CATCHING UP

It’s been a while since I posted last.  Hectic doesn’t begin to describe it.  Kitchen finish, work-related deadlines, college graduations, and last – a blissful vacation week on Cape Cod in our new beachside condo, full of kayaking, golf, good food, and the active pursuit of doing absolutely nothing.  All in all too many things to accomplish, with too little time to document any of it.

But through it all, a modicum of sanity-preserving handwork has happened: three pairs of hand-knit socks (my default no-thinking project of choice); plus some others.

First, thanks to the generosity of Certain Enablers who shall remain unnamed – a vintage shrug.  I began working on this just before the vacation break.  On US #9 (5.5mm) needles, this one was a quick knit.  At left is the photo from the pattern.  At right is my piece.

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Those projections on the side are the sleeves.  Obviously, I haven’t seamed the thing up yet.  A bit of pretzel-type manipulation is slated to happen that will result in a T-shaped seam in the back, and the graceful drape of the simple drop-stitch rib pattern curving in the front.  Or so we hope.  I have the piece left on the needle because I haven’t decided yet on whether or not I will be doing some sort of live-stitch seam.  It’s hot and sticky right now – too hot to sit with this tub of alpaca boucle on my lap.  I’ll go back and finish this piece off when it cools off a bit.  I’ll have to rush though, so Target Recipient can take the completed garment off to university with her next month.

Second is also a time-linked project.  The first of two, in fact.  I am edging off the two inspirational samplers I did for the girls, backing them and readying them for simple rod type hanging.  Here’s the first.  I’m hand’ hemming the backing/edging cloth to the stitching ground.  The backing cloth is in one piece, strategically folded to be a self frame.  I’ll baste a length of chain threaded on some thin woven tape in the bottom fold to provide weight, and leave small gaps in the two top corners for insertion of the hanging rod:

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The second one will be close behind – the other sampler I did this fall/winter past.  Also finished out for hanging from a rod.  More on that after I’ve laid it out.  In fact, if folk are interested, I’ll use the second one to illustrate the folding and stitching logic required to do this.

And finally, just for fun with no deadline attached (so you know what I’ll be working on tomorrow evening), an Autumn Lace shawl out of some unknown Noro fingering weight yarn, augmented by some Noro Taiyo Sock.  The unknown Noro was also from the same Enabling Anonymous Donor, and was perfect for a project I’d been planning on working up for a long time:

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Here you see the first course of leaves (worked bottom half, then top half).  This is not a particularly difficult pattern, but it is an exacting one, with a pattern that has to be closely followed, and that is not within my capability to memorize.  More on this one as it develops.

THE BEACH PLACE

And now, a blatant advertisement from the Management of String.

WANT BEACH?  WE HAVE IT, AND YOU CAN STAY THERE.

Seriously – we are now the happy owners of a beachfront condo in North Truro, Cape Cod – just one shuttle bus stop away from the Provincetown line. Our newly renovated two-bedroom upstairs unit is available for week-long rentals for the balance of the summer and through into September/early October. 

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As you can see from this sand-side photo, the building is right on the beach, on the quiet bay side.  Our unit (indicated) has a covered private deck.  It sleeps six total, with two bedrooms (a queen size bed in each), plus a new queen-size sleeper sofa in the living room.  One bedroom has views of the bay beach, the other looks out on Pilgrim Lake.

It comes with a full, new kitchen, including a four-burner stove, oven, dishwasher, full size fridge, plus coffeemaker, blender and toaster.  There’s a full bathroom with both a stall shower and whirlpool tub; and an in-unit washing machine and dryer.

The great room has an eat-in table that seats a cozy six, and the aforementioned sofa in a comfy seating overlooking the bay.  The unit is also air conditioned, with WiFi and cable TV (including HBO) in the living room, and additional flat screen cable TVs in both bedrooms.

Outdoor amenities include full access to the private beach; two numbered, reserved parking places; a grill/picnic area open to all residents; bicycle racks; and a stop for the Provincetown shuttle bus directly in front of the building.

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The address is 556 Shore Road, Unit #12, North Truro, MA in the Shoreline development (the map arrow points back to Wellfleet, and ultimately, the mainland.)
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To enquire about dates and rates, please contact Susan Casper either at the HomeAway rental agency page for all Shoreline rental properties, or via direct email.

