Spring Flowers, Fish, and Kitchen

So — work progresses here on the final stages of the big kitchen remodel of 2010/2011.  The tile back splash was put up today and will be grouted tomorrow.  The painter was back doing the outside work on the new bay windows and the new detached garage front that hubby installed a week ago.  And some spring flowers are blooming — irises in the pond, wild daisies next to it.  It was a beautiful, absolutely beautiful day here today.  One could not help rejoicing in the beauty of a perfect spring day.

The day in photos:

tile back splash
the view from my kitchen window -- painter's legs
wild daisy

Movin’ In

The kitchen is done!  (Well, we won’t talk about a couple of things yet to finish).  But we can definitely clean up the construction dust and start putting the stuff in the cabinets and drawers.  I worked from 2pm til 8pm and am less than half done with the cleaning.  There is dust and dirt in every corner of every cabinet and drawer.  Hubby was restoring the electronics to the media cabinet in the corner of the room.  I can watch TV, movies, or listen to music while I continue the cleaning tomorrow.  In fact, there are so many cables behind that cabinet that I’m pretty sure I can do all three at the same time while I’m cleaning tomorrow.

But, we started the moving in . . . . .

It’s an orange peeler that our friends gave us for Christmas.

Spring? & other stuff

One and a half  inches of snow fell on the first full day of spring, and yesterday into today, one and one half more on the 4th day of spring.  Spring?

The good news?  The kitchen is “almost” done.  It has been almost done for the last two weeks now, but the almost is a whole lot closer to done today.  The trim is up on the cabinets and the painter was in prepping for his paint job on Monday of next week.  The front dishwasher panel is currently puzzling the carpenter as I am puzzling over some difficult piano music for April 2nd.  I decided to stop annoying us both and came down to the computer for some quiet time.

Think I’ll sneak upstairs and take a photo – – – –  this is the sub-zero FINALLY almost completely invisible behind custom cabinet work

And now — pick colors for the walls — the title of this photo is simply, POSSIBILITIES . . .

I was in Lancaster, PA to a quilt show last week.  Their spring is further advanced than ours and I found these beauties outside the B&B where I stayed overnight . . .

Fish, wool slippers and hardwood floors

I am a musician so I often find myself humming or singing as I work around the house or drive thru town.  Often it is the song that I have just played with the choir or the one I am rehearsing for an upcoming church service.  But things that are going on in my day also often call to mind a song from the past which I find myself singing and occasionally writing parodies of on the fly.

Today’s song was inspired by the very exciting event of the past weekend — the first sighting of swimming fish in the pond as the snow has finally started shrinking here in our part of Connecticut.  Last Sunday, hubby saw the first swimming orange fish in the shallow end of the pond where the ice has finally receded.  There is a rubbermaid box with a light bulb in it that floats upside down (with the aid of some pool noodles) in the shallow end of the pond.  Its purpose is to keep an area of the ice open for oxygen transfer.   The bulb comes on after dark so it illuminates the water immediately under it.  Since for a large part of the winter the pond itself wasn’t even visible, let alone the floating box and the water under it, I have been really worried about my BFFs (Best Fish Friends).  But since Sunday night, fish have been visible slowly moving in the water below the box.  YEAH!   They made it through the winter!!!!!   You don’t know how absolutely happy this has made me.

So, today’s song is from the Beatles:

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter.
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here.
Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces.
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here.
Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting.
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear

Well, particularly that last verse has had me singing today.

Little fishies, it’s been a long cold lonely winter.
Little fishies, it feels like years since you’ve been here.
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun, and I say it’s all right.
Little fishies, the smiles returning to our faces.
Little fishies, it seems like years since it’s been here.
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun, and I say it’s all right.
Little fishies, I see the ice is slowly melting.
Little fishies, it seems like years since it’s been clear.
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun, and I say it’s all right.
It’s all right.

It’s more than all right, it’s wonderful.

I just finished a quilt for my guild’s challenge.  Several months ago, we each reached into a paper bag (without looking) and drew out three paint chips.  The challenge was to make a quilt using ONLY those three colors and a background color (either black or white).  We also could add one extra fabric but it had to contain ONLY those colors from our paint chips and could not introduce any additional ones.

