Saturday, 30 August 2014

The kitchen that refuses to die

Twice this week I triumphantly thought, with huge relief: "We're done, the kitchen company is out of our lives forever!" (apart from the components on back order).

Both times I was cruelly disappointed as we continue to find issues.  They did come and sort out the extractor fan wiring and plastering, and spliced in a power point for the dishwasher.  However, when I made my second attempt to plumb in the dishwasher, I discovered that the gap between the back of the sink cabinet and the wall/skirting is too narrow to pass through the dishwasher hoses and plug wire.  Then when we attempted to lift up the loose shelf left in the bottom of the sink cupboard, to see if we could drill a hole in the base, we found that a) the shelf is now impossible to remove as it is below the hinges of the doors and can't be lifted; and b) the shelf will never fit anyhow because it needs to be cut out to fit around all the sink pipes.

Luckily I have the fitter's mobile number so I just called him directly and he is coming tomorrow to drill the hole and cut the shelf.  I could tell when he answered his phone with a total lack of enthusiasm that he is just as fed up with this job as we are.

Today I spent a long time attempting to improve the mess they've left on the walls, to get it ready for painting next week. I used a lot of filler, and sized some of the bare plaster to fit lining paper over it tomorrow.  I also used filler and a lot of bits of wood jammed in with No More Nails to fill a very deep and awkward void left to one side of our new door when they hung it.  I hope I am making things better and not worse.  The painter was not impressed with the paint job I did on my fireplace so will probably not be impressed with my filling attempts either.

But we have metaphorically raised the drawbridge against the kitchen company by changing the lock on the front door today.  Although they gave us back the set of keys, they had them for a month and passed them around many different trades so I just feel better knowing the lock is different now.

Chalk painting

Last holiday Monday, I spent a couple of hours painting our linen cupboard and a little table I bought at an antiques fair with Annie Sloan Chalk paint in 'Old Ochre'.  Then I gave them a second coat on Tuesday, and today I spent a couple of hours sealing the paint with wax.  This is the first time I've painted anything apart from the table I did on the chalk painting course I took a few months ago.

The chalk paint goes on very easily, you don't have to prepare the surface at all, and you can dilute the paint with water if it's too thick for your purposes. The paint goes a long way - I had a one litre can and only used about 2/3rds of it to do two coats on both items. I used a little foam roller for the big surfaces on the linen cupboard, so that I wouldn't have lots of brush strokes showing. Clean up is also easy as the paint is water-based.  The painting was quite easy although it took a long time because the cupboard was so big.  The waxing was much more labour-intensive and was really quite hard work.  The Annie Sloan course teaches you to 'wax on, wax off': in other words you rub in the wax with a cloth or a special brush, then you wipe away the excess.  One of the instructors suggested rubbing the wax vigorously with a soft shoe brush, so I did that also after the first wipe.  Then after letting the wax set for a while, you buff with a soft cloth - a microfibre cloth from the pound shop works great.  If you do it properly, the item has a soft gleam and doesn't feel waxy or sticky - a lot of the chalk painted items I've seen in antiques stores haven't been waxed properly and still feel sticky.

Before: bare pine - nice but not the look we wanted

After: gleaming softly in the afternoon sun, wax over 'Old Ochre' chalk paint
I like that it looks visually smaller now, and more unobtrusive

This is the little antique washstand - I didn't take a 'before' picture but it had been stripped at some point.


I tried on the Low Tide Cardigan after knitting about five inches in sock-weight Regia Silk yarn.  Sadly, the armholes were really tight and it was also quite a tight fit across the chest.  So I had to pull the body out again and pick up more stitches from the bodice.  I've increased the number of underarm stitches cast on from 8 to 20 on both sides.  I will knit a few inches and try it on again to see if that is any better.

I've now knit all three sides of the Red Telephone Box and the top and base.  I ran out of red yarn but was able to find something very similar at my LYS.  I'm just knitting the back piece and then I will be ready to assemble but I need to find a piece of foam that will fit inside to give it the required shape.


Daisy said...

We did have a comedy moment with ours in about week five, when the neighbour expressed an interest in having a new kitchen too (his is in same place in his house as ours, but mirror image). The kitchen fitter visibly paled...

Fingers crossed that it is it done for you though.

swooze said...

It's always the last details and issues that languish. Good that you get it right because here if you let it go too long they move on to the next job and forget about you.

It tickled me to see you taking a selfie and seeing the fireplace you had redone in the background. Just nice to see you home.

Thanks for showing the wardrobe. I painted and whitewashed a stool I got at a garage sale. Got my creative juices flowing and I've been back in the sewing studio.

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