side table refinishing

Okay, I’m going to admit, after my success in furniture painting with my back porch and my entry way cabinet, I’ve started looking around my house trying to figure out what to work on next.

A few months ago I had decided that it was time to update our bedroom.  I’ve never been one to put a lot of effort or cost into my bedroom as it’s just never seemed necessary.  A bedroom is a place to sleep, not entertain.  However, now that we live in a bungalow, I’ve started thinking more about how our bedroom looks, especially when I don’t remember to shut the door before company comes over.

The change in thinking started when I found our headboard.  Fabric covered and rivet filled, it was lovely and definitely an inspiration for wanting to have the rest of the room match it’s prettiness.   I started looking around and realized that none of our bedroom furniture matched, but with a little DIY, that could all change.  I set my eyes first on my side table as it seemed the most easiest choice for painting.

Boy, was I wrong.

I’ve had this piece for 14 years.  It’s lovely on it’s own, but I wanted my bedroom to be light and airy and this dark wood just no longer cut it.

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I decided to use two colours, white for the bottom and grey for the top.  I gave the entire piece a good sanding because there were years of built of wax all over it.  After sanding, I wiped it all down to make sure it was clean and got to work.  I started with a sponge brush but ended up using a soft bristled small paint brush.  I began with using Americana, Multi-Surface Satin in Cotton Ball on the base, but it quickly became apparent that this paint just wasn’t going to cut it.

Three coats in, I was starting to regret ever beginning this piece at all.

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I decided to leave the base for a while and started to work on the top of the table.  I switched to Americana Satin Enamels in Grey Taupe and went back to my sponge brush for application.  I found I had the same problem with covering as I had on the base.  It just wasn’t covering well and was streaking.

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I’m not sure what went wrong, if I should have sanded the piece even better or maybe chose a different type of paint.  But I decided I just needed to plow through this piece to get it finished and switched up the base paint to chalk paint.  Chalk paint has a great reputation for covering quickly and easily so I crossed my fingers and hoped it would work.  I ended up using Americana Chalky paint in Everlasting and was happy to see that it was doing  a much better job covering it up.  The top I ended up lightly sanding and repainting a few times before I finally felt like it was covered well.  Finally, I topped the piece with several coats of Americana decor Satin Varnish.

In the end, this piece was a pain and took way to long to finish.  But, after putting it back into my bedroom and seeing how lovely it looked, it made it all worthwhile.

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flood clean up

It’s been 10 months since our basement flooded and I’m finally starting to feel like the end of the renovation is in sight.  We still have a lot to do, but going downstairs no longer feels like were entering a dark and scary cave.

When the flood was happening and I stood at the top of our stairs looking down at the rushing water that was filling our house, I just kept thinking of the water and how much damage it was going to do.  What I wasn’t thinking of was this:

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This, my friends, is what happens when a water main breaks under a sidewalk and floods your house and property.  Not only does it bring gallons upon gallons of water into your house, but mud and gravel.  The power of the water literally lifted our driveway up, bent in our garage door and not to mention, filled our basement with mud.  When we went home the day after the flood I wanted to cry when I went downstairs.  Everything was filthy and covered in mud and I just kept walking around in tears thinking this will never, ever get clean.

At the start of the demo, when they realized there was asbestos and couldn’t continue without a proper abatement, our rec room truly did resemble a cave.

 

 

 

After firing our second contractor (just dealing with the demolition of the rec room!) my Husband, Jay, decided to take matters into his own hands and do this rebuild on this own.

Except, he’s never done anything like this before.

We started by cleaning, cleaning and cleaning like never before.  We purchased a power washer and set to work washing away the final layers of mud that the demolition crew didn’t scrape up with their shovels.  We used just a basic grey concrete paint to give the floors a fresh look.   We knew we’d have to paint the floors again after the walls were completed but we just needed for it to feel cleaner and fresher and much less depressing.

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In the summer, Jay researched a product that seems to be a basement renovators dream.  He found these panels that include framing, insulation and drywall in one.  We decided to give it a shot.  The price was comparable to buying all the items separately, and considering Jay had never built a room before, it seemed like a gentle way of easing into this renovation.

