Tuesday, May 24, 2016

One Step at a Time: Kitchen Edition, Still Unhinged

If I had my hinge screws, I could say that the kitchen-est side of the room was pretty much done save for a few smaller things. But I don't have my hinge screws... so even though most of the work is pretty much done, it doesn't look all that done.


Five weeks ago. It's getting to be time for a diorama of the current state of affairs.

Shortly after we moved in coming up on four years ago.


1. Deal with the inside of the microwave niche in the cabinets.



I built a little shelf for the microwave to sit on that looks nicer and has a stop in the back to keep it from slowing and unevenly moving back on the side where the controls and door latch are. I was able to use scraps from the counter top reconfiguration for supports and the stop, but bought a small piece of 1/2" plywood from the home center for the shelf itself.

This shows one of the three pieces of unfinished, half-inch plywood that made up the shelf for the microwave.
Originally, I was going to reuse the original pieces, but they were pretty grimy which might inhibit paint adhesion. Plus, you know, ick.



I'll be able to put the microwave back in place the middle of next week.

2. Do something with the terrible brick veneer behind the wood stove.

I got all the loose bricks reattached on the wall and on the base. I even removed some of the old mortar which was actually pretty quick and satisfying.

It felt pretty great to already have this masonry chisel, to remember that I had it, to actually be able to lay my hands on it quickly, and to have it work so well. These are the cut pieces of brick veneer from the base, all I used the chisel for was to remove the mortar.


EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES

I also vacuumed the whole thing in preparation for priming and painting, but the next steps will have to wait until I get the stove itself prepped and painted. I'll have to vacuum again and then scrub before proceeding.

3. Paint the wood stove and stove pipe.

The paint arrived on Friday. Prepping the stove is going to be stinky and messy, so I decided to do it on Monday when Eric will be at the office and Betty will be with him. That way there will only be two of us here in the cold and stinky house.

Why there are two outlets so close to the wood stove, I don't know. Why they are at different heights... well, that's just how things are around here.

This is it what we're dealing with. Here are the brick and stove post-vacuum, pre-washed and pre-stripped.

The original list of the order I thought the projects will happen. Line through for complete items, italics for additions. I'll let myself do partial line throughs for partial completion, because it's good for my morale.

1. Light fixtures
2. Remove corner shelf in order to...
3. Remove wallpaper and repair walls (& ceiling) as necessary, get temp solution for backsplash
4. Paint walls above cabinets, around wood stove, paint laundry/bath hallway.
5. Cabinet repair, move, modify
6. Refinish cabinets
8. Level, repair, and refinish counter tops
11. New sink and faucet and the counter modifications that go with it.
10. Replace outlets, switches, plates in backsplash.
9. Install backsplash, probably tile
12. New refrigerator surface to replace old new refrigerator surface.
16. Replace light switch and plate in hallway.
14. Replace outlets, switches, plates by wood stove.
15. Paint wood stove and stovepipe. 
7. Maybe try to do something with that terrible brick veneer wood stove surround?
13. Build a door of some sort for that too-big hole for the microwave & deal with the inside.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

For the Birds, I Said!

So much for bear best practices! The bird feeders were left out again and around 4:15a on Tuesday morning this happened.

I love that the term for this color of black bear is "cinnamon"!

Apparently switching on the porch lights doesn't make a bit of difference to a scavenging black bear, but I think it could hear the click of the camera because it would pause after I took a photo. It would also eat a bit, look around, eat a bit, look around, eat a bit, then go back down the stairs, return a minute later, and repeat. I waited a few rotations so I could get pictures and get a good look - I mean, I hope this is the only time I am ever a yard-and-a-half from a live, loose bear - then I banged on the window with my palm, followed by banging on a metal dog dish with a spoon from the doorway. After it appeared to be gone, Eric and I gingerly sneaked out to retrieve the feeders, both reachable from the deck. Of course, Betty and Delia stayed upstairs and away from any opportunity to give chase.

LATER THAT MORNING: According to the snoots on these dogs, the bear seemed to have come and gone over the fence near the driveway rather than on the National Forest side and also spent some time under the deck.




Tuesday, May 17, 2016

One Step at a Time: Kitchen Edition, The Tedium Continues

The continuing storrrrrrry of a quack who's gone to the dogs. 




