DIY

The kitchen cabinet knobs were delivered! One thing about a DIY project that I’ve noticed at least for me is that there is always something to learn.  There is some way to make do with what you have and figure out a way to make it work.  I was looking for a template to help line up the knobs and did some searching online.   It’s helpful when people leave feedback.  I purchased a template which did a good job on the cabinet knobs but my drawer pulls were too long for the template.  The tool I needed, a jig, no one had and I didn’t want to order an expensive one.  So I used a level, measure, tape and string to do the alignment.  I spent a great deal of time checking and rechecking the lines.  It took me 8 hours!  Most of that was stressing about drilling permanent holes accurately.

The result is good.  I messed up on one drawer on the 3rd install.  The drilled holes didn’t line up.  I called the one person I know that knows how to fix things, my father-in-law.  He gave me two options.  The mistake is fixable and the nice thing is that if we had to, we could get a replacement. The cabinets are new and the builder is still around.  The cabinet finish is mounted on the drawer so it’s easy to remove and replace if necessary.  From the mistake I learned how to perfect the process so that it didn’t happen again.  I am shocked my husband let me continue.

The cost for the knobs and pulls (53 pieces in total) $100.  The template was $8.

kitchen hardware

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DIY

Working to make a new home feel like home

We have been in the house for a little over 3 months now.  It seems like it is taking a very long time to make the house feel like home.  The projects are overwhelming.  You want to make it feel like home so bad that you start one place and then get distracted and start working on another place.

We were able to get the drapes for two rooms made and have to wait for funds and fabric for the other two.

For a long time we have had a theme-less guestroom.  That is unless you can call the style we had eclectic.  My daughter needed a bed and a desk which left us with two pieces of completely mismatched furniture and no bed.  With the holidays around the corner and my daughter in need of a place to stay when she visits, it’s time to put together a guest room.  I was hoping to continue with the modern/contemporary style.  I didn’t want to spend a lot and ended up finding something nice at Rooms to Go. I didn’t want the pieces to be too matchy.  When you take your husband shopping you end up with three matching pieces.  I didn’t get an upholstered headboard that I really wanted.  However, the matching headboard is tall which is good for that room.  The room looks unbalanced with the furniture on one side.  It’s the only way the furniture would fit. (A good reason to measure prior to buying!!!)  Maybe the fact that it looks spacious when you walk in because the furniture is tucked behind is good?  I wish I had some design education.  Maybe an accent chair will balance it?   The room remains unfinished and needs bedding, window coverings, and art.

Switching to the kitchen, we need knobs.  The drawers are hard to open because they have the soft close.  I picked stainless steel T-bars out after many searches of kitchen hardware designs online.  The samples came in this week and I will now be placing that order.  I’m a little nervous about installing them myself because it is really noticeable if you don’t measure correctly and they are uneven.  I am motivated by the savings though!

And then you can’t ignore the empty bedroom.  The room is larger than what we had before.  Model homes around here have some kind of seating arrangement.  I wonder how many people actually use the seating space?  In Boston, I really liked a settee they had in the hotel room.  The seating space was comfortable to watch TV and look up stuff on the laptop without having to be in bed.  Going with the same idea, we are going to add two chairs and a round ottoman.  I even moved some chairs into the space to get a better idea of how it would feel.  At some point we’ll put a TV in there and if anything the space can be used for reading (which we don’t have time for).

It just can’t all be done at once!  Finding a balance between taking our time and getting rooms finished is frustrating.

 

Working to make a new home feel like home

Family Reunion Texas Style

It has been a while since my husband’s side of the family has planned a reunion.  I’ve been to about 5 since we’ve been married.   My husband’s family is very welcoming and friendly. One of my favorite places is the farm in Brenham Texas.  The first time we visited my daughter was an infant.  The house was small with a large porch on acres of land.  At the time, we used a Garmin GPS and even with that, the house address wouldn’t show up.  Today with Google maps and a cell phone you still need the GPS coordinates to find it.  We traveled through a mix of gravel and paved roads for miles through cow pastures and finally arrived at the farm.  After crossing the cattle guard we parked along the fence.  People were shooting .22s at targets down the rolling hills of dandelion and scrub cedar/oak trees.  There were people sitting and chatting in lawn chairs in the yard that is shaded by a large tree.  Children were running around playing lawn games.

