Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Including The Kitchen Sink

I have been changing a few things around the old homestead (not so old really, Tradewinds will be seven years old in May...maybe I have a seven-year-decorating-itch I need to scratch).

I recently redid Yam's bedroom, making it a guest room and I put new slipcovers on my living room furniture.

My most recent change to the house took place over the long MLK weekend. The Colonel and I asked his parents and visiting sister to assist us in putting our new sink in. We bribed them with delicious Chinese food (really no bribing was needed to gain their assistance).

I had been wanting a new sink for some time now and about three weeks ago we finally ordered one from The Home Depot. This time I wanted a stainless steel sink.

This is my old sink.

When The Colonel and I built our house we both loved the look of the white sink. It looked like an old fashioned sink and it went well with the subway tile back splash we chose.

What I didn't love was the way the sink didn't stand up to time and use gracefully. The sink had several tiny scratches on the bottom and these scratches became stained by the years of leftover tea and coffee that was tossed into the sink.

No matter how much Comet I used in tandem with Mr. Clean's Magic Erasers I could never get out the stains. My white sink looked perpetually dirty.

I had had enough and that is what prompted me to get my new stainless steel sink.

I am grateful that The Colonel's family helped us put in the new sink. It was a bit more involved than we were expecting. It seems that the plumber who put the sink in nearly seven years ago put some of the pipes in crooked and we had to replace some of them.

The Colonel and My-Favorite-Father-In-Law made sure the water was off and then proceeded to disconnect the lines and garbage disposal. When all was disconnected it was time to remove the sink.

The counter top sure looked odd without the sink.

Darling-Sister-In-Law cleaned off the old caulk on the granite counter top as The Colonel and his father got the new sink ready for installation.

The Colonel dry-fit the sink and discovered that it needed a few tweaks before it could be completely installed. He and his father crimped one of the side flanges on the underside of the sink's edge.

We also experienced a few water leaks that had Darling-Sister-In-Law bailing water from a bowl. She had to make a little foil funnel to ensure the water made it to the bowl.

Finally, the sink was sized, new caulk was applied to the counter top and the water problem addressed. It was time to put the new sink in.


I love my new sink (and faucet set). My sink now matches my stainless steel appliances. I think I will really like the stainless part of my new sink.

We had another little helper in the kitchen...

Luna also liked checking out the old sink once it was placed on the back porch by The Colonel.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Admiral (Not The Colonel)

One of my Christmas gifts from The Colonel is something we both look at every day...My Admiral Fitzroy Storm Glass.

The Storm Glass Barometer came into general use in the early 1700s. Sailors would attach the instrument to the mast of their ship and by the interpretation of the ever changing crystal formations, relied upon it to forecast the weather at sea.
Admiral Robert Fitzroy (1805-1865), as commander of the HMS Beagle, participated in Charles Darwin's expedition (1834-1836), and conducted a detailed study of the Storm Glass Barometer. He refined the chemical formulation and published these observational guidelines:
Clear Liquid - bright and clear weather
Cloudy Liquid sometimes with small stars and crystals at the top - cloudy weather and often predicts coming thunderstorm or rain
Small Dots in the Liquid - humid or foggy weather
Large Flaky Crystals - cloudy skies, snow in winter
Threads of Crystals at the top - windy weather
Crystals at the Bottom - frost may be coming
Fitzroy (as The Colonel and I call the Storm Glass Barometer) has large, flaky crystal formations currently. This would indicate cloudy skies.

Fitzroy is correct, as this is what it looks like outside my door as I write this post.
How the storm glass really works is a mystery, but it is believed that electromagnetic changes in weather patterns activate the crystals inside. The sealed glass tube fills with crystals when the air pressure decreases.
I do not wish to know all of the details of Fitzroy's mysterious inner workings...I just enjoy observing the changes in the crystal formations and seeing if they reflect what the weather is like outside my door.
(Fitzroy must not be placed in a hot, sunny window or in a cold, drafty location. It works best between 41 and 86 degrees. Fitzroy must also be handled with care and kept out of reach of children. The liquid inside is flammable. The liquid contains camphor, distilled water, ethanol and other trace elements).

Friday, January 3, 2014

A New Look For a New Year

The couch and chair in my living room are comfortable. When I bought them nearly seven years ago the salesperson told me that the material would not wear as well or as long as I might want it to. I took her comment into consideration, but liked the color and bought the furniture anyway.

She was correct. Our family of four put the material to the test. Eventually the material faded and had a few stubborn stains (insert a little buyer's remorse here).

I did not want the hassle (financial or otherwise) to have the furniture recovered so I went the easier route and bought some slipcovers. I went with a denim look.

The slipcovers lasted for a few years and several washings. Just within the past two to three months the denim slipcover on the couch was wearing thin in areas (and I could only use so many iron-on patches to keep it together).

I was seriously thinking of finally getting the couch and chair recovered or buying new furniture altogether but once again I did not want the hassle of putting either enterprise into action. So, back to the slipcover option. This time I stayed away from anything blue. I wanted something lighter, something with a Coastal Living look.

When my new slipcovers were delivered, I immediately stripped the old ones off and replaced them with the new. I then hopped in my car to go to Bed, Bath and Beyond to search for new pillow covers.

I did not find any pillow covers that would work well with the new slipcovers so I bought new pillows. This is the new look of my couch and chair. I think I achieved the Coastal Living look I was going for.



Maybe by the time these slipcovers have worn out I will have the desire to get the furniture recovered or buy new furniture but I don't even want to think about that right now.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Room With a Redo

When we moved into our custom built home, Tradewinds, almost seven years ago (come May), Yam and Spud were allowed to pick out the color of paint for their bedroom walls. We used Sherwin Williams paint. Yam picked Baize Green and Spud picked out Blonde.

Yam graduated from college in May of last year and by November she found employment and moved into her own apartment in a nearby city. We miss having Yam here but The Colonel and I are very proud of her and happy for her. It was sad to see her room being emptied of most of her things (her bookshelf is still full of her books and her closet still has a few things left in it).

I took an afternoon to clear a few more remaining items out of the room, dust, vacuum, patch small holes and touch up the paint where needed. Now I had a blank slate to work with. Yam's paint color choice back in 2007 lent itself nicely to what I had in mind for the room...something tropical.

I wanted to keep Yam's old room as a bedroom. The Colonel and I went mattress shopping and ended up buying a queen sized mattress (Yam took her bed with her). Next we looked for new bedding (keeping the Baize Green color in mind) and found the perfect bedding and it was all 50% off!

We had the new mattress and time for a new headboard. The Colonel wanted to build the headboard. He had one in mind. He wanted to use an old door to fabricate the headboard. We went to the Habitat for Humanity retail store and found a louvered door and the price was right. Once The Colonel had the new headboard built we painted it an antique white. It turned out beautifully!

I had an old lamp about the house that would complement the new bedding's palm tree design very nicely.

I slept in the new bed one night to see how it felt. I slept well. The Colonel has yet to try it for a night. Yam slept on the bed while she spent the night on Christmas Eve. She said it was not soft enough for her.

It seems like just yesterday I was buying bedding for Yam's crib and decorating the nursery.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014