Making a house a home…

They say the heart of a home is the kitchen.  The Missus loves cooking and helping in our real kitchen and then spends much of the rest of her time pretending to be cooking or baking as well.   So it made sense that the hideout/playhouse needed a play kitchen.  It is a total hack which is either a really good thing proving that anyone can do this using materials that are cheap and easily attainable or it is a bad thing and totally proves Martha Stewart‘s point.  Either way, I wanted to share this with those who have generously donated materials for this build and perhaps it will serve as inspiration for those wanting to do the same for their children.  And so, without further ado:

I started with an upper cupboard I found for $10 at our local Habitat for Humanity Restore.  I chose it because it was fairly skinny in its profile and the doors were the old-fashioned kind.  On most modern cupboards the doors cover the entire front of the opening and that would have been problem in terms of opening and closing.  So I put the cupboard upside down on the floor (so that the pulls on the doors were at the top) and secured it in place with screws.
IMG_1880Then I got out the last piece of that seemingly endless board from the garage (that we’ve used for projects in the kitchen and living room already) to make a countertop.  I was so excited about doing this project that I didn’t care that I didn’t have the right tools for the job.  I happily got out what power tools I had on hand and started working.

IMG_1881Yeah,  you should always use the proper tools.  By the end I was a sweaty mess trying to wrestle the wood into place.  I made mistakes.  But don’t worry I fixed ’em and who cares it is a playhouse right? Right.  So not prefect but still “super cool” according to the Missus.

IMG_1883Do not dwell on the jagged edges of the hole that I created for the sink…like I said I fixed them.  I used the drill to drill circles big enough to fit the $5 taps I found at Value Village.  I also used the drill to poor effect in making the hole for the sink in the top of the cupboard and the reclaimed board for the countertop (and I used the skill saw and a hammer and I swore…a lot).  Oh and also don’t trouble yourself about the unfinished wall behind the cupboards…I’ll get to that later.

IMG_1891See?  The wall is (almost) finished now.  I used an old metal bowl for sink and a piece of 2×4 to fix the gap at the end of the counter.  I’ll be drawing on some stove top elements with permanent marker at some point and painting the fridge (an old store from the MOD shop a few years ago).  Oh and painting the wall…and finishing around the windows…was it me that said she didn’t want to see this project end?  Surely not.

kids kitchen in playhouseWe have plans for kitchen curtains and matching tea towels as well but I’m not sure how they will fare through the winter in such an unprotected playhouse.  So we may leave that project for the spring and summer.

So that is our most recent update.  What do you think so far?

************UPDATE**************

I found a use for one of the three medicine cabinets from our bathroom upstairs as a nice upper cabinet for the play kitchen.

playhouse kitchen

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‘hitting the thrifty jackpot!’ or ‘somebody stop me!’

I have hit the thrifty finds jackpot lately.  One major project is still ongoing and so I can’t share it yet (I can’t wait).  For now I must be satisfied with showing you these beauties:

post elna openThe Elna Supermatic.  She is a beauty.  This  blog has a great write-up on the machine and the history complete with awesome vintage print ads that are charmingly insulting to women (“If you can boil an egg, you can sew and embroider this blouse!!”).  My plan was to get her operational and gift her to Lil’S for a birthday present.  The kid is itching to sew all sorts of things and I am rather protective of my new Pfaff.  I think the Elna is perfect for her! Elna looks like this inside her case:

postelnacase

And when you open her up she looks like this:postelnaopentopShe comes with all of these goodies.  Cams for changing the stitch embroidery patterns, the cutest oil can known to man and the best of vintage instruction.

postelnaopenwithstuff

postelnawith stuffside viewAnd look at what else the case can do!  It turns itself into an extension table!!  Genius.  She is so well-built and in great condition.  I love the knee press instead of the foot control.  I’m officially in love.  By the by,  I took her to see Debbie at The Singer Store in Kingston and Debbie had her working in tip-top shape in no time.  And I loved that Debbie let me watch so I could learn all about my machine.  So I’d highly recommend heading over there if you have any sewing machine needs (no, she did not pay me to say that).

