Friday, August 27, 2010

MP #1: Repairing water-damaged drywall

I officially started the craft room makeover. FINALLY. I've broken this entire daunting makeover into "Mini-Projects" (more to come later) and the first is done! One down, many more to go!

Mini-Project #1: Fix the ceiling drywall, damaged by the leaking roof last summer.

Water build-up from my leaking roof, eventually soaked
through my ceiling drywall, causing it to split on the seam
and fall in. There was a lot of loose drywall to scrape off
before I could begin the repair.
I'm embarrassed to admit it took me a year to fix this. May I never leave something this long again. I'm not sure why I put this off so long. It turned out to be low on the handyman-toughness scale. It was also low budget. Now, that it's done I feel all the more empowered to tackle dry-walling the closet. That will be Mini-Project #2.

The correct way to fix damaged drywall, if it has a hole in it, is to cut out around the hole, then fit it with a new piece cut to match.

Unfortunately, I didn't really have a hole, but I certainly had more than just a crack or peeling tape. I seriously doubted my dad's advice that putty alone would do the job. After some research though, I decided this was going to be the easiest solution. I set to work, gobbing on putty then scraping it smooth; the whole time envisioning myself on Canada's Worst Handyman. I have to admit it took 2 tries, gobbing and sanding to get a smooth finish, but I am happy with the final result! Here is the lowdown.

Tools Used:

  • Drywall putty
  • Drywall knife
  • Drywall tape
  • Exacto knife to cut old tape and new tape
  • Drywall sander & paper
Steps to Repair Damaged Drywall (Not a Hole)
  1. Scrape, chip and sand off flaking and crumbling drywall around the hole. You need a 'clean' surface to work with. Wear eye protection also.
  2. Use drywall knife to apply putty to the hole. Scrape excess off so surface is smooth. 
  3. You can see this is still a little rough and could use some smoothing out. An even layer of putty, dried and sanded and it looked much better!
  4. Press tape into putty and smooth out any air bubbles. Make sure all sides of the tape are set into the putty. 
  5. Putty over the tape to hide and hold in place. Smooth and scrape off excess with putty knife. Ensure tape is entirely covered. Otherwise, you won't get a smooth surface when you sand because you'll be pulling up paper.
  6. Feather putty around the edges of patching to 'blend' with existing surface.
  7. Allow to dry overnight.
  8. If your putty is thick and pretty rough, use coarser sandpaper to remove excess. Change to a finer paper to finish and smooth your work. 
  9. Clean up dust.
  10. Prime or prepare for ceiling or wall finish (paint in this case).

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Strike it from the List!

It was a social outing with work colleagues, but this week I went on a Whirlpool JetBoat Ride down the Niagara River! It was excellent! It was also on my bucket list! Woo hoo!

One of my co-workers has worked for the Niagara-on-the-Lake company for several years, and he treated us to a great adventure on the river. Although it's perhaps not as well known for rapids as Ottawa, the Niagara River has some of the greatest rapids in North America, ranging all the way from a Class One in size (think of water flowing over a rock) to a Class Six (illegal for rafting). We experienced everyone on the Jetboat, including some amazing Class Five rapids. This trip is not for land-lubber. You will get wet, head to toe, soaking wet. We were warned before departing, it would be like jumping in a pool. There was no exaggeration to this statement.

I was a little anxious after a friend told me the Jetboat made her nauseous. Anticipation prevailed however; I have wanted to ride the Jetboat since I moved to this area. The boat is powered by 1500 hp and travels up the river about 60 mph, so the combination of speed, spray in your face and the exhilaration of the rapids removed any chance of feeling sick. I'm so glad I went and now, I can stroke that off my list!

How is your list coming? Are you going to get through everything you hoped this summer?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

FreshCo Grocery Store Review

a. This post is not about my house.
b. What else is new?
c. We all eat - so it's still relevant right?

I have heard the radio commercials for weeks, probably even months. "Discount done right." Honestly though, until the flyer showed up in my mailbox last week announcing the newly opened FreshCo in town, I had not paid much attention.

Lamely, I admit, the coupon for a free grocery bag drove me to the store. I have to admit though, as a discount shopper, I was a little intrigued by the thought of an abundant selection of fresh fruits & veggies, a bakery and deli. This didn't sound like your everyday No Frills.

New FreshCo Store

The newest grocery banner under the Sobey's empire replaced the Price Chopper in my town. I shopped at Price Chopper once and decided not to ever again, so I was a little speculative entering the store. This was even before my Google research verified what I experienced firsthand- this is not a re-launched discount brand. FreshCo is a spanking new brand, and in my opinion, they're positioned to give all grocery stores a run for their money.

Buying Ontario and Canadian grown fruits and veggies is most important to me. Bins full of wonderful, Ontario watermelons and cabbages greeted me at the front door. Just inside, I was met with more bins of  potatos, onions, peaches and more, all grown proudly in Ontario. Impressive, I thought. Furthermore, as I walked the remainder of the aisles, I was surprised amazed at how much domestic produce and meat was available for customers to purchase. Their selection might even send Galen Weston back to the countryside for more locally grown food.

You might be asking right about now- "But wait! How can you say you care about getting cheap food AND buying local. You're a bit of a hypocrite." I guess I don't disagree. I buy local/domestic to support our farmers, but I also have to mind my budget. I put Ontario/Canadian first and regardless of price, but if I can have both, why wouldn't I?

