Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Cousins

Long ago, there were 3 little girls born within the same family circle.
It was 1949...and their roots ran deep in the Fulkerson clan.
They were...& still are 1st cousins!

Cherie, Sheila & Luana
about 3 years old

I grew up in the small little Missouri town where our Mom's & Dad's were from,
while job opportunities took aunts & uncles in other directions.
It was Grandma's hometown also, so through the years, family
members would gather for holidays, summer vacations, hunting trips,
or just times to be together.
My family always enjoyed the benefits of living where Grandma did
and our house was used for beds when the crowd was very large.
We loved it when company was coming!

For a couple of years, Luana & her family moved to Hallville
and we were so excited to be in the same classroom.
Cherie & her family lived in St. Joseph, Missouri.

We all three married at a young age & began our families.
Luana & I both lived in the Kansas City area & before our babies
came along, spent a lot of weekends together.
And we would all get together when it came family reunion time.

Last October, I made a trip to visit my sister in Kansas & we
had a lunch date with our cousins.
As usual, I invited Cherie to come see me sometime.
She told me that she was going to surprise me and really come...

and she did!
Early in May, Luana & Cherie caught a flight to Indiana
and spent six days with us.
You can tell by the above photo that we had a great time!
Luana & her family had been here many times before,
but in almost 44 years,
it was the first time that Cherie had ever been in our home.

On a cold, damp, blustery day, we traveled through the rolling hills
of southern Indiana, to Stream Cliff Farm,
one of my favorite places to take my out of town guests.
But this day was almost unbearably chilly
& we skipped the opportunity to walk through the gardens.

We had lunch in Twigs & Sprigs Tea Room

and I had their delicious Verbena Lemonade!

We browsed through the shops & snapped silly photos of each other.

The next day warmed up a bit & we traveled west to Nashville...
Indiana that is--picturesque Brown County.
Luana & Cherie met up with this old geezer right away.

Nashville is full of all kinds of shops
but I took them to some of my favorites.

Lunch was at The Hob Knob where I neglected to shoot a picture!

And that evening we walked out back to Bob's car shop
and let him show off his cars & memorabilia to Cherie.

Luana strutting her stuff in by the '57

Cherie drooling over the '67 Vette.

Lu getting frisky with Elvis!

Cherie flirting with our famous Hoosier, James Dean.
(There is no smoking in Bob's Car Shop--so he painted
out Jame's cigarette!)

All 3 of us trying to look like little girls.
(It didn't work!)

Family came to visit...Steve with his cousins...

Karen popped in for a little bit to say "hi"...

the sun came out & we walked around my yard to see what was blooming...

and Bob surprised Cherie with a fast ride in his Corvette!

See her yelling as they pull out of the driveway?

We had a wonderful few days together--
getting to really know each other--
sharing family tales
laughing until we had tears in our eyes--
sometimes sharing heartaches,
better understanding each other--
and promising to get together again.

We found out that none of us are Spring Chicks!
Luana has trouble with her feet & can't hear a lick..
causing Cherie & I to crack up when she would start
talking about something completely different than we were.
Cherie has had serious back problems & at one point
wasn't sure she could make the trip.
I have had knee problems & recently had to get a
cortizone shot in order to be able to climb my stairway.
So...we are thinking that maybe our next little get together
should be sooner than later.
Our "old lady-ness" caused lots of laughs.

All of our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles are gone.
We, along with quite a few other cousins
are what is left.
And we aren't quite ready for the family circle to fade away.

that's what it is all about.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Kitchen Reveal

 The kitchen that I have dreamed about is finally finished!
After 48 days without a functioning kitchen, we are back in business.
I cannot describe to you how much hard work went into this project.
 I appreciate every contractor that jumped when we said to,
how my hubby worked all day and late into the night,
making sure every detail was perfect,
and how my family put up with us during our "shut down" time!

I had company coming on Monday, May 2nd
and the last piece of cabinet trim was nailed on two days before.
And only then could we begin restocking the cabinets,
clean the dust covered dishes, sort through the cooking utensils,
and get rid of the drywall dust & dirt.
I would never had made it if it hadn't been for Karen's helping hand!
I wore out long before she did.

And now for a ton of pictures...

We used our existing cabinets, except for 3 units that had to be replaced.
Our cabinet man took all of the units to his shop to refinish then,
only to find out that after my 32 years of waxing, his urethane finish "fish-eyed"...
or would not flow out smoothly.  So--touch up was done, & they hauled them back,
late Tuesday afternoon.
And then the fury of installation began!

 Here are Jeff  & Andy, the cabinet makers, installing the sink base.
I'm thinking that Jeff might not be too happy at this point! 

 Thanks to Jack, our electrician, who helped Bob with installation.
He then put in under counter lighting--which I absolutely love!
And then, being the handy man that he is, he installed the wall tile.
The tile was installed on Friday, with Jack coming back Saturday
morning to grout.  We were running down to the wire!
 Friday afternoon found Karen cleaning like crazy!
She ran circles around me, while I stood in a daze, trying to tell her
where to place things.  She completely filled my pantry (photos of it below).
I warned her that I may have to call her if I can't find some of my canned goods!
Karen helped me until late Friday night, came back Saturday afternoon,
and we even sneaked in a little dusting & last minute things on Sunday afternoon.
Whew! --  We about didn't make it.

Counter tops are Riverstone Quartz from Menards.
I would highly recommend their product!
The stone cutters were from Wisconsin.  They sent a template that they had
made from Bob's dimensional plan and it was perfect.
The pattern is "Aspen" with an Ogee edge.

