Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tile Away...

Since I'm currently unable to share progress photos of our basement reno, I figured I would take this time to reach out to my readers for some help with decisions. Particularly, regarding our basement bathroom overhaul. You may remember from previous photos that our bathroom looked like this...

I feel that ugly and dated are both understatements when it comes to this space!
I've known all along that the tub enclousure shower stall (which we'll be moving to the back wall where the towel bar is in picture #1), would be tiled in plain white subway tile. I've also known for quite sometime that I want our bathroom to be green, but very different from the one the previous owners had. So, while at Lowe's buying our new toilet and dishwasher on the 26th, I picked out the perfect green with the help of the handy dandy light box in the paint section. It helped me to determine which green would give me the exact colour I wanted in our basement bathroom, sans natural light. Then, last night, as B and I discussed the shower stall, he mentioned using river rock as the shower floor and I just about died of excitement - I was SOLD.
So you may be asking - WHAT do you need help with? Well, I'm not too sure what I want to do with the bathroom floor itself. I have three different materials in mind and would love some input from those of you who may be stopping by to read. So without further ado - here are the already chosen materials and paint colour.

I've decided that since I'm using such a bold colour for the walls (Valspar - Lime Candy if you were wondering), I want everything else to be white - toilet (purchased), sink, floor - ALL of it! But when it comes to the bathroom floor, I just can't decide what I want to use. Here are three of the options I've been thinking over recently...
1) Plain old white square tiles (either done in a square pattern or diamond)
2) White hexagon tile
3) Continuing the river rock (which I'm really not that sold on)

So, I defer to you - if this were your bathroom, what would you use on the floor? Some fresh new ideas could be helpful to open my eyes to something I haven't thought of. Share away my friends!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Great Giveaway!

One of my favorite blogs - Adventures in Renovating a Brooklyn Limestone has a great personal giveaway! Head on over to her blog to enter to win 3 of her prints (any size up to 11x14) or 1 large poster print (up to 20x30)!

I really love her shots of New York City (where B and I met and fell in love), but all of her photos are gorgeous! So go on, check it out - worth it! Best of Luck!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Our Boxing Day Scores

This Boxing Day, B and I decided to brave the Boxing Day sales... at the big box home stores. In other words - no crowds to deal with. Thank god. We got some of the obvious first time home owner things - more lights for our Christmas tree and a few ornaments to help fill our tree next year. But with those purchases aside, we had some big ticket items we were on the hunt for.
As I've been writing about for a while now, we have plans to renovate our basement laundry area. That means that the #1 purchase on our list was a new water and energy efficient washer and dryer pair. After scouring all of the after Christmas sales (via flyers), the best deal we came across was for an LG washer and dryer pair at Home Depot. The LG 3.5 Cu. Ft. Front Load Washer (WM2010CW) and 7.0 Cu. Ft. Dryer (DLE1310W) - $886 for the pair (regular $1296) + an additional 10% off! So we saved over $500 on the pair, plus with over $70 in gift cards - we're only paying roughly $830 of our own money for the pair, after taxes! It was definitely a great way to start our shopping trip and put both of us in an excellent mood for the remainder of our excursion. 

Once we had finalized our purchase at Home Depot, we headed over to Lowes to pick up a toilet that they had on sale for $148, for our basement bathroom (regular $208). The toilet is exactly the same as the one we purchased back in July for the upstairs bathroom. It's a low flow, American Standard toilet - and the best part? The city of Toronto offers $75 back on our water bill for purchasing the toilet - so essentially, we're getting it for $75!

We also took a chance to see what they had in the way of deals on Dishwashers. We weren't sold on buying one, but thought we'd take a look since the one that came with the house is not only not very efficient... but also doesn't do a very good job cleaning dishes. Well, once we saw the Bosch dishwasher they had on sale for $698 (regular $1198) - we WERE sold! We overhead one of the sales associates telling someone there were only two left, so we snapped one up immediately, and we LOVE how it looks in the kitchen (for now anyway - it'll look way better in the future when the kitchen is actually redone!)

