Archive for the ‘DIY’ Category

Updating your home can be a perfect refresher when the seasons change or you’re feeling restless. That might sound like lots of work, but renewing a room doesn’t have to mean completely redecorating.

You can help your clients give their rooms a new lease on life by making simple, tasteful changes. If you’re very thrifty and creative, you might give their whole house a simple makeover that leaves them happier than ever.

Here are 15 simple ways to update just about any room!

1. Wallpaper one wall

There are no rules when it comes to wallpaper! Papering a single wall, part of a wall, or even just cut-out patterns across one surface is a great way to create a statement. If your clients are willing, and as long as it complements existing décor, choose a fun new color or pattern to give the space a quick facelift!

Wallpaper simple decorating tricks

2. A gallery wall

Turning one wall into a statement collage is a great way to refresh any room. Your clients might even like this idea in multiple rooms, with each collage portraying different things. In fun frames, create a gallery displaying pictures they’ve taken, places they’ve been, places they’d like to go, family portraits, or even just pictures and quotes they find inspiring.

3. New dishes

Are your clients tired of their same old kitchen with the same chipped dishes they’ve had since college? Help them choose new plates, bowls, glasses, cutlery, and cookware that match the room’s color scheme or contrast surrounding décor in interesting ways. Even something this simple can inject some style into a stale space.

4. Bathroom accents

Bathrooms have a surprising number of easily updated elements that will change the whole atmosphere. Leave the walls as they are and choose new mats, curtains, towels, and toilet seats covers to match or contrast the scheme in a new way. For a more dramatic (but still very simple) change, switch out the old mirror for one with a new shape, different frame, or alternative style.

5. Throw pillows and blankets

New throw pillows and throw blankets are a great way to change up a space, but they’re also a great way to get crafty and recycle! Do your clients have an old blanket or set of curtains they don’t need? Show them how to repurpose that spare material into pillow covers for the throw pillows they already have. They’ll give their room a new look without having to spend any money.

Throw pillows to simple decorating tricks

6. Patterned shelves

Remember how we said wallpaper has no rules? Give your client’s office a fun new feel by papering the back panel of their big book shelf! Choose wallpaper in their favorite color or a fun pattern that might be too bold to dedicate a whole wall to. The peek-a-boo effect will give the space a whole new feel.

7. Painting (but just a little bit)

Painting an entire room is a big commitment and it might be more time consuming than your clients are prepared for. Help them choose one spot in the room to draw attention to and transform just that part. Depending on the color, that wall will enhance the current color scheme, contrast it, or build an actual scheme in a room that was monotonous before. Are they hesitant to paint the whole wall? Try painting just one half or even angular sections to boost the room’s style.

8. Staining or painting old furniture

Sometimes the space itself is fine but the things filling that space are out of date. Don’t get rid of them! Furniture can use a new lease on life occasionally, just like a room. Try painting or staining some of your client’s older pieces to change the focus and feel of the space. Just make sure that chair isn’t an antique heirloom before you start with the trendy mint colored paint!

9. New lighting

Lighting is a key factor in building an atmosphere. Perhaps your client’s dissatisfaction with their master bedroom comes from the placement and type of light the house came with? Try adjusting the feel of things with a central chandelier that features a softer light than the fluorescent ceiling lighting they’re used to. If that’s too fancy, help them choose a set of lamps with shades that contribute to their current aesthetic.

Lighting for simply decorating tricks

10. Mirrors

Nothing helps widen the appearance of a very small room like a nice mirror! Help your clients transform that tiny spare bedroom with a mirror on perpendicular walls to give the illusion of more space. Choose mirrors in angular shapes if the décor is modern or ones with elaborate frames if you’d rather create a vintage feel.

11. Get organized

This suggestion is a little less exciting but it’s very effective for renewing a room. Remember when we said that the problem might be the stuff and not the room? Too much stuff can take over a perfectly good space. Get out the donation boxes and convince your clients to pay forward what they no longer need. Organize what’s left to reclaim the space!

12. Indoor plants

Using plants and flowers to refresh a room is literally refreshing. Help your clients choose indoor plants that suit their décor and show them where to put each one so it thrives. Plants bring a little life to any space, so put one or two potted plants wherever your client’s home needs a pick-me-up.