Okay, next up…Lil’S has also been obsessed with typing lately.  She loves watching me type on the computer and was intrigued to know I took typing in highschool.  Yep, I’m that old.  We had electric typewriters and we typed to music…oh the shame.  Anywho, I found this handsome machine on this auction site and snagged him for $16.

post typerwitterHe types beautifully.  And his name is Remmington.  There is no way this could go wrong.  He is intended as a solstice gift for Lil’S so she can type her heart out.

postmessageAnd finally….THIS:

posttableandchairsI love it.  I really, really do.  The table top is an amazing blue colour, the legs have these amazing spring lock mechanisms and it is in great shape.  The four chairs (which will serve as extra seats during family get togethers and dinners) have the same vinyl backs as the table top and the seats themselves are padded and upholstered in a lovely blue polyester.  Yes, I just used lovely and polyester in the same sentence.  For now this set is serving as a cutting table in my craft room.

I still can’t believe I had the winning bids on these finds.  You know you’ve done well when you go to pick up your items and the MaxSold staff say things like “you know you got a really good deal on that don’t you?” as he caresses the table and marvels at the mint condition, and “OH!  You’re the one who snagged the Elna…” followed by murmurs of ‘she’s getting the Elna’ circulating around the room amongst staff and fellow buyers alike.

Oh thrifting, how I love thee!

Oh “deery” my! Woodland Felt Animal Masks and Tutorial

Oh deery my indeed!  This little woodland creature couldn’t get any cuter.  And this blog post couldn’t come any later.  We are in solid birthday mode around here and this post features what I created for LAST year’s birthday party.  I’m not ashamed.  Besides I think these adorable masks were worth the wait.deermask

The theme for the Missus’ birthday was “Woodland Animals” (this year she continues the animal theme only this year it is “party animals”…you can see the difference).  We had planned to take the kids to the park to play, drink apple cider and have cake.  The weather thought that was a bad idea and so we transformed our living room into…a living room that now allowed woodland animals to play in it.

foxesandowlsandbearsohmyInstead of sending our creature friends home with bags of candy, I embroidered and sewed these adorable felt masks to give to each guest.  The fox is my favourite.  When I finished the first fox mask I had the most incredible crafter high!  We kept the animals local and added some skunks, bears, owls, deer and a chipmunk to the mix.

bearmask

It all started with this prototype.  The bear.  I based it on this paper mask that I bought at Michael’s.

paper bear maskI simply traced the outline onto some freezer paper, ironed that onto some felt and away we went.  Oh, and I altered the shape of the eyes from oval to round.  Don’t do that.  The result is still cute (see below) but….

felt bear mask

But the kids…they can’t see that well when they are like that.

bear mask

Fun to wear but hard to attack.  So oval eye holes it was from then on…

So here is what you’re gonna need to make a cute creature yourself:

Supplies:

  • A template.  Get one like the one above or free hand your own.  There are also many template available for free online (google “felt masks”…you’ll see).
  • Heat n’ Bond.  I purchased mine at Fabricland:

heat n' bond

  • Freezer Paper.  I couldn’t find any in Canada at the time (although I’ve heard others have had luck).  This may be one item I am willing to cross boarder shop for and I buy a few rolls at a time when I’m in the states.

freezer paper

  • Sharp scissors
  • A marker for tracing the pattern onto the freezer paper and heat n’ bond
  • Some embroidery thread in a variety of colours (it is really up to you)
  • 1/2 inch elastic
  • Felt in various colours (grey, black and beige for the racoon)
  • A sewing machine with a needle that can handle layers of felt
  • Thread for sewing machine
  • An iron and an ironing board

Now, let’s get started!

howtomakeafeltanimalmask

1. First make a template.  I traced the bear mask onto a piece of paper with marker.  Then I modified it free-hand to make the different animals.  Below is the start of the racoon mask:IMG_9182

freezer paper2.  Now that you have your new mask design just the way you want it, it is time to get out your freezer paper.  Lay it over your paper animal and trace.  For a racoon you need to trace and cut out a few separate pieces:  (1. and 2.)  the outside shape of the mask (3.)  the racoon mask (4.)the snout (5. and 6.) two triangle shapes for inside the ears and (7.) the nose.

