B and I have been a couple of busy bees lately (actually, since we came home from England, helping mum out). We’ve been working away at building a 540 square feet (about 50 square meter) wooden deck.
Yep, you heard right.. a itzy bitzy 540 square feet deck… just kidding, in our world this is a big deck!
Last fall, we visited a former colleague of mine, and she happened to mention she’s been wanting (for quite a while now) to extend her current deck, with about 150 – 170 square feet.
We thought that sounded like a fun little spring project, so we kinda threw it out there – “Hey.. we can help you with that!” 🙂
Little did we know at that time, that this tiny little project would take on a life of it own (which I guess things have a habit to do), and morph into a 540 square feet project instead.
That’s a heck of a change, you say, and you would be right 😉
As the story goes, there was a good reason though. There was a bit of discussion on how to add the extension to the old deck, and make it look half decent (the old part was close to 40 years old). So we all decided that, for the deck to look it’s best, we would remove the old deck boards and put down brand new ones. And presto, now we are talking 540.
Turns out it was a good decision, as a few of the old deck boards were in bad shape (some even rotten). It also gave us the opportunity to strengthen the old wooden frame (which had some flaws from earlier builds), and replace areas that had had a little to much wear and tear.
So there you have it… This is where our time has been going the last few weeks (which is why you haven’t seen me on the bloggosphere much).
The project has taken a little while, but thankfully my friend haven’t minded this at all, she’s been happy with any progress we had… I’m super thankful for this, as there was never any pressure on us, and it worked perfectly with me and my need to pace myself (due to my health issues). I wish everyone was as patient as this. 🙂
But slow going or no. Guess what? We are now officially done, new deck, new stairs and everything. And boy does it look good if I say so myself 🙂
Why don’t you take a look for yourself 😉
ALL TORN UP
BUILDING THE FRAME ADDITION
DECK BOARDS GOING IN
WOOHOO! ALL DONE 🙂
What do you think…? Approved?
Can’t wait to see some flowers on it later this summer… I’m sure we can sneak a visit to check it out, when she has it all decked out (see what I did there 😉 ) with furniture and plants.
In 2009, after having lived in the US for two years, I came home with enough stuff to fill up a entire house (after having furnished an empty condo in Houston), and I already had a house full. Since then I have slowly but surely gotten rid of stuff, and I’ve dwindled it down to one household again. But as good as I had been at it, I felt that there was still more that could go out of the house. Which is why I decided a year ago that I would make 2014 a year to declutter and living with less.
And to be accountable – I started this blog 🙂
I decided my main goal, would be to get rid of an average of at least one item a day, all through 2014 – yepp, 365 items!
I also made a second goal, a promise in my post I want. I want – I want it now!!! – to make an effort to buy only necessities, needs rather than wants.
Have I managed what I set out to do? The short answer – YES!
So here it is – my MAIN goal;
2014 tally of items out-the-door – 634 items, 2200 bookmarks and 14485 emails 🙂
Curious about what items I shed? Check it out;
- January tally – 63 items
- February tally – 45 items, 2200 bookmarks and 2450 emails
- March tally – 12 items and 7535 emails
- April tally – 58 items and about 4500 emails
- May tally – 126 items
- June tally – 22 items
- July tally – 22 items
- August tally – 45 items
- September tally – 103 items
- October tally – 7 items
- November tally – 23 items
- December tally – 108 items
My second goal – only buying necessities;
I did better on this during 2014 than I did in 2013 (which was the first time I tried this). I replaced broken items, only if I had too. I used up before replacing or even did not replaced at all.
