The Farmhouse Twin Bed…

Back at the end of August I purchased a bunch of wood with grand plans of making Graham a new bed. Well four months later I finally got to it.  With plans in hand (thanks to Ana White) I set off to cut, sand, stain and poly the pieces I needed.

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Once I had all the pieces I started assembly beginning with the footboard as it seem to be the easiest and most manageable piece to start on.  This is the first thing I have ever built so it was definitely a learn-as-I-go experience.

i used finishing nails from the backside and then the same black drywall screws for the front side. These are the same screws we used for our floors (same wood and same stain too) so it will all match our decor.

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I found out in the very beginning that using wood with any kids no of warping or bowing was just no good so I had to make a second wood run to Home Depot to get straighter boards. That’s hard around here. Our wood selection stinks!

The side posts are 4×4 cedar.  I could not locate the 4 1/2 – 5 inch screws to affix them that the plans called for but I did find some nice rustic looking nails so I used those instead. They were a real bugger to hammer in so next time around I will try harder to find the screws.

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The footboard went together really easy and straight which is more than I can say for the headboard. While it looks really good it has a few issues and I may either take it apart and rebuild it at some point or just make a whole new one.  I think most of the issues are due to its size – the longer the boards need to be the straighter they need to be.

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Graham is just using some old mattress and box spring from our travel trailer so I had to do some custom measurements for the side rails. Typical twin mattresses are a bit wider so when we upgrade his mattress I may have to adjust a little.  Simple 1×2’s for slats to support the mattress.

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I used brackets and corner brackets to get everything together…. And voila!  Looks awesome I think and should be able to hold up to all the destruction Graham can dish out!

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The Decoration….

The next day, after the cakes had cooled and set, it was time to slice them in half (to make layers) and to do a crumb coat of plain white Buttercream icing. The cake that I am doing is being iced with white fondant so it is really important to get a nice thin but even crumb coat done. A crumb coat not only gives the fondant something to stick to but it gets all of the chocolate crumbs under control so that they don’t wind up mucking up my decorations.  With the crumb coats done and all layers put together I sent them outside to freeze. Its’s -12 degrees C outside so it’s colder than my freezer!

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While they were freezing up I started making the fondant. You can buy ready-made fondant at a baking supply store but it typically tastes horrible and is expensive. I make my own marshmallow fondant out of mini marshmallows and water. It’s easy to work with and tastes super yummy… and it’s cheap!

You start by microwaving the marshmallows with a couple tablespoons of water for 30 seconds at a time until they start to melt. Stirring after each 30 seconds.

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After a couple of minutes you will end up with a big frothy messy mess of mallows.  Then you slowly start adding icing sugar mixing as you go.

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Just as if you are making bread you are going to turn out the fondant onto your counter but this stuff is so sticky that you need to slather both your hands and countertop with vegetable shortening to keep the fondant from sticking to everything. Keep adding icing sugar until you get a nice smooth fondant that does not rip when you pull on it or roll it out.

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This stuff is still hard to work with so when you start using it you need to be gentle. It takes a bit of time to figure it out but it does get easier the more practice you get. I covered the cakes (I put drinking straws down the middle of the bottom cake to support the top cake) and went on wih the decorating.

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With just the fondant the cakes look messy but a bit of buttercream piping around the seams and such cleans it right up.

I’m super pleased how this cake turned out!

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The Red Carpet Cake…

It’s been very busy around here so I have not been doing much other than trying to unload some of belongings through classifieds… which has been going well.  This week is going to particularly busy as I have a full weekend craft fair this weekend that I am preparing for, it is the schools hot lunch Thursday, the schools silent auction Friday which I am making two cakes for and I am also making a really cool Red Carpet Movie Birthday Cake for a really dear friend’s daughter. Which brings me to this post.

I am not sure there is anything more awesome than making a from-scratch Hersey’s Perfect Chocolate Cake using a vintage Sunbeam Mix Master! My mix master was an awesome find through Kijiji for $30.00! It came with the small and large stainless steel bowls, regular beaters and bread hooks.

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This recipe is fairly basic but one thing that is different is the addition of boiling water at the end. I am positive it is responsible for this cake being the most delicious and moist chocolate cake ever!

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After some stirring and mix mastering it was in the pans (simple Wilton round aluminum pans) and in the oven. I was a bit nervous about greasing my pans. I usually pre-make an oil, shortening and flour paste which I use to grease the pans. It is a technique I stumbled across several years ago and every time I use it my cakes just fall right out of the pan. Being a bit lazy tonight I just used shortening and crossed my fingers!

