Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Putting The Kitchen Together

The tile floors are finally done! Because the tiles are stone, they had to be sealed. The grout had to cure for at least 3 days before they sealed the tiles.

Of course, with our luck, we got delayed an extra week due to scheduling conflicts, but now we're putting everything back together. The dishwasher is back in place after getting new parts.

Here's the counter under the cabinets. I decided to decorate every inch of this counter because it tends to collect papers, and keys, and all sorts of crapola. By putting decorations here, I'm hoping there won't be any room for any unwanted mess.

Here's the counter area before I added decorations. Notice the microwave is below the counter. I really like this safety feature. All our built-in microwaves in the past were above the counter at shoulder height. The builder said he puts them below counters now as kids and older people have been getting burned taking food out of overhead areas.

On my "Fixin' To Do List" is to either paint the wall or add beadboard to it, and then age it down. I want to add corbels or something that will tie the counter to the upper cupboards. For now though, I'm just putting this old shelf up.

This is one of my "Things We Carry" pieces. I've hauled it around for over 20 years. I bought it at a garage sale dirt cheap. It's carved on the back with roses, flourishes, and lion's heads.

Of course, chickens and cloches were added in one form or another...

Next up, I need to clean out the cabinet above the counter and get things organized. I want to paint the back of the cupboard, and I'm thinking of taking the glass doors off. Always something.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing the kitchen's progress. If you have any ideas about what color to paint the inside of the cupboards, please leave me a comment.

Hope the weather is being as kind to you as it is to us in Northern Texas...there's even rain in the forecast!

I'm joining the following blog parties:

Friday, July 20, 2012

Floors In Kitchen Finally

Here's what we've been up to the last couple of weeks:

The Tile Guys finished the kitchen, back hallway, and powder room. As you can see below, we still have the ugly cement floors in the great room. We're planning on putting wood floors in the rest of the house, so as of now, we're all done with the tile...YAY! 

 The dishwasher is still out in the middle of the kitchen, but all the other appliances are back in place.

Tomorrow the dishwasher will be fixed (the appliance guys had to order two replacement parts for it) and back in place, and the tile will get sealed and we'll be done.

We're going to wait a while for the wood floors as we are so tired of having people working in the house. A little break will be nice as it's starting to get hot outside.

I'm joining Feather Your Nest Friday at French Country Cottage (although from the looks of my first picture you could call it "Cardboard Your Nest"!)  The Tile Guys put the cardboard on top of the tile laid the previous day to protect it.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Things We Carry

Many years ago, our youngest daughter introduced me to one of her favorite books. It's a "bio-fiction", published in the 90's, written by author Tim O'Brien called The Things They Carried.

O'Brien loosely based his work of fiction on his experiences in the Vietnam War. As the title indicates, the story is about objects that the fictional soldiers carried with them during the war.

Lately I've been thinking about this book, and how we ALL seem to have things we carry from place to place. I thought it would be interesting to feature things I, and some of my close relatives, have carried around for years -- even decades -- and I also would love to see things carried by others. If you decide to feature things you carry on your blog, I truly hope you will leave a comment here so we can all hop over and see what you keep close.

Here is my first The Things We Carry feature. It's my mother-in-law's coal oil lamp and the story behind why she cannot part with it.

The lamp was made to sit on a table. It was given as a wedding present to my mother-in-law's parents when they married in 1912. Although it is fragile and glass, it has lasted for over 100 years in our family. My mother-in-law's friend made her the wooden shelf, which is designed with a slot to hold the lamp, so it could hang on a wall and be a little more protected.

Mother-in-law's parents had few belongings in the early years of their marriage. The lamp was used daily to provide light in their room in a cabin in Oklashoma that they shared with a brother and sister-in-law. Subsequently they carried it to each new home -- and used it daily -- as their family grew to 10 daughters and 2 sons.

Please leave a comment and let us know what you cannot part with and have carried for years. I'd love to hear your stories.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Lois' Guacamole

I once worked at a place where we all loved potlucks. We would have one for breakfast and usually snack the rest of the day. No one went to lunch because, by then, we were too full to eat!

Having a breakfast potluck was new to me. I was used to doing "lunch" potlucks where my "Me and Paul's Meatballs" always got me by. (My "recipe" for this was a bag of frozen meatballs and a jar of Paul Newman's Sockaroo Spaghetti Sauce, which I put in a crock pot as soon as I got to work around 6:30 am and it smelled great by lunch!) Hey, what can I say? I'm not a cook, I'm a mixer!

Anyway, back to the breakfast potluck. I usually took biscuits and a crock pot of sausage gravy. The two most popular breakfast items were strange bedfellows:

The first was one guy's corn beef hash. This always went quick (he confessed he just opened three cans of hash and heated it in the microwave at work) and everyone always asked for his recipe!

The second was Lois' guacamole. Even I thought it was to die for, and I hate avocado and seldom try guacamole.

