Two weeks ago I actually went out in the garden, raked all the leaves, pulled weeds, and transplanted some of the day lilies so they are in smaller bunches. I was covered in bug bites and a bit sunburnt on the shoulders by the end of it, but I was proud that I went out before the weeds got crazy and tidied things up.
Nice and clean front garden - you can see all the little patches of green on the top right - they used to be two big clumps - now growing as 6 smaller day lily clumps which will hopefully not take over the sidewalk this year.
View from the porch
Something obviously needs to be done about the doormat - the penguins are now melting in this heat, and the porch itself needs a really good clean. Also needs to find some flowers to put in with the birch logs.
You can see behind Matt that the back gardens are another story, although more in bloom today after a week in the sunshine than they were when this picture was taken. But there is still a pile of wood and tarps there too...
I just looked back at the "House Projects of 2011" post I did last December, and WOW - we did a lot last year. We had moved in mid-February and did the living room, dining room, master bedroom, basement office, and some outdoor gardening. This year I thought about what we did, and most of it was done in the past few months. I asked Matt "why did we do so little this year?", and he replied "remember that whole 4.5 months when I lived in Vancouver?" - ohhhhhh yes. Now I remember. He came back mid-May and then we were really busy travelling around - a week in Dominican for my brother's wedding, 5 days in Vancouver, and 4 days in NYC. We weren't home for an extended period of time so do any projects until the fall. So what DID we do?
Before - Summer 2011
After - Summer 2012
And the backyard last summer is pretty good too!
Before - sea foam green walls
After - Benjamin Moore Brown Horse
Still needs something on the walls
Before - beige walls
After - Benjamin Moore Gray Owl with White Dove trim
(Painted courtesy of my dad!)
Before - Benjamin Moore Cloud White
After - Benjamin Moore Sea Haze with White Dove trim
Really need some non-Christmas pictures!
The few scary nights of no stair guard
The reconstructed finished product!
Can't believe how bright the stairway looks now!
6. New Furniture & Decor
New dining room table from West Elm
New sofa from West Elm
New bedding and some purple in the bedroom
I don't think I posted this - there is now also a new purple sunset throw at the end of the bed I got at Christmas!
What We Didn't Do? (based on this post from last year)
- Gallery Wall Up the Stairs (although we did just do one in the living room)
- Backyard Entertaining Space (I guess you would have to be around to do work in the summer!)
- Lighting (still need lights for both the upstairs and downstairs hallway, living room (standing, table, overhead)
- Refinish the TV unit (although we did add a back to it a few weeks ago)
**More on 2013 projects coming up this week!**
So remember when I was so happy to finally get my garden all neat and tidy and pretty, you know, the way it looks in this picture way back in June:
Well with travelling a lot in the summer, and teaching summer school, and then eventually just not wanting to fight with it led to the revolt of the weeds. The hot sun killed everything living first, and then for some reason the weeds thrived and started to take over our entire front yard. As of last weekend, I was waiting until dark to open the front door and get the mail...I was that embarrassed. I read an article recently about how bad front yards (along with crazy neighbours) led to poor house sales and bad showings. This makes sense, but then I started to think that the neighbours were also going to revolt against us so something had to be done. The problem was I had no idea where to start. There were so many weeds and I just couldn't imaging pulling them all out. Well, as usual, my husband came to the rescue. So while I cleaned inside and prepped for school on my Labour Day, Matt tackled the evil front yard.
Here's some before and afters from his hard work!
Wow, that was a lot of weed pulling - it was half our garden!
He also pulled out one of my hastas...it was NOT a weed...
Now my herbs don't look like the weeds...
Tamed the Adam's needles and the succulents until next year.
Had to say goodbye to my hydrangeas too - just bought them and they were totally fried...*sigh*
Wow...what a difference.
At least a few of my petunias survived!
Hot, sweaty, covered in dirt, but proud
Oh yeah, and this little cat came to play too!
I shall call him Cocoa, and he will join the street cats along with Marmalade and Butters.
If anyone wants a cat...ours is the street to find one!
Yesterday was more garden work - this time I tackled the backyard so hopefully we can spend some more summer nights with BBQ and wine, music, and some company! Here are some pictures of the day!
Ohhh the winter...so glad it's over!
Early April, when I should have started gardening...wow...
Sunday's disaster after a few thunderstorms
Nothing that a good sweep can't fix!
After a sweep, the porch looks better, so now for the weeding!