I steered pretty clear of the 'value items', which is grocery store code for the processed-high-margin-not-necessarily-healthy foods. I rarely go down these aisles anyway, unless for canned food or cereal, but I could see the bulk pallets proclaiming cheaper prices.

All-in-all, I was impressed. The store was clean. The associates friendly, although I didn't have any questions to really test out their service. The selection, pretty good. As Arnold put it "I will be back."

And if there are more people out there like me, I think they will be too.

Check out FreshCo's handy Pack-Your-Panty, Savvy Shopping Tips and Meet Their Growers on their 

Friday, August 13, 2010

True Love

I have fallen in love. Dirty fingernails. Damp soil. A bucket of weeds. Bliss.

I think I always kind of knew, but I only truly realized this week. I love gardening. 

I like cooking. I enjoy making a wonderful meal and eating it. I like blogging. I like crafting. I like renovating and decorating. But I LOVE gardening. I could spend a whole day pulling weeds, separating, transplanting, trimming and pruning. It never gets old. I never have to make myself do it. I never regret if I spend a little extra time. 

Perhaps, it's because it's so relaxing. After a long week, it's calming to sit next to a flower bed and carefully tend to its habitants. Weeds only give me further reason to spend time in my garden. I actually find weeding therapeutic. If only it were as easy as a quick jerk of the hand to rid our lives of every small annoyance. I suppose that's a little deep though, huh?

There is a real sense of accomplishment though, as you watch a garden take shape. Not only that, but the satisfaction of seeing your work grow and come to life is unmatched for me. Maybe this is why I am continually adding to my garden. The first summer in my house, I watched my neighbours build flower bed after flower bed. I joked she could stop, her house looked great, but she went into further detail about her next plans. 

Now, I understand her passion. For her, it was also therapeutic. For me, an escape from the deadlines, budgets, politics and obligations. 

If you need me, I'll be in my garden.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

First, I have to say I have a cold. A sore throat, stuffed up, cloudy-brained head cold in the summer. How crummy is that? The answer: Very.

I'm certain air conditioning is not helping it, so I've been turning it off and sleeping with my windows open. It's so humid though, I feel like the heavy air is crushing my brain even more! Ick!

Okay, let's get back on track, shall we?

Is it just me or does anyone else seem to have the next coming of the fruit flies going on in your kitchen right now? I've been taking out my garbage more often, keeping fruit and dirty dishes off the counter, and I still seem overrun by the little guys.

I have finally managed to wrestle back control of my kitchen counter this week after I discovered this tip in MaryJanesFarm magazine (a post in itself no less):

"To get rid of fruit flies, just place a small dish containing 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar and a few drops of dishwashing liquid on your counter."

If you want to experience the definition of "white on rice", you need to try this in your own kitchen.

Like hypnosis, the fruit flies immediately started flying into the dish. I've emptied and refilled the dish daily, and by dinner there are always more who have succumbed. I certainly understand why the vinegar works. Every time I walk into the kitchen, I have to remind myself I DON'T have a rotting bowl of fruit on my counter. If I can smell it, I am sure it is even stronger for the flies and once they get in the dish, the dish soap makes it impossible to fly back out.

Slightly tragic? Yes, maybe. Fruit fly problem? Not anymore.

You can check out more organic home care solutions and more at Home Safe Home on MaryJanesFarm.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Roofing, Sunflowers and the Racing Summer Clock

I can't believe it's Wednesday night already! I posted last Thursday. Now it's August. This summer is flying by incredibly fast, and I'm starting to feel a little bummed I have barely made a dent in my bucket list

3 for 11... not so good. Hopefully the balance of the summer is more about me and less about work.
My life has been engrossed in planning a major meeting for the past week. When I wasn't cropping photos on presentation slides last weekend, I was roofing. Yes, that is correct. My Grandma, brother and uncle's houses all need a new roof this year. In appreciation for my dad, brother and uncle helping replacing my roof last year, I felt personally obligated to pitch in. We had lots of bodies, but I helped where I could, scraping old shingles off the roof and picking up the stragglers that didn't make it into the dumpster. 
It was brutally hot on the roof, and I was a little sore the next day, but all-in-all, it wasn't THAT bad. I enjoyed spending the time with my family, and when I couldn't be helpful on the roof, I weeded my Grandma's flower bed.
With my meeting wrapped up and now behind me, it felt strange to come home tonight and be able to spend my evening as I pleased. I picked three more giant zucchini out of my garden and plucked the ripe cherry tomatoes off my plant. I marveled at my tomato plants. I've never seen tomatoes so large, and they're loaded with fruit. In hindsight, I really only needed 2 of these plants. Looks like I'm going to be canning tomato sauce and salsa this year!

What I was also paranoid was Giant hogweed in my garden is actually a sunflower. Of course! The seeds from last year's plants easily could've ended up in the garden. Speaking of sunflowers though... this field has caused many drivers to pull over. 2 weeks ago, I caught it in full bloom. I love how I can't help but smile when I see sunflowers.

I have this plant/weed growing in my flower bed. It has clusters of waxy-looking white flowers that turn into a black berry. I have no idea what it is. Any ideas?