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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!

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!

Warm up on a Cold Day

8 Mar

It has been a hard winter here in Calgary this year. Lots of snow. Lots of cold, cold days. Staying housebound day after day starts to make you feel like this …

Last week Via and I made cookies to keep our sanity about us. For the last few months when she asks to make cookies I have been letting her choose a recipe from Martha Stewart’s COOKIES book.

image from

It has a great index of all the cookies with pictures at the front so it is easy for kids to flip through and decide what they want to make. I comply and hope they are good because we seem to always need to eat them all in 2 days LOL. I love that they always says that — all the recipes have to be stored in an air tight container with parchment paper between layers and eaten within 2 days … and the recipes makes up to 4 dozen … Yikes, here comes the sugar coma. Well, there are a few that will last a week or more but those are the “healthy” ones with dried cranberries in them etc that Liv would never pick. She goes through the pictures and always picks out something ooooey-gooey and chocolate. And I make them JUST to make her happy of course …

Friday was no exception. She chose Chocolate Surprise Cookies. Described as Hot Chocolate in cookie form these had everything you would want, including marshmallows!

I had my trusty helper make the decadently dark chocolate dough. She loves to add the dry ingredients to the mixer for me. She does a great job too.

Then once baked for 8 minutes half a marshmallow is pressed into the centre of each cookie and then baked an additional 2 minutes.

The hardest part of the whole process was convincing the 3 year old that the cookies had to cool completely before we could add the icing and eat them. Yes, I said icing! Not only is this a chocolate cookie with a marshmallow baked in, it is topped with fudgy chocolate icing. Yum!

Stay warm out there!

Dust it off

24 Feb

I have wanted a large chalkboard menu board in our house for awhile. When I started meal planning two weeks in advance I thought it would be fun to put up the weeks’ menu on it but I no longer meal plan … and after some browsing on the Artful Parent it became obvious to me that we need a big chalkboard at our house but it would not be a menu board … it would be a Via Art Board.

At the begining of the month I spotted a lone frame in the garbage garage (the shared garage in my townhouse complex where we put our garbage in dumpsters and the great people leave their junk and my future treasures off to the side) …

After buying a sheet of MDF, some chalkboard paint and some foam rollers it came together (primer and white paint was already owned).

I ended up doing three coats of blackboard paint because my primer was white, but a tinted primer would have solved that. The foam rollers were so great for giving a smooth surface as though it was sprayed. I have pretty much the whole can of blackboard paint left so there can be many more chalkboard projects in the works! I love the blackboard tabletops Miss Mustard Seed does, so I may tackle one of those eventually. I will need to buy low dust chalk though, the package I picked up at IKEA is pretty dusty, but it was cheap and comes in so many pretty colours.

We hung it up tonight on the wall opposite our kitchen and Via is in love. I drew a flower in the corner to show her how it worked and she took to it immediately.

I am still thinking about the tintable chalkboard paint Home Depot had as well. Wouldn’t a raspberry pink board be so much fun? For now this one is a hit.

I love how the white paint has brought this frame back to life and it still looks good even though it has little dusty finger prints all over it. I had my heart set on a black frame but I knew white was the smart choice. The chair in the photos was made for Olivia’s 3rd Birthday from Ana White’s plans.

We are off to bedtime tonight and hopefully we have more fun tomorrow with our new chalkboard.


I have linked up with Creating a House of Grace’s 39th Twice Owned Tuesday Party!

I have linked up with Funky Junk Interior’s Saturday Nite Special #70 – yay another Western Canadian!

I have linked up to the Chalkboard Linky Party at Freckled Laundry!

Just clip it

22 Nov

With or without kids, if you have a fridge it probably has a plethora of ugly magnets on it. Maybe some are worthwhile, but most have come from somewhere unimportant, in junk mail, from trade fairs or they were there when you moved in and you just use them because. I hate that look. I am sure most people do, but we don’t do anything about it. Until now.

If you aren’t too distracted by cuteness you may catch a glimpse of my fridge back in February … not its worst, but not pretty. Which got me thinking, when does someone take a picture of their fridge anyway?

On to the solution for the ugly, messy fridge you don’t take pictures of … yet.

I love Ana White and her at home carpentry blog, I have been following her for nearly a year and have built a few of her projects and of course have a bookmark tab of a hundred I WANT to do. Back in January she made a  few clip art rails to put in her daughter’s room.

Tutorial for Easy Clip Art Rails — Ana White

I thought about where my three year old (who is very stubborn) likes to hang her art, and it is the fridge of course. I would hate to make something and have her not want to use it — the chalkboard decals at the back of her closet are a perfect example because “Mom, you don’t draw on the walls, you draw on paper” … So I decided to modify the plan to have it hang on the fridge instead.

One evening after supper I travelled down to “Mr. Somewhat’s” scrap box under the work bench and found three perfect little boards to start. They were leftover from our bunny hutch project and were the right size – no modification required. I did a quick sand with my handy little B&D Mouse and got right down to painting them black to match the fridge. A little Gorilla Glue and some bamboo clothespins later, I had made the clip art rails from her blog.

Now to make them hang on the fridge … So far this project had cost me nothing, so I thought I would push it and see if I could make it totally free. I gathered up all the cheesy Realtor magnets and ripped the fronts off them, cut to size and Gorilla Glued them to the back of my rails. Success for one rail, but for some reason the second just slid right down the front of the fridge! So I did have to shell out for two rolls of magnetic tape. I found mine at Princess Auto. I put one strip the whole length of the bar on the top and two smaller scrap pieces on the sides underneath.

In the end I think they work great for displaying photos and art, but would also do the job for lists and business cards and whatever else it is that you hang on your fridge. And it is so much more organized! I love them! I especially love that in some light you can’t see the bars and it looks like the clothes pins are floating on the fridge! Which makes me think I want to try the magnetic tape on the back of single clothes pins too, maybe in bright colours for fun … But first these have the be “done” — while I love the look of bamboo I think it might be too subtle here and they may end up painted black in the near future …

And there will be better photos someday when my house is clean LOL. From one angle I had to avoid the Costco sized box of Five Alive juice boxes on the floor and from the other angle the dirty pots from dinner last night! And yes, you may notice I staged it with summer art, well it was almost -40C today with the windchill so I am pretending it is warm outside!