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Thanks to to the previous owners of our house we have a fancy schmancy convection oven so baking generally turns out really good for me. A quick 40 minutes later and tah dah! I did have to wrestle the cakes out of the pans a bit because of the shortening but they came out perfect!

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Tomorrow…. decoration!

 

 

 

 

The Couch and Chair…

After this post you all will probably think we are nuts. While we love cool vintage things one of MY main infatuations has always been furniture… chairs in particular. So since we are redecorating in the vintage farmhouse style it is only fitting that a “new” couch and chair were in order.

Our current couch has been getting on John’s nerves for quite some time now and the springs’ days are numbered. Honestly though, I love the fabric and the colours went really nicely in our living room but it is getting really worn and dirty.

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We wanted to replace our couch with a more vintage country-looking one and had a general idea of some features that we wanted – a button-tufted solid back (no pillow backs), ruffled dust skirt and non-rolled arms. There are a couple of name brands from around the 1960’s that I was particularly interested in – Kroehler and Vilas – because they were really well made compared to what you buy now. I had been looking on Kijiji for quite some time and found a few here and there but they were either an awful material or they were halfway across the planet.

Finally we found a great couch, chair and ottoman on Kijiji right here in Prince George. We bought the three pieces for $200 from a woman who said her mother bought the set new at least thirty years ago.

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Our new set consists of a high-back chair and ottoman and a three-seater high-back couch. Both John and I said that the pattern looks like Christmas with its bright colours and festive pattern.

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The set doesn’t have any labelling on it so we do not know who made it but the styling is the spitting image of Vilas from the mid 1960’s.  Our only problem now is we have a very beautiful but busy Persian carpet on the living room floor and this new set clashes with that so we will now be on the lookout for some sort of vintage off-white area rug. I have dreams of one of those oval braided rugs but they are very pricey and rare.  Keeping my eye out on Kijiji cause you just never know!

The Pan…

We got a new toy over the weekend (which I will make a separate post for) which had inside it the coolest cookie sheet I have ever seen.  It says on it Ovenex Made in England and has a starburst pattern all over it.   It’s really dirty and charred black so I will have to get some cleaner for it.

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I have never seen patterned bake wear like this before but immediately fell in love and vowed to own as many pieces of it that I can find!

So today I am making Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing and Caramel Drizzle for which I do not have a muffin tray (I used my muffin tray for a crayon craft with Graham and it has been ruined ever since :). On the off chance that I may find a lovely Ovenex Muffin Tray, Graham and I made a pit stop at Value Village.  Look what we found!  And for $3.00!

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It it cleaned up real nice after a bit of dish soap and scrubbing.  And in the oven she goes!

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Love it! Now I need to find some bread pans!

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Graham’s Dresser…

About four years ago I bought an antique dresser through our local classifieds for $60.  It is solid wood and has some character but is in really terrible condition.  For several years it served as Graham’s dresser but now that we are “re-doing” everything it was the dresser’s turn.

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There was some sort of wood trim that was stuck on around the outside of the drawers which I removed. The drawer hardware are very nice – they have the greatest patina that you just can’t fake and give the dresser that antique feel. The drawers are dove-tailed.

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After getting everything taken off I sanded the entire piece which was dreadful. I don’t know what kind of wood this thing is but the previous stain when sanded off coated everything around me and hung thick in the air.  It was awful. If you look at the pictures and have an idea of what type of wood this is please let me know!

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The stain I used for the dresser was the same custom mix that I used on our new barn board floors (2/3 Minwax Mission Oak 1/3 Minwax English Chestnut).  Again I just did one coat of stain but this time I used an old rag and wiped the stain on and wiped the excess off.

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One coat of the same Super Fast Drying Polyurethane and it was done.  I am super thrilled with the way it turned out! I think I may have found a new calling!

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Graham’s Bookcase…

One of the first items for Graham’s new room is a very simple solid wood bookcase that we have had for years.  When my uncle made this bookcase probably 40 years ago it was plain pine.  John and I stained it a dark almost black shade about 18 years ago. The dark stain made it look awful.

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I took Graham’s new bedding into our local General Paint store here in Prince George and had them match a gallon of their HP2000 Semi-Gloss paint to the dark slate blue grey of his duvet set.  We had previously found the perfect color match in Behr’s Calligraphy shade.  When our restoration was being done our contractor Winmar Prince George used HP2000 for all our walls and ceilings. It has super fast drying time and is really durable.

