Coraline likes to guard the house by sitting on the back of the armchair, looking out the front windows. She keeps tabs on our mail delivery as well as anyone who happens to be walking by. She usually doesn’t bark, but occasionally something will set her off and she’ll give whoever what-for. She would be pretty unreliable if we were really counting on her, though.
Recently she was ready to stand guard but couldn’t quite bring herself to leave her frankentoy. When she’s got a toy sticking out of her mouth like this, I can’t help but imagine she sounds like Humphrey Bogart.
The bathroom project has officially begun!
We finally decided to just paint the room the same off-white we’ve been painting everything else. We can always repaint it another color if we find one we like, and in the meantime it will look clean and fresh and if we end up selling, it’ll be the neutral that buyers theoretically prefer. The walls in here were terrible: marks where someone got a little too aggressive with a paper tiger, uneven seams on old drywall patches, and so forth. So we did some sanding and skim coating! I added that exclamation point to make it seem like it was exciting and fun. In reality: boring and tedious and messy. But we made some improvements and are keeping our fingers crossed that any remaining imperfections will blend into the lovely white paint job.
We put a first coat of primer up, and the room is looking better already! The peach shows through enough that we’ll do a second coat of primer before painting. Even though the Behr Premium Plus Ultra purports to be self-priming, we have learned that some colors are persistent enough to show through regardless. And since the two tester spots we did required three coats each and were still not quite covering completely, I’m willing to do two coats of primer to save coats of paint.
At this point, we are going to leave the vanity and just paint it, leaving the green countertop as the only big color in the room. We’ll see how it looks and how we feel about it, but I think it may be live-with-able.
Now that the dining room is almost done, we’ve been making steady progress on the kitchen!
The floor is patched where there were gaps between the old tiles, so it’ll be a nice smooth surface for the new tiles. All the cabinet doors have been removed and are being painted, and the cabinets have also been painted. Just when you’re minding your own business, documenting your DIY projects…
Meanwhile, almost everything from the kitchen cupboards is living on the guest room bed. I remember eating microwaved dinners on a card table in my folks’ bedroom when they were having their kitchen completely redone when I was in high school, but I have no recollection of where they stored all the STUFF from the kitchen. Maybe it was in the basement? Even the relatively small amount of stuff from our relatively small kitchen seems to take up a lot of space when it’s removed from the cupboards.
Glassware in the library! Removing all of this from the cupboard will be a good opportunity for us to pare down what we have at hand. We have more glasses than you can shake a stick at, and we generally use two, maybe three of them on a regular basis. They are pretty much all awesome collectible Star Wars/Star Trek/LOTR promotional glasses from fast food restaurants, so we’ll likely pack up the extras to keep for just in case.
Kitchen cupboard doors have taken over the Pergo room!
Here you can see that K put up the tile on the vertical step between the two rooms, so the last of the ugly goldenrod vinyl has now been hidden.
And now we have kitchen items back in the cupboards! Some of them, anyway. It’s been very interesting having to trek to the bedroom every time I need a fork or a meat thermometer while cooking meals.
And while we’re at it, here’s the new dining room cupboard all filled with goodies. Breadmaker, hand mixer, rice cooker, George Foreman, slow cooker, salad spinner, and microwave popcorn popper all tucked neatly away!
Today brings yet another stash-busting HPKCHC project: the Wolfsbane Neck Warmer, made for Potions, naturally.
This yarn is really soft and will be very comfortable to wear.
I also finally used the remote we bought months ago for the DSLR. I’d been doing a bunch of DIY around the house all day, so please ignore any bits of paint you may notice in my hair. I’m happy to report that the remote is super easy to use! I didn’t figure out all of its functions yet, but I was able to hook it up, throw the camera on a tripod, and take some pics without any hassle. It would be handy to have a mirror so I could see how the knitted object is sitting. There is probably some kind of gadget that will show you what’s in frame, right?
Coraline is a smart cookie and we do our best to keep her engaged and entertained. A busy dog is a happy dog, I think they say. We’ve been working with her to SIT and then DOWN and then SIT again, and she really has it mastered. She sometimes offers DOWN now, even when we would have accepted a SIT.
