One Room Challenge Week 5

We’re in the homestretch now on the One Room Challenge. Today is the second last post. Next week is reveal time. Make sure to visit Calling it Home to check out all of the great progress everyone’s made.

Fortunately, the laundry room makeover is in the homestretch too. My original project plan was to have all of the “work” done as of last weekend so that this week could be devoted to decorating.  Guess what? I’m pretty much on schedule (aside from my back-ordered cabinet hardware).

  1. Add shaker style trim to the cabinets
  2. Paint the cabinets
  3. Install doors and drawers
  4. Remove ceiling rack – By Oct. 3
  5. Patch ceiling and walls – By Oct. 3
  6. Paint ceiling – By Oct. 10
  7. Paint and install baseboard and paint window trim – By Oct. 10 Done Oct. 13
  8. Deep clean (sink, counter, floor, machines) – Oct. 13 Rescheduled to Oct. 19 26 Done Oct. 26
  9. Paint walls – By Oct. 17 Done Oct. 18
  10. Replace ivory washer outlet with white one – By Oct. 19 Done Oct. 18
  11. Level washing machine – By Oct. 19 Done Oct. 18
  12. Build and install ceiling rack – By Oct. 24
  13. Build and install towel bar – By Oct. 24 Done Oct. 25
  14. Install cabinet hardware – By Oct. 24 Rescheduled to Nov. 11
  15. Build and install light fixture – By Oct. 26 Done Oct. 25
  16. Remove non-working sprayer from the sink and plug the hole – By Oct. 26 Done Oct. 27
  17. Decorate – By Oct. 31

The laundry room is currently a mix of projects to be finished and styling that has started.

Laundry room mid-makeover

I know you can’t see very much here (I have to save some suspense for next week’s reveal), but it’s looking so good. I’m super excited.

The suggestion for this post is to talk about if our plans have changed. Mine haven’t really. In fact, I realized over the weekend how close I am to my original plans.

I’ve been thinking about this laundry room for a long time. I love Pinterest, and I’ve been pinning laundry room ideas nearly since we first moved to the farm (see my board). I knew I wanted to make a clothespin light like this one from Young House Love. I knew I wanted to replicate the rustic drying rack from Knick of Time. I made both of these, and they turned out pretty much just like my inspiration.

Although I can’t truly say “made.” The rustic drying rack is being a bit cantankerous. Today will be sixth–that’s right, 6–trip to Home Depot for pipe. The main hanging part is working, but the horizontal braces are a total Goldilocks situation–either too short or too long. I keep buying new sections of pipe, but so far I haven’t found the right fit. The plan for this afternoon is to have the staff cut me the exact length I need (fingers crossed I’ve figured out what that is).

Hanging rack made out of pipe fittings

Although I had most of the laundry room worked out in advance, I did add a few things mid-project (changing the ivory plugs for white ones and removing the sprayer from the sink). Those can’t really be called a change in plans, though.

Now I just have to stay focused on the finishing details. That means I need to stop thinking about replacing the faucet and remember that I don’t have time to sew a new cover for the ironing board. The finish line is in sight. Now is not the time for detours and add-ons.

Do yDo yDo your projects usually turn out like you envision? Are there any other Pinterest fans? Do you like last minute add-ons too? Does anyone else start styling before the reno is completely finished?

Fall iris

So apparently it’s not fall after all.

One of our irises has popped out in bloom.

Purple iris

Should I be concerned? I know the climate’s changing, but this seems a little off. This iris bloomed already this year back in the spring. Isn’t that normal? Aren’t irises usually spring flowers?

At the base of the iris, the blooming sedum and fallen leaves give away what season it really is.

Iris blooming in fall

Tell me. How weird is this? Have you ever had a flower bloom out of season?

One Room Challenge Week 4

We’re heading into week 4 on the One Room Challenge. I feel like the laundry room has turned the corner. By that I mean, I’m seeing some serious progress.

One Room Challenge Linking Participant

The transformation isn’t limited to the laundry room, either. In the spare bedroom (aka the painting area), I folded up all the drop cloths, put the paint cans away and swept the floor. It’s almost ready to go back to being a bedroom. In the basement, I broke out of the laundry room and vacuumed the carpet. This may seem like a more regular chore, but it represent serious progress because vacuuming has been on hold (as if I need an excuse) until the “messy” stuff in the laundry room is all done.

In the laundry room itself, the walls are all painted and the machines are back in place. Shall we sing praises to the power of paint? There’s no decoration or accessories, but I already feel like things are starting to come together.

Laundry room in progress

Let’s take a minute and talk about laundry pedestals, okay? When we bought our new machines and chose front loaders, I knew I wanted pedestals. I hate bending over to just a few inches above the floor to do laundry. The pedestals solve that problem easily.

