Winter AKA “Before Baby” To-Do List

Yep, a few things on our list have changed in priority due to the impending arrival of Baby H. I love doing these lists because they really help me stay accountable to Future Cathy, who is notoriously hard to please. We managed to get most of our Spring/Summer list done, with the exception of the sunroom, which I didn’t think we’d get to til next year anyway. Honestly, I’m just so glad we got the foundation done!

Here’s what I’m hoping to get done before the end of February (fingers crossed Baby H doesn’t decide to come any sooner):

  1. Finish the nursery. Obviously, we need somewhere to put that baby. We are most of the way there, or at least we have all the furniture. I still need to do all the requisite organizing of baby clothes and hang pictures on the wall, but we’re making progress! Check out my post on our plans for the nursery for more details. I’m particularly loving this corner and have been trying out that rocker already! As you can see, we’re still deciding on a paint colour for the accent wall.IMG_5112
  2. Work on the back entrance. Now that our kitchen floors are done, it has put into sharper focus how truly terrible the back entrance is. We’ve been using it as our main entrance while we wait on redoing our landscaping- we don’t have a path leading to our front steps any more (come to think of it, we don’t have front steps period at the moment) and due to Richmond’s lovely clay based soil, this leads to an obscene amount of mud being tracked in the house- so we’re using the back door until we figure that situation out. Luckily (ha) all the snow we just got has covered up the entire mess of our lawn so we can pretend it doesn’t exist until April-ish. I’ve already ripped up the old carpet, which has reduced the old person smell drastically! The paint colour will be the same as our hallway and the trim will just get a fresh coat of white paint. We’ll probably continue the vinyl tile from the kitchen here, maybe with painting the steps and risers.CPZY1511
  3. Shoe moulding. Seriously, for real this time. After ripping up the carpet in our living room/dining room and laying the new tile in the kitchen, this is the last step we have to finish the floors off in that half of the house, and somehow it keeps getting pushed back by other stuff. It’s the kind of thing you can ignore for a long time and as soon as you notice it again you’re like “Hmm. This looks really crappy and we should change that. But wait, let me do this other thing first…” and repeat 10x.
  4. Floors in the hallway. After we discovered the hardwood didn’t continue down the hall like we had hoped, my husband ripped up the vinyl flooring that was underneath the old carpet and the first layer of subfloor as well. Since then we’ve been living with it and it’s annoyingly shabby looking, and is really affecting my selfie game. Plus those different levels and rough wood won’t be so kind on sweet little baby hands and knees. We want to try to match the hardwood in the living room and hopefully the transition won’t be too obvious.
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  5. Touch up paint. Ugh, but I don’t want to. Our carpet installation messed up some of the pain paint (haha, I just Freudian slipped that) in the hallways and bedroom trim, so that needs to be touched up. Also, one wall of the kitchen never got a 2nd coat of paint and it’s kind of obvious in certain light. Plus there are just spots that I didn’t do the world’s best paint job on initially.
  6. Basement plans. Now that the foundation waterproofing is ♫ALL DONE♫ (sing it with me!) we can start to think about how we want to plan out the space- all 1100 square feet of it. It’s entirely unfinished so it’s a beautiful blank slate for us. Our plans will most likely include at least one bedroom, enclosing the laundry room and adding a toilet/shower there for a second bathroom, walling in a family room/rec room, and figuring out some sort of extra pantry storage area. Part of the basement will also remain unfinished for tools and general storage.

And that is probably enough to keep us busy! Realistically this will probably take us into the Spring as well, I’m sure I’ll find the time with a newborn baby… I hear all they do is sleep and poop, right?

If you’re wondering why you haven’t heard anything lately about our bathroom reno, it’s because we decided to put it on the back burner for now. Although it’s hideously ugly in all its green, bronze, floral-wallpapered glory, it is functional. And it’s our only bathroom. Our strategy going forward is to rough in a second bathroom downstairs before we start any work on our bathroom, now that we have firsthand experience about how not-fun not having water is from our foundation well water line shenanigans.

