Aug 31, 2011

Are we done yet?!

This summer's heat is really wearing on me.  I'm all done with summer.  Heck, I'd settle for temperatures in the 90s instead of these constant 100+ degree F. days.  And rain would be nice, too.

DH was fighting his allergies this weekend, so he didn't get as much done as he wanted to.  Still, he was able to get the sheetrock ready for me to paint.

All the stuff that was in our kitchen is currently piled in our den, including some cabinets.  DH managed to mount two of them back on the wall in their proper place - YAY!  But I've still got tons of stuff stacked around the den.  But two cabinets is progress!

Piles of cabinetry and other stuff. 

Two cabinets gone.

More piles of stuff & Inspector Emma.

DH mounting the two cabinets.


Aug 23, 2011

A Halloween finish

Yesterday, I finished a Halloween ornament out of the recent Just Cross Stitch magazine (Sept./Oct. 2011), the Pirate Sock Monkey on page 20 by Raise the Roof Designs.  I stitched him on 28 count Lime Green hand-dyed Zweigart linen with DMC and Rainbow Gallery Petite Treasure Braid for his gold earring.  I changed a few of the colors slightly to better go with the green fabric.

If you've seen the picture of the original ornament in the magazine, you'll notice that the designers stitched the monkey on pink fabric.  You'll notice that I did not.  C'mon, y'all didn't really think I'd stitch something on pink, did you?!

As I'm waiting on some instructions as to how my DSisIL wants me to stitch my nephews' names on the cuffs of their Christmas stockings, I pulled out a WIP to work on for a bit - "Liberty Lane."


Aug 22, 2011

Rocking along

My current WIP "Moonlit Kitties" met an untimely demise last Wednesday.  As you'll recall, I was stitching it on the perforated paper included in the kit.  Perforated paper is pretty tough stuff.  Usually.  

While stitching on it and with it in my hand, I got up from my stitching chair to go find my ringing cell phone.  In my haste, I dropped the paper.  While still moving, I grabbed the edge of the paper to pick it up off the floor.  Unfortunately, I lost my balance a bit and my foot landed on the side of the paper I was not grabbing just as I pulled.  The paper ripped completely in two, right through all my stitching.  DOH!  

Oh well.  I really wasn't liking stitching on the perforated paper, mainly because of its size; I was having difficulty reaching the middle of the paper easily when stitching.  I would have kept on working on it because I like the design; I just wasn't liking the paper so much.  I still want to stitch this, but I think I'll look for some dark blue hand-dyed FABRIC to stitch it on when I do.

So I decided to stitch up one of the Halloween ornaments from the recent issue of Just Cross Stitch instead of mourning the demise of "Moonlit Kitties."  I should finish it tonight and I'll post a picture tomorrow.

DH worked hard this weekend and has the kitchen nearly ready for me to start painting.  He just has a few places on the tape and bedding to smooth and touch up, perfectionist that he is.  Emma supervised.


He replaced the old trim around the outside of the new window for now.  You may have wondered what kind of siding we seem to have.  As our house is an old hunting cabin that was built in stages with repurposed materials, the siding is roofing shingles - "poor man's siding."  As we renovate, we'll eventually replace all those green shingles with Hardi-plank siding and yellow paint.  The bottom picture shows what it will look like.  This is the newest part of the house tied into the old part.  Yeah, that old window on the left looks like it is crammed up against the new part of the house.  It will be replaced at some point with a new and smaller window and it won't look so jammed then.


Aug 16, 2011

Our kitchen progress

DH worked like a dog this weekend.  Actually, I think he worked harder than a dog as our dog rarely works; she naps a lot.  DH would have gotten all of his "to do" list done if he hadn't have to help the satellite installation guy (but I'm glad he did).
- replace the kitchen window with a new more energy efficient one.
- rewire all the plugs under the kitchen cabinets so we can plug in appliances.
- insulate the walls with fiberglass batting.
- install new sheetrock
where it was torn out.  He only got this 2/3's done.
- tape and bed the new sheetrock.  He can't do this until all the sheetrock is hung.

And you would not believe how much cooler our house is with the kitchen insulated and mostly sheetrocked!  Maybe now I won't spend my afternoons and evenings sweating.  Here's a picture of where we are:

I haven't stitched all weekend.  But I will this evening and I'll post a picture of progress later this week.  Emma says, "Hi!"


