Friday, December 31, 2010

Lez Hurry Up!!

NEW VIDEO POST!! Lez Renovate - Season 2 - EP 7 - LEZ HURRY UP!

Today is Friday which means a new video. Yayyyyyy! It has been quite a whirlwind month with the holidays and tenants moving out. In this video we show you what we needed to do to fix up the basement suite, and with precious little time to do it!

Whatta suppose Cool J is looking at?

The music in this video is from New Years Resolution. I thought it would be fitting since it is New Years Eve!
We hope you have a fabulous New Years and we look forward to many more renovation adventures!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lez get it started in here

Cool J here. With a familiar feeling that I remember from many winter evenings of late 2009, early 2010. Let me see. What could this feeling be... oh I know. I think it is angry resentment at having to work in my basement suite in the wee house that I usually love.

I thank LL for breaking it to me gently that we had lots of work to do to get Our Basement Suite restored to its splendor. Though our tenants' mamas and pappas did a lot of cleaning, in our minds, the Suite is lacking the pristine lustre we had left it with. And I think I remembered it as having higher ceilings, smoother walls, shinier paint, straighter baseboards than it does now. How did those renters make the floor so slanty? Just kidding. It was simple wear & tear and now lez land ladies spent a lovely December evening at 3 box stores then a late night of scrubbing, sanding, painting etc.

LL will send you the tv episode soon...She was 2/2 in a game I call "LL's magical product". We have this classic fight:
LL: We need a 4x4 piece of plastic, orange in color, that will self-adhere to this wall to conduct electricity to the lamp. [or something. anyway, she is clear in her need]
CoolJ: You're dreaming.There is no such product. Good luck. You can ask the homodepot person, but there's no such thing. forget it. [in an "I told you so" voice, even though I am about to be proven wrong"]
HomoDepot person: Why yes, we have just the thing. But it's pumpkin, not orange. Will this do? I can give it to you for free.
LL: smile
Cool J: no comment.
Tune in later this week to learn what magical products LL again discovered, and to see more smiles and frowns as we sweeten our suite again for our new Dream Tenant.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Happy Xmas from Lez Renovate

One thing you need to know is that LL is a home-body. She loves to make things cozy around the place and when xmas comes, that means trimmings, garlands, and all manner of festivity. Our lucky cat even got a special xmas costume.

We hope you enjoyed the video showing our quest to make an old-timey-xmas.
Click here to watch our xmas video again.

If you live in BC, and your version of xmas includes butchering a living tree and dragging it into your house to mess up the place as it oh-so-festively desiccates, this is the blog for you!

We live near a big xmas tree lot, where a guy moves in with a fence, an RV and a semitruck load of firs in the first week of December. $50-$90 for a tree! But are they ever bushy and perfect! I'm thinking of starting a miniature xmas tree farm on in our front yard. In about 5 years, you can come and hear carols, drink mulled cider, get your kids' pictures taken with Santa Cat, and merrily chop down your own tree. $60? I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime I learned two excellent xmas tree tips:
Did you know that in BC (and most likely elsewhere in Canada, I have no idea about other jurisdictions), you can get a permit to go in the woods and chop down a tree? Moreover, that you are required to get said permit and if you don't it is akin to poaching. Xmas jailtime my friends. ho ho ho.

If you do select one of those trees from the woods, you may wish to renovate it a bit, as nature doesn't seem to grow them in perfect bushy cones and it is also illegal to 'top' the wild trees (just taking the top 5 feet & leaving the rest of the tree there).  A trick I learned from my dad: if you do the Griswald family trip to the woods, and manage to chop down a tree, get it onto your car and drag it back to the city, you are only 1/2 done. You likely will want to cut off some of the long branches, and if you are anything like LL, you'll have a festive vision that is more majestic O Tannenbaum than Charlie Brown's twig.

How to make a christmas tree look fuller
  1. Cut off a few branches and trim them with your secateurs (gardening shears, axe, sawz'all etc) to the right length. 
  2. Drill holes of about the same diameter (a tiny bit smaller is good) into the tree trunk. I recommend angling the cut and the hole so the branches point up instead of down. 
  3. Jam the branch in and count on the oozing sap of the wounded tree to hold them in place. 
  4. Water the tree frequently!
I wanted to show some picks of me using our new cordless 18V drill but for some reason I couldn't find the right USB cable for that camera.
We are very well endowed in the cable department

How about your holiday traditions.. Are you a lesbians + solstice lanterns household? Or are you rocking around a huge blinking white xmas tree? any xmas holiday renovations planned? We'll be re-tiling the basement bathroom and filling a zillion nail holes during boxing week so tune in for that thrilling video!
In the meantime, a very happy statutory holiday to all, 
xo LL and CoolJ

Friday, December 17, 2010

NEW VIDEO POST!! Lez Renovate Christmas Special

Well, the season is upon us to celebrate with families and friends. To break out the traditions that we first learned from our elders at a very young age. To smile, be gleeful and stuff our faces with food. Ah yes, it's Christmas. Celebrate with us as we show you how we decorated our house this year.


Have a fabulous holiday!

LL and Cool J

Sunday, December 5, 2010

What the heck?

Short story long.

So you must be wondering why the heck there wasn't a new video this past Friday! Well, I'll tell you why. Here is a little story.

At the beginning of Season 2, we showed you what will eventually be our jam space, tearing apart the walls and finding the remnants of an old couch behind them. Then, we got news from our contractor friend that the "structural integrity" of the patio is a little to be desired. So, we need to fix that. Which means we would have to remove the siding of the house and blah, blah, blah, blah. This upset us. And what do we do when I find out things that upset us? We ignore them and move onto something else.