I leave you with a sunset picture of Provincetown, taken from our deck.  Admit it – you really want to get away and admire this view in person.

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A HECTIC WEEKEND, WITH MORE TO COME

We’re in the final glide path to high school graduation here, plus birthdays.  We spent the weekend cleaning and gardening like crazy – and there’s still a ton to do.

That means removing a frosting of construction dust from every surface of the house; unpacking and placing the remaining kitchen goods (sorting out stuff to save for future spawn-apartments, or for charitable donation); washing all the floors; replacing the rugs stowed away from the chaos; waking up the garden from winter doldrums; building the new bean trellis out of last year’s giant grass canes; planting the beans; attacking the colonizing blanket of unwelcome weeds in the flower beds; staking the peonies; scrubbing down the bathrooms (similarly affected by construction dust); and generally putting everything to order.  We didn’t finish, but we put a huge dent in it all. That means no time spent on detailed photography of the new orderly and in-service kitchen, and precious little time on needlework or knitting (although I did finish the last of my stack of Birthday (and Un-Birthday) socks in time).  Plus the normal weekend regimen of cleaning and cooking for the ensuing week. I am now exhausted just tallying it all up.

Here is what I can report photographically.

The kitchen works!  This is old news already – The Resident Male making short ribs last weekend:

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Younger Daughter and The Denizen got all decked out for the Senior Prom.  The went with a herd of friends, and had a great time.

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Spiffy, no?

And we had an amazing joint birthday cake – home-baked, of course, courtesy of Younger Daughter.  She used the America’s Test Kitchen Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake recipe in her first trial run of the new ovens.  Oh, so good!

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SO CLOSE I CAN ALMOST TASTE IT…

We’re finally closing in on the last leg of the Great Kitchen Rehab.

Cabinets are in.  Appliances are in and working.  Most of the drawer and cabinet pulls are installed.  The protective covers on the tile floor, soapstone counters, and range hood are gone.  All that remain are the missing pulls (the hardware order was short), a minor electrical fix on the overhead fan and its controls, final clean-up plus oiling down the soapstone, and painting.

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Most of the missing pulls are cup-style, as seen on the left, below.  And one detail that wasn’t seen before is the leaded glass panel suspended in front of the transom window.  Apologies for the odd lighting – it’s tough to get a photo of a clear window in the late evening.

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The backsplash extends across the entire wall below the cabinets on the sink side, and behind the rangetop, under the window and up the other side of the window (a skinny strip) on the other side of the room.  The end wall surrounding the door to the dining room is bare.

The soapstone will darken considerably when oiled/waxed.

The painter should start next Monday, possibly earlier if he is available.  It’s just the one room, so it shouldn’t take long.  The walls are a very pale dove grey, with the now-poplar-color window, door and baseboard trim done in an enamel, one click darker.  The ceiling will be white.

After painting we have the next challenge – moving everything back into the kitchen, figuring out where it goes and stowing it all safely away.  I’ve already ordered oilcloth to line the pull-out drawers of the pantry, so with luck we’ll avoid those sticky circles under bottles of oil or molasses, that happen no matter how carefully they are wiped down.

The next post on the kitchen rehab will be the last one, with everything done, plus a before and after set to finally banish the ghosts of the vaguely Colonial style cherry veneer that used to be.

What will we cook first in our new kitchen?  Hmmm…..

VISUAL PROGRESS!

It’s been a while since the last post.  Progress has been steady all this time, but it’s been incremental, with not that much that was exciting enough to show off.  After all – one wall’s worth of additional baseboards or crown moldings does not make thrilling photos.  But now that it’s all in I can give everyone a peek.

The last is first – the stone countertops have arrived, and the copper sink has been placed (although functional installation is still down the road).  These pix were taken by The Resident Male, and were posted on Facebook yesterday.

