An object at rest…

stays at rest. Okay, that’s the short version of Sir Isaac Newton’s first law of motion. The full quote is: “The first law states that an object at rest will stay at rest, and an object in motion will stay in motion unless acted on by an outside force.

When we were working on the kitchen we would get up each morning with a solid plan for what we had to accomplish by the end of the day. That plan (and following it) is why we finished the bulk of the kitchen within our deadline. Which goes along with the “object in motion” part of Newton’s Law.

But once we had the counters installed and the sink and dishwasher hooked up and our kitchen was back to a working state, we agreed to cut ourselves some slack and rewarded ourselves with a week off.

our cat Turtle sleeping on a knit blanket of multiple colours
Turtle imitating how we’ve been feeling lately

The trouble is “the object at rest stays at rest” part has kicked in. It’s now been two weeks since the plumber left, yet we’ve done…nothing. Oh, I’ve done a ton of organizing as I put things back into the new cabinets, and cleaning and reorganizing of the dining room and living room which had become our storage area and construction staging area, but we haven’t worked on the window jamb or trim which has to be finished before I can start the backsplash. (I’m not going to worry about not doing the flooring since it hasn’t arrived yet.) There’s been nothing stopping us from working on the window jambs, other than we just find it hard to mentally gird ourselves up to getting back to work.

We’d had it in our head earlier this week that we would work on the window jamb today. Only for hubby to admit this morning that he wasn’t in a mental place for it, and I admitted I’d rather be baking in prep for this weekend’s Thanksgiving Dinner. (Yes, it’s this weekend in Canada.) Our eldest has invited to their place for dinner tomorrow. I want to bring a home made dessert–probably a coconut cream pie since not everyone enjoys pumpkin pie. (Plus I have all the ingredients and it’s fairly easy to make.) And I’ll probably make some cookies and take them for the grands. So we’ve agreed to put off the window jamb work until Sunday or Monday. I mean, baking isn’t resting, it’s work, but it’s not work to take us to the next step in the kitchen completion.

Eh, whatever.

I also want to do some sewing–my eldest grandson apparently loves turning blankets and such into capes, so I figure I can whip up a few capes for him. They’re really easy to make. Plus I need to dig around in my stash to find the ones I made for his father when he was a kid. I know I kept them–they’re around…somewhere.

Knitting-wise I’ve cast on the brim for another Look Out! Winter Hat for our youngest grandson but since I tend to knit when I’m watching TV in the evening, and we’ve been engrossed in Apple TV’s The Morning Show which I need to pay attention to, I have put it down for the last couple evenings. I’ll pick it up tonight now that we’ve run through the first season and I can go back to paying attention to my counting of both stitches and rows and finish the brim. Once I get to the actual knitting of the hat, then it becomes mindless knitting again. It’s a nice pattern but I’m not sure I’ll make any more or not. I may look for a different ear-flap pattern for toddlers.

WIP: Look Out! Winter Hat

Now I finally have the kitchen pretty much organized, I finally have time to sit down and knit. Since it’s fall, that means I’m knitting hats for the grands. Yes, I know I should have started this type of knitting back in February but here I am. Since the two eldest grands (who turned two earlier this month) have a tendency to pull off their hats (and clothes) and hide them in the garden, I’m not using fancy wools that take a lot of care. (This is especially important for their poor worn-out mom.) So acrylics and superwashes it is.

I found the “Look Out! Winter Hat” design when I was scrolling through a list of hats with ear flaps. Unlike other ear-flapped hats I’ve knitted, this design turns the flap portion on its ear. You knit the ear flaps and brim sideways, using increases and decreases for the flaps, then on the final row you turn your work and pick up along the side until you have XX of stitches according to size and knit a hat of your choice from there. I’m doing simple blue and grey stripes for the first one, and will knit the next one reversing the colours because, well, twins, right?

photo of a half-knitted toddler's  hat with blue ear flaps, with blue and grey  stripes for the rest of the hat.

I like how the designer has created an i-Cord-ish (or maybe it is a true I-Cord) edging at the base of the brim–it’s a nice tidy finish. And how she leaves the actual hat portion design to be changed to whatever type of design you want, and writes for both DPNs, circulars or even flat knitting if you choose. I also like how the ear flaps are shaped though I may play around with that a bit once I see them actually on my grandsons’ heads.

Since it’s a toddler sized hat, it works up pretty quickly which is important since I always have to make things in twos, because, again, twins! Luckily I’ve already knit lots of hats for their youngest baby brother.