Next he installed the panels which were as simple as the reviews stated.  Sure, it took some time to do it, but it was much faster then framing and installing insulation and drywall separately.  We did have to do some framing in the interior parts of the basement, but at a much smaller scale then the outer walls, it didn’t feel too intimidating.

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We’ve started the new electrical work and painting the ceiling.  We decided for now to leave the ceiling exposed because we know eventually we want to split the rec room up into two rooms, we’re just not sure how we’re going to configure this yet.  Instead of using a paint sprayer, Jay has been rolling the paint on and using a paint brush for the small spots.  It’s not perfect, but for a first coat it’s looking pretty good.

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There’s still so much that needs to happen, but it’s finally starting to feel close to being done.  At the very least, I’m just happy it’s clean again.

2019 Disney Parks Moms Panel!

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If you’re a Disney Loving Mom like I am, then you know that the application for the 2019 Disney Parks Moms Panel is happening this week.  I’ve been waiting for this week since I first saw that the application process would begin on September 5th.  Trying not to overthink it, I decided to wait until mid-way through the process and then submit my application.

Today was the day!  I logged in this morning and mentally prepared myself to give no more then 1 hour for the process.  I’ve heard rumors that up to 10,000 people apply each year and didn’t want to invest too much time into it to only be crushed if I didn’t make it through.  The questions were a lot easier then I was expecting and the only struggle I found as keep each answer under 100 words.  100 words!  I can use that up in just an introduction!

When I began planning our first Walt Disney Resort vacation, two years ago, I became obsessed.  There’s so many options and things to consider that my research lasted hours a week (sometimes a day!) until I really felt that I understood the inside and outs of each of the various resorts and parks.  The perks of each resort, the tricks to getting the best table service reservation and the in and outs of having the least amount of wait times per ride, I figured out it all.  Over the past two years I’ve happily planned several friends Disney trips, pulling out calendars and spreadsheets to help them pick the best days for each park, giving them tips for getting into and through the parks and making sure that the vacations were amazing.  I even spent two weeks waking up at 6am each day to try to get a reservation at a very hard to get restaurant for my friends daughter (I did it!).  I’ve often have people suggest I should go into Disney Trip planning as a career, but quickly shoot down that suggestion that I love it so much I’d never want to get paid for it because then it becomes a job!  Being a Disney Panel Mom would just give me an excuse for continuously researching and keeping up to date on Disney news.

The thank you trip that they give to you and your family?  Just a perk!  Now excuse me while I head back to the Disney World site and plan yet another make believe vacation for my family!

 

 

My (not so) new entry way cabinet

When I was 18, my parents were in the market for a new house.  It was the summer after I had just finished high School and with lots of time on my hands, I went with my Mom to look at potential houses.  When we entered the basement of the house we ended up buying, I instantly fell in love with a cabinet that was tucked away in a corner.  I was talking to my Mom about how much I liked it and joked with the realtor that if we do buy the house, maybe could she just throw a blanket over the cabinet so the current owners would leave it behind.  To my luck, the owners nephew had been in the basement at the time cleaning and packing up.

Low and behold, on closing day we got the keys and went to inspect and clean the house to get ready to move in, my Mom called me from the basement to come down and see that the only thing that was left behind, was my cabinet.  This piece, although scratched and stained has been a well loved staple furniture piece in every house I’ve lived in.  It’s been a craft cabinet, a toy cabinet and most recently, it sits in my main entrance and houses hats and mitts and dog leashes and is a great place for dropping a purse or keys when coming home.  But, I finally admitted that after 25 years, this cabinet needed some well deserved TLC.

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The first thing I did was removed all the hardware.  I love the look of the original hardware, but I wasn’t sure if it was going to work with the new look I was going for.  I carefully removed the hinges and latch and placed them in a baggy to keep safe until I fully decided what to do with them.  Next, I gave the entire piece a light sanding.

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The original trim was cracked and broken since I first got the cabinet.  For 24 years I kept meaning to replace the trim and the time had finally come.  I bought a piece of quarter wood and measured (not so carefully it seems!), cut and nailed it into place with finishing nails.  Because the cut was off, I used some wood putty to fill in the spaces and after it dried, sanded it down to make it smooth (more or less).

