Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Small Projects Keeping Me Busy

Hi everyone,

If you've been following along you know that I am in a decluttering mode and I'm working on a few small household projects. I've made a list of projects I've completed and that are in progress. This list is for anyone interested but is mainly a way for me to keep track of the tasks to be done and the progress made.

Anyone who's done household projects knows that all the costs add up even when you do the work yourself. I have gone back and forth between doing things myself or hiring someone. I really don't have the funds to do things the way I would like in this time of rising interest rates, increased supply prices, dramatic decline in housing sales and prices and uncertain economic times.  I hope to keep track of all the costs in a spreadsheet so I can review later.

I've considered various alternatives to what I'd like to do and decided to try my hand at many of the smaller things myself rather than 'go big' at this time.  I'll getting a bit of help from Jonah and my brother. They are both very busy but they can lend a hand here and there especially where more strength or stamina for a project are needed.

Without further ado, here are the things I've been working on in the month of August.

  * shopped for Spackle, grout, dremel tool with bits, wrenches, screwdrivers, paint for bathroom walls and bathroom cabinets. Done 08.13.22

* filled holes, sanded & painted living room window wall and trim. Done 08.15.22

* washed and painted walls and cabinets in 2 bathrooms. Done 08.16.22

* shopped for a few more home improvement tools like foam paint brushes, double sided tape, sponges, etc.  Done 08.18.22; purchased more silicone caulking and extra tools Done 10.06.22

* washed and painted bathroom doors. Done 08.21.22

* removed and replaced grout in master bathroom. Done  08.24.22.  I returned the dremel tool I bought because it only operates on one very high rpm and I found it difficult to control the tool to keep it in the grout grooves.Got friend to removed and replace silicone caulking for 4th timePatched wall behind tub tiles and regrouted. Done 10.09.22

* ordered and set up a bathroom shelving unit. I have the option of using it in one of 3 places. I've decided to use it in the master bathroom. Done 08.23.22 

*ordered new master bathroom shower curtain and installed it Done 09.04.22 

*ordered colourful towels and washcloths to coordinate with the new shower curtain Done 09.1.22

* vacuumed and washed carpets in front rooms and high traffic bedroom areas. Done 08.12.22

* replaced bulbs in kitchen light fixture and ordered replacement for cracked fixture cover.  Done 08.19.22 (new bulbs purchased and installed). 08.25.22 (cover arrived & installed).

* shopped for 5 small succulents plants and one large yucca plant to replace & beautify the front room.  Done 08.13.22 Bought a small, fake succulent plant for bathroom shelving unit.  Done 10.06.22

* ordered a lazy susan and tiered shelf for organizing kitchen/bathroom counters - delivered, unboxed & put to use Done 08.15.22

 * donated Kitchen Aid Food Processor (too large) and bought a smaller one that will be used more often, and Breville Juicer (I had 2 of them), water bottles, cups, mugs and various odds and ends. Done  08.12.22

* decluttered bathroom products in master bathroom Done 09.03.22 Decluttered 8 items from master bathroom. More to be done. Arranged toiletry items on shelving unit. Done 10.01.22. Master bathroom counter cleaning/decluttering 10.09.22

* decluttered 4 items from kitchen & 10 items from refrigerator. Done 09.06.22

* organized one wardrobe in master bedroom - in progress

* changed bathroom seat cover in main bathroom - in progress (I'll need help with this one as the screws won't come loose).

* installed light fixture in dining area - in progress (someone else will actually do this one because of 'special' issues with the old light fixture and the difficulty of removing all it's hardware).

* organized under sink in main bathroom/kitchen with shelving - in progress

*decluttered all kitchen cabinets - in progress

* decluttered patio and discarded all excess pots/metal carts and miscellaneous items.  Done  08.24.22

* shredded several small tubs of papers, journals and calendars. Partially done - 08.27.22 - 2 tubs cleaned & discarded & 2 tubs washed & reorganized. 09.02.22 Another bag of paper declutter (mostly mail packaging).

