Saturday, January 29, 2011


I have been obsessing about my new kitchen for well over a year at this point.  I have gone through a zillion different countertops that I thought I would use.  Here they are, in the order I thought about them.

  1. Carrera Marble.  So pretty!  But a friend looked at a house with marble counters and it turns out marble does not wear very well and requires a lot of maintenance.  I'm super lazy.  pass.
  2. Butcher Block.  Also pretty!  But again, maintenance.  Plus, I had this idea that I would get white cabinets, and I ended up falling in love with Kraftmaid's Kaffe stain and I didn't like the combo.
  3. Quartz!  Zodiaq has this color that looks kind of like the marble.  Cool!  It's not exact, but it's evocative of marble.  Great.
  4. Different Quartz! Hold the phone.  Blanco City Silestone looks pretty sweet next to my cabinets.  This is prolly the way to go.  Plus, it's cheaper than the Zodiaq.  Cool. Wait, stop.  You can't take hot things out of the oven and put it on quartz?  How does that work?  And why am I getting super expensive stone countertops that I can't put hot things on?  I might as well just use...
  5. Ceramic tile.  Which I had in the old house, and we could do cheaply and ourselves.  Except it really isn't what I wanted at all and my husband told me he was NOT installing a ceramic tile counter.  Fair enoug.
  6. Granite.  I don't know how we didn't just start here, to be honest.  Home Depot had a pretty killer sale, which resulted in us paying basically 25% less than we expected to spend.  My original issue with granite is that I am too lazy to seal it.  Home Depot claims theirs is already sealed and won't need to be resealed for 15 years.  I can probably pull myself together to seal it when my kid goes to college.  Sounds good.
It takes about a month, apparently, to get your granite ordered and installed.  We had our space templated about two weeks ago, and they sent us these awesome pictures today.  They appear to be actual pictures of the slab they are using!  Totally cool!  They give it to you so that you can approve where the seams are going to be cut.
Check it out.  This is our slab and where they are going to be cutting it.  

Look, here is a close up of the edge at the top.  I wanted to convince myself that their picture was just oddly dark, so I messed around with the brightness and levels until it looked closer to what our sample looks like.

It also came with a a picture with all the parts laid out where they will go in the kitchen, which I also lightened.

I also put a green background instead of the white so I could actually see it a little better.  If you look at the other picture, you can see how they tried to put seams together, so that the pattern of the granite is mostly uninterrupted.  I think the only place where it looks obviously different is near the sink on the left, but I think the pattern is small enough that it doesn't matter.

Here it is with the white background, looking suspiciously like the original marble I thought I might like. In a cruel twist of remodeling fate, it's likely to be installed the day I leave for a conference for work.  I'm over it.

I told Jeff I thought the sink (included with the deal) looked kinda small.  He told me "That is like FOURTEEN FEET of countertop.  The sink is not small. )

He's probably right.

He usually is.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Fixing the Reclining Sofa

My husband and I did something super awesome and free last night --- we fixed our reclining sofa!

We have had it for a few years.  We got it at Costco for the game room at the old house, and it really doesn't fit in this room all that great, but we are dealing with it until we can move it into the new game room (under the new kitchen) and it was kind of saggy, but only on the seats we sit on that reline.  Weird.

So we turned it over and figured out what was wrong:
Basically, the underside of the sofa is those springy S things, a layer of fabric, and then the foam that supports you.  If you look closely, you can see that the fabric has degraded/moved and now the springy S things are biting into the foam, which in turn causes the sofa to sag.

So, my husband popped the springs off and pulled them back, and we slid a double layer of cardboard under there.  (The springs came off those metal hooks at the top of the above picture.)  

Here's another shot of the bottom, after the cardboard is tucked all the way to the bottom.  By the way, the spring S things are NOT easy to move, and it needed the two of us and various sets of pliers to actually get them off and back on again.  So, not a walk in the park.  Just a warning.  Brute strength is your friend here. 

Now when we sit on the couch, it's much more firm and happy feeling.  And the reclining is awesome!  


Yay happy couch!


Sunday, January 9, 2011

We Have Stuff!

It has been totally crazy around here, guys.  For serious.  

Floors are in!

Hole between dining room and new kitchen!

They are not all totally installed, but hey, they are in their destined positions.  
I love them.  