We chose soapstone.  Yes, it does scratch more easily than granite, but we liked the look.  Plus, if it’s good enough for lab benches, it should be good enough for us.  The piece we ended up with has a lot of character.  Many people opt for more uniform slabs, but I really wanted the grain and inclusions to show:

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Here is the area on the left side, away from the window, with the sink placed.  The dishwasher will go in the open area to the sink’s immediate right. (Finally!  A sink on the ergonomically correct side for a right-hander!)

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And here’s the main workspace under the windows, where the sink used to be.  The stone is on both sides of the rangetop, also slid in but not functionally installed yet. That’s an ocean of prep space, enough for tag-team cooking and baking.

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There’s another small bit of stone, on the other side of the fridge (which is to the right of the dishwasher).  That’s about 18 inches wide at most, and is a necessary place to plunk cell phones for recharging.

Now that all of the stone is in, the next thing the team did was cover it all up with protective cardboard so additional work would not harm it.  In these dawn-this-morning shots you see all of the cabinetry is now up, along with all of the crown molding, door and window frames, and baseboards. 

Here you see the lineup from the door to the dining room, with the opening for the wall oven and microwave next to it, past the sink and on to the big opening for the fridge (with the tiny counter just peeking out on the other side of the fridge space).

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Yes, the upper cabinets are HIGH.  We’ll keep a stepstool in the kitchen for easier access.

Here’s the other side of the room, showing how the work area near the window flows.  There’s a small counter area to the right of the rangetop, and on the side of the prep area you see the pantry cabinet.  A real pantry with actual usable space and rolling, lipped shelves; instead of the narrow, near unusable bit we had before!

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Finally, here is the view back towards the kitchen door, showing the laundry area, with its folding door reinstalled, and the utility cabinets opposite the entry door.  There will be a hanging bar beneath this, like there was before. While there are upper tier cabinets here, too, they are wood front, without the glass that’s in the main kitchen area.

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The molding surrounds for the windows and doors are simpler than that in the rest of the downstairs, but coordinate with it in size and contour, as do the baseboards and plinths beneath the door surrounds.

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All of the pale poplar woodwork you see (doors, windows and baseboards) will be painted.  It would very difficult to match the color of the cabinets with stain.  Also bring those linear elements forward would bring a heavier look to the room – very ‘70s, in fact.  Instead, when we paint the remaining walls a very pale dove grey, we will paint those trim elements in a very slightly darker, glossier grey, so that they visually recede.

We haven’t decided yet, but we may also paint the radiator cover under the entry way window.  Not sure yet about the folding door.

So that’s the progress for the past eight work days or so.  Remaining work includes the tile backsplashes behind the sink and stove/prep areas, install of the ovens, all supporting final finish electrical and plumbing work including the faucet, disposal, and filtered water tap, some tinkering/reinstall of the room’s radiators, and the lighting fixtures and ceiling fan.  After that comes painting. 

And then we can FINALLY move back into the kitchen, and cook our first celebratory meal.  I am so looking forward to it!

ONE STEP FORWARD, ONE STEP BACK

The Great Kitchen Project continues!  More cabinets were delivered and have been installed. 

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Here you see the waay-up cabinets.  Sitting between the top of the standard height cabinets and the 9-foot ceiling, they are too high for access without a stepstool, but they will come in handy for storing those once-a-year things, like cookie tins, the Thanksgiving platter, and the like.  We opted for frosted glass fronts on them instead of the solid wood panel in order to lighten up the look, but still hide whatever is inside.  The arrival and beginning of the install on this set is our step forward.

Our step back is that our trusty master carpenter, on close inspection of some of the units put in by his team earlier in the week, noticed some flaws in the finish of some of the framing units and some of the doors.  He removed the suspect pieces and sent them back for more attention.  The delay isn’t great, but I am grateful that he knows what to look for, and cares about quality.  You can see cardboard protectors taped onto the front of the lower units, in place of the missing doors. 

No work today because of the cabinet return delay, and the crew needing to finish up another job for the same general contractor, but next week should see the re-install of the missing units, and the rest of the top level; finishing off the small crown molding on top (you can see the “behind” layer that will support it just above the top cabinets); and an attack made on the wood trim around the windows and doors.

Finally, in other news, the appliances have been delivered (but are still packed); and stone for the countertops will be chosen today.  And drawer/cabinet pull hardware has been ordered.  Stay tuned!

