Organize – 2013’s Word of the Year

January 20, 2013 § 5 Comments

Inspired by Shady Lady’s post The Big Reveal, I’m adopting Shady’s word for the year, ORGANIZE.

I took it a step further and came up with the following expansion…


It seems fitting with what’s been going on around here the last couple of weeks. Between finishing up the library and the subsequent rearranging of our “stuff”, we’ve been decluttering, sorting, cleaning and purging like mad.

And it feels absolutely amazing!

It most definitely is an expenditure of energy but I’m looking at it like I would a financial investment.  Yes, it’s costing some now but later I’ll reap much more interest in the way of time to recharge and take stock without all this stuff and crap filling my home and my head.

It really is amazing how much our things can weigh us down, physically, mentally and emotionally. I suppose that’s why they call it baggage. In any case, I’m a huge proponent of if you haven’t used, worn or appreciated something in the last twelve months, you probably don’t need it.

Note how I qualified with appreciate?

Reality is we don’t really use everything we fill our homes and spaces with. I have books that I haven’t opened in decades but that doesn’t mean I’m about to toss, donate or gift them.  My photos don’t all get looked at yearly but I’m not parting with those either. I have buried treasure in the basement that I haven’t seen in five years but I know it’s there and finding it is an adventure waiting to happen.

So, for 2013 my goal is to sort through all of my 40 years of accumulated stuff and either find a place for it or gift it or donate it or throw it out…in that order.  I’m not spending another year putting off, avoiding and making excuses.

Who’s with me?

My Library

January 12, 2013 § 4 Comments

Six months ago friends of ours helped install a new hardwood floor in our fireplace room. Along with prepping and painting, the room got quite the overhaul and I set into motion plans to build myself my very own library.

You can read, and see pics, all about the transformation and what it entailed here, here, here and here.  If you’re up for it, I highly recommend getting a feel for what the room looked like before we started, the difference is pretty incredible.

Anyway, I was hoping for custom shelves but that never panned out and for Christmas I asked Hubby for these…


I got two of each shelving unit and in one afternoon, BF and I got set to work and built all four units and set them in place. Of course that in itself was fun, especially after the second glass of wine, but not nearly as fun as doing this was…


I still have seven shelves, that are just holding misc crap at the moment, to fill with books, craft supplies and my curios. Who knew building your own library could be so exciting. The best part is that as a result the other rooms in my house are becoming much less cluttered by sheer default.

Yesterday, BF and I went out area rug shopping for this part of the room…


Where the desk sits in the picture is where I’ve put a loveseat and chair and will be the room’s sitting area. The loveseat is a hand me down and though structurally sound, it’s cover is old, dirty and ratted. I will eventually be getting it recovered but for now a sheet works just fine.
Now I realize the rug is a little busy and girly but personally, I love it. Hubby said it looks like Disney barfed on the floor but I don’t care, it’s my room and I like it. The colours compliment the walls, the shelves and the lamps. It’s very cozy particularly in the evening when the lamps are on low.

Of course, I still have some blank wall space that’s just waiting for paintings and pictures to be put up but all in all I can officially say, “Would you care to take tea in the library?”

I’m simply over the moon.  😀

On Recycling and Elbow Grease – Prt. 1

November 29, 2012 § 2 Comments

This morning, as I brushed through our basement on my way to do the laundry, I did an involuntary mental inventory of the crap we are storing and I had an idea about a Christmas gift for the toddler daughter of some good friends.

It’s a preschool easel/chalkboard combo.

I wasn’t even sure we still had it, thinking I must have already passed it along. I long ago gave away Daughter’s crib, her highchair, her playpen, her car seats, most of her clothes…I know that.  We didn’t still have an easel she was too tall for at 4?

Sure enough, in the first place I looked…

Eeeeeeeekkkk AND Eeeeeewww!! 

Yup!  In the furthest, dustiest, most cobwebiest corner of my basement is where I found it. For thirteen years it has been there, unused and unloved.  Okay, I know it’s just a hunk of really dirty plastic but it’s also a perfectly serviceable toy that encourages creativity and self-expression (retailing about $60 new – not including supplies).

To that end, I’m going to…get Hubby to pull it out and take off the big scary webs ;), then I’m going to clean it up, repaint the chalkboard side if necessary, and recycle it for our friends’ daughter for Christmas. I’ll also be stocking it with paper, paint, brushes and chalk for under $20.