We recently turned the Nyla around in this frankentoy, so the end that’s now sticking out is new. She was super excited about it! She’s gotten so good that, after this photo was taken, I told her to STAY and then waved the toy all around her face and even touched her face with it, and she stayed super still and didn’t try to grab it until I gave her the OK. What a good girl!
This month’s HPKCHC Muggle Studies prompt was to make a protective cover for a device. I chose to make a cozy for Susan (or her husband, depending on what they decide)’s Kindle Fire.
Because knitting stretches sideways, it looks rather skinny here, since I don’t have the Kindle on hand at the moment.
Coraline loves to SMELL ALL THE SMELLS. The warm snap we had recently gave her a perfect opportunity to sniff what had been hidden by snow.
I can only imagine how interesting it must have been for her.
We had a half a pork loin thawed for dinner the other day but I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I asked Susan, who recommended using Balsamic vinegar to flavor it. Sounded good to me!
The pork loin was about 2.25 lbs and was really not completely thawed when we started (oops). But it was SO CLOSE that we thought it would be okay. We marinated it in the fridge for a few hours in a ziploc bag with 1/4 cup each of Balsamic vinegar and olive oil, plus a bunch of Italian seasoning and some garlic powder. When we cooked it, we surrounded it with chopped potatoes and carrots and then covered the whole thing with aluminum foil. We baked it in the convection oven at 350F for about 2 hours.
All in all, it turned out well! We neglected to trim the fat off the bottom, though, so I picked that off before eating my slices. (K thought it was delicious.) The veggies turned out well and were just right – not overly soft! This was a good one, though the pork wasn’t quite as juicy as I had hoped. So far my best success with juicy pork (and chicken) seems to be cooking in the skillet.
Last weekend, in between installing the dining room cabinets and their countertops, we also laid the tile for the entryway and into the hallway. We DIYed the crap out of that weekend! As of the last update on this area, we had pulled up the carpet to expose the hardwood and old vinyl.
This project went really quickly! Since we now have experience laying this kind of tile, it was easy to get into a rhythm. We also lucked out that the closet tiles needed almost no trimming and that we ended up with close to a half a tile on either side of the entryway.
K did such a tidy job cutting a tile to fit around the cables that come up through the floor!
At some point I went downstairs to give the dining room cabinet doors and drawer fronts another coat of paint.
Happy workers, each of us!
We didn’t technically have to put a threshold at the junction of the hardwood and the tile since it was pretty tidy, but the wood was pretty dry in this area and we noticed a couple of splinter-esque pieces that came free, so we thought better safe than sorry.
And everything is hooked back up again and all is right with the world. Well, except that the Despot ran out of edge threshold so we didn’t have it installed yet when this photo was taken (it has since been completed). As we were ready to move the TV stand back into place, I realized that the small red rug we had in the library might just be a perfect fit for under the TV. And it was! It’s just a wee bit longer than the stand, so it works quite well. We got these two matching rugs for our former house in Mount P, but didn’t have a need for them in the same space in this house. Until now! Which means a new rug is needed for the library. DIY is like playing dominos! There’s always a, “this means we’ll have to…” coming when you make any change. But I feel like this area is just about finished. We’ll replace the old light fixture in the doorway sooner than later. We also bought new weatherstripping for under the front door and just need to install it. Home stretch!
K recently mentioned that we should get some ground turkey to make tacos. I hadn’t done this before, and I’m happy to say that it turned out great on the first try.
We used this recipe for making the seasoning, and just added it to the turkey once it was browning in the skillet. I had chopped hearts of romaine and sweet peppers, a tiny bit of shredded cheddar, and a healthy dollop of cilantro-heavy salsa. Sadly my avocados weren’t ripe enough yet, or I would have added one of those as well. I chose to break up my taco shells into pieces – I can never manage to keep a hard shell taco in one piece while eating it, though K had better luck with his. This is definitely a recipe I’d repeat.