Monday, April 30, 2012

Weekend Recap

Happy Monday (sort of). After a long weekend of getting things done, I had NO capacity to sleep last night and actually got up and started organizing Baby Poutine's room. At 1 a.m. Not a good idea, friends. Not at all.

Saturday we went up to the cottage so that the boys could put the docks in the water. Sounds like a simple job but it is actually quite difficult and dangerous if you don't know what you are doing (or are trying to do it alone like my dad that one year....).

Um yeah - it was pretty cold up there as well, but such a gorgeous day!!

Sunday was back to the grind for J. He had to put a second coat  of primer on the spindles and a first coat on the actual stairs. We are using an oil based, sticks to anything, even unsanded stuff, primer so it is something that I definitely can't help with!!

While J was doing that back breaking work, I went shopping with my sister to get some baby necessities (snot sucker, thermometer, baby wash, etc). None of that was as fun as picking up our cloth diapers!!! Hubs and I have been researching cloth diapers for a while and when some brand new ones popped up on Kijiji, I pounced.

We have started our 'stash' with the Grovia All in Two diapers and we saved a ton of money thanks to a really sweet girl who bought them and never used them. But did all of the pre-washing already :-)

How cute are these?

And this pattern is insanely cute:

The lady who sold them to me had a little girl, but the colours were all gender neutral except for two purple covers. But J wears purple, so I'm sure our little guy won't care either! Especially when he hears how much money we saved :-)

Upon returning home, this is what I found:

I know some people must think we are NUTS for painting the wood, but I am SO happy and all it is is primer so far!!! The hallway feels so much lighter and brighter now. 

Next up is some wood filler/light sanding, and then one more coat of primer on the stairs. THEN we get to start painting! What a HUGE job. I don't think we had any idea how big it would be. But remember what they looked like before?

Um yeah - a little bit better in my eyes :-)

And to all the "painting wood is a sin" readers out a certain extent I agree. If we could have stained the treads and kept the handrail as is, I think it would have been fantastic. However, without taking the stairs apart and replacing the treads, it wasn't going to happen. So sorry :-)


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Shopping for Hallway Light Fixtures

I mentioned yesterday that while hubs sanded the stairs, I went shopping for light fixtures for our hallway. Just in case you were wondering, here is what we had before:

Sexy, right?

So I made the trek to the Design District (which is in a TERRIBLE location in my opinion) to hit up my (usual) favourite light shops, Union Lighting and Sescolite.

Here is what I found:



Pendants are tricky for us because of the ceiling height upstairs. If the pendant used a metal pole to hang down, we were generally out of luck. We only had about 10 inches MAX to work with, and most small pendants would be about 7-8" PLUS the metal pole (minimum 6" hang). So they wouldn't work.

I considered a flush or a semi flushmount fixture but most of them were either a) HIDEOUS or b) too expensive to buy 3 of them.


I then realized that some pendants used a wire or a cord to hang from - which meant I could totally adjust it to the room we had! Sweet!

So I picked one. Bought three. Hoped for the best.

Can you guess what one?


Monday, April 23, 2012

It Always Looks Worse First...Right?

It should come as no surprise that we didn't get EVERYTHING done on our list this weekend. Things always take longer than you think and are harder on your bod than  you think they will be.

Friday night involved driving around the city to get J the PERFECT sander. He did a bunch of research (well, less than I would do but more than he usually does :-) and decided that this was the sander for him:

It is the Bosch 7500 Orbital Sander. We picked it up on sale from Lowes, along with a few other tools for the sanding expedition.

So on Saturday while I was shopping for light fixtures (which isn't very fun), hubs was sanding, which I imagine is also not very fun :-)

Anyhoo - came home to a VERY dirty house and a VERY dusty husband looking VERY proud about his accomplishments :-)

They may still look terrible to most people, but they are smooth and sanded. And now you can see why staining the treads isn't really an option :-)

We then spent about an hour cleaning up all the dust. I think we did a pretty good job stopping the dust from infiltrating the ENTIRE house, but there was still a lot to do. Including swiffering the walls.

J then said that he was going to prime the spindles and the treads. I looked at my watch. It read 4 p.m. We have about 45 spindles and 15 steps. Um...