IMG_91873.  Lay the two mask outlines onto a piece of felt with the shiny side of the freezer paper down.  Use your iron to set them in place.IMG_91884.  With the freezer paper now “stuck” to the felt, cut out both pieces.  Peel the freezer paper off the felt and set aside (you can reuse this several times for other masks).  Set the felt aside as well.

IMG_91985.  Next lay the freezer paper cut outs for the racoon mask, the ear triangles and the nose on to the black felt, iron and cut them out.  Peel the freezer paper off and set pieces aside.

IMG_91926.  Repeat the process with the snout piece and a beige scrap of felt.

IMG_92417.  Next take out your Heat N’ Bond.  Lay it over your original paper design and trace out all of the same pieces that you did with the freezer paper.  The Heat N’ Bond is similar to freezer paper in that it has a shiny side.  Lay the shiny side down onto the corresponding piece of felt and iron.  IMG_9202When you peel the Heat N’ Bond off you will see the shiny bit has transferred to the felt (sorry only good pic of this is from the fox mask in the making):

IMG_92608.  Now you can start ironing your pieces into place on one of the grey pieces of felt.  I placed the racoon mask on first, shiny side down and ironed it in place.  Then the snout, the nose and the ears.  I placed the nose midway down the snout instead of up near the mask to give it a 3D effect.

IMG_9204

IMG_9205

IMG_92069.  Next I used my sewing machine to sew around the mask, the ears and the snout securing them in place.  This is probably not necessary if you want to keep it simple.  It will add to the longevity of the mask though.

IMG_9207

9.  I used black embroidery thread to outline and hold the nose in place (three layers would be too thick for most sewing machines).  Then, using a running stitch,  I embroidered a line from the nose to the chin.  I think it adds a touch of whimsy to the masks.

snoutandnose

10.  Now, remember how I told you I did this project last year?  Yes, well, that means I don’t have a picture of the next step.  Sorry!  It is pretty simple though…take your elastic and cut a length that is sized to fit your child’s head.  Pin one end to the back of the mask on each side and sew into place:

clearracoonmask

11.  Once you have the elastic in place, set the whole piece aside.  Iron Heat N’ Bond onto the second grey piece of felt.  Peel it off.  Lay this piece of felt shiny side up on the ironing board.  Lay the top piece of the mask with the elastic attached on top.  Take care to ensure the elastic is not between the layers at all.  Iron until the two pieces are fused together.IMG_9238

irononracoonmask12.  The last step is to sew around the entire outline of the mask and your done!  Or if you’re like me, you’ve only just begun!  It was super fun “inventing” each animal mask and adding details here and there.

felt woodland animal masks

Have fun!

The hideout: an update

IMG_1838The hideout turned playhouse is coming along.  The walls boards are up and we’re starting on the finishing touches.  I admit the inherently slow pace of an upcycle project like this one has its downsides but we’ve enjoyed the challenge.

IMG_1841You know, the challenge of finding one more fence board that fits that wonky spot.  Or the challenge of almost finishing a wall and then running out of that kind of tongue in groove wood of that particular width and MacGyvering something that will do.  Finding enough similar looking shingles was interesting…

IMG_1852It turns out we didn’t know enough people with old fence panels and old wall sections to finish the back wall.  So we used the left over pieces of chipboard that went on the roof.  Definitely NOT as pretty as the other rustic looking sections.  So we decided to paint the interior.  It was amazingly easy to find old paint.  White was a no brainer given that we could mix our donations and paint can finds together to cover it all.   We found an almost full can of (OLD) white primer in our garage and we had a number of white tester samples to mix.  The rest came from neighbours and we’ve been told our local Restore carries paints as well.

IMG_1844The girls had a blast and worked hard to finish before sunset.  It is getting darker earlier and earlier though and we’ll have to finish another day.  This seems to be a theme with this space…each time we are working on it we think of some other amazing detail to add…another day.  It keeps us thinking.  It has us researching.  We’re thinking of this, and this and a slide like this.

IMG_1866And so we dream up big possibilities and have fun working together until we’re tired.  And then we have fun taking breaks and making more plans.

