Tag: kitchen remodel

last day~first coat

last day~first coat

well today is finally the last day that i will be applying the first coat of paint on the outside of our house. what a summer it's been. so rewarding and challenging. we are not nearly close to the much to do still but at least we won't have to look at a house with three colors (old, new, primer) anymore!!!

this is where i started from this morning
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amazing what a little brush and paint can do!

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here's the reward!

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i loved the summer office before but today it seems that much more beautiful and satisfying!

for the record it's beer:thirty where our katie...cheers to you katie and happy birthday week!

I love being up on the roof to paint...the view is so amazing!

I love being up on the roof to paint...the view is so amazing!

image from

sunshine and happiness

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exterior house painting prep

exterior house painting prep

we closed on our house three years ago in march. we spent several months stripping wallpaper, pulling up carpet and flooring, cleaning, painting and stripping out some of the kitchen. then last summer we finally decided that we were ready to begin the structural work that needed to be done. we hired our amazingly talented friend tom johnson to design our new kitchen and he hired his fabulous builders to do the construction.

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we finished construction last october. i began some of the painting/priming on the new exterior last fall and I have begun again now that the weather is more consistent here.

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our entire house and garage have been waiting to be painted since before we moved in. last week i began power washing the garage. my husband and i have had great concerns about lead paint. when we were living in our last house which was 100 years old we had a lead expert come and do an evaluation for us. he was a wealth of knowledge and he was very generous with his time and expertise. we are still a little over the top when it comes to the lead paint removal and containment.

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when i first began the power wash we were concerned with all the paint coming off the garage. my husband suggested that I put down a canvas to catch the paint chips. i thought that might be a disaster given that we are still working on growing a lawn since we did the re-grading in our back yard. i thought maybe if i bought some screen material that might work to catch the paint and let the water through. it really did a great job. i bought a 25b x 72b roll of synthetic screen and laid it under where i was to spray. it caught most of the paint. i then i folded it over a few times and laid it on the driveway with a few rocks to hold the ends down so that it would dry. i dumped the paint flakes in a bag after a few hours and wow! this was very effective. please be sure to wear a hepa mask when dumping the paint and/or try to cover it as you dump the best you can, adults can get lead poisoning too. also wash clothing separate from family laundry.

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~sunshine and happiness

getting the lead out of your home safely

getting the lead out of your home safely

i love all these photos that i see on so many blogs and in magazines with the beautiful distressed paint on old or old looking furniture but it makes me very concerned. i'm all about saving the old but want to make sure that it is done safely. i worry so much about kids and adults being around potential chipping and dusting lead paint. lead poisoning is too common and very scary.

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if you live in a house built before 1978 or purchase painted furniture that you believe has been painted before 1978 you should assume that it has lead paint and take these precautions.

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first try to find someone to come and test your house for lead paint. It costs a few hundred dollars but it's so worth the money. the man that came to our house did swab testing and sent the dust samples to a lab. he also took some paint chips and also sent them to a lab. he did soil samples, sent them to a lab and water samples also to make sure there was no lead in our pipes. he also had this gun that he could point at painted areas and tell us if they had lead paint. this was amazing. i had him check several of our dressers that i was unsure of their age. he was really a wealth of information. we were really lucky to have someone who was so passionate about helping people find all the lead in their house and help them control the impact.

this website seems to have very good information. self help, inc. lead abatement program this website also seems to have good information on home lead testing from the minnesota department of healthhere are the risk factors for lead poisoning from the mayo clinic here are some of the complications that can arise from lead poisoning from the mayo clinic

here are some other tips that our lead inspector gave us:

lead is usually released in location where you have chipping paint or where to painted surfaces rub. so windows and doors and painted drawers are especially vulnerable. we had some windows in our old house that were near where are daughter played that we chose to never open for this reason.

have your children tested annually. our inspector has been working very closely with a pediatrician in our area and he told us that the government acceptable level is anything under 10 micrograms (a microgram is one-millionth of a gram) in a deciliter (1/2 cup) of blood b can cause damage over time, especially in children. he let us know that they keep moving the number down, he believes that very soon it will be moved to 5 and his belief is that is where it really should be.

he also let us know that when having kids tested it was best to have the blood sample come from their arm if possible. sometimes it is hard to get a clear reading from a blood draw from a finger.

children and pregnant women should not be in the house when you are working on the lead abatement.

you must always do the cleanup with soap and water. we would often clean our work space several times with soap and water (changing the soap and water often) to make sure that we were getting all of the lead dust.

never dry sand any paint that has lead or chance of lead, always wet sand there are these great sanding sponges that we use all the time and wear a hepa filtered mask~we purchased a few respriators they weren't real expensive, considering we have been working on the house for 3 years we would have spent a fortune in dust masks without the same protection or comfort.

always vacuum with a hepa filter.

lead dust is heavy and falls rather quickly. this is good to know that it isn't like drywall dust that takes a long time to settle. i'm not sure how long you need to wait to do clean up, but not as long as with drywall dust.

we had a window seat where are daughter played that had lead paint on it, our inspector suggested that we paint over it again to cover the lead and then also cover that with contact paper so that we would not have any paint chipping.

