Friday, May 4, 2012

A Little Rework

Well, it's been some time since I've been able to post on the house comings-along.  
Let's see . . . it's been 6 months since we've been in the house and we STILL have boxes to unpack, curtains to hang, many many walls to fill (if only I could find our hammer), ..... and so it goes.  
I'm afraid grandiose dreams of cozifying and personalizing a house into a home just can't be done quickly when you have only 1 hour to yourself a day before it's time to hit the hay (I wake up at 5:30am and we typically get home at 6pm), and weekends are interrupted by annoying tasks such as groceries-and-who-knows-what.  

But it is coming together - slowly, but nevertheless is limping along!  I just wish I had the time to try new things.  I'm certainly more bold than I was a few years ago in our old home.  Perhaps it's the red of the house inspiring me.  : )

Unfortunately, in 6 months we have been struggling to get our builder, Kai Yu, to come back out and finish (or re-finish) some of the outstanding items.  It's been frustrating to say the least, not to mention disappointing. 

But speaking of rework, I figured I'd show a little of what we've been up to in Jacob's room.  Each of the kids' rooms does seem to be a tad smaller than their former rooms and/or with less storage.  So that is something I'm still trying to figure out - how I can set up the kids to have a play area outside of their rooms and reduce some of the clutter. 

Jacob has been loving to draw lately, so I decided this time we would make an entire wall of his a chalkboard (temporarily forgetting that chalk tends to be a little messy).  He helped me decide on the wall where his door is, and I chose a green paint colour - thinking this would be like the old-fashioned classroom boards.

And I recruited a few helpers as well.  : )  They really liked giving it a shot.

getting a little silly with the paint

Well, I finished up the job using the entire can and barely getting 2 coats on the wall.  
But - there was something not quite right about it.  
I asked Brian for his opinion.
When he said it looked like the same green I had used to make Jacob's and Mady's checkerboard in their nursery, I knew it had to change.  My affinity to green got me into trouble!
So I went back to the store for a new can and came home with good ol' black chalkboard paint.

And of course, my helpers were back for a little more:

And here is Jacob giving it a test run about 2 days after drying:  (drawing ninjas - of course!)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

All Christmas stuff is finally put away and back in the basement storage.  With two weeks before Valentine's Day left to go -- I'd call that "success".  =)

We've been in the midst of really feeling the brunt of not having any neighbours.  This season of La Nina has brought with it rounds and rounds of alternating weather patterns - each with the windy fronts to kick it off.  The wind is so terrible that it blows into our chimney somehow and takes out the pilot light of our gas fireplace (seriously - BEST decision we could have made there.  I love the nostalgia of a wood fireplace -and the smell- but the convenience is soooooo nice)
But, not to complain, we've actually had very little snow to battle against.

Other little things we are learning about our new area - 
We were very confused about the huge increase in traffic at the nearby Interstate exits at Christmastime.  Surely the newly-opened Cracker Barrel on that corner couldn't be THAT good (could it?)!  We found ourselves in a long line of traffic for our exit on the way home.  And then we noticed all the cars were turning onto a frontage road.  Well, there is only a small one-Stop sign town up that way.  
Finally we put two-and-two together and realized that all the traffic was heading towards an enormous warehouse in the middle of a business park.  Increased traffic for Xmas-mail.  (I love getting my Amazon packages in a day or two!)
And now, traffic is back to normal.  Funny little quirks you come to learn.

Now that Xmas is (officially) over, it's back to focusing on getting the house together and doing some MORE unpacking.  
Here are just a handful of pictures I took before saying adieu to Xmas colour.

This wooden-carved angel below was an important and endearing piece I was lucky to receive.  She comes from my Grandparents' home and held her position above my Grandmother's kitchen for about as long as I can remember.  After their passing, when the Peterson family took on the daunting and unwelcome task of divvying up their possessions, my mom scored her.  I begged to have her, knowing she would be a welcome blessing to this new home.  I think Mom reluctantly relented.  I polished her up and it was one of the first items Mom and I hung up when she was here.
Grandma loved angels and collected many of them.  I hope she fills this house with even a portion of the love and family that she oversaw at Trail's End

Thursday, January 19, 2012

No More Exposure

We were in a rush to get some curtains or blinds in the bedrooms, but stalled when it came to the first floor.  I mean, we didn't have any neighbours, so it felt weird, but it probably wasn't all bad.  And although I love all of the light and openness that comes from the number of windows we have, it is quite an investment to cover them up!  It's not just the curtains, it's also the curtains rods and hardware, and blinds as well.
We had bought some of those temporary stick-on shades for the main windows before Christmas ... but then never got around to actually hanging them up.  :)

I love the colour of our light grey walls, but decided it was time for some colour to warm things up.  I've started to become more influenced by colour.  Originally, I was loving the soft, neutral calming tones (example: For the Love of a House), but now I am much more inspired by The Painted House.  I think enjoying colour, especially when you have little ones in the house, is much more fun.  And it creates a warmer, more lived-in space.

(or maybe that's just my excuse for my inability to choose a colour scheme and stick with it and/or ability to put together a cohesive space . . . )

So, in a mass-attempt to "get it together" and make use of our holiday vacation time, we went out on a mission to get all of the hardware we needed - at least for the living/dining room ... which was itself 12 window panes in all!  And because the first floor is such a wide-open flowing space, I wanted to make sure that we were (trying to be) coordinating or consistent.

We bought up all of the white Roman shades in a number of sizes from Lowes, and even had to stop at an additional store to get some more.  Then we found these curtain rods for the living room:

... And this cute bird one for the dining room:
And here was our pile when we unloaded:
We have had to tackle it a few windows at a time (and we still aren't done).

