Tuesday, 26 December 2017

John's Christmas Present

I always have a pretty long list of things that John might want for Christmas (what can I say... I'm pretty good at remembering things he mentions/knowing what he needs). This year I decided to fix up his office for part of his present.

John's office - before

John's office - before

Since it's the smallest bedroom upstairs I'm fairly certain it will remain an office for a while so I figured it was pretty safe to redo. So the last day before his Christmas break I had a friend come over and help me with the project... and we got it all done while he was at work.

Luckily for us I had somehow convinced John that we should FINALLY finish painting the ceilings upstairs... and since we would be emptying out the rooms to paint the ceilings I also convinced him we should paint the walls while we are at it. This meant that the bulk of the hard work was already done.

New furniture wasn't in the budget so I had to work with what he already had in there. This meant that pretty well all the furniture that was already in there was going to stay in there. I did come up with a plan while he was away for work a week in November for how I thought his office could be arranged differently though.

He has a couple of newspaper clippings that he's saved for years... one was in a slightly damaged frame so I bought 2 of the cheapest frames from Michaels (using 50% off coupons of course). They were meant for a certain size of poster and the newspaper clipping didn't fill up the entire frame... but I wasn't going to pay for a mat on it so instead I turned the paper that came with the frame so that the white side was facing outwards to use as a mat... worked pretty well if you ask me!

John also had this slightly 3D picture of a hockey player (it's the middle picture in the line up of 3) that I had to figure out. I went to Michaels to ask about a frame for that but the frames that have enough space in them to accommodate something 3D like this were kind of expensive (and also not quite the right size) so after much contemplation I opted for just putting a nail in the wall and not using a frame for it at all (see the final pictures at the end of the post).

The wall colour. 

Below are some of the options I was debating on to paint one of the walls in his office... in the end I decided to paint all the walls a neutral colour and use some coloured curtains instead.

So I found the nicest curtain rod I could for an inexpensive price ($14 at Canadian Tire) and some inexpensive but still nice curtains from Walmart. Since his favourite team is the Washington Capitals (and he has a bit of stuff to do with that team) I wanted some of the accent colours to be either red or blue (hence me debating on blue as the wall colour). Which is why I opted for blue and white curtains.

The last thing I added to the room was a couple of floating shelves. This way he would have somewhere to show off some of his "toys", somewhere to put pictures, or just extra space to put something one day. I bought them at Jysk a while ago when they were on sale. I really wanted one large one (which is the size I ended up buying) and one that was the size down from this but they were 2 different shades of white which I didn't like so instead I got 2 of the larger sizes.

We also hung up his whiteboard so it's no longer sitting on the floor (and I guess if John wants to put it back on the floor he can).

I must say the finished product... is not too bad... and we got it all done in the span of 4 hours (while John was at work for the morning)

I also decorated his office door to be more present like

John's office - after
New curtains, pictures hung, brown chair added, and switched out his Winnie the Pooh lamp for something smaller and more neutral.

John's office - after. Pennants displayed, floating shelves installed, whiteboard hung (with festive message), Christmas tree added, and desk moved from corner to the longest wall.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

$20 Sock Present

My friends and I did this last year where we filled a pair of socks up with some presents (in total it should all cost about $20) and have a white elephant type gift exchange. This year I thought of this an entire year in advance. I figured if I was left with a couple of extra pairs of Christmas socks they would be easily gifted elsewhere. Because of this I got 2 pairs of Christmas socks for about $3 which left me with about $17 to fill the socks with. I had also purchased nearly a year ago (or maybe it was 6 months ago during the summer) during Bath and Body Works semi annual clearance a bath bomb. I've never actually used one before but I was thinking of a specific friend in this group that would REALLY love it... so I got it on the chance that others would also appreciate it. Anyways, at this point I was at about $12 left to spend. I had something that I had bought that could possibly work with this group a year ago but it was too big to fit in a sock (so I'm using that at another $10 gift exchange instead). Then I remembered that I had seen these cute cactus things at Chapters about half a year ago on clearance. The odds were likely not in my favor that they would have any left in the city but then as it turned out they had a bunch of them at the location closest to me... still for the same clearance price unfortunately (shouldn't it have been even cheaper by this point?) and then for the last piece to finish filling up those socks was to buy an actual real cactus (in case the fake one wasn't up someones alley). John and I had a bunch of leftover plastic pots from our wedding favours so I used one of those to put it in a better looking pot.

It wasn't easy this year considering the restrictions that were placed on what we could put inside of the socks. No chocolates (and I had a BUNCH of Lindt chocolates that could have gone inside from our advent calendar). no chapstick. No tea and no coffee... and those are only the restrictions that I could remember. So, I think I did alright all things considering.

I was pretty close to choosing a yellow topped cactus but then I saw this one lonely red looking one and thought that better matched the season.

Luckily, socks are stretchy and will be able to accommodate the larger items... I'll just need to put a tag with a warning on it to roll the sock down instead of just grabbing things out of it so that the cactus stays intact.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

The Basement

When people walk into our basement their comments are usually about our carpet, the brick wall, the stove, and the brick arch (we usually have to point out the lovely carpeted bathroom though). We don't have much of a plan for the basement yet... we know the carpet could be of a bit better quality and a less busy look (likely something a little lighter too to help brighten up the basement). We aren't a fan of the brick wall (or the "stage" below it). In fact, the plan is to get rid of that wood burning stove to hopefully make the basement feel a bit bigger. Not sure what the plan is for the bricks though. Originally we thought we would get rid of them then it was recommended to us that we paint them white and keep them (probably a simpler solution but not sure how the bricks are going to look once we get rid of the "stage"... and we are definitely getting rid of that stage!).

The brick wall in all its glory!
So the stove is sitting on what people are deciding is our basement "stage". If you look closely you'll notice that it even has 2 lights pointed at it for "stage lighting".... perfect for concerts, plays, or saying important things while standing on.

Doors from left to right: bathroom, storage, laundry/furnace

A corner perfect for a drum set!

Friday, 1 December 2017

Advent Calendars

How do you even know when Christmas is without an advent calendar to help you count down the days? 

Over the past few years John and I have done a few different versions of these

One year we got the cheap $1 ones (we each needed our own of course so that was actually $2 and the chocolates are hardly worth that price). I also made this advent calendar one year where I counted down to Christmas with reading a bible verse (or 2) every day.

Last year I bought us a Lindt advent calendar right before December so it was discounted... but even then... you're stuck with so many white ones that aren't that good)

This year though I made us this advent calendar

I went to the local Lindt store and got 26 different flavours of their truffles to fill in the slots with (there are 2 in each - one for each of us). I had been collecting toilet paper rolls since the summer (at least!) and I even moved all of those toilet paper rolls from the condo to the new house when we moved. Right before I made this advent calendar I debated on switching it all for something that might look a little more attractive but I don't know... I don't think it looks all that bad. Does it? At the very least we know it will taste delicious! And, there are no plain white truffles inside this advent calendar!

I already have an idea for what I want to do next year... something just has to go on an extreme sale at the end of this Christmas season first so that I can justify purchasing it.