Then came the fun part!  I used the same paint that I used on the table in my porch transformation, American Satin Enamels in Natural Beige.  At first I thought I could get away using just the left over paint from my porch renovation, but I ended up having to buy another tub for $8.00 (thank you for 50% off coupons!)  It took about three coats to get the piece fully covered without any of the wood or knots showing through.  The top was a bit trickier as I knew I wanted it to be a different, darker colour, but wasn’t sure what exactly I wanted.  I started out with buying American acrylic paint in Cranberry Wine, but it came out too country kitchen for my taste.  I ended up adding some Americana acrylic pain in Black and it came out a dark plum colour which suits my home much better.   In the end I ended up using three small 2fl oz bottles of paint at $2.50 each to cover the entire top (2 in Cranberry Wine and 1 in Black).  I finished it off with two coats of leftover Americana DuraClear Satin Varnish to give it a hard surface and keep it from scratching.

In the end I decided I didn’t want to use the original hardware as the piece looked so fresh and clean I couldn’t bring myself to put back the decades old, rusted hinges.  I ended up searching through a few box home improvement stores before finding the perfect hinges and knobs.  The hinges were a great price at just under $4.00 each pair.  The knobs were a bit more of a splurge of $8.00 each, but I was saving so much money by re-purposing furniture we already owned, I was okay with it. My husband pre-drilled some holes for me (power tools are not my friends) and then I screwed the hardware into place. The end result, although not perfect (I didn’t sand the edges as well as I could have and there were a few cracks in the wood that I should have filled) its a huge improvement over the cabinet that I’ve loved for the past 24 years.

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I love how it looks under my mini gallery wall in our main entrance.  It’s not brand new, but it looks brand new to me and all for under $40.00, which can’t be beat.

This amazing thing

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When I was 24 I decided that I needed an adventure. I quit my job (which turned into a leave of absence when my boss wouldn’t accept my resignation) and cashed in my RRSP’s to buy a plane ticket and apartment rental for Paris.

Paris!

This had been my dream since I was a little girl.  To stand on the steps of the Notre Dame wearing a long floral skirt, eating an ice cream and just breathing in Parisian life.  It was everything I’d hoped for and after a few hiccups at the start, truly was the most magical trip of my life.  As corny and cliche as it sounds, spending a month in Paris truly did change my life.

About half way through the trip I decided I needed to visit the Eiffel Tower.  Not just visit, but climb.  I mean, why fly all the way to one of the worlds most famous landmarks to just take the elevator to the top.

I started off fast, I was excited and finally doing what I’d dreamed of doing for years.  But, three-quarters of the way up it hit me; the Eiffel Tower is really high.  I stopped.  I tried to slow my breathing.  I seriously considered turning around and heading back down the stairs and buying a ticket for the elevator.  But, at that exact moment, two young British school boys came up, talking to each other, beside me.  One turned to his friend and said “I don’t think I can go any further”.  The second little boy stopped and looked at his friend and replied “You can do this.  You have to do this.  Don’t you want to look back at your life and say that you did this amazing thing?”

And.  He was right.  I did!  And I took a deep breath and replied “Yes I do!” and marched right past them to the top.  I arrived sweating and out of breath, but I climbed that tower and stood at the top looking out over the most beautiful city in the world.

I think of this moment of my life often.  Every time life gets hard.  Every time I think, I can’t do this anymore.  Because I do.  I want to one day look back at my life and say that I did this amazing thing.

Porch transformation

A few months ago a friend of mine was telling me about her newest Pinterest obsession, the She Shed.  I’d never heard of this new trend and she happily showed me many pins of gorgeous sheds filled with sheers and cushions and inviting colours that you could easily imagine spending hours just sitting in.

I was hooked.  I’d been thinking about our back porch and how something needed to be done with it.  My Husband has been working hard on our basement and I needed my own little project to claim.  I decided that the porch was a project that I could really enjoy and hopefully spend very little money on.

