Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Apartment Upgrades

We turned over the Hugo house upstairs apartment October 1st to a new renter. Getting a new renter in is a bit of a "blitz" - it's hard to do things, improvement wise, when people are moving out, or in. This usually gives us about...a day or two to get things done. At least all the big stuff, like paint and carpet. So with this kind of go-go-go, I don't really get good after pics! 'Cause we pretty much finish at the last possible second, and I don't have time:-)

The renter that just moved out had been up there for four and a half years! Her son came to live with her about 6 months ago, and he had some difficulty with the stairs, so they found another place. Since she was up there so long - a lot of things just needed upgrading. She had never mentioned anything - nothing technically broken, but just old, and needing a re-do before new folks move in.
The 2nd (smaller bedroom). It's the only carpet in the house, and the last time we installed new carpet up there, Lauren (Brian's sister) lived up there. That was about 7 years ago. It was definitely time for an update, so we pulled it up.

The wood floors are still in generally great condition, but there are place in high wear areas where the bare wood was starting to show through the stain. The last thing we did was "stain ourselves out the door"

The big bedroom. Thankfully, other than scrubbing the walls with a magic eraser, and painting all the doors and trim, nothing was needed in this room.

This is the "walk in closet" off the big bedroom (pic above). That bedroom has two regular closets, in addition to this one. Renters usually use it as an office. It's spacious, bright...and blue! New renter hated the colour (so do I! - It's been this colour since our very first renters way back in 2004 - no one has bothered to change it). Brian and I Kilz'd it, so it's plain white now, although I don't have an after pic. It can now be painted a nice neutral that won't blind you.

Cast iron sink. Ollllllld

Counter top. Ollllllld. Although the same in style to my old one from Hugo downstairs, but to it's credit, not bright yellow.

A grey-ish blue. Way worn, and just in dire need of replacement.

We re-painted all the trim in the entire apartment, and all the doors, and all the kitchen cabinets. The apartment is just over 800 sq ft, but has a LOT of trim, doors, and door frames! This was mostly my job, and it really took forever!

Re-painting of cabinets, underway. They are old, but "plain" in style, and in good condition. They have new door pulls, and look very nice all spruced up.

A view from the front door, looking up. Main part of apartment is to the right, and the 2nd smaller bedroom is to the left.

There is a little walk in closet off the bathroom (the closet space up there is actually amazing, given the time period of the house - they didn't used to need storage like we do now)

This walk in is where she kept her kitty litter box - it is carpeted, and there was no hope for it. Replaced! (Here you can see that put deodorizer down, in an effort to revive it, but it wasn't working!

Bathroom just needed some simple maintenance and recaulking

The coat closet off the main area. Trim & door, painted.

One of the two regular closets in the bigger, "master" bedroom.

The walk in, off the big bedroom. One of the last things we did was Kilz the walls to white, I don't have any pics of that.

Counter top - new one needed.

Old cast iron sink. New one needed.

New carpet laid in bathroom walk in. Brian had these carpet squares left over from a jobsite, and so it's was free to glue them down. They have a weird pattern, but it's a little less obvious in person that in the pic...and free. Can't beat that.

I found a really high quality carpet that would fit the 2nd bedroom at a remnant place. It was $100. Sold! When Brian went and picked it up, he called me and said it was the ugliest carpet he'd ever seen:-)

Which I will admit - is kinda true. Maybe not ugliest EVER, but it looks like airport carpet. Here it is just laid down, but not "kicked in" or tacked yet (hence the bump you can see here). Anyway, it does work very well in the space, and matches the current colour on the walls in that room perfectly!

It's a pinky tan and a baby smokey blue on a grey background, but overall, gives a tan appearance:-) But it's durable, and was super affordable. Seriously. You would have picked it too, had you seen the other options and prices!
Look what is getting ready for installation! A new counter top, sink, and faucet. I was instructed to buy a Delta faucet, as nothing else compares, Brian said. :-) It's a simple style, but again, is "fool proof" and hard to break. Perfect for a rental!

Cutting our new carpet remnant down to size...12x14

Work work work
Taking the old counter out was funny. It weighed about 1000 pounds. Ok, ok, maybe more like 250. No exaggeration. Brian and I lifted it off - it was made forever ago and was SOLID wood, including a cast iron sink. HEAVY. It was long, awkward, and so heavy. We carried it out of the kitchen into the livingroom, and even just going that far, my arms were burning and I had to stop and rest it on my leg a few times - where it left a hefty bruise just above my knee from the pressure. See, heavy! Brian acknowledged that there was NO WAY the two of us could get it down the steep stairs. So he called in a friend to help, and the two of them even said...heavy! And apparently getting it up into the dumpster was a sight to behold. Haha. Glad for strong men to handle the tough parts! The new counter top was feather-weighted by comparison, and very easy for me to carry up and install with Brian.
I don't have a better pic of the counter top installed, but it looks AMAZING in the space! It really freshened up the whole kitchen.