This is where it ended at 7 p.m. 22 spindles down, a million to go.

It isn't pretty, my friends. Not even close. I'm not going to lie - I had a slight panic when I saw that original wood get its first bit of primer.Especially the railing. UGH. Are we crazy?! (you can also see how I still have to paint the doors which now look YELLOW in comparison to the walls/trim).

As the fear and panic started setting in, I was calmed when I saw this:

Staining is not an option, unless we hire someone to take the stairs apart. Say it with me. Staining is not an option.

So there you have it. A weekend of dust and fumes. I left the house for the most part as I hear that dust and fumes are not good for preggos, but I wish I could help because it would go SO much faster!

What did you get up to this weekend? Anything fun? Big projects?


Friday, April 20, 2012

Impulsive Purchase

J and I started looking around at rug options last night for our front entrance and I may have impulsively purchased one. I saw it on, liked it, did a quick google and found out that it was actually on the Joss and Main sale site for half price and there were only 2 left.

So we bought it.



Of course, I'm also trying to take advantage of any last minute cross-border shopping as my mom is finishing up her time in AZ mid-May. And is driving home. In a pick up truck :-) So in addition to a diaper bag and a stroller, this beauty will also be packed in the bed of the truck:

I think what put me over the edge was that there was a picture of it in an entryway:

It is the "Hex" wool rug by Jill Rosenwald. Ours will be pretty tiny because we don't have a lot of space to work with (especially because we have a large air intake vent in that area that we can't cover.

I'm super excited about it. I hope it fits. I hope I like it :-) haha I'm not usually this impulsive but you know how I love a deal!! This rug (in our size) is $203 regularly and I got it for $99. Sweet!!

There was another colourway for sale that I thought I might prefer but unfortunately it wouldn't ship in time and would have ended up sitting on my mom's vacant doorstep for 8 months :-)

However in looking at the two, I think the one we purchased will work better with our stairway/front entrance plans :-)

What are you guys up to this weekend? We have a lot on the list, but not sure how much will get done.

1. Buy a sander. J to sand the stair treads.
2. Once the sanding is done, we are going to paint the doors upstairs, as I forgot to ask the painter to include that in the quote. The look SUPER creamy and dirty next to the bright white trim.
3. Hopefully get out to some of our favourite lighting spots to check out new lights for our upstairs hallway.
4. Purchase and install new switchplates for the hallway. They also look dingy and dated now.

In an ideal world, I'd also make it to Ikea to buy some frames for the hallway, but that is unlikely to happen. I am not as a) motivated or b) mobile as I used to be and I find that a few hours of walking/working/etc. puts me over the edge and I'm in rough shape after (i.e. issues walking, putting weight on one leg, etc). So we'll see.

Alright so tell me - what is the most impulsive home purchase you've made, and did you love it or did you regret it!?


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Don't Watch This if You are Pregnant

Don't say I didn't warn you....


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Strip it Off!

I left you yesterday staring at the seafoam green monstrosity that is my staircase. Scary, shocking and stressful all at once :-)

Once the carpet came off, we got busy pulling the many, and I mean MANY staples out of the stairs. These things were in DEEP and often, chunks of wood would come flying out with the staple. Things were definitely getting worse before they were getting better, that is for sure.


While J spent his fourth hour on the stairs, I went to Home Depot to pick up some necessities. Paint stripper, caulking, wood filler. You can do almost anything with those three items.

When I came home, I told J that the salesguy had seen me struggling with the paint stripper selection and came over to assist. It was between one that the salesguy said was "green" without fumes, and one that he said was "nasty". The salesguy looked at my belly and said I should go green.

I told J the story and he said "please tell me you chose the nasty one".

haha OF COURSE. I had taken both the 'green' version and the 'nasty' version to the front of the store (the only place with cell signal) and googled the heck out of both of them. Mr. Green supposedly would take multiple coats and didn't work that well. Nasty would work in 1-2 coats.

I stayed out of the house while Jay poured the stripper on the paint and he told me that by the time he got to the bottom of the stairs, the paint on the rest was already bubbling away. Cool!



