Monday, February 28, 2011

Scrapbook Corner

Here's this weeks layout for my digital loving friends!
I decided to post it early in the week as the rest of it will be spent finishing up the kitchen. We painted the rest of the doors this morning, and they will get a final touch up and inspection tonight. They should be on by Wednesday...and I'm looking forward to having the snack cupboard back behind closed doors! Out of sight, out of mind, and my kids have been sneaking snacks for two weeks now! You wouldn't believe the stash I found downstairs under the couch...empty wrappers and empty Tupperware dishes. Shame on you Brandon! :)
My arborite should be here this week, and then Mike will be busy making the countertop. We decided to wrap the tile up and onto the bay window sill ledge, as it's two feet deep and will add a bit of focal interest to the window area. Speaking of tile, it has pushed me over my budget, as I knew it would with the discontinued tile I had my eye on sold on me. I need 30 tiles, at $9.99 each, and therefore my budget stands at $595.68. That is still a great budget for a quickie kitchen reno, so I'm not being too hard on myself.

I suppose I'll have to get busy and scrap a layout for Jacelyn...I see I'm getting behind! We are loving our laptop more now than when we got it 6 months ago. It was so slow and it was very aggravating to us to get our work done at a snail's pace. I thought it may be the RAM, but being brand new it had 6 GB of free space. I finally called Sasktel, and yes, it was our old modem that needed replacing! Now our computer speed is faster than the norm for our area, and that's just fine with us. Now we can actually get projects done without cursing the day we bought the laptop.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Night Notes...

What a weekend for us...
we drove down to Outlook and picked up Brandon after his 4 day stay with grandma and grandpa, and the trip down there also entailed two games of curling on TSN. The kids were a bit bored with the adults into the curling, although Mike and his dad did play bumper pool with them a few times to make it up to them!
We then met up with dad and Sam for a quick cup of coffee and so we could say our goodbyes to them...they are moving east to Nova Scotia and gosh only knows when we will see them again. The kids were excited to see them and made cards for them to put on their fridge in their new house.
We got to talking about music, and we have some common ground in our fondness for eclectic genres and folk/singer & songwriter roots. I told them of my love for Sarah Harmer, an Ontario singer/songwriter who is also an environmental activist.

In fact, her song "Escarpment Blues" is about a quarry that was propositioned to be built on the Niagara Escarpment in Burlington, which was her home town. She wrote the song and also did a documentary which was released in 2005, some of the scenes of which were used for her rough cut video posted above.
Her story really reached out to me, and that's when I fell in love with her music, which I first heard on CBC 2 radio (plays nonstop in my kitchen, much to Mike's disgruntlement).
Here are my two favorite songs, and I hope you listen to them and broaden your musical vocabulary, like I did and still love to do.

p.s. : here's a cheer for the Saskatchewan women's curling team, who defeated Team Canada tonight and are now the new Team Canada! Take that, Jones, and enjoy your side of crow.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Ahh Coppelia...

off to the ballet
The ballet last night was fabulous! We both really enjoyed it.
We got all dolled up for the evening, and set off for Lloydminster early enough for supper. Mmmm McDonalds (blech). But I let her pick...I should have known! Then we shopped for a bit and headed over to the auditorium.
I was worried that Jacelyn would be bored or shiffting around alot in her seat, with no dialogue to help her understand what was going on. But the performers were absolutely wonderful at putting emotion and expression into every move they made, and that alone kept her eyes glued to the stage. The looks on their faces and body language really kept us entertained for the entire 2 1/2 hours.

a snapshot of the dancers onstage...Jorgen's interpretation of the ballet used huge mobile geometric props that were the 'houses' and buildings of the village square
When I first began wondering about Jacelyn's level of understanding, I peeked at her out of the corner of my eye to see her reaction. I caught her smiling all the time, and she asked questions throughout about what was going on onstage. Not only that, but she noticed what was happening side stage, not just center stage, and asked questions about that, too. And of course, with classical music playing the entire time (in fact the performer's actions were timed so perfectly to each note), she had questions about that as well, like why is there no singing? She's used to Disney movies, I guess! :)
The ballet was also bittersweet for the performers, as Coppelia will be the prima ballerina's last ballet, and in fact March 27th will be her farewell performance. She is retiring after 16 years of playing primary roles for Jorgen Canada. It was nice to be a part of that.