Plants for simple decorating tricks

13. New linens

This one sounds simple, but sometimes clients overlook solutions that seem too easy. Particularly if your clients have lived in the home for a very long time, they’re probably in the habit of rotating the same few sets of sheets and duvet cover. Help them change up their style with an array of new linens that look nothing like their old ones!

14. One word: rearrange

It really can be that simple! An entire room can be transformed for the better by rearranging the furniture and décor. This process doesn’t have to be complicated and it doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch. Work with your clients to create a better floorplan and rearrange the things they already have until the whole room looks more like what they want.

15. Don’t forget about the outside

Okay, so your client’s porch isn’t technically a room. That doesn’t mean you should ignore the outside of the house while you refresh things! Improve first impression for visitors by helping your clients choose a new porch swing or lounge chair, a unique doormat, and a fresh color to paint the front door.

It’s all in the details

There are unlimited ways for you to update any room in your client’s home if you’re creative! Pay attention to the small details and don’t overlook their power to change how things look and feel. Even things as small as light switch and outlet covers, the color of the window frame, the type of floor mat, and the frames on your client’s pictures can create major change with a fresh new look!

Would you like to learn more about simple decorating tricks to bring new life to a room? Check out the courses here at QC Design School!


May 28, 2015 7:00 am

Organization Tips for Small Spaces

Keeping a small space organized is not always an easy task. As time goes on clutter tends to pile up but thankfully there are ways you can save yourself from getting buried in it! The great news is, you don’t have to be a professional organizer to climb your way out of the clutter. Here are some quick and easy tips you can use to reduce clutter and organize your small space.


Professional organizing in the bedroom

Let’s start with the bedroom since it’s the room most prone to clutter. Bedrooms are typically kept private and we tend to fill them with personal decorations and statements that define who we are. It’s also the place where we shove away our clothes, accessories, and endless amounts of items we value as important. Looking at an unorganized bedroom can be incredibly discouraging, but not to worry! There are ways to turn a disaster-zone bedroom into an organized, beautiful sanctuary!


Baskets are great for the bedroom. You can buy inexpensive, fancy, and decorative baskets in a variety of colors and materials to help store away extra clothes, blankets, and whatever else needs a new home. Baskets can be stored in the closet, on top of one another against the bedroom wall or even tucked away under the bed!


You can put old or discarded dresser drawers under your bed to help store clothes and other items. You can simply slide them in and out or even put small wheels on them to help them move more freely. If your bed is too low for drawers, you can buy inexpensive risers to lift your bed to a better height and make it easier for you to slide away the clutter.

Rolling Rack

Some small bedrooms are not equipped with a closet. Thankfully, rolling racks for hanging clothes are an amazing feature that will help you organize your wardrobe without taking up too much space. Alternatively, you can purchase an inexpensive curtain rod and install it in your bedroom. Whatever you decide, having a place to hang your clothes will definitely help keep the clutter off the floor!

Living Room:

Professional organizing in living room

We all love our living rooms. It’s the room where we can throw our feet up after a long day or entertain guests on a Friday night. You want it to match your style while appearing organized and presentable. This doesn’t need to be a daunting task. You can quickly clean up the clutter with some fun projects that will help turn your living room into the organized space you’ve always wanted.

Floating Shelves

Shelves are a great way to save space in a living room. You can add pictures, decorations, and so much more without adding to the clutter of your space. They take no time to install and are an awesome option when looking to save space and organize your area.


Mirrors have the wonderful effect of making the room appear larger. They reflect light and disperse it around the room to give the appearance it is larger than it really is. Mirrors are not only a beautiful and decorative touch but they definitely increase the design element of a small space.

Book Cases

Book cases are not only for books. You can use the shelved areas to store extra clutter. You can add a beautiful basket to put in items that you’re struggling to find a place for. You can also use them as shelving by mixing books with decorative elements like statues or small framed artwork.


Professional organizing in bathroom

We all want a clean bathroom. There’s nothing worse than trying to get ready in the morning and being overwhelmed by clutter and mess. Small bathrooms can be difficult to maintain and organize, especially if you’re sharing the space. Luckily, there are ways to avoid the clutter and that add to the design element of your bathroom.