I mean, the continuing storrrrrrry of a DIY kitchen remodeling project.



[skipping the triple panorama action on this one and putting in a National Forest panorama instead]

I wish I knew how to capture how the yellow blossoms of the balsams go on and on as far as you can see into the forest. The second most prominent wildflower right now are the lupines.
Note: the fence is actually straight, it's that neato panorama feature!

1. Refinishing the cabinets.

YAAAAAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! The last of the cabinet refinishing is complete (#6 on the original list)! All I had left was the interior of the corner pantry and despite the dread of dealing with unloading and reloading the contents, I did it.

I'm working on a plan to adjust with how the microwave shelf works. Regardless of how that goes, that unpainted spot won't show. It's my inclination to paint it anyway, BUT I am OUT of the primer and alllllmost out of the paint. Probably going to pick up another quart of each, but I wanted to be sure to have enough paint to cover the new shelf.

Now if only the doors were reinstalled because the special order hinge screws had arrived. A girl can dream.

2. Dealing with that weird (dumb) drywall/exposed beam/pantry door frame mess.



This isn't on the list, because I thought after I re-textured and painted that last wall in the hallway I would continue to ignore it. But it turns out that I can't ignore it.

EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES

It also turns out that I didn't find any kind of adequate solution in the building hardware section at the home center. Or any of the other sections I tried. This is going to take some thinking.

~~ Instead of a photo of the fix, I will insert an exasperated sigh here. ~~

3. Replace switches an outlets by wood stove (plus the hallway).


Yet again, highlighting the as yet refinished and awful brick veneer.

The terrible brick veneer is on tap to be painted and glazed in mostly greys, so I went with grey switches. I know there are folks who want all the switches/outlets/plates in the house to match each other, but I like them to blend with the surface they're on if I can with the occasional exception for a novelty or decorative plate. The downstairs is nearly complete!

To my eyes, it already looks better to have these updated switches that are all clean and in the new grey color. Eric doesn't see it yet. Maybe my brain just convinces me that I see a difference to justify the frustration and torn up hands of actually doing the project. Maybe Eric just doesn't have my vision. 

Another not-fun, seemingly small project. But well worth it for the result in my opinion.



EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES

I have probably ranted about this before, but DAMN IT! Whoever wired this house when it was being built saved something like $5 over the whole project by leaving the least amount of wire possible in the boxes for outlets and switches. Even one more inch/box would make all the difference for replacing these outlets and switches. As if that weren't frustrating enough (and truly it is WAY more frustrating than "enough"), whoever wired this house when it was being built also cut the ground wires extra short. In the case of the light switches they apparently weren't required to be grounded in 1976. Ok. Whatever. BUT they also cut them extra short for the outlets, that indeed were grounded. BUT this means that in some cases there is not enough wire to turn the outlets right side up! Or what we consider right side up. [insert cuss-laden name-calling here]

Of course, they didn't have the grey screw-less plates in stock at the store, so I had to order them online. And of course, I'm too cheap to pay for shipping for this kind of thing and had them shipped to the store. And of course, that means it took about two weeks to get them. The truth is that it doesn't matter that much, because I am not installing them until all the other stuff to do with the wood stove area is done. I just feel better when things are more certain; it's nice to know that as soon as I am ready the materials are here and ready for me.

4. Paint wood stove and stovepipe.

I finally called stovepaint.com to ask my questions and having received satisfactory answers I ordered a quart of the stuff in metallic charcoal. It's due Friday this week at Eric's office where it cost 1/3 less to ship.

L. Unrelated to the kitchen project.


The lilacs are early this year, along with everything else.




Like the balsam (and at least a dozen other types of wildflowers) which have been up for a couple weeks.





And the pine pollen. Crap.



The original list of the order I thought the projects will happen. Line through for complete items, italics for additions. I'll let myself do partial line throughs for partial completion, because it's good for my morale.

