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kitchen with fridge

Last week I posted about doing the tile, well, it is done and I couldn’t be happier. I love it. It turned out exactly like I wanted. It’s beautiful and I’m proud to say that I did it. It took me awhile but its done. Our DIY kitchen renovation is one step closer to being complete.

close-up of tile

It was the first time I installed tile and seeing just how easy it is I have lots more plans using it around here, like the laundry room for one.
So what did I learn about tiling. Well one, it’s pretty easy and just about anyone can do it. Seriously if I could do it you sure can. I would recommend using a wet saw and by-pass those tile cutters. The wet saw does the job fast and easy. Grouting is messy. And you need to work in small areas at a time or that stuff is crazy hard to come off.

full view

So like I said we are one more step closer but with summer here I’ve decided I’m not doing anything else with the kitchen or the interior of the house. What’s left can wait for the fall because god knows summer is short here and mama needs to tan her fat ass as much as possible. Fat looks better brown people!

side view of kitchen

So what is left to do.

  1. Paint trim
  2. Paint ceiling
  3. Paint walls
  4. Install new lighting
  5. Add trim
  6. chaulk
  7. Paint pantry door
  8. Fix a few tiles behind fridge
  9. Paint above fridge
  10. Add extenders to the switches and replace covers

The biggest thing is the lights. I still have not found what I want or how to configure them. I’m hoping a few months of thinking about it will help.

close up od tile 2

If you want to know how to paint your cabinets check out my post about that. And to see some of the progress you can check out these posts here, here and here.

So that’s the kitchen. It’s come a long way and we are super pleased with the results so far. And if you forgot here’s a before and after. ha


kitchen with fridge and stove


full view

Have a great weekend.


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tiling back splash, diy, home improvement, painted cabinets


On Saturday I started the tiling of the back splash in the kitchen. It’s now Thursday and I wish I could say I’m done but I’m not. I’m slow, real slow. Long gone are the days where I could work on something for fifteen hours straight. And it’s super frustrating even after ten years. Ten years ago I would have had this tile up and grouted and the kitchen back in order in no time. Today I work much, much slower and do things as my body will allow. And some days my body says “ah no”, other days it says “ok a little bit”. And it’s that little bit that drives me. Because despite the issues I still want to get stuff done. I still want to do stuff no matter how slow I have to go. No matter how many lie downs or breaks I will get what I want. Which brings us to the tiled back splash. It is taking me forever! And the kitchen and great room are once again a total disaster zone.

close up of subway tile

I will admit I was nervous starting this job. I’ve never done tiling before. But thought how hard could it be? Turns out it’s pretty simple.

subway tile

I had read and watched some videos on how to do it. Prepared the space as it is a dirty job just jumped in. I figured if I messed it up I would just figure out another solution. But so far so good. And I am proud to say I used a wet saw for the first time.

tile back splash

I think it’ll be super nice once its finished.


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painted cabinets, how to paint oak cabinets, diy, home improvement

Hi and a happy Friday to you.

Today I am going to share the steps for painting your cabinets. I got a couple of emails asking to for instructions and now that they are finally up it seems like the right time.

how to paint cabinets

First let be tell you that this is not my first time to the cabinet painting rodeo. I did the cabinets at our old house, my sisters kitchen and bath and the bathroom here so I can say what works with some confidence. The only difference with the kitchen cabinets here is that mine were already painted thus taking longer with the extra step of removing the paint.


Anyone can paint cabinets, it’s easy. No special skill required only the ability to live with dirt, dust and upheaval.

So lets dive right in.

Supply List

  • small sponge roller with tray x2 (one for primer and one for paint)
  • quality paint  (not paint made for painting cabinets) (I use a pearl finish)
  • primer
  • quality paint brush
  • drop cloth
  • saw horses
  • wood
  • sanding blocks
  • fine and rough sandpaper
  • scraper
  • paint/varnish remover
  • rubber gloves
  • tsp cleaner (inside cabinets if painting those)
  • wood filler
  • tack cloths
  • hand broom
  • painters tape
  • cheap paint brushes (these are for using the paint/varnish stripper)
  • metal pan (for the stripper)
  • hand sander
  • baggies (to keep hardware)
  • safety glasses
  • dust mask
  • protective clothing (to wear during the stripping)

1. Numbering your cabinets and doors

Before removing doors from the cabinets I always number them. Taking pieces of painters tape I write two of each number. One for the door and one for the cabinet when the door belongs.

numbering cabinets

This step will safe you the headache of trying to match up the doors later. Trust me on this; don’t skip this step. You’ll be removing and moving the numbered tape a lot when you strip and paint but it is worth it.


