Monday, March 30, 2009

Just for Jessica

This pattern is Passion Flowers from Bucilla. My dear friend Jessica picked these out months ago, and we poured over DMC's thread color chart to find the exact right colors to match her bedding.
The thread we chose:
DMC green #3363 for the stems
DMC blue #931 for the petals
DMC cream #822 for the flower centers

Of course, I didn't use the colors recommended in the pattern, but I like these simple flowers so much that I ended up doing a second set, and I've scanned the pattern so that I can reduce and enlarge the design for future use.

The simple running stitch looks so clean and simple I'm sure that I'll be using this again and again.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Reorganized: Cups Cupboard Edition

So, in a fit of energy the other night, I decided to finally get around to lining some of my cabinet shelves. This is a prime example of my ocd tendencies. You see, I've had these four rolls of cork shelf liner for nearly three years, and all of the sudden I just had to fix this cabinet. Now. It couldn't wait. Never mind that it was 10:45 on a work night.

See, way back when mom and I first finished the cabinets, and they were finally ready to load, I wanted to line them with cork. Only I couldn't find the stuff anywhere and had to order it. Then it took weeks to arrive, and I gave up. I layed out paper towels- supposedly a temporary measure- and put all my glasses and mugs where I thought they made sense.

Lewis gets confused sometimes because there are some glasses that I like to reserve for guests. About a year ago he requested that I put them on the top shelf, out of the way, so that's just what I did. Never mind that this task has been in the back of my mind for ages, suddenly it was a top priority.

I got to work emptying the top shelf, wiped everything down with a damp cloth. It had a bit of fine wood-colored dust, although for the life of me, I can't figure out where that may have come from. I gave it time to dry as I trimmed about an inch off the entire length of the roll of cork liner. Then I loaded all the guest glasses and infrequently used tins on the top shelf.

Rinse, lather, and repeat for the second and bottom shelves. Somehow, there is more room now. I guess I should have had a before picture to compare.

Snazzy, right?I have one roll of cork liner left, so if I want to do any other shelves, I'll likely need to get more. Does anyone know where I can get cork to use as liner that does not have the adhesive backing? Because I didn't peel the paper off. I remember what a pain it was to peel off that old red and black contact paper when mom and I refinished the cabinets, and we went through way too much work to risk damaging the pained surfaces again.

Plus, what would that be like to peel away? Would it peel away? What happens to cork as it dries? I envisioned chiseling it off the shelves with a putty knife, coming off in little kernels. What a hassle. No thanks. I'll just pick up the whole sheet when this wears out. Much easier. Not that that should happen anytime soon. I figure this cork will hold up for about 5 years.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Faucets that Fit

I'm a bit germ-phobic. I'll admit it. I wash my hands a couple dozen times a day. I realize that is more than most people, but I'm okay with that.

My point is this: when I chose faucets for the sinks in my house, I was looking for a few key things:
First, that I had plenty of room under the spigot to scrub my hands without scraping my knuckles against the sink.Second, that I could turn the knobs easily, and possibly with the back or heels of my hands, so I have minimal contact with them. For me, that meant lever-style handles.Third, that they could be easily cleaned, with few nooks and crannies for gunk to build up.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Highly Recommended: Extra Deep Kitchen Sink

I've been in kitchens where the sink is so shallow that you can hardly submerge a soup pot in the dishwater. Or the faucet spout is so low, you have to move it aside to maneuver dishes around as you wash. What a pain!

Mom was all for a deeper sink, too. She ought to know. When she built her house back in 1989, she didn't make any special decisions about the kitchen sink, and so they just put in your standard contractor-grade sink. I know at the time mom was thinking, hey, I'm going to have a dishwasher, I won't need a big sink to do dishes. But she soon learned that sometimes you don't want to fill a quarter of your dishwasher with just one big stock pot, a giant colander or mixing bowl. I'm sure she wishes she could put in a nice deep sink like the one we picked out for me, but since there is nothing really wrong with hers, she can't justify changing it. Maybe someday.
We were determined to get the deepest sink we could find, but we ran into a bit of a snag. We found out that our choices would be rather limited because we had a width restriction. I think there were about three models for us to choose from. We picked one we like, and I am very happy with it. The sinks with three bowls are awfully nice, though, if only one would have fit.

Anyway, mom and I highly recommend splurging for this extra if you are in the market for a new kitchen sink.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Clean Counters I Strive For

Just look at all that work surface, would ya? This is what I aim for:
But it rarely stays like this for long.


Usually, it looks more like this:

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bathing Beauty

Right this moment, Oliver is getting a bath. Lewis sent me this picture with the cell phone.

Doesn't he look miserable? It's just terrible the way we torture this poor creature. Forcing him to be clean and smell nice. It's a shame, I tell you.

First Signs of Spring

I'm relieved to see new buds on my purple-leaf plum tree. I was mildly worried about it making it through the winter. I haven't really been watering it because we've gotten a fair amount of precipitation this season. But it got a good solid start last spring, and I think we can rest easy now.
And I am very excited to see all those buds on my lilac. I think I had four blossoms last year, and I'm hoping for even more fragrant blooms this spring.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Re-organized: Fridge Style

My Nan surprised me yesterday by cleaning my fridge while I was at work.

Isn't it great? All shiny and clean.

Oliver certainly approves.
Nanny does this sometimes, comes over when she knows I am away and cleans something. It is a wonderful surprise to come home to. Yesterday, the downstairs bathroom and the oven also benefited from Nan's visit.
This is all in preparation for the Pampered Chef party that I am hostessing on Sunday.