Getting On With Things

Hello from sunny Vancouver!

I used to be under the misguided impression that if you were a domestic goddess, there couldn’t possibly be bad days. I mean, what could possibly go wrong with performing the daily miracle of running a household?
But my illusions were shattered the other day when I had just that. Well, it wasn’t exactly a bad day, but a whole bunch of things went wrong in quick succession. I had a meeting with my case worker at the government work place thingy so that I could finally start the long and tedious application process to start an ocean freight course. As I’m on unemployment insurance, she is obliged to give me a ‘helping hand’ to aid me in my job search, so she gave me $30.00 in gift cards for the gas station to put gas in my car. What a lovely surprise that was! Unfortunately, it all went downhill from there. 
The gas card was, or course, for a particular gas station franchise and the closest one that I knew of was in my old neighbourhood in North Delta. Not wanting to waste my precious gas wandering around Richmond, I drove to North Delta. There, I discovered, upon attempting to take my cap to my gas tank off, that it was broken and, therefore, stuck. Fortunately, after a few attempts and enlisting the help of a kindly gas attendant (I played the damsel in distress card), we managed to get it off and I put my $30 worth in my car.

Vancouver is a series of islands and in order to get from anywhere to anywhere in the Lower Mainland as it’s nicknamed, you have either cross a bridge or go under a tunnel.
There is one bridge and one tunnel from North Delta to Richmond and, at 1:00 pm on a Friday afternoon, just as I was making my way home, there was a 3-car accident on the bridge blocking that particular route.
This meant that I had to go through the tunnel which was okay, but it was quite detour. I thought of my dwindling gas and joined the rest of the crowd who had exactly the same idea. The good news is that that route takes me past my favourite vineyard and so I decided that I deserved a glass of wine or two after this harrowing ordeal and stopped in and bought 2 bottles (okay, so I decided on more than two glasses of wine!!).

Continuing on my journey home, I came upon yet another long line up of cars and trucks only to discover it was obviously a cargo train’s scheduled time to cross the road. It was a very long train and I almost turned off my engine and suggested a tail gate party to my fellow travelers in front and behind me, using my 2 bottles of wine as refreshment. However, I pictured myself sipping said wine under the trees in my backyard with my hubby, and decided to stay put!

I have been getting on with things, finally. Sometimes when there’s so much to do and you don’t know where to start, you kinda end up, well, doing nothing. But last week I was forced to clear out what’s supposed to be my work room, to make room for my youngest son (he’s 21) who returned from Winnipeg. He says he’s going to find a place of his own (with a roommate) at the beginning of October, but in the meantime, I had to make some space for him. Once I tackled it, I found, as we do, that it wasn’t as bad as it looked. There is a lot of storage in these cupboards in the kitchen/dining area

When we first moved in I stuffed things in there to get them out of the way, and so this was an opportunity for me to really make good use of that storage. For the time being I’m working in the kitchen/dining area so some of that storage is being used for my material and painting supplies.

Mr LoveThat has a huge collection of DVDs and books from his long haul trucking days – they could have their own library room – and these were all in boxes in my work room and getting messed up in the process not to mention taking up valuable work space. So we managed to get them out of the boxes and into this storage space

Our plan is to build shelves in my work room (which is a temporary son’s room) and give them a permanent home.
Then I tackled the dining room table. I bought this dining set (minus a chair – so 5 chairs) at a thrift store for $35.00.
 It was originally priced at $70 and the day I went in they had it marked down 50%. Our old table (now my work table) was very small and terrible for entertaining, or seating more than 2 or 3 people comfortably – so when I saw this, I had to have it. Mr. LoveThat was not impressed as it looked in bad need of refinishing and one of the legs needed fixing and he had to lug it home in the rain – poor thing! But for me, it was love at first sight. He was especially happy to have it when we moved as it fits perfectly in our dining area – the old table would have looked really tiny in there. But, alas, 6 months later, I still hadn’t gotten around to sanding the table top down and staining it. So while I was still in ‘let’s-get-my-house-done’ mood, I did it this weekend. Of course, it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. I thought I would just sand it down with the sanding machine and then put a layer of staining on it and, voila! It would be beautiful. But that was not the case (it never is, is it?). I had to sand it 3 times and even then, the stain wouldn’t stick in some parts. After a while, I got a little frustrated with the whole thing and started adding more and more stain in the hopes it would all even out, but it just ended up looking like one big blue mess (the stain I chose was a blue-grey). By this time, I really hated it!
 Still frustrated, I took a damp cloth and rubbed the whole thing down and ended up with exactly what I wanted in the first place – this:

I love it! I wanted a sort of farmhouse look and I think this does it. I still have to paint the chairs and will hopefully start on that next week.