Stay tuned for my progress!
-C

My Winter To-Do List

Christmas is in 5 sleeps and I have 2 more work days until 1.5 weeks vacation! I am really looking forward to some time off, and time spent with family. I’ve had some health problems lately that have caused a lot of emotional and physical stress so I am totally due for a break! Looking around the house, there is a ton of stuff that hasn’t been getting done, mostly due to the aforementioned health problems. When I feel crappy, all I want to do is camp on our new sofa and watch Gilmore Girls (thanks Netflix!).

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Stop being so dreamy, Jess.

I’ve been baking like crazy too… it’s like therapy for me. Cookies, brownies, gingerbread, shortbread, chocolate bark, cakes, cupcakes… it’s been out of control. My husband was actually complaining that I’m baking too much. The other night I was in the kitchen and he actually said “Are you done baking yet?!” and it wasn’t because he wanted to eat the cookies.

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Recipes: Espresso brownies | Candy cane chocolate bark | Rum cake

But it’s time to pull myself out of the funk I’ve been in and get back to work. As much as I still love our house, I am starting to realize why people buy brand new houses that need zero work; it kind of sucks living in a house full of half-started renovations! I was chatting to my mother-in-law and she said something that I’ve been thinking about. I had mentioned how we hadn’t put any pictures up in the house because it’s just another thing to dust, and we are generating a lot of dust while we work on various things. She laughed and said but then you’ll start the kitchen… and then the basement… and then something else. She’s right- I’m tired of living in limbo. Our basement is full of half-unpacked boxes that get opened when we need something (and can remember which box it went in…). We have pretty much only unpacked the essentials, like our furniture, kitchen stuff, and clothes. Realistically, it’s going to be 3-5 years before the big stuff like the bathroom, kitchen, and basement are tackled. I don’t want to wait that long to hang up the reclaimed wood picture frames we got as a wedding present from my family in South Africa!

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Reclaimed wood frame gallery wall

You know we are currently working on our plans for the bathroom– we’ve been to showrooms and have pretty much decided on the type of vanity and tub we want, we just need to commit to one and get it home so we can start knocking walls down. A lot of this will get done by my husband and maybe a friend or two if he does some arm-twisting. I’ll probably be helping more with the tiling, painting, and finishing touches than sledgehammer wielding and pipe installing, so here’s what I’m going to aim to get done this winter:

  1. Third bedroom: finish sanding and patching the holes left from the wallpaper removal, paint the walls and trim, and rip up the carpet.
  2. Kitchen: patch the walls, paint trim and walls.
  3. Guest bedroom: hem the curtains, put some pictures up and get it “guest ready” so we stop using it exclusively as a laundry storage room.
  4. Living room: touch up some of the paint, figure out window treatments, organize the front closet with a shoe rack, install the wall-mount for the TV above the fireplace, work on my shame shelf (I need to hang up the mail organizer that is still leaning against the wall… my shame has multiplied), and figure out what to do with this piece of furniture that came with the house.media playerWe can’t seem to find the right spot for it. It’s an audio cabinet that has a record player and radio player with built-in speakers. I wanted to turn the front wood panels into doors somehow with shelving for extra crockery and maybe a liquor cabinet?? But maybe we should just sell it on Kijiji.
  5. Master bedroom: finish hanging curtains, find a chair for the corner for the cat to sleep on as an accent piece.

Aaaand if I get all of that done, I’m definitely going to deserve the trip to Florida that I am still working on convincing my husband we should take! Are you suffering from winter hibernation yet? Want to motivate me to get started at all? Leave a comment below!

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One Step at a Time

Now that the weather is getting warmer, it’s time to break out all my favourite spring/summer clothes. Normally I would be super excited about this- I pack away seasonal clothes so it’s like shopping from my own closet when the weather changes- but I got a bit of a shock when I tried on my bright green skinny pants: they don’t fit any more! I knew the winter had been a particularly cold, lazy, snuggly, TV-watching, comfort food-eating one, but I was not prepared for the proof before my eyes.

