House, Renos

Dishwasher Dramz (but ultimate success)

Our dishwasher has been getting progressively more broken for the past few months. I think it all started when a glass broken in the dishwasher and some of the shards of glass lodged themselves in some of the spinning parts that floosh the water around. Whatever the reason, the dishwasher has been on the fritz and getting fritzier by the minute. I took it apart numerous times and tried to clean out/repair what I could, but ultimately all I managed to do was delay the inevitable. Last week the electrical panel started acting up and we had to constantly reset the panel (using a weird button press pattern) but eventually it just wouldn’t finish a cycle no matter what we did.

In the parking lot of Costco, awaiting rescue…

Yesterday my husband declared enough was enough and that it was time to buy a new dishwasher. He saw one at Costco for a good price and went and bought it. After a bit of drama around trying to get it home (turns out it would NOT fit into my hatchback, which forced us to impose upon Noah’s biomom/stepfather who have a truck…) it was time for me to install it.

Except it wasn’t because I am still recovering from a back injury.

After taking a couple muscle relaxers and a nap it was time. We turned off the breaker for the dishwasher, confirmed it was in fact off, and I got to work.

Getting the old broken one out was a huge pain in the ass.

First I’d like to say that I consider myself a fairly handy, DIY-capable person and I generally take the Top Gear stance of “How hard can it be?”, but holy crap donkies, this was way more fuss than I anticipated. To start with, getting the old one out was a flipping pain in the ass. The waterline hose was so snug that it just wouldn’t come out far enough for me to be able to detach it. Plus, it was an old stiff copper tube so it wasn’t like it had much give.

Secondly, while I THOUGHT I had turned off the water I apparently hadn’t which meant when I did manage to detach the waterline I ended up spraying water EVERYWHERE and utterly soaking myself. My husband quickly ran over when he heard my shouts of “PROBLEM! PROBLEM!!!!” and got the water turned off correctly, and then every towel in the house was used to sop up the mess I made.

“What did I get myself in to?”

Minor disaster, but it was deeply frustrating. It also served to instill some doubt in my husband as to whether I could actually do this. Normally he is relatively trusting that I can successfully pull off whatever renovation or project I have in mind and just lets me do my thing, but the flooding water all over our hardwood floor gave him pause.

Thirdly, after I finally got the old dishwasher out I realized I was missing a key bit of plumbing. I figured I’d be able to cannibalize whatever parts I needed off of the old one, but nope, not this one piece. It didn’t have an equivalent on the old one, so I had to trudge out to Home Depot to get it. While I was there I also got new flexible hosing to replace the old stiff copper pipe to hopefully make the installation of the new one a little easier on myself.

And finally, of COURSE the drain tube and the water supply pipe were now just thaaaaaaaaat much bigger and would no longer fit through the existing hole drilled through the cabinets. AAAAND of course I couldn’t find my hole punch drill bits anywhere to make the hole bigger (or make a second smaller hole for the water supply pipe) so I had to use a flipping hammer and chisel to widen the existing hole a wee bit to be able to get the pipes through. That felt like an unnecessary slap to the face in an already frustrating project, but if I’m going to be honest it didn’t take long to correct.

Far too much time and effort later, I actually managed to do it, and holy crap it works. And it works really well. The cycle is much shorter than our old one, and it is MUCH quieter than our old one as well.


There are a few lessons to be learned here, though.

  1. Don’t do appliance repair when you have a back injury.
  2. Copper tubing is evil. The flexible metal woven kind is MUCH better and it was well worth the bit of cost to make that switch.
  3. Turn off every water shut off valve you see, not just the one you are “sure” is the one for the dishwasher.
  4. Keep many many towels at the ready.

Dishwasher replacement, while a pain in the ass, is definitely doable. I think I could do this a lot more quickly and easily if I had to do this again, but holy crap I hope that isn’t any time soon. And my husband is very appreciative that I did it (since it saved the cost of having to hire someone else to do it). And my kid is extremely impressed as well.

