Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Alas, the kitchen.. though still a work in progress...

The kitchen, before:

This is the kitchen painted, notice the lovely carpet still in place:

Carpet out, trying to scrape the carpet glue off of the existing tiles (vinyl?):

Laying out the paper "floor plan" for the new lino:

Filling the gaps in the tile, and attempting to level what's left of the glue:

We put the new lino out on the living room floor for cutting, and realized instantally that it was two feet too short. It said it was 12x13 feet, but it was really 12x11. We called the store to complain and they said we could bring it back, or they could refund us the difference. We figured if we could make it work, we would just keep it - we really just want to get it done. We were able to make it work by taking out a piece that would be under the cupboards, and piecing it next to the back stairs. The unfortunate thing being that we would definitly have to install a toe-kick then (I was actually hoping we wouldn't have to, I really liked the legs our cupboards had before.) But that was getting a bit off track, here are the laying out and cutting pics:

Floor done, now for the unfortunate toe-kick. It was white, I painted it Gingerbread and then touched it up with some leftover brown from the bathroom and yellow from the kitchen to make it blend with the cupboards a bit nicer:

And here's the nearly finished kitchen:

I'd like to get some cupboards to hang above the little breakfast table and dishwasher for my extra pantry stuff. We actually removed the cupbard between the window and the door to go downstairs for painting purposes, and I don't think I want to put it back up - it's just nicer and more open there now, and the cupboard wasn't very big and useful anyways. So that's the next thing on my list. Also, I'm toying with the idea of actually painting the cupboards white in the summer, when I can take all the doors out to the garage to do it. I'm on the fence about the hardware, I haven't decided if I'll spray paint them and keep them, or get rid of them and get something else. Also the lights. I'm not sure how much I love them. I love the mid-century design, but thinking something a bit more modern might be nice. It may have something to do with having similar lights as a child or something, but these just feel old to me, even if they are completely authentic mid-century modern. So we'll see. Still a work in progress. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A few things still on the go...

I have a few things I'm going to post about in the next couple of days, hopefully, but at this exact moment I have a pounding headache and am waiting for Ian to get home from work, then we'll eat dinner, then we have to go out.

It hurts to find out that what you wanted doesn't match what you dreamed it would be. - Randy K. Milholland

These posts shouldn't be as depressing as my weekend was - I'll share the pictures of the kitchen, and the apron that I made. I may start on a few other projects. And then there's some Real Life things I have to deal with.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Almost there.

Well, I had hoped to be able to post pictures of our finished kitchen yesterday. But, in accordance with the rules of anything renovation related, we have been delayed. Again. So here's the deal:

Painting - I thought was done, but isn't really because now I have a toe-kick to paint, and trim to touch up.
Flooring - Done. Almost. We actually have to seal a seam still.
Toe-kick - Installed, only half painted.
1/4 round - Installed, paint needs to be touched up.
Appliances - Need to be moved back in, once painting of the toe-kick is complete, and trim is touched up.
Counter/breakfast table - Needs to be re-installed.
Stools - Re-covered, but I haven't actually wiped the legs down.
Shelf - Needs to be re-installed.
Cupboard beside back door - Needs to be re-installed.

So Ian and his dad spent all day Saturday installing the toe-kick and starting on the 1/4 round. Then when his dad made his exit, I got called in to help finish the 1/4 round. Which, actually, is a lot of fun to cut. So Ian nailed all those pieces in, except one piece in the kitchen that needed some modifications. He had to go over to his parents' house Sunday morning to borrow their table saw to remove a piece from the bottom of the 1/4 round so it would sit flush on this silly little piece of wood in this corner you won't really see anyways because it's behind the dishwasher... But I hate leaving things "unfinished" and to not put 1/4 round in this corner would be unfinished. And I would know it. So I filled the nail holes I could, and caulked the pieces that were in place Saturday night, and then we had to wait for Sunday to finish when Ian could do his handy-work on that piece. We also realized that our kitchen floor is not level, so their is a gap at the bottom of the toe-kick that we needed to cover up with some sort of trim or something. Also, I get really tired of filling holes 3 times and decided I need to find something more effective for these nail holes.

So Sunday morning we headed back to Home Depot. I'm beginning to hate that place. We needed: some sort of trim for the toe-kick, something better for filling nail holes, and paint for the toe-kick.