IMG_1860Ultimately we’re learning that if we really want to stick to our budget and committment to use used wood and materials then we must be patient.  So far our biggest gift is learning how generous and resourceful our friends and neighbours are. Heck we’ve met so many new people and we have on occasion come home to gifts of shelves, baskets, markers (for future art work of course) not to mention the lumber, roofing paper, shingles and nails we already received.  This is certainly a labour of love.  And I’m not sure I actually want it to ever be finished.

The backyard part 2: The hideout.

Hideoutbrush1

If you read The Backyard: Part 1 then you will notice how sad and decrepid the tree branch hut looks in the above photo compared to earlier in the summer.  You might also notice that bush behind the hut looks decidedly less bush-like (and is lying in a pile next to the hut).  Hmmm, yes, that.  Well,  the girls had great plans for a hideout that was, uh, hidden by those bushes that were there but now aren’t.  You see, when we went to execute our plan of building a hideout that was behind and under said bushes we discovered that most of the bushes and trees back there were diseased or dead. That was a sad day.  I am not one to take down trees lightly but when one can rip off a tree limb with your bare hand, well…it is likely better to take it down than to have it fall and hurt someone playing in a hideout beneath.
hideoutbrush3

Hideoutbrush2

So we went to work and made five trips to the dump….yes, five.  It was a work out.  And while J and I cleared the girls revised their plans.  More drawing ensued.  Plans now include planting bushes and trees in front of the hideout.  I hope they realize that might take some time…

While we were working we also put out a call for building supplies on facebook.  Friends came up with old fence panels, pallets, walls and left over decking and fencing, windows, roofing paper and shingles.  This was going from hideout to playhouse pretty fast.  Knowing how expensive those things can be we were a little reluctant but given how generous people have been we’ve been able to get going on this really fast and really cheap!  We borrowed trucks for pick up and had spontaneous dropoffs.  It has been wonderful and we are so grateful!

hideouthammering

Probably the girls favourite pick up was going to get some real kid sized tool belts and hammers from Auntie T’s house to borrow for the duration of the build.  Straight to work they went.  The Missus reported to her grandfather that “hammering is hard work but it is a whole lotta fun too!”.

Hideouttakingabreak

She also made sure to take breaks between hammering to make it more manageable!!

hideoutbabycarrying

Have I mentioned yet in this post today how much I love my kids?  No?  Well let me tell you why I do.  I love them because nothing can box them in.  A tool belt is perfect for babywearing (why can’t moms work construction and bring their kids to work? There are no limits).  A construction site can still be beautified…why not find a bottle or a jar and pick some flowers from the garden while you work to ensure everyone has a glorious workspace?  (I mean really, why not?  We  should all do this before working in any setting.  I can dig these fresh-cut flowers, I can).

hideoutfoundation

Whoa!  I thought you said this was a simple and cheap project Kelli, you exclaim.  It is, I respond.  All that lumber for the foundation?  Free.  The concrete patio blocks it is set on?  Free.  Seriously.  Ask friends or go on kijiji.  You will find stuff that people don’t want and they will be thrilled that you are going to come and take it out of their garage, basement or backyard.

hideoutbeginningoftrapdoor

What’s this?  The beginnings of the required and requested trapdoor.  Those bricks?  From the chimney we had removed from our house last year.  Wait, bricks?  Right.  A video on how to build a foundation on you tube said to do this to deter small animals from living under your foundation.  Time will tell if this was a good idea.

hideouttrapdoor

Can you see it?  The trap door I mean?  It is there.  Look harder.

trap door

There it is!  Perfect for hiding secret documents and supplies.

hideoutside

Fast forward a little.  The side wall is being covered in the boards from the old fence panels we were given.  They were a breeze to take apart even if taking out the nails was a little tedious.  The front wall is being covered in the remains of a wall from some other structure from someone else’s backyard.  It won’t cover the entire front but some of the wood from one of the free pallets is a pretty good match so we’ll use that to complete it.  This wall was harder to deconstruct as it was in rougher shape and some of the boards shattered or were too rotten when I took them apart.  Also note that pallets are fairly easy to find but come in varying shades of quality.  Choose wisely, ensure you have a skill saw available to you for the tear down and expect the deconstruction of a pallet to take some time and a whole lot of patience.  But that’s okay beacuse, hey, it is free right?

