The Bathroom


Well, its even harder to get good pictures of a small bathroom than it was to get good pictures of the kitchen. But I wanted to share it with you because I think it is so pretty. I wanted a separate shower and bathtub, because all I’ve ever had was the small bathtub with a shower in it, and always had to use a shower curtain, which I was really tired of. Even with all the renovation, we still had a limited amount of space, since we were moving the laundry room inside the house. J. the contractor came up with the plan for this, with a separate “privacy” area for the toilet. I don’t really need the privacy area, but it sure is nice to take a bath without having to look at the toilet right next to the tub 🙂


I really liked the color of pale coral-pink that we came up with for my bedroom, so I decided to use that for the bathroom. It looks a little brighter than the bedroom since it is gloss paint. At first, I was like, “Oh no, what have I done. Its very pink!” But now with the mostly white tiles and decor in there, I think it is just right.

I got a little thrifty when I went shopping for the bathroom tiles. The floor tiles are marble, but were only $2/SF at Lowe’s. They were one of the very first things I picked out, because they were pink. At first I was going to use them for the shower and tub surround. But then I asked if it would be okay to use them on the floor. That turned out to be a better use for them. J. came up with the idea to cut and polish them to make floorboard trim.

Wow, this next pictures shows a LOT of the decisions/choices that I had to make! I found the large tiles for the vanity countertop on sale for 70 cents each–ten of them was more than enough! The wave tiles were used for the backsplash. I found the framed mirror at Home Goods, and I came home and painted it myself! The framed picture is a giclee print by a local well-known watercolor artist. I really like it in the bathroom (originally bought it for the kitchen!) and that is where I got the idea for dark blue towels. The cabinet was made by the same cabinet maker that made the kitchen cabinets. I asked if he could do the bathroom in maple, and he very nicely did it for the same price as the knotty alder. He did the vanity as well as an over-the-toilet storage cabinet.



I bought enough of the “wave” tiles for an accent in the shower and around the tub, and then bought a lot of subway tiles that were on sale. At the last minute, I decided to go back to Lowe’s and get all “wave” tiles for the shower. I’m glad I did that. Thursday the VERY EXPENSIVE SHOWER DOOR was installed, and I got to take my first shower last night!


J. asked if I wanted a little built-in indentation in the shower for supplies, and I was very excited about that. I asked if he could do the same thing in the tub. So much nicer than having all my stuff balanced on the edge of the tub.


He also asked if I wanted a medicine cabinet. “No! I do not like medicine cabinets!” So he just said he would frame that in, just in case I ever decided I wanted one. Well, before all was said and done, I saw a simple one at Lowe’s and changed my mind. Very nice for keeping clutter off the counter.


My neighbor came over today with “housewarming” gifts. How thoughtful! Some blue stuff for the kitchen,


And some pink stuff for the bathroom (bath salts and soap.)


I love the bathroom, and do feel like a princess in it. I realize it wouldn’t work for most of you with husbands, but lucky for me, I do not have one of those 🙂

The Kitchen

Friday was a big day. J. the contractor was here all day, putting finishing touches everywhere! It was basically his last day, but he will be here Monday just doing a few more outside jobs, like wrapping the pipes and other stuff I don’t know about. I feel sad and glad at the same time. He has been here almost every day for the past three months, many weeks only taking Sunday off. I will be glad that I don’t have to worry about getting dressed and ready for someone to arrive, but I know I will miss the activity and excitement of the “next new thing,” and his cheerful presence, always ready with a quiet “hello Noah.”

Anyway, at long last, here is the finished kitchen. Oh, but wait, first I have to show you a couple of pictures of the old kitchen. This is the kitchen that I cooked and created in for the past 28 years. The entire kitchen was 6 feet by 8 feet. The open floor area was probably about 2 1/2 X 5 feet.

This shot is from the living room, and you can see into the kitchen and the bathroom. Yes, the refrigerator just kind of stuck out like that, and it was parked in front of the door that went nowhere.


Here is the old kitchen after I cleaned it up! The entire counter space was just always filled up like that. I did all my food prep work on the pull out cutting board.


And here is the new kitchen. (Its really hard to get good perspective shots of a room. I now really admire the people who are able to do that.) For those of you who have been following this year long adventure, you probably know this–But my original intention was to only add on the studio and mudroom. And then I saw some beautiful wooden cabinets in Noah’s trainer’s kitchen… and that was the start of this whole process.

