Monday, September 26, 2011

Smiling Spoons

Shortly after our kitchen remodel wrapped up my boys discovered something really neat.  Every morning their cereal spoons smile at them.  Every morning.  Awesome. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sink Love

Normal people, who don't drive their general contractors insane, buy sink vanities.  I'm pretty sure I've clearly established "normal" isn't really a big part of me.  ;-)  From the time the bath remodel was a gleam in my eye I knew I wanted two sinks.  Four people live in this house....and we all  have teeth that need brushed.  SO.....the search began for a "something" for two sinks to fit in.  Being of the abnormal variety I was thinking buffet....long table...sideboard...somethin'!  

Four times I walked past this table at the Junk Asylum.  It was gray.  It was covered in oily objects.  The vision just wasn't hitting me.  THEN.  It did.  I bought it and threw it in the car. My dad will be only took three college degrees for me to figure out ONE table could be divided into TWO HALVES.

Luckily enough these shiny babies came into my life about the same time.  $320 Kohler sinks....for $40 the ReStore.  The cosmos was smiling on me that day. 
Two MATCHING, BRAND SPANKIN' NEW, KOHLER sinks....with cutting templates.

So anyway, back to the table.  It sat on the porch for two months a while.  Then Rich decided to go into supersonic contractor speed and the need for me to finish my wackadoo project became more urgent.  I stripped the icky gray paint with the super good orange citrus stripper.

Stripped the pretty details. 

Then......what is that?  Is that a pretty little spot of turquoise under that ugly gray?  Why, it is.  My plan had been to strip the tops clear down to the wood....the table is oak.  BUT.... 

How could I with that beautiful color staring at me? 

The other tiny tidbit of a detail that needed a solution was the fact that this was a kitchen table....and unless you are 4'-9", that height isn't very conducive to teeth brushing.   I would be of the 5'-9" variety and I wanted tall vanities darnit.  If you come to my house I'll get you a stool to stand on.  We bought two different bun feet, screwed them together and screwed that whole show into the table legs.  Dad to the rescue again...I should have taken photos of that whole process....threaded inserts....the whole deal. 
He does things the "right" way....thank goodness. 

I painted the legs to within an inch of their life with oil enamel paint.  Smooth as butter.  
Spar urethaned the tops....which smells like poo poo....but does the job.

Today Rich installed the whole show....and put the sinks in the holes just to make me happy. 
(Plumbing coming soon!) 

Oh hello beautiful babies.  I've stood in the bathroom (in socks of course) about 23 times today staring at the sink tables. I love them that much.  My husband has had the nerve to question their functionality.  He can put the proverbial sock in it.  If I needed to stand on my head to brush my teeth I would do that at this point.  These girls aren't goin' anywhere! 

And this is what they look like in the evening.

And from above. 

And close up with those beautiful chippy, turquoise tops. 

And the dynamic kazaa shot. 

And again with the sinks.  

And again. 

The $40 price tag I enjoy looking at....but promise to remove before the Holiday Home Tour.

The sinks say good night. ;-)

This won't be the last time you see them.  hehehe

Monday, September 19, 2011

Bathroom Update Monday!

I'm feeling like a kid in a candy store right now.  A really lucky kid.  It would be wrong to ask everyone to just LOOK at this bathroom and not actually use it, wouldn't it?  I've never been a huge fan of bathroom cleaning....but I have a feeling I'm going to be a little neurotic about cleaning in's just so darn pretty.

Tile is completely finished.   Grout is dry.  The shower is just waiting for Plumber Wes to come back.  When that water gets turned on he'd better jump out of the room because I'm going to slam the door shut and jump's been TWO MONTHS of bathing in the upstairs tub....and I'm not a fan.  A shower sounds like heaven.

With the harvest imminently approaching here in Iowa I'm going to lose Rich for a good month.  He wanted to get the sinks mounted before he is in the Sunday was spent finishing the sink wall.  GOD BLESS my dad for helping me...I was on the edge of Breakdownville just thinking about everything I had to get done....baseboard, beadboard, setting nailheads, wood filler, caulk, primer, paint, spar urethane on sink table tops, paint on table legs....oh dear lord.  Somehow it all got a sign!  As usual, my mom kept the rest of the house running smoothly in my absence.  I'm a lucky lucky girl.  Wish they lived closer.   

