Thursday, October 23, 2014

ORC4: Barely Hanging On

"I have a problem."

"What kind of a problem? A big problem or a little problem? I don't like big problems."

"Well, it is this. I have a dog who likes to pee on carpet, and I need a rug for my living room."

"Impossible. That's impossible."

""My hardwood floors are in rough shape and we don't have the money to refinish them right now, so I need a rug."

"What do you want? A rug to soak up pee?"

"This is hard for me. You are not making it any easier."

He shrugged. I left.


Mom was over on Sunday and we looked through the pieces we have from an old slipcover.

I cannot find a suitable navy upholstery fabric and my budget is nil, so we are going to use what I already have.


I have had exactly two days off of work since last Thursday. You now know what I did on each of them.

I'm sure the other linking participants to the One Room Challenge have lots to report. Check on their progress here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Decluttering Family Style

Decluttering makes you confront your life as it is--not as you wish it was. That can be uncomfortable.

I wanted to get rid of some games we no longer play anymore. I gathered some from the living room and put them on the kitchen table and asked the kids to tell me which ones they wanted to keep.

That may not have been the best approach! We did not let go of that many.

The white box held play dough supplies. I had held on to them for my nephew. When my seven year old nephew was over last, he played minecraft with my son. Good-bye play dough.

The hard truth is, we haven't played a game together as a family in a long, long time. My daughter is irritated beyond reason by her brother: so sometimes, it just isn't all that fun for the four of us to be together. Yet, my picture of a happy, healthy family is all of us sitting around a table. I am not quite ready to give up on that.

But, I don't want to keep the games in the living room anymore. As part of my efforts to spiff up the living room this month, I  decided to put the games we wanted to keep with the rest--on the top shelf of our coat closet. But first, I had to make room.

Years ago, I had put up a cooler and a picnic blanket in order to make it easier for us to go on picnics. Sadly, we've never really gone on a lot of them. So, the blanket is being relocated to be near the camping stuff and I am probably going to donate the cooler. Taking out just those two things gave me the room we needed.

Now, to make sure we play one of these together, soon!

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.


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


I also stained the shelf above the television.


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?


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.)

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