Stair repairs! 

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After our renovations, when I took a close look a look at our stairs, I could see why they never looked clean, even after I vacuumed. Here is what our stairs looked like during the renovation….all of our pictures were down, and the upstairs railing has been removed, but you can see the old spindles and chandelier. And, you can see where our contractor taped down the paper, and where the paper was not covering….

Here is what the hallway looked like during the renovation…

And here is a pic of after all of the pictures were hung back up and everything was put back together.

And But, when you looked closely, you could see exactly where our contractor had covered the stairs, and which part had been uncovered. We also had our popcorn ceiling in the hallway removed, and the ceiling painted, so there was a lot of splatter everywhere. I tried to scrape and wash it off, but it still looked pretty bad. I didn’t want to scrape off the stain. Here is a close up of a couple stairs…

So, I broke out my furniture touch up pen. And I literally sat on the stairs, and the dots that I couldn’t scratch off, I just touched with the pen. I sat there and added a dot of marker on top of almost every dot of splatter. 

It took a while, but here is what the same stain looked like after touching up. I don’t have the right camera, but trust me it looks a lot better now. 

And the whole stairway now…

I almost forgot my favourite addition…. I bought these little metal mice made by a Canadian artist on Main Street…

It made a big difference to the overall look of the stairs. Now they actually look clean. 🙂 

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How to change a doorknob

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How to change a doorknob

I’ve been meaning to do this since we moved in, because I disliked our brass doorknobs from day one. Our house was built in the late 1970’s, and I’m sure these brass doorknobs were stylish then, but not only were they outdated in terms of style, but they also were coated with a wide variety of paint accumulated over the years. 


So door handles are pretty easy to find, at Home Depot  and most building stores. You can buy locking or nonlocking handles, and they also come in builders pack, of four handles. I opted for the brushed silver option. 

I will say that there is a bit of a learning curve to this, which is why I though I would share. My first attempt ended up me locking myself in a bedroom and I had to call John to get a screwdriver to pry the door open. Lol. 

Anyways, start by taking the knob off by sticking a screwdriver in the little tab to release the knob. It is usually found on the back of the door handle. 

You can see the little tab under my finger. 

Then, there should be another little slot to pop off the faceplace thing with a screwdriver (this step took me ages to figure out btw) you can see the lovely accumulation of paint on this doorknob… this is one of the better ones. 

Then once you have the plate off, you unscrew the two screws.

And then pull on the front and back to take the whole assembly apart.

Then, you are left with the middle part, which may, or may not, pull out easily. I had to use pliers on a couple doors.

Be careful to look inside, because a few of our doors also had this metal cylinder inside. You can’t fit the new lock inside if you don’t remove this. 

I’m not exactly sure why, but I had to chisel out a few of our doors because the next part didn’t fit into the existing door. Luckily I have my grandfathers chisel to use 🙂 

So, trace around the piece (sorry, have no idea what it’s called) with a pencil, and use the hammer and chisel to remove some of the wood. Tip: chisel around the edges first, so the wood doesn’t splinter. 



Keep trying the piece, the goal is for it to sit flush with the doorframe. If it is sticking out, the door won’t close properly. 

Next, try putting the front and back of the doorknob on to see if everything fits properly

Important note here! Be sure that the angled part is facing the door jam. If you put this part in backwards, you will be locked in (yes, this is the part where I learned from experience) When the door closes, it has to push that lever in, (sorry, one again, I’m not familiar with the doorknob lingo) so it has to be angled towards the door frame, not the flat side. 

So, once you have made sure everything is in the right way, and fits together, screw in the first piece to the door frame (so thankful I can explain with pictures!) 


And, once you put it on, on the back of the door handle, there should be two more screws that are longer and will attach the front of the knob to the back.


You will have to move the door handle to get the second screw in. 

The last step is to replace the metal plate on the door jam. It just unscrews, then you add the two new screws, and shiny plate.


So I obviously need to touch up the paint here, but I had to chisel this out a bit to fit the new plate in. 

