Monday, February 26, 2007

A reoccurring thought in my head always starts with “What if aliens came down and saw…( ).?” I have a few of these conversation starters for myself (as I like to call them), including “What if I had known this ( ) years ago?” and “Where am I?” The one I like to say to myself when I’m traveling and find myself in a place I’d never thought I’d be, i.e. standing in front of Target in Atlanta, waiting for the hotel van to pick me up, or buying tampons at the liquor store in Mission Beach, San Diego.

I used the aliens one on Sunday when we went skating. We have a standing skating date every Sunday. It centers around the kids, but various family members show up and each week someone else gets the guts to get their skates on again after 10, 20, even 30 years. After Jake (and my ankles) had had enough we went out into the observation area and got ourselves a treat. As I watched the skaters going around, many more teetering and falling than actually skating. I thought of the aliens. What would they think of these strange people who put shiny blades on their feet and then get on the most slippery substance known to man and try and move around on it. Why Why Why? Obviously when you get good enough, it feels fantastic to fly around on the ice. But before that happens, it’s really not that fun. And who thought of this anyway? I bet it was a kid. Now that I think back, when I was learning to skate, I thought it was fun regardless of how many times I fell. At this point in my life, I’m an ok skater…a little bit stiff and afraid to fall. But when I take my husband’s arm and we fly around the rink, it really is like a drug. Another one, for the aliens to ponder, I guess.

p.s. I took the above picture in 2004 at the rink in Victoria Park

Saturday, February 24, 2007

One good thing about winter--you have an alternative refrigerator in your backyard. We came home to a dead fridge on Friday. I opened up the freezer and inside I found a soggy, leaky mess. I opened the fridge part and found a stinky, leaky mess. Yuck!

The repairman was just here and delivered the bad news. It's not worth fixing. We're having to go with a used model because a new one is just out of the question (do you know how much refrigerators are? yeeesh!). So add to the list of bummers, the unexpected cost and the inconvenience of no fridge until possibly Tuesday or Wednesday. Right now we are making use of the unheated sunporch as our fridge and enjoying almost frozen milk and yogurt. Hurray!

So it's times like these when I always wonder just what it is about winter that brings on the debilitating expenses every year? Car breakdowns, roof problems, veterinary emergencies, appliance breakdown... I can name one for just about every year we've lived here. I don't want to manifest my own destiny by putting this in print.... but I'm starting to get really leary of the months of January and February now!

Well anyway, I shall not dwell. Everyone is healthy and happy and this too shall pass. Let's just bathe in the sun...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Well, the main part of the room is finished... as of last night. Are we ever really finished though? I still need some more art to warm up the walls and a mirror to hang over the washstand.. oh yes, and some new knobs for the washstand (which isn't really in any of the pics).

But look, look! Beautiful baseboards and floor... and no holes! The picture is way over exposed due to the flash, but the holes in in the floor were solved by using a piece of beveled trim laid flat on the floor, flush up to the baseboard. Then I put quarter round on top. It ended up looking like it was all part of (the now) fancy baseboard.

The most dramatic difference is the 70's closet. The pegboard was banished and I made new doors and attached new knobs that match the curtain rod. I also removed the toe smashing slider doors down below and replaced them with curtains. Oh and I filled about 10 thousand cracks and one very scary hole in the wall inside the closet.
These pictures did not turn out well--but here is another shot to show the part I cut off in the earlier photo. I should have taken one that showed the floor in front of the closet--now tar stain free and painted a lovely chocolate brown. I also added trim around the bottom of the closet so it looks more "built in".

The room started taking on an ethnic feel after I bought the lovely (and very onsale duvet cover). So now I'm looking for a nice tapestry to hang over the bed as a pseudo headboard and some bigger art to warm up the bare walls.

A natural colour wool rug from Ikea really finishes the room off and adds some cushy warmth. These pictures do not do the colour justice. Unfortunately I had to use flash.
I'm pretty happy with how it's all turning out. And I am doing very well with my budget--especially yesterday. A quick budget to date:
Wool Rug: traded from a friend for a twist doorbell and $50
Paint: $70.00 approx
Extra trim: $50.00 approx
Duvet cover and 2 pillow cases: $20.00 (deal!)
Feather pillow: $8:99 (hello? super deal)
Curtains for closet: ($10.00! Scavenged from the bottom of a sales bin at the Sears Outlet store)
Curtain Rod and cupboard knobs: $20.00
Blind: $19.95
Clock on nightstand: $9.95
Pictures, furniture, rollaway bed: already owned
But now my own bedroom looks even crappier in comparison! Depending on logistics (like where in heck I'll store the bed while we work on the floor!), that might have to be the next project.

Friday, February 16, 2007

The bedroom looks simply beautiful--compared to what it used to look like, at least! I'm pretty proud of it because I didn't even get one bit of help from Pete. Ok, he did help me put the screws in for the curtain rod because I just could NOT get them in and I was stripping the screws.
How pathetic!
Anyway, it's not *quite* done yet, so I'll save the after pictures until it's completely finished. But I thought I'd post some "before" shots to set the scene.
I should also say that I'm not sure these before pictures do the hellishness justice. And this is one of the better rooms!
The room was painted in flat white paint--likely primer. The entire room... woodwork, baseboards, light switch... you name it. It's like a can of primer exploded in there. There are many cracks (and a couple of holes) in the wall--as well as many bad patch jobs.

