Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My New BFF

Since my recently developed love of DIY came about, I've discovered a number of easy & handy items that really deliver a major bang for the buck.  Updated outlets & covers, patching & sanding...and of course, paint.  It's hard to beat paint. 

But this week, I found a new one.  His name is Caulk.

I have been dreading this little project for too long.

Maybe it was the idea of scraping and making a mess.  Maybe it was the thought of sticky goop that caulk can be.  Or maybe because these are our NEW stairs (in the basement) that shouldn't be looking old and gross?  I mean, one year in and this is happening!?!?  Really?

Now, to be fair, the wall is plaster and the stringer is wood. 

And it's a (shared) cold foundation wall.  With temperature variations and two different materials coming together, how could I not expect shrinkage....  Well, I just didn't.  The new basement will always be new and look new and stay new, right? 


So, as soon as I got over that (finally), I went to work.  That was on Monday.

This tool helped.  Although, not much came off. 

The old caulk wasn't coming out or bulging.  It was just severely cracked and separated.  So really, the tool just helped smooth out any rough edges. 

After I brushed out the bits from the scraped up crack and swept up the mess, I went to work with this guy.

I put all my trust in this stuff because if you read the fine print, it says "crack proof" and "permanently flexible."  In uppercase letters.  I mean, advertising doesn't lie.  That, and The Home Depot guy said it would work.

So here's the before and after:


(Hard to see the difference in the full-staircase shots, but I love before and afters, so they're staying)

I know.  It's caulk!  It did what it's supposed to do.  But here's the catch.  It far.  Today is the 2nd day, in real time.  And guess what.  Still no crack.  No surprise there.

But it has settled into the crack's crevice.  (I tried to take pictures, but white caulk on white paint means a white out mess of a shot on my camera) 

So my plan is this: 
1. Apply another line of caulk (and press gently) to even out the surface
2. LEAVE IT over the holidays
3. Inspect
4. Paint
5. Cross fingers and hope that advertising and The Home Depot guy are always right

In the meantime, I'm fully enjoying my *new* staircase without the cracked gross-looking mess on the side that was bothering me for so long.

Stay tuned...

Friday, December 14, 2012


I am on a penny-pinching binge due to our imminent gigantic renovation.  No excuses...Christmas included.

But when I picked up the Christmas pictures at the Superstore, I couldn't help but bring home a handful of cute decorations.  All for the low, low price of $31.64.  Yes, that includes the insane 13% tax up here.

$7 Felt Snowflake Pillows

The kids use this couch the most.  I can totally accept $7 pillows getting destroyed.  Except, they're so cute, I have already used time outs as protection.

$14 Reindeer

George picked this guy out.  I fell in love with his cuteness.

His bells really jingle, which caught George.  We couldn't not take him home once the little man found that out.  The antlers aren't totally kid-proof, but the rest of him seems to be. 

The fabric really caught me because, let's face it.  This is as close to a craft show to buy Christmas decorations as I'm gonna get. 

And all from a place that gives me a receipt that I can pass off as food shopping.  Score.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas in Da House!

This year we got the decorations up early.  When I say we, I mean he.  Superhusband again.

And this year, he had a helper.

Or three.

I'd love to say we have the most perfect tree ever.  With perfect ornaments in the perfect color scheme positioned perfectly around the tree.  But we don't. 

And it's fine. 

Because those three did it.

And I love it.

Especially the lower left corner.  That little area is randomly redecorated daily by the toddler.  Usually in minimalist form. 

As for the rest of the house, there are things here and there. 

Can you find the tree?

Just a little in the kitchen.  It goes with the dollar store Santa plates that are a huge hit at every meal.

The candy cane staircase went up.  A perfect compliment to any baby gate. 

And this year, I added the stockings.

It's fun to see them through the dining room doorway. 

Yes, we're a family of five with only three stockings up.  I bought our stockings when we were a family of four.  And since they're a set, I can't seem to find a fifth to match.  So instead of George getting the short end of the stick, mom and dad suffer.  As per usual.

Last but not least, the entrance.

I can't wait until that yellow wall is gone! 

Oh right, sorry, decorations.  Wreath on door, check.  Ribbons to hold cards on mudroom door, check.  Fake wreath/garland thing around mirror, check. 

Take one long last look at these shots, because it's gonna be gonzo next Christmas.  The last round of new floorplan reviewing included a discussion around where the Christmas tree would go... 

Sounds like a perfect time to incorporate five new stockings, too.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas at the Superstore

Every kid's birthday is documented by a photo shoot at the Superstore in our family.  And so is Christmas.