Before - bleeding hearts falling over and lots of weeds
After - still floppy, but less weeds
Before - LOTS of weeds
After - no more weeds and some begonias in their proper place
Before - sometimes it's hard to tell weed from plant...but if it's hard to pull out, I assume its meant to be there
After - since it's shady, the soil stayed pretty moist so just a bit of topsoil and mulch to keep it healthy
Before - the corner garden - my climbing vine is quite limp...
After - slightly better - hooked the vine around the fence, at which point it fell down and hit me in the face, soaking me and covering me in dirt...I did not get a photo of that...I now need some rope...
Before - last bit of garden and weed
After - all clean!
Swept, cleaned, weeded, and gardened!
Can't wait to build a wood bench and table to replace the current set
Last little bit of sun for the day through the trees
A few weeks ago I went out to tackle the garden, which in the end meant raking the leaves and turning the soil. That alone took hours and left me with a very painful sunburn, so I was hesistant to get outside again. Luckily 2 weeks ago I was brave and dragged Matt to the nursery to get some topsoil, dark mulch (good choice, Jamie), and some plants. Ended up getting two new hydrangeas (really hoping they flower next year), a hosta, and some annuals - petunuias, geraniums, and begonias, plus some that I don't know the name of (help me out, please, mom), and a planter for the front door. Here are the results, although I will probably have some more pictures this evening after I tackle the backyard and take some pictures of the budding lilies and Adam's needle stalks).
Front little garden - Before
Progress - less leaves
After - added in another hosta and some petunias
Herb garden Before
Progress - transplanted the thyme and rosemary
After - rosemary thrived, thyme died so I replaced it with...ummm...
mom - what are the little purple flowers called again?
Property-dividing garden Before
Progress - pulled out some ground cover I didn't love
After - moved one of the lilies to an empty spot
Main garden Before
Progress - pulled out some of the white and purple ground cover (they will eventually take over if I let them)
After - pulled out more purple ground cover, added in the hydrangeas, and the annual petunias. Also dug a trench at the edge of the gardens to keep the mulch and soil in place and not on the sidewalk!
Side-view of the main garden Before
Progress - white flowers have moved into the Adam's needles so had to out that situation
After - much more lush and healthy
Front porch Before
Front porch After - cleaned off the table and chairs, and added a planter
Little extra details - the petunias of the garden - very cute but not very hardy...we'll see how they do!
The new hydrangeas - they can bloom purple-blue or pink depending on soil acidity
One shot of the backyard planter - the geraniums have since died, but the yellow begonias are still going strong!
Matt calls our garden an "English garden" since it has so many different plants and colours - can you please confirm this, Hope, because to me it is more a mish-mash plant disaster, but I still love it!
Last Sunday I finally had the chance to start on the gardening - it is far from finished but what I did was a start. Mainly pulled out weeds, raked leaves, and tidied up the plants in general. Still need to mix in some fertilizer and topsoil, add some annuals, more weeding, pot some plants and hanging baskets, and water, water, water! Here are some before and afters of the front yard:
Before - front little garden
After - less leaves, but need to get a bush to cover the gas meter!
Before - herb garden
After - herb garden - top is chocolate and ginger mint, middle is german thyme, and bottom is transplanted rosemary that was randomly in the dividing garden (although I really don't remember it there last year!)
Before - front garden - lots of leaves and white mossy plant taking over
*Also, found at least 4 condom wrappers within the mix...what are people doing in my garden???*
After - cleaned up the Adam's needles in the middle, and luckily the day lilies pretty much maintain themselves
Before - another view of the front - the little purple flowers are taking over (they are supposed to just hang over the brick ledge), and the white-flowered mossy patch will eventually be everywhere!
After - cut back the white flower mossy stuff and got rid of a lot of leaves plus turned the soil
Before - middle garden and pathway - doesn't our neighbours' green grass look so much better?
After - pulled out the red ground cover and did a LOT of weeding
Another After - got rid of the gutter leaves and replanted the rosemary in the box above
Here are some more random pictures from the front yard:
Ewww our front porch needs to be cleaned...
This is my fuzzy bee friend
I really need to have kids, that way I can justify running outside screaming "ice cream truck, ice cream truck" without seeming like a crazy person...until then I sulk inside.
Here are some pictures from the backyard - Matt cleaned the shed while I cleaned up the garden. Still need to tidy the stone, add some filler sand/soil for the cracks, and take all the random shed stuff to the dump. Glad to have the backyard space back so we can eat outside and enjoy some BBQ!
