Saturday, 13 December 2014

A Long Overdue Post

It's been a while.  Sorry 'bout that!  Things got busy and before we knew it, Christmas had snuck up on us.
A lot has happened since our last post.  We dealt with our squirrel problem, had some windows removed, had some others replaced and our stone wall is finally done.  Our grand piano was delivered and the house has now been decorated for Christmas.

We both love Christmas and were eager to get this place all jazzed up for the holidays.  Because one tree is never enough, we ended up with four.  One in each window!


In our last house we used a lot of silver and white in our Christmas decorating, but this year we went with a more traditional colour scheme.  We like to change it up!

Outside is all done up as well, and we've had lots of comments on our train which we purchased just before we moved into this house.  

Our hope is to use our time off over the holidays to finally get rid of the tulip wallpaper in the living room. We've been picking out paint colours and it's sure to be a big transformation.  I can't wait! 


Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Baby (Grand) Got Back

We did it!  I can't believe it! We actually bought a grand piano!

When we came to look at this house before purchasing it, there wasn't much furniture left.  But there was a beautiful baby grand piano in the living room.  We tried to write it into our offer, but the sellers wouldn't go for it.  And now, 6 months later, we have our own baby grand being delivered.

I've had my eye on Kijiji since we moved in, watching for an inexpensive baby grand.  We've seen some that are affordable, and some that were way out of our reach.  I'm no concert pianist so I don't need a $20,000 piano.  We actually taped out a spot for one in the living room, just to see if it would fit.

On Sunday one popped up that caught my eye.  It was located about 20 minutes from us, and was listed as "make an offer".  Now I'm not one to email with a low ball.  When I post items on Kijiji, I hate it when people email asking if I'll take 25% of my asking price. So I didn't really know what to do.  I knew a piano wasn't really in the budget, but at the same time it could be a good opportunity to get one cheap.  On Monday I finally gave in and emailed with what I figured would be a very insulting offer.  To my surprise, I received an email back that I was the only offer, and we were heading down to see it within an hour.

It's not in perfect condition, but it's now ours.  It's being delivered on Saturday and I can't wait to get out some of my old lesson books and start playing again.  Made in 1919, it's a FAHR baby grand, finished in mahogany with the original ivory keys. Unfortunately two of the keys are chipped and some of the veneer has chipped off, but it's still a beautiful piece and it sounds amazing.  I'll post some more pictures this weekend, once we have it in it's new home. 

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Heating Up The Bedroom

I am so thankful to say that we finally have heat in our bedroom!  We had been using the gas fireplace on some of the colder nights that we've had, but it wasn't ideal without a thermostat or remote.  We would wake up and be freezing if it wasn't on, or boiling hot if it was on.  Knowing that winter is quickly approaching, we had to do something.  If we didn't get it taken care of, we'd be moving into one of the smaller bedrooms that did have heat.

A great friend and co-worker of mine just happens to be dating an HVAC guy.  Perfect!  He spent most of last weekend doing some serious work for us. He brought along a second crew member, and the two of them ran four duct lines from the basement to the second story addition above our garage.  In total, it took almost 10 hours, 300 feet of duct work, and lots of digging, cutting and tunnelling in the dirt of our crawlspace.

Here's just a few shots of what they accomplished.

Before they arrived, Jeremy spent a few evenings tearing down the ceiling, walls and floor of the old garage bathroom.  It was so dirty and a waste of space.  With it gone, they were able to run the ducts up the garage walls.  We'll also be able to park in the garage this winter!

They ran four duct lines off of the main trunk line that ran through our crawlspace.  The dirt floor had to be dug out and removed to give them access.  The four lines run to the back of the basement and come up through the garage floor and up the wall.  They then branch off to the four vents that were installed in our bedroom and closet.

Once again, we went with black cast iron floor grates to match the one we used in the bathroom.  I'm happy to say that the night they finished, the temperature dropped to 2 degrees, and we didn't even need the fireplace.  It's nice to have heat!

We were talking about some of the larger projects we've done since we moved in at the end of June.  Although we've done a lot, it often feels like we haven't because much of what we have completed is behind the walls.  Having the electrical replaced, and now this HVAC work done was costly and very necessary.  But it didn't make a big impact in the look of the house.  Hopefully some of the next few projects will really start to change how the house looks and make it feel like our home.

