Monday, December 31, 2012

Isaac and I Make a Mess

Today was the day! Isaac and I were going to get started on the living room. I started prep yesterday while Troy was picking up Isaac at the station, but only got as far as getting the Christmas decorations put away. What a chore.

Today we started by emptying the dining room and moving stuff from the living room into it. We ended up with a living room like this:
Facing SE

Facing NW

Facing SW

Facing NE
Yup the room was pretty empty.

The set up in the dining room is pretty cosy:
No room for the crafting stuff so I'll have to watch how much I get out at one time!

Then we put up some plastic to try and contain the dust and got to it.

First thing I took down was the trim blocks from around the doors. I'm collecting them in case someone wants them. We don't.

But what do I see there?
It was a nut. Squirrels have been "burying" nuts in my house! (Or my friends have been messing with me...time to fess up.)

From there we tackled the ceiling, and we hit it hard:
And we made a big mess. Lathe and plaster and bad wallpaper (yes, on the ceiling) all over the place.
And a mess of ourselves:
(It got worse once we hit the part where the insulation was blown in from the exterior walls. Here's a DIY tip--don't wear a low cut top when plaster, dust and insulation are falling down on you.)

And by the time we were tired out, we had about half done. Only half, but I think it was the "big half."
Don't bare floor joists look so clean and neat compared to
falling down plaster? Quite satisfying.
Isaac did find one skeleton:
He recognized it while it was falling to the floor, and managed to find most of the pieces. Although I would have scooped it up with the rest of the garbage, he thought it was worth keeping for further study. It's like he's planning to a vet or something.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Island Dressing

So we had this island. It was very useful and we liked it a lot. But its "backside" needed a little work:
Just the unfinished back and sides of the cabinets. But I had a plan, or at least an idea that I had torn out of a magazine, and I showed it to Troy. He said, "I can do that." And off he started (a couple of weeks ago)...

We used OSB since we knew the surface would be painted. First a base layer which concealed all:
Then Troy piled layer upon layer to build my dream. Here we are "mocking it up" when my sister was visiting:
Then he dressed it up with some trim:
Then it was my turn. First some primer:
Troy thought it was really cute that I used a drop cloth to protect our subfloor. (An old shower curtain--they make great drop cloths because nothing soaks through. But nothing soaks up either, so you have to watch you don't step in a drip or spill.) Anyway, there was no way I was going to live with a messy paint job for a few months (or years) even if it was going to be covered up later.

The the real dressing--the gloss paint:
Remember I had to fight for it at Lowes? Totally worth it.

And finally, the corbels I found online a year or two ago:
They're a mismatched set and I still really like them. I'm a little unsure of the dark wood finish with the paint, but I'm sticking with it. (Besides, Troy won't let me paint them, even if I wanted to.)

This was a fairly quick project, partly because Troy was really gung-ho to get his part done. And partly because it's a nice small project and not a freaking giant 30 x 70' wall!! (Ok, sorry, flashback to working on the shop there. I've got a hold of myself now.)

The only snag was when I realized Troy did the base trim correct on one side, and for some reason a different way on the other side. When I gently pointed this out to him, he tried to convince me that it was ok and I would love it, but I soon talked him back to the side of reason. He pondered the fix over a day or two (at first he thought it would be really easy, but then he kept realizing how well he secured everything to everything when he made it and then it would seem hard again), and then did a very nice job of fixing it so I could finish painting.

As this is one of the first things you see from the front door as you look into the kitchen, I wanted to to be a real feature. I'm very happy with what we ended up with.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Island Lights

Kitchen lights. I was having a hard time with choosing them. Everything in the stores was gross and I didn't know what I was going to do. But at that time, it was a long way off from needing them.

Then my sister called to say that she had driven by the second hand shop we all like in her town and had seen a nice hanging lamp in the window. She said it was white with orange and yellow fruit slices. Not exactly an encouraging description, but I trust her and she liked it, so I figured I would like it. And if I didn't, well, I didn't have to hang it.