So overall, I’m happy with the results. After spending so much on renovations, details like the baseboards and doorknobs make a difference.
Im looking forward to sharing my Christmas decorations. I just put up the decorations outside, and have been working on getting everything done on the inside. I’ll share pictures once I’m done. 🙂 

Bathroom is done! 

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Bathroom is done! 

I have had a few people asking to see pictures of our finished renovation that we did this summer… sorry for the delay, but I’m finally getting around to it.

To appreciate what it looks like now, you have to see what it looked like before. Here is a pic looking into our bedroom from the hallway. Take note of the lovely parquet floor…

Here is our lovely vanity, complete with the lovely cultured marble countertop with scalloped sinks. We had a total of five of these sinks in our house when we moved in. These are the last remaining two!

The entrance to our closet opened up into the washroom.

Here is a closer view of the floor. I have always hated these tiles!

And here is a closer view of those lovely sinks… the stains came with the house 🙂 

The bathtub…

And the worst part of the bathroom was the tiny shower wedged behind the door. What a dumb design! There is so much room in our master bed and bath, this shower design was so horrible. You could not open the door and shower door at the same time.  It was also impossible to clean, and was leaking at the bottom.

So to appreciate the final product before I share, here are a couple pictures of during the renovation.

Here is a view of the hallway. They had to build scaffolding because we had all of the stucco removed, the ceilings painted and replaced the chandelier too. We also replaced the entire floor upstairs with hardwood, and replaced all of the wooden spindles with iron, and replaced all of the baseboards upstairs. We moved a lot of furniture! 

And here is a shot of the shower being ripped out. Yay! Sooo glad to see that gone! 

And, drumroll please…. here is our new master bathroom 

You can’t see in these photos, but we also closed off the closet, and made the door open into the bedroom.

I ordered almost everything including the bathtub, vanity, fixtures, lights online. I spent hours trying to find the best deal in the style I wanted. The only thing I really thought I needed to see before buying, was the tile. We ended up buying solid marble, but we saved a bit of money by buying it from a tile warehouse. Also, to save some money, I installed the rock wall behind the bath tub, laid the tiles on the floor and we did all of the painting. 

It’s really hard to get a good photo of everything we had done, especially when I don’t have a fancy camera… so I put together a few collages…

The first one is of a few close ups…(before on left, after on right)

Here is the vanity, looking in from our bedroom…

This one is from the opposite corner…
And here is my favourite part, the shower… also the hardest part to photograph! 

I did a lot of reading about showers, and shower systems, and I ended up ordering one that you install as one piece. I ended up getting a fantastic deal on amazon. It is a thermostatic (which means you don’t have to play around with the temperature, you can set it ahead of time, then just turn on and off) the pressure is also regulated enough so you can have the rain shower, body jets, and shower head attachment all on at the same time!

Anyways, it has been a couple months now, and I am still happy with every decision we made! Two big renovations in one year is enough to last us a while though 🙂 

Spider repellant

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I hate spiders. I don’t just dislike them a little, I really hate them and always have. I don’t feel the least bit of remorse when I feel one crush under my shoe, and I would never ever carry a spider outside to safety release it. 

So, as the weather gets colder, I do whatever I can to discourage the repulsive little critters from coming inside our house. We have enough of them living in our basement already! 

I don’t know if this actually works, but it is all over the internet, so I thought I would give it a shot. Here is an adaptation of a spider repellent I found online. You need dawn dish detergent, peppermint oil, water, and a spray bottle. 

Add about a teaspoon of dish soap to the bottle, and fill it about 2/3 with warm water.

Then add about 20 drops of peppermint oil.. maybe even 30…
Give it a gentle shake… you don’t want the soap to foam up, so be gentle. 

Then generously spray around doors, and windows. I sprayed on the inside and outside. The peppermint smell is actually quite nice inside… far better than a pesticide.

