Project Overload

14 Jul

The new place has been unending project overload!

Starting with the yard … it is not really finished as I thought it was. Yes, I have been outside talking to grass seed, trying to will it to grow … and I have a huge patch of weeds growing in rock hard soil where I want there to be grass along the garage … and in the “new flower bed” which appears to have been made of cut-up sod chunks I have grass growing … hmmm. Makes me want to pull a “Fun With Dick & Jane” move …

But I won’t …
And the other problem is the existing flower beds, which are almost entirely filled with purple flowers … and not spaced well so things aren’t growing properly ie. two shrubs are starting to grow branches around large perennial plants. Uh oh. So I need to do some moving … and add some new plants that are not purple LOL. Please someone with a 6 ft diameter Daylily contact me to remove it from your garden LOL. Please. I need instant impact here!
The deck also needed to be stained … the HUGE two tiered deck … which I have completed – finally! But that ate up HUGE amounts of my time.
To make it worse, I have a deadline … a BBQ on the 23rd of July. Yes, next weekend. So this next week I will be a gardening maniac and of course will neglect posting anything LOL.
And we haven’t even begun discussing the interior projects!
Like painting basically the whole house LOL …
Doing a sky mural on Via’s bedroom ceiling …
Finding a new couch and area rug for the living room (this may also include convincing Mr. Somewhat that we DO need a coffee table, and then finding said, perfect coffee table)
Finding two wing chairs for the dining room and making slip covers for them …
Designing and furnishing a playroom in the basement
Finishing the upholstered bed we started building this weekend!
Building storage in Via’s room for clothes, books and toys …
As though that list is not big enough … and I am sure that is not all of it either (and some are multistep, like the play room …)
I just added one this morning while blog-hopping …
I want Chevron stair risers!
Inspired by this dresser from A Step in the Journey (and thank you for the tutorial) — I really want to do my stairs the same way.
In case you don’t know what a riser is … it’s the white part … that, well, “rises” up to the wood tread part you step on …
I have wanted to paint stairs for a long time. The problem is, well, it is a big project. I haven’t bothered to actually count my stairs yet LOL, but there has to be 15 I would guess … Originally years ago I was planning an elaborate geometric stencil but the more I imagined it, the more I realised it was going to be too folky, kind of like a pysanky easter egg … And I never had open to the public stairs to paint, only hidden basement stairs which would not be worth the effort. The new house has a very open staircase to the second floor which is wood and begging for some TLC, so this is my time! Then when I saw the dresser today it hit me – Chevron stripes in a nice neutral would be perfect. And will make me smile every time I come in from the backyard or come out of the bathroom and see them. So it is final. I am going to do it. And I will not consult Mr. Somewhat first. I see him shooting this down immediately. Especially since we have four big patches on the livingroom walls that need to be sanded and painted first … oh, there is so much painting to do!!!
Off to work … on the garden that is …
PS – I have no idea what is going on with the spacing in this post ARGH! It is driving me crazy. I apparently need to upgrade my browser, but who has time! Hopefully I can fix it!


26 Apr

Well, moving to a new place is of course overwhelming (packing) and exciting (new place to decorate!) and then overwhelming again (sooooo many decisions to make!).

I am in a dining room dilema right now. I wasn’t in love with my current table and chairs anymore. Mostly because I was in love with this IKEA round table … but a round table was not the right thing to put in our eating nook … no, the long skinny table we had at our old place that I sold was actually the right table … but I was not aware of that until we moved … and it was too late …

So, when our new place came with this nice table included I was very happy … (thanks Melody!)

Now, the only thing is, I need chairs. Well, I was excited about finding chairs actually. I knew exactly what I wanted and found these on Kijiji right away for $10 each. Score.

