Thursday, March 31, 2011

Laundry Room Progress

Over the past 2 weeks we have made some great progress in the laundry room. It's still waiting for a few things like trim, paint and all the "decorating", but the work we've been able to finish has really made a difference. Here's the before post.
Saturday, the kids and I went into Edmonton to get away from the noise and mess. My mom offered to spend the day with Ella, so they baked muffins while Martha, Logan and I went shopping. I picked up some beautiful green acrylic knobs for the laundry room cabinet doors, 3 wooden apple baskets, a new recipe book and some other things, including a super neat fuzzy pipe cleaner monster craft for the kids from Micheals.
Ella looks really weird in this picture, she was tired.
We went to a few other places and then stopped at Fat Burger for some lunch. (The name of that place makes me cringe every time, but the food is so amazing and it's got really cute 50's diner decor.)
Logan and I sharing a California burger, with swiss and guacamole! Mmmm
Then of course we spent at least 2 hours at Ikea. This is becoming a weekly occurrence, and my bank account doesn't really like it. But I bought some shelves for the laundry room cabinets, a new bathroom scale, and some other stuff that I sadly can't even remember right now... By the time we were done it was too late and I was too tired to drive home, so we stayed at my mom's.
The next morning Lorne called saying he needed more wall panel adhesive and beer, so we had breakfast and left. But of course I got distracted and stopped in at Rona (for the adhesive, I swear) and ended up buying a huge white mirror for my front hall similar to this, but for only $30!
Once I got home Lorne had made quite a bit of progress on the laundry room walls:
Logan missed Daddy so much that he wouldn't let him put him down, so Lorne put him in his Carhart overalls like a baby carrier!
Once the walls were up by Monday afternoon, I was able to caulk the seams and install the floor (that's right, I put the floor down all by myself) so we could finally move the machines back and wash a load of diapers.
 Oh yeah, and somewhere in there we cut, stained and installed my plant shelves:
Taken from the kitchen side, looking into the laundry room. Most of these plants will go elsewhere once I plant my herbs, but that's lettuce and spinach in the long tin pot on the top!
So of course as soon as I could get laundry going again I did about 5 loads and piled a bunch of stuff back in this room because I'm sick of it clogging up the rest of the house. So now it looks like this (please remember it still needs molding and a coat of white paint everywhere):
I can't get over how much I love those floors!
I brought in a few of the cabinets, but we can't install the upper ones until I get some L-brackets tomorrow. Not everything pictured will stay in their current spots, and some things have even moved since I took these photos. The grey bins are staying there for recycling, and that sage-coloured thing beside them is the cat's "poo igloo". One of my main problems right now is that white bench to the left, I built it a while back to serve as shoe storage and a place to sit as you put your shoes on, but we never ended up sitting on it because it was always buried under the coat rack. So now I'm wondering if we need it, if I should get a different shoe storage system, if I should replace it with a narrower stool or chair so I can put my craft drawers back in there, where I should put my craft drawers, and what to do with the bench if it's not here.

On the far south wall (the windows to the right in the picture above) there is a new 24" wide cabinet (eventually it will have these doors and a butcher block counter top) that I've designated for (from top to bottom) Ella's games and cards, child-friendly crafts & colouring, and our boardgames. It covers a bit of the window, but I'm not concerned because it's covered on the outside with a beautiful purple flowering vine. And we chose 8" tall steel legs to allow the dryer vent to snake under the cabinet instead of losing storage space by having it go through the bottom shelf.
To the right of that (when looking at it) is the washing machine, then dryer, then chest freezer, then a 12" wide cabinet (originally for the wall) with 5 little cubbies (it will also have a wooden top):
I plan to put 5 baskets in there, one for each family member's things like sunglasses, wallets, and other things you need as you're leaving the house. The top one will be a "charging station" with a power bar. It has 6" steel legs to allow the outlet behind it to be completely inside the cabinet. Directly to the right of this is the doorway to the rest of the house. The other narrow cabinet you see will go on the wall, hiding the meter and electrical box inside with a shelf or two above the meter. I also have two 15" tall x 30" wide horizontal cabinets that I will probably hang one on top of the other directly to the left of this cabinet with the meter inside, either that or open shelves.
And I made these tags for the baskets:

On the far north wall (behind me in most of these pictures) is the coat rack that I built from scraps of plywood. It also got a new stain job during this renovation, it's supposed to match the flooring and plant shelves, but it doesn't... Thanks Ikea! *thumbs down*
The pile in the corner is tools and supplies so it won't be there for much longer, there's not much we can do about that pipe and electrical box (it's our outdoor light fixture), the door to the right in this picture is our back door to our yard (that I'm thinking of painting green), and the doorway to the left leads to the kitchen, bathroom and rest of the house through the living room. The small wall between the corner and the door on the right is where I plan to hang the ironing board, and from the corner to under the two right hooks is where I would put that shoe cabinet if I got it (it would stop about halfway across the wall, and just under that blue & green bag) then I plan on putting 2 hooks in the empty space on the lower left corner of the wall for the kids' coats.

So overall I'm really pleased with what's been done so far and I know it's only going to get better with molding and paint (hopefully in the next couple days). I absolutely love the flooring, and I can't wait to get the rest of it into my kitchen! In the next little while I'll be sourcing out more storage options to maximize the wall space and figuring out where I can get more hits of colour in olive and aqua.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Double Cranberry Muffins

A perfect breakfast muffin, or for any time of the day!

1 3/4 cups of Flour
1 cup & 1 tablespoon of White Sugar (divided)
4 teaspoons of Baking Powder
2 cups of "Post Selects Cranberry Almond Crunch" Cereal (divided)*
3/4 cup of Milk
1 Egg
1 teaspoon of grated orange peel
1/3 cup of orange juice
2 tablespoons & teaspoon of Oil (divided)
1 cup of fresh, frozen or dried Cranberries, coarsely chopped

Preheat your oven to 375F.
Combine flour, 1 cup of sugar and baking powder in a large bowl.
Mix 1 cup of cereal and milk in a medium bowl, let stand for about 3 minutes. Add egg, orange peel, juice and 2 tablespoons of oil, mix well. Add to flour mixture, stir just until moistened. Gently stir in cranberries.
Crush the remaining cup of cereal and mix in the remaining tablespoon of sugar and teaspoon of oil (I accidentally forgot the oil here and it turned out fine).
Spoon batter evenly into paper cups and sprinkle crushed dry cereal mixture over top.
Bake for 15-25 minutes** or until muffins are light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes then remove to wire rack.

Variation: substitute with blueberries.
Yeilds: Recipe says it makes 12 muffins, I ended up with 15.

A well balanced diet is a cupcake in each hand.
* This cereal has flakes, oat clusters, slivered almonds and dried cranberries. I'm sure you could replace it with something similar or a mixture of your own.
** I say this time range because I had my first batch in for 20 minutes and they were a little darker then I'd like, then my second batch was in for only 18 minutes and came out perfect but the recipe recommends 25 minutes.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Day of Antiques

Yesterday I drove into town and went to an antique sale. With admission only being $3 and tables packed full of shiny, rusty, neat things as far as the eye could see, I knew I was in for trouble. Thankfully I had Martha (my bag carrier) and Mom (my childminder) along with me. So with Logan strapped into the wrap on my chest, I set off to dig through piles of fine china, old tools, metal toy trains, books, records, irons, a little bit of furniture and anything else I could find. There was so much stuff there they had to have it in an aviation hangar!

The haul.

A set of milk glass dishes ($12), the original Slap Chop ($5), some glass flower frogs ($5), a set of aluminum coffee/tea/sugar tins ($8).

My mom picked up some tarnished silver forks and spoons for me earlier, not quite sure what I'll do with them yet. She also found this nest for me, and I picked up this bird at the antiques sale for $2.

A meat grinder! My mom and Lorne think I'm silly for buying this (for $2!) because it seems to be missing a small peice near the blades, but it's not like I intend on using it.

A close up of that wooden bird.

A better shot of those tins.
There were a few things I saw and liked but wasn't willing to pay anywhere near their asking price, like a statue of a gnome frying eggs for $75. And there are a few things I'm still thinking of now that I'm regretting not considering them a little more while I was there, like another iron with it's handle (but it was $20).

Afterward we went across the street for some lunch:
Logan and Grandma playing.
Martha checking us in on Facebook...
Ella, reading her "menu" looking fr-umpy (she was tired and hungry).