I did really good at not buying anything but necessities, until my trip to US in September, when I ended up buying some clothing I didn’t really strictly “need”. I do however have an excuse as my luggage was lost for several days, and I got sick of walking around in oversized men’s clothing that I had borrowed. So I caved and bought some ladies things 😉 And it’s not like the clothing won’t come in handy, when I wear out my older stuff…
Other than that, as far as I know, there are only a few other items I got, that were strictly not a necessity. 1 small box set I thought was really cute, that I really haven’t found a use for, yet! And then I got a a few cheap IKEA wine glasses for my birthday grill party, as I did not have enough glasses for the champagne toast! (thinking about it, I believe this could be considered a necessity 😉 )
I did have some allowances for the year! Things I could do and things I could get that aren’t really necessities;
Books – I could buy up to 10 books/magazines – I bought one physical book, and two or three e-books
Eating out – the goal was to cut down to half the amount of times we (a friend and I) eat out compared to 2013 – we didn’t quite manage, as we only cut 39% on times. But what we did manage was to cut the amount we spent, with more than 50%, which was ultimately the goal.
Flowers and plants – The goal for 2014 was to cut down to procuring less than half of what I normally would – Done 🙂 I did even better than half as I cut my procurement of plants for the garden closer to 70% compared to any other years.
So all in all, I would say that I passed my goals for 2014!
Did I pass with flying colours? Hmmm, probably not, I’m sure I could have done better, but I’m pretty happy 🙂
I’m sorry to say, but my old goose down duvet has to go. There is a ridiculous amount of down and feathers that are flying around every time I change the duvet cover. And I have to admit, it’s getting a bit tedious having to vacuum “half the house” just because I want a clean bed 😉
In Norway the normal bedding exists of a fitted sheet that we sleep on, a down/feather or synthetic duvet, covered with a duvet cover, that we sleep under and a couple of pillows.
It’s not the norm like I’ve seen in US, to just sleep under a thin sheet, or sleep under a sheet that’s between us and the duvet/blanket. Because I don’t use that extra sheet, I change the duvet covers pretty often. So you can see how flying down/feathers is becoming a problem.
I’ve had my duvet for years, so it’s not really all that surprising it’s throwing in the towel. Thankfully I have an extra duvet laying around so I don’t need to go and buy another one (which is really good as they are expensive over here, if you want a decent one).
My dear duvet!
Today I have to say goodbye 😦 I’m sad to see our parting ways, because you have served me well all these years.
You have always been there!
To keep me nice and warm on chilly nights. You have been around for sad days and sick days, allowing me to hide under the covers. You’ve been around for snuggle days, reading or watching tv in my living room. You’ve even been outside with me once or twice, on beautiful winter days just sitting enjoying the weather.
You’ve seen me at my best and my worst, and you’ve followed me from home to home.
Sadly this is the end of the road for you. I would have loved to reuse you for something, but I’m not sure what that would be right now. Refurbish you is to expensive, compared to replacements. And you know that your goose down brother, who is “hanging” around in my closet, is chopping at the bits to come out to play.
So long, my trusted friend!
Seriously! You’re still at it? I thought you were done? I can hear you wondering 😉
Well, yeah! I am actually done 🙂 For those of you that think this job have taken forever (which it did), day 8 was actually Monday this week. There was just a few days I was too tired to even write about the days work, that it’s taken me a few extra days to get it all out here on the blog 😉
Day 8 – clean up day!
The last day of kitchen work was pretty much dedicated to getting the last bits and pieces in order.
I decided that since I was going to do all this work on the kitchen, I might as well do the yearly cleaning of the kitchen at the same time. You know, that job where you empty everything in your drawers and cabinets, and wash the units and the stuff in the unit.
After using the grinder on the kitchen counter, there really wasn’t much choice in the matter. There was this fine layer of laminate dust on the shelves in my upper cabinets, so I just went ahead and washed them down, and put the glasses and plates through a quick cycle in the washing machine (some got washed by hand). And at the same time did all my other kitchen shelves and drawers. It’s nice to get a completely clean kitchen and knowing that everything inside the cabinets are all neat as well. Christmas cleaning – check 😉
After everything was nicely put away and I had my kitchen back, it was time for that last crucial detail that needed to be done. Caulking (with silicone) around the countertop to make sure no water could go were it shouldn’t go.
Since the crack between the countetop and the backsplash, was barely there, I decided to use blue tape to help me out. I taped the kitchen counter and taped the backsplash, so only the crack to put the clear silicone sealant in, would be open. This helped a lot in being able to push silicone into the crack without being worried about getting any mess on the countertop or backsplash. If I may say so myself, the end result is really nice. You can’t really see that there is any silicone there except for a little bit of glitter when the light hits right.
