Update Post or Why is Anya MIA


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you! I hope everyone has enjoyed holiday season and time with family and close friends. I can’t believe it is already 2018!

It’s been a long, long time since I visited my blog or even Instagram. The world hasn’t come to an end and people’s lives have continued on in my absence, and that is a great thing, although my ego may think overwise. Even though my absence probably has not been overly noticed, I do feel that an update is in order.

First off, I am not pregnant and everyone is in good health. The reason why I have been so quiet is actually very simple – I’ve been busy with renos. I should add that these particular renovations were unexpected and almost unforeseen. Although, if I was a little bit more observant of myself and my nature, I would probably not be very surprised by this.

As some of you may know, we bought our house back in 2016. It is a wonderful, older home full of character and charm. It was built in 80’s and has been barely updated since then. There are gorgeous wood paneling around the house, curved staircase with a huge chandelier and an unbelievably large back yard which Misha and Skye, our dogs, have been thoroughly enjoying. While we have had updated most of the upstairs of the house when we first moved it, since 20 year old carpet in bathroom was not just cutting it for me, the rest of the house remained in its original state. That means yellowing 80’s wood, orange-y brown paint and those dusty light fixtures… there are a lot of things I miss about 80’s but decor is certainly not one of them.

The original plan was to start renovating the main floor of the house sometime in 2017, but as you also may know we got hitched in September of 2017. And although the wedding was a ton of fun and worth every penny, it was also expensive and that set our reno plans back a couple years. It was all totally okay with me! Except I didn’t realize how much I hated that 80’s decor until it really hit me.

This past October, right after Canadian Thanksgiving, our powder room really pissed me off. It is a decent size powder room, unfortunately that’s the only thing it had going for it. The rest was very sad. The light fixture was broken and only two lightbulbs out of 4 were working. At some point a few years ago previous owners tried to update the vanity by painting it white but by 2017 it was looking really outdated with it’s peeling paint and old handles. And don’t get me started on that wall colour and those 80s bathroom fixtures… I decided it would be a quick weekend, may be two weekends project to update the bathroom. You know, paint the ceiling, the walls and strip the vanity to it’s original wood and give it a new life with a better stain colour. Well, I was wrong.

As it turns out, these particular renos were of the very contagious sort. Next thing I know not only our powder room is in disarray and missing a door, our mudroom is taped off, our laundry room is in pieces, I’ve taken out walls, scraped popcorn finish off ceilings and decided that building furniture can not be much harder than sewing… Oh and it’s been months since that first highly emotional decision to start “quick” reno project.

I will not bore you with the details of these renovations I found myself in the middle of. I say “I” because Shaun hates any kind of updating work so I, being a very good and sensitive wife, although quite crazy at times, let him completely off the hook with helping me. I always was pretty handy with tools and I always hated depending on someone else to do something I didn’t want to wait for. I also really don’t like being a nag, and I would absolutely hate getting into fights over something that is not that important in the grand scheme of things. So our agreement was that I do the work, and he steps up in other areas while I am busy learning all these new and exciting skills he doesn’t care for. I know it may sound crazy to most people, but it really worked for us. He helped when he felt like it, or when I needed an extra set of hands, he stepped up and walked the dogs, made dinners and gave me space when I needed it, and I was happy to just work away on these projects. No nagging, no fighting, minimal disagreements and everyone is content.

I finally was able to contain my renovations to the power room, mud room, laundry room and the hallway that connected the three. The renos are still not finished. The temperatures dropped drastically in Calgary over the last few weeks and since our garage is not heated I can not do the last few things until it warms up. Thankfully that allowed me some time to slow down, rest, clean up and take a breather I really needed. I hope that I will finish with this set of renovations by spring and that is a very generous timeline! I am sure it is very doable.

I am dying to share the photos and I am sure you want to see them too. After all, I know I am not the only one who looks in other people’s homes to see what their interiors look like when walking the dogs at night… At least I hope I am not the only one.

I didn’t think this through very well and didn’t take the “before” photos, but I was able to find old ones from when the house was listed back when we bought it.

So here is what the offending powder room looked like before I got my hands on it.

Note the tiny mirror. I am not too sure why it was so tiny. I could only see my entire face if I stood far enough. But then I guess there are times when I am happy about not seeing my entire face…

And this is what it looks like now. Also, I would like to point out that I have an insane level of respect for interior photographers now. It’s impossible to capture everything with the lens on my camera!