We also made a stop at RONA to pick up some plain white subway tiles for the new tub enclosure and a lot of other fun stuff for our whole tiling job. Was nice since we not only got 10% off everything, but we also got 4x the Airmiles on our purchases, which gave us a good number of bonus miles - who knows, maybe we'll cash them in for something nice in the house somewhere down the road!
So, that is how we made out during the Boxing Day sales - and we are extremely happy. But with all of that out of the way, it's time to get down to business on the basement reno! As my previous post showed, the demo is well underway - for the first half of the basement anyway (laundry room and bathroom). I'm looking forward to sharing some updates - as Day 2 of the demo has been quite successful so far! Keep those eyes peeled!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Remember Our Basement?

... and how it looked like this?

WELL, after heading down there tonight with B and my Dad to "come up with a plan", for the new layout of our laundry/utility room and bathroom, it looks a little more like this...

We had a little bit of fun this evening. Lots of cleaning up to do tomorrow... more renovation and reworking some of the wiring, plumbing and a few more things, but we're well on our way! 
Thankfully B is off all week and I'll be around a lot - so hopefully we can get a good head start on our new basement laundry and bathroom. Just thought I'd give you a little update on what we're busy with now. I'll be back soon with an update on our big Boxing Day purchases that I am SO excited about! Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! 

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The "Entry" Entry

This post is pretty long overdue. Something I definitely could've shared much earlier in my blogging. The temporary solution to our dark mudroom/front entrance. From the time that we moved in, in July, I knew it wasn't what I wanted, but with that horrible bathroom of ours and a few other small projects, it was the bottom of our list.

So this is what we were faced with upon arrival at our new home. Wood paneling and big huge (drafty) windows all around. (Mind you, we weren't so aware of the draftiness at this point as it was still hot out). To make it even better worse, there was this ugly, dated track lighting on the ceiling.

It's definitely not the clearest photo, but you get the point - it was UGLY! By the time late August rolled around we had, had enough. One Sunday morning we got up and decided it was time to set to work on covering up that awful paneling. Our first attempt wasn't so successful. After roughing up the paneling with some sandpaper, we used a basic latex primer that we had bought for other basic priming projects when we moved in. After the first coat dried we noticed that the top coat was bleeding through from the wood. B insisted that we try one more coat, but after that proved to be no help, we opted for some KILZ Oil based primer to see if it would help. Boy was it stinky, but one coat was enough to cover up any trace of that yellowy/brown paneling. Of course, wanting to make sure it was absolutely gone, we added a second coat for good measure.
 After a couple of coats of Valspar's Barrister White, the room was already feeling airy and bright. Our finishing touch, was a new light fixture that we had scored at Lowes, before we even closed on the house, for $15! (The fixture was originally worth $75, but was on clearance because it had no packaging! We scooped it up right away, planning on using it for this exact purpose.) VOILA! A bright and airy, temporary solution to our dingy front entrance.

Amazing what a simple coat of paint and a new light fixture can do, huh? 
Earlier in the summer (aka a few weeks after moving in) we had painted the outside of this add-on entrance, as well as the front door, which went from dark natural wood to the wonderful blue you see here. It seriously makes a huge difference and I love it. We're hoping that in the spring we can begin the daunting task of rebuilding the whole thing. As it stands now, it's no warmer than outside due to the drafty windows and lack of insulation! But again - those plans and that reno, are a whole other entry! (No pun intended...) 

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Basement - 1, Us - 0

As I have mentioned previously, we plan on tackling our basement guest room this holiday season in order to transform it  into our new laundry/utility room.

Yup, this little space (which has been painted since we moved in) will soon be a bright, airy, shiny laundry room. The thing I'm looking forward to the most? Those beasts in the last photo being replaced! Okay, okay - so they work just fine, but they're louder than Lady Gaga's outfits, and nowhere near as efficient as we would like! So, B and I have been in discussion regarding replacing them. He suggests that we replace only the washer, and instead of getting a new dryer, get a new dishwasher. I say, if we're going to replace one, we might as well replace both. He wanted a reason, so my final reason was I would rather have a new laundry PAIR rather than a new dishwasher.

