Thursday, June 28, 2012

♥ List

I am loving... chalkboard paint

Via Pinterest
Via Houzz
Via The Handmade Home
Via Pinterest


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

How To: Remove Paint from Hardware

When trying to restore an old house, paint removal is a common occurance. We went through gallons of paint stripper taking the paint off doors, door trim, the stairs and the fireplace brick. The typical paint removal process went something along the lines of:

Soak in paint stripper for a couple hours...
Scrub with steel wool and a wire brush...
Take Advil for pounding headache...
Soak again...
Scrub again...
Vacate the house due to the intolerable level of noxious fumes...

That was until I read a post by Mrs. Limestone about boiling off paint using nothing but water and baking soda. Needless to say I was extatic - anything that avoided paint stripper was worth a try.

So when it came time to remove paint from our cast iron vent covers, I set myself up in the kitchen to try 'poaching' the paint off. The results were not immediate, it took several iterations of boiling and scrubbing to remove the multiple layers of paint and it still did not remove 100% of the paint from the recesses and detailing but overall I was impressed.

I believe it would work extremely well on metal without much detail such as the door plates Mrs. Limestone did. I will definetly be giving this a try in the future before I ever reach for the paint stripper again.

  • Large pot
  • Water
  • Baking Soda
  • Paper towel, rags, newspaper
  • Rubber gloves
  • Tongs
  • Wire brush
  • Steel wool
  • Scraper or putty knife

Step 1: Preparation

Locate a pot large enough to hold the hardware - make sure it is not a pot you intend to cook in ever again! I used foil baking pans purchased for $1.50 from the grocery store, which I doubled up just in case.

Prepare a work surface near the stove - you will not want to travel far with the hot, wet hardware. Protect the surface with old rags or newspaper.

Remove any loose peices or screws from the hardware.

Step 2: Simmer

Place the pot on the stove. Put the hardware into the pot and fill with enough water to cover. Add baking soda to the water - Apartment Therapy suggests using 1/4 cup of baking soda for every quart of water but this process will also work without any baking soda at all.

Bring the water to a gentle boil and simmer for 15 to 30 minutes. The water will turn murky and you will see the paint start to bubble off the hardware.


Step 3: Scrub

Remove the hardware from the water with tongs and place on the prepared work surface. Wearing rubber gloves, immediatly start scrubbing the paint off with what ever seems to work - steel wool, wire brush, paper towel. Once all the loose paint has been worked off, rinse under running water and wipe with paper towel.

Step 4: Repeat

Repeat as necessary to remove all the paint.

Step 5: Finish

After all the paint is removed, rinse and dry thouroughly. Clear coat or polish the metal to prevent corrosion. We had our vent covers nickle plated.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

More Concrete Fun

Between the dogs, damage from constant construction projects and being in almost complete shade, half of our grass is permanently dead.

After years of struggling to bring it back to life, we decided to throw in the towel, tear it out and replace it with a concrete patio to match the one we did in the front yard (here, here and here) along with a new sidewalk from the front patio to the back patio.

So when we ended up with a couple spare days off after our West Coast vacation, we set to work.

We started by renting a tiller from the Home Depot to tear up the dead sod and loosen the dirt. Then we dug down 6" where the concrete was to go - 2" of gravel and 4" of concrete.

Before a good portion of our yard was permanently covered in concrete, we decided to dig in a french drain system for our eavestroughs and water lines for a irrigation system - more on that another day.

Since the soil in our yard is so hard packed, we were not worried about settlement so we only put down 2" of crushed gravel in order to provide drainage under the concrete. Then we compacted the gravel with a plate tamper.

Dave was quite excited to get to use the concrete saw to trim back some old concrete around the chimney. Boys and their toys...

Once the yard was prepped, our super talented friend Dave came by this past Saturday to form up the sidewalk and patio.

Early Sunday morning, with an army of wheel barrows waiting, the concrete truck arrived. It took about two hours to pour, screed and float the four cubic meters of concrete.

My contribution? I was in charge of doughnuts and coffee. No construction site is complete with out doughnuts and coffee. However most construction sites don't have doughnuts from Jelly Modern Doughnuts. Best doughnuts ever...

Anyways... after the concrete was in place, Dave worked his magic staining and stamping.

