Easy Bike Wrap Using Patterned Duct Tape!

I lived on campus in university and bought a cute cruiser bike to get around the sprawling campus.  I thought the bike looked pretty unremarkable, so I gave it a makeover by sanding it, priming it and painting it bright pink (of course!).  I customized it further by swapping out the seat and adding a cute basket, and the finished product was absolutely adorable!  I even started to be known on campus as “the girl with hot pink bike”.  The only downside was that since the paint was only sprayed on (rather than professionally baked on), locking up the bike would cause chips despite the multiple clear coats I applied.

Leopard Print Bike Duct Tape Before

Fast-forward to now, a friend of mine bought a new bike and mentioned that we should go cruising around town.  After dusting off and fully cleaning my bike, I decided it was time for another makeover.  Not willing to go through the trouble of repainting it just to have it chip off again, I wanted to try wrapping it with the patterned duct tape I’ve seen everywhere.

Here’s how I did it…

Duct Tape Bike Makeover Materials

PREP:

  • Clean your bike thoroughly with soap and water– spray paint and adhesive will not stick to a dirty surface
  • If it’s an older bike, use CLR to remove any rust
  • Wipe down with a microfiber cloth and let dry completely

PRE-TAPE AND SPRAY PAINT:

  • If you don’t want to disassemble your bike, determine which corners, crevices and small areas may be difficult to wrap in duct tape and spray paint them with 2 coats of neutral colored spray paint (or one matching your patterned duct tape)
  • Make sure to carefully cover any of the parts around these areas that you don’t want to get spray paint onto. I used masking tape for small areas and screws, shielded the wheel spokes with paper grocery bags and taped plastic around the pedals and kickstand.
  • Let dry overnight

WRAPPING:

  • To make the wrapping process as easy as possible, I recommend using a pattern that you won’t need to line up (e.g. leopard print rather than stripes or checkers).  If it does need to line up, make sure to buy extra tape.
  • Bikes with straight frames can be taped lengthwise along the frame, but if you have a cruiser or a one with a lot of curves, I recommend using many short strips and wrapping around the frame instead
  • Tape over any screws and use a box cutter to cut around the protruding parts for a neater wrap
  • Buy more duct tape than you think you’ll need (I used about 1.5 rolls) and keep any leftovers to touch up areas that get scuffed

Leopard Print Bike Duct Tape After

After 2 quick afternoons, I now have a one-of-a-kind bike that’s pretty… and pretty unlikely to be stolen!  Really, thief?! You’re telling me that you have leopard-print-duct-tape-wrapped-cruiser too?  The wrap seems pretty durable and I’m happy to know that any parts that get scratched or scuffed can be rewrapped at the end of the season.

If I ever get bored with the pattern I can always peel it off, use some “Goo Gone” to remove the leftover residue and re-wrap it all over again.  The peacock plume printed duct tape by “Duck Brand” seems promising!!

What duct tape would you wrap a bike in—neon, polka dots, glow in the dark?  What are some other fun uses for patterned duct tape?  

Leopard Print Duct Tape Bike Wrap

With love,
Veronique♥

Disclosure:  I purchased these items on my own and did not receive any compensation for this post.  These are my own opinions and are in no way indicative of the positions or opinions of the companies mentioned.  Thanks for your support! ♥

29 heels, 9 flats, 13 sandals, 4 ankle boots, 5 tall boots & 4 sneakers in 2.5 square feet of floor space!

When people say they have a “shoe problem”, it usually means they buy too many shoes. As a shoe addict in total denial, my shoe problem is how to store what I’ve accumulated so that everything is visible, easily accessible and neatly organized… all while taking up as little space as possible!

While I would loooove shelves upon shelves of neatly displayed shoes like Carrie Bradshaw’s closet in the movie Sex and the City, function and practicality are my main concern. I consider myself to be more of a shoe-addict-in-denial, rather than full blown shoe addict because when it comes down to it, shoes are not my weakness. I am more of an overall or general beauty/fashion junkie, and any space taken up by additional shoe racks only means a bigger problem storing everything else…

Shoe Storage Polaroid

I was previously using 2 extendable shoe racks stacked one on top of another. My heels and sneakers were on the shelves, half my boots were along the top shelf, the remaining boots were lined up next to the wall and I also had a bin off to the side containing my flip-flops & flat sandals.

For those of you ladies who wear high heels on a regular basis (+3 in.), I’m sure you understand my frustration with the standard shoe racks that use 2 bars in place of a shelf. While they do hold everything in place, taking heels in and out can be somewhat of a nightmare—the tall heels often hang down too low, touching and getting hooked onto the shoe that you are trying to pull out or put back. The result: a messy shoe rack with some shoes half hanging, some that tumbled down to the shelf below and a lot of shoes perpetually strewn at the base of the shelf. So maybe it’s not a complete nightmare (read: first world problem), but I knew there had to be a better solution.