I’m excited.  😛

Fireplace Room to Library – An Update w Pics

July 14, 2012 § 5 Comments

Wow, what a week!  Last Saturday the new hardwood floor went in. Sunday we went and visited an old friend who just got out of hospital. Monday we left for Daughter’s birthday week vacation (details in an upcoming post) and we returned yesterday early evening.

I’ve got a week’s worth of laundry to do, including what I didn’t get done before we left, mail to open and sort, groceries to clean out of the fridge and then replace and a whole lot of tidying and sorting to do.  We left the house in a rather state of disaster because we didn’t have time to do it all before we headed out.

Did I mention the heat wave bordering on drought conditions? It’s so bad here that brush fires are breaking out in the nearby green spaces and we went to bed last night with the smell of burning woods wafting through the windows. It was disconcerting to say the least. And, yeah, no air conditioning.  Thank goodness for the pool.

All that aside, the new floor is absolutely stunning. The difference is remarkable and makes me regret not having done it sooner. Of course, if we had we would have had to pay for the materials and labour.  Our new floor cost us exactly 1 large pizza and a dozen bottles of beer. That’s it.

The jist of it is, Buddy A came across some free hardwood flooring and offered it to us. Buddy B (Mike) is a construction contractor. Get Buddies A and B together with Hubby, add beer and voila, new floor. Yay for me and my new library. Double yay for the increase in the value of the house. Yes, I do know how very lucky I am.

Here are some pics…

Yes, it’s the same room!  😀

That’s it for the before and after but here’s a few more of the room now.

As you can see, it’s not quite a library yet what with no shelves. That may take some time as I’m having the shelves custom built but honestly, I’m in no hurry and am completely happy keeping things as they are for now.  Besides, I still have a bunch of tidying up to do in there.

As I mentioned previously, my next post will be about our vacation to Niagara Falls with plenty of awesome pics.

Fireplace Room To Library – Part Five – Phew!

July 6, 2012 § 2 Comments

Sorry folks, another pictureless post.  It’s not that I’m not taking pictures, I am, it’s just that they’re all of the same thing and frankly, they’re really boring.

The room is painted, second coat notwithstanding, and everything is good to go for the floor to be put in, removing carpet also notwithstanding.  Both notwithstandings easily remedied by a few minutes and an extra pair of big strong man hands.  😛

Honestly, with this heat, I’m surprised I managed to get as much done this week as I have. Having the kitchen reno – done in November – as a comparison, I’ve completely resolved to NEVER again undertake a major renovation project in the summer.

The difference between the two experiences is totally palpable and I have to wonder what I was thinking. With the kitchen renovation, the painting was easy and neither made me sweat nor made me feel like I was going to pass out after 20 minutes. In November we could open the window and let in the cool autumn breeze to help air out the room and dry the paint more quickly.

Did you know that extreme humidity is not conducive to paint drying? I didn’t. Of course, in retrospect, it makes perfect sense but I honestly didn’t even give it a thought. The things we learn by doing.

In any case, the new hardwood floor goes in tomorrow and I most excited by the fact that I’m not required to assist. With three capable men on the job, I get to leave when they get started and come back when they are finishing. Gotta love it.

Next post on the subject will have some more before and after pictures, promise.

I hope everyone has a great weekend.  😀


Fireplace Room To Library – Part Four – Pictureless Post

July 4, 2012 § 1 Comment

I got ONE wall painted so far today and I’m disappointed.  I found out yesterday that we’ll actually be able to get the new floor in on Saturday.  We leave for a week away on Monday morning. Crap!  It’s not like I can reschedule because we are relying on the kindness of our handy friends to help out so when they can come by, we take it.  It does mean however that we have that much more on our plates and frankly, I was stressed out plenty already.

Add to that the ridiculous heat, with added humidity, that already exacerbates my sloth like tendencies. It’s 32 C with a humidex of 39 C (that’s 89.6 F that feels like 102.2 F) and it’s only going to get hotter over the next couple of days.

Did I mention we have a family dinner for Daughter’s birthday the same day the floor is going in? I don’t even have time to think about my baby turning 17 in a week. What a crazy couple of weeks it’s going to be.

Oh well, once all is said and done, I’ll have a library where once existed a mostly wasted space in my house, my oldest will be on the verge of his 24th birthday, my youngest will have just turned 17 and I’ll be sitting around wondering where the time went.

Honestly, I think I’m looking forward to that bit. Well, I say that now.  😀


Fireplace Room to Library – Part Three – Room as Blank Canvas

July 2, 2012 § 2 Comments

The undone and bare bones part of the room reno are done.  It’s very strange to have a virtually naked room smack dab in the middle of the house. Every time I walk through it my mind races with all the possibilities.