Before - sad green plants a few weeks ago
Matt cleaning the shed - very manly with the little watering can
The only somewhat respectable picture that Matt took of me working...the rest were mostly of my butt...can you tell I'm sunburnt yet? (covered my VERY burnt shoulders with two white tank top lines by this point)
Garden cleaned up and the bistro set out! Can't wait to build some bench seating and a coffee table!
Bleeding hearts - these remind me of my grandma - she always had them in her front garden
I always think these buds are going to become flowers but they just become more leaves!
Such a beautiful day, despite our always late-blooming tree above
Oh hello, Georgia, welcome back!
Yesterday I featured some of the major projects of the year, and of course, with all of that, comes plans for the upcoming year. We have a list too daunting to tackle in a year - in fact, it will take multiple years, and lots of money that does not currently exist. Again, a lot of people ask me "what are you going to do when its all done?" - I just laugh and say that it will NEVER be done. I estimate it would take at least 5 years to get everything on our list done, and by that time, we'll probably want a bigger house, and it will all start again. Yes, the projects can be tiring, and straining, and frustrating at times, but they are also fun. I like watching the house evolve and I like that I can work with Matt to design our house. Oh yes, we disagree A LOT, but we have always agreed to not buy or do anything until we both agree on something. I won't ever come home with anything that Matt wouldn't like, and he won't rip out walls or do any handy-work until we've talked. That's how we work and not kill each other when our house is mid-renovation!
Anyway, from the very daunting list, we've pulled a few things we'd like to get done in the next year, and I'll also discuss a few long-term projects that will eventually be addressed...maybe if we win one day through the Heart and Stroke Lottery Calendar my mom bought for us!
1. Paint, Paint, Paint!
This is my major contribution in our house. My friend Mike likes to joke that Matt does all the work and I just crack the whip. Actually, he's not joking, I believe he thinks it really happens. He has a "Free Matt" campaign he would like to start - anyone want a t-shirt? Anyway, although I am not very handy (but willing to learn), I do have a lot of vision and ideas, and I also can PAINT. We painted our bedroom and dining room together, but I painted the living room and basement myself, plus the closet shelving. So there are a few places that paint is still required in our house, and luckily it's an inexpensive way to update a room!
a) Hallways - both upstairs and downstairs. We got a quote from College Pro in the Spring for them possibly doing the hallways while we were away on the cruise, but it was pretty expensive so we decided to keep it as a DIY project. Now that my parents got Matt an incredible ladder for Christmas (it is like a transformer - it has SO many configurations), painting way up high will be a bit easier. We are probably going to paint the hallways the same colour as the basement - Benjamin Moore's Moonshine - it's a pale gray. It looks a bit off-white in the basement, but with more natural light, it will show up more grey. I am thinking about going a shade darker - not too sure yet. Check out the two last pictures and let me know what you think! The ceiling and trim will continue the "Cloud White" trend, as I want it to match all the trim of the other rooms.
Current downstairs hallway colour - pale beige of sorts
Upstairs hall - same colour - has a bit of gray undertone with natural light
BM Moonshine in our basement on walls and ceiling - pale gray but looks paler here than it is
BM Moonshine in Natural Light - via Young House Love on Pinterest
One shade darker - BM Gray Horse via Leah Lee on Pinterest
b) Spare Bedroom - right now the spare bedroom is the same seafoam green as was in the dining room. It actually doesn't look bad in the space, but it doesn't match the bedding and needs a fresh coat on both the walls and wainscoting. I'm not sure exactly what to do here - the duvet is chocolate brown and deep red on cream, and the sheets are deep red to match. I'm thinking about doing a brown (not too dark) on a warm cloud white wainscoting. What do you think? This will probably be my March Break project room!
Here's the current green room colour
An inspirational photo via Pinmarklet
Another Pinterest find
c) Railings - easy job - not sure if I'm going to stain or whitewash or what, but these railings need some finishing!
Main floor railing - probably will stain to match the floor (or eventual floor) colour
Basement railing - may be fun to add a bit of colour to this one?
2. Gallery Wall
Not sure whether I will put a gallery wall of pictures in the dining room, or up the main floor stairs, or even in the empty space in the living room, but I definitely want to add a mix of photos and art in a collage in our house - they are always so interesting to look at! Here are some inspiration photos I like for various reasons, gathered from Pinterest. Also another project I can tackle myself!
Like the black and whites - this would work best going up the stairs
Perfect symmetry, which I usually love, but not the look I'm going for this time
Very cool for a stairway!
More black and white beauties of all shapes and sizes!
Oh YHL, how I love your mix of pictures and art - great for the living or dining room!