In the meantime, I was determined to strip the yellow paint in the kitchen and add the lettering border I had planned. In 68 years, the walls of this old house are not exactly level anymore. Fortunately for me, whoever painted the yellow, did a really bad job and obviously used the wrong kind of paint as it was already starting to peel off the walls. I used a scraper as sandpaper was doing nothing. Then I leveled it off with sandpaper as  best I could and ended up with this:

I have to fill in the holes and sand it smooth one more time and then I’ll repaint and finally get to the fun part of adding the lettering.
I have to tell you that sanding and scraping and preparing is not my idea of fun. In fact, it’s a real chore – right up there with washing dishes and doing laundry. But unfortunately, it’s a necessary part of the process. Even though I love to restore or upcycle my old furniture and find new uses for old things, I am often tempted to simply visit my favourite store, Ikea, and buy myself a new house! Speaking of which, I am finally going to get my new couch and they have a new colour which I’ve fallen in love with. Originally, we were going to go with this colour
But after a little trip there this weekend, I saw this and have to have it!
Mr. LoveThat says probably another 2 weeks. I’m so excited. I have plans for the old futon. I’m going to paint it a really bright colour, get new cushions for it and use it as a couch for our patio – next year.
This weekend I’ll get the rest of the bedroom finished.
But, back to work. I’ve been thinking a lot about table linen. I’m the kind of person that loves sets of stuff like linens and crockery – tea sets, plate sets, cutlery sets – you get the idea – and, to be honest, I have never come across an entire table linen set. I mean, they sell matching table ware, but separately. Maybe I’m shopping in the wrong stores? You can get a ‘bed in a bag’ but not table linen in a bag. So I thought I would make a whole linen set and sell it as a set – and, of course, you can buy the separate pieces also. Since the ‘Paris’ theme turned out so well and I already have some place mats and napkins made, I thought I would start with this theme and I made a table runner on Friday and painted it today. This is how it turned out.

Here are the place mats and napkins to match

Don’tcha just leerve my “new” table? I will add a table cloth to this, but I’m thinking simply red stripes at each end otherwise I think it’ll all look too ‘busy’ when the table is fully set. Once it’s all together, I’ll do a tablescape for the next blog post and show you how it all goes together. These are in my Etsy store. I have some ideas for other themes which I’ll start working on next.
I was paging through a magazine on French Country décor and came across some beautiful little chair covers. My chairs aren’t exactly chair cover friendly because they are not straight-backed, but I think I can make them work and will post them next time also. They really were very cute.
Until next time …


Gratitude, Appreciation and Bedroom Furniture Makover

Hello again,

Sitting still and doing not-very-much has never been something I could ever do every well. I always have to be doing something – even if it’s just watching TV or reading my Facebook page.

But the last six weeks have been very hectic what with moving and unpacking and all the yard work, and then trying to fit in stocking up my Etsy Shop in between. I also received some bad news about my friend’s daughter who is losing her battle with cancer. And so towards the end of last week, I started to feel a little overwhelmed, as we do, and body-aching tired. Before long, I was on my witches broomstick whining and complaining to the rest of my family that I was feeling more like the hired help (without the paid part) than a member of the family. I’m sure some of you can relate!

And so I decided that I would take the weekend off and do … nothing … and hope that my family would take the hint and help out a little! Fortunately, Mr. LoveThat is an incredibly tolerant man, thank goodness, and he stepped in and washed dishes and cooked meals and tended to our dogs while I languished on the couch and watched bad movies, read my book and played silly games on Facebook. Once I got the hang of it, it was a very enjoyable experience! 

It also got me thinking that the fastest way to feel better about life when one is feeling a little overwhelmed, is to focus on gratefulness and appreciation, and so I started thinking about things I am grateful for and looking around me to get back to appreciating what I have, instead of focusing on what I don’t have (real or imagined!). It turns out that the little things are the ones we feel most grateful for, like falling into bed after a hard day’s work, clean sheets, fluffy towels, our neighbour bringing us fish he caught that day, a cup of tea …

Here are some things that make me feel joyful and appreciative:

The ocean on a summer’s day

Beautiful Japanese Garden to still your mind and recharge your batteries

An ice cold drink

Roses from my garden

Flowers in my city 

Beautiful Sunsets and a moonlit night

Tea lights in jars

The fixings for a simple supper

Restored kitchen hardware

Angels amongst the Clematis

Home made Limincello

Lunch on a patio

The pleasure my dog gets from playing in water.

There are so many more things that make me grateful and feel joyful. You don’t have to look very far at all to find something that makes you feel good.

Let me know what makes you feel joyful and grateful.

So feeling somewhat rejuvenated today, I decided to start on my bedroom furniture upcycling project and began with the night stands, which are all wood. I forgot to take a before photo, but here are two ‘in progress’ photos

And here’s the finished product!

This afternoon I will finish the other nightstand and then begin on the headboard and footboard tomorrow. Hopefully by Thursday, I should have a whole new bedroom!

I have a new cushion I want to work on also and will post it later this week.

I hope you have a wonderful week.