He didn't try to get all of the paint off - there was only one layer of seafoam so it got to stay. However, the edges of each tread had probably 6 coats of white (and some grey, we realized) and there was no way we could sand them smooth to match up with the unfinished wood in the centre of each.

Here is after the scraping:


Still gross looking, but getting better.

Next up is my job - filling the holes and roughness with wood filler and then J will sand like crazy. All this to ultimately paint over them. Ha.

Good times, my friends. Good times.


Monday, April 16, 2012

I Think This is What They Call...

...opening a can of worms.

Picture this:

A couple sits silently on the couch on a Thursday night, watching some terrible tv show. The wife (that's me!) surfs around on her iPad (which is awesome, btw), idly looking at interior decor inspiration pics. When it hits her.

"Sweetie," she says. "You know how the hallway is getting painted on Monday?"

"Of course" her loving husband replies.

"Well...since we probably will NEVER get around to our stair project (i.e. ripping off the carpet and refinishing the stairs), maybe we could just paint the trim and the spindles white."

"Hmmm" the husband said, thoughtfully.

"I mean, it would make me happy for the interim period and wouldn't be that hard" she said, not realizing the level of foreshadowing her statement contained.

"Sounds like a good plan" her husband replied, reaching over to rub her pregnant belly.


To assist with the story, here is a picture of said stairs:


Notice the dark wood trim down the right hand side and the nasty carpet? Lovely. So the plan was to paint that trim so it would match the trim it was attached to, and do the same with the spindles.

Saturday morning we got busy sanding the spindles. It was a finnicky, annoying job but not as bad as I thought it would be. We just wanted to rough up the varnish so the primer would stick. Easy enough, right?

Until I heard this....

"I have an idea"

Now, I'm sure you are like me that "I have an idea" is rarely a good idea (unless it is MY idea :-). Even if it is a good idea, it usually involves more work/effort/money that you'd like.

"Yes, and what is that" I cautiously replied.

"Why don't we just pull the carpet off? The carpet is disgusting anyways, so worst case we just replace it. Next option would be painting the stairs and best case would be staining the treads."

We contemplated the idea for a bit as we sanded and then, seemingly out of nowhere, I heard a voice (which sounded a lot like my own, funny enough) saying:

"Okay, rip off the carpet"

And then there was this:

And this:
And this:

And OMG then this:
And finally this:

What did we just do?!! (And no, the spindles didn't get painted!) (And yes, that is Seafoam Green paint on the stairs)


Thursday, April 12, 2012

My Doctor Said I've Grown

..and he wasn't kidding!! Please ignore the "I only slept 5 hours last night" face. Third trimester insomnia, anyone?

And for comparison sake:

In other news, I mentioned yesterday that we are having the hallway painted soon! (Starting Monday). Part of the project will include some patchwork, and one of the things I'm most looking forward to is this being fixed:

These are the "vintage" lights that are in our hallway right now. We have wanted to change them since we moved in, but a) we got lazy and b) if you look closely, it looks like the hole in the ceiling is the same size as the brass cover. Which means that if we take it down, we'll have to deal with a massive hole. Lovely.

So we asked Josh to include that in the quote - fixing up the ceiling so we can install some new lights. Of course, now we are stumped. What kind of lights should we get? You can tell from the doorway to the bathroom that the ceilings in the upstairs hallway are not as high as downstairs, so a lovely long hanging fixture probably won't work. Plus my dad is really tall. And we like it when he visits.

We want to get a bunch of light up there, but are stumped as to what will work/look good. Any ideas?

For reference sake, here is where the third fixture goes:

If you look closely, you'll see that it has a fake gold plastic medallion behind it, which means the hole is even BIGGER than for the other two fixtures. ha.

Anyways, I'd be eternally grateful for any advice you smart folks have on what light fixtures would look best in our hallway. We'd love to buy something this weekend so that by mid-next week, the hallway would be "complete" :-)


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

That's Right. I Cried.

So I warned you yesterday that today I would tell the story of how I cried at Lowes. It isn't pretty. I'm not proud of it. But it happened.

The hallway is getting painted this weekend. Our contractor (Josh!) came last weekend to do the quote and he has an opening this weekend so this was it. We had to finally pick our paint colours.

(jeez, I can already tell this story is going to be long winded. Sorry in advance).

