Tag Archives: DIY

The Cars Dream Room

Eight days. Eight days until my little guy returns to school; eight days before another year of bagged lunches, squeaky running shoes and gooey hair gel.

However, the anxiety starts now.

You may remember an earlier post where I shared that Ryder, my sweet little 5-year old, has selective mutism – an anxiety disorder. To make a long story short, in social situations where Ryder does not feel comfortable, he simply does not speak. In fact, in his entire first year of school, he only spoke a couple of times.

We have coping techniques; ways to help draw him out of his shell. And for the most part, they’re helping. But we can’t control his anxiety, nor can we write it off as inconsequential. He has a real aversion to social situations and we have a really difficult time watching as he withdraws into what we call “the Ryder zone”.

So, with the onset of school just around the corner, things are changing. Ryder stops is his tracks when he hears “Back to School” commercials. He asks on a daily basis, “Is there school today?” And when I say “No, but soon…” he stares off into space, no doubt thinking of a gazillion ways to psyche himself out.

I wanted to do something special for him. Something positive that he could associate with back to school; something to give him comfort and reassurance. And I just knew that I wanted it to somehow involve Disney Cars – it’s no secret that both boys are obsessed with them, and for Ryder, they represent confidence and fearlessness.

Then it came to me – a bedroom makeover! Of course – what better way to start off the school year right than to recreate his bedroom – his safe place – into one that reflects his love of Cars and life in the (G-rated) fast lane?

And I knew just where to go to make it happen – Walmart, of course! They have absolutely everything you need for back to school, back to campus, and even back to sanity (which is what I’m looking forward to once the boys are separated for a few hours each day). Plus, they have a fantastic selection of Disney Cars merchandise for your little race fans.

Now, y’all know that I’m pretty obsessed with Walmart, and have been an avid Sunday morning shopper for oh, the last 15 years or so. And, like so many friends and family, I constantly fall victim to the “Walmart Rule of 60″; that is, you walk in to buy one thing,  and you end up spending $60. (Read: How to Spend $169.22 on Three Bags of Milk)

The good news? Being an avid shopper, and an avid supporter, has allowed me to build a fabulous relationship with the brand. Hence, when I politely requested a $200 Gift Card to makeover Ryder’s room, they happily obliged. (Thank you Walmart!)

And you know what? While I came very close to spending my budget, I definitely didn’t go over. So…. are you ready to see how you can take a room from cutesy to KA-CHOW! for less than two bills? It’s time for a good old fashioned before and after!


Ryder’s bedroom was last made over as part of my “Renocation” in 2011. With the exception of the toddler bed being swapped for a double bed, the room was essentially the same. So for all intents and purposes, here are the “before” pictures:



DIY: Homemade Vapour Shower Disks

I’d personally like to thank Sarah of Frugal by Choice, Cheap by Necessity for clearing my head (and sinuses) of cold and flu-related junk.

You see, it’s just one of those things that kept popping up on Pinterest (to the tune of 1,000+ re-pins); blogged by keen DIY’ers eager to share the recipe; and tweeted like mad from believers all over the continent. And then, “Sarah’s Homemade Vapour Shower Disk Thingies” were featured on a popular television morning show. Hence, I reasoned that it was time to try the darned things out. Having suffered from back-to-back colds, tension headaches and sinus pain for most of the winter season, I needed all the help I could get.

Now I’m a believer. Not a trace of doubt in my mind. I’m in love…

(Did you just sing that? I love The Monkees.)

Here’s the deal: Sarah came up with a recipe for Vapour Shower Disks – you know, little thingies that you place in your shower which will release essential oils with the steam created from hot water. I made the disks last week and have since had the best shower experiences since cold and flu season began. Eucalyptus, rosemary, and lavender oils help ease my congestion and clear my sinuses. The strength of the vapours is just strong enough to help soothe the airways without causing irritation. An unexpected bonus? The baking soda made my shower tiles gleaming white. I’m a Domestic Genius!

And… they couldn’t be simpler to make.