* shorten a linen tablecloth - in progress 10.0.22 Tablecloth measured and cut.

* hem 4 pair of pants - Done 10.9.22 pants hemmed, others in progress


Next projects (no timeline) will be done on a prioritized basis.

* redo the silicone seal around the toilets (2 bathrooms) and master bathroom tub. Partially done 09.24.22  I removed all the silicone from the master bathroom tub, washed, dried and prepared it for sealing. I had to buy a gun for the silicone and some small things to 'tool' the silicone once it is put around the bathtub edge. I made a mess despite using a tool to smooth the silicone. I've removed it all for the 2nd time (08.27.22)  and will re-do using painter's tape as a guideline and the special tool to remove excess silicone. 08.31.22 redid silicone for the 3rd time. I think I'm done both literally and figuratively. It's not the best but is something I can live with and I'll probably get a professional to re-do it at some point.

*replace master bathroom shower curtain, wash liner, discard bath mat. Done 08.25.22 Shower curtain has been replaced with a curtain in a creamy white cotton waffle weave.  I've also ordered a white one with variegated blue leaves and flowers with touches of pink (expected delivery date 08.29.22). New coloured shower curtain arrived 08.31.22. It's beautiful and I returned the white one. 09.02.22.

* repaint the window sills and trims in both bedrooms. priority

* assess what to do about towels and bathroom storage in 2 bathrooms. priority

* install shelving in master bathroom.  Shelving unit installed 08.23.22. Train rack yet to be installed.

* replace the flush valves in 2 bathroom toilets.  priority

* replace door hinges in 2 bathrooms - parts ordered 08.19.22.  These will be returned. I had to select a different finish for the replacement door knobs and I want the knobs and hinges to have a similar finish. Door knobs and hinges returned 08.26.22

* replace and upgrade the bathroom shower head in main bathroom.  keeping eyes open for sales

* replace light fixtures in 2 bathrooms. considering what metal finishes to buy 08.19.22

* replace electrical switches and covers in kitchen and bathrooms.  pricing at Home Depot, CT & others. I removed and washed the switch plates in the bathroom. This might work for all the switches I wanted to change out.  Done 08.22.22

* replace door handles in 2 bathrooms and 2 bedrooms. parts ordered 08.19.22; one door done 08.21.22 but I will have to re-do it. When I did the worked I learned I need a door handle with a removable latch plate. In the meantime  I drilled 2 holes in the door to secure the unremovable latch plate. The door 'fit' is very tight and I learned I need to chisel a hole for it to lay flush with the door edge. 08.24.22 I've order a new knob with removable latch & will repair the 2 small holes drilled previously.  08.31.22  New door knob arrived. 09.02.22 Door holes filled and area around door knob holes repainted on 09.03.22 New door knob installed. Yeah! It fits well so I'll order a few more of the same for 3 more doors. 10.13.22 Finally ordered the rest of the door knobs.

* replace 2 kitchen cabinet doors. researching whether I can find the same cabinet doors

* replace (all kitchen and) bathroom cabinet knobs - master bathroom knobs changed from white to glass.  08.21.22

* replace flooring in master bathroom, entry way, kitchen. research on-going

* install wall lights in the living room.  Wall lights and hardware are on hand. 1 sconce installed 09.05.22. The hardware provided was inadequate.  Fortunately I had longer screws in my stash of building supplies.   2nd sconce Done 09.09.22

* replace fireplace tile surround & hearth.  Jonah thinks the original tiles should remain because they are better quality 08.18.22

* paint the fireplace mantle. Jonah thinks the mantle should remain as is because it matches the fireplace tiles 08.18.22

Now that I've listed everything I want to do, it seems like I have more work than I first thought.  Some of it can't be put off any longer.  For example bathroom door hinges, light fixtures and toilet paper holders have rusted due to moisture and look unsightly.  Other things have just deteriorated with age so need a bit of refreshing.