It's an ode to the portrait sessions at Sears that I had as a kid.  But far less costly and -therefore- far less stressful.  I just show up and hope for the best. 

Last year's Christmas picture, there was fear in George's eyes.  This year it was pain.

Not the "I'm hurting" kind of pain.  This was the "I don't wanna be in here with a camera when there are toys out there to play with" kind of pain.  True toddler pain.

Hence, the mom is in the picture this year.  Grrr.

However, this isn't the picture going out to family.  I ordered this one to remember the episode.  The pose being slipped into all the Christmas cards will be the nose-picking shot. 

Yup, I picked a winner.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Christmas Crafty

I'm still not crafty.  But with it being Christmas and all....I thought I'd try.

Ta da!  A centerpiece and some advent calendars. 

These were so easy, a dog could do it.

#1 - Advent Calendars

My neighbor emailed me a warning about poisoned chocolate inside the store bought Cars/Mickey Mouse/Spongebob/Insert-Your-Child's-Favorite-Toy-Or-Movie-Here pre-packaged advent calendars.

Yes, I succumbed to buying those last year.  Yes, I would have again this year.  Instead, I reverted back to my kindergarten days.

I googled "santa beard advent calendar" and up popped a printable.  I printed three, glued two of them to a cereal box for extra strength (sorry, George), and here you have it.  The boys are convinced Santa will grab the completed calendars on Christmas Eve and hang them in his office. 

Of course, every good advent calendar must have chocolate involved.  For every cotton ball glued on the beard, the boys get a kiss...the wrapped kind.

#2 - Centerpiece

I saw this post from a blog I follow and thought to myself, "hey, I think I can do that!"  Rarely do I think that when reading blog posts, and more rarely do I actually follow through with any blog projects. 

So when I found my sorry self at Wal-Mart to buy plasticizing material, I bought the holiday vase items to cheer up. 

Since I took advantage of the nice weather yesterday to rake/sweep the deck AND spray paint the walnuts at the same time, I forgot to take pictures in action.

Here's the aftermath.  I bagged my hand and laid the painted walnuts on Raffi to dry.  Sorry, guy.

And here's the finished product.  I can't decide if I like it or it's totally cheesy.  I think I like it.  Only because I made it.  Well, I painted the walnuts.  That's making something.

It's way too small for the table.  But that's where we do homework, so it's easy to move it out of the way.  And it smells good.  I consider it my baby step to making one even bigger and better.

Here's an angle shot.


Monday, December 03, 2012

90 Minutes of My Life That I'll Never Get Back

Plasticizing the windows.  That's what we call it.  It falls under my column of jobs to do and I simply hate it. 

Today was an unseasonably warm day, and since I dragged my feet all through November (did I mention I HATE DOING THIS?), I had to git 'er done. 

When we moved into our house in 2002, all the windows were new.  Little did we know they must have been installed wrong, because most of them leak like a sieve.  That's being nice.  Freezing bitter cold Canadian winter air blows through them with such force, you may freeze to death while eating dinner at the kitchen table.  I almost have.

I only plasticize the first floor.  I should probably do all the windows, but the others aren't as offensive.  And since doing the first floor is all I can handle, it's all that gets done.

So to celebrate many years of plasticizing, here's how we do it up in here.

Put the double sided tape around all 4 edges of the window.  Overlap the corners, so there aren't any gaps in the adhesive. 

Remove the tape covering and put up the plastic, starting with the very top of the window.  Move down the left and right sides at the same time, keeping the plastic relatively taut.  Leave the bottom as the last part of the plastic pressed onto the adhesive.

Then start blowin'.

Keep blowing until there are no wavy streaks in the plastic anywhere.  I even blow along the outside of the adhesive edges to shrink the plastic as much as I can.

You'll have ugly edges...

...just cut them close.  But not too close.

Then you're done.

But if you're me, you have to do two more windows.


I know.  These are horrible pictures.  It's a horrible job.  I'd rather clean the kitchen floor on my hands and knees with a toothbrush.  I can find joy in that.  I find no joy in applying almost-impossible-to-remove adhesive to my windows and covering them with awful looking plastic that stays up months longer than any holiday decoration ever does.

So this post is an official GOODBYE to plasticizing.  With our Springtime main floor renovation, comes brand new windows.  That will be installed correctly.

Farewell, dear plastic.  Although I've become a pro at installing you, I can't say I'll ever look back fondly at our times together.