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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Finished Daughter's Kitchen Redo, Thanksgiving and Babysitting

Let's see... first I will start with some babysitting.  We swiped two of the grandtots last weekend for an overnight.  It was full of fun, baking, toys, silliness and good snuggles.  The kids were so busy...  and we were happy to find interesting thing to keep them busy.

Donning the "baking aprons" they went to work in our kitchen.  They worked together on breaking eggs and baking some brownies... here are a few video clips of their creative cooperation:

Check out this video clip is just adorable of little Clayton 
serenading his Granfaddah with the song from Frozen, 
while Granfaddah makes up pancakes for breakfast. 

Granfaddah put in his time with games, stories, and just hugging grandtots on his lap as they played. They have a whole pile of toys here that wait for them in the little hallway closet.  We made a reading nook in there too with a light for them to see wayyy back to the bottom of the staircase inside.  It's a great getaway room for them to hide out and play quietly.  Finnegan likes it too and curls up with the grandtots in there.  I even crawled in and snuggled to read them a story in there.

Chelsea put in some time at the loom, working on a rug. She wove close to 12 inches of a rug before taking a break for a nap.  Little Finnegan loves the cuddles with "the"childrens" who come to visit.  He glues himself to their sides, waiting for snuggles, pets, and of course dropped morsels of food for his TREATS!

Both of the kids helped to prepare dinner for the grownups coming later in the day.  They worked so hard to create two pans of lasagna.  One pan was the traditional style with meat spaghetti sauce, ricotta cheese and mozzarella on top.  The other pan they made is becoming a family favorite of shredded chicken, alfredo sauce and mozzarella cheese with a liberal sprinkling of bread crumbs and parmesan on top.  Add in a big salad, some garlic bread and of course, their home baked brownies.  We had a meal ready for the parents.  The grantots even helped set the dining table for the meal.

That evening, our other daughter Heather and soninlaw Jesse came over with our grandson Jameson and their two incorrigible corgis!  It was a good family evening, but we were missing our son Dan and his Heather with grandtots Allegra and Mason.  They were doing a family annual shopping event with Heather's family.

Boy oh boy did Finnegan have fun running laps with the two corgis, up one set of stairs, thundering like a herd of elephants across the upper floor, then race down the other set of stairs.... Around and around and around.... Here is one moment that Heather got all three to sit still in ONE spot and held their attention with a treat.


During the week, I managed to get all of the outdoor Christmas decorations up on the house.  It snowed right after I got them up, so it REALLY felt like the holiday season was here!   I just love the house in the snow, it shows the Craftsman style so well with highlights of snow around it. 

The Pfundtner family gathered over in Waupaca for Thanksgiving... ya know, over the river and  through the woods to get there?  We meet in a restaurant because there can be anywhere from 20 to 40  people attending on any given year.  We sure fill up the room!    Little Clayton and Chelsea made little paper "turkeys" for Great Grandpa Pfundtner! 

Since we are both finally feeling better, yesterday we were able to get back up to our oldest daughter Erin's house to finish working on her kitchen with her.  Last time we got the cabinets and walls painted, and part of the countertop installed.  Steve also put in her new sink, faucet, and light fixtures....  So it's been halfway completed for a few weeks while we were sick. It needed to get done before she hosts our Christmas celebration at her house.  We drove up there Saturday morning and put in a full day.. and it's DONE!   (well all except a little piece of trim that Steve has to make a compound miter cut on that will take some time on the table saw at home)   

Erin and Steve mounted the last section of countertop on the peninsula to make the work area complete.  It was difficult to transition from the one piece to the other, but they got it done and it worked out great.  Then they put trim along the backsplash edge, the end cap on the countertop; it all came together great! 

Before we got there, she had given two coats to the floor with some porch and floor enamel paint, and it was dry enough for us to walk on the next day.  Great way to cover up ugly olive green and harvest gold patterned vinyl flooring without ripping it up or applying more over the top.  We were working on a set budget that didn't include new flooring at this time.  So she did the next best thing! 

The kitchen looks so sharp now, compared the the "before" pics I put in this blog post:
It really was UGLY in pale pink and hunter green and gooses on the wallpaper! 

The little bit of silver on the curtains really isn't this shiny, it just reflected from the camera flash. It has more of a hue and sheen like the muted silver on the backsplash around the countertops.

 She found this perfect table and stools for setting right between the windows.
Anything bigger would not look right or take up too much space.   
I can see sipping early morning coffee here as the sun comes up. 
I can see the grandtots sitting here to eat their cereal. 
I can see them helping to bake more brownies! 