The kids did amazing - playing outside on the circle for hours and hours while we worked, and watching movies inside when it rained. We did a TON of painting, and then just a few other little things here and there. It really made the space feel brand new though, which is nice. The new renter is happy, so yay! That makes us happy!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


I've had a few orders recently, and nothing on the horizon for now, which is fine with me! Gets a little busy sometimes around here! Here are a few orders that went out the door in Sept and Oct. My skills are really improving on the cookie front, I'd say. Practice makes perfect!

I was tasked with making cookies and a cake for a 50's/Mary Engelbreit themed Sweet 16. With the nature of it - and some last minute plans on our part, I wasn't able to get a single picture of the cake before it walked out the door. I finished it right in the knick of time:-) It was made to order: Red velvet with vanilla buttercream (I filled it with vanilla swiss meringue, and did the outside in a regular buttercream). Turquoise buttercream (fondant-looking, I used a hot off set spatula, water and paper towels to achieve this), with a fondant checkerboard border at the bottom, and Mary Engelbreit styled roses (circles on circles) in yellow and red. It was three 12" layers and weighed a TON once complete. But it was gorgeous:-)
A facebook steal from the party for a picture of the cake
Some of the cookies on display at the party

I loved everything about this theme, and these cookies! They wanted music notes in polka dots, some cherries, and then some 50's styled glasses and shoes. I do have to say, I was more than a little impressed with how they turned out. I loooove these glasses!

I used a "sunglasses" cookie cutter, but made my own shape of cat-eye glasses

And the shoes! Aren't they great?! I used a "running shoe" cookie cutter, and just decorated them to style

My first attempt at a lace pattern on cookies. Success!
The next set of cookies was made for a company that will give them away in "sets". The company colours are deep purple, smokey sea-from green and white.

I was really loving how the various patterns came together and looked so great together!
A really fun adventure! I am just totally loving learning how to use the icings and techniques to do more and more. The thing I have learned as being most important is the consistency of the icing. It's the hardest thing to get right.

There is just something really awesome about a cookie that looks too pretty to eat:-)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Football updates

Brooks has been showing aptitude for the wide receiver/running back positions, and we've got word that he will play that position for the remainder of the season - as coach would like players to settle into a "routine" instead of trying out a variety of positions every game to find their best fit. He has really learned a lot from this experience! Here are a few clips of a game about 2 weeks ago, he is "hiking" the ball in every shot where that is happening, I believe. I have no idea what position that is :-)

I have learned - almost nothing. Haha! I am pretty clueless as to the positions and the plays on the field, although I like football, I guess I don't know as much about the mechanics of it as one should probably know, having a son in the game. So with that being said, this next video is all greek to me. I actually don't know if what he's talking about makes even an ounce of sense;-) It's a little long, just talking about all the plays they run, and which are his favourites. I could have edited down for time, but thought that one day he'll want to see this of himself - the plays he did (as he understands them anyway), in his first season.When he watched it back he said, "wow, I look a lot older than I feel". Which is funny, because it's what I think every time I see myself too;-)

Video catch up

A few little videos I found on my phone/camera that I haven't posted yet
The look of intensity. He really wants to play football next year when he's old enough!

Football practice
Bey blades tricks:-)

Monday, October 6, 2014

House Love

My favourite beach is in my favourite neighbourhood. It's not the best area, or the wealthiest. The houses might not be the biggest, or the "most amazing ever" but there is something about this neighbourhood that I just adore. I'm not really sure exactly what it is, but it's just captured me.

Every house is so unique, yet they all go together. Kind of like family I guess. There is so much personality in this neighbourhood, and yet, they all match.

One side of this house

The other side

I can honestly say having bright pink house would absolutely never fly with me. Except at the beach. Somehow, it's just perfect here.

Although many homes have similar features, like porches and balconies everywhere, no two are the same.

A teal house with lime green shutters and a rust brown door. You probably couldn't pay me to do that to my house. Unless it was this house. In which case, I can't imagine it any other way.

In any normal place, that brown would be gross. But this is not a normal place.

A stately blue and white house. I like dark blue houses;-)

Brian's boss lives in this neighbourhood. Which means even if parking is crazy (which it rarely is - not a tourist spot), we have a place to park. Advantage, us. ;-)

There is something about this area - is it the beach? Is it the beauty? Whatever it is - it makes this "cotton candy" house of pink and baby blue look super attractive!

I even love the "boring" earth tone homes
The architecture and angles make me reaaaaaally want to see what it's like inside:-)