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I didn’t do any prep to the bookcase other than giving it a quick wipe down with a damp cloth. It only had stain on it with no polyurethane so I didn’t worry about having to sand it.  Turned out pretty good, matches perfect and holds a ton of Disney Cars!

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Graham’s Room….

It has now been a couple of weeks since we started moving back into our home after finishing the floors.  Other than general unpacking and cleanup my first priority is getting Graham’s room done.  Prior to the restoration/renovation his room was pretty bland – beige and white walls, he didn’t even have a bed.

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When we picked paint colours for the house we chose the same off white – Benjamin Moore’s White Down – for all our walls and Benjamin Moore’s Cloud White for all our trim.  We wanted simple paint to really brighten up the house.

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But when it came to Graham’s room we let him choose his own paint colour and boy did he ever. Graham’s favourite colour is orange so it was only fitting that he chose Beauti-Tone’s Mango Madness for the upper part of his walls.

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When we went to Edmonton, Alberta two months ago we went to a really great store at West Edmonton Mall called Simons.  We picked out a new duvet cover set for Graham (I will be building him a bed soon) along with a cotton sheet set in bright orange that would match it all perfectly. The duvet set was $69.00 while the sheet set was $28.00 (Canadian).

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We had a glass-finial curtain rod and matching hold-backs left over from many years ago that we put up and I found some clearance outdoor curtains at out local Fabricland. I got four ring-top panels for the added fullness. They are outdoor curtains so they are a super heavy canvas material which is water and stain resistant – perfect for a child’s room!

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The orange and steel blue combination along with the white and dark wood floors is making for a stunning and super bright kid’s room!  Next up… some furniture cause his clothes are in boxes on the floor!

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The Poly…

The last and most annoying step by far was applying the Polyurethane.  We chose to use Minwax’s Super Fast Drying Polyurethane for Floors in Semi Gloss.  After giving the boards a quick vacuum we wiped them down with a damp cloth to make sure that they were clean and dust free.  Pay particular attention to the cracks between the boards as little bits of debris can get stuck in there.

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We had our living room boards installed first so we chose to apply polyurethane to the living room first.  Going completely against the directions on the can we used a plain paint roller to apply the first coat then six hours later the second coat.

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Twenty four hours later we were thrilled with the result. They looked beautiful.

To complete the rest of the house we purchased a double-can kit which included a lambs wool pad applicator so we thought we would give it a try.  What a big mistake.  Even after removing a bunch of fluff from the pad it left huge tufts of fluff in our finish.

After waiting the twenty four hours our floors looked just awful.  The next day we found ourselves sanding the top layer of polyurethane off all of our floors including the living room to redo them all over again.  Once sanded we vacuumed them, wiped them all down with mineral spirits (paint thinner) and then washed them again with a damp cloth.

Ready for round two we went to Home Depot and picked out the best no-lint microfibre rollers we could find.  We ended up with Bennett 13mm Micro Fibre Plus rollers and they worked excellent.  It turns out that the whole ordeal was completely worth it as our floors turned out even better than we could have hoped.

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The Instalation….

Most of the work up until now was being done primarily by me but it was now time for John to get to work.  We had done some research into fastening our boards to the floor and really liked the look of Tremont’s Black Wrought Nails so we went ahead and bought 5 lbs of them.  When we got them we did a little bit of a tester and found that they were not going to work for us – we could not get them to lie flat so they were sticking up and would be a hazard for Graham running through the house.

Instead we decided to go with pain Jane black drywall screws that we could counter sink into the wood.  We did a tester with no. 6 – 1 5/8 inch screws and they were perfect.

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We had previously laid out some boards to get a general idea of our layout.  We did not want all of our boards lining up evenly since that would mean we would have lines of screws going across the floor (see photo below).  We really don’t like this look.

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Instead John layed the boards out so that they would look random. He started with a shorter board (between 2 and 5 feet) against the wall and then he filled the rest of the line with our standard length six-foot boards.

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We screwed the boards down starting about an inch from the end and then every two feet – each time using three screws across the board.  We ended up using over 2500 screws.

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We had given some thought to changing the direction of our boards when we changed rooms but John really liked the simple look of having all our boards go the same direction right through the house. We are going for the farmhouse feel and that is all about simplicity.