Here’s how I crammed neatly organized 29 pairs of high heels, 9 pairs of flat shoes, 13 pairs of sandals, 4 pairs of ankle boots, 5 pairs of knee-high boots and 4 sneakers into 2.5ft2 of floor space…with room to grow!

(There are also 4 more pairs of random over-the-knee boots, Ugg boots and rain boots somewhere to the right, but for the sake of this post, let’s just pretend they don’t exist. I don’t think I can fit much more onto this one shelf, but if you think of a way to do it leave a comment below! I’d love to hear it!)

shoe storage overview

HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  1. Ikea Billy Bookcase ($69.99 CDN)
  2. Ikea Billy Extra Shelves ($10.00 CDN each) – I used a total of 3 extra shelves
  3. Screwdriver + Hammer (as per the Billy Bookcase instructions)
  4. Power Drill

**If you aren’t quite as comfortable as I am with power tools, feel free to replace 3 & 4 with your dad, boyfriend, super nice guy friend or very handy girlfriend!

Billy Bookcase Materials

SOME CONSIDERATIONS:

The best part of this project is that you can change it and switch it up according to your own shoe collection. Feel free to make use of the predrilled holes and use only what comes in the Ikea box, or purchase additional shelves and take a power drill to the bookcase to make the shelf levels completely customizable.

Before you start, you should decide if you want to build something that is more of a shoe display case (i.e. something that nicer and neater but doesn’t hold as much per bookcase) or if you are looking for a more practical shoe storage solution (i.e. more shelves and more shoes per shelf). Your decision should take into consideration how extensive your shoe collection is and how much floor space you have to work with. Whatever you want to achieve will determine how best to install the shelves and organize your shoes.

TIPS:

Arrange first by style / type of shoe

This will make the most efficient use of shelf height. I determined the height of the shelves by measuring it against the tallest pair of each style. If you have more than one shelf per style, make sure that all of those shelves are the same height, and try to start new styles of shoes on different shelves so that the excess space can be used for any future purchases.

♥ Then arrange by colour

Arranging by colour is the most aesthetically appealing because it gives a greater illusion of order and organization, especially if you are tight on space. To keep things simple, I went lightest to darkest with neutrals, with some variation near the end for coloured/multicoloured shoes.

♥ Determine how best to arrange the shoes on each shelf

Shoe Shelves

  • 4 Pairs Per Shelf: Display 4 pairs of shoes per shelf facing forward.
  • 5 Pairs Per Shelf: Alternate the direction in which you face shoes to compress each pair’s width. Fitting 5 pairs per shelf will allow a little buffer between pairs so that taking something from the shelf does not disturb the shoes next to it.
  • 6 Pairs Per Shelf: (This was the option that worked best for my shoes) I alternated the direction of my shoes, but pulled the front facing shoe as far forward as possible while pushing the back facing shoe as far back as possible. This further compressed each pair’s width allowing me to fit one more pair per shelf, but removed the extra space between pairs. Removing or returning a pair does disturb the shoes next to it, but not by much and not inconveniently so.
  • 7 Pairs Per Shelf: Alternate the directions of the shoes again, but first put in all the back facing shoes at a diagonal, then put all the front facing shoes in facing forward. Although this method makes the most efficient use of shelf space, I opted not to organize my shoes this way because I found removing and returning shoes to be too inconvenient. I think that there are also too many shoes crammed onto each shelf, making it difficult to remove or return shoes quickly and neatly.
  • Flats + Sandals: If you have few pairs of flats & sandals, I recommend stacking them one on top of another with pairs side by side so that removing one pair doesn’t jostle the ones next to it (as I did with my shelf of flats). If you have many pairs of flats & sandals, I recommend laying them on their side with the toes facing opposite directions and soles facing outwards (as I did with my sandals & flip flops). This allows you to compress the space further if you purchase more shoes, and keeping the soles facing outwards prevents them from dirtying one another while also preventing the straps from getting tangled when taking them off the shelf.

Note: I recommend that you spread your shoes out as much as you can at first, then cram them in a little at a time and reorganize/compress as you buy additional pairs.

Keep a shoe mat nearby

Wipe them at the door, but it doesn’t hurt to keep one nearby to wipe shoes before putting them back onto the white shelves. Buy a nice one that matches your décor or do what I did and grab one for $1 at Ikea—it’s very plain, but it can be put away when company comes over and is easily replaced after each rainy/snowy season.

SOME ALTERNATE IDEAS:

♥ If you wear sneakers more often than I do, place one low shelf along the bottom and store sneakers below your boots rather than along the top.

