An utter trim failure

March 19, 2008

I’m feeling totally thwarted.

I got all geared up after work to finally go buy trim for the family room. We were able to save about two thirds of what we had orginally, and now we have to match the windows, doors and base trim, plus find something to be a shelf on top of the bump-out. All of the existing trim is 9/16" thick, and most of it is 2¼", 3" or 3½" wide. NONE of these dimensions seem to be findable. The guy at Home Depot said that trim sizes cycle in and out of fashion, so we may just be out of luck. I'm skeptical, but concerned. Also, the bump out is 7" to 7⅜" (the people who built the room had a very loose interpretation of square...) and boards seem to come in 7 ¼" or 11 ¼" widths, not the 8" that I want. So, foiled times two.

I really was hoping to buy the boards tonight, cut them all to size with the miter saw (by hand. whew.) tomorrow, paint them on Friday, nailgun them up on Saturday, and then be done by Easter, but this puts a crimp in the plan. I'm going to call around a bit tomorrow before I start getting really discouraged. Keep your fingers crossed.

And I was so close to finishing the top to the quilt, but it looks like I may have measured wrong...


... since the trim for each of the four sides is exactly 1 ⅛" short. I'm perilously close to running out of the light pink fabric, so I'm letting it marinate for a day before I assess the damage. The trim trends just aren't running the right direction tonight.

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March 17, 2008

Painting the first batch of trim – this is the stuff we were able to salvage from the room before we started the walls and the windows:

Next steps: buy the rest of the trim, measure it out and miter the edges, and then another round of painting...

Here’s the shopping list (all 41 items of it):

Not the smallest task ever...


Saturday Morning in Seattle

March 15, 2008

One of our friends started rowing crew about a year ago, and had two races this morning in Greenlake, so we decided to go over to watch. It was incredibly busy (all of the Seattle-types running their dogs and strollers in the rain breaks, plus several hundred rowers and spectators, plus all the boats and each club had concession stands). The races were fun to watch, and it was a treat to have an excuse to go see Greenlake. Here’s Ginger racing (she’s in the 5th seat on the scarlet red boat on the far right)


And looking like she’s considering a swim after her second race (not really – the water and air were both all cold).

She’s the one in the yellow headband.

There were about 40 minutes between races, so we walked up the west side of the lake and watched all of the ducks. This pair wasn’t that impressed by Kevin’s fancy lens:

And these two were bullies, but gorgeous, and at least twice the size of the mallards.

I’ve never seen anything like them. I wasn’t sure which was the male and which the female, but one had a cream and coffee body with a dark teal head, and the other was completely dark, but then it would move and you’d see that the feathers were all dark sapphire and teal. I don’t think they were wood ducks – their bodies looked just like the mallards, but bigger. A mystery.

We went wending around the neighborhoods afterwards, and then stopped for coffee and soup at Essential Bakery. I haven’t been there in ages – a treat. As was looking at all of the Craftsman houses and the landscaping now that things are starting to bloom. Can anyone identify this tree?

I’ve been loving these since we moved out here but I don’t know what they are. Here’s a close-up of the flowers:


More closet voyeurism

March 13, 2008

One of the shelves from our closet had this little waffle insert thing. I’m not sure what it’s intended use was (tie storage? Socks?), but I didn’t just want to toss it. I mulled it over while I was unscrewing and rescrewing the doors, the bars and the sliding tracks, and then inspiration hit.

It’s a three bedroom house, which means that for the time being Kevin and I each have our own room, and our own double closet. His is filled with old electronics equipment and mine is filled with yarn and fabric, and now thread. :-) I’ve been still trying to keep all of my thread in my old sewing kit, but it’s been getting more and more crowded in there. I was sort of amused when storing it away to realize that 18 of those spools are from 1990 or earlier, and 19 are from the last three years... apparently middle school, high school and college were NOT the thread-buying years.

PS. I can’t tell you how happy the closet keeps making me. Wide open spaces!!

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Peer Pressure

March 12, 2008

I didn’t make a note of it here, but the tang has finally graduated from the quarantine tank! We put him in the main tank last Saturday, and although the transition really stressed him out, he seems great now. When we went to move him, it took me an extra try to net him (he half evaded the net and caught his tang), and then when we got him in the main tank, he caught his other tang and struggled for a few heart wrenching seconds before struggling free. He quickly darted down behind the torch coral’s rock, and actually lay on the bottom, breathing heavily. Not what you want your fish to look like. We didn’t think engaging with him would help, but we were so worried. I finally reached over and tapped on the glass by that corner, which seemed to startle him into action – he looked like he was just going to dart to a new hiding spot, but then he saw the clowns, his fins flared in interest, and he made a beeline across the tank for his new friends. Clack and (especially) Click took quite a bit longer to remember their manners and be sociable (Click was still trying to nip him away from all spots in the tank, especially the clown’s rock), but he’s really settled in, and the three of them now seem to be getting along nicely.