I fell in love with the farmhouse style sinks several years ago, thinking that when I
changed over, I would probably go with white.
But our plumbing supplier happened to have this sink in stock with a special price
just for me!...and I quickly decided that I would keep the beige theme.
The sink is made by Koehler & the finish is "cane sugar"
a biscuit color with a slight crackle finish.
Because of the apron front, a new cabinet was built.
I had them put in one large pull out open drawer in the bottom of it.

Old vinyl flooring & under layment were removed.
Floors were leveled up with "Flow Floor"  (a miracle worker!)
and new Mohawk wood flooring was installed.
Our trim man came & started the job, but Bob installed most of it.
I scooted around for days trying to get the glue residue off of it!

 Our island was moved into the kitchen area several inches,
giving us more counter top room.  Before, I only had a 3 or 4 inches behind
the cook top surface, leaving little serving area.
We also bumped out the cook top/oven area 4 inches, giving us more room.
 All bulkheads were removed.
This shows the island vented hood which used to be about 9 inches lower,
& caused lots of knocked heads, for guests that did not realize it was in the way!
This has opened up the kitchen area, making it feel more roomy,
even though we have taken up more floor space.
 The old kitchen had a cook top with double doors below for storage.
My old oven was only 19 inches interior, & I fought it for years at holiday times.

My new oven is 30 inches, a regular baking oven, & convection oven.
Now if I could just figure out how to use it!

 My old cook top still worked, but the main burner cooked hot.
So we decided to replace it and went with the touch pad control.
I love it but the touch pad is very sensitive & I have to make sure
I always leave it in the lock position when I'm finished cooking.
 The fridge used to be on the right end, next to the wall.
And my old oven was under the microwave.
I still find myself walking to that corner to put things in the fridge!

The microwave is an "Advantium Oven".
It microwaves, speed bakes (4 times faster)
& is also a convection oven.
I need to take an afternoon & read my owner's manuals
as I haven't discovered which buttons to push when, just yet.
 With the bulkheads removed, all cabinets were raised higher,
 leaving me more space between the cabinets.
The wrought iron Longaberger shelf had to be on my island before.
This has now become my little coffee bar & I'm enjoying the shelf
in a different location. 
 This unit had to be rebuilt also.
I lost my pots & pans storage that used to be under the cook top,
but the 3 deep drawers are much more convenient & hold more.
One of my favorite things.
 And after 39 years (including our other house)
we no longer have a "side by side" refrigerator!
I'm calling this beauty "the Beast".
It's huge & I love it!
All of the other appliances are GE Profile, except this,
& it is a Samsung.
I had been eyeing it online ever since we got our Samsung
washer & dryer set that I like so well.
 Lots & lots of storage space!
I just need to find time to go grocery shopping & restock the fridge.
Our other fridge is now in the garage & being used
for water bottles, Cokes, & overflow.
I'm looking forward to having extra fridge space when family comes.
 And this is my pantry.
This is original with the cabinets from 1979
& has held a ton of groceries over the years.
I thought you might like to take a peek inside to see just how much it will hold.
 Both doors swing out on piano style hinges.
The shelves on right hand door did have to be removed,
but more shelves will be added in the back of the left side...
after our cabinet man recovers from being overworked!
 Then the interior shelves swing out to more storage space in the back of the unit.
I also have a closet with storage for canned goods so we should never run out of food!
 Back to the sink side...
you can see the effect of the under counter lighting.
We also added more ceiling fixtures so the lighting in the kitchen is much better.
 Our faucets weren't too many years old & in very good condition.
I loved them so decided not to get new ones.
They have the Venetian bronze finish-Koehler, I think.
 Ceramic tile came from Lowes
6x6 Roman Stone-beige
 My original thought was to use an accent color of pale aqua or lighter blue.
I searched everywhere & could never find a rug with that color in it that I liked.
When I found this rug, I knew that the color needed to be green.
I ordered the rug from Home Decorators & they have it in several sizes.
 The table & chairs are completely different that what I had envisioned,
yet I love them & wouldn't change them.
We have never had anything but a round table.
Thankfully, Bob went shopping with me & picked out the rectangle table.
I had envisioned a black table & chairs.
Bob's eye saw these & we knew they would be perfect.
The off white in the rug makes the table & chairs pop &
compliment each other.
 New linen colored valances set it off.
There is a table leaf that lets us seat 8 very comfortably.
So after 32 years of looking across the table at each other each morning,
Bob & I now sit side by side.

I looked for a replacement light over the table but never found one
that I liked better.  This one has a "down" light, which I use in the evenings,
& most fixtures don't come with that.
So, I sent Bob to the garage with a can of "Venetian bronze" spray paint,
as the light wasn't quite the finish that I wanted,
& it now looks like new!

I'm not sure that I ever that I ever thought that we would remodel
quite to this extent.  But we are here to stay & I want to enjoy the kitchen
for many more years.  It's now back open for business & I cooked all last week in it.

During those 48 days without a kitchen, we ate out most evenings.
Because of all of the rain, I was only able to grill out 3 different nights.
Then I would be so exhausted by evening time, we would just go out to eat.
I'm thinking it may be a long time before we want fast food again!

I was at Walmart a few days ago & saw a new "Kitchen & Bath" magazine
and realized that I don't have to buy those anymore!
What a relief to finally be half way back to normal.

Ya'll come see me sometime...
& I'll show you my new kitchen!