1. Light fixtures
2. Remove corner shelf in order to...
3. Remove wallpaper and repair walls (& ceiling) as necessary, get temp solution for backsplash
4. Paint walls above cabinets, around wood stove, paint laundry/bath hallway.
5. Cabinet repair, move, modify
6. Refinish cabinets
8. Level, repair, and refinish counter tops
11. New sink and faucet and the counter modifications that go with it.
10. Replace outlets, switches, plates in backsplash.
9. Install backsplash, probably tile
12. New refrigerator surface to replace old new refrigerator surface.
16. Replace light switch and plate in hallway.
14. Replace outlets, switches, plates by wood stove.
15. Paint wood stove and stovepipe. 
7. Maybe try to do something with that terrible brick veneer wood stove surround?
13. Build a door of some sort for that too-big hole for the microwave & deal with the inside.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Bird Feeders are for The Birds!

Just in the last few months the squirrels have discovered the bird feeders. I'm referring to the "regular" squirrels who are trying to be our mortal enemies*, not the flying squirrels who we think are great and are welcome to visit the bird feeders. So, as if that weren't bad enough, Monday night a post-hibernation bear decided to visit the bird feeder, too!  And bend the hook it's hung from to boot!

Please also notice that the before photo has LED string lights, but the after photo does not. *Remember this?

It must have had to get up on the deck to do this, so that's something to think about! It also got into our garbage can and spread some of the contents around, but not too much. Eric was able to pick it up while mostly nekkid in the dark and without his glasses while trying to get Betty back in the house. He'd let her out for mid-night tinkles, but she stayed for the trash frenzy and snuffling around the yard. I did find the wrapper from the pork ribs that Eric barbecued on Saturday out by the vacant chicken coop, though there is no telling if it was the bear or the Betty who drug it out there.

This is our first springtime bear event on the property and has made us decide to try to re-institute bear country best practices, i.e. putting the trash can in the shop instead of by the back door and bringing in the bird feeders at night. I wonder if it's the same bear that "processed" our apples last autumn?

No. No one actually saw the it. In fact, it wasn't until I saw the state of the bird feeder that we became certain there was an interloper at all, let alone a bear.



Tuesday, May 10, 2016

One Step at a Time: Kitchen Edition, The List Shrinks and The List Grows

I had thought I'd be done by the end of April. If the hinge screws would have arrived in a reasonable amount of time and we didn't keep adding things, maybe I would have been. But they didn't (haven't) and we did. Oh, well. Be warned, there's more mild cussing in this post than usual.


Three weeks ago.
Four weeks ago and now that the original list is longer, probably not halfway. Oof.


1. Refinishing the cabinets.

Hot damn! The last four drawers are dee ewe en done, boy howdy!

And you bet I refilled those drawers right after taking this shot.

EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES

We are still waiting on the damn hinge screws to get the last 6 doors hung back up.



ETC.

I think I may have figured out how to make the door to cover the too-big-microwave space in the cabinets using the tools I already have. But I am going to allow myself to have a Phase II and have this project be a part of it. I'm just about ready for a break from this project.



The last bit of the cabinet part of the project is finishing the priming and painting the inside of the corner pantry piece. Perhaps next week. Oh, and reinstalling the last 6 doors should the hinge screws ever arrive.

2. Repair walls & ceiling, paint.


Never mind the ceiling texture. We're just sort of stuck with it until I feel compelled to spend weeks craning my neck and skimming it out. That could be a very, very long time.

The anchor holes in the ceiling from the non-hardwired light fixtures have been there since early on in this project. I finally got up the gumption to deal with them. It was not a difficult project, just a pain in the rear end. Many steps that take more time to prep for and clean up after than to do... a real drag. In order to make it feel more worthwhile, I went ahead and got rid of the the last two anchors - on the last hallway wall to be worked on - and repaired those as well. Then I skimmed out the dumb texture, primed and painted. This part is a real yawner, but that doesn't mean I didn't take yawner photos.

Look ma! No holes!



What's not a yawner is that #4 on the original list is done! Well, less of a yawner. To me.

EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES

I know it's hard to see in that photo, but this rough "barn wood" wainscot in this short hallway might have to come down in the future. Or maybe just the cap? Make it smaller? I can't decide if I hate it or am ambivalent.

3. New refrigerator surface.

Over an hour of scrubbing with Bar Keeper's Friend to get the remaining adhesive leftover from when I dismantled the scrapbook fridge (see the before-est photo here).


Some other refrigerator-related actions have occurred, but I think I'm going to wait to reveal details of that part of the project when it's totally done! Oh, the suspense!

EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES

While I had the fridge rolled out of it's cabinet I decided to try to figure out how I could level it up. That's when I realized that the fridge is just barely out of level. The freezer door is more out of level and what I read to do about leveling it up did not take. Meh.

3. Magic cap catcher update!

Catchin' caps and taking names.

If you don't know what the heck this is all about, it's about this.

4. Rant

I am real damn tired of my house (and outbuildings) giving me splinters. Rustic does not mean rough! We have some "barn wood" type situations here at the house from way before barn wood was a thing, but these so-and-so's just tore it off the barn and put it in the house. It's practically fuzzy with splinters. Now, I have a pretty hefty spring/summer project list, but I might have to squeeze in sanding and finishing some posts and a beam downstairs... out of spite if nothing else.

B. Unrelated to the kitchen project.

video


Betty, Betty holding steady.


The original list of the order I thought the projects will happen. Line through for complete items, italics for additions. I'll let myself do partial line throughs for partial completion, because it's good for my morale.

1. Light fixtures
2. Remove corner shelf in order to...
3. Remove wallpaper and repair walls (& ceiling) as necessary, get temp solution for backsplash
4. Paint walls above cabinets, around wood stove, paint laundry/bath hallway.
5. Cabinet repair, move, modify
6. Refinish cabinets
8. Level, repair, and refinish counter tops
11. New sink and faucet and the counter modifications that go with it.
10. Replace outlets, switches, plates in backsplash.
9. Install backsplash, probably tile
12. New refrigerator surface to replace old new refrigerator surface.
16. Replace light switch and plate in hallway.
14. Replace outlets, switches, plates by wood stove.
15. Paint wood stove and stovepipe. 
7. Maybe try to do something with that terrible brick veneer wood stove surround?
13. Build a door of some sort for that too-big hole for the microwave & deal with the inside.



Tuesday, May 3, 2016

One Step at a Time: Kitchen Edition, It Does Go On, Doesn't It?

The last little fiddly bits seem like they take ages, especially when they are parts of different projects within the project. And then the fact that we keep adding "little" projects makes it seem like we've ages to go.

Two weeks ago.

Four weeks ago and now that the original list is longer, probably not halfway. Oof.





1. Installing the backsplash.



I picked up brown caulk and installed it on Wednesday. This completes number 9 on the original list (below). HOT DAMN!




2. Refinishing the cabinets.

The last pieces of the carcass were varnished early in the week! To celebrate, I put up some decor using the picture rail hooks and cord. It was unduly exciting to get Dale the Jackalope back in his rightful place and joined by my cool new birthday resin antlers!



I admit, it's a little bit of a thrill to put to use my idea of using picture rail to add a crown to the upper cabinets. And a little bit of a thrill to get out and use the particular picture rail hooks I found which are just right.



The last four doors, all for the corner pantry, are done and ready to go up when the dagburn hinge screws get here. I do not believe it is the fault of my local lumber yard that this has taken so long, but I do wonder how the ever-loving hell a hardware distributor can not just freaking distribute hardware. Hardware that has specifically been requested. The rep doesn't even have to come out to get the commission - it's been called in. Why do they not want easy money?

No, this does not mean that my hinge screws came it. It means that the little doors above the fridge and microwave are being held temporarily in place by the magnetic closures.
You can see I've removed the faux bois "skin" and the handles on the fridge in preparation for #12 on the original list (below).

The last four drawers are well on their way and the interior of the corner pantry is next up. I am not looking forward to emptying it and stashing dry good in boxes that we'll have to keep dogs from sniffing around. But I am looking forward to being able to see better inside the pantry and all the other cabinets are now better organized just from having taken things out and put them back in, so hopefully that'll happen with this one, too.

3. Doing something to that terrible brick veneer wood stove surround.



First, the wood rail at the top came off. We'll replace it with something a little more finished-looking and level. Not only were the lag screws drilled at varying distances from the center of the shelf, they were lag screws used for finish carpentry AND it seems whoever installed them was making up for the way-too-short screws that "held up" a couple of the upper cabinets. These suckers practically went into the laundry room on the other side of that wall!

Note that whoever installed this little shelf/cap didn't even make a fresh cut to get rid of the mill stamp on the end of the lumber, let alone sand it at all.