2. Removable

Remove the doors from the cabinets and then remove all hardware. Place screws and hinges in baggies and the same with the knobs because if you are using them again there is nothing worst than losing those suckers. If not bag it all up and consider donating them to the Restore.


3. Setting up work space and prep work

kitchen doors on saw hourses

Pick an area that’s ventilated with doors or windows that can open especially when using strong chemicals like paint stripper. Today there are lots of low vac paints but I would still chose a well ventilated area. Lay down your drop cloths and set up your saw horses with two boards in between. Depending on the amount of cabinets will dictate how many you’ll need or in my case you’ll realize you have to work on so many at a time. Lay out your doors. Use painters tape around the bottoms of the cabinets to protect your floors.

tape on floor


4. Stripping

stripping cabinets

Whether you have painted or varnish cabinets you’ll need to get it all off. The best painted cabinet and doors are those brought right to the bare wood. There are many types of stripper and varnish removers some that removes paint, some that remove varnish and some that do both. Wearing your rubber gloves apply the stripper to the doors with your cheap brush. Follow the instructions on your stripper.

stripping cabinets

I work about four or five doors at a time. The stripper takes a bit of time to work. It will bubble, crack and pop. Fun stuff. I usually wait fifteen minutes or so. Do not get this on your skin, it will burn. Start scrapping it off. You might have to apply a few coats depending on how many layers of paint and varnish there are. Don’t worry if it all the paint did not come off it will when you start sanding.


5. Fill Holes

Once things are stripped fill all holes with wood filler and allow to dry.

wood filler


6. Sanding

sanded cabinet doors

Now that your paint and varnish have been removed and your holes filled its time to sand. I use a hand sander and sanding blocks. Using a course paper followed by a fine paper I remove any and all paint and varnish bringing the door and cabinets to the bare wood. Sanding is dirty work. Be prepared to have it everywhere.

sanded cabinet door

I used plastic to close off the area to keep the dust down when doing the cabinets in the kitchen. Once this is done use a shop vac and hand broom to clean up the dust. Then using a tack cloth go over your doors and cabinets. Don’t skip this step. Dust is fine and the only thing that gets it all is the tack cloth.


7. Priming

Prime your doors back and sides allow them to dry then flip and prime the fronts. Follow the instructions on your brand as drying times vary. I use a sponge roller and old brush. One coat of primer is fine. Once dry use your sanding block to get rid of any runs or imperfections. Then use your tack cloth to get the dust.


8. Painting

Now finally we paint. Always paint the back of the doors first. Also do your sides, tops and bottoms. Use the brush for any decorative or hard spots followed by your sponge roller. Do not over paint to get coverage.  It’s better to apply several coats. Allow proper time for drying in between. Some paint says six hours, some twenty-four so be sure to read the instructions on your paint.

white cabinet doors

At this stage you don’t want to ruin all your hard work and have to sand. Once you apply your last coat to the back and sides, etc allow your door to cure. I always wait a few days. It’s a pain I know because you want to get these suckers up but even if the paint feels dry to touch it’s not. So wait a few days. Once dried turn over and paint your fronts. If like me you have many doors and need to work in batches place paper towels between each door when you stack them.


9. TSP and cleaning your cabinets

I added TSP in the supply list for cleaning the insides of your cabinets if you want to paint. TSP is a strong cleaner that cuts through grease. Follow the instructions and your paint will stick well. Also I would recommend using a semi-gloss for the inside as its more cleanable.

painting inside cabinet

Now sit back and enjoy your new bright kitchen. You’ll be amazed just how much it has changed the look of your kitchen. If you have any questions please let me know and I’ll do my best to answer.

painted kitchen cabinet

Cheers and have a great weekend.

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summer to do list

There are no shortage of projects to do in our yard/property. Actually the list is so long in my head that it frightens me to even write them out. There are some big expensive projects, some medium and some small. There are time-consuming ones, quick fixes that just need tending to and some I don’t even know where or how to start and some that are on the someday list.

2014 to do list

However Todd and I decided there are some musts for this summer.

1. Deck

My monster  needs cleaning and re-staining. We put out the furniture anyway and will be working around it. Summers here are too short to wait for that work to be done before sitting out there and enjoying the space. The lattice on the monster also needs re-staining and in some areas replacing. We are thinking of getting the plastic lattice, although more expensive at least we wouldn’t have to stain it every few years. So that’s the deck.

