Saturday, March 29, 2008

Lenten Resolution Update

For those of you following along, I made it through Lent with my resolution intact. I didn't set foot in either Target or any thrift store for the entirety of Lent. And, I still haven't even though Lent is now over.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The New CounterTop!

Here's an early-bird peek at the new countertop. That's Formica laminate on it, with a polyurethaned fir trim on the edge. The floors in the kitchen are fir, hence the trim choice (our Mr. Berry's idea!).

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Happy 100th Birthday Dad!

I'm sad he's not here to celebrate. My dad was born in 1908, one hundred years ago today.

The above photo was taken at his work. When he met my mom, he was working as a longshoreman on the San Francisco Waterfront. I can't remember his pier #... He retired when I was in first grade or so, and then started working again a few years later. I guess it was hard to support a family on his ILWU-PMA pension. And, he liked to work, it was his main social outlet.

My dad was a great guy and a great dad. He had a lot of friends, was very social, and loved to chat with people of all types. He shared his love of reading with me. I remember one time when he tricked me into an addiction to Sherlock Holmes. He knew I'd enjoy them once I got started, so he paid me $1 to read the story "Silver Blaze". Of course, I did get hooked, and read all of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's ouvre.

I miss him all the time. He passed away in 1986. He was and is dearly loved.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Plumbing for Fun and Profit!

OK, so joking about the profit. But we did just save at least $300 and maybe more. Dear DH, who hates to paint, enjoys things like plumbing and electrical. Good thing I like to paint:-). The previous previous owners, when they installed a dishwasher, didn't properly do the drain pipe--they installed it too high, so we always had problems with the sink draining slowly (and, when we had a garbage disposer, it would back up). To do it right, we had to remove the old galvanized pipes. I mean it when I say old, these pipes were full of crud and stuck together. We had to use our little brains to get the job done. And, good old Archimedes!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Even Creepier!

Yes, we did it. We pulled off the kitchen countertop. It'll be used as a template for the replacement. It's on its way with DH in the truck down to our friend's workshop. When you pop off a countertop (and yes, I was amazed, it really does "pop" right off), you see other things that need tending. Right now, it feels like a whole lotta nuthin' in my kitchen. Here, take a look!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

I hope the Easter Bunny paid you a visit. Easter Blessings, Peace be with You!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Kitchen Makeover: Project Creep!

So, as you my stalwart readers know, I had decided not to change out the countertops and sink, due to, well, apprehension let's say, about how that all would go. A dear friend, let me call him Mr. Berry, who is a contractor, strongly suggested that we re-do the countertops and sink. He came by today, and make some suggestions, and, well, here's the result. I'm half "oh my God, what have I done?" and "Wow, this'll be great!". What do you think?

We're going to go with laminate again on the countertops, and a self-lipping white sink, same basic dimenions. Here's the laminate we've chosen:

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Kitchen Makeover: Finally Painting

Today is Day 14 of the Kitchen Makeover. Yesterday, I finally got to start painting! I first had to protect the surfaces that won't be painted, including the floor. We'll have it refinished, but no need to make the refinisher's job harder. Lots of blue painter's tape and dropcloths. I ran out of drop cloths, and almost stopped to run to the store, but I decided to just use what I had: newspapers. I had to go out anyway later, turned out, since I had forgotten that there were a couple of spots near the windows that needed caulk. Oh, well!

Here are some shots of the new interior. There are still bits of the old green, a door and trim which I'll prime today. I have some drips to tidy up with chisel and sandpaper. This was my first time using this particular primer and it's drippier than what I'm used to. It was cheap and the coverage was good, so I guess that's the price you pay, eh?

Oh, to answer a few questions...I actually have a heat gun, I got it when we removed the vinyl tiles from the kitchen floor way back when (and I'm not telling you how long ago THAT was:). I don't really feel confident to use it for paint, especially near window glass. I did use it yesterday to remove the vinyl tiles that were under the sink area. It took 'em up nice and easy. Those will be replaced with new ones in a shade that matches the new kitchen.

Lenten update: I've kept to my intention and haven't set foot in Target or any thrift store. I even managed to toss Sunday's Target ad without reading it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

In the Belly of the Beast or Never Strip Paint

unless you absolutely, positively, have no other choice. That's my wisdom for the week.