I ended up making my quilt out of essentially solids since my randomly-drawn paint chips were an odd combination.  There was no possibility of finding an additional fabric to use because no fabric designer in their right mind would have combined the colors that I drew into one fabric.

The quilt was required to contain at least one flower and the creation had to be named.  Given the long, cold, lonely winter we’ve been having here, my quilt was named:

Out of the darkness, Light!  (or – Out of the darkness, tulips!)

And, here is a photo of the quilt, in progress, in my quilt studio with those blasted paint chips:

So, the long winter is almost over and I’m trusting the tulips, crocuses, and daffodils are down there in the darkness waiting to pop up as soon as all the snow melts, just like the fish.  Makes me wonder a bit about the fish and what they do during the winter in the very bottom of the pond.  I’m sure it was real dark down there, covered as it was by 75 inches of snow at one time.  No wonder they are up near the surface now seeking the light.

Oh yeah, and for the last two words of the post title — wool slippers and hardwood floors.

The construction project continues, but slowly.  Today the floor guy was back to fix 6 places on the floor, 3 with too much finish and 3 with too little.  The curing and waiting process begins — a bare minimum of 2 weeks before we put rugs and furniture back in and longer would be better if we can actually wait longer.  We’ve been waiting so long, what’s a couple more weeks?  Hopefully I’ll soon be taking pictures in the new kitchen that have bare feet in them rather than thick felted-wool slippers.

The color in this photo is way off.  Don’t know why and don’t have time to fix it.  Suffice it to say the slippers are a darker blue and the floor a more golden-red color.  Perhaps the camera was having an adverse reaction to taking a photo of the orange and red tulips in that quilt!

Ooohhh, Shiny!!!!

This photo was taken from the deck through the open sliding door.  The contractor had just finished and left so the floor finish is completely wet — but oh so shiny (and of course, oh so smelly).  I’m finishing some blog updates then going to head out for the day and let the smell abate a bit, hopefully.

When hubby returns home tonight, we will look at the floor — in the dark, yeah right — and decide if a fourth coat of finish is wanted.  Most likely that “look” will occur in the daylight tomorrow morning and while we are not looking forward to another day of chemical smells, we will take the carpenter’s expert opinion (also to be delivered tomorrow) and consider a 4th coat of poly finish.   But in the mean time, I’m putting on a wrap and heading outside to open the deck door and look from time to time.   The latest report — after an hour of drying time — still quite shiny!!!

Doesn’t the floor look wonderful?  And doesn’t that stupid column right in the middle of it look bad?  Unfortunately that column is holding up part of the house, so it will remain.  Though I haven’t said anything about it before, it has been stripped of its former outside layers of mirror, decorative wood, etc, that were applied in former remodels of this space.  Our carpenter is building sides for it of cherry that will match our cabinetry with a wide header and footer to decorate it a bit and that will match the legs that will eventually appear under the granite island.

And, just in case you (and I) have forgotten, I’m inserting an old photo that I called “old  kitchen be gone” — so we can see how far we’ve come . . .

And, in this photo, some of the old kitchen was actually already gone — the cabinets on either side of the sink had been taken down in preparation for installing the new bay window above the sink.  Wow, it’s really not the same space at all any more.


Another major step in the kitchen renovation.   Unfortunately this is one that has sent us running from the house on a daily basis due to the extremely unpleasant, headache-causing smells of floor finishes.

February 18th brought a new contractor to our home with the floor sander and stain.  Day 1 of floor finish work — red oak floors sanded and min-wax Golden Pecan stain applied.  In this photo, taken from the deck through the sliding door, it had just been finished and was not dry yet.

Days 2 and 3 (Saturday and Sunday) each brought a coat of poly finish.  Shinier floors, but smellier house.  We spent most of the weekend out and about when we could.

Kitchen progresses – Electricians are back

Progress on a daily basis on the kitchen!  Yeah!  Things are being finished and some long-awaited items are finally installed.

The Story of February 17th, in pictures . . . . . . . .

The pantry is completely installed — almost — two of the doors cracked after being finished, have been remade, and will be refinished and installed (note there are also now knobs on the doors) . . . .