2. Flower Gardens

There’s the flower gardens. My dream is to have gardens everywhere with stone paths. I am dreaming of a small vegetable garden with fruit and berry trees for the future. I love flowers but I’ll confess gardening is new to me and it’s a learn as you go. I am slowly getting better.

left front garden growning

My son seems to have the green thumb so he’s been a great help.  It’s nice to be able to do some things together with your adult children. Besides he gets to do all the heavy lifting. When he’s here he points out things I don’t see and shows me the possibilities of the property. So we are working on some short-term and long-term plans.

right front side garden 1

And of course Benjamin is always ready to help.

bves helping

Right now I have six places for flowers plus many containers. Two of those places are done. We weeded, moved plants, planted some new, added topsoil and black mulch. Last year I had red mulch but I think the black suits our place better.

circular flower bed

The other areas for flowers are in different stages. One just needs tending and a new plant, top soil and mulch. Pretty easy, it’s small. The other is an L shaped area along the side of the house and across the deck. The area was cleared last year and I just need to figure out what I want to plant. I have a few ideas like going with all one flower. Lupins come to mind. I think the purple, pink and white colours would work nicely. They are tall too which would cover up the concrete wall. I am also thinking of Queens Anne’s Lace… its tall and leafy with small dainty white flowers. I love it when I see it on the sides of the road.  I think it’s a weed but it’s really pretty. Can you plant weeds even if you think they are lovely? I think so.

left side of house

Todd wants to build long wood boxes and I’d think that would be great. But it’s not a top priority for this year.

The other two areas are on the front right and front side. These are a mess. I’m sure the previous owners tended to this area but the house had been vacant for a year and things got over grown. And now coming into our fourth summer it really is a mess. Like scary overgrown, with dead stuff mess. Not the look I’m going for. I did try to fix it up over the last few years. I trimmed and cut and shaped but to be honest it all had to go and a new plan put in place. Tearing up the bushes and shrubs alone makes the area nicer. And trying to work around what was there was really not working so we are starting new. Got any flower ideas for a zone 5 part sunny area?


front right side of house


front right garden cleaned up

The second of the two areas is a along the right side of our property. It borders a path to the neighbours cabin, its dark and creepy in places. It’s open in spots and I want it filled in. So along with flowers it needs a few trees. It also needs trees removed and top soil added. I would like to border these areas with rock stones from driveway that we removed to build our path to the beach. The rocks are there but the walls or borders are not completed.

The area to the side door is not looking good at all. Lets forget that this exterior is pink! I did stain the deck part two summers before but it needs to be done again.

right side door

3. Beach

And speaking of the beach it’s the most important project this summer. It will take the most money, time and manpower. We really wanted to have it done for the wedding last summer but I’m glad we left it because what we were planning on doing would have held us for a few years and then we would have had to redo it. All along we wanted a sand beach but this year we notice a lot of land erosion and that needs to be addressed. We also need a wharf built. So we are back filling and building a deck that goes out into the water and building a wharf off of that. Then we will bring in sand for the water. At least that the plan. The floats for the wharf have been ordered so it’s a start. Right now the beach area looks like this.


wharf spotbeach

4. Tree Trimming

Other projects that we are doing include tree clearing and trimming. There’s an area on the front side of our property that we would like to see cleared out a bit. There is a mixture of birch and spruce. We would like to see more of the birch and be able to walk in there without tearing your legs and arms to pieces.

right side treed area

5. Cleaning up.

We have a lot of wood and stuff around. Also our driveway was destroyed a few years ago and while we are not paving we have to tidy it up. I hate that I drive down the driveway and see wood. So we are moving everything to either the other side or back of the garage. We also need to get some fill and stone but that is not on the list for now. Now we need to tidy.

side of garage

6. Pumps, Hoses and Watering and the Well

Our pump from the pond needs adjusting and moved to a less viewable spot. This is good for the watering of the garden as we are on a well and having the pump pumping pond water for the yard is good. And speaking of the well that area needs some love. Right now we have put rocks around it but the top needs painting and we need to add topsoil and plants.

close up flower

7. Painting

I would like to paint the front door and the pink side door. The colour now is undecided. Do you have a painted door? What paint did you use? Any reco’s colours for mine. I am leaning towards a lime green or black but would love to hear your thoughts.