Well, here are some updated photos. Lots has happened since I began this project last Wednesday, but it feels like it's going slow as molasses. Thus far I/we have: removed appliances (including 40" stove, dishwasher, fridge), attempted to strip paint off several areas (windows, decorative door frame, part of a door frame, drawers). Paint stripping sucks, it really does. And they lie to you on the packaging--I've had to put three coats of stripper on most of the surfaces so far (scraping in between of course). I guess there's about 5 layers of paint on the surfaces.

Anyway, by today, I still have to finish most of the stripping. I've been working 8-9 hour days, everyday, and am exhausted. I have to take a hot bath every night so my back doesn't ache the next day. I am trying to hold the vision of the finished kitchen in my mind's eye, but it sure gets tough when I'm squatting over the kitchen sink scraping at the intricacies of the wooden window frames.

I've been listening to the audio commentaries for films I am very familiar with. It's good entertainment, and because I know the films so well, there's no need to watch to enjoy them. Yesterday, I scraped through the entire two-disc version of Fellowship of the Ring, listening to the director/writers commentary. The day before was North by Northwest, before that, Ocean's Eleven. Today will be the Two Towers, again with director and writers.

Friday, March 07, 2008

The Kitchen: Letting Go of the Avocado

Take a look. It's green. Lots of green. A 40" stove of green.

Soon, it'll be some other colour. Probably white. Lots of white.

Yes, I'm re-doing my kitchen. It's not a remodel because I'm not changing the structure. I am changing the paint, the floor and the appliances. The appliances will be white. I'm especially excited about my choice for a new fridge. Why? Because it's small! It's only 24" deep and 24" wide. It's 80" high and has a freezer on the bottom not the top. It's capacity is 7.1 cubic feet. Yes, you read that correctly. Yes, it's small. But small, for me, is better. You know why? Because I won't be able to keep those ten jars of jam (yes, I have 10 jars of jam in my fridge!) anymore. Or that old miso (hey, it might still be good!) or stock up too much. For me, I've found that a small amount of storage is best. If I can't change myself, I *can* change my environment.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Essential Truths

If you have one pen, you'll always know where it is. If you have a dozen, you'll constantly be searching for one.

Apply that to everything and you have the life of a hoarder. We have EVERYTHING and we can find NOTHING.

I've talked about my bathroom before, haven't I? It's the tidiest room in the house, takes about 15 minutes to clean and is relaxing to be in. Why? Because there's no vanity! No etagere! Here, let me show you:

The contractors kept asking us if we were sure about not having a vanity. We knew we wanted a wall-mounted sink, to give a 1940's effect to match our house. They'd suggest hanging a curtain around the sink and putting some shelves underneath. I kept saying "No thanks!". I knew the dangers of it--our old bathroom had a vanity with cupboard underneath and a large medicine cabinet. It was always stuffed full of who knows what. Junk. Old makeup, appliances I never used, extra shampoos and hair treatments. Bubble bath enough for a sorority. I love the new space because it's almost impossible to clutter it up. Everything there is USED almost daily. Those silver cannisters atop the toilet? They hold manicure tools (nail clippers, etc) and Q-tips. The medicine cabinet holds tooth brushes, shaving needs, contact lens solutions. Not much else. Not much else is needed. Now, I do have a linen closet nearby, so I don't need to store my towels in the bathroom as some do.

Coming soon...notes on a kitchen makeover!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Itching to Stray

I tortured myself on Sunday by looking at the Target circular. Their ads are so nicely done! They're well-organized, easy to read, and aren't overwhelming as some ads are (for example, I NEVER look at the Penney's or Macy's ads...too much stuff to sort through).

There's only one item I use regularly that's on sale for a good price. My beloved Method cleaning spray. But, it's more important to me to stick to my Lenten intention that to stock up on cleaning spray. And, I do still have some Mrs. Meyer's geranium stuff, though I don't like the smell as well.

And yes, the smell of a cleaner is more important to me than the cleaning power. If I like the way it smells, I'm more likely to use it, so that'll outweigh any minor cleaning strength differences.