Our Wood Home

Our Wood Home: March 2014

Monday, March 31, 2014

front entry

I frequently change up the decor in our house, not by buying new things but by moving furniture or items to another room.  For example, we use a bedroom night stand as a living room side table because it looks nicer out in the living room.  Another example is my side table from my old bedroom at my mom's house.  It used to be an antique-y looking silver but when we moved into our current house I decided to paint it bright red and use it as a side table in the living room.

This was a few months after we moved in. 
In the past year and half that red table has been moved around the living room to various places and now rests right by the front door as our entryway table.

Painting by my cousin, Cyril Williams! Seriously, go check out his page (just click his name to be redirected).
We had a book shelf there before and it was mainly a place to display some books, vintage bottles and other knick knacks. I decided to move it to the basement to be used as a DVD shelf and I wanted a small table in its place.  The table's main purpose is to be a catch all for David's things like keys, wallet and watch when he comes home from work (he used to leave those things on the counter, which was fine, but I realized I needed more space to cook). Now he can leave everything on a green leaf tray on the table.

front entry vingette


For visual interest, and practicality, I kept some books and used my cat wine bottles as book ends.  The books are David's Audubon reference books which we actually use a lot to identify birds we see.  


entry way vingette

I'm still having mixed feelings about this red table...I wanted something taller and had seen some for sale at stores but they were too pricey for me.  This option works well so I think I just need to give it some time.  I know I'm going to repaint it purple, so hopefully that makes me like it more!

Relocating furniture to other rooms of the house is a great, easy and FREE way to change the look of a room.


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Friday, March 28, 2014

friday faves

What a week we've had weather wise!  It snowed a lot, was very windy and now it's mild with a lot of rain.  Normally I'd take rain over snow any day but we've realized that water leaks into our garage via the window...so that's not fun. On days like today we will likely have to vacuum out the window well every few hours and pump the water from the rain barrel several times. So sometimes snow is better...until it melts.

Let's get started with my list of interesting/funny/weird/cat related things for this week.



  1. Imagine you're a kid again and your parent's give you a stuffed toy that looks exactly like a drawing you did.  Mind blown? 
  2. Who doesn't love Disney-Pixar's Up?  It was the first 3D movie my husband and I saw together when we were dating, so it's very dear to me.  Did you know there's a house similar to Carl and Ellie's?
  3. Vintage shots of the making of MGM's roaring lion logo.
  4. NY Times say that finally casseroles are cool.
  5. This guy has some pretty famous "friends".

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

DIY hanging picture frames

Ever since I was in middle school I've been obsessed with decorating my walls.  Back then it was mostly taped up pictures of me and my friends or magazine tears of Orlando Bloom...but still, I liked seeing my walls covered in things that were special to me.  Now that I have my own house I'm really enjoying hanging up pictures on as many walls as possible (the previous owners also hung things up but in very random places so I'm trying to cover up all the holes with my own stuff until I paint).  But I'm finding this tricky since our house is pretty open concept.  For the most part I have to settle for placing frames on pretty much every flat surface, partly because of the lack of wall space but also because most of my frames are the kind that prop up and can't be hung on the wall.

I had a bunch of frames on a book shelf in the living room but that shelf was moved and I now had to place for the frames...I really wanted to hang them in the hallway going towards the bedrooms but they were all stand up frames.  Then I had a brilliant idea (that has probably been done before) on how to make them wall hangers!    I present to you a super easy tutorial that lets you hang any frame.


Materials:

  • picture frame
  • yarn or ribbon
  • glue gun
  • hammer and nail to hang frame
Directions:

1. Disassemble frame

2. Cut a piece of yarn or ribbon long enough to hang your picture

3. Using a glue gun, put one dot of glue onto the inside of the back of the frame (confusing? refer to the picture below!)


4. Carefully press yarn or ribbon into place


5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 once more

6. Allow glue to dry completely before putting frame back together

7. Hang your frame and enjoy looking at your lovely picture!


Notes: 
  • I doubled up my yarn for heavier frames. 
  • For a very heavy one I braided 3 pieces of yarn together before gluing them.  
  • Before hanging my frames on the wall I hung them from a drawer pull on my kitchen drawer so that it was just a few inches above the floor. That was if it dropped because the yarn was too weak I wouldn't have a giant mess of broken glass on my hands...
This project took me about 10 minutes to do all the frames pictured above.  I chose to use a coloured yarn since the wall is neutral.  I opted to hang the pictures by the thermostat because it was the only wall in that hallway without any decoration besides the thermostat...Hopefully the nice pictures distract from an unattractive thermostat!  I know it distracted my husband because last night when he went to turn it down he was momentarily disoriented from seeing so many additional things there.