This classical piece of Leo Delibes'  "Coppelia" was performed live in 1870 in Paris during a performance of Coppelia. It was a beautiful piece of music, and brought tears to my eyes during times, especially when caught up in the emotion of the dancing onstage. With the opening of the first few bars I knew I would love this selection...I could (and often do) listen to classical music all day. I make Mike listen when I'm working in the garage...I don't think he appreciates Mozart or Chopin the same as I do. In fact, when a particular piece came on, he exclaimed "What the hell is this" and started to laugh. I looked at him and said.."this is Canon in D...our wedding song. I walked down the aisle to you to this song."  That shut him up.

I would go to another Jorgen performance again in a heartbeat, and will be watching for another in the future.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Day 10 Kitchen Reno

After two days of doing nothing (winter storm prevented Mike from going to work and picking up foam rollers until yesterday), I was back at it this morning, vacuuming the dust from the cabinet doors and priming. Instead of putting the second coat of primer on late this afternoon, I had a quick coffee break with mom until supper, and then went to the hockey game with Mike at 7:30. Needless to say, Mike and I just crawled into bed, 12:40 am; silly me with the laptop to blog the day's events!

Jacelyn is taste testing the marshmallow icing we made for our cake for dessert!
 Tomorrow I'll do what I can during the day, but my laundry is calling my name, and Jacelyn and I are getting ourselves fancy for the Ballet I bought tickets for last month. It is "Ballet Jorgen's Coppelia", and we are very excited to see it. It is about a dollmaker who makes a life-sized doll, and a villager sees it and falls in love with it. The storyline sounds wonderful, and it is a ballet that was written in 1815, and has been performed in France ever since!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Scrapbook Corner

Quick page craftyscraps
elements: shabby princess, 2ps, raspberry road designs

I thought I'd better slip in a new layout for my scrapbook lovers out there!
I've been so busy in the kitchen that I haven't done any scrapping at all...but I finished this one at Valentine's Day and had it saved up for such a time.
I found a new digital scrapbooking site that is really cute...RaspberryRoad Designs.
So a few things came from there, and the rest I gathered from my files...sometimes I don't know where the stuff I used comes from as I have a few files named after what they Embellishments, or Frames. I don't always save them using the name of the site they came from, so if any designers stumble across my blog I hope they will forgive my lack of recognition to their designs!
Happy Scrapping! And don't forget to check out that website...lots and lots of sweet things to download for free!

QP: crafty scraps
elements: 2ps, digital freebies, "lips" 'twitterpated' by Cheri Mask

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Day 7 Kitchen Reno

What a great day today! We finished up the first half of the doors, and had them up by 5:30pm. Mike left to catch the hockey game tonight and I'll lay out the rest of the doors and start sanding them.
As you can see, we kept the old brass hinges for a few reasons:
1. they are 30 years old and are obsolete
2. I will be on budget if we reuse them.

They don't look horrible, but if I was redoing the kitchen from scratch I wouldn't use dark hinges with white cabinets. Mike did talk me into knobs, though, so I will be looking for some soon. I agreed with him that knobs will slow down any dark or dirty markings that may occur on the white doors. We think we've settled on glass knobs, as they won't stand out like a sore thumb on the white background.

