Sunday, May 24, 2015

Projects on the Side

The railing before any cleaning.
Before I take and post the pictures of our new bathroom, I thought that I would show you a couple of side projects that I did.  One is the railing for the stairs and one is the extra storage for the pantry.

I knew what I wanted to do to clean the super gross railing that attaches to the wall leading upstairs; lemon oil.  I am in love with lemon oil. It cleans and shines and moisturizes wood. And it smells good!

Gross railing.
After I found the lemon oil, I had to find the umph to attack a really, really gross, dirty railing. I finally managed it today.

I intended to just squirt the lemon oil on my rag and wipe away.  That would work.  However, it was going to take the entire bottle of lemon oil and a big hunk of time to do it that way.

A quick trip into the house and a  Google search brought up some great ideas for cleaning a wood railing. I chose the one that involved baby wipes.

Why do I have baby wipes when the only child who lives at home is Swim Girl and she is 28? That's easy:  art.  I use a lot of baby wipes in the Bat Cave for art projects.  I mean, I didn't even have to make a run to the store.

The oily hunks of grime.
My wipes hadn't been used in a couple of months, so they were dried out.  A quick soaking in a bit of water revitalized them.  Ok.  Now you can start.

Wipe the dirty, gross railing with baby wipes. You should start to see the gunk kind of come up in oily hunks. Be sure and go over and over until you get up all of the grime.  It should loosen up fairly easily with just a touch of pressure.  You don't need to wreck your arm. Throw the wipes on the garage floor as you use them.  You can throw them away later. Yuck.

After the railing is cleaned up you can use the lemon oil.  Just squirt some into a clean cloth and wipe away.  Then with another clean cloth, wipe and buff.  You can repeat this step if you want.  If you have done a good job with the baby wipes, very little dirt will come off onto the oiled cloth.

The directions I checked also suggested using equal parts vinegar and water if the baby wipes didn't work completely.  I did not have to do that.
In progress


We have quite a bit of room in our pantry for some storage under the last shelf.  I looked all over for some sort of rolling storage that wasn't plastic.  No luck.  I finally decided to take matters into my own hands and make some rolling crates.
Yup.  Snack crate.

I purchased two wooden crates at JoAnn's for about $10 each. I have seen them at Michael's also. We have plenty of leftover paint from the remodel so I primed the crates and gave them two coats of paint.  I chose to use the same color that we put on the kitchen walls.

Let me tell you, this was a bit of a pain to do.  Each one of those slats has edges that need to be painted. Alaska Girl suggested that I use spray paint and I almost ran to the store to get some.  Then I remembered how much paint we have left and just sucked it up.

The wood was also pretty rough.  It really needed sanding, but I am lazy and didn't do it.  I tore up more than a few foam brushes painting the crates.  I suggest that if you use this type of crate that you set up in an area where you can just leave them and the paint.  You will be more likely to keep at it. It does take a while since you can only do so much at a time. I think the whole process took me a week to complete.  This includes a couple of non-painting days.
The casters

I then turned the project over to my husband.  I had purchased two packages of 4 casters to put on the bottoms.  I also bought the screws. I did not buy washers.  He had to make a washer run. Apparently, I also bought two different sizes of screws accidentally and I failed to take into account the fact that each caster needed four screws.  My turn for a hardware run.

There is plenty of room on the ends of the crates for identification.  I almost painted those with dry erase paint, but decided against it.  That stuff is expensive and once you open it you have to do all of your layers and then throw the rest out!  You cannot save it for later. Have fun!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

It's a New View

Hey.  I am delivering on my promise.  I have pictures of our kitchen.  I will save the bath for another day.

The kitchen is basically finished.  I still have a few things to do as far as decorating.  The only plain wall has nothing on it yet.  I will be trolling the sales and shops this summer for appropriate decor.

We are nearly finished with some storage for the pantry.  I will post those pictures when all is completed.

I have yet to get out my labeler and attack the cabinets, but that can wait a bit.  I am getting better at remembering where it all goes.  Baby steps.

Now, to help you remember what the 'old' kitchen looked like, here are a few reminders.

This was the view from the entry of the living room to the opposite side.  This is a very old refrigerator that we inherited when we bought the house.  We moved our fridge into the basement and then moved this one into the rec room (where the trees are to the left) and used it throughout the remodel.  The tubs held our food in the rec room during the process.

Same view.  The fridge was relocated to the other side so we gained a huge amount of workable counter top.  Plus, we had no upper cabinets before.  Yay. 

This is the bit of space we had next to the fridge. 

Now, instead of the fridge and a choppy little counter we have this beautiful uninterrupted stretch with plenty of storage below. Yum.

The view of the sink area.  There was also this crazy scroll work above the sink.

The sink area now.  It was my husbands idea to add the cabinets above the sink.  We also added an LED light stick that was hardwired in so we could use the switch.  It is awesome.

The old flooring and pantry.

The new flooring and the pantry on the right.

Same location, new doors.

New shelving.

And my personal favorite, a motion activated light inside the pantry.  My husband painted and rebuilt the shelves in here.  We are finishing up some additional floor storage.

These two pictures show what the wall that borders the living room used to hold.  Because of the huge microwave storage shelf, the counter was virtually useless.  We kept seldom used things under there.  Note the soffit.

There's the fridge!

Old view.

New view.

