Monday, March 28, 2011

Red Knobs and Little Jobs

I listed the red knobs on Etsy and they were gone within 24 hours. Wow!They are on their way to Arkansas.
R told me they would sell right away and he was right. Don't tell him I said he was right, though.

The other day while we were listening to the classic rock station, a Rick Derringer song came on the radio. Bet you can't name that tune...............give up?? OK, a few more seconds.....time is up. Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo......oh sure, that's right..... you were going to say that, weren't you? Well, know how one thing will lead to another and then another? I said to R, "OK, who sings this song?" He always says Winchester somebody. Get it Winchester...Derringer...both are guns. Well, then I said "what band did he play guitar with?" He always forgets. I said "you know Edgar Winter." I then said, "Wow, you know you never hear about Johnny Winter anymore....I wonder if he is still alive?"

Two days later, on Friday, I went to the mail box and got the mail. Friday is the day we get the Grand Blanc View newspaper and lo and behold....look what was in the newspaper.Yup, that's right...Johnny Winter. We threw down our tools, combed our hair, and an hour later we were here.....
listening to Johnny Winter.
Of course, we were in the Geritol section. We were surrounded by an unusual array of concert goers. One guy kept waving his cane walker in the air to the music. Another old guy was nodding his head like those two guys in the movie, A Night at the Roxbury. Then there was the group of 10 guys in front of us, that were all dress in their best hunting clothes and insisted on getting up every 10 minutes. They were either ADHD or had bladders the size of walnuts.

So anyways....we are still waiting on granite polishing tools so we can finish the granite counter tops. In the meantime we are doing odd little jobs inside the house because we STILL have snow outside.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Red Knobs Go Bye Bye

The granite install is at a complete stop until the polishing kit we ordered arrives. So it's on to small jobs until then.

Today, I started removing the red ceramic knobs on the cabinets. Once the knobs were removed from the drawer front, I quickly sanded the drawer front. No amount of sanding could make these drawer fronts look new, so I sanded obvious lumps and dents then installed the new black handles.I chose these handles and hinges because they match the entry door hardware. The cabinet fronts will need to have the holes left from the old knobs filled. Rather than fill the holes as I go along, I will fill all the holes at one time. Epoxy filler is my choice because I seem to get a smoother finish with the epoxy filler than I do with the wood filler. Since these cabinets will be painted semi gloss white, it doesn't matter what I used.Why put the handles on now? Before the cabinets are painted? I felt it was easier than filling the holes after they were painted and then touching up the paint. Plus, I was leaving room for error and the fact that I may need to adjust the placement. I will be less likely to pull my hair out if the cabinets have not been painted.Once all the knobs are replaced, I will start on the hinges. After that I will start sanding the cabinets themselves. If the granite polishing kit has not shown up by then.....well....I'll pull my hair out!'s snowing again.

Winding Down and Down

We ran to Home Depot and bought enough of the edge pieces of granite to finish the kitchen. All the whole pieces are now installed. This is kind of a bummer because that leaves us with just pieces that need an angle cut. Boo hiss!

This is what the sink area looks like as of today.
We also sanded the wood trim and reinstalled it back on the island. The wood trim will eventually have a coat or two of high gloss black to match the granite tile.Look at all that dust! Yikes!

Monday, March 21, 2011

The First Curbside Find of the Year

On our way to Home Depot, we spotted a table that had been put out to the curb for trash pick up. We slammed on the brakes, backed up, and threw it in the bed of the truck.
Once we were home, we disassembled and tossed the top which was beyond help. Check out the cool legs.
We placed the hardware in a plastic bag and taped it to one of the legs. We are storing them away in the barn until I decide on a creative way to use those great looking legs.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Winding Down the Granite Install

We are very pleased with the granite so far. I say so far, because we still need 6 more pieces of trim, plus cut a few pieces of trim, and grout all of the granite. Of course, we've never grouted before so that will be trial and error party.