3. Backyard Entertaining Space
This was something we started to do last year with the tables, but we really want some bench seating with storage underneath to free some space chairs would take up. We could use it to lounge, or pull a table up for dining. Here are some inspirational pictures gathered from Pinmarklet.
Current backyard - looking to add bench seating to that fence corner on the deck
I like the back bench and the colourful top
No storage, but still a simple bench design
Sectioned pieces to move around the design
I like the rustic look to this long bench
4. Gardening - Take Two
So this year's gardening efforts were a fail. At least we now know what will spring up in the, well, Spring, and what we want to yank out and what to keep. The backyard is in pretty good shape, will probably just add in some annuals to fill it out. The front, however, is a jungled mess that needs some structure and good ol' TLC!
Current back garden - nice and green
Just needs a few pops of colour from some annuals
Yeah...not really pretty...
Thinking of sectioning off the front and creating a path
Or adding some tiers to make it more organized
5. Lighting Purchases
So we have a lot of bad lighting, and replacing them would be nice. We need new lighting for: the front hallway, the upstairs hall, the living room (ceiling and floor and table), the kitchen, the hallway closet, the spare bedroom ceiling (although I may just spraypaint this one and keep it), and the other spare bedroom. This won't be a rush, but we'll be keeping our eyes out for a good deal to replace some of these lights in the next year.
Spare bedroom light - not too bad, but may spray it dark brown or brighter gold
Upstairs hallway light - going to string a light from this outlet from the wall to the ceiling, and add a little chandelier
Front foyer light - little chandelier needed here too!
Other spare bedroom light - anything but this would be good
Kitchen ceiling fan - never used, so simple lighting would be better
Hallway closet light
Living Room - already took out the bad chandelier and capped it, but now need a light to fill it!
6. Refinish the TV Unit
This unit just needs to be sanded and stained to match our living room furniture - another March Break project.
Just needs a little facelift!
These are some things we'll be looking to do, but doubtful within the year, due to budget, time, and sanity!
Basement: new carpet in den/office and on stairs, built-ins for TV area in den, reinforced stairs, enclose and add storage beneath, move wall in bathroom back and get new vanity and fixtures and re-tile, finish laundry room and add storage.
Kitchen: completely redo kitchen - new floors, cabinetry, appliances, lighting, and probably make half-wall into the living room with breakfast nook - may involve adding a small addition to the back - VERY FUTURE PROJECT!
Living Room: get new couch, curtains
Dining Room: get new dining table and chairs, curtains
Main Floor Hallway & Stairs: new runner for floor and stairs
Spare Bedroom: new room lighting, side table, mirror, curtains, rug
Upstairs Closet: add hooks, more storage above
Master Bedroom: new chaise for under window, curtains
Middle Spare Room: this will probably be an eventual baby room, so will need to refinish gross parquet flooring, paint, add furniture, knock down door to closet and build storage, curtains, rug, all that baby-related stuff. With that will probably come baby-proofing the whole house? We do have a lot of sharp edges...I have the bruises to prove it!
So yeah - the list never ends! There is probably many things I forgot too! Anyway, lots to keep us busy! Happy New Year!
So I've looked back at the past year...technically we've only been in our house just over 10 months, but it's almost a year, and so I've compiled a list of the top 11 house projects of 2011. Actually, I did ask Matt for his input too, and our lists were quite similar. I'll mention the variations as I go.
# 11: So Many Acorns...
My attempt at gardening, better known as weeding and raking and talking to squirrels
I only really put this in at # 11 to showcase what a little TLC in a garden can do. I am in no way a professional gardener...actually I am not a gardener at all. What little knowledge I gathered was from my mom, my grandma, and a coworker, Sonia, from whom I plan on seeking much more future advice. Anyway, this year we decided to see what would pop up in the garden and go from there. "Go from there" meant staring at our crazy garden and not knowing what to do with it once it exploded into life. I decided to start small - weeding our back stone, raking years of leaves from between the budding flowers, and constantly sweeping away acorn pieces that littered the backyard. My friends Jess and Carolyn contributed with a pretty little purple plant which I potted, only to have it torn apart by a squirrel the following day. So....house project fail? Perhaps, but at least we'll be aware for next year, and have a head start on what to do then.
That's our house on the left, when we first saw it in November
A close up of the front garden in November
The backyard was in better shape than the front, even in the fall
With a little weeding and TLC, the front garden was very green and lush, if not a bit wild for my taste...
