posted by on Kitchen, Renovations/DIY, Thrift, second hand, dumpster finds



fairbanks weight scaleHi

In between my lung surgery and my heart attack I managed to refinish one of the many projects I have on the go; an old Fairbanks scale that I picked up last fall. I think I paid around fifty dollars for it. Is that a bargain? I have no idea.

fairbanks weightscale

It was is pretty rough shape when I picked it up but I could see with a bit of work it would look awesome on our kitchen counter. It was painted a terrible orangey colour as you can see.

I used some paint stripper to get it down to the base. I could have had it sand blasted to get the surfaces perfect but I planned on painting it to match the kitchen so there was no need for that.

weight scale before x2

Once I took off most of the paint I then took it apart. Note: when doing something like this take a few pictures because you are going to need them when you try to put it back together. Of course I never and I had a heck of a time figuring out where things went. Actually I gave up and Todd put it back together. ;)

cleaning weight svcale collage 2

Once I had it all apart I worked on removing the rust and basically just cleaning it before I sprayed it. I went online and searched a few methods to do this. So with supplies I had on hand I went to work trying a few of them out.

Method one; Baking soda and lemon.  Method two; potato and salt. Method three; vinegar and baking soda.

cleaning weight scale

Each one had its benefits and did great at removing dirt and rust. My preferred method was vinegar and baking soda using an old toothbrush.

Once the scale was clean I picked up some spray paint. Semi gloss black by Rustoleum, heirloom white also by Rustoleum in a satin finish and a grey again by Rustoleum in a metal finish. I wanted to be able to see the different finishes and you can really see it in this picture below.

refinishing old fairbanks scale

The galvanized bowl was easy to paint. spray, dry, spray, flip and repeat.

refinishing old fairbanks scale

Individual pieces, like the weights and innards I placed on a drop cloth and gave them a few coats of semi gloss black. For the body I sprayed the black upright piece first then once it was completely dry (I left it twenty-four hours) I used painters tape and carefully cover it. Because the stem (long upright part) was circular I used many small pieces to cover it that’s why it was important to make sure it was dry. The rest I just covered with an old cloth. I was sure I had taken pictures but I can’t find them. Oops.

weight scale collage

Then using the heirloom white, which is beautiful by the way, I sprayed the base. Again spray, dry, spray.

weight scale finished 1

I did leave the long measure arm paint free. I gave it a good clean though. I felt if it was painted it would have made the piece look cheap and plastic. With it left natural it looks like an antique that’s in great condition. I also love the patina on the metal.

before and after

With it finished and brought upstairs to the kitchen we added felt pads to the bottom to prevent damage to the counter top. It now sits proudly at the end of the counter.

So there you have it, another project off the list. Todd again is happy.

refinishing old fairbanks scale


posted by on Healthly Living, Life


Hi All

A little over three weeks ago on Easter Sunday I had a massive heart attack. Crazy right? I’m shocked too. But it did happened and thank God I am still on this side of the sod. We know if Todd was not home the outcome would have been different. I am so grateful for him and the care I received at the Health Sciences Centre. Actually I am grateful for everything thing in my life. Grateful for each day I get to wake up. It is a wonderful gift, trust me.


But let me tell you having a heart attack also does weird things to your psyche. The “what if” and the “now what” play over and over in your head. Its voice is fierce, it’s loud and while you are sure grateful to be alive those thoughts take up an enormous amount of space in your day.

Then there are the new things in your life. Things I am disliking. I hate that I am afraid to be left alone in case something happens. I hate that any ache in my chest makes me think I’m about to kick the bucket because my ticker might crap out again. I hate that I tire so fast and need many naps. I hate that I can’t do much or that I’m panicky to try anything new. I hate that my normal is now in the past and its replacement is strange.

Strange Foods,
Strange Routines,
More Pills,
More Sleep,
More Tests,
Less Food,
Weird Food,
Less Coffee,
Less Diet Pepsi,
Less Chocolate and Sweets,
No Cigarettes,
No Stress,
More Exercise,
More Tired,
More Fears,
Less Patience,
and the list goes on and on.

But I am coming to terms with these new things. I have to. I have to make a serious commitment to a lifestyle change. Because changing my lifestyle will hopefully allow me to stick around a bit longer. And of course I want to do that. I’m liking it as “my new lease on life” or “my second chance” and frankly I’m friggin excited. There is so much I want and need to do.

