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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My Cabinets are IN!

After spending weeks refinishing these cabinets, now I can finally see them installed in all their glory!

Whew.... it was quite a job though, I will not kid you in the least.  First we had to cut off the top 2 inches to bring the two pieces down to the right height for our ceilings.  That meant rotating each heavy piece of cabinetry to all four sides in the garage.  It was rainy, melty, warm damp weather... but we wanted to get them done and into the house before the deep freeze coming our way later in the week. Here is Steve sawing off the tops after snapping a chalk line to follow.

Then we had to do some prep work in the house.  We needed to remove the window frame and cut down the window sill to allow the cabinets to hug the window on both sides.  We knew the measurements were close, and we had to be prepared to get it right tight to the window minus the frame.

Our friend Mel had one of these handy-dandy oscillating saw tools from Harbor Freight. Steve used Mel's this summer and liked it.  So Santa brought him one.  Sure came in handy to trim down the window sill on each side!  Close quarters would not allow a jig saw or a skill saw to reach such a tight place.

Oh my... we tilted the cabinets on their sides and carried them out of the garage, up the steps and into the kitchen and set down on rugs to protect the floor.

We hoisted the first side upright and then lifted to set it on the countertop. OH NO! We had to take off another 3/4 of an inch!   Rather than hoist it back out to the garage, I opted for cutting the excess off right there in the kitchen.  Steve didn't want the mess in the house.  Well, I volunteered to do all the cleanup of the sawdust just so I didn't have to help carry them back out again. He finally agreed.  I really shouldn't be lifting them in the first place, as after my stomach surgeries, my lifting ability is hampered by a huge non-operable hernia.  As long as I carry with straight arms and my back handling the weight, I can do okay.

The tops were now cut correctly, and it was time to put the first one in place!  WHEEEEHEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!
This is the right side in place...  we had to screw it to the walls and base cabinet.

And here is the left now in place! 
(bad flash and I was shaking I was so excited) 

They looked fantastic!  All my weeks and weeks of working on them, imagining how they would look, planning in my mind what would go on each shelf and in each drawer.  Oh My!  I can not tell you how satisfied I felt looking at them.  Whew.. it was worth it.

We have crown molding trim to put around the tops and we will add a piece of trim to the side on the right.  Over on the left we will put the stove and the microwave/vent hood.

My friend Betty asked about the depth of the available counter-top space.  Originally the cabinets only had about a 7" counter-top, but by staging the top sections tight to the wall, and pulling the bottom section forward, we could now have about a foot of space for the counter-top   We put a plate board along the wall for the back of the upper cabinets to rest securly on too.  We gained 5 more inches of counter-top space this way!
This ugly wall will be covered by the stove and trim goes on the end of the countertop. 

I think this type of counterspace will be a good thing.  In my last house, I had huge amounts of counter-top area and a big snack bar plus a kitchen desk.  All they did was collect clutter...  Things would get pushed to the back of the counter-top, and there wasn't any organization.  With this new cabinet and counter-top, you have to keep the counter-top cleared off to be able to open the drawers and doors!   Hmmmmmm

And today it was my task to put all my things in all their places!   I set all the shelves into their proper levels, and added screws for security on each of the rails that hold up the shelves.  They fit into a zig zag design on the sides but I wanted to be sure they didn't fall out.

I planned each height of each shelf by placing the tallest item I would want to put on that particular shelf.  Once that was done, I unloaded all of the cabinets from in the pantry and brought it all into the main kitchen cabinets.  Oh it felt soooo good!

Wow... I filled them all up!  
(except the top most cabinets - those are still empty) 

The final empty space next to the tilt-out bin will become a pull-out trash cabinet once we pick up the right hardware I talked about in my last blog.  Then we will have a complete row of cabinets.

This evening, Steve decided we should bring in the pieces to the island and set that up.  Oh well, I wasn't quite ready for it, but he insisted.  Steve found this on Craigslist and it matched our woodwork well, plus it will double as a kitchen table or a work area.  We brought it in pieces and put it together and set into place.