They do remove the ability to put a counter over the top of the machines (unless I was 10 feet tall, which I’m definitely not). I didn’t need more counter space, though, so it wasn’t a big sacrifice. The pedestals also give a lot of storage in the drawers (although to be honest I haven’t used that either).

I probably could have simply built a platform and saved us the expense of the pedestals (and they were expensive for what they are). However, I do like that we have the option of using the drawers if we want to, and I also like that they match our machines.

You might recall that I mentioned in my update two weeks ago that the washer vibrates crazily (and noisily) when it goes into the spin cycle. While we had it pulled out of the way for painting, I took the opportunity to check it over. It turns out that the bolts holding the pedestal to the machine were all loose. A few quick turns with the socket wrench tightened everything up. Now that the washer’s back in place, it’s operating much smoother and quieter. Task #11 done.

Here’s the rest of the updated to-do list. In total I was able to cross three things off this week. Let’s hear it for progress!

  1. Add shaker style trim to the cabinets
  2. Paint the cabinets
  3. Install doors and drawers
  4. Remove ceiling rack – By Oct. 3
  5. Patch ceiling and walls – By Oct. 3
  6. Paint ceiling – By Oct. 10
  7. Paint and install baseboard and paint window trim – By Oct. 10 Done Oct. 13
  8. Deep clean (sink, counter, floor, machines) – Oct. 13 Rescheduled to Oct. 19 26
  9. Paint walls – By Oct. 17 Done Oct. 18
  10. Replace ivory washer outlet with white one – By Oct. 19 Done Oct. 18
  11. Level washing machine – By Oct. 19 Done Oct. 18
  12. Build and install ceiling rack – By Oct. 24
  13. Build and install towel bar – By Oct. 24
  14. Install cabinet hardware – By Oct. 24 Rescheduled to Nov. 11
  15. Build and install light fixture – By Oct. 26
  16. Remove non-working sprayer from the sink and plug the hole – By Oct. 26
  17. Decorate – By Oct. 31

Still on tap for this week? Paint touch-ups, some minor electrical work, and starting on the ceiling rack, towel bar and light fixture.

Laundry room in progress

I like the small projects stage of the makeover. Hopefully they go smoothly and progress happens quickly.

If you’re curious to see the progress that other ORC participants have made, make sure to head over to Calling it Home.

How do you feel about laundry pedestals? Do you have a front loader or a top loader? What’s your favourite stage of a project? Painting? Small bits? Electrical?

Cats and dogs and grass stains in the dark

It was late Wednesday night. I was getting ready for bed. From outside through the window I heard a terrible yowl. It sounded cat-like, so of course my first panicked thought was, “Ralph!”

I ran for the front door calling for Matt as I went. Baxter had heard the yowl as well, so he was right with me. I snapped on his leash and we dashed outside. Matt headed for the barn, Ralph’s usual hangout. I realized that neither Baxter nor I had thought to grab a flashlight, so I ducked back inside for one. Then Baxter and I headed for the back of the house where the yowl had originated. Despite my best whistles and even with the flashlight there was no sign of Ralph.

I was thinking clearly enough to realize that our puppy is a pretty sniffy guy, so when it seemed like he’d caught a scent, I trotted along behind him, holding tight to the leash. Down a little hill, up a couple of steps, across the patio, over to the stand of pines and then in the weak beam of the flashlight she was there. A grey furry ball huddled at the base of one of the big trees.

Between the dark and the yowls and the scents, Baxter was a bit excited, so he forgot about all of the good lessons he’s learned over the last little while. Specifically, he forgot:

  1. Cats are boring.
  2. We don’t chase kitties.
  3. Ralph is Julia’s and Matt’s cat. I have to be gentle with things that belong to Julia and Matt.

I’m sure you can guess what happened.

As Baxter took off after Ralph, he pulled me off my feet, down a hill–a little one but it was steep, and towards a thicket. It was only a second or so, but it’s one of those moments that seems much longer than it actually is. All I could think was, “Holy cow he’s strong. I can’t stop him. How far is he going to drag me?”

Baxter did stop before we got too far into the thicket. I had dirt under my fingernails, mud on my palms and grass stains and a scratch on my knee.

Oh, and did I mention I was wearing my pyjamas? Ten minutes ago I was headed to bed! How do things like this happen?

Matt, who was on the opposite side of the thicket, was unsure who needed help most. Remember, this was in the complete dark and even with my flashlight we couldn’t see very much. We determined that I was okay. Matt should focus on convincing Ralph to come out of the thicket, and I would deal with the moron dog.

Okay, he’s not a complete moron. He did find the kitty.

Baxter and I went the opposite way around the house to walk off some of our excitement. Matt has a better whistle than I do, so Ralph eventually came to him. He checked her over, and she seemed to be fine. We have no idea whether she yowled or she made someone else yowl.

