Real Homes: Simple Bathroom

A few months ago I decided to re-do our downstairs half bath. It was a fairly dark room with not much excited going on and I figured it was a simple place to start since it’s such a small room.

Here a before picture from before we moved in:

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I was inspired by this picture. I really liked the half and half paint separated by a thin piece of trim. I decided though, to do the colour on the bottom since it’s much easier to paint white near the ceiling!

I also changed out the light fixture, hung a new mirror, changed the toilet paper and towel hanger and hang a plant up. I was really happy with how it turned out.

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Felted Wool Billy Balls

I mentioned last week that I was hoping to make some of these cute little guys, shown on Dans le Townhouse. I actually was pretty motivated, so I started and finished this weekend.

I found the roving at a local yarn shop. It didn’t actually say roving on it, but the lady told me it would work, plus it was only three dollars!

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I did just what the tutorial told me (make a ball out of some roving, put some dish soap on it, and then dunk in hot and cold water repeatedly, rolling gently in between). I had a lot of trouble preventing large gaps where the wool joined so I added small pieces of wool to fill them. For the small holes I tried to gently rub them to try to knit the fibers together. Obviously, I had a lot of trouble with getting them all the same size.

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I made six, with plans to use five as flower and give one to the cats (which I later reconsidered when I realized this increased the likelihood of them destroying my flowers).

For the stems I knew I didn’t want to use wire because I didn’t want them to be too droopy (I also didn’t want to have to go searching for it). I was initially planning on using some stalks from the tall grasses in the backyard, but they just didn’t look right. I looked at some pictures of the real flower and saw some where the stems looked kind of like sticks. This inspired me to grab some of the fallen branches from the backyard and try those.

They worked, but it was rather tricky. I had issues with breakage and it was a lot harder to wiggle the sticks in that it would have been with wire.

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In the end I could only get three to work. The others just wouldn’t stay on their sticks. I will save them for something else. I think three looks just fine.

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Goings On

Lately we’ve been:

Hanging pictures onto our newly painted walls.

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Organizing under sinks.

Building cat forts. Got to use the guest bed for something, right?

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Shoveling.

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Travelling sans cats this year (they’re at home with a pet sitter). I miss them terribly.

Considering our future kitchen reno.

Planning travel for the summer.

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Crying over Season Three of Downton Abbey.

Spending time with friends and family.

Organizing Home Renovations

It has been nearly ten months since we moved into our new house. We’ve quite a bit of work on it since then including new floors upstairs, re-doing the downstairs bathroom, starting to demo the pool, cleaning up the yard and making gardens. We still have a long way to go until the house is where we want it.

Sometimes it is so overwhelming when I think of all the jobs that need to be done. Many of the jobs are big and will take a lot of time and money. Others are smaller, but there are so many of these that I feel like I don’t know where to start.

What I’ve done to try to organize it all is to make a list (I put it on Google Docs so that both Kurt and I can edit it). I organized the list by small (things that only take a little time and money to do), medium, and large (jobs that will cost over $1000 and will take multiple days).

It still seemed like a lot. I went through the list and put stars beside the jobs that I would like to finish before the summer, since summer is when we travel and try to get as much outside work done as possible. I didn’t choose any big jobs since we already did the floors this year and I think one expensive job a year is enough. I chose the jobs that need to be done soon for safety or practical reasons (for example, changing out the leaky faucet in the kitchen to avoid damage to the cabinets).

When I look at it this way it is much more manageable. By focusing on a few jobs at a time we can wait for sales on those things and then go from there.

Does any have an great systems for organizing home repairs/renovations?

Too Much Tea

Despite our kitchen not being tiny, it’s very poorly designed. We have very little counter space and not enough cabinets. That, however, it only part of the problem. The other part is something I can solve with spending thousands.
We have too much food. Here is one of the main offenders:

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This is the cupboard where we keep spices, sauces, food wrap, pasta, etc. It is also the cupboard where you have to dig for things, and often have several things fall out at you before you find what you’re looking for. It’s not pretty.

My first plan of attack was to go through my tea collection. A few months ago I made a solemn promise not to buy any more tea, but still, here is the situation:

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In my defense, some of it was given to me. Don’t judge.

So, what I did was take everything out, then choose four teas to keep out (a dark tea, a fruity tea, a green tea and a tummy tea). Those went back in, the rest went in a box and were put away until I run out of something.

I now have room for my tea making supplies in the cupboard, so they are not taking up precious counter space anymore.

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It’s definitely an improvement.

In Process

We are in the middle of so many big projects. Housework has fallen by the wayside, tools sit everywhere. There is an inch of sawdust covering everything upstairs. I have hopes that we will soon be finished and can concentrate on small jobs for a while. Here is some of our progress (and mess):

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Backyard Update

A third of our backyard is growing and looking beautiful, the middle third looks like a demolition yard and the back third is pretty much all weeds by this point. One out of three ain’t bad.

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We have these beauties popping up everywhere. A bunch of the flowers were destroyed by a sudden rain storm we had a few mornings ago, but by the next morning the plant was covered in flowers again. The honey bees seem to love them too. They leave little pollen foot prints all over the flower. So cute.

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Our kale plants are hilarious. They look like a little forest growing in the garden. I threw the basketball in for perspective. They are huge!

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Our tomato plant is officially as tall as me. The tomatoes are giant too, especially considering we didn’t plant this until July. They aren’t changing colour though. We suspect it might be the lack of sun we’ve been having. Please note Homer in the window.

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The beets are growing weirdly. Some of them have popped out of the ground, but continue to grow. We figure as long as their tails are under ground they should be fine.

And here are some pictures of the wreck (I think it’s to the point now where it can’t be called a pool anymore). I think it speaks for itself.

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I don’t have any pictures of the back yonder, as I call it (starting right now). It’s beyond the thing formerly known as the pool. Right now there are heaps of twigs and things like that as well as weeds. I really just go back there to go through the gate to the river. One day I hope it be a shaded patio area where we can sit and enjoy the breeze and wild flower gardens. Wouldn’t that be lovely?