Magnet board

Magnet boards are a really fun way to store your extra items. You can hang this up on your wall and use it to store things such as makeup, beauty products, etc. You can find magnets at the local dollar store and attach them with glue to your items. Then simply stick your items on your board and watch the clutter disappear.

Mason Jars

Mason jars are a fun way to store items that can normally take up a lot of space. Since mason jars are small, you can install a short shelf and line the mason jars on it. You can also line them along your counter if you have space, or under your sink. Mason jars are great for storing items such as cotton balls, cue-tips, toothbrushes, tooth paste, and the list goes on and on.


Hooks are essential in a bathroom. You can find them in a variety of stores and they take no time to install. The wonderful thing is, hooks come in all different sizes and styles. You can pick a hook that will help both with clutter and add style to the bathroom! Many people install the hooks on their walls, the inside of cupboard doors and behind the bathroom door.


Professional organizing for small kitchen

Finally, the kitchen. It is almost impossible to enjoy cooking a meal when you’re constantly tripping over clutter. The easiest way to enjoy cooking and to motivate yourself to do it more is to organize the space to make it easier to use!

Ceiling Rack

You can hang your pots and pans from the ceiling to free up limited cabinet or counter space. This keeps them out of the way and opens up the space for you to store other items. For anyone who’s handy, check out these great DIY ceiling racks from Bob Vila’s blog to give you some cool ideas on how to make your own!

Use a peg board

Peg boards are a great way to store extra kitchen necessities. From spatulas to small pots, you can hang them from the peg board. Keeping them off your counter and out of your drawers frees up that space for other things!

Use recycled items to hold cutlery

In my tiny apartment, I didn’t have the drawer space to store away all my forks and knives. So instead of letting them pile up, I cleaned out some old cans, painted them to my liking and used them to store my cutlery away on the counter. It was a fun project for the afternoon, let me infuse my personality into the space and added to the design element of my kitchen. Using recyclable items can be a great way to cut down on waste as well!

Baskets and Magnets

You can put magnets on baskets and stick them to the side of your fridge. You can use this to store spices, and other small food items that may be causing clutter around the kitchen. Putting them on the side of the fridge will keep it out of sight but still easy to reach.

Clutter doesn’t need to be scary or frustrating. See it as an opportunity to get creative! Organizing clutter can be quick and simple, and really help open up your house or apartment.

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With the nice weather upon us, more and more people are heading to their backyards to soak up the sun and enjoy the fresh air of the outdoors. This means it’s the perfect time to spice up your outdoor scenery with some inexpensive backyard design ideas. No matter how big or how small your space is, you would be amazed at all the ways you can improve your yard without hurting your budget!

Patio Furniture:

One of the first things people will look for when designing their backyard space is patio furniture. You want to be able to sit comfortably and enjoy your space on reliable furniture that fits your taste. Thankfully we have good news! There are ways to find exactly what you are looking for without spending a pretty penny.

Patio furniture for backyard design ideas

#1- Check out thrift stores or garage sales

Hidden treasures are always waiting to be found in thrift stores and garage sales. Turn it into an all-day event or just stop at garage sales when you come across them – you never know what you might find. People often donate or sell their barely used patio furniture which you can grab at a great price! Sometimes these older pieces can really add to the design element of your backyard and give you a desired look you’ve been dreaming of.

#2- Purchase patio furniture mid-summer or in the off season

Around mid-summer (end of July roughly) stores begin to bring out their fall and back-to-school inventory. This means all the summer inventory will begin to go on sale. As time goes on the sales discounts will increase so if you don’t mind waiting you can get great prices on your patio furniture. The off season (fall and winter) is where you will find the best deals. If you’re really budget-conscious you may have to sacrifice the current summer season so you can wait for the best sales in the winter. Remember, patience is a virtue!

