Tag Archives: painting

Staycation 2020

29 Nov

Oddly enough I had a bunch of unused vacation days and with the year quickly coming to an end my work wanted me to use them. I wasn’t so psyched on the idea, I mean, I can’t go anywhere, so what is the point? Turns out there didn’t have to be a point, just a strong nudge towards picking some days to take off.

I picked a random week in November and tried to get excited for it. I decided I’d do at least one all day hike, and hopefully more smaller ones, I’d paint the apartment, hang with friends (in a socially distant way), maybe do a day trip somewhere, and just use the time to live a relaxed life.

In keeping with the theme of 2020 the week I chose ended up being one of a two week time period where we went in to tighter restrictions in an effort to stop our Covid numbers from rising. This meant I wasn’t allowed to go anywhere unless it was an essential trip, so no hikes, no hanging with friends, no day trips out of town, no random fun shopping errands or days out doing whatever I wanted (within reason of course!).

Want to know what I was left with? Painting. The one thing on my list the tighter rules couldn’t take away, in fact, Dr. Bonnie Henry probably would have loved it. A human, alone in their apartment, for 9 days, with a project to keep them busy, she probably wishes all of us in BC would do that.

I will admit I didn’t start vacation with a great mindset, I was feeling like I was being grounded, even though I have been following all of the rules, and I was a bit cranky about it.

Vacation, to me anyways, means travel of some sort, at least one activity that gets my adrenaline going and has the potential for death, and I dunno, excitement. These 9 days weren’t looking to have any of that. In fact, they were going to be…productive. Who has a productive vacation?!

In true me fashion I did manage some entertaining moments, entertaining in a face palm kind of way that is. See, I was painting part of my bedroom, living room, and kitchen, and I was working on all the walls at the same time, none of this work in the bedroom, get it finished, then move on to the next room. Why be organized like that? So every room in my apartment was in chaos. Furniture moved to the middle of rooms, things draped with tarps, my dry food packed up so I could move the pantry, you know the drill.

One of the days, fairly early on, I stopped for lunch and realized that I couldn’t access my food. The dry stuff I packed away was completely inaccessible, somewhere in the middle of the living room hidden by furniture. My fridge, well, I could get to it, but was only able to open it a little wider than a jar of mayo. So not super wide. I thought about ordering take-out but had also blocked my door, and wasn’t sure if I asked the delivery driver to hand the food to me through the window if they’d go for it. This meant I had to find something in the apartment I could reach, and eat without cooking. I had buns on the counter already and with a lot of stretching was able to reach the shredded cheese and the mayo, so my meal that day was mayo and cheese on a bun, with a mini can of Fanta and also a cup of tea.

On the plus side, I’d forgotten how much I like mayo and cheese on a bun, it is super simple but enjoyable. On the not quite a plus side, it was the only meal I was able to put together for days because it took that long to be able to move things so I could open the fridge door wider. Oh, another plus would be I lost weight during the 9 days, thanks to manual labour and limited access to food lol.

In the end, I’m not upset the walls got painted, or my furniture rearranged, or that I worked on the apartment. And because I wasn’t doing anything but working in the apartment on my vacation I extended the areas I was painting and did more than intended, making it look even better.

Am I still a little salty I didn’t get to do one hike or day trip? Well sure, I’m human after all. But I console myself with the reminder it rained all that week so I wouldn’t have wanted to hike in that weather anyways, and not doing a day trip out of town saved me money, and the place does look a lot nicer now.

I guess my lesson learned is that a productive vacation isn’t all bad, it is just different than what I am used to, and adjusting to something different than what I am used to is basically the theme of 2020. I got used to masks, and social distancing, and virtual concerts, so I guess it isn’t much of a stretch to get used to a different kind of vacation…right?

I thought I’d share some pictures to show the changes in paint colour. The first slide show is from my bedroom, the wall in there is a weird wood paneling that is a super smooth texture. Originally I was just doing the wood panel wall but extended it out to both sides of the little hall that leads in to my room and the closet area. The colour I chose was a grey-blue but it turned out more blue than I anticipated. I don’t hate it, and if you think I’m going through all the work to paint over it just to get a slightly different colour than you need to find a therapist to bring you back to reality my friend.

The next slideshow is the living room and kitchen. The wood paneling there was more textured, grainy, like actual wood and not a shiny panel. I only took a before picture of the living room but that wood wall went all along the living room wall, over the door frame, and extended down the kitchen wall. I picked a white with tinge of grey because no way would I be able to match perfectly the white in the rest of the space and I was well aware of my limits and that I wouldn’t be able to paint the entire living room and kitchen. So I wanted a neutral that was obviously intentionally a different white than the rest of the walls but not shockingly different. The darkness of the walls underneath the paint, plus the texture of them, gives the area a different look than I anticipated, but I’m liking it. I haven’t put any art up on the walls yet, I’m still sorting out what I want to put up, but I’ll get there eventually. In the kitchen I was originally stopping where that wall juts out but I ended up moving the shelf unit and painting all the way to the door.

I removed the bedroom door, I never closed it anyways, and that really opened up the space, now that I don’t have it blocking a chunk of the living room wall. I still have to pick covers for the light switches and plugs, the ones I took off were dark brown, so they matched to the wood, but I don’t want them against the paler colours, so I’m taking a look for which ones I want. Oh, and I need knobs for the closet doors, which fyi, I accidentally painted shut and had to fight to get them to open again…but that’s a story for another day lol.