You'll see I have socks stuffed in the creepy holes in the floor in the above picture, with a zoomed in shot below (sans socks). The floor covering is some kind of composite acting as an underlay to the orange shag rug that was on top (that we ripped up and shoved out the window the first night we were in the house).

I don't know when these ugly ugly closets were put in... but I'm going to guess it was some time in the 70's. There were a lot of cool design elements in the 70's... but so many more bad ones. Before I took this picture we had removed the 50 pound wooden sliding doors covered in sickly yellowed shellac (and that fell out of their track and onto your foot every other day). I considered ripping out this closet, but I kind of need it. As well, the ceiling above the top shelf is in bad shape and has been patched (very badly) with drywall. If we ever do rip this out, we'll need to do some serious wall work afterwards. Note the pegboard doors at the top. Classy! (there was also a very scary/creepy hole in the wall inside the closet.

The ceiling of the closet (behind the pegboard doors). There's much more damage below where the picture stops. I took this to show the old paint colour and a tiny border of wallpaper. Not sure what era this might be from. The bottom part of the closet is painted green. (with about 20 years worth of dirt on top).

But it's not all bad. Those baseboards are beautiful and original and so is the door. And look how pretty the original hardware is! I'm not kidding when I say that one of the reasons I wanted to buy this house was because of those hinges.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Isn’t this the best bumper sticker ever? The best part of the whole thing is the 1 stuck in the middle of the !!!!!!’s (Bumper sticker brought to you by cute overload.)

So I’ve been doing some fixing up and decorating of the spare bedroom for the past week. The entire upstairs of the house was painted in flat white cheap paint (which I suspect is just primer) and here we are 6 years later, and it still is. (Except for my exceptionally beautiful bathroom).

I want things to look nice, I have a vision, I do a little planning. But then I want it done… NOW. So I’m terrible at cutting corners. A little dust in the corner? Paint over it. Nail holes? Just pile on more paint to fill them up. It gets much worse about half way through when I really want it to be done so I start rushing through things that I shouldn’t. I must say that I was much better with this project (which still isn’t quite done but coming a long nicely). This room needed some tender loving care. I dusted the walls and swept the floor several times even! I filled cracks and nail holes and even big holes (that I’m glad I didn’t realize where there because they freaked me out!). Did I also mention I get freaked out easily? I even waited for things to dry before I did a second coat (plaster, paint, etc) It’s not going to be perfect, but what old house can be? (unless you rip everything out and start again which I would never want to do).

There were deep holes in the floor boards where the wall meets the floor. They’ll be covered by trim soon, but I had to stuff socks in them until then—too creepy. However, I did get up some nerve on the weekend to take out the socks and shine a flashlight down there. What if there was something really good, hidden for decades? No such luck. Just some antique dust bunnies.

Just a few more things to do and then I’ll post some before/after pictures. Won’t that be fun?

Friday, February 02, 2007

Product Love Post #5 (Final)

Food is so personal, just like books. You can't really recommend either, you just never know. However, I can't think of a last product to post about so I'm breaking my own unspoken rule.

Did you know Altoids now have chocolate covered mints? I'm not sure if they are in Canada yet or not. Someone at work had been in the States and brought back one of each flavour. She offered me a taste and I chose the chocolate covered ginger. Yum yum yum!! I didn't even know they had ginger altoids (I guess they are in limited supply) but the chocolate covered ones are the most perfect flavour combination ever! Again, not for everybody... but definitely for me!

They also come in cinnamon and mint. Check out the Altoids website for more info and where to buy (and they have games to play too!)

p.s I thought I was going to get some great recommendations in reply. So far the recommendation numbers are pretty lame--one! Besides Krishna who just wants to be my friend. :-)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Product Love Post #4
The jury is still out on this one. But I'm putting it here because I just discovered it, and I have very high hopes.

I've switched back to colouring my hair at home because of the expense. It certainly has been a little disappointing and it's possible I may go back to the salon. However, I'm sticking it out a little longer. One of the problems I'm having is that after about 2 weeks the top of my head is noticably lighter than the rest. It looks ridiculous. It looks like a bad dye job. Since it looks good right after I colour it, it must be fading. I use all the right shampoos and it's winter! We barely see the sun once a month! Not to mention I always wear a hat outdoors. I have no idea why this is happening. Anyway, as I said, I have high hopes for this product.

John Frieda claims his "Luminous Color Glaze" will: "infuse hair with a hint of natural-looking color while imparting multi-dimensional shine and soft, luxurious texture". After you shampoo and condition, you apply the colour glaze like a shampoo. You leave it in for 3 minutes and rinse. That's it.

I've only used it once, and the box does say that the effect builds up over two or three uses. I only applied it to the roots and top of my head, but I actually noticed how that part of my hair looked shinier--I also did notice that my colour still looked good now that we're into the second week. I'll be sure to do all of my hair the next time. We'll see!

If you're interested, you can visit the John Frieda site for more information. The product comes in shades of brown, blonde and red.