#3- Check out online

Buying used online is a great way to find deals, especially if you’d rather sit at home in your pajamas sipping coffee than pounding the pavement checking out garage sales. Many people have to move suddenly or are downsizing and need to get rid of their furniture fast. Websites such as Ebay, Kijiji, or Craigslist are great for making easy online purchases at a much better price. Stores will often have better sales online than in-store and if you’re lucky, the price may include free shipping.

Shell windchime

DIY Accessories:

Besides patio furniture, you can make a drastic difference to the aesthetic of your outdoor space by accessorizing. Below are some easy and inexpensive ways to accessorize your space!

DIY Wind Chimes

This is a fun and easy way to add colour and sound into your backyard space. With a quick trip to your local Dollarstore or craft store, you should be able to find everything you need to bring your wind chime to life. Think of all the varied wind chimes you’ve seen – bottle caps, cutlery, sea shells, keys, colorful pieces of glass, the list goes on and on. If you’re considering creating your own then check out this awesome list from Woohome with 30 DIY projects for wind chimes!

DIY Outdoor Fire Pit

Surprisingly, you can make a beautiful fire pit for under $30.00. This one accessory can make a huge difference by adding style, light and warmth to your backyard space. Just think of the gatherings you could have with the campfire smell from the smoke and the sizzling of marshmallows roasting! You can purchase the materials listed below at your local department or hardware store and spend an afternoon building your own fire pit!


    • Marine Silicone
    • Cheap Glass Frames (found at Walmart or any Dollarstore)
    • Small rocks
    • Metal mesh
    • Gel fuel
    • Any metal planter with a lip
  • You can find the full tutorial complete with pictures over at The Art of Doing Stuff! A fire pit is an excellent design element to bring life to your backyard and can be a fantastic center piece when entertaining guests.

    Glow-in-the-Dark Paint for Pots

    This is a fun way to bring light to your back yard space. You can purchase clay pots in a variety of sizes and paint them with glow-in-the-dark paint. The paint is inexpensive-you can find it at Walmart or any craft store for under $10.00- and will light up your flowers in your yard to make a very calm and cooling atmosphere. Plus, if you have kids they will love the glow-in-the-dark effect!

    Koi Pond

    A koi pond is an amazing way to add more nature and wildlife into your back yard space and it doesn’t have to hurt your wallet either. You can be creative with your pond adding whatever features you may like. For example, many people add a rotating pump to get the soothing, babbling sound of running water. Or you could add a waterfall or different varieties of plants to really add to the dynamic of the pond. Whatever you may choose, a koi pond makes for an excellent addition when looking to redesign your backyard space. Check out Home Guides for more instructions on how to make your inexpensive koi pond.

    Koi pond for backyard design ideas

    I hope this list inspires you and if you’re looking for even more ideas, there are many books and magazines you can find that are filled with backyard design ideas. Creating your space can be a fun and exciting process! Whether you’re handy and love to create DIY projects or you’re just hoping for a great sale and an easy setup, there are options out there for everyone!

    Want to pass on these budget-friendly backyard design ideas to your friends? Share this post using the icons below!


    Spring is just around the corner! The birds are out in full swing, chirping and playing in the bushes and there is grass peaking out beneath the piles of slowly melting snow. It’s finally time to plan some fun outdoor design projects in honor of the changing season. Here are some project ideas that are low-budget, use up-cycled materials and will brighten your outdoor space to compliment the blooming foliage!

    Craft Supplies

    Bird Feeders:

    Bird feeders are a formal invitation to our feathered friends to flock to our outdoor spaces, bringing with them a flurry of delightful songs and playful antics. These two feeders are great outdoor design projects because they are easy to assemble, use items you may already have around the home or could easily find second-hand and will add a unique flair to your backyard décor!

    Tea Party Anyone?


    • Teacup and saucer
    • Super glue
    • Various items for hanging or affixing the feeders
    • Bird seed!
  • There are many tutorials out there for this type of project so I’ve listed a few below with detailed instructions and different options for hanging or affixing the feeders in your yard. You can make a matching bird bath with a slightly larger teacup and saucer!

    • Hanging Teacup Feeder Using Cup Handle courtesy of Mommy Moment
  • Elegant Globe Feeders


    • Glass globe (from an old lamp or light)
    • Rope
    • Birdseed!
  • Design Sponge provided a step-by-step tutorial for these super simple and elegant bird feeders.