FLOOR, AND CABINETS START!

OK, here’s the latest progress on the great kitchen rehab project.  Fernando already these pix of the completed tile floor on Facebook:

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The wandering washing machine has been moved back to its alcove home.  But you can see the floor.

We’ve chosen 18” x 6” tiles, and had them laid out with random overlap (instead of on halves or thirds), with the long dimension aligned with the long dimension of the room.  That makes the room look a bit larger, in both directions.

Here you can see the texture and color – it’s tile, but with a slate-like look.

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Since a nice, clear room, with clean walls and a finished floor should not remain uncluttered for long, we move on:

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Protective cover now down over the new tile for the duration of construction and our cabinets have been delivered!  The whole kitchen is pretty much crammed full of boxes of wood boxes.  And as you can see, they’re beginning to be installed. 

We’ve opted for plain shaker/mission style quarter-sawn oak in a light finish.  Much brighter than the dark cherry stain that was there (before pix provided for comparison).  I didn’t want painted white cabinets – the other option.  I much prefer the look of finished wood.

The layout is changing, too.  Where the useless pantry was before, will now be a microwave and wall oven (the large opening straight ahead).  On the right, where the upper cabinet notch is, will be the sink.  That used to be on the other side of the room, under the window.  I’ll miss looking out the window as I wash up, but moving the sink gives us a much more efficient countertop space allocation.  We’ll have a large prep area next to the stove. 

In the new layout photo above, there’s another cabinet next to the corner unit – then the sink, and a dishwasher ON THE RIGHT – no more twisty-turn to load the thing, and then the fridge.  And what you don’t see is that there is a second course of small cabinets going on top of these, bringing storage right up to the ceiling.  Those will have frosted glass fronts instead of the wood center panels, to make their facade less imposing.  Yes, we will need a stepstool to get into those top cabinets, but they will be a great place to stow stuff we only use once a year. 

Next photo will be more cabinet installs, both above and on the other side of the room.

WALLS!

Fernando beat me to the post, but progress continues on the kitchen.  We now have walls, shown here as blueboard backing:

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And after plastering:

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Today starts the tile floor – grey 6” x 18” tile with a slate-like look, laid the long way (parallel to the floorboards shown), staggered, so that the grouted joints between the tiles don’t line up on the horizontal.  Sort of like this:

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The first step will be another layer on top of these old sub-floor boards, on which the tiles will be set.  The whole install will take several days, so there won’t be all that much other progress to report until it is completed, and we have a floor again.

FRAMED!

Some progress – not very photogenic, but we do march along:

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In these you can see the new supplemental framing, twinned to the older wood.  It’s been put up in order to create a level surface on which to build the walls, the old wood being rather haphazardly even. They’re not quite finished with this step yet, so Friday’s progress will probably be more of the same. 

The other thing that’s happening is more electrical work, placing outlets and wiring where they need to be, while the walls are still open.  Again, not something that pictures well.

The shot on the left is the long wall opposite the window wall seen yesterday.  Next to the door opening (just barely seen) will be a wall oven and microwave combo.  Then as we march back towards the photo’s point of origin – some counter space wrapping around the corner, a sink, a dishwasher, the fridge, and a small bit of counter with bookcases above.

The snap on the right is looking back towards the entry alcove, where the washer/dryer will remain behind their folding door (removed here for the time being).  We had cabinets there – saggy, poorly made, hardware store cabinets, with a hanging bar below.  We are redoing those cabinets to match what is being put in the rest of the kitchen, and retaining a hanging bar, which is just too convenient to lose. Unfortunately, in their zeal to demolish, the team took the old framing that supported the cabinet on the right (near the washer). Here you see the new replacement.

BRIGHTER!

Obviously re-constructing is a slower process than demolition.  But we had a small milestone yesterday – our new, larger window, presented here side-by-side with what was there before.

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You can se that it’s about the same width, but taller, with the extra transom panel on top. 

The kitchen is along the north side of the house.  It has always been dark.  The new window is already bringing in considerably more light.  And being on the north side, it will never be a conduit for the direct blast of the summer sun’s heat.

Not sure what’s on tap today, but it’s fun to come home and see the progress each evening.

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