For filling the holes I found a tube of "painters putty" or something like that. It looks like a tube of toothpaste with a round, angled foam tip with a hole in the center. I think it worked pretty good actually, but we'll see for sure when it's all painted up. I also got a putty crayon type thing. It didn't work as well. It was pretty much like trying to fill a hole with a crayon.

For the trim, we wanted something narrow and flat, preferably already primed so we wouldn't have to waste time on yet another step. Not to mention we would have had to buy more primer. Anyways, the slot that should have held that type of trim at Home Depot was empty (go figure) so we debated over using 1/4 round or cove, and finally, after much "debating," settled on 1/4 round just because we had some scraps at home still, and it would sit next to the 1/4 round on the wall nicely. So, that needs to be painted with the toe-kick.

We decided on "gingerbread house" coloured paint for the toe-kick, and I'm actually pretty excited with my concoction for trying to blend it with the cupboards above. My sample worked wonderfully, however, when I tried applying it to the actual toe-kick last night I was having troubles seeing it in the bad lighting that is our kitchen at night. We have two single light bulbs dangling from the ceiling right now (we took out the regular fixtures while we were painting so we could do a more thorough job) and needless to say, they really don't provide enough light for performing paint miracles. So that delayed us until today. Monday. I was awake much of the night to the sound of the wind rattling our bedroom window, and then woke early to the sound of the phone ringing (which I did not answer. Sorry.) And now, I sit here typing this, after several cups of coffee. It's dark out. My kitchen is still dark. It's almost 10 in the morning. It should be bright and beautiful. It's not. The weather is conspiring against me. It doesn't want me to finish my kitchen today. But I'm going to try anyways.

I need my kitchen back.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I'm working on it

It's been a very busy week in our household. Our kitchen has been undergoing a dramatic transformation, with new paint, flooring, toe-kicks, and 1/4 round... Painting was finished two weeks ago I think. Ian and I did the flooring last weekend, with a little help from his dad. This weekend Ian and his dad are hard at work on the toe-kicks and 1/4 round. Pictures and another update will follow when we get the appliances moved back in. I absolutely can't wait! Hopefully tomorrow.

I've cleaned my sewing machine up, and made a cover for it. I began making an apron this morning, but am having some trouble with the settings on my sewing machine. I'm trying to zig zag the raw edges, but the size of the zig zag keeps changing.. it'll be just the way I want it, then all of a sudden it will start zagging smaller (zigging smaller?) and I end up with a smaller zig zag. So, I've been trying to find my sewing machine manual, but I haven't come across it. I wonder if I ever even had it. I know I've seen it, but the last place I can remember seeing it would be at my very old house in Kamloops, many many years ago. So I wonder if maybe my mom still has it. I've sent her an email asking her. I can bet her response will be she doesn't think so, but she'll let me know if she comes across it. But she'll never come across it. I'm willing to bet it's long gone. So, with that in mind, I've been searching online for it. I found one website which claims to have it, and I can have it emailed to me for $8. I may have to go that route if I don't figure this out. I have no idea what any of the settings on my sewing machine even mean. I can thread the bobbin. I can stitch a straight line. I used to be able to zig zag stitch efficiently. I'm not sure what's going on with it now. I need that manual I think. Also, I've tried oiling it myself, and probably missed a million spots. And probably oiled a few that didn't need oiling. So far, no oil marks on my fabric though, so I've done a better job than the last guy to do it.