    Bird Bath (Kid Friendly):

    Bird Bath

    If you’re going to invite birds into your outdoor space, why not make a corresponding bird bath so they can splash around and cool off on those hot summer days! This bird bath is super simple to make and can be customized to match your current outdoor décor or furniture. It’s also a great project for anyone with kids since they can help pick the colors and paint the pots!

    Terra Cotta Bird Bath


    • Three Terra Cotta Pots (one 14”, one 12” and one 10”)
    • One Terra Cotta Saucer (16”)
    • Acrylic-based silicone caulking
    • Paint
  • The Culinary Cougar has a great tutorial for this project with easy to follow instructions.

    Fun Outdoor Design Projects Using Old Tires

    Have some old, worn out tires that you’re not sure what to do with? Why not turn them into charming planters or plant beds! With a little ingenuity and carefully selected spray-paint you can brighten your yard and help the environment at the same time. Tire planters are relatively easy to make, eco-friendly and add rustic charm to your outdoor spaces!

    Affixed Planters with Cascading Flowers


    • Old tires
    • Drill (for drilling the bottom of the tires for drainage)
    • Large screws/washers
    • Potting soil and plants
  • This tutorial from Recaptured Charm will walk you through this easy project with pictures of the various stages. You can choose to leave the tires as is or kick the project up a notch by painting the tires with spray paint to match your outdoor color scheme!

    Recycled Tire Planter Bed

    Don’t have an outdoor fixture to screw a planter into? No problem! You can make colorful planter beds instead!


    • Old tires
    • Weed block (landscape fabric)
    • Stapler Gun
    • Spray Paint & Painters Tape (for designs!)
    • Potting soil and plants
  • Follow the instructions provided by Recycle Reuse Renew Mother Earth Projects and check out her other projects!

    Spring Wreaths

    Spring Flowers

    Colorful wreaths hung on front doors add curb appeal to your home and help spread spring fever across the neighborhood! Bring smiles to your neighbors’ faces with these whimsical up-cycled wreaths (and perhaps looks of envy as well!)

    Unique Umbrella Wreath

    What comes to mind when you think of spring? Blooming flowers and of course, spring showers! Celebrate both aspects of the season with this simple but eye-catching wreath.


    • Vintage-style umbrella
    • Grocery bags
    • Floral stems (real or fake)
  • Check out the adorable wreath from Green Owl Crafts.

    Quaint Monogram Wreath

    Want a spring wreath that stands out and is personalized for your family name? This one might be for you!


    • Oval picture frame
    • Burlap ribbon
    • Thin ribbon
    • Sheet moss
    • Chipboard letter
    • Hot glue gun
  • Daisy Mae Belle kindly provides step-by-step instructions for this outdoor design project.

    I hope these projects have inspired you to take any odds and sods you have hanging around the house and turn them into something fabulous! These types of eco-friendly projects can minimize your impact on the environment, support local animals and foliage and make your outdoor space stand out. #Winning!

    We’d LOVE to hear your ideas for up-cycled DIY outdoor design projects so please comment below with your design plans for the spring!


    October 21, 2014 10:29 am

    Decorating Your Place for Halloween

    Come October first, I start looking for that perfect pumpkin. Fall decorations adorn the kitchen, living room and front porch.

    But, have you ever come across a house that just overdoes the Halloween decorations? I’m talking about that house that has ten singing ghosts and skeletons on the front lawn… and just wait to see what’s inside!

    There are tricks for making the most out of your Halloween decorations without spending a fortune or becoming that house with the crazy Halloweenies.

    Pick one theme and stick to it

    You can go with a lot of different angles with Halloween: Spooky, Classy, Funny, Cool… you can go for witches, ghosts, zombies, fall-themes… but the key is to not go for all of them at the same time. If you decide your house will have a creepy graveyard theme for Halloween, then stick to it. Forget about the cool dancing witch decoration… it doesn’t fit.
    And on that note…

    Think about your audience

    What type of people will be visiting your house for Halloween? Do you have many young children in your area? If so, you might want to avoid scary decorations. I’m sure the last thing you want to do is upset your friends or neighbors by traumatising their kids!

