Thursday, 3 April 2014

Master bedroom Paint Completion

A few posts ago I talked about priming and painting the master bedroom.  Well sometime between getting home from Algonquin Park and heading out to the sugar bush we managed to get all the paint up. There are still some touch-ups here and there where a roller touched the ceiling or where a second (third) coat is needed on the cutting in, but overall the effect of the paint is there now.

We ended up deciding to paint the walls with Benjamin Moore's Yarmouth Blue (HC-150 in Sherwin Williams Superpaint - we had a free can). For the ceiling we used Feather Down (OC-6) in Benjamin Moore's ultraflat ceiling paint. Finding a colour for the accent wall was difficult and forced us outside our usual scheme and into darker, stronger colours.

At the local Benjamin Moore Paint store, we got out chips of our colours and took in our new-to-us tapestry. The designer worked up a scheme for us. To our surprise she went straight to the chocolate browns. We decided to go with "Willow" which we feared would be overpowering, but so far is quite pleasant. To be honest, I think its too dark for the tapestry, but we have a backup plan if we aren't happy with the end effect.

Here is the new look:

Lights on...

Lights off.
With the paint done we can move on to next steps. Tonight we have a local contractor coming out to quote us on new flooring, and then we will be looking into replacing the trim in the room. The trim will be painted in "Feather Down" to match the ceiling, but in a higher gloss. For reference, here is the old colour, but on a different wall. So far our work looks much better.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

I am NOT a Thrifter. I swear!

It seems like every blog I visit has folks thrifting and buying stuff from charities and in support of community and stuff like that. I dig it. I even like the idea of buying used over new, and I love the idea of finding treasures in a junkpile, I just don't have time for thrifting and antiquing like I'd like to. Besides, most of those antique places and thrift houses are only open during business hours, so when would I have time to stop in anyways.

And then last week, I found myself on 3 separate occasions in three separate antique-junk-thrift stores, and came home with TREASURES! Plus I got that old shaper I blogged about like, yesterday, so I guess I'm on an old, used, and abused roll. Here's what I've scored...

The greatest hit has to be this gravy boat. Somehow I have managed to survive my entire life without ever owning my own gravy boat. I would go to thanksgiving at other people's houses and envy their gravy boats, but now that I have one of my own, I can stay home for thanksgiving and not feel like I've missed anything. Not that I like gravy or make it or anything, but now that I have a gravy boat, I might try.

Not as great as the gravy boat, but still great in its own right was this set of 4 juice glasses. I know they are pretty pedestrian (except that they are wavy glass) but they are great because every day at breakfast our boys either fight over the plastic juice glasses (everyone wanted the blue one today) or they get out the big honkin' water glasses and want a huge glass of juice, which always leads to a lineup at the washroom just as we are about to head for school.

And the wavy glass looks cool.

While I waiting at the cash, I happened to notice a rack of CD's from my youth - and there at the top, in a badly abused case was R.E.M. Automatic for the People. Sure I could download this for free from Napster (90's reference) but hey, for a buck, why risk having the law bust down your door? Keep on rockin' in the free world.

They had one shelf of old abused tools in the thrift store, and I was surprised to see three plumb bobs in the pile of rusty saws and hammers. I remember my dad having one and watching it swing and spin until he gently put his finger beside it and checked that his whatever would be exactly over the other whatever, then marking the spot on ceiling where the nail, or joist, or wall would line up. Dad's plumb bob was a piece of hexagon-shaped steel that had a point ground on one end, and an eye on other to tie a string to. The plumb bob I picked up looks like an art deco piece. Its almost wrong to put it in a tool box!

Another shot... yup, I paid a whole $4.00 for it.

My final find is truly amazing. I can now say I am the owner of a tapestry. Our tapestry is intended to go in the master bedroom once the decorating is complete, but for now it is hanging in the hallway. I need to start referring to the hallway as the gallery so it sounds more pretentious. Also, our bedroom is now "The Master's Chambers." unless that's a washroom. I'm not sure.

I love the frame this came mounted in too, but it needs a touchup here and there due to the chipped stain. I wonder if the frame could be painted the same off-white as our ceiling, or if that would be a mistake.

I almost don't want to post the tapestry until we have it in the room, but its so cool, I don't think I can wait either. Even as a standalone, I think its great. here it is.

I needs a shelf under it with a pile of old books and a globe or two. Where are you when I need you Gretchen!

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Antique Shaper!

I picked up this ancient 1/2" spindle shaper last night. I got the tool for a song, but now I need to find tooling for it, and that will get real pricey real quick.