Today we installed more of the trim pieces. The trim pieces we installed yesterday, with the construction adhesive, are very sturdy and looks like it would take a sledge hammer to remove them. Temporarily adding that piece of pine to support the trim piece, until the adhesive dried makes installing the trim pieces a lot easier. The added support is insurance against sag as the tile dries.The buffet area just needs the angle pieces cut and installed.
The sink area needs the corner pieces and an additional 6 pieces of straight installed. We ran out of pieces and will need to make a trip to the store before we start tomorrow.
We also sanded the wood trim that needs to be re installed on the island.I can't wait to remove those ugly red knobs and to wipe down the walls and cabinets. There is dust EVERY WHERE!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Slow Going on the Granite Edging

Yesterday we tried to attach the granite edging with the adhesive that the Home Depot TILE EXPERT insisted we buy. We should have known better. Most of the Home Depot Associates only know what they are told and of course they are told to sell the products they carry.

In our case, we didn't even ask for assistance. The female associate just butted her way into our conversation and would not leave. She insisted that we buy the large 3 gallon container because it was the most economical. I persisted and we bought the small gallon size.

The adhesive in the gallon size container was adequate and did the job for the granite that was laid flat so we went back and bit the bullet for the large container. BAD MOVE. Apparently they sell very few large containers and despite this container being sealed it was still a lot drier and harder to spread than the product in the small container.

After fighting with the new product and basically wasting half of it, we went back and bought another smaller container size. Again that product was still moist and was spreadable. The problem came when we tried to use it to adhere the edge pieces. It was so slippery that we could not get it to stay put long enough to tape it in place. Frustration soon set in and we quit for the day.

This is the first tiling job that R and I have ever.....yes that's right EVER...tried to do. I know it might be unwise to just jump into a big granite job, but ya know that is how R and I roll.....we just jump right in and learn as we go.

Today we made a quick trip to a real tile and stone store and asked what to use. Their advise for attaching the granite edge pieces.....Liquid Nails. Really???? So we went home and hauled out a tube of Liquid Nails.

But an added insurance step...we added a piece of scrap pine to support the tile pieces. We attached the pine with a nail gun that was loaded with very small gauge nails. When we remove the board, the holes that remain will be very small and easy to fill.Oh my...look at all that dusty hammered aluminum serving pieces. I can't wait to have that displayed in my glass front cabinets.

Installation of the edge pieces went fast and smoothly until we needed to cut angles in 4 pieces. This is where we stopped for the day. We will sleep on it and see what we come up with for an answer to cutting the angles.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Granite on the Buffet

Today was a busy day.

We just could not resist going outside despite all the granite calling our name. We did a walk about which resulted in just one apple tree that will need replacing. The yard is in relatively good condition even though it was a pretty intense winter.

Our tree trimming has paid off with few twigs and branches needing to be picked up. Flower bulbs are popping up in all the flower beds. We even noticed that some trees have the beginning of swelled buds. Spring is right around the corner.

We spent about 20 minutes just sitting on the lawn furniture taking in the sun, then it was back to work.

The granite went down fairly fast. We needed to cut four pieces and even that went fairly fast despite the odd angles on two of them.We ran out of mastic but were able to get all but the four cut tiles installed permanently. Tomorrow we will get another container of mastic and adhere those four tiles to the buffet. The next step is to adhere the bull nose pieces to the edge of the buffet.I couldn't resist sitting my vintage coffee urn set on the buffet.
Friday should see us prepping the sink counter space for granite tile on Saturday. Prep work will take some time because we need to level and then screw down the plywood top. I might even do a little more sanding on the T&G paneling that is behind the sink area.

We are still in the planning stages for our open shelves above the buffet area. All the shelf brackets that we have looked at are far too ornate for the design of the kitchen. We might just glue two clear pine 1X6's together and then cut out our own simple design. This way we will not only get the right design and style but it will be far cheaper in the long run. We need 9 brackets and if I were to purchase them, the cost would likely be around two hundred dollars.

So far we are very happy with the granite tiles. Our only complaint is that these tiles are not all the same thickness. They are very close but not exactly identical. I am keeping my fingers crossed that once the granite is grouted the few areas that are not perfect will be less noticeable. Fingers crossed.

