Update the Kitchen- Budget Friendly

About a month ago I mentioned that we are thinking of Moving. But the home we are in is still a perfect size for our family at the moment. We’d only be moving for a short time, then have to downsize again later as it is once the kids move out. They do move out, right?

So my wife and I made a list of all the things we want done to finalize our home. That way we can spend the next while enjoying the house before selling. The number one thing was our kitchen. But our budget is really low. Like really, really, really low.

We couldn’t afford a total gut job of $25,000, so I called Home Depot about getting just the cabinet doors replaced. $6500 to start. Ouch. Next option? Paint. That’s more in our budget. And I found a product that does it for a fraction of the cost.

We bought Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations Kit from Home Depot instead (as well as some new hardware for the drawer pulls). A little bit of hard work and preparation is required in order to change our cupboards into some much nicer. Out with the orange oak and into an elegant whitewashed antique style.

The process is time consuming to be honest. We have 20+ doors to redo. First is a deep scrub followed by two coats of white chalk like paint. Then a brown stain is applied and wiped off. Once dry a finishing coat is added. Simple, easy, and I have been truly enjoying it.

Over the course of three days, I have completed about 1/3 of the kitchen. My wife and I are loving the final results. It’s updated the kitchen on a budget spending less than $400 on paint, supplies and hardware. The only downside is the time it is taking me to complete the project. Our kitchen is in some disarray but I’ll get it done in a few more days.

If you’re a DIYer like myself, this product is fantastic. I’ll gladly recommend this to anyone who wants an updated kitchen at a low cost. I can’t wait to show off the final result to our friends at our next dinner party!

Motivational Writing

Over the summer I took my daughters to the Chapters Book Store. We didn’t end up buying anything, but we did do a lot of cover reading. It seems that a trend has arisen in the form of Motivational Writing.

The titles are reflective of our society today. With a curse word thrown in the title to add some humor. Like an internet meme complaining about work or people. A couple of decades ago, the titles of such ideas were kinder and gentler.

“Chicken Soup for the Soul” came out in 1993. Since the first book, the company now has offshoots that cater to nearly everyone. They produce a dozen new ones every year. They seem to be the leaders in the market. Even the original title makes you feel warm inside.

My daughters told me I should take a few of my stories I’ve written in this blog and piece together my own book. I think that’s really sweet, and it got me thinking that maybe I should. First things first- I need a catchy title and book cover.

I love the title of my blog. But would it translate into a read worthy motivational book?

I love this piece of art from downtown Vancouver. However, it holds a bit of negativity and doesn’t sound motivating enough.

This is another favorite photo of mine. A bit presumptuous in a way, but goals are important. Even if it means floating on a lake in an inflatable boat.

Naw. This one isn’t great. Even though I find it amusing.

How about something completely obscure that mentions robots? As if my book would somehow change your life from being robotic and systematic.

Or way off and use something my son thinks is humorous? Not sure this title is along the lines of “You are a Badass” or “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck”.

In the end, I’ll keep on writing every day and hope that I can piece together a series of stories that matter most to me.

Let me know which stories I’ve written that you think I should share in book form. I’d love to hear these. Getting feedback from my blog readers and friends helps a lot in figuring out what stories I should share.

Early Morning Post

Usually I try and schedule my posts for the mornings. I like to have them out for the day- I find I get more traffic that way. But sometimes I just don’t get my thoughts out ahead of time and need to post later in the evening.

I wake up the next day and rush to stare at my phone to see if anyone has read or responded to my blog. Usually to be disappointed.

So I’m going to try and write my blogs and have them out during the early morning on the West Coast. This is where I need to discipline myself and hunker down during my free time.

Not going to fail myself this time. I can do it!

Painting Number 2

I had never taken an interest in painting growing up. I did the occasional project in school- but I never bought any art supplies for myself. I tinkered a bit with pencil crayons and sketching, but never really with painting.

I enjoyed decorating my children’s rooms over the years, so I at least made some attempts at art on the walls.

On canvases however, I’ve only ever done two pieces- one was a pencil sketch I made for my wife years ago for her 40th Birthday. The other was my first real attempt at acrylics A month ago– A painting of some planets and a sun. I also used some spray paint on it to liven it up. I was rather pleased with the final results. So I decided to buy another canvas and steal my daughters’ paints and brushes today.

I’m rather pleased with myself this time around and remembered to take a few photos along the way.

I started with a quick background coat of primer gray spray paint. Then I pencilled in my idea.

Then I got started on my trees and bushes. I enjoy blending colors to give it a more natural feel.

For about an hour or so I added in my flowers and lanterns. I was starting to really enjoy the piece but knew it wasn’t quite finished.

With the final details added, the painting was ready to be hung up. I put it above my wife’s computer, maybe she will notice it later on.

I based the painting on a few photos from our trip to Tokyo. This one was my biggest inspiration:

I don’t think I did too shabby considering it’s my second piece. Of course I see many flaws and realize what I could’ve done differently. In the end, I think I may have a new hobby blossoming.

Breaking a Bad Routine or Two

I never realized that I had a routine. One that many of us fall victim to. An addiction.

Ugh. The word “Addiction” is so horrible sounding. I personally picture heroin junkies whenever the word is spoken. But that’s not the only thing I imagine-

I see myself. And that sucks.

The Oatmeal nails it.

Last month I took a Break From Social Media. It felt good. However, on September 1st, just after midnight, I spent the good portion of an hour catching up on Facebook and Instagram. The Fear Of Missing Out won me over after 31 days.