And one of the things I need to do is share my story. Why? I assure you it’s not for the prestige of having a heart attack but to let you know a fact.

A Heart Attack can happen to you. Yes You.

So listen up people there are things you need to know. Things that will prevent you from having a heart attack no matter your age or sex. Things that will keep you around to enjoy your days and love ones. And we all want that.

I found this list online and added my voice in brackets after each bullet point. Please, please read.

  • Watch your diet. Add plenty of fruits and veggies, grains, and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids like fresh tuna or herring to your diet. Eat less salt, saturated fats, sweets, and red meats. Avoid trans fats. Avoid food with “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” ingredients. A variety in your diet is a good way to get all the nutrients you need. (A lot of learning here for me. But it’s really important and after three weeks I am getting use to the changes. One of the biggest is eating three meals per day. As I move forward I will share more on this.)
  • Take it easy. Find a relaxation method that works for you. Yoga, meditation, dedicated time to unwind. – these can help keep your stress levels down. Stressful emotions such as anger and hostility may also lead to heart attack risk, so keep calm and be cool. (Yeah, totally need to work on this. Right now I am resting in the afternoon while listening to whales… lol, sounds weird but it works. It does!)
  • No Smoking. If you never started smoking, kudos! If you already quit, excellent. If you still smoke, stop! Talk to your doctor to find out what method will work best for you.  Even people who smoke fewer than five cigarettes a day can have early signs of heart disease. Get started – in just one year you can reduce your risk of a heart attack. (Omg this one is hard. But I’m smoke free. Its been over three weeks now. Each day it gets easier however there are times when I get this over whelming feeling of “I need a smoke”. I usually reach for some gum or a glass of water and then try to do something to distract myself. Todd has not quit… yet. But there is zero smoking in the house, and zero smoking around me.)
  • Keep tabs on your blood pressure. If it’s too high, your risk of heart attack and disease goes up. Stress management, a healthy diet, and regular exercise can help you manage your blood pressure. Your doctor may also prescribe medications to lower your levels. (I bought a blood pressure cuff and do a reading every morning. I am also on pills to keep it in check.)blood pressure
  • Mind your blood sugar. Too much sugar in your blood can damage your arteries, even if you don’t have diabetes. Work with your doctor to control your levels.  That may lower your chance of having a heart attack or stroke. Remember, you can’t tell if you have diabetes (or high blood pressure, or high cholesterol) based on how you feel. (Well this was an eye opener. I mean I knew too much sugar was not good but I never knew just how not good. I now limit my sweets to fruit, yogurt and fat-free pudding. But I love chocolate. OMG, do I love it. So instead of a bar once a day I’m having one a week. Last Sunday I had a fruit and nut bar. I ate it slow to make it last.)
  • Be smart about cholesterol. When blood runs through your heart, it can drop traces of cholesterol, fat, and calcium, creating a buildup of plaque in your arteries.  Too much of it makes a heart attack more likely. If you don’t know your cholesterol numbers, ask your doctor for a blood test. Keep in mind, there are two kinds of cholesterol: One is bad for your heart (LDL), and the other can protect you from heart disease (HDL). You can improve your levels with exercise and a diet low in unhealthy fats. Some people may also need to take cholesterol-lowering drugs. (Lots of learning here. Right now I’m learning to read labels. I am also on meds to lower my cholesterol. Once I get my levels at the right spot I think I will be able to come off of these.)
  • Don’t wait to lose weight. If you have extra pounds, it can put your heart at risk. Exercise and a good diet help. Ask your doctor or a dietitian what your goal should be and how to get there. (I’m doing the Heathy Heart Diet that was recommended by the dietitian. She gave me lots of tips but there were some things I wish she had given me more of like meal plans. Now I have to figure all this out and it would have been nice to have at least a few sample meal plans. More to come on this. I also am just starting on the exercise bit. Ten minutes of walking to start. I need to lose a big amount of weight. I need to buy a scale. I’m using the App “my fitness pal” to record the 1400 calories I’m eating daily.)
  • Ask about aspirin. Talk with your doctor about taking an aspirin daily. In some people, this reduces the risk of heart attack. (I have to take aspirin for the rest of my days. It was the first thing the dispatchers asked Todd to give me. Of course we never had any in the house. People listen up get the aspirin.)
  • Get a move on. Hit the treadmill or the trail. Walk around the neighbourhood or go for a swim. Whatever activity best fits your needs, do it! Regular exercise can prevent heart disease, lower blood pressure, and improve cholesterol levels. (I hate exercise. I’m not going to lie. Hate the gym, Hate the thought of any form of exercising. But I don’t mind walking. Years ago I lost a lot of weight walking. And with my health issues walking is the best form of exercise for me. Right now I’m in recovery mode so I’m walking only ten minutes. I am hoping I can get that up to hiking as I really want to start do that.)
  • Keep a social safety net. Stay in touch with your friends and family. Research shows that people with more social support are less prone to heart trouble. As you grow your network and make new friends, know that you might be good for their heart health, too. (oh, I so suck at this one. But I can tell you I have a huge shift in my thinking. I am determined to make big changes in this area.)