I left the sink and the vanity as to save the cost, and updated everything around it. I almost feel that the beige shell sink now has a kind of cool vintage vibe… At least I think it works so much better now.

Here is the other side of the powder room. I built the shelves over the toilet and filled them with various knick knacks.

If any of you listen to My Dad Wrote a Porno I am sure you will appreciate a bronze pomegranate on the right end of the bottom shelf. I almost squealed in delight when I saw it. I had to have it.

Another thing that our powder room was lacking was a strudy door. I know, nothing quite like a shaky light door in the main bathroom right? So I decided to replace that as well. The original door was a hollow pocket door, and while I kept the pocket door set up, I replaced the door with a solid pine door which I stained dark. I am sure our guests will appreciate the privacy this new door provides!

Now, the laundry room was the next in line to catch the renovation virus. The old laundry room was sad and dark. I have no idea how much photo editing went into the photo below to make it look lighter. And how the hell did they capture the span of this tiny room?…

Shaun’s parents gifted us a new washer and dryer as a housewarming gifts when these old ones gave out shortly after we moved in. It was so nice of them! I love the new machines, they make laundry so much better. As for the decor, note the tiny mirror. There are tiny mirrors all over this house! It is so strange, but I am not complaining. I should have enough tiny mirrors by now to do a wall full of tiny mirrors one day.

The laundry room now is pretty much the laundry room of my dreams. I always wanted a big counter on top of the washer and dryer (no more missing socks!). So I decided to build one myself. As I was building it, I realized I had enough space in between washer and dryer for a small shelving unit. So I build that one too. I updated the cabinets with a couple coats of paint and new hardware. Oh and the faux metal tile backsplash was an impulse decision which I think really worked. I can’t say that I love doing laundry now, but I do love pre-washing my fabric and folding it on that big counter.

I loved having an extra sink in the laundry room. Especially for hand washing all those me-made bras. But the old plastic thing was shaky and seemed like it was about to fall over every time I used it. I couldn’t afford the sink I really wanted, so I found this vessel silk for sale on kijiji and built a vanity for it. I planned the design so that the end result would look very similar to what I really wanted to buy but would cost me thousands of dollars. I am very happy with how it turned out!! Now it all needs to be hooked up. I will not be doing that myself though. Either Shaun or my dad can do that. This is where the extend of my handiness ends for now.

The mudroom, was dark and narrow. I don’t have the proper before photo of it so here is what it looked like when I started on renovating it and then realized I’d better snap a before photo. At this point I already scraped the popcorn finish off the ceiling, repaired it, primed and painted it. I also took out the doors off the far closet and taped off the flooring.

Along with tiny mirrors this house was full of door ways and doors. Hollow wood doors, stained 80’s orange everywhere… There was a door to the mudroom, then there was a door from the mudroom to the laundry room and the two closets with hollow wood doors in the mudroom. Oh and the door to the garage which is thankfully not hollow but stained that same orange brown. I felt claustrophobic every time I entered my house through garage or went to do laundry. So all the extra doors had to go. I took them off and send them to our basement for storage. I guess I am still afraid that I mess something up, so it makes me feel better knowing that the doors are there if I ever want to return the house to its original state…

I took both closets apart and decided to raise the openings to the ceiling if I could. I couldn’t make them flush with the ceiling as there were beams in the walls, but I almost like this better. I learned how to drywall, tape and mud. It was fun! I also decided to update our garage door and make it look more elegant. To do that I attached trim to it and painted it dark blue. Although I love the way the door looks now, I do not think that colour goes with the dark trim. I will be re-painting the door once it gets warmer. I am thinking burgundy or some other dark red colour instead.

I also have been dreaming of mud room bench for a very long time… So being a crazy person that I sometimes am, I decided to build it. How hard can it be? Well, it wasn’t easy, but I am very happy I was ignorant enough not to think too much about it. I am even happier that I did it myself!

The other closet also has a built in unit now but I haven’t had a chance to finish it yet. It is missing doors and drawers. I will be working on them once the weather warms up and I can spend a few hours in the garage. But is works for now. As you can see I am already putting it to good use.

Finally I decided to give the gorgeous wood paneling in the hallway an update with a couple coats of darker stain. I still need to stain all the tiny trim that goes around the walls and attach it, but I am loving how much better it looks already! I also didn’t care to tape the ceiling as you can see, since I am planning to scrape the popcorn off this ceiling as well sometime in spring. Finally, I need to do a coat of clear poly on this wood to seal it all in.

