Granville, Stanley Park and sore feet

Claire had the day off today and we set out to explore Vancouver in the rain.

First we went down to Granville Island, where there are great shops, a market, and this week they were having a kids fest, so there were lots and lots of kids.

We stopped at a nice cafe for a little pre-lunch snack, which turned out to be lunch.

From there, we got a bus downtown and walked along the sea wall (a lot like the boardwalk in Halifax) toward Stanley Park. There was a really neat installment there of a half-size model of a fishing storage shed cast in aluminum.

There were houseboats everywhere. Pictured here, is an example of a house-yacht.

Here’s the map of Stanley Park. We took the Tatlow Walk to Siwash Rock and back.

Stanley Park Map

Pretty much the first thing I saw before I even entered the park was the biggest tree I’ve ever seen. And it just keeps getting better.

Here’s a tiny video of a huge tree.

The small wonders are still just as amazing.

Then we came out on a beach and walked a little further along the sea wall to Siwash Rock.

On the way back, we found this amazing mountain biking trail. I kept thinking I was going to get leveled by a speeding mountain biker, but alas, no.

Once we got back, we met Claire’s friend Carla for sushi, and I topped it all of with a deep fried mars bar!


First look at Vancouver

The flags are flying high today in Vancouver from every car window and store front in anticipation of Game 1 tonight against Boston!

I got up this morning at 5 local time feeling surprisingly rested and made myself stay in bed until 6. I spent the morning exploring the parks and beaches in the area around Claire’s place.

Claire gave me a list of places to check out and marked them on a map. Here’s a trick I learned: take a picture of a map, and then you have it everywhere you go! First, I went to Pacific Spirit Parks on my way down to Spanish Banks Beach.

a long way to go

You really do get a sense in the parks that this whole place would have been a rainforest.

Here’s a little video of the trees in the park.

I loved seeing the old stumps with different things growing out of them. Sometimes they had new trees growing out of them.

At the bottom of this hill, I came out at Spanish Banks Beach and got my first view of the (bottoms of the) mountains. I still haven’t seen the tops yet.


Here’s a time lapse of the harbour.

Then I went to Aphrodite’s Pie Shop to see where Claire works and to have some delicious organic food for lunch. I had already had two pieces of pie, so I just went for some feta vegetable soup. mmmmm…

And I was served by this lovely lady!

It was the day of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, so almost all of the kids at school were wearing their Vancouver Jerseys.

At the top of W 8th, I looked back and would have been able to see some mountains but the clouds were still hanging around. I should be able to see them today or tomorrow, and it’s supposed to be nice all weekend.

When Claire got home we made pizza! We thought the game was on at 8, so we started the pizza to be ready for then, but when talking to David Smith, we realized it was already on. So we watched the game and then ate our pizza.

Tomorrow’s another big day, so pretty much right after supper, we went to bed.

Hard to Leave

I’m in the Toronto airport right now with my first update. I like this airport. It has become very familiar to me, and it’s nice to have a routine when I have to leave such a wonderful Mikey and a beautiful place just as it’s really becoming summer there. Unfortunately, the Red Rocket (my favorite restaurant here) is in the US customs now. They will switch sometimes and lock the doors if they’re in the US customs area, and open them up when it’s not. I can watch people enjoying that great restaurant from several feet away, but that’s just creepy, so instead I’m at The Exchange, which is my second choice.

Goodbye Fredericton

Keswick Dam

I got up this morning at 4, and took a cab to the airport, only to find out that the flight was cancelled. My second attempt was more successful and now I’m in Toronto. I will arrive in Vancouver tonight at 10 pm local time, instead of 10:30 am, as originally planned.

Kathadin, I think...

Farmland in Quebec, or Maine

I guess I was upgraded to business class because of the flight cancellation, which was alright with me. I was in 02F, which is at the front, at the window, and it’s the seat with lots of leg room, becuase there’s no seat in front of me. I felt like Mr. Bean when the flight attendant passed me a hot cloth with a pair of tongs. I didn’t know what to do with it. I figured out quickly that it was to clean my hands… Still, it felt weird.