And here it is... TA DAAAAA   

Complete with a new stove, fridge and rangehood/microwave mounted above
(missing a bit of trim yet) 

 Of course, little Finnegan helped too... 
with the painting!!!   Can't you tell????

Today is a rest at home Sunday kind of day...
I am going to work on a quilt. 
Steve is going to make us breakfast.

And later on there is a Packer Game that needs our attention....
from our comfy chair and couch in front of the television!  

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Hidden Valley Woolen Mill Sale coming up

I just wanted to give a blurb out for my local readers about the upcoming sale at the Hidden Valley Woolen Mill in Valders, WI (about halfway between Manitowoc and Chilton.)  Every year Carol Wagner hosts an Open House and has many gift items for your holiday shopping....

Holiday Open House Sale

November 22 ~ 24, 2013
Friday: 1pm ~ 6pm
Saturday: 9am ~ 6pm
Sunday: 10am ~ 3pm

Address: 14804 Newton Rd, Valders, WI 54245

Carol has a beautiful fiber farm and does wool processing.  
She sells yarns, spinning materials, weaving items and quilting fabrics too.
During her sale, she features gift items from local artists too. 

She lets me put up a few baskets on display for the sale... 
so I fill them with hotpads, hats and of course, my socks! 

I am wayyy behind on sock production lately, being sick for the last two weeks.  So this weekend I was cranking away furiously to get more socks finished.  For my new readers, I have an antique circular sockknitting machine and I make the coziest wool socks!  (if I say so myself)  I also make acrylic socks for those who don't like wool.  It takes me about an hour to do a complete pair.  The machine is fascinating to watch, and if you ever get a chance to see one in operation, do so.  

This is my 1925 Gearhart sockknitting machine. It's finicky, cranky, irritating and frustrating at times.  But it's also FUN!   I love the socks it makes, and I use all different kinds of wool yarns to make interesting combinations of colors in my woolen socks.  

I have had this particular machine for about 5 or 6 years now, but I have been cranking since 1997.  This one is slowly wearing out from my heavy usage, it's skipping teeth on the gears it's gotten so worn, and the hand shaft is wearing down and no longer tight so it skips. It is getting wobbly and loose and is not operating properly.  I am spending more time than usual fiddling with it.  ARGGHHH

Today Steve and I did a little "operating" on it. We examined it closely and determined three things that might help it function better. He ground off a tiny bit on the end of the shaft so the handle could ride in more closely to the gear wheel. The flat washer holding the handle on the shaft was running too tight, so we bent the washer in a concave shape and it holds everything much better.  Then for grins, I figured I was wearing out the slots on one side of the cylinder where I create the toes and heels... its like double the use of the slots on one side of the cylinder vs. the other side I unscrewed it and rotated it 180 degrees and I will start using the other side of the cylinder instead.  Voila!  All three fixes helped, and the machine is cranking smoothly again..... 

We pretty much laid low this weekend, and hunkered down for the snow fall.  I made some comfort food like beef stew and somemore bars.  I did manage one run to Walmart to replenish a few supplies.  Steve and I both are still down with the cold/flu/infection yucky stuff... but we are doing better.  Not 100% yet, but on the upswing. Finally.

We didn't get much snow this weekend, but it was pretty and soft and silent during the night.  I went out in the front porch to take this pic....

I know it's not in focus, so it's not the best picture.  I think it conveys the soft silent peaceful night in our tiny town as we got our first snowfall of the season.  It was special... and I am glad to be able to look out of my warm cozy home and see it and experience it.

We will see how I feel in mid-January when the Winter Doldrums set in! 

Friday, November 14, 2014

12 days later and coming out on the up side

Whew.. this cold/flu/infection whatever really kicked my butt!

This is the 12th day and I am finally starting to feel better.  We went to a ClinicCare walk-in place in Appleton the other night, and we got told to go home, keep taking out over the counter meds and get rest.  Even with signs of yellowish ummmm "nasal discharge" and yellowish green stuff produced from coughing from lungs, the nurse practitioner there said that is no longer a recognized sign of infections.... and they are not handing out antibiotic prescriptions anymore for our type of illness.  She said go home and keep doing what we are doing.  Steve has been sick too, but not as long or as severe as I was.

Sooooo we went home.  Doing all the over the counter stuff, and tea and honey, and Vicks and steaming showers etc.  Plus ... drugging up each night on Nyquil to get some rest.  Feeling like total crap.

