Monday, October 20, 2014

From the Weekend: Fall Lingers




My son showed me how the slanting light of the setting sun was lighting up the tops of the trees. I handed him the camera.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

ORC Weeks 2&3: Catching Up

This is an update for both weeks two and three because for all of the time available between week one and week two, I was a long way away connecting with family at my Grandmother's funeral. It was a trip which healed and restored my soul like none other. (Truly, one last gift from a most remarkable woman). And then, unfortunately, I spent all of the time between week two and week three down with a nasty, nasty cold. Needless to say, progress was light.

When I finished the last ORC in the Spring, I knew I wanted to do it again--and I knew I wanted to tackle my living room.

So, to get a jump on things, I painted it.

I also hung two drop cloths I bleached a few years ago.

And then I tossed the teal carpet.

So, really this is where we began.






This week, I took care of a few things I could do in short spurts.

I sealed the knots in the faux fireplace and painted it. It is, actually, the exact same colour of the walls, but in a semi-gloss. (Glass of Milk by Martha Stewart) I love it.

 Before:

No, your screen did not suddenly sprout spots. That's what happens to knots when they are not sealed with a shellac based primer.


After:




I also stained the shelf above the television.

Before:

sorry about the blur, but it is probably for the best. That's one nasty reflection happening there.

(In our living room the best place for the TV is the corner, even with a flat screen.)

I have several cans of stain. I know I mixed two or three--or maybe more of them together when I stained the first shelf. I'd wanted it to match the ikea unit.

Top row, left to right: Cherry, English Chestnut; Bottom row, left to right, Red Oak, English Chestnut, Golden Oak.

So I measured and experimented until I had exactly what I wanted. I wrote everything down as I went so I'd have a recipe.



After supper, I started making my recipe: and then, as I was about to measure out the last can, I realised that I had picked up one can thinking it was another--so who knows what I'd mixed together. I blame my cold, the dim light of the room, and the fact we were watching something on TV.

I decided not to worry too much about it. I simply adjusted a bit here and there. Stains can be custom mixed, just like paint. I enjoy messing around with them. Things were humming along nicely when I went to bed.

The next morning, I made a disastrous decision. I decided to give the top a second coat in red oak. It was awful. So awful, I took it down to the workshop in the basement and sanded off as much as I could--and started over.

Back to Square One. Or is it Trapezoid One?

After:


Now, that's all right.

The Recipe (for my own future referance):

5 1/2 tsp Cherry
1 tsp English Chestnut
1 tsp Red Oak


I have been seriously contemplating hacking the Ikea Vittsjo, but I just checked and there are none in town.
Can you say beyond frustrated?


Updated punch list:

The Punch List:

Put up moulding on fireplace chimney breast
Put up moulding on window wall
Stain second pine shelf over TV to match the first one.
Spot prime the bleeding knots in the fireplace surround.
Paint it.
Top bookcases with wood and or/thick shelf.

Declutter books
Declutter dvds, cds, etc.
Make sure the TV is set up properly for devices to attach properly.

Cut, Peel and flatten top of log for a table
sew a couch cover from indigo denim
sew or buy a cushion cover for the poang chair
buy a rug
buy and install window blinds
sew either vertical trim or band the bottom of the dropcloth drapes
*sew pleats into drop cloth drapes
recover ottoman...zebra stripes?
buy low light plants

Still undecided:
bring back long rustic lunch bench?
stain floor w/multiple shades of blue?
get doors for 1/2 the bookcase?  I just found out that in August Ikea updated the Billys--and the new doors, apparently, will not fit the old units. So. No doors.


Check out the other linking participants in the One Room Challenge, here. I am sure they will have much more dramatic updates!

Monday, October 13, 2014

From the Weekend: The Windows

My husband and son changed out the screens for the storm windows this Canadian Thanksgiving weekend.



I guess winter really is coming.

Monday, October 6, 2014

In Memorium

Life happens.

So, too, does death.

My ninety-nine year old grandmother died this week. I am flying five thousand kilometers to be with my family to celebrate her life.

She was cheerful. She was an awful nag. She always stopped to talk to people. She laughed at human foibles, especially her own. She loved her family fiercely.

And even though I last saw her in 2007, I will miss her always.

Norma Jean Wylie (nee Summers) 

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Kitchen Project: The Table



This table has a history.

When I bought this table three and a half years ago, I expected it to solve all my "eating in the kitchen woes." Little did I know, a whole new set of woes were about to begin.

It started innocently enough.

One day, while cleaning up after dinner, I threw my dishcloth on a spot to "soak" it and make it easy to wipe up. Little did I know that I was inviting disaster.

The Liatorp, by IKEA, is one of the few pieces they carry which is simply a melamine finish on a pressboard (or mdf) surface. (The new Ingatorp is, unfortunately, no different.)

Once the finish cracks or becomes pitted, the fibres in the pressboard underneath swell up, creating huge blots.


This becomes this in short order.



Most of their furniture is at least some sort of wood. The pressboard, however, made the table impossible to re-finish--or so I thought.

So, for too long, I lived with this.



Eventually, it got so nasty (and clean up so impossible) we just stopped eating at it. That killed me. I believe very strongly in having family meals together. I have teenagers. It is really important for us to connect. I imposed a rule: dinner together once a week. That's how bad it was.

Once in a while, I'd research how to "fix" it, but I never found anything quite satisfactory.