Our plan is to go shopping during the Boxing Day Week sales and pick up a great deal. Dishwashers are much less expensive, so grabbing a new one down the line will be much easier for a decent sale price. After a small heated conversation last night, I THINK we came to the conclusion that we'll continue with the plan of looking for a new washer and dryer set for a good price. Good price being the key words in that equation.

However, even if we agree to buy a new pair and then score a great deal in the sales, we have an even bigger issue waiting for us on home turf. The challenge of getting them into our basement! Our house being built in the 1920s - doorways and staircases are pretty narrow.

Yup, this scary looking staircase is actually 1/2 inch too narrow for a new washer and dryer pair to fit down... even with the railing off. Which leaves me wondering how they got the current washer and dryer into the basement, as well as a full size bathtub. Hmmmm? Believe me, I have TONS of ideas which involve a great deal of reno and an overhaul of our living room, which at the moment we can't really afford.

So for the moment, the basement is winning in our laundry room makeover (which we haven't truly begun yet), but I'm determined to keep fighting, and eventually get a beautiful new laundry pair down that staircase! I'll keep you posted on the battle.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Bit of Christmas Deliciousness

Rather than posting a traditional Christmas treat recipe, I thought I would share a little piece of deliciousness that my Mom whipped up last Christmas Eve for dinner. It was a big hit with everyone, including B's parents and sister, who headed North to spend the holidays with us.

Yeah, so I didn't take this picture... the recipe is actually for smaller individually wrapped wellingtons! Why not try it out this holiday season. I promise, you won't be disappointed (unless you don't like fish... try something else!)

6 salmon fillets (skinned and de-boned)
2 pkg. puff pastry
½ lb. Button Mushrooms
6 oz Foie Gras or Chicken Liver, diced
2.5 c. Whipping Cream
½ lb. Baby Shrimp
3 Shallots, medium
2 egg yolk and 4 tbsp of milk whisked together for egg wash
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
2 tsp unsalted butter

Fish Mousse:
2 oz salmon
3 oz. whipping cream
1 egg white

¼ lb. unsalted butter
1c. pinot noir wine
1 medium shallot
½ tsp. liquid honey
1 sprig fresh thyme

Mushroom Duxelle: Trim and wash the mushrooms and cut them into quarters. Reserve on a plate. Chop the shallot and place half in a saucepan. Add ½ tsp of butter and sauté over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the mushroom and foie gras (or chicken liver) and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the cream and reduce until dry. Add salt and pepper. Let cool for a few minutes and place in a food processor to be chopped. Add the chopped parsley and mix. Place on a plate and keep refrigerated until needed.

Fish Mousse: In a clean food processor place the 2 oz salmon, add the salt and chop the salmon into a very thin mousse. Add the egg white and mix. Slowly add the 3 oz of cream and mix for one minute. Be careful not to over mix, the mousse will split. Remove mousse from the food processor and place in refrigerator until needed.

Salmon Wellington: Flour a dry counter or marble, and roll the puff pastry into a rectangle, 8” by 10”-about 1/8” thick. You will need enough dough to fold over the length of the salmon and make a sealed (rectangle will become 4 x 10). Evenly space the salmon fillets along bottom edge of the puff pastry. Leave a margin of pastry at edge to seal. Season with salt and pepper. Spread 2 tbsp of mousse evenly over each fillet. Brush the edges of the pastry with egg wash, taking care not to touch the salmon. Spread the creamy chopped mushroom mix evenly over the salmon fillet to coat it and keep it moist. Top the mushroom with shrimp meat. Fold puff pastry forward to completely cover salmon. Cut pastry between fillets. Press the edges together with a fork to seal and make a decorative pattern; trim edges neatly. Prick the pastry top decoratively to allow air to escape while baking. Place the Wellingtons on parchment paper on a baking tray. Brush the top with egg wash. Bake in the middle level of a pre-heated 400F oven for 15 minutes then turn the heat to 375F for an additional 15 minutes. The Wellington should be a nice golden brown color. Remove from the oven.