I started off by trying out the colours I had in the house: BM Chantilly Lace, Para Paint "Whitewash White" and Sarah Richardson (for Para Paint) "Cotton". I slapped some paint up in a few different locations and sat back and waited. 

Unfortunately, none of them were quite right (surprisingly, the creamy "Cotton" was the closest. In the dark of our hallway, it looked the whitest!).

It is hard to get a proper picture of paint colours a) on my Iphone and b) in a dark hallway, but here is Whitewash White (looks quite grey in real life) which is weird because it is the white that we did in our bathroom and I LOVE it in there.

The white on the wall here is Chantilly Lace:

And here is the Cotton:

We weren't committed to any of them though, so I sat down and flipped through my Para Paint paint deck, determined to find the whitest white I could. I didn't want a white that would look grey or creamy. I wanted white. Am I crazy?? Maybe.

And then I found it. Para Paint "Chrysler Hall White". This was also recommended by a local paint shop that sells both Para and BM as being a fantastic white. I told hubs that I wanted a sample (he hates getting paint samples because they are often expensive, but since we are paying someone to paint the hall, he agreed that it was a small price to pay to ensure we aren't wasting more money on the wrong colour!!)

We went to paint store number one. 

Me: I'd like a sample of Chrysler Hall White please. (FYI - at this shop, samples come in quarts)
Them: Sure! (rummages around). Um. We don't have the base for that paint. Which is a problem because Chrysler Hall White is Para's base white (i.e. they don't add anything to make that colour).
Me: Oh. What can I do?
Them: You can buy a quart of white paint. 
Me: How much is that?
Them: 18 bucks.
Me: And a sample is?
Them: 8 bucks.
Me: Thanks but no thanks.

I'm cheap. What can I say. I figured I'd have better luck going to another shop that had the base sample in stock.

So when we get home, I call Lowes. I ask them if a) they have samples for Para (YES!) and b) if they have the proper base to make "Chrysler Hall White" (YES!). Sweet. I'll be there in 20 minutes.

We get to Lowes and I hand over the paint chip and ask for a sample. They say it will be about 10 minutes. After browsing the aisles for a while, I head back to the paint department and ask for my sample.

Them: Sorry, we don't have the base to make that.
Me: Um...but I called 20 minutes ago and talked to that guy and he said you did.
Them: He doesn't remember being called.
Me: Well I did.
Them: We can make it with an Olympia sample pot.
Me: The colour I want IS the Para base paint. Using another company's base doesn't make much sense now does it?
Them: I'm sure it will be fine. 
Me: I'm not so sure.

Anyway - it went on for a bit longer, until I finally walked away. I looked at J, handed over the stuff I was holding, and said "I'll meet you outside."  I could feel it coming. The loss of control was overwhelming. I knew it was crazy. I knew it wasn't normal. I also knew that I was about to CRY. Over paint samples.

And cry I did. I was the pregnant lady, wearing sunglasses, awkwardly lowering herself onto a curb in the Lowes parking lot with tears streaming down her face. Yes, folks. That was me.

J has turned into a even more patient man through this pregnancy. He came outside, helped me up off the curb (I'm heavy now!) and gave me a hug. We got in the car and I continued to rage. He offered to go back in and just buy a quart of the white paint. I refused (stubborn much?).

Just take me home. Please.

I was a wreck. Can you believe it? I had my wits about me and KNEW that I was being insane, but I couldn't stop it! 

Anyhoo - the next day, J went back to paint store number 1 and just bought a quart of the white paint. And in a strange twist of pregnancy karma, the paint guy gave it to him for FREE. It is like he knew. Paint guy KNEW that J had an over emotional, uncontrollable, crying-in-the-parking lot-at-Lowes pregnant wife at home and he gave the quart for free.

I could've cried :-)

The good part at the end of this story is that we tried the sample and that is our choice!! Chrysler Hall White - you were difficult to pin down but once we had you, you were the one!

It is pure white. We will do flat on the walls and semi-gloss on the trim. See the "L" in this pic? That is CHW.

Just white. No grey. No cream. Just white. Just right.

No more tears (for now ;-)

Pregnant people are crazy. Just FYI.