My grass stains and I finally headed to bed. Baxter was too restless to sleep. Eventually he convinced Matt to take him outside again for a final check to make sure all was well at the farm.

By the next afternoon, Baxter and Ralph were calmer, but not entirely easy with each other. (And by the way, this picture is incredible progress considering that a year ago Ralph couldn’t stand the sight of any dog, and Baxter’s reaction was to pursue her (literally) even more aggressively).

Baxter and Ralph

Oh the adventures of country living.

Have you ever ended up with grass stains on your pyjamas? Has anyone else ever tried to teach a dog and cat to get along?

Hand-knit felted slippers

A sure sign it’s fall for me is the return of slippers.

A sure sign I need new slippers is this picture. Shameful!

Holey slippers

My friends had tried to convince me to throw these out more than a year ago. Honestly, I completely agreed with them. The problem was I had nothing to replace my raggedy slippers.

All of this is to explain how I found myself spending time this summer sitting on a beach with knitting needles in my hands.

Knitting on the beach

Et voilà!

Hand knitted slippers before felting

Confused? Check them out after a few turns in the washing machine.

French Press Felted Slippers

Still confused?

These are French Press Felted Slippers. It’s my fifth time making these slippers. The idea is that you knit over-sized slippers out of real wool and then throw them in the washing machine in super hot water. They shrink down to the size they’re supposed to be and the material becomes stiff and fabricy.

Felting is a pretty neat process. The final product is very solid. You can even cut it and it won’t unravel like regular knitting.

However, I’m not relying on my slipper’s natural density to avoid having another holey situation. I had some leftover fake leather, so I cut some soles out of that and stitched it onto the bottom of the slippers.

Let’s try this picture again.

Leather soles sewn on knitted slippers

Much cozier without the holes.

Are there any other knitters out there? Have you ever felted anything? How about anyone else with holes in their slippers… or even your socks?

Challenges in the One Room Challenge

The recommended theme for today’s One Room Challenge update is setbacks. It turns out that this is actually a fitting topic for this point in the laundry room makeover.

Setback 1: The times in between

I’m not sure if anyone else has this problem, but this one’s a common challenge for me in DIYing. In between each stage of a project, I sometimes find it hard to change gears.

I finished painting the cabinets, but then the idea of getting the ceiling ready for painting–never mind actually painting it–was extremely challenging.

A great thing about the One Room Challenge is it helps keep me moving.

Baseboard in the laundry room

Baseboards installed. Yay!

As I posted on Friday, work kicked my butt last week. I fought back, putting in extra time and staying late at the office. Of course, this meant that I had less time at home to work on the laundry room. Which meant that I finally started painting the ceiling at 9pm the night before my scheduled deadline.

I’m sure time will be a common challenge among ORC participants. Heck, finding time is a common challenge of DIYers everywhere, I think.

However, I am very pleased to report that I’m nearly on schedule. Here’s the original plan with adjusted deadlines and a few new tasks.

  1. Add shaker style trim to the cabinets
  2. Paint the cabinets
  3. Install doors and drawers
  4. Remove ceiling rack – By Oct. 3
  5. Patch ceiling and walls – By Oct. 3
  6. Prime walls (pshaw, who needs prime?) and paint ceiling – By Oct. 10
  7. Paint and install baseboard and paint window trim – By Oct. 10 I was a bit behind schedule on install, but it’s done as of Oct. 13
  8. Deep clean (sink, counter, floor, machines) – Oct. 13 (Happy Thanksgiving Monday!) Rescheduled to Oct.19
  9. Paint walls (first coat is on, one more to go) – By Oct. 17
  10. New Replace ivory washer outlet with white one – By Oct. 19
  11. Level washing machine – By Oct. 19
  12. Build and install ceiling rack – By Oct. 24
  13. Build and install towel bar – By Oct. 24
  14. Install cabinet hardware – By Oct. 24 Rescheduled to Nov. 11 due to setback #3 (see below)
  15. Build and install light fixture – By Oct. 26
  16. New Remove non-working sprayer from the sink and plug the hole – By Oct. 26
  17. Decorate – By Oct. 31

So it might be a problem that I keep remembering new tasks to add to the list. It seems like I’m adding things as fast as I’m crossing them off. However, the progress is continuing despite a couple more setbacks.

Setback 2: Paint

The second setback isn’t really serious enough to be classified as a setback. It’s more of a lesson learned.

Painting the laundry room

When it comes to painting ceilings, I just use white primer. We had a bit of primer left in the giant pail that we used for the rest of the basement reno. To make sure the colour was absolutely consistent, I wanted to use this primer. Well, it turns out that this paint has been sitting a little too long. There were all kinds of hardened bits in it. It made painting the laundry room ceiling incredibly frustrating. I got a mostly smooth finish, but I only did one coat. I think it looks good enough. If I have to, I will strain the paint and go again.