Kitchen Reno: Countertops & Water are in!

Twelve weeks in, five weeks with no working sink or dishwasher, this summer has been a lot of hard, backbreaking work. But last Friday the countertops were installed and on Thursday the plumber came and set up the drainage system for our new undermount sink (and for our older dishwasher) so we finally have a working kitchen again.

photo of my new kitchen cabinets with Grimslove  off-white doors and brushed nickel Hallror handles, along  with my lovely  black quartz countertop
Ignore the flooring, that’s being replaced next month. And the hinges for the corner cabinet by the window were defective so they’re being replaced next Monday and that cabinet will soon have its door too.

Anyway, after the plumber from Brian Hayes Plumbing (huge kudos to them, by the way) left, and after I did a happy dance of joy, I put the dishwasher to work washing all the cups and plates that had been stored in the dining room and were now covered with twelve weeks’ worth of drywall dust along with regular dust. As I unloaded those clean dishes, I set about trying to figure out what went where. I suspect the organization structure of which cabinet holds what might change a few times in the coming months, LOL.

I love my new sink. We switched out from a two-bowl white composite (never buy a white composite sink!) and went with a black granite Kraus undermount single sink that is 10 inches deep. The photo makes it look small but it is two foot wide and fits the bigger pots that never fit in the old double sink. It also means there are a lot less drain pipes which freed up usable cupboard space beneath.

The photo below also gives you a better picture of the quartz patterning on the countertops. I had originally wanted a black glossy quartz with a bit of sparkle but when we brought home a sample the glittery one lit up like a disco ball and earned a fast “nope” from me. To my surprise, I realized I liked this classic lightly veined pattern much better and am very happy with our choice.

I also love the drain in this sink which we bought separately from the sink. I know they may be old hat to many folks but I’d never seen one like this. It has a deep basket to trap all the detritus that normally clogs your drain. Definitely a win, and our plumber gave it a thumbs up too.

Once I’d put away everything I could, I turned into a regular Suzy Homemaker and made a full dinner including a peach crumble for dessert which allowed me to set our new stove to use. All three of us stood in the kitchen staring at how the new glass rangetop worked as I boiled water. We’ve never had a glass rangetop before, and before April, I’d never known anyone else who owned one either. (My son and DIL’s new house came with one, so I could ask them questions about it at least.) I also giggled a bit when the stove texted me that the oven was done preheating, that the oven door was open (while I was loading the crumble into the oven) and when the cook time was finished. It’s so weird to have appliances send me notifications! (Though I do wish that since the stove is connected to my phone via bluetooth that the clock would autoset instead of waiting for me to manually input the time.) By the end of the night, we all found it an absolute pleasure to eat off real dishes again. (We’ve been relying on disposable plates and food that wouldn’t require a lot of saucepans or dishes that would require hand washing in the tub.)

As for the countertops, they arrived a week after the measurements had been done, rather than the two weeks they’d originally quoted, so we finished a tad earlier than we’d anticipated. But as we feared when they didn’t actually make a template, there was no scribing done, and there are visible gaps between the counter and the walls in several areas (mainly on the walls that we hadn’t drywalled ourselves and those walls have a definite bend to them.) I’m hoping I can cover the gaps with the backsplash tiles but there’s one short wall where I’m not sure our tile will be deep enough. Proper templating would have prevented that as they could have scribed it to those walls in the shop. But at this stage considering our history with the countertop company I’ll find a way to manage as I do not want to have to deal with them ever again.

Gaps aside, I’m not sure what I think about the quartz counter tops yet. The “thunk” my cups, bowls and plates make when I set them on the stone startles me every time. Also I find myself constantly wiping down the counter tops as every little fingerprint shows up, and we don’t even have a glossy finish, more of a matte finish. I told my husband this morning that I can foresee me knitting a lot of cotton clothes or buying more silicon mats to place on the counter tops to protect both the counters and my plates. It’s only been a few days, and only a single day with running water which will make it easier to keep them clean, but I’m sort of missing the laminate counter top even though that medium had just as many issues. Then again the 50 year-old counter top was so horrid that I’d given up trying to keep it looking good so maybe if we’d gone with laminate those new counters would have made me equally protective of it. But to be honest I believe the quartz will grow on me because it does look beautiful.

