DIY Embroidered Dishtowels

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Those who read this blog regularly know that I love to travel. It is particularly meaningful to me when I am able to get to know the culture and lives of the people. There is no better way to get to know a country than to stay with people that know it well, and I have been fortunate to have been welcomed into the homes of many around the world. I always try to bring a small gift that is meaningful and represents something from my little corner of the world.

I have found that dish towels are something that everyone can use. They are light and easy to fit in a suitcase. Best of all, they are customizable. You can put anything on them. There are many patterns to buy, but I prefer to draw my own. This is one that I made for doña Rosa, the woman I stayed with in Costa Rica.

DIY embroidered dish towel

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It’s Almost the Weekend

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After a fun week in South Carolina and a hellishly long ride home, we have been back at school for a five days now. It is always difficult to return to work after a vacation. It is especially hard when you have to spend your evenings putting your house back together after tiling the kitchen. The job took us longer than we expected, and we were not able to finish before leaving for S.C. (You can read about our tiling exploits in one, two, three posts, if you missed them.) Our house was a mess, but the kitchen floor looked great! Crème is our “floor model,” and she has some new bling, as in a name tag.

Cat on new tile floor

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Days 7-9 of the Drama Involving the Kitchen Floor

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This should NOT be viewed as a “How to Tile” post. If anything, it is a “How Not to Tile” post. We are not professionals. This was the first tile job for both of us. Hopefully, our story will provide amusement and the attitude of “Hey, if they can do it, anyone can!” However, unless you are a professional, experienced amateur or a masochist, I recommend that you hire someone to do the work for you. You can read about Days 1-3 and Days 4-6, if you missed those posts.

Day 7: Friday, March 22

I started by pulling out all of the spacers, so that our kitchen floor no longer looks like a mini ceramic Arlington.

Spacers set in ceramic tile

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Days 4-6 of the Drama Involving the Kitchen Floor

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This should NOT be viewed as a “How to Tile” post. If anything, it is a “How Not to Tile” post. We are not professionals. This was the first tile job for both of us. Hopefully, our story will provide amusement and the attitude of “Hey, if they can do it, anyone can!” However, unless you are a professional, experienced amateur or a masochist, I recommend that you hire someone to do the work for you. You can read about Days 1-3, if you missed that post.

Day 4: Tuesday, March 19

We woke up to snow and freezing rain. Poor Douglas had to go out to shovel and came back completely soaked. I worked on my post on Days 1-3. Then, back into my painting clothes I went to primer the floor for the leveling compound. Crème, as always, wanted to help.Painting primer on the floor

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No Whining Over These Crates

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Here is one of our projects from this weekend. I have had these wine crates for several years. I took three of them from the trash outside a wine store when I was living in Manhattan. They put some out every week, and I wish I could have taken more. At the time, I used them as “drawers” on my bookshelves. Later, I found another and used them in my kitchen cabinets here. Then, I saw this post on offbeathome.com. I have wanted more storage in my kitchen since I moved in, and this seemed the perfect solution. Here is how it turned out.

Wine crate shelves

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New Year’s Mrs. Clean

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I arrived home from Venezuela on the 31st, right before midnight. (You can read about the trip here.) I was supposed to get in earlier, but several of my planes were delayed. I spent thirty five hours between the city of Mérida and home. Needless to say, I was not up for much when I got home. January first was a lazy day for my man and me. January second, I was faced with a mess. My suitcases were still unpacked on the dining room table and there were things everywhere. Douglas had done a lot of laundry after he got back from his parents, but most of the clothes were still sitting on the bed in the spare room. Before I could start any other projects, the house needed to be clean. It took two days, but finally our house is clean, and I feel much better. Now maybe I will be able to work on something more exciting! Here are the before and after pictures.

Kitchen

Messy kitchenClean kitchen

Dining Room

Messy dining roomClean dining room

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How to Get a Divorce in 21 Easy Steps or How to Paint a Kitchen

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It was Douglas’ idea to title the post this way. I must admit that things were a little hairy by the end of the weekend, but you will be happy to know that I unpacked my suitcases and Douglas is no longer filing for divorce. I jest, in case you thought I was serious. We are not truly in jeopardy of separation. We are, however, still sorting out a very young marriage. Many people have told me that the first year of marriage is difficult, and while we have not suffered great difficulty, we are still working things out. We both lived alone for many years and had become somewhat set in our ways. We will survive, especially if we can ever finish all of the projects in the house. Is that even a possibility?

This weekend we worked on the kitchen. Here is what it looked like pre-painting, or at least this is what it looked like in August 2012. You can check out the whole house here.

Kitchen

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Kitchen Clean Up

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We are in the process of painting the kitchen. Doing this nearly caused our divorce. Things were pretty tense this weekend while the painting was going on. I have often heard that traveling together and renovations are two of the biggest tests of a relationship. Douglas and I travel well together, so I guess this is our test. The problem is that we have a lot of renovation left on the house, and I do not want it to end our relationship. Once we calm down, we can usually talk things out, but it is hard to get us to both calm down. He needs time to cool off, but it only makes me angrier when he walks away in the middle of an argument. It seems to me that he does not care about me when he leaves. I need to figure out how to let it not bother me so much. Anyway, we are still together, and the kitchen is nearly done. We have to finish touching up a few mistakes on the trim and rehang everything that was on the walls. Wednesday’s post will be about painting the kitchen, but in the meantime, here is a preview of the new color.

Cleaning kitchen

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Well Planted

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I am well planted or situated in my home. My plants, on the other hand, are not doing so well. My luck with plants has been hit or miss. I had an apartment in the city that my plants loved. They were so lush that I started to believe that I had a fool-proof green thumb. Lately, they have not been doing so well. Several have been on the verge of dying for a while now. Here is what some of them looked like.

Plants that need repotted

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I Rent Therefore I Own

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It is because there is a legal rental apartment in my house that I was able to purchase it. If I did not have the income from that apartment, I would not have been able to qualify for the loan. It has been a mixed blessing. For the most part, it has worked out well. I did have one bad tenant, but I learned my lesson. The last few tenants have been great. Both living spaces are accessed through the front door. The tenants’ apartment occupies the entire second floor.

Cape of Dreams April 2012

In the picture below, the door on the right is ours. The door at the top of the stairs opens into the hallway in the apartment upstairs. This is a current picture (September 28, 2012), but it does not look much different than it ever did. We have not done anything in the hallway, except to give the door at the top of the stairs a fresh coat of white paint.

Stairway to rental

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