Wednesday, January 19, 2011

-- Did You Hear? --

On our trip into work this morning...

        Radio: "Congratulations to Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban on
                     their new baby girl Faith..."

        Me: "What?  She was just on the Golder Globes and she was NOT pregnant!"

        Lucas: "Isn't that what Spanx are for?"

        Me: literally laughing out loud...

        Radio: "... by surrogate."

** Maybe this isn't funny to anyone else, but the fact that Lucas knows what Spanx are and what they are supposed to do is absolutely hilarious to me!!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

-- New Haircut --

My last haircut was in mid-August.  Needless to say, it was time for a trim and a retouch to my highlights.

I am loving how this new shape helps me embrace the curls of my hair - buhbye flat iron!

Friday, January 14, 2011

-- Happy Belated Birthday! --

Giving a shout out today to one of my favorite people - my niece Kaylee.

Happy Belated 4th Birthday Kaylee!!  Congrats on making it into your 5th year :)

Can't believe that only few years ago you looked like this:

 And that you've blossomed into such an amazing little girl!

We love you so much and hope you have an amazing birthday week!

-- Tote Bag Shopping --

I'm in the market for a new bag for me to use for carrying all of my necessities to work.  See several days a week I take the bus to work instead of driving.  On these days, I have a 10-15 minute walk between the bus station and my work.  While not a huge walk, having a decent sized bag that I can wear across my body instead of on my shoulder is definitely a plus.

The bag that I have been using (which was free from a conference) has started ripping, so naturally, I turned to Etsy to shop for a new one.

I know that the bag needs to be rather large.  I use it to carry my lunch, my purse, sometimes a pair of shoes (so I can change out of my boots) and often a notebook.  The bag I currently use is about 14" tall, 16" wide and 6" deep, I was looking for one with similar dimensions.

With a quick search, I came upon these.  This first one is my favorite.  I like the color and the size.  Plus, its got lots of interior compartments.

Kinies Classic in Dark Grey
 I don't love the color of this one as much, or the shape but it is a good size.

ChristyStudio - Mia

Love the color of this one.  The pleats are also very awesome!  But I think that it might be quite narrow at the top so it might not be as functional as I need.  But, its very affordable compared to the others :)

Marbled - Red Messenger Bag
 Finally, this one is also quite awesome.  I think that the size would be great for me.  Only thing is that it is quite expensive and I'm not sure I am willing to spend that much on a tote bag.

Minus Tote - Charcoal
Have any of you got a cross body bag that you really like?  Or have you ordered from an Etsy seller that you'd recommend?

Monday, January 10, 2011

-- Got Needles? --

This post is very late to the party.  But here's the before and after of our Christmas tree this year :)

Now here are the remains of our balsam fir Christmas tree after we took down all the decorations.  I haven't seen a pile of needles like that before!

Friday, January 07, 2011

-- Mission Complete: New Bath/Shower --

Here it is: the shiny new bathtub/shower combo.  We have already been enjoying the new spaciousness of the shower.  The new corner shelves are also an amazing feature that I'd never part with again.

Some close-ups of the awesome mosaic feature.  Quite an impact I think and super affordable.  We used 2 square feet for the band around the shower so it didn't even cost $20!

Obviously, my favorite aspect of the new tub/shower is the awesome soaking depth of the tub.  We've now got 5 extra inches and while that might not sound like much, its a gigantic improvement!

The "we didn't plan on doing this" feature of the bathroom is the new temperature control, tub spout and shower head.  Even though it was more of an investment than we had planned, I really like how the squareness of the tub is mirrored in them.

Our great corner shelves:

The room went from a dark brown to a light grayish blue which we really like.

The painted vanity was starting to show some wear, so we thought it was time to re-design the drawers slightly and face it will solid walnut.  More to come on that later.

But, just in case you all (Dad) thought that this project is finished, let's be real.  The tub/shower is done, but there are still many details to finish.  The baseboard is still waiting for sanding/caulking (and in some places needs to be attached to the wall).

The trim details around the ceiling and around the sides of the tile still need to be created and put in place (thank goodness I have a woodworker in the family who is planning to make them).

