Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Tale of Two Floorings...




After getting the last of our cabinets, sink, and dishwasher installed by Jeff last week, Andy told me to ask Jeff to finish up the kitchen renovations.  Unfortunately, that meant that we were going to need flooring much sooner than I had anticipated...like within a couple of weeks.  However, with Andy's and my work schedules, that also meant that we had limited opportunities to go shopping for flooring.

An opportunity opened up on Friday evening for us to go looking.  Our first stop was a local discount store that carries discontinued items and always has a lot of flooring.  We found three wood laminates that we liked, so we bought a box of each to bring home and test against the cabinets.  Our next stop was Home Depot where we found some manufactured hardwood DARK "cherry" bamboo that they were discontinuing for a ridiculously low price.  I jumped on that because I thought it would be better than laminate and we bought all that we would need for the kitchen floor.

However, when we got home I looked up the reviews online of the bamboo flooring and people said that not only did it scratch WAY TOO EASILY it SHOWED DIRT way too much!  :(  Well...since our cleaning schedule isn't exactly what we would want it to be, we decided that this flooring wasn't for us.

That brought us back to the three boxes of flooring that we had purchased at the discount store.  Andy brought them and we tried each of them up against the cabinets.  We thought we had a winner with one of them when we checked them in the daylight hours.  However, when we "checked one more time...just to be sure" at night, it looked HORRIBLE in the artificial light.  There wasn't enough contrast between the cabinet color and the floor color, so I felt like I was in a really weird tunnel...or on a boat (you know how the inside of a boat is all wood...ceiling, walls, floor...all the same color?)  I literally felt like the walls were closing in on me!  :(




My daughter actually has a degree in Interior Design, so she has been my guide and counselor through some of this.  When I asked her about putting laminate down in the kitchen, she recommended that it should be at least 10-12 mm thick so that is the "better" laminate and can hold up to more use and abuse.   She didn't feel we'd be happy with the way that 8 mm laminate would hold up in a high-traffic area like our kitchen.  She also gave me other pointers...like keep an extra box on hand so that if anything happens, the bad boards can be pulled up and replaced.  The laminate in the above pictures was 8 mm...so between that fact AND the fact that I felt sea-sick in my own kitchen after the sun went down, I knew that we had to take ALL of the flooring back that we had purchased on Friday and go shopping for more.  For the record, Andy was happy with this flooring...it didn't have the same tunnel/boat effect on him that it did on me.  But then Andy is the kind that grabs something off the shelf, installs it, and calls it good...regardless of the aesthetics!  

We live in a rural area without a whole lot of choice...at least not for us that have limited budgets, so we decided that on Sunday we would get up VERY early (for me, on a weekend, anyway), return the flooring that we had bought, and then head up to Pittsburgh (100 miles away) to the nearest Lumber Liquidators store where, hopefully, we could find some flooring that suited me.  The agreement between us was that the next flooring purchase we made was going to be the final flooring purchase, so better come prepared!  

This morning, bright and early, we took a cabinet door off of one of the cabinets (so we could put it up against the flooring we were going to look at to see how they would go together) and we returned the flooring to Home Depot.  After we did the return, I headed back out to the car to wait for Andy because he had to go to the OTHER END of the store to pay for one little item he needed.  When he got back to the car he told me about some flooring that they had stacked near the checkout registers that he thought looked "nice" and was 10 mm thick.  I kinda did an "eye roll" because I know that he and I rarely agree on what is "nice"...or even "okay"...but when he said it was 10 mm, I agreed to go back in and check it out.

So, cabinet door in hand, we went back into the store.  When we put the door up against the flooring display, I think I almost gasped in astonishment!!!  It was PERFECT!!!  And exactly what I had envisioned all along...a darker floor to contrast with the cabinets, but not too much grain to conflict with them...and not too dark as to show dirt and scratches!  



It is Pergo XP Highland Hickory and we ended up buying what we need for the kitchen, plus extra to keep on hand in case of a water accident, etc.

What is funny is that the cabinets are hickory...which has a lot of grain lines, so I was looking for something that didn't have much grain line so they wouldn't "fight" with each other.  However, this flooring is hickory, too...just a darker stain!  Totally surprised me that the best flooring to go with hickory cabinets is hickory!  Who knew??

Anyway, both Andy and I are extremely relieved that we didn't have to go all the way to Pittsburgh today to try to find flooring!  Instead, we went out to breakfast and laughed and joked and had a good time, now that all the "stress" of the whole flooring debacle was over!   We then came home and he installed a cabinet organizer under the sink and I proceeded to put my cleaning supplies away in my nice, new, slide-out basket organizer!  :)

Loretta

Sunday, August 10, 2014

FINALLY!!!