The island is somewhat comprised of 2 bookshelf type units with a flat table top.  Underneath is a wrought iron support piece and four stools with wrought iron legs.  Although those pieces look like four drawers, it's really one door that opens to 2 compartments.  I might take one door off one side and add it to the other.  Thinking about it yet... not sure.  I am going to store some cookbooks, a few big vases or pitchers and maybe make one closed cabinet for our hats, mitts, dog leashes, etc. as we come in the back door.

Later we will fasten it to the floor, add electrical power and plumbing. Then we will move the dishwasher to install it underneath on the side facing the sink.  That probably won't be till later next week.   Right now the dishwasher is functioning in the pantry next to the fridge.

We got deluged with snow today.. it started overnight and snowed all day long.  Steve was plowing at work, and then came home to spend another hour snowblowing.  Both of our neighbors are elderly gals, so he did their yards too.  What a guy!

Tomorrow we are having a "dinner party" !  Daughter Heather and son-in-law Jesse are coming down from Green Bay with our grandson Jameson.  Since I do not have the stove hooked up yet (Steve was working on the new wiring tonight for it)  I am going to do a big pot roast in the crock pot.  Then microwaved potatoes and steamed veggies, perhaps a cheesecake for dessert?

That is enough for tonight... time for bed.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Whirlwind Working Weekend

Oh my, the dust hasn't settled one bit around here.  The whole weekend was devoted to working on our kitchen.   We started out first with the kitchen flooring....  how exciting~!

First we unrolled the whole sheet to acclimate it to the house temperature.  It had been stored in the cold garage so we let it rest for a few hours before starting the cuts around the corners.

I really like having the random pattern to the flooring rather than a square repeating pattern with grids or lines.  Being an old house, walls are never straight, so not having lines or patterns is a real plus.  I like the dark color too.  Our last home had WHITE ceramic tiles.  WHAT was I thinking????  For 15 years I had to keep that floor clean in spite of teens and dogs and country dirt.   This will be a piece of cake.

The flooring is a thick cushy vinyl product made of PVC and fiberglass, but it was very easy to cut with a scissors around the door jambs.  It was a lot of "on the knees" work, but we got it done before lunch.

Once we had it all in place, we opened the door up to let the doggers come in and check it out.  Yes, they approved!  They kinda match too.

Now the next part was going to be a bit trickier.  Our cabinets!   Here is the link to my blog about restoring them:
The bottom base part of the cabinets is in one long piece, but we decided to cut off the two tilt out bins on the far right side so we can slide over the cabinets to the right.   That way the sink will hang down into a cabinet space, and not into the drawers as originally configured.  Otherwise, we would lose the use of the drawers. We would have to cut the boxes off the drawers and make all the fronts "fake" if we left it intact.  That is why we decided to cut the base cabinet apart and move the bins to the left end.

Soooo after measuring three times, we CUT! 

(See those cabinets in the background?  Those are the Upper Cabinets that go on top of this base) 

We carried the cabinet base into the house, and then measured for the fifth time inside.  We realized that keeping both tilt out bins was going to be a tight squeeze and make installing our stove and overhead microwave more difficult into the corner on the left.  Instead we decided to omit one bin, and shorten up the cabinetry. Here is the cabinetry changed to the better length on the left side, and we finished up the cabinet reinforcement.

In the narrower space left from removing one tilt out bin, we will put a pull-out trash bin. I will make a panel for the front of it from some of the other wood we have on hand.  Here is a pic, on the left, of the hardware we will get and add a panel to the end of it.  We had a pull out trash can in our last house and it worked great, especially keeping the dogs outta the garbage!
Enough work... we called it a day and went to bed! 

On Sunday morning, we had forcasted snow and sleet and freezing rain scheduled all day.  That didn't matter to us, because we had indoor projects to do!

We carried in the 12 ft counter-top after cutting off the backsplash.  I made a template of my copper sink, and we measured again three times before cutting.  Just to "be sure" !  Steve carefully cut out the sink hole with the jig saw and we got it right the first time!  Whew!  Now you can see why we changed the order the base cabinets.  The sink extends down into the open cabinet instead of the section with the drawers.