I had to get a picture of Kevin feeding them. The clowns generally swim up to the surface any time we come into view, just in case it might be time for them to eat. The tang, you can tell, really wants to be part of the party, but he just can’t bear to go anywhere near the surface or the front of the tank when we’re in range. He rockets around in panicky circles behind the rocks at the back, sticking close to the bottom, and you can practically hear a little fish voice shrieking, “Danger! Danger!” while the clowns bob and weave up at the surface. It’s very funny. And every now and then he pauses long enough to notice them up there, and you can tell he really wants to go see what they’re doing, because he thinks they’re interesting (especially after 6 weeks cooped up by himself) but he just can’t bear it.

I was so glad I got the picture when I did, though, because about a minute later you could see something click in his little yellow brain and all of a sudden he realized that the clowns were up at the surface gobbling FOOD. At which point he gave up his objections and joined the party.


Closet Voyeurism

March 11, 2008

I was in the mood for a project when I got home, so I finally tackled swapping around some of the units in our closet. (This is one of those posts where I am VERY proud of home improvements that I can't take good photos of...) The house came with some sort of pretty nice IKEA closet organization system. The sections are each 38” wide, plus there’s a half-width one, and a set of shelves built into the wall. One of the 38” wide cabinets is only 2/3 of the normal depth and holds shoes (until today, just Kevin’s) and has mirrored doors. Three sections and the little half guy belong to Kevin, two sections (that actually form an L) and the shelves are mine, and there was a no man’s land section in the middle across from the door that neither of us wanted/managed to claim. Here’s my side before:

And Kevin’s side before:

The no man’s land wasn’t particularly attractive, and obviously it didn't take advantage of the space. The floor-to-ceiling shoe cabinet with the mirrored doors filled up a huge portion of the doorway, and it was hard to get far enough away from the doors to actually see yourself in the mirror. The closet is truly enormous (we think it’s a converted fourth bedroom), but it was kind of claustrophobic and more functional than pretty.

Once I figured out that the shoe cabinet was the same width as the other cabinets, the solution became obvious: I moved the shoe cabinet shelves and door to the no man’s cabinet, then redistributed the other pieces. I took the sliding sock rack, removed the grid insert, and moved that over to my L sections so that I’d have firm surface other than the floor. I removed the slide-out pants holder completely. I moved the clothes bar back 6", so that we can still hang things flat behind the shoe racks if we want (remember that the shoe cabinet was only 2/3 depth). Both Kevin and I have put our shoes in the cabinet (along with our ski boot bags), so I was able to move my hanging canvas shelves down to the lower bar, where they’re less noticeable. And now the room is so much better! And, SO much lighter – I didn’t realize how much moving the mirror would brighten things.

Also, we now have a 20" x 42" corner next to the door with nothing in it. We were pleasantly/extremely surprised to find the wall behind the shoe cabinet in actually decent condition – we’ll still have to do some resurfacing and repainting, but it’s limited to a 6" band across the longer wall – really minor compared to expectations.

And now we get the fun of deciding what to put there – definitely something on the wall (maybe a mirror, maybe décor?), and then storage of some sort. With perhaps a pretty vase on top. I’m leaning towards deep shelves that we can put baskets of things in. In any case, it will take a little while to raise funds and make decisions – I’m seeing lots of browsing Crate & Barrel and Etsy in my future... :-) Wish I could say I minded!

In other news, I’m investigating wheelbarrows and compost. I’ve found good leads on both fronts, but if you have any Seattle-area recommendations on what/where to buy (or not!), I’m all ears!


White on White

March 08, 2008

Before we’d even finished moving everything over from our apartment, I painted two walls in what’s now dubbed the “fish room”. Once you set up the tank, you can’t really move it, so to [revent some fishtank disaster I was up till 2:30 painting, it dried, and we stripped the blue tape as we were filling the tank.

The other half of the room has been partially taped, waiting to match, since the third week of October. Oops. When we realized we’d be replacing the window, I decided to wait a bit longer. But on Thursday, I finally got psyched up to finish. Here’s the room all taped (at 11 PM) – really the only way that you’ll be able to tell the progress of over-painting “Harsh, Ugly White” with “Vermont Cream” is for me to show you the blue tape lines.

... and :

... and :


Edging and painting took about three hours, and washing the brush and roller about another 30 min, so I was up past my bedtime for a work night. But it’s finally off the list. And I’m so, so happy about that. It kind of makes me want to finish the two master bedroom walls stat so that I can get that same feeling of accomplishment and happiness there.