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So when I saw a post on Honeybear Lane about making one small change to become healthier, it resonated with me. Her goals were pretty reasonable: to go to bed before 11 pm and to avoid eating anything past 8 pm. I’ve decided over the next few weeks to try this too! I know I can’t completely change my habits overnight, so this way it’s a lot more manageable. Trying to make healthier meals, depriving myself of sweet treats, and exercising more sounds too daunting to tackle all at once so I’m going to try it a little bit at a time.

The reason I decided to write a post about this is to commit myself to it- it’s too easy to just tell myself that I’m going to try, and then not stick to it. The first small change that I am trying to make is to squeeze a bit of exercise into my schedule. Nothing huge- for instance, last week I did a 30 min yoga DVD from Jillian Michaels (good God, that woman makes you work) and I joined a coworker for a 20 min jog over lunch. I’m also thinking about hitting up the free swim hour at my local indoor swimming pool. As soon as I feel like this is part of my routine, I’m going to move on to eating a bit better- namely, eating something more substantial than a granola bar for breakfast and including more veggies in my diet. Sounds pretty doable, right?

Wish me luck! I’d love to hear if you’re going to join me- there’s nothing like group motivation!

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End of Winter Blahs

When I wrote the title I realized it could be taken one of two ways: end of winter BLAHs (as in, that yucky feeling you have when you just can’t wait for Spring and it feels like winter is never going away) or END of winter blahs (as in, I’m not going to let myself feel like this any more and this is the end of it). I’m hoping it’s the latter but seeing as we just got 10 cm of snow, it’s hard to tell.

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One of my favourite places + one of my favourite song lyrics

Boredom is a dangerous emotional state for me. My job as a research scientist can be really dry at times; repeating the same protocols over and over, spending hours watching a machine count cells, staring at spreadsheets of numbers, etc. However, I have found that I have the patience and stamina for the more monotonous parts of my job when I am being creatively stimulated outside of work hours. When I was spending every evening and weekend planning our wedding, I was also a lot more productive and engaged at work. This also means that the less I have to do, the less I want to do. So when I start to feel uninspired or unstimulated I need to find something to put my energy into, otherwise I start a downward spiral into sweatpants and binge watching Netflix.

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Suits marathon, anyone?

This self-realization led me to start this blog near the end of last year. I made a list of things to accomplish in January/February; topics I could blog about and projects to try. But now I’m getting restless again. Sometimes it’s nice to have a breather and look back on the things that you wanted to accomplish and did, but I’m past that point now. The weather is still not cooperating for the stuff that I need to do outdoors, like painting my dresser and helping a friend with a pallet project. So to keep me from getting into a bad mental space, I’m making myself a new list:

> paint an old wood stool with my Chalk Paint sample pot. The stool I am going to paint currently holds a basket of mitts, hats, and other winter paraphernalia… can’t wait to hide it in the back of the closet. Or maybe I’ll set fire to it and move to Florida instead.

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Provence is such a pretty shade of aqua blue.

> sew an adjustable roman blind with one of my friends… she needs a blind, I need a project. Win-win! Plus I’ll get to practice some of the hand stitching techniques that I’ve learned/want to learn.

mitered corners sewing

I’m going to miter the hell out of those corners!

> fix my favourite sweater that I have literally worn holes through at the elbows with some sweet grandpa elbow patches

elbow patches

Torn between leather, suede and corduroy.

> make a badass wall feature by combining two great tutorials I’ve found: a photo linen mat and a distressed wood frame.

linen photo mat

Have I mentioned that I love textiles?

HBL reclaimed wood mirror

So much pretty.

Ok! Now that I’m all motivated and everything, guess I’ll go outside and shovel all this snow! Hahaha. Not.

-C