I used the same idea when putting in the silicone between the wall and countertop, and side cabinet and countertop. It gave me the opportunity to really mash as much as I wanted into the crack without making any mess whatsoever 😉
One final wipe of the kitchen counter, and that concludes the kitchen project 2014.
I have to admit, it’s been a lot of work, just to have your kitchen end up looking exactly like before. But at least now I have a functioning sink + LED light instead of halogen lights, so if nothing else, my electric bill should hopefully be better 😉
Cooktop and oven time.
As easy as the plumbing was, the harder this was…
What we needed to do was cut out the hole for the cooktop. First we measured everything out. We put the cooktop upside down on the counter, in exactly the spot where we wanted it, drew a line around it, removed the cooktop and measured about 6 mm in from the line we drew, and drew up the cutting lines. The cooktop “lip” was only 10 mm, and we needed a tiny bit of wiggle room, so we decided to go for approx 6 mm so that the “lip” still had some support.
I told you my countertop consist of a 10 mm thick laminate, right? Well let me tell you, 10 mm of pure laminate is hard, super hard to cut in. I remember when we installed the original countertop, how my dad swore more than once over how hard is was to cut the darn thing with a jigsaw. Not only was it hard (I believe my dad broke a sweat and a blade) but it also took forever. So this time around I thought maybe I could use something else.
First I tried my Bosch Oscillation multi tool – effective, but still very slow going, so I figured… nahhh.
OK, what’s next…. well there is the grinder… Which is a scary effective product, and it’s fast, almost too fast. “Boy do you need a steady hand if your going to try that, because if you are just a tiny bit off, you’ll ruin everything”. Hmmm, would I, would I even dare to? Thankfully I still had the cut off from the original plate, so I could practise 🙂 It was fast… I decided to take a chance..
NOW, I would NEVER recommend anyone ever doing this, you would have to have a rock steady hand, and a sick amount of confident, and it can still go wrong, very wrong! So NO, do not ever use a grinder to cut out the hole for a cooker in a kitchen bench. Please use a jigsaw as the instillation guide will tell you to do.
Having said that, I used one! The only reason I even contemplated using one, was because I spent all summer last year cutting slate with a grinder (Summer project 2013 – putting down 56 square metres of slate at the front of my house). And I knew I could cut a straight line. Unless you use a grinder for a living, please do not be as insane as me 😉
I knew the grinder would produce an insane amount of laminate dust, so we covered up the area really well to try to keep the dust contained. Even so, it still seeped a little into my kitchen cabinets and onto the floor. This was not really a big deal, as I had decided that part of the kitchen “renovation” would also include cleaning all my kitchen stuff, and all my kitchen cabinets (saves me from doing it for Christmas).
OK, here goes, I’m all decked out in protective gear, mask, glasses and ear protectors. The kitchen is all decked out in plastic, tape and I have this big “bag” behind me that will collect most of the dust. And, I’m nervous! What if I muck this up?
Well, I’m proud to say – I didn’t 🙂
The hole got cut, and fitted to perfection. The cooktop slotted nicely into it’s hole, exactly as planned. Phew…
Putting the oven in it’s place afterwards took all but two minutes.
A good vacuum, and a washing later and this concluded the work for the day.
Only one more day to go…
Sink time!!! I have to admit, it was nice getting the sink back in order, it was getting a bit tedious having to run upstairs every time I wanted some water 🙂
Day 6 was dedicated to installing the tap and installing the plumbing for the kitchen sink and dishwasher. It was a little bit of fiddly work, but kinda fun.
First one out was the tap! My new sink is not quite the same as my old one (the old one had gone out of production), so the measurements are a little different, and because of this, the hole for the tap was not quite in the same place as my old one. So we had to do some adjustments to the piping to make everything fit. It’s not difficult work, but for some reason (just like with everything else) it’s time consuming. It was wonderful getting the tap in, tested out and have everything work like a charm.
