Cabin Updates with Paint

Years ago, my parents dragged our little cabin to the back of their property and built a new one in it’s place. This meant the back cabin or “party shack” was up for grabs.

So Max and I are moving in on it.

At the start of the summer, we purged the entire thing and threw out truckloads of old stuff. Next we cleaned and made some slight improvements with paint.

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I found this coffee table on the side of the road and rescued it. It was solid wood and I love the length of it, I knew it would be perfect in front of the couch. It is also the perfect height for putting your feet up.

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I painted this in My Favourite Sweater by Beauti-tone and finished with a quick coat of spray varathane.

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Next I painted the little storage cupboard where we keep the water cooler and dishwashing bucket. In the drawers are our food and some pots. This was actually the island for the new cabin but it came damaged so they sent a new one and my Dad built some pine drawer fronts to use this one in here.

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And finally, I painted the cabinets. None of the cabinets here match, the bottoms are all one piece but the tops are actually a display unit from the store with four different cupboard styles. Painting certainly helped make them more uniform, again I used My Favourite Sweater by Beauti-tone.

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We’re well on our way to updating this place. Next we need some new flooring and a screen door, but for now it’s great for us and the dogs.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Wedding Invitations Are Out!

If someone asks you to marry them you better think long and hard about how bad you want to because let me just tell you, wedding planning is the worst.

Luckily I really want to marry Max.

But the latest horrific wedding planning item was getting invites out. It took me three to four full nights of work to get these assembled, tied, sealed, addressed, stamped, and mailed. And it hurt my back.

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Our invites are all from Precious Invitations and match our Save the Dates, which I posted about here. I loved Precious Invitations and couldn’t recommend them more. When I had an envelope mishap, they expedited 50 new ones to me within two days. Great customer service.

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Our invites basically consist of three cards, the invite, reception card, and RSVP. I tucked the two smaller cards under the large one with a jute string because it would have cost a million dollars to get envelope backs (an extra flap of paper to tuck the smaller cards into).

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And I also tucked the RSVP into the RSVP envelopes to keep it looking classy.

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I used our stamp on the RSVP envelope as well as on the back of the large invite envelope as a return address.

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And then I ruined my poor little fingers writing addresses on each of them.

Needless to say I am glad it is done.

On to the next task (there are many).

Let me know if you have any questions.

 

The Master Ensuite Reno is Underway!

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Awhile ago we got a new vanity top, painted the vanity, installed a new faucet, a new mirror, and painted in the ensuite. More recently I added some art. And it looked really great from one angle. But there were still some glaringly ugly features remaining after that Phase 1 makeover.

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Like the floor. And the almond toilet. So when I found some hex tile on a recent trip to Thunder Bay I decided we should commence the Phase 2 reno.

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I started with a backsplash for this vanity because I had subway tile left so why the heck not.

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I ended up doing just the back wall here and went three rows high because the mirror was higher here.

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Then we removed the toilet. This was not difficult but it was HEAVY. Max just unscrewed it from the floor and unhooked the water, flushing it to empty it as much as possible.

Then you’re supposed to put in this powder to gel up the remaining water so you can carry it out without making a mess. We never got that memo. And we had no powder gel stuff.

So Max lifted it up and I pulled a garbage bag up around it and the water pouring into the bag and it was gross.

But it didn’t drip once on the floor.

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We cleaned up the wax ring and put a paper towel in the hole so no sewer gas can come up into the house. And then we started to remove the linoleum.

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And it was the worst. Almost all glued down and needed to be scraped. We would score the linoleum and then use a multi-tool with a blade on it to pry it up.

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And in just four plus! hours it was gone. AND THIS ROOM IS TINY SERIOUSLY.

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We then installed cement board (1/4 inch thick) on to the subfloor to prep for tile, using mortar and screws to secure it. We finished the whole room in cement board and are ready now to start tiling soon!

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Let me know if you have any questions.

 

How to Tile a Backsplash (It’s Super Easy!)

I apologize some of the photos in this post are dark. My flash died (the speedlite I rave about) and I need to get some new batteries!

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A little while ago, when we replaced the countertop and faucet in the powder room, which I talked about in this post, I decided a subway tile backsplash would be great in here. We ended up finding subway tiles on the shelf in Home Hardware (unheard of!) and then we just had to borrow a tile saw. Which turned out to take much longer than anticipated.