DIY Projects, General, Redecorating, Step parenting, Uncategorized

Redeco: Rubik’s Cube Room Murals

Rubik's Cube wall mural
My giant Rubik’s Cube mural. So proud of it!

I have been a busy step-mom. My kid is off camping with his bio-mom so I took the opportunity to redo his room. First step, obviously, was painting the walls, banishing the horrid bright yellow from my home. His room is now the same colour as my sanctuary, which is a nice soothing grey (Sherwin Williams Serious Grey). I love this grey so much, to me it is the perfect grey. Not too dark, but still dark enough to feel cosy. Very neutral undertone – not overly warm or overly cool, though I would say if anything it edges towards a slightly cooler undertone. It is a wonderful colour.

Anyway, with the walls painted I then started working on phase two, which was the main event.

My large hand painted murals of Rubik’s Cubes.

Yes, I am insane. And yes, they were fussy and a lot of work, but frankly not as much work as I was expecting.

Here are the steps I took to get this done:

  1. Located and purchased an overhead projector. I was able to get mine second hand off of Kijiji for 40$.
  2. Printed off black and white pictures of Rubik’s cubes.
  3. Traced the pictures on to transparent sheets. (I actually couldn’t find proper transparency sheets, so I just used those clear sheet protectors instead. Made tracing really easy. Just put the page I was tracing in the sleeve, traced it using a Sharpie, and then took the page back out.
  4. Projected the image on to the wall using my projector and traced sheet.
  5. OPTIONAL: Trace the outline in pencil. I only did this for the first one but frankly didn’t feel it helped, so for the second one I just painted from the projection rather than the tracing. Worked well.
  6. Paint the projection on to the wall. I used a matte black paint that we had left over from when I painted our movie theatre room. I found I did need to do a second coat.


Rubik's Cube wall mural
Only 2.5 feet high, but glow in the dark too!

The “exploding” smaller one was the first one I did and is about 2 and a half feet high. I think my projector was at a bit of an angle because the cube is sliiiiiiiiiiiiiightly distorted but it still looks good. Doesn’t hurt that I have also painted the inside of the squares in glow in the dark paint. FUN!

The larger one is about 4 and a half feet high and looks way better, in part because it is bigger and therefore the lines and curves were way easier to paint. Small mistakes aren’t so apparent.

And let me be clear, these are NOT perfect. But they are hand painted with love. He’ll always know that I, his loving step mom, painted them using her own two hands. Every imperfect corner and squiggly line just speaks to my having done it myself. Anyone could have purchased a peel-and-stick wall decal. I HAND PAINTED mine, so clearly I win. 😉

Rubik's Cube Curtain Tie-backSo with the murals done I just have final details to finish up. I hung some new curtains and made Rubik’s Cube curtain holder-backer things using some inexpensive slightly broken cubes given to me by a friend/co-worker. Same friend is 3D printing me some glow-in-the-dark cube stands as well, which is extremely awesome. I still have to suspend some Star Wars models we have from the ceiling. And I have some more things to make glow in the dark, like the ceiling fan blades. Small details. The room looks awesome though. I’m really pleased.


General, House, Redecorating, Uncategorized

The Nook is finally done, for real this time

My 2$ decorating solution!

The Nook is done. I feel totally happy with it now and am declaring it a finished room. The main outstanding thing had been the wall above the loveseat. It really needed SOMETHING, and I had been thinking a large mirror, but there is something odd about having a mirror that faces directly out a window opposite it. Then yesterday, while my husband was duitifully cleaning out our garage, I saw these old dollar store plastic screen things I had purchased maybe 8 years ago, back when I was single…


They are just the thing to break up the wall, add a bit of visual interest, but still keep the impact of the indigo walls. They cost 2$ back in the day when I bought them, so to say this was an inexpensive solution would be an understatement. Seriously, the dollar store can be a solid place for decorating if you are choosy and creative.