With a thunderstorm threatening, we quickly covered the concrete with plastic and tarps and left the concrete to cure for a couple days. Tomorrow we should be able to remove the plastic, forms and residual stain to reveal the finished patio.

Stay tuned for photos of the final product!


Monday, June 18, 2012

Barn Light Electric Giveaway

Over the course of our renovation I have spent hours searching for the perfect lighting for the house (ceiling fanshallway pendantsbedroom pendant, bedroom lamps and office lamp...). A lot of those hours were spent swooning over the vintage lights on the  Barn Light Electric website.

So of course I am very excited to see the Barn Light Electric Online Giveaway!

Barn Light Electric is granting three lucky winners with a lighting shopping spree - (1) $1,000 for first, (1) $500 for second or (1) $250 for third in Barn Light Electric Gift Certificates!

If I had a $1000 to spend on lighting, I don't even know where I would start...

I would replace the $7 clearance fixture over our front door with a Chesapeake Bay Mirrored Gooseneck Sconce.

Chesapeake Bay Mirrored Gooseneck Sconce

I would replace the plain glass pendant over our kitchen sink with a bright red Ivanhoe Sky Chief Vintage Porcelain Pendant or Barn Light Homestead Pendant.

Ivanhoe Sky Chief Vintage Porcelain Pendant

Barn Light Homestead Pendant

And replace the vintage yellow lamps in the master bedroom with two Bayside Adjustable Sconces.

Bayside Adjustable Sconce

Ok, so I may have blown my budget... what would you buy with $1000?

How to Enter:
  1. Look around online at Barn Light Electric and pick lights you’d love to own
  2. Feature your lighting picks on your personal blog, and link to the lights if you can!
  3. Copy/Paste these rules at the bottom of your blog article so others can enter
  4. Once your personal article is up, you must email your blog link to: to be qualified to win. The contest ends Monday, July 2nd, 2012
  5. Don’t have a blog? Find out how you can enter by reading the Official Rules 

Fingers crossed!


Friday, June 15, 2012


a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about

We have only been back from Nepal for seven months but I am already getting a bad case of the travel bug. I have spent a lot of time dreaming and scheming about where to head next...




Via Morfis


Via Pinterest


Via Taringa


Via Tumblr
For more travel inspiration, check out my bucket list on Pinterest.


Update:  I started writing this post at the beginning of the week and shortly thereafter noticed a post on YYCDeals where KLM was allowing people to vote on their next seat sale via Facebook. Istanbul won the popular vote and KLM posted fares to Istanbul for $700 including tax. Turkey had not been in our immediate radar but it was too good of deal to pass up. So in a spur-of-the-moment decision, David and I booked tickets to Istanbul. Our flights even allow us a day stop-over in Amsterdam. Any recommendations for either Turkey or Amsterdam?


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Link ♥

Blogs I have discovered lately that are worth sharing...

I have been following Jeanette's renovation blog, This Dusty House, for awhile. Now she has a cooking blog as well!

I am in love with Joanna's Travel Fantasy Series which showcases quirky vacation spots such as yurts, lighthouses, tree hotels and stone houses.

Bo and I went through engineering school together. Now he is also renovating an older house in central Calgary and blogging about it.

the love shack


Monday, June 11, 2012

West Coast Road Trip

At the end of May, Dave and I took a week off work (and the renovation) to head out to the west coast for some much needed rest and relaxation.

After a brief stop in Vancouver to have dinner with Dave's dad, we boarded the ferry to Vancouver Island where we spent four days relaxing on the beaches of Tofino and Pacific Rim National Park.

The vacation also allow us to revisit the location of our wedding at the Wickaninnish Inn four years earlier.

Next we headed to Port Renfrew from where we had planned to spend the next four days of our vacation hiking the Juan de Fuca Trail - a shorter version of the famous West Coast Trail.

Unfortunately the morning we had planned to start hiking, we woke up to a dog who could hardly stand or walk. Neither of us were willing to start a 47 km hike only to end up carrying an 80 lb dog so we were forced to abandon our plans.

Not sure how sick Scout actually was and not wanting to have to find an emergency vet in an unfamiliar locale, we opted to head home and tackle some landscaping projects instead.

Thankfully Scout was pretty much back to his normal self by the next day.

Our yard however was not...

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