The aunt that owned the house passed a way a couple of years ago.  She expanded the house over the years by connecting another old house that was hauled onto the property.  It looked as though the house had always been there.  The house has small windows, painted wood, ginger breading, and the large porch.  Inside, the house there are 8 bedrooms, a large living room, a dining room and a small kitchen complete with a farm sink.  There is not a TV in sight.   The house has aged over time and isn’t as new looking as it was 20 years ago.  It does hold many amazing memories.  Babies have grown and many of the older people have passed away.  Sadly it will be sold next year and a new chapter and venue will hopefully continue.  People brought food that was stacked where ever people could find space.

The weather was clear, and the temperature about 92 degrees with a breeze.  I brought Lu with me and she was very happy to be with everyone.  We walked in just as we have seen everyone the other day.  We waved, hugged and commenced to catching up.

Dinner was brought out and served buffet style.  We had barbecue of course!  The brisket, pork, sausage, coleslaw, potato salad and beans were brought in and everybody had plenty to eat!   Desert followed including the traditional Swedish desert, Ostakaka which is a custard topped with Legion berries.

Afterwards we took pictures of family by branch in the beautiful Texas sky with the charming barn surroundings ❤

family reunion

Family Reunion Texas Style

Martha’s Vineyard

Martha’s Vineyard is about a 30 mile long island in the Northeast off the coast of Cape Cod.  We took the ferry out of Wood’s Hole on the Steam Ship Authority because you can bring your car.  If the vehicle is under 17 feet and this time of year (August), it’s $60 each way.  You still have to pay $17 for yourself round trip.  You really need a reservation for the car because it does fill up.  Just to rent a car for a day on the island was $267.  We had a car and would have had to pay $20 to park in Wood’s Hole anyway.  There is good transportation on the island, but if you want to go at your own pace, bringing your own car is better.

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We also wanted to stay the night there and found a really convenient hotel that is steps away from the boat.  The Martha’s Vineyard Surfside hotel in Oak Bluff is quaint.  The staff is friendly, it couldn’t be in a better location.  While the hotel is on the older side, it was immaculate.  They don’t charge for parking either.  There are restaurants there, bike rentals, bus transportation, shops and the beach.

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We walked through the town to a little village of gingerbread houses called the camp.  The little houses are old, ornate and look like doll houses.  People live in them as well!

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We grabbed some lunch by the sea and took off for Aquinnah which was the reason we brought the car.  Aquinnah is the farthest point from the dock and there are beautiful cliffs and the second oldest working light house on Gay Head.  The island is thick with trees so while you are driving you don’t get a glimpse of the water.  There are small markets to stop at along the way.  The view at Aquinnah is amazing.  I really wanted to hike down and get an up close look at the cliffs, but my husband was not up to it.

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I finally got to go in a light house  This one was actually moved back 400 feet because of the erosion it would eventually have fell off the cliff.IMG_1955

We went back to town and had a great dinner and enjoyed the sunset on the beach.  The next day I woke up and hiked 3 miles to the Jaws bridge.  This is where they filmed the movie Jaws.  During the day you can’t get a parking spot there.  At 6AM, it’s eerily empty.  The water is cool.  There are great white sharks in the area, so I thought it best to just stick my toes in.  The bridge leads to what they call ponds.  A lot of people jump off this bridge despite the sign that says no jumping.  I don’t know why, no one jumped off the bridge in the movie.  The tide was going out at a pretty rapid pace, I don’t think it was a good idea to even swim there.

 

I took the bus back for $1.25.  We checked out of the hotel and went to Edgartown.  There you can find more shops and restaurants.   I just wanted to see the lighthouse.  It was a great walk and a pretty view.  This one is smaller than the one at Gay Head.

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We left out of Vineyard Haven which wasn’t too far from where we came in.  We shopped at the island’s iconic store, Black Dog and we tried to eat at their restaurant since there is a story about the owner.  He created his brand and his restaurant stays open year long.  The island is busy this time of year, however on October 15, most everyone leaves and most places close.  We managed to grab a sandwich before we left at their shop. There restaurant was closed at 11:30am, there were people in there, but we were told that was people from breakfast.  This is the first time I’ve seen a restaurant  close between breakfast and lunch.