Either of these would be nice, and I will go tomorrow to see what Home Depot has to offer.
So far we really like it, but it's very white, and I'm looking forward to toning it down with the new counter and tile.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Day 6 Kitchen Reno

25 down, 15 to go...
Cloud White...after staring at it all day long I get snow-blind
Once again it's after 10:30 pm and I'm just sitting down, but at least today went without a hitch and was pretty relaxed compared to the last few days. I've painted 25 cabinet doors and drawers, and I have 15 more doors to go, including sanding and basically starting from scratch with those last 15. It's looking good, and it's so bright in the kitchen. I can't even notice the ugly black slate floor, which was always the first thing I saw in the kitchen. It was always so dark in there, with so few windows and the cabinets being such a dark brown stain. Add the black floor with the cabinets and the light was just sucked out of the room. Since changing the floor wasn't an option for me (I'm holding off for a few years on that major expense because the entire main floor needs updated flooring), it had to be the cabinets. And we are more than half way there!! Yay!
I can't wait until we get the counter tops on...the tile will be another weekend project and I'm getting antsy to get it finished before I begin watching kids.
On a different note, today was a day from HELL with the kids! Only one day into Winter Break and they were dangling from our last nerve! It all began at 7:30 with the kids fighting over a toy in the hallway. Seriously, I thought, on Saturday, my one day to sleep in until the baby woke? Which she did, of course, with them shouting in the hall. I hate school holidays. Unless one of them is at grandma's overnight.
That being said, we are shipping Brandon off to Mike's mom and dad's in Outlook Tuesday night, and we are heading down on Friday to stay the weekend and pick him up. Ahhh it will be bliss for those 4 days. I'll be able to get my work done and then some! Of  course I will miss him like crazy, which is good too as it will make us appreciate each other a bit more than we do at the moment.
I have my husband back after two weeks of him having his partner's phone forwarded to him while he and his wife were on vacation. Usually when his partner goes on holiday, Mike is a bit busier than normal but he can keep up. This time was more hectic, and it was hard watching him struggle with his and his partner's clients. I reminded him a few times how much he loves his career. And at the end of the day things always worked out. With his partner back now, Mike had a more relaxing day. It's too bad it was somewhat ruined with the kids' constant bickering. I sent him off to the hockey game tonight so he could have a bit of a break.
Now I'm sitting here, with Mike sleeping (snoring too) beside me, drinking tea, and I have the entire house to myself! I know I should go to bed but as soon as I close my eyes it's morning, and I have to do it all over again. So I'm trying to postpone that for as long as I can! I always love this time of my day, when it's quiet, and I can peek in on the little sh*ts, I mean sweethearts, and fall head over heels for them all over again. Until tomorrow anyways.

One more coat tomorrow and these babies are ready to hang.
 Good night everyone...I think I'll watch a bit of SNL and drink more tea!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Day 5 Kitchen Reno

An up close picture of one of the cabinets
Today was a much more relaxed day, and after 3 Advil and a half an hour of sitting with the heating pad on my lower back I was ready to rock this morning. It didn't last however, and i found myself fading fast just before lunch time. So I fed Charlie, put her for a nap at 12:30, and crawled into bed myself for a two hour siesta. I woke up refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the job. Mike came home and sanded the doors, and started to spray them with primer.
That's where it went all wrong.

Mike spraying the cabinets...well, half of them anyways.
 The sprayer kept leaking all over the doors, and that really upset me as the finish would never be super smooth if it continued to do that. We fiddled with it and decided to scrap that idea and do them by hand. I was so unimpressed. More to the point, I want the doors, which I will have to see everyday, to be perfect. Which means (unfortunately for Mike) that I will have to take extra time to get them done if they are going to be right. I asked him to come and help me tonight by getting him to run the paintbrush in the grooves of the doors ahead of me, and I would follow behind with my roller. I watched him start slopping on the paint and hollered: "NO! Be Careful!!" I felt so bad...I scared him for one, and I didn't want to seem ungrateful for his help, which I did really need so my primer wouldn't dry on me. So we worked together and got it done.