The sub zero is “almost” invisible behind its cabinet doors.  A cherry panel will be installed in place of the black grate at the top . . . .

The lighting rail above the island — I would say it is my favorite thing because of the red hand blown pendants, but the whole kitchen is turning out to be a beautiful (favorite) thing . . . .

And don’t worry, we are not nuts – the stained glass lamp at the ceiling to the right will be at the correct height over the oak table — it’s just tied up out of the way of the construction right now.  And the light hanging down from the ceiling behind the rail is waiting on a replacement part – it will disappear into the ceiling as soon as it can.


The story of our granite counter tops is a long one, explained mostly in an earlier post.  So after not just a few problems and a death in the immediate contractor family, the day finally arrived that the granite finally arrived and was installed.  No easy job — and hats off to Ted and Alex (father and son) of Rye Marble for an excellent job in the fabricating and installation of a major feature of our new kitchen.

The Story — as told in photos.

The granite arrives by 4-wheel-drive pickup truck (it IS still winter in Connecticut) . . . .

The small counter was carried in and was an easy install . . . .

The island, not so much . . . . . . . “whew, that was heavy” . . . .

And the piece with the bay window section, tough install . . . .

A second counter piece was installed, the seam glued and sanded, and ooohhh . . . . . .

Second pantry – partially installed

Oh boy!  The second pantry is partially installed.  The pull out food cupboard is laying on the floor being shortened to fit under the support beam (will go on the right side) and the bookcase is still in the workshop (will go on the left, facing left).   Not only is it looking more like a kitchen as things get installed, but these humongous things have been in the middle of the room until today, so now the open space is back.   Just in time too — the granite guys are supposed to come on Monday to install the island and counter tops.  Can’t wait!!!  Of course, if not for the ice storm they would have been in here since Tuesday morning, but this is the winter of 2011.   As my hubby says, we’ll be talking about this one for a long, long time.   I think we have to get thru it first!


base cabinets all installed

Much progress has been made during the last week.   All of the base cabinets have been installed and the granite guys were here on Tuesday making templates for the island and counter tops.  It seemed so exciting — and the carpenter and I sat and talked about the schedule which would have the kitchen, not finished, but operational in 10 working days.  That’s two weeks folks!

When will we learn?  The next day as the carpenter was hard at work (and so was I down in my basement) the granite guys called and said that the templates would not fit on the granite slabs that we had selected due to the broken off pieces on the center edges of two of them.  Broken off pieces?   What broken off pieces?

Back in August (and I barely can remember back that far, but I know that I was wearing shorts and sneakers on that day) we were at the giant warehouse full of granite and marble slabs and had picked 3 beautiful ones  for our counter tops to be made of.  While moving two slabs with a giant crane that hangs from the ceiling, they had broken one of the slabs we were selecting from with the clampy-thingie (that’s a technical term) that was holding the slab up in the air.  The guy quickly lowered it before it totally fell and of course we said, “we don’t want that one”.  Specifying the slabs we did want by number and not looking at the back side of the 3rd one (didn’t want to make the guy take any more time) we committed mistakes 1 and 2.   We signed off on our selection and the granite fabricator, who actually buys the slabs was called that we had made the selection.

Oh — mistake # 1 was not marking the edges of the slabs we had selected with our name and mistake # 2 was not looking at the back of the 3rd slab.

When the guys actually went to cut the granite, there was not enough good granite to cut our tops.  They sent photos via email1313 and sure enough, there was a photo of the slab that had been broken by that clampy-thingie.   The stone warehouse had delivered at least one if not two wrong slabs.  And the third one wasn’t going to be used at all because a big piece was broken off the corner and the back had a big crack filled with epoxy to hold it together that would have been done at the quarry.

So, after removing 10 inches of drifted snow off the driveway and navigating some pretty bad local roads this morning, hubby and I caravanned our cars down to Norwalk to that giant warehouse again to pick two new slabs.

Granite from the same mountain was still available, but I’m pretty sure it’s a bit darker than the rejected granite.  But it is also MUCH larger — both slabs are probably 50% larger than the original ones selected and — this is IMPORTANT — when we left the warehouse, not only were they intact, but they both had our names on them.

granite slab 3 (number 2 is hiding behind)