I know the back wall looks "messy" but there really wasn't any need to finish that or paint it.  It will soon be covered with two upper cabinets.  They are very tall, resting on the counter-top and extend all the way up to the ceiling.  The upper cabinets are only 12 inches deep, while the lowers are pulled out to be 25 inches deep.  That will leave about a foot of counter space in front of the uppers.  Also there will be a 3'x5' center work island with the dishwasher installed underneath it. 

After we cut the sink hole, we also drilled in the faucet holes through the counter-top   We were excited as we tried dry-fitting the sink into place and set the faucets on top. Perfect!!!!  Then we cut the hole through the inner shelf to allow access for the garbage disposal under the sink.

From there, Steve went into the basement and drilled upwards with a long bit to make room for the water lines.  I think we are going with the Pex tubing for the water leads, and we will get those and shut-off valves and the rest of the plumbing pieces tomorrow.  This was enough for today!

(note: the countertop is not yet sealed down nor the kickplate fastened tight)

Poor Steve needs to go to work tomorrow, 
in order to take a break! 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

During the Week Projects

We are trying to do the "BIG STUFF" on the weekends around the house.. but during the week I am tackling a lot of the "small stuff" I want done to our new home.

First off, Sunday evening, Steve had gotten up the drywall around the kitchen 3 walls that needed to be installed up to 5ft high.  He did the cutting and I did the adhesive and holding into place while he added drywall screws.  We only had a few seams to tape and mud up, and later tonight I should be painting that part to match.  I will take pics after that portion is done.  For now, you can feast your eyes on my Drywall Man and his first few pieces!

Then we will put a plate rail at the point of transition 5 ft up (the rest of the wall above is good and smooth already).  I got the painting done on the upper portions yesterday.  I decided against the pale yellow I had bought.  I went with all cream paint on the walls and the ceiling.

I am thinking that with the added grey flagstone patterned flooring, it might be too many colors in the room if I added yellow to the walls.  The faux mortar between the flagstones is kind of cream too.  Plus with all the reddish brown cabinets and woodwork, that is going to be enough colors without adding yellow to the mix.  I want cobalt blue as accents, such as my coffee carafe, some vases, a big crockery bowl, and salt and pepper shakers on the stove.  I have a slew of dishtowels too in cobalt.  Now to make up some hot pads!

On Monday, we stopped by an antique shop in Waupaca, Wi after lunch out with Steve's dad.  I spotted this oil painting that was nicely framed.  I had to have it for my Loom Room!  $25 later, it was safely wrapped in a blanket in the trunk of our car.  It's called "The Little Shepherd".

I googled the artist, Minnie E. Janda and found out she is a resident in a nursing home in Medford, WI.  I wrote to the director to ask if she would let Ms. Janda know her work was being enjoyed and purchased in an antique shop.  The director informed me that Minnie would be delighted to hear that news, and she also has some work on display in the nursing home, and also the director has one of her pieces of art in her own home!   

This was a nursing home newsletter writeup about the artist.  I am going to print this out and attach it to the back of the painting for provenance: 

(you can right click on this to enlarge it in a separate window) 

Next on my list of projects was a mirror that we bought from the sellers of our house.  At first we thought we wanted to put it over our buffet in the diningroom, but now we are thinking it would go even better over our fireplace in the livingroom.  It's very heavy and has a lovely Mission pattern.  We are going to reverse it around to hang it with the detailed edge to the top of the mirror.

 The wood was a bit more brownish and not red enough to match our woodwork... soooooooooo out came my can of Polyshades (a stain and polyurethane all in one that lets you cover already stained wood with another color)    Now.. it's the right color!

Next up on the list was another item from the sellers of our house.  Paula had this heavy white metal chair that had been on the front porch when the house was first listed.  We bartered a handwoven rug for it, and she so kindly brought it back to the house for me!