 With the paint sprayer setting us back a few days, I won't have the kitchen doors back on as soon as I thought. And Mike is trying to blow my budget out of the water by wanting brushed nickel knobs and new hinges in the same color. While I agree they would be nice (I was just going to re-use the old brass hinges), I would rather be over-budget with my tile choice instead. So I'm not sure who will win this one, but I'll keep you posted on that.
After we are done the two coats of paint on the doors in the above picture, we need to finish the rest of them and a few shelves, pictured below:
the rest of the doors
And that's it for today! I'll get a coat of the paint on before bed, and tomorrow's another day.
Good night all!

Day 4 Kitchen Reno

I'm not going to you didn't hear this from me...I hate painting.
Before you think I'm crazy for taking on this project let me tell you why I hate painting. I'm messy and I get gobs of paint on the floor, in my hair, not to mention the panic I feel when I see how horrible the primer looks on wood. I always have to tell myself over and over again when I'm painting that this is just the beginning stage, it will look great later, etc etc. But I never seem to get over that initial state of panic at the first strokes of the paintbrush. I wish you could just swipe it on and watch in awe as it miraculously looks finished right before your eyes.

My Little Helper

I began this morning at 9:00am, and sat down at 10:22 tonight, stopping in the day for some baby snuggles and supper and a meeting. Other than that I tried to work right through. It paid off in the end, with two coats of primer and one coat of paint. Tomorrow morning I'll give it another go of paint, and tomorrow night (at least with 12 hours of curing time) I'll swipe on a clear coat of varathane. Then my weekend will be filled with sanding and painting the cabinet doors, which will be done with the paint sprayer for a professional look. So far the cabinets look great, as I used a foam roller for a smooth finish, and no brush strokes showing.
Tonight, we got a call from Totem, and we thought our arborite was turns out it is not in stock at the warehouse and we have to wait for up to two weeks to get it. That's ok with us, we weren't set back much, except I can't tile until the countertop is ready. But if that's the worst that could go wrong with this reno, then I'll take it!

2 coats of primer, one coat of paint, two more to go...

I'm also trying out this product I saw on "Cool Tools"'s called Frog Tape, and it proclaimed to make a sharp paint line, with NO paint bleeding. I thought, that's too good to be true, and got a roll to just see if it was true. And it is amazing! I love it! I am a messy painter and paint so many layers on the tape that it always rips on me and my paint lines are never sharp. I make more work for myself with all the touch ups I have to do. I peeled away the tape today and there was no bleeding whatsoever. My new favorite paint tool, to be sure. But, at $9.99 per 60 foot roll, I won't be using it too often!
And now I'm off to bed. I'm sooo tired, but it's worth it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Day 3 Kitchen Reno

Today I spent half a day in the city choosing paint color and ordering arborite for our new counter tops. I also stopped by Home Depot and scoped out the tile selection there, as my tile deal I was holding out for was sold. So I spotted a sheet of 2x2 Travertine tiles in sheets of 12x12 and picked one up to bring home to Mike.
Then I ordered my arborite from Totem, and was surprised to learn that it would be here by Friday! It didn't take me long at all to pick out a swatch that I liked, and even though there were hundreds to choose from, I was drawn to the color of it. Anyone who has built their own counters or had to pick out something they like from countless samples knows about the different sheens and textures that arborite has to offer. My mom was with me today, and was a help to me in choosing what I wanted, as it was easy to be distracted by the other colors. But I kept coming back to the Venetian Gold had the warm tones I was looking for rather than the boring dullness that beige and taupe can have. And I hate boring.
And lastly was the paint choice for the cabinets, and I thought that would be easy as I was going with white. Well, did you know that there were about 100 different colors of white shades, and that was just at Benjamin Moore? It was insane. But I wanted a warm white, that much I did know, and I have a system when I choose paint colors to make my decision making a bit easier. I take three swatches, lay them side by side, and pick one that I like the best out of the three. I do this process of elimination throughout the selected swatches, and come to my color of choice. I went with Cloud White, and when I brought samples home of all of my purchases of the day, I was very happy.
So it is all coming together, and I sanded all of my face frames after I got home. I will spend the next few days priming and painting the face frames, and on the weekend Mike and I plan to spray the cabinet doors. I chose a super sticky latex primer that has acrylic in it, which is a type of plastic, and with two coats of paint and a varathane over top, we will be in business!
Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Day 2 Kitchen Reno