Here's a list of a few of the projects we have scheduled to happen within the next few weeks:
-rock retaining wall in side yard
-repair wood soffits and eavestroughs
-remove two windows in the mud room
-replace two windows in the master closet and craft room
-drywall ceiling in living room

Hopefully that's enough to keep us busy for the next few weeks!


Friday, 17 October 2014

Rock of Ages

We've got a lot going on house-wise this month, and yet it feels like nothing's happening at all. We're just waiting...and waiting...and waiting.

Back in August we had a few quotes done on some soffit and eavestrough repairs.  The contractor we hired has been really busy and keeps pushing our little project back, which was fine.  But now that colder weather is arriving, animals are starting to look for winter our attic.  Not good.  Apparently he's going to be starting next week.  We'll keep you posted!

We're also having some work done on getting some heat to our bedroom.  Currently we don't have any ducts running to that section of the house.  It was fine for the summer, but with these cooler nights, heat would be nice.

But on to a more exciting project!

We've been wanting to install our wrought iron fence (kijiji find!) along the side yard to keep the dog enclosed.

But when we went to start that project this summer, we realized that something had to be done with the retaining wall that currently divides the upper and lower yards.  

Although it doesn't look too bad in this photo, it's really leaning and not put together too well.  We also feel like it doesn't suit the style of the house.  So we decided that it should be replaced before going to the work of installing our new fence.

We spent some time this summer looking at rock.  Rock shopping sounds really boring...but it was actually fascinating!  Who knew that there were so many different types, styles, and colours of rock?

We looked at the Armour stone that many people are having installed in their properties around us, but in the end we fell in love with this Quebec Blue stone.  

Finally, after many week of waiting, we came home one day last week to find this in our driveway:

Our rocks were delivered!  They're not all facing "out" so it's hard to see what they will really look like once they're in place, but I know it's going to be awesome.  Much better than the falling-over, pressure-treated wall of 6x6s. Now we just have to wait some more.  We're expecting a load of gravel any day now, then installation can begin.  

One thing that I'm definitely learning through all of this is that even when you hire the pros, renovations take time.  A LONG TIME.  Hopefully I'll have some finished pictures to share with you soon!

Monday, 29 September 2014

Autumn in the Air

Last week marked the official arrival of fall.  Although it's scary to think that winter is just around the corner, Fall is definitely my favourite season.  I love watching the leaves change, and it makes my commute to and from work far more bearable.

This is our first autumn in this house and so far, the show has been pretty spectacular.  Although our previous house was also more than 100 years old, there were very few large trees in that section of town.  Unfortunately they were all cut down just before we moved in, so although we didn't have much raking to do, we also never really got to enjoy the fall colours.

Here's a few shots of our front porch.  We picked up an old sap bucket at an antique place in town and added a few fall branches into it to bring some colour up onto the porch.

Our steps are lined with pumpkins(artificial) and lanterns which look great at night.

This amazing tree is right at the front of our yard.  The neighbours can't get over how it looks and people walking down the street often stop to take pictures of it.  It's even more stunning in the morning with the sun shining through the leaves.  Raking leaves doesn't seem so bad when you have this view every day.  If only it lasted longer!

We did up our baskets with fall plants a few weeks ago and they're still looking great. I love the peppers!

We haven't done much inside yet, but we're hosting a big Thanksgiving dinner so I'm sure we'll be busy getting stuff up soon!

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Tea Time!

I was at an auction last week and spotted this great silver tea set.  Neither of us are really the "silver tea set" type, but I love the simple lines on it, and the fact that all of the pieces were engraved with the letter "M".  Although there wasn't much else at the auction that I was interested in, I hung around to see if I could get it at a reasonable price.  About an hour and $30 later, I was on my way home with thoughts of silver polish on my mind.

Because we don't have any other silver pieces, we also didn't have any silver polish in the house.  Instead, I found a great and easy three step method online at Tater Tots and Jello.

1) Line the kitchen sink with tin foil
2) Add in about 1 cup of baking soda and fill with very hot water
3) Place pieces to be polished in the sink so they are touch the tin foil

You can literally watch the tarnish fade away.  It actually came off our new tea pot in chunks.

 It took us about 30 minutes to do all 5 pieces, and Jeremy had to change the tin foil and water a few times as we found it wasn't working as well after a bit.  It was definitely much easier than trying to polish the thick layer of tarnish off though.

