Saturday, 9 March 2013

Sparks and Recreation

We will officially be coming to your web browser 6 days a week! Every Saturday, we'll be sharing links (that sparked our interest - creating that punny title) to some of our favourite web news whether it be blog posts we liked, articles, etc. that we think are worth your time. We tried to keep it pretty balanced, choosing articles that we read in areas relating to home/lifestyle blogs, a marriage article, and an article to inspire and motivate our fellow bloggers. Use this opportunity to also share your favourite links from this past week in the comments! We'd love to read your blogs and get connected in this way. Hope you enjoy visiting some of the articles we recommend, leave a comment on their site too so they know you came to visit!

Bower Power Blog: Photoshop Tutorials

Every week, Katie Bower has been sharing Photoshop Tutorials on her blog. I'm the ultimate failure when it comes to Photoshop and have only just started to use it, on iPhone photos no less so definitely not good quality. She explains some really helpful things though and I've already started implementing a few of her tips! Not this one though, I have enough help in that department. 

Young House Love: Sir (Or Madam) Mix A Lot & Board & Batten 

Technically this was from last week, but we didn't have this series then and I can't resist! We've been thinking about reusing our kitchen trim in the hallway for a look similar to this, but this seems so easy that I might just convert! These kind of blog posts are my favourite, where I am able to gain some confidence to tackle a project that before might have seemed too hard for us beginners. 

Tidal: New Member Monday

In case you missed it, this is the interview that we had on Monday with Bob Vila Nation! Super exciting and fun to be featured on another website. We might be having a few more of these excursions in days ahead, including a guest post to look out for this month. 

Relevant Magazine: Does Marriage Have to be Hard?

Philip's a monthly subscriber to Relevant Magazine, so I check out their website once in a while. I find an article about marriage very refreshing once in a while as a way of reminding us that we have to put work into it even when it's not broken. 

Martha Stewart: 12 Lessons in Outdoor Living

This wasn't particularly inspiring, but I like remembering what it's like to be outside. I honestly can hardly remember what our yard is like under all that snow. Come out sun!

Altitude Summit: Maintaining a Small Blog with Pride

The Altitude Summit website provides great resources for bloggers who can't afford to go in real life (maybe someday!), I'm often motivated to keep going by their articles. You can also take relatively cost-effective courses to learn more about maintaining your blog. 

Is Justice Worth It? 

A great video that Philip found, definitely worth the 2 minutes and 9 seconds. 

That's all for now folks! Remember to link up to your favourite posts to give some fellow bloggers some love, we'll be keeping our eyes peeled next week for some great new features to share every Saturday.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Putting the "Fast" in "Fastening the Railing Properly..."

"...So My Wife Doesn't Hurt Herself More"

TGIFP, am I right? Philip here, and I'm here to tell you that you've been heard: You're tired of hearing our excuses about why our bathroom isn't moving faster or why we missed a whole week of posts. (If you need a refresher, this should catch you up.)

The bracket's lip had worn smooth, so the railing could slide right off.

But that being said, Cass' tumble quickly reprioritized (no, Autocorrect, not "reptile irises") what we needed to get done.

For instance, because Cass was going to need to do some stairs with a subpar ankle, one thing that jumped to the top of our list was stabilizing the railing along the basement stairs.

See, over time, the railing had worn away the lip on the top bracket that holds it in place, and could slide on and off the bracket at will. When you're trying not to fall down, leaning on a railing with 8 inches of play isn't fun.

Now replacing a bracket isn't tough. You need a screwdriver and/or drill and a bracket set that has everything else you need and can be bought at Home Depot for under $5.

However, replacing the bracket when you're under the gun for time--perhaps running late for supper at your in-laws--and being asked to respond to a number of requests because you're into the last few rehearsals of a play you're directing, well that just makes things more fun, don't it? So I decided to document the process and just how much time it took me so that if you are ever called upon to do likewise, you'll be ready!


Start the clock.

I start with these supplies. A magnetic screwdriver set and a bracket package.

I plunk myself down at the top of the stairs with only our storm door closed in our side landing to permit the maximum amount of light in while still preventing the -20C wind from blowing in.

I attack the existing setup with the unscrewing fury of a... a... ummm... no time for metaphors! I get the "female" end of the bracket off the railing first, then the bracket off the wall. (If it had just been the female end that was broken, I would have only needed to remove it; but as it is, the female end has to clasp over the male end once "he" is in place. Wait, didn't I say no time for metaphors?)

Unscrewing the "female end." Let's all be mature about my choice of terminology.