I saw a blue island in some magazine, and I really wanted that. I am searching for a few blue accent pieces to add to the kitchen. I found the plaque that says “i tuning you out” at a store on my recent trip to Lake Tahoe. PERFECT for The Queen. The cabinets are knotty alder. I fought the recessed lighting, but now I love it so much! And I like my hanging lamps over the island too. They were on sale at Lowe’s.


To the left. Oh, I found the butcher block top for the island online at a place in Ohio. I ordered it there because they were the only place that had knotty alder butcher blocks! You can see the edge of the refrigerator. After I got over my disappointment, I am VERY happy that I have a refrigerator with the door opening in this direction, instead of having to take two steps to the left to get into a side-by-side.


To the right. We used the backdoor from the studio (which got eliminated–the kitchen shares a wall with the studio,) for the kitchen. It lets in lots of light, and it has a shade enclosed in the glass. Which I have to close in the morning and the evening. Otherwise, Noah keeps watch there. (“There must be something out there I need to bark about.”)

The white door is a little pantry (which still needs shelves,) and the wood door is a little broom closet!


And this photograph?? It is from our very own Lori! I saw it on her blog and just loved it. I asked her if I could possibly get a copy of it, and she very nicely emailed it to me. I got it enlarged on Snapfish, and then had it framed about a week ago.


Here are some of the really fun things I got to go in the cabinets. A spice drawer! LOVE this. So much better than ruffling through the cupboard that I can barely reach anyway, and knocking over half the spices before I find the one I want. And see that Garam Masalla there? Yep, Lori sent that to me as a “housewarming” present. She remembered that I had mentioned that I was not able to find it out here. I am actually going to try a recipe using it tonight!


The corner cupboards are pretty deep. The cabinet guy suggested Lazy Susan’s in both upper and lower cabinets.



These two tier organizing trays are pretty nice too.


This is just a shot of the granite countertop. The granite was a good buy, IMO, from a place called Granite Outlet.


Here is a shot of the backsplash. Those tiles were on sale at Lowe’s.


I think most people are familiar with these, but they were new to me. Oh, how nice to have a place to keep the garbage away from the dogs! (and a place for the ever-present collection of diet soda cans 🙂 )


And this baby? Oh I am very pleased with myself on this one! I am using it for dog food! The lid closes when you close the cupboard door. It is right under the sink, which of course is where I prepare their food twice a day. All of the cabinet gadgets are from a company called Rev-a-Shelf.


The floor, in case you are wondering, was one of the pricier investments… Its vinyl tile, but very thick (so says J. the contractor.) It wasn’t my intention, but it definitely does not show the dirt!

The kitchen sink is HUGE, and white. Its cast iron, and I also got a bargain on it (after choosing several other sinks that either would not work or were not available.) I feel a lot of pressure to keep it clean 🙂 The faucet was one of the first things I picked out. It sure was fun to see it go in place.


I have been bringing stuff in from the storage shed one box at a time, running them through the dishwasher, and then finding places to put everything. Gotta admit, its fun having a dishwasher too. Everything comes out so Sparkly and Squeaky Clean!

I can’t end without mentioning Shelley again, who was ever-present via text messaging for consultations and confidence building. Sometimes I needed an opinion or advice, and sometimes I just needed someone to say, “yeah, that looks right!” Thank you again, Shelley. Other IRL friends helped with ideas and decorating advice. My BFF listened to me prattle on endlessly about the construction and decision-making on almost a daily basis. My rug-hooking friend back in Chicago who is an interior decorator also had some good advice for me. Thank you to everyone!

I want to mention one other thing. I don’t know if people are wondering about this or not, but feel like I should say something. When I did the studio and the mudroom, I used money that I had saved for ten years, specifically for the hope of adding on a studio. When the idea for the kitchen add-on and other renovation came up, I thought long and hard about that. I had some money I had inherited from my dad. Was this the wisest use of that money? In the end, I decided that it was a good investment, because if I was ever going to move, my house was not worth much as it was. I wanted to mention this because I have strong feelings (from personal experience) that going into debt for almost anything is not  wise. And of course it goes without saying, that although I am grateful for the money we received from my dad, I would gladly cook in that little kitchen in exchange for more time with my dad. I like to think that this project is something that he very much would have approved of, and would have enjoyed watching.

Thus ends the tale of the kitchen. If you have lasted this far, thank you for reading along. It has been an adventure, and you can be sure it is an adventure that you won’t hear about again!