The other thing I did was reorganize the plants. The nook gets a TON of sunlight and is a perfect spot to have lots of plants and a sort of lush feel about it. I got a bunch of plants from my parents who arguably had too many and were appreciative of the opportunity to offload some of them. So with those plants, the few very sad plants we had in the old out, and the tall money tree my husband bought to go in the corner (20$!! Thank you Costco!!), we had a good collection to fill that room with. I repotted a bunch of them, dividing the ones that had long since outgrown their pots, and moved some about, and the finished room is pretty wonderful.

Depression, General, House, Photography, Uncategorized

The beauty in my backyard

One thing that depression robs from me (and probably most sufferers) is the ability to see the good around me. I know that when I am have difficulty with my depression it can be outstandingly difficult to appreciate the good things in my life, let alone the beauty.

Well, tonight I saw it. I saw the beauty. It was so gorgeous it practically screamed and begged to be noticed and appreciated. I even went and got my camera out for the first time in ages and took some pictures.

I’m taking this as a good sign… A sign that I may be starting to work my way out of this depressive episode.

DIY Projects, General, Redecorating, Step parenting, Uncategorized

Redeco: Rubix Cube Bedroom

rubix_cube.jpgPrior to the move, in order to get my kid on board, I asked him what sort of room he wanted to have. He sort of shrugged so I suggested that maybe I could make it a Minecraft themed room, which got him pretty excited. The Minecraft Bedroom became the main talking point from then on out for how the new house is going to be sooooooooooooooooooooo awesome.

Fast forward five months, his four year obsession with Minecraft seems to have suddenly waned. He at first said that, no, he still wanted a Minecraft bedroom, but last weekend he finally conceeded that yes, he isn’t as into Minecraft anymore and maybe something else would be better.

Enter Rubik’s Cubes.

Rubik’s cubes have become a major obsession for him as of late, and he’s getting really good. I can mess it up all I like and he will be able to solve for one side in less than 10 seconds, and he is working on solving the whole thing. He has a number of different cubes as well (a 2×2, a couple 3×3, a 2×4, and he has a 4×4 ordered). So yeah… Rubik’s Cubes are the way to go here.

But what the hell do I do! It was so easy when I was going to do minecraft, I was just going to do the little squares to make grass blocks, maybe some cobble stone, paint in a creeper or something. No problem. Toss on a red bedspread with a red pillow and we’re good. But now… I just don’t know. I mean, sure, there are wall decals, but that feels really lame….. I just really want to make this super special for him.

General, Redecorating, Uncategorized

Nook Update: It is fabulous

20160618_081308.jpgThe Nook now has furniture and hot damn, it is a wonderful space. It is funny how sometimes things just work, and this room works. Every morning Jonathan sits in there to drink his morning coffee and I join him, and most evenings we sit there before we go to bed and just relax. The dark blue paint was truly a brilliant choice and has really helped to make this one of our favourite rooms in the house. The love seat is directly in front of the giant window and overlooks the front lawn and our big 30 foot flagpole, which was as planned. Jonathan loves to just sit and watch the flag blow. 🙂 As for the table, I don’t know if we’re going to use it much, but it is there for now. It looks pretty cute if nothing else.

This is the view out of the window. Gorgeous!

And the furniture all cost exactly zero dollars:

  • Love seat was given to us by my aunt and uncle. It is kind of dated but solid and extremely comfortable. I was going to slip cover it but the upholstery has actually sort of grown on me.
  • the white cabinet was previously red and served as the tv stand in the old house. We called it “Big Red”, but now he is white. I still call it “Big Red” despite the change in colour.
  • the table is my old dining room table from my single days
  • the chairs are the two extra chairs from our dining room
  • the plants were given to me by my parents who had too many and just wanted to offload some plants
  • the lamps used to be in the living room in the old house
DIY Projects, General, Redecorating, Sewing, Uncategorized

Chair recovering finished

All four chairs are done and over all I’m happy with the end result. Clearly, the new recovered chairs do NOT match the table or the original chairs, but they never were going to. Someday it may be a nice to strip the new chairs and stain them to a more similar colour, but for now they look okay. Also, the table itself is looking pretty worn and haggard these days and really needs to be refinished, but that is a project for another day.