♥ Arrange your shelves so the shortest ones (for flats) are at the top, and the tallest ones (for boots) are at the bottom. Although this will make things look more orderly, consider that it may be less practical to have to reach higher for flats and sandals.

♥ Hide or conceal your bookcase using the accompanying glass doors from Ikea. If you are planning to close off your bookcase, make sure to air out your shoes every once in a while.

♥ If you are creating a display case:

  • Tilt the shelves forward by placing the back pegs one peg hole higher than those in the front to give a better view of the shoe.
  • Replace all regular shelves with the frosted glass shelves from Ikea (same price, $10 each). If you do this, please note that the middle shelf is fixed and will have to remain white.
  • Consider installing lighting to illuminate your display case

Would you organize your shoes this way? What other space-saving solutions have you come up with to store your shoe collection?

With love,
Veronique♥

[Disclosure: I purchased these items on my own and did not receive any compensation for this post. These are my opinions and are in no way indicative of the positions or opinions of the companies mentioned. Thanks for your support! ♥]

Top 10 Lists x Cheap and Chic Ways to Entertain with Mason Jars!

From the whimsical snow globes in Anthropologie to cute glassware at rustic weddings and everything in between, innovative uses for the mason jar seem to be popping up left and right. 
 
An affordable and ohsocharming decor trend, mason jars are the perfect way welcome in the summer!  I’ve compiled my Top 10 List x Cheap and Chic Ways to Entertain with Mason Jars (some of them may surprise you!):
 
10 | mason jar x drinking cups
 
Swapping out your regular glassware for cute mason jars is the easiest way to incorporate this trend + add a touch of personality to your party.  To keep this trend looking chic rather than cheap, try decorating glasses with coloured straws, vintage labels, ribbon or twine.    
 
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9 | mason jar x party favors
 
Why not try mason jar party favours?  Your guests will adore taking home a unique sewing kit or a batch of pre-measured cookie mix.  For the sewing kit, add padding + fabric to the lid to make an instant pin cushion—hot glue the fabric underneath leaving space around the edge of the rim.  If opting for the cookie mix, don’t forget to include instructions on how to bake the cookies. 
 
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8 | mason jar x vases and terrariums
 
Skip regular vases and use multiple mason jars to display fresh flowers.  Take it a step further and try mason jar herb gardens or terrariums!
 
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7 | mason jar x serving options
 
Mason jars are excellent for setting out straws or separating cutlery for your guests to take.  They are also perfect for serving accompaniments and look even better with the attachment of a simple tag labelling the type of sauce, dressing or dip.
 
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6 | mason jar x salad in a jar
 
Mason jar salads are not only a unique way to shake things up (sorry, it was too hard not to say it!), but they are very convenient and can be prepared up to 5 days in advance.  Either keep the dressing separate, or layer the ingredients in such a way that those at the bottom won’t get soggy while marinating in the dressing.   
 
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5 | mason jar x chandeliers
 
One of the more complicated ways of decorating with mason jars, these chandeliers are perfect for the DIY pro.  They provide a unique mix of rustic pieces in a contemporary design that is guaranteed to be a conversation piece. 
 
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4 | mason jar x cocktail shaker
 
A DIY version be made by either (1) finding a cocktail shaker lid with the same circumference as the mason jar lid; or (2) punching holes in the top of one lid—swapping it out for an unpunched lid when shaking.  Easier still, pick up a readymade one at West Elm for a little over $30 CDN.
 
 
 
3 | mason jar x dessert in a jar
Dessert? Amazing.  In a mason jar? Even better.  Perfectly portion almost any dessert into individual servings by preparing them directly inside mason jars.  Two of my Vancouver favourites are the lemon pot de crème in Fable Kitchen on W. 4th Ave and the nanaimo bar in a jar at Oakwood Canadian Bistro on W. Broadway.
 
 
2 | mason jar x table centerpieces
 
Get creative and fill mason jars of all shapes + sizes with an assortment of candles.  Floating candles on water add an elegant touch and using tea lights turns any jar into an instant hurricane lantern for patios + outdoor events.  
 
 
 
1 | mason jar x magic bullet
 
This one tops my list because who knew that almost every blender can be turned into an instant magic bullet?  Amazing, right?  The glass rim of a mason jar is the same size as almost all blender jugs, which means you probably already own single-serve blender that is not only more powerful than a magic bullet, but also has an unlimited supply of cute and trendy cups!  Try it out for a margarita night or a unique brunch-time build-your-own-smoothie bar!
 
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BONUS x chalk board paint
 
Using chalk board paint is a pretty and versatile way to label mason jars.  I recommend usingPebeo Porcelaine 150 China Paint in Chalkboard Black, which once baked will make the painted section microwave-safe and dishwasher-safe.
 
 
So pick up a pack (I got a set of 12 at Canadian Tire for $7.99) and try incorporating some of these cheap and chic ideas into your next party or event.  At 66¢ per piece, you really can’t go wrong! 
 