Serve the Wellington with seasonal vegetables and pinot noir butter sauce.

Pinot Noir Butter Sauce (to be prepared while Wellington is baking): In a sauce pan over medium heat, place the remaining chopped shallot. Pour in the red wine and honey. Reduce until almost dry and add the remaining cream. Reduce 1/2 cup cream to half and turn heat to low. Slowly whisk in the butter. Whisk constantly until butter is fully combined in reduction. Pour the sauce through a strainer into a clean saucepan. Discard the remaining solids. Adjust the seasoning and set aside.

Hint: If you like, you can prepare this recipe the day before and bake the next day

A little bit of a different taste for the holidays - but absolutely delicious! If you try it out - let me know what you think!
Happy Cooking!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

What I Love About Christmas At Our House!

At our house we've been decorating slowly, especially with it being our first Christmas here. We've been collecting bits and pieces here and there, slowly bringing together our collection of Christmas decor. A lot of what we have, we've got a good deal on, absolutely loved, or have been given as a gift. So, as I see our house coming together for the quickly approaching big day, I'd like to share some of my favorite pieces for the holidays around our home...

I absolutely LOVE this wreath. I'd been looking for something similar for a while but couldn't find anything that I really loved and that was in my price range. WELL, after returning from our vacation B had to stop by my parents after work one day to pick up the dog and some other stuff. My Mom has spotted this while we were away and knew I was looking for one... so I was surprised when B came home with it. Since the little beads fall off easily, and our storm door isn't too sturdy we found the perfect spot on our living room wall to hang it... and I am so happy every time I look at it!

This little piece sits on top of our mantel. The reindeer tealight holder I found at HomeSense and loved immediately. I picked him up for around $8, and he was black, so I sprayed him with the high heat resistant aluminum spray I picked up for another project and he fits in perfectly with our holiday decor. My glass hurricane I also found at HomeSense to replace a broken glass vase we used as part of our Thanksgiving decor. The silver ribbon was on a box of ornaments I had bought on clearance a few years ago. The balls at the bottom are just Styrofoam painted blue and silver with some of my clearance ornaments piled on top. It could be more full, but we're already lacking ornaments on our tree. I'm sure we'll pick up a ton more in the after holiday sales!

We originally planned on using the stockings that my parents have been using for us in the past, but yesterday afternoon we made a stop at Kitchen Stuff Plus to look for a gingerbread man cookie cutter. They were completely sold out but I found these cute felt stockings on sale for 50% off... so the price? $2 a piece! Steal! I couldn't resist, so here they are, hanging from our mantel! (Note: we used nails for this season as we plan on getting a new mantel in the new year when we give the fireplace a complete overhaul. I'll have to cover that disaster of a fireplace in a whole other entry!)
We picked up this ornament while we were away on vacation in Ireland. I don't think that the picture does it any justice... it's by far the most beautiful ornament on our tree and a reminder of a great vacation together. Enough said!

Sleepy puppies in Christmas scarves! Isn't he adorable? I know - I'm sure you're all sick of seeing the dog on my blog... but hey, I can't get enough of him! He's my big suck... such a great addition to our family.

Of course there are so many other things around our house that I love at this time of year, but this is just a little sneak peek. How about you? What are some of your favorite things around your home at this time of year?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Harley's Home!

Yup... Harley! Just wanted to post a little update on my post the other day about the potential new addition to our family. If you've missed my tweets... we were lucky enough on Tuesday to bring home Charlie... who we've obviously renamed Harley. We liked Harley more, and he responds to it well since it sounds exactly the same as his old name... too bad it confuses us more than him! Since renaming him he's been called, Charlie, Marley, Barley and yes... even Riley (don't ask). It's been an adventure with a 3 month old pup in the house, but slowly him and Parker are warming to each other and even playing. Last night he even got his first bath and took it quite well. He's become an instant part of the family - and everytime I look into his sucky little face I can't imagine life without our little boy!

