Sunday, January 29, 2012

My Appliances Have All Come Home!

I'm pretty tired so I'm going to use a lot of pictures tonight.

First, you can see that sometimes Troy is laying down on the job.

He was putting in the final string of rope lights for our under cabinet lighting.
He also got the oven and sink lights hooked up this week. It's been delightful. Besides the benefit of having task lighting, I was also grateful we found flat fixtures that will be hidden by the valances.

Today I got to the ever-more pressing task of moving the fridge. (I've only been talking about it for two weeks now!)

First, pack up all the fridge and freezer contents and putting them in God's freezer:
Then Troy moved the fridge into place and I set about cleaning it. Really cleaning it. Like it's never been cleaned. (Now, I'm not saying I've never cleaned it, because I have.) (But it has been a while.)

Finally it was all shiny white and new:
Then I filled it. (Cleaning all the bottles as I went. You know how they can get.)

Finally I had a properly placed, cleaned, and filled fridge:
For fun, contrast that view with this one:
Besides the fridge being in the foreground, you can see that the shoe shelf that used to be in the front foyer is now in the back room. Makes much more sense as that's the entrance Troy and I use. As Troy likes to say, "It only gets better from here!"

And finally, no fridge is ready until it's dressed:
(Thanks again, Patricia, for sending me your magnet. Troy even noticed and said it's a great pic of her!)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

More Tile

Just a quick post to show you what I got done today...

Worked a lot on the focus tile to be put above the stove. You can read all the details on this post of my other blog, but what I ended up with is this:
Yes, that is a Canadian flag. I love it.

Once that was done, I turned my attention to the window well. I got it covered in tile and had just enough energy to get up the frame tiles that didn't need cutting:

I wanted the seams to match and I wanted to miter the corners. The cuts didn't work out so that I could do both. Now I'm debating putting little 2" squares of the Mexican tile in the corners. I'm not sure yet. Let me know if you have any bright ideas.

Good night.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ok, I'll Say It: "I'm Good."

My tiles have been sitting on the counter for more than a week now. Troy's been patient about it because, as he put it, even without that counter we still have way more than we did a month (two?) ago.

I could say that it has been sitting there because I had company and wanted to show it to them and obviously I couldn't work on it while they were here. But really, I was gathering the fortitude to begin this new thing.

I thought it would happen last Friday when I was off work for the day but I spent it on other more comfortable projects (like knitting and more knitting). Saturday I was gone all day and Sunday didn't make it happen either. (Probably watching too much football. Oh ya, and catching up on paperwork and banking.)

Yesterday I almost got started, but somehow didn't follow through on the thought. But tonight! Tonight I ate dinner promptly and started prepping the space by 6:30. I originally thought I'd just give myself two hours and see where I got. Then I thought, if I work til 10:30, that's four hours (as much as I'd probably put in on a Saturday) and I'd still have time to get to bed on time. So I started.

It took me half an hour to get things set up. Clean the tiles off the counter, organizing them as I did so. All the coloured ones were numbered/coded so I would know where they went. I put all the worst cut cove tiles together so I could use them in the back corner. Cover the counter with a drop cloth and an old shower curtain, and then gather supplies and read some directions. I was glad to discover that the thinset was premixed (I was thinking it was the grout) so I could just open the bucket and go.

Oh, but first I had a miter cut to make on the very first tile to lay. I think it will be the only one in the kitchen:
I think I did a pretty sweet job. And this was only tiles #3 and 4 with miter cuts. ;)

After that it was throw up some thinset, throw up some tiles all night. By 8:30 when I had put in my original two hours, I had a pretty good inkling that I was going to have this licked in one good night.

And I did:

Once again, I have to ask: pretty sweet, right?!

Worst spot of the night was this cut around the box:
Not so sweet, but I am living with it. I misunderstood Troy's direction about the electrical boxes so the holes are all a little big.
With a white cover, they will blend in nicely:
I have to say I enjoyed tiling more than I thought I would. I thought I would be under more of a time crunch with the thinset drying out, but it stayed pliable for a long time. I was able to cut around the boxes without any pressure. I expect the grout and cleanup to be a big chore, but it is the final step so that will be motivation enough.

