Friday, October 31, 2008

Countertop Update: Faucet Installed

Due to the fact that our new sink is undermount, we had to let it sit and dry overnight before the plumber could install the faucet, drain and garbage disposal. I previously posted that Nate was going to attempt the plumbing. After reading some stuff, and talking to some friends, I think he decided that a "real" plumber might be best to take the two-drain operation to a one-drain operation plus garbage disposal and dishwasher hookups. Luckily, the brother of a colleague owns his own remodeling business and knows basic plumbing and was able to do it for us at a lower cost than a "real" plumber.

Here are some pictures of the new sink with the faucet, as well as pictures with the drawers replaced.


vs the old sink:






And, in case you forgot what our kitchen looked like on move-in day:



You can also check out our kitchen album for 100+ photos!

Let's consult our list:


  1. Sand cabinents, wood putty any existing holes

  2. Prime cabinets

  3. Paint cabinets

  4. Change cabinet hardware

  5. Change countertops

  6. Install sink and garbage disposal

  7. Install subway tile backsplash

  8. New flooring in foyer, kitchen, dining room

  9. Remove upper cabinets that divide kitchen & dining area

  10. New range/oven (our last appliance to buy!)

  11. New pantry doors

  12. New light fixtures

  13. Install roman shade in window


Our list of 13 items is down to 5!

Happy Halloween!


Some of you may be experiencing deja vu right now, particularly if you lived in Atlanta about five years ago. Yes, we already were Fred & Wilma once upon a time in a land far away. We decided to remake the costumes b/c they were such a hit the first time around and none of our WI friends had seen them. The real bonus is that this time we actually had a sewing machine so they weren't falling apart midway through the night!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sneak Preview of the Countertops!

I went home at lunch to lock up the house after the countertop installation was complete and took some preliminary pictures. Please note that our drawers, faucet, stove are all missing and there was stuff everywhere. I LOVE THEM!





And the new sink!


More later when we get a chance to clean everything up. The faucet is either getting installed tonight or tomorrow morning depending on the plumber's schedule.
I also really want to get the subway tile backsplash up - we scratched the wall a bunch during the removal last night and the green paint is not attractive with the black, in my opinion.

WOOHOO!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

300th Post: NO MORE COUNTERTOPS

I think it appropriate that the 300th post cover such a huge occassion - we removed the old countertops tonight in preparation for the new ones tomorrow! With the help of MH & CH, the sink, faucet, and formica were taken out!




MH dismantling the sink


CH & Baby H do their part to wipe dust off the dishwasher!


I determined that cookies were necessary, so amidst all this, I baked cookies!


No more countertops:



We determined that in no way should one pay the countertop company to do this removal - we saved $250 by doing it with the help of friends and had fun in the process. In less than 12 hours, installation begins!

GROSGRAIN MINI STORE OPENING NOVEMBER 6!!!! AND BIG PREVIEW GIVEAWAY!!!!

I love the skirts featured on Grosgrain! I think they would be so cute on my niece!

You can enter to win the giveaway by clicking on this link by the end of today!
GROSGRAIN MINI STORE OPENING NOVEMBER 6!!!! AND BIG PREVIEW GIVEAWAY!!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Last Night to Enjoy White

It is official - we will be getting our new countertops Thursday! Tonight is my last night to enjoy the white, since our friend MH is coming over tomorrow night to demolish them! Here is a little photo tribute to our white countertops:

Overall view


View of new trash cupboard that hasn't had a countertop for several weeks now...or is it months?!


View of the burn mark/almost hole that was present for SEVEN YEARS before we moved in (Previous Owner's best estimate)


Sample of the chip marks all along the edge:


And the non-continuation of the backsplash along the wall:


We also will be getting a new sink, faucet, and GARBAGE DISPOSAL! Here is a picture of our current set up: Fairly standard faucet, very scratched sink that always looks dirty even right after you clean it, and we do not have a garbage disposal:


I attempted to do a Polyvore collage with our new items and existing items. It doesn't look all that great b/c I can't figure out how to upload any of my own personal pictures.