Brett's been taking him to work during the days so he's not in his crate for 8 hour stretches. We're so happy we were able to give this adorable little guy a new home and I'm excited to raise him! It's already been fun teaching him to go up and down stairs and some new commands. If you're in the Toronto area and looking for a new pup, he still has a brother and sister up for adoption through the Grand River All-Breed Animal Rescue. Why not give a deserving pup a new, loving home?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Fall In Love...

In any city you choose! When I came across these fantastic screen prints from artsharkdesigns, on Etsy, it was love at first site! B and I first met and fell in love in NYC - so what better way to give a stylish nod to the city that brought us together than through one of these gorgeous little prints! There are tons of great cities to choose from... I may even pick up a Boston one, afterall, our love did continue to grow there as well!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Goodbye Old Basement... hasn't been fun!

Moving on from yesterdays exciting post about our new family addition, I want to discuss some changes that should be coming soon to our little house. Ever since our first viewing in early May, we knew the basement was a project we were going to have to tackle. With low ceilings, a bit of a dampness issue and a seriously bad layout - our basement needs HELP! So, it looks like our home renos will be working their way UP from our disaster of a basement.
Main living area in the basement at the bottom of the stairs. There is a bit of mold starting to appear by the baseboard behind me. Behind the wall, directly ahead, is the utility room full of our giant water heater and ancient furnace - only accessible by walking all the way around and through the guest room.

This is the little hallway that leads to the bathoom (seen through the open door) - to the right is the washer and dryer as well as the door to the guest room.

As you can see the bathroom needs a whole lotta love (and a whole lot less wood paneling around the tub - YUCK!)

These ancient pieces of equipment make it sound like a rocket is taking off everytime I throw in a load of laundry. They are located directly outside the bathroom door. To the left (see B's arm) is the doorway into what we have been using as a guest bedroom. Not really a nice site for our guests!

And finally our guest bedroom as it looked when we first moved in. We have since painted it a much calmer shade of green and the wood paneling has been painted an creamy colour. We also put floor to ceiling sheer curtains on the wall where our oddly placed window is to soften it up a bit and put in a double bed with a cream coloured head board that matched the wood paneling. It was working well as a guest room. But not for much longer.
As of last night, our basement overhaul has officially begun (in my eyes anyway). B had someone come by to discuss getting a tankless water heater installed. Since there will be no cost to have it installed and our old rental heater taken back to the other company, we have decided to have it done ASAP. B is all about the technical stuff, the most important part to me is that we will be reclaiming all of the space our water heater is currently taking up. So, with a new water heater coming, that means it's time to start ripping apart the basement.

Our plan is to turn what is now our guest bedroom, into our new utility room/laundry room, redo/update the bathroom and open up the rest of the basement into a larger living area. With the tankless water heater coming soon, and thoughts of purchasing a new washer and dryer on boxing day, our attention is focused on the new utility/laundry room.

As the main laundry doer in our house, I want a place that doesn't look like a dungeon and is more a part of the home. So I have spent the last few days online looking at inspiration rooms for our laundry room - the starting point for our reno. Here are a few I'm a fan of...

As I continue to think this through, I can imagine demo will begin soon - even with two dogs (hopefully) and a rabbit living in the house. Right now I'm really just trying to decide the best option for the floor... B and I are leaning towards a dark natural stone tile I think, so if there are spills or messes, they will be easy to clean. I'll have to keep you posted on my thought process.

In the meantime - what's your laundry room like? Is it a beautiful place in your home that you don't mind cleaning and folding your clothes? Or is the kind of place that you want to be in and out as quick as possible? Have you had it redone or do you plan on redoing it in the new year? Would love to hear some stories!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Our Potential New Additions...

I'm not talking about additions to the house... I'm talking about to our family!

For quite some time B and I have been discussing adding to our little family. We currently have B's dog, Parker, whom he has had for about 5 years. We also have a bunny rabbit, Ebony, that I adopted shortly before we moved into our home. We love them both dearly, and being two young people who have grown up surrounded by animals we just can't get enough of them. So, after a number of discussions, we decided we wanted to get a brother to be the Fenway to our Parker (B's a Red Sox fan - did you guess?). So we've spent a lot of time looking through rescue shelter websites to find a pup that just stole our heart.

