you can find some pretty amazing hair bows, clippies, korkers and other cool hair accessories to match any outfit or hair type.

I was recently introduced to
Apple Pie Accessories, a fellow Alberta, mom-run business started by Sabrina. At Apple Pie Accessories you will find high quality Hair Sassies which are alligator clips adorned with gross grain ribbon or in the case of Mbellished Hair Sassies some extra bling is added for that extra special touch. Sabrina gives you the option of adding a no-slip grip for extra fine hair which is something I know all about!

But what to do with all those Sassies?? Here at Bouncing Off The Walls we have created our own line of custom designed and hand painted hair bow holders that are second to none. I can guarantee you will not find anything like them out there! All of our hair bow holders can be completely customized to go with any theme, decor or colors. They hang on the wall and have plenty of ribbon from which to attach all those hair accessories.

For the month of September Bouncing Off The Walls has teamed up with Apple Pie Accessories and with every purchase of a hair bow holder you will receive a FREE set of Hair Sassies! So if you've been thinking about purchasing a hair bow holder then now is the time! What a great gift idea!

This offer expires October 1, 2010. Hair Sassie colors/designs will be randomly chosen and shipped with the bow holder.