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But we did it.

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I started by papering off the vanity so that I didn’t get mortar all over it.

The only other things I really needed for this job were tile spaces (I used 1/8) and mortar.

I already had grout, a grout float, grout sponge, and tiling trowel from a previous floor job.

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So, not knowing what we were really doing, we checked to make sure the vanity top was level and used that as a guide to start placing tiles. I would mortar the wall and Max would back-butter the tiles.

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We would just stick the tile on and put a spacer between each one. As I went I peeled back the paper where I has finished and there was no more mess so that it didn’t get stuck under the tiles.

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We only had to cut a few tiles, and Max would just measure and then bring it to the tile saw.

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Most of our cuts were for the corner and were relatively easy.

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I decided to do a brick pattern and therefore did the top row staggered by 1/2 a tile. I also decided two rows was my maximum height given the space the mirror takes up.

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Above is the finished tile job before grouting.

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I put down painters tape to avoid making a mess and then did some grouting! I love grout because it makes everything look so clean and finished. I think it is the difference maker in a tile project.

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I just smush the grout in with my grout float and wipe it with a sponge.

And that is where I left off! I still have to caulk it (I bought caulking that matches the grout colour) and reinstall trim but that will have to wait until we do a couple other tiling jobs because I only have one tube of the caulk for three different areas!

Let me know if you have any questions.

More Shopping and Upcoming Projects

In one of my last posts, I mentioned I spent a whole week in Thunder Bay and may have another post given all my shopping excursions.

And I do.

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The first thing I took note of was this rug in Homesense, which was on clearance. At only $150 it was a steal, so much so that I made Max measure our couch and chair to see if I could make it work. It was 5 x 7 and I think I definitely need an 8 x 10 for the space so I had to walk away from this one.

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I took a picture also of this interesting mirror in Home Depot. I liked the ornateness of the oval shape and am still on the hunt for a mirror for the main bathroom.

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And then I spent much too long browsing storage systems. I think these closet systems are so interesting and such a great idea for easy customized storage.

This Martha Stewart line was pretty.

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But this Closetmaid line was the clear winner. The walnut option was the best looking and I love the custom look of the drawers.

After all this dreaming though, I realized that a custom built closet would likely work best for Max and I, given the irregular shape of our closet. It will also be much more cost effective to build it ourselves. Now I just need to get my hands on a router and convince Max that MDF is not the enemy.

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But before I came to that conclusion I did play around with the design service.

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Also in storage, they had a lot of garage options. I love the Husky stuff and thought this option with the storage under the workbench was cool.

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And then I bought a toilet. Because it was only $108.00. And because it was WHITE.

When I bought the tile I knew that if I installed it I couldn’t very well put my almond toilet back on top. So I went for this deal.

Therefore, in upcoming projects we have a lot of tiling, toilet removal, cement board installation, and overall bathroom beautification.

Stay tuned!

Let me know if you have any questions.

 

 

Coffee Table Makeover and Yardwork 2017

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On the last Saturday of each month our town has a “Curbside Swap” in which people leave their old crap on the side of the road and I drive around and pick up ALL OF IT.

I have a problem.

But sometimes I get awesome stuff, like this wood coffee table that I thought would be perfect out at camp. It just needed a bit of work first.

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Max did a quick sanding of it for me to start, just so the paint had something to stick to.

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I used My Favourite Sweater by Beauti-tone, because I wanted a neutral and I had a lot of it. I also planned to paint the cabinets at camp this same colour so it would match.

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I did a first coat, let that dry for maybe an hour, and then added a second coat.

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To finish it up I did a quick couple coats of varathane just to protect it. This spray version is super easy, and leaves no streaks!

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It is now in the cabin and looks great. I may have to post some pictures of it and the painted cabinets in the future.

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On the yardwork front Max and I planted our gardens, added some flowers, did some weeding, and added new mulch. You can see our huge post on yardwork from last year with before and after pictures here, and this year was pretty similar. My flower boxes on the porch are my favourite because there are never any weeds thanks to their suspension in the air!

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I also did a bit of a cleanup of the porch, and vacuumed the whole thing, changed out my wreath and added a new mat.

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Let me know if you have any questions.

May Was Crazy & Some Shopping 

I post on average seven times a month, just about twice a week. 