Martha’s Vineyard

Nantucket

Visiting New England was a really cool thing to do.   It went as planned.  We flew to Boston and drove to Hyannis in Cape Cod, spent the night and took the Hyline ferry to Nantucket.  For a cost of $70 per person round trip.  Good thing it was just the two of us!  It takes about an hour to get to Nantucket from Hyannis.  The boat is air conditioned, has food and drink and is very comfortable.

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I’m glad we decided to cycle in Nantucket instead of Martha’s Vineyard because my husband isn’t used to cycling distances in the heat.  There is more shade in Nantucket.  Both Cape Cod and Nantucket are thick with trees, so there really isn’t a view while you are on the island.  We went to the whale museum in town after eating at a popular local restaurant, Black Eyed Susan’s.  The old buildings don’t have central air and this restaurant had few seats.  We were so lucky to get a seat and enjoyed a really good breakfast.  I had Portuguese sausage in my eggs, something you don’t get in Texas.   It was spicy and good!  Afterwards, we went to the whale museum.

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The best part of the whale museum was a story telling session, and where they told the story added to it,  We were down in the corner of the museum, in a small nook.  A man told the story of the Nantucket whaling history and specifically the voyage of the Essex.  This was such a nice way to tell the story of Nantucket, the far away island (30 miles from Hyannis).  The island’s history was excellent and explained why they have whale symbols.  They would harvest the sperm whale’s oil.

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Afterwards we rented cycles right outside the museum and took off for the brewery.  The original plan was to go with a tour, however we decided to do it on our own which turned out to be best because we could do our own route at our own pace.  My husband isn’t a drinker, but I enjoyed a spiked sparkling water made on Nantucket.  It was for purchase to go only.  The brewery only had an outdoor area and it was pretty hot.  We didn’t stay long.  I noticed the abundance of flowers in the area. We took the 3 mile bike ride back town and a short .5 mile detour to Jetties beach.  There we sat and enjoyed the view and the pristine clear waters.

nantucket brewery

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nantucket beach

Back on the boat we headed back to Hyannis.  In Hyannis we explored the town which was in walking distance and enjoyed the best meal of the trip at the Black Cat Tavern.  There they had won an award for their chowder and their crusted cod was to die for.

Nantucket

Summer Vacation in Cape Cod

I wasn’t planning on leaving town again.  My husband is being forced to take vacation.  The pressure is now on planning.  I like to plan a vacation with enough to do and enough flexibility to make sure we see the things we want and can spontaneously do something that catches our eye.

We need dates, a budget and a place.  I got one week to plan.  My husband wants to see the NFL and the baseball hall of fame.  I couldn’t find enough to do for 5 days in Canton Ohio or Cooperstown New York that would keep my interest also.  Driving between the two was too much since my husband doesn’t like to be in the car much.

I went back to a place we at one time began planning to go with the entire family, Cape Cod.  Since I was very young I wanted to visit Martha’s Vineyard.  Looking into the area a little more we found that we could fly to Boston, drive to Cape Cod and from there visit Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

Boston made the most sense to fly to then drive to Cape Cod.  I love the Internet for research, Trip Advisor, Googlemaps, Hotels.com all excellent resources.  For our hubsite, we selected the town of Hyannis  in Cape Cod because the city has a port that services both islands, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.  Hyannis also has things to do as well.  We are staying at the Hyannis Harbor Hotel and will be able to walk across to the port to take the ferry over to Nantucket.  The Steamship authority and Hy-Line cruise has ferries to Nantucket that take 1-2 hours.  We plan to stay on Nantucket and tour the island on a bike for 2 hours then eat at a local restaurant and come back.

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The next day we plan to take the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard and stay in Oak Bluffs at the Martha’s Vineyard Surfside Hotel.  In doing Internet research, it appeared to be convenient to stay in Oak Bluffs.   You can take a car on the ferry, however the charge is $68/one way.   There is inexpensive bus service on the island and they even have Uber. Hyannis to Oak Bluffs (Martha’s Vineyard) is another 1 hour ferry ride.  This place is pricey.   We are not staying in a super fancy hotel and I still feel like we are paying a premium.  Hopefully we won’t be spending much time in the room and will be busy doing things.  I think we will get a good feel for the island if we visit Edgartown and Aquinnah Cliffs/Gay Head.