Wednesday we said "enough was enough", and made an appt. with our own family doc during the day hours. He said 10 days was too long to be sick, examined us both, our blocked ears, sore throats, infected eyes, etc. and gave us both antibiotics. After 3 or 4 doses, we are already feeling much better, and will continue for all 7 days to knock this crap outta us.

Okay.. enough complaining.

I have been using my blender (thanks Sarah Kopf) for my own smoothies.  A dollop of mango fruit juice, a banana, a handful of ice and voila.... almost as good as the smoothies from Dairy Queen!

Even though we have been sick, we did manage to get little Finney's Poop Yard put up again for this winter.  During the spring, summer and fall months, we normally go outside with our dogs each and every time while they are on a long runner cable to the big backyard.  We never let them off leash in our yard, as we live on a very busy street.  So its kinda a pain to get all bundled up each time the dog needs to go out.  Especially when we are feeling sick?  It was time to get the Poop Pen put up!

Last winter when we got Finney, part of the agreement with the Wisconsin Sheltie Rescue program is that we have a fenced in yard.  So we bought a 5x10 kennel and put up the two short panels between the house and garage on the south side, and the two 10 foot panels in an L shape between the house and garage on the north side.

Once Finney was nicely leash trained, we took down the pen in the spring, but always keep him on a leash each time we go out with him.

But for the winter months, we decided to put it back up again.

It makes a perfect little Poop Pen, plus we only have to open the door to let him out to go, and we get to stay inside warm and dry!  We watch from the kitchen window for when he is done, and zooms back up the steps to get into the warm house. We have another back door to the house beyond the fence to the right.  And if we enter and exit through the garage so we don't need to use the locked gates on the panel.  It stays secure for the little guy all of the time that way.

He looks so little in there, 
our bitty Finney Boy! 

Well, I have one more sad note to mention.  Prayers for a family member are asked for, as cancer has evidently spread and now she needs kind thoughts and prayers more than ever.  Please keep her in your thoughts and heart as her family goes through this painful process of dealing with cancer again.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Seven Days of Sick... and update on daughter's kitchen

Well, it's been pretty crappy since losing Duke last Monday.  I can't believe it's been 7 days now.  I cry about him at the mere thought, and even little Finney is mourning.  He hasn't eaten much, so we have been tempting him with broth over his dog food to get him to clean his dish.  He looks for his buddy, and wanders around with a puzzled expression on his face.  We have been paying lots of special attention to him, and playing fetch indoors... as much as we can.  Steve took him outside for a bit today for ball in the backyard.  But since we are both sick, it's kinda hard when the temps are in the 30's and yucky freezing icky out.

On Monday afternoon I thought my puffy eyes and headache were from all the tears after losing Duke, but by Tuesday I was in full-blown head cold.  By Wednesday and Thursday it moved to my lungs which is not good for me at all. Friday I thought it was letting up a bit.  With the help of Nyquil and Allegra D I have been managing.  Saturday morning we got up early, packed up tools and the dog into the car, and headed back up to daughter Erin's house to help on her kitchen again.  See last blog post about what we accomplished so far.

As we drove up to Oconto, Steve was having a scratchy throat, and feeling a bit yucky himself.  We trekked on up to her house 70 miles and managed to make it through the day.  But I lost my voice and my throat was like swallowing razorblades!  In the afternoon, I got the two grandtots to nap while Steve and Erin worked... so I got in a nap too.  Lots of throat lozenges, herbal tea and honey, and throat spray is helping.

Some little stinker stole Granfaddah's tape measure
and scooted out of the kitchen... hiding on the loveseat to play with it

But it was a sucessful day as Erin's kitchen is really coming together!

Steve and Erin worked hard and disassembled all of the old plumbing, removed the old countertops and sink.... and then went to work assembling the new sink, faucets and cutting and installing one of the sections of countertop.

Erin chose a deep single basin sink this time instead of two smaller basins.  (I have a single basin in mine too)  and it makes sense.  She always uses the dishwasher for dishes and rarely washes dishes in the sink.  If she choses to, she has a set of dishpans to use if need be.  A higher faucet than before enables the washing of big kettles or her canning stuff makes perfect sense too.

While Steve was out cutting the countertop to size and the hole for the sink, Erin started installing the back splash material.  What looks like tin is really a vinyl composite that is easy to install, scrubs well, and doesn't tarnish or rust like tin would. She also put some behind the stove too.... Looks great!!! (even if the pic is out of focus- sorry)

This is about the time I headed up to bed for a nap while they continued to work.  Of course all the old piping does not match up correctly to the new piping, and there weren't decent water feed lines to the dishwasher or the faucets to begin with.  After running to the hardware store and revamping the plumbing, Steve was finally able to install the sink, garbage disposal and disherwasher hookups again.

