Sunday, March 31, 2013

Silent Sunday

Just dropping in this evening to share a few photos that I have taken 
as we progressed through Holy Week.. 

I had thought I would have something profound to say about them, 
but as we neared the end of the week, 
I decided to maintain a respectful silence for once 
and let the pictures speak for themselves.

Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, 
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 

 And behold,
 there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 

 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow.
For fear of him, the guards trembled and became like dead men. 

 But the angel said to the women, 

“Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 
 He is not here, for he has risen
just as He said he would.  

~Matthew 28:1-6 


I hope you all had a beautiful Resurrection Day.

comments off

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Biscuits in the Bathroom

So I've been trying to makeover my kitchen table and chairs, but I'm not making a lot of progress.  For one thing, the weather hasn't been cooperative. Like the rest of the country, springtime seems to be playing hide and seek with Dixie.

For another thing, I'm not thrilled about the table. What I'd really like is to find an old farmhouse table to makeover, something with big old farmhouse legs like the one I did for The Practical One last year.

Unfortunately, my farmhouse table money has quite literally
gone down the toilet. 

. In case you didn't notice, it's leaking...

Apparently in her travels from powder room to deck to garage and back again, Little Miss Powder Room Toilet ended up a a wee bit cracked.  I had no choice but to make yet another trip to the local home improvement store to replace her. A small matter, you say. How expensive can a toilet be?

If you're looking for a basic white toilet, not very.

Unfortunately, I'm not looking for a basic white toilet. Nooooo... I'm looking for a specific shade of off white called biscuit. 

That's because the house with the big fat '80s kitchen also came complete with 3.5 big fat '80s bathrooms, and big fat '80s bathrooms were outfitted in  biscuit, bone, almond, or whatever name the big- haired decorating diva of the day decided to call that spin of the color wheel.

 Honestly '80s people, what were we thinking? Did the words harvest gold and avocado not sound an alarm?

Apparently not, since my house  like many others of the era came complete with with semi-permanent fixtures which are nearly impossible to match.

I don't want to match them.
 I don't want a biscuit toilet. 

I want a simple, white toilet. Considering the toilet's job description, I don't want to spend a huge amount  of money on it, either.  I don't care about dual flushers and elongated seats with self closing lids. With no apologies to the environmentalists out there, I don't even care how much water it uses. The toilet in question is rarely used.

Unfortunately, I can't change out the toilet in that room unless I also change out the sink. Don't tell me to try it. I tried it. We bought a white toilet, but it looked stupid so we took it back. Then, I went all over town looking for a biscuit colored one with no success. Apparently, you have to special order biscuit colored toilets. You pay for that big haired '80s look, too. They cost at least a hundred dollars more than a comparable white one.

For a toilet that I would eventually want to replace anyway
 because, well, it's biscuit. 

For the price of one bathroom biscuit, I could have purchased a white one and a pedestal sink had I known I would need to. Since I didn't know, I  tiled around the existing vanity. The pedestal sink option is no longer on the table.   .

I guess I could cough up a little more money and replace the vanity top and sink, thus freeing one (half) bathroom from biscuit bondage. Of course, a new sink would  necessitate a new faucet. It would most likely destroy the  surrounding wallpaper to get the old one out as well. If I strip the wallpaper, I have to fix the sheet rock behind it. That's the reason the wallpaper was put up to begin with.  Now folks, I was planning to do all of that. I just wasn't planning to do it right now. 

Right now, I was planning to address the table and chairs.
And then, I was planning to do nothing for a while.

So last night, that's exactly what I decided to do:. Nothing... for a while.

After a good night's sleep, I made the bold decision to continue doing nothing for a while.  Since the water has been sucked out of the soggy biscuit, it's not an emergency. I am going to take a week or two to figure out what I want to do. Visitors will just have to visit the Siberian Crathroom should the need arise.

And just for good measure, I decided to yak this most recent adventure abroad and throw myself on the mercy of good advice.

So, what would you do?  

And is anyone else out there suffering from the biscuit bathroom blues?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Finally, The Kitchen Reveal

There's an old country saying that, with apologies to the grammar mavens
goes something like this:

I ain't what I ought to be
I ain't what I'm gonna be
But praise the Lord...
I ain't what I was.

Rip Van Kitchen ~ Before

I should have been ashamed to yak about it,
but I introduced Rip Van Kitchen back in THIS POST,
 right after I stripped the terra cotta plaid wallpaper 
and extra large '80s fruit border. 

Then, I painted it yellow.  

We still had the yukky vinyl floors and the oakish cabinets with their shiny brass hinges and (not knobs, but) handles. Why each drawer had two of them, I do not know.  That vanilla colored counter was laminate and in about the same shape as the floor. Unfortunately, you can't throw rugs over a counter.


But I had a plan in my head,
and it looked something like this:

My version of a farmhouse kitchen.