By 5ish on Sunday I was to this point....just starting primer.  I required a chocolate shake to contine.  I would have ran an IV drip of chocolatey goodness if I could've gotten my hands on one.   

Oh....and started painting the window.  We have weird replacement windows in our house that came unfinished.  I noticed it right away when we looked at the house for the first  years ago.  Then we moved in...and I said "those windows are hideous....they will be painted."  Um...yeah.  That was seven years ago.'s happening now. 

Bright and early Monday morning we had a beautiful beadboard wall finished....with approximately 283 coats of paint slathered on.  I haven't put the top cap on yet....but that will happen eventually.  I got to the point Rich needed...and that made me (and he) happy. 

His happiness lasted a few hours while he trimmed out the window and started on the closet door. the time of this photo he was plotting ways to murder me and make it look like an accident.  Apparently the closet door that I insisted on using (which I LOVE and bought for $1 at a school auction) wasn't EXACTLY square.  Well to begin with it was a hundred years old.  I doubt if I will be square at a hundred either.  The door jamb Rich had built WAS exactly square.  You're picking up what I'm putting down, yes?  Some naughty words were uttered...I made myself scarce...I didn't even tell anymore jokes about Rich's Hawkeyes losing to my almighty Cyclones last weekend. 

He got cranky. 

I offered lots of muffins. 

Now really....wasn't it worth it?  Look at that beautiful old girl.  I love it.  I knew I would.  Rich digresses. 

I still have to strip the inside of the door and paint it white...but the outside will keep its beautiful aged stained wood.  Oh, and Rich put up all the shelves in the closet too.  I can't wait to put my junk in there. 

Yay Dad!
Yay Mom!
Yay Rich!
Yay Levi for getting pizza!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Tile as Far as the Eye Can See

Guess what?  The tiling is FINISHED!!!!  FINISHED!!! FINISHED!!!  Wes did an amazing job....and I have "finished" photos to share....but I'm tired....and a teeny bit cranky....from being here's another shot of the back of Wes' head doing amazing work.

More soon. :-)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

So Much Fun it Should Be Illegal!

Oh boy folks.  The fun that is to be had in Clarence this fall is nearing criminal.  I happen to be a part of a little ole group raising funds to build a brand spankin' new library here in our little ole town.  We've never had a "real" library.  We've had a few shelves in the city hall....a little ole house donated for use as a library....but never our own "real" library.  That's all about to change.

But first we need some dough.  We're working hard.  Really hard.  The first of our events are now rolling out...and really you won't even know you're attending a won't have time to think about that because you'll be having so darn much fun. 

The first super fun event is our "Demo and Dine with Miss Effie" series of cooking classes!   The Demo and Dine is going to be a serious amount of ridiculous fun. I don't know if you're familiar with Miss Effie? She has a u-pick flower farm near Donahue....and basically I think she's the greatest thing since sliced bread. In addition she teaches lots of cooking/canning classes both at the farm and at Scott Community College. She's agreed to come to MY KITCHEN...and teach cooking classes (with all proceeds benefiting the new library). The first will be Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, Saturday,Oct. 22, 6:30pm. Then Pizza Pizza (we learn to make our own mozzarella!!) on Saturday, Nov. 12, 6:30pm and finally Milkmaid 101 on Saturday, Dec. 3, 6:30pm (learn to make buttermilk, ricotta, sour cream, etc). Miss Eff will teach each class, have a few "helpers" come up from the audience, then we get to eat everything she's prepared (and a little local vino ;-) ! YUM!! Oh and I'll have some snackys and things to munch on in the meantime. I think it will be wonderful fun and for a great cause!  Every dime raised will go toward the new Clarence Library.