Sink time! Remember I had practised where all the plumbing would go? Well, this served us well. It made the installation much quicker and easier since we knew which pipe had to be cut and knew which pipes to connect to each other. It didn’t take long before the plumbing for the sink was in, and it was time to test everything. and presto… no leakage, hurray!!!
Dishwasher next, this actually took a minute, not because it was difficult to install the piping and water, but because we had to spend some time getting the machine just perfectly situated in it’s spot, level it out and fasten it to the countertop, to make sure it didn’t move while pulling at the door.
Day 6 concluded with functioning tap, sink and dishwasher… I’m back in business 🙂
After our rather stressful day 4, our next task – putting in the new countertop – was almost (I said, almost) easy.
We had decided that the task that day, would be put in the countertop, and then relax! Little did we know it would take longer than we thought 😉
My countertop consists of a 10 mm thick laminate + a 30 mm thick aluminium list. To support the laminate, there are some support bars across the underside of the countertop. As you can see from picture 1 below. These support bars are normally spaced so that they will rest on the under cabinet walls, to make everything really strong and supporting. On the original countertop, the support bars were placed correctly, on the new replacement countertop, they didn’t bother about taking this consideration, and it turns out the support bars were in the wrong place. As an example, one of them was right smack in the middle of where my cooker was supposed to go!
Well, that would be an easy fix. Right? Ehhh, nope! Not only was the support bars screwed on, they were also super-glued to the laminate! I think it took me half an hour just removing the one that was “in the middle of my cooker”. Oh, no… was this looking to be a long days work after all…
We decided that rather than move the other ones to the area that they needed to be, we would just add bars instead. So that’s what we did, we used the one we removed and stole one from the old countertop 😉 And what you see on picture no 1, is a countertop ready to be installed.
The installation it self wasn’t hard work, we had to juggle it a little to sneak it in between the cabinet and the backsplash above. But! Turns out I had not managed to remove enough of the old silicone that was used for the old one, so the new one wouldn’t go all the way to the wall. Darn…
Not allot of ways around that one, other than spend the next half hour, cleaning away all old silicone, and then give the wall a quick repaint to make sure it’s protected.
Have a coffee break and try again…
Second time around, woohoo, it fit 🙂
Wonderful! So we pulled it out again, put some silicone at the wall, and underneath the backsplash fittings and showed the countertop back into it’s place. And the next half hour was spent fastening the countertop to the cabinets, just to make sure it ain’t going anywhere 😉
So NOW we could have a well deserved home-made apple juice break!!!
Followed up by a little clean-up! And as you can see, I’m putting my friend to work 😉
I bet you guys are curious about how my kitchen project is going 🙂
Well, let me tell you! I was seriously NOT loving my kitchen countertop a few days ago!
There was a moment during day 4, that I was thinking about just posting one sentence on my blog, saying “damn that countertop”. This was probably after having spent at least 1,5 – 2 hours doing nothing but try to pry that darn thing off my wall, and I was warm, tired and feed up with the lot of it 😉
So let me backtrack a little…
We started up reasonable well mid day. We removed all the drawers, everything in the cabinet, the oven and even the cooker came out really easy. We moved over to the dishwasher, turned off the water, managed to remove the dishwasher hoses with not to much trouble (even though it was cramped under the sink) and moved the dishwasher away. Moved on to loosening the plumbing for the sink and tap. We got to all the screws to the countertop and got all that out, easy peasy. All took but a hours or so.
And then we were ready for the countertop, and let me tell you, it was ready for us, ready for us to NOT move it 😉
I have to explain a little – we kinda new we would have trouble. You see I have a backsplash over the countertop, that, because of the way it was fastened to the wall (clip system) there was no way to remove it. It was either break the glass, or tear the fittings from the wall (leaving big holes in the plaster), and I didn’t fancy doing either, since I kinda wanted to keep the backsplash intact.