I have since removed some of the old wood chips and done a lot of soil turning
Stole our house light, but added some colour to the drab backyard
Oh yeah, and amidst my outdoor adventures, I made a friend that loved me enough to do this when I went inside
...and George is still here today, sometimes with his lady friend Georgia, and although looking chilly in the snow,
he is happily taking shelter in the neighbours' shed when he's not visiting me
# 10: Ahead of the Trend
Painting the Dining Room Navy
For once I had an idea that came to be before I saw it in the multiple house magazines I read. I wanted to paint the dining room a dark blue, and we ended up choosing Newburyport Blue by Benjamin Moore. My first idea was actually to use navy Phillip Jefferies grasscloth, but the amount of work wallpaper adds and large increase in price all lead to paint being the better choice! It is dark and rich, and adds some drama to our main floor. It was a drastic change from the seafoam green that was left behind, but it was a fun change!
Here it is shortly after we moved in
Moment of truth - first cutting in!
Of course it wouldn't be painting without me getting it in my hair...
After two coats, it was done!
Looks darker in the evening, and more blue in the natural light, but I like it either way
# 9: Musical Chairs
Rearranging the Living Room
Defining the space wasn't a major project, and involved more purchases than anything, but figuring out what to do with our dining room turned living room space was a first step in creating a welcoming environment in our house. I just did a post like this recently for the living room, so I'll keep it short.
Living room our first day in the house, although you'd be surprised how often your house looks like this during renovations and painting and pretty much always when you don't have people over or aren't staging pictures!
After some chair and accessory purchases, we played musical chairs with the layout
More furniture purchases,displaying some art work, and mounting the TV, the room is much more complete!
*Note - Matt put the TV mount in his Top 11 list - I wanted to get a smaller TV and get much smaller speakers instead so I did not add this to the list of major jobs, but I will admit it looks better now!
Once we get rid of the tree, I will post pictures that do not have a holiday theme!
# 8: We're Definitely Not in the Suburbs Anymore
Front Hallway Storage without a Closet
When you are looking at a house for the first time, you miss many things, like the fact that there is no hallway closet. That isn't surprising in Toronto, but in the suburbs, it's a staple....so is a grand foyer (pronounced FOY-AY and not FOY-ERR like in US), but at least we anticipated it being missing. So when it came to organizing our coats and shoes and everything else, we were at a loss. We have some closet space in the basement, which is where the majority of our coats and winter gear and some shoes live, but our day to day stuff needed a space that wasn't on the back of chairs or scattered throughout the hallway. So when I saw this post on Young House Love, I headed straight to Ikea to get a storage unit of my own. It was perfect for our narrow front hall, but we still needed coat storage. Home Depot had some hooks that Matt installed and we were set after a bit of decor.
State of the hallway on our first house tour post-purchase
Super-skinny shoe storage!
Hello, shoes! Goodbye clutter!
Coat racks pre-hooks
Coat racks post-hooks - much better. Oh yeah, and the mirror helps a bit too with decorating the space
A little front curb appeal always helps the hallway too!
# 7: An Indoor Fence...Another Reason to Hate Home Depot
The Master Bedroom Lattice Headboard
This project started when Matt decided he wanted a headboard. He wanted to make it out of distressed wood, but with our fancy wardrobe and more modern finishings, I didn't think it would go. Then during a trip to Home Depot to pick out trim for the basement, Matt sees lattice fencing, and gets all creative and wants to build the headboard from it. I can't see it, refuse to buy it, and that's that. But with constant lattice obsession, I cave and he goes back to get it for our room. Ohhhhh Home Depot...the bane of my existence. Yes, it helps us on projects, but it seems like we live there sometimes, and creates new projects that were never meant to be. Again I end up liking the end result, so I can't complain too much I suppose.
Before the headboard and other decor
Lattice headboard done - painted and mounted to the wayy
Other view, with some furniture upgrades thrown in too
# 6: Grade 10 Optics Lesson in Practice
The Dining Room Mirror Construction
Again I did a recent post on the mirror, so this won't take long. The mirror was on the ground since we moved, because I wanted a nice frame around it so the screws into the wall wouldn't be seen. This project was put on hold for a while, but eventually we got some wood to back it, and Matt took over, building the frame, spray painting it black and then silver (the original idea was the sand some of the silver back to give it a tarnished look, but we only did this a bit because it looked better all silver), and then mounting it to the wall. I used this application on my grade ten optics test about adding light to a room without buying more lights - most of my students got it right - add a mirror, which also makes the room appear larger. Teacher WIN!