FYI My sister and I attended another Taste of Home Cooking School on Tuesday in Midland Michigan. We again did not win a single item. There were hundreds of women in attendance and possibly 10 men. We counted four men who won door prizes. Did we? NO...for the fourth time...we did not win anything but we did stop and ate a crepe on the way to Midland. As always the crepe was delicious!

Monday, March 14, 2011

More Granite

We are moving at a faster pace now that we seem to have a method to our granite tile madness. The island granite tile is done so we moved on to prepping the buffet area.R needed to touch up the existing counter top where he cut off the over hang. There were two areas that were not completely flush with the cabinets. He used the reciprocating saw and the sander to smooth out those two areas.

The light colored area on the tongue and groove paneling is where we removed the 1970 era ceramic tile. The tile was affixed to a piece of plywood and the plywood was adhered to the paneling with mastic. I spent roughly two weeks scraping and sanding all the areas where there had been tile. I saved some of the tile that did not break during removal. It should make for a very festive tray table. I will try to remember to post a photo of the red and green tile.

I laid out the granite tile to get a rough idea of how many would need cutting. We were both thrilled that only four will need cutting. Two of the cuts are straight cuts, no biggie. Unfortunately, two will need angle cuts. Could be a bummer. I am trying to stay positive but I'm positive it will be a bummer. Our tile saw is not an expensive model. I think we paid all of 39 bucks for it, so we are trying to keep that in kind when it doesn't readily do what we want with ease. The granite is also harder to cut than a typical ceramic tile.

The granite dust when mixed with water is quite the mess and very rough on the hands. The perfect place to use the saw would be outside in the warm sun. As you know this is Michigan in March and we are just lucky to even see the sun much less have it warm.

Tomorrow is an off day from granite work. I am going to Midland with my sister, to attend a Taste of Home Cooking School. R will be under his truck trying to fix a power steering fluid leak and later in the day he will pick up G's sprint car crank shaft, from the machinist.

Wednesday will find us back laying granite on the buffet. The buffet will also receive the granite bull nose piece along the edge. I am estimating one day to lay the large granite squares and one day to install just the bull nose pieces. Some of the pieces will need an angle cut because the corners of the buffet are cut off in roughly a 45 degree angle on each end.

This photo shows R holding a piece of the bull nose. I thought I would add a photo of daffodil bulbs that are sprouting by my front door. Spring is just around the corner. We just need the snow to GO AWAY!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

More Granite and Straight Outlet Covers

R fixed the crooked outlet covers after I mentioned that they appeared in the blog in all their crookedness.

After R worked his magic on what turned out to be more than just crooked covers, he said "take another photo and eradicate the old photo from the blog." ERRAAADICATE? Whatever!

Here's the new photo and despite R's request, I will leave the photo of the crooked covers for all of posterity to look at and pondered the question..."What were they thinking?"We finished installing all the whole tiles on the island today. Tomorrow we will start on the tiles that need cutting to accommodate the black glass Bosch cook top. I am so hoping that we get all those tiles installed tomorrow because I am chomping at the bit to start the buffet.

If you are wondering about the is going to be non sanded black grout. We decided that it would make sense to grout once all the tiles are installed.

I had to add this photo because I am so so glad that I convinced R that this was a good idea. He was against cutting off the wall because he has a hard time visualizing what the after is going to look like before it is done.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Start of the Absolute Black Granite Installation

We are so excited to start something other than demo. We still have some demo to do in the butler pantry/laundry room but we currently have run out of trash containers for the plaster.

Here is a quick run down on what we have been up to the last several days.