This morning, I touched up the heavy metal frame with Rustoleum spray paint... and then re-covered the cushion with some fabric that was leftover from covering the cushions on our wicker furniture.  There....

And here it is all dry and complete!  
(I have to iron out some of the folds in the fabric yet)
I put it right back in the corner of the front porch where it had been before.
I think I need a little side table now to set my coffee cup, huh?

Our front porch is going to be a nice place to hang out once it gets a little warmer.  It faces east, so the morning sun comes streaming in through all the windows.

Here is the wicker furniture we bought from Craigslist for the porch.  I think we need a wicker coffee table in front of the settee, and I will weave up some rugs to match.

Daughter Erin keeps making fun of my silk cane plant, because she thinks it's tacky or something.  Well, can't have any LIVE green plants on the porch in the winter, so this is the next best thing, right?  The little plant on the far right was in the kitchen of the house when we bought it.  That could go on a little metal stand in the corner too.  Guess I gotta hit a few more resale shops, antique places or St. Vinnies!   The far end windows are facing the north... and yes, it's snowing out there!

Here is the porch view taken from the other end, facing to the south.  
My newly re-done chair sure fits right back in where it belongs!

Oh, this is our front door... welcoming our visitors! 
The lace curtain was left in the house on another window.
The wreath is left-over from the holidays, but too pretty to put away.
The snowman sign is from Steve's brother Mark and his wife Shirley
and the tiny knit hat and scarf were on a bottle of whiskey from Erin and Mark....

 Soo come on over, 
give my silly doorbell a twist 
and perhaps sit down with a cup of coffee?



Monday, January 21, 2013

Tripping the Light Fantastic

Oh well, at least we have FANTASTIC lights!   We may not have tripped them, but I am dancing around now knowing they are done.

Our son-in-law Mark came to help Steve replace all the wiring in the attic.  Most of the attic wiring was still old "knob and tube" and needed updating.  Since Steve's knee surgeries, crawling around in the attic was gonna be a tough one.  So Mark, our wonderful son-in-law who is also an electrician was volunteered to help us.  LOL    Steve bought all the supplies ahead of time, and had it all ready to go once they got here.

Of course, inviting Mark and Erin for the weekend also meant the grandtots Chelsea and Clayton got to come and visit us too!   In they rolled, with their new suitcases loaded up with their clothes, toys and belongings. (I had a friend make up the patches for the suitcases I bought them for Christmas)

The dogs were so excited to have wee ones in the house again... and greeted them with touching noses and a few licky licks snuck in.

We had our very first Dinner Party in our dining room! 
I served homemade lasagna, tossed salads, garlic bread and wine.  

The grandtots were busy exploring the new house.  Who needs toys when you have things like funny springy door stops and old telephones to play with?

Erin set up the portable crib in the guest room for Clayton.  He was so surprised to see "his bed" in there, and crawled back out with a grin on his face. He had to crawl down the long hallway to the Grandtot room to see where his sister was going to sleep.  We only have an air mattress on the rug in there for now. Later we will look for a twin bed, or perhaps a trundle for Grandtot Sleepovers!

I got to read the bedtime stories.. and I made a promise to Chelsea that if she went to sleep really good, and in the morning she could come and hop in our bed to cuddle.  That made her smile and she drifted off with that as the last thought in her little girl mind.  

At 4 a.m., I heard little footied jammie feets come plodding down the hall--- right past her Mommy and Daddy's guest room door, and come to OUR door.  Like a puppy on a scented trail, she ended up right next to the bed, announcing in a very wide-awake voice:  "GRANDMA, I AM HERE NOW!"   So up she crawled into our bed to snuggle for a few more hours.  What a joy!  What a sweet way to start the day. 

The guys had a good breakfast and headed up to start their work.  They were going to add new service lines pulled up from the basement, and then rewire 9 ceiling lights, 7 switches, various outlets and remove all the old wiring.  Steve had to cut in all new boxes in the ceilings with hole saws and mount them all securely before fishing down all the wires.  Mark was up above in the chilly attic, on his knees, doing the connections, junctions, feeding the wires down and trying to figure out the spaghetti twists of the 3 way and 4 way configurations for 2 different series of the hallway lights.  Feeding wires, making cuts, stripping ends and running around was Steve's part of the job from below, besides drilling and cutting out spaces for the switch boxes and light fixture boxes.  They were busy busy busy.