So, that is what we did. We decided to replace the toilet in our bathroom. And that, my friends, didn't turn out exactly as planned either. So now, Season 2 - Lez Build a Jam Space turned into Season 2 - Lez Renovate Our Bathroom Because the Mold That Has Surely Accumulated Under the Drywall Is Probably Killing Us.

And that is where we last left you. But alas a NEW fork in the road has shown its face. Our tenants decided to move out! Yes. Which meant that we had to take a break from planning our bathroom reno to post an ad on Craigslist, search and interview perspective tenants. It was fruitful though. We found the dream tenant. One that is never around. Perfect.

Now, its our December crazy nutbar schedules that we have gotten ourselves into. But, that means holiday fun (and work)! With holiday fun comes holiday decorations. And with holiday decorations comes holiday drinking and so on and so on and so on. Plus, when the tenants move out, we are going to have to fix a couple things before the new tenant moves in. All over the holidays.

So, we haven't really had time to renovate very much in the last couple of weeks, therefore - no video.

But I have some good news though!!! We are going to be posting a Holiday Special video in 2 weeks! Look forward to that one as its going to be pretty good if I don't say so myself.

And just for being good and coming to our blog to read the newest post, here is a picture of Menue for you to admire.

That is all.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Lez Jam

Here at LezRenovate there's been a whole lot of talk about a jam space. LL has been looking forward to kicking out the jams with her musical buddies in her own home studio, and we keep promising ourselves and our loyal viewers that we'd build a jam space on the premises. I hope Tegan and Sarah, and Beth Ditto to Joan Jett are all anxious to drop in to rock with us. Or at least some old friends from The Stunts & New Years Resolution could come by for a reunion...

But maybe we can get them over for tea & crumpets instead, since Cool J took matters into my own hands turned our kitchen into a jam space.

DIY renovation with a can-do, make-do attitude are my inheritance from my dad, and home preserving is my birthright from a mom who grew up on a prairie farm & believes saskatoons and rhubarb are actually fruit. Join us in stocking our earthquake shelter with preserves that will not only ward off scurvy, but also taste great on gluten-free crumpets.

Some basic jammin' tips from CoolJ to you

#1, you'll need to get some fruit. Lez Reno recommends blackberries, as they are FREE around every parking lot, soccer field, and train track in the Lower Mainland. Ok, it is a bit late for free berries if you didn't think of it in August. Too bad for you! A tip from my mom: The fruits that are pink and small and pricey are often mixed with rhubarb (and sugar), to make it all go further. But seriously, who wants sour celery in their jam? yuk.

#1 Get your ingredients and supplies
Do not pass go & do not collect Home Maker bonus points if you were too busy with softball or hangovers to pick berries. Go buy frozen berries. Meet me back here.

Next, get some Pectin. I recommend Pomona's Universal pectin, as it has a homey-looking box, includes no preservatives and works great in NO SUGAR recipes.

You'll need some basic equipment - a couple of big pots, some tongs, a bunch of jars and lids. My mom uses any recycled jar & metal lid. I tend to go for the wee jamming jars that are so cute, as I give the jam to my sugar-free, gluten-free, diabetic, organic friends and family & I want them to know I went all out and I fear they will be less impressed if the jar is embossed with "Pickles" or the lid is from Miracle whip.

2. Simmer some apple juice down to 1/3 its previous volume. Here in Vancity, many good friends avoid sugar, so sugar-free also means splenda-free, sugar-twin free, etc. The secret is reducing apple juice to a concentrate.

3. Start a big pot of water boiling to sterilize the jars & lids. Yes, you do really need to boil the jars first. Even better if you happen to be a homesteader/chemist with an autoclave on hand.
Keep the jars & lids in the boiling water until you put the jam in them

4. Heat berries & mash them in large pot
Here I'm managing to keep the boiling fruit off myself as I pummel it with a potato masher. Picture me one December night, stirring a similar vat of marmelade bubbling til 3 am, when my plane to my parents' place left in the a.m. and I insisted on home made presents. The holidays are so much fun when you're cross eyed with fatigue and sharing a special home made gift from the heart, hey?

5. Boil the berries & calcium (it comes with Pomona's pectin). Oops. Get the wooden spoon off the gas stove element. Turn off the smoke detector

6. Mix the pectin & reduced apple juice in the blender. Oops! beware using hot apple juice in the blender! Nothing like a scald burn on the face in your picture with Santa.

7. More boiling: put apple juice & pectin into fruit. Boil a moment.

8. Put the jam in the jars. This is the part where a scalding is most likely - hot jars, hot water, hot fruit, hot times in the city. Turn off smoke detector that went off due to house filling with steam. if only we had a bathroom fan to help with this

9. Put lids on jars.
10. Boil the closed jars 5 minutes.
Only eat it if the lid is sucked in and really sealed. Do not mess around with paraffin on top. that stuff is poison. Clean the purple mess from all over your kitchen.

Glow with satisfaction when you eat about 20 croissants with homemade jam. Or give the wee jars as gifties to the family & friends who helped all year with renovations.

Just like my DIY shelf project that took 2 hours when I estimated 30 minutes, always figure i'll have low-priced, high-love gift giving all handled within an hour.

How about you? Do you renovation fans also dabble in other DIY good times? Jams? Pickles? Do you even like preserves? Is Rhubarb jam really jam?