Keep in mind, this trend can walk a fine line between trendy and tacky.  You’re aiming for simple and charming, not “I’m a college student and these jars are all we have in our kitchen”, so make sure to take the extra effort to decorate and add little touches to make everything seem put together!  Remember, it’s all in the details…
 
 
With Love,
 
Veronique♥
 
 
What do you think about the current Mason jar trend – Like it? Love it? Hate it? Do you know of any other fun uses for Mason jars or have any noteworthy jar-recipes? Share them below!
 
 
[Disclaimer:  This is not a sponsored post.  These opinions are my own and are in no way indicative of the opinions or positions of any of the companies mentioned.]

How to Guide x Perfect Wine Pairing

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I never gave wine pairing much thought and mostly chose wines based on a combination of my mood and the general rule of “red wines with meat, white wines with fish”.  While that old saying may still ring true, there’s really so much more to it and it was only my recent experience at Vancouver Urban Winery that my eyes were opened to what pairing is really about.

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I had the Sommelier’s Choice Wine & Food Pairing ($24), a seasonal selection of local meats, cheeses and even an espresso brownie paired with 5 wines curated by their Wine Sommelier.  Our party was instructed to taste the wine, have a bite of the food and then take another sip of the wine—and WOW, it was surprising what a difference it made!  Maybe it was that the combination was exceptional (probably) or maybe it was because I never paid much attention or took the time to truly savour the flavours (HA, probably true as well!), but I finally understood what all the fuss was about.  Wine pairing is so much more than simply finding things that go well together, but when paired correctly (or incorrectly!) food can change the flavours within wine and wine can change the flavours within food.  Now a changed woman (apparently an overdramatic one as well! Haha), I realize what a huge difference it makes when you are able to find the perfect wine to complement your meal. 
 
While wine pairing can be tricky, I came across a fantastic article by Wine Folly with 5 Tips to Perfect Food and Wine Pairings that I knew I had to share with you.
 

5 Wine & Food Pairing Guidelines

Champion the Wine  The number one guideline is to bring out the best characteristics of a wine. A high tannin red wine will taste like sweet cherries when paired with the right dish. Focus on the characteristics that you want to champion and make sure that the wine will shine instead of fighting against the food.

Bitter + Bitter = Bad  Since our tastebuds are very sensitive to bitterness, it’s important to pay special attention to not pair bitter food and high tannin wine. Green Beans with Cabernet Sauvignon will multiply bitter tastes. If you want to pair a high tannin wine, look to foods with fat, umami and salt for balance.

Wine Should be Sweeter  As a general rule, make sure that the wine is sweeter than the food and you will have a successful wine pairing. If the wine is less sweet than the food it’s matched with, it will tend to taste bitter and tart. This is why Port wine is perfect with dessert.

Wine Should be More Tart  A wine should have higher acidity than the food it’s matched with otherwise it will taste flabby. For instance, a salad with vinaigrette is better with an extra brut Champagnethan a buttery Chardonnay.

Improve an Earthy Wine  Ever hear that Old World Wine is better with food? On their own, Old World wines can be very earthy and tart. However, when you pair an earthy wine with something even more earthy like mushroom stroganoff, then the wine tastes more fruity.

     

Whether hosting a large event, holding an intimate dinner party or simply pouring yourself a glass with your meal, it is always useful to know a little bit about selecting the right wine.  For some reason, there is something about food and wine pairing that can leave even the most confident foodie feeling completely out of his or her element.  Did you know that chocolate is one of the hardest things to pair with wine? Or that asparagus contains methyl mercaptan, which gives wine a vegetal flavour? What about the fact that the tannins in red wine interact with the high iodine content in some seafood (like cod, mackerel and shellfish)resulting in a metallic and unpleasant taste?Wine Folly’s tips can help less-than-savvy wine drinkers navigate these complex waters – that are made even more confusing by the sheer number of international wines and modern cuisine’s fusion of ethnic styles and unusual ingredients in one dish! 
 
To take it one step further, Wine Folly has created a handy chart on how to create the best pairings, based on the sommeliers’ principle of opposing taste profiles (e.g. sweet and sour).  This chart is a helpful (and cute!) resource for your next event or dinner party.  Also available as a poster, it makes the perfect gift for the wine-lover on your list! 

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So crack open a bottle (or two!) and try some of their suggestions out!  After all, it’s all in the name of research, right?
 
 
With Love,
 
Veronique♥
 
 
Do you have any wine pairing tips or advice? Share your experiences with and/or recommendations of places to go for interesting food and wine pairings! 
 
 
 
[Disclaimer:  This is not a sponsored post.  These opinions are my own and are in no way indicative of the opinions or positions of any of the companies mentioned.]