White Chocolate Cranberry Pistachio Bark

This was a Christmas gift for my mother in law.  Don’t laugh – it looks high society but it’s really lower-middle-class easy to put together (was that weird? did I just type that? witticism fail? *manners* fail?)

White Chocolate Cranberry Pistachio Bark

good quality white chocolate for melting
pistachios: shelled and as much of the skins removed as possible
dried cranberries, roughly chopped

Line a pan with parchment.

Melt chocolate over double boiler and spread in parchment lined pan. Scatter pistachios and cranberries over top, pressing lightly to secure.

Alternatively, you can stir the cranberries and pistachios into the melted white chocolate before spreading into the pan.

Allow to harden. Break into shards for serving.


The Bathroom Part 1

This is the current state of the bathroom. Status? Unfinished.

I called this post ‘Part 1’ because I am lazy; Part 2 will follow soonish with our plans to finish this beast off once and for all!

This isn’t sooo bad (at inspection).

Ah yes. Sprung a leak, has she matey?

We had no money left after closing costs and a moving truck so heavy duty poly and duct tape served as a stopgap measure.

Don’t judge. It worked.

After a couple of months, my father in law and his brother came out to lend a hand in getting the shower project going.

(Ok, I admit it: they did all the work because we are a couple of Nancy’s who had no idea what we were doing.)

The entire bath and toilet area: gutted. Aside from the use of the toilet and sink, this bathroom becomes unusable.

Our house has just one full bathroom so…this is where we showered while the bathroom was being done.

Those two (very long) months totally tested my ick and fear factors.  Ick factor? Pretty self explanatory.  Fear factor…super creepy basement right outside that door, man. You don’t even know. What could have been lurking behind those unpacked boxes, under the stair case…in the sump!

(Admission: The Ring was a pretty major contributor to my Sump Fear. One night my sister and I got drunk and I told her about how scary it was; how I couldn’t even go get laundry at night because it’s so dark, and something could come UP from there  – it’s probably like six feet deep! She made a disgusted noise, took a swig of her beer and let’s just say she was very brave and now I know the sump is only about a foot deep with beachy looking sand at the bottom (when it’s not got floodwater in it of course). Also, my sister is bad-ass.)

Showering in the basement revealed another water leak issue: we think the catch basin under the shower is cracked. Water pools in the (completely unfinished) bedroom directly beside the ‘bathroom’. So it’s coming from under the wall. Too bad so sad, Mr Basement Bathroom. You have much potential but I am not touching you until I’m finished upstairs.

In an effort to gain a few more inches, the toilet was moved deeper into the stall.  The wall separating the bath and toilet area was reframed and replumbed.  Tub installed and drywall hung.

Once the drywall was up it was painted with a Home Depot product called Red Guard, a moisture barrier.  It’s very red.

We’d chosen white subway tile with two sassy little strips of black. The corner shelves were husband’s idea and they’re pretty awesome. It took some convincing but I got the grey grout I wanted; even the father in law and his brother came around to it.

(Side note: I had not wanted the tile to meet the ceiling. It does. End of story.)

Done! Well, minus the final hardware pieces but whatever, I don’t have a picture of that.

That first shower made me cry. I’m not even kidding. It was so bright and clean and new. Best fucking shower of my life.

Still to do:

-insulate wherever possible during final renovations (we’ve found NO insulation in the walls of the bathroom so far)

-install exhaust fan (since the wall and ceiling near the toilet are currently open and accessible, we might as well take advantage of it)

-demo vanity, backsplash, floor and parts of old drywall

-finish new  drywall (must also look into a product or method to help prevent mildew; hoping the exhaust fan will also help with moisture removal during the winter when we can’t open the window because of the shrink-wrap film covering them)

-install new subfloor and floor tile, backsplash, vanity and sink, light fixture


THEN…                                                                                                                                                                                                                     AND NOW.


House Numbers Installed!

Horrible nighttime photo but I’m totally psyched: house numbers, installed!!!!!!!  Now we gotta do some staining to fix that wood…

(source: Atlas Homewares, $18.60 per)

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Our House at the Beginning

This was the house at inspection and on possession day. It’s kind of embarrassing how little we’ve done in 2.5 years…although this past year was basically a write-off.

We’re looking forward to the the progress we’ll be making in the next few months.

Strap yourselves in, and prepare for photo-overload. You are about to embark on a hell-bent, five-cent “Our House at the Beginning” tour.  I’ll save the completely unfinished basement for another time…

Google Street View of our house in the spring (about 8 months before we moved in).

Front entrance (cork flooring in foyer area).