A few weeks later she called and mentioned she hadn't done anything about the lamp. Should she check if it was still available? I said sure.

So a week later she goes to the store and finds it still hanging in the window. It had a sold sign on it. Oh no! But she looked at it closely and the sold sign had an old "hold by" date on it. So she went and asked at the counter and one of the women there happened to know the lady it was being held for. They called her up and no, she didn't want the lamp anymore. She just hadn't called them. Snap! That was Judy buying my lamp. (Thank you, unknown lady, for saving the lamp for me from all the other buyers who didn't ask about the sold sign.)

The lamp is lovely and will be great hanging above the kitchen table, and you will get to see it when Troy hangs it (soon). This is all a back story for the lights that are now mounted above the island.

My mom delivered the lamp from my sister's on one of her visits, and it happened that the next day Mom and I were driving somewhere and stopped at a yard sale. Mom found a few things, and then I saw two lamps like this:
They don't really match the lamp Mom just delivered, but they have the same sort of swirls and I thought they would look good together. There was no price marked and the person there seemed at a loss when I asked for the price. I suggested $5 for the pair, and they took it.
Of course, I couldn't use the lamps in their worn and harvest-gold condition. I took them apart,
and repainted all the metal parts a bright yellow.
Let me just comment here that spray painting and I don't really get along. All the fix-it shows and blogs talk about spray painting like it is the easiest thing in the world; such a simple transformation, etc, etc. Well, I don't know what my problem is, but I do not find it easy and simple. But anyway, I got it done and it's good enough for something hanging up at the ceiling.

Troy got them installed a couple weeks ago and put them on a three-way switch so we can control them from either main entrance to the room.
We have found that having just these two lights on is the perfect amount of light for general use. The other overhead lights are for when we're setting up the operating room (ha ha).
At some point in the process I started to get really worried that the lights were not going to look good in the room, and definitely weren't going to look good with the other ceiling lights. But once they were up, I liked them. It'll be even better when the other light is up. (It goes without saying that it will be even better when the ceiling is done, but that will be a long while yet.)

Sunday, December 02, 2012

A Productive Day

Yesterday was amazing. I slept in a little (8:00, I think), but had started the laundry Friday night so I was ahead of the weekend already.

I finished priming a project in the kitchen (more details later) so that I could paint it later in the day.

I went out to meet a knitting client at Red Purl (the knit shop). He tried on the sweater I had made and although he and his mother (who's paying for the sweater) didn't exactly bow down and worship my awesomeness, they seemed to like the sweater. They certainly didn't complain about it. So it is approved and I am done with the project. (Don't worry, my ego survived because of all the praise from the other knitters in the shop. Thank you, ladies!)

From there I went to Goodwill just because I was in the neighbourhood. was 50% off day. I stocked up on dress shirts for Troy because he had mentioned he needed more. As you can imagine, it's hit or miss on finding something suitable that will fit, has long enough sleeves (his arms are just short of freakishly long), has a pocket, is made from the right fabric, etc, etc, but I found five! Then I found a couple pair of jeans that fit me great. (Although GW commercials talk about finding the little black dress as the ultimate prize, I think finding well-fitting jeans is a more pressing issue.)

Then I went to Lowes and bought the paint for the aforementioned project--in my opinion the best part of a painting job, just above picking the colours. When I went to the counter to have it mixed up, she told me I couldn't get that colour in high gloss. She said the base she needed to use only came in the five kinds of matte, and I could get semi-gloss, but not high gloss. I looked at the samples, and honestly said out loud, "That will never do." I was a little surprised that came out of my mouth (!), but it wasn't in a snotty tone, so I hoped I hadn't ruined my chances with this woman. Apparently not, because the next thing she said was that she couldn't use the formula for that colour, but she could colour match it and use a gloss base. Well, that's more like it. I guess sometimes it pays to blurt out what you're thinking and draw the line of what you will and will not accept.