WELL - last week we found more than 1! So B sent in an application and they've been screening us to make sure we are the right applicants to bring a puppy into our home. Today B got an email with three pictures of potential pups. We haven't been approved to adopt yet, (B still has to finish the phone interview he started yesterday), but they asked us to choose an order of preference for the dogs so that if we are approved we can go and meet them before we bring one of these beautiful boys home. Below are the three pups, in our order of preference (mind you, if we had the house, the money and the time... I'd take all three!)...

This is Charlie - isn't that just the sweetest face you've ever seen?

Topa is Charlie's brother and equally as sweet...

and this is Sarge, he was dumped, and is a few weeks younger than the other two pups (no relation). He is absolutely adorable, but has higher energy and is likely to be more fluffy. He, of course, is not off of our list, but we know that a dog with a more of a calm attitude would be better for us and our laid back girl Parker.

I'm pretty excited to think that there is a possibility we could have a new family member by Christmas. On top of that, we'll be saving a deserving pup and bringing them into a very loving home.

I'll keep you posted on how the screening process goes, and if one of these beautiful boys comes to find a forever home with us!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Design UnInspired?

Since we've returned home from our vacation, I've spent a lot of time thinking about the renovations I want to do in our home (when I'm not thinking about the impending holiday season). In particular, I've spent a lot of time thinking about our living room. Since the living room is a) the first room you see when you enter from our foyer, b) the room we spend the most time in and c) one of only two rooms on our main floor, I want to be sure that the design and decor is something that I love, but others can truly appreciate. I don't want it to be too trendy, but I also don't want it to be cookie cutter. For a while, I was pretty sure I knew what I wanted, yet there was something in my gut telling me it wasn't quite right. This morning, while browsing through my latest edition of House and Home magazine (The January Trends issue), something hit me and I knew I had it all wrong. That being said, I am extremely happy that B and I didn't take the plunge a month back and start purchasing some of the materials for my original design plan, as neither of us would be very pleased at this point in time.

Our home was built in the 1920's and is located just up the street from the shore of Lake Ontario. Since the first time we saw the house, the location and character have had me thinking "cottage". I want to keep that cottage feel in our home, but update it a little bit and THIS my friends, is what has made me scrap my original design plan.

I originally had something more dramatic in mind, darks floors with dark walls, a floor to ceiling ivory stone fireplace and pops of colour (mainly light blue). As much as I loved it, I know it doesn't fit the character of our home. So I'm now leaning more towards light floors (natural looking) and more of a natural stone look for the fireplace. I'll have to see what I really LOVE before I decide on the fireplace and wall colour, but at least now I feel confident in the direction I am taking.

Regardless, our living room is a blank slate so I definitely have the ability to do as I please.
So the design is a work in progress, and I'll keep you posted on my thoughts, but I am completely open to input from readers. How about you? Have you ever had any projects where you (thankfully) realized before you began work that it was all wrong? Or worse, have you ever realized it while putting your plan into action? I'd love to hear your stories!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Our Great Tree Adventure

It's that time. We've gone on vacation, ate our share of turkey, scored some great deals at the stores and returned to Toronto eager to begin our Christmas decorating. After arriving home during the wee hours of Sunday morning and sleeping for a few hours, I was up, out of bed and pulling our boxes of decoration from storage. Most of what I found was for the kitchen, with the remainder being boxes of ornaments. However, with this being our first Christmas in our home - we had to decide what tree our ornaments would be adorning!
In my family, my Dad has been going to the same tree farm to cut down a real tree since he was around my age. Every year it's tradition to bundle up, trek out to the farm and bring home a big FAT tree. As this has been such a big part of my Christmas tradition, we both just assumed we'd once again take part in this annual outting and bring home our own tree. However, the more I thought about it, the more I began to think that may not be for us.

The thought of trying to cram a real tree into our little living space freaked me out a little. We already knew we would be sacrificing some space to get it in, and our family is well known for always picking the BIGGEST tree (seriously, when people arrive at my parents annual Boxing Day open house they actually make a beeline for the tree to see how big it is that year). It's never done on purpose - it's just a perspective thing (the great outdoors vs. my parents family room).