Cabinet doors removed..I had to organize the interiors before I could expose them!
Well, for day 2 I guess I got enough done in the kitchen. I took down all the doors, drawers, and European hinges (which were gross and really need to be cleaned). I wanted to do more, but am limiting myself to doing the major stuff while Charlie is sleeping, and the loud stuff like sanding when Mike is home and can watch the kids in the house while I'm in the garage.
I am coloring my roots and grouting my bathroom tile right about multi-tasking! Then it'll be off to dance this afternoon and then to a meeting after supper. So I suppose sanding can wait until tonight! I'm so nervous about the whole project but am determined to get it right. Especially now that I will be babysitting sooner that expected: March 7th or so - I have no choice now but to hurry up and get it done. It's now or never so wish me luck!

If Debbie can do it, so can I!

Filling the holes left by the ugly hardware

Yesterday I took the bull by the horns and gave into the urge to rip apart my kitchen and refinish my cabinets. After years of staring at it from my spot on the living room couch, I finally decided to jump into the project headfirst.
I have to blame the home renovation shows for my gusto, and a particular lady gets the brunt of the blame: Debbie Travis. She is my hero. When she got an idea in her head, she couldn't get it out, and didn't let anyone tell her she couldn't bring to life what she envisioned. And when her friends first heard about the exciting things she could do with a paintbrush, they begged her to paint their livingrooms and she juggled motherhood, running her house, and starting a fledgling career all on her own. In fact, her babies slept in their car seats in the car while she shot her first episodes of "The Painted House" in Montreal. She ran back and forth between house and car all day long.
Now, while I don't particularly recommend this, and I would never do it (I'm not THAT ambitious), I admire her guts.
The old microwave cabinet that was a catch all and an eye sore to me
So if Debbie Travis could do it, so can I!
That's what I told Mike last night, when he came home to see part of the cabinets tore off the walls (by myself, with the help of Mr. Sledgehammer!). And the holes left by the hardware that were filled and ready to be sanded.
I know it's a big job, with 28 cabinet doors and 10 drawers to refinish, not to mention the face frames. On top of that, I can't just stop there...I picked out my new arborite for the countertops, and tile for the backsplash.
My budget is $500.00. Any of you who know me know that I can make that $500 stretch and stretch. I've got a lead on discontinued tile that is the exact color I want, and Mike can get the arborite at a discount contractor's store in Saskatoon. I'll keep my blog updated as I move along with the project.
So it's set...and my cabinets are awaiting the sander's loving touch!
*The Before Shot*

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Scrapbook Corner

Ride 'em Cowgirl! One of the only times I was ever on a horse, as I really only love them from the ground (people who know me know I'm extremely afraid of heights). This was taken in 1990, when I was 10 or so. My aunt sent me a photo CD that she made, with scanned pictures from grandma and grandpa's courtship all the way through my mom and her sister's growing years and mine as well. It was a great present to receive, as pictures are priceless to me, and scanning hundreds of pictures would have taken an obscene amount of time! I've been going through them and making up scrap pages with them, so look for more in the future! It's so fun to look at old pictures and reflect on time gone by.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

From Computers to Toys!