We still have to paint, put in the new floor, put up the shelves, change out the light fixtures, add the furniture and of course, what every library has to have…add the books.

We leave for our annual Daughter’s Birthday Trip a week from today so it’s not likely to get done before then.

In the meantime, I get to look at…



And imagine what it will look like when it all comes together.  How exciting!  😀

Fireplace Room To Library – Part Two

June 29, 2012 § 3 Comments

Well day two of the reno means Part Two of the blog update.  I got a fair bit done today though not as much as I would have liked. It was stinking hot this afternoon so I cut my priming short before I fainted into the paint tray.  I did get the second coat of mud on the new wall seams and I’m very pleased about that.

I also got the paneling above the fireplace (One day I’ll explain about the paneling and how we have some above the fireplace and had a whole different kind against the adjacent wall – No, I didn’t put it there.) primed as well as the main wall. Keep in mind, it’s just the first coat and I have a minimum of two more to do.

Fireplace BEFORE primer

Fireplace AFTER primer

Next is the longest wall of the room…BEFORE primer

Main wall AFTER primer

Sure toned it down eh?  I still have a ways to go but progress is progress.

As well as priming and painting I also have to come up with a design for my shelves. I mean a library isn’t really a library if there’s no shelves for books.

It’s a lot more difficult than it sounds though.  Not only do I have to imagine and draw what kinds of shelves and units I want and where I want them, I have to do MATH to make sure they’ll fit.

I need to take wall measurements, both height and width, I need to decide how deep, tall and wide I want my shelves and how they will be spaced out through the room, all the while keeping in mind how much furniture I hope to have and its dimensions.

Now I know why people hire designers to do this shit. Holy Crap!  Oh well, I don’t have that luxury so I guess I’ll be winging it.  Overall though, as intimidating as some parts are, most of it is fun and at the end I can truly say I designed the room myself.

Stay Tuned for Part Three  😀


Fireplace Room Becomes Library – Part One

June 28, 2012 § 3 Comments

I’m so excited about this project. It’s been a long time stewing in my brain and I have been tucking away thoughts and ideas for over 10 ten years.  5 years ago I even did a post, on one of my old blogs, about removing the paneling and replacing the wall.

Well, it seems that’s all it took to get the ball rolling. While I was at my girlfriend’s cottage this weekend, Hubby and a buddy removed the last of the paneling, tore out the old cement glue covered wall and put up fresh drywall.  All of that, unbeknownst to me. What a sweetie! You know, some women like jewelry or to be taken on a nice vacation.  Not me, put up new drywall or fix a backed up sink and I’m putty in your hands.  😛

And this is what the rest of the room looks like…

As you can see, I’ve clearly got my work cut out for me.  We’re finishing the wall, painting the entire room, ripping up the carpet and putting in hardwood flooring, replacing the track lighting and having custom bookshelves built (We Love Our Friend Mike), which I will be painting myself.

Oh, and I’ve picked the colour, I think. It’s down to two shades of the same blue grey. What I’m going for is something soft and serene that compliments the kitchen colours as well as the woodwork.

Focus on the shadowed part of the paint chip to get an actual idea of the colour. As I’ve said a dozen times, I’m no photographer. It’s between those two for now. But as is often the case with projects like this, things can change. Right now the job at hand is to finish mudding the wall and then prime the entire room, including the paneling above the fireplace.

Then we’ll go from there.  😀

A Head Start

April 9, 2012 § 3 Comments

I’ve gotten a head start on the Spring Cleaning this year and I have to admit that it feels really good. When normally I’m just starting my lists and making mental notes, this year I’ve already made headway.  In the last week I’ve made a trip to the donation centre, I’ve de-cluttered four of the six rooms on the main floor and I’ve top to bottom scrubbed the main bathroom.

House Shoes: $19.95

Membership @
Includes access to a ton of tips on the website AND
daily motivational reminder e-mails: FREE

Empty Bins for Sorting and Storing: $32.00

Miscellaneous Cleaning Supplies
: $27.50
(Cleansers, Scrubby Pads/Brushes, Garbage Bags)

7 days, 6 bins and $80 later

My house is tidy, if not quite yet clean, and I have centralized all the clutter into one space that I can sort through piecemeal.  All in all, the toughest part of the spring clean is out of the way and I can forge ahead without the usual just getting started dread.

Oh, and the best part…

New Bath Stopper – $3.99

Having a bath in a sparkling clean tub: PRICELESS

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the This Old House category at What's On The Menu Today....