Erin was sooo tickled to get this far, as it took most of the day to do it!  There is one more section of countertop that needs to be precisely cut for the peninsula to the right of the main bank of cabinets.  We will get to that another day.  The outlets are going to be changed to new pretty ones and new switch covers over them too.

Once all the plumbing was hooked up (no leaks! yay!)  
the kids woke up and had to try out the new sink! It works! 

I think it's all coming together nicely,
considering how ugly it was to start with! 

I think having a nice place to create meals in gives your cooking a flair and taste of love for your family.  Erin is a very good cook and enjoys canning vegetables, making jams and dehydrating fruits.  This kitchen is going to shine with her good taste and loving energy. 

Steve was starting to peter out and feel worse, and I was struggling to stay upright.  He cleaned up and we left Erin to enjoy her "mostly done kitchen".  We headed back down towards Green Bay, and realized if we dropped off our son Dan's birthday present on our way down, we would not have to venture out on Sunday. I was too sick to even go inside, but we dropped off his present by the door while he was still out to dinner for his birthday with our daughterinlaw.  Sorry Dan, we didn't want to spread it any worse. 

It was straight home after that and into nice hot steamy showers, douse with Nyquil and hop into bed!  This morning both of us woke up groggy, grouchy and raspy voices. I crawled back under the covers till after 10 am.  I am down to a whisper and we are both working on a bag of throat lozenges throughout the day. Coughing and hacking our way around the house isn't fun. 

The upcoming weather looks bleak and dismal all around the country.  Here is what we are expecting in the pink section of Wisconsin:

We did put fresh clean sheets on the bed for tonight, which will be good to crawl into after the Packer Game is over on tv.  That always feels nice.  We are curled up by the new fireplace, watching the game on tv, cuddling our little Finney between us.  Missing our Dukie Palookie. Sigh. 

(so far, Packers winner 28-0 over Bears) 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

House Projects on Daughter's Old House

Aha... instead of Our Old House projects... this blog is about our daughter's 100 year Old House!   She has owned it for 8 years now... and decided to do some kitchen work.   So Friday evening Steve and I drove up in the motorhome with the dogs to park alongside the house all weekend.  That way we could have our own bed, shower and place to keep the dogs out of the painting!

We got there in time Friday night for another little birthday celebration for me with grandtots Jameson, Chelsea and Clayton. We had a celebration with Allegra and Mason the weekend before at High Cliff but Jameson hadn't been there.  So I got DOUBLE birthday fun! 

In the morning, two little stinkers came out knocking on the motorhome door ....  "We are here for breakfast!" they declared!  hahahaha

Okay.. now back to the purpose of our visit.  When Erin bought this house 8 years ago, the kitchen was totally UGLY!  I am not kidding.. she actually entered it in an Ugly Kitchen Contest!   (she didn't win, but I think it should have been a close runner up?)   The first week she owned the house, we wanted to at least rip down the wallpaper, paint the cabinets, and swap out the light fixtures.  Her husband at the time said NO.... why waste paint and time and money and effort when we will gut it out and put in all new stuff......  

Year after year, it never got done. Each time she brought it up, he said NO.. don't waste the money fixing it up if we are gonna rip it out later. You know how that goes. Well..... now Erin said THIS IS THE TIME...   so we came up to lend a hand!   

I am soooo glad she decided to redo the original kitchen instead of ripping it out.  I love old things, and her cabinets were nice, just painted ugly.  There were soooo many coats of paint, it didn't make sense to strip them down. She loaded up on good quality paint, sandpaper, spackle and supplies.  I brought along my painting tools and we set to work on Saturday morning.

Here are the BEFORE pics:

BEFORE- Colors: PINK cabinets and HUNTER GREEN wallpaper!
Check out the wooden dowel divider,
the ugly hanging light and the HORRIBLE wallpaper!

BEFORE - these wonderful 100 year old cabinets are painted PINK....  
and grubby creamy paper inserts on each panel
I love her heavy brass towel ring by the sink... she is keeping that! 

BEFORE- the countertop is a "boomerang" Formica from the 50's.. 
ya know with little gold boomerang shaped designs on it! 
and the flooring is 70's patterned olive green and gold!!!!!!!

BEFORE- two ugly 70's ish hanging swag light fixtures, 
plus an ugly ceiling fan too! 

BEFORE- A corner "desk" made of a piece of fake butcherblock counter on a set of drawers...
and that wallpaper with hunter green hearts and ducks??? oh my! 