Then it was to Walmart for groceries and whatever else I could find. I've been looking for a new bathmat, so I took a look around. I've had a couple failures so I wasn't hoping for much. (By failures I mean stores that had bathmats, but not in colours/patterns that I liked and too expensive anyway.) So I look around a while and find myself searching for the place to put a mat away that was misshelved. (Honestly, I do this all the time when I'm shopping. Sometimes I try to stop myself, especially when I really don't have the time, but I've realized it's usually more work to talk myself out of it than to just put the item away.) Anyway it turns out this mat was a pattern I liked, and although I never found where it belonged, I found others from the same brand and it looked like the price was good enough ($12-$15). I put a second choice in my cart ($10) and found a price check machine. I put the mystery mat under it and the price came up at $7. Score! (Sometimes it's the collection of little victories that make a great day. :)

From there it was home where I unloaded the car, getting the Goodwill clothes into the laundry straight away. Then I painted the first coat on the kitchen project, and then got dinner made. I wanted to ask myself, "Who are you and what have you done with Christina?" but that is a bit overused so I didn't. (I just waited for Troy to come home so he could ask me.)

I hope it is obvious that I am making a point to write all of this not because I am so incredible, but because this is so unusual. I don't expect to have a day like that more than once a year, but I tried to keep it going today. I got some detail painting done before church this morning and the second coat on this evening. I hope it's done now, but I'll evaluate if it needs another coat when it's good and dry. Ok really, do you need a peek?
That's all you're getting for now, but trust me when it'll be worth the wait. I am loving it.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

For those celebrating Thanksgiving today, I hope you're having a great day!

We enjoyed dinner with Troy's dad and stepmom as guests and finished it up with spiced apple-pear pie. It was yummy.

Give thanks with a grateful heart! :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sometimes the Sky is Falling

So Troy and I were still in bed this morning (that bittersweet time after the alarm has gone off but before you've decided you really do have to get out of bed for the day) when we heard a big bang/crash. After the first pressing question of whether there was someone else in the house (no), the next was "What was that!?" Usually I'm pretty good at guessing what unexpected noises are, but I had nothing for this one.

When Troy made it downstairs, he saw this:
A huge chunk of our ceiling fell to the floor! It's been coming down in little, little pieces for a while, but now it looks like more of it is eager to come down:
I was trying to think of a time when I could deal with the mess that would come from taking more of this down, and not looking forward to it...but then I realized that if I don't get to it, the ceiling will make a mess all on its own and I'm sure it won't wait for it to be convenient for me. So I guess I'd better find some time to tackle it!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

And Then There Were Two

I am very happy to announce that I now am the proud owner of a two-sink kitchen.

I'll try not to carry on too much because I know some of you thought I was crazy about my first sink (and I don't want to make her too jealous as I welcome her little brother).

I was tempted to put it into action right away and start cleaning some random vegetables (what I intend as its primary function), but that was going a bit far and might lead to actual cooking...

Just to be complete in my documentation, here are the plumbing works.
Troy had the drain hooked up last night and worked on the supply lines today. When we turned it on the first time, we had a leak, but it turned out to be a faulty o-ring that was quickly replaced.

And now a couple of glamour shots because much can I say about putting in a sink?
Well, actually I can tell you it's a single basin porcelain sink from the same company as big sister. It's a full 9" depth. It's been sitting in the corner of my kitchen for quite a long time, and I am very happy to have it installed! The faucet also matches the faucet on the main sink, but it's a three-hole instead of a four-hole style. (The sprayer comes out of the base instead of out of its own hole beside the base.) But otherwise they are the same.
Welcome to the family, little guy!