A few sights from the weekend:

A late poppy–especially brilliant in the fall light.


First cup of coffee fixed in the new kitchen:


First baking excursion in the new kitchen:


Debby does home improvements! (Putting polyurethane on the underside of the butcher block top for the island.)

DSCN2168A completely clean studio (look quick!)


Sleeping beauties.


Lots of good stuff happening around here now. I hope to have COMPLETELY finished rooms to show you by next week. Keep your fingers crossed for me 🙂


The Return of Civilization

Hip Hip Hooray!!! There is water in the house. There is a kitchen sink where I can wash a tomato without running outside.



There is a dishwasher. The blue bucket has been officially retired!



There is a bathroom sink. I can wash my hands without bending down to use the bathtub spout. And I can brush my teeth and wash my face just like the real people do!


I celebrated by having a simple but delicious dinner. Salmon burger with tomato and lettuce. And an apple from my trip to Apple Hill.



I washed the tomato and apple in the kitchen sink.  And afterward I washed the pan and my dinner plate in the dishwasher.

Apple Stuff

Today was fun. Full of good feelings. Totally made up for yesterday’s disappointment and discouragement.

I set off in the morning for Lowe’s in Sacramento (we have a Lowe’s locally but they don’t have as much as the store in the Big City.) Lowes is my home away from home now. I feel very comfortable in Lowes, and in fact, I can find a lot of stuff in there that their own employees can’t find 🙂 They should hire me.

Anyway, I had decided to change the tile for my shower (remember, I was being extra thrifty the day I shopped for bathroom tiles.) So I got those tiles and then headed up the hill to Apple Hill. I’ve been champing at the bit to go to Apple Hill. Its just a fun place to visit, its beautiful up there this time of year, and hello? Apple Pie!…

Got my fix of beautiful fall color!

Got my fix of beautiful fall color!

I had the idea to buy my favorite apple pies to give to some of the people who have really helped me a lot during this renovation. Also, I wanted to try an apple donut. Several of you talk about them, and I’ve never gotten one, if you can believe it. They look so plain… So that was my first stop. And you guys are right. SO yummy. It wasn’t really apple-y enough for me. I think I need to teach them how much apple you can actually add to a baked recipe.

Next stop was my favorite produce stand. They have apples plus.


What? Do you think that’s a lot of produce for one girl? It was such a bargain, I couldn’t resist! Those boxes  (tomatoes, little sweet potatoes, and Pink Lady apples) were only $1.99 each.

And then it was on to find my pies! I picked up the map of Apple Hill, and I noticed that the farm I wanted to get this pie from was not listed. Uh oh. So I drove a different way, and I stopped at one small farm to see what they had, and to ask if they knew if this other farm was still in business. Well, they didn’t know about the other farm, but THEY had the kind of pie I was looking for–Apple Blackberry Sourcream Pie. I tasted a sample, and that was it–just as good as the original. Got my pies and set off for home.

It was so fun to give a pie to Debbie, my “babysitter,” and to J. the contractor, and then to MLG, who very kindly came over at the end of a hard workday to help set the sink. I have another pie to give to Noah’s trainer, who volunteered to keep Noah an extra week (she actually said I was doing her a favor–he has a girlfriend there that he was keeping company.) SO FUN. You can tell that I still love good food, and sharing that good food with others is something I really enjoy.

BTW, the name of that pie might sound familiar, because I figured out how to make a lower calorie healthified version of it–my Apple Blackberry Sourcream Pie in a Bowl. Check it out. Its a really tasty treat.

And lastly, I have PJ to thank for this recipe. She changed up a recipe she had found on the internet, and I used her version and changed it up just a little bit. I had never made or eaten a baked apple in my life, if you can believe it. I made it before I went to Apple Hill, and honestly its as good as the apple pie I had today. Its Crockpot Baked Apples!


And that’s the way its going around here today. It looks like I might have a couple of real sinks by the end of tomorrow! I won’t know what to do with myself!

The Most Disappointing Day

The big day had finally arrived! The day I was looking forward to almost more than any other day. The appliances would be delivered, and I was most of all excited about getting the new side by side refrigerator/freezer. With an ice maker and filtered water that would come out of the door!