CabiNETS!  (When I say that in my head, I am singing and the last syllable goes on for a while.)  When we were planning the kitchen initially, I made a long list of all the things I needed to store in cabinets, and tried to define what kind / size of cabinet I'd need for each thing.  (So, pots & pans, 30 + inch drawer base.  Which the hole in the middle of the picture below is where the stove goes, and the cabinets on either side are where the pots & pans are going.)  It was a long list, and when I finished, I had some targets of "need at least this many uppers that are 24 inches" or whatever.  I used that list to refer to after I had layouts I liked.  This is actually what convinced me that I could use blind bases instead of lazy susans.  They saved me hundreds of dollars, and let me fit in the drawer bases.  

Today, I went through that list with a sketch of each wall of cabinets and my list of stuff to store and labeled them.  My husband helped, since he does the dishes, and we defined, like, food storage zone, baking stuff zone, dishes zone, etc.  I have a ton of kitchen stuff from our old house in the basement that I did not have anywhere to put, so hopefully this will help me more easily put all that stuff where it needs to go when we are finally in the kitchen and can move stuff back in.  


Still left to be done before I can use it as a kitchen:
  1. Finish installing cabinets
  2. Transition between tile and carpet (and a bit more grout where those meet).
  3. Installing sink & fridge and turn on water. (The new fridge has water and ice in the door.)
  4. Install lights and electrical outlets and hook up electrical back to the main panel.  (I think the electrician has to do some / all of this work.) 
  5. Move the stove in and hook up the gas line.
  6. Purchase and install a microwave range hood combo (I kind of want one with a convection oven function, which I think may be awesome for fast dinner.)  
  7. Trim, trim, lots of trim.  And painting.
  8. Finish the entry between the dining room and kitchen.  
  9. Countertop install
  10. Backsplash ordering and install 
  11. Build a deck outside of the doorway to nowhere.
    1. The doorway to nowhere actually has a 2X4 nailing it closed, since my child is smart enough to fashion a ladder out of things in his closet and the chances he can open a deadbolt seem really really high.  

I am probably missing some stuff from this list, but I think those are the basics.  I am gonna go do a little happy dance and go to bed.  'Night Folks!   


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Have a Magical New Year

Happy New Year!

This year, I have decided to be gentler on myself.  I'm a mom and a wife.  I have a full time job that tends to be rated as "very stressful".  (I don't want to be all up on myself.  I'm not a surgeon or an air traffic controller.  Still, stress is stress.)  I have a series of home renovations in progress or coming up.  Things are busy.  So I need to take it easy on me.  That started as "I am going to do things for myself, like blog once a week and go to yoga and lose five pounds and...."  and then I realized that resolving to do all those things is not taking it easy on me, and is not really setting me up for success.

So, I have made a decision, not a resolution.

My resolution is already met: I resolved to learn to crochet, which I did over winter holidays.  I can make granny squares!  Pictures coming soon.  I already know how to knit, and I think the skills transfer pretty well.

The family joke is that when the zombie apocalypse comes, we are in good shape.  My brother is really the time to be good with a flame thrower or a sawed off shot gun.  My sister in law is a nurse.  My husband can (in theory) hunt and fish and butcher his own kills.*  I can cook and bake and knit and sew and basically keep us clothed and fed.  I don't know why I find this so funny, but I really do.
(*This is amusing because right now we eat fish but no red meat or poultry.  But seriously, folks, we are talking about an apocalypse!)

Magic Bread, Magic Knots
This break, in addition to learning to crochet, I made my first no knead bread.  I was surprised how well it worked!  I mean, really, you just chuck a bunch of somewhat mixed ingredients into a bowl and wait.  Very exciting!  This one I probably should have let raise a bit longer the 2nd time, but it tasted great.  The crust reminds me of the crust you get when you order "soup in a bread bowl".  I will totally be making this again. It's like magic!

Speaking of magic, my husband does not believe in knitting or crocheting. He has decided that it is actually just magic to him and he accepts that it happens.... all through magic.  We work in the tech field, and another friend of ours talks about "people who understand computer science at a deep level, and people who work with computers but really believe in magic."  I told my husband "hey, if some people believe in computer magic, and you believe in fiber arts magic, I wonder what magic I believe in."

Then it dawned on me. 'Oh!  I believe in actual magic!'.

So with that, I wish you all a magical 2011.  Take it easy on yourselves, folks. Magic is hard.