8. Top of Driveway

We got a new wooden garbage box and stained it white to match the fence. Remember the fence I stained before the wedding. It’s still standing. But it’s really in hard shape. But while it’s still standing and looks half decent then it will probably stay until next year. I would like however to plant either cedars here or some high country looking flowers along the fence. This will take place later in the season, maybe September or October. We also need to discuss the areas where we took out flagstone. I think we are just going to slope the land to the driveway.

9. Firepit

Our flagstone fire pit is being used a lot and we love it but it needs some work and a path added. We have lots of flagstone so we are working up a plan.

firepit and wall

10. Pond (small)

We have a stream that runs across the front of the house and then along the property edge. We dammed it and now it a very small pond. We have some lovely long-term plans with fish, fountains, bridge and benches. For this summer we are just going to clean it up and research and plant some native Newfoundland water plants.

stream left sidesmall pond clean up

So that’s the 2014 yard to-do list for this summer. Lets see what we actually gets done. Who wants to help?

Overall I would guess we are about twenty percent done with our yard/property. But it all takes time and I just got to learn to pace. And of course there is the factor of money. Plants are expensive! Maybe I could grow a money tree. Who got seeds for that?


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white painted cabinets, hardwood, black counters,

Well its June and the kitchen cabinets are finally painted and hung. Yeah, that’s a long time. I started them in February! I knew it would take a while but I really didn’t think it would be that long. They were much more labour intensive than I thought but I’m so glad that I decided to paint them. What a difference. Everything is so bright and clean-looking and not to mention up to date. It’s amazing what paint can do. I’ll post a how-to later next week. Today I just want to share these white babies. All thirty-four doors and eight drawers.

Since the day we moved in I hated the cabinets in our kitchen. While I did like the pale green colour for the doors and drawers I didn’t like the off white cabinets. It looked dirty to me. So I knew we would either be replacing or painting them.

Painting turned out to be the best solution. Not only for the price but for the quality. The cabinets, doors and drawers are oak. We could have bought new doors but we would have replaced oak with a pressed wood laminate which didn’t make any sense to me.

Here’s a picture of the kitchen (move in day) before we started all this craziness.

kitchen with fridge and stove

And here’s a picture of them now.

soften kitchen whole

The knobs and pulls are gorgeous. They have a real rustic feel. We had a time trying to get enough to finish. We got them at Kent Building Supplies and had to go to all three stores to get enough.

kitchen collage

For the hinges we went with white. I considered black but it made the doors to busy looking. Right now your eye just rests on the knobs.

kitchen collage 3

I love how the green shows up the white dishes. And how you see a bit of colour through the glass.

As you can tell the counters are also in and I couldn’t be happier. I just love them. They are a solid black laminate.

kitchen collage 2

We had a bit of a problem with the install but Todd and his friend fixed that all up. We do need to make a bit of a change because it seems that the long peninsula is off and that meant to get the counters to line up we need to add a bit of moulding.

We also have the sink and faucet in. Fancy!  The sink is the same width as the old one but much deeper. It’s black granite with one side larger than the other. Love it.

The faucet is also new. It has a sprayer which I didn’t have with the other sink and missed. It also has a soap dispenser that is great because around here we have dirty hands.

kitchen collage 5

So what’s left.

1. Back splash. As you can see from the pictures the plaster is done now I need to sand and make more dust. This is foreign territory for me but I am determined to get to done. It will be white tile with white grout. I have read and watched a dozen YouTube videos so we will see how it goes. Oh course everyone says something different but I get the jest of it. I’m hoping to start that next week.

2. Under cabinet lighting. This is a pretty easy install.

3. Fix the edge of the countertop where it meets the wall. Of course it doesn’t fit so we had to find a solution to that.

4. More painting. Trim around the window, ceiling and walls. All white but different shades and finishes.

5. Accessories. Yes I am buying more crap Todd. I want to add some bright vibrant colours. Maybe a red toaster! Wouldn’t that be cool. Some type of window treatment. Then to stylized it. Maybe getting rid of the tools that been on them for months will help.

6. And finally the lights. This will not be done right now as much as I hate the twelve spaceships they have to stay for a bit longer. And for several reasons. One reason is I can’t figure out what the hell I want. I have been to all the stores and online. I think I’m stuck because I know I have to change the lights in the kitchen but also through the house as it’s all open.  What I do know is they will be black or white. No brushed nickel, chrome, brass or glass. The easiest thing to do go with a new track but what’s the fun in that.  Two we are out of money for this project because we need to now focus on the beach area. We need to put in a wharf and dock and because summer here is so short we’d rather leave the lights for later. Maybe I’ll have my mind made up by the fall.

So there’s still work to be done but let’s not focus on that today.


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