I spend a lot of time in our back porch from Spring until Fall.  It’s a small space but fits nicely a few pieces of mismatched furniture that we scrounged up from other places in the house.

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I knew I needed to start with the rug and window coverings.  It was a lot of blue for my taste and I felt like everything just kind of blended in together.  I also hate blinds, especially beige blinds.   I kept my eye out for sales and luckily the timing was perfect as most stores were starting to have end of season sales.  I found a grey indoor outdoor rug on sale for half price and a couple of pairs of simple curtain sheers on clearance.  I picked up a few basic curtain rods and for a total of $80.00 I was off to a great start.

Next up was the furniture itself.  The table was our old kitchen table that I bought at a used furniture store for $40.00 two years ago.  But, in oak wood, it didn’t give the She Shed vibe I was looking for.  After some research, I decided to paint it using Americana satin paint in beige.  I’m not great at painting and it seemed the easiest furniture paint I found to work with.  Also, it’s readily available at my local craft store that I happened to have a 50% off coupon for.  I gave the table a light sanding and wipe down and then quickly got to work.

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As promised, it went on quick and easy.  I did struggle at the beginning finding the right brush.  At first I used a soft bristle brush I bought at the craft store, but It left a lot of streaks.  I dug through my craft bin and found a sponge style brush and it worked much better.  Two coats covered the entire table nicely and I finished it off with three coats of Americana acrylic varnish in satin.  This little project cost only $15.00 thanks to the coupons I had for the paints.

Next I moved onto the love seat.  This is one of my favourite pieces that was actually an outdoor metal glider set that was left behind from the previous owner.  Originally I just bought outdoor cushions to place upon it and ignored the hunter green paint of the metal, but that just wouldn’t do for this porch makeover.  I dragged it outside, scrubbed it slightly with a wire brush and gave it a few coats using Tremclad spray paint in white.  It took two cans of spray paint to cover (which may have just been because I’m a terrible spray painter) which ended up costing a total of $16.00.

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Lastly I found a beige candle for my candle holder and an extra white fan we had in storage.  Putting it all together, I may have actually sighed once I had everything all set up.  It’s not a She Shed in the traditional sense, but it’s perfect for me.

The entire project cost $111.00 which was a great price to spend on a space that I spend so much time in.  Coffee in the mornings really does taste better in a pretty porch.

Taco Casseole

One of my favourite meals is one that often finds it’s way into our dinner rotation.  It’s filling, full of veggies and protein and well, delicious.  It was a recipe I found years ago but kept tweaking it and changing it until it came to what I call it now, Taco Casserole.

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It’s not very involved but it looks like it is.  My husband and I both love it and I always feel afterwards full of energy.  Now, that could all be in my head, but I’ll take it.

Taco Casserole (serves a generous 4)

1 package of extra lean ground turkey (aprox .600kg)
1 can of black beans
1 small jar of salsa
1 green pepper
3 green onion
1 tomato
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
spices (optional)

prep

Brown the ground turkey in a frying pan until just cooked.

While the ground turkey is browning, chop up the green pepper, tomato and green onion and set aside.  Go back to the ground turkey and add some spices.  You could use a package of taco seasoning, but I prefer to make a homemade taco spice that I found here: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/46653/taco-seasoning-i/

Add the black beans, salsa and spices to the browned ground turkey and keep on the element until it’s warmed and mixed through.

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Once it’s heated, add the turkey/beans/salsa mixture to a casserole dish and add to the top of the mixture layers of chopped green pepper, tomato and green onion.  Sprinkle 1 cup of shredded cheese on top.  Place, uncovered, in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes.  Or, until the cheese gets all bubbly and yummy looking.

It probably serves about 6, but in my house it serves 3-4 depending on how hungry my Husband is.  It’s a great dish for dinner but even better as leftovers for lunch the next day!

I like to top it with fresh chopped tomatoes and shredded lettuce, but my Husband enjoys it plain as is.

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If you’re following Weight Watchers one of the best things is that it’s made with all 0 point foods.   The cheese is the only addition of points to the meal so you can use as much or as little to get it to the points you’d like to use.

The recipe above is based on 4 Freestyle points per serving.

Enjoy!

Taco Casseole finished