our inspector noted that we had paint in our basement. His suggestion was that we never have our daughter down there and that we have specific shoes that we wore down there and left them out of our living space.

one thing that our pediatrician suggested is that you should never use hot water from the tap for cooking because if you do have any lead in your pipes it would come out with the hot water vs. the cold.

sorry to welcome some of you to our world of lead neuroses. i really felt that i needed to share my information. i am not a lead specialist. please contact a professional and/or consult the links that i have included for more information. my list is just a suggestion of some additional precautions that you might take when considering lead abatement in your home. lead poisoning is very scary and serious. please take time to make sure that your family is safe.

hope this helps raise your awareness.

be well.

wonderful 1st spring weekend

wonderful 1st spring weekend

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thursday night we took the kids to dinner and belly dancing

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friday night we had my aunt over for homemade pizza friday and played some high stakes euchre check out the sweet breast cancer playing cards by bicycle.

the 1st day of spring was so wonderful.3-21-2010 n 016

we had beautiful weather here which was so excited especially since rain was predicted.

my daughter and her friend were out most of the day playing harry potter making potions and casting spells.

later they went to an egg hunt to celebrate the spring equinox, that is going to have its own post.

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i was trilled to work in the yard. after the construction here last year we did not have much chance to work in the yard. we had some grass seed sprayed, but as you can see we are going to need more seed this year. we did have the whole back yard regraded last summer and a french drain installed so we don't have our typical lake in the back yet.

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i'm on a search for good non-gmo popcorn. i found this amish grown red and blue popcorn. i thought it was really tasty a bit firmer popped (which i really like) and fewer hulls to get stuck in your teeth and throat. the yellow is the jarred non-gmo that you can find at the grocery store.

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this is a shot of saturday evening a new egg laying bunny, guiness and harry potter 7.

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here's my girl coloring and listening to harry potter while keeping warm on the floor vent, it was cooler here today. let's just say most of sunday was devoted to harry potter 7...we're so close to the end, in the last 100 pages.
sunlight and new soup for dinner

sunlight and new soup for dinner

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how exciting to have sun tonight at dinner, i love daylight savings in the evening. even more exciting since our kitchen has southwestern exposure and lots of windows now! please forgive this photo, you will get the idea though.

it looks like it might be sunny the next few days and incredibly i do believe that the regrading that was done when we did the addition may keep what is usually lake branch out of our back yard this spring. we may even get some more grass seed down this week.

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i found a few new soup recipes to try. my sweets really prefer broth based soups. tonight's was surprisingly a huge hit. the recipe is modified from the american medical association diabetes cookbook

red lentil soup

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 shallot minced

2 cloves of garlic minced

2 tsp curry powder

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

5 cups chicken or veggie broth

3/4 cup dry red lentils

bunch of escarole chopped (any hearty bitter green will do)

non-fat plain yogurt to finish

chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

cayenne and black pepper to taste

-heat oil, add garlic and onion, cook gently until soft. add curry powder and cardamom, stir and cover for about 1 minute.

-add broth and lentils. bring to a boil. lower heat and simmer uncovered until lentils are soft. about 20 minutes.

-add escarole, stir and cook until greens are tender. serve with a dollop of yogurt and fresh cilantro. finish with a little cayenne pepper and black pepper.


books to inspire creativity

we spend so much time at the library and on-line looking for new books. as i have mentioned before we love to read. lately we have been looking at books to help us find new things to create and some of our favorite books from the past. here are a few.

joseph had a little overcoat by simms tabak

our dear friends gave this book to helen for her 2nd or 3rd birthday. it has beautiful, colorful illustrations that make you want to find all the colored pencils and print intensive magazines and collage all day. the story also reminds to continue to of my favorite lessons to share.

the quiltmaker's gift by jeff brumbeau and gail de marcken

also a christmas gift when she was very small. this book has beautiful illustrations a great story of a woman who makes the most beautiful quilts for those in need and how a king in his desire for the one possession that he cannot acquire learns where true happiness comes from.

the paper princess by elisa kleven

we found this book at the library it was our first introduction to elisa kleven. we have given this book for countless gifts. we love the illustrations and collage. the story is very sweet to. a girl creates a doll out of paper and it flies away and the paper princess tries through her adventures to return to the girl who created her.

the apple doll also by elisa kleven

story about a little girl who makes a doll out of an apple to come with her on her first day of school. the kids at school make fun of her, but in the end they all learn how to make the doll. very sweet story. directions to make the doll included.

the wheat doll by alison l. randall ; illustrated by bill farnsworth

we found this book at the library. sweet story about a pioneer girl that loses her best friend, a doll made from wheat in a storm. the mud near where she lost the doll begins to sprout wheat, she cares for the wheat and makes another doll. we read this over the summer and plan to use some of the cedar chip stash that we have from the addition to make a doll. we have also been wanting to make some sachets for valentine's day (given that the moth's think my sweaters are the tastiest in the house) the cedar just smells so yummy and looks so pretty most of it was from the plainer so it is shaved post to follow soon.

