Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The New Planter - Part Two

In case you haven't noticed, most things I do are completed in stages. Life is a bit hectic around here, so it's rare that I get the chance to go from start to finish all at once.

I wouldn't have my life any other way :)

So, on Saturday, I began part two of the planter project - taking the plant out. I thought it would be an easy process - I mean, how hard could it be?

Famous last words.

It's a great planter - nice and shiny and a good size for whatever will end up inside.

What I didn't anticipate was the hard foam that was holding the fake plastic plant - that stuff was tough. I started by sliding a knife around the entire inside of the planter (just like taking a cake out of the pan - if only it was that easy) and then tried to pry the foam out.

Big mistake - my knife wasn't strong enough and it snapped off at the handle. So now we're down one steak knife - oops.

Back into the kitchen I went to get another knife - a bigger one. I ended cutting chunks of that foam out, bit by bit. It reminded me of the spray foam insulation you put around windows and doors, to keep the drafts out.

It took a lot longer than I thought, and made a much bigger mess than I thought. At least I was smart enough to start this project outside.

The foam finally gave up and I was left with this:

A big bag of plant stuff for the garbage and a nice planter that needs some scraping or finishing inside.

Which I'll do as soon as I figure out what to do with it - since it doesn't have a home yet, I don't feel bad about not finishing it up right away.

Procrastination at its finest - I'm good at that.


Tuesday, 27 September 2011

My New Planter

Our office has relocated to another building so we've packed, tossed, shredded and purged - something that should be done much more often. I personally threw away full garbage bins of paper shredding (you know the four foot high huge plastic bins on wheels?) and I've only been working here for five years.

But I digress.

Everyone also dumped (errrr - made available to others) stuff that has been sitting around - we scored two corkboards that only need a coat of paint on the frames and we can use them above Dave's music gear in his 'studio.' Okay, using the word studio is a huge stretch, but they will go above his keyboard in the basement while we figure out how to make it a bit more liveable and less 'cast-off dungeon' there for him.

But I digress again. It's a habit of mine - procrastination at its finest.

I have no idea where this has been hiding but I grabbed it when I saw it sitting in the unwanted piles:

The leaves sure look like they belong to an illegal plant - the plants that grow-ops are famous for. This has been sitting in someone's office - crazy!

So, I brought the marijuana-looking plant home with me. I only want the planter it came in - I doubt that smoking a plastic plant that is covered with dust would be fun for anyone. But, the plant and it's foam base were glued inside the planter, so the whole thing came home with me.

The planter is great - it's got a dimpled texture and is a good size.

I'm not sure if I'm going to paint it or leave it the way it is. And I don't have a specific home for it yet - but I'm sure I'll find one.

So here you go - dumpster diving at its best - at work!


Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Fall Splendour

We've been having some wild weather lately - but today was a beautiful fall day. Most of my plants are looking sad and getting ready for winter, but I still have one gorgeous flower - my ligularia.

Isn't it beautiful?

It's nearly 3 feet tall, and lives behind my hostas, astilbes and ferns. The back corner of our yard is like a swamp - really wet and shady. My friend Connie recommended this plant and it's loving it! It's been there for three years and this is the first time it's flowered. What a show - the flowers are gorgeous and add a wonderful splash of fall-colour.

Here's a close-up of the blooms - they're spectacular.

Please ignore the decimated leaves. We've had an aphid infestation this year and every plant has holes in their leaves. Except the rhubarb. Apparently, aphids don't like rhubarb - maybe the leaves are toxic for them too.

I have to look into some aphid-killing options for next summer - non-toxic would be best, but they really annoyed me so I'm also into something a little more potent. (insert evil laugh here). This back corner garden takes the longest to start in the spring since it's covered with snow until May most of the time. So, not being able to enjoy it for very long is frustrating. I'll show some pictures another day - it has really started looking good.

So, enjoy some fall colour!


Monday, 19 September 2011

Kids artwork

I'm sure every parent keeps special artwork that their kids have made - it's only natural.

However, I doubt that most parents keep every piece of artwork their kids have ever made - especially when those kids are nearly in junior high.

I'm that parent - I had boxes and bags of the boys' artwork. Every line drawing and scribble they'd done in their early years. This is a small pile, sitting on the kitchen table:

As we (okay, I) slowly declutter and try to clear out boxes and bags of stuff :), it became apparent that I had to let these pictures go. But, as a Mom, how can I let all of these memories go?

I don't have to.

Over the past few weeks, I've been taking a few minutes here and there, scanning these pictures at work and emailing them to myself  (our copy machine will email jpeg files). And I've added the images to my digital photo frame - so I can see this priceless art all the time, and it isn't hidden away in a box in the basement.

I've kept a few pieces of art that I really liked:

either because they're cute

or because I love the colours

or because they're really good.

I don't feel bad about letting the pictures go - I know they're safe, with the memories that go along with them. And, I can share them with their Grandma and Dad and whoever else I can. :)

Now, only two more boxes to go.


Sunday, 18 September 2011

The Updated Dresser

Apparently this is a common theme - the weekend part one and part two. Does it make it better because we have such a busy week that the weekends are the only time we get anything done, other than regular week 'stuff'?

So, here's my big project for the weekend - well, it's been a project that took longer than a weekend, but it finished this weekend.

This is our dresser project - the poor, sad, maligned dresser. Here's a before picture to give you an idea of what we started with:

This poor dresser had been painted powder blue and sponge painted with purple - yup, it was a hideous mess of horibble-ness.