But in May I posted once.

Oops. 

I have a lot of excuses, but basically May was insane. I went to Vegas at the beginning of the month for my bachelorette, we had our wedding social, and May Long Weekend was spent out at camp. So the blog was on the back burner. And nothing was really accomplished Project wise anyway to blog about. 


But I’m getting back into it now that it is June and I have a lot of projects and posts planned! We hope to learn to tile and get some backsplashes and a floor done. And on top of that, I want to move forward with a plan for the main bathroom. 

Until then, I’m in Thunder Bay for work currently. I have some recent house updates to share as well as some things I saw and some things I bought: 

Also I’m here all week so there may be a part 2 of this. 


To prepare for summer I hung my new boxwood wreath on a burlap strip. I hung my monogram in the centre as per usual. 


I also picked up a new doormat that I thought was funny when I was in Winnipeg. 


I saw this vanity top at Home Depot and made note of it since this is a great price for  a 49″. I only have one more yellow vanity top and I am determined to replace it! 


This moose sketch was at Homesense and I thought he was cute.


This mirror was also at Homesense and I have been wanting a wood frame mirror for the main bathroom. Not sure if this one is too big and Max is measuring back home for me. 


This vanity was at Lowes and I love the lines of it and the black metal. Would look great in a small space and very affordable. 


And this. The most exciting thing. 

This picture above is from October when I saw this tile in Home Depot and walked away from it because I wasn’t ready. 

I’m still not ready now but when I talked to a lady that worked there and realized they only had 87 square feet left, I had to do it. 

So I have tile ready to go as soon as we decide to learn to tile. And it is so pretty and I LOVE IT. 

It is glazed porcelain so even though it looks so nice and vintage it will be tough enough for a floor. 

I grabbed it (after they forklifted it down for me) and hopped right out of there! 

I have a few more nights in Thunder Bay but I am excited to get it home. 

Let me know if you have any questions. 

Another New Vanity Topper and a Free Faucet to Boot!

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Upon moving into the house, the main floor powder room was one of the first rooms we fixed up. This is the bathroom most visitors and guests use, so I wanted to make it presentable right away. We gave everything a fresh coat of paint and re-did the floor, but the vanity top was still left unbelievably yellow.

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YELLOW.

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Seriously it was not cute, especially with the new cool grey-white wall colour.

I waited a long time to get a new topper for this one because I want a very specific type of faucet (aka expensive) and it didn’t make much sense to me to buy a new topper and put the old gross faucet back on it?

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But when I came across this square trough-like topper (exactly what I wanted) at Lowes on sale $50 off, I had to go for it.

AND THEY WERE ALSO HAVING A FREE FAUCET PROMO.

So by buying the topper I got a free faucet. Not exactly my dream fixture but certainly better than putting the old one back on while I save my pennies for the dream faucet.

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Max’s first step in installing the new topper was removing the old one. Unfortunately the plumbing didn’t want to be disconnected.

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The parts were all pretty corroded. So he changed out the topper but did not hook it up until he went and got new connections the next day. I’m not going to lie I have no idea what any of these parts are but he fixed it so I’m happy.

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He just popped the old top off.

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And set the new one on.

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He had to make some cuts on the interior of the cabinet to make the pipes fit with the new sink but you will never be able to tell unless you stick your head under there.

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He also had to remove the trim to get it on so we still have to replace that.

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And once the trim is replaced I am going to have to do a bit of caulking.

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My original plan was to paint the wall where the lip had been, but the more I thought about it a small subway tile backsplash would look really neat there. Since there is already cement board up, this should be a fairly easy project (in theory) and a nice little foray into tiling, so stay tuned for that as soon as I manage to borrow a tile saw.

We ended up getting a whole box of subway tile off the shelf at Home Hardware, which is unheard of in our town, so I was happy. Stay tuned for that project.

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In the meantime Max installed my new FREE faucet and I am living with a stylish green strip behind the vanity.

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The new faucet is just a brushed nickel builder grade special, but certainly better than our previous faucet. Max also reinstalled all the drawers I promise, I guess I just missed that picture.

Let me know if you have any questions!

 

Birch Candles for the Wedding!

As part of our wedding decor DIYs I wanted to make some birch candles that I had seen all over Pinterest. 