If you're interested in more of my easy DIY projects, click here.  



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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Vegan Banana Bread

Today I'm sharing a modified version of a classic: banana bread that is vegan and sugar free.

sugar free banana bread

Before I post the recipe I wanted to explain why I made some adjustments to a perfectly good recipe.  First of all, I was out of sugar so I used honey.  Secondly, I knew that butter and eggs can be replaced with bananas in cooking so I figured it was worth a try.  I really enjoy modifying recipes just to see if it's possible.  We aren't vegan and we don't have any food allergies but this banana bread is still a good recipe for us because it's a little healthier than a traditional version.

dairy free banana bread


Ingredients:
  • 3 mashed bananas
  • 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (or to make it truly vegan use these!)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease a loaf pan (you could use vegetable oil or a vegan butter spread)
  2. Stir honey and bananas together in a medium bowl
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the honey and banana mixture and stir until just combined and the flour disappears
  4. Pour into loaf pan and bake for about 40 minutes (cooking time varies with each oven)
  5. Cool in the pan on a wire rack


dairy free banana bread

So, I did use sugar here but it's a naturally occurring sugar so I like to think it's healthier than refined white sugar.  I also added some oats to give it a nice texture and make it heartier.  The chocolate chips I used were actually not vegan because I didn't have any on hand, but a variety of stores carry vegan chocolate chips or you can order some online.  If you're looking to be even MORE heath conscious may I suggest raw vegan cacao nibs?  My sister-in-law is a raw vegan, which means she doesn't eat anything cooked or anything that comes from animals, and she introduced me to cacao nibs.  I'll admit I haven't acquired a taste for it yet when eaten plain but it tastes pretty good in baked goods (of course, she doesn't actually cook the desserts she makes but the cacao is mixed with other things like fruit).

Usually I enjoy sugary snacks and this banana bread satisfies those cravings but ensures I'm not just eating empty calories.  Plus, since there is good stuff like oats and honey a slice of this makes an excellent breakfast!

Are there any other recipes you'd like to see made vegan?  Send me an e-mail (davidswife2574@gmail.com) or comment below and I'll see what I can do!


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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I knit a blanket for my cat

Yes, it's true.  I fear I'm teetering dangerously close to the edge of "Crazy Cat Lady" status...In my twenty three years of living I've owned a total of 3 cats, befriended far too many to count, surrendered my favourite arm chair to a cat,  rescued an abandoned newborn kitten I found in my mom's garden, let me cat ride on my lap in the car and now I've gone and knit a blanket for my cat's bed (well, one of her beds!).

black and white cat

Previously I had lined her cardboard box bed with old towels but this blanket is so much better.  I swapped out her old box for a cool wooden crate which is bigger so she has more room to roll around.  She was hesitant to try the new bed because everything was new to her.  I had to physically place her in the bed a few times before she got used to it.

cat bed
Venelope in her old bed with her stuffed dog Scruffy (this was taken in September and she is a lot bigger now!).

knit blanket
She is learning to like the new bed and blanket.

I'm clearly one of those people who treats their pet like part of the family, but I don't see anything wrong with that.  And I was kidding about the crazy cat lady stuff at the start of this post, although I did do all those things.

I love all my cats and will forever be a cat lover !


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Friday, March 21, 2014

friday faves

Today I'm sharing a collection of interesting things from around the internet.  I usually post funny or interesting things but occasionally I'll throw in something weird, creepy or cat related.


  1. What if famous Taylor Swift quotes were actually said by Hitler?   Whaaaaat?  Seriously, you need to click this link (and this bonus link)
  2. Some of these maternity photos are downright hilarious.  
  3. A sterotypical Canadian commercial that's actually funny.
  4. This is an awesome cover, done country style.  I'd probably like almost any song if it was redone as a country song!
  5. The Cat and the Flat: Vogue's new shoe ad.  Seriously, shoes and cats? What could be better...
Have you come across anything share-worthy this week?  Post links below!


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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

a taste of homesteading

What does 'homesteading' mean?  The general consensus is that it means a lifestyle that promotes greater self sufficiency (source).

David and I are very interested in learning how to be as self sufficient as possible and so far we have a veggie garden and a wood burning stove as a secondary heat source.  We have plans to expand our garden and to include some fruit trees to make an orchard.   David really wants chickens but I'm not convinced yet.  We also hope to one day have solar panels on our roof to provide us with electricity.

The homesteading lifestyle is appealing to me partly because I know that if I fail, I can go right back to my old life of consumerism. For example, if we plant a ton of veggies but they all die by an early frost I know we won't starve through winter because I can just go buy produce at the grocery store (that happened last summer to our tomato crop).

But for the past few days I've been learning how to be self reliant in another way: providing our own heat.