    Stay away from using strobe lights to enhance your decorations. All it takes is one epileptic trick-or-treater to make you regret that decision for the rest of your life!

    Halloween trick-or-treaters

    Avoid noisy decorations

    Things that sing or make other noises when people walk by can be fun… but less is more. You shouldn’t have more than one or two of these pieces in your house or yard, and think about how other people will perceive them.

    Be courteous: While it’s perfectly okay (and expected!) to have decorations that “boo!” when people walk by… save them for Halloween night itself. Don’t turn them on come October 10th and leave them on for three weeks. There, I said it. You’re welcome, neighbors.

    Respect your Lawn!

    While lawn decorations can be super fun, use them in moderation and be aware of the negative impact they can have on your grass. Having pieces on the lawn for long periods of time can kill patches of grass, so it’s best to set these up a day or two before Halloween and to take them down quickly thereafter.

    There’s also a safety concern with any decoration that’s on the ground: Make sure they’re in an area where trick-or-treaters won’t trip over them!

    Try not to be offensive

    Decorations should be fun for everyone. Though you might think hanging a dummy by the neck from the tree in your front yard is a good idea, it could seriously upset someone who’s had a personal tragedy of that type. Same with any type of political messaging in your decorations… while you might think it’s clever or funny to incorporate a message about the upcoming elections in your graveyard theme… others might not.

    Finally, avoid any form of racial innuendos, scenes that might be a little too subjective, or any type of scene that portrays real-life violence. Bottom line: be smart and use common sense!

    You can’t go wrong with the pumpkin!

    No matter what your Halloween décor is like… a cleverly-carved pumpkin is always appreciated. Be creative and have some fun! While Halloween decorations should be used in moderation… you really can never have too many pumpkins. And here’s a tip: If you don’t like the idea of lighting your pumpkin with a candle, use those battery-operated tealight candles from the dollar store. They’re cheap and much safer than a real flame.

    Pumpkins halloween

    How do you decorate for Halloween? Let us know in a comment!


    Paint Samples

    Benjamin Moore is always a favorite, “go to” site for interesting ideas, new products and all round color and painting advice and help.

    The site’s Personal Color Viewer is a flexible, powerful tool that is easy to use but offers really insightful tools and options. Found in the section of the site reserved for professionals, it offers excellent options that allow you to demonstrate to your clients exactly what you are proposing for a project.

    You can easily wash any number of model rooms with an infinite variety of different paint options, or simply download a room from a current project of your own and use the tool to try out and demonstrate various possibilities for your clients.

    Beware, however! This tool is probably a better time waster than Free Cell or Facebook. You can easily pass a pleasant hour experimenting with different color ways when you really should have been concentrating on writing!

    Do you have a favorite online tool? Tell us about it!


    Backyard Haven 1

    Can you turn a regular, rectangular city backyard without a feature to its name into a joyous place for celebration, tranquility, relaxation, and peace? Cold you make the same area do double duty as a great party place as well as a retreat for quiet introspection? And can you let the kids run riot in it without worrying?

    Let’s see how one homeowner in suburban Toronto turned her relatively small plot of weed-filled scrub into a charming oasis full of interesting areas and features to explore.

    What elements would you include?

    Backyard Haven 2

    A pretty patio, for sure. This one has charming furniture, a hit of glamour and color in the cushions, a lamp for night time interest. It has old fashioned charm. It works a treat.

    A shady spot so that you can dream a little with a glass of lemonade and a great book. (This summer try, “I am Pilgrim.” It’s a terrific thriller and will keep you rooted (pardon the pun) in your garden for many enjoyable hours.)

    Where is that shade tree? Ah yes. She ticked that box beautifully. Let’s stretch out on a lounger and lie here for hours while she brings us an ice cold gin and tonic and we sip on it while our hearts beat faster to the frenzied beat of the spy hero in our book.

    A water feature? Well, that would be lovely, but it can’t be anything too big in this garden. This one is perfect. Located at the end of the garden. Protected by stone walls, deep enough for the fish and for the kids to gather around. Lovely.

