Refinish and Renew – The Story Of Our Table

It seems like March has been a month of renewing, we’ve been reorganizing, refreshing, and basically eliminating a lot of the rubbish in our life.

Our dining table was one of these projects. Still sturdy and strong, and a style we quite liked, the table however was showing the effects of heavy family use. Hundreds of dinners, plus many hours of working and crafting and playing, had left scratches and dents across the table top. I figured we were at the point where we had nothing to lose and that perhaps it was worth attempting to refinish the table top.

blog refinish 1Before refinishing. A well loved and well used table.

blog refinish 2The point of no return. A good couple of hours were spent with the palm sander. This is where you wonder if you had made the right decision.

blog refinish 3Sawdust EVERYWHERE! I must research dust collection systems.

blog refinish 4Sanded and looking better already.

blog refinish 5Praying that the wiping stain matches. I held my breath through this stage and through the topcoat stage as well. It was my first experience with wiping stains and I was very impressed. I was also able to refinish a small portion of wood flooring ( a parquet floor quick fix that actually worked!) and a south facing window sill at the same time.

blog refinish 6The finished table. I was completely thrilled with the result. Twenty-five dollars and a bit of time and the table is literally as good as new…….or better…….I think the topcoat I used is better than the one originally on the table so hopefully this will take a lot more wear.

blog refinish 7And now to research the next project, the 1946 the table is sitting on. Only by the table is it worn, the rest of the floor is in great shape. Does anyone have any idea what the finish on the floor is? Shellac? Varnish? I am toying with just stripping and sanding individual boards and refinishing them. The way the boards are laid I think it will blend well ( I did a blending on the parquet floor and it worked). If anyone has any thoughts let me know.







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Summer Diversion

I must admit my blogs have been scarce recently. It seems there have been lots of diversions. One big diversion is we are fence building. Of course to build this fence we have to remove the current fence that has been in place for 69 years. Digging up posts. Untangling roots. Removing huge rocks . Heritage properties bring challenges. We even unearthed a very old brick; my guess is from the building of the chimney of the house next door 110 years ago. It sounds like a lot of work, but strangely we are enjoying it. We have no doubt that completing the fence could possibly take the whole summer, but there are certainly worse things to be doing than working out in the sunshine.

(By the way, the wonky two by fours above the fence are our neighbour’s handy work….. we take no responsibility for that construction!)

Wawanesa Insurance problem….how can you be dinged for depreciation from before the property was built?

blog snowy cabin_3878

It’s the ongoing saga…….can anyone figure this out for me……..

We got an email May 19th 2015 from the new adjuster, it included this phrase…..

blog cabin 1… we phone up the Lac Ste. Anne County Office, the county in which the cabin resides, and ask “What year was the cabin built?”

(crossing our “t”‘s and dotting our “i”‘s)

The answer 1963.

Anyone spot the problem?

For the cabin to be depreciated 55 years it would have had to be built in 1960…….it wasn’t built until 1963.

Wawanesa Insurance is trying to depreciate a property for 3 years BEFORE THE PROPERTY EVEN EXISTED.



Stay tuned…..there is so much more.

( I suspect this post is the pre-game warm up!)







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Now things REALLY aren’t as they seemed…….


A few of you may remember my post about our cabin titled “Not All Things Are As They Seem” . It was a post about discovering some water damage at our cabin. Long story short, we had set out to replace a bouncy floor board, discovered a saturated and disintegrating subfloor, and chalked it up to a wonky hot water tank incident 4 years ago.

So in the meantime we had talked with insurance and had an adjuster out. The adjuster suggested we go back and take a second look as water still being present 4 years after the fact made no sense.

Well, he was right. So right. Upon arrival at the cabin this is what we found………

what the area looked like upon arrival

fresh water.

Soaking wet in a localized spot. This time it was so easy to spot as the rest of the wood had dried out as we had removed the vapour barrier.

So the plot thickens. We have a wall between the tub and the hot water tank, finished on both sides with pipes going in, and a puddle of water under it. We have NO idea what is inside that wall, we don’t know how the pipes run and we don’t know if there is any electrical.

wall with pipes going in show no water damageThe floor is shot. The laminate is buckled. The sheeting is soaked. The supporting beams are completely gone in some places. This is only in the places we have opened up. There is a soft spot in the kitchen now, and one in our bedroom. I think we are realizing that there is a chance every piece of flooring, subfloor and support may have to be stripped out plus some structural work. This is big…..and not in a good way.

The short term solution….drain off the water supply and then figure it out.

The last two months have not been fun. Here’s the tally:

car accident – 5 month old vehicle, one oil change, never even through the car wash, written off while driving 10 km/h (tells you how fast the other driver was going!) . Impact was far greater than the time we hit a deer traveling highway speeds. Luckily all the kids were fine but my goodness have I been walking a lot for the last 3 weeks. Did you know a 20 minute driving errand is an hour and a half walking errand? Well now I know that first hand.

dead laptop – my husband’s had an early demise due to a cup of coffee incident

dead camera lens – 12 month warranty, died in month 13. The very same model of lens died at month 16 the previous year. I am unimpressed. One person implied maybe I “use it too much”… 13 months!

dead printer – my husband’s, to be fair it probably WAS used too much as work has been insanely busy for him this year

mouse infestation – so far 12 caught. Dead mice are my husband’s deal….I don’t do mice, snakes or bats, however both mice and snakes have been caught between my feet and a bat once flew into my head (true story….so much for sonar!)

squirrel relocation issues – 3 relocated so far, yet more still in our garage. Obviously they know they have another winter living in luxury as transforming the garage to a workshop/studio will be waiting until next year in light of the cabin situation.


My goodness we need a break. We just need to sort out the vehicle so we can head west and walk on a beach for a few days.


My $53 bathroom update.

Life has been interesting and busy which probably explains why I haven’t been putting out a flurry of blog posts. I have been busy with a bit of photography, continuing to work on the naturally dyed bracelets, updating the website, and an unexpected illustrating project.

On Monday I walked into the upstairs bathroom and I just couldn’t take it anymore. It was time for an update. Spontaneous paint jobs and renos are nothing new in our house, sometimes it is something minor like painting an accent wall, while others are more major like a late night decision to take out a wall (true story……..we decided if we put a sledge hammer through the wall we had to commit to the project!).

The bathroom was looking very uninspired. Five children create a lot of wear and tear. The plain white looked…well….just plain. The bathroom needed a change.

bathroom - before




Now the bathroom is a pretty unremarkable space. It is 67 years old and it measures 5.5 feet by 6 feet. The remarkable thing about the bathroom is we managed to get a 5 foot long tub installed in it a few years ago, and even better the tub is 20 inches deep. This tub had to be squeezed through a doorway that is 22.5 inches wide. If you ever want to see a plumber sweat this was the perfect scenario, with only 2.5 inches to spare getting through the doorway and six inches to spare once inside the bathroom. To make things even better, once they managed to get the tub in (and they swore it wouldn’t go) they realized the floor was no where near level; let’s just say this wasn’t the plumber’s best day ever at work.

Anyways, back to my $53 update.

I decided that maybe we should try a grown up color, but painting all the walls would be just too dark. I decided on painting two of the walls with a shower curtain in a similar, but not matching, tone. The darker color really defines the space and makes it a much nicer space to be in. The bathroom will never be huge, but it is definitely a lot more pleasant.





Painting of the lake by our cabin. A relaxing scene to look at while soaking in the bath.

Painting of the lake by our cabin. A relaxing scene to look at while soaking in the bath.