The posts on the porch area were rescued from a friend’s basement.  The lumber for the studs and roof were a mix of old and new.  Since I took apart walls and fences we reused most of the nails and people gave us some of their left over supplies from other projects (including from our backyard neighbour who we met when we removed the deadfall tree and we could finally see through to her yard….these projects really can bring people to together.  Did I mention we are grateful?

hideout1

Here is the view from the front…

hideoutfrom the inside

And from inside.  It is really starting to shape up!  And we are all learning a lot.

hideoutharvestBreak time was spent raiding the garden…and it was extended for said snack inside the almost complete hideout…

We are still searching for materials to cover the last two walls.  We are determined not to break the bank doing this.  After we buy the plywood for the roof (remember we already have new to us roofing materials like shingles)  we estimate that we will have spent just over $300.  So we’ll be searching the free ads from wood scraps until we find enough to finish.

Stay tuned for The Backyard Part 3:  Making a hideout a hideout.  Pulley’s, trapdoors and periscopes oh my!

The Backyard Part 1: Natural Playscapes for kids

We have a lovely, large backyard.   The woman who lived here before us was a champion gardener and a member of the horticultural society and there are incredible flowerbeds…everywhere.  I am not complaining, afterall, that is quite a gift (even if I have my work more than cut out for me trying to keep them up).  But while flowers are pretty we needed some areas that the kids could play in and explore.  And we needed to do it on a budget.  Natural playscapes appealed to us and we were intrigued by living willow structures and had even found a Canadian source for willow cuttings.  But again, we had that budget…

So, we started last fall by transporting some tree stumps and cedar logs from J’s parents place in the forest to our urban backyard.  These were instant hits with the girls:

Hideoutbackyardstumps

Hideoutbalancebeam

Who knew jumping on stumps was such fun?  Or that cedar logs made such great balance beams?  Amazing, natural and cheap.  We loved it.

Next we starting making a “hut” like structure out of tall, skinny tree branches (again from J’s parents place):

Hideoutbackyardbefore

We used jute twine to tie the branches together forming a dome.  We added a door shape and a few windows on each side.  In the winter we cut up our evergreen tree (and a few of our friends) and wove the boughs through to give the structure form and privacy.

Hideoutbeforewith firepit

Here is what is looked like this summer.  We had placed the stumps in a semi-circle and moved out fire pit to the centre.  It has been a great spot for roasting marshmallows!  You can see the “finished” structure in the background after we had removed the old and dried out christmas branches and other yard waste the kids had woven in.  Next we removed the sod/grass in a circle around the play structure, added soil and planted beans with the idea being that they would grow over the branches and give cover that way.  Unfortunately, there was a heat wave while we were away for vacation this year and the beans didn’t really take.  We came home to a sad little wooden dome that was not much more than a bunch of dried out sticks.  Which is just as well since it was meant to be temporary (although we had hoped it would last through this season.  Since then the girls have hatched another plan anyways.  A bigger and more involved plan – a hideout!!

The have drawn designs, discussed various fort “must-haves” such as a lookout and a trap door.  The area behind the temporary dome seemed like a great space and so we went straight to work.  I can’t wait to show you the progress we are making on the much larger and more involved play structure in Part 2 of this series.  But for now you can ask friends and relatives for stumps and branches to get you started on building a natural playground for your kids…

We’ve got rats in the house…and we’ll never be the same…

My guess is that you thought 1 of 3 different things when you read the title of this post:

1.  “Oh my god!  You have rats?!  Poor you!”
2.  “Eeeewww, rats are so gross…with their gross rats tails and the gross diseases they carry…so sick”
3.  “OMG you have rats?!  I LOVE rats!!  I just posted a video about my rats on youtube because they are so cute”

If you are looking for a lurid rat tale filled with rat nest locating, rat trap placing etc you can move on.  This isn’t that kind of post.  In fact it is more like a love story.  A rat love story.