I checked a few minutes after I sprayed and there were still a couple spiders, so I was disappointed that it didn’t seem to have that much of an effect. But, when I looked a couple days later, the windows were spider free! That is all of the incentive I needed… I did the first spray about a month ago, and I have sprayed a couple times since. Every couple weeks, or after a heavy rain, I spray again. The spiders are even gone from the window wells. Unfortunately I don’t think it kills spiders, but I’ve checked enough times to believe it repels them, so I’m going to keep spraying until the weather gets really cold. I have also sprayed around all of the window on the inside of the basement as well. 

Anyone know a good recipe for a spider killer?? Seriously… any recipes? I’d even take the name of a spray that isn’t toxic…

Grampy’s clock…

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Grampy’s clock…

So many projects lately, just too tired to write about them! But I’m going to try… now that our renovation is so so close to being done, I will share lots of pics of our transformation! 

I found this clock in one of my upstairs closets that we had to empty for the renovation, and I just couldn’t get rid of it. My grandfather made furniture… lots of furniture over the years. He also loved making clocks. In our house we didn’t say grandfather clock, we said Grampy’s clock. Lol. Anyways, since my grandfather passed away a few years ago, and I am sentimental about things people made, I just couldn’t get rid of it. Anyone that knew him would know that he wouldn’t have been thrilled to see one of his clocks painted… he was more of a natural wood, stain guy… anyways, I know he wouldn’t be cheering that I am painting his clock, but now instead of sitting in a closet, his clock now is hung in my family room. 🙂 

So, this is what Grampy’s clock looked like. After being moved from closet to closet and house to house, it was in a few pieces. 

This is what it is supposed to look like:

I started by taking out the screws that connected the faceplate, to the clock (btw I am totally making up words like faceplate… I have no idea what clock parts are called, so my apologies if there are any clock makers around) 


Then I took off the clock hands carefully. 


And unscrewed another nut that held the faceplate on.

Here’s a tip. Get a Tupperware container for screws and pieces. After renovating we have so many screws left over that I am sure we will never figure out where they go… but as I am working on projects like this, I always toss all of the bits and pieces into a container so I don’t misplace them… it makes putting it back together a whole lot easier. 

Once I took the face of the clock off, there were four more screws to take off. I thought it would be easier to paint if I could access the back and front. 


The clock movements were attached to the back of this board.


Once I had everything apart, it was time to start painting. I painted around the glass, but When I am painting, I never worry about getting paint on the glass. 

Because if you wait until the paint is dry, it will just scrape off with a razor blade. Much easier than taping! 


I wanted to create an antiqued look, so I used some sand paper to roughen up the corners and edges. 


And all that was left to do was put it back together! Here is what the finished clock looks like now.

And here is where it is hanging in my house….
I don’t know if my Grampy would have loved the result as much as I do, but I am very pleased with the result. It looks great hung up now, and makes a whole lot more sense to me than being stuck in a closet somewhere.

I’m looking forward to sharing some of my other summer projects! Just wait until I show you our master bathroom now!!

Inside campfire!

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Inside campfire!

I made this for the kids at my school the last couple weeks of the year. Many of our students have never been camping, so I thought this would be a fun activity to do in the library. I have seen various campfires on Pinterest, and I have always wanted to make one! So, here goes…

Before I start my step by step instructions, here is a glimpse of the finished project….

I have seen these made out of felt before, but I decided to use polar fleece material because it is brightly coloured, durable, stretchy, and even better, I have a whole pile of it laying around!

I cut out a red flame shape out of the red to start.

Then I cut out slightly smaller flames out of orange and yellow. I sewed around the perimeter of the yellow and orange flames with my sewing machine.

And clipped around my stitching to clean it up.

Then, I cut out an identical plain red flame, using the first one as a template. And I stitched around the edges of the flames, and flipped it right side out. 

Here is what the flame looks like with the edges trimmed down.
The final step to finish the flames was to add stuffing, cut out an oval for the bottom, and stitch the perimeter closed. Oh I almost forgot… repeat everything so far three times. I made the flames three sided. 🙂 

Now for the logs…I forgot to take a pic of sewing the logs, but basically, I just cut out two rectangles and sewed one side together to make tubes.