So there you have it. Ten things you need to do to keep yourself from having a heart attack. Unfortunately for me I needed to have the heart attack before I smartened up. Don’t be like me. Carpe this diem people!


New Flagstone Path


posted by on Garden & Yard, Renovations/DIY

1 comment


One of our summer projects was to build a flagstone path leading to the side and back yard. It turned into a time suck lasting the whole summer. This path is part of a long-term landscaping project but its complete so I’m going to show it even if it doesn’t quite makes sense.

The plan was to create a new flagstone path that was like the path leading to our front door only this one would be wider.

flagstone path

The main reason for building this path is because we kinda got one going through the grass anyway. We take the path of least resistance from the garage to the back and side yard so the grass was taking a beating. We would walk this area, plus we are moving things like trailers, jet skis, boats. wheel barrows, etc. So making a wide path to accommodate these things made a lot of sense, at least to me.

worn grass

worn grass because we keep walking this way to side and back yard

With the sons muscle we were able to complete the path. It was hard work and lifting those stones were a feat. Thank god he was here to do this work otherwise this project would not have happened. And because we had to wait for him and the weather (July was a right off) a project that should take a few weeks tops turned into the whole summer.

pile of flagstone

this was one of the piles of flagstone when we torn out the driveway wall.

Another reason the path was a long project was the flagstones that we used. The stones were originally from the wall lining our driveway. A few years ago we took this wall down (another long-term project for another day) and used these stones to make a fire pit, flower beds, back path, well wrap and a new wall running along a path to the dock.

flagstone fire pit, wall, path

three projects we did using the flagstone from the driveway wall.

So when I got the bright idea of making a new flagstone path nobody was impressed. After all we had just moved all these heavy rocks and now I wanted to not only move them again I wanted to get rid of the projects we spent much time doing. Todd was not on board at all. lol. So it was up to the son and I. The son torn up the wall, removed the flower beds and got rid of the fire pit. You can kinda see why Todd wasn’t on board. But I have a plan!

laying out flagstone for a diy path

laying out the flagstone.

One of the biggest concerns was would we have enough stones to complete the project. I did a look and made a calculation and was pretty sure we had enough. But boy were we close. About three-quarters in I was starting to get nervous but we did and not much to spare like maybe five stones.

flagstone path progress

One of the biggest problems we had with making this path and another reason it took so long was the size and shapes of the stones we had to use. The flagstone path we have to our front door was built with big stones that were only about two inches thick, some were less. Our stones for our new path were quite large. Some were eight, nine and ten inches! To get these stones to work we had to prepare our site a bit different from the path to the door and even different from the path we made a few years ago that goes to the water.

flagstone wall

look at the thickness of these rocks!

First we marked the area where we wanted the path to go. From the driveway to the beginning of the house and tying in to the flagstone that runs across the front to the house. See how technical we were. ha

planning the flagstone path

flagstone path across house

Next we removed all the sod and brought in topsoil. Lots of topsoil. Fortunately for us the area we were putting the path was a lot lower than the path running across the house. This made it easier to add in the thick rocks. So by putting in all the topsoil it made it easier for us to play around with the placement of the stones.

adding topsoil to flagstone path

We added the thickest rocks in the deepest sections. Then using topsoil to fill in the gaps. Levelling was done using topsoil and rocks. This was time consuming as the rocks were various sizes and some never had level bottoms. I can’t say for certain the amount of time we spent levelling but I do know there were a lot of choice words said by the son and I. Some stones took twenty minutes to almost an hour to get right others were faster.

tying in to other flagstone path

flagstone path diy project

Once we got the biggest rocks in place we went back and added smaller rocks to fill gaps. In between the stones we are using two types of ground cover. A dark green and a bright green. I did plant some this august and it seems to be taking but its only a small section. We are going to try to grow some in the spring as the area is quite large and buying enough to place here would be quite expensive. We will see how that works. I bought an eight container of thyme earlier the summer for the deck area out back and it was twenty-five dollars, I would need at least thirty containers to finish this project. So we are going to try to grow some first.

top view of flagstone path

Here’s where the flagstone path today. Ignore the patch of dirt there is stone underneath.