If you think you'd like to attend one of these awesome classes please register soon!!  Registration is being accepted at the Edna Zybell Library here in Clarence OR by emailing with your name, address and phone, as well as which classes you will be taking. (Each class is $25)  Your check can be made payable to "Library Building Fund" and mailed to Edna Zybell Library, PO BOX 450, Clarence, IA 52216.

Guess what comes around in December?  I am seriously so excited about this I could whip out my tree right now.  The Holiday Home Tour is making its return to Clarence!!!   We have some LOVELY homes on the tour this really do not want to miss it.  The ole VanOort abode is making an appearance.  Crazy amounts of decorating are in my future.  Is the day after Halloween too soon to start?  More fun details on this to come.  Just save the date for now!!!!  Sunday, December 11 in the afternoon. :-)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Dreamland....Where All Bathrooms are Tiled in Hex

So you remember how I was telling you yesterday how fast Wes is.  He's fast.  Super fast.  So fast that I have to do TWO POSTS IN ONE DAY.  Unprecedented, I know.  There are MONTHS that I don't do two posts. ;-)  I could not be more in love with this tile.  For reals.  I tried not to bother Wes too many times with the staring and...well....the staring.  He didn't look up too many there are lots of photos of the top of his head.

More photos of the top of Wes' head.   And the tile.  Oh the glorious tile.  Are you ready for it? 

Take a deep breath.




SURPRISE!!   This is the dry run (not attached yet) but doesn't it make you all squishy inside?  I'm all squishy inside....and giddy....and tempted to take a sleeping bag in there and sleep with it all night. 

This is the view from the top of my arms....or as high as I could reach my camera anyway.  Dots and and  Love.  LOVE!!!! 

I'm off to sweet dream land...where all bathrooms are tiled in hex...and people only wear socks.

The Day of the Floor

Progress is moving quickly now in the's amazing what can happen when PROFESSIONALS do the job!  W3Tile is now on the job....yay Wes!  This guy works FAST.  And I don't mean just kinda fast....I mean SUPER fast!  This was the floor at the end of yesterday....all leveled with the fancy tile backer stuff. 

The closet floor is even leveled!!  I wouldn't want that laundry basket to go scooting right out every time I open the thank goodness it's level. ;-) 

Then there is the tub.  THE tub.  The tub I will soon be able to SHOWER in.  Blessed be to the god of tubs.  The tile for the tub comes in Monday.  Oh yes.....tile....gleaming white subway tile...with just a hint of a squiggle edge. 

But I picked up my dreamy dreamy beautiful beautiful floor tile yesterday at Adams Tile & Stone in Marion, Ia.  They worked miracles to get this tile on time...and now it's here...and was $125 less than they originally quoted.   Those are nice surprises.  Surprises that pay for new potties. 

At this point I will channel the great Barry White...just imagine me using the Barry White voice.....

Hello Baby....welcome to my bathroom....why don't you stay a while and make me happy.  I'll give you kisses. (okay enough Barry White.... but I really did give my tile a squeeze last night.) ;-) 

So here we are this morning.  Wes thinks he'll be done with the floor by the end of today.  We discussed the pattern I'd like him to lay....and he didn't even complain.  I like those kind of professionals. :-) 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Beet Harvest Numero Uno

The beets in my garden are always victims of neglect.  Thank goodness they don't really mind.  I get crazy harvesting green beans, the more glamorous green neighbor, and procrastinate the beet harvest....because it's messy.  And messy.  And messy.  If we're "friends" on facebook you already know that I almost boarded the first train to crazytown when I emptied my "beet" sink (brand new gleaming white cast iron) to find it was stained orange/tan/purply. 
 Heart failure was quickly followed by the room spinning and inappropriate language. 
 One word.
All better.

Anywho, beets are a super least in my book.  I love them.  LOVE.  They always remind me of my Grandma Eula....who ALWAYS had pickled beets on the dinner table when we came for a meal.  They're delicious, they're healthy, super duper easy to grow....perfect.  AND, my 99 year old neighbor taught me the benefits of eating the GREEN parts too!  There is no waste in a beet. 
Well maybe that weird stringy root...that's it. 