So we had to move around the issue. Now, that wouldn’t have been a problem, if it hadn’t been for the fact that my dad did such a super job, using silicone when we put the countertop in (which was absolutely the correct thing to do). There was silicone between the countetop and wall, and there was silicone between the countetop and the backsplash sitting on top. And since there was NO way to get to the silicone between the countertop and the back wall (because of the backsplash) you can see why we were having such trouble.
After cutting whatever silicone we could get to, pulling and prodding, “tearing” and swearing 😉 throwing our muscles to the thing, with no effect. We seriously started to contemplate removing the kitchen cabinets under the countertop, so that we could knock the damn thing off the wall (this was about 1,5 hours into trying to pry it loose)….
OK, one more try, see if we can trick the damn thing. I managed to get to the silicone between the back wall and countertop where my dishwasher normally are, and that did the trick, we managed to loosen just enough that we got some momentum going and started to slowly tear the top loose. 30 minutes later… and it was off…
I am soooooo glad I have a strong friend helping me out, there is no way this would have gone as well if not…
As you can see, from the picture below, we tore a little wall with us, but that was an easy fix. Remove the loose paper, and give it a few licks of paint, and presto… we were ready for day 5 🙂
We didn’t do much yesterday! The next stage – pulling out the countertop – is a big job, and we decided we need a whole day for it, not just an afternoon.
The plan yesterday was to change out a cold water stopcock, because last time I tried it, I couldn’t get it to work properly. This time around, we figured it out and it seems to work after all. So we didn’t need to spend the time swapping it out, phew 🙂
So instead we spend a moment “practising” putting together the pieces that connects to the sink. You know, all the piping that eventually connects to the drains. I figured it was a good idea to know where everything would go before we started, it’s easier to figure it out when you are sitting on the floor with plenty of space around you, rather than when you are cramped under the sink, all worn out 🙂
And today? We are going to to attach the countertop, so stay tuned 😉
OK – we are still working on the lights, countertop light this time. You know, the one’s that are mounted under the upper cabinets! I have 5 of those.
First day with lights was a bit fiddly because I didn’t have a lot of space to work with. This job, plenty of space, but more work.
When we installed the kitchen originally, we used some cover panels underneath the cabinets, to make everything look nice. It also gave us the opportunity to hide the wires for the under cabinet lighting.
This time around I decided to recess the new lights into the cover plates. I figured it would be a much nicer look, than putting them on the outside, like the old one was. Since these lights have their own wiring system, we needed to get a little creative for how to hide the wires. and we decided to make an individual “groove” in the panels for each wire. Off course I completely forgot to take a photo during this process? Even though you can see what I’m talking about, on the first photo, on the second photo collage.
Pulling down the cover plates with the old lights, was easy enough, just unscrew, cut the wires and the panels was off.
Removing the old lights, easy peasy! Installing new ones? Not quite so much, but I guess that’s always what happens. It’s easy to tear down, not so easy to “build up”.
Fortunately I have pretty good tools, and as we know good tools are half the work. That all worked really well, until we tried to drill the holes for the lamps. Turned out my 56mm cutting tool, just didn’t want to corporate 😦
So what is a girl to do? Well the only solution was to buy a new one, and since we had to pack up to leave the house any-ways, this was a perfect time to do lunch 🙂
Back home again, I have to admit, it almost took longer to get the tools out, than to drill the 5 holes for the lamps.
Lamps installed (using screws, not clips 😉 ), wires installed in their “groves” (with a little help of tape to keep the wires in place), and we were ready for first panel/plate to go back up. This one only had one light so easy. Second plate, with two lights, just as easy, now the final and last plate, turned out to be the one to give us trouble! Mostly, due to the fact that the wires from the second plate, continued in “groves/channels” in the third plate… Crap! Fiddly stuff again 😦
We attacked the third plate, got the wires in place, pulled nicely at them to straighten as we “feed” the third plate closer and closer to the second. Screwed it all in place…. and is was crocked at the back, a wire had caught! Down again and start over! Second time around we had it down to a fine art, and within 20 minutes it was done.
Connected all the wires to the transformer, turned it on. Woohoo, it works!
Now if the rest would just be this easy (even though it took us all day) 😉