Flagstone path DIY

Flagstone path fall

The path is six feet at the thinnest area and almost ten feet at the end of the path (the area close to the house). This wide area will make sense once we get to phase two of the project which I’m hoping will happen next summer. That phase will have this new flagstone path meet with the flagstone path that runs from the deck to the dock. I just can’t wait. The vision in my head believes this will be awesome. Todd vision is “omg more work”. He’s such a dream crusher!


posted by on Crafts, Holidays

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transforming cheap dollar store pumpkinsHi

Not being a big fan of fall colours but still wanting to decorate I decided to forgo the orange, red, rust colours and focus on white and black with some gold and silver thrown in. I’m pretty pleased with what I was able to transform for little time, money and effort.

First up pumpkins. Of course pumpkins, can’t have Halloween with out pumpkins can we? Here are some pumpkins that I transformed using spray paint, twine, spiders, ribbon, beads and driftwood.

Plastic Pumpkins (before)

cheap dollar store pumpkin

Plastic Pumpkins (after)

Golden Pumpkin

transformed gold pumpkin

transformed gold pumpkin spray painted pumpkins with pearl beads

Spray painted gold with pearl bead strips from the dollar store. Topped off with a piece of gold and white ribbon for a bit of a glamorous look.

White Pumpkin

white pumpkin with twine top

burlap and twig pumpkin


Spray painted antique white with added plastic spider and using twine to wrapped around the stem transforms this cheap pumpkin into something a bet more special.


Ceramic Pumpkins (before)

cheap dollar store ceramic pumpkins

Ceramic Pumpkins (after)

transformed ceramic pumpkin

pumpkin and crow transformed, cheap dollar store pumpkins

A few coats of spray paint in antique white transforms these cheap orange ceramic pumpkins. Works great for the black and white theme i have going on this year.

Metallic Plastic Pumpkin (before)

cheap metalic dollar store pumpkin

Metallic Plastic Pumpkin (after)

Silver studded pumpkin

silver pumpkins with sparkles

Spray painted silver with added sparkle gems from the Dollarama.

silver pumkin

Set of Black and White Pumpkins

black and white pumpkins

cheap pumpkins transformed

burlap and twig pumpkin

Spray Painted antique white and black add driftwood for stems and a few spiders and webs to make these cheap pumpkins and bit more special.

White Glam Pumpkins

white pumpkin with beads

spray painted pumpkins with pearl beads

Spray painted antique white with added pearl bead and a twig for a stems

Styrofoam Skelton (Before)

dollar store skeleton

Styrofoam Skelton (After)

skeleton head transformed

Spray painted antique white with twine added to eyes and added plastic spider.

Vases (before)

thrift store vases painted antique white

Vases (after)

thrift store vases painted antique white

thrift store vases painted antique white

thrift store vases painted antique white

Spray painted antique white added black flowers, twigs and scare crows.

And that’s what I did with my dollar store Halloween decorations. To see some other things I did this year check out my easy Halloween wreath, spider flowers and my flying bat display.


posted by on Crafts, Holidays

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Looking to put some Halloween decorations in the entrance that didn’t take up a lot of space I came up with these Creepy Spider Flowers for the ledge.

halloween flowers and spiders

Using items from the dollar store and a glue gun I had this done in minutes.

  1. Plastic rats – Dollarama
  2. White faux roses with silver glitter – Dollarama
  3. Plastic spiders – Dollarama
  4. Glitter spider web – Michaels
  5. Cast iron pot – Mine

halloween flowers and spiders

I played around with the placement on the ledge but never over thought it. Benjamin moves the rats and the few spiders so as long as the few things stays on the ledge I’m good.

halloween flowers and spiders

I’m really getting into the Halloween decor this year mostly because of our grandson but I got to say I am enjoying it. Check out the wreath and flying bats I did.

halloween flowers and spiders

Are you doing any crafts this time of year?




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