Back to things I love in this new kitchen–another favourite feature are the Utrusta pull-out units that utilize the previously unusable space in the blind corner base cabinets. The shelves don’t go all the way back to the corner of the unit so you lose almost a foot of space, but it still gives us a lot more storage space than we had before. (Each shelf holds 33 pounds of pots or small appliances or whatever you want to store on it.) This unit cost us $165Cdn and IMHO is worth it. But we have it in our head that if either of the Utrusta units ever breaks, there is a more expensive unit from Rev-a-Shelf that uses much more of the hidden cabinet space for about double the price but it would be worth it. (There’s also an even more expensive one from Germany but I’m not sure I can get it here in Canada for under $1200 and that’s just too spendy for us.)

One of my Utrusta pullout for the blind corner cabinets. I love it! The other unit holds all my smaller appliances like the breadmaker and slow cooker, etc.

There are still a ton of items on my to-do checklist–tiling the backsplash, laying the flooring, followed by installing the toekicks, along with retrimming around the window. Then we have to decide what we need to do to finish off the weird spaces between the cabinets and the soffits, and touching up the paint on the ceiling and maybe even painting the soffits a different colour. But that’s all window dressing and doesn’t affect how the kitchen actually functions.

And of course there’s the organization stuff that has to be decided upon (what goes where, there are so many choices now!) or bought–like a towel rack I want in the sink cabinet (can you believe I’ve never had one?) and baskets or something to hold sponges and such under the sink. We need to buy garbage cans that fit in the 18″ pullout unit we have (the Ikea Filura ones I bought are too big–they are probably for the 24″ unit) which means another trip into Toronto, but we’re combining that with some returns we have. I also want to find some sort of system to organize the pot lids, and how to organize the myriad of large cooking utensils-spatulas, whisks, etc. That’s a whole new adventure, and more future blog posts. 😉 But for the most part the pressure is off and we can start using the kitchen as a kitchen again. Hallelujah!

I am finding it hard to believe this is actually my kitchen–I feel like I’m using someone else’s kitchen. I imagine that feeling will go away quickly enough. And as listed above, while we still have quite a list of things that still need to be completed, I find it hard to believe we’ve already got a working kitchen after just twelve weeks, which is about the average time it takes to renovate a kitchen even with professionals from what I’ve read. Of course that average for professional installation probably includes having the flooring and backsplashes complete but still I’m pleased with the speed we’ve managed.

And as I was writing this my husband just made lunch and commented on how he didn’t even have to take his grapes to the washroom to wash them. It’s the little things that make us happy. 😉

When In Wait Mode, Knit!

After busting our bee-hinds for the last three months, we’re finally at the stage that there is nothing much more we can do until the countertops are installed. It’s very strange having nothing to do on the agenda each day, finding myself basically sitting on my thumbs thinking I’ve forgotten something.

Friday night I ended up picking up one of the pairs of socks I cast on before we started the kitchen reno. This is a pair of vanilla two-at-a-time toe-up socks I am making for my husband. I’d set them down as I was making the gusset and felt turning the heel would require concentration I just didn’t have while I was working construction as well. (Plus even after I’d showered and changed at the end of each day I usually felt covered in drywall dust or primer or just general grime so I didn’t want to transfer that to the wool.) So after reintroducing myself to them, carefully counting all the stitches and determining how many stitches I had left to add to the gusset, by the end of the evening, I’d not only finished adding the gusset but also turned the heels on both socks.

photo of a pair of half-knit men's socks in a grey fingering yarn with contrasting grey/beige/blue yarn for the toes and heels

Now I’m down to just plain round-and-round k3p1 knitting up the calf until my yarn comes close to running out and I can start the ribbing. I really like this Berroco Comfort Sock yarn, by the way–it’s very soft and cushiony.

While my hubby and son are quite happy to go back to playing their video games, I am tempted to start another house reno project. I know there is still a lot to be done in the kitchen–tiling the backsplash, leveling the floor and laying the new flooring when it finally comes in. Adding the toekicks to the base units. Touching up the paint in a few critical areas. But there are other rooms that need freshening up. The flooring in the living room, painting the living room, the flooring in the central hallway that leads to the whole damned house, retiling and painting the powder room, totally renovating the upstairs bathroom. Then I check my bank account that yells at me that we can’t afford any more expenses at this point in time. Yeah, it’s right, especially about the upstairs bathroom. That will require structural renovations as well as electrical work.

But still l feel weird just sitting, basically doing nothing. Waiting. I know I’ll end up knitting a bunch of hats and sweaters for the grandkids but I need to do something more physical, doing some other type of change. Maybe I’ll paint the old brown china cabinet while the weather is nice…