And generally, a whole lot of construction mess needs to be put away!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

-- Days Three, Four and Five --

Day 3: Wonderful WonderBoard

After dealing with a giant leak that knocked the wind out of our sales (but did cause a laugh or two along the way) the night before, we started Day Three quite cautiously.  Mainly, by bringing out the plastic and the cardboard to protect the tub from all the nastiness that was bound to occur.

The first step was getting the cement board (aka WonderBoard) up and attached to the studs.  We'd been storing these heavy sheets of cement-like material in the garage and we wanted to cut the sheets to size in there as well so that we could contain some of the mess.  So Lucas took the measurements, I checked them, he checked them again and then we would go to the garage, score and cut the board and bring it upstairs to attach.  And without fail, they always needed to be trimmed by basically breaking off the little bits of cement that were too long.

Lucas then got down to screwing these heavy babies into place.  Too bad that the drill bits he was using kept stripping though.  That honestly caused more frustration than the bath leak did the night before.  So off to Home Depot I went to pick up some better quality drill bits that were meant for the impact drill he was using.

But, let me tell you, this was one of the best steps of the whole process.  We went from bare 2x4s and copper & ABS pipe to covered walls.  It was very gratifying!

Once all the Wonderboard was up, Lucas sealed the seams with the mortar that we would be using for the tile to ensure that everything was water-tight.

Then we went to work on repairing some of the walls in the bathroom that needed to be changed to accommodate the bigger, more luxurious tub.  Lucas was quite nervous about this step, as he needed to fix/create both and outside and inside corner but I think he did an awesome job!

After letting the mortar dry on the WonderBoard seams (and making a jaunt to the store for some much needed groceries and Home Depot again because the old level in the picture just wasn't trustworthy for making a level line for the tiles), we started the tiling job.

We used a mortar called OmniGrip and its was quite easy to work with.  After messing up the first few tiles and re-doing them, we got the hang of the process rather quickly I think.

A couple rows up, we placed some corner shelves and a couple rows after that, we put in the glass/marble mosaic that we chose to add some detail to the wall of tile.

While I placed most of the tiles on the wall, I needed Lucas to help to help me with the tall ones since I couldn't reach :)

By the end of Day Three, we had the back wall completely tiled but we ended up not being able to continue because we were running out of mortar.

See when we bought all of the tiling supplies, we spoke to a Home Depot associate about what the best materials were and she recommended the OmniGrip because it would stand up best to moisture.  We asked how much we would need for the square footage we were working with and she checked the label, told us that one bucket would do 40 to 60 square feet.  Since we knew we had 66 square feet of tiling, we picked up 2 buckets and continued on our way.  Only thing is, at the end of Day 3, we had done about 32 square feet and had used 1.75 buckets of the mortar.  Turns out that the Home Depot associate misread the label and actually, one bucket only covers 15 square feet.

Day 4: Tiling My Walls

So, back to Home Depot I went first thing in the morning.  Luckily the associate was working and definitely helped us out financially considering her mistake.  I picked up the extra mortar that we needed and got some paint and went home to get the rest of the tiling done.

She that smiley face?  That's cause I really like driving to Home Depot (... not).

It wasn't long before we were "almost" finished though.  We slumped ourselves on the sofa for the rest of the evening because we were so exhausted.  But, we were excited for the next day (Dec 31) because we were going to paint, install a new fan and grout.  The end was definitely in sight!

Day 5: The Great Grout Debacle

We had to let the tiles set overnight, while still propped up on horizontal 2x4s and were certain not to slide down the walls, so bright and early the next morning we finished the last row of tiles.

Looking good!

After finishing the tiles, we needed to let everything dry for several hours so we headed out to Home Depot to get everything we needed to beef up the fan in the bathroom.  No point in replacing a bunch of things and painting if we were just going to muddy it up again with poor air circulation right?

So the electrical engineer got to work and lets just say, the saying "its got to get worse before it can get better" was running through my head an awful lot!


By the time the fan was ready to go and I'd gotten all my painting supplies out, it was time for grout.

Before getting started too much though I called my Dad for any last minute instructions.  His only warning was to "... not scrub too hard or you'll risk taking the grout out."  So I told Lucas the warning and he wiped lightly and just kept going around the shower, taking more and more grout off of the tiles each time he made his way around.