plaidypus lost by janet stevens and susan stevens crummel

this is one of those books that we read endlessly when helen was very small and i did not mind. the cadence still continues in my head whenever i hear platypus. this story was one of the reasons that i really wanted to take the create a character class from marisa haedike creator of creative thursday last year at the squam art workshop. we have wanted to create a sweet "plaidpus" from a few of the many plaid shirts that belonged to my father-in-law who helen sadly never had the chance to meet, but shares a birthday with.

mirabelle by astrid lindgren and pija lindenbaum

i feel so redundant but here is another great book about doll, this one grows from a seed (scary that the seed came to the little girl from a stranger when her parents were not home, i have always altered this while reading the book).

quick crochet huge hooks by sally harding - i have been taking this book out of the library every few months for over a year; i really want to make the rag rug out of fulled (the word used for repurposed wool sweaters that have been "felted" per my class at squam last year with the amazing betz white). i have been putting off the rug because i wanted to make it round and i was having trouble finding a book with good instructions on how to crochet in the round...i think that i finally found a few...details in another post. i decided to try to just crochet a rectangle or square rug for the first try.

a few cooking books too.

sweet pea loves her historic american girl dolls...i try not to do things that are typically so commercially driven, but i have found these dolls have much to offer in peaking greater interest in handmade and history. we now have molly from 1944 and kirsten from 1854, she is also fond of felicity from 1774. we have been getting many books from the library and the bookstore on these three characters. the most fun i think are the cookbooks, they offer recipes and history of how these girls would have cooked, what they would have cooked and how the family would share in the meal together.

last week we made a recipe from felicity's cookbook: a peek at dining in the past with meals you can cook today (american girls pastimes) we made almond tarts. it was fun to make, we both think that the recipe would be better with almond paste instead of the chopped almonds. also overload on the butter and i am typically with julia child when it comes to butter.

for christmas helen received molly's cooking studio. i think that we are going to try the applesauce cupcakes, the victory garden soup and the nut and raisin bread which seems similar to a recipe that my mother made at christmas time when i was a kid. she backed them in coffee cans then wrapped them in colored cellophane. i just always remembered how tasty they were and how pretty they looked.

she also received salad people by mollie katzen for her birthday and we did not have a kitchen at the time and now we do so we need to start some recipes from there. we have tried the recipe for chewy energy circles a few years ago when she took a food science course. they are quite yummy.

sun bread another book by elisa kleven i think that santa brought this book a year ago, but we did not have an oven, there were many gray days last winter when i thought a little sunshine bread would brighten up our day...we will be trying this on the next gray day. recipe for bread included.

one last book for today is everything on a waffle by polly horvath.

this is about a girl named primrose whose parents are lost at sea and everyone thinks that they have perished but primrose is certain they are trying to return to her. she befriends a women who owns the local restaurant called the girl in the swing (is that the greatest name for a restaurant) and she serves all of her meals on a waffle. very fun story with recipes interspersed in the story.

soulemama had a great post a few days ago about books her family loves to read in the winter, i am going to be spending some time looking them up tonight and i am sure having some that i cannot find at my library transferred over.

old kitchen

old kitchen

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we are getting ready for our kitchen construction to begin so i wanted to take some before pictures. its so funny i took this photo and uploaded it and thought this looks like such a pretty kitchen i think i am going to miss it. i have periods where i think this kitchen is ridiculously small but big families in europe and metropolitan cities can grow up in apartments much smaller than this house are we just being too greedy. then i tried to cook dinner and put away all the "stove pieces" and they would not stay on the overloaded shelf. i remembered why i am ready for a new kitchen with a stove and new fridge.

i needed to show some photos of what the kitchen looked like when we bought the house. we painted the whole house before we moved in just to make sure that we had any lead paint covered. we also pulled up the floors in the kitchen to remove the pet smell and had all the hardwood floors in the entire house refinished and some flooring replaced.

i need to do another post soon to show all the changes that have taken place.

trip to ikea

trip to ikea

Route 81N shot of return trip on route 81N

we drove down to new jersey to check out kitchen cupboards at ikea in paramus and visit our dear friends.

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at ikea you can plan your kitchen with these little block cabinets. so fun.

7-27-2009 nj ikea 013 so much great design. fun eye candy. felt so guilty there. it is obvious that you are cheating here. everything is ridiculously cheap. you know that it can't be right. i admit to large purchases.

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love the fabric

the best birthday.

the best birthday.

7-9-2009 052 the morning started with my loves loving me. what could be better than that?

family and friends were stopping in all day to help around the yard, bring me wishes and gifts and enjoy my favorite birthday dinner since i was little. my mother made me her yummy tomato sauce with spaghetti. we ended up with 12 of us. it was a beautiful evening and we set up the tables in the garden and enjoyed. our fabulous neighbors let us cook the pasta in her kitchen (often difficult to keep the water boiling on the hot plate).

great news on the kitchen front today. tom stopped by with the electrician and the excavator. looks like we are getting closer to a solution to the water in our yard.

tom also brought over some slate samples for the counter. andrew and i are not yet in agreement on the color choice. i don't think this will be a problem.