I started running again. On the treadmill in our basement. For years I've said that a treadmill just isn't my thing. I love running. But I love running outside. I love feeling the sunshine and breeze on my skin, I love the changing scenery, I love setting my goals by how far I want to go, and I love being able to push myself further by thinking "well I'll just run to the next block.. well now, that wasn't too bad, I'll just go one more.." and so on. I have resisted using a treadmill because I was afraid I'd get bored. Now, I have to say, it's still pretty boring. I miss the sun on my skin. But it's too cold to run outside right now (for me. I know, I'm a big baby. I really like it between 10 and 20 degrees for running), and I was missing the exercise more. So I caved, and decided to take advantage of the treadmill that came with our house. It must be at least 20 years old, if not more. It's narrow. It's not very fast. I don't think Ian would be able to use it at all. Maybe not even to walk. The woman who left it for us (Mrs. S.) was about 100 pounds, and shorter than I am. It would have been perfect for her for walking. If she could get up and down the stairs to use it. She probably hadn't used it in 10 years. Anyways, back to the point. I used it. It's perfect for me. The first day I only ran for 10 minutes. The next day I was up to 25 minutes. The third day I did 43 minutes. Today I'm taking the day off. I've discovered a lot of benefits of running on a treadmill, things I'd never really thought of or considered before. First of all, I can stop to pop into the bathroom anytime I want. Very convenient! Also, I can get a drink whenever I want, withouth carrying bobbing or bulky waterbottles around my waist. I can use my chapstick, or a kleenex, without worrying about how I'm going to carry them. I don't have to worry about my sweaty hands soaking the kleenex that I'm carrying before I have to blow my nose. I can remember running in Vancovuer with a balled up kleenex in each hand, and on my way back to the appartment it would be a damp, shredded mess. I used to toss them out in the garbage cans at Granville Street (still five blocks from home), and by the time I got home I'd have to head straight for the kleenex box again. This way I can just bring a whole box with me! I don't, but I could! Also, I can listen to music without my ear buds falling out of my ears, or digging in and leaving them sore. I don't have to use the pathetic iPod arm band that Ian ordered me from China, that has fallen apart and practically has to be tied on. I really wanted an arm bad, but I hate that thing. Instead, I can hook my iPod up to my portable speakers and listen to music that way. Or, I can even bring down my laptop and watch a movie (which is what I did the third day, the 43 minute day. I'm looking forward to watching the rest of the movie next time!) Finally, I can wear whatever I want to. I have these fantastic running pants. Fantastic, as in they feel great for running. However, they look terrible on me. I also have a white sports top I had bought for running that I got a great deal on at the Outlet mall last summer. But because I got it in a tent sale, I didn't try it on. What I didn't realize at the time is that it is almost completely see-through, and very tight. The tight part is fine, but not when coupled with the nearly see-through part. Not pretty. But, when I'm running on a treadmill in my basement, it doesn't matter, right? So I'm thinking I may have to enter another run. Maybe a 10km this time. It feels good to be running again, and I'd like to continue. Sometimes entering a run makes it not fun any more. That's what happened for me last time. I found I just wasn't enjoying it when I felt like I had to do it. But we'll see. I'll keep running and think about it.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Clean up Project

Well, during some recent lengthy days of boredom (not when I was busy painting the kitchen, but before that, and again after) I happened across a number of craft and sewing blogs. This got my craft-brain thinking, and I've been inspired to make some things. I started a page (in Microsoft OneNote - love this, using it all the time!!) of projects I'd like to work on. However, there were a number of things preventing me from starting right away. First off, finishing the kitchen. Secondly, I don't have much in the way of suitable material for the projects I'm thinking of (I "donated" a lot of it to my classroom over the past several years, as teachers do...) But most importantly, my "craft room" was not... ready.

When we moved into this house three months ago (3 months already?! Crazy!!!) our first priority was to make the main floor more liveable, and smokey-smell-free. Not to mention make it a little less out-of-date. This past week I finished painting the kitchen and hallway, which leaves the following jobs for upstairs:

  • kitchen flooring - remove carpet, clean up yucky old yellow carpet glue, cover old (vinyl?) tile with sheet vinyl (not my first choice by any means, but a relatively inexpensive, temporary solution, meant to last several years while we save some money for a kitchen reno)
  • install crown molding in living room
  • paint spare bedroom and remove carpet
  • strip wall paper from second spare bedroom (nicknamed "the den"), paint, and remove carpet
  • install 1/4 round on main floor
  • install living room blinds
I think that might be it for the main floor! So we're getting really close! Keep in mind we've already done:
  • master bedroom (paint, carpet removed)
  • ensuite bathroom (painted)
  • main floor bathroom (painted)
  • dining room (painted, carpet removed)
  • living room (painted, carpet removed)
  • kitchen and hallway (painted, carpet removed)
  • new electrical outlets installed in kitchen
  • new electrical panel
  • various other little things I'm sure...
So, I finished painting the kitchen on Tuesday (kitchen, almost done! Stay tuned for pictures once the floor is complete!), and on Wednesday, Ian kindly took me to Fabricland the other night and I got some great fabrics from the Clearance section (my favourite place to shop, in any store!!!) Fabric, done! So next up, I had to make some room in my "craft room." This is what it looked like before:

My craft table (yet another treasure that came with the house, as well as all the shelving, the stools, the filing cabinet, and two dressers in that room) had become a catch-all for things that didn't have homes elsewhere, or things that had been temporarily evicted from their forever homes (like the panini press and tequila that will go back into the kitchen when we're done making a mess of it.) Everything's still sort of a work in progress right now and I'm just not sure what to do with it all. Plus, digging through my craft things, and playing with my painting easel, I'd made a bigger mess of the stuff that did belong there. So while I washed my new fabrics, I tackled organizing and (somewhat) unpacking my craft stuff. I also had to wipe down all the shelving. And it was really gross. On top of the dust, the lovely yellow-brown tar, and the bits of unidentifiable.. bits, there was evidence of spiders long since moved on... But, it was worth the effort! This is what my craft room looks like now: Soooo much nicer!!
First thing on my list of things to make is a sewing machine cover. I am also going to re-do the seats on the stools. I removed the fabric they were recovered with, a very thin layer of foam, the original vinyl, some icky looking batting, and found the wood underneath to be much thicker than I imagined it would be, and in really good shape. I can leave learning about cutting wood for anther day, and another project. Also going to make an apron for myself. I'd like to decorate some frames, make some decorative flowers for some things, a few other little projects, and of course, put birds on things!! (If you don't find that amusing, google "Portlandia birds on things.")
So I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

everything's better where ever I'm not.

Everything's better back home…

It's hard not to get sucked into that, "everything was better back home" vortex…

Ian has a bad day at work and I think, "he loved his job back home.. He rarely had a bad day.."

It snows and I think, "it rarely snows back home..." Or I think "this is nothing! I've seen more snow back home!"

I want to go somewhere during the day and I think, "it was easier to get around with only one car back home…"

I go grocery shopping and I can't find what I want, for example, mandarin oranges. They're my favourite winter fruit, every year since as long as I can remember I have looked forward to them arriving in produce departments. My mom put them in our stockings every year. I haven't seen any here. I think to myself, "you can buy whole cases of them back home!"

When we are trying to think of something to do, I think, "there was so much to do back home.."

When I'm bored I think, "I wouldn't be bored back home…"

When I'm lonely I think, "I had friends back home, if we were back home I could see them…"

When I'm scanning postings for a job, checking my ever decreasing bank balance, or even standing in my kitchen and picture the renovations I've been dreaming of, I think, "back home I had a job, a well-paying job…"

Every time I'm feeling frustrated or unhappy, I think this. For just a fleeting minute.. And then I remind myself that it's not entirely true.

Things were not perfect "back home." There were times I was bored, times my friends weren't around, times I hated my job… Yes, Ian had a good job, and yes, he loved his job. And yes, he loved Vancouver, but he didn't love being so far from his family.
Yes, it snows in Vancouver. Not often, not a lot, but it does snow. Worse yet, it rains. It rains all the time. Winter drags on, a long, dull, gray, drizzly fog… At least there is sun here in the winter! Yes we only have one car, but honestly, I don't have very many places to go. I don't have friends here, so it's not like I'm going to see them. I don't have a job. I can grocery shop in the evenings and on the weekends. So really, I don't need the car. And if I do, I can drive Ian to work and pick him up afterwards. When I get a job, we'll get another car. No point in having a car with no job to pay for it.

Mandarin oranges. I got Mandarin Spice tea in my stocking this year. It was really nice of Ian to think of that. And Tangerines taste almost the same. Except they have seeds. The one I tried did anyways.

We got bored "back home." Many weekends passed where we did nothing, because we couldn't think of anything to do, or maybe we just didn't feel like venturing out in the big city… There were also many times we wanted to go for hikes, or bike rides, or just quiet walks, and couldn't think of anywhere to go. There will be lots of opportunities for that here, when the weather warms up.

Yes, I have friends "back home," and often I got to see them when I wanted to. But they work, too. They have lives. They have significant others. There were lots of times I was lonely and no one was "available." And now, they're still only a phone call away.

And when I was "back home" I thought "things would be better if we were out of the city.." and "things would be better if we had our own place..." and "things would be better if we owned a house, with our own yard!" and of course "things would be better if we were closer to one of our families..."
I guess I meant "things would be better if we were closer to my family, in a house we owned in the small big city of Vancouver, where prices were much more affordable, and all my friends were around when I wanted them.. Oh, and we both had good paying jobs and cars and no bills....