Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Kitchen remodel progress...

I apologize for the rotten photos.  The kitchen window makes it very difficult to get a decently lit shot.

Dark brown painted cabinets and a GINORMOUS island.  It seems like such a long time ago that it looked like this.  Baby steps.

After deconstruction complete...
This is what the kitchen has looked like for the past several weeks...empty...hollow...cavernous.  The white walls are areas that were covered with cabinets before, and the horizontal stripe around the room is where Carey had to rip off the slate backsplash.  On the far left you can see there is no horizontal stripe.  That's where removal of the backsplash was so difficult that the drywall had to be replaced in that section.

Top cabinets in...
Yesterday morning the lone installer (I thought there would be two or three at least) arrived and began work on the upper cabinets.  By evening they were all in place, except for the one over the refrigerator space which was the wrong size.  We'll have to wait for a replacement, but over the fridge is not an inconvenient one to do without for awhile.

After the installer left for the day, Carey and I painted the walls on either side of the window.  There will be open shelving from the window to the cabinets on the left and right.  It was such a small area, that I figured it would be quicker and easier to paint before the bottom cabinets went in.

Bottom cabinets in...
This morning the installer was back on the job, and by five o'clock he was done.  At long last...tangible progress!

Now that all the bottom cabinets are in place, the counter top guy can come to measure; he will be here in the morning.  Yea!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What I'm reading Wednesday...

Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Seven random thoughts on the 7th...

1.  I overworked the other day (yeah, I know, hard to believe) and paid for it.  But my master bath is really clean...mirrors, sinks, shower, tub, toilet, floors, baseboards, window sills.  I consolidated the almost empty shower gel into another open one and placed the last of the giant shampoo container into a smaller bottle.  I applied non-slip strips to the shower floor just inside the door, where I always get a flutter after a few near misses when stepping out.  And I laundered the bath mats.  If anyone comes to visit, I may have to entertain them in there, because goodness knows the rest of the house is a disaster.

2.  I had a lunch date with three handsome young men today.  They listened to their grandmother rant about the widespread ignorance of flag etiquette.  I happen to think that if you are going to fly the national flag, you should know the annual half-staff dates and flag's as easy as signing up for email alerts for crying out loud.  The rant was initiated by the flag inconsistencies we saw between home and the restaurant.  (Today is a half-staff day in observance of Pearl Harbor remembrance.)

3.  I decided to work on Christmas cards today.  Of course, I haven't bought or made any cards yet, and I'm not really feeling like doing a full-blown 'Christmas letter' this year.  So I designed a really simple card that I could mostly print out and assemble.  Unfortunately I couldn't cut the separate elements in the correct size to save my life and so wasted a lot of paper, the printer ran out of ink, and my self-stick embellishments left their stickum on the packaging and so slid right off of the card.  Ugh.  Looks like I'll have to make another trip to town to get printer cartridges...and/or store-bought cards.

4.  I have another quilting day at the library tomorrow.  I haven't gotten the supplies together yet.

5.  We've been in this house for four years now, and are still getting mail for former residents.  Yesterday we received a notice that the postman tried to deliver a certified letter from the Sheriff's Department for one of them.  Ruh-roh.

6.  The kitchen is still bare walls.  The cabinet installation is scheduled for the 22nd and 23rd.  Merry Christmas!  

7.  Christmas is coming so fast!  I still have three hats to knit, presents to wrap, and some still to buy...and, oh yeah, a tree to put up.  sigh.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Last closet post...I promise...

Well, at least till the next time it needs a major clean out.  :)  These posts are mainly for me; so I can refer back as needed as to what worked and what didn't.


 Half way there...before moving the hanging rods:

I love having the rods on the back wall of the closet.  Work clothes, long items (dresses and robes), and jackets on the right.  Casual tops hang on the top left, slacks and jeans hang on the bottom left.

 Right side:
 These cubbies were moved from the back wall to side wall at front of the closet.  I stacked them for vertical efficiency.  I ordered some bins online so I can use them as a dresser and they look neater than having the contents on view.  I still need to add labels so I can remember what is in each 'drawer.'

Left side:
The jury is still out on the shoe cubbies.  The openings are a little too small for a pair to slide in easily.  If they don't go in easy, I'm likely to leave them on the floor in a jumble, so it will take some self-discipline to keep them put away properly.

Its top makes a nice location for my jewelry box.  The hooks (top left) that were there when we bought the house make a good spot for necklaces to hang tangle free, and handy to see and grab.  I also had Carey leave the rod in place on this side of the closet, specifically to hang damp 'delicates' till they are dry and can be put more leaving them hanging above the dryer in the laundry room where a drop-in guest would see them on entering and exiting the house.

It feels so good to have the wardrobe culled of things I never wear.  And I can't tell you how good it feels to be able to actually walk in to my walk-in closet.  It doesn't feel like a scary dark tunnel anymore.  :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

What I'm reading Wednesday...

We had a chance to go to the movies last weekend.  As I was looking to see what new movies were out, I came across this one.  It was produced and directed by Tommy Lee Jones.  He also stars in it as does Hilary Swank.  