Quote for the Day:

"I want a house that has got over all its troubles; 
I don't want to spend the rest of my life bringing up a young and inexperienced house."
Jerome K. Jerome

Over three years ago we started renovating the kitchen in our 1927 Victorian home.  We are novices and did what we could, but every time we came to a "bump" (meaning anything that stymied Andy), work came to a standstill...sometimes for months and years at a time!!!

We have been down to removing the sink and metal cabinet for a while now.  We are replacing it with an "L" shaped cabinet, new sink, and a built-in dishwasher...all of which is new do-it-yourself stuff for us, even though Andy is GREAT at plumbing.  Cabinetry and countertops??  Not so much.  

But, as luck would have it, a friend that has worked construction posted on Facebook a couple of weeks ago that he was looking for some jobs to do.  Well....I jumped right on that puppy!!!  He came by and saw what we needed done and agreed to do the job!!  

This past Wednesday when I left for work, the section of kitchen in question looked like this...


Why, yes...that IS a hole in the wall behind the dishwasher where the pipes and electrical run!  

For three days our friend, Jeff, worked on the kitchen installing the cabinets, countertops and sink and this weekend it looked like this...


Why the pillow??? 


Andy spent all of Saturday installing the faucets, drains, and plumbing!!!  By Saturday night, I once again had a sink and running water in the kitchen!!!


Such a beautiful site!!!  And do you see that little faucet over to the far right???  After 15 1/2 years I now have filtered drinking water directly into the kitchen!!  We used to have a spigot with filtered drinking water in the basement and had to go down and fill up plastic 1 gallon jugs to get it to the kitchen!  *heavy sigh*  Oh the inhumanity of it all!  

I'm so happy that we are finally on the "home stretch" of the renovations with this last major hurdle.  Next is finishing up the beadboard and then onto the flooring.

In the meantime, the less glamorous part of remodeling...everything that is normally put away is now all over the kitchen table, the dining room table, and the dining room floor!!!



I will be a very happy gal when I can finally get my house put back together!!!

Loretta

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Quilt Finish!!!




I've been working on a "Rainbow Baby Quilt" for a friend of my daughter that is pregnant with a baby girl and is due this month sometime!  

My daughter told me that her friend had seen this quilt online and really liked it.  However, the free pattern on that blog was for a much smaller baby quilt than I like to make AND it was missing the INDIGO of the rainbow.  You remember the ROYGBIV of the rainbow, right?  Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, INDIGO, violet.  My kids had to memorize that for school and to this day I can recite it with ease!  LOL

Anyway, I could have just made the free pattern and made the blocks bigger to make a bigger quilt, but that still would have left out the indigo part of it.  And if I added three rows of indigo, it left me with a white blob over to the left hand lower corner.

So I drafted my own pattern and went with it.  :)



All fabrics for the front were pulled from my stash...no new ones were purchased for this quilt!  YIPPEE!

I love scrap quilts, but my daughter told me that her friend doesn't really care for "scrappy", so I only used one fabric of each color instead of scrapping it up!  However, I did decide to bind with a scrappy binding using the leftover fabric!   Hey, you can only hold me back just so much!  LOL  A scrappy-quilting girl's gotta do what a scrappy-quilting girl's gotta do, right?  

I machine quilted this quilt on my new Juki TL2000Qi and boy does that machine sew fast!  It made short work of this quilt and it was pretty easy to keep my stitches uniform!  



For the backing I used a yellow and white striped 100% cotton sheet from Pottery Barn that I found at a thrift store while in Tennessee!  People often ask about using sheets for quilt backs and I tell them that I ONLY use them if the quilt is going to be machine quilted.  They are just too tightly woven to hand-quilt through.  They do make a great backing for a machine-quilted quilt, though....especially for a baby quilt as sheets hold up very well through all the washings that baby quilts go through.  I don't use sheets all the time, but I do keep my eyes out at thrift stores, yard sales, etc., for sheets that are 100% cotton, in a neutral print (I love stripes for this reason), and are in good shape without any fading.


Despite the issues I had in the beginning trying to design this quilt and figuring out just what size to make all the pieces to get it the size I wanted, I really like how this quilt turned out.  :)  I hope that mom and baby are both happy with it, too!  



Loretta

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Gardening Tip...



The weekend before we had to make our emergency trip to Maine in June for Joe's funeral, I had planted a small "container" vegetable garden in the walkway that runs along the side of the house. 







While we were on our trip to Maine and then our vacation to Tennessee, our neighbor kept it watered for me.  :)  I have very nice neighbors!  :D

I now have baby green tomatoes, a couple of banana peppers, and lots of sweet basil!  The zucchini are having trouble because something keeps eating the leaves.  I think it's a ground hog because we have trouble with them here.  The hot peppers aren't doing great, either, so I moved the pot so it gets more direct sun.  I hope that will help.

