>> Friday, November 30, 2007

As Seen on

I am now featured on Delightful Blogs: here. You can rate me! Why did I join up? Only because I loved the little bird icon.

And although I know you love seeing pictures of our plywood floors and drywall, here's a crafty update for a change. I'm going to be selling my needle book wares at the Artisans Gift Fair at the Tranzac Club on December 9th. I've bought lots of lovely new fabric lately that I'm dying to turn into bags and pouches and other little things as time allows. As soon as we are back home (I can't wait!!) I'm going to be turning the dining room table back into my own little craft studio. I will try to tempt you to visit the show in the next little while with pictures of my new things.


More progress...

Just a quick update, we have new patches of drywall where the old wall tile used to be attached. They tried to take the tiles off but the glue was ripping up the wall so they just cut out the areas where the tile was and attached new drywall. I love it. Rough around the edges but I am delighted to have that yucky old tile gone. Really, it's a big improvement.


Making progress

>> Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thank you everyone for the tips and comments. The renovation is making good progress so I thought I'd show more pictures. As the work goes along we keep finding out about problems in the house that are being fixed now and it's confirming that this work really needed to be done. As it stands our badly damaged bathroom floorboards have been repaired and fresh plywood laid on top. I went for a visit yesterday and it looks fantastic. This is the bathroom now:
I wasn't going to post the pictures, because they're kind of boring, but then I had another look at how it looked just two days ago and it reminded me what a transformation it is! The picture at the top of the post is our hallway now. The post below is the kitchen. Remember the big pile of old tile and flooring? It's all been cleared out (onto our front porch for now).Believe it or not, the kitchen area in our house is an addition. That means the original house was probably around 300 square feet - smaller than our old studio condo. It was a worker's cottage built probably just before 1930 - I keep imagining everyone huddled around a stove in one room. Not the luxury we enjoy today! Incidentally my dad was the one who researched the age of the house by looking in public records. He got back to before 1930 but those records are on microfiche only and very difficult to read.
Anyway the snowballing isn't quite over as ripping out the cabinets damaged parts of the walls (see above), and we've never liked the wall tiles that are there and carry all the way to the floor in places. Also putting new cabinetry over old tiles we're planning to replace doesn't make sense. Trying to take them off has just caused more damage so now we're looking at replacing those areas of wall with fresh drywall. More cost again, but well worth it. We can also easily wait until later to add new backsplash tiles.

The fun part of all this has been using the IKEA templates to plan our new cabinetry. We're not going to get it all right away - but being able to add pieces over time is one of the great things about IKEA. Unfortunately their online planning program isn't available for mac or I'd be all over that. But the little punchouts and grid they give you work well too. We've chosen the Lidingo style (a town in Sweden the Beatles visited in 1964 apparently), I think it will be really pretty and of course it's affordable too. It's basically the same white look as our new Liatorp bookcases, our Pax wardrobe and our new bathroom vanity. Our whole house is going to match. For the walls I'm considering Benjamin Moore's "grey cashmere". It's a very soft grey with a hint of sage/green.

Here's a picture of the Lidingo cabinetry from the IKEA website:Not that our kitchen will look like this! But this is the inspiration.

p.s. when you go to IKEA now you need to buy plastic bags for five cents if you want them. When I went, the proceeds were being donated to Tree Canada. Even better if you can remember to bring your own cloth shopping bags. Finally an excuse for my tote bag sewing compulsion...


We didn't mean to gut the bathroom... and the kitchen

>> Sunday, November 25, 2007

Well I'm sorry to say it's the same old boring story, a snowballing renovation. We started out planning to fix our bathroom floor which had holes from replacing the dysfunctional clawfoot tub plumbing. It had vinyl tiles that were permanently stained and missing in some places. And we've ended by essentially gutting our bathroom and kitchen.

Given the asbestos tile underneath and the general bad condition of the floor in the kitchen we realized it would make sense to do both kitchen and bathroom floors at the same time. This was confirmed when we moved the old chest freezer left behind by the previous owner out of our closet and found mold, rust and a badly damaged patch of floor.

Our tiler had an opening in his schedule, so we hurried around and removed our old vanity from the bathroom and put the washing machine onto our deck. Then we emptied the lower kitchen cabinets which needed to come out, put the stove on the deck and our fridge in the living room.
We were so glad to see the old vanity go. And the best part is we left it outside with its old sink and faucet and someone took it - so we don't even have extra creating-more-garbage guilt.

So this is what our hallway looks like now. I love the look of the greyed floorboards, but they're not in great condition and there's tons of nailheads sticking up!
And this is what our bathroom floor looks like now. On Friday we found out that we'll need to have an extra material installed on top due to the poor condition of the floorboards.
(After ripping out and rebuilding the floor - the corner is really unstable and that's where we had the washing machine jumping around! We're now having Ditra installed throughout the kitchen and bathroom)
And this is now our kitchen:As you can see above, the cabinet didn't survive after all, as it was adhered with spray foam. Oddly enough. I guess they thought that fake-wood-plastic-laminate-particleboard cabinets would last forever! So we are now planning on buying new kitchen cabinets sooner than expected. The good news is pretty new cabinets, the bad news is of course the cost. Today we painted our clawfoot tub - since it was sitting in the hallway and finally accessible from all sides. This is the tub "before", rusty with a few layers of paint on two sides, in brown, blue, Pepto-Bismol pink and finally Big Bird yellow (this picture really doesn't do it justice):Luckily it is quite sound, the rust was superficial and the legs are still nice and sturdy. So I spent two hours sanding the tub, and finally started adding the cream-coloured Tremclad. This is a picture of the first exciting moment of covering this old uncared-for tub with glossy new paint:And finally, a lovely freshly painted tub:For some reason I love the raised letter label on the bottom of the tub:Transformations like this are so satisfying and remind us that it's worth all the work and expense. Well we think so anyway.