I chop up the stems, and use them just like you'd use celery.  And I freeze them.  And put them in soups.  Give it a try.

Then there are the leaves.  Oh the delicious leaves.  I like them sauteed in olive oil and garlic, I like them in salad, I like them blanched and used just like frozen spinach...the possibilities are endless. 

Now just help me pray a little for my tomatoes.  We NEED salsa...STAT....please grow dear tomatoes!!

Oh, and beets are one of those cool crops that we can plant TWICE in I'm off to sprinkle some more beet seeds. :-)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Fourth Avenue Corn Growers

As you may or may not know, we grow a lot of corn here in Iowa.  A.  LOT.  We pride ourselves on growing corn.  We even have contests to see who can grow the TALLEST corn.  Our Iowa Magazine has begun an annual tradition of sponsoring the Tall Corn Contest.  Seeds are distributed with a spring issue of the magazine....and the growing begins.  The rule is.....there are no rules.  When you think your corn is finished growing you measure it, take a photo with it...and submit it to the magazine.  And let me tell you, there are some wacky corn growers in Iowa.

Some of those wacky corn growers live right here in Clarence....and formed their own organization to show the love for their corn growing.  The Fourth Avenue Corn Growers Association was born when the seeds arrived this year.  One entire block of Fourth Avenue has planted the seeds, holds rousing monthly meetings and watches their corn grow.  I, as the Cedar County "Hawk-Eye" (Our Iowa Field Editor), was invited to two meetings this summer....and they were SO.MUCH.FUN!!!  I was given the title of "honorary 4th Avenuer".  I threatened to pick my house up (off the very boring 7th Avenue) and move it to where the party
is...on 4th!

The first meeting I attended was great fun.  I met everyone in the gang, looked at all the corn, listened to the minutes from the last was great.  There are some characters on 4th Avenue.  Wayne is one of them.   Wayne had attached a VERY long pole to his anticipation of the growth spurt he was sure his corn would have.

And let me in on a little secret hiding down below the lowest corn leaves.  Can you guess what that little piece of PVC is poking out of the ground.  Have you ever heard the term "dropping trou"?  Uh, may want to steer clear of Wayne's while he "fertilizes" his corn.  He did mention he does it in the dark.  Wayne has the driest sense of humor...and impeccable comic timing.  I wish you could have all been there to hear him describe his corn growing techniques. 

Phyllis is the secretary for this group of rabble rousing corn growers.   Her notes will make you laugh until your sides ache.  I will need to get a all simply must read some excerpts of the hilarity.

The group looks innocent enough, yes?   HI.LAR.I.OUS.   If every neighborhood everywhere could be this closeknit and friendly the world would be a much nicer place to live in.

THEN, I and my family were invited to the NEXT meeting. (I must have made a good impression...hehehe).  First we measured corn.  A very tall ruler was constructed by Bob....we scoffed at the very tall ruler.   Until we measured the corn.  Wayne's peepee is definitely growing some corn.

My beloved even got into the action, helping out at the top of the ladder.  This was Wayne's "secondary" corn.  Not the "contest" corn.  It was doing quite well if I do say so. 

Next came Bob and Kris' corn.  WOWSA.

THEN, we came to Derek's corn.  HELL-O MR. CORN GROWER!

Umm.....Marcia's going for dwarfiest variety.  She's having fun with it....that's what counts!  You can stop in to tease Marcia about her corn anytime at Mill Creek Cafe....she's one of the owners. 
She has an infectious laugh. :-)

We listened to the minutes....on lawn chairs....on the driveway.  I love small town Iowa.  This is it at its finest.  Neighbors enjoying each other's company, a delicious potluck meal and beverages in the warm summer air.

I smiled all the way home.

You can check out the 4th Avenue corn in Clarence by driving down the 400 block of 4th Avenue.

Also, feel free to check out the Our Iowa "Corn Cam" on the campus of Iowa State University.

I also featured the Corn Growers in the latest issue of the Clarence Community Newsletter....check 'er out.

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