He asked if I wanted cheese and crackers. Of course, I was expecting some premium plus and some stale cheese, both wrapped in plastic. Not this:

chees and crackers

And I took some video while on the plane. Enjoy!

And YYC – YVR.

Heirloom Crib

Although I’m not quite finished yet, I couldn’t wait any longer to show you what I’ve been working on. A Crib!

I started by looking up Canada’s regulations on cribs, to make sure I’m building the safest, best crib for our baby. I also wanted to build something that looks great and will last a long time. My first task was to learn a new skill, which was making mortise and tenon joints, so I bought a chisel and mallet. The second thing I did was to go back and buy a better chisel and a sharpening stone. I then practiced until I was satisfied I had made all the mistakes I possibly could and learned how to avoid them.

Then I started putting things together. I drew up some plans in my moleskine book and started with the front because it was the part of the crib with no curved sides.

I’m starting to get an idea of what it will look like…

I rounded all the edges of the frame and each slat with a cove bit on my router which stops about an inch from each joint or end. I don’t even want to talk about sanding anymore.

Then I had to figure out the rounded sides and back. I drew the curves on paper and transferred it to the wood and cut it out with a jigsaw. These were rough cuts and required a lot more sanding.

In putting the final pieces together I realized that if I glued it all in place, I’d never get it out of the nursery. Not much of an heirloom if it can only be used in this room. So, I used inset nuts and bolted the ends on to the front and back instead.

The rest was more of the same, just a LOT more of the same. I cut 84 mortises (not counting the practice), made 42 slats, and probably spent 60 hours on this project. But I think it was worth it now. The mattress support can be lowered to 4 different heights so that when the baby is a “bruiser” to use Debbie’s term 🙂 , we can lower the mattress and then raise it again for future infants… Just sayin’.

Now all that’s left to do is staining. I’m going to use linseed oil, and then a few coats of varathane on top. I’ll post an update when this is all done.

Valentine’s Bookshelf Wall

I guess this is what’s called “nesting.”

On Valentine’s Day, I made a bookshelf- for my Valentine(s). I have always wanted to have a wall full of books, and something this house is really lacking is storage, so this wall bookshelf both tidies up the space and cozies up the room.

First Sketch

First, I sat down and drew my idea on a piece of paper. I put Bear in the drawing to make it seem more real. Then I did a 3D drawing with Google Sketch Up. It’s a pretty cool, free program.

Google Sketch Up



I cut the braces and put them in place to see what it will look like, then I started gluing them in place and securing them with screws.

with books

Then we put some books up there, and it almost looks finished!


We won’t burn these candles while they’re up there, but it makes for a nice photo. Hmmm…


I built the bookshelf to be level, but the room is so crooked, it looked very strange. So, I removed the books, lifted the shelf with the car jack, and put new braces underneath which were 1 inch higher on the right side.

in daylight

The next day, it looks like a part of the room.


Before I covered up the bottom with the baseboard, I inscribed a dedication in case anyone ever sees this again.

pot lights

Halogen pot lights (and the remaining braces) finish it off nicely! Now this is a room we want to spend time in!

tiny bathroom/not so tiny project


Harry Potter's bathroom

So Mikey and I have decided to try and tackle the smallest room first, which is the bathroom under the stairs.  It sounds like the smart thing to do, and maybe it was, because now we know that every job creates more jobs. And now that the elections are on in New Brunswick, creating more jobs also sounds like the right thing to do. Okay, sorry.  I’ll try and focus.  If you click on the photos, they will get bigger, so that you can see the pattern of this hideous wallpaper. And under that wallpaper, was more wallpaper, and more and more. six layers in all!  But really this was just behind the toilet, the rest of the bathroom luckily only had one layer.