I was hoping to just have to paint the frames – the small picture tricked me into thinking that the seats were maybe a coral velvet, which I would have been perfectly okay with keeping for the time being and maybe just making some covers that come off for washing. Disappointment, the seats were red, like KFC red. Yucky with the white. I have dubbed them “Under New Management – what the French Country KFC kicked to the curb …”

So, something has to be done about them. And Mr. Somewhat was the FIRST to tell me all about it LOL. He was not impressed with my purchase. Sigh, sometimes he has no vision LOL. He hates the cane backs and wants me to upholster them because they remind him of chairs his grandparents had in the 70s and he says the cane backs are too uncomfortable. Boo. Then he was freaking out about the fabric cushions which I was in agreement with him on the desperate need to recover! So then he says the only way he will let me keep them is if I refinish them ASAP. So fine. He rushed me into picking fabric and paint immediately. We went to IKEA – I figured that I could dig something decent out of AS-IS to cover the seats in. I wanted to go light, like linen. I found one thing that was perfect, but of course, not enough fabric. And I felt Mr. behind me with the death stare going so I dug out a bunch of couch cover pieces for this:

image from IKEA

It is a pretty heavy woven brown fabric with black threads in it too. Good. Not exactly what I wanted, but honestly, linen was probably not a good idea at a dining table with kids … especially when it is stapled to the chair and not removable. And there were tons of pieces to it and they were $2.00 each. So I walked out with way more than enough heavy upholstery grade fabric for $12.00 total. And feeling a little guilty since I just screwed someone over who wanted the whole couch cover and I took pieces of it … sigh, whatever, that is IKEAs fault for pricing the pieces individually instead of as a lot. Then it was off to Home Depot for paint. I wanted cream, the Mr. wanted dark since the table is dark. I want contrast though, but for some reason I let him talk me into dark. So here is what I bought:

image from Home Depot

The colour is called “Seal.” I sanded the chairs the other day. I am really liking the heavily distressed look of them right now though … so I am rethinking using the paint I bought for the dresser-turmed-shelf thing (I really want the interior to be pink and think it would look awesome with this on the outside …).

And then the Mr. was mad at me tonight because I asked him to leave the truck outside for the night so I could sand the dresser and break out the paint sprayer. He wants to me focus on packing and not on finishing the chairs and dresser… what?!? So now when I am not done the chairs later this week he is going to ask why they aren’t done yet right? Sigh.

Here is the other dilemma. I really want to be able to see the cane back. I like it. So I was thinking maybe I could get away with only covering the front of the chairs in batting and fabric with a nailhead trim border to spice it up … since he says the main complaint is the cane back is uncomfortable. But then you would be able to see the batting through the cane. Then I was thinking it would be fun to put a layer of burlap first, so that is what you see through the cane. And if he doesn’t go with that I think I will still burlap the back over since I love the look of burlap but not how it feels, so this is a way to see it and not feel it, since it is on the back and recessed. Oh, the other thing I am debating is filling in the decorative thing routered in the top. If they stay distressed it also has to stay, but if I paint them grey then I think it definitely has to go – I think, or would it be weird when it is gone? Too big of a blank space on a decorative chair … I don’t know!!!!

Oh wait, I do know, wow not thinking at all. Thanks to the “retouch” tool in iPhoto I now have this:

And I say, yes I definitely need to fill it in if painting the chairs. Wait, I just had another epiphany. If I do paint the chairs I could do the back cushion in a bold print with white or cream background which would give me the contrast I want and more interest … now to find the right fabric … So many decisions!!!

Radio Silence

21 Apr

Yes, I have been silent for almost a month! Yikes.

BIG things are changing around here.

We are taking the plunge.

Townhouse is for sale.

New house keys are in hand coming this Saturday.

I put in my resignation at work last Thursday.

We are moving!

Back to an older established neighborhood, with a back yard and a great community feeling. I am so excited. Start of a new life in a swank neighborhood LOL.

I am planning to stay home and dabble in whatever I can to make some cash. So far between my own ideas of what I should do and other people’s suggestions I have this list of possible simultaneous at-home career endeavors: babysitter, before/after school child minder, dog walker, art teacher, garden planner/weekly weeder/planter creator, furniture refinisher etc. I think there were two or three more that I can’t remember right now. Of course, furniture refinisher is my number one dream career. But I am being realistic and think that something more steady, like babysitter will take precedent and furniture refinisher will need to flourish from small beginings.