We have a propane furnace to heat the house but I forgot to order a delivery and we ran out of propane last Friday.  It takes a few days for a delivery and they don't work on weekends so I had to wait until Monday to place an order.    Since Friday we have been using our wood stove for heat (with a small space heater to warm up the bathroom so the pipes don't freeze) and it's pretty awesome.  We usually heat the house with the furnace to about 17C during the day and 15C at night but the wood stove takes a bit more effort to reach those temps (it's located in the basement so the hot air has to rise up for us to feel it upstairs).  It's been a little chilly with just the stove, especially at night, but it's bearable.  I just wear a few extra layers and make sure my cat's bed has an extra blanket at night.   We threw a couple extra blankets on our bed too.

4 blankets on our bed now!
I kind of like being responsible for heating our home.  It's something David and I do together; he splits all the wood and takes it inside and I keep the fire going all day.  But it also makes me feel pretty good to know that we don't need to rely on anyone else to keep our house warm.  If there was ever a prolonged power outage and our furnace couldn't work or if the propane drivers ever went on strike I know we won't freeze because we have our wood stove.  We are currently looking for a second stove to have in the living room because wood is so much more affordable than propane.  Right now we are getting the firewood we use for free but even purchasing it is cheaper than purchasing propane.

Using our wood stove exclusively makes me feel like we are heading in the right homesteading direction! What's next?  Growing more of our own food and storing it for winter...come on spring!

Are you interested in homesteading, too?  I've got a whole board on Pinterest you can check out. 



Tuesday, March 18, 2014

an easy way to chop onions

I love to cook, but I used to avoid using onions because I found them tricky to dice and the smell burned my eyes.  Then I discovered a super easy trick for perfectly diced onions without the tears...want to know what it is?  Keep reading!


easy way to dice an onion


1.  Place onion in freezer for about 30 minutes

2.  Cut onion in half horizontally

3.  Make vertical cuts all the way around the onion half

easy way to cut an onion

4.  Slice through the onion horizontally, starting at the bottom and working your way towards the top

easy way to dice an onion

5.  Repeat step 4 until you have chopped the whole onion.

easy way to dice an onion

6.  Repeat steps 3-5 on the on the other half of onion

That's it!  It takes only a few minutes to chop and freezing the onion before hand somehow prevents the eye-burning I always encounter.  Plus, you get perfectly diced onions every time!  I like to chop a few onions in on go and then freeze them for future use.  

I have heard of all sorts of ways to prevent the eye-burning when chopping onions but freezing them is the best method!  


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Monday, March 17, 2014

main bathroom reveal!

Since January our main bathroom has been being made over in a big way!  The plumbing to the shower was replaced and rerouted, a new tub and shower surround were installed, the sink faucets were replaced, a new light fixture was put in and the wall tile was painted.  It's not a very exciting renovation but it's a pretty big deal for us!  

I'm pleased to be sharing the end result of our reno.  It was a lot of work, but well worth it.

Here's what the bathroom looked like before we started this job.

It's not terrible, it just needs a little face lift.  Note the positioning of the light fixture...

The shower and tub were gross and old.  They always felt dirty no matter how hard I cleaned.

A really gross light fixture that wasn't even centered above the sink/wall/mirror.  Also, super gross faucet!
how to paint wall tile
The light fixture is so much better and the wall tile is painted. The new faucets are also a hug improvement.

New shower!
how to paint wall tile
The tile blends in nicely with the wall now.

I love the way this room looks now!  It's much fresher and cleaner looking, and David think the new wall tile looks a little country, which I like! I'm thinking some art work for the walls is in order but I'm not sure what to put up.
What sort of wall art is up in your bathroom?  Comment below or send me a picture on Facebook.






PS: If you'd like to see our renovation from start to finish (and other bathroom updates), click the links below.

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painting wall tile (sort of a tutorial)

Last week I posted about our bathroom reno and the few things we had left to do.  I mentioned that I would be posting a tutorial on how to paint wall tile, but it turns out it's SUPER easy.

how to paint tile

I read online that the tiles should be roughed up a bit with sand paper, so I tried that.  But it barely scratched them...so I tried a palm sander with no luck either.  I decided to try painting the tiles as is and it worked! Here is what I did:

  1. Wash tile with a damp rag to remove any dirt and/or dust.
  2. Dry thoroughly and tape off areas you don't want painted such as door frames.
  3. Using a paint roller apply one coat of paint (I used bathroom safe paint since my tiles are in the bathroom).
  4. Once the first coat of paint is dry apply another if necessary (since my tiles were so blue I used 3 coats of paint).
  5. Wait for paint to fully dry and then remove tape from protected areas.  Avoid getting the painted tile wet for a few days.
Ta-Da!!  Wasn't that easy?  The tile I had was shiny porcelain and the paint gave them a matte finish which I much prefer.  I gave my walls a new coat of paint to match the tiles so that everything blends together a little more.  