This was in our dining room for a long time before it became part of a mirror...
Skipping a few steps gets us here - to a framed mirror in my basement
Spray painting outside - at this point I thought George got into the paint, but it was another squirrel altogether...
Spray paint takes a LONG time to dry when its zero degrees outside
End result? Pretty mirror and brighter dining room (with Christmas prep well underway)
# 5: Making Martha Proud
Organizing the Linen Closet
The linen closet upstairs was a disaster to start with - the "organizer" that was there was not a practical use of the long and narrow space, so I designed the way I wanted it to be, and Matt built me some beautiful shelves, which I primed and painted, and then filled up the space. There's still space now to rearrange or add more storage which I like.
Original "organizing" system left by owners
Matt's shelves - cedar - it smelled like a beautiful sauna in here for weeks!
...until I painted them - primer and 2 coats later the paint stuck
...and more paint in the hair...
More space and organization!
Oh Martha Stewart would be proud...all that's missing is a tiny chandelier above (hmm, that's a good idea!)
# 4: Matt Plays Carpenter
The first house project: the built-in basement shelving
The first project we tackled in our house was the basement. I needed a workable office space and the couch wasn't cutting it. We were going to go Ikea crazy (which we sort of did anyway), but Matt wanted to do some built-ins of his own in a little corner nook. Along with that came filing cabinets and closed storage cupboards, which ended up looking great! To be honest I did not have any faith he could do it, since I've never seen him do anything like this besides painting and some light repair work around our old condo. Wow - did he ever show me, and now he may do some more built-ins in the TV area on the other side of the chalkboard.
My "office" shortly after we moved in
The carpentry begins - not an easy feat with slanty walls and floors
Shelf faces on, doors made
Primed and painted
The colourful bookshelves were thanks to Ikea and my decor
More storage for all the binders
# 3: Long Live the Home, Short Live the Marriage
The PAX Wardrobe Assembly
So I will admit that Ikea products have come a long way, even in the past few years. We have a lot of stuff from there, but our first HUGE purchase was the PAX Wardrobe system for our bedroom. We have a tiny closet, and we really needed space for clothes. That closet now only holds my dresses and our laundry. Build this yourself at your own risk - it is heavy and big and frustrating to construct with an Allen key and I swear for a few hours I did not want to be married or live in a house with this wardrobe. Once it was all done and assembled I calmed down and realized that I now had a closet and my husband back, and it was good. It fits perfectly in our bedroom and stores everything we need! It will be staying when we eventually move, and the new owners better appreciate our effort!
Old owners wardrobe system
Oh how I love organization!
Ooooh it lights up!
# 2: Copyright Infringement?: Our Hudson Bay Point Blanket Painting
So I wanted a sort of comfy rustic look to our living room, and I thought that maybe a great Canadian-themed painting would tie it all together. Matt's parents have an HBC Point Blanket at the cottage, and I love the Queen's colours simplicity, and Matt thought he could paint it. He did paint in high school, so we got a canvas and a laser level and took a shot at it!
Laser level on coffee cup painting accuracy!
Frame was built and stained too, because having it framed was a ridiculous cost!
Done and goes perfectly in our living room
This was actually Matt's # 1, since it was his actual "Work of Art"
# 1: Wedding China Does Not Belong in the Basement: The Dining Room Sideboard
This was my # 1 project because I think it really pulls the dining room together, it gave me an appropriate space to put my wedding china, and it helped a lot on Christmas Eve when organizing and serving all of the food. It will add a lot of value when we sell, and it just looks so damn pretty!
Of course it starts off with the wine racks
Which becomes shelves
That get lifted off the ground and closed up with doors
Ohhh Royal Doulton - how pretty you are in your new home
I painted the baseboards to match the trim in our dining room
And a beautiful poplar stained top to finish it all off!
Add some new lights and decor and that's one great dining room piece!
Good job, us! What a great year!
Didn't Make the Cut: The Great Fall
Stair Railings Project
Funny enough, I didn't even consider this project. Yep, in October I fell down the basement stairs. It was definitely more my general clumsiness than the lack of railings, but we figured it was just good sense to add them in, so we did - to both staircases! Matt had this in his list instead of gardening at # 11 - because he obviously thought my gardening was less than stellar...
Odds are I will fall again, at least this time I will have something to grab onto!
So that's it - our 11 top house projects of 2011! I will let you know right now that this post took about 5 hours to complete, with breaks here and there. Figuring out what to put in, formatting, uploading, writing...wow it takes a long time. Up next? House Resolutions for 2012!