Progress is made in small steps and limited by health challenges, energy levels and day to day household and outside appointments and activities.  I may post before and after photos as time goes by but only if I remember to take photos and if there is any change that might be noticeable to someone else.

How about you dear reader?  Have you done any small house projects lately? Were you already experienced at household repairs or were you learning just like me?

Monday, August 29, 2022

Summertime and the Living is Easy?

 Welcome back to Toni's Tuesday 4!  We need to enjoy every season to the fullest even those of us for whom summer is not the favourite season.

1. What do you like to do in the summer?

Sad to say that summer is not my favourite season. Primarily because it is too hot. So what I like to do to avoid heat is to stay indoors and sit as still and as quiet as possible. It's my time for watching television, reading and doing slow housework. When I have more time I like to go to the beach and have a nice walk to enjoy the ocean breezes and spectacular scenes.  


Summer is also usually the time I enjoy having a visitor or two but the last few years this didn't happen. Hopefully next year.  This year I've been spending a lot of time downsizing and doing small DIY projects so I can enjoy the months ahead.

2. What is your favorite summertime food and beverage?

My favourite summertime food is probably a well done cheeseburger with potato salad and a very cold lemonade with ice (not too sweet) or a iced coca cola with lemon juice. Oh, and let me not forget many varieties of ice cream and fruits, especially watermelon to quench the thirst. In former days I enjoyed having a Mr. Misty Float from the Dairy Queen. I had a few this summer but now I find them too sweet and tart at the same time.

3. How do you beat the heat?

I beat the heat by sitting indoors at home or in an air conditioned coffee shop. When I go outdoors I tend to walk in the shaded areas as the sun is too hot for me.

4. What do you really like about the summer season?

The best thing about the summer season is going for a walk on the beach to enjoy the ocean views & waking up very early just to watch the glorious colours in the sky. I also like to enjoy the garden when it is in full bloom.
Thank you for stopping by!


Saturday, August 27, 2022

Happy Friday, Happy Skywatch & Happy Weekend

Hello folks and blogger friends,

I hope you are all having a wonderful summer to date. It certainly is different from the last few years in many ways. I'm thankful to have the freedom to go out and about more than the previous years. But I didn't get a chance to go out of town for several years now.  This year was no exception.  Even though restrictions were mostly lifted, I really don't care to travel right now and contend with all the travel/transportation delays and related issues.


We've had a heat wave for much of (July and ) August.  Even when the posted weather has been in the lower 20s Celsius, it has still felt sweltering.  Even Jonah who is used to the heat and dry areas in Kenya has commented about how hot it has been here. At last we had a dip in temperatures today and a sprinkling of rain. It wasn't a lot of rain but combined with lower temperatures it made all the walking I did today much more bearable.



I had to go deep into downtown Vancouver today to the Purolator service center to return a few Amazon parcels. Normally I send items back through the post but these items had to be returned by Purolator. It was very convenient to get to the center by bus as it let me off across the street. I thought I would return straight home and the bus stop was right outside the center's door. However when I got to the bus stop there was a sign saying one had to catch a bus at Burrard Street. That was a lot of walking for me especially since my knees aren't fully rehabilitated. Fortunately I managed to do what I needed to do.


After I finished downtown, I did more errands in my neighbourhood.  I was shocked at how many people were out and about.  There were lines of people everywhere waiting to get into virtually every single restaurant and drinking establishment  Of course it is Friday and many people go out on Friday nights but tonight it was noticeably busier than usual.  I don't know if it was because the weather was cooler and more comfortable or if suddenly people are realizing that the end of summer is almost upon us and they're trying to soak up every minute left of it. It's probably a bit of both.  It was also very busy with tourists downtown though it doesn't seem so in the photos. It was nice to see so many visitors walking and enjoying the sites.


The photos I'm sharing are from downtown Vancouver in the city's West End Coal Harbour area. For most of the day the sky was a very dull gray. The sun came out around 6 p.m. but I couldn't stop to take photos.