I also could not get this picture of white subway tile into the Polyvore thing. White subway tile will be our new backsplash..eventually.



Images in Polyvore are from: Undermount sink by Kohler, Faucet by Price Pfister (Avalon), Appliances by GE Cleen Steel, Insinkerator Garbage Disposal. Image of Subway tile is from this blog post, which has some other great photos of white subway tile as well

Monday, October 27, 2008

Jack O Lantern Ideas


We carved our pumpkins last week in time for trick or treating yesterday. I happen to think we did a fairly good job, considering we all we had was an old school knife and not a fancy kit.

We also roasted the pumpkin seeds - yum! Clear the seeds of the pumpkin, toss in olive oil and salt, spread on a cookie sheet and roast at 250 degrees for a couple hours until they are nicely golden brown. The house will smell delish as well.

Want a green way to light up your house, jack o lantern style? Check out these cool cans from Martha Stewart:


Directions here. What a great way to recycle!

Photo Sources: Top is mine, Bottom is courtesy of Martha Stewart

Update: Check out this website to download a BUNCH of political pumpkin templates!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pteradactyl Free Running Pics

This week i started running again. I feel pretty good, although my legs are noticeably still tired. I'm running the Hot Chocolate 15K in Chicago next weekend, which I don't anticipate setting any records at, but will be fun.

I got the "official" marathon photos, and I have to say, this one may be the best running picture of me ever taken. I don't look anything like the pteradactyl I usually resemble! (probably b/c it was from the FIRST HALF of the race) Also notice my sweet technical pink top, a $2.34 bargain found at Target the week before the race that left zero chaffing and received tons of compliments from spectators!


Here is another one, that captures the SECOND HALF. Check out the look of pain on my face. Still not quite the worst picture ever taken, but the form is noticeably worse!


And finally, the Finish!


Nate & I were discussing potentially doing a triathalon next spring/summer. We shall see!

Friday, October 24, 2008

I SWEAR this started out as "work"...

A colleague and I were trying to adjust images in order to prepare images for a journal article and having a hell of a time meeting the specifications because we don't have access to Photoshop. What a perfect time to discover Gimp, which is like Photoshop, but FREE! I have downloaded it, but have not actually used it. Thanks to Chasing Imperfection for posting about it!

Then, I started wandering further and further into the depths of starred items on my Google Reader and discovered this cool site, Polyvore, courtesy of How About Orange. The site will allow you to upload images, or link to images on the web to create collages. I always like seeing those collage type things on blogs and websites so maybe I will get around to making my own one day.

So there you have it - two cool sites that may help you in your own work, or on the contrary, make more distraction for you at work!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Need a Friend (But Not a Date)?



Check out Not for Dating, a new website along the lines of Match.com, but "not for dating". A friend from graduate school and her sister started it (with its beta launch TODAY!) and are looking to spread the word across the country.

Maybe you are:
1) New to your city and want to meet people
2) Looking for something different to do
3) A new "member" of a group - new mom perhaps?
4) Looking for people for occassional meet ups for kickball, book club, wine club, etc?
5) Need a workout partner?

So what are you waiting for? Start a profile and share with your friends, family and everyone else!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Flower Therapy

Check out these gorgeous blooms given to me by Nate's aunt as a hostess gift for having the fam over for dinner last Saturday.


I love the blue/purple ones...anyone know what they are? Given the influx of fresh flowers in my home (my marathon flowers are STILL going!), I am becoming a big believer in flower therapy. Not sure if that is a legit form of "therapy" but just looking at all of the prettiness in various rooms of the house really cheers me up. And since I have to survive even longer without my countertops, I'll take anything I can get!