Aug 13, 2011

Windows and speed

DH took out the old kitchen window and replaced it with the new one.  He had to reframe it and then foam it into place.  It took him most of the day because he was interrupted.  More on that in a moment.

Old window from the outside.
Old window gone!
New window set and foamed in place.
New window from the inside.

We live out in the boonies, out where you can't get a fast internet connection.  No DSL, no broadband, and until recently, no satellite service.  Well, there is a satellite service, but it wasn't taking on new customers.  

I originally had landline service out here, but then switched to an AT&T air card.  It was marginally faster than the landline, even though we have an AT&T cell tower less than 1000 feet from our house.  AT&T upgraded the tower from 1G to 2G service in March and the internet connection speed got even slower and I never had a full antenna showing on the air card window.  Despite repeated calls to AT&T, the problem was never fixed.  AT&T kept saying "our computer shows the tower is functioning properly."  They said the problem must be with our air card.  Then why are we having the same connection problems with our Kindle, eh?  We are not fond of AT&T.

DH kept calling around and e-mailing providers, hoping that a provider had upgraded and could serve our area.  He lucked out a couple of weeks ago.   The provider that wasn't accepting new customers started accepting them again.  So we signed up and the installer was out yesterday morning to get us hooked up.  DH had to stop and climb around in the attic with the installer to help him find the right wall to run the cable down.  

But we are now hooked up and running.  While I'm not connected at a blazing speed, I can at least get a page with lots of pictures to download in less than a minute.  With the air card, I could start a picture-laden page loading and then go off and wash a sink full of dishes, fold a load of laundry, and cross stitch for half an hour before the page finished loading, if it finished at all.  I'm a happy "surfer."


Aug 12, 2011

Keeping the summer heat at bay

I live in a part of the USA that is currently baking in the unusually high summer heat.  In my part of Texas, we're also under a really bad drought, a drought so bad that it rivals and may surpass the drought of 1918.

Back in the early spring when DH started on the utility room renovations, the main goal was to install central heat and air conditioning in our house.  We didn't get it installed before summer got here, so we put our two window unit air conditioners back in - one in the bedroom and the big one in the den.  The poor things have been working like crazy to keep us cool.

With all the gutting in the kitchen, and the fact that that side of the house gets afternoon sun, the air conditioners are losing the battle.  By the mid-afternoon, I am sweating like the proverbial pig.  And, as all of Texas is baking and there are high demands on the power grids in the state, we are all being asked to conserve energy.  So DH and I are resisting the urge to crank the air conditioners down to arctic levels and we're sweating a lot.  Oh well.  To everything there is a season, and it won't be hot forever.

If everything goes as planned, DH should be able to get a lot done on the kitchen that will help seal out the heat.  He is taking today off from work and hopes to get the following items crossed off his "to do" list this weekend:
- replace the kitchen window with a new more energy efficient one.
- rewire all the plugs under the kitchen cabinets so we can plug in appliances.
- insulate the walls with fiberglass batting.
- install new sheetrock where it was torn out.
- tape and bed the new sheetrock.

We'll see how it all goes and I'll post pictures of the progress.

Here's a picture of the kitchen floor with the OSB subfloor after DH got it all done.  We'll not put the "final and real pretty" floor down until we get everything else done.  The "real" floor is currently in several boxes on the floor behind the couch in the den.


Aug 11, 2011

The butterfly in my kitchen window

Many years ago, my Grandma took a craft class at the local senior center.  She made several stained glass ornaments, one of which was a butterfly that she gave to me.  I think I was either just finishing up college or out on my own.  I hung the butterfly on my kitchen window to better catch the light through it.  

It has become a tradition that Grandma's butterfly always hangs on the kitchen window and it has in every house we've rented or owned in our 23+ years of marriage.  I had to rescue it from the window with all the recent kitchen gutting, but it will soon be hanging in its rightful place on the new kitchen window.


Aug 8, 2011

We're getting there

DH spent part of the weekend at a continuing education workshop, so he didn't get as much done as he wanted to in the kitchen.  He was able to lay the tar paper over the subfloor and then install the engineered OSB sheets.  The actual flooring will go on top of this, but we won't install it until after we get the walls and cabinets put back in.

Laying tar paper with Emma's help.
First OSB sheet down.
Continuing along.
Nearly done.