I’m still refusing to use the social media platforms unless I’m on WiFi. I’ve also tucked them away in a folder on my phone to keep them more out of sight. Gotta stop opening the apps when quiet takes over…

Perhaps I can one day push myself into the Joy Of Missing Out. Not all of it is important. Most of it isn’t. But what if it is…? Dammit- gotta stop second guessing myself.

No mo’ FOMO.

Joe needs JOMO.

Like a MOFO.

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I Made a Painting

Our daughters are really into painting and making art. My wife and I always encourage them to express themselves. And they express themselves quite often:

No matter what their skill level, if they like what they are doing- I encourage it fully. We also enjoy showcasing their pieces. More often than not, they keep their beloved work to themselves in their bedrooms.

Sometimes they allow my wife and I to showcase their work. Those are the times that I really cherish. When a piece of their soul is put out for the world to admire. As parents, it’s hard to tell them if it’s not good…

Ya. I said it. Not all of their art is good. But that’s okay. We’ve also taught our children to adapt and take criticism seriously. Not insults. But actual criticism- where they could improve and what they could try next time. And they do.

Personally, I haven’t really painted in years. This Saturday was me getting my feet wet again, so to speak. I’m not good by any means. I’ve learned some techniques over the years that I wanted to try. Most of the techniques are from artists I admire, especially those who work hard at conventions. Some of these artists blow me away.

Here’s my piece during the process (minus the first step, I forgot to photograph that). What you see first is lots of glossy black:

When I first started, our oldest daughter gave me a 5×5 inch canvas to play with. So I used some of their acrylic paints and smeared some colours around. Then I marked off some spots and spray painted a black acrylic gloss over it. Here’s the removal:

I tidied up the piece with some more colours and some other spray paints that I had. I wanted it to pop.

I added some minor details and kept wanting to add more. At one point, I had to stop and say it was complete.

I threw my usual signature on it and the date. All that’s left is to get back into painting again and make more art that I love. There’s an entire universe out there for me to paint.

May you be inspired by whatever brings you joy. For me- it was seeing my children work hard at creating art. They are my universe, my everything. I can’t even begin to create something as wonderful as they are.

Feel free to share your paintings with me. I need to get back into it. Like Bob Ross said:

Saying Goodbye

Sunday was the last day of our Convention. I had to say goodbye to all of my friends. It was the last day of Calgary Expo, but also a bitter end to many years of shows. We won’t be returning.

I’m severely saddened by this. But many factors have come into play over the past little while. Last year I toted about My Fandom Family and how great everyone is. I love these people. Even back in 2016 we were hoping to Expand our small business- it just won’t be happening.

Since 2016, sales at Conventions have dropped. To be honest- the sales more like nosedived. What used to be lucrative and profitable, suddenly became, “Are we going to just recoup costs?” We gave it a couple of years, but sadly no increase.

Besides our declining sales, a few other factors have also come into the decision to not return. First, my wife has started a new job. She will be working for a company full time and can’t create stock or take off time for out of town shows. So her Business will be scaled back to just online sales- no more travel to conventions. We can now use vacation time to vacation!

Secondly, our children are getting older. We do not want to take them out of school as their workload is heavier than it was when they were younger. Our oldest has entered adulthood by getting (and loving) her first job, so time off for her means she makes less money. She is now saving up for her next big purchase.

Lastly, after doing Conventions for nearly a decade, we’re a bit burnt out. So many stresses lead up to a show as well as when we are there. We also haven’t done a decent cosplay in a couple of years. There was just too much going on in life. I am hoping to take on a new hobby and just make replica movie props for myself.

Yes, I’m saddened by the fact that I put down in words the finale of our traveling business. And just like that, our convention circuit is pretty much all done. We went out with hardly a whimper. No big fanfare saying it’s over. It’s just over.

Just some hugs and handshakes to say farewell to our friends- with many a promise to stay in contact. All of the conventions were a blast, but now it is time to move on. Let the next stage of life begin.

Likes

I enjoy writing in my blog. Some people enjoy reading it. I like getting “Likes” from complete strangers as well. It makes me feel good. Like as if what I am sharing is worthwhile.

Sometimes what I write is beneficial to other people. Perhaps they can draw on my experiences. Or perhaps they come to laugh at my stupidity (like the time I Broke my cellphone). I like to think that they read my blogs because I make people feel good.

So if you like my musings, like my blog. That’s it. I like it when you like me. I don’t earn any money from the likes. Just a little ego boost.

I like that.

She’s Got The Look

My wife began her new job on Monday.

Yay!

She made it through the first eight hours getting everything setup for working from home. The entire family left her alone in order for her to get settled in. It helped that the kids were at school and I was sleeping 💤. So I didn’t even get to see her after her first day, as I was on my way to work. But we talked afterwards.

She had kind of a rough start. As with anything computer related- there was a few hiccups. My wife was most unimpressed with that. About seven hours into her day and she was ready to shut it down and give up. All of the issues were out of her control.

She did not give up. She’s ready to take on day two with more gumption.

“What in the world can make a brown-eyed girl turn blue

When everything I’ll ever do I’ll do for you”

You go girl!

You got this!

You’ve got the look!

Maybe I should’ve chosen a different Roxette song to quote:

“Hold on tight, you know she’s a little bit dangerous

She’s got what it takes to make ends meet.”

In the end I think my wife feels more like this:

“She says: Hello, you fool, I love you.”

Job!

A couple of days ago I mentioned my wife applied for a job: She Works Hard. She found out this afternoon that she got it!

She now works at Shopify starting as soon as we return from our trip to Tokyo. Tonight we are going out to celebrate. That’s my quick update. Gotta go and share the joy with my wife.