I didn’t have Max make a ton, as I see us using these more infrequently – maybe just on the cake table and guest book table or something. 


He started by cutting the log into pieces. I had him make seven total and he just used his mitre saw for this. 



He did seven inch and ten inch logs. 


Then he used this drill bit that makes holes to cut into the top of the logs. 


The bit was just a bit larger than a tea light. 


Once they were cut he used an exacto knife to clean it up. 



He also had to make sure the hole was just deep enough that the tea light would sink in but not too low. 


I’m very happy with how these turned out and think they will look very cute at the wedding! 

Let me know if you have any questions. 

A Beautiful Rustic Wood Mantel

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When I left off on the fireplace project in this post, we had a pretty much complete white shiplap fireplace. This blank slate was desperate for a rustic wood mantel.

Unfortunately, old wood is not so easy to find where I live. My brother, the Kijiji master, managed to snag what he thought were two 8 x 8 beams, about 10 ft long each in Thunder Bay. When he made the trek out to pick them up, he discovered they were actually 6 x 6 (but rough cut, so legitimately 6″) and twenty feet long!

He loaded them up and took them both from the guy (they were free after all and the guy wanted them gone) but one was so rotten he ended up tossing it. The other one had some bad spots, and it was twenty feet long and wouldn’t be easy to get the four hours home to Sioux Lookout, so he got a handsaw (he doesn’t have any power tools in his apartment in Thunder Bay, obviously) and sawed off about half the length.

This left me with about 8 to 10 feet to work with. I actually prefer the rough cut 6″ width, I think 8″ would have been too much and may have needed some planing down. Unfortunately my camera was dead so I didn’t take many pictures of the original beam, but I do have a nice iPhone picture of Max sawing it down to 44.75″- I just let him know which part of the beam I wanted to use and he turned it on his mitre saw and cut through four times.

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Remember when all my pictures were terrible quality?

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Once he had it cut down for me I sanded the bejesus out of it, using my mouse palm sander (aka my mom’s mouse that I stole, but whatever).

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I made sure to pay extra attention to the corners and edges so I could really get that worn look – though the wood was already pretty beautiful and worn anyway. I sanded until I couldn’t feel my hands anymore and then started beating up the beam and testing stain.

I have beaten up a lot of wood at this point and my process is nothing special, I just swing away with hammers and crowbars to make dents and divots, making sure the edges get a lot of attention.

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In my mind I knew I wanted a medium brown stain, and I had thought of using Minwax Provencial, which I assumed I had.

I didn’t.

Since it was Good Friday and all the stores were closed, I thought I would try my hand at mixing up a medium brown using what I had. It did not go well. Above, is my mess. Oops.

I don’t think I could recreate it if I tried, but I ended up using a mixture of Ipswich Pine and Special Walnut, both by Minwax, and then sanding it down a bit to cut out the orange that was coming up and soften the brown a bit, and then dry brushing some Special Walnut on top to finish.

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It was scary and took much to long but it worked out.

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Since the ends were fresh cut I knew they would soak up the stain much darker, so to make sure it went on even I used the sander that had been used to sand off some of the stain on the edges to lightly transfer the colour, if that makes sense.

I was pretty pleased with myself for that one because I had been really worried about these ends.

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All the while I made sure the beam would match the tone of the flooring and wasn’t pulling too orange.

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I finished with two light coats of satin Polyurethane and let it dry overnight.

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Then I had Max bring it inside so we could install it. We actually put it up on the ledge to make sure it would work and given the short hangover it was almost fully supported. I decided some glue would be the best way to attach it.

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We picked up some of this 4000 glue that is especially good at bonding wood to wood. I had used some similar heavy duty glue on my firepit on the concrete blocks, and that thing is SOLID. I knew it would work here too.

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I applied the glue to the ledge, making sure to get a lot of coverage but not go to close to the edge so that it wouldn’t  ooze out of the sides and make a mess. I made sure to do this myself because I lost all trust of Max with a caulk gun after he did the silicone in the kitchen.

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We just pressed it into place and then added some big wrenches as weight on top.

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And now, I can finally call it DONE.

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I added some little décor pieces up there for now, but I really want some fat candlesticks for the mantel. I am most excited to decorate this for Christmas, it will be very exciting to have a real fireplace to hang our stockings!

Let me know if you have any questions.

Linked up via Thrifty Décor Chick.