Despite yesterday's outburst (and my complaining above), I actually am feeling better about the countertops. I am easily irritable this week as I am surviving on very little sleep since I agreed to substitute teach a SEVEN AM class at an area college. I am not good with changing the sleep schedule so I haven't been sleeping through the night and I am having to get up about an hour and a half earlier. I know I know..Woe is Me! My life is so hard (heavy sarcasm). These types of experiences just make me wonder how I will survive when we eventually decide to have children?! I hear you really don't get any sleep with those! :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

MAJOR BUMMER

I just got a phone call from our countertop guy.

It is never good news when he calls me - as he runs everything by me BEFORE he calls Nate, which I'm not sure exactly why, because I just hang up the phone and immediately dial Nate, but whatever.

It turns out that our countertops are BACKORDERED AGAIN. Originally, they were suppossed to be installed on 10/16/08. They were backordered and then were going to installed this Thursday, 10/23/08. Now they are backordered a second time to NEXT Thursday, 10/30/08. I better have me some black countertops by then or there will be some major freaking out!

ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"Old" Photos

I love the look of old photos. Thanks to paper + cup, I discovered that there is a site based out of Japan that will "age" your current photos.

Here are some examples using what few photos I had available to me at work:



Vintage-ized:




And Vintage-ized:




Vintage-ized: You can see that it doesn't work very well on real close up pics!


FUN! I can't wait to try it on other photos. Go here to try. As I mentioned before, the site is in Japanese so you can switch to English by clicking on "English" in the upper right hand corner of the site. Or you can proceed by Clicking on the grey "browse" button. Clicking on this will take you to your computer. Click on the photo you want and then click on the blue tab underneath the search bar (imagine this saying "Vintage-ize Your Photo!"). You "new" old photo will appear below.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Delish Scalloped Potatoes


I spent part of my Saturday night reading the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook (pictured above) after making these yummy scalloped potatoes for dinner for my family-in-law. It is a really great book with lots of helpful tips.

For these potatoes, I did not have a mandolin or the assistance of a slicer attachment on a food processor, which is recommended in order to get uniformly sized potatoes. What i DID have was a husband who is an amazing chopper. I don't think a mandolin could have done better!

Scalloped Potatoes
2 TB unsalted butter
1 onion, chopped fine
1 TB minced fresh thyme or 1 tsp of dried thyme
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes (5 medium), peeled and sliced 1/8" thick
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
2 bay leaves
4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded (parmesan can be substituted)

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the thyme, garlic, salt & pepper until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add potatoes, broth, cream and bay leaves. Bring mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are almost tender, about 10 minutes.

Discard bay leaves and transfer mixture to an 8-inch-square baking dish. (If you dutch oven is oven-safe, you can also just keep them in there, which is what I did). Gently press the potatoes into an even layer and sprinkle the cheese over the top. Bake until the cream is bubbling around the edges and the top is golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

TO MAKE AHEAD: Once the scalloped potatoes have been transferred to the baking dish, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, add cheese, cover with foil and bake in a 400-degree oven unil the mixture is hot and bubbling, about 45 minutes. Remove foil and cook until cheddar begins to brown, about 30 minutes longer. Let cook for 10 minutes before serving.

These are also great as leftovers!

Recipe Source: The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook circa 2006
Photo Source: Amazon.com

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Love in the Time of Cholera


Ahh...Saturday. Nate just made a big wonderful breakfast for me and BCK, who accompanied me at the Milwaukee Art Museum Run up the Runway event last night. Thank goodness for BCK, who stole two of the schwag bags for us, after we discovered that our own bags were stolen, thereby giving us samples of Kerastase and Bumble and Bumble (and of course a lot of other junk).