The boys arrived with their delivery, and as I usually do, I tried to stay out of their way by working in my studio. When they said they were ready for me to transfer my food from my old refrigerator, I came around the corner to see my bright shiny new refrigerator. Oh, it was pretty! First I transferred the food from the refrigerator. Then I got to transferring the food from the freezer. What the what??? Because the unit was put in place against a wall, the freezer door would not open all the way. You all know how I love my batch cooking and baking and having my supply of individually portioned frozen foods at the ready. The freezer was the thing I was absolutely the most excited about. And I could hardly get into it. I said something to the delivery boys, and they nodded in sympathy and said, “yeah, that’s what happens when you put it against the wall,” like that was what a lot of people had to deal with. So I paid them and said good bye to my old refrigerator (which, by the way, there was basically nothing wrong with, which compounded my feeling of misery “what have I done?”)

I waited for J. the contractor to return from lunch, and sent a quick text to Shelley “I’m right to be upset, right?” And I told poor J. as he walked in the door “I am so unhappy.” 

Long story short, I called the local appliance store, where the owner reassured me, “come on in, we’ll make this right.” I did go in, and all that will fit in my space is a very plain freezer on bottom type. No fancy water in the door. He will install an ice maker in there, which, I’m not sure how much ice I need, since I usually keep one tray for about a month…

It all made me sad and sorry for myself. It just proves that I still have a small kitchen. Adding to that was that it wasn’t much of a change from my old fridge. Why was I spending this much money??

And then I did what I always do. “Think about those less fortunate than you.” “I don’t want to think about those people.” “How silly to be upset over a new freezer in a new kitchen. How spoiled are you?” All these thoughts and more swirled in my head.

I talked to J. about a different little issue in the bathroom. “I know,” he said. And he explained how he would fix it, and then said “and there’s no extra charge for that.” That made me laugh so hard. It started a crack in my pity party.

And then I did think about my friends in Haiti. How Pastor Gilbert LOVES ice cream. So the first time we went to Haiti, we bought some ice cream and brought it back and put it in his freezer. And how the next day, it was soup, because, yeah, they don’t have electricity all the time. And that’s just the way it is.

And then I thought about a line my pastor said on Sunday that had made me laugh at the time, and here it was–application for me. He was talking about how God had rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, and when things got a little rough in the wilderness, they whined, “we should go back. They had better fish there.” It made me laugh Sunday, but it made me laugh even more at myself today.

I am thinking tonight about all the things I am so grateful for. Shelley has held my hand via text almost all the way through this. J. the contractor is always patient and kind and does beautiful work. MLG has helped in several of the moving heavy objects kind of things, and in fact is coming tomorrow to help set the very heavy sink.

Shelley says I have “short-timer’s syndrome,” and I think she’s right. I’m so tired of wandering around looking for stuff, and tired of having to go to the bathtub to wash my hands or brush my teeth. Tonight the little dogs had to wait half an hour for their dinner while I looked and looked for their dog food bowls. But you know, in the light of all that’s truly important in this world… no words necessary.



What Does a Quilter Do When She’s Too Tired to Do Anything Else?

She knits, of course! I had all but given up knitting, but spurred on by Shelley’s magnificent knitting, I took it back up again. And of course, Shelley and I have gotten together several times in the past few years, and each trip has included the prerequisite visit to THE YARN STORE.

This meant that I had quite a few skeins of beautiful yarn accumulated, and I always bought enough to knit a scarf or a shawlette–nice easy projects that don’t require a ton of thought.

Each time I finished one, I threw it in the quilting studio closet, anxious to start the next! fun! project!

And then the other day, Shelley asked me about some of them…Oh, I know, I said, I’ll block all of them today! so I can take pictures of them and do a blog post…

Oh my oh my. I’m here to tell you–do not do that to yourself. An entire day and thousands of pins later, I finally had 6 projects blocked. I swore to Shelley that I solemnly promised to block each future project as soon as I finished it!

Anyway, here are the six scarves and shawlettes. They are so much prettier when they are blocked, and now I have six nice presents waiting in the closet.

I think I found all of these patterns (with Shelley’s help) on Ravelry. This one is called Summer Flies.


The ruffly one–I can’t remember what its name is. It starts out with over 600 stitches on the needles, and then you gradually decrease and knit the center part, and then you start increasing again for the ruffle on the other side. And the coral/gold/green scarf is made of yarn I spun myself, and a pattern I made up myself.


This one is called Calais Shawl.


Close up of the pretty lace pattern.


This one is called Citron.


And this one is called Dangling Conversation. It is quite dangly–appropriately named!


You should be able to find the patterns by clicking on the link to each one. Some of them are even free patterns!

And now if you’ll excuse me, I have a new! fun! project! to get to work on!