Aug 5, 2011

My stitching mojo was dying of boredom: a new WIP

I was about half finished with "One Nation" when, due to boredom with the project, I noticed that my stitching mojo had died; I hadn't stitched in over a week and I didn't want to stitch!  So I chucked "One Nation" in a drawer and started "Moonlit Kitties," a Mill Hill beaded kit.  I was originally drawn to this design because of the bright colors and cute kitties.

I've never stitched one of these before and find it interesting.  This is a very complete kit and it has plenty of supplies.  It came with everything including a floss and a beading needle.  I purchased the frame for it also as DH probably won't have time to make one in the near future.

I don't mind stitching on the perforated paper, except when stitching on the far right of it; my hands aren't large and I end up turning the paper 90 degrees to reach that side.  Here's a picture of my progress.  It didn't photograph well, maybe because the perforated paper is sitting on a white background?  The paper is a much darker color - nearly a navy blue.


Aug 4, 2011

Plumbing ready and subfloor done

DH got the plumbing for the change in the kitchen sink position all ready and then finished replacing the subfloor.  Next, he will lay a second subfloor made of engineered OSB - 4' x 8' sheets especially designed for use as a subfloor.  Later, after we get all the cabinetry made, we'll install the actual flooring material.

We wanted something that wasn't too expensive, but that would last 5-10 years which is when we plan to really redo the kitchen.  We previously had down very cheap linoleum flooring (38 cents a square foot) that got dented, dinged, and torn easily.  So we bought some engineered vinyl plank flooring (67 cents a square foot) from Lowe's that clicks together.  We will glue the seams also as - according to the manufacturer - this will waterproof it for kitchen use.

After we get the cabinets made, I can move all my stuff back into the kitchen that is now piled haphazardly around the den in precarious stacks.  I won't have to wash dishes in the bathtub as I'll have a kitchen sink with running water again.  We can move the stove back into the kitchen and use it, and I won't have to cook on hotplates and I'll be able to use my oven again.  And then we'll be done in the kitchen and can go back to working on the DIY project that the leak-under-the-kitchen-sink-fiasco interrupted.


Aug 3, 2011

For Gloria - Inspector Emma is on the job!

"Yep. There's a hole here!"

"Must taste male human while checking out the cabinet!"

"Yep. There's mold and rot under here."

Dog tired.

And no, I haven't stitched a lick since we discovered the leak.  Maybe I will soon.  Maybe not.


Aug 2, 2011

While we're at it...

As I've previously mentioned, the kitchen/utility room of our house was originally a porch.  As such, it was not attached well to the main house.  DH wanted to rectify that since the kitchen was already in shambles.  To do that, he needed to access the wall studs, so he tore out a ratty upper cabinet and a lot more sheetrock.   

See the light at the top of the following picture?  Yeah.  That's daylight.  There is nothing holding the kitchen wall and the den wall together.  Scary, eh?  DH spent a morning fixing that and making sure both parts of our house are firmly attached.  He used a lot of lumber and lots of really long screws.

We figured as long as the wall was open, we'd go ahead and replace the old drafty window.  It is single pane and the top "glass" is actually plastic sheeting.  And we also decided to move the sink back to its original place under the window instead of under upper cabinets.  Here's how the area looked before DH ripped it out - don't you think this window needs (and had) a sink under it?

And I can get rid of my fancy porcelain Kohler extra-deep double sink that is the size of Iowa and stains if you look at it.  We'll be giving it to our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore.  We'll replace it with a large non-double non-deep stainless steel sink.

DH will be able to insulate the parts of the walls that are open - notice how there is nothing in there now?  Yeah.  Cold in the winter and hot in the summer.

To be continued...


Aug 1, 2011

Concrete counter tops are finally gone!

Our house had well-done concrete counter tops in the kitchen.  They were a nice Aggie maroon color that matched the paint job in the kitchen.  I didn't like them because they were a little on the high side and working on them was a pain as I am vertically challenged to begin with.  

With the water damage to the floor extending under the bottom kitchen cabinets, DH ripped the cabinets out.  We plan to gut and totally redo our kitchen in the future, so we didn't want to spend a lot of money on the kitchen at this point.  DH figured he could use the old cabinet doors and drawers and knock together bottom cabinets with odd pieces of lumber he has in his shop.  The only thing we would need to buy was Formica counter tops.  So we decided we could live with an eclectic kitchen for several years, as long as it was workable.

DH had to use a chisel and hammer, then sledge hammer to break down the concrete counter tops. It was a lot of work.  Going...

Gone.  To be continued...