    A pergola for some added architectural interest? Here it is. Sheltering its own domain, adding architectural interest and charm to the water feature that already has a lot going for it.

    A stone path? We all love stones. They come with such history. If you strike lucky you may find one with a fossil in it as I once did in my own backyard. This stone path winds like the river bed it is intended to emulate. Perfect.

    Lawn? Yes, with all the other features, our host still found room to include some soft, welcoming green grass. This green lawn is shapely and curved in all the right places – just like me!

    Some beautiful perennials that will provide promises of things to come? Glory in the summer, radiant color in the fall and winter interest when the snow sits atop their branches for month after month n Toronto’s long winter. How about this Rhodendron, just about to burst into voluptuous bloom?

    Annuals to give that easy burst of radiant color.

    So, that’s our leisurely stroll through one homeowner’s creation.

    What features have you included in your garden to turn it into a lovely retreat? Comments anyone? Tell us about your most unusual and successful garden feature!


    June 11, 2014 12:00 am

    Graduate Feature: Jess Adlington

    Jess Adlington

    Name: Jess Adlington

    Location: Emu Plains, Sydney, Australia

    Program: Event & Wedding Planning


    When Jess Adlington decided to plan her own wedding, she set out to create something unique and truly memorable.  Well, she definitely succeeded at that!  Her DIY wedding set off quite a stir, even getting her featured on!

    After the wedding, Jess decided to make a career out of event and wedding planning.  She found QC, and has since graduated from the Event and Wedding Planning program.  With her newly acquired business acumen and industry expertise, along with the passion she exhibited in planning her own nuptials, we expect to see great things of Jess in the near future!

    We caught up with Jess to find out just how she pulled off such a beautiful and fun event on her own!

    Jess Adlington Wedding 1

    1: Your wedding was just beautiful! Have you always wanted to plan your own wedding? What made you decide to go down that path?

    Thank you. I wanted to plan something that everyone would remember. I decided to do it myself because I made the decorations to give it my own personal touch. Planning my own wedding was something I wanted to do.  I love themed events. Our housewarming was dress-up (heroes and villains) and our engagement party was dress-up as well. I’m currently planning my 30th and throwing an 80’s themed party. So planning a theme wedding was the way to go for us.

    2: The Mad Hatter theme is absolutely brilliant!  How did you come up with that? Did you have any difficulties when it came to executing on the theme?

    I went looking on the net trying to find something different and fun. I found Alice in Wonderland and decided on The Mad Hatter (to be different). I found a lot of ideas on the internet and started buying one of each of the decorations. I would pull them apart when they arrived to see how they were made and would make them myself. I had no difficulties finding or coming up with ideas for it.

    Jess Adlington Wedding 3

    3: What did you enjoy the most about planning the wedding?

    The most enjoyable part was seeing everything come together. It’s one thing to put it together in your head but when it starts to come together towards the end it makes all the stressfully days’ worth it.

    4: What was the most stressful part of planning this wedding?  If you had to do it again, would you change anything?

    Table plan and place cards, I can’t say how many times this was changed. I just wanted to scream. Each table had their own place cards, so when we moved people around at the last minute I had to re-print them to make sure they had the correct character on them for the tables.

    The wedding invitations would also be in this group as well. The invitations had 7 parts to be cut out for each invitation, plus everyone got a map to find the place. Everything was hand cut and put together.

    I would still do it all over again because the end result was worth it.

    Jess Adlington Wedding 4

    5: Your wedding got quite a bit of attention! How did you manage to get featured on and other high-prestige sites?

    I was very lucky. I have a friend who works for the people who run the site. They wanted to do something on themed weddings and my friend mentioned mine. I was so excited because I spent 16 months putting it together, and for it to be featured on Australia’s leading wedding site I felt so privileged and grateful this has happened to me.

    6: What would you tell future brides who are thinking of planning their own nuptials?

    If you can dream it, plan it. Have the wedding you want, not the wedding others want you to have. Remember, you’re paying for it and they will be your memories to look back on. I wouldn’t change a thing about my wedding because I know everyone had a great time and still talk about it.

    Jess Adlington Wedding 2


    Are you looking to expand your knowledge and launch an exciting career in event and wedding planning? Check out QC Event School’s Free Brochure for more information on the programs offered.