May I bring your attention to the gorgeous tile floors showing up in all the photos? Those are staying for now. At least until we update our kitchen which will involve moving a wall, which if you are wondering, I will not be doing myself. I can live with this tile for a couple years now that the rest of the house is coming together and finally is starting to feel like our house and not our grand-parents’.

There you go. Now you know where I have been hiding. While working on this reno project I have been thinking about sewing a lot and the guilt I feel about not engaging as much with the community as I feel I should or want Toit . This unplanned sewing sabbatical of sorts did not feel great. Not because I wasn’t sewing, but because I felt that I was not connecting with everyone. I have not been on Instagram as much as I wanted to and I haven’t engaged with sewing people as much I wanted either. I definitely struggle with that. I get really overwhelmed and my anxiety spikes when I am on social media too much, but at the same time I feel awful when I don’t keep up with my sewing friends.

In the past year or so my way of dealing with this overwhelm and anxiety has been to withdraw, but I don’t think it is the healthiest way, at least not for me. I guess this post has now turned into a mental health update! I don’t think I’ve said it out loud on my blog, but I have freely shared it in person with those around me that I am learning to thrive with anxiety and ADHD. I don’t think these circumstances are necessarily new to me, I was probably able to successfully manage them in the past. However after my brain injury a couple years ago they came out in their full beautiful and bright colours. And although physically my body has healed, I have been learning to adjust to this new mental state for the past couple years.

My doctor has been great and very helpful. I ended up making a choice to take medications to help me get an upper hand and turn this into something that will make me better. But with anxiety and ADHD still being relatively new to me, I am learning what sets me off and what is the best way for me to go about things. It really is exciting to discover what works for me and what doesn’t!

As I’ve said, too much involvement in social media makes me anxious. Not because I feel like I need to keep up or anything, I carefully curate my feed to keep things that inspire me and make me feel good. But I do feel an internal pressure to be involved more and put more things out there. Now if you ask me what “more” is exactly, I would not know. So in the past I swayed between being super involved to completely withdrawing myself, and I don’t think this is healthy.

So this year I am hoping that I can figure out how to make this blogging and Instagramming thing work for me. Figuring out what “more involvement” actually means to me is probably a good place to start. And then I can think about where the internal pressure to always be on comes from and hopefully that will help me find ways to re-frame it in a healthier way that works for me.

I did not intend for this post to be this long and heavy-ish, but I am going to leave it as is. I am sure a lot of you can relate because after all we are all imperfectly perfect humans. Having said that, I am curious to see what works for you guys when it comes to blogging and social media. If you have any strategies and suggestions please do share. I would love to hear from you!


Until next time,



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  1. Glad to hear you’re okay Anya. The renos came out pretty well. What was really up with that small bathroom mirror?

    And sidenote, I think the need to tackle the multiple rooms that were bugging you is an ADHD thing. Once you start, you just had to continue. That hyper focus and all.

    I have been very bad with the blogging too but I tried to be more active on IG especially with my pattern tests. I have no tips but I do like how much easier it is to share with fellow sewcialists using IG.

    1. Thank you, Abbey! I agree, right? Why put such a small mirror there?.. beats me.

      Oh damn, you nailed it! I didn’t even think of it!!! Need to tackle multiple rooms at once totally IS hyperfocus. It did not occur to me at all until you mentioned it. It’s so good to know it, so that in the future I can notice it and hopefully do something about it before it exhausts me.

      I think we set these expectations on ourselves to blog a certain amount of times or whatever, but they are self-imposed expectations. It’s our blog and our space… so shouldn’t we feel free to do whatever we feel like? So I am trying to let go of that feeling and at the same time trying to be more intentional and organized. When I am organized things are a lot easier. I agree, IG is a super easy tool to stay in touch! I will make sure to use it more. Thank you, Abbey.

  2. Renos are looking awesome! I actually have the same deal with my husband, I’ve built or altered most of our furniture and we are in full agreement it would disintegrate into fighting (apparently when I have a vision I’m an awful taskmaster 😂)

    1. Thank you! haha I am so glad I am not the only one who find this arrangement working well. I am too an awful taskmaster when I have a vision. I was told I become dismissive and forceful lol

  3. Oh my goodness!!!!! I”m exhausted just looking at all the work you did, but wow, you really did a fantastic job!!!! I love your description of the work-sharing with your husband – that seems to me a very smart way to handle it. Nothing take the fun out of a relationship faster than waiting for the other person to do the bloody obvious thing that you told them needs to be done, but they just don’t notice! Smart to divide and conquer.