Then, I cut out two circles out of a beige colour, and used embroidery floss to stitch a wood grain into the ends.


Then I used a blanket stitch to attach the ends to the tube logs I sewed earlier.


After stitching the end on one side of the log, I stuffed the log with stuffing and repeated the process on the other side to stitch the log closed. All together I ended up making four logs. I tried stacking everything, and it just didn’t stack right using three logs.

Then, I pinned everything together. I just put a single stitch to hold the the three flames together, in a triangle shape,  and I pinned the logs to the flames. I stitched them all together by hand. 

It took a little bit of fiddling to get everything to sit right.

Here is a close up of how I used an invisible stitch to put everything together.
It was a great little project that took me a couple weeks, because I just worked on it after the kids went to bed while we were watching tv. 

As for the finished project….The kids really enjoyed it. I set everything up (more pictures below) and the kindergartens were very excited about camping. After playing for a while, we decided we needed to do some cooking, so we got out some tinker toys and made marshmallows to roast.

I also brought in a folding chair, and tent… as you can see, it was a pretty popular activity. 

The tent was a real hit too! 

Here is what my set up looked like before a hundred kindergarten kids got to it! 


Next time, I will bring in a few more chairs, and maybe sew some s’mores too! 

As it is summer holidays, I’m going to do my best to post a few of the projects I have done the last few months. I have a bit of a backlog of projects to share right now 🙂 We are also on our second renovation this year, so I’d love to share some pictures of the finished rooms too! 

Cool new Blog!!

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I wanted to share with you this new blog I just happened to come across..(ok, ok, it’s a blog my 13 year old son has started writing) but he has only written a few posts about things that interest him. But, putting all my proud mom feelings aside, it’s pretty cool. I have already learned a few things! 

garagefactx blog

So please click on the link, read, comment, like, and even follow his blog. (I told him with my celebrity blogger status, I could increase his traffic!! Lol ) He currently has 45 views already and 3 followers. 

Here is what his homepage looks like, he even designed the logo at the top! 

Easy upcycled photo display

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Easy upcycled photo display

When we first moved into our house, Sam was about 3. Her room was painted a light purple, so I stuck up some decals, and bought a new quilt. Quick and easy. Here is a not so great photo.

When we finally got around to redecorating it, she wanted a pink and black cupcake theme. So we painted a wall black, I made her a quilt, and we made all pink and black accessories. Not quite so quick or easy, but I was really happy with the results. 

Now she is in grade 7, we decided it was time for an update, so she picked a new paint colour, and comforter. We have taken a while to get going on the rest, but I thought I would share the project we finished this weekend. 

We started with an old frame. This frame has had many lives! I bought it at a garage sale when John and I first moved in together, then I repainted the canvas. At one point I used the frame on our kitchen wall for calendar ant artwork. Here is what the front looked like..

But, Sam is not into the antiqued look, she liked the rustic look of the back of the frame.


So we bought some fairy lights from Ikea, and some wooden clothes pegs from the dollar store. 

We took apart the clothes pegs, and coloured them red with a Sharpie marker. Note: this was a little messy, so we wore plastic gloves. 

Then I measured across the length of the mirror and added six screws, about eight inches apart. And, as you can sort of see in the photos, I used a silver thread to tie the lights in a loop around the screw before I tightened the screws.


Then, I flipped over the frame and used my handy glue gun to glue down all of the extra cords to the back of the frame. I also glued the battery packs to the side of the frame so the switched can be turned off and on.

I drilled holes in the inner frames and used those holes to screw and anchor them into the wall.

Here is the finished project after we printed out a bunch of photos and attached all of the clothes pegs. 

We were really happy with the finished product. She can change the pictures when she wants too. It didn’t take a lot of time to do, but makes a big difference in the look of her room. 

What???? Chocolate pasta??

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What???? Chocolate pasta??

Yup. It’s really a thing! Chocolate pasta! My first thought was, “Finally, a way we can actually eat chocolate for dinner!” but apparently it’s supposed to be eaten as a dessert. OK, I can live with that. 