Dove white paint for the cabinets,
and beadboard for the soffits.

We wanted a few glass doors so we had someone with a router
 cut the center out of two of them.

Glass panes were $5.00 each and installed at the glass shop. 

You can't really see it in these pictures,
but  the inside is backed with beadboard.
I filled  it with mostly white dishes.
~ Plus a little pop of red.

Hidden hinges weren't in the budget for this phase of the project,
but we used white ones to make it as seamless as possible.

Black knobs are new, but the pulls  are the old ones painted oil rubbed bronze.
One  pull per drawer, thankyouverymuch. 

Stop looking at the baseboard. We haven't finished the shoe molding yet. 

We did replace the old off white outlets and switches with new white ones.
That was such a little thing, but it made a big difference.
I don't know why I didn't do it sooner.

As you can see, a backsplash wasn't in the budget yet either.

We did get a (solid surface) countertop, though...
Which necessitated a new sink...
Which just begged for a new faucet. 

There was an old lady who swallowed a fly...

Please notice how the counter picks up the color of the new floor. I stressed over that. 

And I guess I'll mention the new dishwasher.
I did not want to buy a new one, but you can blame Cascade for just so long.

~ So says the husband...

It's the reason that a built- in microwave 
will have to be part of the next project as well. 

I'm not complaining.
It  just gives me something to look forward to. 
 I'll just rest my wearies at the bar and sit a spell. 

I have to sit there, of course,
 because it's the only place to sit right now. 
I can't bring that old table and chairs 
into this new kitchen without a face lift, can I?

No, I don't think so either.  

 And so, the project continues for another day.

'Cause it's the song that doesn't end...
It just goes on and on my friend... 


By the way, those windows were washed inside and out with so much vinegar, the place smelled like a salad bar. It's just a glare. Felt the need to mention that in case the Duchess reads this. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

It's Always Something...

Just in case anyone out there is wondering, I'm nearly finished with the Great Kitchen Adventure, at least for now. The counter arrived on Friday, and then the plumber showed up to take whatever cash I had left. 


We still need to paint baseboard and the table and chairs, but I was planning to blog the pictures anyway. Frankly, I would like to get my blife back.


Apparently, something has happened to the shiny red Kodak...

...who is technically Son of Shiny Red Kodak.
 This will be the second camera I've killed in two years. 

Fortunately, even though I'm a convicted camera killer, the Farm Sister has entrusted me with the loan of hers. I will be taking some pictures when the sun comes up.

In the meantime, I am going to jump back into Blogville by joining
The Note Card Party
A Haven for Vee

All you need to join is a set of four previously posted pictures and (for me) a theme. This month, my theme reflects the recent song that is stuck in my head. 

I'm looking over a four leaf clover
That I overlooked before...

One leaf is sunshine

The second is rain.

Third is the flowers that grow in the lane

And there is no need explaining
the one remaining
is Somebody I adore

I'm looking over a four leaf clover.
That I overlooked before.

See you tomorrow.
Unless the power goes out or something. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Singing the Lamb Chop Song

This is the floor that doesn't end
It just goes on and on my friend
Some blogger started tiling it not knowing what it was
And she'll continue tiling it forever just because...

This is the floor that doesn't end...

That's the song I sang for the past several weeks as we laid the tile for our incredible ever-expanding kitchen.  It's the reason that I've been so scarce in Blogville.  This is the floor that doesn't end... 

And then, there are the cabinets that I decided to sand and paint and sand and paint and sand and paint and...

OK. You get the point.

Honestly, I have never been so tired in my life. The husband is exhausted too.  Here's the text he sent me... from the next room... the night we set the very last tile in mortar.

We're sticking with it, though, right to the very end. The reason for that is very simple. The minute we yanked up the first piece of old floor, we were committed to the project.  There is no turning back, no matter what kind of a mess we make in the process. We have a vision for the final product.

I've been thinking about that word commitment ever since Sharon@ Sharon Sharing God chose it  for our Fan the Flame Friday word last week.  What does it mean, she asked us, to commit something to God?

I can't remember what I said.
I'm sure it was brilliant.

What I do recall saying in jest was that right now I'm completely committed to my kitchen.

But then...

As I sat in the middle of the floor a few hours later crying over the Great Tile Disaster, I decided what I really wanted to say. It's been a full week in coming, but this morning, I'm going to say it.

 Maybe my problem isn't nearly as much about my commitment to God.
Maybe my biggest problem is that I forget about God's commitment to me.

You see, I looked around the room that day, and all I could see was one, big, God-forsaken mess. 

You don't hear that expression very much these days, but when I was growing up, folks used it to describe something so utterly hopeless that the Creator Himself had tossed up holy hands and walked away.