Yesterday I dried some of the basil, so I thought I'd do a post about that.  :)

Instead of just pulling of the leaves, I actually cut the top half of the stem off, brought them inside and washed them under cool running water.  I patted them dry with a towel to remove the excess moisture...


I plucked off the leaves and placed them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper...


I had read of two different methods using the oven...one you just turn the light on and use the heat generated by the bulb to dry the basil.  The other hint was to turn the oven on, let it warm up, then turn off the oven and just use the residual heat.  I did a combination of the two...first I turned the oven on for a few minutes to warm it up and then turned the oven off, but left the light on.  I placed the cookie sheet with the basil inside the oven.


I left it overnight and this morning I had dried basil!!!


After crumbling it up...


...I placed it in an airtight jar for storage.


All that I need to do now is to label the jar!  And I now have dried basil as well as the fresh basil that is still growing outside!  :)

I'm going to start growing more of my herbs.  I'm planning on putting some shelves on the inside of my kitchen windows so that I can grow things indoors in the winter!  Eventually, I'd like to have something like this going on in my kitchen...


Loretta

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Starting Off Healthy...




We are currently in Tennessee spending time with Erin's family and our newest grandson, Clark!  He is sooooo precious!  :)

Today was Erin's first post-partum chiropractic adjustment, so I went along to meet her doctor, Dr. Nicole Zyla-Herrera in Franklin, TN.  Last fall Erin asked me to ask my own chiropractor if he knew of any good Atlas Orthogonal chiropractors in her area.  He recommended this particular doctor and Erin started going to her.

Her office has an open adjustment area so I was able to watch the doctor do an adjustment on one of her patients and I was very impressed with her thoroughness.

After Erin had her own adjustment the doctor adjusted Clark....




Birth is a very rigorous activity and if you think of what the baby's body has to go through to get out of the birth canal, you realize how important it is to get a newborn adjusted!  

Clark had been fussy and crying the during the 40 minute car ride to the chiropractor's office, but as soon as she started adjusting him he became quiet.  Then the doctor put a couple of dabs of lavender essential oil on the padding on his car seat straps and he proceeded to go to sleep and slept all the way home and even during a stop at Joann Fabrics!   :D

We are enjoying holding and spoiling the newest member of the family!

Loretta

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Latest Quilt Top...




My daughter, Erin, has a friend who is pregnant and due in July with a baby girl.  Erin asked if I would make a "rainbow" quilt for her friend.

I did a search online for "rainbow baby quilts" and came up with several free patterns before settling on what I wanted to make.

My daughter said that her friend really liked this pattern that she had seen on Pinterest.  

The problem is that I like to make my baby quilts big enough so that they can be used into toddlerhood and even longer.  Not only is this tutorial for a small baby quilt, it also is missing the green stripe of the rainbow.  :(

But since her friend did like this pattern, I decided to "adjust" it to include the green as well as make the blocks bigger...thus making a bigger quilt.

I got out my graph paper and started designing...


But wait...that leaves a big white hole at the lower corner of the quilt.  Hmmm...what to do???  I got my creative juices flowing, showed my ideas to a non-quilter friend for her opinion, and then got to cutting and sewing.

I finished the top last night and sent a picture to my daughter for her approval.  She liked it!!!



The quilt looks big in these pictures, but unquilted it is currently 55" X 63", so it's really not as big as it appears.

The quilting part of it will have to wait for a couple of weeks, but I bought the backing fabric for it at Marden's when we were in Maine.  :)  This one will be machine-quilted on my new Juki!  

Loretta

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Life...

Quote for the Day:
"There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven--
A time to give birth and a time to die"
~Ecclesiastes 3:1-2a, Holy Bible, New American Standard Version


Yes...I've been missing in action.  But I'm back...temporarily, anyway.

We had to make an emergency trip to Maine last Friday because Andy's brother, Joe, passed away unexpectedly.  



These pictures are about 30 years old, but I haven't been able to put my hands on any of the "recent" pictures that I have kicking around here somewhere.  

He will be missed so much by his family and friends...which are many!  It's been a hard week, but we are making our way through the grief.


On our way back from Maine we found out that our daughter had gone into labor!  She and Dale kept us updated with what was going on and then the news came that we had a new grandson!!!




Clark Christopher Paez
Born 6/18/14 at 4:29 PM 
7 lbs 3 oz, 19.5" long

I can't wait till we get to meet him and hold him next week!!!  He'll get all kinds of spoiled while I'm there!!!  :)


And now I need to go finish laundry and get ready for the rest of the week!

Loretta