Happy Weekend!
Last night I completed the transformation of our computer/scrapbook room to a new playroom. Why? I decided to take the plunge and begin watching children in my home.
It wasn't an easy decision to fact, we've been hemming and hawing for almost 2 years about it. But the simple fact is that we could benefit from extra income and, while it's nice to raise children in a small town, the job opportunities for me are quite limited.
I have a degree in Childhood Psychology...translation: school student counselor, and also one as a Teacher's Assistant. Both are basically un-usable in town, as with three kids its too hard to be on the schedule as 'casual', and have had to say no too many times to last-minute phone calls. I applied so many times that the Superintendent and I knew each other's first names. But the job was always just out of my reach, due to other applicants having more experience than me.
After I had Charlie, I found being at home a godsend, and was happy that I was a stay at home mom, able to take my kids to any function they had going on after school. And I was holding out for a career, not just a job, as my own standards for myself just wouldn't let me pack groceries or work in a store downtown. Not only that, but I knew I'd have to get a pretty good job in order to pay for the daycare for my own kids. Without a career opportunity I knew I wouldn't be able to justify paying for someone to watch them.
That brings me back to daycare in my own home. I have done it before, as I was a nanny in Moose Jaw for a family of three busy boys until I got married and moved to Lloydminster. There I watched kids in my home for a year or so there, and had 5 at a time on some days! So, being as it was nothing new to me, I decided to jump in with both feet and take it on again!
And while it wasn't my first choice as a way to make a bit of extra money, I am happy with the decision, as it fits my lifestyle right now.
Before we did anything to the room, it was an unfinished sun room, with a gravelled floor 3 feet down to the ground. We added new windows on two of the walls, and Mike insulated the entire room and built a drop floor. We re salvaged some flooring and then Mike mudded, taped, and painted.
Last night I took apart the computer, packed up my scrapbooking supplies (*sniff sniff*) and began to set up the room. Jacelyn squealed in delight and raced down to get Charlie this morning, saying "Look Charlie look! Come see the new playroom!" It was as if she'd never seen the toys in it before! All I did was move them from one room to the other. :)

Jacelyn sitting at the computer.
Toys in the playroom

I love these Home Depot shelves, by Martha Stewart. We now own 3 in the house!

The girls are watching Toy Story 3 on the new TV in the playroom.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Scrapbook Corner

This week I wanted to do a page up for my Uncle James, who passed away last April. I had done one in 2003 for my Aunt Pam, his wife, after she passed away from cancer.
I scanned her page in the computer after I was done, as I emailed it on to my cousin.
After I was finished James' page, I stared at it for a while, not quite happy with it for some reason.
I realized it was because I still can't believe he's gone, and that I'm still grieving the loss of him in our lives.

It made me think of his kids, still all living in Taber, AB, and all of his grandkids who will miss out on the opportunity of knowing their grandpa. And with Aunt Pam already gone for almost 8 years already, I know that my cousins are keenly missing the presence of Uncle James. I couldn't imagine losing both of my parents in the span of 7 years.
So this page is for them, and for remembering the good times. How can you not when you look at this picture? To me, it is how I'll always remember him.
When I went to his viewing, and saw him laying so peacefully, like he was asleep and would grasp my hand as I held his, he looked the same as he always did.
Big and strong, and with a half smile forever on his face.
Yes this picture is the perfect one to show the world who he was. And will always be in my heart.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Friday, again

Fridays feel like Tuesdays to me.
This is probably because I don't have a job out in the public to remind me what day it is.
So when Friday is upon me, I always feel stunned that the week has gone by so fast...and isn't that what we grew up hearing? That time goes by so quickly, and we shouldn't wish so much to grow up fast as we will all too soon? How true. Sad, but true, as any parent can attest to.
 Charlie will be two, and I am feeling the time whizz by suddenly. I decided it was because poor Mike is, as I type, sitting in the doctor's office, under the scalpel, getting the old snip-er-oo, and the decision to not have any more kids is being finalized.
Whenever my babies turned two I got an urge to hold and care for a baby once again. I don't really know why, as the hospital stay always annoys me (really, you have NO pride whatsoever once you waddle in the door in labor), the sleepless nights are for the birds, and I finally have my nipples back to myself.
But at least my options were open. And while I am feeling nostalgic, I am glad it's being done to him, and not to me. Selfish and so true. Poor guy. He's so brave.
Last night, as he modeled his new jock strap for me, the thought hit me that this is it: our family of 5 is complete and the circle is closed.

I was able to get Charlie's comforter done yesterday, and she loves how soft the mink fabric is.