Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Finishing the Basement: Before

I have exciting news; we're finally going to start finishing the basement. The even more exciting news is that we're doing it because J's daughter, M, has come to live with us. She arrived Monday and it is so great to have her back with us full time! We've decided that, because she's a teenager, it's time to give her more space  by making her a bedroom in the basement.

The part of the basement that will be transformed into the two bedrooms.

For now M has chosen to stay in the guest room so we need to get working quickly. The goal is to get started, and finished, as quickly as possible so you can expect a lot of updates in the near future. J will be doing most of the work on his own (I'm still not allowed to do anything post-surgery) and we will hire out certain parts of the job. To start, here's some before pictures of what we're working with. 

The left side bedroom will stop just before the the electric panel. 

The plan is to finish the back part of the basement, turning it into two bedrooms. Both will be about 10 x 12, with a double closet. One will be for M and the other will be for D, should be happen to want to move back at any point or for when he comes to visit. We will be letting M pick most of the colours and accessories (with me having veto power) so it'll be interesting to see how it all comes together.

We love the Dry-Core sub flooring that has been down for a few years.

The only thing done so far is the Dry-Core sub flooring. I have to back up a little and explain why we chose Dry-Core. We had only been here a few months, in our brand new house, when we noticed water in the basement. Turns out our foundation had two cracks in it. Given that there was no warranty and it was all on us and my very first house, I was devastated. My naive 27-year-old self got a quick crash course in why homeownership sucks. Anyway, we had a company called Basement Solution Systems come in and fix the cracks, and haven't had an issue since. They also guarantee their work for the life of the house just in case we ever have an issue so that's a bonus. After fixing the cracks, we left the floor exposed for another three years to make sure we weren't getting any more water before deciding we wanted a subfloor. After researching it and watching way too many episodes of Holmes on Homes, we decided to go with Dry-Core. That way if we ever do get water, it shouldn't damage the finished basement. J installed it himself about 3 years ago and we love it. It's comfortable to walk on and keeps the floor nice and warm.

The right side bedroom will most likely be M's.

Next up, purchasing materials and putting up walls. Wish us luck!

Shared at: A Creative Princess, Diana Rambles, Made in a Day, Life on Lakeshore Drive

Thursday, 19 November 2015

A Walk In The Rain: Art Class Number Ten

I'm sorry if you're tired of my paintings. I'm almost caught up (I think I only have 3 remaining)… just in time for my first post-surgery class next week. It might be a little early, as I typically am good for about an hour before I need a nap, but I'm really looking forward to it.

This is on of my favourite paintings I've done, in part because of the following true story. Art class typically goes like this: we're given a picture to look at, we observe a mini-lesson about skills and techniques we need for the piece, and then we all work away with help from the instructor as needed. I was at the final stage in this painting - the people - when someone commented about the sidewalk. What sidewalk? Seriously, up to that point I was painting but not really seeing. It wasn't until someone said it that I realized the couple were on a sidewalk in the rain, and the squiggles were reflections, and the circles were car lights. Sometimes I can be a little dense. 


Not bad for a painting where I didn't realize what it was, right? 

One of my favourite people and dear friend (who came to visit this summer and gave me an excuse to make Minion Cupcakes) liked this painting so I sent it home with her. She planned on putting it in a bedroom but her husband said it suited a wall in their main living area, so that's where it lives.

Edit: After this post was published, I mentioned to my friend that I wished I still had the picture she's sent me but had deleted it from my phone, so she sent it to me again. After a birthday party for her girls (who turned 3 and 5, and are some of my favourite little people) they were sitting around the fire pit, and looking in the window you can see the painting.

Shared at: Diana Rambles, Life on Lakeshore Drive, Create With Joy, Made in a Day, A Creative Princess

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Chicken Slow Cooker Freezer Meal Fails

I love my slow cooker. I was late to jump on the band wagon, only buying one at the ripe age of 32, but it has become one of my favourite things. I love that I can turn my meal on before going to school, and come home to a delicious smelling, healthy meal. The problem I have discovered, however, is that many of the recipes I find online are repulsive. They look appealing, have ingredients that J and I like, but are inedible. I will not be linking to the websites these recipes came from because that would be mean but I still wanted to share these with you. They're bad. Avoid them. You've been warned.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

The only word I can use to summarize this dish is nasty. It was awful. We couldn't eat it and ended up throwing it away. Even looking at the picture of it is turning my stomach. Nasty! *Please note there are many variations of sweet and sour slow cooker chicken. The one I made had chopped red peppers. I don't know if the others are any good or not.

Lemon Garlic Chicken

It might be a little harsh to put this dish in this post, as it wasn't truly horrible. I could eat it. J couldn't, but he's much more particular than I am. It just tasted like chicken marinated in lemon juice, and had the most bizarre aftertaste.

Cafe Rio Chicken

This was probably the most disappointing. It smelled delicious and I had high hopes. However, it tasted similar to how teenage boy socks smell. We even tried washing the chicken off and covering it with barbecue sauce to see if it could disguise the taste, but to no avail. This was another one that ended up in the garbage.

Cilantro Lime Chicken

Perhaps I should have avoided this one, seeing as I'm not a big fan of cilantro. It was odd. Something about the mix of cilantro and lime and beans and chicken just didn't work. We ate enough of the corn and beans to call it a meal, but avoided the chicken. Never again.

So there you have it. You'll notice there are no after photos. That's because, given how gross these were, I didn't plan on sharing them with you. With that said, we all love a fail, so who cares if the photos aren't great, right?

Want to know some slow cooker recipes I really do like? Here are two of my favourites: 

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Birch Trees: Art Class Number 11

I haven't mentioned much about it (or perhaps anything) but I had surgery last week. I won't be going into details here but it was a pretty major surgery, I'm not sick, and I'll be off work until after Christmas.  If you want to know more, feel free to email me. Anyway, knowing I wouldn't be able to take care of myself and that J had to work, my amazing mama (who's retired) came up to help take care of me while I was in hospital and during my first week home.

While here, mama commented that she doesn't have any of my paintings so we went to the closet where I keep all the ones from class that I haven't given away or hung up. I realize I still haven't shown you several of them. Back to the point, we went through the paintings and when mama saw this one she instantly claimed it. It's now hers, and will be heading back to Newfoundland with her this weekend so I took some pictures to share with you before she packs it away.

This was one of my least favourite paintings to do but I can't wait to do another one like it. We started by sketching the location of our trees and painted them using old credit/gift cards. Then we went back and added all the dots for leaves using a paintbrush. It took forever and was really hard to get to the edges of the trees. Once that was done, I touched up my trees again. When I do another one, I plan on sponging the background before painting my trees so it doesn't take as long to cover everything.