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Some work and some play

Troy has been working on the trim on the kitchen island over the last few weeks. When he put it on the other counters, he stained it before he installed it. He found that it got a little too abused during the installation and then needed to be touched up, so this time he installed it first and stained it in place. It worked pretty well.
He went ahead and did the nails the "right way" and countersunk them and filled in the holes with wood filler, but he actually likes the look of the flush nails on the counter trim better. He thinks that besides being more work, this looks more obvious and actually detracts more. Live and learn.
Once his trim was stained and urethaned, I was up for grouting. I didn't get to it for about a week and then was sick with a cold this week (a good excuse), but this morning I got to it. I pulled a Troy and fit it into a tight space before going to the ND game today.
Took about an hour and a half from start to finish (including clean up, of course), and it looks great (in my opinion). Although I was afraid the grout would emphasize the uneven spacing, it really just brings everything together. I also was a little unsure about the colour because I thought I wanted something more red to make it look like one piece. I couldn't find red and went with this bone or beige colour (I forget) because it matched the veins pretty well. Or I thought it would. It's not like I had the actual tiles with me in the store (they vary a lot anyway) and it's a little hard to get a feel for the colour from a tiny square swatch on the bag. But it worked out; it's good.
In this picture you can see how the finish is already failing (middle left of picture). We don't know what has affected the tile (tomatoes, a juice, water???) but this kind of "clouding" has turned up in a couple locations. I've come to grips with it...and some day we'll figure out how to refinish the tiles and fix it. But it will just happen again, so I'm not going to get too uptight about it. (I'm not. Really.)

Having accomplished that, I set off to meet Troy for the game. A bit of a dull go for a while but ended with a pretty exciting fourth quarter and triple overtime, with the final result of a win and 9-0 for the season! Go Irish!

Final score (finally!)
 Happy fans:

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Taking Measure

Sometimes it's the little things that do a lot to make life better. Yesterday I implemented a plan to make my measuring spoons more manageable.

I have a few different sets and some mismatched oddballs. It seems certain shapes are better for measuring different ingredients so I like having options. But they sure don't store very well.

I had them sitting in a two-cup measuring jar, which worked ok, but I was often sifting through a bunch of spoons looking for the right size.

As a solution, I installed some of those pull-release clips on the inside of the cupboard door--one for each size. Label them so Troy can find the right size and we're all set!
I was worried about them hitting the shelf or items in the cupboard but it turns out that the shelf is inset from the door and they don't take up the same space. Works great!

I thought about hanging the measuring cups on the door too, but I think they really will interfere with items on the shelf. I think I'll try hanging them on the side wall inside the cupboard. One hook for each set in that case.  (I just have two sets.) It will get them off the shelf, reducing their footprint and be a nice way to keep them tidy.

Tidy is good. :)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Progress in the Kitchen

Things have been slow going  ("no" going) in the kitchen so I decided to put up a list to help get us focused.

That took about three weeks to get done. To make sure I didn't miss anything, I looked for our last list. It was this one from November 2011. I was happy to see how much of the old list we have gotten done. Other items have been postponed for much later (like flooring).

Last weekend I got the grout sealed (finally). First thing I could cross off the list. Since I had pulled out the stove, I had Troy help me level it. Next thing off the list.

Just today Troy laid down the caulk at the base of the tile.

He does a good job! Makes it look "finished." And of course, one more thing off the list.

And you might notice a check mark on the list. I do that when I work on something, but it's not done yet. Today I started painting a pair of these light fixtures that will go above the island.
They sort of match the hanging fixture that will go above the table, and I found them at a yard sale. ($5 for the pair.) I want them yellow, but not this 70s yellow, so I am spraying them a very bright sunny yellow. I really worried and fretted about how I was going to get into all those curves, and finally decided to just start. Do what you can do and then see where you're at. So far, so good, I think. I'm working in the shop and there wasn't a lot of light by the time I did the last coat for today. I'll see tomorrow.

Another thing I did today was to cut up the leftover/broken marble tiles. They've been sitting around for far too long.
These are the ones that survived the cutting. I was going to just glue some felt on the bottom, but I think I have to sand the cut edges a little. They all are between 4 to 6 inches square. If you are interested in having one for a trivet (or anything else), let me know. I have more than I need, for sure.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Dressing up the Kitchen

I am happy to report that we no longer have this curtain hanging in our kitchen window:
It served us well through construction, but has overstayed its welcome!

This week I finished up a replacement, a roller blind:

Up, down and all around:
I think it looks pretty good.

If you want all the details of how I got there, you can read about it here on my other blog.

Blog Archive