Living room, as seen from dining room.

Fireplace, drapery, wood paneling.

Dining room and back yard, as seen from living room. Walk through to kitchen on left.

Hallway to bedrooms and bathroom, as seen from dining room/kitchen walk through.

Master bedroom.

Second bedroom.

Third bedroom/office.

Third bedroom/office and entrance to bathroom.


Kitchen and partial dining room.

Kitchen with full Youngstown steel cabs treatment including boomerang hardware, original dishwasher, window knick knack shelves, 3 lazy susans. Countertops are Formica boomerang pattern in gray and pink. Cutting board to the right of the sink is built-in.


Original Youngstown dishwasher.

Kitchen window directly above sink looking over backyard.

Doorway to basement and back exterior door.

Front foyer.

Rear steps off of dining room (original sliding glass doors). You can see a basement window to the lower right, and the kitchen window to the upper right.

Hey wow did you make it the whole way? Thanks!!



We were newlyweds in this farmhouse. At that time there were two other structures on the property: a large barn and the original home. Torn down, now. The house was condemned about a year after we moved out; at time of photograph, the house is occupied.


Thrifters Unite!

Thrifting is, bar none, my favourite hobby.  And I’m not ashamed to admit it.  I’d rather cruise thrift stores than hit the malls. We live in a burgeoning town in the Fraser Valley: the Bible Belt of BC. Our thrift stores are full of Dutch-themed and religious crap but there *is* the occasional surprise.

Despite our particularly bleak financial situation this month, I escaped the sick husband for a couple of hours last week to make the rounds of my ‘regular’ stores. Spent less than $10 and I’m hoping to recoup that and more by selling two Pyrex primary bowls (I have a full set already).


Magazine rack? Toilet paper holder? I have no idea. I like the shape.

I really wanted to take these still lifes home.  Damn poorness.

I love that it’s a pirate but otherwise meh, right?

Two JAJ Pyrex in patterns I’ve never seen before. It’s not common to find this stuff here, per se, but I’ve seen several pieces.

Thought this was Broyhill at the store but now I don’t think it is. It’s a sewing cabinet that desperately needs some love.  Look at those lines! But ewww the base…ok. Maybe I don’t actually like this piece.

Honderich was stamped on the back of this china cabinet.  $55. Eff me. I don’t *love* it because it’s darker than I usually go for (teak please!) but for that price, and a silverware drawer for my sadly neglected wedding set?!  Again – screw you, poorness.

The pears, not so much.  But the flowers were totally calling my name.

Love this little vignette at the Mennonite thrift store.  They do try – I just despise how they’ve started picking through their donations, and selling the good stuff via craigslist and eBay.  Also, what is up with these wickery ball things?

Hello Snail Soap Dispenser. Mind if I stuff my toothbrush in your Whale friend over there?

Love the ceramic dish, undecided on the apple. I love the wood, hate the brass. Plus it reminds me of a teacher’s gift. Polished up though, could be a neat piece with some pottery.

Full on man cave addition. Like in the bathroom. On the toilet tank. Watching you poop and criticizing every grunt – he’s even brown.

I really like this and I don’t know why.

At the end of it all I brought home just a few things:

a planter for my sansiveria, ceramic piece, tacky Golden Nugget Las Vegas ashtray.

And of course the two Pyrex primary bowls; both in fantastic condition and currently listed for sale.


Population <100,000

I do love living here. It feels like a ski town, sometimes, with all those mountains and the bright blue sky (until summer and early fall anyways, when Vancouver’s smog settles into the curves of those mountains and turns everything all brown and hazey). If you can get past the whole cow shit smell (that really takes you by surprise with its ferocity some days), the ski town idea really helps get you through the rain that falls 180+ days of the year.

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Mid Century Rancher Slash Bungalow

We  took possession of this mid century rancher-with-basement slash bungalow in December, 2009.

You know how it is with wedding dresses?  The first one you try on is the one you go back to, even after trying on 943576128 other dresses?  This was our wedding dress.  Thank goodness we realized that before someone else got their “I’m gonna reno-and-rent this bitch up fast and nasty ” hands on it.

Our realtor reminded us that typically, new home owners rarely stay in that first home for more than 5 years before they’re off and running for their next one.  Sorry D, we’re staying put.  Our plans are a little more long term than 5 years – hell, we’ve been here almost 3 and we’ve still got a buttload of ideas in mind (and in progress….)!

We’ve got a lot to do, not much cash to do it with, and little time to do it in.  There’s going to be lulls in the progress but I’ll find something to fill it with.