Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Well hell... we're still at it. This bathroom is taking as long as if not longer than the kitchen. We were not prepared for it to take so long. The sloping of the floor and the bench... so that water drains properly, set us back at least a full day. The mastic on those had to be twice as thick on the far edges and therefore is going to take a few days to dry. The actual placing of wall tile is much harder ... well much more time consuming that anticipated. As of today we have installed the sink base cabinet, sink, faucet and light fixture. The walls are painted, floor down, shower floor down, 2 of 4 shower walls installed (grout in a few days). Still have to hang wall cabinets (3), mirror, towel bars, T.P. holder and baseboards. It looks like a spa... amazing. Maybe by next Monday we'll be done! Ok... back to marking tile for cutting bright and early in the morning.
Tiling the bench.

The mosaic tiling on the window ledge... 128 individual 3/4" x 3" tiles all set 1 by 1.

Friday, February 22, 2008


This just in... Since our last post we have accomplished a lot, yet very little.
It's always easier said than done... and you forget all the finishing details that are SO VERY IMPORTANT when doing any job like this. Tedious drawings of tile placement for the floor and the adjoining wall tiles were made so we would know where to cut the tiles before hand. If it was going to be a bad cut... start a new sketch. It's all a bit trickier since we are laying out a brick pattern. So we were hoping to be done today, but with the caucus and trips to Home Depot and a trip today to get a wet saw to cut the tiles for the shower, we are now looking at Sunday...with Monday being our day of fine tuning. It's really very exciting to see it take shape. Just having the floor in makes a world of difference. Here is a tally of where we are now

- The floor has been installed and grouted. I look like I've been grouted too.

- John is installing the shower floor right now... very tedious task of sloping the floor towards the drain.
- The tedious drawing of tile placement and cuts.

- The wonderboard has been installed on the shower walls and is awaiting tile.
- The wall tiles have been pre-arranged on the kitchen floor and numbered. No small feat as it took almost 4 hours for that....32 is too close in color to 33 and 4 is the same pattern as 5 and so on... Here is my scientific method of drawing them out on a box. Whatever works.

So while the thin set...sets tomorrow, we will paint and get the cabinet, counter and possibly the sink installed. Dare I hope for the back splash as well? Stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


As day 4 of the bathroom reno rolls around, we are making good progress but may have fallen a day behind schedule. Since the Hawai'i caucus is tonight and we MUST ATTEND, our work schedule is being cut short by several hours. It has also been quite dry here for the last 7 days, so we need to stop and water our cuttings and new seedlings as well as the garden more often than usual. These things cannot be neglected just because we want to finish a bathroom on time.
After ripping off all the trim around the pocket door and a few inches of drywall above, I discovered that the door could be saved. It had been installed in such a way that there was no way to adjust it without the near destruction of it. I re-framed it, adjusted it and saved the door. I also made it so that all you have to do is slide a monkey wrench in the top near the track to make future adjustments... and you see none of the mechanism at all. In my honest opinion it is so much better looking. All of the trim had to be sanded and trimmed of all the old excess paint which took about half the day. The pocket door was our first choice and we are thrilled we could save it, even if it meant re-framing the most of it.

Last night we finished up all the pipes and got those all soldered together. 21 new sections in all. You can see in the picture brown paper wrapped around each section. I did that when I went to bed, in case one of them was not tight and leaked. By using brown paper, I could tell which one was bad easier since the paper when it gets wet turns dark... darker than white paper or cloth would have. NO LEAKS.

The bench and shower lip.
Today there was a good deal of sanding of the wall patching as well as mapping out the tile pattern. John also got the shelves installed for the niche as well as the bench constructed.
The niche for shampoo and such will be the middle cube.it was slightly angled towards the camera so that water drains out of it.

More later... we're off to VOTE!!!

Sunday, February 17, 2008


So here we go again. We started the reno on the bathroom Thursday. We are hoping to have it totally done by next Friday. So far we have ripped out the vinyl shower, floor, cabinets and portions of a wall. Later today we are hoping to tear out the pocket door that is off it's track and replace it with a regular swinging door. We like the pocket door, but repairing it or replacing it would require we rip out the entire wall. We chose the lesser of 2 evils and are going with a regular door. We are doing a walk-in shower with tile walls to the ceiling. We are also building a tile bench as well as niches for toiletries. The tricky part will be making the floor, bench and niche slant at just the right angle so that the water drains out. Stay tuned for updates this week. It's gonna be amazing!!!!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


Good news! My site was recommended by someone to be one of How magazine's Top 10 Sites for Designers. Here's the message I got:

I just wanted to write and let you know that we at HOW magazine were so taken with your site that we have listed it as one of our Web site's "Top 10" sites to see this month.

They have some other really great links on there so check it out!

ps: they are launching a redesign of their site that seems to have gone live today, some glitches are normal.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Yes We Can

It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation.

Yes we can.

It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom.

Yes we can.

It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness.

Yes we can.

It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the ballots; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier; and a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land.

Yes we can to justice and equality.

Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity.

Yes we can heal this nation.

Yes we can repair this world.

Yes we can.

We know the battle ahead will be long, but always remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change.

We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics...they will only grow louder and more dissonant ........... We've been asked to pause for a reality check. We've been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope.

But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

Now the hopes of the little girl who goes to a crumbling school in Dillon are the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of LA; we will remember that there is something happening in America; that we are not as divided as our politics suggests; that we are one people; we are one nation; and together, we will begin the next great chapter in the American story with three words that will ring from coast to coast; from sea to shining sea --

Yes. We. Can.

Sunday, February 03, 2008


I have been wanting to make a pineapple upside down cake for awhile now, so when I saw the new issue of
EVERYDAY FOOD with a recipe for one I snapped it up . Ok, the real reason I decided to make it, is because that freakin' Martha Stewart made it look so darn modern. I mean she knows how to make everything so tempting. I love the alternating stripe /checkerboard pattern it makes instead of the round canned pineapple ring version. They make a perfect pattern for slicing just the right size (i'll have 2 please), so depending on how you cut it - you can serve up to 12 people. It's also a light recipe made with a little whole wheat (although I doubled the brown sugar in the bottom of the pan).  It's STILL raining. What else you gonna do? Eat cake!

Saturday, February 02, 2008


What else is there to do on a cold wet Saturday... other than work? (which we did very little of today) Why camp out in the living room and watch a parade of birds feed on our offering of fresh bananas of course. The cardinals have been absent for a few months and have reappeared over the past few weeks. It's funny to sit and watch one species eat away obviously in order of dominance, then to watch what happens when a totally different species shows up. It's quite civilized actually... they wait patiently in line for their turn and the only ruffling of feathers I witnessed was between the North American Male Cardinal and a Sparrow. At one point there were 2 Brazilian Cardinals, 2 North American Cardinals and 3 Japanese White Eyes all vying for a coveted spot close enough to get a nibble. We find ourselves making up fake conversations between them... you can only imagine. We placed 2 small pieces of wood on either side to keep the banana from being blown off. Today we were paid visits Brazilian Cardinals, North American Cardinals, Japanese White Eyes, Francolins, Myna's and Sparrows.

North American Cardinals

Brazilian Cardinals

Japanese White Eye


United Nations of Birds.
Note the Japanese White Eye on the bananas.

The Ruffling of feathers.

North American Female Cardinal and Japanese White Eye.
Part of this conversation might have been...
"Uh, excuse me, are you almost finished? I've been waiting here for minutes."