At this point, in the midst of my hurrying, I got a phone call. From my wife. (Can't hit "Ignore" on those.) I don't remember the conversation exactly, but I think it was something like...

Her: "Where are you at?"
Me: "Home"
Her: "What're you doin-"
Me: "Fixing the railing."
Her: "Oh, you got the par-"
Me: "Yep. Listen, I'm in a race against the clock here. Can I call you back?"
Her: "Is this for the blog?"
Me: "Depends."
Her: "On what?"
Me: "How embarrassing my final time is."
Her: "Well then why are you talking on the phone?"
Me: "You call-"
Her: "MOVE, Soldier! Loveyoubye!"

Okay, so now that the bracket was off the wall and the female end was off the railing, it was time to tear into the new package. I used the new screws in the old holes because I knew that the holes in the wall weren't what was causing the railing to be loose.

However, PRO TIP, as you're attaching the new bracket to the wall, consider holding the railing in place to see where the female end would clasp over it, so you can make sure to attach the bracket in a way that allows you to reuse the holes on the railing.

Silly me. I was taking pictures when I should have been checking to see whether the bracket would line up with the old holes for the female end.

I didn't do that, however, so when it came time for me to clasp the female end over the bracket and secure the female end to the railing, the screwholes in the female end weren't lining up. (Okay, let's all be adults about this, I know we're way overdue for a "That's what he said!")

And trying to screw the screws into the solid wood of the railing by hand was proving to be a challenge, so--not having a drill on hand--I improvised: I grabbed a brad nail and a hammer, and somehow held the female end in place so I knew where to make my guide holes. (Don't complain that there's no picture of this, I don't have 8 hands!)

I should mention, as I was doing this, I got the second phone call in less than 5 minutes. It was a pastor at my church, on his way to rent some equipment for our Dinner Theatre production and checking to see if there's anything I needed. I'm not even going to try to paraphrase that conversation--my mind was totally elsewhere, so I probably sounded like I had the IQ of a sack of hammers. And in my head, I could just see the clock ticking, precious seconds being lost in my race against I'm-still-not-sure-what.

Back to the job: Even with the new guide holes in place, screwing into the railing was a challenge, and with all the hand screwing, my wrists were getting sore. (Careful...) But with a little elbow grease, I had securely fastened the female end to the railing.

I stepped back and observed my work and took a glance at the clock.

"25 minutes, a newwww state record!"


Including the two phone calls (which I verified with the screen capture of my Recent Incoming Calls, since I know the Guiness Book of Records people will want to know) it took me almost exactly 25 minutes to get the job done.

That's right. Check the timestamps. I have photographic evidence of the distractions I had to fight through.

Nothing amazing for a professional railing installer (Bannisteer? Balustradesman? I'll go with Bannisteer), but for a guy who can be a bit of a perfectionist and who has a habit of staring off into space in the midst of projects, not bad.

Now, if only I could polish off our bathroom in that kind of timeframe...

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Short Project Attention Span

Since moving on to our Spring To-Do List I've had major project ADD, and can't stop dreaming about some of the other unfinished spaces we have in our future. The bathroom is the last thing we've budgeted for at least for now, so we'll see after that what we should be saving up for next. Lately, I've been especially drooling over an Ikea living room. 

I'm a bit hesitant about buying an Ikea sectional, because some of them don't look like the best quality and I know that their stuff is cheap for a reason. However, Young House Love has the Karlstad sectional and they've had it for a few years and still like it so that seems promising. I'm going to use this post to create a bit of an inspiration board for our future living room.

I love a sectional that's at least close to equal lengths on both sides, it seems the most useful. 

Here's the Karlstad in John & Sherry's living room.
As far as media storage goes, I love our EQ3 furniture, but I wouldn't mind something on the wall that uses more of the space and makes me feel more free to accessorize, so it's not all about the TV.I'm leaning towards something like this. 

I find rugs so difficult to choose, but this new one from Urban Barn is graphic but still neutral.

This coffee table is crazy cool, from EQ3.

I love curtains! Both of these options from West Elm are fantastic.

So those are some of the things I've been dreaming up while blogging on our living room couch lately. I know we probably won't be able to make some of the more major changes - like a new sofa - anytime soon, but if we can start dreaming up what direction we want our house to take we'll know what we should choose accessory wise or what to save up for. Anyone else planning a project that isn't happening?

