Monday, November 29, 2010

First taste of winter

Friday, November 26, 2010

Around the neighhhhbourhood

It's around a half-kilometer walk to our mailbox, and sometimes there are a few critters I run into (last notable one being a frog that hopped across the road -- like real life Frogger!).

This time, it was a little bigger than a frog. Isn't he/she cute? It came right up to me as I was walking by, and if a big ditch wasn't there, I would've given that soft head a pat.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Kitchen Floor: Part 2

With the orange waffles and wires in place, we moved on to mortar, lots of mortar -- 18 bags to be exact.  Each bag required 5 minutes of mixing, 10 minutes of rest, then another 3 minutes of mixing. I know this by heart now because I was on timer duty for each bag. I'd like to say I never want to see another bag of mortar, but we need another 8 bags for the mudroom and main bathroom. I guess we'll be pro mixers by then.

After mixing, it was on to laying down the tile. We used 12" x 24" Takla tile, in a brickwork pattern. Originally I had considered a herringbone pattern, but I think that would have been way more labour-intensive and difficult to align. 

We mortared over three days, and after that we were set for grouting. That was tackled in the evenings and took three nights -- much easier than the mortar, it was only 4 bags of charcoal grout.

Now we're all set for the appliances to be delivered, and the kitchen to be installed!


Monday, November 22, 2010

Character: Rough-skinned Newt

Characteristics: Grey with a groovy orange belly, so slow moving you think it's dead, can breathe underwater, may or may not sell Geico products.

I ran into this critter the other week while moving a few things out in the yard. Usually when I'm lifting things (tarps, wood, outdoor things) I expect to see bugs, slugs, worms...and the odd snake. This time, I came across a rough-skinned newt. Good thing I didn't decide to pick it up (I wondered if it was alive -- it hardly moved!) because it's highly toxic. So toxic that one thirtieth of the toxin present in the skin of this newt can kill a person!* You have to eat it, but I've read that just touching the skin can cause irritation.  So it's a no-go on cuddling with it.

*Thanks for that tidbit, Wikipedia. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Fall colour

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Kitchen Floor: Part 1

There were a two options with our kitchen floor: mix up a ton of levelling compound and pour it on the floor, then wait for it for it to cure; or try out this Flextherm product -- the orange waffle squares -- that would cut down on mess and time. The waffle squares were a big win because the wire for heating the floor clicks right into the little grooves, and holds them in place for tile over top.

There were over 1100 screws put into the floor to hold the waffles in place, and two rolls of wire were artfully applied (it was also a big puzzle getting it to fit). 30 days from now we'll be able to turn on the wires on and have warm floors.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Kitchen issue

While measuring for tile and heated floor wiring placement we used our kitchen plans to work around where cabinets would be installed -- and that's where we discovered a small 'blip' in the measurements and size of the base cabinet on the wall where the fridge will live.  Luckily we caught it (and it wasn't our fault!),  but it meant either having those cabinets that were built scrapped to fit the actual wall space and move our installation date, or bumping the wall out an additional six inches.  We weren't willing to move our install date, so out the wall went.  Fingers crossed this is the only major thing that goes wrong.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Seen while picking up bathroom tile

Friday, November 12, 2010

Starting on the ceiling

 It's deadline time around here at the moment because our kitchen is slated to be installed November 24th.  After living almost a year and three months without a kitchen (and a sink) it feels like Christmas will be coming early for me.

We decided long ago that we wanted to have a v-groove ceiling throughout the house, and after a lot of searching we found primed MDF planks that would work nicely.  The installation wasn't too bad -- Trevor had to add supports in the joists that ran in a horizontal direction, and then it was a lot of time with arms above our heads tapping and nailing the planks into each other.
There will be an island and sink here soon!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

One Sunflower

I planted fifty sunflower seeds in the spring, and thanks to the healthy weeds in the yard they choked out forty-nine of the seedlings.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Flooring: The hardwood

Well, here it is, the start of our hickory floors!  We went with a tavern-grade (or 'rustic') floor -- which means that these are all of the off-cuts and damaged pieces.  Most of the pile is full of shorts, around 12" in length, but there's the odd long piece that we've come across as well.

We decided on hickory since I'm a little challenged in the 'no damage' department.  It's inevitable that a plate will be dropped or a scratch to appear, thanks to me.  Hickory is one of the hardest hardwoods out there, so it should stand up nicely to the abuse I can inflict.  And, as a bonus, since we want a floor to look rustic and worn-in, all of my future accidents should add to the character of the floor.
The pile (one of many)
Around one of the windows in our bedroom
The scene
Sanding and staining are next up on the to-do list...I had ideas of using a dark stain, but now that we're seeing all of variety of pieces we're thinking of something a little less drastic.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Character: The slug

We have quite the cast of critters around here that make looking out the windows and wandering around pretty entertaining.  In today's inaugural edition, I'm featuring friend and foe: the slug.  

Characteristics: Slow moving, plentiful, slimy, eats pretty things, found in high traffic areas (walkways, driveways, almost like it's asking to be squished).  

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

There was a vegetable garden this year

I think I was a little overzealous thinking that I could dedicate enough time to caring for a veggie patch properly while in full reno mode and having huge projects to do at work over the summer.  While sweetpeas, carrots and zucchini grew nicely, tomatoes, corn, sunflowers and pumpkins suffered.  Ah well, there's always next year.
Overgrown grapevines that have a mind of their own.