- Baking soda
- Water
- Pure Essential oils: Eucalyptus, Rosemary and Lavender
- Muffin tin
- Muffin liners (more…)


5 Ways to Upcycle a Night of Binge Drinking

Anna is back! She’s the DIY guru over at Bargainmoose.ca, and she’s once again come up with some pretty nifty ways to use up leftover household items. This time, it’s all about wine corks! And since we all know that the amount of wine we consume is in direct relation to the age of our kids (and how many more reasons they give us to drink), I’d say you’ve got a few of these hanging around your kitchen :)

(Well deserved plug for Anna: Bargainmoose is a site for Canadian coupon codes, discounts and shopping deals. She has great “Exmoosive” deals that you’ll love!)

Without further ado, she gives us…

For those of us who like a little glass of grape juice in the evenings, we find that there might be quite a lot of leftover wine corks. Don’t trash them – save them up and get crafty! (more…)


Today’s Feature: 8 Funky Gardening Ideas

Anna is back! I’ve got another article to share from Anna, owner of Bargainmoose.ca. Bargainmoose is a Canadian site about money-saving tips, deals, discounts and promo codes, which aims to help you save money on your everyday purchases. Today, Anna will be sharing some funky gardening ideas, trying to give you some creative inspiration for interesting focal points in your garden.

Take it away Anna!

8 Funky Gardening Ideas

On my last post for Lena (7 money-saving craft ideas), I mentioned that I’ve been looking at some excellent ideas over on Pinterest. I’ve seen on many occasions funky gardening ideas, DIY projects and crafts that you can undertake in the comfort of your own home. Here’s a roundup of 7 interesting ideas that I’ve spotted:

1. Mason Jar Herb Garden

Over on Camillestyles.com, they’ve created an interesting idea, using some mason jars as planters for growing herbs. The DIY project uses pipe clamps and some household items to display the herbs in a really pretty way, that can even be displayed indoors in your kitchen.



Today’s Feature: 7 Money-Saving Crafty Ideas!

It’s a pleasure for me to introduce Anna, owner of Bargainmoose.ca. Bargainmoose is a very popular website for Canadian deals and discounts, where you can find the latest shopping bargains and coupon codes, helping Canadians save money every day. Today I welcome Anna as a guest blogger on Listen to Lena – she’ll be sharing seven crafty ideas that are easy to create and easy on the wallet!

7 Money-Saving Crafty Ideas

Hi! I’m Anna. I’ve been enjoying seeing all the amazing pictures and ideas over on Pinterest, and that led to an idea for this very post. There are quite a few ideas on there for various art and craft projects, and quite a lot of them could be considered frugal or potentially money saving. Here are some ideas that I spotted on there, which look cool and could save you money.

1. Make a Jewellery Rack from an old rake

Over on Little Lucy Lu, they show us how to make a cool jewellery rack from an old rake! Looks great, and a brilliant way to store your necklaces. It’s definitely something people would admire if they saw it on your bathroom wall.



DeSerres: 25% off Regular Priced Items

For the peeps who have been loving the stick on decoration in Ryder’s room, now is the perfect time to grab a few adorable (or stylish) decals for your own mini projects! Until May 28th, save 25% off all regular priced items (in store only) from DeSerres.

Not in the mood for wall art? That’s okay, because you can also dabble in Fine Arts, Graphic Arts, Creative DIY, Scrapbooking, Framing, Jewellery Making, Furniture, Books, Card Making and more!

As a former avid scrapbooker, I’d literally spend hours combing the shelves for paper, stickers and accents. The selection in unreal.

Click here to find a DeSerres near you. Click here to print your 25% off coupon.

p.s. Want to be the first to know about all their fabulous sales and promotions? Follow DeSerres on Facebook and Twitter!


What I’m Reading: Just a Little Rouge…

Months ago, one of my favourite readers NIrwin sent along the link to a fabulous little blog, Just a Little Rouge. The writer behind the scenes is Canadian design diva Suzanne, who offers tips and tricks to make your home fabulous for much less effort and expense than you’d assume.

