WHY THIS BLOG?

I AM PARCA'S CHOSEN:
Parca is the Roman Goddess of Childbirth and Destiny and after you get to know me, you will see why I believe she has, without doubt, made me her Poster Child. I deal with the odd serious issue but for the most part, my posts are just some cheeky fun, reviews of favorite shows, and true stories that will make you laugh out loud (or run screaming...I don't know you well enough to predict your behavior). You'll find satire with the odd parody tossed in....and most definitely a generous helping of hyperbole, with a dollop of facetiousness.

I am Canadian so expect a bit of politeness too. Sorry.

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1) MY eBOOKS CAN BE FOUND ON AMAZON HERE:
DENISE ON AMAZON
2) MY eBook Trailers are on YOUTUBE
3) My website:denisesevierfries.com
4) My Photo-Art Youtube Trailer is here too.

5) My old monthly column: The Lighter Side of Self Publishing
6) Outlander Series Facebook forum: the popular book/tv series group I am admin on , is The BEST and BIGGEST with well over 100,000+ members! Come join us! *click on bold red words (***NOTE: I am on sabbatical from said group as major life changes and a book trying to escape my head have pulled me out of FB in general...)

Monday, October 28, 2019

ATTACKING UGLY ROOMS: DIY Small Space renovating

After a years' sabbatical on Vancouver Island, we returned to our old job managing a small, family friendly motel in the Fraser Valley in Southern British Columbia (yes, we are rated #1 thank you 😊). Mainland grandbabies popping up left and right, with little hope of seeing them very often due to the expensive and time-sucking ferry over the Georgia Strait between us, made our decision to return easy. Orca, cruise ships and Island Life is amazing, but are NOTHING to soft and/or sticky grandkiddie kisses! 

Back in the saddle again, we assessed our old Manager's Suite: the renos we did in the former years stood up well, even though the temporary manager was neglectful and, well, a lazy dick. We had to scrub off a layer of dust and set things right again. 

I was able to load a section of ready-made shelves with a few of my favorite books and book series...




...but it was smack dab next to a room we had never before gotten around to tackling before...and it begged book shelves. 

Lots of them.

The old storage room off to the left of the living room was always cold and uninviting, with a boarded up window that protected us, and the glass, from the riff raff that sometimes trafficked the alley that bordered our left flank. The room was  inhospitable, and therefore ignored and all but left alone save for housing the usual junk one accumulates.

However, upon our return, and promise to remain until retirement in a few years, I decided, much to the chagrin of my Long Suffering husband Peter, that I needed a mini-office to inspire me to continue my writing, and it had to have it's own wee fireplace to warm my perpetually cold feet (Peter loves a cold house; I prefer a Dante's Inferno-like temprature...or warmer). It's the only thing we ever argue about in our 23 years together. 😈

So, if I can dig up old pics, I will show you more thoroughly the transformation...but for now, imagine a small ugly room that you appreciate having a door to close on it. 

All the useless junk was thrown away, semi-useable junk was sold or stored in the basement for future considerations. The grotesque carpet was removed (I swear I hear it growl), new paint was applied, etc...and a home for the balance of our books was created! The boarded window presented a problem...but we would deal with it when need be...

Let the games begin: 
Mapping out the sized and shape of the room:



Painting was quick and easy, flooring more time consuming but no problem for the Pro (a.k.a.: my hubby). Then, the bookshelves were up next:



*BELOW: Please excuse the 'desk art' It's actually MY hand, preserved in stone for eternity, showing the world what I thought of it at age 19!



Opening the boxes and boxes and BOXES of books was better than Christmas! Missed them so much...


SLUGHORN, our comfy blue fireplace chair, was recommissioned to be the visiting chair for those (foolishly) wishing to interrupt my writing:


The ugly window solution: make it a centrepiece! We boarded it up from the INSIDE, making it a feature of a feature wall....


and added 2 of my oldest and favorite paintings, 2 Victorian Original Oils from 1835. Bought them at a yard sale for 20$ and had them appraised at 250.00$ EACH. Great find!


So... we now enjoy our little library as one our most favorite spots in the apartment! This my lovely wrap around desk....(found it for sale for $1.00 on a local Buy&Save site! It is brand new! GAWD I love a bargain... 😍)



OH! And this a cool book holder I found for my new desk. A pair of wooden hands:




...and this is my new favorite view:



Some people like stark and minimalist dΓ©cor, and some like it busy and thriving like a living thing. Like me. I love my years of collectible art around me, and the pictures of my kids and life. Its inspiring. But whatever your style, a small room can be your new sanctuary!

I hope you enjoyed this DIY adventure and wish you all the luck in your own!                                       *raises glass of Cape Ruby*

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

RENOVATION MADNESS 2: MY CULTUS MOSAIC (which is Latin for 'the loo'...which is British for 'the toilet'...etc...etc...)