Blog posts are among the many things I have not bothered doing this week - procrastination at it's best. Here are a few things in general...
1. The Leaves - last week I finally decided to tackle my outside - mainly rake the leaves and sweep the walk. I did as much as I could with the leaf bags we had, and had to leave the rest.
The front is completely done - raked, bagged, swept - it is as good as it will get until the Spring!
Isn't that plant in the bottom right corner beautiful in the fall?
The back is mostly done...we ran out of leaf bags and this is what was left
Stored the table and chairs too, but that planter is too heavy to go anywhere!
View from the other direction
We also did the side alley, but I didn't take pictures of it - it was the biggest miracle. It's a shared path, and it's super creepy and dark, and houses the garbage and air conditioner and many other things I never really touch...plus I don't really know the 3 neighbours that live in the various apartments next door
I procrastinated getting more leaf bags, and when I went finally on Thursday, they were all sold out.
This is now what my backyard looks like today. The only thing good about falling leaves is that my house lets in so much more light in the winter!
2. Cleaning - now my house isn't so gross, and I didn't take pictures of it all, but there are the typical week-old tumbleweeds of dust and hair rolling around, the shower drain is starting to get clogged (there isn't enough Drain-O in the world to dissolve all my hair), and the windows need dusting. In particular, the outside of the front window...
Oh...did you think this was for Halloween? Nope - allllll natural. I decided to leave it for Halloween...yet it's still there a week later...It's sort of pretty in the right light!
3. Halloween - my brother had a Halloween/housewarming party/Jessica's birthday party last Saturday. I decided that if I actually got a costume together, I would go. Well...Saturday hit and we had to go to Value Village to drop off a whole bunch of house stuff and clothes we were donating (another procrastination - the big chair is FINALLY out of the kitchen!), so I thought I'd pop in to see some costumes. Well...those Queen's students will remember Phase 2 around Halloween - INSANELY busy and smelling like people smoking weed and old clothes...so I left. No costume. No party attendance. We were also supposed to rent scary movies, which Matt procrastinated on, but ended up watching "Scream 4" - entertaining but predictable, and "Paranormal Activity" - both # 1 and 2. Wow....so scary. I don't think I've slept well since.
The day before Halloween I freaked out because we didn't have a pumpkin or candy, so got both, but a sloppy leftover pumpkin because we had waited so long. Supposedly there are no pumpkin patches in Toronto. So Matt gutted it and decorated it and I completely forgot to take pictures. So all we had as decor was the pumpkin, some lanterns outside, and my real spider web in the window. Still had about 100 kids, and a lot of leftover candy which I have taken to work in attempt not to put myself into some sort of diabetic coma.
4. Miscellaneous Other House Chores - like the dry cleaning. And getting an oil change for my car. These are mundane tasks that I inevitably put off EVERY SINGLE TIME they are required to get done. Why? No clue. I got the oil change and tune up 1500 km later than I am supposed to (which isn't that many days, really, considering I drive about 100 km per day, but still), and that annoying "perform service" beep is finally not happening anymore every time I start my car. I asked Matt to take in the dry cleaning - this is everything since we got back from our cruise in August (3 dresses), plus some dress pants, Matt's suit, and of course, the pillowcases from the Home Sense pillows I got thinking I could wash the marks out of them and found out they were dry-clean only. So the pillows have been sitting without cases upstairs along with the cases in the "to be dry cleaned" pile for at least a month. So, finally did that, and the pillows are back in the living room!
Finally got a good picture for the big frame on the shelf in our bedroom - it's of the Trevi fountain in Rome. We wanted a black and white to go with all the others in the room, but it was so hard to make Europe pictures NOT colour since they were so incredible there - will use those pictures for the gallery wall in the dining room eventually.
There's the Trevi! Mmmmm could really use a Gelato right about now!
And finally....still no top to the sideboard (waiting until we have some furniture to match the wood stain to), but here's it with the trim done and a bit of stuff on it.
A few things to note - I think the sideboard turned out great, the alcohol section at the left end will be removed when we get a bar cart, and we desperately need a coat rack in the hallway.
Also, that brown wicker basket is full of leftover candy...