So we started taking the wallpaper off, and revealed that the walls underneath were in pretty poor shape.  The wallpaper came off and took a layer of the paper covering the sheet rock with it.  It looked like this:
And behind the toilet, I got carried away, and removed the drywall entirely!  Actually, it was a part of my plan.  I wanted to make the space behind the toilet usable as storage space with access from the hallway.  So the plan was to close up the wall entirely behind the toilet instead of having this little shelf there:

unused space

So this whole area was just closed in, and with the lack of storage space in this house, I wanted to make it usable.

This is where the project expanded…
Into the hallway…

I smashed out that wall too!
This next photo gives a better idea of where the bathroom is.  As you can see, there wasn’t much room for a bathroom in the first place.  So my plan here was to remove this wall and put in a storage closet with a door hidden in wainscoting.
Ambitious?  Yeah, but why not try!


So, I began by removing the trim which framed the brown drywall here, then I started smashing! Not really, I tried to save the drywall, so I could use it again for behind the toilet, to make the bathroom into a room again.

the wall removed

For a while, it looked like this:

I then had to frame up the upper portion of the behind-the-toilet section (where the little shelf used to be), so that I could put the drywall up. I’m learning that you have to measure EVERY edge, and you can’t rely on corners being square. In fact, I can pretty much count on them not being.




Now on the outside of the wall, I was stumped for a while about just how to make wainscoting without an existing wall, and to make it match the woodwork which was already there. The problem was that I was trying to make the panels in-set from the wall, so that the whole thing could be flush with the stairs. I spent a few days just looking at it when Mikey took one look and said, “Why don’t you put a bracket on the stud and attach the panels to that?” Sometimes it just takes a fresh set of eyes. Or as Mikey said to me a while later, “Sometimes it just takes two eyes.” haha!

With all the walls off, the blown-in insulation was exposed and both of our allergies began to act up. This is the point in a project when you just want to get it done.

dust factory

Then I cut the plywood pieces and fit the baseboard and trim. The plywood pieces were all about 1/2″ wider at the top than at the bottom!

the walls go up

Then, the door went on! It was also hard to figure out how to attach the door without the hinge being obvious. I wanted it not to look like there was a door there when it was closed.


Completed the trim…

unpainted wainscoting

Then I added the trim, panel moulding and PAINT!  Lots and lots of paint.

Outer wall complete!



with a door! Yay for more storage!

Now back to the bathroom:  we were held up slightly on paint colour but eventually settled on something CRAZAY!  It’s called Japanese Koi (which also happens to be the name of this WordPress theme) and it’s a nice bright yellow!  We chose a bright colour to try and make the tiny tiny room seem a little bigger.



finished! (almost)

You can still see a little green tape around the stairs (the posts are a cream, and the railing is white- ick!).  But I figured it was time to complete this post and show everyone the (almost) finished product.  Now for the before and after:




What do you think?


Sandyville, NB

  Hi friends and family!  We’re in our new house, and although we’re very excited to be moved in to OUR HOUSE, there still is lots to be done to truly make it our own.  With some initial landscaping underway, and more renos on the horizon, we wanted to document our progress and make sure that there was a good before and after of everything we do around here.  We’ll start with the “before”, and as we tackle new projects, we’ll cover the “during” in great detail.  Then, of course, we’ll be most excited to post the “afters” right after pouring ourselves a tall glass of homemade beer, or peach juice, or maybe we’ll just want some cold water after all that hard work.

Anyway, enjoy the process from afar, and be glad that we’re not asking you to help, except for Mikey’s parents…  we’ll be sure to put you to work every Saturday between now and October, and Dad, I’ll be needing your help building the awesome deck.  We’ll keep WAB’s (Weak Ass Beers) in the fridge for anyone who wants (read: anyone we can rope into) to help, and some stronger beers for anyone who needs a little convincing.

Love from Sandyville,

Paul and Mikey.