So right now I am in a fury of activity excited about decorating a new place. Selling “old” furniture on Kijiji … most of which we bought at IKEA new three years ago when we moved in. Most of them were impulse buys I will admit and I am looking for more thought out pieces this time around. Picking up “new” old furniture off Kijiji to make mine! Packing. Decluttering as I pack. Today I tackled Mr. Somewhat’s embarrassing book collection that I barely unpacked since moving here. Is it wrong that I purposefully left all his Star Wars and Star Trek novels in the box and never put them on the bookshelf? I also learned that I have been lugging around at least 20 books that belong to neither of us LOL. I always assumed they were his books, he assumed they were mine … I guess some roommate long ago stuck me with them! So I now have two boxes of books that are off to charity. I feel better already. Tomorrow I am tackling the linen closet. Goodbye 4 year old shampoo I never use but didn’t have the heart to throw out. Good bye!

Gotta Love Fred

24 Mar

I have a thing for crafty little gift shops, the kind with way overpriced stationery and funny gadgets. I really do and today after a lunch downtown I decided to hit up two of my favourites: Land & Sea and Papyrus. Okay, so Papyrus is more upscale and more sophisticated than funny (they sell Kate Spade …), but God do they have beautiful things there. I ran into some products in Land & Sea that have been catching my eye for the past few years. They are by a company called Fred and I think they are all cool, well designed and ingenious!!!

I first took note a few years back when I caught sight of their sinking ships ice cube trays. Of course it has a great name: Gin and Titonic … So funny LOL.

image from

While I suddenly couldn’t imagine throwing a party without them, I passed reluctantly. I have amased enough ice cube trays in fun shapes from IKEA already, not as fun as this, but c’mon, X and O ice cubes are pretty cute. Even though Mr. Somewhat once told a child point blank that I was a witch and that is how I made the ice into X’s and O’s – true story.

Then this past Christmas while browsing in Indigo I came across the perfect gifts, again from Fred, for my Guitar-loving Dad:

image from

I thought they were perfect, but then wondered if my Dad would ever use the Cheetah or … well, any of them except the brown one LOL. Behold! Another cool Fred sighting at Indigo that my Dad would probably use!

image from

Fred certainly does have a thing for ice cube trays … Please note, my Dad received neither of these from me for Christmas and does not use the internet or a computer at all for that matter, so please don’t tell him about these – I may be giving them this year LOL. Oh, and for the record, because my Dad loves to test my guitar knowledge, the red guitar in the photo above is a Gibson Les Paul … even though he will not read this LOL.

So when I got home today I decided to give their site a whirl and see what other stuff they are up to. Wow, I want to order one of everything please!

Some of my favourites – well, there are too many – but these are the things that would probably get the most bang for the buck … all of the following images are from Check them out!

The cutest paperclips known to man … or should I say woman …

Silicone cupcake “papers” that look like tea cups! Take that my flowery Wilton ones, someone has one-cupped you!

And what party for adults or kids would not be just a little more fun with these nose cups … ?

And wouldn’t this just make any meal with a picky-eater toddler managable? At least you would have a creative break before the meal dressing up the face!

So today I am loving Fred. How could you not?

Sweet Little Thing

22 Mar

After her birthday party this weekend Olivia went home with her Grandma and Grandpa to spend a week being spoiled by them. I hear she was up until 11 pm last night! My Mom shared a sweet story with me about their antics on the phone tonight.

This past Christmas Via received a beautiful dollhouse from Santa.

Today my Mom and Olivia were playing dollhouse with the old Fisher Price dollhouse from my childhood. My Mom shared with Olivia that she had always wanted a really nice dollhouse when she was a little girl like the one that Olivia has. Nicer than the one that they were playing with LOL. This is pretty much what we had, but with more furniture … can’t say all the furniture is around today to play with …

images from

Olivia responded, “Don’t worry, I will get a job and get money and buy a nice dollhouse for you too.” Now isn’t she just the sweetest little thing?