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After Martha’s Vineyard, we are going up the cape to the town of Chatham.  Cape Cod is pretty big.  I thought it would be good to get a sample of what it’s like to be on Cape Cod and couldn’t decide to stay in town or on the beach.  It seems the selection of hotels from what I’ve seen and read are that they appear to be quaint New England bread and breakfast like and they can be pretentious.  That is not really appealing to either of us, however a walk on the beach and especially to a lighthouse sounds pretty good.  My husband isn’t much of a beach goer, I think he will enjoy resting and the history in the area.  He’ll be sleeping while I get up and go walk or run, good for him and for me!

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We will spend the last day in Boston, a city with plenty of history.  Lot’s to see and do in such a short period of time.  I really hope my husband enjoys this time together and the New England adventure.

Summer Vacation in Cape Cod

A Good Dog

One thing about Luna that struck me is her intense eye contact.  I haven’t really noticed that with other dogs.  This makes it nice because she will look at me and already we are on the way to communicating.  I wouldn’t say we noticed the eye contact when she was 8-10 weeks old it was sometime after.  Now that I have noticed and realized the value of eye contact, I foster eye contact by reciprocating as a routine.

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People say that training is key to a good dog.  I believe that is true.  Still, there is an element of disposition, sometimes you are just born with it.  Now that I have had the experience with two dogs of the same breed with completely different personalities I believe breeding had a lot to do with disposition.

Because of the horrible experience I had with my first Bichon, this one definitely was introduced to a lot of people and other dogs.  Even with that first encounter or subsequent early encounters with people, my first dog was anxious and I really think that I got her that way.  Luna is not anxious at all.  We will walk by other dogs who are barking like crazy and their owners are doing their best to restrain them and Luna will not bark and just observe.  She doesn’t cower in the presence of big dogs either. That is not something we got from our puppy training or even anything I could possibly do to teach that.  Maybe she senses that I am not afraid of big dogs and don’t say or do anything behavior wise that would cause her to fear them.

On our walk yesterday we encountered ducks that just walk the streets.  My previous dog would have wanted to chase, Luna observed.  Now I will say that a person can add to a dog’s anxiousness by saying with extreme excitement, “look a duck!!!”  I did say in a calm voice that is a duck, no excitement. And when walking by other dogs, I do communicate with Luna to continue the focus on me and say her name and “let’s walk” in a calm voice.  So maybe that helps.

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She had her first flight on United and we were squished in like sardines, it’s hard to get the carrier under the seat where the animals are to stay for the duration of the flight.  Luna made friends with the flight attendants and they let her sit on my lap the entire flight.  I was sitting in the window seat and the couple next to me appeared  uninterested in dogs.  Luna is good about that too, she senses it and leaves them alone.  However if you are a dog lover, she recognizes that too and will give you all of the love you can stand.

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I think with my first dog I was really careful with her because she was so tiny and when I would see kids or people going at her to pick her up I feared they would drop her when she squirmed.  So I would shield her which probably made her more anxious and distrustful of others.  There is a solution for this!   It is so simple it’s crazy!  I recognized that she is a DOG!  Sounds pretty dumb, and yet it’s genius.  Dogs are not what you carry around like a stuffed animals or a baby, they belong on the ground.  When people greet your dog, all four paws need to be on the ground.  And when people come at your dog to pick it up, the owner intercepts and says, you can greet my dog when she is on the ground.  That’s it!

If you are going to be in control of your dog , you have to be assertive enough to stand up to others and let them know how you want them to interface with your dog.  It’s always best to ask permission from the owner if it is ok to pet.  This helps the owner maintain control of their animal which results in positive behavior outcome.

Luna has some trouble with jumping on others to give kisses.  Not everyone is enchanted with her enthusiasm.  The solution for this that works is I put her on her leash and step on it so that she can’t jump and she stops.

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Animals appreciate your attention to detail and consistency!

 

A Good Dog