Second, reattaching the loose "bricks" and re "mortaring" the loose or missing "mortar." The last owners seemed to think that the "mortar" around the "bricks" is what attached them to the wall so to "fix" loose "bricks" they just added more caulk tube mortar. So yeah. At some point in the next few years we're hoping to replace our wood stove with something slightly smaller, with a window in the door and a built-in fan. At that point, we'll redesign the whole hearth area and hopefully use something less textured - i.e. less dust collecting - probably some kind of slab material



Third, make a sample to determine how exactly I'm going to make these red bricks look like some not-red bricks that I found online and pinned on my "Homefront: Kitchen Revamp" pinboard. But that'll be next week.

EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES

When searching for something else related to wood stoves online, I happened upon stove paint - not the appliance paint you get at the home center or hardware store - and now we're thinking we want to paint the wood stove. After reading the instructions for the paint, I am thinking that I need to do that before I refinish the bricks. Sigh.

B. Unrelated to the kitchen project.




The mass in Betty's chest had not diminished after 3 weeks of chemotherapy. This was a likely outcome, because the tumor is benign and therefore slow-growing. So we are discontinuing chemotherapy. Because the fluid has stayed off, we are continuing with the prednisone and in two weeks she'll get another sonogram to see if the fluid is kept off by the prednisone.

She seems to be feeling pretty well. Other than some side effects of the prednisone and the occasional slightly-to-moderately labored breathing, she is acting pretty normally - just a smidgen more leisurely.




The original list of the order I thought the projects will happen. Line through for complete items, italics for additions. I'll let myself do partial line throughs for partial completion, because it's good for my morale.

1. Light fixtures
2. Remove corner shelf in order to...
3. Remove wallpaper and repair walls (& ceiling) as necessary, get temp solution for backsplash
4. Paint walls above cabinets, around wood stove, paint laundry/bath hallway.
5. Cabinet repair, move, modify
6. Refinish cabinets
8. Level, repair, and refinish counter tops
11. New sink and faucet and the counter modifications that go with it.
10. Replace outlets, switches, plates in backsplash.
9. Install backsplash, probably tile
7. Maybe try to do something with that terrible brick veneer wood stove surround?
12. New refrigerator surface to replace old new refrigerator surface.
13. Build a door of some sort for that too-big hole for the microwave & deal with the inside.
14. Replace outlets, switches, plates by wood stove.
15. Paint wood stove and stovepipe. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

Our Secret Celebration FINALLY Revealed!

THE SET UP

We had a little reason to celebrate awhile back, so I decorated the house real quick while Eric was at work...

Mavis doing a little Carol Channing thing.
The chandelier over the dining table.
Ramon feeling all fiesta!
No better place for this elaborate tissue banner than on a pre-existing nail by the pantry doors.
New head-on-a-wall family member, Dale the Jackalope!

THE REVEAL

A few years ago and after some years, Eric came back to writing, or "typing" as it is called in our house. Then he took the big leap of sending unsolicited manuscripts to literary agents. It was the usual story, until April 2015 when he signed with Jennie Goloboy at Red Sofa Literary. WOO! After some edits and such, Jennie started sending his manuscript out to editors at potential publishers and in December he received word that one of those editors was interested! Then he (we) waited patiently-not-patiently to hear back... and the he did! WOO! Angry Robot offered a two-book deal! Expect to hear a lot more about it as the estimated February and November 2017 release dates get close. Wheeeee!



And then came more waiting for contract negotiations and actual contracts and snail mail - yes, really. Finally in mid-March 2016 the contract arrived, he signed it, and mailed it off - yes, really in the mail.



And then more waiting for the contracts to arrive in England and Angry Robot and Red Sofa to make the official announcements. OMG, THE WAITING!



And now I FINALLY get to post here about it! And blab around to all and sundry! And make a fuss on Facebook! And post pics on my Instagram! And more importantly, point you all towards Eric Scott Fischl, Author's various social media presences and ask that you follow, like, add, and SHARE, pretty, pretty please.

Website: verbadverb.com
Twitter: @eric_fischl
Facebook
Pinterest

He's using his middle name, because of the famous artist Eric Fischl getting all the SEO already. D'oh!