Thank you for stopping by and have a great weekend.

 Joining in with Skywatch Friday

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Tuesday 4 - House & Home

Hello and welcome to Toni Taddeo's Tuesday 4 hosted by Annie who writes a blog called Cottage by the Sea.

Today's these is home secrets for keeping house and person clean. Maybe we will learn a few tips from one another.

1.   What household tool or appliance do you rely on a lot?

Like most western households these days I have many household appliances. I use most of them on a regular basis but I rely on the washer and dryer and the vacuum cleaner the most. During heat waves I also rely on several fans because I have no air conditioning.

2.   Which laundry detergent, fabric softener, and dish detergent work best for you?

I've always used Palmolive for hand washing dishes because it was the sole dish detergent featured in television commercials back in the day. I still use it but now I also use Dawn.  Sometimes I also use Ivory.  I  interchange between these 3 with Dawn being the primary dish detergent I use.  I  also use several kinds of liquid laundry detergent: Purex, Arm & Hammer and  Freshex (1st and 3rd one are free of dyes and perfumes). To be honest, I have not researched to see how environmentally friendly any of these products but in a quick search I see there are concerns about both Palmolive and Dawn.  I'll need to investigate further but slowly I am moving toward using fewer chemically based products. When I had a front loading washing machine I made my own powdered laundry soap but now that I now I own a front loading HE washer, I buy liquid soap for such machines.  I don't use fabric softener but I do use fabric dryer sheets. I sometimes use wool dryer balls instead of fabric sheets and plain white vinegar in the rinse cycle to deodorize towels and linens.

3.   What soap do you like to use?   Where do you have soap in your home... bathroom, kitchen, shower?

I use liquid  castille soap which I use only for body soap in the shower, not for household cleaning.  Castille soap is made of plant oils — coconut, hemp, sunflower seed, jojoba and olive. I used to buy Dr. Bronner's brand but it is quite expensive. Now I buy exclusively at a place called Soap Dispensary where they sell oils, soaps and many products in whatever amount you want and they dispense everything into recyclable containers which you pay for on deposit. You get your deposit back when you take the container back for cleaning and reuse by another. I also use bar soap from time to time, primarily soap made with Shea Butter, Goat's milk or Olive Oil. I also use Ivory bar soap from time to time. I keep liquid hand soap in the bathroom, castille liquid soap in the shower, dish detergent in the kitchen and laundry detergent in the laundry closet.

4.   What is the secret to a clean home in your opinion?

The secret to a clean home is not to leave things undone each day. Everything needs to be picked up and put away or folded and put away or washed (like dishes). The other thing is to take care of "hot spots", places that accumulate clutter. For me it's my desk and dining table, for others it may be the kitchen counter and so on. A few minutes each day, or a set time each week, to tackle such things will go a long way to keep everything tidy.  Regular decluttering will also help. As I've aged I've faced various health challenges and taken on possessions of loved ones who passed on.  Now I have a huge job to get things to a cleaner, tidier state and in better working order. I've been working away for a long time already to get things in better order.  Slowly I'm getting there but it is a challenge.

Washing dishes is my least favourite chore but I like a clean sink.

Thanks so much for stopping by! 

Have a great week ahead.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Beauty in the Morning

Hi friends and fellow bloggers,

I love colour in the sky but I seldom get to catch a sunset. I can't see it from my home. But I can catch the sun rising and sometimes there are some interesting cloud formations and now and then there is glorious colour to go with it.  I notice that the morning sky colour doesn't last very long so I'm glad I was quick enough to get some photos.

August 16, 2022

August 18, 2022

August 16, 2022

I'm linking up with Skywatch Friday today.

Thank you for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Restaurants and Eating Out

Welcome back to Toni Taddeo's Tuesday 4 in memory of Toni Taddeo and hosted by Annie at the blog, Cottage by the Sea.