We patched two areas where there were 1960's style sconces. We removed the sconces and the old wiring and patched the tongue and groove paneling.
We still need to fill and sand but we will do the whole kitchen when we prep for painting.
We then removed the old wiring that was no longer in use but still in place.
Then we patched with a new tongue and groove board.
While we were running the new wire for the ceiling lights we found that the new wiring had been brought to the switch but the old wiring was going from the switch to the ceiling light....well no's all gone and replaced with new. But that required removing the T&G board to get at the old wire.
New wire and new board in place.
Next...remember that ugly wall/partition we cut out and left as a half wall. We decided that there were just too many outlets and one was just too close to the sink. So we removed them all and all the wiring.
Patched the holes...
....and installed a thick cap and cove molding. We still need to sand down the plugs that hide the screws but we are so happy that ugly light blocking wall is gone.
Here are all the old knob and tube porcelain fittings that we removed from the kitchen. All, but that one wire, were non functioning but had been left in place. We felt it was necessary to remove it for two reasons. insures that none of it is functioning and two...that if and when we sell that no one will be mislead to believe that the house still has knob and tube wiring.
Since the weather is calling for snow and rain, which makes it impossible to place 4X8 sheets of beadboard in the bed of an open truck, we decided to move on to....
tiling the island using Absolute Black granite. Notice the crooked outlet covers. For some reason, whoever did the rewire just could not install a cover straight.
The island, buffet area, and kitchen counter will have 12X12 granite tiles and matching trim piece. The island is already edged with wood trim that I will eventually paint black.

One row done and we called it quits. R needed to go to G's to work on the sprint car.
Speaking of G......the earthquakes in Japan are close to G's heart, as he spent 6 months in Japan (Yokohama) for work. During that time, Japan was experiencing a rash of 6.0-7.0 earthquakes. He experienced his first earthquake on his first day in Japan while in a high rise hotel waiting to move into his apartment.

While he was there, I was here working with Japanese engineers on a joint project with Isuzu. I became very familiar with the USGS Earthquake site. This is a great site for following earthquakes. Click on the animation button to see the earthquakes during the past week.

Lets all say a prayer for everyone in both Japan and Libya and maybe even a quick prayer for Charlie Sheen. Maybe he can come to his senses and see he has soooooo much in comparison to so many others. Nobody begrudges anyone a good time but life is not just about hookers, porn stars, and getting high. If anyone needs to spend some time working in a soup kitchen or handing out supplies to victims of natural is Charlie Sheen.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Gear Acres Custom Paver Update

Check out the 5 finished pavers.
Five are fired and completed and five are still drying. The drying pavers are the ones that are standing on end at the far end of the work bench.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

So Little Time...So Little Progress

Today started with the annual ritual of filing our tax returns. Since we have been married, R has never participated in this annual ritual. His level of involvement involves asking two questions. Question number 1..."Do we owe anything?" Question number 2 changes depending on the answer to question number 1 and is either... "How much do we owe?" or "How much are we getting back?"

I find tax time very stressful and not because I detest paying taxes. Quite frankly, I feel that everyone should take pride in ensuring that our country can protect itself and it's citizens, provide for itself, and provide help and assistance to those in need, whether on our shores or elsewhere. We all know that takes MONEY. What I don't like is possibly paying more than those who may make vastly more than I do. I so wish that we had a flat rate for income tax. But as long as those who make vastly more than I do, can influence Washington D.C., that will never happen. I believe the feeling of parity would take a lot of resentment out of paying taxes.

Our refund isn't the largest we have ever received but it's a refund! I was pleased to find out that donations to public institutions such as museums gets you slightly more than your average donation. I need to be more vigilant in keeping receipts. Currently my book keeping method consists of putting receipts into a large ginger jar. That is... if I remember to put them in the jar. Major receipts such as property tax receipts make their way into the jar but it's those little $20-$30 donation receipts that somehow never seem to make it to the jar.

The good news is.....The Hot Dog Stand is once again open for the spring and summer. Screw that groundhog.....spring is here when The Hot Dog Stand is open for business!!

We continued working on that half wall. Patches are all in place but still need to be filled and sanded. Today we worked on cutting the thick board that will rest on top. I mentioned before that we glued two 1X10's together to get a substantial board that didn't look like construction grade.Like everything else in this wasn't a simple straight cut nor was the wall straight. But we persevered and finished cutting and fitting it. All that is left is securing it in place and trimming out the area underneath it with cove molding.Tomorrow will consist of finishing several small electrical projects and filling in around the patches and numerous chips in the tongue and groove boards through out the kitchen. But first a quick trip to Home Depot for more trim, sand paper, and screws.