My Refinished Table

3 May

I have a little table, I think it used to be a vanity table, that I got when I moved out. It belonged to my parents, and before that to my Grandma on my dad’s side, and before that I don’t know…maybe it got given to Grandma and Grandpa by one of their parents or maybe they bought it, and if they did buy it did they buy it brand new? Who knows! But it is definitely old, well, older than other stuff I own, especially since most of it comes from Ikea lol

It is actually part of a set, there are also two dressers, one of which I snagged from my parents last summer, the other is unfortunately being held hostage by my brother and I doubt I will ever get possession of it lol

I use this little table to do my hair at. Such a noble purpose! I always think it would be an adorable table to sit at and write letters or do other creative work on buuuuut to do that I’d have to move the hair dryer and straightener and hair brush aaaaaand go in to my bedroom (I am usually in the living room) and that is apparently too much effort for me *rolls eyes*.

So this is what it normally looks like…

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Notice the horrible paint job? Ugh. I hate it. It is chipped all over and a colour that I have no love for…my mom was the last person to paint it and she painted over the pre-existing layers of paint. She painted it when it was popular to have that “antique green” colour thing happening, so that is what she did…the lighting in this pic isn’t great so trust me, that is the colour and no offence to my mom but double ugh. That trend passed a loooong time ago and this table is a perfect example of why lol

Last summer I decided I needed a project and this table was going to be it! How hard could it possibly be to take some paint off and re-paint the table in a colour I like? I imagined this entire process taking two days, three tops if the table needed two layers of paint put on and therefore needed drying time. I have painted rooms, surely I can paint one little table!


This “little project” has taken me for ever! Especially since I am lazy and kept putting it off lol

Turns out there weren’t just one or two layers of paint on this table, there were 6. Six! And one of those layers was this horrible dark brown that needed no fewer than 4 coats of paint remover and scraping to get it off. That dark brown paint was harder to remove than gum out of hair and I curse whichever ancestor put it on the table. Curse!…especially since I am sure that dark brown will be one of the many layers of paint on the matching dresser which means one day I’ll have to get it off an even larger piece of furniture…hopefully by then I will have enough money to be able to pay someone to do it lol

I originally bought an eco-friendly paint remover, I wanted this to be non damaging to the environment, or as non damaging as possible anyways. I found one at Canadian Tire and it was crap. I followed all the instructions and nothing happened. I thought I must be doing something wrong so I asked my landlord who is a handyman kind of guy and he said the eco-friendly ones never work well and I’d be better off using the kind he has.

He then oh-so-nicely showed me where his stash of the stuff was and said to help myself. He also gave me a bunch of tips and tricks to make the whole thing go easier. Turns out there were a lot of things I hadn’t thought of so his help proved invaluable.

Besides lending me his knowledge, different sized scraper tools and paint remover he also let me move the table in to his garage and work there.

The above pics are the table in the garage awaiting rejuvenation. See that filigree on the front of the drawer? That was the part I was most excited about, I couldn’t wait to see it without so many layers of paint on it, I was betting on there being way more detail to it than what I had ever seen.

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This is the paint thinner at work on the drawer front, see the evil brown paint peeking through?

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And here is the beautiful filigree! The right side is the side still covered in 6 freakin layers of evil paint, on the left it is for the most part bare with just little bits of paint still needing removal. You would not believe how hard it was getting all the paint out of the various nook and crannies of the flowers and leaves. But totally worth it because seriously, detail, look at that detail! Someone hand made that, took time to carve each little leaf and flower and I absolutely love it. πŸ™‚

My landlord had suggested taking it off the drawer and replacing it with a new one, save me a ton of work, which absolutely horrified me, and I am so glad I didn’t listen to him.

After working on it, then ignoring it for months, then working on it again, I finally finished the table and am quite happy with the results.

Sorry for the shadow from the overhang on the close up picture, I couldn’t really figure out a way to avoid that…

The table looks more white in the pictures than it is, it is a colour called something silly like Fairy Wings and is a warmer tone than just white. I know it seems like a plain choice but I wanted to be able to change decorations on the table and always have them look good with the paint colour. Also, I didn’t want a colour I would get bored with after a year or so and have to go through the entire process again lol.

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This is what the table looks like now…I’m not completely set on the items I have on the desk but for now they will do. You may notice the back of the table, there is a new piece there. My landlord offered to make it so items wouldn’t slip off the back of the table…something that has never happened now that I think of it lol. There was a ledge back there, an unsightly little ledge, where a mirror used to live. I’m not sure what happened to the mirror, it might be in my parent’s basement and if it is one day I will claim it but for now I am quite happy with my black framed mirror that is on the wall. I actually have to raise the mirror a little bit since that new back piece covers a bit of the mirror frame but its not really a priority in my world right now lol

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This little guy is why I wanted a simple colour for the table. Right now I really like this teal wooden decorative item with the “never stop exploring” quote on it but I might get bored with it, or the colour, or just be wanting change, and I’ll take it off the table and want to replace it with something else. By choosing a simple colour I won’t be limited to picking another teal item because I need it to match my table.

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I was going to leave you with the uncluttered picture of the table, as if that is what it looks like all the time lol, but I decided to be honest. Here is what it looks like on a daily basis. πŸ™‚ I want to buy one of those weighted purse hook things to hang my hair dryer on because it has a loop on the handle so it can be hung when put away. I haven’t figured out what to do with the straightener though, it doesn’t have a loop so I can easily hang it. I like the table top to be fairly clutter free, I don’t mind items along the back but I don’t like having the main part of the table covered, even if it is with my all important hair dryer and straightener lol.

So there we have it, took me a ridiculous amount of time but I did manage to strip the old paint and replace it with a colour I like. Yay!

It’s silly but every time I go in to my room I look at the table and smile a little, there is something to be said for seeing the results of your hard work. πŸ™‚

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