April 23, 2014

Kitchen Progress: Turquoise Cabinets? Check!

After spending the winter in our garage, the cabinet fronts Hubs painted with our sprayer needed a little touch up, but now they've been re-installed and all of a sudden the kitchen is looking so good.  Sadly, it looks a lot more denim-blue in my photos - I've been having a tough time lately, photographing teal and turquoise true to life, which is really problematic given my penchant for anything turquoise.  In that elusive third dimension, the colour (CIL Niagara Mist) is nearly identical to the turquoise Pyrex butterprint pattern, so if you've seen a piece of that, then you can better envision the colour.

Painting the cabinet boxes was straightforward: light sanding, coat of primer, and then three coats of semi-gloss Premier paint, courtesy of my paint partnership with Canadian Tire.  Just like when I painted the bathroom cabinetry, I used my small artist's brush for the narrow cabinet face frames, a two-inch angled brush for the toekick, and a roller for any larger areas, like the section that faces the dining room and the areas beside the stove.  The cabinetry wasn't in the best condition so when I zoom in with the camera some blemishes appear, but the semi-gloss finish, which reflects lights, does a good job of hiding imperfections when I'm not staring at it from three inches away.  People say sheen emphasizes flaws but I'm adamant it's the other way around: matte paint can really highlight flaws.    

Even though the turquoise cabinets have been giving me shivers, the real showstoppers are the solid maple counters.  Hubby is sharing the full tutorial on Friday (you already saw how I stained them).  Even if you don't plan on making your own wood counters, just seeing the transformation from pile of rough lumber to this gleaming gorgeousness is incredible - and we've got lots of photos!

You got a glimpse of the new sink and faucet last week.  If you have been following me on Instagram, you saw the new hardware as well.  I wanted something brushed silver (my favorite!) and simple, but not too stark and modern because the cabinet fronts have really busy profiles.  I wanted something to bridge the modern sink with the decidedly unmodern cabinetry.  I had a pretty meager budget (hardware adds up quickly!), so I headed to Lee Valley.  Their catalog is fun, but nothing beats spinning those turnstiles and seeing the different styles in person.  Hubs and I both liked the feel of these knobs, which were only $3.00 a piece. 

These knobs require two screws for installation and the old knobs only needed one, so we simply added a second screw hole.

Hubby measured, marked with a pencil, and drilled away (with a wood scrap underneath).  For the cabinet drawers, I had filled the hole with wood filler prior to priming and painting, so Hubs just drilled two new holes and centred the knobs.  Easy!

Such a pretty change, compared to the old brass knobs (which were the same in the bathroom, but because that room is a more temporary fix, I just painted them matte black):

We made one other inexpensive change: the floor grate.  What was previously there was white and rusted, so we bought a $13 replacement, in silver.  I'm only mentioning it because it's Made in Canada!  I love finding things made in Canada or the USA.   

The kitchen is really taking shape, but we still need to paint and install the paneling, add trim to the paneling, replace the window trim, paint and install open shelving, add some bar stools, unpack my Pyrex collection and our dishes, plus build a pantry beside the fridge.  But I'm feeling so motivated because it's already the happiest room in the lakehouse . . .

April 21, 2014

How to Give your Dog a Terrible Haircut

It's that time of year when we think of baby animals and their infinite cuteness - so it was serendipitous that I recently received a photo of Szuka's newly-born siblings.  Don't they look like little lambs?!?

Coincidentally, Szuka's looking a little more like her fresh off the farm sibs, thanks to the hack job of a hair cut we gave her (which you might have spotted on my new Instagram account): 

Komondors develop these amazing cords but they need a lot of maintenance to get them looking so neat (otherwise they just look, and smell, like a brown tangle of weeds).

photo source
We decided to keep Szuka clipped short (a puppy cut), but we'd been on the fence about taking her to the groomer for her first haircut, or cutting her fur ourselves.  The only time we brought her to a groomer (we had a coupon for a free bath), she ended up looking like a husky poodle: 

She hates getting a bath, or having her nails clipped, but she's stoic about it.  We do both of these things ourselves at home to make it less stressful for her (and save a little cash).  Hubs thought clipping her fur at home would be a good idea for these reasons, but I really didn't want to have to trim around her starfish.

Look at those sad eyes
When the temperatures became a little more mild, Szuka started to boil and panted all day long.  Outside she would throw herself down, spread eagle, in the snow to cool off.  She was so, so wooly! 

And she had started to develop matted areas, despite our best brushing efforts:

We could see other chunks starting to look more plaited all over her body.  Her long beard was also starting to look (and feel) perpetually damp and dirty.  Hubby calls it her "wormy dirt beard," and she likes to rub it all over us.

I finally decided to just bring her to a pro, only to find that there was a weeks-long waiting list at every groomer!  Well, that made up our minds: DIY!  Szuka did not enjoy the process, but she was a champ.

Major problem, though: the clipper attachments (to determine hair length) wouldn't go through her coat so I used the clippers without one to remove some bulk.  Even then, her coat was just too thick, so I had to use the clippers without an attachment for the whole haircut.  I eyeballed it, which you just know had disastrous results.  A couple of really short patches, a few weirdly long chunks.  It took two evenings to groom her and give her a bath.  After a crushing defeat in a totally fair round of "1-2-3 not-it," Hubby had to tackle the bum region.  He's a champ too.

She looks a little ragged, but she's SO happy now without that bulky fur.  Even though there's still snow on the ground and it's been cool, she's still warm.  Frankly I think she'd be happy totally bald.

Here's a comparison of the before and after:

For the foreseeable future, we're going to keep clipping her ourselves.  It took a lot of time, but Hubby and I are nothing if not adventurous DIYers, and I'm sure we'll get the hang of it.  Here's what did (or could have done) to make it easier:
  • We invested in the best clippers we could buy at Petsmart ($170.00 on sale)
  • We worked together and took our time, calming her with a steady supply of hotdogs
  • We clipped her in the bathroom, with the door closed, and continually swept up the hair into a plastic bag (baaa, three bags full)
  • We clipped most of her hair dry (because it was easier), bathed her, then tackled clipping the bum region - that's probably my most valuable tip: wash the bum!!
  • We kept grooming scissors on hand to trim any stubborn, matted areas (we like scaredy cut scissors because they have a rounded tip for safety)
  • We should have brushed her more thoroughly before trimming
  • We shouldn't have waited so long - we will have to trim her more regularly so it's easier
  • We could have worked on a surface, like a table, to make it even easier to clip her belly and legs
There are special circumstances that make bathing her, trimming her nails, and clipping her feasible: Szuka is very patient and doesn't fight us, making DIY grooming safe for her and us.  Have you clipped your own dog's fur?  Any tips for us noobs? 

April 20, 2014

Old New House: For Your Walls

My 1960s Hungarian posters garner a lot of attention.  In fact, when Amy first put in an offer on the townhouse, she asked for the posters to be included!  Trolling Old New House I spotted a neat selection of vintage posters, including these two gems:

1970s Chinese advertisement poster

1940s-1960 Rodeo poster

Old New House actually has a lot of unusual things to adorn walls (white walls!!).  From vintage maps to science diagrams, retro "no smoking" signs and antique train logs.  They also have a great selection of, for lack of a better word, genuine art.  Here are some two more of my favorites:

Girl with Daisy lithograph

 Striking geometric ink drawing (and there's other similar pieces for a bold grouping)

If you've been in the market for something unusual to adorn your walls, see more at Old New House.

This post was sponsored by Old New House, but all words and editorial decisions are my own.
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