At 9 a.m. we got a visit from a daughter of the previous owners, who brought us a mirror we were buying from them that would look nice in the house! (I will take pics later of it when it's up)  They also brought us a white metal rocking chair that had been in the front porch for years.  I swapped a handwoven rug with her for that.  So nice to have it on the porch where it once was, and I will later cover the cushion to match the navy blue ones on our wicker furniture.   I am going to enjoy sitting out here and rocking and knitting or spinning yarn on my wheel. 

Little Chelsea discovered our mechanical doorbell.  Give the outside key device a twist and it goes BRRRINNNNNGGGG BRRRRRIIIINNNNGGGGG  almost like a bell on an old fashioned bicycle.  Who can resist that? 

There had been one many years ago in that spot, but had been removed.  So I found a new replacement one.  Steve had to extend the square shaft that goes through the frame a bit, as the new ones were meant to go only through the thickness of a door.  28 years ago I rented the downstairs of a house that had one of those, and little Erin at the age of 2 would give it a twist every time we came in the house.  And every time the old lady upstairs would think it was someone coming to the door for her apartment.  No matter how many times I would scold little Erin, she just could NOT resist twisting that knob.  Too funny!  Now I will let my grandtots twist this one all they want, and enjoy the sounds.

Chelsea made another discovery.  If she took out the little ottoman from inside the big ottoman,
 and then flipped the lid to the hard sided tray--- she had a DESK to draw on! 

Clayton was busy discovering things of his own.  It was time to introduce him to the intricate workings of a loom!  He was sooo busy checking out the Loom Room and all of it's lovely treasures, machines and gears and levers.   Just look at those eyes, taking it all in and figuring it all out!

I have always let the grandtots explore my world of yarn, string, looms and creating handwoven things. They know about beaters and shuttles and warp and weft.  I wonder if any of them will grow up to be a weaver?  Or tell stories about they helped their Grandmuddah at the looms?

My Loom Room gets very sunny and warm during the days.  Little Clayton, almost au natural, was getting up close and personal with tubes of string (rug warp) and figuring out how it unwinds. 

Chelsea helped with some little repairs with her Granfaddah.  Notice the plastic pliersa in her hand as he repairs a wiggly socket on my antique lamp.  We won't mention who broke it, but it's fixed now.

The stairs held a fascination for little Clatyon, who wanted to be UP UP UP all the time.  I dreamt of having the wee ones on this staircase, peering between the rails, and here they were!

As the sunshine poured in, so did the rainbows through the leaded glass windows.  The kids were delighted in seeing the rainbows across their hands as they played on the stairs.  I stayed closed by so we didn't have any one tumble down.

Chelsea helped me make a big pot of chicken vegetable soup for lunch, and later we did up a nice stir fry for supper.  Had to feed these guys good for all the work they were doing.  Erin and I were kept busy wrangling the kids and kept them out of the way.  By 9 p.m. they were finally DONE!    I went up and vacced up the messes as the storm was raging outside.  We were having 50-60 mph winds and cold and snow starting.  I went out on the back shaker porch to shake out the comforters off the beds and almost went over the edge myself with the billowing blankets as a sail!   I was glad the kids were staying another night, because driving back to Oconto 70 miles in conditions like that were just treacherous.

Early Sunday morning, at 3 a.m. .. some little plodding feet found their way to our bed again!   And later Erin gave us Clayton to snuggle once his diaper was changed.  So he got in his fair share of cuddles too, even after his big sister went downstairs.  We sang songs, he explored the woodwork on the headboard, and played This Little Piggy till he fell back asleep... safe in the cuddling arms of his Granmuddah.

Oh the joy.... who needs a wild night life Tripping the Light Fantastic, when I can get my new lights at home, and fantastic grandtots to cuddle?