It may not be fit for a queen, but I think it looks pretty awesome on our sideboard.  I don't know how much use we'll actually get out of it, but I like the sparkle that it adds to the dining room.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Squeaky Clean Bathtub

As you might have noticed, I'm a huge fan of Pinterest.  I love checking out new ideas for cooking, decorating, renovating and teaching.  One thing I'm not a huge fan of however, is cleaning.  I do it, but I don't enjoy it.  When I stumbled across this pin from Made From Pinterest I figured it was worth a try.

Made From Pinterest

Sometimes the ideas on Pinterest really work, and other times they're a total bust.  I wasn't sure about this one, so I wanted to do it as inexpensively as possible.  We bought the dish wand at the dollar store, the Wal Mart brand rinse agent, and we used the dish soap that we already had.  


Here's a before shot of our tub.  We have a hard water issue in our town, so soap scum builds up really fast.  You can kind of see it in this picture.  The original pin said to use a tsp. of soap and a drop of rinse agent, then fill the rest with water.  I filled half about 1/4 with soap, 1/4 with rinse agent and the last half with water.


Here are the during and after shots.  I like that it foams up, and the rinse aid really gives it a streak free finish.
No more soap scum!

The thing that I like the most about this method is that we leave the wand on the corner of the tub, and we clean the tub and doors while we're in the shower. Nice and easy, just how I like it!

Note: Next time, I would splurge on a better wand.  The one from the dollar store leaked, and I had to put a rubber washer in the cap to keep the liquid in.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Autumn Decor "Pin"spiration

So now that it's back to school time, and the evenings are starting to get a bit cooler, decorating for fall has been on my mind.  Fall is my favourite season.  I love seeing the leaves change colour, and stopping at the farm stands around us to pick up fresh produce.  This is the first time we'll be decorating this house with autumn decor, and it's seems like a daunting task!  With such a large porch and so many rooms inside, I know that we'll only be doing a few things this year, but here's some inspiration shots.  Maybe in a few years our place will look like some of these!

Autumn Front Porches:
Now that we have an amazing front porch, I'd love to really jazz it up for the fall season.  We spend quite a bit of time out there, so I'd like to make it really spectacular!

Better Homes & Gardens
Common Ground
Stone Gable

Interior Touches:
We probably won't do as much inside this year, but I love some of the little touches that they have added in these photos to really bring the outdoors in.

Photo Credits: 1) Adventures in Decorating 2) Dear Lillie  3) The Turquoize Home 
4) Three Pixie Lane 5) The Idea Room

Hopefully in a few weeks, I'll have some of my own photos to share!  Do you decorate your own home for fall?  If you do, what are some of your tricks to help bring the autumn colours into your home?

Happy back to school! 

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Back In The Great Outdoors

Well, I'm officially in back-to-school mode now.  I spent a lot of time in my new classroom this week, cleaning, organizing  and preparing for my 22 new grade 2 students.

While I was back at work, Jeremy was working hard in the yard.  Earlier this week he spent a lot of time clearing out the garage.  On moving day we piled everything in there so the electricians weren't working around all of our furniture inside the house.  

But now that they're all done, we were finally able to get everything into place inside the house.  I came home from work one day to find this.

We still have a lot of organizing to do, but this is a great start.  It's so great to have an open space for cutting wood and hopefully parking the cars this winter!  

He also spent a lot of time this week working in the front and side yards.  We continue to take out overgrown shrubs and trees to hopefully create a usable yard.  I came home on Thursday to a much cleaner yard!

We still have a few plants to move, but it's amazing how it feels so open and spacious now.  Most of the shrubs from this front garden were moved to the side yard where there was another garden that had been taken over with weeds.  

I feel like the gardens are finally starting to take shape and look how we had envisioned them.  We also spent an afternoon working on a privacy screen for the hot tub.

We might add in a second panel, or move it forward to work it into the fence that we'll be building, but for now it's nice to have some separation from the front yard and the street.  

As the days get shorter and we are back into work mode I know that work on the house will be slowing down quite a bit.  We'll be relying on evenings and weekends to get projects done now and we probably won't start any big projects for the next month or so.  September is always the busiest time of year for us as we transition into new classes and new routines. We're hoping to continue with some smaller projects though, so I'll continue to post even our small accomplishments.

As always, feel free to leave us a comment.  It's the positive feedback that keeps us going!