Today's theme is restaurants and eating out.

1 Do you like eating out with friends or would you rather have them over for a meal?  
I would love to host friends for a meal but I no longer have the energy to do all the cleaning, shopping, food preparation and cooking, hosting guests then cleaning up. So whenever possible I meet up with a friend for one on one casual dining or coffee dates. I save the hosting for the odd holiday meal but the past few years of course I haven't had anyone over for any meal.  When I finally complete downsizing, organizing and refreshing my small home I may enjoy hosting again.  But then again, maybe not.

Vietnamese Pho Soup

2. Let's go out to eat. You pick.  Where are we going ?
If it's possible I like going to a lunch buffet where each of us can choose the things we like, take our time and savour all the goodies. But the hotel I liked to go to for buffet lunches hasn't reopened the service since Covid and I doubt they will again. It means I'll likely choose an ethnic restaurant (Greek, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Indian, African, primarily Ethiopian or Kenyan). I also like western food but these days it's hard to find such a restaurant. Sometimes I get to Denny's for their salads and sandwiches and there is the odd restaurant that serves the mom and pop style food I like.  Yesterday I had a Clubhouse sandwich for the first time in years. I don't eat out so frequently anymore unless I'm travelling. Then I eat almost all my meals out unless I stay in an Air BnB and it is properly equipped for cooking. I occasionally eat lunch or dinner out when I stay in an Air BnB and cook the odd meal. It's nice to have a place to make simple soups and meals and to have a place to put fruits and drinks.  It's a lot easier on the budget and eating out several times a day also gets boring.

3. What are you going to order tonight?
Normally we order chicken wings, pizza or Chinese food. All of these tend to be more economical than other foods. If we dine out we often go for steak, ribs, Greek food or Vietnamese food or other ethnic foods. My DH likes beef, chicken and fish in that order, pork less so. He isn't adventurous enough yet to try the type of fish we serve on the west coast of Canada.  I  prefer chicken when eating out and I also cook a lot of chicken.

4.  Are you going to have dessert?  
It depends what we eat. I likely won't add dessert unless I'm going for lunch and taking hours to eat because eating the meal is filling enough.  The one place I used to go quite frequently to meet friends is no longer open for buffet but they used to have many different desserts on offer and they were all good. You could take a sliver of each item you liked if you didn't want to over do things or you could simply have one item of your choice. I'm always amazed at how much some people can eat and they always seem to be the skinny ones!


Friday, August 12, 2022

Early Morning Light

Hi friends and fellow bloggers,

Happy Friday to everyone. I hope you are all doing fine and have your plans made for the weekend. 

I intend to continue with the small house tasks such as painting in the bathroom and a small area in the living room. I'm not sure if I'll actually get to the bathroom part since I need to go to the store and get the paint first. I already have the paint to use in the front room. I also need to go out to shop for a few plants and things.  Nothing major since I'm only buying 'essentials' but it all takes time nonetheless. I spent a few hours this week comparison shopping on line for the best deals for my needs. I let things sit in the 'cart' for a few days before purchasing. This helps me pause to consider the cost and whether it is something I really want or need otherwise it only adds to future clutter. Next up I'll be going through the CDs and DVDs a few odds and ends from the kitchen cabinets to see what else I can give away. I also have to go through more papers and journals which will go in the garbage after shredding.

The best news is today a lot of my giveaways will be picked up. I've got 4 bags of stuff ready to go and one lady is picking up 3 bags of kitchen stuff for a refugee family. A gent will be picking up the 5th bag which contains a juicer which hadn't been used very much an dis just collecting dust.


I haven't been getting out at the right time to get a photo to share.  So I took these 2 photos this morning around 5:40 a.m. I'm noticing the morning light is not as bright so early these days. I'm sure you've probably noticed it too if you are in summer season right now. I'm hoping to enjoy a few days here and there outdoors before summer ends.  But DH has to work the late shift this month so that puts a damper on what we can do and when.

Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your weekend!

Linking up with Skywatch Friday.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

What I'm Working on in August

I've slowed down in the month of August from a lot of blog postings, IG and FB posts though I'm still visiting a lot of blogs and leaving comments.

Slowing down is enabling me to survive the heat and focus on my goals for the month of August.  I also have small house repairs that I simply haven't had time to complete. Over late spring season, I was working furiously to declutter  and get organized before Jonah's arrival. While I made good progress, I ran out of time to complete what I wanted to accomplish.  Now that Jonah is working and more or less acclimated, I want to make some progress on these outstanding tasks before the summer ends and the days grow darker.  I'm also still very busy with physio and massage therapy appointments and in between we are trying to enjoy the last days of summer while getting things organized for fall season.  Before you know it summer will be gone. I don't look forward to it but it happens every year.

Some time ago I repaired and painted one wall in my living area and intended to put up curtain rods and black out curtains in the living room. In all the time I've been living in the condo I've only had blinds, no curtains.  To be honest the framing of the windows doesn't make it ideal for putting up curtain rods but I find it quite cool in winter and thought the curtains would be a good way keep out drafts. I also intended to paint the master bathroom.

Instead I made a mess in the living room and left everything undone because I ran into issues when drilling into the concrete or steel wall.  So I left it all aside while I focussed on decluttering.  Jonah has helped by pulling out some of the anchors I'd put in the partially drilled holes.  Monday night I filled all the holes in both the living room and the master bathroom walls in readiness for sanding and painting.  It feels good to finally have these tasks done.

In another project, I'm getting rid of more clothes. I managed to put together a few large bags of clothing which hopefully will be picked up on Tuesday.  I've been inspired by a few women on You Tube who create 10 piece wardrobe for each season.  There is no way I will get down to 10 pieces per season but I can whittle down the number of items I keep.  I'm going to try to keep things that I really wear often and see what I can let go. I get rid of a few bags every now and then and will keep on going with that approach.  Of course Jonah also needs space for his clothing and personal items and this is another incentive for me to reduce mine. 

One bag of summer knit tops and PJs

A few scatter rugs also went out the door today. It didn't take long for people to respond to my adverts for giveaway. I'm always pleased when someone else will make use of what I no longer want. Tuesday update: Someone came to pick up all the clothing and another person picked up the scatter rugs. I'm so happy to get them out the door. I'm now going through the kitchen trying to get rid of excess mugs and water bottles.

Two rugs, one red/cream, one blue/cream

The rest of this month I plan to get rid of the remaining papers I didn't shred in April  2022 and a few small tubs or old journals and planners.  Once this is done I will tackle the entryway closet and the bookshelves again. I've already done a big clear out of books I'd collected for decades so I won't have quite as many to sort through this time. I also think it's time to offload my music CDs and instructional DVDs.  I haven't listened or watched any of them for at least a decade.  That means they are just taking up precious space. These days I learn 'how tos' on line and listen to music on You Tube.

In case you are curious about my current reads, these are the books I've recently right.  Right now I'm reading The Soviet Sisters:  A Novel of the Cold War by Anika Scott.

Mission Possible: Go Create a Life That Counts
really liked it
A good motivational book for anyone who needs/wants a pep talk about finding your purpose in life.
Run Rose Run
really liked it
Dolly Parton is such a powerhouse with all the different activities she engages in and in her philanthropic work. She has co-authored this book with best seller author, James Patterson and writes about things she knows best, female count...
The Barbizon: The Hotel That Set Women Free
really liked it
A fascinating look at the NYC hotel that primarily housed young women headed to the big city to experience a bit of an independent life at a time when independence for women was not readily attainable. The book focuses on the stays of a ...

Thanks for visiting. Have a wonderful rest of the month!

Neighbourhood Street Scenes

Hello friends and fellow bloggers, I hope you are well today. These are photos I took on a recent walk in the neighbourhood. You can see the...