Apparently I am a sucker for punishment.

No sooner had the cuts and blood-blisters healed from my first mosaic project (see here: Renovation Madness: My Rather Ambitious Mosaic Hearth Project  ) then my mind began imagining a mosaic for the upstairs Master Bedroom bathroom. It is an older style bathroom where the shower/tub and sink, counters, etc...are in one large area, and you open a door to a smaller adjacent room where there is a toilet and sink.

My DH (dear husband) Peter was nearing completion of said bathroom and I had a feeling the big bare wall in the toilet room needed a splash of fun. Yes...mentioning splash and toilet in the same line does not inspire pleasant imagery but I had to go there. *grin*

The first thing I needed to do was think of a design. I used our living room view as inspiration for the last mosaic, so I wanted something more fantasy-like for the bathroom. I hear many artists and writers get their best ideas whilst sitting on the Porcelain Throne, so why not make the room conducive to creating big things! (*Oooops...that didn't sound right, did it. *giggle*)

I sketched a few pics out...mermaids, gallant ships...trying to get a  feel for what moved me. (*okay...I am saying right here and now that if you see toilet humour in everything I say, its on you. I am NOT going there again...)

                                  *kinda looks Gustav Klimt-ish? 

                                   *kinda looks like Mae West-ish?



                                             *Ahoy Matee!

I was thrilled to find a box of black tile at the thrift store (ReStore, Habitat For Humanity) so I tossed around the idea of a silhouette mermaid or ship...and then I found some peachy/orangey tiles and decided on this combo...

... until it hit me how too Halloween-like it felt so I sat back and tried to come up with another idea. Like I have said before, the color and availability of tiles guides your choice of design sometimes. Professionals probably have all they need on hand for their creations, but weekend artisans like me work with what scraps come our way!

And then...the Gods of Tortured Mosaic Makers smiled on me that afternoon when a pod of Killer Whales swam playfully past my balcony and I got this shot, and my best idea for the potential mosaic:




I skimmed over the net and found some Orca pics and, as they say...Eureka! I sketched one I liked:




Satisfied that I was going to regret committing to another creative adventure that would cause me anguish and sore fingers (read the aforementioned virgin mosaic project to understand this fully) I began busting up and hammering tiles and setting up the work space. 

*Here is a before pic of the smaller bathroom (the place was badly outdated and disgustingly neglected...a renovators dream! I will post an 'entire house' reno blog when we are 100% done)) and then my initial sketching on the almost finished wall:





I won't rewrite the entire list of supplies and tools you would need to do this or another mosaic project but it IS in my first project (link above and highlighted).

Here is the space I was dealing with, and the mosaic area was about 3.5 feet by 3 feet:




Some material and tools on the ready:



*believe it or not, I used the thin bottom end of this tube of Blistex to scoop out glue in the tiny, thin spaces on the mosaic...go figure!

                 *glue and any handy old bowl...or cat dish, in this case



*notice how pretty this corner turned out...complete with 2 ceramic Orca! I found the vintage mirror in the thrift store I always go to. My DH is a Master Tiler and does amazing work on renos... *hearty applause* I just dabble in mosaics now...use his glue and tile cutter... and harass him to grout for me. *smile*

More pics as I draw on the base picture and start gluing:

 *notice how I altered the original drawing. Don't be scared to make a mess...it will be covered after all!





*I found a sheet of this glass mini decorative tile at the ReStore and stripped it for a cute border


*I like to use as many large pieces as I can first and then work my way down to smaller, then smallest pieces. Not always...I do find 'perfect pieces' and use them right away too... but large chunks make one feel things are getting done! Its psychological...I am not very patient. *smile*




I use pieces that don't need shaping first, as using the tile clippers/cutters hurts my weak, old hands...and I usually end up bleeding. And I don't really 'shape' much...just trim and break to try and fit in as best as possible. If I had professional equipment I could round pieces and cut easier, and fill in space better, but it is how it is and I just leave spaces that are too small or difficult to manage. I have decided to find this charming. *smirk*






And the grouting begins, with my long suffering DH doing the honors! It isn't easy to do well and crazy messy, with a fast drying issue that kills me, so I happily allow my darling man to help me out and be a part of the magic...



One has to dig out smaller or sunken pieces sometimes...



And then...all of the sudden, it's done!

*Still not done 100% with this small room...looking for accents and maybe a large red fake lobster or crab...or green starfish or cool pirate ship. I need a large color burst to offset the mass of grey...

In any case, I hope you enjoyed this journey with me...please pop back in a while and see if I have posted the entire house reno blog. It is been an amazing transformation and nearly done!