The first coat of paint went on pretty well, but the old blue colour is still visible.

Painting behind the toilet was such a task!  I managed though.
 I'm really pleased with the way the tile turned out. I hated the blue as soon as I saw the house but I knew removing all the old stuff would be a lot of work and costly.  I spent about $50 for the supplies needed to paint and I still have enough paint left over for the downstairs bathroom, so this was a very cost effective alternative to removing the tile.  

I'll be writing 2 posts today because our main bathroom reveal deserves a post of it's own!


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Friday, March 14, 2014

friday faves

Last weekend David and I took his parent's dogs out for a walk and we went snow shoeing.  It was really neat and not as hard as I expected.  I kept getting snow up the back of my pants so I may wear snowpants next time.

This weekend I'm going to see a movie with a friend from high school (who I haven't seen since graduation 6 years ago).  But not just any old movie...the Veronica Mars Movie!!!  For those who haven't heard of it, Veronica Mars was a TV series about a teenage detective.  It was awesome but was unexpectedly cancelled after only a few seasons.  Now years later, the movie has been crowd funded and I get to see it:)  

Now, please enjoy some interesting tid bits from the world wide web.


  1. Of course, the Veronica Mars trailer makes this list.  The movie is only being shown in select theatres for a few days.  But you can purchase a download copy online!
  2. Happy 25th birthday, Internet.
  3. Have you seen this video?  It's pretty neat.
  4. SOOOOO obsessed with this TV show!  
  5. I need this.
I think my favourite item on this list is #5...if you know me you will understand why.




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Thursday, March 13, 2014

bathroom reno update

A little while ago  I wrote about how we had to renovate both our bathrooms.  It's quite the process and we are almost done, but there are still a few more things to do.  We are doing both bathrooms at the same time so there is a lot of work to be done, especially since the basement bath is a complete gut!

The main bathroom was getting new rerouted plumbing to the shower, the tub orientation was being flipped so instead of facing West it now faces East, a new tub and shower surround were being installed and the light fixture was being replaced.  We ended up having to remove some wall tile to get the old tub out, so we have to replace a few feet of tile.  And since we were doing a lot of work there already I decided to repaint the walls and tile.

The walls are tiled with this stuff...not so nice. Removing it all would be very time consuming and so would the repair of the walls.  I've decided to paint the tile when I paint the rest of the wall, so stay tuned for a tutorial!

This is our shower/tub before.  They are both blue-ish grey but not even the same shade!  They were old, super hard to clean and just plain ugly.  The surround didn't go all the way to the ceiling so that part of the wall got very moist.
The new tub and shower are both white, which looks so much better!   As you can see the shower head is now on the opposite wall, which makes so much more sense!  The surround also goes all the way up to the ceiling.
This is where we had to remove some wall tile to take out the old tub.  We are installing new tile and painting it and all existing tile the same colour as the walls.
The junction box for the light fixture had to be moved because it wasn't centered over anything, so now we are waiting for the drywall mud to dry so the fixture can go up.  I'm planning to paint tomorrow, which I'm looking forward to.


Rewiring and re positioning the junction boxes for our new light fixture.  The drywall mud is obviously my handiwork...

The basement bathroom/laundry room was a complete gut.  So far all we've done is the demo because the main bathroom is a priority.  Thankfully there won't be a lot of work in the basement because the drywall needs just a bit of patching.  We are replacing the toilet and sink as well as painting and laying new floors.  I'm super excited about our sink because it's an antique we found for FREE.  The floors will be easy to install because they are vinyl so we just glue them over the concrete.  We will eventually replace the shower but not right away.

This wall was a nightmare!  There was a giant parquet counter top, yucky and leaky sink and tile on the wall.  There was also a weird dividing wall, gross toilet and more wall tile.

Counter and weird wall removed!!  


Still to do in the basement:

  • patch drywall
  • remove tile by toilet
  • relocate light fixture to wall above sink
  • paint!!!!!
  • lay new floors
  • install sink and toilet
It seems like a lot, but I don't think it will take long.  I have a feeling the light fixture will take the longest to do judging by the process upstairs.    

This bathroom is so awful that any improvements will be amazing.  I'm painting all the walls, including the wood, a greenish white and the floors will be a dark walnut colour.  I'm keeping all details of our sink a secret just for fun:)


I'm looking forward to showing the end result of both spaces and for them to FINALLY be finished.  A lot of work have gone into them so far, almost entirely by my husband and father-in-law.

To see more pictures of the reno, feel free to check out my Facebook page.


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