BEFORE- Erin ripped out the fake desk thing and she pulled back some 
of the hunter green paneling... guess what she found underneath???? 

Why oh why would anyone cover that up??????

You can see a bit of the wainscotting in the corner ... it had been painted rusty brown, and we knew it would look great painted white.  Then we tried to rip off some of the wallpaper, but decided to leave it on the walls and paint over it.  It was not stripping off nicely, and would be a heck of a lot more work to get it down and repair the plaster. Check out the ugly ceiling fan too.. ewwww   I hate ceiling fans anyhow.  Over the stove was a dumb fake wood cabinet that was stuck up there to hold the hood vent up over the stove.  That is all gonna go...... 

BEFORE- all the walls were ugly wallpaper printed designs... 
and even this great old door was painted PINK

DURING-  By the time we got there, Erin had already removed all the cabinet doors and brought them to another room to paint.  She stripped all the hinges of old paint and redid them in black. 

She was so happy, she started painting the first coat on the lower cabinets to get an idea of what it was going to look like.  WHEEE HEEEEEE she dove in with gusto! 

While we gals were busy painting,
Steveio was being the Houshold Handyman...
(he hates painting)
He laid flooring in her porch,
repaired some tiles in her shower,
reworked the wiring for the kitchen and porch,
redid the plumbing lines on her bathroom sink,
 installed her icemaker line for the fridge,
cut her lawn,
fixed her lawnmowers,
repaired the locks on the garage,
examined her flues on both fireplaces,
and hauled away all the trash we accumulated!

DURING- Our other daughter Heather came for the day and brought Jameson along to help.  Being 6 years old now, he knows how to handle a hammer.  He helped pull out nails from the original wainscotting, and pound in the ones that couldn't come out.  Then he helped his mom with the first coat of paint.  What a great helper! 

 DURING- we painted most of the day.... Good thing Erin does yoga, eh?
Heather often paints a lot at her job, so this was just another project for her.

It was great to spend the day with my daughters,
laughing and working together on such a good project.

DURING- When Erin first bought this house,
there was a great old wooden chair in the kitchen.
She kept it all these years, and it's become such a helpful kitchen stool
to reach the upper cabinets.
Jameson helped me paint it up with a fresh coat of white.
What a creative painting boy, and he didn't get very messy either!

DURING- Here is the result of Jameson's hard work!

DURING- Erin chose a federal blueish color for the upper walls,
and I rolled the ceiling in two coats of white.
We added some crown mouldings around the top of the room
to help with the transition between the blue and white.
 (easier to paint that way by covering up the area where they meet)

DURING- Although Steve HATES painting, he came in with the power tools 
to use the air nailer and compressor to put up the crown moulding for us. 
Notice, these old houses are never straight... so we had to do a little creative caulking 
where the dip is to the left of Steve's head....

Erin picked up this lovely table and benches for putting in the kitchen once the floor is done
She is going to paint the floor with floor paints in two colors
in a marble texture with a special roller device.
She bought a different light fixture that was really too big for the kitchen,
so Steve installed that one in her dining room...
and took the one from the dining room and installed it in the kitchen!

AFTER -  here is the corner where the fake desk thing was...
This is now sporting a work food prep table Steve made years ago.
I gave it new fresh paint on the legs.  See the pretty wainscotting now and trim?
All fresh and clean and white!
The old iron floor register needed a coat of rustoleum paint too.


AFTER- Oh my, it's all coming together now!
We brought down the cabinet doors and screwed them into place.
Erin bought new knobs and coat hooks for the coat alcove.
 Just look at that gorgeous real wood wainscotting we unveiled
by pulling off the dumb 70's paneling covering it up.

AFTER-  Erin bought all new appliances for her kitchen!  Even a nice "over the stove microwave" that is kinda put up into place.  Steve is making a top shelf bracket to hold it more securely and she can put things on top of it later.  Erin put this silvery colored tin-textured back splash behind the stove (and she will do it behind the sink after the new countertops are put in) 

 AFTER- Wheewie!!! Look at this!
She is going to pick out a new light to hang over the sink...
The new countertops came this week and we are going back on saturday to help install them.
The same grey tin texture backsplash like by the stove will go up around the sink.
New sink, new faucet, and wonderful floor will finish it up!

As an added P.S.
I would like to thank everyone for the kind words about the loss of our beloved Duke.
 It's so hard around here without him.  Finney keeps looking for him,
and we are missing the sounds of his jingling tags,
the pant pant of his breath, and the snuggles and
silly antics he gave us over the years.
It was 11 wonderful years of canine companionship and
we miss him dearly.....