Can I be honest? Sometimes, I feel like Katrina the kitchen.  Sometimes, I feel as if the floor has been ripped out from under me, the doors to every compartment have been yanked off, and every corner of my life is one, big, God- forsaken mess.   In my weakest moments, I can be tempted by You-Know-Who to believe that my God has tossed up holy hands and walked away.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The truth of it is that it's in the messiest moments of my life that God is proving His commitment to me.

Do you know how I know? I know because He has revealed himself through his Word as a master carpenter, and no carpenter committed to his work would ever slap on a coat of paint or throw a rug over a glaring error.

Nope. He will do whatever it takes to get rid of it, even if it means getting down on the knees and sawing through solid rock.

Can anyone relate?

That's because He is not only a master carpenter, but He is a God with a clear-eyed vision of the end from the beginning. From the moment he pulled up the first floor board, He was committed to the project that he has named Debbie.  Not only am I fearfully and wonderfully made, but I'm being fearfully and wonderfully remade into the very image of God., and He who began a good work in (me) will be faithful to complete it unto the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)

So this week, I have been singing a new song. It's the one that goes something like this:

He's still working on me
To make me what I ought to be
It took him just a week to make the moon and the stars
The sun and the earth
And Jupiter and Mars
How lovely and patient He must be...
He's still working on me.

Comments off for Sunday

Friday, March 1, 2013

Ralph the Grout-ch and the Great Tile Disaster

Have I mentioned that I'm tiling my kitchen floor?

Just thought I ought to start with that just in case one person in one corner of Blogville hasn't heard me gripe and moan about it.

When I say that I'm tiling it, I really mean it, too. Aside from laying that cement board on weekend #1, I have been there for every inch of the journey.  Until I injured my thumbs with the wet saw (Don't worry I still have both of them...) I was the tile cutter. After that, I was basically the Ralph to the Alf.

Do you see the look of pain on Ralph's face?  Yeah, well, I'm pretty sure what she was doing just prior to this moment. She was probably on her hands and knees grouting the tile in an ever-expanding kitchen.

All by herself.
In the middle of monsoon season.
While Alf was out of town.

I'll bet she had to lug buckets of grouty water through a piney stick forest in the middle of that monsoon to wash them out, too.

Under a hot pink umbrella.

So you can imagine how thrilled I was last Thursday night when I went to bed having finished the kitchen proper. I still had the hallway to the powder room and beyond, but I could see a  light at the end of the tunnel.

Unfortunately, when I woke the next morning
 and turned the corner to admire my work, 
I also saw this. 

Notice anything?
Don't even try to pretend that you don't.

What in the world?

Now folks, that particular part of the floor was one of the first parts laid in mortar. We did it weekends ago and have walked over it ever since.  I even showed a picture of it on here.  Never, not one time, did I notice that one tile was clearly lighter than all the rest.

At first, I decided that it was grout haze so I washed it. Then, I washed it again, this time with a little vinegar/water solution. It made no difference whatsoever.

I admit it. At that point, I threw the sponge in my hand across the room, sat down on the floor, and cried.

Then, I did what any responsible adult would do in said situation. I called my sister and had a big old blat over the phone to her. I sent copies of that photo to everyone in my family, and then I tweeted the words I quit so all that 9 people who follow me on twitter would feel sorry for me.

And then, I did quit for a while. I got in Ebenezer and took those river pictures that posted earlier in the week.  Just after lunch, I got a call from the Farm Sister.

"I'm at the hardware store," she said, "and I bought the little tool we're going to need to rescue the floor. "

Grout saw: About 4 bucks.

Yes indeed. Instead of crying and quitting, the Farm Sister got on the internet and figured out how to remove a single tile. She would be here in 30 minutes and was bringing her caulking gun for good measure. (The Farm Sister is the Caulk Queen in the family. She doesn't drink as much coffee as the rest of us.)

While she caulked my cabinets,  I sawed away all the grout surrounding that tile with the handy little tile saw. I don't know how long it would take you, but it took me about an hour to get it completely out.

Then, we took a hammer, closed one eye, and bammed the tile until it began to break up.

Then, we pulled up every piece of tile with that chisely looking thing and a flat head screwdriver. For the dude on the internet, it came up in big hunks. For us, it came up in little pieces. It doesn't matter though. The important thing is that it came up.

When the husband came home late that night,
 this is what he saw. 

I happy to report that he was able to set a new one the next day, and I was eventually able to grout it with very little noticeable grout line issues.

And there she sits today, well blended with all the others. 

And thus ends the tale of Ralph the Grout-ch and the Great Tile Disaster. To be honest? I'm glad that it happened. Now I know that I can not only  lay tile but repair a tile as well. I can even repair grout if I have a mind to.

Not that I have a mind to...

All you need is a grout saw, a hammer, a chisel, and a sister.

We are strong. We are invincible. We are Tile Women.


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