Exhibit A:

ratsbeckyandnoriHow could we not fall into love with these two?  Becky is on the left and is a Dumbo rat.  She is such a sweet, snuggly and gentle girl.  Nori is the one on the right.  This pic is very Nori.  She has loads of curiosity and spunk.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” you say?  “Are you talking about rats?” you ask?

Yes.  I am.  I kid you not.  It all started with the girls wanting a small pet they could snuggle.  Like a cat.  Their dad is allergic to cats.  This is upsetting to them to say the least.  Lil’S has been know to write songs about this topic including hits like “I have a choice: my dad or a cat”,  “I’ll get a cat when I get my own apartment” and “Run, Kitty, Run”.  Since the cat is a no-go, we moved on to researching other small animals for pets.  The Missus was determined to get a hamster.  We read and researched and visited some hamsters at pet stores.  But hamsters are solitary animals and I had visions of fights over who could hold said hamster and possibility of “squishing” seemed high in that scenario.  Also they bite a lot.  We moved on to information gathering about gerbils.  You need to get at least two of those at a time.  We even found an animal rescue with some gerbils looking for homes.  Gerbils bite less than hamsters.  But they are jumpy and skittish.  Not a great cuddle factor rating.   I had images of the kids loving them for all of two seconds and getting bored or bitten.  I saw days of mama cleaning stinky pine shavings and of sad neglected rodents living in a cage….

I saw a rat in one of the pet stores.  It was in plastic hut with only its tail sticking out.  I thought to myself “ew, who in their right mind would have a rat as a pet?”.  The sales person had a soft spot for rats and gave me a pamphlet (only one gerbil in stock that day).  I got back in the car and read the pamphlet and was intrigued.  They are really smart.  They can learn to come when you call them by name.  THEY CAN BE POTTY TRAINED!!!  They can learn tricks.  They very rarely bite.  They don’t live very long (don’t think less of me…this is a new venture and I liked the idea of a short-lived foray into the world of rodents if it went badly).  I went from a visceral negative reaction to a pragmatic, rational response of “this pet option seems to best fit with my family’s needs”.

ratspictureperfectAnd look at this picture.  I mean really look at it.  She is in love!  And so am I.  And so is Becky.  Here is a picture of Becky grooming Lil’S.

ratsgroomingI don’t know if you can tell, but Becky is licking her hand.  Lil’S can hold and pet Becky into an almost catatonic state!  We’ve had Becky and Nori for four weeks now and they are potty trained (mostly) and are starting to come when we call them.  The kids rush home to play with their rats.  The rats rush to the door of their well-appointed cage to be let out and play.  They are clean and easy to care for.  We used the purchase of these animals to teach the kids about budgeting and we price compared everything.  The kids are paying for their food and toys with their allowance.  They are quiet pets.  They are social and easy-going.  They are fun to watch.  We have plans for these rat girls of ours.  They’ve stimulated great discussions on stereotypes and prejudice.  “Why do people hate rats so much mom?”, “why do people think they are gross (dirty, carry disease, stupid)?”,  “why won’t people give rats a chance?”.  Given my own initial reaction to the idea of having rats I’ve had to examine my own strongly held beliefs.  Who knew?

We also have a rat guru in the form of an amazing 16-year-old girl who produced this video that I think you’ll enjoy.  I know the girls and I are looking forward to mastering these with our rat babies:

We’ve corresponded with her through her facebook page and she has amazingly insightful advice for the newbie rat owner.

I still can’t believe I’m writing about rats.  I still can’t believe I OWN rats.  Most importantly I can’t believe how easily they wiggled their way into our hearts.  We may even join the crazy rat lovers out there and one day produce a “look how cute my rats are” video ourselves.

Peace out!

For those of you looking for more rat owning information start here (we did):

The Ratty Rat
Discover Pet Rats
Abby R. Rat Training Facebook Page

Mama’s got a brand new…door.

The first day of Spring found us still under a blanket of snow outside.  So what is a mama to do but add some colour inside?  We are slowly making progress on the kitchen.  The wallpaper is down, walls scrubbed, repaired and painted (Benjamin Moore Woodlawn blue if you are wondering).  We decided to use the same colour in the hall, up the stairs and into the hall upstairs.  The tile backsplash will be painted and so far with only one coat of primer it is looking fantastic.  Jamie of The Painted Pear is coming next week to prep and spray lacquer our tired, old cabinets – I am so excited about this part!!