The new configuration has the fridge on the living room wall with the stove moved down a bit.  This allowed for a lazy Susan cabinet to be installed, a corner upper cabinet and a return in the corner that allows for more use. There is a very small 9" counter that separates the stove from the fridge, but we haven't really noticed that very much.  Next to the fridge is an upper spice cabinet and a lower cabinet that is built to hold trays and cookies sheets.  I love it.

 Because we only had enough space for a 32" wide refrigerator, we had to forgo one that was counter depth.  (We would have lost a lot of interior cubic feet.)  So, our contractor came up with the brilliant plan to recess the fridge into the wall by turning the studs sideways.  I think that this small improvement has made the biggest impact by making the kitchen appear wider.  It still amazes me how much more room we have.  They did extend into the opening to the living room by about 9" in order to accommodate all of the changes.  Other than that, no walls were harmed in this remodel.

One of my favorite additions is the LED under cabinet lighting .  

So there you have it.  Our new, much more efficient and modern kitchen.  We did not change any major structures, just redesigned things.  I still can't quite believe it is ours.

Next time:  the new bath!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Soon, I Promise

I have been getting lots of questions about the remodel.  I simply haven't had time to take any good pictures and when I just got on to post the ones I do have, I wasn't happy with them, so I need to reshoot.

I wish I had a great excuse, but I have simply been pretty exhausted and kind of sick of working on things.  Never fear though, I got my mojo back over the weekend.

Please bear in mind that the actual construction is the least of it.  In fact, we just finished the very last of the work last Thursday.  We are still putting things back - like furniture.  My husband just brought two pieces in from the garage yesterday.  There is a stove, refrigerator and microwave out there somewhere.  Oh, and the railing for the stairs is still missing in action.

I don't have slipcovers yet and I need more drapery panels, but my color is out of stock so I'm stuck. I have very little for the walls and that is just going to have to wait for a bit.  I have things piled in boxes in a couple of different rooms and I need to decide if anything is coming back out or if it is going to the local thrift store.

I found the kitchen clock under a pile on the bed in the spare room and got it cleaned up.  That's where that stands so far.  There are just so many small decisions that it makes me feel a bit powerless to move on any of it.

The basement is a hideous mess of dust and debris from drilling, duct work and electrical.  Things are out of place and half opened or right in the middle of the walkways.  There is a painting project going on that will help organize the pantry, but it is slow going right now.  The basement storage shelves are half empty since we were able to take a lot up to the kitchen, but that begets another big project.

It took us an entire weekend to put things away in the kitchen and now I can't remember where I put any of it.  I have to get my labeler and get to work.  I got a grabber for Mother's Day (I asked for it), so now I can get small things off of the top shelves without using the step stool.

And who knew how much extra cleaning would be involved with more cabinets, more counter, more bathroom, white trim, wood floors and three cats?  I need a new cleaning routine before I go nuts.  I have not even had time to clean the fronts of the new cabinets and they still have gunk on them from the install.

As you can see, it is all a bit overwhelming.  Plus, like every family, there are other things going on around here.  Never a dull moment.

So, if you will give me a couple more days, I know that I can have some great pics up soon.  I promise.  Meanwhile...

This is the upstairs hallway where the floors, lights, trim and doors have all been replaced.  All was painted, also.

The new carpet on the stairs looking down to the living room/front door.  We like this carpet so much that we decided to have an area rug made from it for the living room.  It's still waiting for me to go and get it.

Looking from the kitchen to the entry into the living room.  The fridge would have been behind me in the old kitchen.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Picture Perfect

I love to take pictures.  However, just because I love to take them doesn't mean I am any good at it. In fact, I'm not very good at all.

I attended a Landscape Photography workshop a couple of weeks ago at a preserve in the middle of our fair state. Four of us packed up our cameras and equipment, clothes and enough food to feed an army and off we went.

We stopped for lunch and shoes (duh) on the way and after a good night's sleep we arrived at our workshop location.  I pretty much knew that I was in trouble immediately.  I did okay with the basics of working the camera, but then they started talking about filters and my eyes crossed.  I kind of panicked.

After a few hours in class we were all getting restless and they set us free.  We were supposed to take pictures.  So I did.  Not very well, I'm afraid.

We were given a great location to shoot some sunset pictures and we all had a lot of fun running around in the cornfield trying to get some shots.  My car was in most of them.  I offered to move it several times.  Honestly, I did .  We had some laughs with the selfie stick and finally managed to get all of us in one shot.  Sort of.

I am not sure that Landscape work is my forte.  I'm not at all sure that photography is anywhere near my forte. I learned so much that I thought my head would explode.  I had fun with my friends.

I have chosen the best ones to share.  Enjoy.

I shot this one of Pluto before I left for the workshop.  I was practicing with my tripod that I never use.  I did learn that I like using a tripod and that I have a pretty crappy one and I need to get a better one.

This wasp was our friend for lunch.  I didn't have much else to do, so I shot a bunch of him.  I think I like the close up stuff better than the landscape stuff.

I actually like his shadow the best.

We fed him.

I took this while we were eating lunch.  Not much was growing yet.  I thought this branch with it's curled up dead leaves was cool.

There were lots of birds around while we were eating.  I think I took this with my long lens.

We happened to be at our location right before things really started blooming so I got a couple of cool buds.

I love the bright green here.

Sunrise on our last day of shooting.  After this we went for breakfast at the casino.  Yum.

My sunset picture.  I like it.