Friday, May 25, 2012

Lighting decisions

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Now that the kitchen is heading a little faster toward finishing (though we have a loooonng way to go!), I have been trying to decide on more of the details like lighting and backsplashes and countertop. 
I was at Home Depot (again) today and I looked at these lights (again):

I really like this look and it is way cheaper than others of this style I have seen on the internet.  I also really like that it is clear and doesn’t take up the visual space of some other types of lighting…which is pretty important in our small narrow kitchen.  We will need two of these…one for over the mini peninsula and one for over the sink. 
What I don’t like about these is that the one I saw at Home Depot on display doesn’t hang straight!!  I asked an employee about it and he said that sometimes you can straighten them by turning the little bulb-holder inside the bell shade, but sometimes they can’t be straightened as it is seed glass and not always completely balanced in weight.  So!  I haven’t bought them yet.  I also prefer a solid rod that suspends the light rather than the cord look that comes with this one. 
This one will probably win, unless I can’t get them balanced looking.  The crookedness would drive me nuts.  I do like it a lot and it is $70 so much more affordable than some.
I have pinned a few others that are of interest. 

This one from lighting direct.

This one from Ikea.  (Again the cord thing though…not liking that look)

Lighting direct again.
I keep coming back to this one too, from Overstock (I like the schoolhouse look but I think it would look too big in the kitchen):

I think in the end I’ll probably go with a schoolhouse one or the first bell pendant.  I don’t want to spend a lot of money on them as we’re not planning to live here forever, but I do want it to fit in with the style of our home and look updated. 
I have decided on cabinet hardware!  Yay!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Positive progress!

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Finally!  A little positive progress on the kitchen remodel instead of negative (or destructive) progress.
After some help from my dad and brother, we now have the ceiling and most of one wall sheetrocked.  It definitely makes the whole room look brighter…I was starting to worry that we had not put in enough can lights as it seemed like a cave. 
But that is just one side of the room. 
Here is the other side (excuse the mess on the countertop…we still have to live here!!):
Looks like fun right???
My husband now has almost all the plaster/lath removed from the walls.  What a job!  I can’t help but think of all the work that was put into this home years ago when they first plastered the walls.  All the pounds and pounds of plaster that were smoothed onto our walls (we know, we had to take it off and dispose of it!), all the skills that were needed to know how to do that work, all the planning of those first owners. 
We have uncovered a number of different things which really do remind us of the home’s checkered past.  We found the framing to a hole which we found out (from our neighbor who knew the former owner) was the hole that they put ice through into the icebox before they had refrigeration.  We uncovered another old doorway and realized that the whole back corner where the fridge and stove are now was a separate room, and we deduced from the paint pattern on the old plaster that it must have been used as a pantry with floor to ceiling shelving.  We have talked about making a time capsule and putting it in a wall somewhere for future owners to find when they tear out the sheetrock we are putting up now.  Maybe they’ll be curious too about the house’s past!
I’m just excited to see white walls instead of messy brown studs/insulation/wiring/plumbing!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Progress on our kitchen project

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Our construction…or perhaps you could call it deconstruction…is slowly moving along in the kitchen. 
Exhibit A:
(That’s my husband above, getting a bowl for ice cream after the exhausting demolition he just accomplished.)
And even more recently, this is what the largest non-cupboard wall looks like at the the moment:
Kind of rustic, don’t you think?  It makes me feel all Laura Ingalls Wilder in a way. 
At least we have electricity!!!!
(Just to refresh your memory, this was that same corner of the kitchen a few short weeks ago):

Moving on!!
(This one makes it look like our kitchen is crooked…but that would just be me taking the picture.  I guess that could make for a better “after” picture!  People could wonder how we got the room all leveled out.)

Speaking of electricity, we have about half of the wiring done, thanks to our new brother-in-law who is also an electrician.  The rest should be done this coming Saturday, yay!  Then we, or I should say my husband, can do more demolition and we can start dry walling the ceiling and a few walls.  There are of course a few problem areas that we need to address.  Old houses can be like that! 
IMG_4405edit This old door formerly connected to the foot of our stairs.  Don’t ask me why!  It was covered over with paneling.  The other side of the door looks much more civilized and actually quite nice, which is why we are not taking it out (ok let’s get right to the point…we don’t want to have to re-do the other side of the wall too!!!!).  We’re just going to cover it over with drywall.  Who needs a door from the middle of the kitchen to the bottom of the stairs?  Lazy people, that’s who.  Not us, obviously.  (Though we’d like the luxury of being lazy some mornings…not happening with a preschooler and a toddler in the house!!)
There are a couple of other things but I won’t bore you with the details.  Plus I didn’t take pictures.  :)
Anyway, progress is happening, whether it looks like it or not! 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Look what goodies came in the mail today!

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Some of my favorites:
(Lilliput Fields Pomegranate Violet):
(Pop Garden Peonies Ivory):

(To Market to Market Mushrooms Forest):
And a cross-section of some of the goodies:
Most of it I have plans for, although I did buy a couple half yards of stuff because I knew I would have a use for it eventually, and it was just too beautiful to pass up!  (Especially with the great sale/coupon I had for
I’m excited to start sewing on some projects! 

Friday, May 4, 2012

My gardens…right now

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Since it has been such an early and warm spring (today was around 80 I think!), everything is way ahead in our yard. 
Behold the centaurea, already in bloom on May 3rd:

And the bleeding heart:
Variegated false Solomon’s Seal:
And all my little plants that I winter sowed this year:
It is an exciting time of year!  I ordered some bare-root plants and bulbs for the first time this year and I’m looking forward to those coming up and filling in the bare spots where they are planted.  Every year I plan (and plant) more and more, which of course adds up to more and more work to get the gardens prepared and maintained, but I think gradually I’m getting smarter about it too.  Our local compost site offers free wood chips, which I made use of liberally last year, and that reduced my weeding dramatically last year.  This spring I’ve noticed that they are breaking down beautifully in my beds so I’ve added and will continue to add another layer to those beds that need it.
I think one reason I love gardening is that I can be outside with the kids and be there for them, yet be doing something relaxing and beautifying at the same time.  That isn’t always the case.  :)
And that’s my garden right now. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

What’s that?

For those who dare to enter:
What are those dark shapes?  Could they be dangerous?
Oh, wait!  They’re cabinets
Yes, really.  And they’re in desperate need of some TLC.  And I have a feeling it’s me who’ll be giving them some, in the form of Simply White by Benjamin Moore paint and some brand new shiny hardware! 
When it warms up just a tinch (is that even a word?) and isn’t so damp, that’s exactly what I’ll be doing! 
Where did we get them from?  We got them for the grand total of $0 (as in FREE!) from my in-laws who are also in the process of remodeling their kitchen.  They may be their old cabinets, but for those of us who don’t want to shell out several thousand dollars and who have nightmares of plastic drawers in their dreams, they are a gold mine!  I mean, come on, solid wood drawers!!!  They have definitely seen some wear but are structurally sound and with a little tweaking and cosmetic work, they’ll be our ugly ducklings who turn into swans.  (Kind of hard to believe right now, I know!)
For those who may be interested (namely, me), I’m keeping a tab on our expenditures relating to the kitchen remodel.  So far, I have spent this much:
Zinsser primer and sealer gallon:          20.99
Benjamin Moore Impervo paint:            39.99
Floetrol additive for paint                       11.99
Total:                                                         81.97
I’m sure that will be only a drop in the bucket (pun intended) compared to our final total, but you can bet I’ll be keeping a close eye on the costs. 
I’m exhausted just looking at them!!!  :)

Edited to add...if you would like to see finished pictures of the cabinets, go here.