“A barely controllable urge to organize, move furniture around and paint walls, along with a healthy addiction to HGTV is something my family and friends can attest to. After running out of rooms to design in my own home, I moved on to my friend’s spaces and design challenges to feed my passion. Finally, I decided it was time to make it official and began a staging and design program. Earning my accreditation in early 2009, I started “rouge.” — a small side-business offering staging & design services.”

Suzanne’s blog also showcases her DIY projects, and I’m loving her latest lamp makeover – taking a $5 yard sale lamp, she transforms it into a contemporary piece that has both personality and panache. Similar lamps have been spotted at high-end retailers for $200+!

And if you’re thinking of redecorating with colour, do check out her take on the hottest paint trends for 2011 - shades include lime green, smoke, fern green,  soft grey, lemon yellow and more. I’ve got two cans of fern green paint ready for my bedroom walls – looks like I’m en pointe with the trends!

Suzanne’s blog is a great reference and perfect for closet HGTV enthusiasts such as myself. Happy reading!

Click here to visit Just a Little Rouge…


National Home Show… WIN Tickets Here!

It’s no secret that I love to decorate… and re-decorate… and re-decorate. Every 6 months or so.

The thing is, I’m constantly looking for inspiration, and somehow, seem to find it willingly. I love my new couch, duvet cover, kitchen table, etc… until a newer (more posh, more comfortable) model comes along. And then its days are numbered – say, 180 days. Or so.

Therefore it’s no surprise that I’m a fixture at the National Home Show. An unfailing source of expert tips, trends and invaluable advice, it’s quite simply the best way to gather design ideas and inspiration. And with over 700 home and garden specialists offering low prices on home improvement products and services, it’s definitely the place to be for home owners and home owners-to-be.

This year’s highlights include: Two incredible model homes, a man cave, the chance to meet and greet some of  the most sought-after celebrity designers (including a live appearance by the design diva herself – Debbie Travis), as well as the chance to have your burning questions answered with advice from GTA’s top contractors and builders at Destination Renovation by RenoMark/BILD.

The 2011 National Home Show runs from February 18th – 27th at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto. And for the parents out there, I’d like to suggest the PERFECT way to spend Family Day (February 21st): presented by Rogers, it’s Family Day at the National Home Show!

“We’re open Family Day! Kids 17 and under are FREE courtesy of Rogers. Don’t miss the Bob the Builder Show produced by Kidomo (11am on the Main Stage), plus family focused stage presentations and complimentary daycare. Plus, one lucky family will win a trip for four to the Bahamas, courtesy of Our Lucaya Golf & Beach Resort and the Bahamas Tourist Board.”

There will also be face painting, a clown, sports mascots and local athletes present! The other stage presentations will also be family-oriented: Jackie Morra, Decorating 101; Wendy Russell, Refresh your Home; Karl Lohnes, Rules of Decorating; and Megan Telpner, Fuel Your Life (Nutrition).

The show is open from 10am to 9pm, and I am LOVING that kids 17 and under are free (regular child admission on other show days for ages 13-17 is $12 at the door). The complimentary daycare service, available for kids aged 2-10, is also only available on this day, supervised by The Network Childcare Services.

I’ll be there with my brood on Family Day – look for the gal chatting up the folks at Umbra!

For a complete schedule of events and show highlights, and to purchase advanced tickets and save $3, visit www.nationalhomeshow.com.

Marketplace Events is pleased to offer five (5) lucky Listen to Lena! readers the chance to win a pair of tickets to the show!

To enter, simply visit the website and then leave a comment here, telling us what you’re most excited about seeing/doing at the show.

You can also qualify for extra entries! Remember, you must leave a separate comment to claim your extra entry. You can:

(1) Follow my blog, Listen to Lena!
(2) Like Listen to Lena! on Facebook
(3) Like Home and Garden Events on Facebook
(4) Follow Toronto Home Shows on Twitter
(5) Tweet about this giveaway (tiny URL: http://tinyurl.com/5vclb8g)
(6) You may Tweet daily.

I’ll draw for five winners on February 16th. Good luck everybody!