The other lesson learned (or confirmed) when it comes to paint is that BM Wrought Iron definitely has blue undertones. I first used Wrought Iron in Matt’s windowless bathroom. There it looks pretty pure, super dark grey. In the laundry room, where there’s lots of natural light from the window, the cabinets look a bit navy blue sometimes.

For the wall colour, we walked up the paint strip and chose a much lighter tone of grey from the same slip as Wrought Iron. It’s close to Bunny Gray (read the story of our Frankencolour). We already knew that this one was slightly blue as we used it on all of the other walls throughout the basement. I had intended that the walls and the cabinets would be a purer grey, but I don’t care enough to repaint.

Plus, anything’s better than that yellow. Sing it with me people in the tune of Elton John, “Goodbye yellow gross paint.”

Setback 3: The hardware

The final setback I’ve had is the cabinet hardware. I wanted cup pulls for the drawers. I wanted them to be pretty simple without a flange or other details, and I wanted a chrome finish. I had ordered these pulls from Home Depot.

Chrome cup pull

A week or so after I placed the order, I got a call from HD that they couldn’t get anyone at the manufacturer to answer email or the phone.

I looked at other big box stores and couldn’t find what I was looking for. HD had offered me a refund, but it took me awhile to make it into the store. By the time I was standing in front of the customer service desk, the associate let me know they’d started receiving orders again from the company. If you read my post on Friday, this is when I heard, “I’ll give you the refund, but let’s try and place the order again. I won’t charge you even if it goes through.”

How awesome is that?

A few days later I came home to a message from HD. My order went through (yay!), but the pulls are on back order (boo!). They should be here by Nov. 10. That’s just nearing the end of the One Room Challenge. I think I should be able to get them on in time for the final reveal.

The moral of the story

So, setbacks aside, the challenge rolls on. The best thing about this challenge is how encouraging everyone is. It’s been amazing to connect with other bloggers and have so many new people stop by my blog and offer their comments. Seeing everyone else’s projects is also super inspiring.

Make sure you get a chance to visit Calling it Home and see all of the works in progress.

Happy Thanksgiving

Hey y’all. Baxter here.

Julia and Matt decided to take Thanksgiving off. So, with them turkey-digesting and one-room-challenging, it’s been left to me–the dude without any thumbs–to handle today’s post.

Even though I’m a Canadog now, it seems weird to be celebrating Thanksgiving in October. But there’s some perks to the weekend.

Road tripping (I’m a very good backseat driver).

Back seat driver

Dog parking (I’ve been to a dog beach, but never a dog park with a dog beach).

Baxter wading in the water

Y’all want to know what else was special about this dog park? It wasn’t just for dogs. Although this guy wasn’t really into playing. I walked around his tree five times and did a special dance. I finally got so frustrated I just gave up and barked at him. That’s when Julia told me I had to leave him alone.

Baxter investigating a racoon in a hollow tree

There were three special dinnering (two were turkeys and one was the bird of my homeland).

Baxter posing with the KFC bucket

So that’s how I spent the Canadian Thanksgiving. If you’ll excuse me, I have some turkey and chicken and squash to sleep off now.

Hope y’all had a good weekend. Did you do anything special? Or make any new friends? Or eat any good foods? For those other Canadians and Canadogs out there Happy Thanksgiving.

Don’t ever give up

This was a different post when I wrote it in my head the first time on my drive home from work on Tuesday evening. By the time I turned into my driveway it was this post you see before you.

Work kicked my butt on Tuesday. I made a couple of really big mistakes on an important project I’m responsible for. I said some really bad swear words and came close to shedding a few tears. It was a low point.

Then on the way home, I stopped at Home Depot. I was getting a refund on a special order they hadn’t been able to find for me. The associate said, “I’ll give you the refund, but let’s try and place the order again. I won’t charge you even if it goes through.”

Back on the road, there was a back up of cars and lots of flashing lights at the roundabout I drive through every day. As I came around the curve, I saw a bad accident with a dump truck.

And this is why my attitude had changed by the time I made it home. I had a bad day at work. That’s all it was. There were other good things that happened to me, and things could have been a lot worse.

I will still recite my mantra of “Be the duck. Be the duck.” (You know, feet paddling madly under the water but feathers smooth and unruffled above).

However, what started to play a little more loudly in my head was, “Don’t ever give up.” In fact, this mantra inspired me to dig into the boxes in my office and pull out this poster.

Don't ever give up

This hung in the office at my middle school. When I was in grade 8 I finally worked up the courage to ask one of the teachers to photocopy it for me. It’s hung on a bulletin over my various desks ever since then.

Obviously, it’s been packed away too long. It’s now back up on the bulletin board in my office here.

How was your week? Hopefully it was better than mine. Let’s all have a good weekend, okay?