Turns out that was a bad idea.  After 3 hours, the tiles still looked like the picture below and everything was starting to harden making it difficult to get the tiles even close to clean.

See all that grout on my gorgeous glass tiles? Yeah, not cool.

By 12:02am on Jan 1 we had finished though.

In the first 4 hours, I completed the painting of the room, Lucas has put the grout on and was making slow progress to removing it.  4 hours later (yep, that's a total of 8 hours for grouting), after much frustration and maybe a few cross words, we'd worked together scraping and washing the grout off with paint stir-sticks, rags, plastic putty knives and toothbrushes.  Definitely not the must fun way to spend New Years Eve, but trust me when I say that the end product was worth it!

Stay tuned for tomorrow when I share pictures of the finished bath/shower, the new paint colour and our plans for re-facing the cabinetry in the bathroom :)

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

-- Days One and Two --

Since this bathroom renovation took several days to complete, its only fair that it take a couple days to cover in blog land.  So here are Days One and Two.

DAY ONE: Demolition Day!

After spending some time with Lucas' parents for Christmas and Boxing Day, we headed home on December 27 with the intention of beginning the demolition of the bath/shower.  We didn't get home and unpacked until 3pm though so we were already a little behind schedule before we even started.  But, demolition went quickly...

We started around 3:30pm:

Lucas was super excited to get out the crowbar - I however, hated the sound and could often be found hiding behind the door :)

By 3:45 one whole wall was exposed.

We tried to keep the mess contained and we succeeded - for a while...

Lucas found that the tile was coming off really easily.  In fact, instead of chipping away at tile like we had expected, the tiles were coming off in sheets, while still attached to the drywall that was behind it.

So we just piled it up inside the tub :)

Once the walls were cleaned of all the tiles, drywall and nails/screws, we cleaned out the garbage and moved into tub removal mode.

And by 4:41pm, the whole area was cleaned out, and the tub was at the side of the road hoping that someone would want it :)

So we vacuumed up the remaining messes, sized up the plumbing situation and made our first trip to Home Depot of the day.

DAY TWO: All Our Hard Work is Going to Be Hidden Behind a Wall Day !?!

Before beginning this project, I had no idea that it could take so long to join a few pieces of copper together.  The plan for Day Two was to get the plumbing figured out, to put the tub in place and to put up the cement board for the walls.  But we had a few issues to deal with on Day Two that kept our progress from going as smoothly as hoped.

We knew that we needed to start by getting the copper figured out and since it was all going to have to move over by a couple inches to accommodate the wider tub we chose, that was a more time consuming process than expected - especially because 2 inches over meant being positioned in the middle of a 2x4.

So out came the 2x4, Lucas cut a bunch of copper pipe and together we got to work reinforcing the new pipes, piecing the new pipes together, cleaning the copper ends and soldering.

Luckily we only caught the 2x4s on fire a couple of times :)

Here's the finished product.  It only took several hours and 2 additional trips to Home Depot to get it set up properly (we had to make the extra trips because I chose a tub spout that didn't jive well with the plumbing/tile set-up... but you'd have to ask Lucas to get the story... I'm not sure I fully understand it).

Then came the process of bringing the tub up from the kitchen where it had been living since the previous evening.

It slid into place rather easily, Lucas sealed the drain with silicone (like the Home Depot guy suggested) and we started filling the baby up to check to make sure the drain was functioning properly as well as all the ABS drain and overflow pipes that we also had to re-route.

Problem was, after filling the tub up for about 3 minutes or so, and letting it sit for a minute... we started hearing dripping :(

I rushed downstairs to find about 8 cups of water in the light fixture in our kitchen!

There are no pictures of this little catastrophe because it was a little frantic for a while, but we quickly surmised that we had a drain problem which we have blamed on using silicone on the drain.  So, off we went to Home Depot for a 3rd time that day.  We picked up some plumber's putty and headed home hoping that it would fix the problem.  So, after Lucas removed the drain, cleaned off the silicone and re-sealed the drain with the putty, we crossed our fingers and headed for bed.

Coming up tomorrow will be Day Three - Wonderful Wonderboard, Day Four - Tiling and Five - Ringing in the New Year by Scraping Grout for 8 hours!!!
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