227.JPGI had a bit of leftover seat cushion fabric, so I made a suuuuper basic table runner. The idea is that by having the fabric also on the table it will make the whole set look more cohesive. I also chucked on the crystal bowl we got as a wedding gift to fancy the whole thing up a bit. End result? Passable. The runner actually looks good and does help to make things a bit more matchy matchy, but I still feel that the original chairs look fairly out of place. A good idea may be to do some slip covers for the backs of the original chairs (Jonathan doesn’t want me to make cushions for them…) to bring it all together, but then I worry that maybe it would start to look too busy and fussy.

So overall, this project was worthwhile and very easy. I also like how easy it is to change the fabric, so as our style changes I can VERY easily adapt the chairs to match. And this was seriously easy. The seats/cushions came off very easily. Taking the old fabric off along with all the staples was a bit of a pain in the ass until I decided to just be lazy and use an xacto knife to cut it off. Leaving the staples there and the thin strip of original fabric made things a lot faster and it didn’t seem to make any difference in the end. Cutting the fabric for the seats was as complicated as laying the fabric down, putting the seat on top of it, cutting out the general shape plus an inch or two on all sides. I then used my trusty staple gun and attached the fabric. I trimmed the excess fabric, reattached the seats, and that was that. Done. Absolutely a beginner level project.

  • Total cost was 50$ for the chairs and 16$ for the fabric, for a total of 66$.
  • Total time taken was about 10 minutes per chair (remove the cushion, remove the old fabric, put on the new fabric, reattach the cushion).

So 66$ and 40 minutes, we finally have enough chairs to seat more than 4 people at the table. Well worth it.

229.JPG 231.JPG
General, Making Things, Redecorating, Uncategorized

Pretty dinner chairs

House prettification is progressing. I haven’t done a huge amount in terms of painting lately, aside from my office. Buh-bye, neon yellow. Hello, dark grey! Looks wonderful and serene and cosy. I have a lot more to say about my office but I’m saving that for another post.

We have invited Jonathan’s parents down for a visit this coming weekend and Jonathan had the idea that since his parents were going to be there, and since it was father’s day weekend, why not also invite my parents up that saturday for an “All Fathers Father’s Day Dinner”. I, being brilliant and hilarious, made up a funny invitation email that I sent to our parents, and they all accepted (of course).


So there is going to be seven for dinner, but oh no! We only have 4 dinner table chairs, one of which has recently been broken by a certain rung-standing 9 year old.

Not anymore!

I went on kijiji and found an ad for 4 solid wood dinner chairs for 60$. The upholstery fabric on them was hideous but they seemed good otherwise. I ultimately got them for 50$, and got 15$ worth of fabric. I took the seats off each chair, took off the disgusting old fabric, attached my new fabric, and reattached the seats. End result is wonderful, frankly.

13434733_10157025090935603_3061027552406781859_n (1).jpg

So now we finally have enough dinner chairs, for the low price of 65$. Well worth it.

Friends, General, Moving, Redecorating, Uncategorized

Remains to be done post move

13307230_10156978908775603_604461251319764885_n.jpgWe had our very first invited over dinner guest last night! Mr. Steve Even came over and we had a lovely visit and hang out on our back deck. He was extremely happy to be the first official dinner guest, and frankly it was really nice having a visit with him and just having a relaxed evening. And yes, the new house has proven itself much better for entertaining than the old house ever was, as we knew it would be.

And holy hell, how beautiful the view is off our deck.

That house victory aside, there still remains a LOT to do to get this house finished up and organized.