Home life

>> Sunday, November 18, 2007

Finally a non-communal front door so we can have a wreath! I have some berries I can add later to make it more festive in December

Things have been so busy lately. I have three deadlines for work, and we have lots still going on with the home. I am still obsessed with fixing up our house, and while doing things I figured out some useful things, so I thought I would write about it.
If you want to see how this looked before, it's in a previous post

Our front room has so many things in it that I've been trying to simplify the decor a bit and make it look less cluttered. I've been wanting to add fabric to the inside of the cd case but as usual I have these ideas then no idea how to do them. So I spent a long time looking for hardware to do this, or possibly small tension rods. I finally found some simple white curtain rods with little brass attachments, and believe it or not they stay on with double-sided tape which means I didn't have to drill any holes which I didn't want to do. So now there's a pretty grey floral panel of fabric inside the glass door. Here's a detail:
To improve the lighting in the room, I've added sheer curtains to the front window. The big find there was a bay window rod from Umbra. I found it at their new shop on John St. just up from Queen West. I didn't even know these existed until recently, but they're brilliant - each side telescopes so you can adjust the size, and the corners are bendy so you can match the rod to the curve of your window. This way you don't lose the extra space in a bay window and you don't have several rods and hooks cluttering up your window. The next step is to paint out that dreary wood! Then I went to IKEA and found some plain white linen lampshades for two new lamps that we have at the corners of the sofa. This extra lighting has made the room much cosier and well lit. The lampshades were from Goodwill and had terrible shades, which it turns out are harder to find replacements for than you might think. A lot of stores only sell the lamps and shades together. Also these called for an "uno" shade style which most stores d0n't have at all (uno describes the way the shades are attached to the lamp).

Anyway while I was at IKEA picking up my $8 shades I found some great fabric in the "as is" room. This inspired me to make matching cushions that go with the grey in the cd box fabric panel and the beige of our couch. All these little changes have created a nice soft colour scheme in the room: cream, white, and grey. Still working on those cushions (the right side is tan coloured linen):So the other big reason we're so busy is that we were planning to retile the bathroom - I had picked out a lovely porcelain white hexagonal 1" mosaic tile (it has that vintage look, and it's nice and fresh and light.) But what we realized when we considered how we could install them is that we have vinyl tiles with older tiles underneath, and it turns out those older tiles have asbestos in them.

Apparently this is very common, we have an old 1930s house and it seems that decades ago they put asbestos into everything - stucco ceilings, tiles, insulation. But the asbestos in tiles is not too much to worry about because it isn't something that will get into the air unless you try to sand the tiles or break them up a lot. But suffice it to say it became a job for a professional. They're planning to take out the entire old subfloor.

Anyway our tiler had a cancellation and is available to do the work starting next week which is sooner than we expected (but nice to get it done) so we've had to hop to it and clear things out. The whole kitchen area has the old tiles, as does two closets, so we decided to redo the whole area at once. This means making all that floor space clear so that the work can be done. They are even planning to move the kitchen cabinets to do the floor underneath. In a tiny home there aren't a lot of places to put things but I think we can work it out. A fridge in our living room, the stove on the deck - ahhh renovating..


Working materials

>> Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I received my new "needle book" labels! I've wanted some for a while and looked around at other people's blogs to see what they had and where they ordered it from. I finally settled on, based on the price, delivery time and existing templates that I could use with nice styles. They were featured in Martha Stewart and if it's good enough for Martha it's good enough for me. (Hmm, I wonder how often people say that? Well I googled it and there's only three of us that I can see. I would have expected more than that.)

Nancy from Sew Nancy asked where I bought mine a while ago, so sorry for the delay replying. One tip I found for Canadians is that they charge more to deliver to a home address, so if you can have them delivered to your office you can save there. This is what they look like when you receive them, rows of three labels held together with tape:
I ordered two batches (brown text on white), the other ones are the same but on a wider tape for larger items, those go on bags and pouches. These go on my needle books.
Another great item for your craft business, are rubber stamps. I have two now, I was so happy with the first one I ordered another. The first one I bought is for stamping my info and copyright onto postcards. I created lineart of one of my illustrations in Illustrator then added the text and uploaded to the site. The stamps are very nice quality and you can buy your own ink for them in any colour. These were from Simon's Stamps. The site is so great, you can upload your image yourself and preview it and do it a few times until you're happy with it and then you place your order. I think the prices are very reasonable too.
The second stamp I bought was for a reply address with a new lineart version of a recent watercolour. This is so useful I can't tell you, I used to print out colour labels with an illustration on them but it became an extra chore when sending packages. Of course you can just write your address, or print labels with the text only but where's the fun in that?


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