    Like most people I love travelling. And one of my favorite things to do (and this may strike you as strange) is pack for my trip!

    Whether I’m packing for a weekend away or a trip halfway around the world, I always take the same amount of care when packing my things. I have a lot of fun putting together ensembles and squeezing them all into my suitcase(s) a la Tetris, and I especially like accessorizing for my time away. Which brings me to one of my biggest pet peeves: tangled jewelry. What’s the point in bringing along the perfect accents to my carefully planned outfits if they’re just going to get tangled up into a frustrating mess by the time I arrive at my destination? So, today I’m sharing my three favorite jewelry storage solutions, all using things you probably already have lying around.

    1. The Pill Box

    I love pill boxes, but not for the obvious reasons. Instead of storing my daily multivitamins I use them to store my precious earrings. I opt for the transparent ones so I can easily identify what’s inside. And to ensure everything stays contained during the hustle and bustle of my trip, I’ll throw each pill box inside a sock before rolling them up.


    2. The Glasses Case

    Chances are you have one or two of these lying around. I know I do. And they’re great for storing larger statement necklaces. I usually only bring along 2 or 3 statement pieces like this when I go away, and all I do is stash them in a hard glasses case. These are typically lined with a softer material, so I know my jewelry won’t get damaged.

    jewelry storage

    3. The Hair Clip

    Over the years I’ve tried many bangle storage solutions, but this one is by far my favorite. I always bring along a large, curved hair clip to hold my bracelets because it’s a great way to keep them all together and my suitcase organized.

    jewelry storage

    How do you keep your jewelry organized when travelling? Share your tips below!


    Restoring antique furniture means taking a valuable piece and opening it to possibilities. It could be an antique Louis XVI chair that needs reupholstering, or a coffee table with a paint job that needs updating. Bringing your antique furniture to its former state of elegance can be a challenging task but its results can be rewarding. Here are the steps and processes involved in restoring your antique furniture.

    Antique Restoration

    1. Clean

    Before any restoration work, your furniture needs a good cleaning. Cleaning is necessary to rid of dirt and dust that may have settled on the surface or in between the crevices of your furniture. Choose your cleaning agents depending on the type of material your furniture is made of. Make sure that these cleaning agents do not damage or dilute your furniture’s original tint. You can also use tried and true cleaning materials that can be found in the home, such as toothpaste to remove water marks or milk to rid your favorite vinyl pieces of stains.


    2. Inspect for damages

    Whether or not the antique furniture was frequently used, the piece should always be checked for damages before restoration. The damage can be a chipped material or a discoloration because of light and other elements. Look for scratches, broken knobs, loose hinges, or non-functioning locks.


    3. Sand

    One of the things that you need to do—and do a lot—when restoring antique furniture is sanding. Sanding helps eliminate blemishes, scratches, and discoloration. It will also help new paint and stains adhere to the surface of your furniture. Most wood experts use 80, 100 or 120-grit sandpaper. Always sand following the grain so as not to make unnecessary scratches.


    4. Finish

    One of the most exciting parts of restoring antique furniture is painting or applying stain to it. This way you can either recreate the original look of your furniture or give it a fresh new look by changing its hue or color. Apply varnish or paint following the grain. Make sure that you are able to see every inch of the wood for better coverage. Stains and paints can give your furniture a fresh look. It also protects the material from dirt, moisture or damage prolonging the longevity of your favorite pieces.


    5. Repair

    No restoration is complete without repairs. Consult a professional about getting quality parts such as locks and knobs. Replace broken or worn out parts. Reupholster your antique chairs and sofas to give them a fresh start. To ensure that your furniture looks good as new, see that it is also as durable.


    Restoring antique furniture can be very rewarding. It not only allows you to see your favorite pieces in a new light, but also it allows you to use them longer. Experiment with colors and uses, and give damaged pieces a second life by using your imagination.



    About the author: Angie Cole is a fan of everything vintage and admires the true old-world craftsmanship. She is a fan of Antiques on Old Plank Road, a furniture shop that imports and restores European quality antique and vintage pieces.