Today I posting a "book thingy" whereby I was asked by Chasing Imperfection to grab the nearest book, turn to page 56, locate sentences 5-10 and post them. So here goes:

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

"Unlike the other students, who walked to school in groups or accompanied by an older servant, Fermina Daza always walked with her spinster aunt, and her behavior indicated that she was permitted no distraction. It was in this innocent way that Florentino Ariza began his secret life as a solitary hunter. From seven o'clock in the morning, he sat on the most hidden bench in the little park, pretending to read a book of verse in the shade of the almond trees, until he saw the impossible maiden walk by in her blue-striped uniform, stockings that reached to her knees, masculine laced oxfords, and a single thick braid with a bow at the end, which hung down her back to her waist."

I read this book while on a work trip to Merida, Mexico. I loved it...both the trip and the book.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Love it


Can I have all of the rooms featured here?

I continue to gravitate toward dark wood with white wainscotting/beadboard for our bathroom remodel...this is lovely!


But first...finish the kitchen!
Photo Source: Nan Whitney featured on Desire to Inspire

New Owner Meets Old Resident

Last night, I came home from work to find Nate talking to a mysterious man in our driveway. It ended up being the son of the people we bought our house from! Nate had already given him the tour of the place, but it was fun to hear his perspective on the house - both the way it was when we bought it and our transformations. He also confessed that he and his buddy in their teenage years bought liquid nails to put those awful mirrored tiles up in the basement, and probably contributed to the pain that was removing them (see pic below).

He was pretty shocked when he saw the inside of the house, but complimented us on the changes we made. He commented that his parents probably would pass out if they saw things now! You can see how the house was on day 1 here. The links to the left of each room detail the changes we have made so far...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Maghound


Being the LOVER (some may say addict) of magazines that I am, I am curious about this new service called Maghound in which you can get a variety of magazine titles sent to you each month and pay one fee. For example, 3 magazines per month is $4.95 a month and you can switch up the magazines on a monthly basis. Sort of like Netflix for magazines. This breaks down to $20 per magazine for a year subscription, which isn't that outlandish. Depending on the magazine that is actually cheap for one month! Of course, the more magazines you get in the package, the less per magazine per month it is.

Check it out here.

Photo: www.maghound.com

Living in a Dream World

We have been working on random projects around the house that don't really warrant a whole post, becuase while they are necessary, they are boring. Nate has been doing a great job touching up the ceilings around new light fixtures as well as fixing up the ceiling where the cabinets came down in the kitchen which was no less than NASTY, as you can see above me in this picture:

Our countertops were suppossed to be installed today but as I previously mentioned, we have one more week left of the ugly, white, laminate countertops with a 15 year hold in them. 7 more days...So I'm left to dream about future projects.

Although this is our first house and we likely will not do EVERY dream remodel that we think of, there are several things that could be done to the outside. Several ideas were reinvigorated after I saw the remodel that was featured on This Young House yesterday.

Here is their before:


And after:


Of course the inside rooms are awesome too. Click here to check them out.

Here is how our house currently looks on the outside:


I really think our house looks cute from the outside, for the most part. I love the cape cod architechture with two dormers, I love our pergola, I love the red door. I like the overall color of our house (white). However, there are some things I would change. I would like to paint the shutters and trim a different color. What color? I don't know. I know I do not love the light blue. That is easy enough to fix...maybe next summer.

A more hard core remodel option for our outside would be an expansion of our front door, similar to the house above. Currently, our front door is flush with the house and has a modest concrete stoop. I don't think it looks awful and it functions fine from the OUTSIDE. Inside, I hate our front door, as it opens right into the living room and the staircase going upstairs. The door ALMOST, by a VERY NARROW margin, scrapes the staircase. There is no welcoming entryway or anything to speak of and it is sort of awkward to invite guests directly into the living room.

I think it would be awesome if we could expand the front door and create a mini entry way into our house. It would be like the house above, but actually create a "room" of sorts onto the house, and not just a porch.

There are many things that I would put above redoing the outside of the house, but a girl can dream can't she?

Photo Sources: #1 is mine, #2 and #3 are from This Young House, and #4 is also mine