This shaper was made by Henry Tools - a now defunct company that was founded in London Ontario back in 1945 and operated until about  1953. I love the old office table this has been welded to. the cups over the casters kindof remind me of an elephants feet.

Like a fisherman presenting his catch, I present the latest tool buy... The sub $100 shaper.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Sunderland Maple Syrup Festival

You know its springtime in ontario when the Maple Syrup Festivals start springing up. We are fortunate to be in the middle of Ontario's syrup patch and every spring there are about a dozen festivals for us to choose from. The grand-daddy of all the festivals is put on by the Amish folks in Elmira, but it gets crowded and hectic, so for the past few years we have elected to stay closer to home. This year we went to the Sunderland Maple Syrup Festival.

There are a few critical elements to a good maple syrup festival. One is a tour of a sugar bush. Another is clydesdale horses, and there have to be handmade craft vendors and a country feel to the whole thing. Sunderland supplied all these and more in a fun day-long outing.

We were greeted by a flea market on the main street when we arrived. Background music was provided by a band accompanied by a bunch of square-dancing folks. Everyone looked cold, but happy.

A unique feature of the Sunderland festival is its Bathtub races in which high school students get to race bathtubs down the town's main street. We arrived just after the races, next time we'll have to arrive earlier in the day.

After strolling through the outdoor vendors and past the bathtub racers, we found the craft market in the local elementary school. Lots of folks were selling everything from polished stone jewelry to paintings and braided rugs. SWMBO looked really hard at the preserves to get some ideas for next summer.

In one of the halls of the school was a booth for "Sew Many Monkeyz", a mom-preneur who makes sock-monkey based toys and sewn items. We fell in love with her beach towels, and bought a pair for the boys. We had originally planned on getting the blue one and the purple one, but by the time we came back to get them, all she had left was Purple and Pink Light Red. the boys think they're great! They were a really good price too!

Outside the school, we caught a bus to go on the sugarbush tour. Every year we go on one of these tours, and every year I seem to learn something new. The bus this year took us to Harlaine Maple Farm, about 5 minutes away.

Momma sat with Cuppa on the bus, and I got to sit with Buddy. While we were waiting for the bus ride, you'll never guess what came to the school!

These guys were pulling people around in town, while the bus was travelling out in the country. I thought it was funny that the wagon was almost an exact match for the ones we saw used as daily transportation on our recent trip to Cuba. One of the Clydesdales looked right at us while we waited.

When we arrived at the sugar bush, there was a demonstration of a native sap boil. I had never seen this before. Apparently the first nations people would hollow out a log and fill it with maple sap, then boil down the sap into syrup by adding hot rocks from a fire. Eventually the sap would be reduced and the syrup would be poured out of the log. I didn't get any pics of the process, but it was quite interesting to hear about.

After the demonstration we hiked into the woods and the farmer explained the process of extracting sap to make syrup. This year, the ground has been too cold for the sap to start its spring flow, so the farmers are selling their reserves from last year's crop and hoping that soon we will see temperatures above freezing so the sap starts flowing.

First, the maples are drilled to receive a spile, or tap, which draws sap off the natural draw of the trees. the tap is connected to a hose, which uses gravity to draw down the sap to a central trunk line.

The network of sap lines zig-zags through the forest, following the contours of the land to reach a low point. There, it joins a larger trunk line to go to a sugar shack. The green line in the picture below is a trunk line.

The original sugar shack on this property is no longer in use, but back in 'the good old days' a fire would be kept burning and the maple sugar would go into a steel pan like the one leaning against the sugar shack below. The pan would be kept almost level, and the sap would gradually be boiled down as passed from chamber to chamber through the pan. (A better photographer might have moved the coke can).

A short walk away, we entered the modern sugar shack. Today, the Harlaines still process sap from the same trees that they have been harvesting for over 50 years, but the sap is now boiled down in a climate controlled evaporator hood. The temperatures, sugar levels, and 'sugar sand' are all controlled so that they can produce a consistent medium grade syrup. The evaporator is still wood-fired, but many sugar bushes have converted to propane or natural gas evaporators.

Maple syrup comes in 5 grades from extra light (almost clear) to dark (looks like motor oil) and no one grade is any better or worse than the others. The grade produced just depends on the soil and trees on the property, and the farmer has very little control over the grade of his crop. Generally, the darker the syrup, the stronger the taste of the syrup.

We rode the bus back to town after the tour was done, and everyone was starting to get tired, so we found the Harlaine's booth in the flea market and got Maple sugar candies for everyone, and then hopped in the car to head home.

Today its back to work painting and decorating. Soon I'll be able to share more of that project, but first, I have some thrift and antique store finds to share. See you again soon!