    As for anxiety… I hear ya! i’m back on anxiety meds after being on the once 5 years ago… and it’s an odd feeling to accept that I need the help, but also really exciting to think that it doesn’t have to be so hard. I’ve also become a bit of a shut-in. I lived all around the world in my 20s, and now I get anxious just going out for coffee with friends! I’m trying to work on that for 2018. (My doctor told me, “Keep upping your meds until you actual join 4/5 social things you want to do!” 😛 ) I hope that things settled down for you and you can find your sustainable balance!

    1. That makes sense why I was so tired! lol I kept thinking that I shouldn’t be as tired haha oh the expectations… I agree, I tend to want to do things right away and not wait. I get so impatient when I have a vision! He on the other hand would much rather do it on his own (slooooow) time and it would drive me insane, and vise versa I guess. So it only made sense to approach it that way.

      Anxiety buddies! I agree, accepting that you need help is an odd feeling. I don’t think there is any negative connotation with taking meds. It is what it is. I just asked my doctor to up my meds and we’ll see how that goes! I am excited. haha I am the same way! When I was younger I was doing all the things and now going to a loud pub makes me uncomfortable. It’s so interesting how it all changes.

  4. Holy cow! That was a ton of work. But the results look great! I love your comment about not knowing how hard it would be, and just going for it. It’s a great tactic for learning new things. I’m very impressed. And good job negotiating your DIY needs into your relationship – whatever works for you two! I’m happy to clean up and take direction, buy I don’t have the get up and go to work on things around the house AT ALL. As for part 2, I agree whole heartedly about being mindful of what kind of social media you take part in. It sounded like your weekends off strategy was working pretty well last year, maybe it will help again? Happy to see you whenever you feel like sharing, but all of this is supposed to be fun, not stressful, so take it at whatever pace works for you.

    1. Thank you! I am very happy with how it all is coming together. Now I need to finish it up! It’s so interesting how different personalities relate to DIY and just generally doing things around the house. It is also interesting how everyone has different expectations. I find it is a recipe for disaster if we don’t talk about the most obvious things because then it becomes “I thought you would do it!” – “I didn’t know it needed to be done! It looks fine to me…” lol
      You are so right, I did do the weekends off! I completely forgot. Thank you for the reminder. I am also trying to let go of my own expectations to check on everything I may have possibly missed and be okay with just what I can do / post / see / like / comment on. I think I really miss the chronological part of the social media too, that way I knew what I was missing lol I may try to come up with some kind of schedule!

  5. I love it when sewists do DIY home improvements, because I do that too! Your separation of responsibilities with your husband was a great idea. I am even more extreme: I do my big projects while my husband is out of town/country on business! Your renovations look wonderful, it’s so satisfying to see the before and afters. Your hard work really shows. Keep up the good work and keep taking care of yourself. Happy New Year.

    1. Me too! I think the ability to sew quite often translates into other DIY abilities. I do that too! When my husband leaves out of town quite often I will book a day or two off and either do a major sewing fest or plan to do another big project. I find it is less hustle and less issues this way. I can concentrate on what needs to be done and he is not exposed to my madness lol Thank you! You too, have a happy New Year!

  6. Ah Anya. First off the bat, you’ve done an outstanding job with the Renos. When I read how your ‘weekend project’ quickly developed into knocking down walls and the whole shebang, I laughed. In recognition. Once I start something I don’t want to be interrupted, I don’t want help and I won’t stop until I’ve done either. Even if I’ve passed the point of exhaustion before then. Because I know I won’t be able to relax anyway until it’s done. I guess what I think I’m saying is you describe your compulsivity / hyperactivity really well. I’m glad you’ve got a good doctor and are on the right meds.
    As for the anxiety re social media, yes to that too. I think a lot of us feel the same way and I’m sure everyone will totally understand the need to take breaks. I think sewists tend to be similar in nature don’t we? I know that if I’m too Social, whether it’s on social media or in ‘real’ life, I have to take time out afterwards. I’ll be the bounciest person in the room at an event (sometimes!) but I’ll proper crumble afterwards and it takes some time to recover. Sometimes a long time. It’s good to know ourselves and I’m soooo glad you’re taking the view that this is an exciting journey of self-discovery. It is! And it’s totally cool to feel / react the way we do. It is just the way it is. No need to burden yourself with extra pressure and guilt – we like Anya just the way she is!
    Sarah xxx


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