Mr. E found this poor dresser at the salvage yard in Okotoks - sadly hoping for a home. Mr. E is used to me looking at things and seeing different potentials, so when I got a text message asking if this was something we could use, I took a second - and a third - and a fourth - look, before I said 'please bring this poor dresser home'.

See, we'd been looking for a cooler dresser to put in our bedroom landing - a place for Kendra to put her clothes that looked a bit cooler than the 'pressboard brown' dresser that had been there for nearly a year.

It was a stretch, but I figured, for $5, it couldn't really go wrong. Yup, Mr. E drives a hard bargain ;)

So, I sanded - and sanded - and sanded - to get rid of the sponge effect.

My hands were purple after this - it took a lot of scrubbing to get rid of the purple haze - I was singing songs by Jimmy Hendrix for days after this.

So, after lots of sanding and filling in with wood filler - we got this:

Then, I used a really cool blue and started to paint the dresser.

It took a few coats, but it started to look really good - 

I decided I wanted something different - not your traditional solid colour dresser.

Stripes would look cool, right?

That's what I thought too :)

Why does a project always take longer than you think it will? I started this three weekends ago.

Here is the finished dresser in our upstairs landing - this is the view as you walk up the stairs:

And here it is looking down the stairs:

It's such a cool dresser - so different than anything we have in the house right now. 

The sides need touched up where the drawers are - I didn't check to see if the drawers would cover the sides, and of course they don't. Hopefully I can do that one night this week.

Of course, it makes the rest of the upstairs look like it needs a makeover. The top of the dresser needs some love - and the trim needs painted white - and the cubbies on the wall need filled with knick-knacks, but one project at a time. 

This is how the dresser looked about 10 minutes after we moved it in - covered with boys' clothes. 

Oh well. Our house is lived in - no question.


Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The Weekend - Part Two

In between birthday celebration activities (in addition to Justin's birthday party that I just talked about, we also went bowling), we hung out at Race City Speedway in Calgary to see this:

My cousin Terry racing his MG sports car. Cool, isn't it?

This car had been restored by my Dad before he passed away. It took him more than ten years and he always wanted to race it, but never got the chance. Terry lived that dream for him.

Terry had never been on a race track before, so he had an experienced friend take the first few laps, then he took over and let 'er rip!

Look at him - hangin' with the 'in' crowd :) There was also a Lamborghini on the course.

Go Speed Racer!

After, we hung out in the 'pit' with him and other drivers - the kids loved sitting in the car and pretending to push buttons and change gears.

Here's the proof that we really knew him and weren't just stalking the car ;)

The race track is closing down, so Terry may never get the chance to race it again - but he did what Dad always wanted to do.

Thank you Terry. This means more to me than you know.

The Weekend - Part One

It was a crazy weekend, even more than usual. So much so, that it took me this long to get online and talk about it. :)

Justin, my stepson, turns 10 tomorrow so we celebrated his birthday this past weekend. It's a special day and the birthday guy got to choose his favourite meal. I suppose we should have expected this:

Yup - Kraft Dinner and hot dogs.

Dinner of champions, I tell ya.

He was pumped. Top it off with chocolate chip cookies (as ice cream sandwiches for some of us) and that was (and I quote) 'the BEST birthday dinner. EVER'

Presents rounded out the event and a good time was had by all. 

Happy Birthday buddy :)

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Back into the routine

Why is it the week after a long weekend, even though it's a day shorter, feels like it's longer? It's been a crazy work week already.

Anyway, the schedule and routine of school and activities has begun. Zach started tae kwon do again tonight after a summer hiatus. His brother didn't join him this year and that was a bit tough, but Zach's back  and enjoying it.

Can't you tell? :)

That's as good as a smile gets around here these days, so I'll take it!

Monday, 5 September 2011

Green Tomato Relish

Happy Labour Day! I absolutely love three day weekends and think every weekend should be like this.

Mr E and I had a very productive weekend around here - I'll fill you in during the week. I'll show you what I was up to today:

Green Tomato Relish - the recipe came from Allrecipes, here. I added less sugar, which was recommended in some of the comments - 5 cups of sugar seemed like a lot, so I only used 4.

And I know you're wondering why I made green tomato relish - this is why:

One of my tomatoes turned red - yup one. All the rest of them stayed green. And with the temperature dropping at night, they weren't going to turn red any time soon. Like ever. There are two huge bowls of tomatoes in this picture, and another bowl you can't see. I had more than 80 tomatoes. So, when life hands you green tomatoes, you make tomato relish (I think that's how the saying goes). 

It was a long process of chopping and food processing and more chopping and cooking and chopping (did I mention there was a lot of chopping?). Finally, the relish was in the jars and looking real purdy (and pretty tasty too!)

I was planning on making two batches, but I decided not to. The recipe made 17 jars of relish - which is going to last us forever. So what on earth would I do with more than 30 jars of it?

Christmas presents, anyone?


Sunday, 4 September 2011

Grade Six - and Welcome

Grade Six. Where does the time go? The boys are talking about being the oldest kids in their school, and it seems like only yesterday they were starting kindergarten.

As they adjust to having to set the standards for their school (their words, not mine) and we gear up for another year of lunches, homework and after school activities, I decided to start a blog. Crazy idea, you say? Absolutely - but time is going so quickly. This will give me the reason to document our craziness and a record of daily life. 

It sounds like a good idea, doesn't it? 

And, just because I know everyone is wondering, here's what grade six looks like in our house.