Then there was the thought of the tree needles all over the house. The more I thought about the needles falling all over the floor (and I'm sure the dogs tail wouldn't help this matter) the more irritated I became. Ever since we moved in together, my true clean freak has emerged! I'm pretty hardcore about keeping our pad tidy (and clutter free) and just thinking about having to clean up after the tree was enough to drive me mad.

But when it really comes down to it, my final deciding factor was... I'm impatient! My dad always goes to cut down the tree two weekends before Christmas (this year it falls on the 12th) and I honestly didn't want to wait that long! So, on Monday night we headed out in search of an artifical tree, and agreed if there was nothing we liked, we would get a real tree. This of course, was just the start of our whole ordeal.

After trying Costco and Canadian Tire, and finding nothing that we liked (or that fit our budget), we finally came across the perfect tree at Home Depot. Pleased with our tree, but disappointed they were sold out of lights, we headed for the self check out discussing where to head next on our hunt for LEDs. In typical self check-out fashion, we picked the side where a lady was finishing up and no one was waiting behind her. Once she was done, B began to hoist the tree box to scan the barcode and some guy runs over and cuts in front of us saying "There's a line over there!". B and I look over our shoulders (spying no line) and B says "I didn't see one" to which Mr. Holiday Spirit replies "Piss Off". Following this pleasant exchange, Mr. Holiday Spirit begins to frantically wave his tin of whatever over the scanner. After numerous frantic passed over the scanner, he marches over to the cashier inquiring why his item isn't scanning. The young boy indicates that he needs to scan it with the barcode facing down. As Mr. Holiday Spirit makes his way back to the check out B mumbles "At least know how to use it", at which point Mr. Holiday Spirit turns around and kicks our Christmas tree. Of course everyone turns to stare, and the guy continues to struggle with paying for his item. As another self check out opens up, we head over and begin the process of paying for our tree. While removing my receipt from the machine, Mr. Holiday Spirit storms by and out of the store carrying his one simple tin that took him 15 minutes to pay for!

After a good laugh and a joke with one of the Home Depot employees, we headed a couple storefronts down to Wal-Mart in search of LED lights, only to discover they had next to nothing! Defeated, we decided to call it a night and headed home, lightless.

Tuesday evening, B arrived home from work with a box of LEDs from RONA, which it turned out to be too short to cover our whole tree. This of course led to a close to two hour trek around our neck of the woods in search of the closest RONA to find lights that matched. Upon our return home we plugged in our lights only to find out that the two sets of "warm white" lights did not match. Again, we sat defeated, staring at the mismatched lights on our still undecorated tree.

Finally by last night, we had two boxes of "warm white" lights (that MATCHED!) and were able to get our ornaments up (mainly my labour as B has been feeling pretty ill). Sitting back and looking at our very first Christmas tree, it's nothing exciting, but it's our first year and we're on a budget - so I'm pleased with the outcome. I figure, if nothing else, we'll always be able to look back on our first Christmas and fondly remember the adventure that was buying and decorating our very first Christmas tree together.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Big Reveal!

So I've blogged, and I've tweeted and I'm sure everyone is sick of hearing about our bathroom vanity! Well - this is it, the end of all of that. A ran into a few little problems along the way. Stripping the vanity itself took ages! B bought some eco friendly stripper that didn't really have any fumes, but it took a long time to get all of the original top coat off. Then, once we got it off, we got a coat of oil based primer on it and a couple coats of paint. It was looking great so B and I got to work sealing it with an outdoor clear coat that would protect it from any water that dripped on it (our vanity always looks like B had a water fight after he washes his face). I got the first coat on and no problem, but once B got a second coat on, the wood grain started to show through again. SO - B sanded the whole thing down and got another two coats of paint on it. After those extra coats and some seal, it looked much better and well... I guess now all that is left to do is show you our final product (and some other wonderful details in our little bathroom...)

So what do you think?
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