Lois was kind enough to copy the recipe for me, so I'm going to share it here:

  • 1 can (4 1/2 oz) chopped black olives
  • 8 to 10 small to medium avocados
  • 1 can (10 oz) Ro-Tel original diced tomatoes and green chilies
  • 2 packages mild guacamole mix
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
Mix and mash everything together and cover and chill.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

July 4th Mantle And Other Disasters

I don't even try to pretend that I can decorate a mantle. I just don't have the knack for it and Wild Bill loves electronics too much. Look behind the poor chicken's head and you will see the cable from the TV outlet that runs from the wall above the mantle and across the room to the TV, which we have sitting on a cabinet.

 I tried taking the picture from a different angle and that worked out better for the picture. But I'm thinking not many visitors will want to stand over next to the wall...and look down the line with the flags in the cable won't show!

 As you can see in the picture above, it looked pretty barren before I added two packages of little flags from Hobby Lobby. The flags really need to be dulled down by soaking them in some tea to make them look faded and older, but I was getting ready for the tile guys to come the next morning so I called them good enuf.

Some where in the chaos I have an old faded flag that I like to drape on the mantle, but we're still in turmoil with the floors and other problems, and I don't have the energy to go pull out any more boxes to look for it.

 I bought the old crock that holds the flowers long ago at a fantastic garage sale. The pictures on the wall are oil paintings from the late 1800's. The old tag, that was barely hanging on the back years ago, said they were framed in San Francisco on Sutton Street in the 1880's. When the tag got so lose it wouldn't hold any more, I put it in a plastic bag and packed it away. So it's just another one of the things I'm looking for as I unpack years of boxes from the last six moves we've made.

 Sadly, I had to round up a bag of pinto beans and pour them in two mason jars to hold the little flags. It's necessary to improvise when your floors are in transition and the contents of closets have been packed up and stored who knows where!

Hope you have a happy 4th of July and that you're not in the middle of a remodeling nightmare like we are.  I'll wait until Thursday to tell you all the unexpected problems we've encountered during the last few weeks. We've come to expect the unexpected as we try to make all the changes needed to make this house or home.

Thank God we've learned to laugh instead of cry when problems present themselves. We even stayed calm and collected yesterday when Gary the electrician (who was cutting a hole in the wall to relocate the 220 wiring for the stove)  yelled: "...OH...OH SH*T... DAMN... WHERE'S THE GAS SHUTOFF???"  

Well... you know it's never a good thing when the electrician, who was cutting through the kitchen wall, is frantically running around looking for the gas shutoff!

Maybe you're not aware of this, but the plumbers do gas hook up stuff, not the electricians. I just learned this, and other things I never wanted to know, last year.

So, while Wild Bill and Gary the electrician ran outside to the gas main, I ran around opening windows and doors...and prayed...and laughed. That's all you can do when you're in the middle of a remodel!

Yeah, sad right? This is part of our front room and dining room, all ready for Bryan and Jay, the tile guys. But when they came this morning they discovered that the travertine tiles were the wrong size...and the truck won't bring the right ones until Thursday they can't start doing the tile until Friday or the following Monday. Happy 4th of July!

I'm linking up to the following linky parties. Come see what everyone's showing:

Cowgirl up! at
Primp Your Stuff at
White Wednesday at
Open House Party at
Wow Us Wed at
Home & Garden Thurs
Make It Pretty Monday at

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Split Pea Soup For Breakfast

Last November 1st, I took a road trip by myself to sunny California while Wild Bill was still plugging away at work. For me it was a "girl trip" to visit some of the ladies in the family before Wild Bill retired and wanted to come along.

My route was Texas to Albuquerque (to stay 2 days with youngest daughter and 2 year old), to Sonoma CA (to stay with my widowed mother 10 days), then down California to the San Diego area (to visit oldest daughter and family for 5 days), then back to Albuquerque for a few more days and then home. It was a long trip!
 During the long trip down California's I-5, I spied this windmill and decided to investigate. I had left my mother's house around 3 a.m. that morning and I was ready for breakfast. Imagine my surprise when I saw that most breakfasts came with split pea soup!

 The menu told me I was at the Anderson Split Pea company's restaurnt. Did I mention I LOVE split pea soup? I ate every drop even though it was only 8 in the morning!

The grounds were like an oasis in the middle of California's dry and dusty Central Valley.

One of the men outside the restaurant let me borrow his little boy to take this picture. It wouldn't be the same without at least one head!

 Remember now, this was just a week or so before Thanksgiving. Any where you water seems to become lush and green...

I was soon on my way and later in the day I reached the mountain area they call the "grapevine" that takes you over the hills into the valley. I didn't get many pictures as the traffic was moving fast, but the lakes in the area were lovely!

 It was hard to do, but I finally got a picture of my miles per gallon. Due to the downward slant of the hills I used very little gas and was averaging 90 miles per gallon during this part of the trip!
I had to get a picture as I knew it would be hard for people to believe me. It wasn't an easy picture to get and I wondered "If I die, will they even look at this picture?" At least I would be able to brag in the hereafter that I had split pea soup for breakfast and got 90 miles per gallon on the way there!