The topic:  life for pioneer women in the Nebraska territory proves too hard for many...storms, poverty, hunger, never-ending work, sickness, childbirth, child mortality, loneliness.  When four women in a community succumb to madness, someone has to be found to transport them back east to family.

Since I descend from Nebraska pioneers, the stories of the real-life trials and madness that I heard or read of made a big impression on me from childhood.  I remember driving down a dirt road near my mother's childhood home when she pointed out a house and tree where a friend's mother hung herself...that occurred after pioneer times, but it really drove home the point for me of hard times of farming the area.  A visit to relatives often included a visit to the cemetery where paying respect at family graves always included my mother sadly remarking on a group of small headstones of babies and young children, all belonging to just one of our predecessor families who lost many of their offspring to childhood disease.

The Homesman by Glendon Swarthout

I couldn't resist buying the book for my Kindle, and I am reading it now.  But when I saw how few theaters were showing the movie, I didn't want to put off seeing it for fear it would be out of theaters before we got the chance to go.  I hope seeing the movie first doesn't ruin the book for me.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Man Hat...

I just took this knitted cap off the needles.  The pattern is by Haven Leavitt and can be found here.  (The pattern is knit all in one color; I added the stripes.)  I started looking for a pattern after it got cold and Jared realized his knit cap--that he usually lives in all winter--had gone missing.  When I came across a free knitting pattern called The Man Hat, I had to try it out on the basis of the straight-forward name alone.

I really like the pattern.  I knit Jared's in a lighter color and on straight needles (I couldn't find my double-pointed ones), so I had to sew a seam, but the seam is impossible to see or feel.  I thought I would knit a few more for the boys for Christmas.  Since it is getting close to the end of the year, and one of my 2014 goals was to master knitting on double-pointed needles, I went on the hunt for knitting-in-the-round tools.

Here's where I made a mis-step.  The only round needles I had in the size called for were too long, and the store didn't have the length I needed either.  So I bought a set of interchangeable tips with a separate cable in the required length.  I cast on and knit a row.  All was fine.  But then the screw-on tips kept backing out of the connection and snagging the yarn.  I spent a lot of time and patience screwing those darn tips on tight many, many times (multiple times per row!)  I'm applying Super Glue to them before using them again...defeats the purpose of interchangeable, but so be it. 

And will someone please remind me never to knit with black yarn again?  The only time that  I've had to knit lately is at night, and it is so hard to see if you drop a stitch (or three).

But I successfully completed the decrease rows on the double-pointed needles...not without some frustration, but I got better.  So that's another goal ticked off the list.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Closet clean out progress...

Last week I said I was going to be cleaning out my closet...again.

Straight off, let me tell you that this first photo was the 'before' photo from a couple of years ago when I did a previous closet clean out.  One of the things that drove me the craziest was the little cubby type shelves on the back wall...the ones the big white arrows are pointing to.  Uh-huh...didn't see them back there did ya?  The tall one in the center is built in and it's okay, but the little ones I brought with me from another room in another house, and they just were never accessible due to clothing hanging in front of them.  

 In fact, they weren't really even visible except when the closet was empty.  LOL

Work has been slow on the closet.  I had a headache all weekend.  And I had a little girl come spend the afternoon with me on Saturday.

This is the closet so far.  I have moved the four small shelves off of the back wall, and they now are installed just inside the right-hand door.  I also stacked them, so now they make two tall shelves instead of four short ones.

On the left, just inside the other door, I stacked two shoe cubbies.

When Carey gets home, I'm hoping that he will relocate the hanging rods for me.  He has promised awhile back that he would, he's just been waiting for me to make some working room for him.  

Instead of the rods hanging parallel to the side walls, I want them to hang across the back wall on either side of the tall shelf unit.   I think I have reduced my wardrobe enough to fit on shorter rods across the back, and I think **hope** that with the clothes hanging at the back I won't get that claustrophobic tunnel-like effect that I abhor.

While taking a break from my closet clean out, I was viewing an article on closet organization where I found a link to Project 333.  It is a minimalist fashion challenge to limit your wardrobe to 33 items or less for 3 months.  Apparently the 33 items do not include workout clothing, underwear, sleepwear, or outerwear; though I would imagine anyone participating in the challenge would cut back on those items as well.  Interesting concept.  I don't think I'm down that far, but I do think I donated about as much as I kept.

In the same article, I found a link to an interesting read on The Science of Simplicity which discusses decision fatigue.  Apparently when repeatedly faced with making numerous, albeit irrelevant, decisions, one's productivity suffers.  You may or may not have noticed that some very successful people have taken the decision of what to wear out of their day-to-day routine and simplified their everyday wardrobes to somewhat of a uniform.  Some of these include President Obama (he wears only blue or gray suits), Mark Zuckerberg (gray t-shirt, black hoodie, and jeans), Vera Wang (black top and jeans), and the late Steve Jobs (black turtleneck and jeans) and Albert Einstein (gray suits).

Maybe a properly simplified wardrobe/closet will spur me on to greater productivity!  One can only hope.
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