Anyway, it was all driven by my excitement at having found some awesome curtain panels from Anthropologie.  Like I said, I was departing from my original plan, and was eager to add in some colour.  When I saw these yellow-gold Coqo Floral panels I fell in love.  And luckily my friend Jenn encouraged me to jump right in.  :)  

I really can't say enough about them.  Although they are a little pricey, they are a sturdy weight, lined and sooooo pretty.
How cute is this box they came in?

Brian starts to put up the Roman shades

And of course the kids had to get a piece of the action - the ladder.
Jacob reaches the top!

She wasn't sure she wanted to go all the way....

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Full Circle

When we had the pleasure of our first real snow of the winter season, it was just about aligned with the same time last year that we signed the intent to build and put in our down payment.  A lot has happened on a personal and professional level and with the house in that year. 

Well.  It was cold.  And one thing we've come to learn about living in a brand new neighbourhood - with almost no neighbours - and a wide open field all around --- it's pretty windy.  And I mean wind-y.  Nevertheless, the first snow was exciting for the kids and they could not wait to go outside.  And what I love about newly fallen snow is its ability to blanket every imperfection and make the landscape look amazing. 

Our little red cottage house really stood out against the white backdrop too.  :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Getting into the house was good.  It did take us some time to unpack (and 2 1/2 months in we are still not unpacked), and I was saving more of my vacation days for when Mom  was coming to visit, since I knew we could get some power-work done together.  And, as it turned out, Brian was sick on the front end of the move -- I was sick on the back end (and the kids escaped relatively unharmed!).  This made for a good story . . .

I am now sick as a dog, and we are back to the work week.  Brian took the kids into daycare and he went to work.  I was spending the majority of the day in bed.  I was so sick I did not even touch a box to unpack, I think.  But after sleeping in til 10am, and maybe not getting out of bed until noon, I finally decided I'd get up and get something done.  The Laundry Room is now upstairs, based on our re-design.  We had only been in the house for maybe 2 days and had not used the washer/dryer since its hook-up.
I stick in a load of wash.  I check back later to see a puddle coming out of the Laundry Room.  My first thought is, "Holy crap!  The washer wasn't hooked up right and is flooding!"  My second thought is, "Ugh, this is the last thing I want to clean up when I feel like this."
If only.   As I get a towel and start to clean up, I realize . . . .  this is NOT water.  It is something much more viscous.

Oh.   Hell.

It was the Costco-sized jug of detergent that was sitting on top of our front-load washer that had jiggled itself right off the damn machine and busted open.   A couple of large towels later, the floor was still covered in a slick layer.  But I threw the soap-soaked towels into the machine and just ran a double rinse wash (without adding more detergent, mind you).  I half expected for bubbles to be pouring out of the machine a la the movie "Mr. Mom." 
We were also in a rush to get curtains up in the kids' rooms.  Especially since Jacob was not yet used to the lights and the distant view of the Interstate, and had resorted to sleeping a few nights in his sleeping bag on the floor instead of his bed, which had to go near the window.

About 2 weeks into our move, Mom came to visit the new house and stay for Halloween/my Birthday.  I also took the week off from work - but this was no vacation!  We were busy bees getting needed items for the house and doing projects that don't really lend themselves well to two little hooligans running underfoot.  After all of the pre-shopping and planning I thought I had done while building the house, it turned out there was much left to be done.  And much more to spend. . .

Our first set of tasks was doing a little rug shopping.  LOVE the hardwood throughout the house.  However, I quickly found that we were (and continue to be) in sad shape when it came to a little warmth and colour provided by rugs.  And oh yeah - they are kind of slick too (kids, be careful in your socks).  And boy did I ever underestimate the mass amount of dog hair that would be shed by ol' Cooper, the hound dog.  Waaaayyy more than the cat.  I am contemplating getting a Swiffer Vac for upstairs and downstairs.

The first couple of projects I enlisted Mom's help with - re-colouring a couple of pieces of furniture.
First up - the set of 4 enormous bar stools I scored from Craigslist for $300.  Not antique, but great form, sturdy, and in great condition.  Just an odd greenish distressed country colour. 

So we set about to spray paint the frames black (to match the Bar) using spray paint.  We went through 5 cans of glossy black paint on the 4 chairs:

Here's Mom putting a cover over the seating

Word to the wise - spray paint gets EVERYwhere.  Even when you think you have it contained.  Thankfully we were wearing gloves.  But it flew places we never thought were at risk.

Next was the antique Welsh dresser/hutch I bought at Midland Antique Mall downtown.  Another purchase I made only after some encouragement from Mom and Dad.  I loved the carvings and detail.  It looked like it had been used in a restaurant, and was pre-wired for an outlet.  Great for using as a warming buffet, or for Christmas lights!  The only unfortunate thing was that it also came with a very weird smell inside.  Way back then, Mom and I had even bleach-washed the inside thinking it was mildew-y.  And Dad had sent me something that was supposed to absorb smells.  It's certainly gotten less, but it's still somewhat present.

We used something called Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan.  It is apparently all the buzz on these redecorating blogs.  That's all well and good.  I was more interested because it claims that you don't have to do any pre-work to your furniture - no sanding, scraping, nil.  That's what I'm talking about.  And you can use it for chalk boards, too.

It turns out it was very easy to use, and Mom and I got the hang of it.  This piece looked better with 2 coats of French Linen.  It leaves a matte finish, which I liked, and I chose not to do a 'distressed' look.  And to protect it, I later covered it in some Soft Wax.

taken with my iPhone, as I start getting ready to add Xmas decorations