5. Blogging - of course. There's been lots of little things I could have posted about, which really I should save and post about separately every day this week to fill up days of blog posts. My view stats go up the day after a post, and of course steadily decline until the next post. Except lately...there has been a lot of random traffic. Some common search parameters to find me are usually the paint colours I use, "Pax Wardrobe" for our Ikea system, or something about shelving or renovations. BUT....about 20 times a month I get "science of married" as a search parameter, which can only mean someone has not saved my blog link and must search for it each time. I'm flattered, but seriously, save it to your favourites. Or even better - use Google Reader! It saves some much clicking of different blogs daily. I seriously have about 70 on my list, which works about to be about 100 posts a day to sift through (hey, Apartment Therapy usually does 40 per day of those), so Reader makes it a lot easier!
So here's the random stuff from the week. Sunday Matt and I made tapas - and I seriously helped! We made some goat cheese and red wine shiraz jelly (from President's Choice - great new line of around the world products to try) in puff pastry (more a dessert than anything), some sliced chorizo with roasted peppers, some garlicky shrimp, and "patatas bravas" which is pretty much potatoes, with a tomato-like sauce. Tapas also equals a lot of garlic, chilies, and paprika, plus olive oil, but it was all incredible!
Mmmmm tapas! Oh yes, that is "from scratch" aioli in the top right as well!
I have been taking pictures of the pretty leaves, and made a friend in the process named George - he is grey and bushy and is always awaiting me when I step outside. He has been getting fat lately, and I commented to Matt that he has probably been finding Halloween candy and eating it. Matt scoffed at me and said he was simply fattening up for winter...well...
This is George...he is eating a Mars bar...so HA to Matt!
PS - I absolutely did NOT give him that Mars bar. Please know I do not encourage the wilderness that is my backyard. This week alone a cat tried numerous times to get into our house on Halloween!
The leaves in my backyard last week
The leaves today - almost all orange and falling
By the way, I use Photoscape to edit my pictures - just learning how to use it!
Okay, that's it for today. Will post tomorrow on "Movember" and the weird hair that it once again growing above my husband's upper lip...only 24 days left in this month, thank goodness!
So not much house stuff done in the past week, except a few things here and there, which I'll get to. Instead I'll simply ramble on a bit about a few things:
1. This was the dinner Matt made on a random night this week:
That would be a pepper, baked and stuffed with orzo, tomato, and ground beef, on a nice bed of baby argula, with some fresh bread and black olives (which I did not eat) - just a random dinner and wine!
2. Friday I went to see a play with some coworkers (those "play" people) - it was called "The Dinner." It was excellent, and is playing at the St Vladimir Institute at College & Spadina. One of my coworkers was actually in it, and very good. This play is highly recommended - playing until this Friday (shows Tuesday-Friday this week).
3. Sunday I went to my cousin's daughter's baptism...3rd of three great grandchildren to date! So glad to see my cousin Melissa and her three adorable girls! *Picture to come...my dad has them in his camera right now*
4. Work...work is not going great. A bit of drama and a lack of motivation due to it...I'm hoping that it will pass and I will feel energized and excited once again about teaching, because I do love it!
5. House Stuff...hmmmm....well still no railings. I am assured this will get done when I get the compound miter saw back from my dad...since they are doing a bathroom reno, that might be tricky! We did, however, fix the wiring of the light in our basement stairwell. Supposedly Matt did it wrong, figured that out himself, and fixed it. Something about not wiring right into the pot light, but needing a separate junction box for safety issues. Oh well, it's done, and the light still works! Another little thing I did was paint the base to the sideboard. Here's what it looked like before and after:
Just wood, but Matt added quarter round, and filled in holes and sanded
And now! Paint makes a big difference! It's a bit lighter than the trim, but it will blend with time...and dirt...
(On a side note, the "food" setting left on the camera from the pepper picture was the best lighting - I realized the setting after and changed it, but it was either too dark or too yellow in the background!)
6. Gardening....ohhhhh the garden. My front and back yard is covered in leaves. What goes up, must come down, right? Right now they are very wet leaves. At some point before the world freezes over I will have to rake or perhaps just blow the leaves away, and do something about my disaster of a front garden. I am lost with what to do....and one year of lazy gardening can be okay if you just moved into the house, but I don't want a repeat next year!
7. Next week is Halloween...living in a condo for 4 years has sheltered us from Trick or Treaters...I guess I will have to buy (and carve?) a pumpkin, and perhaps put out some decorations...so that the neighbour kids don't egg our house. I've also decided NOT to get candy until the day of Halloween...I just started to go back to the gym TODAY since my fall, and it is going to be a long way back to "in shape"...or any shape besides soft and squishy...
Okay, done rambling. I am off to look up Halloween decor inspiration, dream about it, decide to do the bare minimum because it will mostly be inside decor for one day and not worth the money, and blog about all the prettiness instead! Have a good week!