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Window Shopping Wednesday Turned Real Shopping

I had mentioned in Monday's post that my mom and I went shopping last week, here are some iPhone photos that I snapped while browsing at Home Sense. For those who don't know, Home Sense is like Winners but with home stuff. My favourite finds there are furniture and some of the art is pretty great. Tricky though because there usually aren't too many of each thing so you have to snap it up right when you see it. I didn't buy anything there, but did a lot of admiring! I tried to keep my eye out for anything especially interesting. 

This isn't necessarily my style, it's a bit rustic. I loved it though ,
all the drawers were numbered (randomly) and it looked so unique!

This cabinet was very beautiful, it had a hint of sparkle and I might have taken it home
but I think it was a few hundred dollars. 

At some point I may push our dresser side tables together to make a real dresser and then get some lighter side tables like this. I love that it's on wheels and the glass makes it look a lot less bulky. Since our bedroom isn't the biggest I think this would look great on either side of our bed!

I could spend an hour in the pillow aisles at Home Sense. 

I liked how this rug mixed stripes with a more ornate pattern but kept the color simple. 
After Home Sense, we headed over to Costco where I picked up some pantry organizing containers (I'll show them in a post soon once my pantry is all tidied up). From there, to Ikea of course! At Ikea I bought a plastic bag organizer, scarf organizer, under bed storage, and some bag clips. So exciting to buy some organizing products so that we can make the best use of our new space and start making it feel like home. Sometimes it seems like everything is in temporary places, we can hardly keep track. 

What have been your favourite finds lately? Any stores you would like us to feature in the coming weeks? Also if you read anything interesting online this week, send me the link or post it in the comments! We're going to be starting a new series soon which will feature some of the favourite online posts of the week from other sites. 

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

We're Officially Best Friends with Tim Allen

You heard it hear first, we're officially famous. I'm pretty sure famous people usually announce their own fame right? People can't just be expected to know based on the publicity they've received? Anyway...we aren't famous. However, we have been featured on Tidal, as part of Bob Vila Nation. Yes, this Bob Vila.

I chose this video of him because he's visiting Tim if Bob Vila visits Tim Allen, and features us as his New Member Monday, I guess that makes us as famous as Tim Allen (my favourite actor as a joke...who was the female? Kirstie Alley of course...Philip is somewhat ashamed of this, okay fully ashamed). 

I have to admit I didn't actually watch this video before posting...and after publishing I had some time to watch it and have to add this...jean shirts and jean pants?!? Matching?? Bob & Tim...well done.

So, you can read the interview they did with us here. Thanks again to Bob Vila Nation for featuring us. Also, if this is your first time visiting Grandpa Joe's House, a great place to start is the About Us page where you can find out more about the purpose for the blog and some fun facts about us, to stay in the loop on a regular basis, follow us on Twitter or Facebook where we link up our posts daily. 

Monday, 4 March 2013

Enabling my Obsession some of you may have realized, I have a scarf problem. Just to help to understand I had one overflowing office paper box full of scarves. Some of which I wore, a lot of which I didn't. For Christmas, my mom bought me a new basket for them (2 of them in fact, one of which was holding plastic bags from the grocery store to be used as garbage bags). This was working, except the basket was pretty big and hard to get down from the shelf, and I found myself mostly wearing the scarves on the top of the bin while the ones on the bottom were left to live a life free of sunshine, being smothered by the scarves lucky enough to grace the top of the basket.

This past week I went shopping with my mom to Ikea, Home Sense, and Costco and came home with some great organizational products that I'll share over the next while, and I'll share some photos from the shopping trip on Window Shopping Wednesday (although this was more of actual shopping and spending money Wednesday), for now, I'll share my recently obtained scarf solution.

I finally purchased the Komplement Mult-use hanger, which can hold 28 scarves! I'm clearly enabling a problem, why would I need 28 scarves?? But anyway....let's ignore that for now and focus on the fact that I can see all of my scarves clearly, wear any one that I want without having to dig, and I love that it lies with its very slim profile on the side of our front closet.

Komplement Scarf Organizer displaying all of my scarves.
Love seeing all my scarves on display.

So that's one area of my home improved in a $10 fix. There are certainly other options out there, like shower rings on a hanger, or other specialty designed scarf hangers...but this worked for me.

As opposed to other Ikea products, this required zero assembly. Just took off the plastic and unrolled, ready for scarves! However, it is a "multi-use" hanger, any suggestions as to what else could be hung? Ties, belts, etc.?

Has anyone else done a quick organizational improvement that was low cost and low work? Leave a message in the comments letting me know what you would use the multi-use hanger for.