Then, one day last week, I was thinking about it and realised it was simple. I would sand down the raised bits, prime them, and then re-paint with a melamine paint.



So, that's what I did.



I used a shellac based primer. An oil based primer might have done the job just as well, but I thought of the pressboard as if they were knots. They had to be super sealed to protect them from moisture.



Then, I rolled on a couple of coats of the melamine paint (colour matched to a side rail I took into Home Depot.) I used a sponge roller which was a bit of a mistake. It knocked back the sheen of the paint and it gave me really thin coverage. The thin coverage wasn't a bad thing, necessarily, I just wanted the process to go a bit more quickly, so I switched to a brush. I did two coats with it.

It is not perfect.

If you look closely, you can see the brush strokes.You can also see where the pressboard spots were. (Trust me. The camera can't pick it up but the naked eye can. Especially when you get down close when the sun is shining.) I probably should have sanded a bit more. I'm not sure wood filler would have helped but it might have.



The sheen doesn't match the original table top. As you can see, you can tell when you put the leaf in.



The thing is, I really don't care about these imperfections that much. They certainly are not going to keep our family from the table anymore.

(Next up: repainting those chairs. But don't hold your breath.)


Thursday, October 2, 2014

15 Minutes: Declutter Countdown

Have you heard about the 31 Day writing challenge, hosted by The Nester?

Regrettably, I decided not to participate this year: I have in the past. This year, though, I figured I should take it easy and just follow along as best I can while doing the One Room Challenge in my living room (and following all of those fabulous participants. It is a busy month in blogland.)

This evening, I was reading a blog doing a series called the Clutter Countdown. Everyday, she will post a fifteen minute decluttering challenge. Tonight, it was all about the kitchen counter. I decided to play.

Before:




After 15 minutes.



Oh, so close! I was quite proud of myself for my 15 minutes included clearing out the dish rack so it could play host to the supper dishes.

So, I just let the timer continue.



And ta da!



Full disclosure: there are two cooking pots still on the stove, soaking.

But thanks Beauty and Bedlam. I needed that.

ORC Week 1: The Befores, The Vision and The Punch List


Are you ready for a crazy ride?

The next six weeks will be absolutely awesome as we participate in Linda's One Room Challenge (tm). As Linda says, the purpose of the challenge is to give us that little push and incentive to get that room done! And so it will.

I have been dithering about my living room for years. I have put drapes up and taken them down. I have dreamed of slipcovering the couch for years--yet, I have never actually gone ahead and done it. But, now is the time. I've had visions of this room for ages, now it is time to make it happen.

The Befores:

Here is where we were in May when I decided to do the challenge.


I was looking after my nephew that day. He wanted to pose for me.

We fixed a problem we had had with the roof which caused water damage in that left back corner a couple of years ago: but we didn't deal with the bubbling plaster and peeling paint until March of this year.  Here it is all patched and primed and ready for paint (which I think I have started).






We need to put up a piece of moulding over the chimney breast.


Here you can see the wall was two different shades of yellow. On the bottom we had Papaya (or French Vanilla CC248) and in the coving, Cable Knit (CC 306), both by Benjamin Moore.



The gallery wall. I think my nephew was a bit annoyed with me and my camera! That sofa clearly needs to be covered. The lamp on the left is looking fussy and old, too.


The area above the TV. The cds mounted underneath the shelf need to be taken down now that we have our large screen TV. The top shelf needs to be stained to match the lower.



 Here is the window wall with the brown drapes. They are excellent protection against the winter cold, but they are dark and heavy.

The repairs are to the right.

You can't tell from these pictures, but that rug, a curbside find, was stained beyond redemption. I put it out on the curb later in the summer.


The Vision:

The vibe I want is relaxed and casual. Nothing too fussy.



Love the blinds at the windows flanking the fireplace.
Love, love the chunky tops to the shelves.
Love, love love the cognac leather club chair.



The sofas.
The window blinds
The rug.
The light coloured walls.


Colour!
Yes. That rug.
(Wish I could have a brick wall, too.)
The whole bohemian vibe thing.

So, yeah, these images are all pretty different. I hope I can pull together something coherent from them all for my space.

So, are you ready for it?
(Am I?)

The Punch List:

Put up moulding on fireplace chimney breast
Put up moulding on window wall
Stain second pine shelf over TV to match the first one.
Spot prime the bleeding knots in the fireplace surround.
Paint it.
Top bookcases with wood and or/thick shelf.

Declutter books
Declutter dvds, cds, etc.
Make sure the TV is set up properly for devices to attach properly.

Peel and flatten top of log for a table
sew a couch cover from indigo denim
sew or buy a cushion cover for the poang chair
buy a rug
buy and install window blinds
sew either vertical trim or band the bottom of the dropcloth drapes
recover ottoman...zebra stripes?
buy low light plants

Still undecided:
bring back long rustic lunch bench?
stain floor w/multiple shades of blue?
get doors for 1/2 the bookcase?

I work part-time (up to 30 hours a week) so we will see if I can actually do this. I am worried. Why?I'll give you a hint: I've started looking for an 8x10 rug that can happily coexist with both the dog and our budget. I could probably spend all my free time for the next five weeks just trying to find it.

If you are visiting from the ORC, wish me luck! I'll come and see what you're up to. That's the best part of the ORC...making new friends in the midst of all the chaos. Check it all out at Calling It Home.
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