Logan snacking and wanting to play with the camera.
Unfortunately, most of the things I purchased will be going in my kitchen or laundry room, and they're still under construction. So those photos will have to wait.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Laundry Room Inspirations

Until more progress happens in my own laundry room, I might as well oogle at others and start getting all the decor elements ready. Still trying to figure out the colours though...

Here, oogle with me:


All photos (except of my own home) were found via the Googles and are from random unknown sources, but include Sara's House on HGTV, Nadine Bells, Real Simple, Mudroom Storage and Flickr. Some photos link back to their source.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Laundry Room BEFORE

I'm one of the few that actually like to do laundry. I love the smells of the soaps, the little treasures I find in my kids' and husband's pockets, and I find hanging and folding the laundry relaxing. Sheets flapping in the wind on the line on a warm summer's day; a line of brightly coloured diapers; warm blankets, pajamas or sweaters straight out of the dryer... Ahhhh it's like heaven.

But until now it's actually been a cluttered, backwards, cramped, orange & brown linoleum hell:
(south view)
(north view)
Uhg I can't believe I showed the entire internet that horrid mess.

Not only is this the place where I wash at least 7 loads laundry per week, it is also forced to serve as the back entry way, mud room for 4 people's outdoor wear and other extra storage, it houses all my craft supplies, the recycling, the deep freezer, boardgames and a plant or two. It's the landing zone for anything without a real home, or has to go to other homes.
And it's only 6'3" x 13'8". Two walls are painted plywood, the other two are outdoor vinyl siding. What was once a window became a shelf and then a wall, and another window became a recycling chute and will soon become a garden. I love the sun from the huge windows, but wish they weren't really old wood and energy un-efficient. The linoleum is ripped and nailed down in some spots with upholstery tacks, and of course none of the wiring is to code.   /shame

So I got sick of it and emptied out the room:
And made my husband rip the walls down:
And do some rewiring (here you can see my chalk drawings of where the cabinets are going to go):
And bought the new walls!
Now all I need is a caulking gun, a skill saw and a place to cut the boards! (and someone to entertain the kids)

And here's an outdated Ikea Home Planner version of my new layout plan:
(south view)
(northwest view) Except the shelves will be in that window/hole, not under, for plants!

I think I'll leave the beadboard walls all white, the floors will be new "Antique Stain" laminate wood, and I'm still deciding on the accent colour... I'm thinking little pops of orange here and there would be cheerful, but I'm still not 100% convinced that the orange won't clash with the wood tones in the room (I think my kitchen floor has instilled this fear in me).

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Simple, Beautiful Paper Pads

I am a lister.
But not the inspirational type lists that you're all drooling over at the recent viral 30 Days of Lists. I'm the type that needs lists so I don't lose my head, waste a day forgetting what my plans were, or buy a million lemons like that Alzheimer's commercial. I love how lists keep me on track, keep everything organized and show accomplishments by crossing finished items off. Because of my addiction to making at least 2 lists a day and having to bring about 4 lists on each outing, I go through a lot of notebooks, pads of paper and the like. so I decided to make my own!

I've also decided to promise myself to pamper myself with paper. I have a LOT of scrap booking paper just waiting in my craft drawers for a project "worthy" of it's beauty. I tend to hold onto paper that I love in case I "waste" it or come up with a perfectly coordinating project, and heaven forbid I start a project and it doesn't go well and have to end up recycling the gorgeous paper. I'm so silly like this, I also stash away food, underwear, yarns & fabrics... So I've put my foot down and have started to USE all the gorgeous paper I have stashed away, because EVERY project should deserve it. So I have used some of my favourite floral papers on these pads:

It was quite simple, I just cut 2 pieces of thicker cardstock to a size I desired (these are approximately 5.5"x5.5" and 3"x5.5" which divides up a regular 8.5"x11" sheet perfectly.) Cut up a stack of white printer paper (each pad has 20-30 pages) in the same size(s), layered appropriately and stapled it all together. I then added a ribbon to cover the staples and used double sided tape on the back of the pad to keep the ribbon in place. They're not perfect, but they're just for my own personal use.

My apologies go out to my friend at Sibyl & Psyche if my rough edges and uneven pages are making her cringe. lol :)