Once Upon a Time …

15 Mar

… exactly four years ago to the day …

… a baby was born and “named” Ruth …

Blackberry camera phone photo, Olivia day two

… well “named” in that I told a nurse I thought that she looked like a “Ruth” and the NICU nurse promptly put that on a piece of paper and taped it to her crib LOL. Several days later she was officially named “Olivia Ruth” since Mr. Somewhat thought “Ruth” was too “old lady.”

And she is on her way now … yes, my baby girl turns 4 today!

How else to celebrate than with a trip to the “close park” and as MANY pushes on the swing as she desired! Above is a photo of her first swing on the swing and her most recent swing on the swing. I have taken soooooo many thousands of pictures of her it was hard to choose, so I thought that this would make it easier!

She is very excited for her upcoming birthday party this weekend. Me too!

Get on with it …

15 Mar

I often pick the hard road and I don’t know why — especially when it comes to refinishing furniture. I never choose to strip a piece of furniture that is only varnished … No, I always choose to paint over those things for some reason. But when a truly neglected and over-painted piece of furniture comes into my life I always seem to choose to strip it … and often regret it …

Enter Olivia’s dresser … my Mom picked up this 1930’s/40’s maple waterfall dresser for $10 at her local Fall Rumage Sale. Yes, I said $10.

However, it had seen some hard times … I thought that I could revive it by stripping off the horrible paint jobs that it had endured over the years … The top two coats were a patchy navy blue spray paint job and then a sparse attempt at rolling white over it … Ugly. Unfortunately the bad paint job hid many things from me … Like extensive veneer damage. So as I stripped off the gross old paint with my favourite paint stripper, Citristrip, it became evident that while the wood was very beautiful, it was also very damaged. So after all that work, I ended up having to paint it. I LOVE the end result though, it took to some light distressing well and made the veneer damage seem purposeful. I actually plan to distress it even more! I haven’t sealed it still, even though she has been using it for two years … The best part of it all, is the inside of the drawers … I painted them Wilton Blue and they are such a nice pop of colour everytime I open them up! I know there are lots of people who frown upon painting inside drawers, but now it is so easy to find good low VOC or No VOC paint, go for it! Make those drawers sing! Your clothes won’t smell like paint! I promise. Just make sure the drawers are completely dry before putting them back in!

I recently rescued a deadly heavy nightstand from the garbage garage in our townhouse complex and of course, it is thick with paint and I started to think about refinishing it.

I was a little worried about it’s composition. Since it is SOOOOO heavy I was thinking it might be made of MDF. So I started my detective work by taking off the ugly drawer pull to reveal that the wood underneath is nice, solid hardwood … I think it might be Walnut … I was inspired once again to pull out the paint stripper … So off I went to Home Depot … looking for this …

Only to find it wasn’t there! I have used every paint stripper on the shelf at one time or another and Citristrip is IT. Nothing else comes close to being as easy and effective … Plus it is safer for you and the environment. So I had to take the plunge with a new product. I sat there staring and Mr. Somewhat was getting impatient. Do I try an new stripper or do I buy a Heat Gun? He pushed me into trying the “new” environmentally friendly stripper on the shelf – Safe Coat.

The hardest part of paint stripping is the dwell time, how long to leave it on before scrapping it off, hopefully with all your paint. Citristrip made it easy, the paint bubbled up and that meant you were in business! Safe Coat has been less effective … after three hours (the minimum dwell time) there was no bubbling and after 24 hours (the recommended maximum dwell time) there was only a handful of areas bubbling. I started scraping anyway, worried that letting it dry might make things worse for me in the end … And it became very evident this was not ready to go …

It was turning into some gross paste, as you can see. I think I counted 6 layers of paint to come off the outside shell – the ochre, white, royal blue, light lavender, and then probably two more coats of white. Inside the shelves is just one rock hard coat of paint that is STUBORN. It sits the same in my basement right now. I know that I want the paint off, I am just not sure going for try number two with the Safe Coat is worth it … I think that a Heat Gun might be the way to go. I just really want to get this over with!