  • Move our bed to the basement guestroom (our new bed is arriving friday!)
  • Unpacking the rest of the boxes (of which there are many)
  • organizing where the eff things are going to go in my ginormous house
    • blankets/linens are proving complicated
    • we have a lot of board games, but I can’t come up with a good place to keep them all so that they are accessible
  • Moving stuff from the garage into the basement storage area, organizing that whole unfinished basement area.
  • Move remaining stuff from our storage locker to the house
  • Organizing my walk in closet
    • I think what needs to be done is that EVERYTHING be taken out of it and all the shelves be taken out and it be started totally from scratch, putting up the closet organizer in a way that makes the most sense for my stuff
      • Having everything out presents the opportunity to paint the inside of the closet. Unsure if that is a good idea or whether it is even worth the time and effort.
    • Big long white dresser (currently in my office) should be moved in to my walk in, assuming there is room (and I think there is)
  • Electrical work
    • Installing dimmer switch(es)
      • J’s theatre room
      • My tub switch
      • replace broken one in kitchen
    • Replacing light fixtures
      • I have already replaced 1. I have 3 remaining  that need changing – front entryway light, and the two lights in the stairwell to basement. Fixtures already purchased.
  • Painting rooms
    • Guest room
    • Office
    • Laundry room
    • stairway to basement
    • Master bedroom
    • Master bathroom
    • Noah’s bathroom
    • rest of basement (bathroom, hallway, kitchen)
    • Noah’s bedroom (Deferred until August due to the fact that it is a super special fancy Minecraft room and is going to take a ton of work, I want to get everything else done first.)
  • DIY projects:
    • Creating curtain walls to define guest room
      • Plan is to use wire and flat bedsheets for simplicity and low cost reasons
    • Furniture alteration
      • I want to cut down the head board and food board for my day bed to make them the same height (currently headboard is taller than footboard) and a little lower (ie. Closer to couch arm height). Will need to re-drill holes for mounting rails as well. Should be a fairly quick and easy project since we have a jigsaw and power drill.
    • Painting furniture
      • My day bed
      • Living room end tables
      • Big Red
      • Grammie’s old dresser (in guest room)

Will I ever be done? Current signs point to no. But thankfully Tiff is coming up this weekend to help me get as much of this crap done as possible. She is an absolute ninja when it comes to organizing and unpacking and seems to genuinely enjoy doing it, so her help will be hugely appreciated.

General, Making Things, Redecorating, Uncategorized

Redeco: The Nook


We have a small room in between the kitchen and the front entry way -I think technically it is intended to be a dining room, as indicated by the fairly low hanging lighting fixture (that looks incredibly odd and ugly in the brown room). The high vaulted ceilings and enormous window give the room a very open feel despite its small size. The previous owner clearly didn’t have a need for a formal dining room, nor do we, so our plan is to use it as a bit of a sitting room, a place to go and have a quiet moment with a glass of wine. I also expect this is where we’ll set up the Christmas tree. I planned right from the beginning to paint this room a dark colour to create a cozy space and well defined space with a bit more drama and grown-up feel, so I used the darkest colour in my main paint colour trio: Indigo Batik. The dark colour felt like a bit of a risk since it is so dark and intense but I am really glad I took the risk.

2016 - before and after - nook.png

I think the before/after picture says it all. Same room, same light fixture. Only change is getting rid of the country kitsch stuff and changing the paint colour. What a huge transformation! The Indigo Batik paint makes the room feel defined and dramatic, while still weirdly relaxing, and it has made the white vaulted ceiling take center stage, emphasizing the height of the room. I have managed to make a tiny room feel hugely cozy.

I’m still not terribly in love with the light fixture, but it looks a lot less awkward and fussy than it did when the room was brown. I had been considering replacing it, but I think I’ll just raise it a bit and leave it at that for now. There isn’t much in the way of furniture in the room. I’m getting a second-hand loveseat from one of my aunts that currently is destined for the nook. It needs a repair to one of the seats and a slip cover, both of which are well within my abilities. It will also need a bookshelf of some variety, but I really want the room to stay relatively uncluttered and simple.