Before I play show and tell with a few pics of the kitchen in progress and my “new” front door, I have to show you this new trick I learned!!

paintedhingesSee this?  This is what the hardware in my kitchen looks like right now.  They been painted over multiple times and they are not so pretty to look at.  What to do, what to do.  I have found an amazing and easy solution!

crock pot magicFirst I went to VV and bought a crock pot for $5.  Then I added water, Nellie’s Washing Soda (which I buy locally at Go Green Baby) and my painted hinges.  I covered it with the lid and left them for 1/2 an hour.  When I came back the paint slid right off!  Amazing.  They are still not the prettiest hinges ever but I’m keeping with my “make it do” mantra so they stay.

shinynewhingesThey are so very shiny and new looking now after all.  This method of cleaning old hardware got me to thinking about all the old and paint splattered doorknobs and hinges around here.  So I took the hardware off my front door too and cleaned those too…

innerdoorhandle

The inside knob…

doorknoboutsideThe outside knob…

They cleaned up okay using this method but they still needed some scrubbing with a toothbrush and some brass cleaner.  And since I had the hardware off I should probably paint the door finally with some Chalk Paint in Emperor’s Silk Red (of course I should)…

door prep

The before…

finisheddoor

door and jacketsThe afters…see the gleaming “new” hardware???  Can you even believe it was THAT dirty?  Sort of embarrassing really…and now (also embarrassingly) I need to touch up the trim which the painters tape ripped off : (.

picture

I love my entryway now!  This is a Sarah Jane print that stays up all year (so I’ll always have a little bit of winter nearby)…

hooksI found these adorable hooks a few years ago at Kilborn’s my favourite store to get lost in…

There are still a few finishes that need to happen in this front hall, namely taking the old worn out linoleum floor (which has old asbestos backed linoleum underneath which means getting some professionals in here) and thrifting a table for the bottom of the stairs.  Good thing yard sale season is starting soon!

kitchen colourHere is a peek at the colour in the kitchen.  You can see the sorry cupboards in the corner waiting for their turn to be transformed.  In this pick the hallway is still the old taupe/pink/brown colour that I’ve hated since we moved in.  The colour has made such a difference already.  The kitchen is brighter and the white appliances looks so much better.

yellowshelfsurpriseI found a surprise under some old contact paper on the corner shelves…bright yellow, old school formica.  I love it!

So cupboards, flooring, and painting trim still to do…but it is all coming along.  I can’t wait until Jamie works his magic next week.  I promise to get the finished photos up as soon as it is finished.

What do you think so far?

Love list from last week…

Life has been a blur lately.  My love lists are my way of remembering these little gems…

This week I loved…

1.  listening to my daughter whistle, sing and um, caw (oh my!) at the birds on our walk to school.  She told me it is not hard to talk to birds. One need only make their voice a little more “birdish” than usual.  She also confided that she is not 100% certain what she is saying to them but she is just as certain that they understand what she means.  Sometimes it is like my heart will burst…

2.  how much my girls enjoyed discovering Billy Joel as a musician.  Specifically and especially they seem to love “Uptown girl”.  There may even be a plan for the girls to dress as Christy Brinkley for Hallowe’en while their dad dresses up as Billy Joel the mechanic from the video.  I guess I’ll just hold the bags of candy, as three Christy Brinkleys would surely be too much.

3.  our evening family walks and snowball fights.

4. how angry Mrs. Iverson was on the morning of March 1st when she looked out the window and saw that there was still snow covering her grass.  Apparently she had been explicitly told at school that spring started in March and in the spring there would be grass…repeat this scene the morning of March 2nd.  Can’t wait for tomorrow.

5.  growing into my role as mama to someone who is not so very little anymore.  While I still feel like I have no idea if what I’m saying and doing is the right thing or not, I’m pretty excited (and relieved) to see what a kind, understanding and insightful young person she is growing into.

Sigh, life is busy and shows no signs of stopping for the next little while…I’ll take theses moments when I can get them : )