A couple of weeks ago I bought a stand mixer. I have to say that I love it! I’ve made everything from mashed potatoes to cake to pasta, now chocolate pasta! John’s mom regularly makes her pasta from scratch, and it is delicious! She uses the hand cranked pasta machine. I’m not claiming to be anywhere near her level of pasta making abilities, but I tried making a batch of regular pasta a couple weeks ago, and it turned out pretty well. So when I came across this recipe, I couldn’t not try it right? 

The chocolate pasta recipe is as follows: 2 eggs, 2 cups of flour, 1/2 cup of cocoa, 1tsp vanilla, and 3 tablespoons of icing sugar. I dumped everything into my mixer, and gave it a good mix. 

It looked too dry and crumbly, so I ended up adding a couple tablespoons of water, until it could form a ball.

I kneaded it like dough for about 5 minutes, until everything was stuck together. 

Then, I wrapped it in Saran Wrap and let it sit for 1/2 hour. I’m not sure why you do this, but every pasta recipe says to let it sit, so like a good little girl, I did what I was told. 

After the 1/2 hour or so was up, I divided the dough into four.

And flattened it like a pancake, then started rolling it through my machine. Here is what the attachment looks like:

I started rolling it through at the largest setting. I just kept folding it in half and rolling it through, about 15 times. Here is what it looked like the first time through….

And here is what it looked like after about ten passes through. I continued folding it in half, running it through, then changing the setting every few passes. I kept going until I reached the #1 setting. Note: next time I would leave a little thicker so the pasta is a little less fragile. 

Each quarter of the dough ended up making 4 strips, about 10 inches long each. After I cut the strips, I dusted the sheets with a little flour.

Then ran them through my old pasta cutter.

And here is what they turned out like! 

This is how much the entire batch made, enough to cover a regular sized cookie sheet. I put half of it in the freezer, and half in the fridge for dinner. 

Just as we were finished dinner (which was a huge pan of Shepards pie my mom made…thanks mom!) I cooked the pasta for about 4-5 minutes in boiling water.

Then strained it, and topped it with some mars Capone and ricotta cheese mixed with a little icing sugar and vanilla, and topped it off with some grated chocolate. 

It was really good. Not sure I would make a batch of it for dinner every night, but it was unique, and something I have never tried before. I would make it again to bring as a dessert or to have with company. It would also be delicious with maybe a fruity topping or a chocolate sauce… mmmmm…

French toast and Apple pie Mash up! 

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Happy new year everyone! Hoping everyone has had a happy and healthy year, and had some time to relax over the holidays. I thought I would share this new breakfast I tried out over the holidays. Although, I am not a breakfast fan (I’m more of a coffee only in the morning kind of person) I would make an exception for this… very yummy! 

After staying at my cousin’s a couple weeks ago, I was reminded of a delicious recipe she shared with me. Basically it is cubes of bread, mix in some cubed cream cheese and frozen blueberries, then pour eggs over top. It is a delicious French bread recipe! I think I have posted it before, but I can’t seem to find it. But, trust me, it is amazing.

Anyways, after having it for breakfast at her house, I decided that I should make it again. But I made it with a little twist… a little bit of a gamble, but turned out amazing! 

I started to make my cousins recipe by cutting about 2/3 of a loaf of bakery bread into cubes, then we had 5 eggs left in the fridge, so I mixed the eggs with a couple tablespoons of milk and pored it over the bread. Problem was that we didn’t really have enough to fill up the pan, and no more eggs or bread 😦 so, I sprinkled some oats on top thinking that maybe I could extend the recipe a little with oats.

But then I thought, apples would work well here too. So I cut up about 5 apples, mixed them with a couple tablespoons of brown sugar, a bit of cinnamon, and another cup of oats. 

And put it on top of the bread…


Then popped it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. This is what it looked like when I took it out of the oven…

It was really delicious. Apple pie on the top, French toast on the bottom! We also topped it with a little maple syrup. 

Not only was is great right out of the oven, but it was really good heated up the next day too! 

Enjoy and take care!