Room layout -- rough draft v2

March 07, 2008

Once we had a rought draft via software, it amused me no end to use the couch cushions to sort out the particulars:

So much easier than heaving around the sofas!! Especially since Kevin and I have never mastered the art of the “team lift” – too many cooks. Such the perpetual first-borns.


Ready for a change!

March 05, 2008

We’ve just kept pushing back the carpet install date for the family room so that we could finish painting, but it’s finally here. Here are a few last pictures of the old Barber monstrosity for posterity.

Facing east:

Facing west:

Lucky we weren’t counting on hardwood floors to refinish – just ugly plywood sub floor! Though I guess for how cold this room is, carpet’s the way to go.

And then after:


Like the paint color? We're so happy with it. I can’t wait to get trim up, and the paint’s impossible to photograph (esp with a digital camera and nothing to really focus on), but we’re so pleased. Kevin keeps having his momentary “not dark enough” doubts, and I keep having my “too yellow/green/brown/dark/light” doubts depending on the sun and the time of day, but we both think on the whole it’s intriguing and perfect, and the colors work very well together. (phew.)

We're so pleased. Carpet was on Kevin's list from day one, but somehow I missed it at first. Apparently I was excited enough about the trim and appalled enough by the paint that I didn’t even notice the carpet, either during the initial home viewing or during the walkthrough. The carpet cleaners showed up at the same time we did for the initial viewing, so we know it was professionally cleaned. And beyond salvage. Once we knew that, we didn’t lay down sheets for the resulting drywall work and painting, but most of the stains that you see in the photographs were there before we started. What a mess.

The new carpet is SO cushy, soft and clean. We could write odes to it. We waited a day or two to move in the TV and couches. My great concern (already somewhat justified) is that we will avoid that room: pretty, new, expensive rug & couches = no use for fear of demolishing them. I’m forcing myself to settle in, but it’s so not the habit.


Feeling more like homeowners!

March 04, 2008

With Spring seeming like an ever-more-likely prospect, we decided to get our acts together and work on figuring out a lawnmower. Especially with only little teeny bits of lawn, we both like the idea of a reel mower. I was particularly enthusiastic, since they take up less space in the garage and you don’t have to worry about storing gas (two major advantages!!). Plus, I could see myself using a reel mower, whereas anything gas-powered would only belong to Kevin.

Seems like now must be the time to buy, since we found a great option on sale for $99 on Amazon, and free shipping! Nice! It arrived on Wednesday, and Kevin assembled it today. All of the online compaints that there were a million pieces turned out to be overdramatc. Six bolts, done. Then we took turns taking it out for a test run.

Kevin was laughing at me and my random walk style of mowing – no neat lines here, and it cuts faster if you attack the tall tufts from all angles. It’s perfect, and the yard looks so much shorter – actually even! I’ve never mowed before. It’s always been either my dad’s or my brother’s job. But I’m all excited about how easy and non-intimidating this is. It’s nice to have a 10 minute task outside when you get home from work (especially with daylight savings only a week away!)

PS. Like our gorgeous pink flowers? They keep getting showier. Here’s a closeup:

I still haven’t figured out what they are, but I’ve totally lost my resolve on tearing them out. Too pretty, especially for the end of February when you need the color.

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Squeaky clean

March 03, 2008

Kevin washed the kitchen windows.

I can’t tell or convey how pretty and shiny they are – you’ll just have to imagine. So bright!! I’m thrilled.

In forever “one forward, one back” mode, the window pane that we were hoping was just dirty is definitely failed (that opaque one at the far upper right). We got a quote for doing the whole huge garden window at the same time that we did the rest of them , but it was enormous ($10K++. gah.) I’m still not clear what this window’s failure means. The ones in the family room, we replaced because they were actively leaking copius amounts of water into the family room. If this one is just foggy (as opposed to actively raining ruin on our home), we might ignore it for a bit?



March 02, 2008

I took a few pictures of the new crocuses in the morning before work!

Good thing, too, because by the evening they were gone, again. :-( Nibbled down to the quick, with only a few stubby leaves and flower debris remaining. I wonder which creature is eating them. We have a million squirrels, I’ve seen a few rabbits, and Kevin’s seen a cat. My money’s on the rabbit. I wish it would stop.

I found more buds out front, so I’ll have to be eagle-eyed, and more blooms, this time in one of my planters!

Hopefully these ones will be spared for a few days.


Friday night

March 01, 2008

Dinner made, eaten and cleared, finishing a bottle of wine, talking to Kevin about his career ideas, and working on the side seams for Isabella...

A great evening. :-)


Finally blocking something!

Progress on the Isabella! Knitting finished, shoulder seams and picot edges sewn, and now it’s blocking!!

With everything else going on, I’ve really missed knitting – this has been a treat to work on. And I was watching Netflick documentaries on my computer while sewing the picot hem at the bottom, so I’m not sure precisely how long it took, but I’m a huge fan. So lovely.