Any opinions from tilers out there as to whether I should grout this before moving on to putting tile on the east wall, or put all the tile up and grout it all at the same time?

Another thing that got done this week was the counter edging:
Troy's been working on sanding and staining some hickory after putting on the beveled edge. He custom tinted the stain because he couldn't find a pre-mixed one red enough for him. I think the red highlights the "Colorado Granite" counter top beautifully.

One more shot of the north wall just to bask in it a little longer:
I probably won't tackle any more tile work tomorrow, but we may be (finally) moving the fridge in. Can I get a wOOt wOOt?

Sunday, January 08, 2012

My Very First Tile Cuts

I have been talking about tile and thinking about tile for quite a while now. I obsess a little. I've been waking up in the middle of the night with new problems to solve or solutions to ones I thought of in the middle of other nights.

But this weekend, I decided it was time for some action. I've never tiled before so the first step was to get a familiar with the tile saw Troy bought. On Friday night I boldly told Troy that I was going to cut some tile on Saturday if it was the last thing I did.

And I did!
I cut a few of the Mexican tiles and I cut some of the cove tiles down so the whole thing would be the right height to fit. I just did a few to try the pattern out, and Troy and I decided it was going to look fine.

I stopped cutting tile because I had some trouble with the tiles chipping at the end of the cut. Troy "fixed" the saw Saturday night so I could cut a little on the back side first, and that stopped the chipping. Yeah, Troy!

I also unpacked all the Mexican tile and did some sorting. These will go in my kitchen:
These will be saved for later:
I will work the blue and white ones (bottom row) into a bathroom. I think blue and white tiles are neutral enough you can match them with most anything.

The tile saw is very, very messy.
I set it up in the appliance room. (Ok, I had one quick trial run in the kitchen where it was warm, but I quickly realized that that was not going to fly.)

Not only is the tile saw a mess, but I am a mess too:
All that red on my sweater? That is splash from the blade. Red from the terra cotta Mexican tiles. Troy insisted on the mask so I wouldn't breath in lead dust, but somehow it didn't keep me from grinding stone bits in my teeth later! When I complained of it to Troy, he said it was ok to eat, just not to breath it. That wasn't really the response I was looking for....

After cutting, I sanded all the edges to take the sharpest bits off, and being me, couldn't help but sort them again:
Mostly blue on the left side, greens towards the right. I got to do this part while watching the NFL playoffs and in front of the wood stove where it was warmest. That's my type of work environment.

Once I had the pieces cut, I tried a layout on the counter:
The uncut square tile is sitting on top of the others, just to see if I wanted to add that detail.
Here I let it sit til Troy had a look and he confirmed my opinion that we did want the square tiles. And I thought that might be as far as I got today because I was tired and hungry and didn't think I'd be able to get myself to do more.

But after two dinners of my favourite comfort foods (first, two pieces of toast, one with peanut butter, the other with cheese; and then popcorn) and some overtime NFL playoff action, I decided I was going to try to do the cut outs for the square tiles. This was at 9:00 at night and just when the Downton Abby Series II was starting, so I hope you can see how serious I was about getting this done!

I made my lines and cut my cut outs, one section at a time and had it done in about an hour. This is me after staring down a saw blade to make sure I was cutting on the line:
Yes my hair is wet through the rag, and can you tell I sight with just one eye?! Anyway, it all washes off. I just had to do it several times to make sure I could see what I was doing.

After the hour, I had a true mock up of the back splash on my counter top:

Now that all the planning is done and pieces are figured out, this will be easy to put up, right?

I didn't really think I would get this all done this weekend, but my initial decision to just cut a tile led to the rest. (Of course, having Troy to help me over the rough spots helps a lot too.) In this house we talk often about fooling yourself into getting things done by not looking at the whole job but just telling yourself that you'll do only the first step, or just start, or just do 20 minutes. But by the time you do that, you either realize you want to keep going or that you're practically done already. It's a good trick on yourself. And if it doesn't work, at least you've gotten a start. Win, win.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

A Little More Progress

The other day we got the holes drilled for the handles on the island cabinet, so I was set to vacuum them out and fill 'em up.

The first drawer to get to was the top one, the one with the knives:
The plywood boxes that Troy made for our previous drawers fit pretty well and otherwise the more used knives seem to lay nicely on the padded toolbox liner. It's a little decadent, but we have the space. (Wow, did I just say that?! Woo hoo!)

I had enough toolbox liner to do a couple shelves that are holding pots and pans:
It seems crazy decadent to use upper cabinet space for pots and pans, but we do use these items a lot and they sure are convenient to the stove.

I'm going to try storing potatoes, etc, in the bottom drawer on the island:
I'm hoping to find a couple plastic containers that fit better to hold the produce. I am really tired of stuff sitting out so I'll be donating the container that used to hold the potatoes and onions and trying a drawer.

And what, you may ask, is that lone potato doing outside of the bag? Well, that is actually a stone. Troy's mom found it in the garden a couple summers ago while she was visiting and thought it looked like a potato. She sneaked it into my potato bin, but (just like her son) couldn't wait for me to find it on my own and ended up pointing it out to me. It gave me a chuckle and I have kept it in my potato bin ever since. (Psst...sometimes it's even fooled me.)

Thursday, January 05, 2012

A Great Steal!

I have been eyeing a certain chair that was left in the basement at work (for years).
And, I must admit, doing a little coveting.
And justifying. No one is using it. It's one lonely chair. It would match my kitchen perfectly.
Today my coworker told me to liberate it. I accepted her permission to do so.
Only later did I learn that she had a good reason to want a little revenge on the boss today.
I decided I didn't mind being the beneficiary of that little drama.
The chair looks great in my future kitchen!

Monday, January 02, 2012

My Own Private Island

There hasn't been a lot of progress in the kitchen lately. We've been visiting family and friends and enjoying the holidays. Troy's been playing with his new lathe. I've done a little more organizing (2 more boxes unpacked today!) but am having a hard time figuring out a lot of the remaining items. They either don't fit nicely into a category or are seldom used or...(fill in some other excuse)...

One of the issues is that we didn't have the island installed. There were things that I wanted to put there and couldn't. They were getting in my way, either literally or mentally.

Troy fixed that yesterday when he decided that he didn't want the island cabinets in the way in his shop anymore, and we moved them into the kitchen. We covered them with the counter top that we had been using in the dining room (cutting it to length) so that we could try it out before making anything permanent.
We started with the location specified by the plan, which gives a three foot lane between the island and the other counters. We may move it a little further away. As you look at the pictures, keep in mind that the counter will overhang about 12" on the side facing the camera in the above picture.
Even without the sink, it's been another treat! Lots more counter space! I haven't yet moved anything into the drawers because we still have to put the handles on, but I have marked them.
One thing I did do today was remove the doors and drawer front from the sink unit:
It's my idea to have the garbage here in this open cabinet, and you can see where I'm trying the paper towel dispenser. I was happy to learn that there's enough room for the compost bucket to sit there too. They are out of the walking lanes and still easily accessible.
Maybe you think it looks funny, but I am going with it. When Troy came home and saw it, he had the idea to put the drawer front back on so the paper towel would be dispensed through a slot:
We'll try it and see. I think it looks better than having the gaping hole.

I also filled up the open shelves at the end of the island:
I planned these shelves to echo the open shelves on the wall behind them. I filled them with cookbooks (finally out of my living room!) and stuff that used to be kept on the table. I am very committed to keeping the table clear of clutter and hope these shelves will keep things handy yet out of the way. :fingers crossed:

It's back to work for me tomorrow. I am not ready for it, but I wouldn't be any more ready for it even if I had another week off. I wish all of you a Happy New Year!

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